You are on page 1of 14

GKCA Update

1st to 31st Jan

Starred Articles
01 NITI Aayog replaces Planning Commission
Jan India > NITI Aayog

The socialist-era Planning Commission was today replaced by a new think-tank called the NITI Aayog (National
Institution for Transforming India). The new body will be headed by the Prime Minister and will have all Chief
Ministers as members in a broad-based Governing Council to involve states in contributing towards national
development goals. The body will have a Vice Chairperson and a CEO in addition to five full-time members and
two part-time members, while four union ministers would serve as ex-officio members. Noted economist
Arvind Panagariya will be the first Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog. Regional councils will be formed to address
specific issues and contingencies impacting more than one state. The NITI Aayog will also have experts,
specialists and practitioners with relevant domain knowledge as special invitees nominated by the Prime
Minister. The body will serve as a Think Tank of the government, as a directional and policy dynamo and
would provide the central and state governments with strategic and technical advice on key policy matters
including economic issues of national and international importance.

04 Two Pakistani vessels with terror designs intercepted in the Arabian Sea
Jan India > Terrorism

In the early hours of Friday 1st January, 2015 two suspicious looking boats were intercepted by the Indian
coast guard in the Arabian Sea. Wireless communication interception made Indian authorities believe the
boats were being occupied by terrorists, as the handlers were trying to communicate with their contacts in
Pakistan including Pakistans maritime authorities and the Pakistan army. One of the boats got away as it was
travelling in internationals waters, but the second one after being followed by the coast guard, blew up as it
was carrying explosives. India's security forces and the government claimed that it had averted a 26/11-style
attack.
Indias defence minister Manohar Parikkar has confirmed that the boat indeed was being handled by terrorists
and not smugglers as claimed by authorities in Pakistan. He further said everything will be confirmed after the
complete analysis of the incident. The ruling BJP party further slammed the Congress for questioning the
defence ministrys claim that it had averted a terror attack. It accused the Congress of doing politics over terror
and said that the Congress was trying to demoralize the security forces of the country. The BJPs sharp reaction
came after Congress raised doubts over the Pakistani boat incident and told the government to come clean
and name the terrorist organization involved in the incident.

06 PIOs to get life-long visas as President signs Citizenship Ordinance


Jan Politics & Government > Visa for PIOs

The government has passed an ordinance that aims at merging Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas
Citizenship of India (OCI) schemes, by which PIOs will also get life-long Indian visa. The Citizenship Ordinance
has been signed by Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India.
The ordinance will give them benefits like life-long visa and exemption from appearing before the local police
station on every visit. The government had received complaints from PIOs regarding stringent visa norms that
debarred them from buying property in India, in comparison to those holding Overseas Citizens of India (OCI)
card. PIO cardholders were eligible for only 15-year visas in comparison to lifelong visas given to those having
OCI cards. The ordinance keeps Prime Minister Narendra Modi's promise to the crowd of Indian origins in New
York of merging the two schemes.

www.testfunda.com

Page 1 of 14

GKCA Update
1st to 31st Jan

06 US denies reports of disbursement of aid to Pakistan on the Kerry Lugar act


Jan World > Pakistan

The US recently denied Pakistans reports that the U.S. Congress had cleared $532 million to Pakistan on the
Kerry Lugar Act that needs certification on action against terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-eMohammad. It was also suspected that under the Kerry-Lugar Bill, Washington is pumping in more civilian aid
to Islamabad. The reports had triggered negative response from India. According to US State Department
spokesperson Jen Psaki, no aid has been disbursed to Pakistan since 2013. Psaki further said the Congress was
neither notified of the request nor it approved of any request.
Mr. Kerry is going to attend the Vibrant Gujarat summit this weekend, and is expected to meet PM Modi
separately as well.

10 Maithiripala Sirisena sworn-in as seventh president of Sri Lanka


Jan World > Sri Lanka

On 9th January 2015, Shri Maithiripala Sirisena full name Pallewatte Gamaralalage Maithripala Yapa Sirisena
was sworn-in as the seventh President of Sri Lanka. The oath taking ceremony held at the Independence
square in Colombo, saw Sri Lankas Supreme Court judge Honorable K Sri Pawan administering the oath of
office to Maithiripala Sirisena. The event was preceded by the oath taking ceremony of the leader of the
United National Party (UNP) Ranil Wickramasinghe as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.
Mithripala Sirisena, Health Minister in Rajapaksa government, won the 2015 Presidential Elections of Sri Lanka
held on eight January 2015 by defeating incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa from United Peoples
Freedom Alliance by 51.28 % of votes and Opposition candidate Maithripala samisen from United National
Party got 51.3 % of the votes.

