1. Santoor maestro Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma honoured with Kala Shikhar award
Santoor maestro Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma was honoured with the Aditya Vikram Birla Kala Shikhar Award for lifetime achievement.
The governor of Maharashtra C Vidyasagar Rao presented the award to the 77-year old Santoor player in Mumbai.
On the other hand, Murad Ali Khan (Sarangi) and Satyajit Talwalkar (Tabla) were awarded with the Kala Kiran Awards. Special Jury Award was given to Shehnai players Sanjeev and Ashwani Shankar.
After starting his career as a vocalist, Pandit Sharma emerged out as the master instrumentalist of the Santoor. He is credited with making Santoor a popular Classical Instrument.
The Santoor maestro is also the recipient of the Padma Shri and the Padma Vibhushan.
2. What Happened to Netaji? authored by former journalist Anuj Dhar released
Book titled What Happened to Netaji? authored by former journalist Anuj Dhar was released October 2015. The book talks about Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in form of an unseen holy man of Faizabad in disguise who lived in several parts of Uttar Pradesh from 1050s to 1980s.
The book provides three prominent theories of Bose’s death zeroing in on what has come to be known as the Faizabad angle of the Bose mystery.
The book talks about the controversy surrounding the fate of Subhas Chandra Bose and lights the factual position with regard to the air crash that reportedly killed Netaji in 1945.
3. Grand Alliance won the 2015 Assembly Elections of Bihar with two-thirds majority
Election Commission of India announced the results of the 2015 Assembly elections of Bihar. The elections were held in 5 phases between 12 October and 5 November 2015 for 243 assembly seats.
The Grand Alliance of Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad on Sunday humbled the BJP and its allies in the Bihar Assembly elections, notching up a stunning 178 seats against 58 mustered by the National Democratic Alliance.
The Grand Alliance surpassed the NDA in all regions of the State, registering a margin of victory that confounded predictions that this would be a closely fought contest. Nitish Kumar, who will be Bihar’s Chief Minister for a third term, described the poll as a milestone, which will shape the national political discourse.
4. Boeing teams up with Tata to build Apache fuselages in India
Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems today announced a joint venture to manufacture aerostructures for aircraft and collaborate on integrated systems development opportunities in India.
The JV will initially create a manufacturing center of excellence to produce aerostructures for the AH-64 Apache helicopter and to compete for additional manufacturing work packages across Boeing platforms, both commercial and defense.
This partnership will capitalize on India's industrial capability, innovation and talent to contribute to Boeing's long-term competitiveness and position us for future growth in the global marketplace.
Boeing and Tata group companies have established partnerships in India to manufacture aerostructures for Boeing's commercial and military aircraft. Tata Advanced Materials has delivered composite panels for the power and mission equipment cabinets and auxiliary power unit door fairings for the P-8I long-range maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft. TAL Manufacturing Solutions is manufacturing complex floor beams out of composite materials for the Boeing 787.
5. India test-fires Agni-IV ballistic missile
India today test-fired its nuclear-capable strategic ballistic missile Agni-IV, capable of hitting a target at a distance of 4,000 km, from a test range off the Odisha coast as part of a user trial by the armed forces.
Supported by a mobile launcher, the sleek missile was flight tested from the launch complex-4 of Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Abdul Kalam Island, formerly known as Wheeler Island.
The indigenously developed surface-to-surface Agni-IV missile is a two-stage weapon system. It is 20 metres long and weighs 17 tonnes. The trial was conducted by Strategic Force Command (SFC) of the army.
Agni-IV missile is equipped with 5th generation onboard computer and distributed architecture. It has the latest features to correct and guide itself for in-flight disturbance.
Agni-I, II and III and Prithvi are already in the arsenal of the armed forces, giving them reach of over 3,000 km and providing the country an effective deterrence capability.
6. N Srinivasan removed as ICC chairman
N. Srinivasan was dethroned as the ICC Chairman after the BCCI decided to recall him and nominate its recently-elected president Shashank Manohar as the chief of the world body.
The decision to remove Srinivasan was taken at the BCCI’s 86th Annual General Meeting here on Monday, virtually signalling the end of his hold on Indian cricket.
