1. Name the new planet discovered as Earth’s gassy twin 200 light years away.
Astronomers have discovered a gassy twin of Earth with a mass similar to that of Earth in another solar system 200 light years away. The first Earth-mass planet that transits or crosses in front of its host star was discovered by an international team. Known as KOI-314c, the planet is the same weight as Earth, but is 60% larger.
2. Who heads the RBI panel which has recommended the setting up of specialized banks to cater to low income households?
Ans: Nachiket Mor
A panel of Reserve Bank of India led by Nachiket Mor has suggested to set-up specialized banks to cater to the low income households. These banks will ensure that every citizen have a bank account by 2016. The panel has also suggested that facility for withdrawal, payment and deposit to be set up within a 15 minute walking-distance across the country. The panel was set up by Governor of India, Raghuram Rajan on the same day when he took the charge as the Governor of RBI. He constituted the panel to suggest steps for promoting financial inclusion
3. China has become a partner in the proposed NIMZ in Andhra Pradesh. Expand NIMZ.
Ans: National Investment and Manufacturing Zones
China decided to be one of the partners in the proposed National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZ) in Andhra Pradesh on 6 January 2014. Chittor, Medak and Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh will be the centre of the NIMZ. China would provide both technical and investment support. Each NIMZ was expected to attract an investment of 30000 crore rupees. The project under NIMZ will be supported by both Central and state government.
National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZ) was proposed by Ministry of Commerce and Industry in 2010 in order to increase the overall share of manufacturing in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of India. The objective is to increase the share of manufacturing to 25 percent by 2022 in the GDP of India. To increase the rate of job creation so as to create 100 million additional jobs by 2022, to enhance global competitiveness, domestic value addition, technological depth and environmental sustainability of growth. Under NIMZ there would be a provision for the creation of Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV).
4. Which ministry has announced Maulana Azad Taleem-e-Baligan scheme?
Ans: Union Ministry of Human Resource Development
Union Ministry of Human Resource Development announced Maulana Azad Taleem-e-Baligan scheme along with two other new initiatives on 5 January 2014.It was announced at the annual meeting of the National Monitoring Committee for Minorities Education. Maulana Azad Taleem-e Baligan aims to achieve higher literacy for the minority Muslim community. The scheme will be launched in 61 Muslim-concentrated Sakshar Bharat districts, the Centre’s adult literacy programme running in eleven states. The scheme will impart literacy to one crore population in the age group of 15 years and above and the basic education to 2.5 lakh adults and skill development programmes. Additional 1000 Adult Education Centers will be set up exclusively for women exceeding 5000 muslim population.
5. Dhanu Yatra of Bargarh has started in Odisha. Which lord is remembered during this festival?
Ans: Lord Krishna
The world Famous Dhanu Yatra of Bargarh started on 6 January 2014. The yatra is an 11-day long festival, which will continue till 16 January 2014. During this Dhanu Yatra celebration, Bargarh town is virtually transformed into Mathuranagar, the capital of King Kansa, whereas nearby Ambapalli village across river Jeera becomes into Gopapura, the adobe of Lord Krishna and Jeera river between the two places stands for Yamuna river. Dhanu Yatra of Bargarh is considered as world’s biggest open-air theatre. Almost the entire population of Bargarh town takes part in the festival and it is the biggest assembly of actors that a play can ever have. It is a conglomeration of several open-air theatres, with the action taking place simultaneously at different places. Both actors and viewers keep moving from one place to another as the drama unfolds. The age-old story of Lord Krishna killing the tyrannical King Kansa of Mathura forms the central theme of the play. It is believed that, Dhanu Yatra in its present form started in 1948, post Independence, as a performance charged with a nationalistic fervour. Kansa, the demon king, symbolizes the imperialist British government on its way out and Lord Krishna stands for the nationalistic aspiration of the people.
6. Scientists have spotted which rare bird endemic to the Himalayan foothills and Western Ghats after 60 years?
Ans: Indian Pitta
Indian Pitta, a bird endemic to the Himalayan foothills and Western Ghats, was spotted at Aravalli Biodiversity Park near Vasant Kunj in Delhi recently. As per ornithologists, Indian Pitta, a small and colourful bird which is mainly seen in closed-canopy forests, was spotted in Delhi after 60 years.
