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People in the News 2022


Welcome to a new section which is especially created for the people in the current news. Here you'll find a list of popular personalities from all over the world. Each personality has own specialty. To view about the personalities click on the appropriate links provided.

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People in the News Current Affairs - September 2022

Volker Turk: Volker Turk from Austria has recently been appointed as the next UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

  • Key Highlights:
  • 57 years old Turk will succeed Michelle Bachelet of Chile.
  • The approval for the latest appointment came from the Secretary-General of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres after the approval by the General Assembly.
  • The new High Commissioner of UN Human Rights is currently coordinating the global policy work as an under-Secretary-General in the UN’s Executive Office.
  • Previously, Turk was the Assistant High Commissioner for the Protection at UN Refugees, UNHCR, in Geneva where he played a key role in the development of the landmark Global Compact on Refugees.
  • Presently he was serving as assistant Secretary General for policy.

About Volker Turk:

  • Volker Turk was born in 1965 in Austria.
  • He is an Austrian lawyer and UN official. His work was published by Duncker and Humblot, Berlin 1992.
  • He has also been awarded the human rights prize of the University of Graz in 2016.

About UNHRC:

  • It refers to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
  • UNHRC is the Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system.
  • It is located at the UN Office at Geneva.
  • It was founded on 15 March 2006 by the UN General Assembly Resolution 60/251.
  • It replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) that had been strongly criticized for allowing countries with poor human rights records to be members.
  • The UNHRC works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Objective:

  • Its main task is to investigates allegations of breaches of human rights in UN member states. It also addresses important thematic human rights issues such as freedom of expression, women's rights, LGBT rights, and the rights of racial and ethnic minorities.

Members:

  • The Council comprises of 47 Member States, which are elected by the UN General Assembly.
  • The Council's Membership is based on equitable geographical distribution.
  • The seats are distributed among regional groups Group of African States (13), Group of Asia-Pacific States (13), Group of Eastern European States (6), Group of Latin American and Caribbean States (8) and Group of Western European and other States (7).
  • The members of the Council serve for a period of three years and are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms.

Pratap Pawar: The chairman of Sakal Media Private Ltd. Pratap Pawar has been unanimously elected Chairman of the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) for 2022-2023.

Key Points:

  • Pawar was the former president of The Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries & Agriculture, Pune.
  • He is on the Board of several national and International organisations.
  • He was awarded Padma Shri in 2014.
  • Meanwhile, Srinivasan K Swamy, chairman and managing director of R K Swamy Pvt Ltd, was unanimously elected deputy chairman.

About ABC:

  • The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) of India is a non-profit circulation-auditing organization.
  • ABC is a voluntary organization initiated in 1948.
  • It certifies and audits the circulations of major publications, including newspapers and magazines in India.
  • It is headquartered in Mumbai.

14th Attorney General of India: Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi is set to be appointed as the 14th Attorney General of India.

The Attorney General is the top law officer of the country and the Centre’s top lawyer before the Supreme Court of India.

Key Points:

  • Rohatgi, 67, will take over after current AG KK Venugopal steps down
  • This will also be Mukul Rohtagi’s second tenure as an Attorney General of India.
  • He took over as the Attorney General for the first three years of the BJP-led NDA government, from 2014 to 2017.

About the Mukul Rohatgi:

  • Mukul Rohatgi is the son of former Delhi High Court judge, Justice Awadh Behari Rohatgi, who practiced under Yogesh Kumar Sabharwal, former CJI in the High Court before starting his own legal practice.
  • He is a senior advocate at the Supreme Court of India.
  • He has also served earlier as Additional Solicitor General of India.
  • He was designated as a senior counsel by Delhi HC in 1993 and was later appointed as Additional Solicitor General of India in 1999.
  • He has represented several high-profile and crucial cases in the court.
  • He represented the 2002 Gujarat riots case where he appeared before the court for the government of Gujarat.
  • He also fought the high-profile case of Shahrukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan’s alleged drug case. He appeared for his bail plea, scheduled to come up before the Bombay High Court.

Gulam Ali: Gulam Ali who is a Gurjar Muslim from Jammu and Kashmir, has recently been nominated to Rajya Sabha by President Droupadi Murmu.

Key Points:

  • Mr Ali has been nominated to the Upper House on the recommendation of the Central government.
  • In the notification, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), “In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-clause (a) of clause (I) of article 80 of the Constitution of India, read with clause (3) of that article, the President is pleased to nominate Shri Gulam Ali to the Council of States to fill the vacancy caused due to the retirement of one of the nominated members.”
  • This is for the first time a Gurjar Muslim from the region has been sent to the Rajya Sabha as a nominated member.
  • This is a significant step assuming that prior to abrogation of Article 370, the community was literally not recognised and all social benefits to them were denied.”
  • The Modi government abrogated Article 370 in August 2019 and bifurcated the erstwhile state into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
  • The article gave a special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

2022 Ramon Magsaysay Award: The Ramon Magsaysay Awards Foundation (RMAF) recently announced this year's awardees in a global announcement ceremony.

RMAF is widely regarded as the "Nobel Peace Prize of Asia,"

Key Points:

  • The foundation named four people of which three are doctors and 1 an environmentalist and a documentary filmmaker.
  • An in-person ceremony honoring the winners will be held in Manila in November.

For the year 2022, the awards went to -

  1. Sothiara Chim, Psychiatrist (Cambodia)
  2. Tadashi Hattori, Ophthalmologist (Japan)
  3. Bernadette Madrid, Pediatrician (Philippines)
  4. Gary Bencheghib, activist and filmmaker (Indonesia).

About the winners:

Sothiara Chhim:

  • He is a 54-year-old Cambodian psychiatrist.
  • He is being recognized for “his calm courage in surmounting deep trauma to become his people’s healer”.
  • He himself was also a survivor of the ultra-Maoist Khmer Rouge regime.
  • As a child, he was forced to work in Khmer Rouge camps for more than three years until their rule ended in 1979.
  • In the 1970s killed nearly a quarter of Cambodia’s population through starvation, overwork and mass executions.
  • He, currently, is serving as the executive director of its Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation in 2002foundation.

Tadashi Hattori:

  • He is a 58-year-old Japanese ophthalmologist.
  • He was honored for providing free eye surgery in Vietnam, where such specialists and facilities are limited.
  • During a visit to Vietnam’s capital Hanoi, he discovered a severe shortage of ophthalmologists and eye specialists in the island nation.
  • This is what drove him to not only work to aid eye sufferers in the country but also to teach other local doctors to give treatment and support in Vietnam.
  • He has even developed treatment facilities and organized fund raisers while training experts and donating equipment to local hospitals as part of his efforts.

Bernadette Madrid:

  • She is a 64-year-old Philippinian Pediarician.
  • She is being recognized for “her unassuming and steadfast commitment to noble and demanding advocacy.
  • Since 1997, she has managed the country’s first child protection center at the Philippine General Hospital in Manila.
  • It has served more than 27,000 children over the last year.

Gary Bencheghib:

  • He is 27-year-old French environmental activist and filmmaker.
  • He is being recognized for Emergent Leadership for “his inspiring fight against marine plastic pollution.
  • After relocating to Bali, Indonesia, Gary has actively worked to advance the fight against plastic pollution.
  • He and his brother have built a kayak made of plastic bottles and bamboo to collect the garbage in the Citarum River, one of the world’s most polluted rivers.

About Ramon Magsaysay Award:

  • The Ramon Magsaysay Award, established in 1957, is regarded as Asia’s greatest honour and distinction.
  • It is considered as the Nobel Prize of Asia.
  • The prestigious awards are named after Ramon Magsaysay, the third president of the Philippines after his death 1957 plane crash.
  • The Award recognizes and honours individuals that have achieved distinction in their field and help others generously.
  • The prize is annually presented in a ceremonial ceremony in Manila, Philippines on August 31.
  • The Award has been given in five categories namely:
  1. Journalism,
  2. Government service,
  3. Public service,
  4. Literature and
  5. Creative communication
  • The first Ramon Magsaysay Awards ceremony was held on 31st August 1958.
  • Since 2009, the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation selects awardees for the Emergent Leadership Sector on an annual basis.
  • The awardees receive a certificate, a medallion with an embossed portrait of Ramon Magsaysay and a monetary prize.

Indians who have won Ramon Magsaysay Awards:

Vinoba Bhave was first Indian to win the Ramon Magsaysay Award is Vinoba Bhave in 1958 under the category of Community Leadership.

The other Indians include:

  • Mother Teresa in 1962, 
     
  • Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay in 1966, 
     
  • Satyajit Ray in 1967, 
     
  • Mahasweta Devi in 1997. 
     
  • Arvind Kejriwal (2006), 
     
  • Anshu Gupta of Goonj (2015), 
     
  • Human rights activist Bezwada Wilson (2016),
  • Journalist Ravish Kumar (2019) have won the award.

About Ramon Magsaysay:

  • Ramon Magsaysay became the president of Philippines in 1953.
  • The years of Magsaysay's presidency are known as the "Golden Years of the Philippines.".
  • He was well known for his generosity and agrarian reforms.

K.K. Shailaja: Former Kerala Health Minister and Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] central committee member K.K. Shailaja, MLA, recently declined the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation’s offer to consider her for the international honour in 2022.

Key Points:

  • The foundation wanted to honour her for the public service and community leadership during the Nipah outbreak and COVID-19 pandemic in Kerala.
  • However, Ms. Shailaja felt she could not accept the offer extended to her as an individual since the effort was collective.

The Ramon Magsaysay Award, widely considered to be Asia’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize, recognizes outstanding leadership and communitarian contributions in Asia.

Cyrus Mistry: Former Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry was killed in a road accident on the National Highway in Maharashtra’s Palghar district.

Key Facts:

  • The tragedy has once again spotlighted the high numbers of fatalities that Indian roads witness every year.
  • This accident also highlighted the importance of seatbelts in the car.

About Road Accidents in India:

  • According to data collected by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), every year, there are around 1.5 lakh deaths on India’s roads, of which one third are accounted for by National Highways.
  • According to the data, in the past five years, while road accidents dipped from 4,45,730 in 2017 to 4,03,116 in 2021, deaths in these accidents increased from 1,50,093 to 1,55,622 in the same period.
  • A similar trend is seen on the National Highways.
  • While the number of accidents on National Highways in 2017 stood at 1,30,942, as many as 50,859 people died in them.
  • In 2021, while the number of National Highway accidents dipped to 1,22,204, the number of deaths increased to 53,615.
  • According to the data, barring the pandemic year of 2020, which saw long periods of lockdowns, the data on accidents and deaths have been consistently hovering around 4.4 lakh and 1.5 lakh respectively through the period between 2017 and 2021.

Importance of seat belts in the car:

  • A World Health Organization (WHO) report states that wearing seatbelts can reduce the risk of fatality by 45-60 percent in the event of an accident.
  • Seat belts are primarily employed to protect passengers from injuries in the case of an accident.
  • As per Newton's first law of motion, when a car abruptly stops or crashes, Due to inertia of motion, a person sitting in a moving car may be pushed forward when the car stops abruptly, potentially causing damage.
  • The seat belt holds the occupant in the seat and prevents them from throwing out of the vehicle due to force and hitting the dashboard, windshield which can cause serious head injuries or even worse.
  • It also prevents your auto insurance from declining to cover damages in an accident for not wearing a seat belt.

A recent study revealed why drivers or passengers aren't wearing seatbelts -

  • Poor law enforcement
  • Feels uncomfortable to wear
  • Creates mark on my cloth
  • Not considered as an essential safety device
  • My friends/colleagues don't use it

Barack Obama: The former President of the United States Barack Obama recently won Emmy Award for his narration in the Netflix documentary “Our Great National Parks”.

Key Highlights:

  • Obama already has two Grammys and is now halfway to an EGOT- the achievement of having won all four of the major American entertainment awards i.e. an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony.
  • The five-part Netflix documentary produced by “Higher Ground” productions, Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, features national parks from across the globe.
  • Barack Obama has previously received Grammy Awards for the audiobook readings of his memoirs “The Audacity of Hope” and “A Promised Land.”
  • Michelle Obama received her own Grammy in 2020 for reading her audiobook.
  • Obama was the biggest name in a category that was full of celebrity nominees including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, David Attenborough and Lupita Nyong’o.

Emmy Award:

  • Emmy Awards, or Emmys, are an extensive range of awards for artistic and technical merit in United States television.
  • An Emmy is considered one of the four major American awards for performing arts and entertainment – the others being the Grammy, the Oscar, and the Tony for theatre.
  • They have been presented annually by the IATAS since 1973.

Mikhail Gorbachev: Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet leader who brought the Cold War to a peaceful end, has died aged 91.

The last Soviet Leader managed to end the Cold War without bloodshed but failed to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union.

About Mikhail Gorbachev:

  • Mikhail Gorbachev (1931 – 2022) was a Russian and Soviet politician who served as the last leader of the Soviet Union.
  • Mr Gorbachev became general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, and de facto leader of the country, in 1985.
  • As the country's head of state from 1988 to 1991, he served as Chairman of the Supreme Soviet from 1989 to 1990.
  • He served as the President of the Soviet Union from 1990 until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
  • Ideologically, Gorbachev initially adhered to Marxism–Leninism, but, by the early 1990s,  he moved towards social democracy.
  • Gorbachev believed significant reform was necessary, particularly after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
  • He withdrew from the Soviet–Afghan War and embarked on summits with United States president Ronald Reagan to limit nuclear weapons and end the Cold War.
  • Domestically, his policy of glasnost ("openness") allowed for enhanced freedom of speech and press, while his perestroika ("restructuring") sought to decentralize economic decision-making to improve efficiency.
  • The recipient of a wide range of awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, he was widely praised for his pivotal role in ending the Cold War but was widely despised at home.
  • Russians blamed him for the 1991 implosion of the Soviet Union, a once-fearsome superpower whose territory fractured into 15 separate nations.

AR Rahman:  AR Rahman who is an Indian Music Composer and Oscar-winning music icon recently had the honour of getting Canada’s Markham city’s street named after him.

Key Points:

  • He is one of the most loved musicians worldwide.
  • Known as the ‘Mozart of Madras, Rahman has delivered several hit songs and compositions which will be remembered eternally.
  • He had started his career with Mani Ratnam ‘s Roja and has only excelled since then.
  • Some of his hit and award-winning compositions include Dil Se, Jai Ho, Ek Ho Gaye Hum Aur Tum, Rang De Basanti, and Ay Hairathe among many more.

About the AR Rahman:

  • The full name of AR Rahman is Allah Rakha Rahman.
  • He is an Indian film composer, record producer, singer and songwriter who works predominantly in Indian cinema (particularly Tamil and Hindi films) and occasionally international cinema.

Awards:

  • In 2010, the Indian government awarded him the Padma Bhushan, the nation’s third-highest civilian award.
  • Among Rahman’s awards are six National Film Awards, two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award, fifteen Filmfare Awards and seventeen Filmfare Awards South.

Executive Chairman NALSA: President Droupadi Murmu has recently appointed Justice D.Y. Chandrachud as the executive chairman of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) on September 2, 2022.

Key Facts:

  • Justice Chandrachud takes up the position that became vacant after Justice U.U. Lalit was elevated as the 49th Chief Justice of India (CJI).
  • Before being elevated as a judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Chandrachud served as the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court and prior to that a judge of the Bombay High Court.

About the NALSA:

  • The NALSA has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society.
  • While the CJI is the Patron-in-Chief, the second senior most judge of the Supreme Court of India is the executive chairperson of the Authority.
  • There is a provision for similar mechanism at the state and district levels also headed by the Chief Justice of High Courts and Chief Judges of District courts respectively.
  • In every State, State Legal Services Authority has been constituted to give effect to the policies and directions of the NALSA and to give free legal services to the people and conduct Lok Adalats in the State.
  • The State Legal Services Authority is headed by Hon’ble the Chief Justice of the respective High Court.

Constitutional Provisions:

  • Article 39A of the Constitution of India provides that State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disability.
  • Articles 14 and 22(1) also make it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before law and a legal system which promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity to all.

Objectives of Legal Services Authorities:

  • Provide free legal aid and advice.
  • Organise lok adalats.
  • Spread legal awareness.
  • Promote settlements of disputes through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mechanisms.
  • Various kinds of ADR mechanisms are Arbitration, Conciliation, Judicial settlement including settlement through Lok Adalat, or Mediation.
  • Provide compensation to victims of crime.

Legal Services Institutions at Various Levels:

National Level: NALSA was constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.

State Level: State Legal Services Authority. It is headed by the Chief Justice of the State High Court who is its Patron-in-Chief.

District Level: District Legal Services Authority. The District Judge of the District is its ex-officio Chairman.

Taluka/Sub-Division Level: Taluka/ Sub-Divisional Legal Services Committee. It is headed by a senior Civil Judge.

High Court: High Court Legal Services Committee

Supreme Court: Supreme Court Legal Services Committee

Who is Eligible for Getting Free Legal Services?

  • Women and children
  • Members of SC/ST
  • Victims of mass disaster, violence, flood, drought, earthquake, industrial disaster.
  • Disabled persons
  • Industrial workmen
  • Persons in custody
  • Victims of Trafficking in Human beings or beggar.
  • Those persons who have annual income of less than the amount prescribed by the respective State Government, if the case is before any court other than the Supreme Court, and less than Rs. 5 Lakhs, if the case is before the Supreme Court.

Vikram Doraiswami: Mr. Vikram Doraiswami has been appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom.

Key Points:

  • He is currently the High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh.
  • In October 2020, when he took office as Bangladesh’s ambassador to India in October 2020, relations between the two countries significantly expanded.
  • As per the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), he is expected to take up the assignment shortly.
  • Gaitri Issar Kumar, the high commissioner to the United Kingdom, left her position on June 30.

About Vikram K Doraiswami:

  • Doraiswami is an Indian Foreign Service Officer of the 1992 batch.
  • He was a journalist for a year before entering the Indian Foreign Services.

Career:

  • On May 1994, he was appointed Third Secretary in the Indian High Commission in Hong Kong after completing his in-service training in New Delhi between 1992 and 1993.
  • In September 1996, he received a posting to the Indian Embassy in Beijing.
  • In 2000, Mr. Doraiswami returned to the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi and was appointed Deputy Chief of Protocol (Ceremonials).
  • In 2006, he was appointed Political Counselor at India’s Permanent Mission to the UN in New York .
  • From October 2009 to October 2010, he served as India’s Consul General in Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • He served as the head of the division for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi.
  • In October 2020, when he took office as Bangladesh’s ambassador to India, the relations between the two countries significantly expanded.
  • He served as the Fourth BRICS Summit coordinator in March 2012 in New Delhi during this time.
  • He served as the MEA’s Joint Secretary for the Americas Division from October 2012 to October 2014.
  • In October 2014, he was appointed Indian ambassador to Uzbekistan.
  • In April 2015, he was appointed Indian ambassador to the Republic of Korea.
  • In 2018, he took on the role of Head of Division for Bangladesh and Myanmar.
  • In April 2019, he was given the responsibility of creating a new Division at MEA for the Indo-Pacific.
  • In December 2019, he was appointed Additional Secretary with responsibility for International Organizations and Summits after being promoted

Other Appointments:

  • Earlier, the ministry had announced the appointment of Mr. Pranay Kumar Verma, an IFS officer of 1994 batch as India’s next High Commissioner to Bangladesh.
  • He is currently serving as India’s Ambassador to Vietnam.

Liberty Medal 2022: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has recently been named for the 2022 Liberty Medal by the National Constitution Center (NCC).

Key Highlights:

  • He has been selected for his heroic defense of liberty in the face of Russian tyranny.
  • Zelenskyy has been serving as the nation’s President since May 2019.
  • He has also been the recipient of awards such as the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award and the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award as well as honors from the governments of the Czech Republic, Poland,Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia.

About the Liberty Medal:

  • The Liberty Medal is an annual award administered by the National Constitution Center (NCC) of the United States to recognize leadership in the pursuit of freedom.
  • It was established in 1988 to mark the U.S. Constitution’s bicentennial.
  • Recent recipients have included Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy, Rep. John Lewis, Sen. John McCain and Malala Yousafzai.

2022 Pulitzer prize: Bangladesh-born Fahmida Azim who is a story writer and a painter as been selected for the 2022 Pulitzer prize.

Key Facts:

  • She is currently working for the Insider online magazine of the United States.
  • She has been selected under the category of Illustrated Reporting and Commentary, for her illustrations in the work ‘I escaped a Chinese internment Camp’.
  • She is among the four journalists of Insider, selected for their work on the Chinese oppression of the Uyghurs.

About Fahmida Azim:

  • Fahmida Azim was born in Bangladesh and is now settled in the US.
  • She is an illustrator and storyteller.
  • Her work centres on themes of identity, culture and autonomy.
  • Her artworks have been published in several international magazines like the NPR, Glamour, Scientific American, The Intercept, Vice, and The New York Times among others.
  • She has illustrated a number of books including her own notable project ‘Muslim Women Are Everything.

About Pulitzer Prize:

  1. The Pulitzer Prize is regarded as the highest national honor which is awarded for achievements in newspaper, magazine, online journalism, literature, and musical composition within the United States.
  2. It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of Joseph Pulitzer, who had made his fortune as a newspaper publisher.
  3. Columbia University administers this prize.
  4. These prizes are being given annually in 21 categories.
  5. In 20 categories, the winners each receive USD 15,000 and a certificate.
  6. The winner in the prize’s Public Service Category receives a gold medal.

UNESCO Peace Prize 2022: Former German chancellor Angela Merkel has been awarded the 2022 UNESCO Peace Prize.

Key Points:

  • She was awarded UNESCO Peace Prize for her efforts to welcome refugees.
  • All the members of the jury were touched by her courageous decision in 2015 to welcome more than 1.2 million refugees, notably from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Eritrea.
  • In 2015, Merkel uttered three words that would transform her into an international political icon: “Wir schaffen das!” (We can do it!). For hundreds of thousands of Syrians fleeing the civil war in their country, Merkel’s words offered hope.
  • The jury also awarded an honourable mention to Julienne Lusenge for her commitment to the women who were victims of sexual violence. Known for her work in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, she denounced the use of rape as a “weapon of war” and is a defender of women’s rights.

About UNESCO Peace Prize:

  • The UNESCO Peace Prize formally known as Felix Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize was established in 1989.
  • The prize has been named after Félix Houphouët-Boigny, the late former president of Côte d'Ivoire.
  • In accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the Constitution of UNESCO, UNESCO Peace Prize is intended to honour living individuals and active public or private bodies or institutions that have made a significant contribution to promoting, seeking, safeguarding or maintaining peace.
  • It was established by a resolution supported by 120 countries and adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO at its 25th session.
  • The prize includes a gold medal and a cheque of USD 150,000 along with a peace diploma.

Renowned personalities who have received the UNESCO Peace Prize:

  • South African President Nelson Mandela Nelson Mandela and Frederik W. De Klerk were the first laureates of UNESCO Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize in 1992.
  • Others include Yasser Arafat, King Juan Carlos of Spain, former US president Jimmy Carter, Shimon Peres, French President François Hollande and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina among others.

About Angela Merkell:

  • Angela Merkel (full name- Angela Dorothea Kasner) was born on 17 July 1954 in Hamburg, West Germany.
  • She is a trained physicist.
  • She entered politics after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall.
  • She was assured of a place in the history books as soon as she became Germany’s first female chancellor on November 22, 2005.
  • She held the office of German Chancellor for a period of 16 years, and resigned in 2021.
  • Over the next 16 years, she was credited with raising Germany’s profile and influence, working to hold a fractious European Union together, managing a string of crises and being a role model for women.
  • She served alongside four US Presidents, four French Presidents, five British Prime Ministers and eight Italian Premiers.

Her chancellorship was marked by four major challenges:

  1. The global financial crisis.
  2. Europe’s debt crisis.
  3. The 2015-16 influx of refugees to Europe.
  4. The coronavirus pandemic.

Krishnamurthy V Subramanian: Former chief economic adviser (CEA) Krishnamurthy V Subramanian was recently appointed as Executive Director (India) at the International Monetary Fund.

Key Points:

  • Subramanian is currently Professor (Finance), Indian School of Business.
  • His appointment to the post of Executive Director (India) at the IMF, with effect from November 1, 2022 for a period of three years or until further orders was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet. 
  • He will replace economist Surjit Bhalla.
  • Bhalla was appointed to the post for three years in October 2019 after then ED for India and former RBI deputy governor Subir Gokarn died in July that year.

About Subramanian:

  • A PhD in financial economics from the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago, and an alumnus of IIM Calcutta as well as IIT Kanpur, Subramanian is an expert in banking, corporate governance and economic policy.
  • After completing a three-year tenure as the CEA in December 2021, Subramanian returned to ISB Hyderabad where he is serving as a professor (Finance), Indian School of Business .

Samir V. Kamat: Sameer V Kamat, Director General, Naval Systems and Materials Division of DRDO, was recently appointed as the new Chairman of DRDO by the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet.

Key Points:

  • Kamat will continue in this post till the age of 60 years or till further orders.
  • Incumbent chairman G. Satheesh Reddy has been appointed as the Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister.
  • Mr. Kamat will retain his post till the age of 60 or further orders.

About Sameer Kamat:

  • Sameer V Kamat full name is Dr Sameer Venkatapathy Kamat.
  • He earned a B.Tech Engineering (Hons) degree in Metallurgical Engineering from IIT Kharagpur in 1985.
  • He joined DRDO in 1989.
  • He took over as the Lab Director in 2015.
  • He was made the director of NS&M in 2017.
  • Currently, he is serving as the Director General of Naval Systems and Materials Division of DRDO.

Achievement of Sameer Kamat:

  • Over the last 25 years, this top scientist has made significant contributions in the area of microstructure-mechanical property correlations in advanced materials such as particulate reinforced metal matrix composites, ceramic matrix composites, aluminum-lithium alloys, high-strength aluminum alloys and titanium alloys which led to their development for various defence applications.

About DRDO:

  • The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is a premier agency, working under Department of Defence Research and Development of Ministry of Defence.
  • It is India's largest research organization.
  • It was founded in 1958.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi, India.
  • It is charged with military’s research and development.

Function of DRDO:

  • It has a network of 52 laboratories engaged in developing defence technologies covering various fields, like aeronautics, armaments, electronics, land combat engineering, life sciences, materials, missiles, and naval systems.
  • The Minister currently responsible for DRDO is Rajnath Singh, Minister of Defence.
  • In 1979, Defence Research & Development Service (DRDS) was set up as a service of Group ‘A’ Officers / Scientists.

Scientists in DRDO:

  • DRDO comprises of about 5,000 scientists belonging to the DRDS and around 25,000 other subordinate scientific, technical and supporting personnel.

People in the News Current Affairs - August 2022

Major Ishwar Lal Singh: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh paid glowing tributes to Indian National Army (INA) veteran Major Ishwar Lal Singh at a memorial service held in New Delhi.

Key Highlights:

  • The memorial service in honor of Major Ishwar Lal was organised by Ministry of Culture and Archeological Survey of India (ASI).
  • Rajnath Singh at the memorial service recalled his meeting with the INA veteran about three years ago in Singapore.
  • He said that India will not forget the sacrifices made by the soldiers of the Indian National Army (INA) and its leader Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
  • He stated that Netaji was the epitome of values and ideals and he fought for values and never compromised on the ideals of freedom.
  • Rajnath Singh further stated that contrary to perception Netaji had great respect for Mahatma Gandhi and he took lead in terming Mahatma Gandhi as the Father of Nation.
  • He added that, Netaji even designated one of his Brigades as Mahatma Gandhi Brigade.

About Major Ishwar Lall Singh:

  • Major Ishwar Lall Singh, a 92-year-old Singaporean veteran of the Indian National Army served under the leadership of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. 
  • In his early teens, his father had arranged for him to join the Indian National Army (INA).
  • He was a resident of the Sree Narayana Mission Nursing Home in Yishun.
  • He died on 5th August, 2022.

New MD of NaBFID: Rajkiran Rai G, has been appointed as the new managing director (MD) of National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID).

Key Points:

  • He has been appointed for the next five years.
  • His appointment was approved by the the Board of National Bank for Financing Infrastructure & Development (NaBFID) on July 30, 2022, based on clearance by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Development finance institutions (DFI) nomination & remuneration committee
  • His name was recommended by Financial Services Institutions Bureau (FSIB).
  • He took charge as the DFI’s MD on August 8, 2022.
  • He will hold this position till May 18, 2027.
  • The Development finance institutions is set to start its operation anytime soon.

About Rajkiran Rai G:

  • An agricultural science graduate, Rai was appointed as Managing Director & CEO of Union Bank of India in July 2017.
  • He started his banking career as an Agricultural Finance Officer in Central Bank of India in 1986.
  • He comes with more than three decades of rich banking experience including heading Industrial Finance Branch, Regions and Zonal Offices
  • He was also awarded ‘CEO with HR Orientation’ by World HRD Congress for his distinguished approach to capability building through training and leadership development.
  • He has also been conferred Honorary Fellowship by Indian Institute of Banking & Finance (IIBF) in recognition of his invaluable contribution in the field of banking and finance.

About NaBFID:

  • National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID) is the fifth All India Financial Institutions (AIFI), after NABARD, EMIX Bank. SIDBI and NHB.
  • It was established by the “National Bank for Financing Infrastructure & Development Act, 2021.
  • It is the principal DFI for infrastructure financing.
  • It has authorized share capital of 1 lakh crore rupees.

About DFI:

  • Development finance institutions (DFI) are established to aid long-term finance in an economy where associated risks are beyond acceptable limits of financial institutions.
  • It does not accept deposits from people. Market, government, and multilateral institutions are its source of funds.

Background:

  • In October 2021, K V Kamath was appointed as the chairperson of DFI.
  • Sumita Dawra and Pankaj Jain were appointed as directors to the board of DFI.
  • Till date, government has transferred Rs 20,000 crore to NaBFID, in a bid to help DFI to start its operations of supporting investment in infrastructure sector.

Lisbon Triennale Lifetime Achievement Award: Renowned Bangladeshi architect, researcher, and educator Marina Tabassum has become the first person from the global south and first south Asian to get the prestigious Lisbon Triennale Lifetime Achievement Award.

Key Highlights:

  • The Lisbon Architecture Triennale panel commended Marina Tabassum for providing an inspiring example of work with local communities that may have a beneficial impact all over the world even in the most challenging circumstances.
  • She will receive an original artwork by the Portuguese artist and sculptor Carlos Nogueira as award during the Lisbon Triennale which begins on 29 September in Lisbon, Portugal.

About Marina Tabassum:

  • Marina Tabassum is known for her architectural designs that break away from commercialism and deeply embed environmental concerns.
  • One of Marina Tabassum ‘s numerous well-known creations is the Bait Ur Rouf mosque in Dhaka.
  • The mosque is ‘distinguished by its lack of popular mosque iconography, its emphasis on materials, space, and light, and its capacity to function not only as a place of worship but also as a centre for its under-served community on Dhaka’s periphery.’
  • She has also designed bamboo houses which are ‘low impact, mobile housing which can be delivered at the lowest cost possible for the Rohingya refugee camps, at Ukhiya near Cox’s Bazar.

Police Medals: The Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) recently awarded the Police Medals on occasion of Independence Day, 2022.

Overview:

A total of 1,082 Police personnel has been awarded Police Medals.

The break-up is as follows: -

Gallantry Medals:

  • Police Medal for Gallantry (PMG) - 347

Service Medals:

  • President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service (PPM) - 87
  • Police Medal for Meritorious Service (PM) - 648

Among the majority of the 347

Gallantry Awards -

  • 204 personnel are being awarded for their gallant action in Jammu & Kashmir,
  • 80 personnel for their gallant action in Left Wing Extremism affected areas and
  • 14 personnel for their gallant action in North-East Region.

Among the personnel receiving Gallantry Awards -

  • 109 are from Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
  • 108 are from J&K Police,
  • 19 are from Border Security Force (BSF),
  • 6 are from Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)
  • 6 from Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)

Among the state police forces -

  • 42 are from Maharashtra,
  • 15 are from Chhattisgarh and
  • the remaining from the other States/UTs and CAPFs.

New NATGRID CEO: Piyush Goyal has been appointed by the Central Government as the new CEO of NATGRID (National Intelligence Grid).

Key Facts:

  • Piyush Goyal is an IAS officer of the Nagaland cadre.
  • He is currently serving as Additional Secretary in the Union Home Ministry.
  • The Union Government has also issued an order to post 26 other officers on the post of Additional Secretary.
  • The post of its CEO was vacant since June when its then chief IPS officer Ashish Gupta was appointed as additional director general of the Border Security Force (BSF).
  • Chandrakar Bharti, a 1996 batch IAS officer of the Union Territory cadre, has been appointed in place of Piyush Goyal.
  • At present, he is Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

About NATGRID:

  • The National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) is the central organization for intelligence gathering which utilizes technologies like Big Data and analytics to study and analyses the huge amounts of data from various intelligence and enforcement agencies to help track suspected terrorists and prevent terrorist attacks.
  • It was setup with approval from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), as an attached office of the Ministry of Home Affairs on 1st December 2009.
  • It was first proposed after the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.
  • It is a medium for at least 10 Central agencies such as the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing to access data on a secured platform.
  • The data will be procured by NATGRID from 21 organizations such as the telecom, tax records, bank, immigration etc.
  • It is aimed to becoming the one-stop destination for security and intelligence agencies to access database related to immigration entry and exit, banking and telephone details of a suspect on a “secured platform”.

Dr N Kalaiselvi: Dr Nallathamby Kalaiselvi recently became the first woman to be appointed Director General of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Key Points:

  • Established in 1942, CSIR is a consortium of 38 research institutes across the country.
  • This is the first time in its history of 80 years that CSIR has appointed a woman Director-General.
  • As the Director General of CSIR, she will be the Secretary of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR).
  • She will hold the position for a period of two years.
  • She succeeds Shekhar Mande.
  • Mande had retired in April and since then Rajesh Gokhale, Secretary Department of Biotechnology had been given the additional charge of CSIR.

Key Information about N Kalaiselvi who has broken many glass ceilings in her illustrious 25-year-long career:

  • Kalaiselvi hails from Ambasamudram in Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu.
  • Here, she did her schooling in Tamil medium which helped her prepare for understanding scientific concepts in college.
  • She completed her PhD in Chemistry and was working as a professor before joining CSIR-Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CSIR-CECRI).

Research Work:

  • She has more than 125 research papers and six patents to her name.
  • She has more than 25 years of experience in research, her research focusing on electrochemical power systems.
  • She is known for her work in the field of lithium-ion batteries and is currently involved in the development of practically viable Sodium-ion/Lithium-sulfur batteries and supercapacitors.

Career:

  • She has risen through CSIR ranks from starting her career in research as an entry-level scientist to becoming the Director General of CSIR.
  • This is not the first time that she is making history by being the first woman to head an institute.
  • She has broken the glass ceiling before in 2019 when she became the first woman to lead the Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CSIR-CECRI).
  • She is currently the Director of Central Electrochemical Research Institute at Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu.

Academic Laurels:

  • During her tenure from 1999 to 2019, she has won multiple laurels, fellowships including bagging the‘Young Scientist Seminar Award’ of CECRI thrice.
  • She was also awarded an Indian National Science Academy (INSA) Visiting fellowship in 1999.

Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur: French Government has decided to bestow the highest French civilian honour - Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur to Senior Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor.

Key Highlights:

  • According to media reports, the French government is honouring him for his writings and speeches.
  • The honour will be conferred to him when any one of the French Ministers visits India.
  • Emmanuel Lenain, the French ambassador to India, officially wrote to Mr. Tharoor informing him of the honour.
  • In 2010, Tharoor received a similar honour, from the Spanish government. The King of Spain had bestowed upon him the Encomienda de la Real Order Espanola de Carlos III.
  • The two-term Lok Sabha MP is also a celebrated author with several fiction and non-fiction books under his belt.

About Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur:

  • The Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur (Knight of the National Order of the French Legion of Honour) was constituted by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 to recognize outstanding contributions to the recipient’s field of expertise, regardless of their nationality.
  • It was constituted as the highest civilian award given by the French Republic.
  • The Legion has five classes, listed in descending rank:
  1. Grand Cross (limited to 80 members)
  2. Grand Officer (200)
  3. Commander (1,000)
  4. Officer (4,000)
  5. Knight, or Chevalier (unlimited).
  • Since its inception, the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneurhas been a very egalitarian honour and has been bestowed upon both men and women, irrespective of rank, birth, or religion.
  • Admission into this order, which can be conferred posthumously, requires 20 years of civil achievement in peacetime or extraordinary military bravery and service in times of war.

Which other Indians have received the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur?

  • The first Indian to be awarded with the Legion of Honour was Maharaja Pratap Singh of Idar in 1918.
  • Since then many Indians have been honoured with the award.

They are as follows in different classes:

Grand Cross

  • Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala (1930)
  • Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala (1948)

Grand Officer

  • Maharaja Pratap Singh of Idar (1918)
  • Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir (1938)
  • Sardar Hardit Malik (1956)

Commander

  • J. R. D. Tata (1983)
  • Manna Dey (1985)
  • Satyajit Ray (1987)
  • Pt. Ravi Shankar (2000)
  • V. S. S. Sastry (2009)
  • S. H. Raza (2015)
  • Ratan Tata (2016)

Officer

  • Sajjan Singh of Ratlam (1918)
  • Amitabh Bachchan (2007)
  • Lata Mangeshkar (2007)
  • Yashwant Sinha (2015)
  • Shobhana Bhartia (2016)
  • GeneralJoginder Jaswant Singh (2016)

Knight

  • Durga Charan Rakshit (1896)
  • Mohamed Haniff (1937)
  • Ruchira Gupta (2017)
  • S R Rana (1951)
  • Sivaji Ganesan (1995)
  • Zubin Mehta (2001)
  • Alarmel Valli (2004)
  • C. N. R. Rao (2005)
  • E. Sreedharan (2005)
  • G. R. Gopinath (2006)
  • Nadir Godrej (2008)
  • N. S. Ramanuja Tatacharya (2012)
  • Anjali Gopalan (2013)
  • Shahrukh Khan (2014)
  • Manish Arora (2016)
  • Raja Mohan (2016)
  • Kamal Haasan (2016)
  • Soumitra Chatterjee (2017)
  • Azim Premji (2018)
  • S. Kiran Kumar (2019)

US Heritage Wall of Fame: Ahmedabad University Professor, Ramadhar Singh recently became the first Indian Social Psychologist on the US Heritage Wall of Fame of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) in the United States.

Key Highlights:

  • He is currently a professor at the Amrut Mody School of Management, Ahmedabad University.
  • This recognition comes shortly after Purdue University's College of Health and Human Sciences gave him the Distinguished Alumni Award in Psychological Sciences (March 25, 2022).
  • Professor Singh has been a member of the society (1990) and then fellow (1992).
  • Duane T Wegener, distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, US, nominated Ramadhar Singh for the induction to the ‘Heritage Wall of Fame’.
  • Professor Wegener also wrote his biography for the site.
  • The nomination was supported by nine social psychologists across China, India, Japan, Korea, India, Singapore, and the US.

Why this recognition is given to Prof Ramadhar Singh?

  • Professor Singh has been a breakthrough researcher in the field of psychology and management.
  • During the 1980s, the predominant American view was that humans were cognitive misers, that is, people resort to short-cuts in thoughts and behaviours.
  • Through his research, however, Professor Singh showed how cognitively affluent and dynamic humans were.
  • To advance psychology as a science in Asia, Professor Singh played critical roles at the national level in India through the University Grants Commission (UGC) and in Asia through the Asian Association of Social Psychology.
  • At the international level, he served as a consulting and/or associate editor of several journals and a member of the Mentor Award Committee of the Association for Psychological Science (APS), US.

About SPSP:

  • Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) was established in 1974 in Washington DC, USA.
  • It is the world's largest organization of personality and social psychologists.

Professor Singh has been a member of the Society (1990) and then fellow (1992).

Karnataka Ratna: Karnataka Chief Minister, Basavaraj Bommai recently announced that the late Kannada film star Puneeth Rajkumar will be conferred with the ‘Karnataka Ratna’ award posthumously.

Key facts:

  • The Karnataka Ratna award will be conferred to him posthumously on November 1, which happens to be Kannada Rajyotsava, the state’s formation day.
  • He will be the 10th recipient of the state’s highest civilian honour.
  • Considered the Kannada cinema’s reigning star, Puneeth died of a cardiac arrest on October 29, 2021 at the age of 46.
  • He is the youngest of five children of Kannada matinee idol Dr Rajkumar. 
  • It's interesting to note that Puneeth’s late father Rajkumar was among the first recipients of the Karnataka Ratna award in 1992, along with poet Kuvempu.

About the Karnataka Ratna:

  • The Karnataka Ratna was last awarded to Dr Virendra Heggade for social service in 2009.
  • Other recipients of the award are S Nijalingappa (Politics), CNR Rao (Science), Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty (Medical), Bhimsen Joshi (Music), Shivakumara Swamiji (Social Service), and Dr J Javaregowda (Education & Literature).

About Puneeth Rajkumar:

  • Puneeth Rajkumar (17 March 1975 – 29 October 2021), colloquially known as Appu, was an Indian actor, playback singer, television presenter, and producer, who worked in Kannada cinema.
  • He is the youngest son of legendary Kannada cinema star Dr. Rajkumar and Smt. Parvatamma. 
  • He was one of the most popular actors in Kannada cinema.
  • He was the lead in 29 films.
  • As a child, he appeared in many films.
  • As a six-month-old infant, he made a cameo appearance in V. Somashekar
  • His performances in Vasantha Geetha (1980), Bhagyavantha (1981), Chalisuva Modagalu (1982), Eradu Nakshatragalu (1983), Bhakta Prahaladha, Yarivanu and Bettada Hoovu (1985) were praised.
  • He won the National Film Award for Best Child Artist for his role of Ramu in Bettada Hoovu.
  • He also won Karnataka State Award Best Child artist for Chalisuva Modagalu and Eradu Nakshatragalu. Puneeth's first lead role was in 2002's Appu.

Sanjay Arora: Sanjay Arora, a Tamil Nadu-cadre IPS officer who oversaw the paramilitary ITBP, will assume control of the Delhi Police as Delhi Police commissioner.

Key Facts:

  • He is scheduled to retire in 2025.
  • He will be replacing the previous Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana, an IPS officer from the Gujarat Cadre who retired after nearly 38 years of service.

Rakesh Asthana:

  • Rakesh Asthana has made some significant reforms to the Delhi Police over the past year, including combining Police Control Room units with police stations and removing law and order from the investigative section.
  • The 61-year-old Asthana was appointed as Police Commissioner of Delhi in July 2021, just four days before his superannuation.
  • Earlier, he served as the Special Director at the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) and while serving as Director General of Civil Aviation Security, he was also given the additional charge of the Narcotics Control Bureau.

About Sanjay Arora:

  • Sanjay Arora, 57, played a pivotal role in forming the Special Security Group that provided protection to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu during the time when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was active.
  • He was the Superintendent of Police in the STF that cradked down on the Veerappan Gang.
  • As an instructor, Mr. Arora has made remarkable contributions in the field of training, serving as Commandant (Combat Wing) at the ITBP Academy, Mussoorie, from 2000 to 2002.
  • Between 2002 and 2004, he assumed charge as the Commissioner of Police of Coimbatore city, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Villupuram Range, and Deputy Director of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption.
  • Arora was named Director General of the paramilitary Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) in August 2021.
  • He also served in the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

Accredations:

  • He was given the Chief Minister’s gallantry medal for his bravery while leading the Tamil Nadu Police STF, which was established to track down the forest brigand Veerappan.
  • Apart from the CM’s gallantry award, he has been honoured with the Police Medal for Meritorious Service in 2004, President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service in 2014, Police Special Duty Medal, Antrik Suraksha Padak and UN Peacekeeping Medal.

