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1. Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes Amendment Act, 2015 came into force
1. The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015 came into force on 26 January 2016. The act was made to ensure more stringent provisions for prevention of Atrocities against Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
2. The act came into force after the Lok Sabha passed this amendment bill on 4 August 2015 while the upper house Rajya Sabha gave its nod on 21 December, 2015. And the final ass ent by the President came on 31 December 2015.
3. The bill was provided to make amendments in the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015.
4. The amended Act has more stringent provisions for prevention of atrocities against Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the Scheduled Tribes (STs). The amended law include new offences like tonsuring of head or similar acts which are derogatory to the dignity of SCs and STs
2. International Customs Day observed on 26 January
1. The International Customs Day 2016 was observed across the world on 26 January 2016. The day is organised in commemoration of formation of World Customs Organisation (WCO) on 26 January 1953.
2. On 26 January every year, the Customs administrations of 179 Member States of the World Customs Organisation organize various national events to celebrate the first session of the Customs Co-operation Council. On its part, the WCO Secretariat chooses a topic for the International Customs Day.
3. The WCO is dedicating 2016 to promoting the digitalization of Customs process under the slogan Digital Customs: Progressive Engagement.
3. India, France ink 14 pacts for cooperation various fields
1. India and France have singed 14 pacts for enhancing the bilateral cooperation various fields including defence, space, railways, education etc. These agreements were signed between the two countries after extensive talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande.
Signed Agreements are
Defence: MoU on purchase of 36 Rafale Aircrafts.
Space: Implementation Arrangement between ISRO and CNES on hosting Argos-4 Payload onboard Oceansat-3 satellite of India. Implementation Arrangement between ISRO and CNES on a future joint Thermal Infrared earth observation mission. Letter of Intent (LoI) on France’s (CNES) participation in India’s (ISRO’s) next Mars Mission.
Railways: Joint Venture Shareholding Agreement between Indian Railways and Alstom for production of 800 electric locomotives in Madhepura plant in Bihar. Agreement between Indian Railways and French Railways (SNCF) for joint feasibility study for the renovation of Ambala (Punjab) and Ludhiana (Punjab) railway stations.
Food safety: MOU between Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and ANSES in food safety. Public Administration: Partnership Agreement on Cooperation in Public Administration between Union Ministry of Personnel & Public Grievances and France.
Cultural exchange: Declaration of Intent (DoI) for conducting Bonjour India (French festival) in 2017 and Namaste France (Indian festival) in 2016, Cultural Exchange Programme between both countries for the period 2016-2018 Science & Technology: Arrangement for establishment of an Indo- French Ministerial level Joint Committee on Science & Technology.
Education: MoU between IIT Mumbai and Thales Systemes Aeroportes for Industry Sponsored Ph.D (Doctorate) Fellowship. Cooperation Agreement for joint research, teaching, exchange of personnel etc between IISER, Pune and ENS de Lyon (France). Agreement of Cooperation in the field of Higher Education & Research between IIT Mumbai and CNRS, TB, UBO, UBS,ENSTA Bretagne,ENIB (French Universities).
4. Malayalam actor Kalpana passes away
1. Famous Malayalam film actress Kalpana Ranjani passed away in Hyderabad, Telangana due to a heart attack. She was 51. She was best known for her work especially for her comic roles in South Indian films, primarily Malayalam and Tamil films.
5. Gallantry awards 2016
1. President Pranab Mukherjee has conferred the country’s highest peacetime gallantry award Ashok Chakra to Lance Naik Mohan Nath Goswami posthumously. On the eve of 67th Republic Day celebrations President has approved 365 Gallantry awards and other Defence decorations to Armed Forces personnel and others. It includes one Ashoka Chakra, 4 Kirti Chakras and 11 Shaurya Chakras.
Ashok Chakra: Lance Naik Mohan Nath Goswami (Posthumous). He belonged to 9 PARA (Special Force) and laid down his life while fighting LeT militants in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Kirti Chakra: Subedar Mahendra Singh of 9 PARA (Special Force).
Sepoy Jagdish Chand (Posthumous) of 546 DSC Platoon. Shaurya Chakra: Colonel Santosh Mahadik (Posthumous) of 41 Rashtriya Rifle (PARA).
Major Praphul Kumar Bhardwaj of 12 PARA (Special Force). Major Sandip Yadav of 55 Rashtriya Rifle (Armed).
Major Anurag Kumar of 9 PARA (Special Force).
Lieutenant Harjinder Singh of 3 KUMAON.
Naik Satish Kumar (Posthumous) of 21 Rashtriya Rifle (Guards). Naik Kheem Singh Mehra of 21 KUMAON.
Sepoy Dharma Ram (Posthumous) of 1 Rashtriya Rifle (MAHAR).
Kirti Chakra is the second highest peace time gallantry award i.e. awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the field of battle. Shaurya Chakra is third highest peace time gallantry award generally awarded for counterinsurgency operations and actions against the enemy during peace-time.