1. India's Dinesh Sharma elected to Board of Directors of AIIB
i. India’s Dinesh Sharma on 17 January 2016 was elected to the 12-member board of directors of the China-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). A secret ballot for the post was held on 16 January 2016.
ii. It is the first Board of Directors of AIIB in which 57 nations are founding members including India. The inaugural meeting of the board of the governors of the AIIB was held in Beijing after its formal launch. The meeting approved by-laws, rules and codes of conduct for the bank.
iii. Union Finance Minister of India Arun Jaitley is the designated governor of the AIIB from the country. However, he was represented by Sharma at the meeting. Sharma is currently serving as the Additional Secretary of Ministry of Finance.
iv. AIIB holds authorised capital of 100 billion US dollars and subscribed capital of 50 billion US dollars. It will invest in sectors including energy, transportation, urban construction and logistics as well as education and healthcare.
v. China is the largest shareholder with 26.06 percent voting shares. India is the second largest shareholder with 7.5 percent followed by Russia with 5.93 percent and Germany with 4.5 percent. On 16 January 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping launched AIIB, which is seen as a rival to the US-led World Bank, in Beijing.
vi. Despite opposition from Washington, US allies including Australia, Britain, German, Italy, the Philippines and South Korea have agreed to join the AIIB in recognition of China's growing economic influence.
2. NITI Aayog collaborated with IDFC for Enterprise Survey of Manufacturing Firms
i. The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog on 17 January 2016 announced that it collaborated with the IDFC Bank Ltd to conduct an enterprise survey of manufacturing firms.
ii. The primary objective of this Survey is to assess the business regulatory environment in each State and Union Territories (UTs) and identify policy and regulatory hurdles faced by businesses in the States/UTs.
iii. It will include start-ups across all States and UTs. It will bring out a comprehensive analysis and report on State-level performance.
iv. It will complement the governments Make in India initiative by taking stock of issues faced and providing impetus for State-level reforms that will make it easier to do business in India. It will suggest measures needed to foster competitive and cooperative federalism.
3. Taiwan elected Tsai Ing-wen as first female President
i. Opposition candidate of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Tsai Ing-wen on 16 January 2016 won a landslide victory in Taiwan's presidential election, making her the island's first female president.
ii. Tsai's commanding victory brings to power DPP, which supports Taiwan's formal independence from China, a red line for Beijing, which claims the island as its territory. Her victory brings the biggest mandate ever won by a DPP president. It is the second-ever victory for the DPP since Taiwan split with China in 1949.
iii. In the 2016 general elections, DPP led by Tsai emerged victorious with 56 percent of the total vote share. She defeated Eric Chu of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) Party that secured 31 percent vote share. Chu also made the announcement of quitting as KMT head. Taiwan's Premier Mao Chi-kuo also resigned.
iv. Born on 31 August 1956 in Taipei, Taiwan, Tsai graduated from the College of Law, National Taiwan University in 1978. She obtained a Master of Laws at Cornell University Law School in 1980 and then a Ph.D. in law at the London School of Economics in 1984. Upon her return to Taiwan, she taught law at Soochow University School of Law and National Chengchi University both in Taipei, Taiwan.
v. She served as consultant for the Mainland Affairs Council and the National Security Council. She also led the drafting team on the Statute Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau. In 2000, she was given the high-profile appointment of chairperson of the Mainland Affairs Council.