INAS 314: The Indian Navy’s women officers recently created history by completing the first-ever all-women independent maritime reconnaissance and surveillance mission in the North Arabian Sea onboard a Dornier 228 aircraft.

Key Highlights:

  • The mission was carried out by five officers of the Indian Navy Air Squadron (INAS) 314.
  •  INAS 314 is a frontline Naval Air Squadron based at Porbandar, Gujarat.
  • The aircraft was captained by the Mission Commander, Lt Cdr Aanchal Sharma, who had pilots, Lt Shivangi and Lt Apurva Gite, and Tactical and Sensor Officers, Lt Pooja Panda and SLt Pooja Shekhawat in her team.
  • This “first-of-its-kind military flying mission” is expected to pave the way for women officers in the aviation cadre to assume greater responsibility and aspire for more challenging roles.

'dPal rNgam Duston' Award: Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama was recently honoured with the 'dPal rNgam Duston' award.

Key Highlights:

  • 'dPal rNgam Duston' award is the highest civilian honour of Ladakh.
  • The 87-year-old spiritual leader has been honoured with this prestigious award for his immense contribution to humanity, especially towards the union territory.
  • He is on a visit to the union territory since July 15, 2022.
  • The sixth award was conferred by Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh which celebrated the ’dPal rNgam Duston’ with great fervour on the occasion of its foundation day at Sindhu Ghat.
  • The ‘dPal rNgam Duston’ marks the celebration of the remarkable contribution and achievement of the heroes of Ladakh and seeks to instill a sense of pride in the younger generation.

About Dalai Lama:

  • Dalai Lama ((spiritual name Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, known as Tenzin Gyatso) known as Gyalwa Rinpoche to the Tibetan people, is the current Dalai Lama, the highest spiritual leader and former head of state of Tibet.
  • He is the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibetan Buddhism.
  • He was born on 6 July 1935, or in the Tibetan calendar, in the Wood-Pig Year, 5th month, 5th day.
  • He was born to a farming family, in a small hamlet located in Taktser, Amdo, northeastern Tibet.
  • He was found by Tibetan monks at age two and passed all tests and had the physical traits of the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama.
  • At just over five years old, he was enrolled in the local monastery and began his training.
  • He was also trained by the highest monks in Lhasa, Tibet’s capital city.
  • He was enthroned at the age of 15 in 1950 amidst the start of troubles with China, but continued to study until the age of 25.
  • He belongs to the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, which is the largest and most influential tradition in Tibet.
  • He is considered the 74th manifestation of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva; specifically, an emanation of Avalokiteśvara in Sanskrit and Chenrezig in Tibetan.
  • Tibetans refer to him as Yeshe Norbu, the Wish-fulfilling Gem, or Kundun, meaning The Presence.
  • He is also the leader and an ordained monk of the Gelug school, the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism, formally headed by the Ganden Tripa.
  • On 29 April 1959, the Dalai Lama established the independent Tibetan government in exile in the north Indian hill station of Mussoorie, which then moved in May 1960 to Dharamshala, where he resides.
  • He retired as political head in 2011 to make way for a democratic government, the Central Tibetan Administration.
  • In 1989 he received the Nobel Peace Prize for maintaining a policy of non-violence with the Chinese government.

History:

  • From 1642 until 1705 and from 1750 to the 1950s, the Dalai Lamas or their regents headed the Tibetan government (or Ganden Phodrang) in Lhasa which governed all or most of the Tibetan Plateau with varying degrees of autonomy.
  • This Tibetan government enjoyed the patronage and protection of firstly Mongol kings of the Khoshut and Dzungar Khanates (1642–1720) and then of the emperors of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty (1720–1912).
  • In 1913, several Tibetan representatives including Agvan Dorzhiev signed a treaty between Tibet and Mongolia, proclaiming mutual recognition and their independence from China.
  • However, the legitimacy of the treaty and declared independence of Tibet was rejected by both the Republic of China and the current People's Republic of China.
  • The Dalai Lamas headed the Tibetan Government, until the Chinese government took control in 1959.
  • Before 1959, his official residence of Dalai Lama was Potala Palace in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.
  • Dalai Lama fled from Tibet to India with thousands of followers during the 1959 Tibetan uprising, where he was welcomed by former Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru who gave him permission to form the 'Tibetan government in exile' in Dharamsala.
  • He, along with the refugees who followed him, created a society in which Tibetan language, culture, arts, and religion are promoted.

Pingali Venkayya: The government of India released a special commemorative postage stamp to mark the 146th birth anniversary of Pingali Venkayya.

Key Highlights:

  • The stamp was released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during an event “Tiranga Utsav” organised by the Ministry of Culture at Indira Gandhi Stadium, in New Delhi.
  • Sri Pingali Venkayya is the designer of India’s national flag.
  • The event will also display the original design of the national flag made by Pingali Venkayya.
  • The current flag is the modified version of the first design of the flag.
  • The Tiranga Utsav will also witness the grand launch of the “Har Ghar Tiranga” anthem and video.

About Pingali Venkayya:

  • Pingali Venkayya (1876 – 1963) was an Indian freedom fighter.
  • He was born near Machilipatnam (Andhra Pradesh) on August 2, 1876.
  • He was a farmer, a geologist, a lecturer at the Andhra National College in Machilipatnam, and fluent in Japanese.
  • He became instantly famous as `Japan Venkayya`.
  • He was a staunch follower of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • He was the designer of the flag on which the Indian national flag was based.
  • He designed the National Flag and presented it to Mahatma Gandhi during the latter’s visit to Vijayawada city on 1 April 1921.
  • In 1916, he published a booklet titled `A National Flag for India`. It not only surveyed the flags of other nations but also offered 30-odd designs of what could develop into the Indian flag.

Ruchira Kamboj: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) recently announced that Ruchira Kamboj has been appointed as the next Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations at New York.

Key Highlights:

  • Ruchira Kamboj is currently the Indian Envoy to Bhutan.
  • She will succeed TS Tirumurti and is expected to take up as India’s Permanent Representative to UN shortly.

About Ruchira Kamboj:

  • She was the All India Women’s topper of the 1987 Civil Services batch and the topper of the 1987 Indian Foreign Service (IFS) batch.
  • She had joined the Indian Foreign Service in the same year.
  • She began her diplomatic journey in Paris, France, where she was posted as the Third Secretary in the Indian Embassy to France from 1989-91.
  • She has been the Permanent Representative of India to UNESCO in Paris, Indian High Commissioner in South Africa.
  • From 2011-2014 she was the Chief of Protocol in New Delhi.
  • She is the first and only woman diplomat so far in the Indian Government to have held this position.
  • She was earlier posted as the Counsellor at India’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York from 2002-2005, where she had dealt with wide range of political issues.
  • She has also served in Mauritius, Cape Town in South Africa as India’s Consul General, and at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London.

Role of India’s Permanent Representative to UN:

  • The Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations (UN) is the head of a country's diplomatic mission to the United Nations.
  • The role of India’s Permanent Representative to UN is to represent the country in the global body on various issues.

Pranay Kumar Verma: Pranay Kumar Verma has been appointed as new High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh

Key Points:

  • He is an experienced diplomat and IFS official from the 1994 batch.
  • He is currently the ambassador of India to Vietnam.
  • His appointment was announced by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

 

  • He is expected to take up the assignment shortly in place of the current High Commissioner Vikram Doraiswami who is tipped to take over as the High Commissioner of India to UK.

About Pranay Kumar Verma:

  • Ambassador Pranay Kumar Verma has held diplomatic positions in Kathmandu, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Beijing, and Washington DC.
  • He worked joint Secretary of the East Asia Division at the Ministry of External Affairs
  • He also handled India’s nuclear diplomacy as the Joint Secretary for External Relations at the Department of Atomic Energy.

Other Appointments:

  • Sandeep Arya, an IFS officer from the 1994 batch, has also been named as India’s new ambassador to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
  • Sandeep Arya is currently posted as an Additional Secretary in the MEA.

US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF): Former Indian Army chief Gen Naravane, has been honoured by the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) for his contribution to fostering ties between India and the US.

Key Highlights:

  • In addition to Naravane, the public service award has also been given to former US Defense Secretary General Jim Mattis.
  • The USISPF gave prizes for public service and global leadership to those who have been instrumental in strengthening ties between the US and India.

Key Points:

  • General Mattis, during his time as the Defense Secretar worked to make India a US strategic ally.
  • According to the USISPF, Gen. Naravane, during his time as Chief of Staff of the Indian Army, helped to modernize the Indian army, along with improving defence partnerships and growing interoperability between the US and India.

About Gen. Narvane:

  • Gen. Naravane retired on April 30 and has since moved into his newly assigned residence in Delhi Cantonment.
  • In his illustrious four-decade military career, Naravane had the distinction of holding important command and staff positions in both peace and combat, in the North-East and in Jammu & Kashmir.
  • He was also a part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka.
  • Former Indian Army Chief led a Strike Corps in the Western Theatre, created an Infantry Brigade, was Inspector General of the Assam Rifles (North), and commanded a Rashtriya Rifles Battalion.
  • His staff assignments included stints as a Brigade Major of an Infantry Brigade, Defence Attache at Yangon, Myanmar, an instructional appointment in the Army War College as Directing Staff in the Higher Command Wing as well as two stints at the Integrated Headquarters of MoD (Army), New Delhi.

About the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF):

  • The US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) is committed to creating the most powerful partnership between the United States and India.
  • As the only independent not-for-profit institution dedicated to strengthening the U.S.-India partnership in Washington, D.C. and in New Delhi, USISPF is the trusted partner for businesses, non-profit organizations, the diaspora, and the governments of India and the United States.

Sir Winston Churchill Leadership Award: Sir Winston Churchill Leadership Award was recently presented to the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Key Highlights:

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson awarded Zelensky with the prestigious award drawing comparisons between the two leaders in times of crises.
  • Zelenskyy accepted the award by video link during a ceremony at Johnson’s London office.
  • The event was attended by members of the Churchill family, Ukrainian Ambassador Vadym Prystaiko and Ukrainians who have received training from British soldiers.
  • The Ukrainian leader received a standing ovation in the British Parliament in March when he invoked one of Churchill’s most famous speeches and vowed to fight Russian troops in the air, sea and on the streets.

About the Churchill leadership award:

  • The Churchill leadership award was first presented in 2006.
  • Past recipients include Prince Charles, former British Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major, and former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

About Zelensky:

  • Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy (born 25 January 1978), is a Ukrainian politician and former comedian actor.
  • He has served as the sixth and current president of Ukraine since 2019.
  • Prior to his acting career, he obtained a degree in law from the Kyiv National Economic University.
  • Zelenskyy announced his candidacy in the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election on the evening of 31 December 2018, alongside the New Year's Eve address of then-president Petro Poroshenko on the TV channel 1+1.
  • He won the election with 73.23 percent of the vote in the second round, defeating Poroshenko.
  • He has positioned himself as an anti-establishment and anti-corruption figure.

Global Energy Prize 2022: Indian-origin Kaushik Rajashekara who is the professor of Engineering at the University of Houston, USA, recently won the Global Energy Prize for 2022.

The prize honors “outstanding scientific research and scientific-technical developments in the field of energy which promote greater efficiency and environmental security for energy sources on Earth in the interests of all mankind.”

Key Highlights:

  • Kaushik is among only three people in the world who were selected for the prestigious award in 2022, by the Global Energy Association.
  • He was given the award in the New Ways of Energy Applications category for his contributions to transportation electrification and energy efficiency technologies while reducing power generation emissions.

The other two 2022 laureate are:

  • Mercouri Kanatzidis – professor of chemistry and materials science at Northwestern University and senior researcher at the Argonne National Laboratory. He is one of the most highly cited chemists, with more than 1,450 published scientific papers.
  • Viktor Orlov – chief specialist of the Centre for Innovative Technologies (Rosatom in Russia) and pioneer in thermonuclear physics.
  • The laureates were selected by the international committee of scientists from 11 countries: the United States, Italy, China, Hungary, India, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and South Korea.
  • The awarding ceremony will be held during Russian Energy Week in Moscow on October 12-14.

About Rajashekara:

  • Originally from India, Rajashekara, grew up in a small village in South India.
  • He received his B.Eng., M. Eng, and PhD degrees from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore from 1971-1984.
  • From 1977 to 1984, he worked as an assistant professor/senior scientific officer at the Indian Institute of Science.
  • Later he earned an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University, the USA in 1992.
  • He was elected a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in 2012, the Indian National Academy of Engineering in 2013 and the China National Academy of Engineering in 2021 for his contribution to development of the power conversion systems in transportation.
  • He has published more than 250 articles in international journals and conference proceedings, co-authored one book with IEEE Press, and has written six monographs and individual chapters for eight books.
  • He is a laureate of the IEEE Medal for Environmental and Safety Technologies (2021), the Richard Kaufman Award (2013) and several other prestigious awards.

Ashish Kumar Chauhan: Ashish Kumar Chauhan is all set to become the new chief of National Stock Exchange (NSE).

Key Highlights:

  • The appointment of Ashish Kumar Chauhan as the next Managing Director and CEO of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was recently approved by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
  • He will become the managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) of NSE.
  • He is currently serving as the CEO and MD of BSE (Bombay Stock Exchange) and his term is scheduled to end in November 2022.
  • He will be succeeding Vikram Limaye, whose 5-year term ended on July 15.
  • Now, approval from shareholders will be required in for Ashish Kumar Chauhan to take charge of NSE.

About Ashish Kumar Chauhan:

  • Ashish Kumar Chauhan is alumnus of IIT and IIM.
  • He served as a visiting professor at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada.
  • He is considered as the father of modern financial derivatives in India. He had begun his career as a banker at IDBI in 1991.
  • He worked in developing derivatives segment at the NSE, during 1993-2000.
  • He is the creator of the Nifty index, a benchmark Indian stock market index that represents weighted average of 50 of the largest companies listed on the National Stock Exchange.
  • He is credited with reviving the BSE, making it the fastest stock exchange company in the world.

About NSE:

  • The National Stock Exchange of India Limited (NSE) is the leading stock exchange in India.
  • It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • It was set up in 1992.
  • The NSE is ranked fourth in terms of cash equities.
  • In 2021, it surpassed all other derivatives exchanges in terms of the quantity of contracts exchanged.

Lleyton Hewitt: Two-time Grand Slam champion and former world number one, Lleyton Hewitt was recently inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Key Highlights:

  • Hewitt, 41, is the 34th Australian to be inducted into Hall of Fame.
  • He was elected into the Hall of Fame as part of the 2021 class, but due to travel restrictions because of the pandemic, was unable to attend the enshrinement ceremony in 2021.
  • There was no one elected for 2022, so the moment was his alone.
  • The enshrinement ceremony was held on Newport’s grass side courts after the semifinals of the Hall of Fame Open.

Tennis Career of Hewitt:

  • In 2001, Lleyton Hewitt became the world no.1 at the age of 20.
  • In 1998, Hewitt won his first ATP title in Adelaide in 1998 and his last in 2014 at the Hall of Fame Open.
  • He won 2 Grand Slam titles in his career - 2001 US Open and 2002 Wimbeldon title.
  • Before Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic ascended to the top of the sport, Hewitt held the top spot for 80 weeks, good for 10th-most in history.
  • Hewitt last played tennis in 2016.

About International Tennis Hall of Fame:

  • The International Tennis Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization with the goal to preserve, celebrate, and inspire the sport of tennis around the world.
  • It is located in Newport, Rhode Island, United States.
  • It honors both players and other contributors to the sport of tennis.
  • It was established in 1880.
  • It was founded by James J. Van Alen.
  • The International Tennis Hall of Fame was officially sanctioned by the United States Tennis Association at its foundation in 1954.
  • It was recognized by the International Tennis Federation in 1986.
  • The first Hall of Fame members were inducted in 1955.

JC Daniel Award 2022: Malayalam filmmaker, KP Kumaran has been honoured with Kerala’s highest film award, the JC Daniel Award.

Highlights:

  • Kumaran won the award for his contribution to the Malayalam film industry.
  • The 2021 jury included singer P Jayachandran, director Sibi Malayil, film academy chairman Ranjith, and Rani George, the principal secretary of the Department of Cultural Affairs.

About KP Kumaran:

  • The filmmaker made his directorial debut with Athithi in 1975.
  • He earned fame for his films like Rugmini, which won the National Award for a Best feature film in Malayalam and the Kerala State Film Award in 1989.
  • He is also known for films like Thenthulli, Laxmivijayam and Thottam.
  • The filmmaker’s last directorial venture was 2020’s Gramavrikshathile Kuyil.

About the JC Daniel Award:

  • JC Daniel Award is Kerala’s highest award in Malayalam cinema presented annually by the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy.
  • Kerala State Chalachitra Academy is a nonprofit institution under the Department of Cultural Affairs.
  • It was instituted in 1992.
  • The award was created to commemorate the contribution of Indian filmmaker JC Daniel, who is often regarded as the father of Malayalam cinema.
  • The award is given to honour the recipients for their outstanding contribution to Malayalam cinema.
  • The award comprises of a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh, a citation, and a plaque.
  • Since its inception, the award has been bestowed on 27 individuals.
  • Film distributor and producer TE Vasudevan was its first recipient.
  •  Singer P Jayachandran was the latest recipient – 2020.

Jayanti Prasad: The Central Government has appointed, Jayanti Prasad as a Whole-time Member of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI).

Key Highlights:

  • He has been appointed for a term of five years.
  • According to an executive order issued by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), this period of five years will be counted from the date of assumption of charge of the post i.e July 5, 2022, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is the earliest.

About the Jayanti Prasad:

  • Jayanti Prasad is a 1986 batch Indian Audit & Accounts Service Officer.
  • He had superannuated as Deputy Comptroller & Auditor General (Human Resources and International Relations).
  • Before joining IBBI on July 5, he had accomplished 35 years of experience in the civil services, and national and international assignments, having held key positions in the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India and the United Nations.

About IBBI:

  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) is the regulator for overseeing insolvency proceedings and entities like Insolvency Professional Agencies (IPA), Insolvency Professionals (IP) and Information Utilities (IU) in India.
  • It covers Individuals, Companies, Limited Liability Partnerships and Partnership firms.
  • It handles the cases using two tribunals like NCLT (National company law tribunal) and Debt recovery tribunal.
  • It was established on 1 October 2016 and given statutory powers through the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, which was passed by Lok Sabha on 5 May 2016.
  • The parent department of IBBI is Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA).
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • The current Chairperson of IBBI is Ravi Mittal.

Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum: The Government of Japan decided to honour former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, posthumously.

Key Facts:

  • Shinzo Abe was the longest-serving PM of Japan.
  • He is the fourth former prime minister to get the Japan’s highest order, under post-war Constitution.
  • He was assassinated on July 8, 2022, while he was campaigning for election in the city of Nara.

About Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum:

  • The Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum is the highest order in Japan.
  • This prestigious award the Grand Cordon of the Order was established by Emperor Meiji of Japan in 1876.
  • Later, on January 4, 1888, the Collar of the Order was added.
  • This order can also be conferred posthumously, unlike European orders.
  • Till date, only 7 Japanese citizens have been given this order, apart from Imperial Family.
  • Last order was given to former Prime Minister Saionji Kinmochi in 1928.
  • Among all, eight others have been given posthumously with collar.

The Grand Cardon:

  • It is the highest possible honour, given to Japanese citizen during lifetime.
  • Till date, 53 Japanese citizens have been awarded the grand cardon, apart from members of Imperial Family.
  • Out of these, only 23 were alive at the time of receiving it.

Mrs Universe Divine Crown: Pallavi Singh fom India has won the title of Mrs Universe Divine in the final held in Yeosu city of South Korea.

Key Highlights:

  • She hails from Kanpur, India, and has made her country proud in this contest that saw participation from 110 countries. This is a proud moment for India.
  • She was the only contestant from Asia in the Mrs Universe contest.
  • She has demonstrated the strong will and commitment of Indian women to excel in all walks of life.
  • She won the title of Mrs India held in Jaipur in 2020.
  • She then won the title of Mrs Indo-Asia Universe in the Asia-level competition held in Delhi in October 2021.

Mother Teresa Memorial Award: The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) National Goodwill Ambassador Ms Dia Mirza, and Environmental Activist Mr Afroz Shah were felicitated with the prestigious Mother Teresa Memorial Awards for Social Justice 2021.

Key Highlights:

  • The award was given by the Governor of Maharashtra Hon. Bhagat Singh Koshyari at Raj Bhavan, Mumbai.
  • Ms Dia Mirza and Mr Afroz Shah were awarded for their commendable and notable achievements in Environmental Sustainability.
  • Ms Dia Mirza was awarded for her astounding and notable efforts in leading pivotal environmental campaigns across India as the Goodwill Ambassador of UNEP, India.
  • Mr Afroz Shah was awarded for his impeccable and seminal efforts to lead one of the world’s largest beach clean-up movements in India that have inspired people around the world.

About the Mother Teresa Memorial Awards:

  • The Mother Teresa Memorial Awards for Social Justice is hosted by Harmony Foundation.
  • It is an award to acknowledge and recognize the extraordinary work of individuals or organizations who aim to promote peace, harmony and social justice.

Mustafizur Rahman: The Bangladesh Government has appointed Mustafizur Rahman as the next High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India.

Key Highlights:

  • He will be succeeding Muhammad Imran as the new High Commissioner.
  • He is currently serving as Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations Offices in Geneva and the Ambassador to Switzerland.

About Mustafizur Rahman:

  • Mustafizur Rahman is a medical graduate from Sir Salimullah Medical College, Dhaka.
  • He also obtained a Master in Public International Law from the University of London, UK and a Post-Graduate Diploma from the International Institute of Public Administration (IIAP), France.
  • He is a career foreign service officer belonging to the 11th batch of Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) Foreign Affairs cadre.
  • In his diplomatic career, he has served in various capacities in Bangladesh Missions in Paris, New York, Geneva and Kolkata.
  • He has also served as the Bangladesh High Commissioner to Singapore.
  • At the headquarters, he occupied various positions primarily in the United Nations Wing.

Brajesh Kumar Upadhyay: The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) recently approved the appointment of Brajesh Kumar Upadhyay as Chairman & Managing Director (CMD) of Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL).

Key Points:

  • Upadhyay has been appointed to the post for a period of five years from the date of his assumption of charge of the post, or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
  • Currently, he is serving as Director (Operations) in the same organisation.
  • He had played a major role in bringing new technologies to GSL through the Transfer of Technologies (ToT) and MoUs with reputed and established international firms.
  • He has also played a pivotal role in establishing GSL as a major producer of Simulators in the Indian sub-continent.

About the Brajesh Kumar Upadhyay:

Upadhyay is Engineering Graduate (Electrical).

He started his career with GSL in 1991.

 During his long career of over 30 years in GSL, he has held various key positions in various departments and has made significant contributions in areas of ship construction, diversification of products as part of General Engineering Services, Corporate Planning, Business Development, and infrastructure development and ship repairs.

About Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL):

  • GSL is a PSU under the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
  • It was founded in 1957.
  • It is headquartered in Goa.

2022 Fields Medal: Ukrainian mathematician Maryna Viazovska, chair of Number Theory at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, was named as one of four recipients of the 2022 Fields Medal.

Key Highlights:

  • The Fields Medal is an honour that is often dubbed as the Nobel Prize in mathematics.

The other three recipients are -

James Maynard: He is a number theorist from Oxford University UK. is famous for his findings on “spacing of prime numbers”.

Hugo Duminil-Copin: He is a mathematician from France, and is an expert of probability theory.

June Huh: He is specialist in combinatorics from Princeton University, New Jersey. He transformed the field of geometric combinatorics.

  • Viazovska, 37, is only the second female Fields Medalist, after the Iranian Maryam Mirzakhani in 2014.

About Fields Medal:

  • The Fields Medal is awarded by the International Mathematical Union (IMU), an international non-governmental and non-profit scientific organisation that aims to promote international cooperation in mathematics.
  • This prestigious award is awarded every four years to one or more mathematicians under the age of 40 in recognition of “outstanding mathematical achievement for existing work and for the promise of future achievement”.
  • The honour carries a physical medal of 14K gold.
  • There is also a cash award of CAD 15,000.

History of the award:

  • The Fields Medals were first awarded in 1936 in Oslo, Norway.
  • The International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) in Toronto in 1924 passed a resolution stating that two gold medals will be given out each conference to recognise exceptional mathematical achievement.
  • The Canadian mathematician Prof J C Fields, who was secretary of the 1924 Congress, later donated funds to establish the medals, which were named in his honour.
  • In 1966, it was agreed that, in light of the great expansion of mathematical research, up to four medals could be awarded at each Congress.

Indian-origin winners:

Among the more than 60 mathematicians who have been awarded the Fields Medal since 1936, there are two of Indian origin:

  1. Manjul Bhargava of the Department of Mathematics at Princeton University (2014).
  2. Akshay Venkatesh of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton (2018).

International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM):

  • The International Congress of Mathematicians is held every four years.
  • During this event, the Fields Medals prizes are announced.
  • 2022 congress was scheduled to start in St. Petersburg in Russia on July 6 but was cancelled because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  • It was later scheduled to be held in Helsinki in virtual mode.

T Raja Kumar: T. Raja Kumar of Singapore was recently appointed as the president of anti-money laundering watchdog, Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Key Highlights:

  • T. Raja Kumar's appointment has been set for a two-year term which begins on July 01, 2022.
  • He has replaced Marcus Pleyer.
  • He is the current Head of Singapore’s delegation to the FATF since 2015.
  • This will be the first time that Singapore is taking on the Presidency of FATF, since becoming its member in 1992.
  • Kumar has been working against global terror financing for quite a long time.
  • As soon as he took over the charge, he presented his objectives for Plenary period July 2022 -June 2024, for strengthening the FATF.

About Singapore Plenary Years:

During the Singapore Plenary years, the anti-money laundering watchdog will prioritise work in:

  • Strengthening Asset Recovery
  • Countering Illicit Finance of cyber-enabled crime
  • Reinforcing FATF Partnerships with FSRBs
  • Increasing Effectiveness of Global AML Measures
  • It will continue its core work of identifying and analysing terrorist financing methods & trends, money laundering and developing & refining the FATF Standards.
  • It will also evaluate and support the assessments of countries within Global Network.

About the T. Raja Kumar:

  • Raja Kumar holds an LLB (Hons) degree from the National University of Singapore and a Master’s degree in Philosophy (Criminology and Law) from the University of Cambridge.
  • He has also attended the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University in 2006.
  • He had been assisting the Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore and the Singapore Police Force for over 35 years.

About FATF:

  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) also known as Groupe d’action financière (GAFI) in French is an intergovernmental organization.
  • It was founded in 1989, as an initiative of G7 for developing policies to combat money laundering.
  • In 2001, its mandate was expanded by including terrorism financing.
  • Its headquarters is based at Paris, France.

Mandate of FATF:

  • FATF works to develop standards and promote the effective implementation of legal, operational, and regulatory measures to combat terrorist financing, money laundering, and other associated challenges to the integrity of the global financial system.
  • It works to generate necessary political will for bringing a national legislative and regulatory reforms across these areas.

R Dinesh: R Dinesh who is the Executive Vice-Chairman of TVS Supply Chain Solutions has recently been chosen Confederation of Indian Industry's President Designate for the years 2022-23.

Key Highlights:

  • He previously served as the Chairman of the National Committees on Logistics, the CII Family Business Network India Chapter Council, the CII Tamil Nadu State Council, and the CII Institute of Logistics Advisory Council.
  • He served as the Chairman of the CII Southern Region from 2018 to 2019.

Other appointments:

  • Sanjiv Puri, Chairman and Managing Director of ITC, was elected as the Vice-President of CII at a meeting of the CII National Council held in Delhi.
  • For 2022–2023, Sanjiv Bajaj, Chairman and Managing Director of Bajaj Finserv Ltd., will continue to serve as CII President.

About Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII):

  • The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is a non-governmental trade association and advocacy group.
  • CII was founded in 1895.
  • It engages business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.
  • It is a membership-based organization.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi, India.

Ranjit Bajaj: Entrepreneur Ranjit Bajaj has been named chairman of advisory committee to assist the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) which is running the day-to-day affairs All India Football Federation (AIFF).

Key Highlights:

  • Ranjit Bajaj, the former owner of I-League side Minerva Punjab FC, will head the 12-member committee
  • The CoA appointed a 12-member advisory committee that will oversee the day-to-day matters of various departments of the AIFF. departments of the AIFF.
  • The advisory committee will send regular reports to all the members of the CoA for their information and approvals, if required.

Following are the members of the advisory committee:

  1. Ranjit Bajaj -- Chairman of the Advisory Committee and Integrity matters
  2. Gurslmran Brar -- Admin, Legal and Government Liaison matters
  3. Manoj Gupta -- Accounts and Finance matters
  4. Akshay Rohatgi -- Tournament and Logistics matters
  5. Sankalp Pujari -- Player status and Registration matters
  6. lndranil Oas -- Club Licensing and Academy Accreditation matters
  7. S Suresh -- Refereeing matters
  8. Savio Medeira -- National Teams (men and women) and Coaching matters
  9. Richard Hood -- Grassroots and Futsal matters
  10. Jaydeep Basu -- Media and Communication matters
  11. Pushpargha Chatterjee -- HR matters
  12. Oebashis Dey -- Member of the Advisory Committee

Additional Info:

  • The CoA took charge of the AIFF in June 2022 after the Supreme Court removed the Praful Patel-led office bearers for not holding elections on time.
  • Patel had exceeded his tenure of 12 years as AIFF chief.
  • The CoA has been tasked to amend the AIFF constitution in line with the National Sports Code and hold elections.
  • A seven-member joint team of the world football governing body FIFA and its Asian unit AFC is currently visiting India to help find a solution to the impasse.

About All India Football Federation:

  • All India Football Federation (AIFF) is the governing body of association football in India.
  • It was formed on 23 June 1937.
  • The federation was one of founding members of the Asian Football Confederation, the overseer of football in Asia.
  • It sanctions and runs all competitive football tournaments and leagues at a national level, namely the Indian Super League, I-League and Super Cup.
  • It indirectly manages local football competitions through the state associations and is also responsible for managing the India national football team, as well as the women's team and the various youth national sides.
  • The federation is currently based in Dwarka, Delhi.

Radha Iyengar Plumb: U.S. President Joe Biden recently nominated security expert Radha Iyengar Plumb to the post of Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment.

Key Facts:

  • She is the latest Indian-American to be named for a key position.
  • Presently serving as the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of Defense, she was nominated for the top Pentagon position in June 2022.
  • Prior to her appointment as Chief of Staff, she was the Director of Research and Insights for Trust and Safety at Google, leading their cross-functional teams on business analytics, data science and technical research.
  • She has also previously served as the Global Head of Policy Analysis at Facebook, where she focused on high-risk and high-harm safety and critical international security issues.

Dak Karamyogi -Meghdoot Award: Minister of Communications, Railways, Electronics & IT Ashwini Vaishnav and Shri Devusinh Chauhan, Minister of State for Communications conferred the Meghdoot Awards to recognise the good performance of employees of the Department of Posts and motivate them in eight different categories.

The Department of post acknowledged the following people with the Meghdoot award for the year 2021.

  1. Shri Ashok Kumar Sahoo, GDS BPM, Cuttack South Division, Odisha Circle.
  2. Shri Prem Lal, Mail Runner, Mandi Division, Himachal Pradesh Circle.
  3. Shri Dhananjay T, Postal Assistant, Circle office, Karnataka Circle
  4. Shri Vijendra Singh Rana, Technical Supervisor, Mail Motor Service, Delhi Circle.
  5. Shri Sandeep Gundu kadgaonkar, ASP, Goa Region, Maharashtra Circle.
  6. Shri Randhir Kumar, Assistant Director, Circle office, Bihar Circle.
  7. Shri Challa Shri Nagesh, Deputy Manager, CEPT, Hyderabad.
  8. Shrimati K kalaivani, Assistant Director, Southern Region, Madurai, Tamil Nadu circle.

About Meghdoot Award:

  • Meghdoot award was introduced in the year 1984.
  • It is the highest award of the departmental post at the National level for overall performance and excellence.
  • The awardees are facilitated with a medallion, certificate, and a cash prize of rupees 21000.

Ketanji Brown Jackson: The U.S. scripted history as Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as the first Black woman to serve in the Supreme Court.

Key Highlighs:

  • The 51-year-old’s appointment by Democratic President Joe Biden means ‘white men’ are not in the majority on the nation’s highest court for the first time in 233 years.
  • Four of the Justices on the nine-member court are now women, making it the most diverse bench in history.

People in the News Current Affairs - July 2022

Ruchira Kamboj: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) recently announced that Ruchira Kamboj has been appointed as the next Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations at New York.

Key Highlights:

  • Ruchira Kamboj is currently the Indian Envoy to Bhutan.
  • She will succeed TS Tirumurti and is expected to take up as India’s Permanent Representative to UN shortly.

About Ruchira Kamboj:

  • She was the All India Women’s topper of the 1987 Civil Services batch and the topper of the 1987 Indian Foreign Service (IFS) batch.
  • She had joined the Indian Foreign Service in the same year.
  • She began her diplomatic journey in Paris, France, where she was posted as the Third Secretary in the Indian Embassy to France from 1989-91.
  • She has been the Permanent Representative of India to UNESCO in Paris, Indian High Commissioner in South Africa.
  • From 2011-2014 she was the Chief of Protocol in New Delhi.
  • She is the first and only woman diplomat so far in the Indian Government to have held this position.
  • She was earlier posted as the Counsellor at India’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York from 2002-2005, where she had dealt with wide range of political issues.
  • She has also served in Mauritius, Cape Town in South Africa as India’s Consul General, and at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London.

Role of India’s Permanent Representative to UN:

  • The Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations (UN) is the head of a country's diplomatic mission to the United Nations.
  • The role of India’s Permanent Representative to UN is to represent the country in the global body on various issues.

New Chief Executive Officer of Niti Aayog: Former Secretary of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation Parameswaran Iyer has been named the new chief executive of the NITI Aayog.

Key Points:

  • At present, Mr. Iyer functions as the Programme Manager of the 2030 Water Resources Group, a platform hosted by the World Bank for water conservation.
  • As per the notification issued by the Department of Personnel and Training, Parameswaran Iyer's initial term will be for two years.
  • He will become the third chief executive officer of the public policy think tank of the government.
  • He will succeed Amitabh Kant, whose term is scheduled to end on June 30, 2022.
  • Kant, who is a 1980-batch retired IAS officer (Kerala cadre), will be stepping down from the top post of the policy think tank after a six-year-long stint.
  • He took over as the NITI Aayog CEO in 2016.
  • He was given a one-year extension till June 2022.
  • Under Mr. Kant, the NITI Aayog helped the Centre launch several programmes such as Digital India and Make in India. 

About Parmeshvaran Iyer:

  • Parameswaran Iyer is an IAS officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre.
  • Iyer is former Secretary of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
  • He took voluntary retirement from the Indian Civil Services in 2009.
  • In 2009, he became the water resources manager at the World Bank.
  • In 2016, he joined the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation as its Secretary.
  • He had also worked as a senior rural water sanitation specialist at the United Nations.
  • He spearheaded the government’s Swachh Bharat Mission between 2016 and 2020.

NITI Aayog:

  • It refers to the National Institution for Transforming India Aayog.
  • NITI Aayog is the premier policy 'Think Tank' of the Government of India (GoI). It was established on 1 January 2015 with an objective to foster cooperative federalism through structured support initiatives and mechanisms with the States on a continuous basis, recognizing that strong States make a strong nation.
  • The Governing Council of NITI, with The Prime Minister as its Chairman, comprises Chief Ministers of all States and Lt. Governors of Union Territories (UTs).
  • The current CEO of NITI Aayog is Parameswaran Iyer.

Kempegowda International Award: Former Chief Minister of Karnataka S M Krishna, founder of Infosys & IT industry veteran N R Narayana Murthy, as well as former badminton player Prakash Padukone, have been selected for Kempegowda International Award 2022.

Key Highlights:

  • All the three achievers have been selected for the contributed in their unique way to develop Bengaluru and fame it has garnered.
  • This announcement was made by Higher Education Minister of Karnataka, C N Ashwath Narayan, who is also the Vice-President of Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Heritage Area Development Authority.
  • The awards will be presented by Chief Minister Basavaraja Bommai during grand celebration on the occasion of 513th birth anniversary of Kempe gowda who was the architect of Bengaluru city.
  • The award will be presented on June 27, 2022 at Vidhana Saudha.

About Kempegowda International Award:

  • Kempegowda Award, also known as Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Award, is a civilian award.
  • This award is given by Karnataka Government.
  • It is presented by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), annually.
  • Nomination for the award is done on the basis of notable contributions of civilians, in education, sports, media, journalism, theatre, film, music, dance, environment,  folklore, yogasana, judiciary, photography, culture, painting, medicine, social service, and astrology.
  • The award carries a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh and a plaque.

History of the award:

  • The award has been named after ruler of Vijayanagara Empire, Nadaprabhu Hiriya Kempe Gowda.
  • He built the Bengaluru city in 1537.
  • The award ceremony is organised annually on the eve of birthday of Kempegowda, which is marked as Kempegowda day or ′Kempegowda Jayanthi′ on June 27.
  • Presentation of award was temporarily stopped in 2007 and again resumed in 2011, after four years.

About Nadaprabhu Hiriya Kempe Gowda:

  • Nadaprabhu Hiriya Kempe Gowda, also known as Kempe Gowda was a chieftain under the Vijayanagara Empire.
  • He fortified the Bengaluru city in 1537.
  • He erected several Kannada inscriptions in the region.

About Vijayanagara Empire:

  • The Vijayanagara Empire, also called the Karnata Kingdom, was based in the Deccan Plateau region of South India.
  • The Empire was founded by Harihara and Bukka and the reign was from 1336 A.D to 1646 A.D.
  • They made Hampi as the capital city.
  • They served under Vira Ballala III, the Hoysala King.

Award for Outstanding Contribution For Yoga Promotion 2021: The AYUSH ministry announced recently announced that the Prime Minister’s Award for Outstanding Contribution towards the Development and Promotion of Yoga’ for 2021 will be given to 2 individuals and 2 organizations in recognition of their contributions in the space.

Key Highlights:

This was announced on the occasion of International Day of Yoga on 21st June, 2022.

The selection of the awardees was made after a two-stage process that reviewed the contributions made by institutions and individuals that were shortlisted.

The selections were done under four categories –

1.International individual

2.International organisation

3.National individual 

4.National organisation

Award winners:

  • Two individuals who will receive this prestigious award are Marcus Vinicius Rojo Rodrigues from Brazil and Bhikkhu Sanghasena from Ladakh.
  • The 2 organisations selected for this award are, the British Wheel of Yoga from the United Kingdom and “The Divine Life Society” from Uttarakhand.
  • They will receive ₹25 lakh as a cash prize, a certificate, and a trophy.

About Sanghasena:

  • Sanghasena is the founder of the Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre in Leh, and a social and spiritual worker.
  • Earlier, the Gandhi Peace Foundation conferred him with the World Peace Award in 2004.

About Marcus Vinicius Rojo Rodrigues:

  • Marcus Vinicius Rojo Rodrigues trained at Kaivalyadhama School in Lonavla, which was founded by Swami Kuvalayananda.
  • Upon his return to Brazil, he acted as the main promoter of yoga in the country, emphasising on the scientific teachings of Swami Kuvalayananda.

About The Divine Life Society:

  • The Divine Life Society (DLS) is a Hindu spiritual organisation and an ashram, founded by Swami Sivananda Saraswati in 1936, at Muni Ki Reti, Rishikesh, India.
  • Currently, it has branches around the world, the headquarters being situated in Rishikesh.
  • Also, many disciples of Swami Sivananda have started independent organisations in Mauritius, the US, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, South Africa, South America, and Europe.

About the British Wheel of Yoga:

  • The British Wheel of Yoga in the United Kingdom was founded by Wilfred Clark in 1965.
  • He practiced yoga during his army service in the First World War.
  • Later, he started teaching yoga and eventually opened up the Wheel.
  • The organization is now committed to promoting a better understanding of yoga through education and training programs.

About the award:

  • The awards for the Outstanding Contribution towards the Development and Promotion of Yoga was announced by the Prime Minister of India on the occasion of the 2nd International Day of Yoga celebrations at Chandigarh on 21st June, 2016.

Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai: Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, a former judge of the Supreme Court nominated as Chairperson of the Press Council of India (PCI).

  • Ex-SC judge Ranjana Prakash Desai replaces Justice (retd) CK Prasad who vacated office in November 2021.
  • The office of PCI chairman has been lying vacant since then.

About Ranjana Prakash Desai 

Justice Desai, 72  had recently headed the Delimitation Commission on Jammu and Kashmir, which was set up to redraw the assembly constituencies of the Union Territory.

She has worked as a public prosecutor for the state of Maharashtra and as a judge on the Bombay High Court.

She was the Chairperson of the Indian Appellate Tribunal for Electricity after her retirement from the Supreme Court.

About PCI:

  • The Press Council of India (PCI) is a statutory body created by the Press Council Act of 1978.
  • It is the apex body for the regulation of the Print Media in India.
  • It is a statutory, quasi judicial body which acts as a watchdog of the press.
  • It adjudicates the complaints against and by the press for violation of ethics and for violation of the freedom of the press respectively.
  • It has issued the "Norms of Journalistic Conduct", which is one of two journalism-related codes in use in India.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.

Members:

  • The Council has a chairman – traditionally, a retired Supreme Court judge, and 28 additional members of which 20 are members of media, nominated by the newspapers, television channels and other media outlets operating in India.[
  • In the 28 member council, 5 are members of the lower house (Lok Sabha) and upper house (Rajya Sabha) of the Indian parliament and three represent culture literary and legal field as nominees of Sahitya Academy, University Grant Commission and Bar Council of India.
  • The members serve on the Council for a term of three years.

The Council was last reconstituted on May 22, 2001.

Amandeep Singh Gill: Amandeep Singh Gill is a senior Indian diplomat who has recently been appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as his Envoy on Technology.

Key Highlights:

  • The UN described Gill as a “thought leader on digital technology” who has a solid understanding of how to leverage the digital transformation responsibly and inclusively for progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

About Amandeep Singh Gill:

  • Amandeep Singh Gill is the Chief Executive Officer of the International Digital Health and Artificial Intelligence Research Collaborative (I-DAIR) project, based at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.
  • He was India's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva from 2016 to 2018.
  • Previously, from 2018 to 2019, Gill, a Punjab University graduate, served as the Executive Director and Co-Lead of the UN Secretary-High-Level General's Panel on Digital Cooperation.
  • In addition to delivering the report of the High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, he has helped secure high-impact international consensus recommendations on regulating Artificial Intelligence (Al) in lethal autonomous weapon systems in 2017 and 2018, the draft Al ethics recommendation of UNESCO in 2020, and a new international platform on digital health and Al.

Gill's Educational Background:

  • Gill joined India’s diplomatic service in 1992.
  • He has served in various capacities in disarmament and strategic technologies and international security affairs, with postings in Colombo and Tehran.
  • He was also a visiting scholar at Stanford University.
  • He holds a Ph.D in Nuclear Learning in Multilateral Forums from King’s College, London, a Bachelor of Technology in Electronics and Electrical Communications from Panjab University in Chandigarh and an Advanced Diploma in French History and Language from Geneva University.

Vale do Javari: Recently, two British journalists Dom Phillips and a Brazilian indigenous affairs expert, Bruno Araujo Pereira went missing in a remote corner of the Amazon rainforest.

Key Highlights:

  • The duo was last seen in Vale do Javari.
  • Vale do Javari is the western section of the Brazilian Amazon named after the Javari River, which forms the country’s border with Peru.
  • The region is home to “the greatest concentration of isolated groups in the Amazon and the world”.
  • Vale do Javari also forms part of an international cocaine trafficking route, with gold being exchanged for drugs and arms, consequently making it a hotspot for violent crimes.

Rajesh Gera:  Rajesh Gera took over as the Director General of National Informatics Centre (NIC) on May 31, 2022.

