Current Affairs May 2014

Polo, India‟s only gorilla, breaths his last
May 2, 2014
Polo (43), India‘s only gorilla, listed as one of the world‘ s critically endangered species,
passed away at the Mysore Zoo (Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens), Karnataka. The male
Western Lowland Gorilla, which was gifted to Mysore zoo by Dublin zoo about 19 years ago, had
been ill since over a month.

India conducts successful test of first indigenous air-to-air Beyond Visual
Range (BVR) „Astra‟ missile
May 5, 2014
India tested its first indigenous air-to-air Beyond Visual Range (BVR) ‗Astra‘ missile from a
Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jet, marking an important achievement in the development of complex BVR
weapons. Astra will initially provide a 44-km range with ―high single-shot kill probability‖, while its
Mark-II version will be able to hit hostile aircraft over 100 km away.
Astra v/s Brahmos Cruise Missile:
India is also likely to initiate testing the 290-km supersonic BrahMos cruise missile from the heavy-
duty Sukhoi-30MKIs by the end of 2014. So, while Astra is being developed to smash enemy aircrafts,
BrahMos will give incisive land-strike capability against hostile targets.
Currently, IAF jets are armed with very costly Russian, French and Israelimissiles. These
indigenously developed Astra Missiles are comparatively very cheaper. Only a few countries
like the US, Russia, France and Israelhave managed to develop BVR missiles till now. It is
therefore important due to economic and strategic reasons for India to have an indigenous air-
to-air BVR missile like Astra.
‗Astra‘ missile:
 Developer: DRDO
 Range: Short range-20 km and Long range-80 km
 Type: Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Air-to-Air, all-weather
 Special features: ―Target lock-on‖ capabilities both before and after launch; Advanced ECCM
(Electronic Counter-Counter Measures); Active radar terminal guidance; Smokeless propulsion;
Process improved effectiveness in multi-target scenarios
Foreign Portfolio Investors can invest up to $81 billion in debt securities
May 5, 2014
As per India‘s stock market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Foreign
Portfolio Investors (FPIs), a newly created class for overseas investors, will be able to invest up to
$81 billion (close to Rs 4 lakh crore) in government and corporate debt securities in India.
This would include investments up to $30 billion in government debt and up to $51 billion in
corporate debt securities under the new FPI regime, which would come into force from June 2014.

FPIs would also be allowed to invest in unlisted non-convertible debentures or bonds issued by
corporates in theinfrastructure sector. Furthermore, FPI can invest in privately placed bonds if it is
listed within 15 days.
Under the new FPI regime:
 Investment limit of $30 billion for government securities would include up to $10 billion by
Category-I FPIs
 All categories of FPIs will be allowed an investment of up to $20 billion in government debt
 For corporate debt securities, the overall cap will be $51 billion, which would include $2 billion in
commercial papers.
 FPIs allowed to invest in dated government securities, commercial papers, rupee
denominated credit enhanced bonds, security receipts issued by asset reconstruction companies,
listed and unlisted non-convertible debentures (NCDs) or bonds issued by an infrastructure firm
and NCDs issued by Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFC).
 FPIs barred from buying short-term government securities – the Treasury Bills. The existing
investments in T-Bills by FIIs and other overseas investors converting into FPIs will be allowed to
taper off on maturity or sale.
 FPIs have been classified into following 3 categories as per their risk profile:-
Category I: Lowest risk entities comprising foreign government and government-related foreign
investors. Examples are sovereign wealth funds, multilateral agencies, endowment
funds, insurance funds, pension funds and foreign central banks.
Category II – Regulated entities, broad-based funds whose investment managers are regulated,
university funds, university-related endowments and pension funds etc.
Category III – All other FPIs would come under this category.
Existing overseas investors such as FIIs, sub-accounts and QFIs will have to convert to the
new regime eventually.
„Bacillus pumilus SAFR-032′ Bacteria from Earth may contaminate Mars;
confuse researchers in future about origin of life on Mars: NASA
May 5, 2014
NASA has expressed concerns about possible contamination of the Martian surface due colonization
of micro-organisms riding with the space-crafts sent from Earth. These bacteria could
contaminate celestial bodies such as Mars, making it difficult for researchers to ascertain if a life form
actually originated on the site.
Currently, spacecraft landing on Mars or other planets where life might exist must meet requirements
for a maximum allowable level of microbial life, or bioburden. Recent study has shown that some
microbes are tougher than expected and may use various protective mechanisms to survive
interplanetary flights.
For example, spores of Bacillus pumilus SAFR-032 have shown particularly high resistance to
techniques such Ultra-Violet (UV) radiation and peroxide treatment used to clean spacecraft. These
spores were exposed for 18 months on theEuropean Technology Exposure Facility (EuTEF), a test
facility mounted outside the ISS. Surprisingly, some of the spores pulled through for 18 months.
Ahmed Maiteeq- Libya‟s youngest and fifth Prime Minister since dictator
Kadhafi was toppled and killed in 2011 uprising
May 5, 2014
Businessman Ahmed Maiteeq (42) of Libya‘s National Conference has been elected as the new
Prime Minister. Maiteeq defeated his rival Omar al-Hassi, a university professor. It comes three weeks
after former PM Abdullah al-Thinni resigned from the post.

Libya has been grappling with instability since armed groups threw out Muammar Gaddafi‘s regime in
2011. Maiteeq will have to tackle the lawlessness and insecurity currently destabilizing the
country. He is the fifth Prime Minister to be appointed to lead the country in the past two and a
half years.
Gary Becker, economist and winner of Nobel Prize passed away
May 6, 2014
Gary Becker (83), a professor in University of Chicago who was conferred
the Nobel Prize in economic sciences in 1992, passed away. He is credited for his path-breaking
approach toeconomics as the study of human behavior. Becker applied his economic analysis to a
wide array of human behavior and interactions. He also studied issues such as marriage and divorce,
crime and punishment, addiction and household decisions.
Before 1950s, most experts considered habit and often emotion or irrationality as the main factors in
human behavior such as having children or committing crimes. It was Becker who theorized that
human behavior follows the same rational principles, whether it involves a household, a business or
an organization. Although initially his views were received skeptically, his work influenced sociology,
demography and criminology.
“Sarvada Vijay”: Indian Army‟s desert exercise conducted to tests its fighting
May 6, 2014
Indian Army conducted ―Sarvada Vijay‖ combat drill in West Rajasthan as part of regular training
aimed at honing war-fighting skills in temperatures as high as 45 degree Celsius. Composite infantry
and mechanized forces practised swift manoeuvres as part of the air – land battle.
Networked radars, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and aerial surveillance platforms ensured continuous
flow of information resulting in battlefield transparency which enabled Commanders to assess and
suitably modify their operational plans to meet the emerging challenges. Mobile communication
systems integrated with terrestrial network provided efficient communication during manoeuvres.
NASA to grow plants on International Space Station (ISS)
May 6, 2014
The US space agency NASA plans to grow plants on the International Space Station (ISS) by the
end of year 2014. Astronauts on board will be able to grow plants with the help of the Veggie ―plant
pillows‖ taken to the ISS during a recent supply mission. This will be the first time NASA astronauts
will taste something grown in orbit.
Until now, all supplies to the ISS have been transported from Earth. Veggie which is a deployable
vegetable production system is a pop-up greenhouse that can be packaged to the size of a briefcase
during launch. The main obstruction to growing plants in space is the absence of gravity, since the
soil tends to float away. The solution has been to design the equivalent of something like a ‗grow bag‘
which NASA describes as ―plant pillows‖. Two of the three plant pillows sent to ISS contain seeds for
a variety of red romaine lettuce called Outredgeous, the third has the flowering plant zinnia.
Existence of 117th element “Ununseptium (Uus)” confirmed
May 5, 2014
The existence of element 117- ―Ununseptium (Uus)‖ has been confirmed by the scientists at the GSI
accelerator laboratory in Germany, including those fromIndia, who have created atoms of the
element. This confirmation succeeds the original discovery, made in 2010 by a joint US—Russian
team. The atoms were similar to the heaviest atoms ever observed, 40% heavier than an atom of

lead. The discovery marks a significant advancement towards the capability to observe still more
long-lived super-heavy nuclei, as expected to exist on the‗Island of Stability‘ of super-heavy
 Chemical Symbol: Uus
 Atomic number: 117
 CAS ID: 87658-56-8
 Chemical series: Period 7 element, Halogen
Super-heavy elements: Elements with atomic number greater than 104 are referred to as Super-
Heavy Elements. Although super-heavy elements have not been found in nature, they can be created
by accelerating beams of nuclei andshooting them at the heaviest possible target nuclei. Fusion of
two nuclei – a very uncommon event – at times produces a super-heavy element. Those currently
accessible generally only exist for a short time.
‗Island of Stability‘: A theoretical concept of Nuclear Physics first propounded by Glenn T.
Seaborg in the late 1960s. As per this theory, the island of stability is a set of as-yet undiscovered
heavier isotopes of transuranium elements which are supposed to be much more stable than some of
those closer in atomic number to uranium. Specifically, they are expected to have radioactive
decay half-lives of minutes or days, with some researchers expecting half-lives of millions of years.
Utility of this Experiment and discovery: The successful experiments on element 117 are an
important step on the path to the production and detection of elements situated on the ‗island of
stability‘ of super-heavy elements.

Rising NPAs is making public sector banks unfit for private Provident Fund
May 8, 2014
Surging Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) have rendered public sector banks such as State
of India (SBI), Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Canara Bank unfit to take deposits from non-
government Provident Funds (PF). As per the current rules governing investments by PFs, non-
government Provident Funds (PF) are barred from being deposited in a commercial bank in case
the NPAs of that bankexceed 2% of net advances. The Indian Banks‘ Association (IBA) has
requested the Union Finance Ministry to relax the norms pertaining to deposits by non-government
provident funds and gratuity funds in scheduled commercial banks.
Conditions banks are required to meet for taking PFs deposits:
 Continuous profitability for immediately preceeding three years
 Maintain minimum capital adequacy of 9%
 Have net NPAs of not more than 2% of net advances
 Maintain minimum net worth of not less than Rs 200 crore
Govt‟s nod not required to investigate corruption charges on senior
bureaucrats: Supreme Court
May 8, 2014
As per the Supreme Court, the legal provision which makes approval of competent authority
mandatory for CBI to investigate a corruption case against an officer of joint secretary-rank or above
is invalid and unconstitutional and has the propensity of protecting the corrupt. The judgement was
delivered after the court examinedSection 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act
(DSPEA), which shields top bureaucrats from being probed in corruption cases without prior approval.
Key observations in the judgment by the SC:
 The requirement of Central Government‘s approval to probe corruption charges against officer of
the rank of joint secretary and above under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), is invalid and
violates Article 14 of the Constitution.

 Equal treatment of corrupt public servants for the purpose of inquiry of offence under the PCA,
irrespective of the rank they hold.
 Prior approval under Section 6A would result, indirectly, in obstructing the probe and if the CBI is
not allowed to carry on the preliminary inquiry how the investigation can proceed.
The issue of protection from inquiry against senior bureaucrats had come under the scanner of the
SC 17 years ago when the Centre‘s argument was scrapped that being policy makers, they required
protection from frivolous complaints. The first petition in filed in 1997 had contested that execution of
criminal law gets affected due to the presence of Section 6A in the statute.
Excavation suspended at Kerala‟s Padmanabhaswamy Temple
May 6, 2014
Excavation activities which were being conducted by the Kerala Archeology Department to study the
underground granite pavements, paths and artifacts at the Vadakke Nada (north entrance) of the
treasure rich Padmanabhaswamy Temple at Thiruvananthapuram have been suspended by the
five-member temple management committee.
The panel, constituted as per instructions of the Supreme Court, put the excavations on halt because
of security reasons.
The temple grabbed worldwide attention when gold, precious stones, historical coins and other
articles — which are worth over Rs 120,000 crore — were found stored in the six secret vaults
(Kallaras) inside the temple on July-August, 2011. In this context the security cover of the temple was
beefed up.
Recently, on the basis of a report of Gopal Subramaniam, amicus curiae appointed to look into the
affairs of the temple, the apex court had ordered dissolving of the traditional temple management
committee controlled by a representative of the former royalty of Travancore, the erstwhile custodians
of the shrine and everything in it.
The apex court had advised the setting up of a new five-member temporary management
panel headed by the district judge. The amicus curiae had found discrepancies in temple
management. He also suspected pilferage of invaluable articles stored in the temple vaults.
Finance Ministry: Withdrawal of fiscal stimulus programme in US will not
affect much the foreign investments into India
May 6, 2014
The Finance Ministry has tried to lessen fears that the withdrawal of fiscal stimulus programme in the
US will affect foreign investments into India. A report by the Finance Ministry alleviates the fears
saying India is an attractive destination with its liberal FDI policy, a globally competitive workforce, a
rapid GDP growth rate and rapidly growing market and has remained the third most preferred
nation for FDI since 2010.
The US has already begun tapering of its Quantitative Easing (QE) or fiscal stimulus programme. In
2013, capital markets and currencies across the world, including India, witnessed knee-jerk reactions
at the news of QE reduction by the US Federal Reserve. The US Fed had been purchasing bonds
worth $80 billion a month to stimulate its economy after the 2009 global financial crisis. It has now
started trimming the amount in a phased manner prompting concerns that the step will slash
investments into countries like India.
FDI into India, estimated as the sum total of equity inflows, reinvested earnings and other capital, was
$46.55 billion in 2011-12 and $34.29 billion in the following fiscal. In 2013-14, the inflows stood at
$28.8 billion for the period of April-January.
El Nino effect may shrink India‟s GDP by 1.75%: Assocham
May 10, 2014
As per a report by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India(ASSOCHAM), the
5% deficiency in rains due to possible El Nino factor in this monsoon could impact India‘s Gross

Domestic Product (GDP) by 1.75% in the 2014-15 fiscal, affecting lakhs of unskilled jobs. Rain
deficit could also impact food inflation, which has always been a concern to policy makers. The loss to
the GDP of about 1.75 % would be equivalent to around Rs 1,80,000 crore.
Indian agriculture in heavily dependent on rains as about 60% of net sown area of the country is rain-
fed. With every 1% deficit in rains, the country’s GDP plummets by 0.35%. Therefore, a good
agricultural output is a must for India to increase demand for services and industrial products.
India is forecasted to have below normal monsoon in 2014 with Meteorological department predicting
95% rainfall because of the El-Nino effect, which is generally linked with the warming of ocean water.
Maintain status quo on INS Vikrant: Supreme Court
May 8, 2014
The Supreme court has ordered maintenance of status quo on India‘s first aircraft carrier INS Vikrant,
which is on the brink of being converted into scrap. The court has issued notices to Ministry
of Defence and other authorities concerned on the petition. The petition challenges the Bombay High
Court decision which quashed the plea to preserve INS Vikrant by converting it into a maritime
museum. The Indian Navy in March 2014 had auctioned INS Vikrant to the highest bidder, aMumbai-
based Ship breaking company — IB Commercial — for Rs 63 crore, much above its reserve bid of Rs
3 crore. As per the deal, the ship will be dismantled part-by-part and will be sold as lucrative scrap.
Click Here for related NEWS on INS Vikrant
RBI allows minors over 10 years to operate bank accounts
May 8, 2014
As per the guidelines issued by the RBI, minors above 10 years of age have been allowed to open
and operate independently savings bank account and use other facilities like ATM and cheque books.
The central bank has taken this step with a view to promote financial inclusion and bring uniformity in
opening of such accounts in banks. Earlier, minors were allowed to open fixed and savings deposit
bank account with mothers as guardian.
As per the modified guidelines by RBI:
 All minors can now open a savings/fixed/recurring bank deposit account through either his/her
natural guardian or legally appointed guardian.
 The minors, who have attained 10 years of age, will be permitted to open and operate savings
bank accounts independently.
 The banks can also decide on the minimum documents which are required for opening of
accounts by minors.
 The minor would be required to confirm the balance in his/her account as he attains majority.
 If the account is operated by the natural/legal guardian, fresh operating instructions and specimen
signature of the minor will be obtained and kept on record for all operational purposes.
Don‟t levy penalty if minimum balance is not maintained in bank account:
RBI to banks
May 8, 2014
The RBI has asked banks not to impose penalties on customers who don‘t maintain a minimum
balance in any dormant account as part of a consumer protection initiative. A number of banks,
including the State Bank of India, do not levy any penalty if the minimum balance is not maintained in
an inoperative savings account. In 2012, the RBI directed banks not to charge customers for non-
operation or activation of basic savings bank deposit accounts.
„Do not charge penalty on pre-payment of floating loans‟: RBI to Banks
May 10, 2014
The RBI gave relief to borrowers as it directed banks not to levy any penalty on individual borrowers
for pre-payment of floating loans. The central bank has barred banks from imposing foreclosure

charges or pre-payment penalties on all floating rate term loans sanctioned to individual borrowers,
with immediate effect.
Floating loan products include housing, corporate, vehicle and personal loans. Some banks are
charging pre-payment penalty of up to 2% of the outstanding loans.
In 2012, RBI had disallowed banks from charging foreclosure charges or pre-payment penalties on
home loans on floating interest rate basis. It is assumed that elimination of foreclosure charges or
prepayment penalty on home loans will bring down the discrimination between existing and new
borrowers and the competition among banks will result in better pricing of home loans with the floating
Indian Navy operationally deploys INS Vikramaditya
May 10, 2014
As per the announcement made by Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Robin Kumar Dhowan, the
newly inducted aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, is now operationally deployed and its integral MiG-
29K fighters have been fully integrated with the carrier. The 44,500-tonne aircraft carrier bought
from Russia at a cost of $2.33 billion had arrived in India in January, 2014 and is positioned at Karwar
Also, INS Vikrant, the first indigeneously built aircraft carrier being built at the Cochin shipyard, will be
ready for trials in 2017 and for delivery by 2018-end.
Click Here for more on INS Vikramaditya
Thailand court sacks PM Yingluck Shinawatra
May 10, 2014
The Prime Minister of Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra and several cabinet
ministers have been ordered to resign by the Constitutional Court of the country. The court ordered
that Ms Yingluck acted illegally when she transferred her national security chief Thawil Pliensri to
another position in 2011. The order has come after months of political impasse. Anti-government
protesters have been trying to topple Ms Yingluck regime since November 2013. The remaining
cabinet members have nominated the commerce minister to replace Ms Yingluck. Ms Yingluck had
been accused of abuse of power in improperly transferring Thawil Pliensri, her national security chief
appointed by the opposition-led administration, in 2011.
Political situation in Thailand:
Thailand has been undergoing a power struggle since Ms Yingluck‘s brother, Thaksin Shinawatra who
was PM was thrown out in 2006 by a military coup. Mr Thaksin and his family are detested by some
urban and middle-class elites who accuse them of corruption and abuse of power. But Mr Thaksin‘s
policies hugely popular in rural areas won both the elections since the coup have returned Thaksin-
allied governments to power. Court rulings have, in the past, been a key factor amid political turmoil in
SC upholds constitutional validity of Right to Education Act
May 10, 2014
The constitutional validity of Right to Education Act (RTE Act) has been upheld by the Supreme
Court. RTE Act mandates that 25% seats in all schools be reserved for the economically
disadvantaged children.
As per the Supreme Court decision:

 The 93
Amendment Act, 2005, inserting clause (5) in Article 15 enables the State to make
special provisions for members of the SCs, STs and socially and educationally backward classes,
for admission to all educational institutions, including private unaided institutions, but except
minority institutions, did not violate basic structure of the Constitution.
 The RTE Act will not be applicable to minority schools, whether aided or unaided. The
minority aided educational institutions could not be compelled to provide free and compulsory
education to children belonging to weaker sections.
 Articles 15(5) and 21-A of the Constitution in so far as it relates to unaided educational
institutions to provide compulsory education for children in the age group of 6 to 14 years are
 The 93
Constitutional Amendment Act, 2005, is in line with the socialistic aspirations mentioned
in the Preamble and the directive principles of the Constitution and to ensure the progress of the
weaker sections in the democratic state, aiming at the egalitarian ethos.
Provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, and the Right of
Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2010, are valid.
Supreme Court allows Tamil Nadu to raise Mullaperiyar height
May 10, 2014
The Supreme Court has given permission to Tamil Nadu to raise the height of a 116-year-old
Mullaperiyar Dam from 136 feet to 142 feet quashing the objections raised by Kerala which opposed
the move citing safety concerns of the dam and nearby areas.
The decision marks second consecutive defeat for Kerala as on February 27, 2006 the court
permitted Tamil Nadu to raise the dam height and carry out necessary repairs setting aside Kerala‘s
objections on safety. A month after the judgment, Kerala passed a law — Kerala Irrigation and
Water Conservation (Amendment) Act 2006 fixing the full reservoir level of dam at 136 feet.
Tamil Nadu challenged the constitutional validity of this law that has now been declared null and void
by the apex court. The court was fully satisfied that the dam was safe after an
Expert Committee submitted its report assuring safety of dam from all aspects — hydrological,
structural and seismic safety. Besides, it observed no change in circumstances since its earlier order
of 2006. However, the court‘s judgment would facilitate TN to divert more water for its agricultural
Supreme Court bans use of bulls in sports
May 10, 2014
The Supreme Court put a ban on the use of bulls and bullocks in sports. These animals have been
used in sports like Jallikattu (traditional bull fight of Tamil Nadu) and bullock-cart race
(Maharashtra) for centuries. The court banned use of bullocks and bulls in these events on the
ground that it amounted to cruelty against animals. Key observations of the Supreme Court:
 Bulls cannot be used as performing animals, either for the Jallikattu events or bullock-cart races in
the States of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country.
 The Animal Welfare Board is permitted to take disciplinary action against defaulters.
 Parliament recommended raising rights of animals to that of ―constitutional rights‖ to ensure
observance of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act 1960.
 As per PCA Act Section 3 and Section 11(1)(m), it is an offence against a person who incites
any animal to fight with a view to provideentertainment.
DGCA grants Flying License to AirAsia India
May 10, 2014
India‘s aviation regulator DGCA granted flying license or Air Operator‘s Permit (AOP) to the new
airline AirAsia India. AirAsia India plans to have a 10-aircraft fleet within a year of start of its
operations and these planes would be drawn from A-320 family of aircraft ordered by the AirAsia

Group. The air carrier would initially concentrate on connecting non-metro towns and imitate its low-
cost, no-frills model that has seen substantial success in Southeast Asia.
The $30 million venture was the first airline to be launched after the FDI norms in aviation were
relaxed in September 2012. While AirAsia owns 49% stake in the Indian carrier, Tata Sons has 30%
and Telstra Tradeplace holds the rest.
DGCA directs airlines to track flights in real time
May 10, 2014
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), in its directives, has made it mandatory for airlines
and private operators to track their aircraft‘s flight on real-time basis and ensure that necessary
devices are functional before take-off.
As per the instructions issue by the DGCA:
 Indian scheduled and non-scheduled operators are required to track aircraft in real time using
onboard Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) or Automatic
Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B).
 Airlines and private operators have to ensure that all essential devices are functional before take-
 The instructions apply to both passenger and cargo planes.
 DGCA will review implementation of the directives during surveillance inspections.
The directives have been issued close on the heels of vanishing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370,
which has been missing for two months now. MH370 which took-off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing
disappeared on March 8, 2014.
Indian economy showing signs of improvement
May 11, 2014
Indian economy appears to be improving as the sectors which were significantly affected by the crisis
and slowdown are now showing visible signs of improvement.
Some key observations:
 Order from the apex court on relaxation in mining ban in Goa andKarnataka will be helpful in
resurrecting sentiments in mining sector.
 Telecom sector, after incurring losses in the years 2011 and 2012, seems to gain in future as
telecom companies have managed to enhance their Average Revenue Per User (ARPUs)
 Infrastructure sector is also showing some positive signs with a major road project approved
in Maharashtra.
Biologists discover 14 new „Dancing Frog‟ species in Western Ghats
May 11, 2014
Indian scientists have found 14 new species of ‗Dancing Frogs‘ in the Western
Ghats. The tiny agile amphibians earned their name for the unusual kicks they use to attract mates.
The kicking or ‗foot-flagging‘ is a breeding behavior shown only by the males. They stretch, extend
and whip their legs out to the side to draw the attention of females who might have difficulty hearing
mating croaks over the sound of water flowing through perennial hill streams. Compared with
other frogs, these frogs are so sensitive to this habitat that any change might be ravaging for them.


54 Indian companies among Forbes „Global 2000‟
May 11, 2014
In the latest released Forbes ‗Global 2000‘ list, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries leads the
set of 54 Indian companies in the annual list of the world‘s 2000 largest and most powerful public
companies. The top three positions of the list is occupied by the Chinese companies.
The Forbes ‗Global 2000′ is a comprehensive list of the world‘s largest, most powerful public
companies, as measured by revenues, profits, assets and market value.
Some notable points from Forbes ‗Global 2000‘:
 World‘s top three biggest public companies and five of the top 10 are from China.
 564 companies enlisted are from the US which marks its dominance as the country with the most
Global 2000 companies.
 Japan follows the US with 225 companies in total.
 India is home to 54 of the world‘s biggest companies.
 Reliance Industries, with a market value of $ 50.9 billion and $ 72.8 billion in sales, ranked 135.
 State Bank of India ranked 155 with a $ 23.6 billion market value.
Some other Indian companies making it to the list are: Oil and Natural Gas ranked 176, ICICI
Bank (304), Tata Motors (332), Indian Oil (416), HDFC Bank(422), Coal India (428), Larsen &
Toubro (500), Tata Consultancy Services (543), Bharti Airtel (625), Axis
Bank (630), Infosys (727), Bank of Baroda (801), Mahindra & Mahindra (803), ITC (830), Wipro
(849), Bharat Heavy Electricals (873), GAIL India (955), Tata Steel (983), Power Grid of India (1011),
Bharat Petroleum (1045), HCL Technologies (1153), Hindustan Petroleum (1211), Adani Enterprises
(1233), Kotak Mahindra Bank (1255), Sun Pharma Industries (1294), Steel Authority of India (1329),
Bajaj Auto (1499), Hero Motocorp (1912), Jindal Steel & Power (1955), Grasim Industries (1981) and
JSW Steel (1990).
RuPay, India‟s indigenous card payment network launched
May 11, 2014
Rupay, India‘s own payment gateway was launched to compete
with networks such as Visa and Mastercard. The indigenous network will work on ATMs and
merchant outlets and help in bringing down cash transactions.
The RuPay is a blend of two terms — ‗Rupee‘ and ‗Payment‘. It has been developed by the National
Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and is being used by certain banks such as ICICI,
State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, among others, for clearing and settlement. The RuPay,
which works on three channels — ATMs, Point of Sales (PoS) and online sales, is the seventh such
payment gateway in the world. A variant of the pre-paid RuPay card would be launched by IRCTC
soon, which will help in booking railway tickets.
Benefits of RuPay platform:
 Reduce the transaction cost
 Support creation of more domestic products
 Reach the unbanked sections
 Reducing number of cash transactions
 Availability at a cost much less than those of international cards
RBI restricts companies from refinancing of rupee loans via External
Commercial Borrowings (ECB) route
May 12, 2014
RBI has barred Indian companies from raising money from subsidiaries of Indian banks overseas via
the External Commercial Borrowings (ECBs) to refinance their rupee loans. Thus, Indian companies

will not be allowed to raise ECB from overseas branches or subsidiaries of Indian banks for the
purpose of refinance/repayment of the rupee loans raised from the domestic banking system.
In April 2014, the RBI also restrained the banks from issuing guarantees to offshore joint ventures and
subsidiaries of Indian companies to avail foreign currency loans to repay rupee credit.
Earlier, Indian companies in manufacturing, infrastructure and hotel industries were permitted to raise
a maximum of $10 billion from this route. The maximum permissible ECB that could be availed of by
an individual company was 75% of the average annual export earnings realized during the past 3
financial years.
Typically, an Indian company‘s overseas subsidiary approaches an Indian bankfor a guarantee or
letter of credit to use it for availing loans from another bank there. Banks were permitted to issue non-
fund based credit to overseas subsidiaries of Indian companies up to 20% of unimpaired capital of the
The step by RBI has come close on the heels of warning the banks against issuing letter of credit and
guarantees to Indian companies‘ overseas subsidiaries. It said that such non-fund based credit was
being used for purposes other than the business the company is involved.
The restrictions are applicable in cases like take-out financing, infrastructure financing and spectrum
allocation and other repayments. The direction were issued under sections 10(4) and 11(1) of the
Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (42 of 1999).
The ECB loans are much cheaper than the domestic loans and therefore companies use the arbitrage
available to their benefit.
CANWFZ Treaty signed to recognize Central Asia as Nuke-Free Zone
May 12, 2014
Five recognized nuclear weapon states- China, France, Russia, UK and USA inked the Protocol to
the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone (CANWFZ) Treaty in New York, marking a major
positive development in the global non-proliferation efforts. The treaty was signed on the sidelines of
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Preparatory Committee Meeting at the United Nations.
The CANWFZ Treaty was inked on September 8, 2006 in Semipalatinsk by the five Central Asian
nations – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan,Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. It came into force
on March 21, 2009. As chair of the CANWFZ Treaty, Kazakhstan has steered the negotiations with
the five nuclear states on behalf of its Central Asian neighbors.
Central-Asian parties to the CANWFZ treaty aim to make the region a nuclear-weapon free zone. For
the zone to be recognized internationally, it also requires to get the so-called negative
guarantees from the five nuclear weapon countries, meaning legally-binding assurances not to use
nuclear weapons against the parties of the treaty and not to use the threat of the use of nuclear
weapons against them. The Protocol signed on May 6, 2014 in New York provides all these
guarantees. The Protocol awaits ratification by the parliaments of the signing states enter into effect.
The CANWFZ Treaty complements the NPT and strengthens the internationalnonproliferation regime
by forbidding, among other things, the development and testing of nuclear weapons within Central
Asia. Under the CANWFZ Treaty, the five Central Asian zone states may not allow the stationing of
nuclear weapons within their territories. The Central Asian states are also mandated to adopt the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol, which provides the IAEA with
increased access and power to ensure that all nuclear activities are used only for peaceful purposes.
Other Nuclear-Weapons Free Zones in the World
Apart from the newly created Central-Asian zone, there are four other nuclear weapons free zones in
the world, including in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, South-East Asia and the South
Pacific. The Central Asian zone is different from the other four in a way that it is the only such zone
fully located in the northern hemisphere, the only zone adjoining two nuclear weapon states, Russia
and China, and the only zone where nuclear weapons once existed, until Kazakhstan relinquished
the weapons it inherited from the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

Google loses copyright case over Android to Oracle
May 11, 2014
Oracle Corp won a suit against Google Inc. as an appeals court in the US gave
Oracle permission to copyright parts of the Java programming language, which Google used to
develop its Android smartphone operating system. Google‘s Android operating system is the
world‘s largest-selling smartphone platform. Oracle filed a lawsuit against Google in 2010, claiming
that Google had improperly used parts of Java into Android. Oracle seeks around $1 billion as its
copyright claims.
„Rise quickly‟ to counter China: Vietnam to India
May 11, 2014
Vietnam wants India to ―rise quickly‖ in the South-East region as it
expressed concerns over China‘s rising assertiveness in the South China Sea. Vietnam Ambassador
Dang Dinh Quy voiced his concerns at a round table meeting of Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam
(DAV), and said that Chinese navy was acting without provocation and that Chinese topmost
leadership is behind in these decisions.
The meeting was held for the delegates to share information with Australian scholars around regional
security matters such as US-China relations, maritime issues in the Indo pacific region and to talk
about more extensively Australia‘s engagement with Asia.
“Exit polls” and “Post-Poll Survey”: Are both same?
May 14, 2014
Although both the two terms ―Exit polls‖ and ―Post-Poll Survey‖ are used in the same context i.e.
prediction of elections, there is a technical difference between the two. Exit polls are done outside the
polling stations immediately after voters exit the polling booths/station. A Post-Poll Survey, on the
other hand, is conducted a day or two after the voting, preferably at the homes of the voters.
In terms of accuracy, a post-poll survey helps gauge the results better as they are held in the
confines of somebody‘s home. Unlike exit polls where voters are caught immediately after they come
out from the booths, post-poll survey are based on relatively leisurely and detailed interactions.
Most agencies have switched to post-poll surveys to gain from the process, given that polls are mostly
held in phases. Exit polls are conducted only when there are single-phase elections. Agencies,
nowadays, utilize a mix of post-poll survey and exit polls on the last day of elections to generate
immediate results.
China expresses concern over India‟s role in South China Sea issue
May 14, 2014
China seems a little disturbed with India voicing its concern over the tensions in the South China Sea.
Chinese Foreign Ministry said India need ―not worry too much‖ about the issue.
The remarks from China came in response to India voicing its ―concern‖ over the recent
developments in the South China Sea where Chinese and Vietnamese ships had a tense standoff.

