Monday, 20 June 2016 04:51


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20- JUNE - 2016



Forbes released the list of World’s 100 Most Powerful Women of 2016 showing women who impacted businesses, media, philanthropy, politics and more.

Four metrics: money (net worth, company revenues or GDP), media presencespheres of influence, and impact, were analysed to prepare the list.

Highlights of the List

The world’s most powerful woman in the list is German Chancellor Angela Merkel who fetched the first spot for the sixth consecutive year.

The top three most powerful in the list are politicians: Germany’s Angela Merkel, U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, tops the list in the automotive section.

Gwynne Shotwell, the President-COO of SpaceX, is the top woman in Construction & Engineering at 76th position.

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of International Monetary Fund, fetched the 6th spot.

Diane von Furstenberg, Owner, Fashion Designer, Diane von Furstenberg Studio, L.P., stands at 71th position in the Fashion and Retail category.

Oprah Winfrey stands at 21st position in the ranking.

Newcomers joining this year’s list include seven world leaders, two philanthropists, five CEOs, two billionaires, one editor-in-chief, two company chairpersons, and three U.S. Supreme Court justices.

20 women are off the list from last year, among them Ellen Pullman, Renee James, Dilma Rousseff, Cristina Kirschner, and Elizabeth Holmes.

A host of celebrities, including Ellen Degeneres, Taylor Swift, and Angelina Jolie, came off the list this year.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung Sun Suu Kyi, and Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen are included in this year’s list.

Wellcome Trust chair Eliza Manningham-Buller  and UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova join a host of women who are dedicated to helping solve the world’s problems.

Top 10 powerful women in the List




Angela Merkel


Hillary Clinton


Janet Yellen


Melinda Gates


Mary Barra


Christine Lagarde


Sheryl Sandberg


Susan Wojcicki


Meg Whitman


Ana Patricia Botín

Indian Women in the list

Four Indians have been named in Forbes list including Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chair-Managing Director of State Bank of India (SBI), who stood at 25th position.

Chanda Kochhar, MD and CEO of ICICI Bank, was placed at 40th position.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Founder-chair of Biocon Limited, was placed at 77th position.

Shobhana Bhartia, Chair, HT Media, was placed at 93rd position.


LISA Pathfinder Mission successfully tested a key technology needed to build a space-based observatory for detecting gravitational waves. The Mission was led by the European Space Agency (ESA) scientists with the contribution of NASA.

Key finding of the Research

• The Mission demonstrated that two test masses can be put in free fall with a relative acceleration sufficiently free of noise to meet the requirements needed for space-based gravitational-wave detection.

• These tiny ripples in the fabric of space were first seen in 2015 by the ground-based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO).

• These ripples were predicted by Albert Einstein a hundred years ago.

• The frequency of the Seismic, thermal and other noise sources limit LIGO to higher-frequency gravitational waves was around 100 cycles per second (hertz).

• But finding signals from mergers of supermassive black holes in colliding galaxies requires the ability to see frequencies at 1 hertz or less.

• A space-based observatory would work by tracking test masses that move only under the influence of gravity.

• Each spacecraft would gently fly around its test masses without disturbing them, a process called drag-free flight.

• The primary goal of ESA's LISA Pathfinder mission is to test current technology by flying around an identical pair of 1.8-inch (46 millimeter) cubes made of a gold-platinum alloy, a material chosen for its high density and insensitivity to magnetic fields.

About LISA Pathfinder mission

• LISA Pathfinder was launched on  3 December 2015, and began orbiting a point called Earth-sun L1, roughly 930000 miles (1.5 million kilometers) from Earth in the sun's direction since late January 2016.

• LISA stands for Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, a space-based gravitational wave observatory concept that has been studied in great detail by both NASA and ESA.

• The mission was always intended as a stepping stone to the level of performance needed for a full-scale gravitational wave observatory, but these results tell us we’ve nearly made the full jump

• The Mission reduced non-gravitational forces on the test masses to a level five times better than the mission required and within 25 percent of the requirement for a future space-based gravitational wave detector.

LISA Pathfinder also carries a NASA experiment called the ST-7 Disturbance Reduction System. Managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, the experiment combines novelelectrospray thrusters with drag-free control software provided by Goddard on a dedicated computer.

LISA Technology Package (LTP)

• The test masses are housed in an experiment called the LISA Technology Package (LTP).

