1. Zaheer Khan retired from International Cricket
i. Zaheer Khan, one of India’s finest pacers, on 15 October 2015 retired from all forms of international and first-class Cricket. However, he will continue to play in IPL for one more season.
ii. Zaheer, with 311 wickets, is the fourth highest Indian wicket-taker in Tests behind Anil Kumble (619), Kapil Dev (434) and Harbhajan Singh (417). He was also the third highest wicket-taker in international cricket among left-arm pacers.
iii. He was one of the key members of the 2011 ODI World Cup winning team, leading the pace attack with 21 wickets in just 9 games. He was also the part of 2003 World Cup squad of Indian cricket team that lost the final match against Australia at Johannesburg, South Africa by 125 runs.
iv. In 2011 he was conferred with the Arjuna Award, India's second highest sporting award by the President of India. In 2008, he was also selected as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year.
2. Supreme Court declares NJAC unconstitutional
i. Supreme Court has declared National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, 2014 and 99th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2014 unconstitutional and void.
ii. Ruling in this regard was given by five-judge Constitutional Bench of SC headed by Justice J S Khehar on a petition were filed by Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA) and others.
iii. SC bench has held that Collegium system will remain operative which was established by its earlier ruling of in 1993 for the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary. The petitions had challenged the new law on the selection and appointment of judges mentioning that it is unconstitutional and aimed at hurting the independence of judiciary.
3. Govt flags off Science Express special train on climate change
i. The government flagged off the ‘Science Express Climate Action Special’ train from Delhi, as part of its initiative to sensitize the masses, especially children and the youth, about the issue of climate change, in the run-up to the global climate summit in Paris slated for December.
ii. Exhibits on the 16-coach air-conditioned train would cover specific topics like adaptation, mitigation, India’s action on mitigation, international climate change negotiations, nature conservation, innovations in India, science lab, biotechnology applications and others.
iii. The train will run till 7 May 2016 and during the course of these eight months, it would stop at 64 locations across India, covering over 19,500 kilometres. Some of these locations are Patiala, Jaisalmer, Agra, Ambala, New Jalpaiguri, Vishakhapatnam, Vellore, Rameswaram, Mangalore and Gandhinagar.
iv. The Science Express—a joint initiative of the ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEFCC), the ministry of railways and the ministry of science and technology—has had an eight-year run. Last year, its theme was biodiversity. The Climate Action Special was flagged off by union minister for science and technology Harsh Vardhan along with railway minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu and environment minister Prakash Javadekar.
v. The Climate Change Express will explain in detail about climate change and the actions or paths we can take to tackle climate change.
4. President Pranab Mukherjee concluded his 3-nation tour to Jordan, Palestine and Israel
i. President Pranab Mukherjee on 15 October 2015 concluded his 3-nation tour to Jordan, Palestine and Israel. During his 6-day visit, which took place from 10 October to 15 October 2015, President Pranab signed various agreement and MoUs with three nations to boost the bilateral ties.
ii. During his visit, he also met the leaders of the three nations namely President and Prime Minister of Israel Reuven Rivlin and Benjamin Netanyahu respectively, His Majesty King Abdullah-II Ibn Al Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, President and Prime Minister of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas and Rami Hamdallah respectively.
iii. During this tour, he stayed in Jordan (10 to 12 October 2015), Palestine (12 to 13 October 2015) and Israel (13 to 15 October 2015). Mukherjee’s visit to these three countries was the first ever visit by an Indian President.
iv. President invited Israel to participate in the transformation of India and sought Israel’s participation in Digital India programme. He was conferred honorary doctorate by Hebrew University in Jerusalem, University of Jordan and Al-Quds University, Palestine.
v. The president extended invitation to the countries to invest in India and also sought steps to further deepen the ties. The accompanying academic delegation exchanged Memoranda of Understanding in all the three places.
5. SC allowed use of Aadhar Card for all Central and State Welfare schemes on voluntary basis
i. The Supreme Court on 15 October 2015 allowed the use of Aadhaar cards for all central and state schemes, including Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana and employee provident fund and pension schemes, on voluntary basis.
ii. After the concession, the citizens can avail benefits under welfare schemes. Also, the absence of an Aadhaar card will not disallow people from benefiting from these schemes.
iii. The government cannot force citizens to enrol for the card. The government cannot make it a criterion for benefits under various schemes.
iv. The order was passed by a Constitution Bench of five judges, Justices M Y Eqbal, C Nagappan, Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy. The bench was headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu. Earlier on 7 October 2015, a three-judge bench of SC had refused to modify its August 11 2015 order limiting the use of Aadhar cards to LPG subsidy, Kerosene and Public Distribution System (PDS).
6. Rameswaram, birthplace of Dr. Abdul Kalam, included as 498th town under AMRUT
i. Union Minister of Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu on 15 October 2015 declared that former President Dr. Abdul Kalam’s birth place Rameswaram has been included in Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for providing basic urban infrastructure.
ii. The announcement was made on the occasion of 84th birth anniversary of Dr. Kalam at a programme organised at DRDO. Rameswaram is the 498th to be included in the Mission. With the addition of Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu would have 32 cities and towns under Atal Mission.
iii. Besides, a committee comprising of Union Ministers M Venkaiah Naidu, Manohar Parrikar, Pon Radhakrishnan and former Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswamy will work out the details of a Memorial for Dr. Kalam at Rameswaram. This Committee will consult all concerned before giving a final shape to the Memorial.
iv. Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) was approved by the Union Cabinet on 29 April 2015. The mission aims at providing basic infrastructure facilities in 500 cities with an outlay of 50000 crore rupees over the next five years (2015-16 to 2019-20).
