1. Union Government launches GIAN Scheme to boost higher education
i. Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has launched Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) Scheme to boost the quality of higher education in India. It was launched by Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus.
ii. GIAN Scheme aims at improving the quality of higher education in the country through international collaboration. Facilitate participation of high quality international academicians for delivering short-term courses and programs in Indian institutions.
iii. Initially 500 international faculties will be engaged in conducting courses and later in subsequent years 1000 faculties would be engaged under GIAN throughout India. Under this scheme, academicians will cover 13 disciplines and 352 courses to be taught in 68 national institutions.
iv. These courses will vary in duration from one to three weeks depending on the subject and will be free for students of the host institution and available for nominal fees for others. These courses will be webcasted live for students across the country through web portal www.gian.iitkgp.ac.in designed by IIT Kharagpur.
2. International Day for the Abolition of Slavery Observed globally
i. The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery was observed globally on 2 December 2015. The day is observed to focus on the elimination of human trafficking, child labour and other forms of modern-day slavery.
ii. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are currently an estimated 21 million forced labour victims worldwide, creating 150 billion US dollars in illegal profits in the private economy each year.
iii. To tackle with the situation, ILO has adopted a new legally binding Protocol designed to strengthen global efforts to eliminate forced labour and which will enter into force in November 2016.
iv. International Day for the Abolition of Slavery marks the date of adoption of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others by UN General Assembly on 2 December 1929.
v. The day focuses on eradicating contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, and the worst forms of child labour, forced marriage, and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.
3. India, France launched International Solar Alliance
i. India and France on 30 November 2015 launched the International Solar Alliance in Paris. The alliance was launched jointly by PM Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande during the United Nations climate change conference (COP21).
ii. The alliance also invited all countries located fully or partly between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn to join the group. It will function from the National Institute of Solar Energy in India, Gurgaon.
iii. It aims to bring 121 tropical countries together to tap solar energy. The Alliance will enable solar-rich developing countries to make the best use of an abundant, free natural resource. It seeks to share collective ambitions to reduce the cost of finance and technology that is needed to deploy solar power widely.
iv. It would adapt the generation and storage technologies to the individual countries’ needs. Among the tasks that the Alliance would pursue are, cooperation in training, building institutions, regulatory issues, common standards, and investment including joint ventures.
4. Delhi Development Authority awarded with E-India Award
i. The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) was on 1 December 2015 awarded with the E-India Award for adopting technology to serve the public better and using resources efficiently through mobile applications.
ii. The award was received by VS Tomar, Director (Systems) DDA during the e-INDIA SUMMIT 2015 in Mumbai.
iii. It bagged the award under the category of Digital India IT initiatives for extraordinary IT initiatives in the field of land protection and engineering projects. It was awarded for the vacant land photo uploading system app wherein officials of the land and engineering department upload photographs of vacant land to keep a check on encroachment.
iv. The second award winning app of DDA was the Measurement Books for e-filing of measurement of engineering projects for exact estimation of parameters and project requirements.
5. Renowned violinist L Subramaniam to be honoured with ITC Sangeet Samman
i. Renowned violinist Lakshminarayana Subramaniam will be honoured with the Sangeet Samman at the ITC Sangeet Sammelan 2015 beginning on 4 December 2015 at the Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata. The ITC Sangeet Research Academy Executive Director Rabi Srinibasan on 1 December 2015 announced the name of the artist for the award.
ii. Born on 23 July 1947, Subramaniam was trained in the classical Carnatic music tradition and Western classical music. The artiste is known for his virtuoso playing techniques and compositions in orchestral fusion.
iii. The violinist has also composed the film scores for the films like Salaam Bombay and Mississippi Masala directed by Mira Nair.
iv. Subramaniam has been awarded with the Lifetime Achievement Award by Limca Book of Records in 2012. He also won the President's Award for Best Violinist, All India Radio in 1963. In 2001, the renowned violinist was honoured with the Padma Bhushan.
6. Sarangi maestro Ustad Sabri Khan passed away
i. Renowned sarangi player Ustad Sabri Khan died on 30 November 2015 in New Delhi due to breathing problems. He was 88. Born on 21 May 1927 in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, Khan belonged to the Sainia Gharana, which traces the tradition of its music back to Tansen.
ii. The sarangi maestro was initiated into Sarangi by his grandfather Ustad Haji Mohammed Khan. Later, Sabri Khan continued his training under his father Ustad Chajju Khan.
iii. For his contribution to the Classical Music of India, Ustad Sabri Khan had received numerous honours and awards, including the Sahitya Kala Parishad Award, UP Sangeet Natak Academy iv. Award, National Sangeet Natak Academy Award. The Government of India also honoured him with the prestigious Padma Shree Award in 1992 and Padma Bhushan Award in 2006.
7. President gave nod to Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2015 to allow women to work in night shifts
i. President Pranab Mukherjee on 1 December 2015 gave assent to Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2015 of Maharashtra. Among other things, the bill amends Section 66(1)(c) of the Factories Act, 1948 that restricts women from working at a factory between 7 PM and 6 AM.
ii. The Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2015 was passed by the Maharashtra legislature in July 2015. Later, it was reserved for consideration of the President by the State Governor C Vidyasagar Rao under article 200 of the Constitution.
(a) Workers to be eligible for paid leave after working for 90 days in a year instead of the existing 240 days or more.
(b) It would not be mandatory for workers to take the management's permission for overtime, the limit for which in three months will be increased to 115 hours from the current 75.
(c) It will prevent inspectors from filing cases on petty matters against factories and consequently, will help in curbing corruption and harassment from factory inspectors.
(d) If a factory inspector has to file a case, he has to take prior permission from the chief factory inspector.
iv. The decision of the state government to change the 67-year-old existing law will bring a much needed help for workers working in more than 14000 factories across the state.
8. Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan assumed Presidency of the Royal Society.
i. Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan on 1 December 2015 assumed Presidency of the Royal Society in London. He was elected to the office in March 2015 by the society’s council and will serve for up to five years.
ii. With this appointment, he became the 61st president of the society. And, he joined the elite club that has included Christopher Wren, Samuel Pepys, Isaac Newton, Joseph Banks, Humphry Davy, and Ernest Rutherford.
iii. He studied how genetic information is translated by the ribosome to make proteins and the action of antibiotics on this process. The Indian-American scientist Venkatraman Ramakrishnan received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2009 with Tom Steitz and Ada Yonath. He was awarded a knighthood in 2012
iv. He has a B.Sc in physics from Baroda University, India and a PhD from Ohio University in the USA. He studied biology at the University of California, San Diego and worked as a post-doctoral fellow at Yale University. Subsequently, he was a biophysicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory and professor of biochemistry at the University of Utah before he moved to the UK in 1999.
9. India’s Thakur Anoop Singh won gold medal in World Bodybuilding and Physique Championships
i. India’s Thakur Anoop Singh on 28 November 2015 won gold medal in the 7th WBPF World Bodybuilding and Physique Championships.
ii. He won the medal in the fitness physique category. Overall, India won 11 medals in the championships that saw participation from 47 nations. The championships were held in Bangkok, Thailand.
iii. Along with him, Arambam Boby (Manipur) also won gold in the championship. For him, it was the 4th world title in his career.
iv. 0Also, Thingbaijam Sarita who had won a silver medal in Asian Bodybuilding Championships 2015 also bagged a bronze medal in the event.