• It was built by a consortium of European national space agencies and ESA.

• The LTP uses a high-resolution laser interferometer to determine the positions of the test masses and relays the information to the spacecraft's Drag-Free and Attitude Control System, which then applies minute bursts from microthrusters.

• In this way, the spacecraft flies in formation with the cubes and isolates them from external forces.

• The results show that LISA Pathfinder reduced non-gravitational forces on the test masses to a level about 10000 times smaller than drag-free control technologies used on previous science missions.

• At frequencies between 1 and 60 millihertz, control over the test masses is affected by a small number of gas molecules bouncing off the cubes.

• The effect became less prominent over time as molecules escaped into space, and it is expected to improve further in the following months.


Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), at the University of Warwick, which was founded by renowned Indian-origin Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, was bestowed the Regius Professorship in Manufacturing by Queen Elizabeth II.

Who is Kumar Bhattacharyya?

Lord Bhattacharyya is an Indian British engineer, educator and government advisor.

In 1980, he became Professor of Manufacturing Systems at the University of Warwick and founded the Warwick Manufacturing Group.

He studied Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.

He moved to Britain in the 1960s where he worked for six years as a graduate apprentice at Lucas Industries.

He studied at the University of Birmingham where he attained an MSc in Engineering Production and Management and a PhD in Engineering Production.

He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1997 New Year Honours and knighted in 2003.

On 3 June 2004, he was created a life peer as Baron Bhattacharyya, of Moseley in the County of West Midlands.

He sits on the Labour benches in the House of Lords.

In 2014, he was elected as a Fellow of The Royal Society.

About Regius Professor

A Regius professor is a university professor with royal patronage or appointment.

They are a unique feature of academia in the British Isles.

The first Regius professorship was in the field of medicine, and founded by the Scottish King James IV at Aberdeen University in 1497.

Regius professors are traditionally addressed as Regius and not Professor.

Glasgow University currently has the highest number of extant Regius chairs, at thirteen.


The Union Government decided to introduce International Yoga Award Scheme. The award will be introduced with an aim to promote yoga.

At present, the AYUSH ministry is working on the scheme and it will start giving the award from 2017.

Minister of State for AYUSH, Shripad Yesso Naik announced the plan in New Delhi while inaugurating the National Health Editors' Conference.

About National Health Editors' Conference

• The theme of the conference was Yoga for Holistic Health - Recent Researches.

• The conference aims at ensuring wider dissemination of benefits of Yoga to the public through the media.

The conference had been organised by Ministry of AYUSH in association with Press Information Bureau and is a part of the series of planned events leading to the International Day of Yoga - 2016.


Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced that a new Indian Reserve Battalion in Rajasthan will be named after Maharana Pratap. The battalion will be named as Maharana Pratap reserve battalion.

Maharana Pratap, a Rajput ruler who had fought against the Mughals and never bowed before them, is attributed as the greatest warrior of the Mewar region.

The announcement was made at a programme attended by Rajnath Singh during his two-day visit to the state.  The decision was taken on the request of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

The government introduced the scheme of Indian Reserve Battalions in 1971 and so far, 153 battalions have been sanctioned to various states.

Besides, the union government also announced setting up of a global center for counter terrorism at Sardar Patel University of Police, Security and Criminal Justice at Jodhpur.


Internet search engine Google and Tata Trusts’ joint initiative Internet Saathi was launched in Kolkata, West Bengal.

The initiative aims at reducing the digital gender gap in rural areas of India such as Purulia, where girls have now been trained to use the Internet and teach others in turn.

Internet Saathi had been successfully launched in five states. In July 2015, it began in four more states including West Bengal.

About Internet Saathi

Internet Saathi aims at empowering women and their communities by providing basic training on the usage and benefits of the internet.

The programme is driving a meaningful impact in improving the lives of women and their communities in rural India.

It focuses on training women in rural India to explore the various uses of Internet, who then impart training to the larger rural community in their own and neighbouring villages.

Google helps in training the Saathi’s and provides data enabled devices along with the training material.

On ground training classes is conducted by involving self help group federations and local NGO members who are supported by Tata Trusts on-ground network.

In the last ten months, the initiative has been active in villages across five states in India, namely Rajasthan, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.


The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members and partners on 6 June 2016 launched Anaconda-16 Exercise, the biggest ever joint military exercise in Poland.