Key Highlights:

  • His appointment to the post of Director General, NIC  was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.
  • He was earlier serving as the Deputy Director General in NIC.
  • He has been associated with NIC for more than 31 years.

About Rajesh Gera:

  • Rajesh Gera completed his B.Tech (Electrical Engineering) with Honors in 1984 from IIT Varanasi, Banaras Hindu University.
  • He previously headed several prominent divisions in the NIC including satellite network division, video conferencing division and aadhaar authentication division.
  • He has also headed several divisions under Ministry of health, ministry of ayush, Ministry of corporate affairs, Niti Aayog, PMO, Cabinet Secretariat, President Secretariat, Labour and Employment Informatics Division and National Database of Unorganized Workers (NDUW) Project.
  • He had been on deputation in the Defence Ministry as CEO, DPIT from August 11, 2018 till August 31, 2020 and joined back at NIC as Deputy Director General (DDG) on September 1, 2020.

About National Informatics Centre:

  • The National Informatics Centre (NIC) is a government organization under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
  • It is the technology partner of the Government of India (GoI).
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • It was established in 1976 by late N Shesagiri under the Electonics Commission of India.
  • It was later moved under the planning commission of India and then it came under Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
  • It was established with an objective to provide technology-driven solutions to Central and State Governments in various aspects of development.
  • NIC has been instrumental in adopting and providing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and eGovernance support to Central Government.
  • The centre provides IT Consultancy, infrastructure, IT Services not limited to design, architecting, development and implementation of IT Systems to central and state governments.
  • It enables delivery of government services to Citizens and pioneering the initiatives of Digital India.

Satyendra Nath Bose: Google Doodle recently paid tribute to the Indian physicist and mathematician Satyendra Nath Bose with an artistic doodle that shows Bose performing an experiment.

Key facts:

  • Google honoured the renowned Indian physicist and mathematician with a doodle on June 4th.
  • June 4th, 1924 is the day that Satyendra Nath Bose has sent his quantum formulations to Albert Einstein, who had termed it as a significant discovery in quantum mechanics.

About Satyendra Nath Bose:

  • Satyendra Nath Bose FRS (1 January 1894 – 4 February 1974) was an Indian mathematician and physicist specializing in theoretical physics.
  • He is best known for his work on quantum mechanics in the early 1920s in developing the foundation for Bose statistics and the theory of the Bose condensate.
  • Bose was a polymath due to his interest in many fields like physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, mineralogy, philosophy, arts, literature, and music.
  • Bose also served on many research and development committees in sovereign India.
  • A fellow of the Royal Society, Satyendra Nath Bose was awarded India’s second-highest civilian award- Padma Vibhushan in 1954 by the Government of India (GoI).
  • He was also appointed as the National Professor.
  • It is the highest honour for scholars in India.
  • The class of particles that obey Bose statistics, bosons, was named after Bose by Paul Dirac.
  • Many scientific breakthroughs have come from his work including the discovery of particle accelerator and the God Particle.

Ashwani Bhatia: The former managing director of the state-owned State Bank of India (SBI) has taken charge as a whole-time member (WTM) at the market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).

  • Key Highlights:
  • Bhatia has been appointed for an initial period of three years from the date of assuming charge.
  • In August 2020, he was elevated as MD of SBI, where he joined as a probationary officer in 1985.
  • Before that, he was working as the MD and chief executive officer of SBI Mutual Fund.

Bhatia as WTM will handle the following:

  • Department of Debt and Hybrid Securities (DDHS),
  • Alternative Investment Fund and Foreign Portfolio Investors Department (AFD),
  • Market Intermediaries Regulation and Supervision Department (MIRSD), Corporation Finance Investigation Department (CFID) and
  • Office of Investor Assistance & Education (OIAE),

Sebi now has three WTMs.

  • For the last seven months, the regulator had operated with only two whole-time members, S K Mohanty and Anant Barua.
  • The tenure of Madhabi Puri Buch and G. Mahalingam as WTMs ended in 2021.
  • As a result, positions for two whole-time members were vacant at Sebi.
  • Madhabi Puri Buch was appointed as the chief of Sebi in February 2022. However, the government is yet to appoint a fourth member.

About Bhatia:

Bhatia completed his schooling at Air Force School in Delhi and graduated in Physics and Mathematics from Agra.

Further, he is also an MBA from Podar Institute of Management, Jaipur.

Appointment of the WTM post at Sebi:

For the appointment of the WTM post at Sebi, the candidates are shortlisted by the Financial Sector Regulatory Appointments Search Committee (FSRASC), headed by the Cabinet Secretary.

About SEBI:

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is the regulatory body for securities and commodity market in India under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Finance, Government of India (GoI).
  • It was established on 12 April 1988 and given Statutory Powers on 30 January 1992 through the SEBI Act, 1992.
  • The Preamble of the Securities and Exchange Board of India describes the basic functions of the Securities and Exchange Board of India.
  • The main function of SEBI is to safeguard the rights and interests of the investor, reduce malpractices related to the stock exchange, establishing a code of conduct and promoting the healthy functioning of the stock exchange.
  • Note: Controller of Capital Issues was the regulatory authority before SEBI came into existence; it derived authority from the Capital Issues (Control) Act, 1947.
  • It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Members:

  • The SEBI is managed by its members, which consists of the following:
  • The chairman is nominated by the Union Government of India.
  • Two members, i.e., Officers from the Union Finance Ministry.
  • One member from the Reserve Bank of India.
  • The remaining five members are nominated by the Union Government of India, out of them at least three shall be whole-time members.

Natarajan Sundar: Former State Bank of India executive Natarajan Sundar recently joined National Assets Reconstruction Company Ltd (NARCL) as Managing Director and CEO.

Key Points:

  • He is a banking veteran having served SBI for over 37 years and retired as Dy MD and Chief Credit Officer of the bank.
  • He was selected through a competitive selection process through an open advertisement and was interviewed in April 2022, by a selection panel consisting of senior bankers from both the Public and Private sectors.

Other appointments by NARCL:

  • NARCL also appointed Mr Karnam Sekar as the Independent Director and Non-Executive Chairman of the Board.
  • Sekar was the MD and CEO of Indian Overseas Bank from July 2019 to June 2020.
  • Earlier he was MD and CEO of Dena Bank from Sep 2018 until its merger in April 2019.

About the NARCL:

  • National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd (NARCL), introduced in July 2021, is a bad bank to dispose of the stressed assets of commercial banks.

 Note: Stressed assets are a combination of Non-Performing Assets (NPAs), restructured loans, and written-off assets.

  • NARCL was incorporated by the Government of India (GoI) under the Companies Act.
  • It has shareholding from 15 Indian Banks and Canara Bank is the sponsor bank of this ARC.
  • Together with India Debt Resolution Company Ltd. (IDRCL), they are presently engaged in completing the financial and legal due diligence of the identified accounts for takeover from lenders.
  • IDRCL is an operational entity/service company that would manage the assets and engage professionals and turnaround experts in the process. 
  • NARCL is expected to make binding financial offers for a few accounts very shortly.

Darren Sammy: Former West Indies skipper Darren Sammy received civil honour of Sitara-e-Pakistan award.

Key Highlights:

  • It is the third-highest civil award conferred by Pakistan.
  • The 38-year-old all-rounder was being recognized for his role in helping bring international cricket back to Pakistan.
  • He was handed the honour in Saint Lucia.
  • He represented West Indies in 38 Tests, 126 ODIs, and 68 T20Is.
  • He has been one of the best captains that the world has seen in the T20 format and he captained a lot of franchises around the world.
  • In March 2020, he received the highest civilian medal of Pakistan, Nishan-e-Pakistan, for his part in helping bring international cricket back to Pakistan.
  • He was also awarded honorary Pakistani citizenship by the President of Pakistan Arif Alvi.

Vikas Kumar: Vikas Kumar has been appointed as the new Managing Director of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

Key Points:

  • He is succeeding Mangu Singh, whose tenure ended on March 31, 2022.
  • Singh was the managing director of DMRC since January 1, 2012.
  • Kumar is the third managing director of the DMRC after E Sreedharan and Mangu Singh.
  • He will hold the post for a term of five years.

About Vikas Kumar:

  • Vikas Kumar is a 1988-batch officer of the Indian Railway Traffic Service.
  • He was holding the position of the Director (Operations) in the DMRC.
  • He has over three decades of experience in rail-based urban transportation projects.
  • He has worked with the Indian Railways in various capacities before joining the DMRC in September 2004.
  • He has been associated with the urban transporter for more than 17 years in key management positions.
  • In the DMRC, Kumar has headed the operations wing of the organization since 2007 in various leadership capacities, such as general manager (operations), executive director (operations) and director (operations).
  • He has played a key role in ensuring the smooth commencement of metro services in Delhi-NCR.

About Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC):

  • The Delhi Metro is a mass rapid transit (MRT) system serving Delhi and its satellite cities of Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Noida, Bahadurgarh and Ballabhgarh, in the National Capital Region of India.
  • It is by far the largest and busiest metro rail system in India, and the second oldest after the Kolkata Metro.
  • Its construction started in 1998.
  • The first elevated section (Shahdara to Tis Hazari) on the Red Line opened on 25 December 2002.

Ritu Khanduri: BJP MLA Ritu Khanduri has recently become tthe first woman Speaker of the state assembly.

Key Highlights:

  • Daughter of former Uttarakhand chief minister Major General Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri was elected unopposed as the first woman speaker of the Uttarakhand Assembly.
  • The announcement about her election was made by pro-tem speaker Banshidhar Bhagat.
  • Her election to the post was a foregone conclusion as the main opposition Congress chose to stay out of contest.
  • She won from Kotdwar by defeating former minister S S Negi by more than 3,000 votes.
  • She had won her maiden assembly election from the Yamkeshwar constituency in 2017.

Shashi Sinha: IPG Mediabrands India CEO Shashi Sinha as the new chairman of the board of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India.

Key Highlights:

  • He will take over from Punit Goenka, who served as chairman of the TV viewership measurement agency for the last three years.
  • Sinha, who also represents the Advertising Agencies Association of India as its board member, has played a key role in the formation of BARC.

About the Broadcast Audience Research Council India:

  • The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India is a joint industry body founded by organisations that represent Indian broadcasters, advertisers, and advertising and media agencies.
  • It was founded in 2010.
  • It is the world’s largest television measurement science industry body.
  • It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Raj Subramaniam: Indian American corporate veteran Raj Subramaniam is set to succeed Frederick W Smith as the new CEO of the transportation company FedEx.

Key Points:

  • Subramaniam, 54 is originally from Trivandrum, India.
  • He went to IIT Bombay in 1987 to study chemical engineering and later earned a master’s degree in the same field from Syracuse University in 1989.
  • He joined FedEx in 1991.
  • He was elected to the FedEx Board of Directors in 2020.

About FedEx:

  • FedEx Corporation, formerly Federal Express Corporation and later FDX Corporation, is an American multinational conglomerate holding company focused on transportation, e-commerce and services based in Memphis, Tennessee.
  • The name "FedEx" is a syllabic abbreviation of the name of the company's original air division, Federal Express, which was used from 1973 until 2000.

Central Banking Awards 2022: Mario Marcel has won the Governor of the year award at the 9th edition of the Central Banking Awards 2022.

Key Highlights:

  • Marcel is the Governor of the Central Bank of Chile (Banco Central de Chile is the name of the central bank of Chile).
  • The Central Banking Awards 2022 recognize excellence in a community that had faced significant policy and operational challenges amid uneven economic recovery and inflationary pressures in the second year since the Covid-19 outbreak.
  • The annual Central Banking Awards 2022 is made up of 17 central bank categories and 14 partner and service provider categories.

About Mario Marcel:

  • Mario Marcel served as the governor of the Central Bank of Chile (BCCh) from 2016 to January 2022.
  • He took over the leadership of an institution that had secured a reputation as one of the most independent and well-run central banks in Latin America.
  • After resigning in January 2022 he became the finance minister under the new administration of Gabriel Boric, President of Chile.
  • He has not only served as a consultant for international organizations and governments of different countries such as Columbia, Peru, Mexico and Vietnam but also served as a researcher for the Corporation for Latin American Sudies (Cieplan).

2022 International Man Booker Prize: Indian writer Geetanjali Shree along with American translator Daisy Rockwell has won the 2022 International Booker Prize for the book titled "Tomb of Sand" for Translated Fiction.

Key Highlights:

  • The book written by Shree beat five other finalists including Argentina’s Claudia Piñeiro, Polish Nobel literature laureate Olga Tokarczuk, and Bora Chung, a South Korean author to be awarded this prize at a ceremony that was held in London.
  • Shree and Rockwell will split the £50,000 prize money, giving the author and translator equal recognition.

About the book:

  • This book was originally written in Hindi and is the first book in any Indian language to have won this high-profile award.
  • The original name of the book is “Ret Samadhi.”
  • Set in northern India, the novel follows the adventures of an 80-year-old woman who unexpectedly gains a new, and highly unconventional, lease of life.
  • This book has also won the English PEN translation award.

About International Booker Prize:

  • The International Booker Prize is awarded annually to a translated work of fiction that has been published in Ireland or the U.K.
  • This award is run alongside the Booker Prize which is awarded for English-language fiction.
  • The prize is one of the two literary awards that is handed out by the Booker Prize Foundation, a charity whose goal is to promote the value and art of literature for the benefit of the public as well as to acknowledge the often-unacknowledged work of the many literary translators.
  • In 2005, International Booker Prize began with the name Man Booker International Prize and was given biennially till 2015.
  • From 2016 onwards, the International Booker Prize opened for English translations of foreign language books.
  • It equally recognized the work of both author and translator.
  • The prize carries an award of 50,000 pounds that is divided equally between the translator and the author. Also, each shortlisted translator and author also receive 2,500 pounds.
  • It’s distinct from the Booker Prize, which has been won by Indian writers like Arundhati Roy and Aravind Adiga in the past.

People in the News Current Affairs - June 2022

Malcolm Adiseshiah Award: Renowned Indian economist and political commentator Prabhat Patnaik has been named the recipient of the Malcolm Adiseshiah Award for 2022.

Key Highlights:

  • The prestigious national award is given every year by the Malcolm and Elizabeth Adiseshiah Trust to an outstanding social scientist for Distinguished Contributions to Development Studies.
  • The jury comprising professors Pulapre Balakrishnan, (IIM Calicut), Kamala Ganesh (former MN Srinivas Chair ISEC Bengaluru), and Bishnu Mohapatra (KREA University) unanimously selected Patnaik.
  • Patnaik has taught at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning in the School of Social Sciences at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, and has served as Vice-Chairman of the Kerala State Planning Board.
  • The award comprises a citation and prize money of Rs 2 lakh.
  • It will be presented at a special function in Chennai.

About Malcolm Sathiyanathan Adiseshiah:

Malcolm Sathiyanathan Adiseshiah (1910 – 1994), was an Indian development economist and educator. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1976.

Julius Nyerere: Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently  paid tributes to the great leader, former Tanzania President and friend of India, Mwalimu Nyerere on his 100th Birth Anniversary.

About Julius Nyerere:

  • Julius Nyerere (1922 – 1999) was a Tanzanian anti-colonial activist, politician, and political theorist.
  • He governed Tanganyika as Prime Minister from 1961 to 1962.
  • He then served as president from 1963 to 1964, after which he led its successor state, Tanzania, as president from 1964 to 1985.
  • Ideologically, he promoted a political philosophy known as Ujamaa.

Dr Manoj Soni: Eminent scholar-academician Manoj Soni who is currently a Member of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has been appointed the chairman of the country’s premier government recruiting agency.

Key Points:

  • Dr Soni has been appointed to replace the previous UPSC chairman Pradip Kumar Joshi.
  • Prior to this assignment, Soni has also served as the vice-chancellor of two universities and has earned several national and international awards and recognitions.
  • He has been associated with the Swaminarayan sect’s Anoopam Mission, at Mogri in Anand district, since a young age and received diksha (initiation) as a nishkarma karmayogi (selfless worker) on Jan 10, 2020.

About Union Public Service Commission (UPSC):

  • UPSC is India's premier central recruitment agency for recruitment of the entire Group 'A' officers under Government of India (GoI).
  • The agency's charter is granted by Part XIV of the Constitution of India, titled as Services Under the Union and the States.
  • It was founded on 1 October 1926
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.

Arunabha Ghosh: Arunabha Ghosh who is the CEO of the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), a climate and energy think tank was recently appointed by United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres to a High-Level Expert Group on the Net-Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities.

Key Points:

  • He has been appointed to the Government of India’s G20 Finance Track Advisory Group for India’s G20 Presidency in 2023.
  • In 2021, he was appointed as Co-Chair of the T20 Task Force on climate and energy for Indonesia’s G20 2022.
  • The group was launched by Antonio Guterres on 31 March 2022.
  • Dr Ghosh will be among three Asians (and the only South Asian) serving on the expert group.
  • It will be chaired by former Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna.
  • The 16-member expert group comprises independent experts, drawn from different countries.

Aim of the group:

  • The group aims to develop stronger and clearer standards for net-zero emissions pledges by non-state entities including businesses, investors, cities and regions and speed up their implementation.

Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship and Sangeet Natak Awards: The Pesident of India Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu recently conferred the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship and Sangeet Natak Awards for the year 2018 and National Awards of Lalit Kala Akademi to eminent artists at a special function held in New Delhi.

Key Highlights:

  • The awards were presented during the 62nd National Exhibition of Art, organised by the Lalit Kala Akademi and inaugurated by Minister of Culture, Shri G. Kishan Reddy on April 09, 2022, in New Delhi.
  • 43 artists (4 Fellows and 40 awardees) were presented the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship and Sangeet Natak Awards for 2018, while the Lalit Kala Akademi’s Fellowship and National Awards for 2021 were given to 23 (3 Fellows and 20 National Awards ).
  • The awards were given in the categories of music, dance, and theatre. In addition, one category was reserved for traditional, folk, and tribal dance, music, theatre and puppetry.
  • An award each was also given for overall contribution and scholarship in performing arts.
  • In addition, tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, Sattriya dancer Jatin Goswami, Odissi exponent Sonal Mansingh and Thiruvidaimarudur Kuppiah Kalyanasundaram were given fellowships for their contribution to the field of dance.
  • Among the 13 honoured for music are Hindustani vocalists Mani Prasad and Madhup Mudgal, santoor player Tarun Bhattacharya, Tejendra Narayan Majumdar for sarod, and Carnatic vocalists Alamelu Mani and Malladi Suribabu.
  • Bharatanatyam dancers Radha Sridhar, Mohiniyattam dancer Gopika Varma, Kuchipudi dancer Ramalinga Sastry are among the 10 dancers who got the award.
  • Among the eight theatre artistes who have been given the award are Suhas Joshi and Teekam Joshi for acting, Rajiv Naik and Laltluangliana Khiangte for playwriting, and Sanjay Upadhyay for direction.
  • Musicians Malini Awasthi and Gazi Khan Barna (folk music), Arjun Singh Dhurve (folk dance) Mohammad Sadiq Bhagat (folk theatre), Anupama Hoskere (string puppetry), and Hem Chandra Goswami (mask making) are awardees in the other categories.
  • Sculptor Himmat Shah, and painters Jyoti Bhatt and Shyam Sharma were awarded the prestigious Lalit Kala Akademi fellowship. Diwan Singh Bajeli was awarded the field of overall contribution in performing arts.

About Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards

The Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards are national honours bestowed by the government on performing artists and teachers and scholars in the field of performing arts. It is "the most prestigious and rare honour" conferred by the Academy and is "restricted to 40 individuals at any given time".

 

People in the News Current Affairs - April 2022

Vikas Kumar: Vikas Kumar has been appointed as the new Managing Director of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

Key Points:

  • He is succeeding Mangu Singh, whose tenure ended on March 31, 2022.
  • Singh was the managing director of DMRC since January 1, 2012.
  • Kumar is the third managing director of the DMRC after E Sreedharan and Mangu Singh.
  • He will hold the post for a term of five years.

About Vikas Kumar:

  • Vikas Kumar is a 1988-batch officer of the Indian Railway Traffic Service.
  • He was holding the position of the Director (Operations) in the DMRC.
  • He has over three decades of experience in rail-based urban transportation projects.
  • He has worked with the Indian Railways in various capacities before joining the DMRC in September 2004.
  • He has been associated with the urban transporter for more than 17 years in key management positions.
  • In the DMRC, Kumar has headed the operations wing of the organization since 2007 in various leadership capacities, such as general manager (operations), executive director (operations) and director (operations).
  • He has played a key role in ensuring the smooth commencement of metro services in Delhi-NCR.

About Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC):

  • The Delhi Metro is a mass rapid transit (MRT) system serving Delhi and its satellite cities of Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Noida, Bahadurgarh and Ballabhgarh, in the National Capital Region of India.
  • It is by far the largest and busiest metro rail system in India, and the second oldest after the Kolkata Metro.
  • Its construction started in 1998.
  • The first elevated section (Shahdara to Tis Hazari) on the Red Line opened on 25 December 2002.

Ritu Khanduri: BJP MLA Ritu Khanduri has recently become tthe first woman Speaker of the state assembly.

Key Highlights:

  • Daughter of former Uttarakhand chief minister Major General Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri was elected unopposed as the first woman speaker of the Uttarakhand Assembly.
  • The announcement about her election was made by pro-tem speaker Banshidhar Bhagat.
  • Her election to the post was a foregone conclusion as the main opposition Congress chose to stay out of contest.
  • She won from Kotdwar by defeating former minister S S Negi by more than 3,000 votes.
  • She had won her maiden assembly election from the Yamkeshwar constituency in 2017.

Shashi Sinha: IPG Mediabrands India CEO Shashi Sinha as the new chairman of the board of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India.

Key Highlights:

  • He will take over from Punit Goenka, who served as chairman of the TV viewership measurement agency for the last three years.
  • Sinha, who also represents the Advertising Agencies Association of India as its board member, has played a key role in the formation of BARC.

About the Broadcast Audience Research Council India:

  • The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India is a joint industry body founded by organisations that represent Indian broadcasters, advertisers, and advertising and media agencies.
  • It was founded in 2010.
  • It is the world’s largest television measurement science industry body.
  • It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Raj Subramaniam: Indian American corporate veteran Raj Subramaniam is set to succeed Frederick W Smith as the new CEO of the transportation company FedEx.

Key Points:

  • Subramaniam, 54 is originally from Trivandrum, India.
  • He went to IIT Bombay in 1987 to study chemical engineering and later earned a master’s degree in the same field from Syracuse University in 1989.
  • He joined FedEx in 1991.
  • He was elected to the FedEx Board of Directors in 2020.

About FedEx:

  • FedEx Corporation, formerly Federal Express Corporation and later FDX Corporation, is an American multinational conglomerate holding company focused on transportation, e-commerce and services based in Memphis, Tennessee.
  • The name "FedEx" is a syllabic abbreviation of the name of the company's original air division, Federal Express, which was used from 1973 until 2000.

Central Banking Awards 2022: Mario Marcel has won the Governor of the year award at the 9th edition of the Central Banking Awards 2022.

Key Highlights:

  • Marcel is the Governor of the Central Bank of Chile (Banco Central de Chile is the name of the central bank of Chile).
  • The Central Banking Awards 2022 recognize excellence in a community that had faced significant policy and operational challenges amid uneven economic recovery and inflationary pressures in the second year since the Covid-19 outbreak.
  • The annual Central Banking Awards 2022 is made up of 17 central bank categories and 14 partner and service provider categories.

About Mario Marcel:

  • Mario Marcel served as the governor of the Central Bank of Chile (BCCh) from 2016 to January 2022.
  • He took over the leadership of an institution that had secured a reputation as one of the most independent and well-run central banks in Latin America.
  • After resigning in January 2022 he became the finance minister under the new administration of Gabriel Boric, President of Chile.
  • He has not only served as a consultant for international organizations and governments of different countries such as Columbia, Peru, Mexico and Vietnam but also served as a researcher for the Corporation for Latin American Sudies (Cieplan).

 

Padma Awards: President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind presented the two Padma Vibhushan, eight Padma Bhushan and 54 Padma Shri Awards at the Civil Investiture Ceremony-I held at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 21 March 2022.

This year a total of 128 Padma Awards are being conferred, including two duo cases (in a duo case, the award is counted as one). The list of awardees comprises four Padma Vibhushan, 17 Padma Bhushan and 107 Padma Shri Awards.

The Civil Investiture CeremonyII is scheduled to be held on March 28.

Padma Vibhushan(4):

  1. Ms. Prabha Atre Art Maharashtra 
  2. Shri Radheyshyam Khemka (Posthumous) Literature & Education Uttar Pradesh
  3. General Bipin Rawat Civil Service Uttarakhand (Posthumous)
  4. Shri Kalyan Singh Public Affairs Uttar Pradesh (Posthumous)

Padma Bhushan(17):

  1. Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad Public Affairs Jammu and Kashmir
  2. Shri Victor Banerjee Art West Bengal
  3. Ms. Gurmeet Bawa (Posthumous) Art Punjab
  4. Shri Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Public Affairs West Bengal 
  5. Shri Natarajan Chandrasekaran Trade and Industry Maharashtra
  6. Shri Krishna Ella and Smt. Suchitra Ella* (Duo) Trade and Industry Telangana
  7. Ms. Madhur Jaffery Others-Culinary
  8. Shri Devendra Jhajharia Sports Rajasthan
  9. Shri Rashid Khan Art Uttar Pradesh
  10. Shri Rajiv Mehrishi Civil Service Rajasthan
  11. Shri Satya Narayana Nadella Trade and Industry USA
  12. Shri Sundararajan Pichai Trade and Industry USA
  13. Shri Cyrus Poonawalla Trade and Industry Maharashtra
  14. Shri Sanjaya Rajaram (Posthumous) Science and Engineering Mexico
  15. Ms. Pratibha Ray Literature and Education Odisha
  16. Swami Sachidanand Literature and Education Gujarat
  17. Shri Vashishth Tripathi Literature and Education Uttar Pradesh

Padma Shri(107):

  1. Shri Prahlad Rai Agarwala Trade and Industry West Bengal
  2. Prof. Najma Akhtar Literature and Education Delhi
  3. Shri Sumit Antil Sports Haryana
  4. Shri T Senka Ao Literature and Education Nagaland
  5. Ms. Kamalini Asthana and Ms.Nalini Asthana* (Duo) Art Uttar Pradesh
  6. Shri Subbanna Ayyappan Science and Engineering Karnataka
  7. Shri J K Bajaj Literature and Education Delhi
  8. Shri Sirpi Balasubramaniam Literature and Education Tamil Nadu
  9. Srimad Baba Balia Social Work Odisha
  10. Ms. Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay Science and Engineering West Bengal
  11. Ms. Madhuri Barthwal Art Uttarakhand
  12. Shri Akhone Asgar Ali Basharat Literature and Education Ladakh
  13. Dr. Himmatrao Bawaskar Medicine Maharashtra
  14. Shri Harmohinder Singh Bedi Literature and Education Punjab
  15. Shri Pramod Bhagat Sports Odisha
  16. Shri S Ballesh Bhajantri Art Tamil Nadu
  17. Shri Khandu Wangchuk Bhutia Art Sikkim
  18. Shri Maria Christopher Byrski Literature and Education Poland
  19. Acharya Chandanaji Social Work Bihar
  20. Ms. Sulochana Chavan Art Maharashtra
  21. Shri Neeraj Chopra Sports Haryana
  22. Ms. Shakuntala Choudhary Social Work Assam
  23. Shri Sankaranarayana Menon Chundayil Sports Kerala
  24. Shri S Damodaran Social Work Tamil Nadu
  25. Shri Faisal Ali Dar Sports J&K
  26. Shri Jagjit Singh Dardi Trade and Industry Chandigarh
  27. Dr. Prokar Dasgupta Medicine United Kingdom
  28. Shri Aditya Prasad Dash Science and Engineering Odisha
  29. Dr. Lata Desai Medicine Gujarat
  30. Shri Malji bhai Desai Public Affairs Gujarat
  31. Ms. Basanti Devi Social Work Uttarakhand
  32. Ms. Lourembam Bino Devi Art Manipur
  33. Ms. Muktamani Devi Trade and Industry Manipur
  34. Ms. Shyamamani Devi Art Odisha
  35. Shri Khalil Dhantejvi (Posthumous) Literature and Education Gujarat
  36. Shri Savaji Bhai Dholakia Social Work Gujarat
  37. Shri Arjun Singh Dhurve Art Madhya Pradesh
  38. Dr. Vijaykumar Vinayak Dongre Medicine Maharashtra
  39. Shri Chandraprakash Dwivedi Art Rajasthan
  40. Shri Dhaneswar Engti Literature and Education Assam
  41. Shri Om Prakash Gandhi Social Work Haryana
  42. Shri Narasimha Rao Garikapati Literature and Education Andhra Pradesh
  43. Shri Girdhari Ram Ghonju (Posthumous) Literature and Education Jharkhand
  44. Shri Shaibal Gupta (Posthumous) Literature and Education Bihar
  45. Shri Narasingha Prasad Guru Literature and Education Odisha
  46. Shri Gosaveedu Shaik Hassan (Posthumous) Art Andhra Pradesh
  47. Shri Ryuko Hira Trade and Industry Japan
  48. Ms. Sosamma Type Others - Animal Husbandry Kerala
  49. Shri Avadh Kishore Jadia Literature and Education Madhya Pradesh
  50. Ms. Sowcar Janaki Art Tamil Nadu
  51. Ms. Tara Jauhar Literature and Education Delhi
  52. Ms. Vandana Kataria Sports Uttarakhand
  53. Shri H R Keshavamurthy Art Karnataka
  54. Shri Rutger Kortenhorst Literature and Education Ireland
  55. Shri P Narayana Kurup Literature and Education Kerala
  56. Ms. Avani Lekhara Sports Rajasthan
  57. Shri Moti Lal Madan Science and Engineering Haryana
  58. Shri Shivnath Mishra Art Uttar Pradesh
  59. Dr. Narendra Prasad Misra (Posthumous) Medicine Madhya Pradesh
  60. Shri Darshanam Mogilaiah Art Telangana
  61. Shri Guruprasad Mohapatra (Posthumous) Civil Service Delhi
  62. Shri Thavil Kongampattu A V Murugaiyan Art Puducherry
  63. Ms. R Muthukannammal Art Tamil Nadu
  64. Shri Abdul Khader Nadakattin Others - Grassroots Innovation Karnataka
  65. Shri Amai Mahalinga Naik Others - Agriculture Karnataka
  66. Shri Tsering Namgyal Art Ladakh
  67. Shri A K C Natarajan Art Tamil Nadu
  68. Shri V L Nghaka Literature and Education Mizoram
  69. Shri Sonu Nigam Art Maharashtra
  70. Shri Ram Sahay Panday Art Madhya Pradesh
  71. Shri Chirapat Prapandavidya Literature and Education Thailand
  72. Ms. K V Rabiya Social Work Kerala
  73. Shri Anil Kumar Rajvanshi Science and Engineering Maharashtra
  74. Shri Sheesh Ram Art Uttar Pradesh
  75. Shri Ramachandraiah Art Telangana
  76. Dr. Sunkara Venkata Adinarayana Rao Medicine Andhra Pradesh
  77. Ms. Gamit Ramilaben Raysingbhai Social Work Gujarat
  78. Ms. Padmaja Reddy Art Telangana
  79. Guru Tulku Rinpoche Others - Spiritualism Arunachal Pradesh
  80. Shri Brahmanand Sankhwalkar Sports Goa
  81. Shri Vidyanand Sarek Literature and Education Himachal Pradesh
  82. Shri Kali Pada Saren Literature and Education West Bengal
  83. Dr. Veeraswamy Seshiah Medicine Tamil Nadu
  84. Ms. Prabhaben Shah Social Work Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu
  85. Shri Dilip Shahani Literature and Education Delhi
  86. Shri Ram Dayal Sharma Art Rajasthan
  87. Shri Vishwamurti Shastri Literature and Education J&K
  88. Ms. Tatiana Lvovna Shaumyan Literature and Education Russia
  89. Shri Siddhalingaiah (Posthumous) Literature and Education Karnataka
  90. Shri Kaajee Singh Art West Bengal
  91. Shri Konsam Ibomcha Singh Art Manipur
  92. Shri Prem Singh Social Work Punjab
  93. Shri Seth Pal Singh Others - Agriculture Uttar Pradesh
  94. Ms. Vidya Vindu Singh Literature and Education Uttar Pradesh
  95. Baba Iqbal Singh Ji Social Work Punjab
  96. Dr. Bhimsen Singhal Medicine Maharashtra
  97. Shri Sivananda Others - Yoga Uttar Pradesh
  98. Shri Ajay Kumar Sonkar Science and Engineering Uttar Pradesh
  99. Ms. Ajita Srivastava Art Uttar Pradesh
  100. Sadguru Brahmeshanand Acharya Swami Others - Spiritualism Goa
  101. Dr. Balaji Tambe (Posthumous) Medicine Maharashtra
  102. Shri Raghuvendra Tanwar Literature and Education Haryana
  103. Dr. Kamlakar Tripathi Medicine Uttar Pradesh
  104. Ms. Lalita Vakil Art Himachal Pradesh
  105. Ms. Durga Bai Vyam Art Madhya Pradesh
  106. Shri Jyantkumar Maganlal
  107. Vyas Science and Engineering Gujarat
  108. Ms. Badaplin War Literature and Education Meghalaya

About Padma Awards:

  • Padma Awards are the highest civilian awards in India.
  • These awards are conferred in three categories- Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri.
  • They are presented by the President of India.
  • The Padma Awards are being awarded to the citizens since 1954.
  • The awards are being presented under the categories such as social work, art, science and engineering, public affairs, medicine, trade and industry, civil service, education, sports, etc.
  • Padma Vibhushan is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service.
  • Padma Bhushan for distinguished service of a high order.
  • Padma Shri for distinguished service in any field.

Abel Prize for 2022: the Abel Prize for the year 2022 has been awarded to American Mathematician Dennis Parnell Sullivan by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Key Highlights:

  • This award also includes prize money which amounts to 7 Million NOK (Norwegian Krone).
  • He was awarded the prize for his groundbreaking contributions to topology in its broadest sense and in particular its algebraic, geometric and dynamical aspects.

What is Topology?

  • Topology is a new field of mathematics that has to do with the properties of surfaces that do not change when they are deformed.
  • It was born at the end of the 19th century.
  • For instance, topologically, a circle and a square are the same; similarly, the surfaces of a doughnut and a coffee mug with one handle are topologically equivalent, however, the surface of a sphere and a coffee mug is not equivalent.
  • Topology is important in math and various other fields like data economics, science and physics.

About Dennis P. Sullivan:

  • Prof. Sullivan is from the City University of New York and the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
  • He has won numerous awards, among them the Steele Prize, the 2010 Wolf Prize in Mathematics and the 2014 Balzan Prize for Mathematics.
  • He is also a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.

About Abel Prize:

  • The King of Norway presents the Abel Prize.
  • It is given annually to an individual who has done a remarkable job in the mathematics field.
  • It was established on 23 August 2001.
  • This prize has been named after Niels Henrik Abel who was a famous Norwegian mathematician.
  • It is directly modeled after the Nobel Prizes.
  • Nobel Prize doesn’t have a section for mathematics, though some mathematicians have won this prestigious prize in other fields.
  • The Fields Medal is an annual award that is also considered to be the ‘Mathematics Nobel’ but it is only awarded to those individuals who are below the age of 40.
  • It is funded by the Norwegian Government.
  • The laureates are selected by the Abel Committee, the members of which are appointed by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.
  • The award ceremony takes place in the Aula of the University of Oslo, where the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded between 1947 and 1989.

Note:

  • The Abel Prize was first awarded in 2003 to Jean-Pierre Serre, a French mathematician, for his contribution to algebraic geometry, topology, and number theory.
  • In 2007, S. R. Srinivasa Varadhan, who is an Indian-American citizen had won the Abel Prize for his contribution in probability theory and for creating a unified large deviation theory.
  • In 2019, Karen Uhlenbeck became the first woman to win the Abel Prize, with the award committee citing "the fundamental impact of her work on analysis, geometry and mathematical physics.

Fellow of Royal Society of Edinburgh: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, the executive chairperson of Biocon and Biocon Biologics, has been elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) in Scotland.

Key Highlights:

  • She will be joining RSE’s current fellowship of around 1,700 fellows who are recognized as being some of the greatest researchers and practitioners working in or with Scotland.
  • The Biocon chief is among the 80 luminaries to be appointed to the RSE’s Fellowship this year.

About RSE:

  • The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) is one of the world’s oldest and most respected academic societies.
  • It is Scotland’s National Academy established in 1783, for the advancement of learning and useful knowledge.
  • Fellows are elected to join the RSE from across the fields of education, science, arts, business and public life in recognition of their impact on improving the world around them.

About Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw:

  • Ms Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is a pioneering biotech entrepreneur, a healthcare visionary, a global influencer, and a passionate philanthropist.
  • She holds key positions in various industry, educational, government and professional bodies.
  • She was elected a full-term member of the Board of Trustees of the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), U.S., in 2018 and as a Member of the National Academy of Engineering, U.S., in 2019.
  • She is also among the earliest Indian signatories to the Giving Pledge, a global commitment to dedicate majority of her wealth to philanthropy.
  • As Founder of Biocon, an innovation-led global biopharmaceuticals enterprise, her vision and work have drawn global recognition both for the Indian industry and her company.
  • The impact she has made as a leading woman in science has made her a role model globally.
  • She is committed to equitable access to healthcare through affordable innovation as she pursues a path of making a difference in billions of lives globally.
  • During the Covid-19 crisis, she has been championing the cause of the healthcare industry in finding innovative solutions to combat the pandemic.

Awards:

Her inspiring achievements have earned her several coveted titles and awards, both national and international.

  • She has been recognized with two of India’s highest civilian honours, the Padma Shri (1989) and the Padma Bhushan (2005).
  • She has been conferred with the Order of Australia, Australia’s highest civilian honour, in 2020 and appointed Knight of the National Order of the French Legion of Honour in 2016.
  • She was named EY World Entrepreneur of the Year in 2020.
  • In 2014, she was honoured with the Othmer Gold Medal by the U.S.-based Chemical Heritage Foundation.
  • The same year, the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Germany, awarded her the Global Economy Prize.

 

People in the News Current Affairs - March 2022

N Chandrasekaran: In a major development, the Chairman of Tata Sons, N Chandrasekaran has been officially appointed as the Chairman of Air India.

Key Highlights:

  • N Chandrasekaran’s appointment was cleared at a board meeting held by Air India.
  • His appointment came after the former Turkish Airlines Chairman Ilker Ayci declined the offer by Tata Group to be the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Managing Director (MD) of Air India.
  • The appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer for Air India will soon be announced by Tata Group.

Note: On October 8, 2021, Tata Group, a Salt-to-software conglomerate had won the bid to buy debt-ridden state-run Air India by pledging Rs. 18,000 crores.

Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurashi: The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) designated Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurashi as its new caliph just days after the group's previous caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed in a US assault in Syria in October 2019.

Key Points:

  • The US forces, on February 3, 2022 had claimed the elimination of al-Qurashi in a similar raid in Syria.
  • Recently, confirming the death of al-Qurashi, ISIS named one Abu al-Hasan al-Hashemi al-Qurashi as its third Caliph.
  • As per the reports, he is older brother of al-Baghdadi, and a key member of the shura or consultative assembly.
  • The group's trajectory since the fall of the so-called caliphate and its first two caliphs suggests that the ISIS core in Iraq and Syria continues to pose serious threats to the region and the rest of the world.

Background:

  • In December 2011, The United States withdrew its forces from Iraq, claiming that Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) which was led by Al-Baghdadi, had been annihilated.
  • By then, AQI’s Syrian branch, Al Nusrah Front (ANF), led by Abu Muhammad al-Julani, had already sent scores of cadres to Syria and grabbed territory.
  • By April 2013, the AQI had morphed into ISIS.
  • Then on June 29, 2014, it declared a caliphate across large swathes of Iraq and Syria.
  • Julani on the other hand, declared that ANF would remain a branch of al-Qaeda.
  • He later renamed it Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which still controls northwestern Syria and some other parts of the country.

Miss World 2021 Winner: Karolina Bielawaska from Poland recently won the 70th edition of the Miss World pageant 2021 at San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Key Highlights:

  • The new Miss World 2021 winner defeated Indonesia, the USA, Mexico, Northern Island, and Cote d'Ivoire to win the Miss World crown.
  • Miss World 2019 Toni-Ann Singh of Jamaica was crowned her successor in the finale.
  • In Miss World 2021, USA’s Shree Saini and Olivia Yace of Cote d'Ivoire emerged as the first and the second runners-up, respectively.

Miss World 2021 contestant India:

  • Manasa Varanasi, who was in the Miss World race for India, went up to the Top 13 candidates but was not selected in the Top 6 winners list.

Note: Just three months before, India's Harnaaz Sandhu had brought home Miss Universe 2021 crown after 21 years.

About Karolina Bielawaska:

  • Karolina Bielawaska is currently pursuing her Master's Degree in Management and wishes to further pursue her PhD.
  • Currently, she has also been working as a model.
  • She hopes to become a motivational speaker.
  • According to missworld.com, the new Miss World 2021 winner Karlina Bielawaska is very passionate about the voluntary work that she is involved with.
  • Karolina's Beauty with a Purpose project 'Zupa an Pietrynie' provides constant help to the homeless people at the time of the crisis.
  • It also raises awareness of this problem and fights against social exclusion.

Miss World 2021:

  • Miss World 2021 was conducted during a span of 40 days through December 2021.
  • The event witnessed the participation of more than 90 contestants from all over the world, however the conclusion was postponed because to a COVID outbreak among the staff and contestants.
  • The jury panel of Miss World 2021 included CEO of Miss World Organisation Julia Morley, Miss World 1986 Giselle Laronde, and British novelist, author, and columnist Patrick Robinson, among others.

GD Birla Award: Professor Narayan Pradhan has been selected for the 31st GD Birla Award for Scientific Research for his outstanding contribution in the field of material sciences.

  • He has contributed his crystal modulation skills to the development of new designs for these tiny lighting materials.

Why this award was is given to him?

  • Pradhan’s research work focused on understanding the chemistry and physics of light-emitting semiconductor nanocrystals.
  • His research group has significantly contributed to the surface construction of the newly emerged light-emitting halide perovskite nanocrystals, which are expected to be the next-generation lighting materials for photovoltaics and making LEDs.
  • He has provided his expertise in crystal modulations to help design new shapes of these tiny lighting materials.

About Professor Narayan Pradhan:

  • Professor Narayan Pradhan is a member of the faculty at the School of Material Sciences, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Jadavpur.
  • He graduated from Odisha’s Fakir Mohan College and did his master’s in chemistry from the Ravenshaw University, Cuttack.
  • He went on to get a PhD from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, in 2001.
  • He did his post-doctoral research at Israel’s Ben Gurion University and the University of Arkansas in the US.
  • In 2007, he joined the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science as an assistant professor.
  • Pradhan has been a recipient of the following awards:
  1. LNJ Bhilwara Nanoscience award,
  2. DST Swarnajayanti Fellowship award,
  3. DST Nanoscience Young Career award,
  4. Oxford Nanoscientist award.

About G.D. Birla Award for Scientific Research:

  • The award was instituted in 1991 by the K. K. Birla Foundation in honour of the Indian philanthropist Ghanshyam Das Birla.
  • The award is given every year to an outstanding scientific research, mostly done during the past 5 years, in all branches of science including medical science, basic and applied.
  • The award recognizes eminent Indian scientists below the age of 50 for their original and outstanding contributions to any branch of science.
  • It carries a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh.
  • The recipient is chosen by a selection board, whose present head is Professor Chandrima Shaha, the president of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA).

Dr Ashish K Jha: The President of United States Joe Biden has recently appointed an Indian-American public health expert Dr Ashish K Jha as the White House’s next Covid-19 Response Coordinator.

