INTERNATIONAL

South Korea and Vietnam Signed Free Trade Agreement
Vietnam and South Korea on 5 signed a bilateral free trade agreement in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, concluding the countries’ two-year talks. The deal, which was initiated a month back, will enable the trade between the two nations to reach $70 billion a year by 2020.

David Cameron Re-elected as Britain’s Prime Minister
David Cameron’s Conservative Party on 8 May won the United Kingdom General election 2015 by securing 331 seats in a Parliament of 650.With this win, David Cameron will become Prime Minister for second term.The elections were held on 7 May 2015. Conservative Party received 36.9% vote share of the total national vote.  Labour Party has won 232 seats with 30.4%  vote share, emerging as largest opposition party.

Canadian House of Commons Approved Anti-Terror Act 2015
The Canadian House of Commons on 6 May approved the Bill C-51, Anti-Terror Act, 2015 that empowers the country’s spy agency. It was adopted in a 183 to 96 vote. The act would give the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) the ability to operate overseas and make preventative arrests. It also makes it easier for police to arrest and detain individuals without charge.

WHO Declares Liberia Free of Ebola
World Health Organization (WHO), a U.N. health agency on 9 May declared Liberia Ebola-free. Liberia was one of the three West African countries at the center of the largest epidemic of Ebola till date since the disease was first reported in 1976. The two other countries are Sierra Leone and Guinea. WHO has hailed Liberia’s Ebola eradication efforts as an enormous development in the long crisis and monumental achievement as the virus has killed more than 4,716 people in the country alone.


INDIA & WORLD

India Ranked 140th In 2015 Mothers’ Index
World’s Mothers 2015 report titled “The Urban Disadvantage” has been prepared by “Save the Children” organisation and was launched in India by Union Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla in New Delhi on 6 May 2015. According to the report, India was placed at 140th position out of 179 countries. Top 5 countries as per 2015 Mother’s Index – Norway (1st), Finland (2nd), Iceland (3rd), Denmark (4th) and Swedan (5th).

India and China Signed 24 Agreements
India and China on 15 May signed 24 agreements to augment bilateral co-operation between the two countries.The agreements were signed in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing, China. These agreements include – protocol for establishment of consulates in Chengdu and Chennai, agreement on the establishment of sister states Sichuan and Karnataka, action plan between railways of the two countries, MoU on education exchange programme, MoU between India’s between NITI Aayog and Development Research Centre of China, etc.

India and Mongolia Signed 13 Agreements
India and Mongolia on 17 May signed 13 agreements, including an air services agreement and in cyber security, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with his Mongolian counterpart Chimed Saikhanbileg in Ulan Bator,the capital of Mongolia.

India Ranked 100th On Human Capital Index
India was on 14 May ranked at a low 100th position on a global Human Capital Index, which measures the countries in terms of the economies leveraging their human capital, where Finland has topped the 124-nation list.On the list, compiled by World Economic Forum (WEF), other emerging economies such as Russia, China, Brazil and South Africa are ranked ahead of India.


NATIONAL

Lok Sabha Passed Goods and Services Tax Bill 2014
Lok Sabha on 6 May passed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, 2014 which is also known as Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill. The Bill seeks to amend the Constitution in order to introduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Consequently, the bill also seeks to carry out new indirect tax regime in the country that will subsume various central and state levies like sales tax, excise and service tax except taxes on the supply of alcoholic liquor for human consumption and petroleum products.Transition from the traditional taxation to GST will boost India’s growth by up to 2.5 percentage points.

PM Narendra Modi Launches Three Social Security Schemes
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 9 May launched three mega social security schemes in Kolkata, West Bengal. The schemes were launched simultaneously at 115 places in the country with Central and State Chief Ministers and senior ministers attending the functions.

1) Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Yojana (PMJJBY)
2) Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY)
3) Atal Pension Yojana (APY)

1) Atal Pension Yojana (APY) :- Under APY scheme, the pension subscribers will receive a fixed minimum monthly pension ranging from 1,000 rupees to 5,000 rupees at the age of 60 years. The fixed minimum monthly pension will be depending on the contributions subscribers. The minimum age of joining – 18 years and maximum age is 40 years. Focus of APY – To target unorganised sector workers.
2) Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Yojana (PMJJBY):- Under the PMJJBY, the insurance subscriber will get an annual life insurance in case of death. Eligibility – Available any person in the age group of 18 to 50 years having a bank account. Risk Coverage – 2 Lakh rupees in case of death due to any reason. Payment Mode of premium – 330 rupees per annum will be directly auto-debited by the bank from the subscribers account.
3) Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY):- Under the PMSBY, the insurance subscriber will get annual life insurance in case of accidental death, partial disability or full disability. Eligibility – Available to any person in the age group 18 to 70 years. Risk Coverage – For accidental death and full disability– 2 Lakh rupees For partial disability – 1 Lakh rupees. Payment Mode of premium – 12 rupees per annum will be directly auto-debited by the bank from the subscribers account in case of long-term option.

Parliament Passed Black Money Bill
The Rajya Sabha on 13 May passed the Black Money Bill. It was earlier passed by the Lok Sabha on 11 May 2015. According to the new Bill those who conceal income and assets, and indulge in tax evasion in relation to foreign assets can face rigorous imprisonment of up to 10 years. They will also be liable to face a penalty of 300 per cent of taxes on the concealed income and assets.

PM Narendra Modi Launched Doordarshan’s Farmer-Centric Kisan TV Channel
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 26 May launched India’s first television channel DD Kisan dedicated to farmers in New Delhi. This 24-hour channel is initially in Hindi and is dedicated to agriculture and allied sectors of India. It seeks to disseminate real-time inputs to farmers on new farming techniques, water conservation and organic farming among other information.


STATES

BHEL commissioned 195 MW Thermal Unit of KBUNL In Bihar
State-owned electrical equipment maker Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) on 4 May commissioned a 195 MW thermal unit of Kanti Bijlee Utpadan Nigam Limited (KBUNL) in Muzaffarpur, Bihar. This was the first 195 MW unit to be commissioned by BHEL at the 2×195 MW Muzaffarpur Thermal Power Station (TPS) Plant of KBUNL.

PM Narendra Modi Inaugurated IISCO Steel Plant at Burnpur
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 10 May inaugurated the upgraded IISCO Steel Plant (ISP) in Burnpur, West Bengal. The ISP houses the largest blast furnace of India. The ISP was modernised by the Union Government at a cost of 16000 crore rupees.

UP Govt Launched Samajwadi Water ATM scheme
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on 12 May launched Samajwadi water ATM scheme at bus stations. It seeks to provide potable water to bus passengers at reasonable price.In this regard, state government will install water ATMs at most of the bus stations which will provide potable water at the rate of 1 rupee per litre and cold water at 2 rupees per litre.

Punjab Becomes First State To Issue Soil Health Cards To Farmers
Punjab Agriculture Department on 13 May launched a pan-state programme to monitor the soil health of every farm in the state by issuing them personalised Soil Health Cards (SHCs). With this, Punjab became the first state in India to issue Soil Health Cards to farmers.Prime Minister had formally launched the nationwide ‘Soil Health Card’ Scheme from Suratgarh, Rajasthan in Februrary 2015.


CONFERENCES

6th National Conference on Nuclear Energy
Nuclear Energy6th National Conference on Nuclear Energy was held in New Delhi on 15 May 2015. The Conference was organised by ASSOCHAM with the theme Nuclear Energy: a Clean Energy option. The conference discussed the issue related to the status of Nuclear Energy in India. India is on course to double its nuclear power generation capacity to more than 10,000 mega watts (MW) over the next five years i.e. 2020.Nuclear power plants account for 3.5% of India’s current electricity generation, and its share in India’s future electricity generation will be less than 10% even if the installed capacity is tripled.


