1. Nuclear capable surface-to-surface Agni-IV missile successfully test-fired
i. Indian Army’s Strategic Forces Command (SFC) on 9 November 2015 successfully test-fired surface-to-surface Agni-IV missile. The nuclear capable missile was test-fired from the Wheeler Island off the Odisha coast.
ii. SFC is entrusted with the task of handling strategic weapons of the country. It is 20 meters in length weighs 17 tonnes and carries a pay load of one tone. With light weight, the missile has two stages of solid propulsion and a payload with re-entry heat shield.
iii. It was developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It is the fourth missile in the series of Agni missiles. It was earlier known as Agni-II prime
2. Prof Ashok Misra headed Committee of Eminent Persons CEP on JEE submitted its report
i. The Committee of Eminent Persons (CEP) on 5 November 2015 submitted its report. It was constituted by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Council under the Chairmanship of Prof Ashok Misra to suggest reforms to the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE).
ii. A National Testing Service shall be set up by early 2016, mandated to conduct an Aptitude Test, which should test the scientific aptitude and innovative thinking ability. The Aptitude test may be offered 2 or more times in a year and would be an online test. The testing shall test the scientific thinking and cannot be gamed through coaching
iii. Based on this performance, about 4 lakh candidates shall be short-listed for taking the JEE. The JEE itself will be on the lines of the current JEE (Advanced) and designed to test the knowledge in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics; and will be conducted by the IITs.
iv. From this, ranks will be issued to 40,000+ students who can seek admission in IITs and NITs based on a common counselling. The IITs be requested to set up a system for developing mock JEE examinations which will help students prepare for the JEE significantly and wean them away from the coaching industry. The possibility of using the MOOCS platform can also be explored.
v. MHRD may take measures for the improvement of school education and the method of examination of the Boards, so that students with the Science aptitude are well prepared in the concepts by the time they reach 12th grade, without dependence on coaching institutions.
3. Union Government launched E-Pathshala, Saransh, Shaala Siddhi Portals
i. The Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani on 7 November 2015 launched the e-Pathshala, Saaransh and National Programme on School Standards and Evaluation Framework (Shala Siddhi) web portals/ mobile apps.
ii. These portals were launched during the edNEXT, the National Conference on ICT in School Education that was held at New Delhi. During the Conference, Shala Darpan, MDM-IVRS and Ekta project from Alwar, Rajasthan were also show-cased.
iii. E-Pathshala is a web portal which hosts educational resources for Students, Teachers, Parents, researchers and educators. It contains textbooks and other e-books as E-Pub 3.0 and Flipbooks in English, Hindi and Urdu. It is available through especially developed mobile app interface on Android, IOS and windows platforms for wider access.
iv. Shaala Siddhi web portal is a comprehensive instrument for school evaluation which enables the schools to evaluate their performance in more focused and strategic manner. The web-portal will help all schools to assess themselves and the results can be seen by all enabling them to provide feedback.
v. Saransh is a tool which allows the schools to identify areas of improvement in students, teachers and curriculum to facilitate and implement change. The platform is presently available for classes 9th to 12th and provides a comprehensive overview of standard 10th performance since 2007 and standard 12th performance since 2009 till the current academic session.
4. What Happened to Netaji? authored by former journalist Anuj Dhar released
i. Book titled What Happened to Netaji? authored by former journalist Anuj Dhar was released October 2015. The book talks about Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in form of an unseen holy man of Faizabad in disguise who lived in several parts of Uttar Pradesh from 1050s to 1980s.
ii. The book provides three prominent theories of Bose’s death zeroing in on what has come to be known as the Faizabad angle of the Bose mystery. The book talks about the controversy surrounding the fate of Subhas Chandra Bose and lights the factual position with regard to the air crash that reportedly killed Netaji in 1945.
iii. The book also questions the truth behind Subramaniun Swamy's belief that Netaji was killed in Soviet Russia at Jawaharlal Nehru's behest? How do the biggest names of the past and present, from Mahatma Gandhi and Vallabhbhai Patel to President Pranab Mukherjee, and Atal Bihari Vajpayee fare in India's longest-running controversy?
iv. The book talks about the Gumnami Baba of Faizabad, and if indeed he was Netaji, why did he not surface? Above all, what is preventing the Narendra Modi government from declassifying the Netaji files? The answers would make you believe that truth is stranger than fiction.