These tensions have intensified with China‘s oil rig‘s attempts for oil exploration in the waters of
disputed islands claimed by both countries.
China was critical of reactions by the US and Japan over the region last week. China objected to
India‘s ONGC participating in the drilling in the area specified by Vietnam which Beijing called
disputed. Both Vietnam and the Philippinestogether with Malaysia and Brunei have serious disputes
with China in the South China Sea and have been exhorting ASEAN to take a firm stand against
Beijing on the issue. China also objected to the Philippines arresting 11 Chinese fishermen in the
disputed waters.
Recent development over South China Sea:
 Vietnam wants India to ‗rise quickly‘ in the South-East region as it expressed concerns
over China‘s rising assertiveness in the South China Sea. The comments came a few days after
Chinese and Vietnamese ships had a tense stand-off. Link: ‗Rise quickly‘ to counter China:
Vietnam to India
 A significant defense deal inked between the Philippines and the US which will allow a bigger US
military presence on Filipino territory. The pact would give U.S. forces temporary access to
selected military camps and allow them to pre-position fighter jets and ships. It allows more US
troops into the Philippines for joint military training exercises.
Indian Railways releases: „India Junction – A Window to The Nation‟
May 13, 2014
Indian Railway released a book, titled ‘India J unction – A Window to the Nation’. The book has
been brought out by Public Relations Directorate, Railway Board. The book has been edited
by Ms Seema Sharma.
About the Book:
‗India Junction – A Window to the Nation‘ is a book which tells the story of
the long an eventful journey of Indian Railways starting from 1853 to the present day through in-
depth, analytical essays that are rich inhistory; scrumptious travel pieces; and some truly amazing
and rare photo features—celebrates the changes the Railways has brought about in our lives; and
examines how the Railways itself has transformed over time.
The Indian Railways provides us with a practical, convenient mode of transport, but its contribution to
Indian life goes much beyond that. The Railways is the lifeline of the nation and, in many ways, its
development has been deeply intertwined with the destiny of India. India Junction—featuring in-depth,
analytical essays that are rich in history; delectable travel pieces; and some truly amazing and rare
photo features—celebrates the changes the Railways has brought about in our lives; and examines
how the Railways itself has transformed over time.
Some quotes in INDIA JUNCTION:
 Without the railways, the three great cities of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras would have remained
small colonial trading ports. —Sir Mark Tully
 „Railways was the greatest force of modernization and unity that India had ever seen.‟ —Sandipan

 „The development of the railways has been deeply intertwined with the destiny of the
Indian subcontinent.‟ —Sharmila Kantha
 „In Mumbai locals, there is even a new subgroup of intimacy: the train friend.‟ —Jerry Pinto
 „No Railways, no India.‟—Ian J. Kerr
Scientists succeed in replicating semi-synthetic DNA containing unnatural
May 13, 2014
Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have succeeded in
replicating deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) which contained artificially inserted synthetic pair of DNA
―letters,‖ or bases, not found in nature. It was done through an engineered E. coli bacterium which
replicated the unnatural semi-synthetic DNA. Replication is the process whereby DNA makes a copy
of itself before cell division.
Scientists have been working for long to identify bases other than organic that could serve as new,
functional DNA bases and could code for proteins and organisms that have never existed before.
Generally, organisms on earth have natural nucleoside base-pairs adenine-thymine and cytosine-
guanine which forms their DNA.
This experiment was lead by TSRI Associate Professor Floyd E. Romesberg. In 2008, his lab had
identified sets of nucleoside molecules that can hook up across a double-strand of DNA practically as
comfortably as organic base pairs (A, T, C, G) and showed that DNA containing these unnatural base
pairs can replicate in the presence of the correct enzymes. In the following year, the researchers had
been able to locate enzymes that transcribe this semi-synthetic DNA into RNA. But all this was carried
out in vitro (in test tube) and this time they wanted to see them working in the significantly extra
complicated atmosphere of a living cell.
Latest Experiment:
This time scientists engineered a stretch of circular DNA known as a plasmid and inserted it into cells
of the typical bacterium E. coli. The plasmid DNA contained all-natural T-A and C-G base pairs along
with the unnatural base pairRomesberg‘s lab had discovered, two molecules identified
as d5SICS and dNaM. The objective was to get the E. coli cells to replicate this semi-synthetic DNA
as typically as possible.
Why it is not easy to get a DNA with synthetic base pair/pairs replicated in a living cell?
There are a number of obstacles in making a living cell replicate a semi-synthetic DNA. Any functional
new pair of DNA bases would have to bind with an affinity comparable to that of the natural
nucleoside base-pairs adenine-thymine and cytosine-guanine. Such new bases also would have to
line up stably alongside the natural bases in a zipper-like stretch of DNA. They would be required to
unzip and re-zip smoothly when worked on by natural polymerase enzymes during DNA replication
and transcription into RNA. And somehow these nucleoside interlopers would have to avoid being
attacked and removed by natural DNA-repair mechanisms.
In this experiment, as d5SICS and dNaM are not naturally in cells, the building blocks for their
replication had to be provided artificially, by adding them to thefluid resolution outside the cell. To
get the creating blocks, recognized as nucleoside triphosphates, into the cells, scientists had to find
unique triphosphatetransporter molecules.
Challenges tackled:
In a significant breakthrough, scientists found a triphosphate transporter, created by a species of
microalgae, that was efficient at importing the unnatural triphosphates. Surprisingly, the semi-
synthetic plasmid replicated and did not greatly hamper the development of the E. coli cells, and
showed no sign of losing its unnatural base pairs to DNA repair mechanisms.

Importantly, this process can be performed in a controlled manner as it was found that when the flow
of the unnatural triphosphate transporter or building blocks is stopped, the DNA reverts to normal A,
T, G, C base pairs and the d5SICS and dNaM disappear from the genome.
Possible Applications:
In future this research could be useful in encoding new proteins produced from new, unnatural amino
acids—which would give us higher power than ever to design protein therapeutics and diagnostics
and laboratory reagents to have desired functions. Other applications, such as nano-materials, are
also possible.
Gmail‟s Android version becomes first single app to pass 1 billion
May 15, 2014
Google‘s Android version of Gmail app has become the first individual smartphone app to pass
one billion installations on Android devices. The rankings were done by Google Play Store which
ranks apps by downloads in different ranges and the Gmail Android app figured into the one to five
billion bracket.
The figure doesn‘t take into account updates, so there is no double-counting when an update is
provided. And the Google Play services app is disqualified from the counting, as it is required as part
of the Google Play Store.
Many groups of apps, such as Outfit7‘s range of Talking Friends apps, have already passed the one
billion downloads, but downloaded of an individual app one billion times is unprecedented. In 2012,
the Angry Birds collection of games passed one billion downloads.
Shrinking ice moving the Earth‟s crust upwards in the Northern Antarctic
May 14, 2014
As per scientists, earth‘s mantle under Antarctica is moving rapidly, changing the shape of the land at
a rate that can be recorded by GPS. Researchers have explained for the first time why the upward
motion of Earth‘s crust in the Northern Antarctic Peninsula is currently occurring so rapidly.
At the surface, Antarctica is a motionless and frozen landscape. Yet hundreds of miles down the
Earth is moving at a rapid rate.
Earlier studies have found that the Earth is ‗rebounding‘ due to the overlying ice sheet shrinking in
response to climate change. This movement of the land was understood to be due to an
instantaneous, elastic response followed by a very slow uplift over thousands of years. But Global
Positioning System (GPS) data has shown that the land in this region is actually rising at a
phenomenal rate of 15mm a year – much greater than what can be accounted for by the
present-day elastic response alone. And scientists have shown for the first time how the mantle
below the Earth‘s crust in the Antarctic Peninsula is flowing much faster than
expected, probably due to subtle changes in temperature or chemical composition. This shows
that the mantle can flow more easily and therefore responds much more rapidly to the reduction of
load hundreds of kilometers above it, changing the shape of the land. So as the glaciers slenderize
and the load in that localized area decreases, the mantle pushes up the crust.
Since 1995, several ice shelves in the Northern Antarctic Peninsula have melted and caused ice-
mass unloading, leading to the solid Earth to ‗bounce back‘. The ice puts downward pressure on the
Earth and as this weight reduces the crust bounces back.


RBI permits foreign branches of banks to sell derivatives not allowed in India
May 14, 2014
Foreign branches and overseas subsidiaries of Indian banks have been allowed by the RBI to sell
structured financial and derivative products in established financial centres even if these products are
not permitted in India. However, these products like Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and Bond
Derivatives are not allowed in the domestic market.
As per earlier norms, banks were not allowed to offer structured financial products through their
branches or subsidiaries outside India that are not specifically permitted in the domestic market.
This was the outcome of the review of an earlier December 2008 circular that made it mandatory for
banks to get prior approval of the RBI by rendering details of the products, including their regulatory
treatment prescribed by the host-country regulators.
Effectiveness of Medication is Gene-dependent: Research; that‟s why a
particular drug is effective for certain people but not for others.
May 14, 2014
A new research attempts to answer why a particular drug is effective for certain people but not
for others. The research team has found that genes play a significant role. Scientists have generated
a database associating 145 genetic regions with more than 400 molecules involved in metabolism in
human blood. This compendium of genetic links with metabolism provides many new opportunities to
understand the molecular pathways underlying associations with common, complex diseases.
Metabolic molecules, known as metabolites, include a wide range of different molecules such as
vitamins, lipids, carbohydrates and nucleotides. They constitute parts of, or are the products of, all
biological pathways.
This new database of associations between genetic regions and metabolite levels provides a powerful
tool to identify genes that could be used in drug and diagnostic tests for a wide range of metabolic
disorders. It will help in drug discovery for metabolic disorders and also facilitate scientists to
understand thebiology behind disease.

Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag appointed as new Army chief
May 16, 2014
The government appointed Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag as the next Chief of the Indian Army. The
Union Cabinet cleared the name of Vice Army Chief Lieutenant General Dalbir Singh Suhag as the
successor to Gen Bikram Singh, who will retire on July 3, 2014.
Suhag was the most senior officer in the Indian Army after Bikram Singh. He was recommended by
the Ministry of Defence for further consideration by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC).
To know about the candidates contesting elections is a fundamental right of
citizens under Article 19(1)(a): Supreme Court
May 16, 2014
The apex court held that it is mandatory for the candidates contesting elections to disclose information
about assets and liabilities of even their spouse and dependent children failing which they can be
disqualified. A person fighting elections is also under legal obligation to reveal information on his or
her criminal antecedents and educational qualifications.
Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution makes it a fundamental right of the citizens to know about
the candidates contesting the elections and this is the main reason that makes it obligatory to the

candidates to furnish details regarding the criminal antecedents, educational qualifications and assets
held by the candidate, his spouse and dependent children.
As per the court, at the time of filing the nomination paper, if a candidate leaves blank any column
seeking information on criminal antecedents, educational qualifications and assets and liabilities, then
it would result in disqualification by the returning officer at the scrutiny stage itself. If it is found that i t
is a case of improper acceptance, misinformation or suppression of material information, rejection in
such a case can only be postponed for a later date.
Google rankings can influence Elections: Study
May 16, 2014
As per a new study conducted in India during the just concluded Lok SabhaElections
2014, Google rankings can dramatically swing ill-informed voters leading to influence the election
The study done by Robert Epstein, a former editor of Psychology Today and noted Google critic,
found that manipulating the Google search results can significantly influence the candidate
preferences of the voters who are not well-informed and are undecided as they tend to sway towards
candidates appearing on the top of the search results/ranking.
In the experiment it was found that search rankings biased in favour of a candidate could push the
preferences of undecided voters towards that candidate by 15% or more. If there are two candidates
and both vying to push their rankings higher then that‘s fine. But if Google, which has a monopoly on
search in India, were to favour one candidate, it could easily put that candidate in office by
manipulating search rankings, and no one could counter that.
These manipulations can pose a serious threat to democracy. To prevent too much influence,
election-related search rankings need to be regulated and monitored, as well as subjected to equal-
time rules.
By 2025, India to replace Japan as third-largest oil consumer: US
May 16, 2014
According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA),India will overtakeJapan to become the
world‘s third largest oil consumer behind the US and Chinaby 2025.
As per EIA‘s Annual Energy Outlook:
 India‘s oil consumption will increase from 3.68 million barrels per day (bpd), or 173.5 million
tonnes, in 2012 to 5.19 million bpd in 2025, catching up with Japan‘s 4.38 million bpd
consumption. Japan consumed 4.75 million bpd of oil in 2012.
 At present, India is the fourth largest oil consumer in the world behind the US, China and Japan.
 Though the US will remain the world‘s biggest oil consumer but its demand growth will be almost
 With 3% compounded annual growth rate, India‘s oil consumption growth rate from 2012 to 2040
will be highest in the world. Its oil consumption will reach 6.11 million bpd in 2030 and 8.33 million
bpd in 2040.
 India meets around 80% of India‘s oil requirements through imports.
 In 2013, India overtook Japan as the world‘s third-biggest importer of crude oil.
 According to International Energy Agency, India will become the world‘s largest oil importer by
General Election 2014: Resounding victory for BJP, Congress faces
drubbing in 6 states
May 17, 2014
World‘s biggest democratic exercise- India‘s 16
Lok Sabha (Lower House) elections which ran from
April, 7 to May 12, 2014 are over and its verdict is out. Of the total 543 seats for which elections were
contested, BJP led NDA achieved a thumping victory on 336 seats, whereas, Congress led UPA has

faced thorough defeat in 6 key states winning just 59 seats, and the Congress, 44 seats. TheAam
Aadmi Party (AAP) which contested on 424 seats has faced debacle as it could win just 4 seats. AAP
leader and former Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejrival, who contested against the Narendra Modi
from Varanasi, defeated by a huge margin of more than 3 lakh votes.
With this NDA victory, BJP‘s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is all set to be the head of the
newly elected Indian Government.
Some high spots of Lok Sabha polls 2014:
 It was 16
Lok Sabha election.
 Election Commission of India conducted election in 9 phases, longest election in the
country‘s history.
 8,251 candidates contested for 543 constituencies in India.
 814.5 million People were eligible voters, with an increase of 100 million voters since the
last general election in 2009, making this the largest-ever election in the world.
 Average election turnout was around 66.38%, the highest ever in the history of Indian general
 With more than six times the seats of its closest contenders, Modi‘s is the most decisive mandate
for a leader since the 1984 assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi propelled her son to
office. Since 1989, India has been governed by coalitions.
 With 282 seats, the BJP has won the highest number of seats by a single party in the modern,
post-regional politics era, compared with 244 for the Congress in 1991 and 206 for it in 2009.
 It is the worst ever performance by Congress compared to its show in other previous General
 Since 1977, the BJP is the first non-Congress party to defeat Congress by such a huge margin.
However, the biggest tally of seats achieved by a non-Congress party is 295 won by the Janata
Party in the 1977 post-Emergency election that ousted Mrs. Gandhi from office.
 BJP registered its biggest win in Uttar Pradesh winning 71 seats despite a big coalition partner,
the best performance by a single party in the state since 1984 when the Congress won 83 of 85
Results Lok Sabha Polls 2014:
NDA (BJP + Allies) 335
UPA (Congress + Allies) 59
SP 5
JD(U) 2
TOTAL 543/543
Alliance Vote share (%)
NDA 35
UPA 23

India‟s IIP remains negative, declines 0.5% in March 2014
May 16, 2014
As per the Quick Estimates of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) with base year 2004-05 for
the month of March 2014 released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) of the Ministry of
Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), the industrial production
remained negative for the second consecutive month, shrinking 0.5% in March 2014 due
to poor performance in manufacturing, especially capital goods.
Output as assessed by the IIP remained almost flat in 2013-14 and slumped 0.1% compared with an
expansion of 1.1% in 2012-13.
The General Index for the month of March 2014 stands at 193.2, which is 0.5% less as compared to
the level in March 2013. The cumulative growth for the period April-March 2013-14 over the
corresponding period of the previous year is at (-) 0.1%.
Compilation Sources for IIP:
IIP is compiled using data gathered from 16 source agencies viz. Department of Industrial Policy &
Promotion (DIPP); Indian Bureau of Mines; Central Electricity Authority; Joint
Plant Committee; Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas; Office of Textile Commissioner; Department of
Chemicals & Petrochemicals; Directorate of Sugar; Department of Fertilizers; Directorate of
Vanaspati, Vegetable Oils & Fats; Tea Board; Office of Jute Commissioner; Office of Coal Controller;
Railway Board; Office of Salt Commissioner and Coffee Board.
Bharti Airtel raises about $2 billion in Dual Currency Bond sale
May 16, 2014
India‘s largest telecom company Bharti Airtel raised around $2 billion in a dual
currency international bond sale. It is the largest debt issuance by a domestic company till date. Bharti
sold dual currency dollar and euro bonds to raise the money which will be used for repayment and
refinancing of existing foreign currency debt. It is a first dual currency issuance by an Indian issuer
and also largest fund raising exercise at a single time by an Indian issuer.
What are Dual Currency Bonds?
Dual Currency Bonds pay interest coupons in one currency and principal redemption for a fixed
sum in a second currency, often the dollar.
A company may prefer issuing a dual currency bond to hedge any foreign exchange flows from its
operations, or take a speculative view on currencies in order to get a lower cost of capital. Investors
generally get an above-market coupon, but run the risk that, in this example, the dollar could plunge
below the exchange rate used when the amount was fixed. Such bonds are enticing to borrowers who
operate in the redemption currency because they have no long-term exchange rate risk.
Govt should reduce its shareholding in PSBs to below 50%: RBI Committee
May 16, 2014
An RBI committee headed by former chairman of Axis Bank PJ Nayak has said in its report that the
government should bring down its stake in Public Sector Banks (PSBs) to below 50%.
Key Suggestions proposed by the RBI Panel:-
1) On existing Governance pattern of PSBs:
Criticizing the way in which the 26 PSBs are being currently governed, the panel blamed several
―externally imposed constraints‖ like dual regulation by the RBI and finance ministry and external
vigilance by agencies like the CVC and CAG for the distress of banks.