12 SC orders enabling of e-voting by NRIs within eight weeks


Jan Politics and Government > E-voting by NRIs

The plea filed by Pravasi Bharat chairman Nagender Chindam asking central government to enable e-voting by
NRIs within eight weeks of elections has been cleared by the Supreme Court.
The report was filed after considering opinions from all sections by a committee comprising officials from the
EC, law ministry and the ministry of external affairs. Under the proposal, NRIs will be sent ballot papers
electronically and they will have to return it to poll authorities physically. The report was filed to dispute the
inherent inequality created by Section 20(A) of the Representation of the People (RP) Act which insists on
the physical presence of an NRI in his local constituency at the time of voting.

13 Zomato enters US, acquires Urbanspoon


Jan Corporate > Zomato

Zomato enters US following a deal with Urbanspoon costing around $60 million (Rs 373 crore), which will be an
all-cash transaction. With Zomato's sixth and the biggest acquisition, it aims to double its traffic from about 35
million visits per months to more than 80 million visits per month, probably making it the largest restaurant
search company in the world. This move makes Zomata the biggest competitor of Yelp which boasts of 139 mn
unique monthly visitors during the third quarter of 2014. The acquisition will result in Zomato's presence in 22
countries across the world and a rise in its restaurant coverage from about 300000 restaurants to more than 1
million restaurants across the globe.
Zomato is looking forward to expand its customer base with the popularity of Urbanspoon by offering its
customers a number of new capabilities and features.

www.testfunda.com

Page 2 of 14

GKCA Update
1st to 31st Jan

13 Islamic militants kill 12 in deadly attacks on French satirical weekly Charlie


Hebdo, prompt worldwide outcry
Jan World > Charlie Hebdo Shootings
On 7th January, 2015, two masked gunman attacked the office of the French satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo in
Paris and shot dead 12 people including the editor in the middle of a news conference. The men shouted Allahhu-Akbar as they went on with their rampage and shouted that they were avenging the prophet. Charlie
Hebdo had previously been in the news for its alleged mockery of Prophet Mohammed and had attracted the
ire of the Islamic world. Police tracked the gunmen, identified as brothers Cherif Kouachi, 32, and Said Kouachi,
34, to a town, 25 miles northeast of Paris. A gun-battle ensued in which police killed the two gunmen and
succeeded in freeing a sole hostage.
On 9th January, another gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, held people hostage at a kosher super-market in eastern
Paris and shot dead 4 people. The gunman seemed to have ties with the two brothers involved in the Charlie
Hebdo attack and had earlier threatened to kill the hostages if police launched an assault on the cornered
brothers. Police stormed the supermarket and succeeded in killing the gunman and freeing the hostages. The
supermarket was located in a predominantly Jewish locality of Paris. All the three gunmen had ties with
Jihadist militants and were allegedly trained by the Al-Qaeda in Syria.
France has the highest number of Jewish population in entire Europe. A sense of insecurity has engulfed the
community following the attacks and many Jews are permanently moving to Israel from France. On 11 January
2015, 3.7 million people including more than 40 world leaders, met in Paris for a rally of national unity to
honour the 17 victims. This was the largest public rally in France since World War II. The phrase Je suis Charlie
(French for "I am Charlie") came to be a common worldwide sign of solidarity against the attacks. The surviving
staff of the magazine announced plans for a print run of three million copies for the next week's issue rather
than its typical 60,000. The "survivors' issue" of Charlie Hebdo will also be sold outside France.

15 Widow, mother can file for partition of joint family property, rules HC
Jan India > Legal

Now a widow or a coparcener can get her share in the man's joint family property by filing a case for partition.
The move came during the hearing of two appeals filed by family members against the partition suits filed by
widows of their respective sons. The partition suits filed by the two women were partly allowed by trial courts
and challenged by the in-laws in the high court.
The ruling jointly made by Justice A B Chaudhari stated that "when a right is given, the remedy has to be there
to file a suit for partition, which can't depend upon the demand of other inheritors to partition the joint
property. This amends the 1956 act which ruled that In the absence of any other coparcener in the family
demanding partition of the joint property, the suit by her was not maintainable. and empowers women to
claim their position in the society.

