Current Affairs of 8 january 2015

 1. PM invites Indian Diaspora to fund, clean up Ganga
 Virtually ‘relaunching’ the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) on a high-profile platform to reconnect with overseas Indians, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday exhorted them and their descendents to contribute to the Namami Gange Fund and clean up the mighty river to rededicate themselves to the country of their origins.
The Ganga Cleanliness Campaign is an opportunity for overseas Indians to contribute to their country and reconnect with their heritage, he said, recalling how Indian settlers in Mauritius have named a reservoir there as ‘Ganga Sagar’ where they pour water brought from the great river as a means to keep them connected. Mauritius also has a Gandhi Hall and celebrates October 2, while Guyana’s celebrations for the festivals of Holi and Diwali are as glittering as in India, he said.
Formally inaugurating the 13th PBD, the khadi-clad PM pointed out that 40 per cent of India’s population resides in 6,000 villages and 120 towns and cities along the Ganges and its cleanliness could be a project of great heritage value. Overseas Indians would feel as proud of this achievement as they felt with the launch of Mangalyaan.
The annual PBD, that began in 2003 under the Atal Behari Vajpayee-led NDA Government, had lost some of its sheen over the years, a fact Modi underlined when he said the event had “weakened” and the number of participants had dwindled over the years. “Now, a Pravasi Gujarati welcomes the Pravasi Bharatiya people” he said, indicating how he had ‘politically migrated’ from Gujarat to Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
About 4,000 members of the Indian Diaspora from 60 countries, participating in the three-day event that began on Wednesday, are either non-resident Indians (NRIs) or people of Indian origin (PIOs). NRIs and PIOs, numbering 25 million and 7 million, respectively, spread over some 200 countries, have made India a global nation.


2. Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s Prize for Display at Rashtrapati Bhavan museum
Kailash Satyarthi’s Nobel Prize has been put up for display at Rashtrapati Bhavan museum.
It was put for display, after Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi dedicated his prize to the nation. He presented his medal to President Pranab Mukherjee in a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Now, visitors to Rashtrapati Bhavan will now be able to get a glimpse of the Nobel Peace Prize received by him.
The medal made up of 18 carats gold and weighing 196 grams will be kept at Rashtrapati Bhavan museum for display.
Rashtrapati Bhavan museum: It was inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee in July 2014. This museum provides public an inside view of the Rashtrapati Bhavan along with its art, architecture and lives of past presidents.

3. Amitabh Bachchan named as the Brand Ambassador of AP health sector
Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan  named as the Brand Ambassador of  Andhra Pradesh (AP) health sector. His appointment was announced by the AP Health Minister Kamineni Srinivas in Hyderabad.
Being the brand ambassador of AP health sector, he will be participating in various health-related campaigns of AP government. However, Bachchan will not take any remuneration for the services he would be rendering to the state as its health ambassador.

4. Indian diplomat Atul Khare named as UN Under Secretary-General for Field Support
Indian diplomat Atul Khare is named as UN Under Secretary-General for Field Support, Department of Field Support (DFS). It was announced by Secretary-General of United Nations Ban Ki-moon.
He will succeed Bangladesh’s Ameerah Haq. This appointment makes him as one of the highest ranking Indian officials in UN.
UN Department of Field Support (DFS)
This department provides dedicated support to peacekeeping field missions and political field missions around the world.
It also provides support in the areas of finance, logistics, Information, communication and technology (ICT), human resources and general administration to help missions promote peace and security.
His appointment to this position will bring strategic management and innovative reform expertise in both headquarters and field perspective of UN’s DFS.

5. Punjab bans sale of loose cigarettes and tobacco
Punjab has become first state in India, to completely ban the sale of loose cigarettes (even as single sticks) and loose tobacco.
State government had banned the sale of loose cigarettes and tobacco under Section 7 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 (COTPA Act, 2003).
Section 7 of COTPA bans sale of these products if they are traded, supplied or distributed without specified warning including pictorial warning on it

6. Dinesh Oraon of BJP unanimously elected Speaker of Jharkhand Legislative Assembly
Dr. Dinesh Oraon of Bharatiya Janata Party was elected as the Speaker of Jharkhand Legislative Assembly . Protem Speaker Stephen Marandi announced Oraon's election as unanimous.
His name for the post was proposed by the Chief Minister Raghubar Das and seconded by the Social Welfare Minister Louis Marandi.
He is the 10th Speaker of the Jharkhand Legislative Assembly since the State came into being on 15 November 2000.

