(Current Affairs For SSC Exams) National Events | January 2015


Pakistan & India exchanged list of nuclear facilities

  •  India and Pakistan exchanged the list of their nuclear installations under a bilateral agreement that bars them from attacking each other’s atomic facilities. This is the 24th consecutive exchange of such list between the two countries.

  •  “India and Pakistan today exchanged, through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad, the list of nuclear installations and facilities covered under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear installations,” the External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson said.

  •  The agreement, which was signed on December 31, 1988 and entered into force on January 27, 1991, says that the two countries inform each other of nuclear installations and facilities to be covered under the Agreement on January 1 every year.

‘Make in India’ needs a new materials push says Chander

  •  India has to improve its capability to develop innovative materials for the defence sector to fuel Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” campaign, Avinash Chander, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister and Director-General of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, said.

  •  Delivering a lecture on “Materials for defence and nation-building” at the annual convention of the Andhra Pradesh Akademi of Science, Mr. Chander said the country was unable to harness deposits of rare earth metals needed for research in the sector.

  •  “China has 89 per cent of the rare earth metals deposits [in the world], and it has started to embargo and deny access to them,” he said. “We have to develop capabilities to utilise our natural resources. One or two scientific laboratories can’t do this. It should be a combined effort of all academic institutions, laboratories and universities.”

  •  He said India had not been able to develop a disruptive technology that would redefine, change and open new windows of research to develop innovative materials for the defence sector. “Titanium is used in almost all aerospace engines.

  •  We are not able to come up with world-class engines just because we don’t have a good supply of such a material. The bullet-proof jackets used by U.S. forces are eight to 10 kg heavier and do not suit our forces. We have to reduce the weight of bullet-proof jackets by at least half, but have not reached there yet,” he said.

‘NITI Aayog’ a threat to federal structure says Congress

  •  The Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said that replacing the Planning Commission with NITI Aayog would strike at the very foundation of the federal structure, and the new body would be an “extension of the all-powerful Prime Minister’s Office [PMO].”

  •  Briefing presspersons, Congress spokesman Ajoy Kumar said NITI Aayog would, in effect, become a “PMO Commission” as all powers in this government were with one person, Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

  •  “The BJP is an expert in destroying institutions,” and the Planning Commission was another such example.

  •  The CPI(M) Polit Bureau described the creation of NITI Aayog as a “regressive step” which would further push the country into a market-driven economy and privatisation in all spheres at the expense of diluting even the present inadequate welfare schemes.

  •  “Whatever role the Planning Commission had in allocating resources for the public sector and deploying public investment keeping in mind regional disparities has now ended,” it said.

  •  The Polit Bureau described as “spurious” the government’s claim that the new set-up would be based on cooperative federalism with the States as stakeholders.

Excavation conducted at Harappan site by ASI reveals house plan

  •  Excavation conducted by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at the late-Harappan site of Chandayan in Uttar Pradesh has, for the first time, revealed the plan of a house on the Ganga-Yamuna doab, with its mud walls, four successive floor levels and post-holes.

  •  While these were found in the habitation area, trenches laid in the burial area brought to light 21 Harappan pots, the remains of a skeleton, a broken copper crown placed on the skull, animal bones and remains of a feast, indicating a funeral ceremony.

  •  “It was a salvage excavation meant to know the site’s cultural sequence,” said A.K. Pandey, Superintending Archaeologist, Excavation Branch-II, ASI, who led the excavation at Chandayan in Baraut tehsil of Baghpat district.

  •  He decided to conduct the excavation after labourers digging farmland to collect clay found the crown placed on the skull, a red-ware bowl and a miniature pot last August.

  •  The ASI excavated five trenches in December, each of 10x10 metres, with two trenches in the habitation locality and three in the burial area. Mr. Pandey estimated that the late-Harappan site could have existed before 4,000 years.

  •  The excavation in the residential area revealed a mud wall and post-holes in one trench and four closely laid and successive floors of a house in another trench and pots. They were found at a depth of 130 cm and upwards from the surface level.

  •  The posts positioned in the holes would have supported the roof of the house. “The habitation area is significant for the floor levels, and mud walls were occurring in the Ganga-Yamuna doab for the first time,” Mr. Pandey said.