15 US tells Pakistan to eliminate all terrorist groups including LET, that have
threatened India
Jan World > India-Pakistan
US Secretary of State John Kerry has appealed Pakistan to eliminate all terrorist organisations, including
Pakistani and Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba, which are a possible threat to its
neighbours and also the world at large. Pakistan has often been suspected of playing a double game by
providing a safe haven to terrorist organisations, while simultaneously taking a stance against terrorism. John
Kerry who was on an official visit to Pakistan also addressed the recent border disputes between India and
Pakistan and appealed India to sort out differences and resume peace talks. The US Secretary of State gave the
statement in a joint press meeting with Pakistan's foreign minister Sartaj Aziz.
www.testfunda.com

Page 3 of 14

GKCA Update
1st to 31st Jan

20 IMF predicts India's growth rate to outdo China's in 2016


Jan Economy > Growth Rate

Owing to the 'promising' reforms of the new government led by Narendra Modi, India is likely to cross Chinas
projected growth rate of 6.3 percent in 2016 as predicted by IMF. The International Monetary Fund released a
World Economic Report update that said Indias growth rate in 2014 was 5.8 percent against Chinas 7.4
percent and in 2016, India is projected to grow at 6.5%. The IMF is waiting to see the implementation of the
economic reforms by Narendra Modi-led government in the coming days. The IMF reported that the growth
forecast in India is broadly unchanged as the weaker external demand is compensated by the boost to the
terms of trade from lower oil prices and an improvement in industrial and investment activity following the
policy reforms by the Modi government.

21 India is the most malnourished country in South Asia


Jan India > Malnourished Country

A report generated by the international organisation ACF has ranked India as the country with the highest rate
of malnutrition amongst all south Asian countries. It also said that within India, scheduled tribes (28%),
scheduled castes (21%) and other backward castes (20%) and rural communities (21%) constitute the
population of malnourished. According to UNICEF, every year, 1 million children, under five, die due to
malnutrition related causes in India which calls for adequate measures and need to recognize severe acute
malnutrition as a medical emergency.
The reports bring into light the prevalence of severe acute malnutrition in the districts of Rajasthan and
Madhya Pradesh by analyzing the infant mortality rates and child deaths.

22 Jan Dhan Yojana makes it to the Guinness Book of World Records


> Politics
Jan India
India's effort of opening 15.45 crore bank accounts to transfer subsidies in a short span of five months is now a
world record and will feature in the Guinness Book of World Records. The Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana
(PMJDY), launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August, has set a world record for 'The most bank
accounts opened in one week' about 1.80 crore. The government plans to transfer annual subsidies of
around Rs. 51,029 crores directly to bank accounts of 15.45 crore beneficiaries in the next year as a part of the
financial inclusion campaign. The government has rolled out 34 direct transfer benefit welfare schemes
including the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and the direct
benefits transfer for LPG scheme.

India-US reach breakthrough on civil nuclear deal, Obama pledges

27 investment of $4 billion
Jan India > Obama visit

The Civil Nuclear deal, between India and the United States of America, which was signed in the year 2006,
gained momentum after a hiatus of eight years. The deadlock pertaining to the deal existed due to the latter's
concern in case of a nuclear casualty. The two countries have now decided to transfer the financial risk to
insurers in case of an accident. The last step for India now would be to rope in American suppliers selling
reactor technology. President Barack Obama also promised $4 billion in loans and investment to boost trade,
business and employment opportunities in India. US Export-Import Bank will finance $1-billion worth of
exports, Overseas Private Investment Corporation will lend $1 billion to small, medium-sized enterprises in
rural areas of India and the US Trade and Development Agency would finance $2 billion for renewable energy
in India.
www.testfunda.com

Page 4 of 14

GKCA Update
1st to 31st Jan

27 Renowned cartoonist RK Laxman dies


Jan India > Others

Noted cartoonist RK Laxman died at a Pune hospital on the evening of 26th January, 2015. The 93 year-old was
admitted for urinary infection and chest related problems, he did not respond to medication, which led to a
multi-organ failure and eventually his death. The cartoonist was famous for his 'you said it' cartoons, which
featured every day in the Times of India, and depicted the common man's everyday problems. He received
prestigious awards like the Padma Vibhushan and the Ramon Magasaysay award for his contribution to arts.

27 Anti-austerity leader Alexis Tsipras elected Greece Prime Minister, Eurozone


speculate Greece exit
Jan leaders
Politics > World
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras is set to swear-in as the Prime Minister of Greece following his historic win in the
Greek elections. The new coalition government, formed by the anti-austerity party Syriza and the small rightwing Independent Greeks (ANEL) party, is being anticipated by analysts as short-lived, given the volatility of
ANEL. The troika of lenders that bailed out Greece - the European Union, European Central Bank, and
International Monetary Fund - imposed big budgetary cuts and restructuring in return for the money. While
Tsipras is about to renegotiate the terms of the 240-billion-euro ($269 billion) bailout, chief economics
spokesman of Syriza , Euclid Tsakalotos says that Greece cannot be expected to pay all its debts. He said, if
Greece falls, it will take down the Eurozone and the euro with it, owing to the policies of austerity. As Tsipras is
looking forward for negotiations with EU, the EU leaders speculate Greece's exit from the Eurozone resulting
from the defaults on debt repayments and reduction of debt commitments on Greece's part. An exit from the
Eurozone is likely to be disastrous for Greece as living standards would fall, banks would face chances of
collapse, businesses could go bankrupt and the cost of imports could multiple. In such a scenario, investors
would also become nervous about lending to other struggling countries. European Banks might be forced to
stop lending and the country might be forced into another recession. Greece wont be able to borrow from
anyone and the government will eventually run out of Euros.