About Dr Ashish K Jha:

  • Dr Ashish K Jha, born in Pursaulia, Bihar in 1970 migrated to Canada with his parents.
  • Then he went to the United States in 1983.
  • He graduated from Columbia University with a BA in economics and later received his MD from Harvard Medical School.
  • He is a practicing physician and has been serving as the Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health since 2020.
  • He recently advised the White House on the national Covid-19 preparedness plan.
  • It outlines how people can eventually begin resuming normal activities as Covid restrictions are gradually lifted.

2022 Pritzker Architecture Prize: Diébédo Francis Kéré recently won the 2022 Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Key Facts:

  • Born in Burkina Faso, he has become the first architect from Africa to win the prestigious award.
  • The 56-year-old architect has amassed major awards for his sustainable designs in buildings from Mali to China.
  • He is a humanitarian, a man with an architectural vocabulary that spans the globe while staying singularly focused on the needs of his home village.

About Pritzker Architecture Prize:

  • The Pritzker Architecture Prize is an award presented annually "to honor a living architect or architects who has contributed significantly to humanity through the art of architecture.”
  • The award was founded in 1979 by Jay A. Pritzker and his wife Cindy.
  • It is funded by the Pritzker family and sponsored by the Hyatt Foundation.
  • It is considered to be one of the world's premier architecture prizes, and is often referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture.
  • The Pritzker Architecture Prize is said to be awarded "irrespective of nationality, race, creed, or ideology".
  • The recipients receive US$100,000, a citation certificate, and, since 1987, a bronze medallion.

Chitra Ramakrishan: CBI has arrested Chitra Ramakrishna, former CEO of National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) has been recently arrested by the CBI.

She was arrested under co-location scam related to the manipulation of the market at the stock exchange.

About the scam:

  • There are allegations that some brokers who had rented space at the NSE co-location facility were allegedly able to get on to the NSE's computers faster and with higher hardware specs while engaged in algorithmic trading, giving them an unfair advantage between 2012 and 2014.

Note: Even a split-second faster access is believed to result in huge gains for a trader.

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) discovered that stock brokers were given preferential access to NSE's colocation faculty.
  • It was discovered that a single stock broker might connect in to various dissemination servers using different IP addresses.
  • This gave at least 15 brokers preferential access.
  • After a probe into the matter, SEBI in 2019 directed NSE to disgorge Rs 624.89 crore, and barred the exchange from accessing the market for funds for six months.
  • SEBI also asked the former NSE CEOs, Ramakrishna and Narain, to disgorge 25% of their respective salaries drawn during a certain period.
  • They were also forbidden for a period of five years from associating with a listed company or a market infrastructure institution or any other market intermediary.

What is Co-location?

  • A Co-location facility also known as colo, is a data center facility where a business can rent space for servers and other computing hardware.
  • It is associated with a facility where a third party can rent a rack/server space along with other computer hardware.
  • This facility provides infrastructure such as power supply, cooling for setting up servers,bandwidth, and  storage of data.
  • When it comes to the NSE, high-frequency and algo traders have specific locations in the exchange building (NSE), directly close to the exchange servers, where they can place their systems or programmes.
  • With the co-location facilities being extremely close to stock exchange servers, traders here have an advantage over other traders due to the improvement in latency (time taken for order execution).
  • However, institutional investors and brokers mostly use the co-location for their proprietary trading, with retail investors having a minor presence.

About National Stock Exchange of India (NSE):

  • National Stock Exchange of India Limited is the leading stock exchange of India.
  • NSE was established in 1992 as the first dematerialized electronic exchange in the country.
  • It was the first exchange in the country to provide a modern, fully automated screen-based electronic trading system that offered easy trading facilities to investors spread across the length and breadth of the country.
  • It is located in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • It is under the ownership of some leading financial institutions, banks, and insurance companies.

About Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI):

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is the regulatory body for securities and commodity market in India under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Finance, Government of India (GoI).
  • It was established on 12 April 1988 and given Statutory Powers on 30 January 1992 through the SEBI Act, 1992.
  • The Preamble of the Securities and Exchange Board of India describes the basic functions of the Securities and Exchange Board of India.
  • The main function of SEBI is to safeguard the rights and interests of the investor, reduce malpractices related to the stock exchange, establishing a code of conduct and promoting the healthy functioning of the stock exchange.
  • It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

US International Women of Courage Award 2022: Rizwana Hasan, a Bangladeshi environmental lawyer, has been selected for the International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award in 2022.

Highlights:

She is among the 12 women from around the world who will be honoured by the US Department of State with the award for showing exceptional courage and leadership to make a difference in their communities.

The award ceremony will be hosted by US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken to honour the 12 women selected for the award.

About Rizwan Hasan:

  • She is the Chief Executive of the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association.
  • She has demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in her mission to protect the environment and defend the dignity and rights of the marginalized Bangladeshis.
  • Over the last two decades, she has taken up landmark legal cases to change the dynamic of development in Bangladesh to include a people-centred focus on environmental justice.
  • She has successfully taken up cases against deforestation, pollution, unregulated ship breaking, and illegal land development.
  • She continues to work in the courtroom to combat environmental degradation and the local effects of climate change, despite significant resistance from powerful interests and threats of violence to herself and her family
  • She received the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2012 for her activism.

About the award:

The International Women of Courage (IWOC) award was established in 2007 by the US Department of State to honour women of exceptional courage, strength and leadership who work to bring change to their communities. Till now 170 women from 80 countries have been honoured under the IWOC programme.

Nari Shakti Puruskar: The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, has conferred the 'Nari Shakti Puraskar' for 2020 and 2021 at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.

Key Highlights:

  • The awards were presented on the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 08, 2022.
  • The award ceremony for the year 2020 could not be held in 2021 due to prevalent situation created by COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Overall, 28 awards (14 awards each for the years 2020 and 2021) were presented to 29 individuals in recognition of their exceptional work in rendering distinguished services towards empowerment of women, especially vulnerable and marginalized women.
  • The winners of the Nari Shakti Puraskar for the year 2020 are from fields as diverse as entrepreneurship, agriculture, arts and crafts, STEMM, innovation, social work and wildlife conservation, etc.
  • The winners of the Nari Shakti Puraskar for the year 2021 are from the fields of linguistics, entrepreneurship, agriculture, Merchant Navy, STEMM, education and literature, social work, arts and crafts, disability rights, etc.

About Nari Shakti Puraskar:

  • The Nari Shakti Puraskar is an initiative of the Ministry of Women and Child Development to acknowledge the exceptional contribution made by individuals and institutions, to celebrate women as game changers and catalyst of positive change in the society.
  • It is awarded annually on the occasion of Women’s Day by the President of India.
  • The awards were instituted in 1999 under the title of Stree Shakti Puraskar, but later in 2015, the Government of India (GoI) renamed it as Nari Shakti Puraskar.
  • There are given two individual categories and six institutional.
  • It carries a cash prize of rupees one-lakh and two lakh, respectively.

Individual categories:

  1. Award for courage and bravery
  2. Awards for making outstanding contributions to women’s endeavour, community work, or making a difference, or women's empowerment

 Institutional categories:

Each of the six institutional categories is named after an eminent woman in Indian history.

  1. Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar Award for best private sector organization or public sector undertaking in promoting the well-being and welfare of women.
  • It is named after Ahilyabai Holkar, an 18th-century ruler of the Malwa kingdom.
  1. Rani Rudramma Devi Awards are given to two District Panchayats and two Gram Panchayats for work in the area of women welfare especially related to the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana.
  • It is named after Rudrama Devi, a 13th-century ruler of Deccan Plateau.
  1. Kannagi Devi Award is given for best state which has appreciably improved Child Sex Ratio (CSR).
  • It is named after Kannagi, the central character of the Tamil epic Silapathikaram.
  1. Mata Jijabai Award is given for best urban local body for providing services and facilities to women.
  • It is named after Mata Jijabai, mother of Shivaji, who founded the Maratha Empire in the 17th century.
  1. Rani Lakshmi Bai Award is given to the best institution for research and development in the field of women empowerment.
  • It is named after Lakshmibai, one of the leading figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and a queen of Jhansi.
  1. Rani Gaidinliu Zeliang Award is given to a civil society organization (CSO) doing outstanding work for the welfare and well-being of women.
  • It is named after Rani Gaidinliu, a 20th-century Naga spiritual and political leader.

T Raja Kumar: Singapore’s T. Raja Kumar has been designated president of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for a period of two years.

Highlights:

  • Mr. Kumar will assume office with effect from July 01, 2022.
  • He will take place of Dr. Marcus Pleyer of Germany.
  • T. Raja Kumar is currently serving as Head of Singapore’s delegation to the FATF since 2015.
  • Since 1992, Singapore has been a member of the organisation.
  • According tp the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Ministry of Finance (MOF), and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Mr Raja has played a key role in directing Singapore’s efforts to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.
  • Since January 2015, he has led Singapore’s efforts to satisfy FATF Standards as co-chairman of the National Interagency Committee on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism.

Additional Info:

About Financial Action Task Force (FATF):

  • Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was founded as an inter-governmental decision-making body in 1989 by the western G7 nations.
  • It is headquartered in Paris.

Mandate:

  • It acts as an international watchdog on issues of money-laundering and terrorist financing.
  • It brings national legislative and regulatory reforms in money laundering and it also works to stop funding for weapons of mass destruction.
  • It also reviews and supervises member jurisdictions to make sure that they fully and effectively apply the FATF standards fully and effectively and holds countries to account that do not comply.

India and FATF:

  • India became an Observer at FATF in 2006.
  • Since then, it had been working towards full-fledged membership.
  • On June 25, 2010, India was taken in as the 34th country member of FATF.

Two regional organizations – the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the European Commission (EC) are also its members.

About FATF Grey list and Black list:

FATF maintains 2 different lists of countries – grey list and black list

Grey List:

  • Countries that are considered a haven for supporting terror funding and money laundering are put in the FATF grey list.
  • This inclusion serves as a warning to the country that it may enter the blacklist.

Black List:

  • Countries are known as Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories (NCCTs) are put in the blacklist.
  • These countries support terror funding and money laundering activities.
  • The FATF revises the blacklist regularly, adding or deleting entries.

Debasish Panda: Debasish Panda, a 1987-batch IAS officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre has been appointed as the Chairman of India's Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI).

Key Facts:

  • He is a former financial services secretary.
  • The Appointments Committee of the cabinet has approved Panda's appointment as chairperson of the insurance regulator initially for three years from the assumption of charge.
  • The Chairman of IRDAI has been lying vacant since May 2021, when Subhash Chandra Khuntia completed his term.

About IRDAI:

  • Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) is an autonomous, statutory body tasked with regulating and promoting the insurance and re-insurance industries in India.
  • It was established by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999 (IRDAI Act 1999), an Act of Parliament passed by the Government of India (GoI).
  • The powers and functions of the Authority are laid down in the IRDAI Act, 1999 and Insurance Act, 1938.
  • It is a 10-member body including the chairman, five full-time and four part-time members appointed by the government of India.
  • The main objectives of the IRDAI include promotion of competition so as to enhance customer satisfaction through increased consumer choice and fair premiums, while ensuring the financial security of the Insurance market.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.

 

Shane Warne: Australian cricket legend Shane Warne passed away on 4th March 2022 from a suspected heart attack at the age of 52 years.

About Shane Warne:

  • Shane Warne was a right-arm leg spinner cricketer from Australia.
  • He is widely regarded as one of the finest bowlers in cricket history.
  • He was named as one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Century in 2000 by a panel of experts.
  • He was known as the King of Spin with a massive tally of 708 wickets in Test cricket, which is the most ever for an Australian and second in the world only after Muttiah Muralitharan, who broke his record on 3 December 2007.
  • He had debuted in Test against India on January 2, 1992, and in ODI against New Zealand on March 24, 1993.
  • His last test for the Australian side was against England on January 2, 2007, and his last ODI was on January 10, 2005.  
  • He was the only player to have scored more than 3,000 Test runs without a career century.
  • He was a part of the Australian cricket team that won the World Cup in 1999 and won five Ashes series between 1993 and 2003.
  • He was best remembered for one ball or that ball or Gatting Ball which is termed as the ball of the century, which he bowled to Mike Gatting of England at Old Trafford, Manchester.
  • In 2005, he became the first bowler in the test format to reach 600 wickets.
  • He was named as a bowler in Australia's "greatest ever ODI team".
  • He was named in the all-time Test World XI by Wisden to mark 150 years of the Cricketers' Almanack.
  • Shane Warne was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2013.

T20 Career:

  • He was a significant part of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
  • In 2008, he was appointed as the captain of Rajasthan Royals where he lead Rajasthan Royals to its fairy tale title win against Chennai Super Kings in the inaugural edition of the IPL.
  • He continued to captain them for four more seasons, with 2011 being his final season with the team. 

Sanjiv Kapoor: has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Jet Airways.

Key Highlights:

  • His appointment will be effective from April 4, 2022.
  • This is the second top-level announcement and it comes just few days after former Sri Lankan Airlines CEO Vipula Gunatileka was appointed as the chief financial officer of the airline.
  • Former Indian Air Force (IAF) squadron leader and Nepal Airlines Corporation executive Captain PP Singh has also recently been appointed as the new accountable manager of Jet Airways, replacing Sudhir Gaur.

About Sanjiv Kapoor:

  • He has over 20 years of experience in the airline industry.
  • He started his airline career in finance and corporate planning with Northwest Airlines (now merged with Delta) in the US in 1997.
  • Prior to being appointed as the new CEO of Jet Airways, he was the president of Oberoi Hotels.
  • He has also worked as a chief operating officer at SpiceJet and chief strategy and commercial officer at Vistara.

About Jet Airways:

  • Jet Airways was one of the largest airlines in India.
  • It was founded by Naresh Goyal on 1 April 1992, in Mumbai.
  • It ceased operations on April 17, 2019.
  • The airline is, however, expected to restart its operations by early 2022.
  • The Jalan Kalrock Consortium is the new promoter of Jet Airways.
  • The consortium put forward a resolution, which was approved by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on June 22, 2021.

Note: The NCLT in order has given the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation 90 days for allotting airport slots to Jet Airways.

  • This means that Jet Airways can take to the skies as early as this summer as a full-service domestic airline with a fleet of six aircraft.

Boltzmann Medal: Deepak Dhar from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune, recently became the first Indian to be awarded the Boltzmann Medal by the Commission on Statistical Physics (C3) of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics.

Key Highlights:

  • C3 of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) presents this medal once in three years for contributions in the field of statistical physics.
  • He shares the platform with American scientist John J. Hopfield who is known for his invention of an associative neural network, now named after him.
  • The chosen two scientists will be presented with the medals at the StatPhys28 conference to be held in Tokyo, 7-11 August 2023.
  • According to the website of the C3 Commission Prof. Dhar has been chosen for this award for his seminal contributions in the field of statistical physics, including exact solutions of self-organized criticality models, interfacial growth, universal long-time relaxation in disordered magnetic systems, exact solutions in percolation and cluster counting problems and definition of spectral dimension of fractals.
  • Prof Dhar is currently the emeritus faculty at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune.

About the award:

  • This prestigious award was initiated in 1975.
  • Nobel laureate (1982) K.G. Wilson was the first recipient.
  • The award consists of the gilded Boltzmann medal with the inscription of Ludwig Boltzmann.

About Prof. Deepak Dhar:

  • Prof Dhar was born in 1951.
  • He completed his graduation in Science in 1970 from the University of Allahabad.
  • He got his Masters’s in Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur in 1972.
  • In 1978, after completing his Ph.D. in The US he joined the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) as a research fellow.
  • He worked at TIFR over the years as a full-time professor and retired in 2016.
  • Since then, he has joined IISER Pune as a visiting faculty.

General S F Rodrigues: Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi expressed deep grief over the passing away of former Indian Army Chief General S F Rodrigues.

  • He passed away on March 4, 2022, at the age of 88.

About General S F Rodrigues:

  • General Sunith Francis Rodrigues (1933 – 2022) was an Indian army officer who was Chief of the Army Staff of the Indian Army from 1990 to 1993.
  • After his retirement, he served two terms on the National Security Advisory Board.
  • He was also the Governor of Punjab from 2004 to 2010.

Military Service:

  • He had joined the Joint Services Wing of the Indian Military Academy in 1949.
  • He was commissioned on December 28, 1952, into the Regiment of Artillery.
  • From 1975 to 1977, as a Brigadier, he commanded a mountain infantry brigade in a high-altitude sector.
  • He was promoted to the Major General and then took over the command of a division in a high-altitude area.
  • In 1986, after the promotion to the rank of Lieutenant General, he took command of a Corps in the Northern Sector.
  • He was the Vice Chief of Army Staff from November 1987 to April 1989.
  • He took over the Western Command from November 1, 1989, to June 30, 1990.
  • He also served as the Chief of Army Staff from 1990 to 1993.
  • The General Officer had participated in the Sino-Indian War of 1962, Indo-Pakistan War 1965, and Indo-Pak War 1971.
  • SF Rodrigues retired on June 30, 1993, after nearly 41 years of service.
  • He was also instrumental in the induction of women in the serving area of the Army in 1991, marking an important step towards empowering women to serve their country.

Awards:

He was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal in recognition of his dedication and service.

Madhabi Puri Buch: Former banker Madhabi Puri Buch has been appointed as the new chairperson of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

Key Highlights:

  • She has become the first-ever woman to head the capital markets regulator.
  • 57-year-old Buch is also the first person from the private sector working at the regulator.
  • She has been appointed for a three-year term.
  • She will be replacing Ajay Tyagi whose tenure as SEBI chairman ended recently.

About SEBI:

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is the regulatory body for the securities and commodity market in India under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance (MoF), Government of India (GoI).
  • It was established on 12 April 1988 and given Statutory Powers on 30 January 1992 through the SEBI Act, 1992.
  • The Preamble of the Securities and Exchange Board of India describes the basic functions of the Securities and Exchange Board of India.
  • The main function of SEBI is to safeguard the rights and interests of the investor, reduce malpractices related to the stock exchange, establish a code of conduct and promote the healthy functioning of the stock exchange.

Note: Controller of Capital Issues was the regulatory authority before SEBI came into existence; it derived authority from the Capital Issues (Control) Act, 1947.

  • It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Members:

  • The SEBI is managed by its members, which consists of the following:
  • The chairman is nominated by the Union Government of India.
  • Two members, i.e., Officers from the Union Finance Ministry.
  • One member from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • The remaining five members are nominated by the Union Government of India, out of them at least three shall be whole-time members.

 

 

  

Sanjay Malhotra: The central government recently nominated Sanjay Malhotra, Secretary, Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance (MoF), Government of India (GoI) as a Director on the Central Board of Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Key Highlights:

  • The nomination of Sanjay Malhotra is effective from February 16, 2022, and until further orders.
  • Prior to his appointment as DFS Secretary, he was the Chairman and Managing Director of REC Ltd.
  • Earlier, he was posted in the union power ministry as an additional secretary.
  • He succeeded Debashish Panda, who completed his term on January 31, 2022.

About Sanjay Malhotra:

  • Sanjay Malhotra is a 1990 batch IAS officer of the Rajasthan cadre.
  • He is an engineering graduate of Computer Science from IIT, Kanpur.
  • He has done his Masters in Public Policy from Princeton University.
  • Over the past 30 years, he has worked in various sectors including power, finance and taxation, information technology, mines, etc.

Sanjeev Sanyal: Sanjeev Sanyal who was the Finance Ministry's Principal Economic Advisor has now been appointed as a full-time member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM).

Highlights:

  • He has been serving as the Finance Ministry’s Principal Economic Adviser since February 2017.
  • He had advised the finance ministry to devise economic policies during the pandemic.
  • The appointment is for the tenure of two years.
  • The news of his appointment was announced by the panel’s Chairman Bibek Debroy on 22 February 2022.

About Sanjeev Sanyal:

  • The incoming member is a noted economist, author and columnist.
  • He has been working with the financial markets since the 1990s.
  • He brings his nearly two decades of experience in the financial sector to the table.
  • Prior to his stint in the Finance Ministry, Mr. Sanyal was the Global Strategist and Managing Director at Deutsche Bank until 2015.
  • He was instrumental in the preparation and publishing of the Economic Survey (2021-22).
  • He is credited with the transitioning of the Economic Survey from the previous two-volume format to a single volume format alongside a separate volume for statistical tables.
  • He has authored various books including ‘The Indian Renaissance: India’s Rise after a Thousand Year’s of Decline’, ‘Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India’s Geography’, and 'The Incredible History of India’s Geography'.
  • In 2007, he was awarded the Eisenhower Fellowship for his work on urban issues. He was also honoured by the Singapore Government at the World Cities Summit 2014.

Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM):

  • The Economic Advisory Council to PM (EAC-PM) is a non-constitutional, non-permanent and independent body constituted to give advice on economic and related issues to the Government of India, particularly to the Prime Minister.
  • The EAC serves to highlight the key economic issues that the country faces to the Government of India from a neutral viewpoint.
  • The council advises the PM on economic issues such as microfinance, inflation, and industrial output.
  • At present, EAC-PM is chaired by Dr. Bibek Debroy (Chairman).

Ramanujan Prize for Young Mathematicians: Professor Neena Gupta, a mathematician at the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata was awarded the Ramanujan Prize for Young Mathematicians in a virtual ceremony on 22nd February 2022.

Key Facts:

  • She received the award for the year 2021 for her outstanding work in affine algebraic geometry and commutative algebra.
  • She is the third woman to receive Ramanujan Prize.

Awards and Honours:

  • Professor Gupta's solution for solving the Zariski cancellation problem, a fundamental problem in Algebraic Geometry, earned her the 2014 Young Scientists Award of the Indian National Science Academy (NSA).
  • In 2019, Professor Gupta became one of the youngest people to receive the ‘Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize’ at the age of 35. She has successfully solved a 70-year-old mathematics puzzle – Zariski’s Cancellation Problem.

About the Ramanujan Prize:

  • The prize is awarded annually to a researcher from a developing country funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) of the Government of India (GoI) in association with ICTP (International Centre for Theoretical Physics) and the International Mathematical Union (IMU).
  • It is awarded to young mathematicians less than 45 years of age who have conducted outstanding research in a developing country.
  • It is supported by DST in the memory of Srinivasa Ramanujan.

About Srinivasa Ramanujan:

  • Srinivasa Ramanujan FRS (born December 22, 1887, Erode, India—died April 26, 1920, Kumbakonam), was an Indian mathematician who lived during the British Rule in India.
  • He was a genius in pure mathematics who was essentially self-taught and made spectacular contributions to elliptic functions, continued fractions, infinite series, and the analytical theory of numbers.
  • In 1911, Ramanujan published the first of his papers in the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society.
  • In 1914, he traveled to England where Hardy tutored him and collaborated with him in some research.
  • He worked out the Riemann series, the elliptic integrals, hypergeometric series, the functional equations of the zeta function, and his own theory of divergent series.
  • The number 1729 is known as the Hardy-Ramanujan number after a famous visit by Hardy to see Ramanujan at a hospital. It is the smallest number which can be expressed as the sum of two different cubes in two different ways.
  • Hardy observed Ramanujan’s work primarily involved fields less known even amongst other pure mathematicians.
  • During his short life, Ramanujan independently compiled nearly 3,900 results (mostly identities and equations).

He is known for:-

  1. Ramanujan's sum
  2. Landau–Ramanujan constant
  3. Mock theta functions
  4. Ramanujan conjecture
  5. Ramanujan prime
  6. Ramanujan–Soldner constant
  7. Ramanujan theta function
  8. Rogers–Ramanujan identities
  9. Ramanujan's master theorem
  10. Hardy–Ramanujan asymptotic formula
  11. Ramanujan–Sato series

He became one of the youngest Fellows of the Royal Society and only the second Indian member, and the first Indian to be elected a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

Ramanujan’s home state of Tamil Nadu celebrates 22 December as ‘State IT Day’, memorializing both the man and his achievements, as a native of Tamil Nadu.

Fun Fact: The Dev Patel-starrer ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’ (2015) was a biopic on the mathematician.

Narsinhmehtai: The researchers of Bhakta Kavi Narsinh Mehta University (BKNMU), Junagadh have recently discovered a new species of spider.

Key Highlights:

  • It has been named “Narsinhmehtai”, to honour Narsinh Mehta and put his name on the global map.
  • However, the members of Nagar sub-caste group of Brahmin community have objected to the nomenclature, citing that he was already a global name and there was no need to associate his name with a spider.

About Narsinh Mehta:

  • Narsinh Mehta was the 15th-century poet and devotee of Lord Krishna.
  • He was born in the Nagar sub-caste group of the Brahmin community.
  • He is believed to have been born in Talaja in present-day Bhavnagar district in 1410 and died in Junagadh in the 1480s.
  • The family had its origin in Vadnagar in north Gujarat, and the caste name is believed to be Pandya but as members of the family were officers in kingdoms of those days.
  • They were called Mehta (one who keeps books of accounts) which later on became the family name.
  • Mehta used to spend time in Krishna-bhakti (devotion to Lord Krishna) even after his marriage to Manekba, paying little attention to family duties.
  • He penned more than 750 poems, called padd in Gujarat.
  • They mainly deal with devotion to Lord Krishna, gyan (wisdom) vairagya (detachment from worldly affairs).
  • Others like Shalmshano Vivah, Kunvarbainu Mameru, Hundi and Harmala are believed to be autobiographical accounts of different occasions in his life.
  • Vaishanavajn to tene kahiye, Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite bhajan is Mehta’s creation.

 

 

People in the News Current Affairs - February 2022

Michiaki Takahashi: Google, on 17 February 2022 commemorated the 94th birth anniversary of Japanese virologist Dr. Michiaki Takahashi.

Key Facts:

  • Takahashi developed the world's first vaccine against chickenpox.
  • He developed the "Oka" vaccine by producing v-Oka, a live-attenuated virus strain of the varicella-zoster virus.
  • The vaccine still helps prevent millions of cases a year.

About Michiaki Takahashi: 

  1. Michiaki Takahashi was born on February 17, 1928 in Osaka, Japan.
  2. He earned his MD in 1954 from Osaka University's Medical School, and completed in 1959 the Graduate Course of Medical Science, majoring in poxvirus virology.
  3. He later got a research fellowship at Baylor College in the United States in 1963.
  4. The experience of watching his eldest son, Teruyuki, suffers from chickenpox while studying in the U.S. led him to begin the development of a chickenpox vaccine in 1971.
  5. He developed the world's first chickenpox vaccine named "Oka" in early 1974.
  6. In 1984, the vaccine was certified by the WHO as the most suitable chickenpox vaccine.
  7. In 1986, the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare approved it for practical use in countries around the world.
  8. Takahashi became the director of Osaka University’s Microbial Disease Study Group in 1994.
  9. After retirement from Osaka University, he was given the title professor emeritus.
  10. He passed away in Osaka on December 16, 2013, after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Kala Ramachandran:  Kala Ramachandran is an IPS officer who has been appointed as the first woman police commissioner of Gurugram.

Key Highlights:

  • The 1994 - batch, Haryana - cadre IPS officer is also the second IPS officer of additional director general of police (ADGP) rank to become Gurugram police chief.
  • The first was Mohammad Akil, who served the post from February 2019 to July 2020.
  • Ramachandran will take over the charge from outgoing Police Commissioner KK Rao, who has been transferred to the Centre for Police Training and Research at Bhondsi near Gurugram.

About Kala Ramachandran:

  1. She is an IPS officer originally from Tamil Nadu cadre but switched to the Haryana cadre after marriage.
  2. She has previously served as the Superintendent of police in Rewari, Fatehabad and Panchkula.
  3. From 2001 onwards, she was on central deputation with the Intelligence Bureau where she served the agency till June 2020.
  4. She had headed the North Eastern Police Academy in Meghalaya from 2017 to 2020.
  5. After returning to Haryana in 2020 she was the Additional Director General Police (ADGP) of Crime Against Women (CAW) Cell and Vigilance at Haryana police headquarters. 
  6. She has become the first woman police commissioner of the district since the commissioner system was introduced in 2007.

Vineet Joshi: IAS Vineet Joshi has recently been appointed as the new Chairman of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

Key Highlights:

  • His appointment was confirmed by the Ministry of Education (MoE).
  • He has replaced IAS Manoj Ahuja, who has been appointed as the Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.

About IAS Vineet Joshi:

  1. Mr. Joshi is a 1992-batch IAS officer of the Manipur cadre.
  2. He currently held the position as an Additional Secretary, Department of Higher Education, under the Ministry of Education.
  3. Prior to being CBSE Chairman, Mr. Joshi was the governing body member of the National Testing Agency (NTA).
  4. Ahuja has served as Special Director, Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Department of Personnel and Training.

About CBSC:

  • The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is a national-level board of education in India for public and private schools. It is controlled and managed by the Government of India (GoI).
  • It was established on 2 July 1929.
  • The constitution of the Board was amended in 1952 to give its present name, the Central Board of Secondary Education.
  • The Board was reconstituted on 1 July 1962 so as to make its services available to students and various educational institutions in the entire country.

Hilal-e-Pakistan: Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates were conferred with Hilal-e-Pakistan, the second-highest civilian honour in the country.

Key Highlights:

  • He was conferred the award for his efforts to help eradicate polio in Pakistan.
  • Gates was on a day-long visit to Pakistan where he met with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
  • He also visited the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) that oversees efforts to curb Covid-19.

 

  • Gates also met Planning and Development Minister and NCOC head Asad Umar and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan.
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been a major contributor in worldwide polio eradication through Gavi, the vaccine alliance.

About GAVI:

  • Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation), is an international organization that was created in 2000.
  • Its aim is to expand global access to and use of vaccines, particularly among vulnerable children.
  • It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Since its launch, Gavi has disbursed over $13 billion and supported immunization efforts in 77 low- and middle-income countries.
  • The U.S. is one of Gavi’s top government donors.

About Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:

  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a merging of the William H. Gates Foundation and the Gates Learning Foundation, is an American private foundation founded by Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates.
  • It was founded in 2000 in Seattle, Washington.
  • As of 2020, this foundation is to be the second-largest charitable foundation in the world, holding $49.8 billion in assets.
  • The primary stated goals of the foundation are to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty across the world, and expand educational opportunities and access to information technology.

About Bill Gates:

  1. William Henry Gates III (born October 28, 1955) is an American business magnate, software developer, investor, author, and philanthropist.
  2. In 1975, he and his late childhood friend Paul Allen founded Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico which became the world's largest personal computer software company.
  3. Since 1987, Gates has been included in the Forbes list of the world's wealthiest people.
  4. From 1995 to 2017, he held the Forbes title of the richest person in the world every year except from 2010 to 2013.
  5. As of February 2022, Gates had an estimated net worth of US$130 billion, making him the fourth-richest person in the world.

Sandeep Bakhshi: Sandeep Bakhshi who is the managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) of ICICI Bank has been named the Business Standard Banker of the Year 2020-21.

Key Details:

  • The winner was chosen by a jury of 5 members chaired by former Reserve Bank of India deputy governor S S Mundra.
  • The criteria used for selecting the contenders were the following:

1. Banks with an asset size of Rs 50,000 crore and above as of March 2021.

2. 10 percent or more growth in profits prior to provisioning in the past one-, two- and three-year periods.

  • Bakhshi is credited with reviving the organizational morale also and bringing in collaborative management leadership, the jury members concurred.
  • For 2020-21, ICICI Bank reported a net profit of Rs 16,193 crore against Rs 7,931 crore during the previous financial year.

About Sandeep Bakhshi:

  • Sandeep Bakhshi has been with ICICI Group since 1986 and handled assignments across the group in ICICI Ltd, ICICI Lombard General Insurance, ICICI Bank, and ICICI Prudential Life Insurance.
  • After steering the bank out of a difficult phase, Bakhshi has received an extension till October 2023.

About ICICI Bank:

  1. ICICI Bank is a leading private sector bank in India.
  2. ICICI Bank was established by the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI), an Indian financial institution, as a wholly-owned subsidiary in 1994 in Vadodara.
  3. However, the parent company was formed in 1955 at the initiative of the World Bank, the Government of India and representatives of Indian industry.
  4. The bank was founded as the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India Bank before it changed its name to ICICI Bank.
  5. The parent company was later merged with the bank. 
  6. It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  7. The tagline of ICICI Bank is "Hum Hai Na, Khayal Apka".

 

India's nightingale, Lata Mangeshkar: Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar, known by the affectionate moniker ‘Nightingale of India’, passed away early on 6th January 2022 aged 92.

Key Highlights:

  • She was cremated today at Shivaji Park in Dadar Mumbai with full state honours.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Maharastra CM Uddhav Thackeray to Bollywood celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan and Ranbir Kapoor attended the funeral.
  • The government of India has also announced two-day national mourning to be observed in the memory of Lata Mangeshkar.
  • The national flag will fly at half-mast for two days as a mark of respect.

Lata Mangeshkar's Musical Legacy:

  • Lata Mangeshkar (born as Hema Mangeshkar; 28 September 1929 – 6 February 2022) was a legendary Indian playback singer.
  • Her contribution to the Indian music industry in a career spanning seven decades gained her honorific titles such as The Nightingale of India, Voice of the Millennium and Queen of Melody.
  • She is considered one of the greatest and most influential singers in India.
  • Her name has been synonymous with music in India and her voice managed to transcend all barriers of caste, religion, creed and culture.
  • She recorded songs in over thirty-six Indian languages and a few foreign languages, though primarily in Hindi, Bengali, Marathi.
  • She was the eldest of five siblings and was born to a Marathi-speaking family in Indore.
  • Her four siblings include Meena Khadikar, Asha Bhosle, Usha Mangeshkar and Hridaynath Mangeshkar.
  • Her father was a classical singer and noted theatre artist, Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar.
  • She received training in classical music from her father and she was later also tutored by musical maestros Aman Ali Khan Sahib and Amanat Ali Khan.
  • She represented each generation of Bollywood, right from Nargis and Waheeda Rehman to Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta.
  • She sang music composed by several legendary music composers including Naushad Ali, Madan Mohan, and S.D. Burman.
  • Her voice and accuracy of holding a note have remained unmatched throughout her career.
  • She became the first Indian to perform at the Royal Albert Hall, London in 1974.
  • She had sung the patriotic song "Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo" in the presence of Jawaharlal Nehru, then the Prime Minister of India on January 27, 1963, against the backdrop of the Sino-Indian War. The song, composed by C. Ramchandra, was said to have brought tears in the eyes of the Prime Minister.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • In 2001, in recognition of her contributions to the nation, she was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour and is only the second female singer, after M. S. Subbulakshmi, to receive this honour.
  • Officer of Legion of Honour (France's highest civilian award) - 2007
  • Padma Vibhushan- 1999
  • 4 Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Awards -1993
  • 2 Filmfare Special Awards
  • Dada Saheb Phalke Award- 1989
  • Padma Bhushan- 1969
  • 3 National Film Awards
  • 15 Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards,
  • In 1969, she made the unusual gesture of giving up the Filmfare Best Female Playback Award in order to promote fresh talent.
  • In 1984 the State Government of Madhya Pradesh instituted the Lata Mangeshkar Award in her honour.
  • The State Government of Maharashtra also instituted a Lata Mangeshkar Award in 1992.
  • In 1974, The Guinness Book of Records listed Mangeshkar as the most recorded artist in history, stating that she had sung no fewer than 30,000 songs between 1948 and 1987.

Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit: Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit has been appointed as the first woman Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

Key Highlights:

  • She is a political science professor at Savitribai Phule Pune University.
  • She was appointed by President Ram Nath Kovind, who is the University’s Visitor.
  • She will hold the job for the next 5 years.
  • She will succeed M. Jagadesh Kumar, who was appointed Chairperson of the University Grants Commission last week.

About JNU:

  • Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is a public central major research university located in New Delhi, India.
  • It was established in 1969.
  • It was named after Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister.

Luc Montagnier: Nobel-winning virologist Luc Montagnier passed away in Paris at the age of 89.

Key Points:

  • He was a brilliant and controversial figure who often challenged the core principles of science and scientific discourse.
  • He won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2008 for the discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS.
  • The Frenchman shared the award with fellow researcher Françoise Barré-Sinoussi.
  • The duo had shared half of the Nobel with German scientist Harald Zur Hausen for his discovery of human papilloma viruses that cause cervical cancer.
  • He worked as a researcher at the Pasteur Institute in Paris and as a full-time professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China.
  • Montagnier was the co-founder of the World Foundation for AIDS Research and Prevention and co-directed the Program for International Viral Collaboration.
  • He was also the founder and a former president of the Houston-based World Foundation for Medical Research and Prevention.
  • He was also a member of the Académie Nationale de Médecine.

Other awards and recognitions:

  • He received more than 20 major awards, including the National Order of Merit (Commander, 1986) and the Légion d'honneur (Knight: 1984; Officer: 1990; Commander: 1993; Grand Officer: 2009).
  • He was a recipient of the Lasker Award and the Scheele Award (1986), the Louis-Jeantet Prize for medicine (1986), the Gairdner Award (1987), the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement (1987); King Faisal International Prize (1993) (known as the Arab Nobel Prize), and the Prince of Asturias Award (2000).
  • Montagnier was awarded the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.) from Whittier College in 2010.

Munishwar Nath Bhandari: According to the Law Ministry, Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari has been appointed Chief Justice of the Madras High Court.

Key Highlights:

  • Justice Bhandari had taken over as the Acting Chief Justice of the Madras High Court after the transfer of Justice Sanjib Banerjee to the Meghalaya High Court in November last year.
  • The Law Ministry also notified the appointment of a total of 13 advocates and three judicial officers as judges of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh High Courts.
  • Out of the thirteen advocates, three advocates each were appointed to the Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and High Courts, seven advocates were elevated to the Andhra Pradesh High Court, three judicial officers were appointed as judges of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

Nitin Gadkari: The Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari will be facilitated for the first time with the 18th late Madhavrao Limaye award in the category of Karyakram Khaasdar (Efficient Member of Parliament) for the year 2020-21.

Key Points:

  • This announcement was made by the Nashik Public Library, Sarvajanik Vachanalay.
  • Earlier, the award was given to Karyaksham Aamdaar, an efficient Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Maharashtra.

About Late Madhavrao Limaye:

  • Madhu Limaye (1 May 1922 – 8 January 1995) whose full name is Madhukar Ramchandra Limaye, was an Indian journalist, writer and social, educational guide and activist, particularly active in the 1970s.
  • He had a close relationship with the Sarvajanik Vachanalay.

About Madhavrao Limaye award:

  • The Sarvajanik Vachanalay annually selects one of the members of Vidhan Parishad (Lok Sabha), Vidhan Sabha (Rajya Sabha) for the Efficient MLA or Member of Parliament (MP) Award.
  • The award has been instituted in the memory of Limaye by his daughter Dr. Shobha Nerlikar.
  • The award consists of Rs 50,000 in cash and a memento.

 

 

Urjit Patel: Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor, Urjit Patel has resigned from the post of non-executive and independent director of Britannia Industries Limited, citing a full-time work assignment starting next month.

Key Facts:

  • The former governor also confirmed that there was no other reason other than his new project for the resignation.
  • He was a part of the Board of the Company.
  • He had joined Britannia in March 2021 as an additional director of the company in the category of non-executive and independent director, and his appointment was for a period of five years, which would have ended in 2026.
  • Patel was recently appointed vice president for investment operations in South Asia at the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
  • His appointment is effective from 1 February.
  • As the 24th governor of RBI, Patel had succeeded Raghuram Rajan and served as the governor of RBI from 2016-2018.
  • Prior to that, he was RBI’s deputy governor in charge of monetary policy.
  • He has also been a consultant to the center's finance ministry.

Queen Elizabeth of England II: Queen Elizabeth kicked off celebrations for the 70th anniversary of her accession to the British throne by inviting local community groups on the 6th of February 2022 to her Sandringham residence in the East of England.

Key Highlights:

  • She is 95 years old.
  • She is the world's longest-reigning living monarch, to mark 70 years on the throne
  • She became the queen of Britain and more than a dozen other realms including Canada, Australia and New Zealand on the death of her father King George VI on Feb. 6, 1952, while she was in Kenya on an international tour.
  • She ascended to the throne at the age of 25 on February 8, 1952, officially.
  • In 2017, the queen marked the Sapphire Jubilee that is 65 years of reign.

Grand celebrations:

  • The platinum jubilee is to be celebrated in the commonwealth of nations.
  • For the first time, the jubilee Beacons are to be lit in the capital city of all the commonwealth nations.
  •  4 days of festivities are planned for early June in London, including a military parade and a music concert, street parties, a mass attendance picnic and a "Platinum Pudding Competition".
  • Commemorative coins have been minted to mark the unprecedented milestone.

About CommonWealth Nations:

  • Common Wealth Nations are 54 member states.
  • Most of them are former territories of the British.
  • India is also a member.
  • The other members are Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Canada, Bangladesh, etc.

 If the queen is still on the throne till June 12, 2022, she will beat the record set by King Bhumibol of Thailand.

Other longest reigns in the world:

King Bhumibol of Thailand:

  • Bhumibol ruled Thailand in the name of Rama IX.
  • He ruled between 1946 and 2016.
  • He died at the age of 88.

Louis XIV of France:

  • Louis XIV was called the “Sun King”.
  • Louis ruled France in the 17th century.
  • He ruled for 72 years between 1643 and 1715.
  • Louis ascended to the throne at the age of four.

Emperor Franz Joseph:

  • Emperor Franz Joseph ruled Austria for 68 years.
  • He ruled between 1848 and 1916.
  • He was a powerful ruler of the Habsburg dynasty.
  • Many blame him as the reason for World War I.

Queen Victoria:

  • Queen Victoria was the great great grandmother of Queen Elizabeth.
  • She ruled for 64 years between 1837 and 1901.
  • The British Empire was at its peak during her rule.
  • Her rule was named the Victorian age.

Emperor Hirohito of Japan:

  • He ruled Japan for 62 years.
  • He died at the age of 87 in 1989.

Sonali Singh: The Government of India (GoI) recently appointed Sonali Singh to hold the additional charge of the Controller General of Accounts (CGA), under the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, with effect from February 01, 2022.

Highlights:

  • Sonali Singh has been appointed in place of Dipak Dash, who superannuated on January 31, 2022.
  • She is a 1987 batch officer of the Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS).
  • She is serving as the Additional Controller General of Accounts since October 2019.
  • Prior to that, she had also served as Additional Secretary at Central Vigilance Commission.

About Controller General of Accounts (CGA):

  • The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) of India is an authority, established by Article 148 of the Constitution of India.
  • It was founded in 1858 by the Constitution of India.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • CAG of India is appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal and can only be removed from office in like manner and on like grounds as a Judge of the Supreme Court.

Functions of CGA:

  • CGA is responsible to maintain account of the government.
  • Apart from consolidating monthly accounts, preparing trends of revenue realization and expenditures,
  • It reconciles the cash balance of the center with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and annual accounts of the central government.

M Jagadesh Kumar: Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Vice-Chancellor Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar was recently appointed chairperson of the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Key Highlights:

  • A notification issued by the Ministry of Education said the appointment has been made for a period of five years, or until he turns 65, whichever is earlier.
  • The post of the UGC Chairman was vacant since December 07, 2021, after Prof D P Singh resigned upon attaining 65 years of age.
  • This is the second time he has been given the charge of chairman of UGC. Kumar held the charge of Chairman, UGC from 14 January 2017 to 2 February 2017.

About the M Jagadesh Kumar:

  • Kumar is an alumnus of IIT Madras’s electrical engineering department.
  • He completed his post-doctoral research at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Waterloo, at Ontario, Canada.
  • He was a professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering at IIT-Delhi before being appointed as the JNU vice-chancellor in January 2016.

About University Grants Commission (UGC):

  • The UGC India is a statutory body set up by the Government of India in accordance with the UGC Act 1956 under the Ministry of Education.
  • It is charged with coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of higher education.
  • It was formed on 28 December 1953 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the Minister of Education, Natural Resources and Scientific Research. 
  • It provides recognition to universities in India, and disbursements of funds to such recognized universities and colleges.