ISRO working on aspects of manned mission: Radhakrishnan

  •  The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is working on developing technology for manned space mission, Dr. K. Radhakrishnan, former head of ISRO, said during a public interview.

  •  He was interviewed by senior space scientist Pramod Kale at the 102nd Indian Science Congress inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Mumbai University.

  •  He said ISRO was working on various aspects of a manned mission such as minimising failure rate, developing an escape system, providing environment and life support system for the crew.

  •  Meanwhile, as a part of the Indian Science Congress, Union Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan inaugurated a mega science and technology exhibition at the city’s MMRDA ground at Bandra-Kurla Complex.

  •  The exhibition named ‘Pride of India Expo’ showcases the cutting edge technologies, leading scientific products and services, path-breaking research and development initiatives, schemes and achievements of India’s leading public and private sectors, government departments, research labs and educational institutions, a press release by the Press Information Bureau said.

NITI Aayog will set policy agenda: Modi

  •  On the first day of the New Year, the Modi Government set up NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) in place of the Planning Commission. The Prime Minister will head the new institution tasked with the role of formulating policies and direction for the Government.

  •  Its Governing Council will comprise State Chief Ministers and Lt. Governors of Union Territories. The Prime Minister will appoint the Aayog’s Vice-Chairperson and CEO. Asian Development Bank’s Former Chief Economist Arvind Panagariya is tipped to be the first Vice Chairperson.

  •  The Government plans to adopt a ‘Bharatiya’ approach to development, states the resolution of the Union Cabinet for setting up the Aayog. India needs an administration paradigm in which the government is an enabler rather than a provider of first and last resort, it states.

  •  The Aayog will recommend a national agenda, including strategic and technical advice on elements of policy and economic matters. It will also develop mechanisms for village-level plans and aggregate these progressively at higher levels of government.

  •  The institutions of governance and policy have to adapt to new challenges and must be built on the founding principles of the Constitution, the resolution states. On the planning process, it states that there was a need to separate the process from the strategy of governance.

  •  Transforming India, it further states, would involve changes of two types — consequences of market forces and those that would be planned. “The maturing of our institutions and polity also entails a diminished role for centralised planning, which itself needs to be redefined.”

  •  A state-of-the-art Resource Centre for good governance practices is also proposed. The original Planning Commission was set up in March, 1950 through a Cabinet Resolution, which the Modi Government scrapped in August 2014.

Union Cabinet clears 2G auction

  •  The Union Cabinet approved the largest ever telecom spectrum auction that is targeted to fetch at least Rs.64,840 crore from the sale next month.

  •  The government will sell 380.75 megahertz of second generation (2G) spectrum in three bands — the premium 800 MHz, 900 MHz and 1800 MHz. Spectrum in 2100 MHz may also be put on auction simultaneously after Defence Ministry vacates it.

  •  The Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved a reserve price of “Rs.3,646 crore pan-India per MHz in 800 MHz, Rs.3,980 crore for 900 MHz band pan-India excluding Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Jammu & Kashmir; Rs.2,191 crore pan-India (excluding Maharashtra and West Bengal) in 1800 MHz band,” an official statement said here on Monday.

Amend law to protect Hindu wife: panel

  •  Noting it is the “supreme duty” of a Hindu to protect those dependent on him, the Law Commission recommended to the government that the law should be amended entitling a Hindu wife, whose husband is unable to provide for her, to receive maintenance from his family.

  •  A seven-member committee led by the Law Commission of India Chairperson Justice A.P. Shah recommended a clause to be inserted in the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 to financially protect a Hindu woman, whose husband suffers from physical or mental disability and has no means to maintain herself.

  •  The same applies to wives of those who have disappeared or chosen “renunciation of the world by entering any religious order or other reasons.” The only exception is when the husband has already got his share in the family property on partition.

FM expects GST to take effect in 2016

  •  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said he expected the government to implement the common Goods and Services Tax (GST) across the country in the course of next year.

  •  Mr. Jaitley presented the GST Bill in parliament last year. It needs the support of two-thirds of its members as well as ratification by State legislatures.