The drill is part of NATO's exercise program and is being held just weeks before NATO's summit in Warsaw that is expected to decide that significant numbers of NATO troops and equipment will be based in Poland and in the Baltic states.

The exercise was launched at the crucial time when central and eastern European nations are seeking strong security guarantees amid concerns about Russia.

Highlights of the exercise

• The exercise is organized and coordinated by Poland's military Operational Command.

• It will involve some 31000 troops from Poland, the US and 17 other NATO member nations and from five partner nations.

• Some 12000 of the troops are from Poland, almost 14000 from the US and some 1000 from Britain.

• Anaconda-16 will run on test ranges across Poland and will be formally closed by officials at a ceremony in Warsaw on June 17.

• It will train, exercise and integrate Polish command and troops with those of other allied nations in responding to military, chemical and cyber threats on land, sea and in the air.

• Involved will be some 3000 vehicles, 105 airplanes and helicopters, along with 12 Navy ships.

• It includes manoeuvres such as a night-time helicopter assault and the dropping of US paratroopers to build a temporary bridge over the Vistula river.

The Anaconda exercise was first initiated by Poland in 2006 and has gradually grown to include many other NATO members till date.


India and the United States (US) signed/finalized eight agreements/ Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) in various fields including exchange of Terrorist Screening Information, cooperation on Energy Security, Clean Energy and Climate Change among others.

The agreements were inked after meet of Prime Minster Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama in the White House. Modi was on a two day visit to the United States from 6 June to 8 June 2016.

The inked MoUs/Agreements include

• Arrangement for the exchange of Terrorist Screening Information: As per this Arrangement, the two countries shall provide each other access to terrorism screening information through the designated contact points, subject to domestic laws and regulations. The Arrangement would enhance the counter terrorism cooperation between India and the US. It was inked between the Multi-Agency Centre/Intelligence Bureau of India and the Terrorist Screening Center of the US.

MoU to enhance cooperation on Energy Security, Clean Energy and Climate Change: The objective of the MoU is to enhance cooperation between India and the US on energy security, clean energy and climate change through increased bilateral engagement and further joint initiatives for promoting sustainable growth.

MoU to enhance co-operation on Wildlife Conservation, management and Combating Wildlife Trafficking: It seeks cooperation between the two countries in areas such as

a) Wildlife Forensics and Conservation Genetics

b) Natural World Heritage Conservation and Nature Interpretation

c) Conservation Awareness

• MoU for the Development of an International Expedited Traveler Initiative (the Global Entry Programme): The Global Entry is a US Customs and Border Protection programme, which allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. After joint scrutiny and clearance by both countries, the approved Indian travelers will be extended the facility of expedited entry into the United States through automatic kiosks at select airports.

This MoU was inked between Consular, Passport and Visa Division of the Ministry of External Affairs and US Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security of the United States.

• Technical Arrangement concerning Unclassified Maritime Information Sharing: The arrangement would allow sharing of unclassified information on White Shipping between India and the US as permitted by respective national laws, regulations and policies, and provides a framework for mutually beneficial maritime information. It was inked between the Indian Navy and the United States Navy.

• MoU for Cooperation in Gas Hydrates: The MOU aims to increase the understanding of the geologic occurrence, distribution, and production of natural gas hydrates along the continental margin of India and in the US.

It was inked between the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and the Department of Energy of the United States.

• Information Exchange Annex (IEA) to the Master Information Exchange Agreement concerning Aircraft Carrier Technologies: IEA is aimed to enhance data and information sharing specific to aircraft carriers technology between India and the US.

It was finalised between the Ministry of Defence and the Department of Defense of the United States.

• Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement: The agreement is aimed at facilitating mutual logistic support between India and the US for authorized port visits, joint exercises, joint training and HA-DR (humanitarian assistance and disaster relief).

It was finalised between the Ministry of Defence, Government of India and the Department of Defense of the United States.

Apart from signing of the MoUs/agreements, the two leaders, Modi and Obama also issued a joint statement in which US recognised India as a major defence partner. Under this, US will allow India to buy more advanced and sensitive technologies. This move will also complement India’s entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). MTCR is an exclusive club that restricts trade in sensitive defence technologies.

The US also declared that it will be its “strong objective to have India voted as a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), another export control regime, later in June 2016.