GA Srinivasa Murthy: Senior scientist GA Srinivasa Murthy has been appointed director of Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Hyderabad.

Key highlights:

  • He joined DRDL in the year 1987.
  • He made significant contributions in the area of structural dynamics, ground resonance testing, electrical integration and checkout for various projects of the missile complex.
  • G A Srinivasa Murthy completed his BE in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Andhra University in 1986.
  • He pursued his ME in Digital Systems from Osmania University in Hyderabad.

About Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL):

  • Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) is an Indian missile development laboratory.
  • It is a part of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO).
  • It was founded in June 1961.
  • It is headquartered in Hyderabad.
  • Their charter is centered on the design, development, and flight evaluation of various types of missile systems for the Indian armed forces.

Ravi Mittal: 1986 batch senior IAS officer of Bihar cadre, Ravi Mittal has been appointed as the chairman of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI).

Key Highlights:

  • According to a notification circulated by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs on February 02, Mittal has been appointed to the post of Chairman for a period of five years or till he is 65 years of age-whichever is earlier.
  • The appointment comes a little over four months after the post fell vacant following the retirement of M S Sahoo who completed his five-year term on September 30, 2021.
  • Mittal is currently serving as Secretary, Department of Sports with the additional charge of Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship.

About the IBBI:

  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) is the regulator for overseeing insolvency proceedings and entities like Insolvency Professional Agencies, Insolvency Professionals and Information Utilities in India.
  • IBBI was founded on 1st October 2016.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) chief, Jens Stoltenberg has been appointed as the Governor of Norway central bank.

Key Highlights:

  • He will take over as Norway’s central bank Governor at the end of the year.
  • The appointment comes amid escalating tensions between the West and Russia. Western nations fear Moscow has plans to invade Ukraine, which aspires to join the NATO alliance.
  • Stoltenberg, 62, was the Norwegian finance minister from 1996 to 2000 and prime minister from 2000 to 2001.
  • He became Norway's PM again in 2005, a position he held for a further eight years.
  • Norway’s central bank determines monetary policy but also manages the country’s enormous sovereign wealth fund, the biggest in the world.

About North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO):

  • NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 North American and European countries.
  • The organization was founded on 4 April 1949, Washington, D.C., United States.
  • It implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949.
  • It is headquartered in Headquarters: Brussels, Belgium.

Background:

  • On 4 March 1947, the Treaty of Dunkirk was signed by France and the United Kingdom as a Treaty of Alliance and Mutual Assistance in the event of a possible attack by Germany or the Soviet Union in the aftermath of World War II.
  • The US, Canada, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Portugal and Iceland joined the treaty in 1949.
  • The first NATO military exercise was held in 1952.
  • NATO was the first peacetime military alliance the United States entered into outside of the Western Hemisphere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM): Subedar Neeraj Chopra, who created history last year by winning India’s first athletics gold medal in Olympics, was awarded Param Vishisht Seva Medal and fourth highest civilian honour Padma Shri.

Key Points:

  • In Tokyo Olympics 2020, Chopra won the gold medal throwing javelin to 87.58 metres.
  • The 24-year-old was only the second Indian after shooter Abhinav Bindra to win an individual gold medal at the Olympics. Bindra’s gold came in 2008 in Beijing.
  • Along with Chopra, 18 other serving and retired personnel of the Indian Army have been awarded Param Vishisht Seva Medal.

Achievements of Chopra:

  • Neeraj Chopra was conferred with the Arjuna Award in 2018.
  • Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM) in 2020 for his excellence in sports.
  • Chopra was enrolled into the 4 Rajputana Rifles as a Naib Subedar on May 15, 2016.

Note: Naib Subedar is a rank in the Indian army. The Naib Subedars are Junior Commissioned officers. Their ranks are lower than lieutenants and higher than havidars.

  • He was a part of the Mission Olympics Wing that operated at the Army Sports Institute located in Pune.
  • The Mission Olympics Wing is an initiative of the Indian Army to identify young athletes and give them a secure career so that they can concentrate on sporting activities.

About Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM):

  • Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM) is a military award of India.
  • It was constituted in 1960.
  • It is awarded in recognition to peace-time service of the most exceptional order and may be awarded posthumously.
  • All ranks of the Indian Armed Forces including Territorial Army, Auxiliary and Reserve Forces, Nursing officers and other members of the Nursing services and other lawfully constituted Armed Forces are eligible for the award.
  • The PVSM is usually accorded to three-star officers for distinguished service to the nation.
  • It is equivalent to Sarvottam Yudh Seva Medal.

History:

  • The PVSM was originally instituted as the "Vishisht Seva Medal, Class I" on 26 January 1960.
  • Five other medals were instituted on the same day: the Sainya Seva Medal, Sena Medal, Nao Sena Medal and the Vayu Sena Medal.
  • It was renamed on January 27, 1961, and the badge signed.

Structure of the Medal:

  • The medal is round in shape.
  • It is 35 mm in diameter.
  • It is made of gold gilt.
  • A five pointed star is embossed over the medal.
  • On the other side, the medal has Indian state emblem.

Additional Info:

Other Military Awards in India:

Peacetime: Param Vishisht Seva medal, Ati Vishishi Seva Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal

Wartime: Yudh Seva Medal, Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Sarvottam Yudh Seva Medal

Wartime or Peacetime service awards: Vayu Sena Medal (Air Force), Sena Medal (Army) and Nau Sena Medal (Navy)

Dr. V. Anantha Nageswaran: The Government of India (GoI), on 28 January 2022 appointed Venkatraman Anantha Nageswaran as its Chief Economic Advisor (CEA).

Key Highlights:

He has replaced former CEA KV Subramanian.

Prior to this appointment, Dr. Nageswaran has worked as a writer, author, teacher and consultant.

About Dr. V. Anantha Nageswaran:

  • Dr Venkatraman Anantha Nageswaran is a distinguished economist and is also involved primarily in the field of academia.
  • He was the Dean of the IFMR Graduate School of Business and a distinguished Visiting Professor of Economics at Krea University.
  • He holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Management from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and a doctoral degree from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
  • He has also been a part-time member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India from 2019 to 2021.
  • He has written various books such as ‘The Economics of Derivatives’ and ‘The Rise of Finance: Causes, Consequences and Cures’.

PM Economic Advisory Council:

  • It is an independent body.
  • Currently Dr Bibek Debroy is the Chairman of the council.
  • The council advises the PM on national and international economic issues.

 

Padma Awards 2022: The Government of India (GoI), on the eve of 73rd Republic Day announced the Padma Awards 2022.

Key Highlights:

  • The Padma Awards are one of the highest civilian awards of India which are given in various disciplines -- literature and education, arts, science and engineering, trade and industry, civil services, public affairs, sports, and medicine.
  • The awards are announced on Republic Day every year and are conferred by the President at a ceremonial function around March or April.
  • In 2022, the Padma awards are being presented to a diversified list of recipients.
  • The President has approved conferment of 128 Padma Awards including 2 duo cases (in a duo case, the Award is counted as one).
  • The list comprises 4 Padma Vibhushan, 17 Padma Bhushan and 107 Padma Shri Awards.
  • Of them, 34 are women, 13 awards are posthumous, and 10 awards are for persons from the category of Foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI.
  • Most of them accepted the awards gracefully, while the former West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee refused to accept it.

List of Padma Awards 2022:

Padma Vibhushan (4):

  1. Padma Vibhushan is to be presented to
  2. General Bipin Rawat (Posthumous)
  3. Shri Kalyan Singh (Posthumous)
  4. Shri Radheyshyam Khemka (Posthumous)
  5. Ms. Prabha Atre

Padma Bhushan (17):

  1. Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad
  2. Shri Victor Banerjee
  3. Ms. Gurmeet Bawa (Posthumous)
  4. Shri Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee
  5. Shri Natarajan Chandrasekaran
  6. Shri Krishna Ella and Smt. Suchitra
  7. Ella* (Duo)
  8. Ms. Madhur Jaffery
  9. Shri Devendra Jhajharia
  10. Shri Rashid Khan
  11. Shri Rajiv Mehrishi
  12. Shri Satya Narayana Nadella
  13. Shri Sundararajan Pichai
  14. Shri Cyrus Poonawalla
  15. Shri Sanjaya Rajaram (Posthumous)
  16. Ms. Pratibha Ray
  17. Swami Sachidanand
  18. Shri Vashishth Tripathi

Padma Shri (107):

  1. Shri Prahlad Rai Agarwala
  2. Prof. Najma Akhtar
  3. Shri Sumit Antil
  4. Shri T Senka Ao
  5. Ms. Kamalini Asthana and Ms.
  6. Nalini Asthana* (Duo)
  7. Shri Subbanna Ayyappan
  8. Shri J K Bajaj
  9. Shri Sirpi Balasubramaniam
  10. Srimad Baba Balia
  11. Ms. Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay
  12. Ms. Madhuri Barthwal
  13. Shri Akhone Asgar Ali Basharat
  14. Dr. Himmatrao Bawaskar
  15. Shri Harmohinder Singh Bedi
  16. Shri Pramod Bhagat
  17. Shri S Ballesh Bhajantri
  18. Shri Khandu Wangchuk Bhutia
  19. Shri Maria Christopher Byrski
  20. Acharya Chandanaji
  21. Ms. Sulochana Chavan
  22. Shri Neeraj Chopra
  23. Ms. Shakuntala Choudhary
  24. Shri Sankaranarayana Menon Chundayil
  25. Shri S Damodaran
  26. Shri Faisal Ali Dar
  27. Shri Jagjit Singh Dardi
  28. Dr. Prokar Dasgupta
  29. Shri Aditya Prasad Dash
  30. Dr. Lata Desa
  31. Shri Malji bhai Desai
  32. Ms. Basanti Devi
  33. Ms. Lourembam Bino Devi
  34. Ms. Muktamani Devi
  35. Ms. Shyamamani Devi
  36. Shri Khalil Dhantejvi (Posthumous)
  37. Shri Savaji Bhai Dholakia
  38. Shri Arjun Singh Dhurve
  39. Dr. Vijaykumar Vinayak Dongre
  40. Shri Chandraprakash Dwivedi
  41. Shri Dhaneswar Engti
  42. Shri Om Prakash Gandhi
  43. Shri Narasimha Rao Garikapati
  44. Shri Girdhari Ram Ghonju (Posthumous)
  45. Shri Shaibal Gupta (Posthumous)
  46. Shri Narasingha Prasad Guru
  47. Shri Gosaveedu Shaik Hassan (Posthumous)
  48. Shri Ryuko Hira
  49. Ms. Sosamma Iype
  50. Shri Avadh Kishore Jadia
  51. Ms. Sowcar Janaki
  52. Ms. Tara Jauhar
  53. Ms. Vandana Kataria
  54. Shri H R Keshavamurthy
  55. Shri Rutger Kortenhorst
  56. Shri P Narayana Kurup
  57. Ms. Avani Lekhara
  58. Shri Moti Lal Madan
  59. Shri Shivnath Mishra
  60. Dr. Narendra Prasad Misra (Posthumous)
  61. Shri Darshanam Mogilaiah
  62. Shri Guruprasad Mohapatra (Posthumous)
  63. Shri Thavil Kongampattu A V Murugaiyan
  64. Ms. R Muthukannammal
  65. Shri Abdul Khader Nadakattin
  66. Shri Amai Mahalinga Naik
  67. Shri Tsering Namgyal
  68. Shri A K C Natarajan
  69. Shri V L Nghaka
  70. Shri Sonu Nigam
  71. Shri Ram Sahay Panday
  72. Shri Chirapat Prapandavidya
  73. Ms. K V Rabiya
  74. Shri Anil Kumar Rajvanshi
  75. Shri Sheesh Ram
  76. Shri Ramachandraiah
  77. Dr. Sunkara Venkata Adinarayana Rao
  78. Ms. Gamit Ramilaben Raysingbhai
  79. Ms. Padmaja Reddy
  80. Guru Tulku Rinpoche
  81. Shri Brahmanand Sankhwalkar
  82. Shri Vidyanand Sarek
  83. Shri Kali Pada Saren
  84. Dr. Veeraswamy Seshiah
  85. Ms. Prabhaben Shah
  86. Shri Dilip Shahani
  87. Shri Ram Dayal Sharma
  88. Shri Vishwamurti Shastri
  89. Ms. Tatiana Lvovna Shaumyan
  90. Shri Siddhalingaiah (Posthumous)
  91. Shri Kaajee Singh
  92. Shri Konsam Ibomcha Singh
  93. Shri Prem Singh
  94. Shri Seth Pal Singh
  95. Ms. Vidya Vindu Singh
  96. Baba Iqbal Singh Ji
  97. Dr. Bhimsen Singhal
  98. Shri Sivananda
  99. Shri Ajay Kumar Sonkar
  100. Ms. Ajita Srivastava
  101. Sadguru Brahmeshanand Acharya Swami
  102. Dr. Balaji Tambe (Posthumous)
  103. Shri Raghuvendra Tanwar
  104. Dr. Kamlakar Tripathi
  105. Ms. Lalita Vakil
  106. Ms. Durga Bai Vyam
  107. Shri Jyantkumar Maganlal Vyas
  108. Ms. Badaplin War

About Padma Awards:

  • The Padma Awards are among the highest civilian awards of India and are conferred in three categories-- Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri.
  • The Padma Awards are announced each year on the occasion of India's Republic Day. They are conferred every year by the President of India at ceremonial functions held at Rashtrapati Bhawan between March and April.
  • The Padma Awards are being awarded to the citizens since 1954.
  • The awards are being presented under the categories such as medicine, literature, industry, public affairs, social service education, and sports.
  • Padma Vibhushan is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service.
  • Padma Bhushan for distinguished service of a high order.
  • Padma Shri for distinguished service in any field.

Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2022: 29 Children have been conferred the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar (PMRBP) for the year 2022.

Key Highlights:

These winners include 15 Boys and 14 Girls, belonging to 21 States and UTs.

They have been selected from all regions of the country for their exceptional achievements in the following categories:-

1)Innovation

2)Social Service 

3)Scholastic 

4)Sports

5)Art & Culture

6)Bravery

  • In order to felicitate and motivate the exceptional works of children, a function was held virtually Due to COVID-19 situation in the country.
  • They were facilitated on the occasion of National Girl Child Day today and also as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.
  • The Awardees of PMRBP 2021 and 2022 along with their parents and concerned District Magistrate of their respective district joined the event from their district Head Quarters.
  • During the function, Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi gave digital certificates to the 61 winners of PMRBP 2021 and 2022 using a Block Chain-driven technology developed by IIT Kanpur under the National Blockchain Project.
  • The digital certificates are stored on digital wallets installed on the mobile devices of the recipients.
  • The digital certificates issued using blockchain-driven technology are unforgeable, globally verifiable, selectively disclosable and sensitive to user content.
  • BlockChain Technology is being used for the first time for giving certificates to awardees.
  • During the programme, the cash prize of Rs.1,00,000/- was given to the awardees of PMRBP 2022 which was transferred online to the respective accounts of winners.

List of the winners of PMRBP 2022 is given below:

For Art& Culture:

1)Gauri Maheshwari from Rajasthan

2)Remona Evette Pereira from Karnataka

3)Deviprasad from Kerala              

4)Syed Fateen Ahmed from Karnataka

5)Daulas Lambamayum from Manipur

6)Dhritishman Chakraborty from Assam

For Bravery:

1)Gurugu Himapriya from Andhra Pradesh

2)Shivangi Kale from Maharashtra

3)Dhiraj Kumar from Bihar

For Innovation:

1)Shivam Rawat from Uttarakhand

2)Vishalini N C from Tamil Nadu

3)Jui Abhijit Keskar from   Maharashtra

4)Puhabi Chakraborti from Tripura

5)Aswatha Biju from Tamil Nadu

6)Banita Dash from Odisha

7)Tanish Sethi from Haryana

For Scholastic:

1)Avi Sharma from Madhya Pradesh

For Social Service:

1)Meedhansh Kumar Gupta from Punjab

2)Abhinav Kumar Choudhary from Uttar Pradesh

3)Pal Sakshi from Bihar

4)Aakarsh Kaushal from Haryana

For Sports:

1)Arushi Kotwal from Jammu & Kashmir

2)Shriya Lohia from Himachal Pradesh

3)Telukunta Virat Chandra from Telangana

4)Chaudhary Singh Choudhary from Uttar Pradesh

5)Jiya Rai from Uttar Pradesh

6)Swayam Patil from Maharashtra

7)Tarushi Gaur from Chandigarh

8)Anvi Vijay Zanzarukia from Gujarat

About PMRBP award:

  • The Prime Minister’s National Award for Children, commonly known as the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Puraskar (PMRRBP), is a civilian award in India.
  • It was first awarded in 1996.
  • The award had two categories:

1. Bal Kalyan Puraskar

  • The Bal Kalyan Puraskar, previously the National Child Welfare Awards, was instituted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 1979.
  • It was awarded to individuals or organizations that have made outstanding contributions in child development, child protection, or child welfare.

2. Bal Shakti Puraskar

  • The Bal Shakti Puraskar, previously the National Child Award, was instituted by the NGO Indian Council for Child Welfare in 1996.
  • It was awarded to Indian citizens under the age of 18 for outstanding achievement in innovation, scholastic achievements, social service, arts and culture, bravery, or sports.
  • In 2018, the two awards were renamed and combined into the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar, which is administered by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • It is conferred by the President of India in the week preceding Republic Day, 26 January, in the Durbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
  • The PMRBP award is given by the Government of India (GoI) to children with exceptional abilities and outstanding accomplishments in 6 categories.
  • The award carries a cash prize of Rs.1,00,000/-.

Ratan Tata conferred the Assam Baibhav Award: The government of Assam has conferred its highest civilian award ‘Assam Baibhav’ to Industrialist Ratan Tata.

Key Highlights:

The former chairman of Tata Sons received the Asom Baibhav award from Assam governor Jagdish Mukhi.

This prestigious award was conferred to Ratan Tata for his contribution to setting up cancer treatment facilities in the state.

Other Awards winners:

Assam Saurav Award:

Assam Saurav award was conferred on Professor Dipak Chand Jain, Lovlina Borgohain, Professor Kamalendu Deb Krori, Dr Lakshmanan S, and Neel Pawan Baruah.

Assam Gaurav Award:

Assam Gaurav award was conferred on Manoj Kumar Basumatary, Munindra Nath Ngatey, Dharanidhar Boro, Hemoprabha Chutia, Dr Basanta Hazarika, Kaushik Baruah, Khorsing Terang, Akash Jyoti Gogoi, Namita Kalita, Dr Asif Iqbal, Kalpana Boro, Boby Hazarika, and Bormita Momin.

About Ratan Tata:

  • Ratan Naval Tata (born 28 December 1937) is an Indian industrialist, philanthropist, and former chairman of Tata Sons.
  • He was also chairman of Tata Group, from 1990 to 2012.
  • He was then again, the interim chairman, from October 2016 through February 2017.
  • He continues to head its charitable trusts.
  • He is a scion of the Tata family, and son of Naval Tata who was later adopted by Ratanji Tata, son of Jamsetji Tata, the founder of Tata Group.

Awards:

  • He has been awarded the Padma Bhushan (2000), Padma Vibhushan (2008), CNN-IBN Indian of the Year in Business.

 

People in the News Current Affairs - January 2022

Roberta Metsola: Maltese center-right politician Roberta Metsola has been elected as the new president of the European Union’s parliament.

Key Highlights:

  • She is only the third woman elected to the post.
  • 43-year-old Metsola has also become the European Parliament’s youngest president.
  • She succeeds Italian Socialist David Sassoli, who died last week.
  • Metsola – a member of the largest bloc, the European People’s Party received 458 of the 616 votes.
  • She had already been acting president since Sassoli’s Jan. 11 death.
  • Many praise the 43-year-old as a bridge-builder while others criticize her anti-abortion stance.

About EU:

  • It is an acronym for European Union.
  • EU is a political and economic union of 27 member states that are located primarily in Europe.
  • It was founded on 1 November 1993.
  • It is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.
  • The European Parliament is the EU's lawmaking body, representing the bloc's 450 million citizens.
  • It is directly elected by EU voters every five years.

 

Ittira Davis: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has approved the appointment of Ittira Davis as managing director & chief executive officer of (MD & CEO) of Ujjivan Small Finance Bank for one tenure.

Key Highlights:

  • He will take charge of the extended tenure from January 14, 2022.
  • The post had been lying vacant for three-month following the sudden exit of incumbent Nitin Chugh.
  • Ittira Davis has been with Ujjivan Small Finance Bank since 2015 and was previously CEO of Ujjivan Financial Services
  • Prior to Ujjivan, Davis was the Managing Director with the Europe Arab Bank, London.
  • He has also held leadership positions with Arab Bank plc, Bahrain and Citibank, India.
  • He has over 40 years of work experience in India, the Middle East and Europe.

About Ujjivan Small Finance Bank:

  • Ujjivan Small Finance Bank Limited is an Indian small finance bank.
  • It is headquartered in Bengaluru.
  • The founder of Ujjivan Small Finance is Samit Ghosh.
  • The bank commenced operations on 1 February 2017.

Raghuvendra Tanwar: The government of India (GoI) has appointed Professor emeritus, Kurukshetra University, Raghuvendra Tanwar as chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR).

Key Highlights:

  • The notification of Prof. Tanwar's appointment was issued by the notification issued by the Union Ministry of Education.
  • The gazette notification says that his appointment is for a period of three years from the day he assumes the office of the Chairman of the Council or until further order.

About Tanwar:

  • Tanwar, who joined Kurukshetra University as a lecturer in August 1977, has an outstanding academic record, with two gold medals in MA History.
  • He was appointed as director of the Haryana Academy of History and Culture in 2016.
  • Prof Tanwar is known for his study of India’s Partition, particularly Punjab.
  • He was awarded the prestigious UGC National Fellowship (Research Award) 2002-2005. He conducted a major research project on Jammu & Kashmir for the period 1947-53 in 2013-15.
  • He is reputed for his study of India’s partition, particularly the Punjab. This work based on sources across India and the UK is a day-to-day reporting of what happened in 1947 and is widely acclaimed.
  • His most recent study is an illustrated story of India’s Partition, published by the Publication Division, Government of India (GoI) in English and Hindi.
  • He has several other major publications, including an illustrated biography of Bansi Lal and on Sir Chhotu Ram.

About the ICHR:

  • Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) is a captive body of the Ministry of Education established by an Administrative Order.
  • ICHR was founded on 27 March 1972.
  • The body has provided financial assistance to historians and scholars through fellowships, grants, and symposia.
  • The ICHR is based in Delhi, with regional centres in Pune (Maharashtra), Bengaluru (Karnataka), and Guwahati (Assam).
  • The primary aim and objective of the ICHR are to promote and give directions to historical research and to encourage and foster objective and scientific writing of history.

Mrs. World 2022: 37 Years old Shaylyn Ford was crowned as the winner of Mrs. World 2022.

Key Highlights:

  • She was crowned by the outgoing queen Kate Schneider from Ireland.
  • Mrs. Jordan Jaclyn Stapp and  Mrs. UAE Debanjali Kamstra were the runners up.

 

  • Shaylyn Ford represented America in the pageant and battled out 57 other contestants from across the globe to claim the title.
  • This is the 8th time an American representative won the title of Mrs. World.

Mrs India World 2021 Navdeep Kaur:

  • Mrs. India World 2021 Navdeep Kaur won the Costume round on Mrs. World 2022, held in Nevada, Las Vegas.
  • She stole the show with her 'Kundalini Chakra' outfit.
  • She made it to the top 15 contestants at Mrs. World 2022.

About Shaylyn Ford:

  • Shaylyn Ford who hails from Granville, Ohio, USA won the annual Mrs. American pageant on November 19, 2021.
  • She is a professional makeup artist, who has worked in every setting, from movie sets to make-a-wish projects. Married to her pastor husband, she has three children.
  • She also serves as a charitable director and does a lot of volunteer work to bring services to special needs families.

About Mrs. World:

  • Mrs. World is the first beauty pageant for married women.
  • The new genre was created in 1984.
  • The concept for "Mrs. World" has its roots in Mrs. America.
  • Mrs. World is now the biggest marital pageant in the world and features directors in 80 countries.

 

Pandit Birju Maharaj: Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently expressed deep grief over the passing away of legendary Kathak dancer Pandit Birju Maharaj.

Key Facts:

  • The kathak maestro left for his heavenly abode on January 17 2022 at the age of 83.
  • He helped the dance form gain global recognition.

About Pandit Birju Maharaj:

  • Pandit Birju Maharaj (1937 – 2022), better known simply as Birju Maharaj, was an Indian dancer, composer, and singer.
  • He was an exponent of the Lucknow "Kalka-Bindadin" Gharana of Kathak dance in India.
  • He was a descendant of the Maharaj family of Kathak dancers, which includes his two uncles, Shambhu Maharaj and Lachhu Maharaj, and his father and guru, Acchan Maharaj.
  • He also practiced Hindustani classical music and was a vocalist.
  • After working along with his uncle, Shambhu Maharaj at Bhartiya Kala Kendra, later the Kathak Kendra, New Delhi, he remained head of the latter, for several years, till his retirement in 1998 when he opened his own dance school, Kalashram, also in Delhi.

Awards and honours:

  • 1964 - Sangeet Natak Akademi Award
  • 1986 - Padma Vibhushan
  • 1986 - Nritya Choodamani Award by Sri Krishna Gana Sabha
  • 1987 - Kalidas Samman
  • 2002 - Lata Mangeshkar Puraskar
  • Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award

Chanchal Kumar: The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (CCEA) recently appointed Chanchal Kumar as the Managing Director, National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL), under the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH).

Key Highlights:

  • He is appointed in the rank and pay of Additional Secretary.
  • He is a 1992 batch IAS officer of Bihar cadre.
  • He is presently Principal Secretary of Bihar’s Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
  • The CCEA has also approved the extension in the central deputation tenure of Ashutosh Jindal, Additional Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat for 1 year beyond 16th February 2022 to 16th February 2023.

About NHIDCL:

  • The National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) is a fully owned company of the Government of India (GoI).
  • NHIDCL is a nodal agency of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways
  • It was founded in 2014.
  • It is responsible for the management of a network of over 5,500 km of National Highways out of 1,15,000 km in India.
  • NHIDCL is headquartered in New Delhi.

Urjit Patel: Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Urjit Patel has recently been appointed as a vice-president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a Beijing-based multilateral development bank.

Key Points:

  • Patel, 58, will succeed outgoing Vice President D J Pandian, who is in charge of sovereign and non-sovereign lending of the AIIB in South Asia, the Pacific Islands and South-East Asia.
  • He told Prasar Bharati Special Correspondent in Beijing that he will be joining on 1st February.
  • He will be one of the five Vice Presidents of the AIIB with a three-year tenure.
  • An economist with great repute, Patel will take over as vice-president at a time when AIIB is expanding its footprint in developing countries especially India where Infrastructure is seen as a key driver for growth.
  • AIIB is currently headed by China’s Jin Liqun, who is a former Chinese vice-minister for finance.

About Urjit Patel:

  • Urjit Patel is currently the chairman of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.
  • He had taken over as the 24th Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) succeeding Raghuram Rajan in September 2016.
  • He was with RBI till December 2018.

About D J Pandian: 

Mr. Pandian is a former Gujarat chief secretary who has been AIIB’s vice-president since 2016, the year the bank was set up with India as its second-largest shareholder after China.

Mr. Pandian was also the bank’s first chief investment officer.

First Black Woman featured on US Coin: Poet and activist Maya Angelou has become the first black woman to be featured on US coin.

Key Highlights:

  • The coin has Maya on one side and the US first President George Washington on the other side.
  • Maya is shown along with an eagle in the coin.
  • The other figures set to appear on the coin in 2022 are:
  • Sally Ride, the first American woman in space
  • Wilma Mankiller, first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation
  • Nina Otero-Warren, a suffrage leader
  • Anna May Wong, a Chinese-American film star
  • The coin was rolled out by US Mint as a part of the American Women Quarters Programme.

About American Women Quarters Programme:

  • The programme was launched to mint twenty coins.
  • The coins are to honor historic contributions that include civil rights, women suffrage, humanities, abolition, government, science and arts.
  • For much of the last 90 years, the quarter has depicted the first US president, George Washington, on one side and an eagle on the other.
  • In 1999, the US launched a series of quarters honoring the 50 states, with a state's design depicted on the coin's reverse.
  • The program was expanded to include US territories and national parks.

About Maya Angelou:

  • Maya Angelou was an African American poet, memoirist, and civil rights, activist.
  • She was born in Missouri in 1928.
  • She was an essayist and poet who worked with civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.
  • Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences.
  • The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of 17 and brought her international recognition and acclaim.
  • Maya did not have a good childhood.
  • She was raped by her mother’s boyfriend named Freeman at the age of seven.
  • Maya's uncles murdered Freeman.
  • This incident silenced her.
  • She did not speak for 5 Years in her youth.
  • During her silence, she started writing.
  • She is known for her speaking voice and lyrical prose.
  • She died at the age of 86 in 2014.

Awards:

  • She has received more than 30 honorary degrees.
  • In 1992, she read “On the Pulse of Morning” at the inauguration of President Clinton.
  • In 2010, President Obama presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • In 2013, she won the Literarian Award.

About US Mint:

  • The US Mint is a government organization that produces coins for US.
  • It was created in 1792.
  • These coins are used to conduct trade and commerce in the country.
  • It does not produce paper money.
  • There are four US mints.
  • They are Denver, West Point,  Philadelphia, and San Francisco.

Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has appointed French economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas as its next chief economist.

Key Highlights:

  • He will replace Gita Gopinath who will be joining the IMF management team in January 2022.
  • He will take over as first deputy managing director of IMF from January 21, 2022.
  • Initially, he will start his new position on January 24, 2022, part-time.
  • He will be transitioning to full-time on April 1, 2022.
  • Gourinchas is presently the director of Clausen Center for International Business & Policy, at the University of California.

About Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas:

  • He is a French national.
  • He is a graduate in Physics from the Ecole Polytechnique and he holds a master’s degree in Economics from Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.
  • He also holds an Engineering MA from Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees.
  • He was program director of international finance & macroeconomics at the National Bureau of Economic Research.
  • From 2012 to 2013, he worked with the Prime Minister of France as part of the Council of Economic Advisors.
  • In his remarkable career as an Economist, Gourinchas has been honoured with many awards and recognition. It includes the Bernacer Prize for the Best European Economist under 40 working in the field of macroeconomics and finance in 2007.
  • He was an IMF visiting scholar as well as editor-in-chief of the IMF Economic Review from 2009 to 2016.

About Gita Gopinath:

  • Gita Gopinath was the first woman to serve as the Fund’s chief economist.
  • She was the former chief economist of the IMF.
  • She was appointed as IMF’s second-ranking official because of her wide-ranging policy role overseeing IMF surveillance activities, flagship, and research.
  • Gopinath will replace Geoffrey Okamoto as the First Deputy Managing Director. He was a former Trump administration U.S. Treasury Official.

About International Monetary Fund (IMF):

  • International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an institution in the United Nations system.
  • IMF is headquartered in Washington, D.C.
  • It comprises 190 countries.
  • They work together to boost global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, promote high employment, facilitate international trade, and sustainable economic growth.
  • It also takes measures to reduce poverty across the world.
  • It was set up in 1944 but started functioning in 1945 at Bretton Woods Conference.
  • IMF plays an important role in the management of balance of payments issues and international financial crises.

Prince Andrew: Prince Andrew has been stripped of Royal Patronages, Military titles with Queen Elizabeth’s approval.

Key Details:

  • He is the Duke of York, the third child and second son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
  • The Royal family member, who was the ninth in line of succession to the British throne has been forced to relinquish all his ties with royal titles after being involved in a sexual abuse scandal.
  • The 61-year-old Duke of York will no longer be known as "His Royal Highness”.
  • With the Queen's approval and agreement, all of the Duke of York's military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen.
  • He will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.

Note: However, He is not the first to have lost the roles and titles.

  • In January 2020, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan were stripped of their patronages, HRH titles, and, in Harry’s case, the military roles. This came after the couple announced their decision to step back from royal duties after a long-drawn-out escalation of tensions with the British media and members of Buckingham Palace, among other reasons.
  • Prior to this, Prince Harry’s mother Diana lost her HRH title when she divorced Prince Charles in 1996.

What was the issue regarding Prince Andrew?

  • He was accused by 38-year-old Virginia Giuffre in New York of sexually abusing her when she was a teenager at a London home of Epstein's former associate Ghislaine Maxwell and also abused her at two Epstein properties. 
  • She claimed that Andrew battered her and intentionally caused her emotional distress while Epstein was trafficking her.
  • However, Prince Andrew denied Giuffre's accusations.
  • A federal judge in New York rejected Prince Andrew's claim on January 12, 2022, that a 2009 settlement agreement between Giuffre and Epstein exempted him from civil litigation. 

 

David Sassoli: David Sassoli, the European Parliament President passed away on January 11, 2022, in a hospital in Italy.

  • He had been seriously ill in hospital for over two weeks due to an immune system disorder.
  • He passed away at the age of 65 years.

About David Sassoli :

  • David Sassoli was an Italian journalist and politician.
  • He had served as the President of the European Parliament from July 2019 until his death in January 2022.
  • He was first elected as a member of the European Parliament (MEP) in 2009.
  • Later in July 2014, Sassoli was elected Vice-President of the European Parliament.

About European Parliament:

  • European Parliament is one of the seven branches of the EU.
  • It is headquartered in Strasbourg, France.
  • The European Union body approves or rejects legislation and is responsible for establishing budgets and supervising a combination of institutions.

 

 

Captain Harpreet Chandi: Captain Harpreet Chandi has created history by becoming the first woman of colour to complete a solo unsupported trek to the South Pole.

Key Facts:

  • She is a 32-year-old Indian-origin British Sikh Army officer and physiotherapist also known as Polar Preet.
  • She completed the 700 miles (1127 kilometres) in just 40 days while pulling a sled with all of her kits and battling the temperature of minus 50 degrees Celsius.
  • She announced her achievement on her live blog on January 3, 2022, at the end of Day 40.
  • She started her preparations in French Alps where she underwent the crevasse training.
  • She has also trekked across Langjökull Glacier in Iceland and spent 27 days on the Icecap in Greenland.

About South Pole:

  • The South Pole is one of the two points where the Earth’s Axis of rotation intersects its surface.
  • It is also known as the Terrestrial South Pole, Geographic South Pole, or 90th Parallel South.
  • It is the southernmost point on Earth and it lies on the opposite side of the Earth from the North Pole.

Discovery of South Pole:

  • It was discovered by a party of Norwegian explorers led by Ronald Amundsen.
  • They were the first-ever expedition to reach the South Pole on December 14, 1911.
  • Liv Arnesen from Norway was the first woman in the world to make a solo trip to the South Pole in 1994.

 

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020: Australia's, 17-year-old Robert Irwin has been awarded the Natural History Museum's Wildlife Photographer of the Year People's Choice Award 2020.

Key Highlights:

  • Irwin's image won the competition with 55,486 public votes.
  • The Natural History Museum director Doug Gurr described Irwin's image as "stirring and symbolic".
  • He won this prestigious award for his drone image of the Bushfire in northern Australia.
  • He photographed the blaze near a reserve named after his father.
  • He is the son of the late Australian wildlife expert, zookeeper, conservationist and icon.
  • Irwin's image along with four others emerged as favorites and they will all be displayed in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London when the museum reopens.

About the Photograph:

  • His winning photograph is an aerial shot of a raging bushfire, which he captured using his drone during the 2019/2020 Australian summer bushfires.
  • The photo titled 'Bushfire', shows a pristine conservation area on one side and blackened remains on the other.
  • The area captured in the photograph is Cape York, Queensland, which is an area of great ecological significance.
  • It is home to over 30 different ecosystems and many endangered species and reflects the damage wrought by Australia's wildfires.
  • It is close to the border of the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve in Cape York.

About Wildlife Photographer of the Year:

  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year is an annual competition.
  • It is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London.
  • This is the 56th year of the competition.
  • It has a long history of celebrating the world’s most amazing nature and wildlife photography, with this year no different.

Australian Bushfires:

Since the beginning of the bushfire season in September 2019, more than 25.5 million acres of land had burned down, at least 25 people had died, and more than a billion animals were feared dead.

 

Atul Keshap: Indian-origin American diplomat Atul Keshap has recently been appointed as the President of the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) by the US Chambers of Commerce.

Key Highlights:

  • His term is effective from 5th January 2022.

Note: The US Chambers of Commerce is the parent body of USIBC.

  • He will replace Nisha Desai Biswal.
  • Prior to this, Keshap served in Delhi as United States Chargé d’Affaires to India, leading the US Embassy team.
  • He has held a number of senior US government positions and is a 28-year veteran of the US Department of State. 

About USIBC:

The USIBC represents top global companies operating across the United States, India, and the Indo-Pacific.

 

TS Tirumurti: India’s permanent representative to the United Nations, TS Tirumurti assumed the Chair of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee for 2022 on 4th January.

Note: India is currently a non-permanent member of the 15-nation Security Council and its 2-year term will end this year on December 31.

Key Facts:

  • He was recently named the new Chair of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC).
  • India will chair the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in January.
  • India had chaired this Committee in the Security Council in 2011-12.
  • In 2021, India has been asked to Chair three important Committees of the Security Council, which include the Taliban Sanctions Committee, Counterterrorism Committee, and the Libyan Sanctions Committee.

About TS Tirumurti:

  • Prior to taking up his current position as Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations (UN), in May 2020, Tirumurti served as Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, handling the Economic Relations portfolio (which included, inter alia, the Gulf and the Arab World, Africa, and India’s Development Partnership), according to UNSC statement.
  • He also served as Under Secretary (Bhutan), Director (Office of the Foreign Secretary), Joint Secretary (Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar and Sri Lanka), and Joint Secretary (United Nations Economic and Social Council) during his service in the Ministry of External Affairs of India, in New Delhi.

About United Nations (UN) Counter-Terrorism Committee:

  • UN Counter-Terrorism Committee was established by Resolution 1373 (2001) on 28 September 2001 soon after the tragic terrorist attack of 9/11 in New York.
  • The committee is tasked with monitoring the implementation of resolution 1373 (2001), which requested countries to implement a number of measures intended to enhance their legal and institutional ability to counter terrorist activities at home, in their regions, and around the world.
  • The Counter-Terrorism Committee comprises all 15 members of the Security Council including- India, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Vietnam, Norway, Nigeria, Tunisia China among others.

 

Sidney Poitier: Legendary Hollywood Actor, actor Sidney Poitier at the age of 94.

Key Facts:

  • The Bahamian-American broke through racial barriers as the first black winner of the Best Actor Oscar for his role in Lilies Of The Field’ in 1963 and inspired a generation during the civil rights movement.
  • Former US President Barack Obama said Poitier epitomized dignity and race and had singular talent. His other notable movies were To Sir, With Love, In the Heat of the Night, and  ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’.

About Sidney Poitier:

  • He was born in Miami on February 20, 1927.
  • He was raised on a tomato farm in the Bahamas and had just one year of formal schooling.
  • He struggled against poverty, illiteracy and prejudice to become one of the first Black actors to be known and accepted in major roles by mainstream audiences.
  • He started his career as an actor in theatre in the 1940s before his breakthrough film role in the 1950 release No Way Out.
  • Over a five-decade career in films, he worked both as an actor and director.
  • His last appearance on screen was in the 1997 film Jackal.
  • In 2009, Poitier was awarded the highest U.S. civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Barack Obama.

 

Vijay Paul Sharma: Vijay Paul Sharma was recently re-appointed as the chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP) by the Centre.

Key Highlights:

  • He had relinquished the post in May last year following completion of the five-year tenure.
  • Sharma, a professor at the Centre for Management in Agriculture at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, was appointed CACP Chairman for the first time in June 2016.

About CACP:

  • The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Price is an apex advisory body under the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India (GoI).
  • It was established in 1965.
  • It’s an expert body that recommends the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) by taking into consideration various factors.

How important is the role of a CACP chairman?

  • The role of the CACP chairman will be crucial in the proposed committee on the minimum support price (MSP) and other reforms. 

 

 

People in the News Current Affairs - December 2021

Sunil Arora: Former chief election commissioner (CEC) of India, Sunil Arora, has joined the board of advisers of the International Institute for Democracy & Electoral Assistance (IDEA).

About Sunit Arora:

  • Sunil Arora is a 1980 batch Indian Administrative Service officer.
  • He has been selected as he brings rich leadership experience, skills and knowledge to contribute significantly towards working of the international institute.
  • He was the 23rd Chief Election Commissioner of India.
  • His tenure was from December 2, 2018 to April 12, 2021.
  • He had joined as Election Commissioner in September 2017.
  • The international institute is assisted by a 15-member Board of Advisors that consists of eminent personalities from various fields.

According to Election Commission of India (ECI), Sunil Arora brings rich leadership experience, knowledge and skills to contribute significantly to the working of the IDEA).

About IDEA:

  • International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) is an inter-governmental organization that supports sustainable democracy worldwide.
  • It is headquartered in Stockholm.
  • It is assisted by a 15-member board of advisers who are eminent experts or personalities from a wide variety of backgrounds.
  • It currently has 34 member countries, including large, small, older and newer democracies from across the globe.
  • India was one among the 14 founding members of IDEA.

About CEC of India:

  • The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) is the head of Election Commission of India, which is a body constitutionally, empowered to conduct free and fair elections in India.
  • CEC of India is a member of Indian Civil Service and mostly a member from the Indian Administrative Service.
  • It is a difficult task to remove the authority of Chief Election Commissioner, once he is appointed by the president.
  • This is so, because two-thirds of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha are required to present and vote against him for his conduct or improper actions.

About Election Commission of India:

  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering Union and State election processes in India. The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, and State Legislative Assemblies in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country.
  • Article 324 in the Indian Constitution gives power to the Election Commission to conduct these elections.

Ngadag Pel gi Khorlo: Bhutan has honoured Prime Minister Narendra Modi with its highest civilian award, Ngadag Pel gi Khorlo or the Order of The Druk Gyalpo on the occasion of Bhutan’s National Day.

Note: 17th December, 2021 was the 114th National Day of Bhutan.

  • The announcement was made by Bhutan’s Prime Minister Lotay Tshering.
  • Bhutan's highest civilian award, is being awarded to Prime Minister Modi as an appreciation for India’s  unconditional friendship and support extended over the years and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Before this, PM Modi had been accorded the respective top honours of Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Russia, the Maldives, Palestine and Bahrain.

List of International Awards received by Narendra Modi:

  1. Order of Abdulaziz Al Saud (Saudi Arabia)
  2. In 2016,State Order of Ghazi Amir Amanullah Khan (Afghanistan)
  3. Grand Collar of the State of Palestine Award (Palestine)
  4. In 2019, Order of Zayed Award (United Arab Emirates)
  5. In 2019, Order of St. Andrew award (Russia)
  6. Order of the Distinguished Rule of Nishan Izzuddin (Maldives)
  7. Champions of the Earth Award (United Nations Environment Programme)
  8. Global Goalkeeper award (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation)

About the Award: 

  • The award was established on November 7, 2008 by King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck to honour people, who have dedicated their lives to serving Bhutan's nation and people.
  • This is the highest award given in this regard. 

Sahitya Akademi Awards 2021: The Sahitya Akademi announced it’s prestigious “Sahitya Akademi Awards, Yuva Puraskar and the Bal Sahitya Puraskar” for 2021 in various languages on December 30, 2021.

  • The Sahitya Akademy Awards 2021 were given in 20 Indian languages.
  • Author Namita Gokhale won the Sahitya Akademi Award 2021 in English for her novel ‘Things to Leave Behind’.

