1. Svetlana Alexievich Wins Nobel Prize in Literature
i. Svetlana Alexievich, a Belarussian journalist and prose writer, won the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time,” the Swedish Academy announced.
ii. Ms. Alexievich, 67, is the 14th woman to win the literature prize. Born to a Belarussian father and a Ukrainian mother, in what is now Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, Ms. Alexievich is best known for giving voice to survivors of the Second World War, the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan that lasted from 1979 to 1989, and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986.
iii. Because of her criticism of the regime in Belarus, a former Soviet republic, Ms. Alexievich has periodically lived abroad, in Italy, France, Germany and Sweden, among other places.
iv. The prize of 8 million Swedish kronor (around $960,000) was announced in Stockholm by Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, which awards the prize.
2. Hoesung Lee elected as Chairman of IPCC
i. Hoesung Lee of South Korea has been elected Chairman of Inter-governmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC). He was elected in on-going 42nd session IPCC in Dubrovnik, Croatia by 78 votes to 56 in a run-off election with Jean-Pascale van Ypersele from Belgium.
ii. Lee succeeds environmentalist R.K. Pachauri of India who had resigned following the sexual abuse scandal in which he was allegedly involved.
iii. Presently, he professor in the economics of climate change, energy and sustainable development. Previously he had served as one of the Vice-Chairs of the IPCC. He has been associated with IPCC in various capacities including as Co-Chair of Working Group III for Second Assessment Report of 1992.
iv. He is also the founding president of the Korea Energy Economic Institute. He also has served as President of International Association for Energy Economics. He had also had served on various boards including as a member of the ADB President’s advisory board, executive member of the Korean Academy of Environmental Sciences etc.
v. IPCC is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change.
3. SC refuses to allow voluntary use of Aadhaar card for welfare schemes
i. Supreme Court has refused to allow some states and statutory bodies like RBI, SEBI to voluntary use of Aadhaar card for welfare schemes other than PDS and LPG schemes. Ruling in this regard was given by SC bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar and made it clear modification in this matter will be heard by a larger constitution bench of SC.
ii. This order was given by SC on applications of Union Government, RBI, IRDA, SEBI, TRAI, Pension Fund Regulatory Authority and states like Gujarat and Jharkhand.
iii. They have pitched strongly for voluntary use of Aadhaar cards for providing benefits of various schemes, other than PDS and LPG for the aged and the weaker sections. The applications in this case are being transferred to a constitution bench in order to decide on issues like right to privacy.
iv. Earlier in August 2015, SC had ruled that Aadhaar card will remain optional for availing welfare schemes of the government. It had clearly mentioned that authorities will not use Aadhaar card for the purposes other than PDS and LPG distribution system.
4. Union Cabinet approved Protocol on Double Taxation Avoidance with Israel and Vietnam
i. The Union Cabinet on 7 October 2015 approved the Protocol between India and Israel and between Indian and Vietnam for avoidance of double taxation and for prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and on capital.
ii. The Protocol with both the countries provides for internationally accepted standards for effective exchange of information on tax matters including bank information and information without domestic tax interest.
iii. With this, the information received from Israel and Vietnam in respect of a resident of India can be shared with other law enforcement agencies with authorisation of the Competent Authority of both the countries and vice versa.
iv. Besides, the Protocol with Israel also provides for Limitation of Benefits Article as an anti-abuse provision aimed at preventing misuse of the Convention. The provisions of this Article enable use of the provisions of domestic law and measures concerning tax avoidance or evasion in the event of misuse of the Convention.
v. The existing Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) between Indian and Israel was signed in 1996 and between India and Vietnam was signed in 1994.
vi. Both the countries concurred with India to update Article 27 on the Exchange of Information in DTAC signed with India to meet internationally accepted standards and added a new Article on Assistance in the Collection of taxes.
5. Union Cabinet approved setting up of three AllMS under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojna
i. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 7 October 2015 approved the setting up of three new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AllMS) under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojna (PMSSY).
ii. These three new AIIMS will come up at Nagpur in Maharashtra, at Manglagiri in Andhra Pradesh and at Kalyani in West Bengal. All the three AIIMS will cost 4949 crore rupees to the exchequer with AIIMS at Manglagiri costing 1618 crore rupees, at Nagpur costing 1577 crore rupees and at Kalyani costing 1754 crore rupees respectively.
iii. These AIIMS will be established as institutes of national importance for providing quality medical education, nursing education and also to provide tertiary healthcare facilities to the people of these locations.
iv. Further, the proposed institution will have a hospital with capacity of 960 beds. In addition, these will also have an AYUSH block, nursing college, hostel and residential facilities among others.
v. Under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojna (PMSSY) launched in 2006, so far six AIIMS have been made functional. Also construction of AIIMS, Rae Barely is under progress.
vi. The AIIMS which have become functional are at Patna (Bihar), Raipur (Chhattisgarh), Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), Bhubaneswar (Orissa), Jodhpur (Rajasthan) and Rishikesh (Utaranchal).
6. CCEA approved World Bank assisted National Watershed Management project Neeranchal
i. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 7 October 2015 approved implementation of the World Bank assisted National Watershed Management Project Neeranchal with a total outlay 2142.30 crore rupees.
ii. The project will be implemented at the national level as well as in the nine states of Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana. The government’s share in the project is 50 percent and the rest cost will be borne by the World Bank.
iii. The project aims at achieving the major objectives of the Watershed Component of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana (PMKSY) and for ensuring access to irrigation to every farm (Har Khet Ko Pani) and efficient use of water (Per Drop More Crop).
iv. The Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) was launched in 2009-2010 by the integration of various area development programmes of the Department of Land Resources (DoLR), including the Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP), the Desert Development Programme (DDP) and the Integrated Wastelands Development Programme (IWDP). However, the IWMP will be implemented as the Watershed Component of PMKSY from 2015-2016 onwards.
7. Union Cabinet approved construction of National War Memorial in Delhi
i. The Union Cabinet on 7 October 2015 approved the construction of National War Memorial and a National War Museum at Princess Park near India Gate, Delhi in memory of all Indian soldiers who have made the supreme sacrifice for the country post-independence.
ii. The estimated cost of the project will be around 500 crore rupees and the total time for completion of the entire project is estimated to be five years.
iii. This prestigious project will be monitored by an empowered Steering Committee chaired by Defence Secretary and assisted by a dedicated project management team, to ensure that the proposed project is completed within scheduled time frame.
iv. The memorial will promote a sense of patriotism in the minds of visitors, and will award an opportunity to citizens of this vast nation, to express their token sense of gratitude to the brave soldiers. The museum will capture these poignant moments in history and bring out the variegated nature of soldier's commitments.
8. Cyclist Deborah Herold became first-ever Indian to win five medals at Taiwan Cup
i. Indian cyclist Deborah Herold in the first week of October 2015 bagged one gold, three silver and one bronze medal at the 2015 Taiwan Cup held at the Hsin Chu Velodrome, Hsin-Chu city in Taiwan. With this, she became the first ever Indian cyclist to win in women's elite section.
ii. Deborah fetched the gold medal in Taiwan Cup Track International Classic I by defeating the Malaysian top rider. On the other hand, she ended on second place in the keirin event and 500m time trial.
iii. In November 2014, the Indian cyclist had won four gold medals at the Track Asia Cup Cycling Championship 2014.
iv. 20-year-old Deborah is a tribal girl from Andaman and Nicobar Islands who survived the 2004 Tsunami that devastated the islands. She was trained at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Andaman and emerged as one of the rising stars of Indian cycling.