7. Central Victim Compensation Fund set up with 200 crore rupees by Union Government
i. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs on 14 October 2015 introduced a scheme called Central Victim Compensation Fund (CVCF) with an initial amount of 200 crore rupees. The scheme aims at enabling support to victims of various attacks, such as rape, acid attacks, human trafficking and women killed or injured in the cross border firing.
ii. States were asked to accordingly modify the State Victim Compensation Schemes to reduce inconsistency in quantum of compensation amount notified by them and claim financial support from the CVCF.
iii. To support and supplement the existing Victim Compensation Schemes (VCS) notified by states/UT administrations. To reduce disparity in quantum of compensation amount notified by different states / UTs for victims of similar crimes.
iv. To encourage states / UTs to effectively implement the Victim Compensation Scheme notified by them under the provisions of Section 357A of Cr. P.C. To continue financial support to victims of various crimes especially sexual offences including rape, acid attacks, crime against children, human trafficking, etc.
v. The victims will be compensated on the grounds of various injuries, loss and death with respect to acid attack, rape, human trafficking, disabilities and burns affected on them. Women victims of cross-border suffering permanent or partial disability or death will also be compensated under the scheme.
8. Myanmar Government inks peace pact with 8 ethnic rebels groups
i. Myanmar government has signed a peace accord with eight of the 15 ethnic armed minorities groups especially belonging to Kayin and Chin groups to end decades of civil war.
ii. The ceremony was held by President Thein Sein in Naypyidaw in the presence of six international witnesses including India, China, Japan, Thailand, UN and European Union (EU). The agreement will remain open for the signature from the other armed groups with which the government of Myanmar is being involved in negotiations.
iii. Indian delegation was represented by National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval along with PM’s special envoy for northeast R N Ravi and former Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga.
iv. The peace deal is considered as the fruit of more than two years of negotiations between Myanmar’s junta government and rebels as part of key reforms undertaken President Thein Sein ahead of November 2015 general elections.
9. RBI formed Financial Inclusion Fund with 2000 crore rupees corpus
i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 15 October 2015 formed a single Financial Inclusion Fund (FIF) with a corpus of 2000 crore rupees. The fund was formed by merging the Financial Inclusion Fund (FIF) and Financial Inclusion Technology Fund (FITF).
ii. The RBI also finalised the new scope of activities and guidelines for utilisation of the new FIF in consultation with the Union Government. The new FIF will be administered by the reconstituted Advisory Board constituted by Union Government and will be maintained by NABARD.
iii. The overall corpus of the new FIF will be 2000 crore rupees. Contribution to FIF would be from the interest differential in excess of 0.5 percent on RIDF and STCRC deposits on account of shortfall in priority sector lending kept with NABARD by banks.
iv. All the assets and liabilities of the erstwhile FITF as well as prior commitments from FITF for projects already sanctioned will be transferred to/reimbursed from FIF. The Fund will be in operation for another three years or till such period as may be decided by RBI and Union Government in consultation with other stake holders.
10. DRDO’s Missile Complex in Hyderabad renamed after Abdul Kalam
i. Defence Research Development Organisation’s (DRDO’s) Missile Complex in Hyderabad has been renamed as Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Missile Complex.
ii. It was renamed after late President and Missile Man A P J Abdul Kalam on the occasion of his 84th birth anniversary in a ceremony presided by Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
iii. The function was held at the Research Centre Imarat (RCI). Dr Kalam was RCI’s Founder-Director and had steered it as a generator of critical missile technologies.
iv. The Hyderabad Missile Complex is considered to be the brainchild of Dr Kalam.
v. It comprises Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL), Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) and Research Centre Imarat. Dr Kalam had joined Missile Complex in 1982 and was a part of it for nearly two decades.
vi. He was the 11th President of India and was in office from 2002 to 2007. During his stint as President he was popularly known as the People’s President. He is recipient of India’s highest civilian Award Bharat Ratna.
11. Malaysia proposed to invest 30 billion US dollars for urban development in India
i. The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) of Malaysia on 15 October 2015 proposed to invest 30 billion US dollars in urban development and housing projects in India.
ii. The redevelopment of New Delhi Railway Station adjoining area as a mini-smart city is proposed to be taken up with an investment of about 24 billion US dollars. CIDB also proposed to take up a Green City Project at Garhmukhteshwar in Uttar Pradesh involving housing and Ganga cleaning projects with an investment of about 4 billion US dollars.
iii. The National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) of the Union Ministry of Urban Development will be associated with these projects.
iv. CIDB is a Malaysia based government agency which has so far implemented various construction projects overseas with an investment of 24 billion US dollars since its inception in 1995 and projects worth 8 billion US dollars are still under execution.