Current Affairs Today 1 : Archana Ramasundram becomes 1st woman to head paramilitary force
Tamil Nadu Cadre IPS officer Archana Ramasundram was appointed as the Director General of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) that guards India’s frontiers with Nepal and Bhutan on 1 February 2016.
With her appointment, Ramasundram who is 58, became the first woman to head a paramilitary force. She is currently the Director of National Crime Records Bureau.
An order which was issued by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said that she has been appointed to the post till the date of her superannuation, which is, 30 September 2017.
- IPS officer K Durga Prasad was appointed as Director Generals of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
- IPS officer K K Sharma will be new Chief of the Border Security Force (BSF).
- They will take over after the current chiefs of these forces retire on 29 February 2016.
The Paramilitary forces in India are:
- Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)
- Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)
- Border Security Force (BSF)
- Central Industrial Security Force
- Indo Tibetan Border Police.
Current Affairs Today 2 : India, NASA to study Ladakh under Spaceward Bound programme
India and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) entered into a partnership in January 2016 to explore Ladakh’s environment under NASA’s Spaceward Bound programme.
Under the partnership, a team of scientists from NASA, the Mars Society Australia and the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, Lucknow will undertake an expedition to Ladakh in August 2016.
During the 10-day expedition, they will study the similarities of certain parts of the region’s topography and the microbial life close to the surroundings of Mars.
- Offers a cold, high altitude (3500 – 5500 meter above sea level)
- High UV exposed, dry ecosystem with Mars analogue topological features.
- The environment will tell us about the origin and evolution of Earth’s topological features.
- To understand how microbial life has adapted to sustain itself in such harsh weather conditions.
- High passes, glaciers, permafrost regions, hot springs, shallow and palaeo lakes and high altitude night skies will help the astrobio/geoscientists to conduct experiments and answer some of the most fundamental questions about life.
- India’s success in executing the Mars Orbiter Mission will be an advantage for international scientists for achieving greater results as part of the collaboration.
About Spaceward Bound programme
- An educational program developed at NASA Ames Research Center in California, USA.
- Mission: Train the next generation of space explorers by making students and teachers participate in the exploration of different regions on the planet.
- Regions are scientifically interesting but remote and extreme environments on Earth as analogs for human exploration of the Moon and Mars.
- Previous Spaceward Bound expeditions were: Atacama Desert (South America), Mojave Desert (the USA), Pavilion Lake (Canada) and Arctic region among others.
- Ladakh is the 1st region chosen for study in India under this programme.
Current Affairs Today 3 : India, Afghanistan sign pact for visa-free travel by diplomats
India and Afghanistan inked a pact for visa-free travel by their diplomats on 1 February 2016.
The agreement was signed after the Afghan Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during which they discussed key mutual and regional issues including security support.
Both leaders discussed the role of international society to ensure peace, stability and to defeat terrorism challenges in Afghanistan.
They also shared views on further improving the India-Afghanistan relationship during the meet and re-energize the strategic partnership between both countries.
Besides, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj informed the Afghan Chief Executive about India’s efforts to expedite implementation of as many as 92 small developmental projects in Afghanistan that are nearing completion.
About Chief Executive Officer of Afghanistan
- The Chief Executive Officer of Afghanistan is position within the Government of Afghanistan.
- The extra-constitutional post created in September 2014 happened after the disputes that arose after the 2014 Afghan presidential election when both election candidates Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah claimed victory.
- As part of a national unity agreement, it was agreed that Ashraf Ghani would assume the presidency and a new post of Chief Executive Officer would be created for Abdullah Abdullah.
Current Affairs Today 4 : 30th Surajkund International Crafts Mela begins in Faridabad
On 1 February 2016, the 30th edition of the Surajkund International Crafts Mela began at Surajkund in Faridabad, Haryana. The event was inaugurated by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. The event will be conducted from 1st to 15th February 2016.
Telangana was selected as the Theme State. It will showcase its unique culture and rich heritage and about 300 artistes from the state will perform different folk arts.
Chhattisgarh was selected as the Theme State for the 29th Surajkund International Crafts Mela-2015.
Minimum 23 countries will be part of the Mela, with China and Japan being the 2 focus countries.
Major Highlights of the 30th Editions Mela
- Visitors can relish different mouth-watering cuisines including authentic flavours of Telangana, Punjab and Haryana, with Indian street food and other state specialties at the Food Court.
- Girl students of government and government-aided colleges of Haryana will be given free entry to the Mela on weekdays, as a part of ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign.
- 50% refund on the entry tickets will be provided to the differently-abled people and senior citizens.
- To encourage youth participation, a 50% discount on tickets is given to college students on weekdays.
About Surajkund International Crafts Mela
- 1st edition of the Surajkund Crafts Mela was hosted in 1987.
- Organized by the Surajkund Mela Authority and Haryana Tourism in collaboration with Union Ministries of Tourism, Textiles, Culture and External Affairs.
- Traditional craftsmen (artists, painters, weavers and sculptors) from all parts of the country participate in the annual mela to showcase some of the most exquisite handlooms and handicrafts of India and culture.
- Handmade fabrics soaked in ethnic colors make an eye catching display for the visitors.
- Every year a theme State and a Partner Nation is chosen.
- Theme State is chosen with a view to promote and focus the art, craft and cuisine of the theme State.
- Partner Nation is chosen to showcases the best of that nation’s art, culture, traditions and heritage.
- For the first time in 2009, Egypt became the Focus Nation whenthe idea of introducing a country/nation as a Partner Nation was debated.
- Thailand was introduced as the first Partner Nation during the 26th Surajkund Crafts Mela 2012.
Current Affairs Today 5 : Govt appoints Jai Kumar Garg as MD & CEO of Corporation Bank
On 1 February 2016 the Union Government appointed Jai Kumar Garg as Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Corporation Bank for a 3 year period.
Garg took charge of the public sector bank on 1 February 2016, succeeding S R Bansal, who superannuated from the service as CMD on 31 January 2016.
About Jai Kumar Garg
- A chartered accountant
- An associate member of Indian Institute of Banking and Finance.
- Before his appointment at Corporation Bank, he worked as an executive director in UCO Bank.
- Started his career at Corporation Bank in 1986.
- Experience in credit management, forex operations, recovery, retail banking and administration.
About Corporation Bank
- A public sector banking company headquartered in Mangaluru, India.
- Founded on 12 March 1906 in the Temple Town of Udupi, by a small group of philanthropists led by Khan Bahadur Haji Abdulla Haji Kasim Saheb Bahadur.
- The oldest banking institution in the prior undivided South Canara District of the Madras Presidency.