Other winners include:

  • Anuradha Sarma Pujari (Assamese)
  • Bratya Basu (Bengali)
  • Mwdai Gahai (Bodo)
  • Raj Rahi (Dogri)
  • Daya Prakash Sinha (Hindi) for “Samrat Ashok”
  • Wali Mohd Aseer Kashtawari (Kashmiri)
  • Khalid Hussain (Punjabi)
  • Niranjan Hansda (Santali)
  • Vindeshwari prasad Mishr “Vinay” (Sanskrit)
  • Ambai (Tamil)
  • Gorati Venkanna (Telugu)..

Winner of Gujarati, Manipuri, Maithili, and Urdu languages will be announced at a later date.

Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar 2021:

The Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar 2021 was given in 22 Indian languages.

  • Megha Majumdar won the Yuva Puraskar for her debut novel “A Burning” and Himanshu Vajpai won it for his collection of short stories titled “Kissa Kissa Lucknowa — Lucknow Ke Awami Kisse”.

Other winners of Yuva Puraskar include:

  • Abhijit Bora (Assamese)
  • Gourob Chakraborty (Bengali)
  • Drashti Soni (Gujarati)
  • Himanshu Vajpai (Hindi)
  • Mahesh Dahal (Nepali)
  • Swetapadma Satapathy (Sanskrit) etc.

The Yuva Puraskar for Tamil will be declared at a later date, and there will be no award in Rajasthani this year.

Bal Sahitya Puraskar 2021:

  • The Bal Sahitya Puraskar 2021 was given in 22 Indian languages.
  • Anita Vachharajani won the award in the English language. She was awarded for her children’s book titled ‘Amrita Sher-Gil: Rebel With A Paintbrush’.

Other winners include:

  • Mrinal Chandra Kalita (Assamese)
  • Sunirmal Chakraborty (Bengali)
  • Devendra Mewari (Hindi)
  • Majeed Majazi (Kashmiri) etc.

The Sahitya Akademi Award

  • The Sahitya Akademi Award is a literary honour in India, which the Sahitya Akademi annually confers on writers of the most outstanding books of literary merit published in any of the 24 major Indian languages such as Tamil, English, Bengali, Punjabi and the 22 listed languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution recognized by the Sahitya Akademi.
  • The award was instituted in 1954.

Anupam Ray: According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Senior diplomat Anupam Ray has been appointed as India’s next permanent representative to the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

  • Mr. Ray, a 1994-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, is currently serving as a joint secretary in the MEA’s headquarters in Delhi.
  • Ray is expected to take up the assignment shortly.
  • Ray will succeed Pankaj Sharma.
  • Sharma, a 1991-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, has been appointed as India’s next ambassador to Mexico.

About Conference on Disarmament:

  • The Conference on Disarmament (CD) is a multilateral disarmament forum established by the international community to negotiate arms control and disarmament agreements based in Geneva.

56th Jnanpith Award: The 56th Jnanpith award was recently conferred to renowned Konkani writer Damodar Mauzo for the year 2022.

Noted Assamese poet Nilmani Phookan has bagged 56th Jnanpith award for the year 2021.

About Damodar Mauzo:

  • Mauzo is short story writer, novelist and screenplay writer.
  • His several short stories are translated into other languages and have appeared in various magazines.
  • Stories of Mauzo depict the struggle of poor people, their agonies and sorrows.
  • He is second Konkani writer to receive the highest literary award, earlier being given to Writer Ravindra Kelekar in 2006.
  • His novel Karmelin had bagged Sahitya Akademi award in 1983.

About Jnanpith Award:

  • The Jnanpith award is the highest literary award in India.
  • This award is conferred annually only to an Indian citizen.
  • It is given annually to an author for their "outstanding contribution towards literature".
  • English along with other languages mentioned in Indian Constitution (8th Schedule) is considered for the Award.
  • Jnanpith Award is given by Bharatiya Jnanpith, a literary and research organization based in Delhi.
  • There are no posthumous conferrals.
  • Also only works published during the preceding twenty years is considered for the award.
  • The award consists of cash prize is ₹11 lakh and a Bronze replica of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge and wisdom.

IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery At Sea: The Indian Navy, ICG and Master along with crew of tugboat Ocean Bliss has recently been awarded the Certificate of Commendation by International Maritime Organization (IMO) council.

Key Highlights:

  • The award has been given for exceptional and courageous efforts towards rescue operation of M/T New Diamond which caught fire and was drifting towards the coast, laden with inflammable cargo.
  • The rescue team members of the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and the master and crew of tugboat Ocean Bliss, carried out sustained and effective fire- fighting operations.
  • They skillfully towed the vessel away from the coast, thereby preventing loss of life at sea and averted a serious marine pollution incident.

About the award:

  • In order to internationally recognize extraordinary seamanship skills and outstanding courage displayed by individuals at sea, International Maritime Organization (IMO) award for exceptional bravery at sea is conferred annually to individuals or groups who, at the risk to their own lives, perform acts of exceptional bravery in attempting to save life at sea or in attempting to prevent or mitigate damage to the marine environment.

About IMO:

  • It refers to the International Maritime Organization.
  • IMO was founded on 17 March 1948.
  • It is the UN specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
  • It is headquartered in London, United Kingdom.
  • Its main function is to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping and its remit today includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping.
  • Its current Secretary General is Kitak Lim.

Yusaku Maezawa: Yusaku Maezawa is a billionaire Japanese entrepreneur who reached the International Space Station (ISS) for a 12-day trip, during which time he will complete 100 tasks in space, including playing a game of badminton.

Key Highlights:

  • Maezawa, will complete 100 tasks in space, including playing a game of badminton.
  • He and another space tourist Yozo Hirano–who will document the billionaire’s space flight–made the trip led by Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin.
  • The three reached the ISS aboard a Soyuz MS-20 that took off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

About Yusaku Maezawa:

  • Maezawa, 46, is the founder of Zozo Inc., an online retail brand. He founded Japan’s largest online shopping mall in 1998 and resigned as its CEO in September 2019, selling most of his stake to Yahoo Japan.
  • He is known for his eclectic background.
  • The former drummer of a punk rock band founded a company called Start Today in 1998 selling rare CDs and records.
  • He later pivoted to fashion with e-retailer Zozotown in 2004, and became a billionaire by the time he was in his mid-30s.
  • Forbes magazine lists him as Japan's 30th richest man, with an estimated personal wealth of $1.9bn (£1.43bn).

Tourists in space:

  • Companies including Virgin Atlantic, SpaceX, XCOR Aerospace, Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and Armadillo Aerospace are working on providing space tourism services to people.
  • But Space Adventures is the only private company to send paying customers to orbital space so far, a report by the Congressional Research Service notes.
  • In 2004, test pilot Mike Melville became the first private astronaut to fly beyond the Karman Line (recognised as the edge of space).
  • In 2008, billionaire video game developer Richard Garriott became the sixth private citizen to fly to space.
  • In October 2021, “Challenge” became the first feature length film to be shot in space.
  • The movie’s director Klim Shipenko, along with Russian actress Yulia Peresild who is playing the lead role, and a cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft towards the ISS in October.

People in the News Current Affairs - November 2021

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat: Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat died in a chopper crash in the Nilgiris, near Coonoor city in Tamil Nadu. He was travelleing in an Indian Air Force Mi-17V5 helicopter which crashed in the foggy weather in the Nilgiris hills on December 8, 2021.

Highlights
• The helicopter crash has killed CDS General Bipin Rawat, his wife along with 11 other staff. The only survivor Varun Singh is undergoing treatment in Bengaluru.
• An inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the crash.
• Mi-17V5 helicopter is a Russia made helicopter. It is an advanced transport helicopter which is with the Indian Air Force since 2012.
• Gen Bipin Rawat as well as all those who died will be cremated today.
• The ‘black box’, or flight data recorder, of the crashed chopper has been recovered.

Who was General Bipin Rawat?
• General Bipin Rawat was an Indian military officer and a four-star general of the Indian Army. He was appointed as the first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of the Indian Armed Forces and he took the office of CDS from on 1 January 2020 and held it until his death on 8 December 2021. The creation of the position of CDS brought together the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.

• Before becoming CDS, he had served as 27th Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army.

 

About his Military Career
Bipin Rawat was commissioned into 5th battalion of 11 Gorkha Rifles in 1978. He had much experience in high-altitude warfare. He spent ten years conducting counter-insurgency operations. He commanded a company in Uri, Jammu & Kashmir, as a major. He also commanded the 5th battalion 11 Gorkha Rifles as a colonel, along the Line of Actual Control at Kibithu. In 2016, he was appointed as the 27th Chief of the Army Staff.

Bimal Patel: Professor Bimal Patel, Vice-Chancellor, Rashtriya Raksha University and Member of National Security Advisory Board of India, has been elected to the International Law Commission, a UN body of legal experts, for a five-year term starting January 1, 2023.

Patel topped the Asia-Pacific group with 163 votes in the UN General Assembly out of 192 members present and voting on November 12, 2021. The group included candidates from China, South Korea and Japan. In the Asia-Pacific group, there were 11 strong candidates vying for 8 seats, making the election hotly contested.

Patel has a professional career of more than three decades, Parel has donned several roles including a member of the 21st Law Commission of India and the Director at the Gujarat National Law University.

About International Law Commission:

International Law Commission is a UN body.

It was established by the General Assembly in 1947 to undertake the mandate of the Assembly to “initiate studies and make recommendations for the purpose of encouraging the progressive development of international law and its codification”

It consists of 34 members recognized for their expertise and qualifications in international law, who are elected by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) every five years.

Vivek Johri: Senior bureaucrat Vivek Johri was appointed the chairman of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) on November 28, 2021. Johri succeeds current chairman of the CBIC Ajit Kumar who is completing his tenure tomorrow.

Key Points:

• Vivek Johri is a 1985-batch Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Indirect Taxes) officer.

• He is currently working as the member in the CBIC, handling GST and tax policy.

• His appointment was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet which is headed by the Prime Minister of India.

• The Chairperson of CBIC is equivalent to Secretary to Government of India

• He was appointed as tenure of former chairman M Ajit Kumar ends in the month of November 2021.

About Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC):

CBIC is the nodal national agency to administer GST, Customs, Central Excise, Service Tax & Narcotics in India. The Customs & Central Excise department was established by the then British Governor General of India in 1855 for administering customs laws and for collecting import duties or land revenue. CBIC is one of the oldest government departments in India.

Staffs of CBIC:

CBIC is staffed by ministerial staffs that are selected through Staff Selection Commission (SSC) exams and IRS officers through Civil Services Examination. They start their careers as Assistant Commissioners or Directors in the field. After 20–25 years, they rise to the post of Chief Commissioners.

Structure of the CBIC:

CBIC is headed by a chairperson and consists of six members.

Dr Kamal Ranadive: Google Doodle is celebrating Dr Kamal Ranadive, an Indian biomedical researcher who is known for her research in cancer about the links between cancers and viruses.

Google unveiled a new doodle on October 8, 2021 to celebrate the 104th birthday of cell biologist Dr Kamal Ranadive.

Key Points:

• Kamal Samarath, better known as Kamal Ranadive, has contributed immensely in cancer research.

• She has also her life in creating a more equitable society through science and education.

Man behind the Kamal Ranadive’s Google Doodle?

The Google Doodle, celebrating the 104th birthday of Dr Kamal Ranadive, was illustrated by India-based guest artist Ibrahim Rayintakath.

Who is Kamal Ranadive?

Kamal Jayasing Ranadive was an Indian biomedical researcher. She is known for her research in cancer regarding links between cancers and viruses. She was also a founding member of Indian Women Scientists’ Association (IWSA) in 1973.

She established India’s very first tissue culture research laboratory in 1960s, at the Indian Cancer Research Centre (ICRC) in Mumbai.

She was a director of the ICRC.

How was her early life?

Kamal Samarath, better known as Kamal Ranadive, was born on November 8, 1917 to Dinkar Dattatreya Samarath and Shantabai Dinkar Samarath, in Pune. She started her college education at Fergusson College with Botany & Zoology. She completed her Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) degree with distinction in 1934 and moved to Agriculture College at Pune for master’s degree (M.Sc.) in 1943 with cytogenetics.

Her Achievements

• She was awarded the Padma Bhushan (third highest civilian award in India) for Medicine, in 1982.• She was also given first Silver Jubilee Research Award 1964, by Medical Council of India. It included a gold medal and cash award of Rs 15,000.

• She has also been awarded the G. J. Watumull Foundation Prize 1964 in microbiology.

• On her 104th birthday, she was honoured with Google Doodle.

People in the News Current Affairs - October 2021

NRDC: Commodore Amit Rastogi (Retd), after an illustrious career of 34 years in Indian Navy recently took over as Chairman & Managing Director of National Research Development Corporation (NRDC).

  • He took charges on October 18, 2021.

About Amit Rastogi:

  • He is an alumnus of College of Defence Management, Secunderabad and Defence Services Staff College Wellington.
  • He has held diverse portfolios in Indian Navy, state-of-the-art technology intensive combat systems and carries rich experience in induction of missile systems.
  • He has worked as Director of Electrical Engineering at Integrated Headquarters in Ministry of Defence for five years.
  • He has also served as Additional General Manager Tech Services for two years at Naval Dockyard.

About NRDC:

The National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) is an enterprise of Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India (GoI).

It engages in the development, promotion and transfer of technologies emanating from various national R&D institutions.

Background of NRDC:

  • NRDC was a non-departmental government body was established by the British Government for transferring technology from public sector to private sector.
  • It was set up by Board of Trade in accordance with the Development of Inventions Act 1948.
  • It was established by Attlee’s Labour government to meet the perceived need at the time in order to exploit several products that Defence Research Establishment had developed during World War II.
  • Lord Giffard was its first managing director.
  • In 1981, the NRDC was combined with National Enterprise Board (NEB) to form British Technology Group (BTG).

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AMFI: A Balasubramanian who is the is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Aditya Birla Sun Life Asset Management has recently been elected as the new Chairman of the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI).

Highlights:

  • He will be replacing Nilesh Shah, the Managing Director of Kotak Mutual Fund.
  • Meanwhile, Radhika Gupta, the MD and CEO of Edelweiss AMC, has been appointed as vice-chair of AMFI.

About AMFI:

  • The Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) is dedicated to developing the Indian Mutual Fund Industry on professional, healthy and ethical lines.
  • It main objective is to enhance and maintain standards in all areas with a view to protecting and promoting the interests of mutual funds and their unit holders.
  • It was founded on 22 August 1995.
  • AMFI is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

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Awards:

Dr Vivek Lall: An Indian American scientist Dr Vivek Lall, on October 18, 2021, was conferred with the Lifetime Achievement Award at Ritossa Family Summits in Dubai.

Key Highlights:

  • Dr Vivek Lall has played a key role to enhance India-US defence trade.
  • He was awarded in recognition of his ‘outstanding vision, dedication, and success’.
  • The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Dr Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi along with daughter of King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway princess Martha Louise  and emerging young business tycoon and a member of the ruling family of UAE Sheikh Mohamed Bin Ahmed Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan were present at the event.

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Sakharov Prize: The European Parliament recently awarded the European Union’s top human rights prize, Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought for 2021, to the imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

 Key Highlights:

  • The 45-year-old activist has been awarded for his immense personal bravery to fight tirelessly against the corruption of Vladimir Putin’s regime.
  • He was poisoned with a nerve agent last year and promptly arrested upon his return to Moscow from treatment in Germany and later imprisoned.

About the Award:

  • The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, commonly known as the Sakharov Prize, is an honorary award for individuals or groups who have dedicated their lives to the defense of human rights and freedom of thought.
  • It has been named after Russian scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov.
  • The prize was established in December 1988 by the European Parliament.
  • The prize honours individuals and groups of people who have dedicated their lives to the defence of human rights and freedom of thought.
  • The first prize was awarded jointly to South African Nelson Mandela and Russian Anatoly Marchenko.

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Appointments:

World Steel Association: Sajjan Jindal, Chairman and Managing Director of JSW Steel Ltd., has been appointed as Chairman of World Steel Association (WSA) for the year 2021 22.

Key Highlights:

  • Jindal is the first representative from India to serve as Chairman of the WSA.
  • JSW Steel is the flagship business of the diversified $13 billion JSW Group.
  • It is engaged in the manufacturing of iron and steel products in India and across the globe.

About WSA:

  • World Steel Association (WSA), often abbreviated as worldsteel, is the international trade body for the iron and steel industry.
  • It is a non profit organisation whose purpose is to promote steel and the steel industry to customers, the industry, media and the general public.  
  • It was founded on 10 July 1967.
  • It is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.
  • The association is one of the largest and most dynamic industry associations in the world, with members in every major steel producing country.

                                                                                       

Amit Khare: Former IAS officer Amit Khare has recently been appointed as advisor to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Key Highlights:

  • He has been appointed for two years in the rank and scale of Secretary to Government of India (GoI).
  • He has been appointed as advisor to Prime Minister on contractual basis.

About Amit Khare:

  • Khare is 1985 batch officer from Bihar/Jharkhand cadre.
  • He holds an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad.
  • He had taken charge as the higher education secretary in December 2019.
  • It was under his watch the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 was approved by the cabinet on 29 July 2020.
  • He also played a major role in issuing the “Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021”.
  • Khare was also appointed as the deputy commissioner of West Singhbhum (Chaibasa) in between 1995 1997.
  • During that period, he played a significant role in revealing the fodder scam in animal husbandry department in undivided Bihar.

                                 

Rajnish Kumar: Rajnish Kumar, the former chairman of State Bank of India (SBI), has recently been appointed as the as the Chairman of the fintech startup, BharatPe.

Key Points:

As the Chairman, Kumar will take up the following responsibilities: 

  • He will also mentor the BharatPe team during transition into small finance bank.
  • BharatPe Centrum Capital received an in principal approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to set up a small finance bank which will take over the Punjab Maharashtra Bank.
  • He will join the BharatPe’s long term and short term strategy.
  • He will also work closely with the other board members and executives of the company on key business and regulatory initiatives.
  • He will advise and counsel the management on corporate governance.

Why was Rajnish Kumar selected by the Board?

  • Rajnish Kumar has been selected by the board because he has served as the chairperson of SBI for a three year term from October 2017 to October 2020.
  • Apart from this, he also served as Managing Director (Compliance and Risk), and the Managing Director (National Banking Group) of the public sector bank.

About BharatPe:

  • BharatPe is a fintech company that caters to the small merchants and kirana store owners of India.
  • The company was founded on 20 March 2018.
  • The company offers a range of fintech products including interoperable QR code for UPI payments, Bharat Swipe for card acceptance, and small business financing.
  • The current CEO of BharatPe is Ashneer Grover.

                                                               

Alexander Schellenberg: Alexander Schellenberg was recently elected as Austrian Chancellor after resignation of Sebastian Kurz.

Key Facts:

  • Sebastian Kurz resigned because of his involvement in a corruption scandal.
  • Apart from Alexander, Michael Linhardt joined in for the role of foreign minister. He was the former ambassador to France.
  • Appointment of both the persons helped in ending the crisis within the Austrian government, Austrian People’s Party and Green Party Coalition.

About Alexander Schallenberg:

  • He is an Austrian diplomat, jurist and politician of Austrian People’s Party who is currently servig as the chancellor of Austria.
  • He has served as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the second Kurz government.
  • He has also served as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
  • Kurz had selected him as the director of strategic foreign policy planning as well as the head of European department.

About Austria:

  • Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a landlocked East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe.
  • It is composed of nine federated states.
  • Austria's capital and largest city is Vienna.
  • It is bordered by Germany to the northwest, the Czech Republic to the north, Slovakia to the northeast, Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west.
  • The currency used here is Euro.
  • The current President of Austria is Alexander Van der Bellen.

                                    

AWARDS:

Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence: The Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu presented the 22nd Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence to the eminent pulmonologist and Director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Dr Randeep Guleria at Upa Rashtrapati Nivas.

Key Points:

  • He was awarded for his pioneer and sustained contribution in the field of medicine and pandemic awareness.
  • Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu called Dr Guleria a  "commander in chief" of India’s dedicated army of frontline warriors. He lauded devotion to duty and in nurturing the Department of Pulmonary Medicine and Sleep Disorders in AIIMS.
  • Dr Guleria is widely respected for his ground breaking work in his chosen field and is known to be a highly efficient and dedicated hospital administrator, as well.

About Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence:

  • The Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence is the fourth highest civilian award in India.
  • It is awarded annually to a distinguished Indian residing in the country or abroad for his/her individual contribution and outstanding achievements of high professional order and excellence in the field of public administration, public affair, management, art and culture, education or institution building and sports.
  • The award includes a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh, a citation and a plaque.

About Lal Bahadur Shastri:

  • Lal Bahadur Shastri (2 October 1904 – 11 January 1966) is known as an iconic leader with an extraordinary vision for India.
  • He was known universally for his austere lifestyle, humility and impeccable integrity.
  • He was the second Prime Minister of India from June 9, 1964 till January 11, 1966.
  • He promoted the White Revolution – a national campaign to increase the production and supply of milk – by supporting the Amul milk co operative of Anand, Gujarat and creating the National Dairy Development Board.
  • Shastriji also promoted the Green Revolution in India in 1965.
  • This led to an increase in food grain production, especially in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
  • He led the country during the Indo Pakistan War of 1965.
  • His slogan "Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan" ("Hail to the soldier; Hail to the farmer") became very popular during the war.
  • The war formally ended with the Tashkent Agreement on 10 January 1966
  • He was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna.

                                                                                      

Global Peace Photo Award: Seven year old Aadhyaa Aravind Shankar, hailing from Karnataka’s Bangalore has scripted history by becoming the first ever Indian to win the Children’s Peace Image of the Year Global Peace Photo Award.

Key Highlights:

  • On the occasion of World Peace Day i.e. on 21st September 2021, the young photo enthusiast from India was conferred with the prestigious award in a ceremony held at the Austrian Parliament in Vienna.
  • Along with bagging the title of first Indian to be awarded Peace Image of the Year, either in the child or adult category, during the ceremony Shealso received a diploma, a medal, and a check of 1,000 euros.
  • She received this award for her photo where Young Aadhyaa beautifully connects a mother’s lap to the lap of nature via her picture, titled  ‘The Lap of Peace’, where her mother is seen sleeping in the lap of her grandmother.

About Global Peace Photo Award:

  • In Partnership with UNESCO and the Austrian Parliament, the Global Peace Photo Award is awarded annually by Lammerhuber Editions.
  • The award honours and acknowledges photographers from around the world whose pictures reflect human efforts towards a peaceful world.

                               

2021 Nobel Prize for Economics: Three US based economists have won the 2021 Nobel Prize for economics.

Key Details:

  • The 2021 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences has been jointly awarded to David Card, Joshua D. Angrist and Guido W. Imbens.
  • As per the statement by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the three economists have ‘completely reshaped empirical work in the economic sciences’.
  • They have been awarded for pioneering research on the labour market impacts of minimum wage, immigration and education, and for creating the scientific framework to allow conclusions to be drawn from such studies that can't use traditional methodology.
  • The prize has been awarded with one half to Card, while other half jointly to Angrist and Imbens.
  • Canadian born David Card has been awarded half the 2021 prize in economic sciences for his research on how minimum wage, immigration and education affect the labor market.
  • Joshua D. Angrist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Dutch born Guido Imbens from Stanford University have been awarded the 2021 prize in economic sciences “for their methodological contributions to the analysis of causal relationships.”

About Prize in Economic Sciences:

  • Unlike the other Nobel prizes, the economics award wasn't established in the will of Alfred Nobel.
  • It was established by the Swedish central bank in his memory in 1968, with the first winner selected a year later.
  • The Prize is based on a donation received by the Nobel Foundation in 1968 from Sveriges Riksbank on the occasion of the Bank's 300th anniversary.
  • Prize comprises of a 10 million Swedish kronor award money which roughly accounts for Rs 8.33 crore
  • It is the last prize announced each year.
  • The first Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded to Ragnar Frisch and Jan Tinbergen in 1969.
  • The Prize is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm.
  • The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences has been awarded 52 times to 86 laureates between 1969 and 2020.
  • The first female winner of Economics Prize was Elinor Ostrom. She was awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in economic sciences for work on human cooperation.

 

E. R. Sheikh:

E. R. Sheikh has recently assumed charge as first Director General of the Ordnance Directorate (Co ordination and Services).

  • It is the successor organization of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).

About E. R. Sheikh:

  • He is an Indian Ordnance Factory Service (IOFS) officer of the 1984 batch.
  • He has contributed to the establishment of the modern production line system for the manufacture of small arms ammunition at the Ordnance Factory Varangaon.
  • As Deputy Director General (DDG) Propellants and Explosives, he oversaw several plant modernisation projects in explosive factories that led to enhancement in productivity, quality and safety.
  • He led the successful development of the Bi Modular Charge System (BMCS) for artillery ammunition.
  • He has also served as a member of various Defence Delegations to foreign countries as a representative of the OFB and the Ministry of Defence.
  • He was awarded the Ayudh Ratna Award, 2020, in recognition of his exemplary services to the organization.

                                    

AWARDS:

Nobel Prize in Physics 2021: The 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Japanese born American Syukuro Manabe, German Klaus Hasselmann and Italian Giorgio Parisi for work that helps understand complex physical systems such as Earth's changing climate.

Key Highlights:

  • The awardees were announced by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on October 5,2021.
  • One half of the Nobel Prize worth $1.5 million (10 million Swedish crowns) was given in equal parts to Manabe and Hasselmann who worked on modeling Earth’s climate and predicting global warming in a reliable manner.
  • The other half of the Nobel Prize went to Parisi for discovering the hidden rules behind random movements and swirls in gases or liquids.

About Syukuro Manabe:

  • Syukuro Manabe, 90, is a Japanese American meteorologist and climatologist.
  • He currently serves as a senior meteorologist at the Princeton University, New Jersey, USA.
  • He led the projects that used computers to simulate natural climate variations and global climate change.
  • He has been recognized for his work in the physical modeling of Earth’s climate, reliable prediction of global warming, and quantifying variability.

About Klaus Hasselmann:

  • Klaus Hasselmann, 89, is a German oceanographer and climate modeler.
  • He is popular for his Hasselmann model of climate variability.
  • He is currently working as a Professor at Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Germany.
  • He has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2021 for his works in physical modeling of Earth’s climate, reliably predicting global warming, quantifying variability, and understanding complex systems.

About Giorgio Parisi:

  • Giorgio Parisi, 73, is an Italian theoretical physicist.
  • He is currently a professor of Quantum Theories at the Sapeinza University of Rome, Italy.
  • He has been researching quantum field theory, complex systems, and statistical mechanics.
  • He is known for his best works such as QCD evolution equations known as Altarelli Parisi or DGLAP equations.
  • He has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2021 for his works in the theory of complex systems, the discovery of disorder, and fluctuations in liquid or gases from atomic to planetary scales.

Nobel Prize in Physics:

  • The Nobel Prize in Physics is an annual award that is presented by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to recognize the outstanding work of those in the field of Physics.
  • The Nobel Prize is presented annually on the anniversary of Alfred Nobel's death, 10 December.
  • The Nobel Prize started in 1901.
  • The will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 established 5 Nobel Prizes namely in Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Physiology, and Nobel Peace Prize.

                                                                        

Nobel Prize for Literature 2021: The 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature 2021 has been awarded to  Novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah.

Key Highlights:

  • He has been awarded for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.
  • The prize is awarded by the Swedish Academy and is worth 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.14m / £840,000).
  • Gurnah, whose native language is Swahili but who writes in English, is only the sixth Africa born author to be awarded the Nobel for literature.
  • The 2020 Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to American poet Louise Gluck for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.

About Abdulrazak Gurnah:

  • Abdulrazak Gurnah, 73, grew up on the island of Zanzibar.
  • He came to in England as a refugee in 1960s.
  • He served as Professor of English and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Kent, Canterbury.
  • He is the author of 10 novels, including Paradise and Desertion.
  • His 4th novel ‘Paradise’, which was published in 1994 told the story of a boy growing up in Tanzania in the early 20th Century and was nominated for the Booker Prize, marking his breakthrough as a novelist.
  • Gurnah is the first black African author to have won the award since Wole Soyinka in 1986.

Nobel Prize for Literature:

  • The Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded every year to an author from any country that has produced the most outstanding work in an idealistic direction in the field of literature.
  • The award is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895.
  • Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded 113 times to 117 Nobel Prize laureates.

 

  • The Nobel Prize has honoured several poets, novelists and songwriters in the past including Jean Paul Sartre, William Butler Yeats, Ernest Miller Hemingway, and Bob Dylan.

Note:

  • Rabindranath Tagore is the only Indian and also the first non European literature laureate to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913, which has been dominated by European and North American writers since it was founded in 1901.
  • He won this award for his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful poetry for his collection Gitanjali published in London in 1912.
  • Toni Morrison, one of the most powerful and distinguished storytellers of the time, became the first African American woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize when she won the 1993 literature prize.  

                                                                      

Nobel Peace Prize 2021: The Nobel Peace Prize 2021 has been jointly awarded to journalists Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia.

Key Highlights:

  • The winners were announced by Berit Reiss Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
  • Ressa and Muratov were honored for their “courageous” work but also were considered “representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions.
  • The 2021 Nobel peace laureates are representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions.
  • The two journalists braved the wrath of the leaders of the Philippines and Russia to expose corruption and misrule,in an endorsement of free speech under fire worldwide.
  • The Nobel Peace Prize will be presented on December 10, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, who founded the awards in his 1895 will.

About Maria Ressa:

  • Maria Ressa is a journalist and CEO of news website Rappler.
  • She has presented herself to be a fearless defender of freedom of expression.
  • As per the Norwegian Nobel Committee, she has focused critical attention on the Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte regime’s controversial, murderous anti drug campaign, as per Norwegian Nobel Committee.

About Dmitry Muratov:

  • Dmitry Muratov was one of the founders of the independent newspaper Novaja Gazeta in 1993.
  • This newspaper's editor in chief of Novaja Gazeta has for decades defended the freedom of speech in Russia under increasingly challenging conditions.
  • Novaja Gazeta carries out fact based journalism with professional integrity, which makes it an important source of information on censurable aspects of Russian society rarely mentioned by other media.
  • Despite the killings of its journalists and threats, he has consistently defended the rights of journalists.

About Nobel Peace Prize:

  • Since 1901, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded 101 times to 135 people, which includes 107 individuals and 28 organizations.

Some of the renowned individuals who have been honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize are as follows:

  • US Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Woodrow Wilson,
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Henry A. Kissinger
  • Mother Teresa
  • 14th Dalai Lama
  • Aung San Suu Kyi
  • Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Wangari Maathai
  • South Africa's first black president, Nelson Mandela

Indian Nobel Peace Prize Winners:

  • The first Indian woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 was Mother Teresa for her work for bringing help to suffering humanity.
  • The second Indian to win the peace prize was Kailash Satyarthi.
  • He was awarded the Nobel prize jointly with Malala Yousafzai in 2014 “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”

The following Organizations have been honoured with the Peace Prize for their work:

  • The International Committee of the Red Cross has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize three times in 1917, 1944 and 1963.
  • The UNHCR has been awarded the Peace Prize two times in 1954 and 1981.
  • UNICEF (1965)
  • I.L.O (1969)
  • Amnesty International (1977)
  • The United Nations (2001)
  • European Union (2012)   

                                                                                                          

Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi Award: Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu recently conferred the Government of Assam's biennial Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi Award for National Integration and National Contribution at a special function in Guwahati.

Key Highlights:

This award was awarded to the following:

  • Assam branch of Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust
  • German based Assamese litterateur Dr. Nirod Kumar Baruah
  • Shillong Chamber Choir at Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra

About Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust:

  • Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust was set up on January 9, 1946, when Mahatma Gandhi visited Assam.
  • It has been working for rural women and children.

About Dr Nirod Kumar Baruah:

  • He is an eminent writer based in Germany.
  • He has written several books on Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi.

About Shillong Chamber Choir:

  • Shillong Chamber Choir (SCC) is a renowned musical group founded in 2001 by founder, mentor and conductor of the choir Neil Nongkynrih.
  • Its repertoire includes the works of western classical music such as Handel, Bach, Gershwin and Mozart besides Khasi folk songs & opera.
  • This musical group, in 2021, won the reality TV show, India’s Got Talent.
  • It was also awarded with three gold awards at the 6th World Choir Games for Gospel, Musica Sacra and Popular Music.

About the award:

  • The Gopinath Bordoloi Award is named after the first chief minister of Assam Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi after independence.
  • He was a freedom fighter.
  • He was a multi dimensional figure with outstanding accomplishments.
  • He was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1999 posthumously.
  • The award carries five lakh rupees each, a citation and an angavastram.

 

People in the News Current Affairs - September 2021

APPOINTMENTS:

Kailash Satyarthi: Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi has been appointed by UN SecretaryGeneral Antonio Guterres as a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Advocate in the 76th UN General Assembly (UNGA).

Highlights:

Guterres along with Satyarthi, has also appointed Microsoft President Brad Smith, STEM activist Valentina Munoz Rabanal and Kpop superstars BLACKPINK as new SDG advocates.

With this, the UN now has total of 16 SDG Advocates.

About the SDG Advocates:

  • The SDG Advocates are 17 inspiring, influential people raising global awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the need for accelerated action.
  • They use their unique global platforms to raise ambition around the SDGs and reach the most vulnerable first.
  • They are strong public figures dedicated to peace, prosperity and the planet, rallying behind the vision of a better world and inspiring others to do the same.

Role of SDG Advocates:

  • The SDG Advocates use their considerable spheres of influence to reach new constituencies to act now and keep the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals for people and for the planet.
  • The UN said climate action, bridging the digital divide; gender equality and the promotion of the rights of children are key issues to be championed by the new SDG Advocates.
  • The SDG Advocates are prominent leaders in the world who work to mobilize action to deliver the 17 SDGs by 2030, using their considerable spheres of influence.

About Kailash Satyarthi:

  • Kailash Satyarthi is an Indian social reformer who campaigned against child labour and also advocated for the universal right to education.
  • He is the founder of multiple social activist organisations, including Global March against Child labour, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, Kailash Satyarthi children’s foundation.
  • Satyarthi and his team at Bachpan Bachao Andolan have liberated more than 90,000 children from India from slavery, child labour and trafficking.
  • He has also served on the committee and board of several international organisations including the International Labour Rights Fund, Center for Victims of Torture and Cocoa Initiative.
  • In 2014, Kailash Satyarthi was the corecipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Malala Yousafzai.
  • They were honoured for their struggle against the suppression of young people and children and for the right of all children to education.

About SDGs:

  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
  • The SDGs are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all".
  • They are included in a UN Resolution called the 2030 Agenda or what is colloquially known as Agenda 2030.
  • The 17 SDGs are:

(1) No Poverty

(2) Zero Hunger

(3) Good Health and Wellbeing

(4) Quality Education

(5) Gender Equality

(6) Clean Water and Sanitation

(7) Affordable and Clean Energy

(8) Decent Work and Economic Growth

(9) Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

(10) Reducing Inequality

(11) Sustainable Cities and Communities

(12) Responsible Consumption and Production

(13) Climate Action

(14) Life Below Water

(15) Life On Land

(16) Peace, Justice, and Strong Institution

(17) Partnerships for the Goals

 

AWARDS:

SDG Progress Award: Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina has been conferred with SDG Progress award.

Highlights:

  • She was introduced as the “jewel in the crown of the day” at the event.
  • This prestigious award has been conferred to her for Bangladesh’s steady progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the UN sponsored Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
  • Prime Minister Hasina is currently visiting the US to attend the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

About Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN):

  • The SDSN was set up in 2012 under the auspices of the UN Secretary General.
  • It is led by development economist Jeoffery Sachs.
  • The SDSN seeks to mobilize global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical solutions for sustainable development.

About Sheikh Hasina:

  • Sheikh Hasina, born 28 September 1947, is also known by her married name Sheikh Hasina Wazed. She is a Bangladeshi politician who has been serving as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh since January 2009.
  • She previously served as prime minister from June 1996 to July 2001.
  • She is the longest serving prime minister in the history of Bangladesh, having served for a combined total of over 17 years.
  • She is the daughter of Bangladesh's first president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
  • She has led the Awami League (AL) since 1981.

 

National Florence Nightingale Award 2020: The Deputy Director General of Military Nursing Service (MNS) Brig S V Saraswati has been bestowed with the National Florence Nightingale Award 2020.

Highlights:

  • President Shri Ram Nath Kovind conferred the award to her in a virtual ceremony for her immense contribution to the MNS as nurse administrator.
  • National Florence Nightingale Award is the highest national distinction a nurse can achieve for selfless devotion and exceptional professionalism.

About Brig S V Saraswati:

  • Brig S V Saraswati hails from Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh.
  • She was commissioned in to the MNS on December 28, 1983.
  • She has served in the MNS for more than three and half decades, especially in perioperative nursing.
  • As a renowned operation theatre nurse, she has assisted in more than 3,000 lifesaving and emergency surgeries and has trained residents, operation room nursing trainees and auxiliary staff in her career.
  • She has prepared patient teaching materials and improvised drape kits and suture packing for cardiac surgeries.
  • She has conducted various outreach activities for the troops and has trained more than thousand soldiers and families in basic life support.  
  • She has also represented the MNS in various national and international forums.
  • She has rendered her services at various panIndia army hospitals and United Nations Peace Keeping Forces at Congo.
  • She has held various levels of clinical and administrative appointments prior to assuming the present prestigious appointment of Deputy Director General of MNS.

Recognitions and Awards:

  • In recognition of her meritorious and distinguished service in nursing profession to the soldiers and their families, she was awarded General Officer CommandinginChief Commendation (2005), United Nations Medal (MONOC) (2007) and Chief of the Army Staff Commendation (2015).

About National Florence Nightingale Award:

  • National Florence Nightingale Award is the highest national distinction a nurse can achieve for selfless devotion and exceptional professionalism.
  • The award is in honour of Florence Nightingale who was an English reformer, statistician and the founder of Modern Nursing.
  • She came to prominence while serving as a trainer and manager of nurses during the Crimean War.
  •  Nightingale organized to care for the wounded soldiers at Constantinople.

 

2021 Changemaker Award: Fairooz Faizah Beether of Bangladesh has been chosen for the 2021 Changemaker Award for her work promoting good health and wellbeing by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Highlights:

  • Fairooz Faizah is cofounder of Moner School which is an anonymous online platform active in the field of mental health.
  • It works with youth to educate them about the importance of mental health care through training, workshops, and a 24/7 online mental health first aid service in Bangladesh

About the award:

  • The Changemaker Award is part of the Goalkeepers Global Goals award instituted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • The main aim of the award is to accelerate progress towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN.
  • The Award celebrates an individual who has inspired change using personal experience or from a position of leadership.

Global Goalkeeper Award:

  • The Goalkeepers is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s campaign to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) announced by the UN in 2015 to achieve the objectives of ending poverty, fighting inequality and injustice and fixing climate change.
  • This award recognises a chief who has pushed progress on a global scale toward achieving sustainable improvement dreams (SDGs).

 

Global Goalkeeper Award 2021: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced its annual Goalkeepers ‘Global Goals Awards’ 2021, as part of its annual Goalkeepers campaign.

Key Points:

  • Goalkeepers are the foundation’s campaign to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals).
  • By sharing stories and data behind the Global Goals through an annual report, it seeks to inspire a new generation of leaders—Goalkeepers who raise awareness of progress, hold their leaders accountable, and drive action to achieve the Global Goals.
  • The awards were given in following categories:

The 2021 Global Goalkeeper Award:

  • Phumzile MlamboNgcuka has been chosen for the 2021 Global Goalkeeper Award.
  • She has been honoured for conflict for gender equality and her advocacy to tackle the Covid19 pandemic’s disproportionate effect on ladies and girls.
  • This award recognizes a chief who has pushed progress on a global scale toward achieving sustainable improvement dreams (SDGs).

The 2021 Progress Award:

  • Jenifer Colpas from Colombia was awarded the 2021 Progress Award , for her work which centres around improving access to clean water and sanitation.
  • Colpas is the cofounder and executive director of Tierra Grata, a social enterprise that develops lowcost, easytoinstall solutions providing access to clean energy, safe water, and sanitation services to rural communities in Colombia.
  • This award celebrates an individual who supports progress using science, technology, or business.

The 2021 Campaign Award:

  • Satta Sheriff of Liberia was awarded the 2021 Campaign Award, for her work promoting gender equality.
  • Sheriff is the founder and executive director of Action for Justice and Human Rights (AJHR), a youthled NGO which ensure access to justice and respect for human rights in Liberia, with a focus on women and girls.
  • This award celebrates a campaign that has raised awareness or built a community by inspiring action and creating change.

 

World’s oldest living twins: Guinness World Records has certified two Japanese sisters as the world’s oldest living identical twins.

Highlights:

  • They are Umeno Sumiyama and Koume Kodama who were born the third and fourth of 11 siblings on Shodoshima island in western Japan on Nov. 5, 1913.
  • Both sisters are 107 years old.
  • This certification date falls on Japan's "Respect for the Elderly Day," which is a national holiday.
  • Sumiyama and Kodama were 107 years and 300 days old as of Sept 1, breaking the previous record set by famous Japanese sisters Kin Narita and Gin Kanie at 107 years and 175 days.

About Guiness Book of World Records:

  • Guinness World Records was originally the Guinness Book of Records from its inception in 1955 until 1999.
  • It is a reference book published annually, listing world records both of human achievements and the extremes of the natural world.
  • The brainchild of Sir Hugh Beaver, the book was cofounded by twin brothers Norris and Ross McWhirter in Fleet Street, London, in August 1954.
  • After the founding of The Guinness Book of Records office at 107 Fleet Street, London, the first 198page edition was bound on 27 August 1955 and went to the top of the British best seller lists by Christmas.
  • As of the 2021 edition, it is now in its 66th year of publication, published in 100 countries and 23 languages, and maintains over 53,000 records in its database.

 

OBUTUARIES:

YS Dadwal: Former Governor of Arunachal Pradesh and Commissioner of Delhi Police, Yudhvir Singh Dadwal recently passed away.

About YS Dadwal:

  • YS Dadwal was a 1974batch IPS officer.
  • He was the 16th police commissioner of Delhi from July 2007 to November 2010.
  • After retirement, he was appointed as the DirectorGeneral of the Central Paramilitary Force, Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) in November 2010.
  • In 2016, Dadwal was appointed as the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh.

 

Appointments:

Justice M. Venugopal: Justice M. Venugopal has been named as the new Acting Chairperson of the appellate tribunal, National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).

Highlights:

  • This is the third time in a row that an Acting Chairperson is at the helm of the NCLAT, after the retirement of permanent Chairperson Justice S J. Mukhopadhaya on March 14, 2020.
  • Previously, Justice Bansi Lal Bhat was the first Acting Chairperson from March 15, 2020 and then Justice AIS Cheema from April 19, 2021, and now Justice M. Venugopal with effect from September 11, 2021.

Note: The Government of India (GoI) has appointed thirty one members to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT).

About Justice M. Venugopal:

  • He is a former judge of the High Court of Madras.
  • He had joined as a SubJudge in Tamil Nadu State Judicial Service on June 5, 1997.
  • Later was elevated to Madras High Court in November 2007, where he had served for elevenandahalf years.
  • He has also served as the Judicial Member of BCLAT, Principal Bench from October 2019 and then later moved to Chennai Bench of NCLAT in January 2021.

About the NCLAT:

  • The NCLAT (National Company Law Appellate Tribunal) was constituted by the Central Government of India under Section 410 of the Companies Act, 2013.
  • The tribunal is responsible for hearing appeals from the orders of National Company Law Tribunal(s) (NCLT), starting on 1 June 2016.
  • It is also an appellate tribunal for hearing appeals against the orders passed by NCLT under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), and by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) under Section 202 and Section 211 of IBC.
  • It is also the appellate tribunal to hear and dispose of appeals against any direction issued or decision made or order passed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

About the NCLT and ITAT:

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) deals with matters mainly related to companies law and the insolvency law, while the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) deals with income tax matters.

