BIS elects Raghuram Rajan as its vice-chairman
i. Raghuram Rajan, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor who has been a vocal votary for increased co-ordination among central banks, has been elected vice-chairman of the Bank of International Settlement (BIS). Mr. Rajan will have a three-year term as vice-chairman of the BIS.
ii. Mr. Rajan is the first Indian central bank Governor to become the vice-chairman of BIS. BIS is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, and acts as a coordinating body among central banks to ensure global monetary and financial stability. The BIS board meets at least six times a year.
iii. The BIS board comprise all central bankers. The board includes U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda.
iv. Mr. Rajan was appointed Governor of the RBI in September 2013, and was given a three-year term. This new role of Mr. Rajan will surely boost his chances for an extension next year, according to central bank watchers.
v. The former International Monetary Fund chief economist, who is widely credited for predicting the global financial crisis of 2008, was appointed RBI Governor amid a currency crisis in 2013 which he was able to tackle soon after he assumed charge.
vi. He was also able to bring down inflation from double digit levels in the last two years and had proposed radical changes in the areas of monetary policy and banking reforms in India.
World Science Day for Peace and Development 2015 observed
i. The World Science Day for Peace and Development, dubbed World Science Day, was observed on 10 November 2015 across the world. The theme for 2015 is Science for a Sustainable Future.
ii. To mark the day, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) conducted several discussions, special campaigns, visits to science museums for school children, etc to raise awareness of benefits of science worldwide.
iii. For 2015, the theme Science for a Sustainable Future is chosen against the backdrop of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as approved by the UN.
iv. World Science Day was created as follow-up to the World Conference on Science, organized jointly by UNESCO and the International Council for Science in Budapest (Hungary) in 1999.
India re-elected to UN Commission on International Trade Law
i. India on 9 November 2015 was re-elected by the General Assembly to a six year term on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).
ii. Apart from India, 22 other countries including the United States and Pakistan were also re-elected to the UNCITRAL. The Monday election was the fifth election that India has won in 2015. The country also won the re-election to the UN Human Rights Council held in 2014.
iii. In April 2015, the UN Economic and Social Committee (ECOSOC) elected India to the executive councils of UNICEF and the World Food Programme, the governing council of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.
iv. The United Nations General Assembly by its Resolution 2205 (XXI) of 17 December 1966 established the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) to promote the progressive harmonization and unification of international trade law.
v. The Commission is a legal body with universal membership specializing in commercial law reform worldwide for over 40 years. It carries out its work at annual sessions held alternately in New York City and Vienna.
Justice AP Shah appointed as the Ethics Officer (Ombudsman) at BCCI
i. Former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, Justice Ajit Prakash Shah, was on 9 November 2015 appointed as the ethics officer (ombudsman) at Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). He will preside as the sole decision maker on all conflict of interest issues plaguing Indian cricket.
ii. The decision to appoint an ombudsman was taken at the Board's 86th Annual General Meeting to end the problem on conflict of interest in the Board. This is being considered as a BCCI’s clean-up operation.
iii. The clean-up operation has been triggered by the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal, which was investigated by the Supreme Court-appointed RM Lodha committee.
iv. The apex court-appointed panel had suspended Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for two years for their officials' involvement in the scandal. Justice Shah, 67, is known for his bold judgments, including the July 2009 ruling that found India's 150-year-old statute prohibiting homosexual acts as discriminatory and therefore a violation of fundamental rights.
Ministry of Defence launched Army Cloud, Data Centre & Digi-Locker for the Indian Army
i. Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on 9 November 2015 launched Army Cloud, Software Defined Data Centre and Digi-Locker facilities for the Indian Army at the Army Headquarters in New Delhi.
ii. The three initiatives are aimed at catalysing automation and digitization of the Indian Army and help in transforming it from a Platform Centric to a Network Centric Force.
iii. Army Cloud includes a Central Data Centre, a Near Line Data Centre, both in Delhi and a Disaster Recovery site for replication of its critical data along with virtualised servers and storage in an environmentally controlled complex.
iv. The latest technologies in the field have been incorporated in its implementation wherein all the resources could be provisioned to different applications on the Cloud, on click of a button.
v. Digi Locker will provide a secure and exclusive data storage space to all the units and formation headquarters of the Army over its dedicated data network. It is similar to e-Locker of Digital India program and has all the advanced features like digital signatures and watermarking.
vi. It is an important step towards implementation of cyber security as it precludes carriage of soft copies of data on CDs/DVDs and removable media. By using this facility, users can store, share and access the data from anywhere any time on the Army Data Network.
Union Government signed Loan Agreement with Asian Development Bank
i. The Union Government on 9 November 2015 signed 273 million US dollar loan agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) to continue improving rural roads in the States of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal.
ii. The loan agreement was signed by S Selvakumar, Joint Secretary (Bilateral Cooperation), Department of Economic Affairs and Teresa Kho, Country Director of ADB.
iii. The loan represents the third tranche, which is also the last tranche of the 800 million US dollars financing facility under the Rural Connectivity Investment Program. The loan will help in constructing over 6000 kilometers of all-weather rural roads and will benefit over 4200 rural habitations.
iv. The Union Ministry of Rural Development (MORD) is the executing agency of the project at the central level, while the State Governments of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and West Bengal will be handling the overall implementation at the respective State level.
v. The third tranche is expected to be completed by December 2017. The implementing agencies at the State level will be the respective State Rural Roads Development Agencies.
vi. This loan will also be used to make further investments as well as supporting improved road design, road safety and asset management measures and training with women actively involved in all aspects.
India-Russia Joint Military Exercise Indra-2015 begins in Rajasthan
i. The seventh edition India-Russia Joint Military Exercise ‘Indra-2015’ has begun in Bikaner district of Rajasthan. This edition of exercise is focusing on ‘Counter Terrorism Operations in Desert Terrain under a United Nations Mandate’.
ii. The bilateral exercise would be held between Indian Army’s Infantry Battalion and Independent Russian Motorised Brigade from 7 to 20 November 2015.
iii. It would be conducted 2 phases, namely ‘Combat Conditioning & Tactical Training’ and ‘Validation’ phases. Both participating battalions would initially acquaint themselves with each other’s counter terrorism approaches including Command and Control systems, operations, arms and equipment.
iv. They would also focus on ensuring a high degree of physical fitness, tactical drills, techniques and procedures. This joint exercise will also engage in variety of joint missions including joint planning, Search and Rescue, Cordon and Search operations, special arms skills and joint tactical drills.
v. The bilateral exercise seeks to further boost people to people as well as military to military ties between India and Russia.