1. Padma Vibhushan for Rajinikanth, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
i. Actor Rajinikanth, media baron Ramoji Rao, former J&K Governor Jagmohan and spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar awarded Padma Vibhushan.
ii. Former CAG Vinod Rai, Bollywood actor Anupam Kher and singer Udit Narayan awarded Padma Bhushan.
iii. Former US Ambassador to India Robert D Blackwill, sportspersons Saina Nehwal and Sania Mirza and Indu Jain of Bennett, Coleman & Co get Padma Bhushan.
iv. Senior lawyer Ujjwal Nikam, actors Ajay Devgn and Priyanka Chopra get Padma Shri.
v. Reliance Industries founder late Dhirubhai Ambani awarded Padma Vibhushan.
2. 6th National Voters’ Day observed with theme Inclusive and Qualitative Participation
i. 6th National Voters’ Day (NVD) was observed across the country on 25 January 2016 by the Election Commission of India. The theme for the 6th National Voters’ Day is ‘Inclusive and Qualitative Participation’.
ii. The Commission’s objective through NVD is to increase enrolment of voters, especially of the newly eligible ones. The National function of the NVD was held in New Delhi and presided over by President of India, Pranab Mukherjee.
iii. On the occasion, the Chief Election Commissioner Dr. Nasim Zaidi also released a book titled, ‘Belief in the Ballot’ and presented it’s the first copy to the President.
iv. To celebrate and recognise the contribution of Government department/Agencies to the efforts of ECI for enhancing electoral participation, the election commission has introduced awards. Six newly eligible electors were given their EPICs by President of India.
v. 25 January is the foundation day of the Commission, which came into being on this day in 1950. The National Voters’ Day is also utilised to spread awareness among voters regarding effective participation in the electoral process.
vi. After the completion of the NVD National function, the Commission inaugurated the construction of India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM) campus at sector-22 Dwarka, New Delhi.
vii. Election Commission of India will be presenting a Tableau with the theme ‘Inclusive and Qualitative Participation’ at the Republic Day parade on 26 January at Rajpath, New Delhi.
3. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa won Presidential Election of Portugal
i. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on 24 January 2016 won the Presidential election of Portugal. Sousa, a centre-right Social Democrats candidate and a former journalist, won the election by securing 52 percent of votes.
ii. The outcome is likely to help maintain political balance after the inconclusive parliamentary ballot in October 2015. His closest rival, Socialist Antonio Sampaio da Novoa, conceded defeat after picking up around 23 percent of the vote. Left Bloc candidate Marisa Matias had 10 percent.
iii. Sousa, popularly known as ‘Professor Marcelo’ and aged 67 is the one-time leader of the center-right Social democrats. He will succeed President Anibal Cavaco Silva.
iv. Earlier in October 2015 presidential election, a centre-right coalition won the most votes but lost its overall majority in November 2015. It was replaced by an alliance of left-wing parties that rejected its austerity programme in parliament.
4. AP Government launched Giriputrika Kalyana Pathakam Scheme for tribal people
i. The Andhra Pradesh Government on 22 January 2016 launched Giriputrika Kalyana Pathakam Scheme to support the tribal women in their quest for livelihood. The scheme was launched by Andhra Pradesh Minister for Social Welfare Ravela Kishore Babu.
ii. The scheme seeks to reduce rampant infant mortality and child marriages among tribal people. It is designed to provide a onetime financial assistance of 50000 rupees to each tribal woman who gets married.
iii. The amount will be directly disbursed to the bank accounts of the beneficiary through District Tribal Welfare Office. To avail the benefits of this scheme, each beneficiary would have to fulfil some mandatory conditions like submission of marriage certificate, income certificate, etc.
iv. The scheme is envisaged to provide nutritional food to infants till the age of seven years.
5. Eminent Tabla player Shankar Ghosh passed away
i. Eminent Tabla player Pandit Shankar Ghosh passed away on 22 January 2016 in Kolkata following a prolonged illness. He was 80. He is survived by his wife Sanjukta Ghosh, a classical vocalist of Patiala gharana, a son, daughter-in-law and two grandsons.
ii. Ghosh was trained by legendary Pandit Gyan Prakash Ghosh, Ustad Feroz Khan, Pandit Anath Nath Bose and Pandit Sudarshan Adhikari. He followed the Farukhabad gharana of Hindustani classical music.
iii. He also performed with vocalists such as Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Pandit Omkarnath Thakur, Pandit Vinayakrao Patwardhan, Girija Devi and Akhtari Bai. He also collaborated with foreign artists like Greg Ellis, Pete Lockett and John Bergamo.
iv. He had also done jugalbandi with celebrated classical musician sitarists Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Vilayat Khan. He was awarded the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in the year 2000.
v. He also received the ITC Sangeet Research Academy award and the Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan award.
6. India-France inked 16 pacts including chopper venture
i. India and France on 24 January 2016 inked 16 agreements at the India-France Business Summit in Chandigarh. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) covered a wide range of sectors like urban development, urban transport, water and waste treatment and solar energy.
ii. The agreements were signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande, who began his three-day visit to India.
iii. Hollande is the Chief Guest at the 67th India’s Republic Day (26 January 2016) celebrations. He is the fifth French leader to be a chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations, maximum number from any country so far.
- MoU between AFD and Maharashtra on technical cooperation in the field of sustainable urban development for development of smart city in Nagpur.