  • Inaugurating the two-day RajasvaGyan Sangam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked senior tax officials to aim for widening the tax net from the present 5.4 crore households to 10 crore households.
  • The PM’s message was clear: the approach has to be to make it very easy to pay taxes and very difficult to avoid paying them.
  • In his address, Mr. Modi gave a five-point charter to tax administrators embodied in the word ‘RAPID.’ These are: revenue, accountability, probity, information and digitisation.
  • He pointed out that while nearly 92 per cent of India’s tax revenue comes from self-assessments, advance tax payments and tax deducted at source, the 42,000 taxmen raise barely 8 per cent through assessments and scrutiny of returns.
  • Prime Minister asked the officers to ensure their behaviour is “soft” and “sober” and change their attitude so that the “fear of harassment” is erased from the minds of taxpayers.
  • Mr. Modi said the query “how to pay taxes in India” throws up seven crore responses on Google. Similarly, the search engine gives 12 crore responses to the query “how not to pay taxes in India.”


  • The three women, in their early 20s, are set to create history as India’s first women fighter pilots when they will be commissioned.
  • Flight Cadets Avani Chaturvedi from Madhya Pradesh, BhawanaKanth from Bihar and Mohana Singh from Rajasthan are currently undergoing Stage-II training on Kiran Intermediate Jet Trainers at Hakimpet Air Force station in Hyderabad.
  • Once they pass out at the Combined Graduation Parade Spring Term 2016, the three will begin advanced training on advanced jet trainer Hawks.
  • It will take another 145 hours on the Hawks for almost a year before they would actually get into the cockpit of a supersonic fighter.
  • Last October, the government decided to open the fighter stream for women on an experimental basis for five years.


  • There is still no official word on whether Kerala’s Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancrore (FACT) figures among PSUs that the NITI Aayoghas recommended for disinvestment on a priority basis, or if it is slotted for a longer rope.
  • NITI Aayog has submitted two sets of proposals to the Centre.
  • One of these included a list of recommendations on each of the sick and loss-making government-owned companies, which are 74 in all.\
  • However, in the case of some, it has also been decided to let revival plans run their course and to take a call on their future at a later date.
  • Significantly, the ailing FACT was sanctioned a plan loan of Rs.1,000 crore this March, against 408 acres of its land as collateral
  • But the second set of suggestions has a list of 15 PSUs where the NITI Aayog has recommended that the Centre should consider strategic disinvestment on priority.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had in February directed the Aayog to identify PSUs that the department could take up for strategic disinvestment and also suggest the norms for doing so.


  • Eurogroup head JeroenDijsselbloem said that the Eurozone was ready for any of the negative effects of a vote by Britain to leave the European Union.
  • But, he added: “We have the capacity to deal with any shocks that might occur.”
  • The 19 Eurozone ministers were meeting in Luxembourg for talks with IMF head Christine Lagarde, but the threat of a vote by Britain to leave the European Union dominated concerns.
  • French Finance Minister Michel Sapin warned that a British exit from the EU would mainly affect the British people.
  • The high-octave EU referendum campaign in the United Kingdom ground to a halt with news of the shocking murder of the charismatic Labour Member of Parliament, Jo Cox.
  • Ms. Cox, a first-time MP, was a vocal supporter of Britain remaining in the European Union (EU).


  • China criticised U.S. President Barack Obama for hosting the Dalai Lama at the White House, despite efforts to avoid irking Beijing by holding the meeting off-camera and out of the public eye.
  • Mr. Obama carried out what has become a political rite in Washington, spiriting the exiled Tibetan religious leader into the White House through the back door— and prompting the usual Chinese denunciations.
  • Since coming to office, Mr. Obama has hosted the Dalai Lama four times. Each time, Mr. Obama has tried to limit the fallout by holding the meeting behind closed doors. This latest confab took place in the Map Room, not the Oval Office.
  • In a statement after the meeting, the White House said Mr. Obama had “encouraged meaningful and direct dialogue between the Dalai Lama and his representatives with Chinese authorities to lower tensions and resolve differences”.
  • But some exiled Tibetans questioned the value of such meetings, urging bolder action from the U.S.


  • Domestic information technology (IT) spending in the government sector is expected to grow 3.1 per cent in the year 2016, fuelled by a ‘Digital India’ initiative.
  • According to a report released by global IT research and advisory firm Gartner the government will spend about Rs.4,700 crore ($7 billion) for various IT products and services.
  • The forecast by the firm includes expected spending by various governments including State, Centre and local governments in the country.
  • The IT spending for the year includes internal services, software, IT services, data centres, devices and telecom services.
  • Gartner predicted that the growth of the software market will be led by growth in the infrastructure.


