i. French soldiers to march down Rajpath on Republic Day 2016 along with Indian troops
i. The French soldiers will march down the Rajpath on Republic Day along with Indian troops in the presence of President Francois Hollande. Hollande is the Chief Guest for 26 January 2016 celebrations. This is the first time that a foreign army will participate in the 26th January Parade, since 1950.
ii. A French contingent, comprising 56 personnel of 35th Infantry Regiment of 7th Armoured Brigade, is already in the country to take part in a joint exercise, Shakti 2016, which began in Rajasthan on 8 January 2016. Some soldiers will also fly down from France to form a proper marching contingent.
iii. Earlier similar event occurred in France when Indian troops drawn from the three services (Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force) marched down the Champs Elysees in Paris along with French Army on the Bastille Day. The event was held on 14 July 2009 and saw participation of the Maratha light infantry, which is one of the oldest regiments of Indian Army.
iv. Bastille Day (French National Day) is celebrated on 14 July each year. The French National Day commemorates the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, an important event in Paris that was the symbolic start of French revolution.
ii. Modi to be chief guest at sustainable agriculture meet in Gangtok
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the chief guest at the National Conference on Sustainable Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare being held in Gangtok on January 17-18, the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement.
ii. The conference is being held in Sikkim, which has taken the lead on organic farming, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, said, adding that the conference will be attended by State government representatives, scientists, academics, bankers, experts and practitioners.
iii. Jitendra Singh, Minister for Development of North East (Independent charge), said the greenfield airport at Pakyong near Gangtok is expected to be complete and become functional by 2017.
iv. He said there are also plans to connect Sikkim with the country’s rail network, which would be the third North-Eastern State after Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh to be brought on the rail map of India.
v. Singh also referred to the plan for constructing alternative road highway to Gangtok in Sikkim via West Bengal and two ropeways that will serve the purpose of both tourism as well as transport.
iii. Smriti Irani inaugurates 43rd New Delhi World Book Fair
i. Human Resource Minister Smriti Irani on Saturday inaugurated the 43rd edition of the New Delhi World Book Fair which commenced here with China as the guest of honour country and a theme presentation of the cultural heritage of India.
ii. The nine-day fair, touted as the largest in Asia, is hosting about 30 countries in which a series of programmes including panel discussions, dramas, classical and folk dances, workshops, discussions, authors’ meets, conferences, seminars and cultural programmes will be held.
iii. Talking about the Chinese participation, Irani said, “I believe that 50 publishing houses and 9 eminent authors bring with them to this World Book Fair around 5,000 titles so that through this exchange our people across both nations can be enriched.”
iv. China was invited to be the guest country after the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping here last year where he signed a memorandum of understanding with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
v. This year the fair has introduced a special ‘Navlekhan’ programme which seeks to promote and publish young authors under the age of 40 writing in Indian languages. Referring to the same Irani said, while this year they are being published in 6 regional languages by next year she assured that books in 22 languages recognised by the Constitution of India will be published.
iv. Oil Ministry launches e-initiative to improve LPG customer service
i. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has launched an online initiative to seek suggestions from LPG consumers across the country, which will help in providing efficient and friendly service.
ii. Two online discussion forums - Citizen-Friendly Services and Increasing LPG Coverage in the Country - have been launched and are available on myGov.in and mylpg.in, an official press statement said.
iii. The initiative is part of steps being taken to observe 2016 as the 'Year of LPG Consumers'.
iv. "LPG consumers/ citizens are requested to participate and share their thoughts on the respective forums online. Valuable suggestions/ comments are welcome and will be considered for improving the customer oriented services related to LPG coverage and delivery," it said.
v. President promulgated Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2016
i. President Pranab Mukherjee on 7 January 2016 promulgated the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2016 to make amendments to the Enemy Property Act, 1968.
ii. These amendments will help is dealing with the loopholes of the Enemy Property Act, 1968 and ensure that the enemy properties that have been vested in the Custodian remain so and they do not revert back to the enemy subject or enemy firm.
iii. Once an enemy property is vested in the Custodian, it shall continue to be vested in him as enemy property irrespective of whether the enemy, enemy subject or enemy firm has ceased to be an enemy due to reasons such as death and others.