The government should reduce its stake in these banks to less than 50%, along with certain other
executive measures for the removal of these constraints.
The Centre should distance itself from the governance of banks and the Bank Nationalization Acts of
1970 and 1980, along with the SBI Act and SBI Subsidiary Banks Act, be repealed as it finds ―the
selection process for directors is increasingly compromised‖.
2) On Government‘s powers in relation to the governance of banks
All banks should be incorporated under the Companies Act and a Bank Investment
Company (BIC) be set up to which the government transfers its holdings in banks. BIC should be
given power of governance of the banks. Until BIC becomes functional, a Bank Boards Bureau
comprising former senior bankers should advise all board appointments, including those of chairmen
and executive directors.
3) On existing Human Resource Policy in Banks
Change in human resource policy to encourage younger people joining top management. Private
sector banks should be provided a more level-playing field with the public sector counterparts.
4) On governance issues in private sector banks
Ownership constraints that could misalign the interests of shareholders with those of top management
must be removed. Allowing larger block shareholders generally enhances governance.
5) On distressed banks
Distressed banks, private equity funds, including sovereign wealth funds, should be allowed to take
control of stakes of up to 40%.
6) On Evergreening of bad loans
Boards of banks need to be vigilant about the quality of the loans. The policy of private sector banks
can be considered which incentivises senior management on the basis of bank profitability, and
disburses the compensation through stock options. There is potential incentive to evergreen assets in
order that provisions do not make a dent in profitability.
In the case of evergreening, fines can be slapped through cancellations of unvested stock options and
claw-back of monetary bonuses on officers concerned and on whole-time directors, and that the
chairman of the audit committee be asked to step down from the board.
Andhra Pradesh assembly polls results: TDP wins largest number of seats
May 17, 2014
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) led by N. Chandra Babu Naidu emerged as the largest party with 117
seats out of the total 294 assembly seats of the Andhra Pradesh in the recently concluded Assembly
Elections in the state.
Political Party Seats Won
TDP 117
Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party 70
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) 63
Indian National Congress (INC) 21

Others 14

Arunachal Pradesh assembly polls: INC to form government
May 17, 2014
The results of the 2014 assembly elections of Arunachal Pradesh are out. The Indian National
Congress (INC) led by the incumbent Chief Minister Nabam Tuki won 42 seats of the total 60
assembly seats in the state.
BJP with 11 seats is the first runner up whereas People‘s Party of Arunachal finished third with 5
Political Party Seats Won
Bharatiya Janata Party 11
Indian National Congress 42
People’s Party of Arunachal 5
Independent 2
Odisha assembly polls 2014: BJD emerged largest party in the state
May 17, 2014
The results of the 2014 assembly elections of Odisha have been announced. Of the total 147
assembly seats, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) led by incumbent Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has won 117
seats, making it the single largest party in the state.
Odisha assembly polls 2014 results:
Political Party Seats Won
BJD 117
BJP 10
Indian National Congress 16
Others 4
Sikkim Assembly elections 2014: SDF to retain power for fifth term in a row
May 17, 2014
Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) led by incumbent Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling has
emerged as the single largest party by winning 22 seats out of total 32 in the 2014 assembly elections

of Sikkim. The newly established party Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) led by Prem Singh Tamang
won 10 assembly seats and will sit in opposition.

The SDF which came into being in 1993 has been in power in Sikkim since 1994. This will be party‘s
fifth consecutive term in power.
SpaceX „Dragon‟ capsule leaves space station, heads back to Earth
May 20, 2014
US private firm SpaceX‘s unmanned Dragon capsule undocked from theInternational Space
Station (ISS), to return to Earth. The capsule is carrying more than 1,580 kilograms
of science samples and NASA‘s old equipment.
NASA depends on SpaceX and other private companies to replace the Space Shuttles, which were
finally retired in July 2011, and had brought supplies and astronauts to and from the space station.
SpaceX has signed a $1.6 billion deal with NASA for a total of 12 of supply missions. SpaceX,
Boeing and Sierra Nevada have also been engaged by NASA to develop private space ships
capable of transporting people to the space station and other destinations in orbit, with a launch
expected in 2017. That would end the US reliance on Russia‘s Soyuz capsules to carry US astronauts
to and from the space station, at a cost of $70 million per person.
„Photon-Photon Collider Experiment‟: Researchers develop technique to
turn light into matter
May 20, 2014
Scientists in the UK have discovered how to turn light into matter. Until now, it was not practically
shown what was theorized by scientists G Breit and John A Wheeler in 1934- the simplest technique
of turning light into matter — by colliding only two particles of light (photons), to create an electron
and a positron. It has never been observed in a lab and past experiments as it necessitates the
addition of massive high-energy particles.
Scientists from Imperial College London have unraveled the theory. They will perform a ‗Photon-
Photon Collider‘ experiment to prove this in practise. The experiment would recreate a process that
was significant in the first 100 seconds of the universe, also seen in gamma ray bursts — the biggest
explosions in the universe and one of physics‘ greatest unsolved puzzles.
Two main steps of ‗Photon- Photon Collider‘ experiment:
1. Using an extremely powerful high-intensity laser to speed up electrons to just below the speed of
light and then shoot these electrons at a slab of gold to create a beam of photons a billion times
more energetic than visible light.
2. Firing a high-energy laser at the inner surface of a tiny gold can called a hohlraum to create a
thermal radiation field, generating light similar to the light emitted by stars.
The photon beam from the first stage would be directed through the centre of the can, causing the
photons from the two sources to collide and form electrons and positrons. It would then be possible to
observe the formation of the electrons and positrons when they exited the can.
This discovery would help in understanding how we can create matter directly from light using the
India‟s „Steel Man‟ – Former Tisco chief Russi Mody passed away
May 19, 2014
Russi Mody (96), regarded as India‘s ‗Steel Man‘ for his role in elevating Tata Steel (then known as
Tisco) to its present status of India‘s largest steel manufacturing company, passed away.
He was born on January 17, 1918, joined Tisco in 1939, and rose through the ranks to become its
chairman and managing director in 1984. The man who was with Tata Steel for nearly four decades
was credited with laying the foundation for what Tata Steel is today.

Mody was removed from the top position at Tata Steel in 1993 as the result of differences in opinions
with Ratan Tata, who had just assumed charge as chairman of the Tata Group. He was then
appointed as the joint chairman of Air India and Indian Airlines by then Prime Minister PV Narasimha
Mody received Padma Bhushan (nation‘s third highest civilian award) in 1989 for his exemplary
contribution to the Indian industry.
Representation of Muslims in 16th Lok Sabha plunges all-time low at 22
May 19, 2014
The 16
Lok Sabha will have lowest Muslim representation (Muslim MPs) of all-time at 22. The
previous low in the history of Indian Parliament was witnessed in 1957 when there were only 23
Muslim MPs. While Muslims constitute 10.5% ofIndia‘s population, its percentage representation in
the new Lok Sabha will be 4.2%. In 1957, it was slightly high at 4.6%. The highest representation was
in 1980 when 49 Muslims were elected as MPs.
West Bengal sends the largest number of Muslim MPs with 4 from Trinamool Congress and 2 each
from Congress and CPI. The second highest number is fromBihar with RJD, NCP, Lok Jan Shakti
Party and Congress sending 1 MP each. InAssam 2 Muslim MPs, both from All India United
Democratic Front, have won. Kashmir has elected 3 Muslim MPs while Kerala elected 3. Tamil
Nadu andAndhra Pradesh have elected 1 Muslim MP each while no Muslim MP has been elected
from Uttar Pradesh.
Swiss electors disapprove world‟s highest minimum wage, thwart new
fighter jets buying plans
May 21, 2014
The voters in Switzerland turned down the proposals to introduce the world‘s highest minimum wage
and also blocked spending of $3.5 billion for buying new Gripen fighter jets from Saab. Saab Group
(originally Svenska Aeroplan AB, later SAAB) is a Swedish aerospace and defence company was
founded in 1937. About 76% voters rejected the proposal made by Swiss union SGB and backed by
the Socialist and Green parties for a minimum wage of 22 Swiss francs ($25) per hour.
Around 53% blocked a plan to replace Switzerland‘s senescent fleet of fighter jets with 22 Gripen jets
from Saab. Had the proposal been accepted, it would have led to job cuts, particularly in remote and
structurally weaker regions.
The initiative was proposed to address a widening income gap in the generally egalitarian country.
Though voters approved giving shareholders a binding say on executive pay, but rejected a proposal
to cap the salaries of top executives at 12 times that of a company‘s lowest wage.
Chibok Kidnapping of Schoolgirls: Nigeria‟s President calls off town visit
May 20, 2014

Nigeria‘s PresidentGoodluck
Jonathan has cancelled a visit
toChibok, the town from where more
than 200 schoolgirls have been
abducted by militant Islamist group
Boko Haram. Jonathan has been
criticised for not visiting the town –
more than a month after the girls were
The president will now go direct to Paris

to participate in a meeting convened by French President Francois Hollande to discuss the issue of
Boko Haram militants.
Around 276 female students were abducted from the Government Secondary School in the town
of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria on the night of April 14-15, 2014. Boko Haram, an Islamic
Jihadist, and Takfiri terrorist organization based in northeast Nigeria have claimed these kidnappings.
Boko Haram, had earlier said the girls should not have been at school and should be married
Boko Haram:
It is a militant Islamist group Boko Haram active mainly in Nigeria and is responsible for wreaking
mayhem in the country through a series of bombings, assassinations and now kidnappings. It intends
to bring down the government and create an Islamic state.
Boko Haram promotes a version of Islam which makes it ―haram‖, or forbidden, for Muslims to
participate in any political or social activity associated with Western society. This includes voting in
elections, wearing shirts and rousers or receiving a secular education.
The group was set up in 2002 as Jama‘atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda‘awati wal-Jihad, which in Arabic means
―People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet‘s Teachings and Jihad‖. It was dubbed Boko
Haram, a phrase in the local Hausa language meaning, ―Western education is forbidden‖.
Adani Ports buys Dhamra Port of Odisha
May 20, 2014
Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone acquired the strategic Dhamra port inOdisha on the east
coast of India for an enterprise value of Rs 5, 500 crore. The company inked a definitive pact to
acquire the port from a 50:50 joint venture ofTata Steel and Larsen & Toubro. After the 2005
acquisition of Pipapav Port inGujarat by APM Terminals BV from SKIL Infrastructure, the Dhamra deal
is the largest port sector deal in India.
Dhamra Port:
Dhamra port is one of the deepest ports on the eastern coast of India.
It was granted the rights by the Odisha government in 2004 to
develop and operate for 30 years. The port is considered strategic as
it is located to serve the mineral belt of the eastern states and in
between competitors and government-controlled Haldia and Paradip
Adani Ports and SEZ:
Gautam Adani-led Adani Ports and SEZ is listed on Bombay Stock
Exchange (BSE) and is 75% owned by Adani Enterprises, the flagship of Adani group. The company
owns and operates 5 ports, of which three— Dahej, Hazira and Mundra—are in Gujarat. Dhamra
port will help the company enhance its capacity to over 200 million tonne by 2020, making it a leader
among private sector port operators in the country. Adani‘s family firm also operates a coal loading
terminal at Abbot Point in Queensland in Australia.

RBI to launch Plastic notes in 2015
May 20, 2014
As per Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan, Plastic currency notes will be
launched in 2015 after field trial which is likely to be conducted in the latter half of 2014. The pilot
testing would be conducted in five cities- Kochi, Mysore, Jaipur, Bhubaneswar and Shimla.

One billion plastic notes of Rs.10 denomination will be released in the field trial in these cities chosen
for their geographical and climatic diversity. Plastic currency notes have an average life span of
about 5 years and are difficult to counterfeit. Also, these notes are cleaner than paper notes.
Modi is not the first instance when CM becomes PM
May 21, 2014
Prime Minister-to-be Narendra Modi is not the first Chief Minister to ascend to the seat of the head of
Government of India. The distinction goes to former KarnatakaCM H.D. Deve Gowda, who, moved to
the post of Prime Minister in 1996.
Mr. Gowda resigned as Chief Minister and gave up his membership of the Karnataka Legislative
Assembly after he was named PM. The Constitution of India permits a person, who enjoys the
support of the majority of Lok Sabha MPs, to be sworn in as PM without being a member of either the
Lok Sabha or theRajya Sabha.
However, the person has to get elected to either House of Parliament within a period of 6 months. Mr.
Gowda chose to become a member of the Rajya Sabha.
Narendra Modi‘s Case:
Because Mr. Modi is already elected as a member of the Lok Sabha from Vadodara and Varanasi, he
will have to step down as CM and resign as the member of the Gujarat Assembly as well as one of
the two Lok Sabha seats he has been elected. As per the law, an individual cannot be a member of
the Lok Sabha/ Rajya Sabha as well as the Legislative Assembly. The person has to give up his
membership of one of the two within 14 days of the notification of the election result by the Election
Commission. The same rule applies to a person who is elected from more than one Lok Sabha or
Legislative Assembly seat.
The unique case of Narasimha Rao:
The case of the late Narasimha Rao is one of its kind. He had almost retired from politics and did not
fight the 1991 Lok Sabha (LS) polls. But the situation took a sharp turn with the assassination of
Congress prime ministerial candidate Rajiv Gandhi at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu, where he was
campaigning for the same LS elections.
The Congress won the elections and the party proposed Sonia Gandhi to be the PM but she declined
the proposal. Then Mr. Rao, who had the support of Ms. Gandhi, was chosen for the job of Prime
Minister. Subsequently, he contested a by-election from the Nandyal Lok Sabha constituency
in Andhra Pradesh and won with a record margin of over 5 lakh votes as the Telugu Desam Party
endorsed his political campaign in the name of ―Telugu pride‖.
Pension Payment Order (PPO) to be given soon after retirement to Central
Govt employees
May 21, 2014
The Centre has decided to give Pension Payment Order (PPO) to all central government employees
at the time of retirement along with their other dues. This step has been taken to check the delay in
disbursal of pension. Currently, the scheme for payment of pensions to central government civil
pensioners is implemented through authorised banks. The scheme issued by the Central Pension
Accounting Office provides for an undertaking to be submitted by the retiring government servant or
pensioner to the pension disbursing bank before commencement of pension.
It has been found that the first payment of pension after retirement gets delayed mainly due to
two reasons:-
1. Delay in receipt of intimation by the pensioner that pension papers have reached the bank.
2. Delay on part of the pensioner in approaching the bank for submission of undertaking.
Now, the pensioner is not required to visit the bank to activate the first payment of pension.
The Ministry of Personnel has directed Office of Controller General of Accounts to instruct all Pay and
Accounts Offices and all pension disbursing banks to follow its directives. There are about 30 lakh
Central government pensioners.

RBI to start managing Telangana‟s public debt from June 2, 2014
May 21, 2014
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the newly created state Telangana have inked a pact according
to which the RBI shall carry on the general bankingbusiness of the Government of Telangana,
manage its rupee public debt and act as the sole agent for investment of Government‘s funds. The
agreement is consistent to the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.
The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill 2014, which received Parliament‘s approval February 20,
2014, got the Presidential assent in March 2014 and paved the way for the formation of 29
state of
India by bifurcating Andhra Pradesh.
The remaining Andhra Pradesh will have 13 districts while Telangana will have 10 districts,
including Hyderabad city.
Researchers unravel why olive oil reduces blood pressure
May 21, 2014
Scientists have discovered why olive oil reduces blood pressure. As per a new research, consuming
unsaturated fats, like those in olive oil, along with leafy greens and other vegetables forms a certain
kind of fatty acid that lowers blood pressure. These nitro fatty acids are created when consuming
spinach, celery and carrots that contain nitrates and nitrites, along with avocado, nuts and olive oils
that contain healthy fats.
Nitro fatty acids appear to inhibit an enzyme known as soluble epoxide hydrolase which regulates
blood pressure. Scientists can now explain why previous research found that a Mediterranean diet
supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts can reduce the occurrence of cardiovascular problems
like stroke, heart failure and heart attacks.
Thus far, it was only known that the Mediterranean diet which consists of lots of vegetables, fish,
grains, red wine and fatty nuts and oils is salubrious, there has been little scientific consensus about
how or why.
All banks need to install „talking ATMs” from July 1, 2014: RBI
May 22, 2014
As per the directions of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), all banks will be required to make all new
ATMs installed from July 1, 2014 as ―talking ATMs‖ with Braille keypads.
As per RBI‘s guidelines to all banks:
 All new ATM‘s installed from July 1, 2014 should be ―talking ATMs‖ with Braille keypads.
 Banks should lay down a roadmap for converting all existing ATMs as talking ATMs with Braille
keypads. The same may be reviewed from periodically by the Customer Service Committee of the
 Banks should provide magnifying glasses in all bank branches for the use of persons with low
vision, whenever they need for performingbanking transactions with ease. A notice about the
availability of magnifying glasses and other facilities available for persons with disabilities should
be displayed at a prominent place.
Flipkart acquires Myntra
May 22, 2014
India‘s largest online retailer, Flipkart.com, acquired fashion e-retailer Myntra.com. While the exact
size of the deal could not be ascertained, some reports estimate it to be of Rs 1,800-2,000 crore
The deal is expected to consolidate Rs 62,000-crore e-commerce market of India. The acquisition by
Flipkart reflects the company‘s intention to tap into the online sales of apparel and fashion
accessories where it has had limited. Apparel and fashion domain is the largest shopping categories
in the online retail space.