29 Malaysia declares the disappearance of MH370 flight as an accident


Jan World > Aviation

The Malaysian government has officially declared the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines' flight MH370 as an
accident and said there were no survivors of the tragedy. Despite a massive international search in the
southern Indian Ocean, no trace of the Beijing bound flight that disappeared on 8th March, 2014 was found.
Majority of the passengers were Chinese and families of the victims have expressed their unhappiness over the
declaration and the negligent handling of the incident by Malaysian authorities. The airline is now free to start
the compensation process after the declaration. Regardless of the announcement, Malaysian authorities are
not ruling out the possibility of a foul play.

www.testfunda.com

Page 5 of 14

GKCA Update
1st to 31st Jan

Awards
25 Recipients of Padma Awards announced
Jan India

The Padma Awards recipients were announced by the NDA government recently. Notable personalities like BJP
stalwart LK Advani, actors Amitabh Bachan and Dilip Kumar, Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal and
Nuclear scientist M R Srinivasan are among the nine awardees to receive Padma Vibhushan, the highest in the
series of Padma Awards, for exceptional and distinguished service. Padma Awards is one of the highest civilian
Awards of the country. It is conferred in three categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and
Padma Shri. The Awards are given in various disciplines art, social work, public affairs, science and
engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc.

Corporate
26 Wipro lands Rs 900-crore deal with Irish bank
Jan World

Wipro won a $150 million (Rs 900 crore) IT outsourcing deal from the Allied Irish Banks (AIB) defeating
incumbent IT vendor IBM to bag the IMS portion of the contract. According to the deal, Wipro will provide
infrastructure management services (IMS), data centre and hosting services to AIB over five years. The deal will
provide opportunity for Wipro to participate in other IT deals including the Bank of Ireland contract that is
soon to be renewed later this year. Bank of Ireland had signed a five-year infrastructure contract with IBM in
2010. Following this deal, Wipro will set up a Dublin based ServiceNXT operations centre and the mainframe
COE, creating employment opportunities for locals of Ireland. Over 130 AIB employees will be relocated to this
new set up. Wipro's Shannon development centre in Ireland has been providing services to banks and financial
services company across Ireland and the UK.

India
06 Thousands flee border villages in J & K to escape Pakistani firing
Jan Indo-Pak Border Firing

Fresh rounds of firing around the international border by Pakistani rangers have forced thousands of villagers
to abandon their homes and flee to makeshift shelters set up by the government. Mortars and shells were
raining down on the border villages of Galaad, Bain, Pahad Pur, Boiobian and Pansar and the police were trying
to get as many people out to safer places as they could in their bullet proof cars. Reports said the number of
people who have abandoned their homes in border villages has already crossed 10,000. India and Pakistan
accuse each other of violating the 2003 ceasefire agreement which intensified after the BJP-led government at
the Centre called off its foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the Border Security Force (BSF) has foiled another attempt, fifth such attempt since New Years
Eve, by Pakistan-based militants to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir, under the cover of dense fog and firing
by the Pakistani army.

www.testfunda.com

Page 6 of 14

GKCA Update
1st to 31st Jan

06 Jagtar Singh Tara, former Punjab CM Beant Singhs assassin, arrested from
Thailand
Jan Jagtar Singh Tara
Jagtar Singh 'Tara', former Punjab CM Beant Singh's assassin, was arrested in Thailand on Monday. Tara was
nabbed by Thai authorities on a tip-off about his movements by the Punjab Police. As per reports, he was
arrested from the house of a man who was sheltering Tara at the behest of Pakistan's Inter-Services
Intelligence (ISI) agency. Jagtar Singh 'Tara', who broke away from the Babbar Khalsa to form his own terror
outfit 'Khalistan Tiger Force', was one of the masterminds in the brutal assassination of Beant Singh by a
human bomb outside Punjab Secretariat in Chandigarh on August 31, 1995. Besides Beant Singh, 17 others had
lost their lives in the blast. Tara and other assassins - Paramjit Singh Bheora and Jagtar Singh Hawara, along
with their accomplice Dev Singh made a sensational escape from high-security Burail jail in Chandigarh in 2004.
They reportedly dug a nearly 100 feet long tunnel with their bare hands from their barrack to a spot outside
the jail. While Hawara and Bheora were later nabbed from Nepal, Tara and Dev Singh had slipped into
Pakistan. Dev Singh is still believed to be in Pakistan.