The tenure of Srinivasan, who took over in June last year, was to end next year in the same month and the remainder of the term would be completed by Manohar as it is India’s turn to hold the top position.
It is learnt that the resolution favouring replacing Srinivasan with Manohar was passed at the AGM. In case Manohar cannot attend the ICC meetings, Sharad Pawar will be India’s representative.
The Tamil Nadu strongman will thus lose his grip on Indian cricket for good after having already been ousted as the BCCI President owing to the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal in which his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was held guilty of betting charges.
Although Srinivasan was not personally indicted for the damaging scandal but the Supreme Court-appointed R.M. Lodha committee had chided him for not acting on the elements which corrupted the IPL.
7. Prof Ashok Misra headed Committee of Eminent Persons CEP on JEE submitted its report
The Committee of Eminent Persons (CEP) submitted its report. It was constituted by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Council under the Chairmanship of Prof Ashok Misra to suggest reforms to the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE).
Recommendations of the CEP
Following changes in the structure of JEE shall be effected from 2017 onwards
• A National Testing Service shall be set up by early 2016, mandated to conduct an Aptitude Test, which should test the scientific aptitude and innovative thinking ability
• The Aptitude test may be offered 2 or more times in a year and would be an online test. The testing shall test the scientific thinking and cannot be gamed through coaching
• Based on this performance, about 4 lakh candidates shall be short-listed for taking the JEE
• The JEE itself will be on the lines of the current JEE (Advanced) and designed to test the knowledge in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics; and will be conducted by the IITs.
• From this, ranks will be issued to 40,000+ students who can seek admission in IITs and NITs based on a common counselling.
• The IITs be requested to set up a system for developing mock JEE examinations which will help students prepare for the JEE significantly and wean them away from the coaching industry. The possibility of using the MOOCS platform can also be explored.
• MHRD may take measures for the improvement of school education and the method of examination of the Boards, so that students with the Science aptitude are well prepared in the concepts by the time they reach 12th grade, without dependence on coaching institutions.
Till such time, that is for 2016 and 2017, the practice of two tier JEE examination shall be continued.
8. Union Government launched E-Pathshala, Saransh, Shaala Siddhi Portals
The Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani launched the e-Pathshala, Saaransh and National Programme on School Standards and Evaluation Framework (Shala Siddhi) web portals/ mobile apps.
These portals were launched during the edNEXT, the National Conference on ICT in School Education that was held at New Delhi. During the Conference, Shala Darpan, MDM-IVRS and Ekta project from Alwar, Rajasthan were also show-cased.
E-Pathshala web portal
• E-Pathshala is a web portal which hosts educational resources for Students, Teachers, Parents, researchers and educators.
• It contains textbooks and other e-books as E-Pub 3.0 and Flipbooks in English, Hindi and Urdu.
• It is available through especially developed mobile app interface on Android, IOS and windows platforms for wider access.
Shaala Siddhi web portal
• Shaala Siddhi web portal is a comprehensive instrument for school evaluation which enables the schools to evaluate their performance in more focused and strategic manner.
• The web-portal will help all schools to assess themselves and the results can be seen by all enabling them to provide feedback.
• The initiative has already been successfully piloted in four districts of Tamil Nadu.
• Saransh is a tool which allows the schools to identify areas of improvement in students, teachers and curriculum to facilitate and implement change.
• The platform is presently available for classes 9th to 12th and provides a comprehensive overview of standard 10th performance since 2007 and standard 12th performance since 2009 till the current academic session.
• Presently, results of CBSE are available on this portal/app.
The event also showcased other ICT initiatives including the IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system to monitor the daily implementation of Mid Day Meal scheme and Shaala Darpan, an integrated platform to address all academic and administrative requirements of schools, teachers, parents and students.
9. India inks $273 million loan pact with ADB for funding rural roads
Government has signed a $273 million loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to improve rural roads in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal.
The loan constitutes the third tranche, which is also the last tranche of the $800 million financing facility under the Rural Connectivity Investment Programme.
The loan will help in constructing over 6,000 kilometers of all-weather rural roads in the aforesaid five states, benefiting over 4,200 rural habitations.
The Ministry of Rural Development is the executing agency of the project at the central level, while state governments of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and West Bengal have been entrusted with overall implementation at the respective state level.