As per experts, by 2019, the electronics and fashion domain will account for 30% of the sales in the
online e-commerce space.
RBI permits banks to provide loans to exporters for up to 10 years
May 21, 2014
Banks have been allowed by the RBI to give loans with tenures of up to 10 years to exporters to help
them ensure capital flows to fulfil long-term contracts. As per current rules, banks are allowed to
provide loans for up to 1 year only.
RBI has permitted banks to allow exporters having a minimum of 3 years‘ satisfactory track record to
get long-term export advance up to a maximum tenor of 10 years to be utilized for execution of long-
term supply contracts for export of goods.
This facility is available with certain caveats, including:-
1. An interest rate limit of 200 basis points above the London interbank offered rate (Libor), a global
2. Exporters getting loans of $ 100 million or above are required to report the transaction immediately
to the RBI.
3. There should be irrevocable supply orders in place.
4. The contract with the overseas party or buyer should be examined and must clearly specify the
nature, amount and delivery timelines of products over the years and the penalty in case of non-
performance or contract cancellation.
5. Export advances which are classified as non-performing assets as per RBI norms can‘t be used to
liquidate rupee loans.
6. Exporters should have the capacity, systems and processes in place to ensure that orders over
the duration of the tenure can be executed.
Jitan Ram Manjhi sworn-in as Bihar Chief Minister
May 21, 2014
Jitan Ram Manjhi is the new Chief Minister of Bihar. He was administered oath of office and secrecy
by Governor D.Y. Patil at a ceremony at the Raj Bhavan in Patna. The 15 members of the previous
Nitish Kumar government have retained their place in the new Jitan Ram Manjhi Ministry, while two
independent MLA have also been added.
It may be recalled that chief minister Nitish Kumar had resigned from the post taking the responsibility
of his party‘s (JDU) dismal performance in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls.
Jitan Ram Manjhi:
Manjhi is from Mahkar village in Gaya district. He is a legislator from the Makhdoompur assembly
constituency in Jehanabad district. He is the third Dalit CM of Bihar after Bhola Paswan Shastri and
Ram Sundar Das. Prior to his appointment as CM, Manjhi was SC/ST welfare minister in the Nitish
Kumar cabinet.
Naveen Patnaik takes oath as fourth time CM in Odisha
May 23, 2014
Naveen Patnaik was sworn-in as Chief Minister of Odisha for the fourth term in a row. Mr. Patnaik was
administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor S.C. Jamir.
It was in 2005 when Mr. Patnaik, head of Biju Janata Dal (BJD), became the CM for the first time
when the BJD-BJP alliance came to power defeating the Congress.
Mr. Patnaik continued his second term from 2004 to 2009 when the BJD separated itself from the BJP
and contested the elections by having seat sharing arrangements with Communist Party of India,
Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Nationalist Congress Party.
Pawan Chamling takes oath as Sikkim CM for fifth consecutive term

May 23, 2014
Sikkim‘s Governor Shriniwas Patil administered the oath of office and secrecy toPawan Chamling as
Sikkim Chief Minister for the record fifth term in a row.
In the recently concluded assembly polls, the Chamling-led Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) had
won a two-thirds majority securing 22 seats out of total 32.
Chamling has been in power since December 12, 1994 and has already completed two decades as
the CM of state which merged with India in 1975.
Members of Planning Commission resign
May 23, 2014
Following the standard practice, all members of the Planning Commission (PC) including Deputy
Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and all the other members of the Commission submitted their
resignations to the Prime Minister‘s Office to enable its reconstitution. Dr. Ahluwalia and the rest of
the members will continue as acting members till a new Commission is set up.
The Prime Minister is the ex-officio chairman of the PC and all members of the commission submit
their resignations to the Prime Minister after the general elections. The term of members of the PC is
coterminous with the government. The reconstitution of the new PC will be decided by the newly
elected government.
This outgoing Planning Commission had formulated the 12
Five Year Plan (2012-17), which
envisages an annual average economic growth of 8% during the plan period.
Anandiben Patel: First woman CM of Gujarat
May 22, 2014
Anandiben Patel (73) will succeed PM-designate Narendra Modi as the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
Prior to her election as CM, she was state‘s revenue minister. Modi was the longest-serving chief
minister of the state. Anandiben Patel is the first woman chief minister of Gujarat.
Anadiben Patel:
Born: November 21, 1941
Political Party: Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)
Career Profile: Former school teacher, a gold-medalist in MSc and also a winner of the President‘s
Medal. She held important portfolios of urban development, revenue and disaster management and
was earlier in charge ofeducation ministry, steering successfully some of the key Modi projects,
including the one for boosting female literacy.
Donald Levine, man behind G.I. Joe, passed away
May 23, 2014
Donald Levine (86), the man credited as the father of G.I. Joe
(toy) for developing the world‘s first action figure, passed away. As the head of research and
development at toy manufacturer Hasbro, Levine led the team which developed the figure –
complete with 21 moving parts that made it popular among kids. Mr Levine was not the inventor of
the iconic toy, that was merchandiser Stan Weston, but he gauged its potential and developed the
model as a mass seller. G.I. Joe first hit the shelves of American toy shops in Christmas 1964, and
was an instant success.
G.I. Joe is a range of action figures produced by the toy manufacturing company Hasbro. The term
G.I. stands forGovernment Issued and after the First World War became a common term for U.S.

soldiers. G.I. Joe was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong in Rochester, New
York, in 2003.
Genral Polls 2014: Dhubri recorded highest Voter Turnout; Srinagar the
May 23, 2014
The 16
Lok Sabha polls registered a record average voter turnout of
66.4%.Dhubri of Assam witnessed the highest turnout at 88.22% followed by Nagalandat
87.82%; Srinagar of J&K registered the lowest turnout at 25.90%, followed by Anantnag of the
same state.
Table 1: Top 10 Parliamentary Constituencies in terms of Voter Turnout
Constituency State/UT Voter Turnout
1 Dhubri Assam 88.22%
2 Nagaland Nagaland 87.82%
3 Tamluk West Bengal 87.59%
4 Bishnupur West Bengal 86.72%
5 Lakshadweep Lakshadweep 86.61%
6 Kanthi West Bengal 86.61%
7 Bardhaman Purba West Bengal 86.21%
8 Tripura West Tripura 85.92%
9 Basirhat West Bengal 85.45%
10 Birbhum West Bengal 85.33%
Source: Election Commission of India
Table 2: Bottom 10 Parliamentary Constituencies in terms of Voter Turnout
Constituency State/UT Voter Turnout
1 Srinagar Jammu & Kashmir 25.90%
2 Anantnag Jammu & Kashmir 28.84%
3 Baramulla Jammu & Kashmir 39.13%

Constituency State/UT Voter Turnout
4 Kalyan Maharashtra 42.88%
5 Patna Sahib Bihar 45.33%
6 Bhind Madhya Pradesh 45.62%
7 Nalanda Bihar 47.22%
Mumbai North
Central Maharashtra 48.61%
9 Arrah Bihar 48.75%
10 Bansgaon Uttar Pradesh 49.88%
Source: Election Commission of India
RBI eases gold import to promote its export under its 20:80 formula
May 23, 2014
Star trading houses — big importers and exporters has been permitted by the RBI to import gold
under its existing 20:80 scheme. Thus far, the facility was available to select banks only and other big
entities like star trading houses were forbidden from importing the yellow metal.
As per the extant rules, importers can buy gold, on a condition that 20% of it is exported as finished
products. In July 2013, the RBI had imposed severe restrictions on gold imports in order to curb
surging Current Account Deficit (CAD) and the declining rupee. The central bank had tied imports with
exports and prescribed a 20:80 formula.
As per the 20:80 scheme, an importer has to ensure that at least 20% of every lot of imported gold is
exclusively made available for exports as finished good and the balance for domestic use.
The RBI has also permitted banks to provide gold metal loans to domestic jewellery manufacturers,
out of the eligible domestic import quota of 80%.
Bharatiya Mahila Bank included in second schedule to RBI Act 1934
May 23, 2014
Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB), India‘s first all-women bank, has been included in the second schedule
to the RBI Act 1934.
With the inclusion in the second schedule or commercial bank category, the bank has become eligible
for loans from RBI on bank rate and also gets membership of clearing houses. Furthermore, it
assures that any activity of the bank would not adversely affect the interests of depositors.
BMB has been in existence since November 2013 which began with a seed capital of Rs 1,000 crore.
To focus on the banking needs of women and promote economic empowerment is one of the main
objectives of BMB.

At present, the loan portfolio of the BMB is about Rs 80-90 crore. It offers loan to girl child at a
concessional rate which is 1% lower than the normal rates.
Sanskrit Scholar and Indologist Sukumari Bhattacharji passed away
May 25, 2014
Indologist and Sanskrit scholar Sukumari Bhattacharji (92) who was known for her grasp over English
and Sanskrit language, passed away.
She started her career as a lecturer in English at Lady Brabourne College in Kolkata. She joined
Jadavpur University‘s Comparative Literature department and later switched to the Sanskrit
Her grasp over Sanskrit helped her to do in-depth study of the Vedas and Bhagavad Gita — and
uncover the societal patterns in ancient India and evolution of culture and religion.
She penned some 34 books such as The Gita — Its Why and How, Human & Society in Ancient India,
Fatalism in Ancient India. She presented an analysis on how the Goddess Lakshami in pre-Aryan
agrarian society became alakshami in the Aryan society in her book Legend of Devis which became
very popular.
Some other books written by her include Bede Samsay O Nastikko, Bede Khuda O Khadya and
Balmikir Ram.
Badminton: China beats Japan to win Uber Cup
May 24, 2014
Defending champion China defeated Japan to win its 13
Uber Cup women‘sbadminton title. The
victory comes after China‘s recent loss to Japan in the semifinals of the Thomas Cup tournament.
The 2014 Thomas & Uber Cup was the 28
tournament of the Thomas Cup and 25
tournament of
the Uber Cup, the premier badminton team championships for men and women respectively. The
Uber Cup (also called World Team Championships for Women), is a major international badminton
competition contested by women‘s national badminton teams. India earned bronze in Uber Cup
It was held at the Siri Fort Sports Complex in New Delhi, India. This was the first time India
hosted both the events i.e. Thomas Cup and Uber Cup.
Hiroshi Naka is new vice-president of World Bank
May 24, 2014
Hiroshi Naka has been appointed as vice-president and auditor general ofWorld Bank (WB). His
appointment was announced by Bank‘s President Jim Yong Kim.
Naka who is Japanese citizen brings in more than 25 years of experience working with the
Japanese ministry of finance and multilateral organizations, where he specialized in issues such as
economic sanctions, anti-money laundering, and supervision of financial institutions
He will shoulder the responsibility of providing leadership on evaluating and improving the
effectiveness of the organization‘s risk management, control, and governance processes.
Mercedes‟ Nico Rosberg clinches Monaco F1 Grand Prix
May 24, 2014
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany defeated main rival Lewis Hemilton of Britain to win
2014 Monaco F1 Grand Prix. This was his second victory of the season and fifth of his career.
With this victory, the Mercedes finished first and second position for the fifth time in a row and has
won all six races this season.
The drivers ranking after Monaco Grand Prix:
1. Nico Rosberg of Germany
2. Lewis Hamilton of Britain
3. Fernando Alonso of Spain

4. Daniel Ricciardo of Australia
5. Nico Hulkenberg of Germany
Top five teams:
1. Mercedes
2. Red Bull Racing
3. Ferrari
4. Force India
5. McLaren
Anti-Terrorism Day observed on MAY 21
May 25, 2014
May 21, 2014 was observed as Anti-Terrorism Day throughout the nation. The day is observed
annually to spread awareness among the people of all sections of the society, about the danger of
terrorism and violence and its effect on the people, society and the country as a whole. The day
commemorates the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi fell to the designs of
terrorists in on the same day in 1991.
Objective: The objective behind the observance of Anti-Terrorism Day is to wean away the people
from terrorism and violence. On this occasion, debates, discussions, symposia, seminars, etc. are
organized in schools, colleges and universities on the threats of terrorism and violence.
UPSC to notify Civil Services Examination on May 31, 2014
May 25, 2014
Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) will issue the notice for Civil Services Examination 2014
on May 31, 2014. The esteemed exam is conducted every year to select officers for Indian
Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS), among
The examination is held in 3 stages — preliminary, mains and interview. As per tentative dates, the
Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination is scheduled to be held on August 24, 2014.The mains
examination is slated to be held on December 14, 2014.
Scientists create Nano-diamonds which last only for seconds
May 25, 2014
Researchers at Rice University in the US accidentally created microscopic diamonds from coal
which exist only for some seconds. Scientists witnessed this intriguing effect while working on ways
to chemically reduce carbon from anthracite coal and make it soluble. They used a powerful electron
beam for the purpose knocking the hydrogen atoms off the coal. Surprisingly, the energy input
brought clusters of hydrogenated carbon atoms together, some of which transformed into the lattice-
like structure of nano-diamonds. Even without the kind of pressure needed to make macroscale
diamonds, the energy knocked loose hydrogen atoms to kick off a chain reaction between layers of
graphite in the coal that resulted in diamonds between 2 and 10 nanometres wide.
But the most of the nanodiamonds were seen to fade away under the power of the electron beam in a
succession of images taken over 30 seconds. The small diamonds are not stable and they revert to
the starting material, the anthracite.

Exhibition in Germany observes 100 years of World War I
May 25, 2014

An exhibition marking 100 years of World War I (WW I) has been organized at the German
Historical Museum, Berlin (Germany). The exhibition will run until the end of 2014. It will take
overall view of the war like events leading up to the war, the war itself and the consequence (both
from a European and a global perspective). The WW I began on June 28, 1914 and ended in 1918.
It puts on display around 500 objects of WW I, including paintings of soldiers, royalty of Europe at the
time and anti-war protests. Weapons and historical documents are also being displayed in the
The exhibition looks at the escalation of violence through 14 major battlefields of WW I, including
Verdun and Gallipoli. It also focuses at the effect of the modernization of warfare during World War I,
where poison gas was used for the first time (in Ypres, Belgium), and its physical and mental effect on
soldiers and civilians.
Around 9 million people lost their lives in the WW I. It was during this war that the major ideologies of
the 20
century– Communism, Fascism, Nazism, emerged.

“SIMBEX 14″: India-Singapore naval drill starts in Andaman Sea
May 25, 2014
The navies of India and Singapore are conducting the 2014 edition of the ‗SIMBEX 14‘ series of
annual bilateral naval exercises in the Andaman Sea. SIMBEX 14 is the 21
in the series, designed
to enhance inter-operability and mutual understanding between Indian Navy and Republic of
Singapore Navy (RSN).
The two navies started formal bilateral cooperation in 1994 when RSN ships began training in Anti-
Submarine Warfare (ASW) with the Indian Navy. SIMBEXstands for ‗Singapore Indian Maritime
Bilateral Exercise‘.
Gujarat‟s „Rani ki Vav‟ to be replicated digitally in UK
May 25, 2014
Gujarat‘s famous archeological monument ―Rani ki Vav (The Queen‘s Stepwell)‖ is among
five international heritage sites to be recreated digitally using latest technology in Scotland, UK. The
Scottish Ten — an ambitious five-year-project aims to create accurate digital models of Scotland‘s
five Unesco-designated World Heritage Sites and five international heritage sites in order to help in
conservation and management of these sites.
The digital models will help conserve significant historical sites for the benefit of future
generations and provide 3D digital models and data to site staff to better preserve these
sites. The laser scanning measurements will enable identification of problems and rate of decay of
the monuments which can then be addressed quickly. Scotland hopes that digitally documenting
stepwell would bring the site to a much wider audience and enhance both its national and
international profile.
DeitY‟s ”Mobile Seva” project wins UN Public Service Award
May 25, 2014
India‘s Mobile Seva Project started by Department of Electronics and Information
Technology (DeitY) has won the 2014 United Nations Public Service Award. The award has been
given in the category of promoting whole of government approaches in Information Age.
The United Nations Public Service Awards is the most prestigiousinternational recognition of
excellence in public service. It honors the creative achievements and contributions of public service
institutions that lead to a more effective and responsive public administration in countries across the
world. These awards promote the role, professionalism and visibility of public service through an
annual competition.

The Mobile Seva Project is lead by Dr. Rajendra Kumar, joint secretary (e-Governance), Deit. It was
launched in January 2012, and won in second prize the category ―Promoting Whole of Government
Approaches in the Information Age‖ for Asia Pacific.
The project mainly develops and provides mobile apps for government and citizen use. Available
on the government website, mgov.gov.in, some of the active 299 apps include those for passport
services, election commission or more. For example, the passport service app -mPassport
Seva facilitates users to locate centres, calculate fee for a particular service, track application status
and more. There are other apps for intra-departmental use like the employee Leave Management
System app, currently live only for Rajasthan. The project covers over 1,000 government departments
and agencies from across the country.
The first prize in the category was bagged by the Korean health and welfare information service.
Indian-American Akhil Rekulapelli clinches National Geographic Bee
May 25, 2014
Akhil Rekulapelli (13), an Indian American student from Virginia, has bagged the
prestigious National Geographic Bee Championship that includes a $50,000 college scholarship.
Rekulapelli beat fellow Indian American Ameya Mujumdar in the final round of the contest held in
Washington. His triumph as the national Geographic Bee champion continues a series of Bee
dominance exhibited by Indian American students, who have also regularly topped the Scripps
National Spelling Bee in recent years, too.

