1. INS Astradharani commissioned into Indian Navy
i. The Indian Navy commissioned the first indigenously-designed and built torpedo launch and recovery vessel INS Astradharani at the Naval Base in Visakhapatnam. This 50-metre twin-hulled warship is also the first to be built at a private yard with armament fixtures.
ii. The ship was collaboratively designed by Naval Science and Technological Laboratory (NSTL) of DRDO, Shoft Shipyard and IIT Kharagpur. The design of the ship was tested at the facilities at the NSTL. It is an advanced replacement for INS Astravahini which was decommissioned on 17 July 2015.
iii. INS Astradharani will be used to carry out the technical trials of underwater weapons and systems developed by NSTL. The ship has a complement of two officers and 27 sailors and can carry 13 scientists.
iv. The catamaran hull configuration in the ship significantly reduces its power requirement. With a length of 50 m, the vessel can undertake multiple trials during a single sortie and is fully equipped with all modern amenities that warships have.
2. Union Government launches KISAN Project and Hailstorm App for crop damage
i. Union Government has launched KISAN (Crop Insurance using Space Technology and Geoinformatics) Project to benefit farmers. This project will favour use of satellites, drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) and other geospatial technology to collect crop yield data and to assess damage from natural calamities.
ii. Drones will help to take high resolution imagery of crop assessment. It will be collated with satellite imaging and other geospatial technology to get accurate data.
iii. This data will enable crop insurance companies to give proper compensation to affected farmers. The experiment will help develop index-based data for insurance companies.
iv. It will help farmers, government agencies and insurance companies to move away from traditional crop insurance claim calculated on the basis of crop cutting experiments. It will provide timely and accurate data for insurance claims and make payment of claims to farmers without any delay.
v. Union Government also launched Hailstorm App, an Android mobile phone application to assess large-scale damage to crops from hail. Farmers by using this application on their smart phones can immediately send photos of their crop damage due to hailstorm to officials concerned for immediate relief.
3. 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry: Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar
i. Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar were on 7 October 2015 jointly awarded with the 2015 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for having mapped how cells repair damaged DNA and safeguard the genetic information at a molecular level.
ii. All the three laureates will share the prize money of 8 million Swedish kronor equally. Tomas Lindahl is from the Francis Crick Institute, UK; Paul Modrich is from Duke University School of Medicine, USA and Aziz Sancar belongs to University of North Carolina School of Medicine, USA.
iii. Their work provided fundamental knowledge of how a living cell functions and how it is used for the development of new cancer treatments.
iv. Aziz Sancar mapped Nucleotide Excision Repair, the mechanism that cells use to repair UV damage to DNA. People born with defects in this repair system will develop skin cancer if they are exposed to sunlight. The cell also utilises nucleotide excision repair to correct defects.
v. Paul Modrich demonstrated how the cell corrects errors that occur when DNA is replicated during cell division. This mechanism, Mismatch Repair, reduces the error frequency during DNA replication by about a thousand fold.
4. India, Germany signed 125 million Euros Loan Agreement to fund two projects under Green Energy Corridor
i. Government of India and Federal Republic of Germany (KFW) on 5 October 2015 signed two loan agreements worth 125 million Euros for financing two projects under the Green Energy Corridor programme. These two projects are in Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
ii. Germany will fund 57 million Euros for projects in Himachal Pradesh and 68 million Euros for Andhra Pradesh.
iii. Green Energy Corridor programme seeks to facilitate the flow of renewable energy into the national grid. In other words, it is aimed at synchronising electricity produced from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, with conventional power stations in the grid.
iv. In April 2013 during the second Indo-German Government Consultations in Berlin, Germany committed developmental and technical assistance of 1 billion euro for the project. Renewable Energy is one of the key areas of India-German partnership. It was mentioned in the Joint Statement of Hannover in April 2015.