iv. The law of succession does not apply to enemy property. There cannot be transfer of any property vested in the Custodian by an enemy or enemy subject or enemy firm and that the Custodian shall preserve the enemy property till it is disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
v. The Union Government enacted the Enemy Property Act in the year 1968 that provided for the continuous vesting of enemy property in the custodian. The Union Government through the Custodian of Enemy Property for India is in possession of enemy properties spread across many states in the country. In addition, there are also movable properties categorized as enemy properties.
vi. Bhanumurthy is new COO of Wipro
i. A couple of days after naming Abidali Neemuchawala its new chief executive, Wipro, India's third largest information technology company, has made a few changes to its organisation structure.
ii. The Bengaluru-headquartered company has elevated company veteran Bhanumurthy B M as its chief operating officer (COO) and president apart from handing over a new role to G K Prasanna, who is presently heading Global Infrastructure Services as president and chief executive.
iii. Bhanumurthy, who joined Wipro in 1992, is presently the president and chief executive of business application services (BAS), the largest business line in the company which accounts for almost a half of its overall revenues. In his new role, all the services lines including BAS, global infrastructure services, product engineering services, analytics, application management services and business process services would report to Bhanumurthy.
iv. Under the new structure, Prasanna would head a newly created business unit, marketing, innovations and technology (MIT) as the president. MIT will comprise of the offices of the chief technology officer, chief information officer, marketing, strategic engagements (Advisor Relations and sales enablement functions) among others.
v. This new unit would focus on non-linear growth engines, products and platform-based services, integrated solutions, research, and new technologies, the company said confirming the developments.
vii. Sri Lankan parliament begins process to adopt new Constitution
i. Sri Lankan parliament today began a process to formulate a new constitution with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe presenting a resolution to set up Constitutional Assembly of all members for the purpose.
ii. In a special session today, Wickremesinghe moved the resolution in parliament to set up Constitutional Assembly (CA) of all members and a steering committee of 17 members to draft the new constitution.
iii. “We will have the whole parliament formulating the constitution unlike the previous instances when the constitutions were drafted outside parliament,” he said. The new constitution will replace the current executive president headed constitution adopted in 1978.
iv. The resolution noted that there shall be a Committee of Parliament referred to as the “Constitutional Assembly” which shall consist of all MPs, for the purpose of deliberating on, and seeking the views and advice of the people, on a new constitution for Sri Lanka, and preparing a draft of a Constitution Bill for the consideration of Parliament in the exercise of its powers under Article 75 of the Constitution.
v. A Steering Committee consisting of the Prime Minister (Chairman), Leader of the Opposition, Leader of the House, the Minister of Justice, and not more than 11 other Members of the Constitutional Assembly will be appointed by the Constitutional Assembly.
vi. President Maithripala Sirisena in his address said the time has come to formulae a new constitution in keeping with the demands of the 21st century. He warned that extremist elements both in the south and the north may try to scuttle the process.
v. He denied opposition’s accusations that the new constitution is being drafted to please the international community based on their advise. Sirisena, since coming to power, has reduced his presidential powers and strengthened key areas of governance by setting up independent commissions on police, judiciary elections and public service.
viii. Sania Mirza-Martina Hingis clinch Brisbane International title
i. Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis carried the dominance of 2015 into the new season, winning their sixth consecutive title by lifting the WTA Brisbane trophy, here on Saturday. The top seeds quelled the challenge of German wildcards Angelique Kerber and Andrea Petkovic 7-5, 6-1 in mere 69 minutes.
ii. Sania and Martina, the world number one team, have now stitched a 26-match winning streak together, which has brought them six titles in a row at the US Open, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Beijing, WTA Finals and now here.
iii. It is the longest winning streak since Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci's 25 in a row in 2012. Sara and Roberta had won five titles in a row, at Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, the French Open and 's-Hertogenbosch.
iv. The Indo-Swiss pair drew the first blood by breaking the rivals in the second game but the joy was short-lived as Kerber and Petkovic reeled off four straight games to take a 4-2 lead in the opening set.
v. The top seeds controlled the game better in the second set, racing to a 3-0 lead by breaking their rivals in the second game. It was a cakewalk for them from there, losing only one game before closing the match in their favour.