1. Reliance Jio launched 4G telecom service
i. Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (RJIL) or Reliance Jio on 27 December 2015 launched 4G telecom service. The service was launched at the Reliance Corporate Park in Navy Mumbai to mark the birth anniversary of Dhirubhai Ambani, founder of the Reliance Industries Limited (RIL).
ii. However, at present, it is limited to 85000 employees and their families of the company, while the commercial services are expected to begin by April 2016.
iii. It has three-pronged focus on broadband networks, affordable smart phones and the availability of rich content and applications. It offers a unique combination of telecom, high speed data, digital commerce, media and payment services.
iv. It provides data services with a speed up to 1 gigabyte per second. Under the project, around 2.5 lakh kilometers of fibre optic cables were laid to connect 18000 towns and around 1 lakh villages across the country.
v. It will offer broad band services to 10 crore mobile users and 2 crore households. Users will have the option to switch over to 5G services in future.
2. AP Government signed MoU with Microsoft India on technology initiatives
i. Government of Andhra Pradesh on 28 December 2015 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Microsoft India on a range of technology initiatives. The MoU was signed after a meeting between the Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella in Hyderabad.
ii. The purpose of the MoU is to improve use of information and communication technologies, drive digital inclusion and provide IT-based decentralised citizen services. The initiatives will help in checking school dropouts, improving agricultural productivity and providing better citizen services.
iii. By applying Microsoft Azure Machine Learning and Advanced Visualization method, the company will provide technical knowledge to the AP Government and support building three proof-of-concept (PoC) solutions. The three PoC solutions are related to the fields of education, agriculture and eCitizen services.
iv. The PoC solutions will be built and deployed to address specific problems within each of the fields to achieve better outcomes for the State. For data gathering, analysis, predictive analysis and policy planning, the lab method will used by the Microsoft India.
v. State Government’s key IT executives will be trained on Microsoft technologies such as Cloud, Mobility and appropriate Microsoft Technology stack. The company will set up a Centre for Excellence (CoE) in Visakhapatnam.
3. Union Government announced 4 new IT-based initiatives for citizen-centric health services
i. Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda on 25 December 2015 announced 4 new Information Technology-based initiatives to provide citizen-centric health services. The initiatives include three applications, namely, Kilkari, Mobile Academy and M-Cessation and a dedicated toll free number 1800-11–6666 which will provide round the clock counselling and treatment support services for TB patients.
ii. The initiatives were announced on the occasion of the Good Governance Day which is being celebrated annually to mark the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
iii. Kilkari is an audio-based mobile service that delivers weekly audio messages to families about pregnancy, child birth and child care. Each pregnant woman and infant’s mother would receive weekly voice messages relevant to the stage of pregnancy or age of the infant. Those who are registered in Mother and Child Tracking System (MCTS), a web- enabled name-based system to monitor and ensure delivery of full spectrum of services to all pregnant women and children, will be benefitted from the service.
iv. Mobile Academy is a mobile-based application aimed at providing training services to 9 million ASHAs. This will aid in enhancing their inter-personal skills. Once registered, ASHAs can access the 240-minute course via their mobile phones. They can then complete the standardized course at their convenience. Digital bookmarking technology enables ASHAs to complete the course at their own pace.
v. M-Cessation will be an IT-enabled tool to help tobacco users to quit tobacco. Built on a helpline concept, it will register beneficiaries on the basis of a missed call. The counselling would be done through a two-way SMS process, the Minister informed.
4. Former CJ of Karnataka & Kerala High Courts Justice VS Malimath died
i. Former Chief Justice of Karnataka and Kerala High Courts Justice V S Malimath died on 22 December 2015 at Manipal hospital in Bengaluru. He was 86-years old and survived by wife Prema Devi V Malimath, a son and four daughters.
ii. He was born on 12 June 12 1929, secured first rank in LL.B. and had a post Graduate Diploma in Public International Law from University of London in 1952. He commenced practicing in the High Court of Bombay in 1952 and later shifted to Bengaluru in late 1956.
iii. He was appointed as a Judge in the Karnataka High Court in March 1970. Subsequently, he was appointed as Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court in 1984.
iv. Post retirement, he was appointed as Chairman of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT). He served as a member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). He headed the Committee on Reform of Criminal Justice System in India. He was the United Nations Representative to monitor human rights enforcement in Nigeria and Sri Lanka.
v. He served as an International Observer to oversee the Referendum in Sri Lanka. In June 2015, he was appointed as the Chairman of the Karnataka Border Protection Force by the Karnataka government.
5. Indigenously developed Air-to-Air missile Astra successfully test fired
i. Indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile, Astra, was on 25 December 2015 successfully test fired. The test was conducted by the Indian Air Force off the coast of Odisha near the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Balasore.
ii. In addition to this air trial, the missile underwent successful ground based trials in early December 2015 near Pune. The tests were aimed at validating the ECCM (electronic counter-counter measure) features of the missile to overcome any jamming.
iii. After carrying out some more trials, including air launch trial with a warhead, the missile is expected to be inducted into the Air Force in 2016. Astra is India’s first beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) that is capable of engaging its target at ranges of 37 km or beyond. It has operational range of 60km. The all-weather missile has been indigeniously designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
iv. It is a state-of-the-art missile in the sense that it travels at supersonic speed (4780 km/h), possesses Single Shot Kill Probability (SSKP) with active radar terminal guidance, uses smokeless propulsion system to evade enemy radars and has the capacity to engage in multi-target scenario.
v. It can reach up to 110 km when fired from an altitude of 15 km, 44 km when launched from an altitude of eight km and 21 km when fired from sea level. Apart from integrating the missile with Su-30, the missile will be mounted on other fighter aircrafts including Tejas (Light Combat Aircraft), Mirage-2000 and MIG-29.
