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Current Affairs for 8 April 2016
April 8, 2016
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PUNJAB SETS UP AMBEDKAR SCHOLARSHIP FOR STUDENTS

125 toppers each from Classes X and XII of govt. schools to benefit

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday approved the launch of ‘Dr B R Ambedkar Scholarship Scheme’ for meritorious students of Class X and XII of government schools.

The decision was taken by Mr Badal while presiding over a meeting of 125th Dr B R Ambedkar Janam Shatabdi Utsav Committee to finalise the year-long celebrations.

As many as 125 toppers each from Classes X and XII from government schools would be awarded the scholarship of Rs 1 lakh and Rs 1.5 lakh respectively.

It was also decided to organise a series of seminars on the life, philosophy and works of Ambedkar in universities of the State.

The Chief Minister constituted a committee comprising Chief Parliamentary Secretary Som Parkash, 125th Dr B R Ambedkar Janam Shatabdi Utsav Committee Chairman Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal and vice-chancellors of State universities.

Secretary Higher Education will be the Nodal Officer of the committee which would prepare a schedule for organising the seminars.


 

SAPIENT INDIA TO HIRE 1,700 PEOPLE BY DECEMBER

Sapient India on Thursday said it plans to ramp up its headcount by 20 per cent to over 10,000 by the end of this year.

The company, owned by France-based advertising giant Publicis Group, has operations in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, and presently employs 8,500 people in the country.


 

SWITCHING TO LED BULBS COULD SAVE YOU MORE THAN RS.4,000 A YEAR

Savings will proportionally increase for households in States with higher power tariffs.

Shifting to LED bulbs could save an average family around Rs. 4,000 a year on their power bills due to energy efficiency gains and lower replacement costs, according to Energy Efficiency Services (EESL), a government-run joint venture.

The company’s National Energy Efficient Fan Programme inaugurated on Thursday, is expected to help reduce household electricity bills and the country’s overall carbon dioxide emissions.


 

MGNREGS: CENTRE TO RELEASE FUNDS IN A WEEK

The Centre on Thursday informed the Supreme Court that Rs. 11,030 crore will be released to States within a week to run the MGNREGA programme, especially to generate employment in drought-hit areas. In an affidavit filed by the Rural Development Ministry, the government told the Supreme Court that the amount will take care of pending wage liability of Rs. 7,983 crore under the MGNREGA scheme as on March 31, 2016 pertaining to the financial year 2015-16.

It said that as per the Annual Master Circular (2016-17) funds would be released to States and union Territories in two tranches.


 

RANJIT SINGH’S STATUE TO COME UP IN FRANCE

A statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh will be installed in France’s Saint-Tropez town, the birth place of his Army General Jean—Francois Allard, in September this year.

Henri Prevosat-Allard, Deputy Mayor and in-charge of tourism of Saint-Tropez, on Wednesday met Punjab Tourism Minister Sohan Singh Thandal here and invited him to the ceremony, an official release said.

Henri Prevosat-Allard is a descendant of General Jean-Frans Allard who trained Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s troops, and has announced the step as a mark of respect towards the 19th century king, Mr Thandal said.

The installation of the statue is a matter of great pride for Punjab, the minister said.


 

IITS HIKE FEE TO RS. 2 LAKH, WAIVER FOR WEAKER SECTIONS TO CONTINUE

Studying at the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) is going to cost much more from the coming academic session as the Central government has decided to double the fee.

The annual tuition fees for undergraduate courses will be increased from Rs. 90,000 to Rs. 2 lakh. However, there will be a total fee waiver for the differently abled and students belonging to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and weaker sections.

In the recently released rankings, they have bagged all top 10 spots for engineering, with the IIT- Madras standing first. The tuition fee was last revised in 2013 under the UPA government from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 90,000. In 2008, the fee was increased from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 50,000.

The IIT panel met last month and approved a proposal for a three-fold increase in fee from the present Rs. 90,000 to Rs. 3 lakh from the next academic session. However, the final decision was taken by HRD Minister Smriti Irani, who chairs the IIT Council.


SHAKESPEARE FIRST FOLIO DISCOVERED ON SCOTTISH ISLAND

A copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio, one of the most sought-after books in the world, has been discovered in a stately home on a Scottish island.

This copy of the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, published in 1623, was found at Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute.

Academics who authenticated the book called it a rare and significant find.

About 230 copies of the First Folio are known to exist. A copy owned by Oxford University sold for £3.5m in 2003.

Emma Smith, professor of Shakespeare studies at Oxford University, said her first reaction on being told the stately home was claiming to have an original First Folio was: “Like hell they have.”

But when she inspected the three-volume book she found it was authentic.


 

WORLD MILITARY SPENDING UP IN 2015, INDIA IN SIXTH POSITION

India is also ahead of countries like France, Germany and Israel who happen to be among its top arms suppliers.

India is the sixth largest military spender in 2015 having spent $51.3 billion even as the world spent $1,676 billion reversing a global trend which was on the decline since 2011., as per the latest report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

India moved one rank up from last year accounting for 3.1 percent of global military expenditure. Over a ten-year period from 2006-15 this represents a 43 per cent jump. India is also ahead of countries like France, Germany and Israel who happen to be among its top arms suppliers.

World military expenditure rose by 1 per cent in 2015, the report noted said it reflects continuing growth in Asia and Oceania, Central and Eastern Europe, and some Middle Eastern states.

Sam Perlo-Freeman, head of SIPRI’s military expenditure project said that the military spending in 2015 presents contrasting trends. “On the one hand, spending trends reflect the escalating conflict and tension in many parts of the world; on the other hand, they show a clear break from the oil-fuelled surge in military spending of the past decade,” he said in the report.

The U.S. remained by far the world’s largest spender in 2015 despite its defence expenditure falling by 2.4 per cent to $596 billion followed by China, Saudi Arabia, Russia and U.K.

China’s expenditure rose by 7.4 per cent to $215 billion.