5. Santoor maestro Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma honoured with Kala Shikhar award
i. Santoor maestro Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma on 7 November 2015 was honoured with the Aditya Vikram Birla Kala Shikhar Award for lifetime achievement. The governor of Maharashtra C Vidyasagar Rao presented the award to the 77-year old Santoor player in Mumbai.
ii. On the other hand, Murad Ali Khan (Sarangi) and Satyajit Talwalkar (Tabla) were awarded with the Kala Kiran Awards. Special Jury Award was given to Shehnai players Sanjeev and Ashwani Shankar.
iii. After starting his career as a vocalist, Pandit Sharma emerged out as the master instrumentalist of the Santoor. He is credited with making Santoor a popular Classical Instrument.
The Santoor maestro is also the recipient of the Padma Shri and the Padma Vibhushan.
iv. The Aditya Vikram Birla Kala Shikhar Puraskaar was instituted by the Sangit Kala Kendra in the memory of Aditya Vikram Birla. The award is conferred on a distinguished artist for his/her lifetime achievement in the chosen field of the performing and visual arts.
6. FIPB clears four FDI proposals worth Rs. 384 cr
i. The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) has cleared four FDI proposals worth ₹384 crore including that of pharma firm Lupin. “Based on the recommendations of FIPB in its meeting held on October 19, 2015, the Government has approved four proposals of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) amounting to Rs. 384.45 crore,” a Finance Ministry statement said.
ii. The proposal of Lupin pertained to grant of ESoPs to non-resident employees of the company amounting to Rs. 331.64 crore. BF Elbit Advanced Systems’ Rs. 37.8 crore proposal for increasing foreign shareholding from 26 per cent to 49 per cent was also cleared.
iii. Besides, proposals of Eucare Pharmaceuticals and Hanon Systems were cleared by the meeting of FIPB, which is chaired by Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das. However, the Board deferred five FDI proposals including that of telecom sector firm FireFly Networks Ltd.
iv. Also the proposals relating to defence sector – Quantum Simulators Pvt Ltd, RoltaMeprolightPvt Ltd and Singapore-based LLP Diarough Far East Holdings Pte Ltd were deferred. The FIPB also rejected four proposals including that of Reliance Globalcom Ltd, Barefoot Resorts and Leisure lndia and Franklin Templeton Asset Management.
7. SBI's Arundhati Bhattacharya Most Powerful Woman In Indian Business: Fortune India
i. Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairperson of country's largest bank SBI, remains the most powerful woman in the Indian business sector, according to Fortune India. ICICI Bank's Chanda Kochhar and Shikha Sharma of Axis Bank follow Bhattacharya at the second and third place, respectively.
ii. Besides, HPCL Chairperson and Managing Director (MD) Nishi Vasudeva has bagged the fourth position, while AZB & Partners Co-Founder Zia Mody and Aruna Jayanthi Chief Executive of Capgemini India shared the fifth rank.
iii. Interestingly, all the top-five rank holders retained their positions from the previous year barring Jayanthi who was at seventh position last year. Moreover, there are only two debutantes in the Fortune India list of 50 most-powerful businesswomen for 2015.
iv. Meena Ganesh MD and CEO at Portea and Jyoti Deshpande Group MD and CEO at Eros International have made their debuts at 43rd and 50th positions, respectively.
8. N Srinivasan removed as ICC Chairman
i. N Srinivasan was today dethroned as the ICC Chairman after the BCCI decided to recall him and nominate its recently-elected President Shashank Manohar as the chief of the world body. The decision to remove Srinivasan was taken at the BCCI’s 86th Annual General Meeting here today, virtually signalling the end of his hold on Indian cricket.
ii. The tenure of Srinivasan, who took over in June last year, was to end next year in the same month and the remainder of the term would be completed by Manohar as it is India’s turn to hold the top position.
iii. It is learnt that the resolution favouring replacing Srinivasan with Manohar was passed at the AGM. In case, Manohar cannot attend the ICC meetings, Sharad Pawar will be India’s representative.
iv. The Tamil Nadu strongman will thus lose his grip on Indian cricket for good after having already been ousted as the BCCI President owing to the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal in which his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was held guilty of betting charges.
v. Although Srinivasan was not personally indicted for the damaging scandal but the Supreme Court-appointed R M Lodha committee had chided him for not acting on the elements which corrupted the IPL.