7. WTO mini-Ministerial at Davos on Jan 24
 Trade Ministers of India, US and Australia, among other countries, will meet on January 24 on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Summit at Davos to discuss the road ahead for the WTO, including the post-Bali programme.
“It will be a kind of WTO mini-Ministerial meeting. About 20-22 trade ministers may attend the meeting. Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman would participate besides WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo and others,” an official said.
The meeting assumes significance as the 160-member body has adopted the much-delayed Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and agreed to find a permanent solution on the issues arising out of the implementation of food security programmes of developing countries including India.
In February, India secured a major victory at Geneva with the WTO accommodating its food security demands, leading to conclusion of an historic trade reform deal.
The official said that the ministers are expected to discuss the post-Bali work programme like implementation of the TFA and pending matters of the Doha Round during the meeting.
WEF’s high-profile annual congregation of the world’s rich and powerful at the Swiss ski resort town of Davos will this year is expected to host over 300 heads of state and government along with 1,500 business leaders, including more than 100 members of India Inc.

8. Russian Popov Ivan won 7th Chennai International Open Grandmaster Chess title

Popov Ivan of Russia  won 7th Chennai International Open Grandmaster Chess title. He clinched the title via super tie-breaker after eight players ended with 7.5 points each.
The winner Popov Ivan was awarded the cash purse of two lakhs rupees, while Runner-up Dzhumaev Marat of Uzbek GM got one lakh fifty thousand rupees and third placed GM Mozharov Mikhail of Russia secured a cash award of one lakh fifteen thousand rupees.
For the first time in the history of Chennai Open, there was an eight way tie and it was resolved on quotient.
Among others, who shared the top spot were Dzhumaev Marat (Uzbekistan), Mozharov Mikhail (Russia), Ramnath Bhuvanesh R, Swapnil S Dhopade, Ravichandran Siddharth (all Indians), Gasanov Eldar (Ukraine), Nguyen Duc Hoa (Vietnam).

9. Fiscal burden of pensions may reach up to 4.1% of GDP by 2030: Crisil

The Government’s fiscal burden in providing a safety net for the ageing population 
in India is likely to reach 3.4 per cent to 4.1 per cent of GDP by 2030, a report released by Crisil Research said here .
The report said the Government currently spends 2.2 per cent of  GDP on pension bill. India’s old age population will go up to 180 million (from 100 million at present) by 2050, the report said pointing to the United Nations estimates. “The demographic profile of the country is the biggest positive driver of economic growth but what gets lost in all the discussion is that India is rapidly ageing,” said Roopa Kudva, Managing Director and CEO, Crisil.
Kudva said in such a case a multi-fold rise in the pension coverage of private sector is essential. According to Crisil, 8 per cent of the private sector employees are covered under pension benefits at present.
It said the private sector coverage will have to increase from 8 per cent to 70 per cent by 2030 and for this the retirement fund corpus will have to grow at 21 per cent annually. If this happens, the government will have to provide “pension to only 30 per cent of the old who are needy, in addition to retired government employees.”
“As a result, the government’s pension bill will rise by 120 basis points, to 3.4 per cent of GDP by 2030 from 2.2 per cent currently,” the report added. However, if the private sector is unable to expand its coverage, the fiscal burden will rise to 4.1 per cent of GDP by 2030.

10. ING Vysya, Kotak Bank get shareholders nod for merger
Decks have been cleared for the merger of ING Vysya Bank with Kotak Mahindra Bank with the shareholders of both the banks approving the amalgamation proposal at their respective extraordinary general meetings (EGMs) convened on Wednesday.
Both ING Vysya Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank informed the stock exchanges separately on Thursday morning about securing their shareholders approval for the proposed scheme of amalgamation.
The Bengaluru-headquartered ING Vysya Bank said the proposed scheme of amalgamation was approved by 89.04 per cent of the shareholders present at the EGM, representing 96.89 per cent of the value.
Kotak Bank said 99.30 per cent of its shareholders present at the EGM, representing 99.93 per cent in value approved the proposed merger.
The Kotak Mahindra Bank scrip gained 2.74 per cent in the early trade on Thursday and was trading at Rs. 1,305.50, while ING Vysya Bank shares were up 3 per cent at Rs. 904.70 on the BSE.

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