06 Sunanda Pushkar's murder case gets a 'politically motivated' twist


Jan Sunanda Pushkar

The New Delhi police have registered a case of murder against unknown persons in the death of Sunanda
Pushkar, the wife of then minister of state for human resource development, Shashi Tharoor.
According to a medical report from AIIMS, she was poisoned and the poison was either administered to her by
mouth or injection. A recent report from AIIMS states that the intake of acetaminophen (a paracetamol) with
alcohol resulted in the death of Sunanda. The doctors claim that the administration of the drug can be suicidal
as well as homicidal and it was up to the police to come out with the truth. As per the preliminary report by
AIIMS, Sunanda's body had 15 injuries, all of them caused within 12 hours before her death. All the injuries
were caused by blunt force.

06 Those born in Nagaland will not get Tatkal passport


Jan Nagaland

Those born in Nagaland cannot apply for a Tatkal passport and if they already have a passport under general
category, they will be called by the Nagaland police to sign some documents.
The FAQs section of the Tatkal Passports states that the Indian citizens of J&K and Nagaland will require
additional processing time. Additionally, it says J&K residents who have lived outside the state for five years or
more and who have valid migration certificates can apply under Tatkal. But "Naga origins residing outside
Nagaland" can't get this facility. The chief passport officer and a senior official in the ministry of external affairs
were not aware of the technical aspects of this rule, when asked for an explanation for the rule.

07 Punjab HC grants inmates the right to have sex with their partners
Jan Others

In a landmark judgement, the Punjab and Haryana high court has granted jail inmates the right to have sex
with their legal partners. According to the court, where in today's society issues such as gay rights and the
recognition of a third gender are widely debated and held important, the issue of inmates having the right to
indulge in conjugal visits for the sake of childbirth is also valid. The court however, has set certain conditions to
such conjugal visits and ordered prison authorities to keep a check.

www.testfunda.com

Page 7 of 14

GKCA Update
1st to 31st Jan

07 'Every child is born Muslim' says AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi


Jan AIMIM Leader

AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi hit out at right-wing Hindu outfits, stirring the controversy over ghar wapsi
programme. Owaisi said that Every child is born a Muslim. His parents and society convert him to other
religions, Owaisis statement is seen as a payback to Hindu organisations which have been claiming that
ancestors of all Indians were Hindus. Some political parties reacted strongly to Owaisi's statement calling it a
stunt to get votes. On receiving the criticism, he said that his comments are a part of his belief system and
in a democratic system he was free to express his views.

10 Subramanian Swamy claims Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin killed Netaji


Subhash Chandra Bose
Jan S C Bose Killing
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has sparked a controversy by stating that Netaji Subhash Chandra did not die
in a plane crash as was believed earlier, but was killed by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Swamy also demanded
the declassification of files pertaining to the freedom fighter's death from the union government. However,
Swamy later admitted that disclosing those files would jeopardise India's relations with Britain and Russia.

13 Pakistan asks for US help to resolve issues with India regarding Kashmir
Jan Border Disputes

At a joint conference held by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Pakistan's National Security Advisor Sartaj
Aziz, Pakistan announced that it will not hold any talks with India unless Kashmir is a part of the dialogue. The
statement comes in the light of India cancelling bilateral talks with Pakistan after the latter was involved in
unprovoked cross border firing. Pakistan also appealed to the US, which has considerable influence in
international affairs, to ask India to resume bilateral talks and include Kashmir as a component of the talks.

15 DRDO chief sacked 16 months before the end of his tenure


Jan Defence

The central government has sacked DRDO chief Avinash Chander 16 months before his retirement was due.
The move comes on the back of the DRDO's shoddy performance and constant delays in delivering targets,
which has increased overhead costs substantially. India also has the non-coveted tag of being the largest arms
importer in the world, which the country wants to do away with. The move is aimed towards a revamp in the
organisation for better functioning and pro-activeness in delivering targets.

15 Suspect behind Assam Adivasi massacre nabbed


Jan Crime

A joint team of Assam Police and Army's Red Horns Division arrested Enon Bargoyary alias Erkhang, a major
suspect behind the recent massacre of Adivasis in the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD). The arrest
comes forth as a major success of the counter-insurgency operation against National Democratic Front of
Boroland (Songbijit) faction.
According to the Army, Enon is the outfit's self-styled 2nd Lieutenant and was involved in recruiting and
motivating NDFB-S rebels, including women, and sending them to various camps outside the country. Another
seven militants of the outfit, including self-styled platoon commander of the Amteka area, Rinen Basumatary,
alias Majhiwere, were also arrested in Chirang district near the Assam-Bhutan border.
Four weapons, including two AK-47s, two pistols and a large quantity of ammunition, were seized from them.
www.testfunda.com

