1. RK Mathur sworn in as 8th Chief Information Commissioner
i. Former Defence Secretary Radha Krishna Mathur (62) has sworn in as the eight Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) of the Central Information Commission.
ii. He was administered the oath of office by the President Pranab Mukherjee at a ceremony held in Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. Mr. Mathur as the CIC will have tenure of about three years i.e. till 2019 till he attains the age of 65 years. He succeeds Vijai Sharma as he has retired after completion of his tenure.
2. PM Narendra Modi inaugurates 103rd Indian Science Congress
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 103rd edition of the Indian Science Congress (ISC) on January 3, 2015 in Mysuru, Karnataka.
ii. The theme of this edition of the Congress is “Science and Technology for Indigenous Development in India.” During the inaugural speech Prime Minister gave a new mantra comprising five Es – “Economy, Environment, Energy, Empathy and Equity”.
iii. The Congress aims to bring together eminent scientists, research scholars to popularize science and foster a scientific temperament. The 5 day event (ending on 7 Jan will witness deliberations and presentation of papers by the scientific fraternity from across the globe.
iv. Over 100 eminent scientists from different universities and research institutions are going to deliver plenary talks at the congress on subjects like Space Science, Nano Science, Technology & Applications, Evolution: The Frontiers, Atomic Energy, Safe water, Diabetes, and sanitation, Public-Private partnership for the Swachh Bharat Mission and Diseases and drug development.
v. The key speakers of this edition of congress will be Noble laureates Arthur B McDonald (US), Dan Schetman (Israel), John Gurdan (UK), Serge Haroche (France), David J Gross (US) and Fields Medalist mathematician Manjul Bhargava. The 5th Women’s Science Congress was inaugurated on January 4, 2015. While the Children Science Congress was inaugurated by Nobel Laureate John B Gurdon.
3. RBI imposes Rs 1 crore fine on State Bank of Travancore
i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a monetary penalty of one crore rupees on State Bank of Travancore, an SBI associate bank for violation of some of its instructions.
ii. The monetary penalty was imposed on State Bank of Travancore for violation of its instructions including reporting of data to Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC). Prior to imposing the penalty, RBI had issued a show cause notice to the bank for not having complied with the directions issued by the bank on submission of accurate data to the CRILC.
iii. Finally RBI came to the conclusion that the bank had violated the instructions or guidelines issued from time to time after considering the bank’s reply and information submitted and documents furnished.
4. India-Nepal friendship bus service resumes after gap of 27 years
i. A friendship bus service between India and Nepal was flagged off via Champawat district in Uttarakhand after a gap of 27 years. The resumed bus service has been regularised and will run between Kanchanpur in Nepal close to the Banbasa border in Champawat district and Anand Vihar in New Delhi. ii. People travelling in these buses do not require any special documents to travel. These buses are air conditioned and provide free wi-fi connectivity to passengers.
iii. The India-Nepal friendship bus service was suspended 27 years back in the wake of the Indo-Nepal Trade and Transit Treaty. This bus service is mainly used by the people on both sides of the border as they have family as well as trade relations with each other.
5. Kate Atkinson won 2015 Costa Novel Prize for A God in Ruins
i. British writer Kate Atkinson on 4 January 2016 won the novel-of-the-year prize at Britain's Costa Book Awards 2015 for the second time in three years. She fetched the award for A God in Ruins, a story of war and its aftermath.
ii. With this, Atkinson became the first author to receive the Costa novel prize three times: for A God in Ruins in 2016, Life After Life in 2013 and Behind the Scenes at the Museum in 1995.
6. Jharkhand Government inaugurated land bank web portal jharbhoom.nic.in
i. Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das on 4 January 2016 inaugurated the state's land bank web portal, jharbhoom.nic.in, that will help investors know land-related information.
ii. With this, one would be able to get information about the land which is available at the district and the circle area level with a click of a mouse. This land bank will help investors get information through district-wise nodal officers.
iii. For this purpose, district wise nodal officers have been appointed whose mobile numbers and email ids will also be available on the website.
iv. The state government also issued directions to make land available through the land bank to the industrialists allotted with coal blocks.