  •  The Bill, which was returned, authorises payment and appropriation of certain additional sums from and out of the Consolidated Fund of India for 2014-15. It was passed by Lok Sabha on December 10.

  •  Describing the GST reform as a “win-win situation” for both the Centre and the States, the Finance Minister had said the Bill would not have “fear of the unknown” unlike Value Added Tax (VAT).

  •  Investors and manufacturers have long coveted the GST as a game-changer that would simplify taxes while broadening the tax base, adding as much as 2 percentage points to the size of Asia's third-largest economy.

‘Janata Parivar’ merger to be formalised soon

  •  A day after Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav said the JD(U) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) would merge first in Bihar, he made a U-turn saying the merger would be formalised with all the six parties coming together in Delhi.

  •  “The grand merger will be formalised with all six parties joining it in Delhi,” said RJD chief Lalu Yadav, participating in a social gathering organised by the State party chief on Makar Sankranti.

  •  Mr. Prasad, who made arrangements for a feast at his residence, however, declared that the grand merger of all six parties would be officially announced by Mr. Mulayam Singh soon in Delhi.

SC asks government for update on ‘Ganga clean-up projects’

  •  The Supreme Court asked the NDA government if there was any chance of cleaning up the Ganga river during its current term in power. Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar submitted that a consortium of IITs was preparing a road map for cleaning the river.

  •  He said the government was proposing a total of 80 sewage treatment plants (STPs) which would process, in a day, 368 million litres of water flowing into the river in the five river basin States.

  •  The court directed the government to present the status of 31 ongoing projects of STPs and 15 others which were in the bidding stage.

  •  The hearing primarily focused on the domestic sewage flowing into the river. In October 2014, the Bench had referred to the National Green Tribunal the responsibility of monitoring and inspecting industrial units along the river and even cut off their water and power connections if they were found to be polluting.

  •  The Supreme Court has been hearing this petition since the early 1980s. Numerous orders have been passed by it, directing the authorities to protect the river. The petition was filed by lawyer M.C. Mehta highlighting the alarming state of the river and its depletion owing to pollution.
    IITs, IIMs to roll out free online courses

  •  Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani announced the launch of free online courses by premier institutes such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institutes Management (IIMs) from the current year.

  •  Ms. Irani said that as part of the digital initiatives and education reforms launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, consultations on the New Education Policy would begin on January 26.

  •  A nominal fee would be charged for certification of various online courses. It would be free for people with special abilities and those belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Literature Festival to showcase Rajasthan’s heritage

  •  The rich heritage of Rajasthan is set to come alive as the annual ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival showcases the vibrant culture of the State to the over 2 lakh visitors expected for the event.

  •  Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje will inaugurate the event. Rajasthani musicians Nathoo Solanki, Chugge Khan and the Jaisalmer Boys will open the world’s largest free literary festival with the sounds of their traditional music which has become synonymous with the first day of the festival.

  •  Also on the opening day, musicologist John Napier and Shanti Raman will speak of the tradition and challenges in archiving the oral history of the Nath Jogis. They will be joined by jogi performer Kishori Nath who will recite and perform from an ancient bardic repertoire.

Pahlaj Nihalani is censor board chief

  •  The government put in place an entirely new censor board with producer Pahlaj Nihalani as its chairperson. Mr. Nihalani, known for the 1990s blockbusters Shola aur Shabnam and Aankhen , produced “Har Ghar Modi-The Power House of India,” a fan-song for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, last year.

  •  The new board also features Dr. Chandra Prakash Dwivedi, best known for his epic TV serial Chanakya and the critically acclaimed, national award winning Partition film Pinjar , based on Amrita Pritam’s novel of the same name.

  •  Other board members include Gujarat Central University Vice-Chancellor Syed Abdul Bari, besides film and theatre personalities who are either BJP members or have had close association with the party.

  •  BJP national secretary Vani Tripathy Tikoo, who has acted in films like Chalte Chalte and Dushman , and Bengali actor George Baker, who joined the BJP last year, were appointed members of the board.

  •  Mr. Baker contested from the Howrah parliamentary constituency in last year’s general elections but lost to Prasun Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress.