 

Alka Nangia Arora: Alka Nangia Arora has recently been appointed as the Chairman cum Managing Director (CMD) of the National Small Industries Corporation Ltd. (NSIC).

Highlights:

  • Ms Alka Arora took the additional charge of the post on September 14, 2021.
  • She is a Joint Secretary in Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises.

About NSIC:

  • The National Small Industries Corporation Limited (NSIC) is an ISO 9001:2015 certified Government of India (GoI) Enterprise.
  • It falls under Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises of India.
  • It is a Mini Ratna company established in 1955.
  • It serves as a nodal agency for several schemes of Ministry of MSME.

 

PM Modi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently been named among 100 most influential people of 2021 by the Time Magazine.

Highlights:

Time magazine unveiled its annual list of ‘The 100 Most Influential People of 2021’ on September 15, 2021.

Apart from PM Modi, Mamata Banerjee who is the chief minister of West Bengal and CEO of Serum Institute of India, Adar Poonawalla have also been named among the world’s 100 most influential people.

This annual list is a global list comprising of US President Joe Biden, VicePresident Kamala Harris, Duke & Duchess of Sussex Prince Harry & Meghan, former US president Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and cofounder of the Taliban, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

Time’s profile of PM Modi:

  • According to Time’s profile of PM Modi, India has had three pivotal leaders namely Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Modi.
  • He is the third who has been dominating the India’s politics like no one since them.

Time’s profile of Mamata Banerjee:

  • Mamata Banerjee has been described as the face of fierceness in Indian politics on the time’s profile.
  • The profile mentions that the streetfighter spirit and selfmade life in the patriarchal culture sets her apart.

Time’s profile of Poonawalla:

  • According to Time profile of Poonawalla, the 40yearold head of world’s largest vaccine maker “sought to meet the moment, from the beginning of Covid19 pandemic.

About Time:

  • Time is an American news magazine and news website.
  • It is published and is based in New York City.
  • It was published weekly earlier, but by March 2020 it had switched to biweekly.
  • First edition of the magazine was published on March 3, 1923.

 

Pawan Goenka: He is a former managing director of Mahindra & Mahindra who has been appointed as the chairperson of the Indian National Space Promotion Authorization Centre (InSPACe).

About InSPACe:

  • INSPACe functions as an independent nodal agency under the Department of Space, Government of India (GoI).
  • This centre acts as a facilitator and regulator of space activities in India.

About Pawan Goenka:

  • Goenka, an IIT alumnus, had been associated with two major automobile companies – General Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra in his professional career that spanned over four decades.
  • He retired as the MD of the company on April 1, 2021, after spending 27 years with the Mahindra Group.
  • During his R&D tenure in M&M, he led the development of the Scorpio SUV.

 

Awards:

Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021: Author Susanna Clarke recently won the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021 for her novel ‘Piranesi’.

Highlights:

  • Susanna Clarke is an English author known for her debut novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.
  • Novelist and Bookerwinner Bernardine Evaristo chaired the Women’s Prize judging panel for the year 2021.

About Piranesi:

Piranesi’ is narrated by a man living in a labyrinthine, statuefilled house — alone except for a visitor known as the Other — that comprises his whole universe.

 

Prof. S.K. Joshi Laboratory Excellence Award: Quality Council of India (QCI) recently launched India's firstofits kind Laboratory Excellence Award  the Prof. S.K. Joshi Laboratory Excellence Award.

Key Points:

  • This Award has been instituted to promote Laboratory Quality and performance improvement in the country.
  • The award has been incepted to ensure the laboratory’s commitment to achieve excellence in providing high precision testing and calibration services in line with the prevalent national/international quality systems legislations, including Health, Safety & Environment.
  • This award will be open to all currently operational Laboratories.
  • The award has been categorized into 3 categories which are Testing, Calibration & Medical including their Proficiency Testing Providers & Reference Material Producers located in India.
  • Each category includes a cash award as well.
  • The award was named after Padma Bhushan awardee, late Prof. S.K. Joshi, a luminary in the discipline of science and academia.

About Prof. S.K. Joshi:

  • Late Prof. S.K. Joshi was a luminary in the field of Science and Academica.
  • He made a significant contribution in improving scientific research in India by serving as PresidentINSA, DGCSIR, DirectorNPL and ChairmanNABL.
  • He was felicitated with Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri, CV Raman Medal of INSA and several other prestigious awards.

 

Appointments: 

Vijay Goel: Former Union Minister, Vijay Goel has recently been appointed as the ViceChairman of Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti (GSDS).

Key Points:

  • The appointment was notified by the Union Culture Ministry which is the nodal ministry of the society.

Note: The society supervises the Rajghat and the museum and the library at Gandhi Smriti at 5 Tees January Marg in the national capital.

  • As per the notification, besides Goel, nine other members have been appointed by the Culture Ministry, who are renowned personalities in their respective fields.

About Vijay Goel:

  • Vijay Goel has served as minister in the first NDA government under Modi.
  • He served as minister of state for sports and youth affairs (July 2016 to Sep 2017) parliamentary affairs (Sep 2017 to May 2019), and statistics & programme implementation (Sep 2017 to May 2019).

About Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti (GSDS):

  • Smriti and Darshan Samiti (GSDS) is the site of the Martyrdom of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation.
  • GSDS was established in September 1984.
  • It is located in New Delhi.
  • GSDS functions under constructive advice and financial support from the Ministry of Culture.

Aim of GSDS:

  • Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti aims to carry out activities for the promotion of Mahatma Gandhi”s ideals and the national cause identified with him, especially of national integration and the welfare and betterment of the underprivileged. 

Sardar Iqbal Singh Lalpura: Former IPS officer and BJP national spokesperson Sardar Iqbal Singh Lalpura on 10 eptember 2021 assumed charge as the Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) in the presence of Union Minister for Minority Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

About Sardar Iqbal singh Lalpura:

  • Iqbal Singh Lalpura hails from Ropar district of the state.
  • He was an active police officer during the phase when Punjab witnessed terrorism.
  • During his tenure as IPS officer, served as SSP Amritsar, SSP Tarantaran, and Additional inspector general CID Amritsar.
  • He joined BJP in 2012 after retirement.
  • Before being appointed as national minorities commission chairman, he was a national spokesperson for BJP and a popular face on television debates.
  • He has written nearly 14 books on Sikh philosophy and history, such as ‘Japji Sahib ek vichaar’, Gurbaani ek vichaar’, and ‘Raj Karega Khalsa’.
  • The awards he has won include President’s police medal, police medal for meritorious services, Shiromani Sikh Sahitkar award, Sikh scholar award, etc.
  • He was one of the three officers chosen to arrest Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale.

About National Commission for Minorities (NCM):

  • The Union Government set up the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
  • Initially, Original notification of 1993, five religious communities, viz., Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) were notified as minority communities by the Union Government.
  • Further vide notification; six religious communities, viz; Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains have been notified in Gazette of India as minority communities by the Union Government all over India.

Purpose of NCM:

  • Union Government constituted National Commission for Minorities (NCM), New Delhi and State Government constituted State Minorities Commissions in their respective State Capitals.
  • These organizations are setup to safeguard and protect the interests of minorities as provided in the Constitution of India and laws enacted by the Parliament and the State Legislatures.

UN Declaration:

  • The NCM adheres to the United Nations Declaration of 18 December 1992 which states that "States shall protect the existence of the National or Ethnic, Cultural, Religious and Linguistic identity of minorities within their respective territories and encourage conditions for the promotion of that identity.”

Rights & Safeguards of Minorities:

  • The Indian Constitution does not define the word Minority, however, it has provided constitutional safeguards and fundamental rights to minorities:

Under Fundamental Rights Part III of Indian Constitution:

  • Indian state is committed to administer these rights which can be enforced by judiciary
  • Right of ‘any section of the citizens’ to ‘conserve’ its ‘distinct language, script or culture’; (Article 29(1)).
  • Right of all Religious and Linguistic Minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice ;( Article 30(1)).
  • Freedom of Minoritymanaged educational institutions from discrimination in the matter of receiving aid from the State;(Article30(2)).

Under Part XVII Official Language of Indian Constitution:

  • Rights for any section of population for language spoken by them ;(Article 347)
  • Provision for facilities of instruction in mother tongue; (Article 350A)
  • Provisioning a special officer for linguistic minorities and defining his duties; (Article 350B). 

Tejus Chauhan: Lawyer Tejaus Chauhan has recently been appointed Regional Director for South Asia in the International Court of Arbitration of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

Key Points:

Chauhan will be the 2nd Indian to be appointed for the regional director post.

He will be based in Singapore and he will be taking over the charge from former Regional Director Abhinav Bhushan.

On 3 September 2021, the ICC had announced three new regional directors for the business development of arbitration and alternative dispute resolution in North Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East.

The three regional directors appointed are:

Tejus Chauhan who will be based in Singapore for South Asia,

Dania Fahs in Abu Dhabi for the Middle East,

Donna Huang in Shanghai for North Asia.

About Tejas Chauhan:

Tejus Chauhan is a lawyer.

He completed his studies in trade and law in India.

He worked for a law firm and one of the Big Four as a forensic and dispute expert.

He has previously worked on the promotion and business development of ICC Arbitration and ADR in India for 3 years.

What is the role of Regional Directors of ICC Court?

The regional directors of the ICC Court play a pivotal role in connecting the ICC Court to the business and legal community and government officials in their respective regions and enabling the regional outreach.

About International Court of Arbitration of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC):

ICC International Court of Arbitration (ICA) is an institution for the resolution of international commercial disputes.

It operates under the auspices of the International Chamber of Commerce and consists of more than 100 arbitrators from roughly 90 countries.

The Court was founded in 1923 under the leadership of the ICC's first president Étienne Clémentel, a former French Minister of Finance.

Since then the ICA has helped resolve difficulties in international commercial and business disputes to support trade and investment.

Contrary to what its name suggests, the ICC does not issue formal judgements.

Instead, it provides "judicial supervision of arbitration proceedings."

The court's official working languages are English and French.

However, cases can be administered in any language.

The headquarters of the ICC is in Paris, France.

The President of the ICC Court is Claudia Salomon of the US.

Members:

Members of the ICC Court are appointed to threeyear terms by the ICC World Council on the recommendation of ICC 'national committees' or groups. In jurisdictions where there is no national committee or group, members are recommended for appointment by the President of the Court.

Alternate members are appointed by the World Council on the recommendation of the court's President.

 

 

Awards: 

2021 International Young EcoHero Award: Ayaan Shankta, a 12yearold environmental activist from Mumbai, India, has been named as a 2021 International Young EcoHero award winner.

Highlights:

  • He won this award in recognition of his efforts to solve tough environmental problems.
  • He won the third place in the 814 age category for his project Conservation and Rehabilitation of Powai Lake.
  • He is one of the 25 young environmental activists from across the globe who has been recognized as a 2021 International Young EcoHero by the Action For Nature (AFN).

About Ayaan Shankta:

  • Ayaan Shankta is a 12year old environmental activist who lives in Powai, Mumbai, India.
  • Ayaan after noticing the deteriorating state of Powai Lake due to the dumping of garbage began the project ‘Conservation and Rehabilitation of Powai Lake’ in an attempt to save the lake.
  • He began exploring the root causes of environmental degradation and started working with agencies like Maharashtra State Angling Association, Naushad Ali Sarovar Samvardhini (NASS), and the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai (IIT).
  • He not only conducted a detailed survey of Powai Lake using satellite imagery but also designed an Autonomous Spatial Pollution Detection Robot that can detect pollution and siltation in lakes with spatial accuracy.
  • His project aims to raise awareness about pollution, clean up the lake, and protect its ecosystem.
  • In addition to working with NGOs to raise awareness and organize cleanups, Ayaan authored an action report on lake conditions and is currently working on a documentary about Powai Lake.

About International Young EcoHero Award:

  • Action For Nature (AFN) is an international nonprofit organization which has created the International Young EcoHero Awards to recognize and reward the successful individual environmental initiatives of young people ages 8 to 16.
  • Every year since 2003, AFN has sought to recognize and reward young people who are taking action to solve the world’s tough environmental problems.
  • Youth from countries around the globe send in their stories and explain their work.
  • Then a panel of judges including experts in environmental science, biology, and education determines the year’s top achievers.
  • Each ECOHERO AWARD WINNER receives a cash prize of up to $500, a certificate of achievement, media coverage, and exclusive access to the ECOHERO ALUMNI FACEBOOK GROUP.

 

Ramesh Narayan: Indian advertising doyen Ramesh Narayan will be inducted into the Asian Federation of Advertising Associations (AFAA) Hall of Fame at AdAsia 2021.

Highlights:

  • The AFAA Hall of Fame sets out to recognize the best of the very best.
  • It’s for those who’ve defined a generation of advertising.
  • He has been recognized for all his selfeffacing hard work, real commitment, continuous guidance and voluntary support that he has provided AFAA for over two decades.
  • Ramesh has earlier been honoured with the following awards:
  • AAAI Lifetime Achievement Award,
  • The International Advertising Association Global Champion Award,
  • The Public Relations Society of India Special Award,
  • The Association of Business Communicators of India Lifetime Achievement Award,
  • An induction into the Hall of Fame of the India chapter of the IAA.

 

AANS Award: Odisha-born neurosurgeon Dr Basant Kumar Misra has recently been conferred the prestigious American Association of Neurological Surgeons’ ‘International Lifetime Achievement Award in Neurosurgery’.

Key Highlights:

  • Misra is the first Indian physician to receive the AANS honor.

  • This prestigious award was conferred on him at a virtual ceremony during the AANS Annual Scientific Meeting 2021 held in Orlando, Florida.

  • He was the world’s first surgeon to perform Computer-Guided Aneurysm surgery.

About the Dr Basant Kumar Misra:

  • Dr Basant Kumar Misra completed his MBBS from VIMSAR, Burla.

  • He received a Master of Surgery from Delhi University in 1980 and MCh Neurosurgery from AIIMS New Delhi in 1983.

  • He is the chief of surgery, head of the department of neurosurgery, and Gamma knife radiosurgery, PD Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre, Mumbai.

  • He is president of the Asian Australasian Society of Neurological Surgeons and the World Federation of Skull Base Societies.

  • He is also first vice president of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies.

  • He is also the recipient of the most prestigious Dr BC Roy National Award in the category of ‘Eminent Medical Person’ (Highest Medical Award in India) in 2018.

Ramon Magsaysay Award 2021: The Ramon Magsaysay Award 2021 awardees have been announced.

Highlights:

  • Ramon Magsaysay Awards 2021 will be conferred to five people who have made selfless and extraordinary contributions to the eradication of poverty and the development of the society in Asia.

  • The winners will be formally awarded the Magsaysay Award during the November 28 event at the Ramon Magsaysay Centre in Manila.

  • The Ramon Magsaysay Award which is also known as Asia’s Nobel Prize was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

About Ramon Magsaysay Award 2021 Winners:

Dr. Firdausi Qadri:

  • She is a senior scientist at the Mucosal Immunology and Vaccinology Unit at the Infectious Diseases Division of International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease and Research, Bangladesh.

  • She has been selected for her commitment in vaccine development that saved millions of lives.

Muhammad Amjad Saqib:

  • He is a visionary who founded one of the largest microfinance institutions in Pakistan, servicing millions of families.

  • He has been has been chosen for his outstanding efforts in restoring human dignity, alleviating poverty and helping over 3 million families to come out of poverty through zero-interest lending model.

Steven Muncy:

  • He is a 64 year old humanitarian worker who has been helping the displaced refugees of Southeast Asia rebuild their lives.

  • He has been chosen for the prestigious Award in recognition of his lifelong dedication to humanitarian work, refugee assistance and peace building and unstinting pursuit of dignity, peace and harmony for people in exceptionally difficult circumstances in Asia.

  • Muncy is the founder of Community and Family Services International (CFSI) who has been living outside his own country for more than four decades, working in a difficult environment in Asia.

Roberto Ballon:

  • Roberto Ballon is a Filipino fisher is a fisherman from Southern Philippines who has led a community in restoring their rich aquatic resources and their primary source of livelihood.

  • The Filipino awardee dedicated his award to his fellow fisherfolk.

WatchDoc:

  • Watchdoc is a production house that ingeniously combines documentary filmmaking and alternative platforms to highlight underreported issues in Indonesia.

  • It has been recognized for its highly principled crusade for an independent media organization and its energetic use of investigative journalism, documentary filmmaking and digital technology to transform Indonesia’s media landscape.

About the Ramon Magsaysay Award:

  • The Ramon Magsaysay Award is an annual award, which is also known as Asia’s Nobel Prize.

  • The Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia’s highest honor and is widely regarded as the region’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

  • The award was established in 1957 as an annual award in memory of the third president of the Philippines, Ramon Magsaysay.

  • It celebrates the memory and leadership example of the third Philippine president and is given every year to individuals or organizations in Asia who manifest the same selfless service that ruled the life of the late and beloved Filipino leader.

  • The award was established by the trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund based in New York City with the concurrence of the Philippine government.

  • The annual award is presented every year on August 31st, on the birth anniversary of Magsaysay.

Appointments:

Dorje Angchuk: Dorje Angchuk recently became an honorary member among 11 new honorary members inducted to the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

Highlights:

  • He is an Engineer in charge at the Indian Astronomical Observatory of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) at Hanle in the Ladakh region,

  • Angchuk is the first and only Indian to bag the position in the prestigious body.

  • He has been selected for ‘his passionate promotion of astronomy in the Ladakh region, through his excellent astrophotography’.

  • He will be joining ten other Honorary Members from around the world, selected by IAU to join a select list of 20 international experts.

About the honorary member of the IAU:

  • The IAU membership category was introduced at the 30th General Assembly, held in August 2018 in Vienna.

  • Its Honorary Members gives official recognition to individuals who have significantly contributed to the progress of astronomical research and culture in their country, but who do not qualify as Individual Members.

About IIA:

  • The Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) is an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India (GoI).

  • It was established in 1971.

  • IIA conducts research primarily in the areas of astronomy, astrophysics and related fields.

  • It is headquartered in Bengaluru.

About IAU:

  • The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is a nongovernmental organisation with the objective of advancing astronomy in all aspects, including promoting astronomical research, outreach, education, and development through global cooperation.

  • It was founded in 1919.

  • It is headquartered in Paris, France.

Jagannath Bidyadhar Mohapatra: He is an Indian Revenue Service officer who has been appointed as the new Chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

Highlights:

  • His appointment was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).

  • Mohapatra, a 1985 batch officer is currently working as a Member of CBDT.

  • He was given the additional charge as CBDT chairman after the tenure of incumbent PC Mody ended this year in May.

  • Mohapatra had earlier served as the Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax for the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana region.

About CBDT:

  • It is an acronym of the Central Board of Direct Taxes.

  • CBDT was established in 1924.

  • It is a statutory authority functioning under the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963.

  • The officials of the Board in their ex-officio capacity also function as a Division of the Ministry dealing with matters relating to levy and collection of direct taxes.

  • It functions as a division of the Ministry of Finance under the Department of Revenue. Its functions include formulation of policies, dealing with natters relating to levy and collection of direct taxes, and supervision of the functioning of the entire Income Tax Department.

  • The CBDT is headed by a chairman and can have six members.

  • All of these officers are in the rank of special secretary.

Gauri Lankesh: The Canadian city of Burnaby recently declared September 5 as “Gauri Lankesh Day”.

Key Points:

  • The day has been declared as Gauri Lankesh Day as a tribute to the dead journalist on her death anniversary.

  • Mike Hurley, the Mayor of Burnaby city in British Columbia, signed a proclamation to this effect on August 30.

  • The proclamation stated that she was a courageous Indian journalist who stood up for truth and justice, challenged superstition and social ills, and dedicated her life to serving the poor and oppressed.

  • She was a left-leaning journalist who brought out a magazine “Gauri Lankesh Patrike”.

  • She was shot dead by two assailants on September 5, 2017 evening just outside her house in Bengaluru allegedly for her anti-Hindutva stand.

  • 55 year old Gauri Lankesh through her work encouraged her readers to adopt scientific temperament and reject religious fanaticism and caste-based discrimination and bigotry.

Note:

  • Currently, the Supreme Court is hearing an appeal by Kavita Lankesh (sister of Gauri Lankesh) challenging a Karnataka High Court order which quashed the Karnataka Control of Organized Crimes Act (KCOCA) against one of the accused.

  • Accused slapped with the KCOCA find it hard to get bail.

Orbituary:

Chandan Mitra: Former Rajya Sabha MP and senior journalist Chandan Mitra has passed away.

About:

  • Mitra was the Editor and Managing Director of The Pioneer newspaper in New Delhi.

  • He was nominated as a member of the Rajya Sabha from August 2003 to 2009.

  • In June 2010, Mitra was elected to another term in the Rajya Sabha by BJP from Madhya Pradesh (MP).

  • His term ended in 2016.

  • In July 2018, he resigned from the BJP and joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC).

Buddhadeb Guha: Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi recently expressed deep grief over the passing away of eminent writer, Shri Buddhadeb Guha.

About Buddhadeb Guha:

  • Buddhadeb Guha (29 June 1936 – 29 August 2021) was an Indian writer of fiction in Bengali language.

  • His early life is depicted in his Rivu series.

  • Some of the Rivu books are dedicated to friends from his youth.

  • He was also the creator of Rijuda, an imaginary character who explores jungles mainly of Eastern India with his sidekick Rudra.

  • In 1976, he was awarded the Ananda Puraskar.

Kalyan Singh:

Former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Kalyan Singh passed away on August 22, 2021 after a prolonged illness at the age of 89.

Key Points:

  • He was one of the most prominent BJP leaders who helped shape rise of the Ram Temple movement.

  • He was the UP chief minister when the Babri mosque was demolished by a mob in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.

  • He had resigned from the post after the demolition.

More about Kalyan Singh :

  • Kalyan Singh (1932 – 2021) , a Hindutva icon and a Bharatiya Janata Party veteran had served as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh twice from June 1991 – December 1992 and then from September 1997 – November 1999.

  • Born on January 5, 1932, Kalyan Singh first became an MLA in 1967.

  • He had been a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh while he was still in school.

  • He had also served as the Member of Parliament for Lok Sabha from 2009 to 2014 from Etah constituency in Uttar Pradesh.

  • He then served as the Governor of Himachal Pradesh from January 2015 till August 2015.

  • He was later appointed as the 21st Governor of Rajasthan from September 2014 till September 2019.

  • He then again served for the second term as Chief Minister in 1997 but was removed in 1999.

  • He won nine more elections from the constituency as a representative of Bharatiya Jana Sangh, BJP, Janata Party and the Rashtriya Kranti Party.

Gail Omvedt:

She was a researcher, author and one of the intellectual voices of the Bahujan movement who passed away at the age of 81.

About Gail Omvedt:

  • Gail Omvedt (2 August 1941 – 25 August 2021) was an American-born Indian sociologist and human rights activist.

  • She was a prolific writer and published numerous books on the anti-caste movement, Dalit politics, and women's struggles in India.

  • She not only contributed as a researcher in social movements, saints’ literature, traditions but also was involved in Dalit and anti-caste movements, environmental, farmers' and women's movements, especially with rural women.

  • She also participated in various people’s movements, including the one for the rights of people displaced by the Koyna Dam.

  • Omvedt authored over 25 books, including In Colonial Society – Non-Brahmin Movement in Western India, Buddhism in India, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, Seeking Begampura, Mahatma Phule, Dalit and the Democratic Revolution, Understanding Caste, We Will Smash the Prison and New Social Movement in India.

  • She was the head of Phule-Ambedkar chair in the Department of Sociology of the University of Pune; Professor at the Institute of Asian Studies, Copenhegan; and the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in New Delhi.

  • She was a consultant for FAO, UNDP and NOVIB.

  • She was a senior fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library and research director of the Krantivir Trust.

  • Omvedt co-founded Shramik Mukti Dal with her husband and activist Bharat Patankar.

Chairperson of Stop TB Partnership Board:

The Health and Family Welfare Minister of India Shri Mansukh Mandaviya , on 26th August 2021, took over charge as the Chairperson of Stop TB Partnership Board.

Key Details:

  • The Minister will hold the responsibility with immediate effect until 2024.

  • Mansukh Mandaviya replaces Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan as the chairman.

  • As the Chairman of Stop TB Partnership Board Mr. Malvia will lead the efforts of the Stop TB Partnership Secretariat, partners, and TB community in order to reach towards reaching United Nations TB targets by 2022, a milestone moment in the effort to end TB by 2030.

Important Info:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set an aim to eliminate tuberculosis (TB) in India by 2025.

About Stop TB Partnership:

  • Stop TB Partnership has been administered by the United Nations Office for Project services (UNOPS) since 2015.

  • Earlier it was hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO).

  • It was formed in 2001.

  • It was established in a bid to eradicate tuberculosis (TB) as a public health problem.

  • The secretariat is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

  • Dr Lucica Ditiu is the current Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership.

Sandeep Bakhshi:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently approved the re-appointment of Sandeep Bakhshi as the MD & CEO of ICICI Bank.

Key Points:

  • It will be with effect from October 15, 2021, till October 3, 2023.

  • The appointment of Mr Bakhshi for a period effective from October 15, 2018, up to October 3, 2023 had already been approved in the shareholders at the Annual General Meeting held on August 9, 2019.

  • Bakshi, who was hand-picked by his mentors- KV Kamath and N Vaghul, took over the charge in October 2018, after his predecessor Chanda Kochhar’s exit following the ICICI Bank-Videocon loan controversy.

About ICICI:

  • ICICI Bank is a leading private sector bank in India.

  • ICICI Bank was established by the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI), an Indian financial institution, as a wholly owned subsidiary in 1994 in Vadodara.

  • However, the parent company was formed in 1955 at the initiative of the World Bank, the Government of India and representatives of Indian industry.

  • The bank was founded as the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India Bank, before it changed its name to ICICI Bank.

  • The parent company was later merged with the bank.

  • It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

  • The tagline of ICICI Bank is Hum Hai Na, Khayal Apka.

Ahmad Massoud:

Ahmad Massoud has been leading the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan.

  • He is the man building an anti-Taliban resistance.

About:

  • Ahmad Massoud is the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was one of the main leaders of Afghanistan’s anti-Soviet resistance in the 1980s.

  • Ahmad Shah Massoud was assassinated on September 9, 2001, at the behest of the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

  • Ahmad Massoud has been leading the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan and is gathering mujahideen fighters in the Panjshir Valley who are prepared to once again take on the Taliban.

Note: The Panjshir Valley is Afghanistan’s last remaining holdout where anti-Taliban forces seem to be working on forming a guerrilla movement to take on the fundamentalist group.

People in the News Current Affairs - August 2021

Institute of Economic Growth (IEG):

N.K. Singh who is the 15th Finance Commission Chairperson has been elected as the president of the Institute of Economic Growth (IEG) Society.

Key Highlights:

  • N.K. Singh will be succeeding former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh after he stepped down from the post earlier in August 2021.

  • Singh was recommended by Dr Manmohan Singh had for the General Assembly of the IEG to consider for Presidency of the Society.

  • Dr Manmohan Singh has served as the President of IEG since 1992.

  • At present, Tarun Das, former Director-General, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is the Chairman, Board of Governors, and Professor Ajit Mishra is the Director of IEG.

About N K Singh:

  • N K Singh is an Indian economist, administrator, academician, and policymaker. He is currently the Chairman of the 15th Finance Commission.

  • Prior to this, he has been the Chairman of the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Review Committee (FRBM).

  • He has also been a member of the Rajya Sabha from 2008 to 2014 during which he contributed significantly to several Parliamentary Standing Committees such as the Committee on Human Resource Development, the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the Public Accounts Committee.

  • He was not only a distinguished member of the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) in his home cadre in Bihar, where he held posts such as the Industrial Development Commissioner and Deputy Chairman, Bihar Planning Board but he also has a vast international experience through interactions with multilateral organizations such as the World Bank, OECD, IMF, and ADB.

Awards:

  • He has been awarded the “Order of the Rising Sun - Gold, and Silver" in 2016 by the Emperor of Japan for his work as First Minister, Economic, and Commercial, Indian Embassy, Japan (1981–85).

About Institute of Economic Growth (IEG):

  • The Institute of Economic Growth (EIG), is an autonomous body and civil service training institute under the Government of India (GoI).

  • EIG was founded in 1952 by the renowned economist, V. K. R. V. Rao.

  • This institute was established for advanced research on economic and social development. It is widely regarded as a centre of excellence in the field.

Adi Godrej:

Renowned industrialist Adi Godrej will step down as Chairman of Godrej Industries Ltd (GIL) on October 1, 2021.

Highlights:

  • His younger brother, Nadir Godrej, currently the GIL Managing Director, will succeed him,

  • Nadir Godrej is currently the Godrej Industries Limited MD.

  • However, Adi Godrej will continue to serve as the Chairman of Godrej Group.

About Adi Godrej:

  • Adi Godrej is an alumnus of the Sloan School of Management at MIT.

  • He has served as the head of several Indian trade associations and industrial bodies.

  • The 79-year-old veteran industrialist has been the Chairman of the Board of the Indian School of Business and the president of the Confederation of Indian Industry in the past.

  • He has also received several awards throughout his illustrious career, including the Padma Bhushan in 2013, the Rajiv Gandhi Award in 2002 and The American India Foundation (AIF) Leadership in Philanthropy Award in 2010.

About GIL:

  • Godrej Industries (GIL) is the holding company of the Godrej group.

  • GIL was founded in 1963.

  • It is headquartered in Maharashtra, India.

Orbituary:

Maki Kaji:

He is the Godfather of Sudoku.

He passed away at the age of 69, due to bile duct cancer, on August 17, 2021.

Who was Maki Kaji?

  • Maki Kaji was the president of Nikoli Co. Ltd.

  • It is a Japanese puzzle manufacturer.

  • He was popularly called as “the father of Sudoku” as he played a key role in popularizing this number game.

  • He also invented other puzzle games including Masyu.

  • He recently (July 2021) resigned as head of Nikoli, before his death.

Background:

  • He was born in in Sapporo, Hokkaido on October 8, 1951.

  • His father was an engineer at a telecom company while his mother was an employer of a kimono shop.

  • He did his schooling from Shakujii High School in Sapporo.

  • Later he studied literature at Keio University, but dropped out in his first year.

  • After several jobs such as being a roadie, a waiter and a construction worker, he lastly started a publishing business.

About Nikoli:

  • Nikoli was a quarterly puzzle magazine by Kaji.

  • This magazine was named after a race horse that had won Guineas Stakes race in Ireland.

  • Later he founded the company with same name.

  • Nikoli magazine was the company’s main product.

About Sudoku:

  • Sudoku is a logic-based, combinatorial number-placement puzzle.

  • In classic sudoku, the objective is to fill a 9×9 grid with digits so that each column, each row, and each of the nine 3×3 subgrids that compose the grid contain all of the digits from 1 to 9.

  • Puzzle setter provides a partially completed grid for which a well-posed puzzle has a single solution.

Awards:

National Intellectual Property Awards 2020:

Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs & Food & Public Distribution and Textiles Shri Piyush Goyal today conferred the National Intellectual Property Awards 2020 to the winners at an event.

About the award:

  • The award is conferred annually by Office of Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (CGPDTM), Dept for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DIIPT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

  • This prestigious award is awarded to individuals, institution, organizations, enterprises, police units and other legal entities for IP creation, commercialization and enforcement.

About the event:

  • While addressing the award function, Shri Goyal congratulated all the winners & hoped that they would continue to do such exemplary work in future also.

  • He said that these awards were truly inclusive with contributions from varied sectors i.e. from Academia to Start-ups.

  • Shri Goyal also said that the key achievements of his Ministry includes

  • Granting of 28,391 patents in 2020-21 as compared to 4,227 grants during 2013-14 (572% growth.

  • Reduction in Time of patent examination from 72 months in Dec 2016 to 12-24 months in Dec 2020

  • 2 lakh trademark registrations in 4 years (2016-2020) in comparison to 11 lakh during 75 years (1940-2015).

  • India’s ranking improved in Global Innovation Index to 48th in 2020, (+33 ranks from 81st in 2015-16).

  • On this occasion, Shri Goyal made following announcements-

  • 80% fee reduction filing for IPRs to all Recognized Educational Institution (Govt/Aided/Pvt) irrespective of whether such institute is in India or outside India.

  • Total fee (Filing + publication + Renewal fee) for an Institute is ~Rs. 4,24,500/- now, this will be reduced to Rs. 84,900/ -, The fees among the top Patent Offices worldwide.

  • Office of CGPDTM (IP office) will impart training & awareness to 10 Lakh students in this Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav (15th Aug, 2021 to 15 Aug, 2022).

Baba Saheb Purandare ji: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi paid rich tributes to Baba Saheb Purandare ji on entering the 100th year of his life.

About Baba Saheb Purandare ji:

  • Baba Sahib Purandare ji's full name is Balwant Moreshwar Purandare.

  • He was born in 1922.

  • He is a writer and theatre personality from Maharashtra.

  • His works are mostly based on the events related to the life of Shivaji, the 17th-century founder of the Maratha Empire; as a result he is termed as Shiv-Shahir ("Shivaji's bard").

  • He is mostly known for his popular play on Shivaji Jaanta Raja.

  • Baba Saheb Purandare also contributed to the Goa Mukti Sangram to the Dadar Nagar Haveli freedom struggle.

Awards:

  • In 2015, he was awarded with Maharashtra Bhushan Award, Maharashtra's highest civilian award.

  • Shri Purandare has been honored with Padma Vibhushan in 2019.

  • Madhya Pradesh Government also saluted him by awarding him Kalidas award.

Appointments:

Kamlesh Kumar Pant: He is a 1993-batch IAS officer of Himachal Pradesh cadre, who has recently been appointed as the new chairman of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).

Highlights:

  • He was appointed by the Appointments Committee of the Union Cabinet.

  • The pharmaceutical pricing agency was currently headed by IAS officer Shubhra Singh, who was appointed to the post in 2018.

  • Singh has been repatriated to her cadre state Rajasthan, according to an order of the personnel ministry.

About Kamlesh Kumar Pant:

  • Pant was formerly the Principal Secretary (Revenue) in the government of Himachal Pradesh.

  • He was also the Financial Commissioner (Appeals) at Himachal Pradesh and the head of the Himachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board.

About NPPA:

  • National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) was founded on 29 August 1997.

  • NPPA is headquartered in New Delhi.

Additional News:

  • Meanwhile, the Appointments Committee also announced new additional secretaries in various ministries and departments.

  • Amrit Lal Meena has been appointed as Additional Secretary (Logistics), Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

  • Sudhir Garg and Jayant Sinha have been appointed as Additional Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority and Additional Secretary & Financial Advisor, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, respectively.

Obtiruaries:

Kasargod Patnashetti Gopal Rao: Commodore Kasargod Patnashetti Gopal Rao, a 1971 war hero and recipient of the Mahavir Chakra, passed away.

About:

  • Rao was a recipient of the Veer Seva Medal also.

  • He played a key role in the war with Pakistan to liberate East Pakistan that is now Bangladesh.

  • He led a small task group of the Western Fleet and launched an offensive off the coast of Karachi as part of Operation Cactus Lily.

  • Notwithstanding the threat of air, surface and submarine attack, he led the group into enemy waters on the night of December 4, 1971.

Neeraj Chopra: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has appoined Neeraj Chopra for banking fraud awareness campaign.

Key Points:

  • This campaign has been started by RBI to warn people against digital banking frauds.

  • The central bank has asked people to be a little cautious as doing so can protect them from a lot of troubles.

  • The campaign sees Chopra urging users to not divulge details like OTP, CVV number and ATM PIN in front of anyone.

  • The users should keep changing their online banking passwords and PIN numbers frequently and immediately block ATM card, credit card, debit card and/or prepaid card if one loses it.

  • Block your card if stolen, lost or compromised.

About Neeraj Chopra:

  • He is an Indian track and field athlete, competing in the javelin throw.

  • He is the Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) in the Indian Army.

  • He is also the first track and field athlete who won IAAF World U20 Championships.

  • In 2016, he achieved under-20 world record of 86.48 m.

  • After Abhinav Bindra, he is the second Indian to win a Gold Medal at the Olympics.

  • He has also become the youngest-ever Indian gold medalist in the individual event and the first to won gold in his Olympic debut.

Rekha Sharma: The Government of India (GoI) has given a three-year extension to Rekha Sharma as Chairperson of the National Commission for Women (NCW).

She will serve for another three years term with effect from August 07, 2021, or till the age of 65 years or until further orders whichever is the earliest.

About Rekha Sharma:

  • Rekha Sharma first assumed the charge as Chairperson of NCW on August 7, 2018.

  • The 57-year-old Sharma has been associated with the Commission as a member since August 2015 and held the additional charge as the chairperson from September 29, 2017, before becoming its regular chief.

  • She has been a vocal advocate of gender sensitisation of police personnel since they are the first point of contact for victims.

About NCW:

  • The National Commission for Women (NCW) was set up as statutory body in January 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990 ( Act No. 20 of 1990 of Govt. of India).

  • NCW was established on 31 January 1992 under the provisions of the Indian Constitution, as defined in the 1990 National Commission for Women Act.

  • It is concerned with advising the government on all policy matters affecting women.

  • They have also discussed police abuses against women.

  • The commission regularly publishes a monthly newsletter, Rashtra Mahila, in both Hindi and English.

Objectives:

  • The objective of the NCW is to represent the rights of women in India and to provide a voice for their issues and concerns.

  • The subjects of their campaigns have included dowry, politics, religion, equal representation for women in jobs, and the exploitation of women for labour.

Pingali Venkayya : On the occasion of birth anniversary of Pingali Venkayya, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and other members of Union Cabinet paid homage to him.

Key Highlights:

  • Year 2021 marked 145th anniversary of Pingali Venkayya.

  • Pingali Venkayya was the architect behind the design of Indian national flag.

  • Pingali Venkaiah, who was from Krishna district, designed the National Flag and presented it to Mahatma Gandhi during the latter’s visit to Vijayawada city on April 1, 1921.

  • The Present-day national flag of India inspired by the design of Pingali Venkayya gave unique identity to India by means of national flag.

Significance of national flag:

  • Any country is identified and distinguished by its unique flag, emblem, and anthem.

  • Flag is a symbolic expression of how any country sees and identifies itself.

  • India’s national flag 'Tiranga' represents its values and thoughts.

  • It has a unique meaning that defines what the country believes and strives for

  • Saffron colour on top symbolizes strength & courage,

  • White colour in middle represents peace & truth.

  • Green colour at the bottom symbolises fertility, growth & auspiciousness of land.

  • 24 spokes of the Ashok Chakra symbolises that there is life in movement and death in stagnation.

About Pingali Venkayya:

  • Pingali Venkayya (2 August 1876 – 4 July 1963) was an Indian freedom fighter.

  • He was a staunch follower of Mahatma Gandhi and the designer of the flag on which the Indian national flag was based.

  • The flag he designed was called as Swaraj Flag.

  • He was born at Bhatlapenumarru, near Machilipatnam, in what is now the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

  • He was an authority in geology, agriculture and also an educationist who set up an educational institution in Machilipatnam.

  • He, however, died in poverty in 1963 and was largely forgotten by the society."

Recognition:

  • Pingali Venkayya was posthumously honored with a postage stamp in 2009 for his contribution to the Indian freedom struggle. In 2014, his name was also proposed for the Bharat Ratna.

  • In 2015, the then Urban Development Minister, M. Venkaiah Naidu had renamed the AIR Vijaywada after Venkayya and unveiled his statue on its premises.

  • Further, the Andhra Pradesh Government has also requested the Centre to confer the highest civilian honor Bharat Ratna, to Pingali in recognition of his contribution to the nation.

  • ‘Jateeya Pataka Rupasilpi Pingali Venkayya’ by Venna Vallabharao, ‘Pingali Venkayya’ by Apoorv Shrivastava are a few of the books written on the late freedom fighter.

  • Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu had once said that Venkayya was the unsung hero of our freedom struggle who made an immense contribution. He devoted his entire life to the nation and worked relentlessly to make India a free country.

  • The decision by the Centre is yet to be taken on the proposal.

Additional Info:

Little known facts:

  • Pingali Venkayya was an avid flag enthusiast who also came up with a booklet titled ‘A National Flag for India’ in 1916, wherein he had presented twenty-four flag designs.

  • He met Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa during the Second Boer War (1899-1902) when he was posted there as part of the British Indian Army.

About Pingali Venkayya’s design:

  • Pingali Venkayya's designed flag known as the Swaraj Flag consisted of red and green bands to symbolize the two major communities in the country- Hindus and Muslims.

  • His design had given an identity to India and its people.

  • Back in the days of freedom struggle, the flag helped in uniting and giving rise to the spirit of independence.

  • On the advice of Mahatma Gandhi, he added a white band over red over green with a charkha design onto Khadi bunting.

  • The white represented peace and the rest of the communities living in India, and the spinning wheel symbolized the progress of the country. Though the first tricolor was not officially accepted by the All India Congress Committee (AICC), it began to be hoisted on all Congress occasions.

  • Gandhiji’s approval had made it sufficiently popular and it was in use till 1931.

  • The flag, however, had raised communal concerns after which a Flag Committee was set up in 1931.

  • The Congress Working Committee (CWC) came up with a new tricolor which was called the Purna Swaraj.

  • The flag replaced the red color with saffron, the white band was shifted in the middle, from over white over green emblazoned with a blue charkha in the centre.

Dhriti Banerjee: She is a prolific scientist who has recently been appointed as the director of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).

Highlights:

  • Her appointment was approved by the appointments committee of the Cabinet of Government of India (GoI) making her the first woman to be appointed as director of the 105-year-old ZSI.

  • She will be taking charge sometime in the next week.

About:

  • The 51-year-old has had an illustrious career as a scientist.

  • She has worked in several projects like conducting research in zoogeography, taxonomy, morphology and molecular systematic.

  • She has been co-ordinator of ZSI’s Digital Sequence Information Project since 2021.

About ZSI:

  • The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) was founded in July 1916.

  • It has its headquarters in Kolkata.

  • It has 16 regional centres under the ministry of environment and forests and climate change. ZSI started hiring women scientists as late as 1949, nearly three decades since its inception.

  • Mira Mansukhani created a benchmark by entering the male dominated organization as the first women employee. 

  • On the occasion of its centenary celebrations in 2016, Banerjee had co-authored the “The Glorious 100 Women’s Scientific Contribution in ZSI”, which chronicled the contributions of women scientists in the domain of animal related groups. 

V M Kanade: The Governor of Maharashtra Bhagat Singh Koshyari recently approved the appointment of retired Bombay high court judge Justice V M Kanade as the new Lokayukta of Maharashtra.

Highlights:

  • He was appointed on the advice of the chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.

  • Justice Kanade’s swearing will take place on 11th August 2021.

  • Maharashtra was without a full-time Lokayukta for almost a year.

  • The previous Lokayukta, (retd) Justice M L Tahaliyani had completed his tenure in August 2020.

About the Lokayukta:

  • The Lokayukta is an anti-corruption ombudsman. Citizens can make complaints of corruption against any government official or elected representative directly to the Lokayukta, who is tasked with speedy redressal.

  • The Lokayukta acts like a watchdog and plays a key role in fighting against corruption and bringing transparency.

  • Citizens can make complaints of corruption against any government official or elected representative directly to the Lokayukta, who is tasked with speedy redressal.

  • The Lokayukta post is important to keep a check on the government and has become a recourse for the man between 2015 and 2020.

Appointment of Lokayukta:

  • The Lokayukta is appointed by the Governor of the State, through nomination by its Chief Minister (in consensus with Chief justice of the State High Court, Leaders of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and Chairman of the Legislative Council).

  • Once appointed, Lokayukta cannot be dismissed nor transferred by the government, and can only be removed by passing an impeachment motion by the state assembly.

Kumar Mangalam Birla: He is the Chairman of Aditya Birla Group Chairman who has stepped down as the Non-Executive Director and Non-Executive Chairman of the Vodafone Idea (now Vi) Board.