Page 8 of 14

GKCA Update
1st to 31st Jan

15 CBI to investigate ex-cabinet minister Salman Khurshid's NGO case


Jan Others

The CBI will investigate the case of alleged embezzlement of government funds by an NGO, which was run by
former minister Salman Khurshid and his wife Louise Khurshid. The case first came into the public glare in 2012
and created quite an uproar. The ministry of social welfare and development decided to hand over the case to
the CBI after the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) found that the NGO forged signatures of various officials in
order to procure the funds.
Background:
A TV channel conducted a sting operation, which revealed that the Dr Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust, operated
by Khurshid and his wife received money from the government to buy and distribute hearing aids and
mechanized tri-cycles to physically challenged individuals by forging fake stamps and signatures

17 Controversial book on Sonia Gandhi, The Red Sari released in India


Jan Literature
An unauthorized biography of Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi, written by Spanish author Javier Moro
was released in India. The book called The Red Sari tracks the journey of Sonia Gandhi from her childhood to
her current status of being the only Indian politician to have refused the position of Prime Minister. The book
also brings out the experiences of Nehru-Gandhi family through Bangladesh War, the Emergency, Operation
Blue Star, and other events that have shaped modern Indian history. It was scheduled to release in 2010 but
was stalled by the Congress, the then ruling party of India for depicting the life of Sonia Gandhi in poor light.
The book speaks about the Italian roots of Sonia Gandhi, which the Congress has always tried to wipe off in
order to maintain the party's image. Moro said that his mail box used to be flooded with threatening emails
from Congress insisting Sonia is Indian. They feared that Sonia's Italian origin could be used against her by
political opponents. However, the book was given a green light by the BJP government when it came to power
in India and was published by Roli Books in India.

18 US warns Pakistan to not carry any terrorist activities during president


visit to India
Jan Obama's
Foreign Affairs
The United States of America has warned Pakistan of severe consequences in case any terrorist attacks or
cross-border firings occur in India, when US president Barack Obama visits the country. Obama will become
the first US president in history to attend India's republic day ceremony as the chief guest. The warning comes
in the light of Pakistan backed terrorist organisations indulging in frequent cases of cross-border firing, which
coincide with high profile US visits to India. Nevertheless, both countries, India and the US, are taking various
security measures to turn Rajpath, the main venue of the Republic Day celebrations, into an impregnable
fortress.

21 Government plans to levy tax on the Telecom sector to boost 'Swachh


Bharat Abhiyaan'
Jan Others
The government is planning to levy Swachh Bharat Cess on the Telecom sector in order to generate revenue
for the Swachh Bharat campaign. The Department of Telecom (DOT) had sought the advice of the Attorney
General on whether they can levy the tax legally. The AG stated that imposing the cess would be illegal as it
would violate article 265 of the Indian constitution, however, the AG stated that the Telecom sector is covered
by the Finance law, which makes it liable to pay service tax, education and higher education cess, and the act
www.testfunda.com

Page 9 of 14

GKCA Update
1st to 31st Jan
can be amended to include a third kind of cess. Although, the Telecom cess if implemented, would increase call
and internet tariff of all the service providers and would be a burden on the general population.

27 India celebrated its 66th Republic day with Barack Obama as the chief guest
Jan 66th Republic Day

India celebrated its 66th Republic Day on Monday, 26th of January, 2015 before its chief guest US president,
Barack Obama at Rajpath, New Delhi. This is the first time that an American President would be the chief guest
at Indias Republic Day celebrations. Arrangements were made to ensure an incident-free Republic Day
celebration and fool-proof security to the American President was provided. The event saw a splendid display
of India's military might and cultural diversity. The highlights of the events were the BSF daredevils'
formation of a human pyramid on moving motorbikes, a march-past of all-female units of the army, navy and
air-force, tribal and folk dances of different states of the country showcasing unity in diversity and the display
of long-range maritime surveillance and anti-submarine P-8I aircraft and the long-range advanced MIG-29K
fighter plane. The parade was concluded by a spectacular fly-past by the Indian Air-force that left a smoke-trail
of the saffron, white and green representing the Indian national flag.

27 Arvind Kejriwal issued notice by the Election Commission for alleged bribe
Jan remark
Politics
Former Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal was issued a notice by the
Election Commission (EC) over his controversial 'bribe' remark while campaigning for the Delhi elections. In his
rallies Kejriwal had appealed to the people of Delhi to accept money and other goods if offered in exchange of
votes from parties like the Congress and BJP, but only vote for AAP in the polls. The EC notice states that the
AAP leader's comments amount to 'abetting and promotion of the electoral offence of bribery'. Kejriwal had
initially ignored the notice and chose to repeat his controversial comments in many of his rallies, but later
acknowledged the notice and replied.