- MoU between AFD and the Union Territory of Chandigarh on technical cooperation in the field of sustainable urban development for development of smart city in Chandigarh.
- MoU between AFD and the Union Territory of Puducherry on technical cooperation in the field of sustainable development for development of smart city in Puducherry.
- Wind Power Development Agreement between EDF JV with SITAC RE India to jointly explore opportunities for development of wind based power project in India.
- MOU between EPI ltd – Dassault Systèmes in urban sector development.
- MOU between EPI-Egis - urban sector development.
- MOU between EPI- Schneider Electric - urban sector development.
- MOU between EPI-Thales - urban sector development.
- MOU between EPI-EDF - urban sector development.
- MOU between EPI-Alstom - urban sector development.
- MOU between EPI-SA CAN - urban sector development.
- MOU between EPI-Lumiplan ITS India Pvt Ltd - urban sector development.
- MOU between EPI-POMA - urban sector development.
- Agreement between CEA (the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) and Green Ventures – Solar photo voltaic projects in the Indian rural areas (Varanasi, U.P.).
- Agreement between CEA (the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) and Crompton Greaves - To explore opportunities in Solar Photo Voltaic (PV) System with storage function for Indian Airports.
- Mahindra-Airbus cooperation to create the new private strategic partner for helicopters within the Make in India initiative.
7. Malayalam actor Kalpana passes away in Hyderabad
i. National award-winning actress Kalpana, who appeared in 300 films including recent superhit “Charlie”, died this morning in Hyderabad due to a heart attack. She was 51. Kalpana Ranjani was in Hyderabad to shoot a Telugu film and was scheduled to leave for Kerala later today.
ii. She was declared brought dead at a hospital around 7 am, sources told PTI. Kalpana had received the National award for best supporting actress for her performance in “Thanichala Njan” (2012).
iii. Sister of actors Urvashi and Kalaranjini, Kalpana forayed into Malayalam films as a child actor in “Vidarunne Mottukul” in 1977. Among her other Malayalam hits are “Ennum Eppuzhum”, “Karnavar”, “Dolfins”, “Bangalore Days” and “Spirit“. “Kakki Sattai”, “Idhaya Thiruda”, “Sathi Leelavathi” and “Chinna Veedu” are among her Tamil films.
iv. The actress’ body is expected to be brought to Kerala later today. She is survived by her daughter. Malayalam actors K P A C Lalitha, Kaviyoor Ponnamma and Innocent, MP, expressed shock at the demise of the actress, who was best known for her comic roles in South Indian films.
8. Alice Vaidyan, new CMD of GIC Re
i. Alice Vaidyan has been appointed Chairman and Managing Director of General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC Re), the National Reinsurer. She will hold office till July 31, 2019.
ii. GIC Re is the 14th largest reinsurer globally and is presently the only reinsurance company in India.
iii. Vaidyan belongs to the 1983 batch of direct recruit officers of general insurance industry.
iv. She has been the General Manager and CFO of GIC Re from October 2012.
v. A post-graduate in English literature and a Fellow of the Insurance Institute of India, Vaidyan began her career with public sector general insurer The New India Assurance Company Ltd in 1983. She moved to GIC Re in 2008 as DGM (Reinsurance).
9. Now, you can pay online for LPG refills
i. Now, LPG users can pay online for their cylinder refills on the website www.mylpg.in soon after booking their refill for delivery. This is the latest part of the online refill booking facilities that the three public sector oil marketing companies have introduced in the past two years.
ii. The facility was launched here on Sunday by Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas. Pradhan said his mi
nistry is also considering creating an EMI payment model for new gas connections bought by non-bpl customers.
iii. The ministry is already running a pilot programme that gives a 50 per cent government rebate to below poverty line families when they buy their first gas connection.
iv. In addition, to improve the supply chain, the government is working towards adding ten thousand more LPG distributing agencies, Pradhan added. Customers who buy domestic LPG cylinders from Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum can use the unified web portal to book cylinder refills, track delivery status, port the gas connection and receive the government subsidy by linking their bank accounts.
v. The digitisation of the supply chain is also intended to increase the efficiency of LPG distributors.
10. Izumo Takuto and Zhu Chengzhu won ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals
i. Japan's Izumo Takuto and Hong Kong's Zhu Chengzhu on 24 January 2016 became champions in the boys' and girls' categories, respectively, in the 11Even Sports 2015 ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals at the Abhay Prashal Stadium, Indore, Madhya Pradesh.
ii. The three-day event came to its conclusion when Takuto hardly dropped a sweat beating Carlos Vedriel from Spain 4-0 in a one-sided final while Zhu overcame stiff resistance to beat Park Seri of Korea 4-2. Each winner took home 3800 US dollars while the runners-up received 2100 US dollars each.
iii. The International Table Tennis Federation is the governing body for all international table tennis associations. The role of the ITTF includes overseeing rules and regulations and seeking technological improvement for the sport of table tennis.
iv. The ITTF is responsible for the organization of numerous international competitions, including the World Junior Circuit and the World Table Tennis Championships that has continued since 1926.
11. India won Blind T20 Asia Cup
i. India on 24 January 2016 won the first T20 Asia cup cricket for Blind. In the final clash played at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium of Kochi, India defeated Pakistan by 44 runs.
ii. Batting first, India scored 208 runs in 20 over whereas Pakistan was restricted to 164 runs in 18.2 over.
iii. So far, Pakistan was unbeaten in this tournament and had defeated India by 19 runs in the group stages.