Performance ratings of Banks‟ customer services to be made public from
May 25, 2014
From 2015, performance ratings of Banks on customer services will be put in public domain
by Banking Codes Standards Board of India (BCSBI).
BCSBI is rating banks on customer services on 5 parameters:
1. Information dissemination
2. Transparency
3. Customer-centricity
4. Grievance redressal system
5. Customer feedback.
BCSBI rated 48 banks for customer service of which only 5 scored high ratings; 25 were rated above
average; 17 average; and one below average. The ratings will be made public in 2015. However,
banks are not allowed to use these ratings to solicit business.
Code of Bank‘s Commitment to Customers
The Code of Bank‘s Commitment to Customers is a Code of Customer Rights, which sets minimum
standards of banking practices that member banks have to comply with when they deal with individual
customers. The Code provides protection to customers and explains the manner in which banks are
supposed to deal with customers in their day-to-day operations.
Banking Codes Standards Board of India (BCSBI)
The Reserve Bank of India established BCSBI in 2007 to ensure that the common consumer of
financial services from the banking industry gets what he/she has been promised. The Board
operates as an independent and autonomous body. Membership of BCSBI is voluntary and open to
scheduled banks.
China‟s maritime Silk Road development to get a boost with 10 billion yuan
May 25, 2014

The development of China‘s Maritime Silk Road will be supported by 10 billion yuan (1.6 billion US
dollars). The city government of Fuzhou, capital of east China‘s Fujian province, inked a pact with the
China Africa Development Fund (CAD Fund) and the Fujian branch of the China Development Bank
to establish a joint fund.
Chinese President Xi Jinping had proposed a 21
century maritime Silk Road during his visit
to Indonesia in October 2013. The sea route from ports in Fujian to overseas markets has been
providing China a channel to trade its silk, ceramics and tea to the world for centuries.
The fund will aid such projects as establishing marine aquaculture farms and industrial parks in
South-East Asian countries.
The CAD Fund is a private equity fund that is devoted to bridging and connecting China and Africa, as
well as governments and companies. It is specialized in operating funds on cross-country cooperation
Maritime Silk Road development project
The project is an initiative by China to resurrect the ancient maritime Silk Road. It is perceived to be
an attempt by China to ameliorate relations with South and Southeast Asia—in this case the focus is
on maritime trade security. The project will prioritize construction ports and infrastructure in
strategically significant countries in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean region, which
includesBangladesh and Sri Lanka. China has already begun building of port projects in Gwadar
(Pakistan), Hambantota (Sri Lanka) and Chittagong (Bangladesh) respectively.
However, the map of the project does not show Gwadar port though it mentioned Kolkata and
Colombo as cities with which China to build closer trade linkages.
Through this project China also plans to establish free trade zones connecting China‘s coastal areas
with Southeast Asian nations and in the Indian Ocean. These are the regions with which China had
trade relations through ancient maritime Silk Road.
Importance for China
The global economic crisis and domestic social problems have rendered China‘s current export- and
FDI-driven economic model less effective. China needs to search for new export markets or maintain
existing ones, as well as narrow the development gaps between the well-developed coastal areas and
the less-developed inland parts of the country and preserve stability inside China and its
neighbourhood. This is the main reason why the Chinese current leadership has launched this
Route of proposed Maritime Silk Road
Starts: Quanzhou (Fujian province)
Via: Guangzhou (Guangdong province) — Beihai (Guangxi) — Haikou (Hainan)—turns south to
Malacca Strait– Kuala Lumpur – Kolkata (crosses Indian Ocean) –Nairobi (Kenya) – towards north
around Horn of Africa—through Red Sea—Mediterranean Sea—Athens– meets the land-based Silk
Road in Venice.
WHO concerned about MERS virus
May 25, 2014
The WHO‘s Emergency Committee for MERS-CoV has raised concerns about the sharp surge in the
number of ‗Middle East Respiratory Syndrome CoronaVirus‘(MERS-CoV) cases since March
2014. The sharp increase has been seen particularly in Saudi Arabia and in the United Arabian
Emirates. The Emergency Committee has advised a number of measures to be urgently taken,
including better national policies for infection prevention and control in healthcarefacilities.
Since the virus was first detected in humans 2 years back, a total of 152 people have now died and
495 have been confirmed to have contracted the virus in Saudi Arabia. Recently, cases have also
been reported from Egypt, Greece, Malaysia,Philippines, and the U.S. in which infected individuals
had travelled there from the Middle East.

Although it is known that the virus is widespread in camels in the Middle East and north-east Africa, it
is yet to be ascertained how transmission from animals to humans takes place. As MERS-CoV
causes mostly respiratory disease in humans, the common thinking is that such transmission takes
place via a respiratory route.
It is also speculated that milking a camel exposes the milker and those around them, as well as the
drinker of fresh frothy milk, to an aerosol which may contain MERS-CoV. The WHO has called for
studies to better understand the epidemiology of the disease and risk factors related to the spread of
the virus.
Rajiv Mathur appointed new Chief Information Commissioner
May 25, 2014
President Pranab Mukherjee appointed former Intelligence Bureau chief Rajiv Mathur (64) as the
new Chief Information Commissioner (CIC). Mathur succeeds Sushma Singh as the head of
the transparency watchdog. His name was recommended by a three-member selection panel
headed by outgoing PM Manmohan Singh. His term will be of just 3 months.
At present, there are seven Information Commissioners — Vijai Sharma, Basant Seth, Yashovardhan
Azad, Sharat Sabharwal, Manjula Prasher, M A Khan Yusufi and Prof Madabhushanam Sridhar
Delhi Govt approves scheme to provide financial help to children of
May 26, 2014
A scheme that will provide a fixed amount of money to children of imprisoned parents has been
approved by the Delhi Government. The scheme will provide money on a monthly basis to children of
incarcerated parents till they attain the age of 18 or until his or her parents are released from
prison. The Women and Child Development Department will provide Rs.3,000 for the first child,
Rs.2,000 for the second child and Rs.1,500 for the third child.
Japan defeats Australia to lift AFC Women‟s Asian Football Cup 2014
May 25, 2014
Japan won its maiden women‘s Asian Football Cup (AFC) defeating defending
champion Australia in the final match held in Vietnam. With this win, Japan became the first country to
simultaneously hold both the FIFA Women‘s World Cup (2011) and AFC Women‘s Asian Football
Cup (2014). Aya Miyama, the captain of Japan, was awarded the tournament‘s Most Valuable Player
(MVP) award for her efforts.
Real Madrid defeats Atletico to clinch Champions League title
May 25, 2014
Real Madrid clinched the Champions League for a record 10
time beating Atletico Madrid in the final
match held in Lisbon, Portugal.
The UEFA Champions League which is popular as Champions League, is an annual continental
club football competition organized by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) since
1992. It is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world and the most prestigious club event in
European football.
Real Madrid has been the most successful club in the competition‘s history, having won the
tournament 10 times, including its first five editions. Spanish clubs have achieved the highest number
of wins (14), followed by England and Italy (12 wins each).

Olive Ridley Conservation programme restarted after nearly 25 years
May 25, 2014

The wildlife flank of the Forest Department has
re-started the Olive Ridley conservation after
nearly 25 years by setting up a hatchery
at Besant Nagar in Chennai. The department
set up the hatchery in January 2014 near the
broken bridge behind the Theosophical Society
premises. Around a dozen people have been
employed to guard the hatchery and collect
The Olive Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), also known as the Pacific ridley sea turtle, is a
medium-sized species of sea turtle found in warm and tropical waters, primarily in the Pacific and
Indian Oceans.
Olive Ridley Turtles:
 Scientific name: Lepidochelys olivacea .
 Also known as the Pacific ridley sea turtle.
 Found in warm and tropical waters, primarily in the Pacific andIndian Oceans.
 Global population of annual nesting females of these turtles reduced to 852,550 by 2008.
 Considered vulnerable because of their few remaining nesting sites in the world.
 Largest breeding ground for these turtles: The Gahirmatha Beach inKendrapara district
of Odisha (India), now a part of theBhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary.
 Bhitarkanika Mangroves designated a Ramsar Wetland ofInternational Importance in 2002.
 World‘s largest known rookery of Olive Ridley sea turtles.
 Two other mass nesting beaches on the mouth of rivers Rushikulyaand Devi.

9,800 US troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2014
May 27, 2014
The US President Barack Obama announced that he will leave 9,800 US troops
inAfghanistan through much of 2015 and refrained from ending America‘s longest war until at least his
final year in office.
The positioning of residual forces in Afghanistan engages the US in a conflict that has lasted longer
than any other US war and which many consider related to long-term US strategic interests.
As per the plan, the US troops would no longer conduct direct combat missions, as it has for the past
13 years, with the exception of supporting counter-terrorism operations against remnants of al-Qaida.
US special operations forces are almost certain to remain in the country for that purpose. Apart from
the counter-terrorism mission, the US will continue training the Afghan armed forces they have
supported for years.
Sachin Tendulkar chosen as Goodwill Ambassador of the 35th National
May 27, 2014
Kerala Government has announced cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar as the Goodwill Ambassador
for the 35
edition of National Games, slated to be held across seven cities in Kerala early in 2015.
Sachin was chosen as the ambassador during his meeting with Oommen Chandy, the Chief Minister
of Kerala. Besides, Mr. Chandy also announced the name of the Kochi franchise team owned by
Sachin Tendulkar in the Indian Super League Football Tournament. The team will be called Kerala
Blasters Football Club.
Ahmed Maitiq is Libya‟s new PM

May 27, 2014
Ahmed Maitiq took oath as Libya‘s new Prime Minister along with his cabinet ministers amidst
objections against his election process. Libyan Parliament has been in an impasse since former
leader Muammar Gaddafi was ousted in 2011 after protests.
Politicians have raised objections against Maitiq‘s election as PM because out of the 200 lawmakers,
only 93 were present in the confidence vote. Out of the 93 votes, 83 votes supported Maitiq as the
PM. Many have called the confidence vote meaningless considering the absence of over 50% of
Badminton: Japan beat Malaysia to win its first Thomas Cup
May 26, 2014
Japan clinched its first Thomas Cup defeating Malaysia in the final match held at Siri
Fort Sports Complex in New Delhi. Japan defied all the odds and pre-tournament predictions to carve
their name in history winning their first Thomas Cup.
The 2014 Thomas & Uber Cup was the 28
tournament of the Thomas Cup and 25
tournament of
the Uber Cup, the prestigious badminton team championships for men and women
respectively. The Thomas Cup (World Men‘s Team Championships), is an international badminton
This was the first time India hosted both the events i.e. Thomas Cup and Uber Cup.

Singapore replaces Mauritius as the top source of FDI in India
May 27, 2014
As per the data of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP),during the financial
year 2013-14, India received $5.98 billion in FDI fromSingapore, whereas it was $4.85 billion
from Mauritius. With this, Singapore has replaced Mauritius as the top contributor to India‘s FDI. FDI
inflow recorded in 2013-14 is the highest ever received from Singapore since 2006-07 which accounts
for around 25% of total FDI inflow in India.
Experts believe that the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with Singapore
incorporates Limit-of-Benefit (LoB) clause which has provided comfort to overseas investors based
there. LoB clause in India-Singapore treaty justifies the substance in Singaporean entities, bringing
certainty and avoiding possibilities of litigations.
FDI inflows from Mauritius have begun enervating on apprehensions over the impact of General Anti
Avoidance Rules (GAAR) and possible re-negotiation of the tax avoidance treaty. The debatable
General Anti Avoidance Rules provision, which seeks to curb tax avoidance by investors routing their
funds through tax havens, will come into effect from April 1, 2016 in India. The rule will be applicable
to entities claiming tax benefit of at least Rs 3 crore. It will apply to Foreign Institutional Investors
(FIIs) that have claimed benefits under any DTAA.
The DTAA signed between India and Mauritius DTAA is under revision amid concerns that Mauritius
is being used for round-tripping of funds into India even though that country has always maintained
that there have been no strong evidence of any such misuse.
5.5 million „invisible‟ babies are born and die each year
May 27, 2014
About 5.5 million babies (around 3 million neonates + 2.6 million stil-births) die every year globally.
Every day, about 8,000 neonates die and about 7, 000 are stillbirths. Stillbirths occur at about 28
weeks of gestation and also during labor. Nearly half of all stillbirths are those who die during labour-
just 5 minutes before birth.
Five countries account for half of all the newborn mortality across the world. These are:
1. India (highest): 7,79,000 deaths

2. Nigeria: 2,76,000
3. Pakistan: 2,02,400
4. China: 1,57,000
5. Democratic Republic of Congo: 1,18,000
While significant achievement has been made in reducing the number of deaths in children aged
under-five by half, the progress in bringing down the number of newborn deaths has been slower.
The progress is even worse in the case of stillbirths. Stillbirths are not counted in the Millennium
Development Goals.
What is shocking is that most of the 2.6 million stillbirths every year across the globe go unrecorded
as in most countries stillbirths do not get birth or death certificates, which makes these births
and deaths ―invisible‖.
Bangladesh nationals settled in India before 1971 are Indians and can vote:
Meghalaya HC
May 27, 2014
As per a judgment by the Meghalaya High Court, Bangladesh nationals who have settled in
Meghalaya before March 24, 1971 should be treated as Indians and they should be enrolled in the
voters list.
The verdict was based on a petition filed by over 40 refugees, living Amjong village near the Assam-
Meghalaya border in Meghalaya‘s Ri-Bhoi district who were originally from Bangladesh, who were
refused enrolment in the electoral roll and their citizenship certificates were seized by the district
administration citing their citizenship as doubtful.
The court held that there was an understanding between the two nations as to who should be
permitted to stay and who should be sent back to Bangladesh. It observed that as the forefathers of
the petitioners entered India much before March 24, 1971 there was no question of deporting them
now when they have acquired the right of permanent rehabilitation in Amjong village. The court
dismissed the contention that they were Bangladesh citizens and directed the state government and
the Centre not to disturb them, but to provide them proper rehabilitation. Earlier, the state government
had contended that the petitioners and their forefathers were not permanent citizens and were
rehabilitated temporarily by the autonomous district council.
PM Modi sets up new Ministry for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship
May 27, 2014
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has created a Ministry for Skill Development and
Entrepreneurship in order to address the challenge of skills deficiency in the country. Sarbananda
Sonowal has been appointed Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
As per National Skill Development Corporation India (NSDC), a PPP initiative for skill
development, India is not producing sufficient number of people with skills for an economy as a whole
to grow at a 10-12% growth. As per an NSDC survey of the skills gap, over the next 12 years Indian
industries need 240 million people just to sustain the current growth rate. The whole education system
only produces about 12 million graduates and another 4.3 million people who come out of the
education system as skilled people in a year.
India aims skilling / upskilling 500 million people in the country by 2022, mainly by furthering private
sector initiatives in skill development programmes and providing viability gap funding.