27 Barack Obama says India and US can become best partners, also holds a
joint radio address with PM Modi
Jan Politics
As he concluded his landmark three day visit to India, US president Barack Obama said that the US can become
India's best partners in all aspects, while addressing a crowd of students at Delhi's Siri Fort auditorium. He also
highlighted issues like a stronger economic relationship, climate change, women safety in India and religious
tolerance. President Obama also co-hosted Narendra Modis monthly radio address to the nation titled Maan
ki Baat, where they highlighted various issues like the plethora of opportunities in both their countries and
the power of youth amongst others and also their own personal experiences and view-points that have
inspired them in their personal life.

www.testfunda.com

Page 10 of 14

GKCA Update
1st to 31st Jan

Politics & Government


06 BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj says every Hindu woman must produce four kids to
protect Hindu religion
Jan BJP
The controversial statements made by some hardliners associated with BJP have overshadowed Modi's agenda
to push through reforms to boost economic growth of India. BJP had to face considerable flak in both houses
of Parliament for its alleged involvement with right-wing organisations like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (
RSS) in the 'ghar wapsi' programme.
On a recent occasion, while addressing a gathering on the occasion of Sant Samaagam Mahotsava, BJP MP
Sakshi Maharaj sparked a new controversy by saying that the concept of four wives and 40 children will not
work in India and that all Hindu women must produce at least four children in order to protect Hindu religion.
He further added that punishment of death must be given to those involved in conversion and a law will be
passed in Parliament in which anyone indulging in cow slaughter and conversion will be punished with the
death sentence.
He was previously condemned for supporting the killer of Mahatma Gandhi, Nathuram Godse. Sakshi Maharaj
called Nathuram Godse a nationalist while mentioning at the same time that Gandhiji also did a lot for the
nation. However, as a row emerged, Sakshi quietly backtracked and denied calling Nathuram a patriot.

07 PM Modi calls for swift response and legal action against offenders to stop
pollution of the Ganga
Jan Namaami Gange Project
Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting to focus on the Namaami Gange project,
undertaken to conserve the Ganga, and called for strict legal action against industrial units polluting the river.
The PM also stressed on time-bound and swift action to stop pollution of the river. The PM said that the
project should focus primarily on two main areas - urban sewage and industrial effluents to control pollution at
the source. A total of 764 grossly polluting industrial units have been identified along the stretch of the Ganga.
Tanneries, pulp and paper and sugar industries comprise three-fourth of this number. Mr. Modi said that
industries should be motivated to recycle industrial waste and stop pollution, failing which action should be
initiated against them. The PM also mooted the idea of setting up modern, environment-friendly crematoria
along the Ganga, through private initiative and enterprise. Steps were underway to operationalize the Ganga
Vahini a group of volunteers to help end pollution of the river. The NDA has submitted a three phase plan
spanning for nearly 18 years at `51,000 crore to clean the river. The short-term plan is slated to take off in the
next six months.

20 BJP names Kiran Bedi as the CM candidate for Delhi


Jan Kiran Bedi

After a BJP parliamentary board meeting, party president Amit Shah made an announcement that former top
cop and India's first woman IPS officer Kiran Bedi will be the party's CM candidate for Delhi. He also declared
62 of the 70 candidates, whom Bedi will lead during the polls. The former policewoman will contest from the
Krishna Nagar seat in East Delhi, which is considered as a party stronghold.
After years of staying away from active politics, former IPS officer Kiran Bedi announced to join BJP citing
Narendra Modi's charismatic leadership as an influence.

www.testfunda.com

Page 11 of 14

GKCA Update
1st to 31st Jan

16 Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes launched by government


India
Jan The government recently launched a scheme to support aspiring entrepreneurs from the Scheduled Castes.
The scheme called 'Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes' was launched by Union Social Justice Minister
Thaawar Chand Gehlot who called it a promising opportunity for people belonging to the SC categories. The
members under this scheme will be aided with concessional finance to start new business ventures. According
to Social Justice and Empowerment secretary Sudhir Bhargava, about 30 persons a year are estimated to
benefit from this scheme, wherein each can avail loans up to Rs 15 crore.

World
13 IS group hacks US Central Command's social media accounts
Jan ISIS

US Central Command Twitter and YouTube accounts were compromised as the Islamic State jihadists hacked
them, replacing the CentCom's usual logo with a banner with the image of a hooded fighter and the words
"CyberCaliphate" and "I love you ISIS". Incidentally, the hacking of CentCom's social media account came while
Barack Obama was delivering a speech on cyber security.
The seized Twitter feed flashed the self-styled CyberCaliphate "is already here, we are in your PCs, in each
military base," written by the hackers. The motive behind the hacking is still unclear. The matter is being
investigated by the officials.