  •  Ashoke Pandit, Kashmiri activist and filmmaker, known for films like And the World Remained Silent and Sheen also found a place on the revamped censor board. Another new appointee, Ramesh Patange, is a Dalit RSS activist and author of Me, Manu anee Sangh (I, Manu, and Sangh).

  •  Tamil actor and former AIADMK MLA S.Ve. Shekher and Telugu actor Jeevitha were also appointed members of the board for three years.

Periyar Tiger Reserve wins NTCA award

  •  The Periyar Tiger Reserve, spread over 925 sq.km. in Kerala, bagged the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) biennial award for encouraging local public participation in managing the reserve.

  •  There are 75 communities living around the reserve, including tribal people who are dependent on eco-development programmes.

  •  The community-based eco-tourism activities helped visitors and there were night scouting programmes with the help of expert trackers as well. Tourism was supplemented by pepper growing and marketing which was a value addition. Now, self-help groups were involved in honey processing and other income-generating activities.

New Chief Justice for J&K High Court

  •  Justice N. Paul Vasanthakumar, judge of the Madras High Court, has been elevated as the Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

  •  Justice Vasanthakumar, who is from Marthandam in Kanyakumari district on Tamil Nadu, had been a lawyer for 25 years. He was made an Additional Judge of the Madras High Court on December 10, 2005, and appointed permanent judge on April 20, 2007.

  •  He disposed of 92,000 petitions as a judge of the Madras High Court and delivered several landmark judgments.

Jhumpa Lahiri wins DSC Prize for 2015

  •  Indian-American author Jhumpa Lahiri won the $50,000 DSC Prize for Literature, one of South Asia’s top literary awards for her book, The Lowland .

  •  The Prize celebrates writing on the South Asian region from writers across the globe and is given to the best novel or translations into English of a work on or about the region.

  •  “This is an enormous honour for The Lowland and for me personally. I wish I was there in person to receive the award,” Ms. Lahiri said through a phone conversation from Rome. Publisher Caroline Newbury accepted the award on her behalf.

List of Padma awardees

  • Following is the list of 104 persons conferred Padma Awards. They include nine Padma Vibhushan and 20 Padma Bhushan awardees.
    Padma Vibhushan

  •  Name (discipline), State/country: L.K. Advani (Public Affairs), Gujarat; Amitabh Bachchan (Art), Maharashtra; Prakash Singh Badal (Public Affairs), Punjab; D. Veerendra Heggade (Social Work), Karnataka; Dilip Kumar (Art), Maharashtra; Jagadguru Rambhadracharya (Others), Uttar Pradesh; Malur Ramaswamy Srinivasan (Science and Engg), Tamil Nadu; Kottayan K. Venugopal (Public Affairs), Delhi; and Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan (Trade and Industry) France/U.K.
    Padma Bhushan

  •  Jahnu Barua (Art), Assam; Vijay Bhatkar (Science and Engineering), Maharashtra; Swapan Dasgupta (Literature and Education), Delhi; Swami Satyamitranand Giri (Others), Uttar Pradesh; N. Gopalaswami (Civil Service), Tamil Nadu; Subhash C. Kashyap (Public Affairs), Delhi; Gokulotsavji Maharaj (Art), Madhya Pradesh; Ambrish Mithal (Medicine), Delhi; Sudha Ragunathan (Art), Tamil Nadu; Harish Salve (Public Affairs), Delhi; Ashok Seth (Medicine), Delhi; Rajat Sharma (Literature and Education), Delhi; Satpal (Sports), Delhi; Shivakumara Swami (Others), Karnataka; Kharag Singh Valdiya (Science and Engg), Karnataka; Manjul Bhargava (Science and Engg), USA; David Frawley (Others), USA; Bill Gates (Social Work), USA; Melinda Gates (Social Work), USA; and Saichiro Misumi (Others), Japan.