Mauritius to provide India automatic exchange of tax information
May 28, 2014

In a step taken to address India‘s concerns about Mauritius being used for money
laundering activities, the island nation has decided to provide automatic exchange of tax related
information with India.
India and Mauritius have also agreed upon to have an innovative partnership to strengthen their
bilateral ties. In this direction, the Prime Minister‘s Office (PMOs) of both nations would set up special
cells for effective implementation of ideas.
Around 70% population of Mauritius is of the people of Indian descent. The incumbent Prime
Minister‘s father, late Seewoosagur Ramgoolam was a leader in Mauritian independence movement
and also served as the first Chief Minister and Prime Minister of Mauritius. Seewoosagur
Ramgoolam is also known as ‗Father of Nation‘ of Mauritius.
Vineet Taneja to be Micromax CEO
May 27, 2014
Gurgaon based mobile-maker Micromax has appointed Samsung India‘s former mobile and
IT business chief Vineet Taneja as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Micromax, the country‘s second largest smartphone player, hopes the step will help it further
strengthen its position in the market, which is witnessing sharp growth.
TGCN: Newly created graphene-type material
May 27, 2014
Scientists have created a new material- ‗Triazine-based Graphitic Carbon Nitride‗ (TGCN) similar to
Graphene, which has the potential to improve transistors used in electronic devices. Though TGCN
was predicted theoretically in 1996, but this is the first time that it has been created.
Graphene is one atom thick, strong and conducts heat and electricity highly efficiently. The new
TGCN material is also two-dimensional, but it has an electronic band gap, making it potentially
suitable for use in transistors.
Normally, Transistors are made of costly silicon that produces heat when used in electronic devices.
There has been a search for a material that is carbon-based and that has the electronic band gap
needed for use as a semiconductor.
Ranchis‟ Kanke Dam endangered by waste
May 27, 2014
Ranchi‘s key water reservoir Kanke Dam — that hitherto provided water to thousands of houses
located around it has been receiving waste emanating from human activities concentrated around its
periphery which has become a threat of extinction to the water body. The dam situated in the Kanke
area of Ranchi is famous for its beautiful picnic spot besides a place that offers tranquility.
But the Dam has been an object of neglect for the State Government. The Dam which was built in
1954 has not been cleaned even once since it came into existence. Algal bloom has started in the
dam and it is creating a lot of problem for the treatment plant. It affects quality of the water. Besides,
the water body has reduced in area.
DRDO successfully test-fired Akash supersonic missiles
May 28, 2014
Akash air defence missiles were test-fired successfully by Defence Research and Developmet
Organization (DRDO) off the coast of Balasore in Odisha. Three Akash missiles were fired from the
Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur (Odisha), on tow body target of Lakshya Pilotless Target
Aircraft (PTA) moving at ―low altitude for boundary‖ and ripple mode missions. The missiles were
successfully guided by multi-function phased array radar developed by Electronics and Radar
Development Establishment, a DRDO Lab and produced by Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL).
CCI approves purchase of 50% stake of Tata‟s Trent Hypermarket by Tesco

May 28, 2014
The Competition Commission India (CCI) approved British retail giant Tesco‘s acquisition of a 50%
stake in Tata Group firm Trent Hypermarket, the firstForeign Direct Investment (FDI) transaction
in multi-brand retail since the sector was opened up in 2012. As per CCI, it doesn‘t expect the
proposed combination ―to have appreciable adverse effect on competition in India‖. Trent
Hypermarket currently operates just 16 retail stores and its total revenue, as per the annual report of
Trent, during the financial year 2012-13 was only around Rs 785 crore, which is negligible as
compared to the size of the overall retail market as well as the organized retail market in India.
According to CCI, as Tesco is not present in the retail market in India, there is no horizontal overlap
between the business activities of the two firms in the local retail market.
While the central government has permitted FDI in supermarkets, some states have stalled the plans
of foreign retailers to set up businesses by deciding against implementing this FDI policy.
Punjab approves mega food park in Ludhiana
May 28, 2014
Punjab government gave in-principle approval for establishing a Rs. 150-crore mega food park at
Ladowal in Ludhiana to promote food processing industry in the state.
The Central Government‘s scheme of Mega Food Park, which aims at providing a mechanism to link
agricultural production to the market, provides for a one-time capital grant of 50% of the project cost,
subject to a limit of Rs. 50 crore in general areas and 75% of the project cost, subject to a limit of Rs.
50 crore in difficult and hilly areas.
Mega Food Parks Scheme
This scheme was launched in the 10
Plan as Scheme of Food Parks and was revised during the
Plan period and was rechristened as Mega Food Parks Scheme (MFPS). The scheme was
approved by the Union Government in September 2008.
Objectives of MFPS:
 To accelerate growth of food processing industry in the country.
 Enhance the processing of perishables in the country from the current 6% to 20%.
 Raising value addition from existing 20% to 35%.
 Increase India‘s share in global food trade from 1.5% to 3% by year 2015.
RhoDIS: DNA-based tool to probe poaching
May 28, 2014
Assam government is considering introducing RhoDIS (Rhino DNA Indexing System), a DNA-based
forensic tool to probe and prosecute suspects involved cases of rhino poaching. The tool will be used
in the collection of each individual rhino‘s unique DNA profile and developing a database which can
be referenced when producing legal evidence in cases of rhino poaching.
It has been observed that poachers often go scot-free for want of irrefutable evidence. Poachers killed
and dehorned 41 rhinos in Assam and about 1,000 rhinos in South Africa in 2013. In 2014, as many
as 16 rhinos have been killed in Kaziranga, Assam. The Assam government is also mulling over the
option of establishing fast-track courts to conduct speedy trials against poachers. The RhODIS would
help provide concrete evidence, as required for conviction in poaching cases.
“Diamond Quadrilateral” for High-Speed Rail
May 28, 2014
The ruling BJP promised in the election manifestos for 2014 Lok Sabha election, introduction of High-
Speed Rail (HSR) in the country. It pledged to build theDiamond Quadrilateral project – connecting
four major cities of India located in four edges of the country.
If implemented properly, the ‗Diamond Quadrilateral‘ HSR project has the potential to dramatically
transform India much like the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government‘s‗Golden Quadrilateral‘ highway
Current Status:

Let us compare speed of trains in China with that in India. The distance between Shanghai Hongqiao
and Beijing South railway stations is 1318 kilometers; the distance between
New Delhi and Mumbai Central railway stations is 1380 kilometers. While the fastest train (several of
them) between the former pair of stations takes exactly 4 hours and 48 minutes, the time taken by the
fastest train between the latter pair of stations takes 16 hours and 5 minutes, three times longer.
Although India has one of the largest rail networks in the world, it does not have any HSR rail tracks
capable of supporting speeds of 200 km/h (124 mph) or more. High-speed corridors have been
proposed but not executed.
Now, a standardization body will examine different options available and provide a common standard
to be emulated in implementation across India. Though HSR is still under discussion with no official
long-term implementation plan announced, but first railway lines are expected to become operational
between 2030 and 2035.
Right now, India is concentrating on high-speed railway track rather than high-speed rail, so that
Indian rails can run faster on the current tracks, with a maximum speed at around 160 to 200 km/h;
clocking average of 130 km/h.
Indian Railways‘ approach to High Speed
Indian Railways‘ will exercise an approach of incremental improvement to high-speed on current
conventional lines for up to 160 km/h, with a foresight of speed above 200 km/h on new tracks with
state-of-the-art technology, such as Shinkansen/TGV/etc. While they do not define high-speed, Indian
Railways‘ approach matches the high-speed definitions of the Trans-European high-speed rail
network, for upgraded lines and new lines built for high-speed.
Dedicate tracks to passenger trains
Separate corridors for freight trains will be built which will provide dedicates tracks on existing trunk
lines to passenger trains. Separate tracks will also be constructed for busy suburban traffic in Mumbai
and other cities where traffic is equally intense. Without slower freight and suburban traffic, fast-
express trains can run at the speed limit of rolling stock, the railway track or railroad switch, whichever
is lowest among those that apply.
Track-Upgrade for 250–300 km/h
The dedicated passenger tracks will be upgraded with heavier rails, and will build the tracks to a close
tolerance geometry fit for 250–300 km/h. Automation will be used for maintenance and inspection of
high-speed tracks. Design, manufacture and deploy railroad switches, with thick web construction and
movable crossings that permit 50 km/h to alleviate this obstruction to speed.
Upgrade locomotives and coaches
The train coaches will be improved to support 160 km/h, with stainless steel bodies and crash-worthy
designs, incorporating passenger and crew protection, and fire-retardant materials. Electro-pneumatic
brake systems will be fitted with coaches to enhance safe operations at 160–200 km/h.
„Father of Malaysian Hockey‟ Sultan Azlan Shah passed away
May 28, 2014
Hockey pioneer and ‗Father of Malaysian Hockey‘, Sultan Azlan Shah(86) passed away. He was
known for his stupendous contribution to the sport for over 41 years – both as a player and an
His intense love for hockey inspired him to start the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in
1983. The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup began as a biennial event but became an annual event after 1998
and is hosted in the Perak capital of Ipoh.
Under his aegis, Malaysia hosted two hockey World Cups – 1975 and 2002 editions. In 1997, he was
elected as the president of the Asian Hockey Federation and he held the post until his death. He also

became the Vice-President of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) in 1992 and served two
Reliance India Ltd acquires Network18
May 28, 2014
Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is buying a majority stake in Raghav Bahl‘s
Network18 Media and Investments and its subsidiary TV18 Broadcast through Independent Media
Trust (IMT), of which RIL is the only beneficiary.
The RIL gave nod to funding of up to Rs 4,000 crore to IMT, which will utilize the funds to acquire a
78% stake in Network18, a 9% stake in TV18 and shares tendered in an open offer to be made for
public shareholders‘ equity stake in Network18, TV18 and Infomedia Press Ltd (the publishing branch
of Network18).
Network 18 owns a range of premier digital internet properties, e-commerce businesses and
differentiated broadcast content.
Channels of Network TV
CNBC Awaaz, IBN-7, CNBC TV18 Prime HD, MTV India, CNN-IBN, CNBC-TV18, IBN-Lokmat, Nick
India, Nick Jr. India, Sonic, VH1 India, Colors, Colors HD, Comedy Central,HomeShop18,Topper,
ETV Network, History TV18, History TV18 HD
Internet Properties
moneycontrol.com, in.com, firstpost.com, Bookmyshow.com, poweryourtrade.com,
commoditiescontrol.com, homeshop18.com, Cricketnext.com, Compareindia.com, tech2.in.com.
Ordinance promulgated to appoint Nripendra Misra as Principal Secretary
May 28, 2014
The Centre promulgated an ordinance to clear the way for retired IAS officer and former chairman of
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Nripendra Misra‘s appointment as Principal
Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The ordinance expedited by the government designed
to amend theTelecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Act, 1997, which prohibits a chief of the
regulatory body from ―future employment under the central and state governments‖.
When Misra was TRAI Chairman, he wrote to the Communications Ministry saying Section 5(h) of the
TRAI Act, which forbade the head of the telecom regulator from seeking further employment, was
unreasonable and should be eliminated. He argued that no such prohibitions applied to chairpersons
and members of other important regulators like Competition Commission of India and SEBI.
As per Section 5(h) of the original TRAI Act, the chairperson of the regulatory body, upon ceasing to
hold such office, shall be ineligible for further employment under the central or state government, and
cannot accept any commercial employment for a period of 2 years. It is for this reason the Centre took
ordinance route to amend the TRAI Act which was drafted by the Ministry of Law and Justice and
moved for clearance by the Cabinet. After Cabinet nod, the legislation was sent to the President.
NASA designs high-tech cages to transport rats to ISS
May 28, 2014
The US space agency has developed high-tech cages to transport rodents from Earth to
the International Space Station (ISS) to enable researchers to study the long-term effects of
microgravity on mammalian Physiology. These Rodent Habitat modules will first fly in August
2014 aboard an unmanned SpaceX Dragon cargo ship.
The newly designed habitats allow carrying the animals to the space station as well as provide for
their long-term accommodation. Each habitat module accommodates 10 mice or six rats with all of the
basics they need to live comfortably aboard the station including water, food, lighting and fresh air. A
visible light and infrared video system enables the crew in space and researchers and veterinarians
on the ground to monitor behaviour and overall health of the rodents on a daily basis.

Since rodents physiology matches with that of humans and the former develop and age much faster
than humans, studying rodent model organisms will speed up the understanding of diseases that may
take years or decades to develop in humans. Furthermore, rodents may be studied in space during
different developmental stages of life. Spaceflight rodent studies are important for developing
countermeasures — procedures, drugs or devices — to protect health during spaceflight.
Russia and China veto UN resolution to refer Syrian crisis to ICC
May 28, 2014
A draft UN resolution proposing Syrian crisis to be referred to the InternationalCriminal Court
(ICC) has been vetoed by Russia and China. The two permanent members of the United Nations
Security Council (UNSC) ignored the support for the measure by 65 other countries and all other
members of the UNSC. It is the fourth time Russia has blocked a UNSC resolution on Syria.
The draft resolution was favored by 13 of the 15 members of the UNSC. Russia and China both cast
their vetoes – the power which is restricted to the 5 permanent members (Russia, China, the
US, France and the UK).
The Syrian conflict has caused an estimated loss of 160,000 lives and displaced millions of people
since it started in March 2011.
65 nations had appealed to all 193 UN member states to co-sponsor the resolution, under which the
ICC would be empowered to investigate allegations of heinous crimes by the Syrian government, pro-
government militias, and armed opposition groups.
The draft resolution was proposed by the France before the 15-nation UN body. 13 votes were in
favour and 2 voted against the proposal.
As Syria is not a state party to the Rome Statute that established the ICC, the only way to refer its
case to the ICC is by the UN Security Council. So, France introduced the resolution among the
council members to refer Syrian Civil war to ICC.
For a draft resolution to be adopted by the UNSC, it needs 9 votes in favour and the absence of a
negative vote (veto) by any of the 5 permanent members of the Security Council.
New government, capital inflow make Rupee best performing Asia-Pacific
May 28, 2014
Strengthened by capital inflows and excitement about the new incoming government, the Rupee
reached 11-month high which has made it the best performing currency in Asia-Pacific
region against the US dollar so far in 2014.
It has gained 5.3% since the start of 2014 and has leapt ahead of its other Asia-Pacific peers,
including Indonesia‘s rupiah and New Zealand dollar, in terms of year-to-date increase.
The rupee, which was at 58.52 levels in recent days, has shown remarkable recovery since August
2013 when rupee fell to its life-time low of 68.80. Since the start of 2014 when rupee was at Rs.61.8
level per US dollar, it has recorded a gain of 327 paise in less than 6 months.
“Golden Quadrilateral” contributing in economic growth
May 28, 2014
The Golden Quadrilateral, the highway network that links many India‘s four key cities –
Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai thus connecting the major industrial, agricultural and cultural
centres of India- is helping in the economic growth and national integrity of the country.
Golden Quadrilateral (GQ):
The project was started in 2001 by Atal Bihari Vajpayee under the NDA government, and was
completed in January 2012. It was the Phase-1 of the biggerNational Highway Development
Project that was launched in 1998 by the same government. GQ, consisting of 5,846 km (3,633 mi)
four/six lane express highways, was the largest highway project in India and the fifth longest in the

world when it was launched. It is so named as it forms a quadrilateral of sorts by connecting Delhi,
Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. Other cities among the top metropolises namely Pune, Ahmedabad,
Jaipur, Kanpur, Surat at north and Bengaluru, Visakhapatnam & Bhubaneswar at south are also
connected by the network. It is managed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)under
the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways.
Economic benefits
The projected economic benefits of the GQ project
1. Faster transport networks between major cities and ports.
2. Smoother movement of products and people within India.
3. Impetus to industrial and job development in smaller towns through access to markets.
4. Opportunities for farmers, through improved transportation of produce from the agricultural
hinterland to major cities and ports for export, through lesser wastage and spoils.
5. Driving economic growth directly, through construction as well as through indirect demand for
cement, steel and other construction materials.
6. Boosting truck-transport throughout India.
Malavath Purna- Girl from Andhra becomes youngest woman to climb
May 28, 2014
In a historic achievement, Malavath Purna (13) became the youngest female mountaineer to scale
the Mount Everest. Purna was accompanied by Sadhanapalli Anand Kumar (16), a Class IX student
from the Khammam district ofAndhra Pradesh. Anand and Purna are both students of Andhra
Pradesh Social Welfare Educational Society.
T.R Zeliang take oath as Nagaland CM
May 28, 2014
T.R. Zeliang, leader of Naga Peoples Front (NPF), was sworn in as the Chief Minister
of Nagaland following the resignation of Neiphio Rio, who has been elected to Lok Sabha. The NDF-
led ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN-III) government was formed in March 2013. Mr. Rio
resigned from the office after serving Chief Minister of the state for over 11 years following his victory
in the recent Lok Sabha polls.
ONGC starts drilling in Palar basin in Tamil Nadu
May 28, 2014
The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has begun drilling its first-ever well in the Palar
basin at Chinnapuliyur village near Gummidipoondi, about 55 km from Chennai.
ONGC had already started exploration in six out of seven sedimentary basins inIndia. The Palar basin
was the seventh.
The Palar basin, spanned over an area of 1,800 sq.km., lies between the two petroleum-bearing
Krishna-Godavari and Cauvery basins. The ONGC hopes to discover significant columns of
hydrocarbons in the basin.
The block called PR-ONN-2005/1, where Chinnapuliyur is located, was a joint venture with the ONGC
and Tata Petrodyne Limited (TPL). TPL holds 20% stake in the joint venture.
India‟s OVL and Russia‟s Rosneft ink pact to explore hydrocarbons
May 28, 2014
The overseas subsidiary of the state-owned explorer ONGC- ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), has struck a
deal with Russia‘s largest oil and gas producer Rosneft to jointly explore hydrocarbons in
the offshore Arctic. The agreement will facilitate the OVL‘s cooperation in subsurface surveys,

exploration and appraisal activities and hydrocarbons production in Russia‘s offshore Arctic. Rosneft
is also considering supplying crude oil to Indian refineries.
India does not have a firm contract to import crude oil from Russia. It receives small volumes
occasionally from OVL‘s Sakhalin-1 project in Far East Russia. OVL has a 20% stake in
the Sakhalin-1 oil and gas field in the Russian Pacific Ocean.
India Infrastructure Index launched by Asia Index
May 29, 2014
Anticipating investment boom in infrastructure sector as the government re-starts stalled projects,
Asia Index, a joint venture of BSE and S&P Dow Jones Indices, launched India Infrastructure Index
that comprises the top 30 companies based on market capitalisation from five sectors—Energy,
Transportation, Non-Banking Financial Institutions, Telecommunications and Utilities. The 30
companies will be picked from the BSE 500 index.
As per Asia Index, the 30-stock index is designed to serve as both a benchmark and an investable
index. This is the third index launched by Asia Index after theShariah Index and the S&P BSE India
10-year Sovereign Bond Index.
Pinaka rockets test-fired successfully
May 29, 2014
India‘s Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL)–Pinaka rockets, capable of decimating hostile
targets at 40kms-range with rapid salvos, successfully test- fired thrice at an armament base in
Chandipur, Odisha. The rockets, which have been subjected to several tough tests since 1995, have
been already inducted into the armed forces and the current trials were performed with some
improvements in the weapon system. Three rounds of Pinaka rockets were successfully tested from
the Proof and eXperimental Establishment (PXE) at Chandipur.
Indigenously developed by DRDO, Pinaka is an unguided rocket system meant to neutralise large
areas with rapid salvos. With a battery of 6 launchers, the system can fire a salvo of 12 rockets in 44
seconds and neutralise a target area of 3.9 sq km. It gives an edge to the army with its quick reaction
time and high rate of fire, thus, supplementing artillery guns.
Sushma Swaraj -The first woman to head MEA
May 29, 2014
In yet another first for BJP leader Sushma Swaraj (62), she has become the first woman External
Affairs Minister of India. She is the country‘s first woman to be appointed as a full-time Cabinet
minister with the external affairs portfolio. Indira Gandhi too held the portfolio between September
1967 and February 1969 and again between July and October 1984, but it was among the portfolios
she retained with her as Prime Minister.
Sushma Swaraj has several other first to her name:
1. At the age of 25, she became the youngest cabinet minister in Haryanagovernment in 1977.
2. First woman Chief Minister of Delhi in 1998.
3. She was the first woman spokesperson for any political party in India and won the Outstanding
Parliamentarian Award.