Why sighting of Indian Pitta is special for scientists?
The sighting of Indian Pitta or ‘Navaratna’ was last reported by ornithologist Usha Ganguli in her book-A Guide to the Birds of Delhi. But for scientists, the spotting of the bird in national capital after 60 years is special because it was seen in the mining pits which they have converted into moist forests. As an experiment, scientists planted evergreen species in these despoiled pits of Aravalis which was a wasteland earlier. The bird discovered the type of atmosphere it needs at this location.
7. Who has become the first woman chief of Federal Reserve Bank of US?
Ans: Janet Yellen
Janet Yellen (67) has been confirmed as the new chief of the Federal Reserve Bank of the US. With this, she has become the first woman to head the world’s most powerful central bank. Yellen who was earlier nominated by President Barack Obama was elected with the 56-26 vote in the US senate voting. Yellen will replace current chairman Ben Bernanke, who steps down on January 31, 2014 after 8 years in this service, during which the pair tackled the country’s worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
8. Pushpa Kapila Hingorani passed away recently; she was popularly known as:
Ans: Mother of PIL
Pushpa Kapila Hingorani (86), a lawyer who is known by the title ‘Mother of PIL’ for being the first women to file Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on behalf of voiceless under-trial prisoners in Bihar around more than three decades ago, has passed away.
Public Interest Litigation (PIL):
A PIL means litigation for the protection of the public interest.
Understanding the Right to Constitutional Remedies:
Article 32 of the Constitution of India is known as “Right to Constitutional Remedies”. Article 32 (1) says that “The right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred by this Part is guaranteed”.
In ordinary cases the aggrieved person/ party has the right to seek redress under Article 32. Prior to 1980s only the aggrieved party could approach the courts for justice. The Indian legal system which was more or less with colonial nature saw the state of deprivation of civil and political rights particularly during the emergency era. After the emergency got ended in 1977, the 2 judges of the Supreme Court Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer and P. N. Bhagwati recognized the possibility of providing access to justice to the poor and to reach out to the people. Hence Public Interest Litigation was devised an innovative way wherein a person or a civil society group could approach the supreme court seeking legal remedies in cases where public interest is at stake. Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer and Justice P. N. Bhagwati were the first judges to accept PIL. In S. P. Gupta v. Union of India, 1981 case, Justice P. N. Bhagwati articulated the concept of PIL.
9. “CRISIL Inclusix” is a Financial Inclusion Index. Expand CRISIL.
Ans: Credit Rating Information Services of India Limited
The Credit Rating Information Services of India Limited (CRISIL) stated that financial inclusion gained momentum in India with a significant rise in new savings accounts, increase in agriculture credit accounts and expansion of bank branches in deeper geographies. India’s overall CRISIL Inclusix score has risen by 2.7% in financial year 2012 (the highest annual increase since 2009)
10. CCEA has cleared the Central Sector Scheme, ILDP for 12th plan. Expand CCEA.
Ans: Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the central sector scheme, Indian Leather Development Programme (ILDP) for overall development of the leather sector during the 12th Plan (2012-17). Under this scheme, the six sub-schemes are also proposed with an outlay of Rs.990.36 crore. These are – Integrated Development of Leather Sector (IDLS), Human Resource Development (HRD), Support to Artisan (STA), leather technology innovation and environmental issues, mega leather cluster and establishment of institutional institutes. Implementation of the ILDP would provide trained manpower to the industry and assistance to overcome the constraints of infrastructure in the industry
11. Which Nuclear capable Surface-to-Surface missile was successfully test-fired recently?
Ans: Prithvi II
India successfully test-fired its indigenously developed nuclear capable surface to surface Prithvi II missile with a strike range of 350 km from a test range at Chandipur near Balasore on 6 January 2014. The missile was test fired from a mobile launcher in salvo mode from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range. The entire launch activities were carried out by the specially formed Strategic Force Command (SFC) of the defence service. The entire trajectory of missile was tracked by DRDO radars, electro optical tracking systems and telemetry stations. Prithvi II is the first missile which was developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) under India’s prestigious IGMDP (Integrated Guided Missile Development Program). IGMDP was managed by DRDO, started in early 1980 and ended in 2008.The missiles developed under the program were Prithvi, Agni, Trishul, Akash, Nag. Prithvi-II missile is already inducted into the Indian Armed forces. The last trial of Prithvi-II was successfully carried out from the same base on 3 December 2012.