The Vi Board of Directors unanimously elected Himanshu Kapania, currently a Non-Executive Director, as the Non-Executive Chairman with effect.

About Kumar Mangalam Birla:

  • Kumar Mangalam Birla (born 14 June 1967) is an Indian billionaire industrialist.

  • He is the chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, one of the largest conglomerates in India.

  • He is also the chancellor of the Birla Institute of Technology & Science.

  • He is the chairman of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad too.

About Himanshu Kapania:

  • Himanshu Kapania is a nominee of the Aditya Birla Group.

  • He is a telecom industry veteran with 25 years of experience.

  • He has also served on the Global GSMA Board for two years and was also the Chairman of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) for two years.

  • He is presently the Chairman of the FICCI Council on Telecom, Electronics and Digital Economy.

About Aditya Birla Group:

  • Aditya Birla Management Corporation Pvt. Ltd., (Aditya Birla Group), is an Indian multinational conglomerate company.

  • It operates in 34 countries with more than 120,000 employees.

  • The group was founded by Seth Shiv Narayan Birla in 1857.

  • The group has interests in viscose staple fibre, metals, cement (largest in India), viscose filament yarn, branded apparel, carbon black, chemicals, fertilizers, insulators, financial services and telecom.

  • It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

C.R. Rao Gold Medal Award:Two renowned economic scholars have been selected by the Indian Econometric Society (TIES) Trust for the Prof. C.R. Rao Centenary Gold Medal award.

Both the renowned economists - C Rangarajan and Jagdish Bhagwati have been conferred with the inaugural Prof CR Rao Centenary Gold Medal (CGM).

About:

C Rangarajan is the former chairman of the Economic Advisory Council of the Prime Minister and former governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI while Bhagwati is a professor of economics, law and international relations at Columbia University.

About the award:

  • TIES Trust had constituted a jury to shortlist the awardees.

  • Based on the jury’s recommendations, it announced that inaugural award to two distinguished scholars.

  • The medal is presented once in two years to an Indian or Indian-origin scholar for lifetime contributions to the fields of theoretical and applied aspects of quantitative economics and official statistics.

Sarla Thukral: Google recently dedicated a doodle on its homepage to Sarla Thukral.

Sarla Thukral is India’s first woman to pilot a flight, on the occasion of her 107 birth anniversary.

Key Details:

  • Sarla Thakral (1914 – 15 March 2008) was the first Indian woman to fly an aircraft.

  • She earned an aviation pilot license in 1936 at the young age of 21 and flew a Gypsy Moth solo.

  • She was a student of the Lahore Flying Club.

  • She was the first Indian women to complete 1,000 hours of flight time to gain her A licence.

  • However, when she began preparations to become a commercial pilot, World War II put a stop.

  • Thukral then studied fine art and painting at Lahore’s Mayo School of Arts (now the National College of Arts) and later returned to Delhi.

  • She, then in Delhi, continued painting and built a successful career designing jewellery and clothing.

Tony Abbott: He is the former Australian PM who has recently been appointed Australia PM Scott Morrison’s Special Trade Envoy for India to boost bilateral trade and investment to bolster the economic relationship.

Key Points:

  • Abbott will be visiting India from August 2 to 6, 2021, to strengthen economic and trade relationships under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP).

  • He will meet ministers, think tanks, and businesspeople to strengthen economic relationships, deepen trade and investment links with India.

  • PM Modi and Australia PM Morrison in 2020 elevated the ties to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

AWARDS:

Lokmanya Tilak Award: The founder of the Serum Institute of India (SII) in Pune, businessman Cyrus Poonawalla has been selected for the prestigious Lokmanya Tilak National Award for 2021.

Highlights:

  • He has been named for his work during the COVID-19 pandemic, by manufacturing the Covishield vaccine.

  • He will receive the award on August 13.

  • The award comprises a cash prize of Rs one lakh and a memento.

About Cyrus Poonawalla:

  • Cyrus Poonawalla is a Businessman and founder-chairperson of the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII).

  • He was born in 1941.

  • He founded SII in 1966.

  • His son, Adar, is currently the chief executive officer (CEO) of the firm.

About the Award:

  • The Lokmanya Tilak national award is given annually since 1983 on August 1, the death anniversary of Lokmanya Tilak, by the Lokmanya Tilak Trust.

  • However, this year the date the award has been scheduled for August 13 due to the Coronavirus situation.

  • The award was first presented in the year 1983.

  • Winners include former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Dr. Manmohan Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee; Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy and former President Pranab Mukherjee.

About Lokmanya Tilak:

  • Bal Gangadhar Tilak (23 July 1856 – 1 August 1920), born as Keshav Gangadhar Tilak, was a scholar, mathematician, philosopher, and ardent nationalist who helped lay the foundation for India’s independence by building his own defiance of British rule into a national movement.

  • He was given the title, 'Lokmanya', which means 'beloved leader' by his followers.

  • He was one third of the Lal Bal Pal (Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal) triumvirate.

  • Tilak was the first leader of the Indian independence movement.

  • The British colonial authorities called him "The father of the Indian unrest."

  • Mahatma Gandhi called him "The Maker of Modern India" while Jawaharlal Nehru called him the 'father of Indian revolution'.

  • He was imprisoned a number of times including a long stint at Mandalay in Myanmar.

  • During his years in prison, he spent his time reading and writing. He wrote the famous 'Gita Rahasya' - an analysis of the Karma Yoga which finds its source in The Bhagavad Gita.

  • Tilak was one of the first and strongest advocates of Swaraj ("self-rule") and a strong radical in Indian consciousness.

  • He is known for his quote in Marathi: "Swarajya is my birthright and I shall have it!".

  • He formed a close alliance with many Indian National Congress leaders including Bipin Chandra Pal, Lala Lajpat Rai, Aurobindo Ghose, V. O. Chidambaram Pillai and Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

  • He received his education at the Deccan College in Pune and he earned his Bachelor's degree in 1876, in mathematics and Sanskrit. Later he also studied law at the University of Bombay.

  • He founded the Deccan Education Society in 1884 with an aim to educate common people in English.

  • He founded (1914) and served as president of the Indian Home Rule League.

  • Lokmanya Tilak founded and edited two newspapers - Kesari in Marathi and The Mahratta in English.

  • He used his pen as a weapon to criticise the colonial rulers.

  • Tilak sought to widen the popularity of the nationalist movement (which at that time was largely confined to the upper classes) by introducing Hindu religious symbolism and by invoking popular traditions of the Maratha struggle against Muslim rule.

  • He thus organized two important festivals, Ganesh in 1893 and Shivaji in 1895.

Eisner Award: Graphic artist Anand Radhakrishnan recently won the prestigious Will Eisner Comic Industry Award, considered the Oscars equivalent of the comics world.

Highlights:

  • The Eisner Awards are given out annually.

  • The award won by Radhakrishnan “Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)” recognises the creator of a graphic novel’s art and images.

  • The Mumbai-based visual artist shares the award with UK-based colourist John Pearson.

  • They won for their work on UK-based author Ram V’s 145-page graphic novel Blue In Green, published in October 2020 by Image Comics.

About the award:

  • The Eisner Awards were founded in 1988 by American comics editor Dave Olbrich, in response to the discontinuation of the popular Kirby Awards for comics in 1987.

  • The Eisners are named in honour of the pioneering writer and artist Will Eisner.

  • The awards are announced each year at the San Diego Comic-Con.

APPOINTMENTS:

Noopur Chaturvedi: She is a former PayU and Airtel Payments Bank executive who has recently been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS).

About Bharat BillPay:

  • Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) is an integrated bill payment system which will offer interoperable bill payment service to customers online as well as through a network of agents on the ground.

  • The system will provide multiple payment modes and instant confirmation of payment.

  • It was founded in 2013.

  • National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) functions as the authorised Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit (BBPCU), which will be responsible for setting business standards, rules and procedures for technical and business requirements for all the participants.

  • On April 1 this year, NPCI transferred all its BBPS mandates to a newly set up subsidiary called the NPCI Bharat BillPay Limited (NBBL), effectively hiving off its automated billing business.

About NPCI:

  • It refers to the National Payment Corporation of India.

  • NPCI is an umbrella organization for all retail payments in India.

  • It was founded in 2008.

  • It has been incorporated as a Not for Profit Company under the provisions of Section 25 of Companies Act 1956 (now Section 8 of Companies Act 2013).

  • It is an initiative of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 for creating a robust Payment & Settlement Infrastructure in India.

  • It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

  • The current MD & CEO is Dilip Asbe.

People in the News Current Affairs - July 2021

Kadambini Ganguly: Google, On 18 July 2021, celebrated Ganguly's 160th birthday with a doodle on its homepage in India.

About Kadambini Ganguly:

  • Kadambini Ganguly (1861 – 1923) was one of the first Indian female doctors who practiced with a degree in Western medicine, alongside other pioneering women such as Anandibai Joshi.

  • She started her education at Banga Mahila Vidyalaya and while at Bethune School (established by Bethune) in 1878 became the first woman to pass the University of Calcutta entrance examination.

  • She was also the first woman to gain admission to Calcutta Medical College in 1884.

  • Subsequently she trained in Scotland.

  • She established a successful medical practice in India.

  • It was partly in recognition of her efforts that Bethune College first introduced FA (First Arts), and then graduation courses in 1883.

  • She and Chandramukhi Basu became the first graduates from Bethune College, and in the process became the first female graduates in the country and in the entire British Empire.

Awards:

Muhammad Yunus: Bangladeshi Nobel Peace Prize winner, Muhammad Yunus has been awarded the Olympic Laurel at the opening ceremony of Tokyo Olympics on 23rd July 2021.

Highlights:

  • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had announced that Yunus is the second recipient of the laurel.

  • This award was introduced in 2016 to honor people who have "made significant achievements in education, culture, development and peace through sport".

  • Yunus, whose pioneering micro-lender has been hailed for cutting poverty across the globe, was honoured for “his extensive work in sport for development.

  • The 81-year-old economist-turned-globe-trotting celebrity speaker won the Nobel in 2006.

About the Olympic Laurel:

  • The distinction was created in 2016 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to honour outstanding individuals for their achievements in education, culture, development and peace through sport.

  • The first-ever Olympic Laurel was awarded to the Kenyan Olympian and social changemaker Kip Keino on 5 August 2016, during the Opening Ceremony of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro.

  • He was awarded for he opened children’s home, a school and an athletes’ training centre in his home country.

  • Initiated for Rio 2016, the Olympic Laurel is to be awarded at the opening ceremony of each summer edition of the Olympic Games.

About the Muhammad Yunus:

  • Yunus founded the Grameen Bank in the 1980s and shared the Nobel Prize with the micro-lender.

  • His initiatives include the Yunus Sports Hub, a network of social enterprises that promote development through sports.

  • He has faced legal troubles in recent years after he was sacked in 2011 as head of Grameen Bank.

  • His supporters say he has been targeted by Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who accused him of “sucking blood” from the poor with high-interest rates.

Alexander Dalrymple Award: Vice Admiral Vinay Badhwar, Chief Hydrographer to the Government of India (GoI) received the Alexander Dalrymple award from the British High Commissioner.

Highlights:

  • Vice Admiral Vinay Badhwar received the award from British High Commissioner Alex Ellis at a brief ceremony here.

  • The Admiral has been honoured with the award in recognition of his "unparalleled dedication, professionalism and leadership" in the disciplines of hydrography and nautical cartography.

  • However, he was conferred with the award in in 2019 but the award ceremony was delayed due to the ongoing pandemic.

  • The Alexander Dalrymple award has been named after the first hydrographer of the Admiralty and was instituted in 2006.

About Alexander Dalrymple:

  • Alexander Dalrymple (1737 – 1808) was a Scottish geographer and the first Hydrographer of the British Admiralty.

  • He was the main proponent of the theory that there existed a vast undiscovered continent in the South Pacific, Terra Australis Incognita.

  • He produced thousands of nautical charts, mapping a remarkable number of seas and oceans for the first time, and contributing significantly to the safety of shipping.

Appointments:

Rasmi Ranjan Das: Rasmi Ranjan Das, a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, has been appointed as a member of the UN tax committee.

Highlights:

  • He is Joint Secretary – (FT&TR-I), Central Board of Direct Taxes, Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.

  • Das is among the group of 25 tax experts from around the world who has been appointed for the term period 2021 to 2025.

About the UN tax committee:

  • Formally known as the UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters (UNTC), the committee is responsible for guiding countries' efforts to advance stronger and more forward-looking tax policies adapted to the realities of globalised trade and investment, an increasingly digitalized economy and worsening environmental degradation.

  • The committee assists countries in preventing double or multiple taxations.

  • It also assists them to broaden their tax base, strengthen their tax administrations, and curb international tax evasion and avoidance.

  • This Committee primarily focuses on fostering international cooperation on domestic and international tax matters.

  • The committee also focuses on the developing countries and their various policy environments.

  • A majority of the newly appointed members of this committee are from the developing countries.

  • Since its inception, for the first time this Committee has a majority of women experts in its panel.

  • They work closely with observers from government, civil society, business and academia, to develop guidance and encourage an inclusive setting of norms and policies.

Note: The first meeting of the newly appointed members of the committee will take place in October 2021. The experts will determine the work plan for their term during this meeting.

Other members of the committee:

Other members of the UN Tax Committee appointed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres hail from countries such as South Korea, Malawi, Nigeria, Chile, Mexico, Ireland, Indonesia, Myanmar, Angola, Russia, Canada, Norway, Germany, Italy, Sweden and China.

Aramane Giridhar: Aramane Giridhar, Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has been assigned the additional charge of the post of Chairman, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

Highlights:

  • He has been appointed in place of Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, who has been appointed as the new Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand.

  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the assignment of the additional charge of the post of the Chairman of NHAI to Giridhar till the appointment of a regular incumbent or until further orders whichever is earlier.

About Aramane Giridha:

  • Aramane Giridha is a 1988-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Andhra Pradesh cadre.

  • He has been serving as Secretary in the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways since May 1, 2020.

  • He is an M Tech in Civil Engineering from IIT-Madras, he also holds a Master’s Degree in Economics.

  • He has undergone training in finance and banking matters at Singapore and France, apart from the IIM Bangalore, IIFT New Delhi and Tata Mgt Trg Centre, Pune.

  • Prior to his current assignment in MoRTH, he was serving as Additional Secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat.

  • He has also been a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas during 2012-14.

  • He has also worked in the government of Andhra Pradesh in various positions including field and policy level and has vast experience in organizational and finance matters.

About NHAI:

  • The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is an autonomous agency of the government of India (GoI) NHAI was set up in 1995.

  • It is responsible for the management of a network of over 50,000 km of National Highways out of 1,32,499 km in India.

  • It is a nodal agency of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Obituary:

Urmil Kumar Thapliyal: Renowned theatre personality and litterateur Urmil Kumar Thapliyal has passed away here following a prolonged illness.

  • He was 78.

  • The veteran thespian worked all through his life for the revival of nautanki and popularising theatre.

  • He was associated with Darpan, the 50-year-old popular theatre group of the state capital.

  • He also had a long innings with the All India Radio.

Rahul Gupta and Atul Gawande: President Joe Biden on 14 July 2021 announced his intent to nominate 11 individuals including two Indian-Americans to serve in key roles.

  • According to the statement by White House the nominated persons are - Gabe Camarillo, Alan Estevez, Lisa Wang, Jeff Lane Flake, Kent Doyle Logsdon,Chester John Culver, Rich Trumka Jr, James A Diossa, Terrence K Wright, with two Indian-Americans Rahul Gupta and Atul Gawande.

Key Roles:

  1. Rahul Gupta is the nominee for Director of National Drug Control Policy.

  2. Atul Gawande is the nominee for Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Global Health, United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

  3. Gabe Camarillo is the nominee for Under Secretary of the Army, Department of Defense

  4. Alan Estevez for Under Secretary for Industry and Security, Department of Commerce

  5. Jeff Lane Flake for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Turkey

  6. Kent Doyle Logsdon for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Moldova

  7. Lisa Wang for Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, Department of Commerce

  8. Chester John Culver for Member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation

  9. Rich Trumka Jr for Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission

  10. James A Diossa for Member of the Board of Trustees of the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation

  11. Terrence K Wright for Member of the Board of Trustees of the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation.

About Rahul Gupta:

  • Rahul is the son of an Indian diplomat.

  • He was born in India and grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC.

  • He is a national and global thought leader and a driver of innovative public policies on health issues.

  • Dr Gupta serves as an advisor to several organizations and task forces on local, national and international public health policy.

  • He also led the development of the state's Zika action plan and its preparedness efforts during the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak.

About Atul Gawande:

  • Atul Gawande is also founder and chair of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and of Lifebox, a nonprofit organization making surgery safer globally.

  • During the coronavirus pandemic, he co-founded CIC Health, which operates COVID-19 testing and vaccination nationally, and served as a member of the Biden transition COVID-19 Advisory Board.

  • In addition, Atul has been a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine since 1998 and written four New York Times best-selling books: Complications, Better, The Checklist Manifesto, and Being Mortal.

Awards:

Bahrain Keraleeya Samajam (BKS)’s Literary Award: Journalist and playwright Omchery N N Pillai has been selected for the Bahrain Keraleeya Samajam (BKS)’s Literary Award for 2021.

“His enormous contributions as a whole to Malayalam language and literature are remarkable, which ultimately led to this award.

The award was announced by the BKS president P V Radhakrishna Pillai, general secretary Varghese Karackal and literary wing secretary Firoz Thiruvathra.

The Jury was headed by the novelist M Mukundan. Literary critic Dr K S Ravikumar, writer and Kerala Chief Secretary Dr V P Joy, and Radhakrishna Pillai were part of the jury.

The award constitutes a cash prize of `50,000 and a citation acknowledging the achievement.

The award ceremony will be held later in Delhi.

About Omchery N N Pillai:

Omchery hails from Vaikom in Kottayam and he started his public career as a journalist at ‘Malayala Rajyam’.

Being a resident of Delhi for the past seven decades, he has been promoting Malayalam and Malayalam literature among Keralite expats,”

As a playwright, he contributed many works, including Thevarude Aana and Pralayam, to modern Malayalam

Commonwealth Points of Light award: He is Hyderabad’s hunger activist who recently won the Commonwealth Points of Light award.

He has been feeding thousands of people everyday as part of his food drive ‘Hunger Has No Religion’.

He was conferred with this top UK award for his drive that helps to feed 1,500 people on a daily basis.

The award is for those ‘outstanding individuals who are making a change in their community.

Orbituaries:

Surekha Sikri: The National Award-winning actor Surekha Sikri passed away on July 16, 2021, due to cardiac arrest at the age of 75.

Surekha Sikri, the three-time National Award-winning actor, is best known for her majestic performances in ‘Mammo’, ‘Tamas’, ‘Badhaai Ho’, 'Zubeida', 'Salim Langde pe mat Ro', and popular daily soap ‘Balika Vadhu’.

She was last seen in Netflix's anthology 'Ghost Stories' (2020) in the story which was directed by Zoya Akhtar.

Danish Siddiqui: He was a Pulitzer Prize-winning Indian photojournalist who passed away on July 13, 2021.

He was killed in a clash while reporting a fight between Afghan troops and the Taliban in Spin Boldak district of Kandahar province in Afghanistan.

He was employed with the international news agency Reuters.

He was a recipient of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize with six others working as a photographer with Reuters news agency in 2018.

Humboldt Research Award: The renowned Indian Economist Kaushik Basu has been awarded the prestigious Humboldt Research Award for Economics.

Highlights:

  • Basu was conferred with the award by Professor Dr Hans-Bernd Schafer of Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany.

  • According to Cornell Chronicle, Kaushik Basu, who hails from Kolkata, has decided to use the award for the research on Game Theory and Moral Philosophy.

About Kaushik Basu:

  • He is a former Chief Economist of the World Bank (2012 to 2016), is currently a professor of Economics at Cornell University.

  • He had also served as the Indian Government’s Chief Economic Advisor from 2009 to 2012.

  • A graduate of the London School of Economics, Basu is the sitting President of the International Economic Association.

  • He is also a recipient of the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award in India.

  • He has written a number of papers, including, ‘Introduction: The State of Economics, the State of the World’, ‘Individual Preferences and Democratic Processes: Two Theorems with Implications for Electoral Politics’, ‘Inequality, Growth, Poverty and Lunar Eclipses: Policy and Arithmetic’.

About Humboldt Research Award:

The prestigious award is sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

  • This prestigious award is awarded to as many as 100 recipients every year.

  • The award honours the economists and scientists from across the world for their work and entails the prize money of 60,000 euros.

  • There is also an offer to carry out the research projects at a scientific institution in Germany for up to 12 months.

Scripps National Spelling Bee: Zaila Avant-garde, a 14-year-old schoolgirl from the state of Louisiana, scripted history on 8 July by becoming the first African-American contestant to win the hugely popular Scripps National Spelling Bee crown.

Details:

  • The achievement saw her break the Indian-American community’s 13-year hold on the trophy that the immigrants had come to see as their stamp of arrival in the United States.

  • Avant-garde’s winning word was “murraya” - a genus of tropical Asiatic and Australian trees having pinnate leaves and flowers with overlapping petals.

  • Zaila will take home more than $50,000 in cash and prizes.

  • Zaila Avant-garde is also an accomplished basketball player and holds several Guinness World Records for dribbling multiple basketballs at a time.

About Scripps National Spelling Bee:

  • The Scripps National Spelling Bee (formerly the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee and commonly called the National Spelling Bee) is an annual spelling bee held in the United States.

  • The bee is run on a not-for-profit basis by The E. W. Scripps Company and is held at a hotel or convention center in Washington, D.C. during the week following Memorial Day weekend.

  • The National Spelling Bee was formed in 1925 as a consolidation of numerous local spelling bees, organized by The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • Frank Neuhauser won the first National Spelling Bee held that year, by successfully spelling "gladiolus".

  • The spelling bee has been held every year except for 1943–1945 due to World War II and 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Appointments:

KN Bhattacharjee: Veteran advocate Kalyan Narayan Bhattacharjee has recently been appointed as the new Lokayukta in Tripura.

Key Points:

  • He has been appointed to the post for three years w.e.f. July 1.

  • Bhattacharjee will be the third Lokayukta in the state and the first to hold the post as a lawyer.

  • The Lokayukta Act has been in force in Tripura since 2008 and in 2012.

  • Former Gujarat & Guwahati HC judge Pradeep Kumar Sarkar was 1st Lokayukta in Tripura.

Satish Agnihotri: Satish Agnihotri recently took over the charge as the Managing Director, National High-Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL).

About:

  • He comes with more than 20 years of experience in the implementation of mega rail infrastructure projects.

  • He has worked as Chairman & Managing Director, Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), a schedule ‘A’ CPSE under the Ministry of Railways for close to 9 years.

  • During his tenure as CMD/RVNL, RVNL completed 7000 km of project length including 3000 km doubling/3rd line, 880 km conversion of metre gauge track to broad gauge, 3000 km railway electrification, 85 km new line, 6 factories and many important bridges.

  • A 7 km long tunnel was also completed in a record time of 25 months in a new line project in Andhra Pradesh.

About National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL):

  • NHSRCL is a joint venture formed under the Ministry of Railways, Government of India and participating state governments for implementing High-Speed Rail Projects.

  • NHSRCL was incorporated on 12th February 2016 under the Companies Act, 2013 with an object to finance, construct, maintain and manage the High Speed Rail Corridor in India.

Nitin Gadkari: The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways & MSME recently became the “Brand Ambassador” of Khadi Prakritk Paint.

Key Points:

  • The Union Minister virtually inaugurated India’s first and only paint made from cow dung, under the brand name ‘Khadi Prakritk Paint’.

  • Furthermore, he also declared himself as the “Brand Ambassador” of paint, to promote it across the country and encourage young entrepreneurs to take up the manufacturing of cow dung paint.

About Khadi Prakritk Paint:

  • The Khadi Prakritk Paint automated manufacturing plant has been set up on the campus of Kumarappa National Handmade Paper Institute (KNHPI), Jaipur, Rajasthan.

  • It is a unit of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).

Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti: U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday nominated Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as his ambassador to India.

Key Details:

  • Mr. Biden has also nominated Denise Campbell Bauer, as his envoy to Monaco; Peter D Haas, to Bangladesh; and Bernadette M Meehan, his top diplomat to Chile.

  • If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Garcetti, 50, would replace Kenneth Juster, who served as India’s Ambassador to the U.S. during the Trump administration.

  • Early this week, Mr. Juster was appointed as distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

About Eric M Garcetti:

  • Eric M Garcetti has been the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles since 2013, following 12 years as a member of the City Council, including six as Council President.

  • As Mayor, Mr. Garcetti oversees the busiest container port in the Western Hemisphere, the largest municipal utility in the country, and one of the busiest airports in the world.

  • He has led LA’s successful bid to return the summer Olympic Games to American soil for the first time in three decades.

  • Currently, he chairs LA Metro, the country’s second-busiest transit agency, which is building or extending 15 new transit lines, and shifting to an all-electric fleet.

  • He is the current Chair of C40 Cities — a network of 97 of the world's biggest cities taking bold climate action and has led the organization’s engagement and expansion in India as well as C40’s global response to the COVID-19 pandemic through the sharing of best practices and resources.

  • During 12 years as an Intelligence Officer in the US Navy Reserve Component, Mr. Garcetti served under the Commander, US Pacific Fleet and the Defence Intelligence Agency, retiring in 2017 as a Lieutenant.

  • A Rhodes Scholar, he studied at Queen’s College, Oxford and the London School of Economics and Political Science.

  • He was selected as an inaugural Asia 21 Fellow of the Asia Society.

  • He taught at Occidental College’s Department of Diplomacy and World Affairs, as well as at the University of Southern California’s School of International Relations.

  • He has lived and conducted field work on nationalism, ethnicity, and human rights in Southeast Asia and Northeast Africa.

  • He co-founded Climate Mayors and led more than 400 U.S. mayors to adopt the Paris Climate agreement.

  • He is the founding Chair of the Latino Alliance of Mayors at the US Conference of Mayors, serves on the Board of National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, and speaks fluent Spanish.

Orbituaries:

Dilip Kumar: Legendary actor Dilip Kumar died early on 7 JUly 2021 t the age of 98 after a long and protracted illness in Mumbai.

  • He is survived by his wife Saira Banu, a veteran actor herself.

About Dilip Kumar:

  • Mohammed Yusuf Khan, known professionally as Dilip Kumar, is an Indian actor, film producer and philanthropist, best known for his work in Hindi cinema.

  • Referred as "The First Khan", he has been credited for bringing a distinct form of method acting technique to cinema.

  • He holds the record for most wins for the Filmfare Award for Best Actor and was also the inaugural recipient of the award.

  • He debuted as an actor in the film Jwar Bhata (1944), produced by Bombay Talkies.

  • Dilip Kumar's career spanned over six decades and was known for his iconic roles in movies like 'Devdas '(1955), 'Naya Daur' (1957), 'Mughal-e-Azam' (1960), 'Ganga Jamuna' (1961), Ram Aur Shyam (1967).'Kranti' (1981), Shakti (1982), Mashaal (1984), Karma (1986), Saudagar (1991) and 'Karma' (1986).

  • His last film was Qila (1998).

Dilip Kumar was bestowed with the following Honours:

  • In 2015, India's second-highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, for his contributions towards Indian cinema

  • In 2000–2006, Elected to Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian Parliament.

  • In 1994, he received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award

  • In 1991, India's third highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan, for his contributions towards Indian cinema

  • In 1979–1982, He was appointed as the Sheriff of Bombay by the Governor of Maharashtra, India for the period

  • In 1998, Government of Pakistan honoured him with its highest civilian honour, the Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Order of Excellence).

  • Till 2000s Kumar was the only actors to have won 8 Filmfare Best Actor Awards until his record was shared by Shahrukh Khan by mid 2000s.

Robert Downey Sr: Filmmaker Robert Downey Sr recently passed away at the age of 85 years on July 6, 2021.

About:

  • He was the father of Hollywood actor Robert Downey Jr.

  • The late actor and filmmaker was battling Parkinson's disease.

  • He has acted in breakthrough anti-establishment films such as 'Putney Swope' and 'Greaser's Place'.

  • He also appeared in films like 'Boogie Nights', 'Magnolia' and 'To Live and Die in L.A'.

  • He had begun writing and directing in 1961 and had started with low-budget films.

  • His first film was 'Ball's Bluff' (1961), which was about a Civil War soldier who wakes up in Central Park in the 1960s.

APPOINTMENTS:

Atul Keshap: The Joe Biden administration in the US has recently appointed Indian-American career diplomat Atul Keshap, an old India-hand at the state department, as the country's Charge'd Affairs  (CDA) in Delhi.

Highlights:

  • Mr Keshap, 50, will replace  Daniel Smith, who is retiring.
  • The US State Department said in a statement that Ambassador Keshap's appointment will reinforce the close US partnership with the Government and people of India, demonstrated by our collaboration to overcome global challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic

About:

  • Mr. Keshap was formerly the U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
  • He played a key role in developing the U.S.-Maldives defence relationship.
  • The two countries signed on to a framework for their security relationship last September.
  • He also served as Deputy Assistance Secretary for South Asia and was posted previously to the American Embassy in New Delhi.

Manesh Mahatme: He is a former Amazon executive Manesh Mahatme who has been appointed as the director to lead the growth of its payments business in India by Whatsapp.

As Director, WhatsApp Payments-India, Mahatme will focus on enhancing the payments experience for users, scaling the service and work towards contributing to the messaging app’s vision of digital and financial inclusion in India.

About WhatsApp:

  • WhatsApp Messenger, or simply WhatsApp, is an American freeware, cross-platform centralized messaging and voice-over-IP service owned by Facebook, Inc.
  • It allows users to send text messages and voice messages, make voice and video calls, and share images, documents, user locations, and other content.
  • It was founded in 2009 by Jan Koum and Brian Acton.
  • It is headquartered in Menlo Park, California, United States.
  • The WhatsApp Parent organization is Facebook.
  • The client application was created by WhatsApp Inc. of Mountain View, California, which was acquired by Facebook on 19 February 2014.

AWARDS:

The Order of Polar Star: RK Sabharwal who is the Engineers Chairman & Managing Director (CMD) of India Limited (EIL) has been honoured with the highest civilian award of Mongolia ‘The Order of Polar Star by his Excellency.

Highlights:

  • Sabharwal was bestowed with the honour by His Excellency, the President of Mongolia, Ukhnaa Khurelsukh for an outstanding contribution towards the establishment of the first-ever oil refinery in Mongolia.
  • ‘The Order of Polar Star’ was presented to him, on behalf of the government of Mongolia, by His Excellency, the Ambassador of Mongolia to India, Mr. Gonching Ganbold.
  • He was conferred the prestigious award at a ceremony which was organized at the Embassy of Mongolia, India.

About the award:

  • The ‘Order of Polar Star’ is the most desirable and prestigious state award bestowed by the President of Mongolia.
  • It is highly valuable and distinguished and recognizes individuals who have made an invaluable contribution with their outstanding hard work, intelligence and sincerity to the prosperity of Mongolia and its friendship with other nations.
  • This award is also given for outstanding contributions in the fields of arts, culture, science and humanity.

About The establishment of an oil refinery in Mongolia:

  • In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Mongolia, had announced an extension of a line of credit worth USD 1 billion by the Indian Government to Mongolia to expand its economic capacity and infrastructure, as they decided to upgrade their relationship from Comprehensive to “Strategic Partnership”.
  • After several discussions, the Government of Mongolia decided to utilize this line of credit towards setting up of the first Oil Refinery of Mongolia.
  • The project has been the harbinger of the economic and energy independence of the country and has ensured its sustained growth and development.

Role of EIL in Mongolia:

  • After the continuous efforts, Engineers India Limited (EIL), a public sector undertaking of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas was able to secure the contract for providing the Project Management Consultancy (PMC) services for the 1.5 MMTPA Grassroot refinery project.
  • EIL is providing project management consultancy services for this refinery project.
  • On completion of the project, it will meet about three-fourth of Mongolian requirement of oil.
  • The refinery is expected to be completed by 2022.
  • Currently, the work on the oil refinery has been progressing well and while creating job opportunities in Mongolia, it also provides great opportunities to the Indian Industry to provide its goods and services to the refinery.

About Mongolia:

  • Mongolia is a landlocked country in East Asia.
  • It is a nation bordered by China and Russia.
  • Its capital is Ulaanbaatar which centers around Chinggis Khaan (Genghis Khan) Square, named for the notorious founder of the 13th- and 14th-century Mongol Empire.
  • The currency used here is Mongolian Togrog.
  • The current President of Mongolia is Ukhnaa Khurelsukh.

Fukuoka Grand Prize: Noted journalist, P. Sainath has been awarded the Fukuoka Grand Prize.

Besides the Grand Prize, there are two more award categories, academics and culture.

Fukuoka Award 2021 will be held online on September 29, 2021.

Key Details:

  • The ‘Grand Prize’ of Fukuoka Prize will be given to Sainath.

Secretariat of Fukuoka Prize Committee described P. Sainath as “very deserving recipient of Grand Prize of Fukuoka Prize”.

He will be awarded for his work of creating a new form of knowledge through his writings & commentaries on rural India and for promoting civil cooperation.

  • The Academics Prize will be given to Professor Kishimoto Mio, a historian from Japan who specialises in the socio-economic history of China in the Ming-Qing period.
  • Prize for Arts & Culture will be given Thailand-based writer and filmmaker Prabda Yoon for an increased understanding of Japan in Thailand and for pursuing a deeper philosophical insight into the future of humanity.

About Fukuoka Prize:

  • It is an award established in 1990 by the city of Fukuoka in Japan and Fukuoka City International Foundation.
  • It is given to honor work of individuals or organizations in preserving & creating Asian culture. Fukuoka prize has three following prize categories:-
  1. Grand Prize
  2. Academic Prize
  3. Arts & Culture Prize
  • Fukuoka has organized Asia-Pacific Exposition with the concept of interaction between Asia-Pacific regions in 1989.
  • This prize was inaugurated in 1990 to carry on spirit of Expo.
  • Prizes are given annually to distinguished people for fostering & increasing awareness of Asian cultures.

Recepients of the Grand Prize:

  • Grand Prize has been awarded to Muhammad Yunus from Bangladesh, historian Romila Thapar and sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan.
  • So far, eleven Indians have received Fukuoka Prize. About 115 people from 28 countries and areas have received Prize in past 30 years.

About Palagummi Sainath:

  • He is an Indian journalist born in Chennai and he has been an editor of The Hindu and the vice-editor of political magazine Blitz.
  • He is the author of book called “Everybody Loves a Good Drought”. It is a collection of 85 articles, published under a series ‘The Face of Poor India’.
  • He has been actively campaigning over famer’s issues and backed Samyukta Ekta Morcha that leads farmers’ agitations in India.
  • He founded People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI) in 2014 which is an online platform focussing on social & economic inequality, poverty, rural affairs, poverty and aftermath of globalization in India.

Awards:

  • Sainath was awarded the European Commission’s Lorenzo Natali Prize for journalism in 1995 and the Amnesty International Global Rights Journalism Prize in 2000.
  • He has also received the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Boerma Prize in 2001. 
  • He was awarded with Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2007 because he believes “journalism is for people, not for shareholders”.

Kuvempu Rashtriya Puraskar: Odia poet Dr. Rajendra Kishore Panda has recently been selected for the Kuvempu Rashtriya Puraskar (award) 2020.

  • The name of Dr. Panda was finalised by a three-member committee comprising Kannada poet Dr. H.S. Shivaprakash, Agrahara Krishnamurthy, former secretary of Central Sahitya Academy, and Bengali author Shyamal Bhattacharya.
  • The committee met under the chairmanship of Prof. Hampa Nagarajaiah and chose Dr. Panda for the award.

About Dr. Rajendra Kishore Panda

  • Dr. Panda, born in 1944, is a poet and novelist from Odisha.
  • He has published 16 poetry collections and a novel.
  • He is a major Indian poet who steered the path of modern Odia poetry to great heights.
  • He was presented the Gangadhar National Award in 2010, and the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1985.
  • He was awarded a DLitt by Sambalpur University.

About Kuvempu Rashtriya Puraskar:

  • It is a national award instituted in memory of the late poet laureate Kuvempu.
  • The award is given annually to a writer who has contributed in any of the languages recognised by the Constitution of India.
  • The award carries a cash award of Rs. 5 lakh, a silver medal and a citation.

About Kuvempu:

  • Kuppali Venkatappa Puttappa was popularly known by his pen name Kuvempu.
  • He was an Indian poet, playwright, novelist and critic.
  • He is widely regarded as the greatest Kannada poet of the 20th century.
  • He was the first Kannada writer to be decorated with the Jnanpith Award for his version of the Ramayana titled ‘Sri Ramayana Darshanam.’

About Jnanpith Award:

  • The Jnanpith award is the highest literary award in India.
  • This award is conferred annually only to an Indian citizen.
  • English along with other languages mentioned in Indian Constitution (8th Schedule) is considered for the Award.
  • The prize carries a cash award of Rs. 11 lakhs, a citation, and a bronze replica of Vagdevi (Saraswati), the goddess of learning.
  • It is sponsored by the cultural organization Bharatiya Jnanpith.

People in the News Current Affairs - June 2021

Aashish Chandorkar: The Indian Government has appointed a private person Aashish Chandorkar as Counsellor in India's Permanent Mission in the World Trade Organisation for three years.

Highlights:

  • It will be the first time that a private person has been appointed to the mission.
  • Aashish Chandorkar is the co-founder of Bengaluru-based think tank Smahi Foundation of Policy and Research.

About WTO:

  • It is an acronym of World Trade Organization.
  • WTO is largest international economic organization that is concerned with the regulation of international trade between nations.
  • It is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations.
  • It was founded 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, signed by 123 nations on 15 April 1994, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948.
  • It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • The WTO has over 164 members representing 98 per cent of world trade.
  • India is a member since 1995.

About Marrakesh Agreement:

  • The Marrakesh Agreement was signed after the Marrakesh Declaration in April 1994. The agreement was signed in Marrakesh, Morocco.
  • The agreement was signed by 123 nations in April 1994.
  • The Marrakesh Agreement had replaced the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). 
  • The agreement is supplemented by agreements on issues like sanitary and phytosanitary measures, trade in services, intellectual property rights etc.

Pratima Murthy: Senior psychiatrist Dr Pratima Murthy, head of Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru has recently been appointed as Director of the Institute for a period of five years.

Key Points:

  • She will retire in March 2026.
  • She was awarded the WHO Regional Director’s Special Recognition Award on ‘World No Tobacco Day 2021’.
  • She has been appointed by NIMHANS on the approval of the central government as the full-term director of the institute of national importance after Prof and Head of Neurology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
  • Dr Padma Srivastava could not assume the top office due to some technical reasons.

Upasana Kamineni: WWF India has recently inducted Upasana Kamineni, Director, Apollo Hospitals, as “Ambassador of Forest Frontline Heroes” with the aim to appreciate the efforts of frontline workers in hospitals and in the wildlife protection space.

  • The focus of this will be on several States across the country covering most eco-regions.
  • Frontline forest staffs are often local community members themselves and play an important role in building an interface between communities and conservation.

About Upasana Kamineni:

  • Upasana Kamineni or Upasana Kamineni Konidela (born on 20th July 1989) is an Indian entrepreneur and Vice-Chairperson of Apollo Life.
  • She is the Editor-in-chief of B Positive Magazine as well. 
  • Her husband is the famous actor Ram Charan

Awards:

  1. Mahatma Gandhi Award for Leadership in Corporate Social Responsibility in 2019
  2. Dadasaheb Phalke – Philanthropist of the Year Award in 2019
  3. Femina Recognition in Healthcare Awards in 2017

About WWF India:

  • WWF India was founded in 1969.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.

Karim Khan: British lawyer Karim Khan was recently sworn in as the new chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, pledging to reach out to nations that are not members of the court and to try to hold trials in countries where crimes are committed.

In the past, he has defended clients at international courts including former Liberian President Charles Taylor & Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto.

About Karim Khan:

  • Karim Khan is a 51-year-old English lawyer.
  • He has years of experience in international courts as a prosecutor, investigator and defence attorney.
  • He takes over from Fatou Bensouda of the Gambia, whose nine-year term ended.

About International Criminal Court (ICC):

  • International Criminal Court (ICC) is a permanent judicial body established by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (1998) to prosecute and adjudicate individuals accused of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
  • It is an independent international organization, and is not part of the UN system.
  • It was created to bring justice to the world's worst war criminals, but debate over the court still rages.
  • The ICC was founded on 1st July 2002.
  • This court is headquartered in The Hague, the Netherlands.
  • Member States:
  • 123 countries are States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
  • Out of them 33 are African States, 19 are Asia-Pacific States, 18 are from Eastern Europe, 28 are from Latin American and Caribbean States, and 25 are from Western European and other States.

AWARDS:

European Inventor Award: Indian-American chemist Sumita Mitra has recently been honoured with the European Inventor Award 2021 in the ‘Non-European Patent Office countries’ category.

  • She was the first to have successfully integrated nanotechnology into dental materials to produce stronger and more aesthetically pleasing fillings.

About the award:

  • The award is one of Europe’s most prestigious innovation prizes.
  • It is presented annually by the European Patent Office (EPO) to recognise outstanding inventors from Europe and beyond.

CEU Open Society Prize: The former Health Minister of Kerala KK Shailaja,  has been awarded The Central European University (CEU) Open Society Prize for 2021.

Highlights:

  • The University’s highest honour was given to her at a virtual convocation of the University’s 30th Graduation Ceremony that was held from Vienna.
  • The award was presented to her in recognition of “her determined leadership and community-based public health work, saving lives during the pandemic”.
  • She demonstrates to the world that determined leadership, community-based public health and effective communication can save lives.

About KK Shailaja:

  • KK Shailaja is an Indian politician.
  • She is the former Health Minister of Kerala (2016-2021).
  • Currently, She is a member of the Legislative Assembly who represented the Mattanur constituency at the 15th Kerala Legislative Assembly elections.
  • She is a member of the Central Committee of CPI(M).
  • She has been elected from the Kuthuparamba constituency twice in 1996 and 2016, and from the Peravoor constituency in 2006.
  • The United Nations (UN) had also honoured her in June 2020 for her efforts and strategies at tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • She was invited as a speaker at the UN Public Service Day.

About the award:

  • It is the highest civillian award by CEU.
  • The CEU’ Open Society Prize is awarded annually to an individual or organisation “whose achievements have contributed substantially to the creation of an open society”.
  • The Open Society Prize award was first given in 1994 to philosopher Sir Karl Popper who wrote the book titled Open Society and its Enemies (1945) representing a philosophy of openness, tolerance, and democratic values.
  • The previous recepients of this prestigious award includes:
  • Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize laureate and economist,
  • Vaclav Havel, Former President of the Czech Republic,
  • Antjie Krog, Poet and journalist,
  • Ricardo Lagos, Former President of Chile,
  • Kofi Annan, Former UN Secretary-General,
  • Martti Ahtisaari, Former President of Finland Nobel Peace Prize Laureate,
  • Joachim Gauk, former President of Germany,
  • Janos Kornai, Hungarian economist,
  • Medicins Sans Frontiers,
  • Svetlana Alexievich, 2015 Nobel Prize Literature, Belarusian investigative journalist, oral historian, and essayist

About Central European University:

  • CEU was founded in 1991 by George Soros.
  • He was a Hungarian-born political activist and billionaire philanthropist based on his vision of a unique institution that would train future generations of scholars, professionals, politicians, and civil society leaders “to contribute to building open and democratic societies that respect human rights and adhere to the rule of law”.

Orbituaries:

Guruprasad Mohapatra: He was the Secretary in the Department of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

He recently passed away due to COVID-19 related complications.

Before being appointed as DPIIT secretary in August 2019, Mohapatra served as Chairman of the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

He was a Gujarat cadre 1986 batch IAS officer, who had earlier served as joint secretary in the Department of Commerce.