Justice MB Shah Committtee: SIT to probe black money
May 29, 2014
In its first major step after assuming charge, Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s government has ordered
the formation of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate black money, mostly hoarded
Composition of SIT
The SIT will be headed by retired Supreme Court judge MB Shah. Its other members include
Secretary revenue, deputy governor of the Reserve Bank ofIndia, director of the Intelligence Bureau,

director of the Enforcement Directorate, director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI),
chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes and director of the Research and Analysis Wing
As per an estimate by the US-based think tank Global Financial Integrity, the illegal money outflow
from India is around $462 billion.
The black money refers to the money that is earned and transferred illegally abroad in tax havens
like Cayman Islands and Mauritius, generally to evade tax.Real estate is believed to account for
nearly a third of black money transactions. Other major areas of black money transactions include
manufacturing, gold and consumer goods purchases.
India inks $ 1006.20 million loan pact with World Bank US for “Sarva
Shiksha Abhiyan III”
May 29, 2014
India inked $1006.20 million International Development Assistance (IDA) loan agreement
with World Bank for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan III.
At present, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is the largest ongoing EducationFor All (EFA)
program in the world. It is the flagship programme for universalizing elementary education. The
project aims to achieve universal access and retention, bringing down gender and social category
disparity in elementary education and enhancement of learning levels of children. The World Bank aid
to Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan-III will mainly focus on qualitative improvement in the learning process of
the children.
This will also facilitate smooth and effective implementation of the whole Sarva Siksha Abhiyan
project. The objective of this project with World Bank IDA is to improve education outcomes of
elementary school children in India. It will aid in bringing qualitative improvements in the programme
by putting into use the World Bank‘s global experience. About 200 million children enrolled in
elementary schools and 4.5 million teachers in the sector are expected to benefit with this project. The
benefits of the project also include development of grade and subject specific learning indicators to
measure children‘s progress in acquiring expected knowledge and skills at different grade level. It will
also bolster monitoring and evaluation for teachers‘ accountability.
The project will be implemented by the Ministry of HRD (Human Resource Development0 in a
period of 3 years.
Ajit Doval appointed as the new National Security Advisor
May 29, 2014
The new government at Centre appointed former Intelligence Bureau Chief Ajit Doval as National
Security Adviser.
He retired in January 2005 as the chief of Intelligence Bureau. His tenure will be co-terminus with
the term of the Prime Minister or till further orders, whichever is earlier.
Doval is a 1968-batch IPS officer and is known for his sharp intelligence skills. He was India‘s main
negotiator with the hijackers of Indian Airlines plane IC-814 taken to Kandahar in 1999.

Mukul Rohatgi is the new Attorney General of India
May 29, 2014
The new government at the Centre appointed senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi as the new Attorney
General of India (AGI) to take over from G E Vahanvati as the 14
AG of the country.

The AGI is the Indian government‘s chief legal advisor, and its primary lawyer in the Supreme
Court of India. He is appointed by the President of India underArticle 76(1) of the Constitution and
holds office during the pleasure of the President. He must have qualification to be appointed as a
Judge of the Supreme Court. Like the Advocate General of a State, the Attorney General is not
supposed to be a political appointee, in spirit, but this is not the case in practice. Every time a new
government attains power at the Centre, all the law officers resign and law officers loyal to the new
party are appointed.
Vishwanath Tripathi awarded Vyas Samman
May 29, 2014
Noted Hindi author Vishwanath Tripathi awarded the prestigious Vyas Samman for the year 2013.
He was awarded for his memoir ‗Vyomkesh Darvesh‘, a biolgraphy of noted Hindi scholar Acharya
Hazari Prasad Dwivedi. ‗Vyomkesh Darvesh‘ is a biographical criticism and its speciality is that the
personality (Hazari Prasad Dwivedi) that it describes, has been written about by his own student in his
(Dwivedi‘s) own style.
Vyas Samman is an annual literary award instituted in 1991 by the K K Birla Foundation which carries
an amount of Rs 2.5 lakh and is given to an outstanding literary work in Hindi published during the last
10 years.
FIFA World Cup ball Brazuca has in-built cameras
May 31, 2014
In a latest development showing how much the technology has mingled
with sports, Brazuca- the balls to be used in the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil- has been
designed with six in-built HD cameras to capture 360 degree viewof the on-field action.
Brazuca has shades of blue, orange and green, and stars on it reflecting the vibrancy and flair
associated with the game in the Mecca offootball. This time the ball is said to have much improved
touch and accuracy. The technology involves a new structural innovation with a unique symmetry of
six identical panels alongside a different surface structure that will provide improved grip, touch,
stability and aerodynamics on the pitch.
Kamal Nath will Pro-tem Speaker of 16th Lok Sabha
May 31, 2014
Senior Congress leader and former union minister Kamal Nath will be the Pro-tem Speaker of the
newly elected Lok Sabha. As the Pro-tem Speaker of 16
Lok Sabha, Mr Nath will be responsible to
formally start the proceedings to the new Lok Sabha. Among his responsibilities will be to swear-in the
newly-elected MPs and help the election of the new Speaker of the 16
Lok Sabha.
Goa Day was observed on May 30
May 30, 2014
Goa observed Goa Day on May 30 as its 27
Statehood anniversary. It was on this day in 1987 when
Goa became 25
State of the Indian Union.
Story of Goa joining Union of India
Goa remained a territory under Portuguese Empire from 1510 to 1947. After Independence India
requested Portuguese to cede Goa and few other holdings to India, which was refused by Portugal.

On the contrary, Portugal lodged a complaint against India in the InternationalCourt of Justice at The
Hague. In 1960, the court held in its judgment that Portugal had right to the enclaves but that India
equally had a right to deny Portugal access to the enclaves over Indian Territory.
In December 1961, Indian forces launched Operation Vijay and entered Goa as a result of which the
Portuguese forces surrendered. Following this action, a resolution condemning the action of India was
proposed in the United Nations Security Council which was vetoed by the USSR. Then, under Indian
control, Goa voted in a referendum to become an autonomous, federally administered territory. Goa
was attained statehood on May 30, 1987.
Note: Goa Day is different from Goa‟s “Liberation Day” that is observed on December 19 every year.
Two additional attempts, no change in pattern and syllabus of the Civil
Services Examination: UPSC
May 30, 2014
The government has decided to allow two additional attempts with consequential age relaxations to all
categories of candidates with effect from Civil ServiceExamination (CSE), 2014. However, contrary
to the speculations in the market,the format and syllabus will remain the same. The Union Public
Service Commission will release CSE notification by May 31, 2014.
At present, candidates from General category are allowed a maximum of four attempts for the
examination. However, there is no restriction on number of attempts by a candidate belonging to
Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs). Aspirants belonging to Other Backward
Classes (OBCs) are allowed as many as seven attempts.
CSIR & IMD collaborate for joint production of “Drishti” System
May 31, 2014
In a major development in the field of aviation safety CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories (CSIR-
NAL), Bangalore and India Meteorological Department (IMD) inked a partnership pact for joint
production of Drishti System; a sophisticated instrument for assessment of Runway visual range,
which is a vital parameter for safe landing and takeoff of aircraft in poor visibility.
The joint agreement between two government sector entities will lead to indigenization of a
technology which so far was the exclusive domain of few developed countries. The
indigenous production of this advanced instrument will not only result in considerable saving of foreign
exchange but will also make the country self-reliant in the field of front-end technology.
Drishti Transmissometer (Drishti System)
A visibility measuring system indigenously designed and developed by CSIR-NAL to cover the wide
span of lowest to highest visibility (< 25 to > 2000 meters) assisting pilots for safe landing and take-
off. This cost-effective product is a mandatory system required at all airports as per International Civil
Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). At present, Seven
Drishti systems are functioning in three international airports, viz., Choudhary Charan Singh
International Airport, Lucknow, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport. Five systems are
working in country‘s most stringent CAT IIIB airport, viz., Indira Gandhi International Airport,
New Delhi, for the last 2 years. Other important features of this system include web
enabled healthmonitoring and remote control of the system from any location in the country for
accessing the data and for maintenance.
―Drishti‖ has also won several awards during 2013-14 from National Research Development
Corporation (NRDC), Institution of Electronics andTelecommunication Engineers (IETE), India,
and Indian Electronics & Semiconductor Association (IESA) as the most innovative,
meritorious product of the year.
India‟s Forex reserves up by $ 15.5 billion in FY‟14: RBI
May 31, 2014

As per RBI, India‘s foreign exchange (Forex) reserves jumped by $15.5 billion in the Financial Year
(FY) ended March 2014. The reserves stood at $303.67 billion.
As per data released by the RBI on India‘s Forex status:
 On Balance of Payments (BoP) basis (excluding valuation effects), the forex reserves surged by
$15.5 billion during FY14 as compared to an increase of $3.8 billion during FY13.
 If the valuation effects are included, the reserves rose by $12.2 billion in FY14 as against a
decrease of $2.4 billion in the same period of the FY13.
 The valuation loss, showing the cross currency movements and the reduction in gold prices,
amounted to $3.3 billion in FY14 as compared to a valuation loss of $6.2 billion in FY13.
 The current account balance in the FY 14 reduced to $32.4 billion compared to $ 88.2 billion last
 Capital account balance decreased by half to $47.9 billion in FY14 from $92 billion in FY13, mainly
due to sharp drop in portfolio investment.
 During FY14 portfolio investment dropped to $4.8 billion as compared to $26.9 billion in FY13.
 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) increased slightly by $21.6 billion in FY14 as compared to $19.8
billion in the FY13.
 Foreign Institutional Investors (FII) investment declined to $5 billion as compared to $27.6 billion in
 NRI deposits more than doubled to $38.9 billion as against $14.8 billion in the FY 13.
 In FY14 External Commercial Borrowings jumped to $11.8 billion compared with 8.5 billion in
RBI tightens merger rules for NBFCs
May 31, 2014
According to Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) to take its
prior approval before buying shares of other NBFCs or for merger and acquisition with another entity.
This rule will be applicable to both deposit taking and non-deposit accepting companies and any
infringement of it may cost the company its registration.
Prior written clearance of RBI would also be mandatory before approaching the Court or Tribunal
seeking order for mergers or amalgamations with other companies or NBFCs.
Dalia Grybauskaite to become President of Lithuania for second
consecutive term
May 31, 2014
Lithuania‘s incumbent President Dalia Grybauskaite(58) has been declared
the winner in the country‘s run-off Presidential elections. She got 58% votes whereas her Social
Democrat rival Zigmantas Balcytis only 42% votes. The election was held amid rising concerns in
the region after Russia‘s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
Google agrees to provide „Right to be Forgotten‟
May 31, 2014
Google has launched a service to allow Europeans to ask for personal data to be removed
from online search results.
It will now be possible for Europeans to request Google for the removal of their personal data from
online search results. The move comes after a landmarkEuropean Union court judgment in May 2014,
which gave people the ―Right to be Forgotten―.
What is the ‗Right to be Forgotten‘?

Links to ―irrelevant‖ and outdated data should be erased on request. It would assess each request
and balance ―privacy rights of the individual with the public‟s right to know and distribute information―.
It is a latest term which came out of a ruling of a European Court which was adjudicating over a case
in which a Spaniard named Mario Costeja Gonzalez had argued that some of his old personal
information put up on the internet 16 years back continue to appear in search results even today
which, according to him, damages his reputation. Around 16 years ago when he was facing financial
difficulties he had put up a property of his for auction – the details of which were covered in a
newspaper, which subsequently went online. The auction happened in 1998, and with those troubles
now behind him, Mr Gonzalez now wants to move on. But the old details on internet still hound him.
Whenever you search for his name, news about the auction still features prominently. He argued that
it should be removed from Google‘s search results. The Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the
European Union agreed with him, and in doing so set a major precedent over what is referred to as
the ―Right to be Forgotten―.
What next?
Following this ruling Google has made available ‗Right to be Forgotten‘ Form which a person in EU
can fill to request the search engine to prevent his/her unwanted personal information from appearing
in the search results.The EU has been crusading for a new law on data privacy – of which ―right to be
forgotten‖ is a key component – since it proposed guidelines in January 2012. It argues that old,
inaccurate or even just irrelevant data should be taken out of search results if the person involved
requests it.
Does ‗Right to be Forgotten‘ allows a person to request any of his information to be removed
from the Internet?
No. Decisions on whether information should be removed from search engines depend ―on the nature
of the information in question and its sensitivity for the data subject‘s private life and on the interest of
the public in having that information, an interest which may vary, in particular, according to the role
played by the data subject in public life‖. It means the information would only be removed if the impact
on the individual‘s privacy is greater than the public‘s right to find it.
As per guidelines, removal of information in the current context doesn’t mean deletion of
information. They just wouldn’t appear in search results.
“Vitamin E” Beneficial or Harmful depends on its source
May 31, 2014
According to new research, certain forms of Vitamin A can be harmful for the lungs while certain other
can be helpful in normal functioning of lungs. The research has found that a form of Vitamin E found
in vegetable oils like Corn and Canola can harm lungs, while another form of the same vitamin found
in Olive Oil can aid normal functioning of lungs. The scientists claimed that this could be one of the
reasons why studies of the health effects of the vitamin have had given conflicting results so far.
Vitamin E exists in various forms called tocopherols and it is found in fats and oils. Supplements of
the vitamin may contain a single type of tocopherol, or a mix. The study found that a form of the
vitamin called „gamma tocophero’, which is found in corn, canola and soybean oils, are harmful for
The research suggests that consumers who use the vitamin and doctors who prescribe must be
careful towards the source and formulation of the vitamin. It is sometimes mentioned on the labels of
supplements, but not always.

Peter Mutharika takes oath as President of Malawi
May 31, 2014

After being victorious in the recently held presidential polls in Malawi, Peter Mutharika (74) was
sworn in as the new President of the southern African country. He will replace outgoing President
Joyce Banda.
Malawi (―The Warm Heart of Africa‖)
Malawi is a landlocked country in southeast Africa that was
formerly known as Nyasaland. It shares its boundaries with
Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast,
and Mozambique on the east, south and west. Malawi
is known as ―The Warm Heart of Africa‖.
Capital: Lilongwe
President: Joyce Banda
Currency: Malawian kwacha
Official language: English Language
Malawi is amongst the world‘s least-developed countries.
Malawi‘s economy is highly dependent on agriculture, and
majority of the population is rural. The government depends
heavily on foreign aid to meet its development needs.
Army Chief endorsed as the new leader by Thai king
May 31, 2014
Thailand‘s King Bhumibol Adulyadej (86) has backed the army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha,
who captured power in a coup, to run Thailand.
Why is Thailand under military rule?
The political situation in Thailand has been restive for past few months. At present, the country is
under junta rule (army rule) after army seized power in a recent coup. According to its Army, the
military has taken control of the government and suspended the constitution in order to reinstate order
and enact political reforms.
There has been agitation in the country with the opposition accusing the current democratically
elected government of corruption and demanding its dissolution. The coup comes after months of
surging tensions. The cabinet has been directed to report to the military and gatherings of more than
five people have been prohibited.
Have there been coups before in Thialand?
Yes, this is the 12
military coup since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932. The last coup was
witnessed in 2006, when then PM Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted by the army after he was accused
of corruption. Many accuse the army of being kind to the cause of his opponents in the current anti-
government drive.
What are the roots of the Thailand crisis?
The politics in Thailand is polarized with mostly rural, often poor, supporting Mr Thaksin, whereas, the
urban middle class is against him.
Ever since Mr Thaksin‘s regime was toppled in 2006, there have been regular protests. But in the past
few years the focus has been on the current Thaksin-aligned Pheu Thai government.
The protests began to aggravate into violence in November 2013, after the lower house passed a
controversial amnesty bill which, as per critics, could make possible Mr Thaksin‘s return from exile
without serving time in jail.
As per the anti-government camp, at least 28 people have died since then.
The situation exacerbated further in May 2014, after a controversial court judgment removed Mr
Thaksin‘s sister Yingluck from her position as Prime Minister, saying she had abused her power by
illegally transferring the National Security Chief to another position.