Padma Shri

  •  Manjula Anagani (Medicine), Telangana; S. Arunan (Science and Engg), Karnataka; Kanyakumari Avasarala (Art), Tamil Nadu; Bettina Sharada Baumer (Literature and Education), J&K; Naresh Bedi (Art), Delhi; Ashok Bhagat (Social Work), Jharkhand; Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Art), Maharashtra; Lakshmi Nandan Bora (Literature and Education), Assam; Gyan Chaturvedi (Literature and Education), Madhya Pradesh; Yogesh Kumar Chawla (Medicine), Chandigarh; Jayakumari Chikkala (Medicine), Delhi; Bibek Debroy (Literature and Education), Delhi; Sarungbam Bimola Kumari Devi (Medicine), Manipur; Ashok Gulati (Public Affairs), Delhi; Randeep Guleria (Medicine), Delhi; K.P. Haridas (Medicine), Kerala; Rahul Jain (Art), Delhi; Ravindra Jain (Art), Maharashtra; Sunil Jogi (Literature and Education), Delhi; Prasoon Joshi (Art), Maharashtra; Prafulla Kar (Art), Odisha; Saba Anjum (Sports), Chhattisgarh; Ushakiran Khan (Literature and Education), Bihar; Rajesh Kotecha (Medicine), Rajasthan; Alka Kriplani (Medicine), Delhi; Harsh Kumar (Medicine), Delhi; Narayana Purushothama Mallaya (Literature & Education), Kerala; Lambert Mascarenhas (Literature and Education), Goa; Janak Palta McGilligan (Social Work), Madhya Pradesh; Veerendra Raj Mehta (Social Work), Delhi; Tarak Mehta (Art), Gujarat; Neil Herbert Nongkynrih (Art), Meghalaya; Chewang Norphel (Others), Jammu and Kashmir; T.V. Mohandas Pai (Trade and Industry), Karnataka; Tejas Patel (Medicine), Gujarat; Jadav Molai Peyang (Others), Assam; Bimla Poddar (Others), Uttar Pradesh; N. Prabhakar (Science and Engg), Delhi; Prahalada (Science and Engg), Maharashtra; Narendra Prasad (Medicine), Bihar; Ram Bahadur Rai (Literature and Education), Delhi; Mithali Raj (Sports), Telangana; P.V. Rajaraman (Civil Service), Tamil Nadu; J.S. Rajput (Literature and Education), Uttar Pradesh; Kota Srinivasa Rao (Art), Andhra Pradesh; Bimal Roy (Literature and Education), West Bengal; Shekhar Sen (Art), Maharashtra; Gunvant Shah (Literature and Education), Gujarat; Brahmdev Sharma (Literature and Education), Delhi; Manu Sharma (Literature and Education), Uttar Pradesh; Yog Raj Sharma (Medicine), Delhi; Vasant Shastri (Science and Engg), Karnataka; S.K. Shivkumar (Science and Engg), Karnataka; P.V. Sindhu (Sports), Telangana; Sardara Singh (Sports), Haryana; Arunima Sinha (Sports), Uttar Pradesh; Mahesh Raj Soni (Art), Rajasthan; Nikhil Tandon (Medicine), Delhi; H Thegtse Rinpoche (Social Work), Arunachal Pradesh; Hargovind Laxmishanker Trivedi (Medicine), Gujarat; Huang Baosheng (Others), China; Jacques Blamont (Science and Engg), France; Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin (Others), Maharashtra (Posthumous); Jean-Claude Carriere (Literature and Education), France; Nandrajan ‘Raj’ Chetty (Literature and Education), France; George L Hart (Others), USA; Jagat Guru Amrta Suryananda Maha Raja (Others), Portugal; Meetha Lal Mehta (Social Work), Rajasthan (Posthumous); Tripti Mukherjee (Art), USA; Dattatreyudu Nori (Medicine), USA; Raghu Rama Pillarisetti (Medicine), USA; Saumitra Rawat (Medicine), UK; Annette Schmiedchen (Literature and Education), Germany; Pran Kumar Sharma alias Pran (Art), Delhi (Posthumous); and R. Vasudevan (Civil Service), Tamil Nadu (Posthumous) .

R K Laxman Passes Away

  •  The messy business of the democracy that was India was unforgettably captured in the iconic creation, labelled simply The Common Man , of R.K. Laxman, died .

  •  Mr. Laxman, who was awarded the Padma Vibhushan and the Magsaysay Award, was a complex man, who defined his métier with an ingenious lightness of touch as evinced in his autobiography, Tunnel of Time.