4. NASA launched SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket with Jason-3 Ocean-monitoring satellite
i. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on 17 January 2016 successfully launched SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base in the USA.
ii. The rocket carried the ocean monitoring satellite Jason-3 on board. The satellite will examine the topography of the ocean floor to help study effects of climate change or human-induced changes on the ocean.
iii. It is the fourth mission in U.S.-European series of satellite missions that measure the height of the ocean surface. It is also expected to help the USA in better forecasting of hurricane forecasting and marine navigation.
iv. It will extend the time series of ocean surface topography measurements (the hills and valleys of the ocean surface) begun by the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite mission in 1992 and continuing through the currently operating Jason-1 and Jason-2 missions. The Jason-1 and OSTM/Jason-2 missions were launched in 2001 and 2008 respectively. These measurements provide scientists with critical information about circulation patterns in the ocean and about both global and regional changes in sea level and the climate implications of a warming world.
v. The primary instrument on Jason-3 is a radar altimeter. The altimeter will measure sea-level variations over the global ocean with very high accuracy (as 1.3 inches or 3.3 centimeters, with a goal of achieving 1 inch or 2.5 centimeters).
5. Former Sikkim Governor Ventrapragada Rama Rao passed away
i. Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Sikkim Governor Ventrapragada Rama Rao passed away on 17 January 2016 in Hyderabad after prolonged illness. He was 80. Rao, who was suffering from severe lung infection, is survived by his wife, son and daughter-in-law.
ii. Born on 12 December 1935, Rao was a lawyer by profession and practised at the Andhra Pradesh High Court. He also played a pivotal role in trade union litigations and served as President, Employees and Workers Unions of several State and Central Public Sector Undertakings and Corporations, such as AP State Finance Corporation, South Central Railways Employee Union and more.
iii. In 1965, he joined Jana Sangh as a member and went on to serve as a Member of the National Executive of Bharatiya Jana Sangh for many years. Moving into Bharatiya Janata Party from erstwhile Jana Sangh, he went on to serve as State Unit President for Andhra Pradesh for two consecutive terms.
iv. He was elected to Andhra Pradesh State Legislative Council from Hyderabad Graduates' Constituency for four consecutive times in 1966, 1972, 1978 and 1984. In October 2002, he was appointed by President of India as the Governor of Sikkim. He served as Governor of Sikkim from 2002 to 2007.
6. SBT launches online platform for KSEB bill payments
i. State Bank of Travancore (SBT) has teamed up with the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) to provide customers of the state utility online facility for remittance of electricity charges. Jeevandas Narayan, Managing Director, SBT, and M Shivasankar, Chairman, KSEB, jointly announced the launch of the facility at a function here.
ii. Present on the occasion were E.K. Harikumar and S. Adikesavan, Chief General Managers, SBT, and B Nina, Director (Transmission), KSEB.
iii. The online system facilitates immediate credit of remittance through the SBT internet banking platform free of any additional charges, a spokesman for SBT said.
iv. This will enable consumers to pay their monthly bills without going to the KSEB offices. They will get confirmation of the remittance from the bank as well as KSEB.
v. The facility will be helpful for NRIs abroad who need not entertain worries of disconnection due to default of bill payment, the spokesman added.
7. Mindtree appoints Ravanan as CEO, Natarajan as executive chairman
i. ndtree has appointed Rostow Ravanan as the CEO and managing director, and Krishnakumar Natarajan as the executive chairman of the company. Subroto Bagchi has stepped down as executive chairman but will continue on the Board as a non-executive director. All the changes will be effective April 1.
ii. Apurva Purohit, independent director and chairperson of the nomination and remuneration committee of the Board said, "This is the culmination of a year-long succession planning exercise that the Board had undertaken after carefully considering several candidates. We are very happy with the process and the outcome.
iii. We believe that Mindtree with a stellar management team is fully ready for the opportunities and the challenges ahead. The Board recognizes and thanks Subroto for his invaluable contributions and inspirational leadership".
iv. Ravanan, 44, is a member of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Institute of Company Secretaries of India and alumni of Harvard Business School. In April 2014, he stepped out of his role as chief financial officer and took over as head for Europe, service lines and key accounts. "I am very honored and humbled at being named to lead one of the most valuable and respected IT services companies.
v. Natarajan incoming executive chairman said, "Mindtree is on a strong footing today to explore newer opportunities that take us to a different orbit in the years ahead. I would be focusing my energies towards making Mindtree a significant global player by the year 2020."