6. ‘Make in India Week’ to start from Feb 13
i. Taking a cue from the biennial investor congregation - Vibrant Gujarat Summit - held every alternate year in Gujarat the Central Government is organising “Make in India Week” in Mumbai during February 13-18, 2016.
ii. The week-long event, being organised by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, will have investors meet for the manufacturing sector under Make in India.
iii. Following the ambitious initiative of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to encourage investments in the manufacturing sector in the country, the government will conduct the 'Make in India Week' on the lines of three-day Vibrant Gujarat Summit. The event will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi on February 13.
iv. The meet will also discuss issues related to SMEs and start-ups. "We have interacted with entrepreneurs and they have raised valid issues faced by them. These include infrastructure, tax related issues, and demand to reduce compliance burden for small industries. They have given suggestions on how to resolve these issues," said Amitabh Kant, secretary, DIPP during a road-show for the event in Ahmedabad on Saturday.
v. He stated that the 'Make in India' initiative is aimed at increasing the share of manufacturing sector in the GDP from the current 15-16 per cent to 25 per cent by 2022. "This is a flagship event for forging global engagement with Indian industry in the form of partnerships and investments."
7. Karan Adani new CEO of APSEZ
i. Karan Adani, son of Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani, has been appointed as the CEO of Adani Ports and SEZ (APSEZ) with effect from January 1, 2016. He will take over the top job from outgoing CEO Sudipta Bhattacharya, who is moving to the US as the CEO for North America, APSEZ said in a regulatory filing.
ii. The Board has accepted the “resignation of Bhattacharya as the CEO of APSEZ with effect from December 31, 2015”, it added. It also approved the “appointment of Karan, Executive Director (non—board position) as CEO of the company with effect from January 1, 2016,” the filing said.
iii. Karan, who looks after strategic development of Adani ports across India, has been involved in managing various port operations for the firm since 2009. “He aims to build the Group’s identity around an integrated logistics business model, backed by his sound understanding of new processes, systems and macro—economic issues”, the filing said.
iv. He is an economics graduate from Purdue University, the USA. Bhattacharya, in his new role, will be responsible for driving the significant emerging opportunities between India and the US, it said. Shares of APSEZ were up 1.10 per cent to Rs. 261.35 apiece in the afternoon trade at the BSE.
8. China amended One Couple, One Child Policy
i. China’s National People's Congress Standing Committee, country’s top law making body, on 27 December 2015 gave its approval to amending One Couple, One Child Policy. The amended policy, which will come into force on 1 January 2016, will lift the restrictions on couples from having only one child.
ii. The amended policy is aimed at balancing the country's population structure by allowing all couples to have two children. The amendment came after the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on 29 October 2015 issued a communiqué in this regard.
iii. The overhaul of the policy is in continuation of gradual relaxation of the policy in recent years. In 2013, couples were allowed to have a second child if either parent was an only child.
iv. As per an estimate, China has 140 million women of child-bearing age who have already raised a child. After the new law is adopted, about 90 million of them are expected to have a second child.
v. Further, the policy will mean total population with a peak around 1.45 billion in 2029 and is expected to result over 30 million more people in the labor force by 2050.
9. CRI Pumps bags export quality excellence award
i. Pump manufacturing major CRI Pumps has bagged 'Export Quality Excellence' award for the 11th time in a row.
ii. The Joint Managing Director of CRI Pumps, G Selvaraj, received the EEPC award given in recognition of the company's high quality and innovative pumping solutions from the Governor of Karnataka, Vajubhai Vala, at an award ceremony held in Bengaluru last week.
iii. The company has, according to a release, retained its position of being the largest exporter of pumping equipment among Indian pump exporters. The company's has emerged as a turnkey solution provider across segments, including residential, industrial, agricultural, mining, and water treatment.
10. Wicked Ride launches utility bike rental service
i. Wicked Ride, a start-up founded in 2014 by Vivekananda H.R., Anil G and Varun Agni, has launched its brand ‘Apna Ride’ for utility bike rentals, targeted primarily at budget conscious bike enthusiasts.
ii. The service would be initially available at Bengaluru, Mysore and Jaipur and bookings can be done through www.apnaride.com.
iii. While Wicked Ride would focus on renting high-end luxury bikes like Harley-Davidson, Triumph, Ducati and Royal Enfield, ‘Apna Ride’ would focus on utility motorcycles, electric bikes and scooters.
iv. “After successfully establishing Wicked Ride as a leader and pioneer in the luxury bike rental segment, we wanted to enter the utility bike rental segment and that’s how ‘Apna Ride’ was born,” said said Vivekananda H R, Co-founder, Wicked Ride.
11. Shiva Keshavan clinched silver at Asian Luge Championship
i. Shiva Keshavan on 27 December 2015 grabbed a silver medal in the 18th edition of the Asian Luge Championship held in Nagano, Japan. The first place was claimed by defending champion Hidenari Kanayama of Japan. On the other hand, South Korea's Kim Dong-hyeon grabbed the third place.
ii. Born on 25 August 1981, Keshavan is the posterboy of Indian winter sports. He is a five time Olympian and the first Indian representative to compete in luge at the Winter Olympic Games. He set a new Asian speed record at 134.3 km/h after beating the previous record of 131.9 km/h.
iii. In Asia Cup 2011, he grabbed the gold medal. In 2012, he set a new Asian track record at 49.590 seconds. He was offered to represent Italy in 2002, but refused.
iv. He holds the world record for youngest ever Olympian. He studied humanities and political science at the University of Florence and obtained a Master's degree in International relations from the University of Florence.