Chandigarh launches Smart City app

  •  In the first major step towards making Chandigarh a “Smart City,” the city administration launched its “official mobile app” to create awareness of consumer rights and responsibilities and provide all types of citizen-centric and public utility services and information to the residents.

  •  Launching the scheme, Vijay Dev, Adviser to the Administrator of Chandigarh, said various departments would be directed to route all information and updates through the app and appoint a link officer for the work.

  •  The app would become an important platform for redressing grievances.

  •  Speaking at the launch of an app of the Food and Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department, Mr. Dev described it as a single “e-window” to all information related to the department and various citizen-centric services.

  •  The app is now available free at Google Play store for Android phone users. Its iOS and Windows Phone versions would be released soon.

  •  Important addresses, contacts, helpline numbers and e-mail ids of the consumer forum and various departments of the Chandigarh Administration are available on the app.

Two Harappan sites being excavated

  •  Excavations have begun at the two Harappan sites of Binjor in Rajasthan, close to the India-Pakistan border, and Rakhigarhi in Haryana.

  •  While the Archaeological Survey of India’s Excavation Branch at Purana Quila, New Delhi, is excavating Binjor, the Deccan College Post-Graduate & Research Institute, Pune, and the Haryana Department of Archaeology is excavating the Rakhigarhi site, 25 km from Jind. About 350 km separate Binjor from Rakhigarhi. As the crow flies, Binjor is situated seven km from the border, in Anupgarh tehsil of Sri Ganganganar district.

  •  There are about 2,000 Harappan sites in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, with 500 in India and 1,500 in Pakistan.

  •  At its glory, the Harappan civilisation flourished over two million square km, from Sutkajendor on the Makran coast of Balochistan to Alamgirpur in Uttar Pradesh, and from Manda in Jammu to Daimabad in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra.

  •  Sanjay Manjul, Director, Institute of Archaeology, New Delhi, who is director of the excavation at Binjor, said the excavation was being jointly done by the ASI’s Excavation Branch at Purana Quila and the Institute of Archaeology.

  •  Vasant Shinde, Vice-Chancellor, Deccan College, is the director of the excavation at Rakhigarhi. Professor Shinde said that with the discovery of two more mounds last year at Rakhigarhi, the site had staked claim to be the largest Harappan site. One of the two newly discovered mounds would be dug this season.

Murthy and kin donate £200,000 for Gandhi statue

  •  The plans for erecting a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Parliament Square have received a boost with a donation of £200,000 from N.R. Narayana Murthy, co-founder of Infosys, and his family.

  •  The donation goes a long way in meeting the target of £750,000 set by the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust, a charity that was set up by the economist Lord Meghnad Desai for the purpose of commissioning and installing the statue.

  •  Earlier this month, the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust announced it had raised over £500,000 in donations and pledges.

  •  Mr. Murthy’s donation will close the target gap. The installation and unveiling of the statue is likely to take place soon.

Right to shelter

  • The Congress will push for the right to shelter for the poor, on the lines of the right to information and employment legislation.
    Shekhar Sen is Sangeet Natak Akademi chairman

  •  Eminent singer and theatre director Shekhar Sen has been appointed the new chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the country’s premier institution for performing arts.

  •  Mr. Sen was awarded the Padma Shri on Republic Day.

  •  According to an order issued by the Culture Ministry , Mr. Sen has been appointed for a five-year term with immediate effect.

  •  The Akademi has been without a head after earlier chairperson Leela Samson, who was appointed by the UPA government, quit on September 30 last year.

Gorkhaland movement leader Subhash Ghisingh dead

  •  Subhash Ghisingh, the founder-leader of the movement for a separate homeland for the Gorkhas in northern Bengal, passed away at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi. He was 80 and is survived by two sons and a daughter.

  •  For almost 20 years — from 1988 to 2007 — Mr. Ghisingh headed the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC). However, in 2007, his political disciples led by Bimal Gurung formed a separate outfit, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM). Eventually, it became difficult for the legendary Gorkha leader to operate from the hills and he was forced to shift to Siliguri in the plains of north Bengal.

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