5. IMF released World Economic Outlook October 2015 Update
i. International Monetary Fund (IMF) on 6 October 2015 released World Economic Outlook (WEO) October 2015 Update titled Adjusting to Lower Commodity Prices.
ii. The report projects global growth for 2015 at 3.1 percent, which is 0.3 percentage point lower than in 2014, and 0.2 percentage point below the forecasts in the July 2015 World Economic Outlook (WEO) Update.
iii. India’s growth is expected to strengthen from 7.3 percent 2015 and last year to 7.5 percent in 2016. Also, Domestic demand in India is projected to remain strong.
iv. In advanced economies, contagion risks from Greece related events to other euro area economies, while lower than earlier in the year, remain a concern, as do risks from protracted weak demand and low inflation.
6. RBI relaxed norms of FPI investment in Government Securities
i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 6 October 2015 relaxed the norms of Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) of government debt and also announced higher investment limits in rupee terms in government securities with a view to bring in an additional 1.2 lakh crore rupees by March 2018.
ii. The RBI fixed the FPI investment limits in rupee terms and raised the limits in phases to reach 5 percent of the outstanding stock by March 2018.
iii. The RBI issued these directions in perusal of the announcement made in the fourth Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement for the year 2015-16 issued on 29 September 2015, wherein a Medium Term Framework (MTF) for FPI limits in Government securities was announced to provide a more predictable regime.
7. Utkal starts 'Project Saksham' to empower rural women
i. In its bid to empower rural women, Utkal Alumina International Limited (UAIL), a unit of Aditya Birla Group, has launched a unique project for the welfare of communities living in the vicinity of its project area in Odisha.
ii. Christened 'Project Saksham', the new initiative involves an advanced training-cum-garment manufacturing unit at Tikiri in Rayagada district to help unemployed rural women engage in a sustainable livelihood and become self-reliant, said Vijay Sapra, Unit Head and President, UAIL.
iv. Aiming at speedy inclusive development, the project imparts training to 38 women from the underprivileged sections living in villages surrounding the plant. With 30 industrial sewing machines and four specialised machines, these women have already received a six month training on operation and product development, including quality control, to cater to the market demand, a company statement said.
v. Participants learnt basic machine operations, cutting and stitching of fabric to make petticoats, tops, kurtis, churidars, salwar kameezes, skirts, shirts and trousers.
vi. Enthused by these achievements in market linkage, the women are now developing their skills in making designer clothes. After adequate finesse in making designer clothes is achieved, market linkage would be facilitated with Boyanika and similar large-scale garment trading units
8. 2016 Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Conference to be held in New Delhi
i. The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Conference 2016 will be held in New Delhi from 8 January to 10 January 2016.
ii. The PBD Conference 2016 will be organised with an objective for developing a new paradigm for engagement with the Diaspora over the next decade.
iii. The 2016 PBD Conference will be an attempt to do an expert study on various issues concerning the Diaspora and areas of mutual benefit to India and to them, while the previous PBDs focused only on meetings with the Diaspora.
iv. The traditional PBD convention will be held every alternative year, with the partner State. Such a convention would be held in 2017. Beside this, the Union Government also announced that it will organise the 9th Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas (RPBD) at Los Angeles California, USA on the 14 November and 15 November 2015.
9. Sergey Karjakin wins 2015 World Cup Chess Championship
i. Sergey Karjakin of Russia has won 2015 World Cup Chess Championship held at Baku, Azerbaijan.
ii. In the final match he defeated Peter Svidler (Russia) by 6-4 score. The title of this championship was decided in the tie-breakers after both competitors had won two classical games each.
iii. He is Ukrainian-born Russian chess grandmaster and chess prodigy.
iv. He holds the record for being world’s youngest Chess Grandmaster at the age young of 12 years and 7 months.
v. Karjakin has won the World Rapid Chess Championship (2012), twice Norway Chess Tournament (2013, 2014) and Corus Chess Tournament (2009).