  • The subsidy provided by the Centre to airlines under the regional connectivity scheme (RCS) may be tapered if the passenger load factor increases to a decent level, according to the new civil aviation policy.
  • Continuance of VGF [viability gap funding] for a particular route will be subject to appropriate passenger load factor continuously for a prescribed period.
  • The Centre will subsidise the losses incurred by airlines by flying on the regional routes in a bid to allow them to charge Rs.2,500 to passenger for an hour’s flight.
  • The Centre will create a regional connectivity fund through a small levy on departure of each flight, as per the policy. While Centre will contribute 80 per cent for the viability gap funding, the rest 20 per cent will come from the states.
  • In a bid to boost the cargo volumes the freight industry has also been offered a slew of incentives such as zero airport charges and waiving off terminal navigation landing charges.
  • However, the cargo industry will not be entitled to viability gap funding from the government.
  • The aviation policy gives a level of comfort to the states by allowing them to charge service tax on 10 per cent of the ticket costs to passengers flying in and out of the airports falling under the scheme.
  • The draft policy had said that service tax on tickets will be exempted from the RCS.


  • The government’s draft policy for wind and solar hybrid plants, released for public comments recently, is a good step, but restrictive as it puts a cap on the size of such units.
  • The policy, which is available on the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s website and is open for public comments till June 30, lacks in details relating to tariffs, according to experts.
  • The draft policy aims to facilitate hybridisation of existing solar or wind systems, besides new hybrid projects. However, it is restrictive in suggesting that hybrid capacity addition, for existing plants.
  • In wind farms with low turbine density, a significant solar potential could be tapped (even of the order of 500 kW to 1 MW, depending upon plant area), which would require additional transmission capacity.
  • The main aim of the policy is to lay a framework for promoting large grid connected wind-solar photovoltaic system.
  • This will be helpful for creating optimal and efficient transmission infrastructure and land, reducing the variability in renewable power generation to achieve better grid stability.
  • The goal of the policy is to reach a wind-solar hybrid capacity of 10 GW by 2022.
  • While hybrid systems are viewed as a good step forward for the renewable energy sector as they stand to facilitate the efficient use of both land and transmission infrastructure, the draft policy is not detailed enough when it comes to tariff structures and financial incentives.
  • The draft policy is not clear about the financial incentives for hybrid systems and merely refers to the existing incentives for solar and wind projects.
  • The superimposition of wind and solar resource maps shows that there are large areas where both wind and solar have high to moderate potential, according to the policy.


  • The current account deficit (CAD) for the January-March period narrowed to $ 0.3 billion, which is 0.1 per cent of the GDP as compared to $7.1 billion in the preceding quarter and $0.7 billion during the same period of the previous year.
  • The balance of payments surplus in January-March was $3.3 billion, compared to a surplus of $4.1 billion in October-December.The lower current account deficit is mainly due to contraction in trade deficit.
  • The contraction in CAD was primarily on account of a lower trade deficit ($ 24.8 billion) than in Q4 of last year ($ 31.6 billion) and $ 34.0 billion in the preceding quarter.
  • Net services receipts had declined on a year-on-year basis largely due to fall in exports of transport, financial services and telecommunication, computer and information services.
  • However, net foreign direct investment moderated to $ 8.8 billion in Q4’16 from $ 9.3 billion during the same period of the previous year.
  • Non-resident Indian (NRI) deposits, though, increased in Q4 of 2015-16 over their level in Q4 last year as well as the preceding quarter.
  • Portfolio investment recorded a net outflow of $1.5 billion in Q4 of 2015-16, as against a net inflow of $12.5 billion in the corresponding period of last year,primarily reflecting net outflow in the debt segment.
  • For the full financial year 2015-16, CAD narrowed to 1.1 per cent of GDP as compared to 1.3 per cent a year earlier.
  • For the full year, trade deficit narrowed to $ 130.1 billion in 2015-16 from $ 144.9 billion.
  • According to credit rating agency ICRA, the current account deficit could widen modestly from $ 22 billion in FY2016 to $25-30 billion in FY2017, though it will remain about 1.2-1.3 per cent of GDP.


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Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 June 2016 05:56