8. Exim Bank inks MoU with AP Govt for promoting exports
i. Exim Bank of India and the Government of Andhra Pradesh have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for promotion of exports from the state.
ii. The MoU was signed by Yaduvendra Mathur, Chairman and Managing Director of the bank, and Shamsher Singh Rawat, Secretary and Commissioner for Industrial Promotion, Government of Andhra Pradesh.
iii. Exim Bank seeks to support exporters having operations in Andhra Pradesh in achieving higher exports by facilitation of market linkages through its market advisory services, which will assist in identifying suitable partners.
iv. Besides, it will help develop skills through capacity building workshops, help exporters’ participation in select trade fairs and exhibitions, and through research activities.
v. Exim Bank would also use its strong institutional linkages that it has developed over the years with institutions in advanced markets like the US, Singapore, Japan, Australia, EU, etc, and facilitate technology transfer to the technology-seeking enterprises in Andhra Pradesh.
vi. "With its presence through a Regional Office in Hyderabad, the bank is desirous of further extending funding facilities to exporters from the State so as to provide them opportunity to access the global market,’’ it said in a release issued here on Monday.
9. Somnath Temple to invest in Gold Monetisation Scheme
i. The Somnath Temple is all set to become Gujarat’s first temple to deposit its idle gold in the Gold Monetisation Scheme as its trustees including Prime Minister Narendra Modi have given their nod to invest the yellow metal reserves in the scheme.
ii. The trust has around 35 kg of gold and will deposit the gold which is not in day-to-day use of the temple. The decision was taken during the recently held meeting of trustees at Modi’s residence in Delhi on January 12, said the trust secretary P K Lahiri, who is also one of the trustees of the Somnath Temple, situated in the Gir-Somnath district.
iii. “During the meeting, all the trustees have agreed to the proposal of depositing the gold, which is not in day-to-day use of the temple, in the Gold Monetisation Scheme,” said Lahiri. According to him, the trust is having around 35 kg of gold, which is either in the form of pure gold or ornaments.
iv. Now, the management will segregate the pure gold from the whole lot to finalise the quantum of gold which can be deposited. “We don’t have a huge amount of gold. Majority of the gold is used for decoration on day-to-day basis in the temple. Thus out of that 35 kg of gold, we will separate pure gold which can be deposited under the scheme,” said Lahiri.
v. Other trustees of the Somnath Temple trust include former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, who is also the chairman of the trust, veteran BJP leader L K Advani, Harshvardhan Neotia and JD Parmar. All these six trustees were present during the meet.
10. French President declares economic emergency
i. French President Francois Hollande has declared what he called “a state of economic emergency” and says it’s time to redefine France’s economic and social model.
ii. The first measures he proposed are relatively modest, and he said they would not “put into question” the 35-hour workweek. He did not seek to assume any new emergency powers.
iii. The measures included a loosening of some worker-friendly measures to encourage companies to hire, and new training for half a million workers.
11. Delhi Acers defeated Mumbai Rockets to clinch Premier Badminton League title
i. Delhi Acers on 17 January 2016 emerged victorious over Mumbai Rockets by 4-3 in the summit clash to clinch the Premier Badminton League (PBL) title. The match was held at the Siri Fort Sports Complex in New Delhi.
ii. Tommy Sugiarto, men's doubles pair of Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong, and Rajiv Ouseph won their respective matches as Delhi grabbed the trophy and a winner's cheque of 3 crores rupees.
iii. Premier Badminton League is a franchise league, managed and commercially owned by the Badminton Association of India. PBL was earlier named Indian Badminton League (IBL) when it was founded in 2013.
iv. IBL was later rechristened to Premier Badminton League before the start of 2nd Season in 2016. The objective of the tournament is to bring top Indian players along with International players on the same platform.
v. Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar is the brand ambassador of the league.