12. World Hindi Day is observed on:
Ans: 10 January
World Hindi Day was celebrated by the Ministry of External Affairs on 10 January 2014 by organizing a function at the Foreign Service Institute at Ber Sarai in New Delhi. Navtej Sarna, the Special Secretary was the Chief Guest of the occasion. The first World Hindi Conference was organised on 10 January 2006 in Nagpur and since then every 10 January is observed as the World Hindi Day. The Ministry of External Affairs is also committed to propagate Hindi as a language abroad through Indian Missions/posts.
13. POSCO has got Environmental Clearance for its 52000 crore rupee Steel Plant in Odisha. Expand POSCO.
Ans: Pohang Iron and Steel Company
POSCO, the South Korean steel maker giant on 10 January 2014 received environment clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) for a steel plant worth 52000 crore rupees in Odisha. The project was in the pipeline for clearance and all for past eight years. The clearance has come a week ahead of the India visit of the President of South Korea, Geun Hye. This clearance to POSCO has paved a way to build the steel plant with an annual production capacity of 12 million tones. With this investment, POSCO project will emerge as the largest foreign direct investment in India, which was stalled since 2005 because of the problems related to land procurement and environmental clearance. Naveen Patnaik, the Chief Minister of Odisha has also cleared the proposal of granting of Prospecting Licence (PL) over Khandadhar mines for the mega steel project near Paradip, as per the sources.
POSCO India Private Limited is a subsidiary of POSCO, the world’s fourth largest steel producer and one of the most competitive steel companies. POSCO signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Orissa in June 2005, to set up a 12 MTPA green field steel plant near Paradip, Jagatsinghpur District, Orissa, with an estimated investment of USD 12 billion. The company will build 4 million-tonnes per annum capacity steel plant in Orissa, during Corporate Overview the first phase of its project, and expand the final production volume to 12 million tons per annum. POSCO-India Pvt. Ltd. was incorporated on 25th August 2005. POSCO, the parent company operates two of the world’s premier steelworks at Pohang and Gwangyang, having a combined production capacity of 33.7 million tons per annum (MTPA).
14. Ministry of Environment and Forest has approved Tawang II hydroelectric project. This project belongs to which Indian state?
Ans: Arunachal Pradesh
Ministry of Environment and Forest cleared the Tawang-II hydroelectric project in Arunachal Pradesh on 9 January 2014. The Tawang – II hydroelectric of 800MW project in Arunachal Pradesh will be executed by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC). The Project is to be set up on the Tawangchu River, downstream of Forebridge near Jang in Arunachal Pradesh. The expected cost of the project is 6112.30 crore rupees. The Project will benefit all the States of Northeast and may generate 3622 million units annually. The Tawng project will require diversion of 116 hectares forest land including 19.6 hectares for underground use.
15. IIa Pathak died recently at the age of 80. Who was IIa Pathak?
Ans: Social activist
Social activist IIa Pathak passed away due to prolonged illness in Ahmedabad on 9 January 2014. She was the founder of Ahmedabad Women’s Action Group (AWAG). IIa Pathak was the president of India Chapter of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and served as professor in H K Arts College. She was the vice-President of Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and she played a key role in movement for justice to the victims of 2002 riots of Gujarat.
16. India’s first gun for women has been launched. What is the name of this gun?
India’s first gun for women, Nirbheek was launched on 9 January 2014. It is a tribute to the gang rape victim of December 2012, Nirbhaya. Gun has been manufactured by the Indian Ordnance Factory, Kanpur. It is a 0.32 bore light weight revolver which has been developed to give more power to women to defend themselves. It only weighs 500 grams and is made of titanium alloy. Besides, being the lightest revolver, Nirbheek is also the smallest revolver made in India. For it simple mechanism and light frame it has been described by arms experts as an Indian hybrid of a Webley & Scott and Smith & Wesson.