13 US Secretary of State John Kerry tells Pakistan to eliminate all terrorist


groups
Jan Pakistan
In the aftermath of the terrorist attack in a Peshawar school, US Secretary of State John Kerry has appealed
Pakistan to eliminate all terrorist organisations, which are a threat to Indian, Afghan and American interests.
Pakistan has been often suspected of playing a double game by providing a safe haven to terrorist
organisations, while simultaneously taking a stance against terrorism. John Kerry who is currently on an official
visit to Pakistan also addressed the recent border disputes between India and Pakistan and said that the two
countries need to sort differences and resume peace talks.

14 Chinese province bans burqa


Jan China

Legislators in Xinjiang province of China have passed a law which prohibits residents from wearing a burqa,
citing religious extremism. Recent incidents of communal violence among Turkish speaking Muslims and
China's largest ethnic group have increased tensions in the province of Xinjiang. In the month of August
another city in the province banned people wearing Islamic-style clothing and beards from using public buses.

www.testfunda.com

Page 12 of 14

GKCA Update
1st to 31st Jan

18 200 Yazidi captives released by ISIS after five months


Jan Terrorism
At least 200 Yazidis who were held captive by ISIS in Iraq for five months were released. The reason for their
release is believed to be the inability of ISIS to manage the food and other expenses that came with the
captives. Also according to the Kurds, the elderly and weak Yazidis were slowing the militants down and hence
they were released. The released captives bore infections from insect bites and appeared too weak. Even their
mental health appeared affected. The Yazidis, particularly women and children, were held captive in northern
town of Tal Afar after the militants raided their towns last summer. They are being provided medical aid near
the Kurdish regional capital of Irbil where they were dropped by ISIS and are now being held by the Kurdish
authorities.

20 Islamic State demands $200 million ransom for two Japanese hostages
Jan Terrorism

Islamic State militants have released a video threatening to kill two Japanese hostages if their demand is not
met. The militants named the two hostages as Kenji Goto Jogo and Haruna Yukawa. Yukawa, from Chiba
prefecture near Tokyo, went to Syria to fight with rebels last year after a series of personal misfortunes and
Goto is a well-known author and journalist in his late 40s. The militants demanded $200 million in ransom
within the next 72 hours from the Prime Minister of Japan. PM Shinzo Abe had earlier declared a financial aid
of $200 million to nations fighting the Islamic State. In the video, the militants have criticized Abe for donating
such a huge sum in order to kill their women and children and destroying the homes of the Muslims. Abe has
vowed to save the lives of the two Japanese hostages but declined to say whether Japan would pay the
ransom.

23 King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia passes away, half-brother Salman becomes


ruler
Jan new
Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz died on Friday leaving the throne to his half-brother, Salman. Before
becoming the king of Saudi Arabia in 2006, he had run the country as de facto regent for a decade until the
demise of predecessor King Fahd. Abdullah introduced cautious changes in the conservative Islamic kingdom
including increased women's rights and economic deregulation, but made no moves towards democracy and
was a hawk on policy towards rival Iran. Abdullah also played a crucial role in backing Egypt's military when it
ousted its President Bashar al-Assad.
US President Barack Obama cut short his three-day visit to India and led a high-level delegation to Saudi Arabia
to pay respects to King Abdullah. Saudi Arabia is among the most prominent allies of the US in the Arab world
and is among the US-led coalition of Western and Arab nations conducting air strikes against IS in Syria and
Iraq. But relations between the US and Saudi Arabia have been strained in recent years by differences over US
policy on the Syrian conflict and its nuclear diplomacy with Shia-ruled Iran - a regional rival of Sunni-ruled
Saudi Arabia. Also the US dependence on Saudi Arabia is likely to decrease following shale oil and new Arctic
oilfields that might see US production double. Also there is increased pressure on the United States following
Saudi Arabias stance on human rights and extremism.

www.testfunda.com

Page 13 of 14

GKCA Update
1st to 31st Jan

28 9 people killed in Tripoli hotel attack by IS


Hotel Attack
Jan Tripoli
Islamic State (IS) militants attacked the Corinthia hotel in Tripoli, Libya, which is quite popular with Libyan
diplomats and government officials. The gunmen set-off a car bomb before entering the hotel, which killed
three security guards. They later killed five foreigners on the 24th floor of the hotel before blowing themselves
up after being surrounded by security officials. The final suicide bombing claimed one more life, that of a
hostage. The Tripoli branch of the Islamic State militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack on their
Twitter handle, and said that the attack was in response to the death of an Al Qaeda suspect, Abu Anas al-Libi,
who died before facing trial for bombing US embassies.

www.testfunda.com

Page 14 of 14