17. Ali Larayedh, who resigned recently, was the Prime Minister of which country?
Ali Larayedh, the Prime Minister of Tunisia resigned from his office on 9 January 2014. With his resignation, the country will be led by the caretaker Government of technocrats led by new Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa. He resigned following a deal between the Islamist Ennahda Party of Ali Larayedh and the secular opposition for a transition to the democracy in the country. It’s likely that the name of Mehdi Jomaa will be announced by the President of Tunisia for appointment. Tunisia as a country has been the birthplace of the Arab Spring and its transition to democracy.
18. Who confers the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards?
Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India on 9 January 2014 conferred the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Awards to thirteen NRIs, PIOs and organisations for their outstanding contribution in the country of their residence as well as to India. The Pravasi Bhartiya Divas was organised in New Delhi from 7 to 9 January 2014. The theme for the year was Engaging Diaspora: Connecting Across Generations. Following people were awarded:
• Lisa Maria Singh from Australia she was given for Public service and fostering friendly relations between India and Australia.
• Kurian Varghese from Bahrain was awarded for Business for enhancing India’s image and for Promotion better understanding of India abroad.
• Vasdev Chanchlani from Canada was awarded for Community service and fostering ties between India and Canada and efforts in promotion Indian culture and heritage.
• Ramakrishna Mission from Fiji was awarded for Community service and philanthropic activity and enhancing India’s prestige abroad.
• Satnarainsing Rabin Baldewsingh from Netherlands was awarded for Public service and developing closer ties between India and South Africa.
• Bikas Chandra Sanyal from France was awarded for Education and culture and enhancing India’s image.
• Sasindran Muthuvel from Papua New Guinea was awarded for the field of Public service.
• Shihabudeen Vava Kunju from Saudi Arabia was awarded for the Community service and promoting ties between India and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
• Ela Gandhi from South Africa was awarded for Public service, enhancing India’s image and promoting ties between India and South Africa.
• Shamsheer Vayalil Parambath from United Arab was awarded for Health business and in promoting Better understanding of India United Arab Emirates.
• Shailesh Lakhman Vara from United Kingdom has been awarded for Public service and in promoting ties between India and the people of U.K.
• Parthasarathy Chiramel Pillai from USA was awarded for Science and for fostering closer relations between India and USA.
• Renu Khator from USA has been awarded for Education and enhancing India’s prestige abroad.
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is celebrated on 9 January every year to mark the contribution of Overseas Indian community in the development of India. Mahatma Gandhi returned from South Africa to India on 9 January 1915 and that’s the reason that the da has been chosen to celebrate the day. He has been termed as the greatest Pravasi of India, who led the freedom struggle and changed the lives of Indians forever. PBD conventions are being held every year since 2003. These conventions provide a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage with the government and people of the land of their ancestors for mutually beneficial activities. These conventions are also very useful in networking among the overseas Indian community residing in various parts of the world and enable them to share their experiences in various fields.
19. Who has become the Prime minister in Bangladesh?
Ans: Sheikh Hasina
The newly elected MPs the Parliament of Bangladesh led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took the Parliamentary oath on 9 January 2014. With this oath ceremony, the ruling Awami League formed the government for the government for second consecutive term. Earlier, Awami League secured an absolute majority in the Parliamentary elections conducted on 5 January 2014. The oath of the 284 MPs was administered by Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury of the 300 MPs. The remaining 16 MPs will be sworn later. The cabinet oath will be held on 12 January 2014.
20. The “Araku Valley” known for its rich biodiversity is located in which state?
Ans: Andhra Pradesh
Araku Valley is a Hill station in Visakhapatnam district in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. It is a valley in the Eastern Ghats inhabited by different tribes. Araku Valley is one of the least polluted and less commercialized tourist destinations in South India
21. Which committee was set up by RBI to study the various issues relating to financial benchmarks?
Ans: Vijaya Bhaskar committee
A Committee on Financial Benchmarks, headed by Reserve Bank of India Executive Director P. Vijaya Bhaskar, has suggested increased role for the apex bank for the oversight of the benchmark setting process. The committee has recommended a change in the way of determining the money market benchmarks so as to remove any possible scope for manipulation. It has recommended that the overnight Mumbai Inter-bank Bid Rate-Mumbai Inter-bank Offered Rate (Mibid-Mibor) fixing be based on “the volume based weighted average of traded rates from 9 to 10 in the morning. The committee has also recommended basing the government securities yield curve, including for illiquid debt, on the basis of volume-based weighted average rates instead of last traded yields.