AWARDS & HONOURS

CNR Rao Conferred with Japan’s Highest Civilian Award
Eminent scientist C N R Rao was on 2 May conferred with Japan’s highest civilian award for his outstanding contributions to science and Indo-Japanese science coperation. The Emperor of Japan conferred the country’s highest award, the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, on the Bharat Ratna awardee.Rao is also the only Indian to be elected as a foreign member of the Japan Academy in Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research.

Mazen Darwish Honoured with World Press Freedom Prize 2015
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on 3 May presented the 2015 UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize to Syrian journalist and rights activist Mazen Darwish. The award was presented in Latvia on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day in recognition of the work he has carried out in Syria for more than ten year as a human rights defender and a journalist.

Pranab Mukherjee Presents Florence Nightingale Awards To 35 Nurses
President Pranab Mukherjee on 12 May conferred the National Florence Nightingale Awards to 35 nursing personnel from across the country on the occasion of International Nurses Day.The Florence Nightingale Award was established by the Union Health Ministry to honour the selfless services rendered by Nurses with devotion, sincerity, dedication and compassion.

Laszlo Krasznahorkai Won Man Booker International Prize 2015
Hungarian writer Laszlo Krasznahorkai has been announced as the winner of the sixth Man Booker International Prize 2015. He was announced the winner at an award ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on 20 May 2015. The prize, worth £60,000, is awarded every two years for an achievement in fiction on the world stage. The Man International Booker Prize is awarded to a living author of any nationality who has published fiction either in English or in English translation.


SPORTS & GAMES

Floyd Mayweather Won World Welterweight Title of Boxing
American boxer Floyd Mayweather on 3 May defeated Manny Pacquiao from Philippines to win the unified World Welterweight title.This bout (welterweight category) was held at MGM Garden Arena in Las Vegas (US).With this win, Mayweather added Pacquiao’s World Boxing Organization (WBO) title to his World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Council (WBC) crowns. Mayweather earned a mind-boggling Rs. 1142 crore, Pacquiao also pocketed Rs. 761 crore despite losing.

Nico Rosberg Won Spanish F1 Grand Prix
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany won Spanish Grand Prix Formula 1 World Championship title by winning the final race held on 10 May at Barcelona in Spain.

Rome Masters Tennis Tournament Winners
Women’s Singles :- Maria Sharapova of Russia on 17 May won the Rome Masters tennis tournament women’s singles title.She defeated Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain. It was the 35th WTA Tour title of Sharapova’s career.
Men’s Singles :- Novak Djokovic of Serbia won his fourth Rome Masters Tennis title. Djokovic defeated Roger Federer of Switzerland.

Mumbai Indians Won IPL 8
Mumbai Indians (MI) on 24 May won the eight edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2015 by defeating Chennai Super Kings (CSK).In the final match played at Eden Gardens, Kolkata they defeated CSK by 41 runs. This was the second title triumph for Mumbai Indians after their maiden win back in 2013.
* Man of the Match – Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians)
* Player of the Tournament – Andre Russell
* Orange Cap (Most Runs) – David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
* Purple Cap (Most Wickets) -  Dwayne Bravo (Chennai Super Kings)
* Emerging Player – Shreyas Iyer (Delhi Daredevils)
* Most Valuable Player – Andre Russell (Kolkata Knight Riders)
* Fair play Award – Chennai Super Kings
Prize Money :-
* Champions – Mumbai Indians (Rs 15 crore prize money)
* Runner-up – Chennai Super Kings (Rs 10 crore)
Captains of the two teams :-
* Mumbai Indians – Rohit Sharma
* Chennai Super Kings – MS Dhoni


ECONOMY

56 Indian Companies Among Forbes’ Global 2000 List
US magazine Forbes on 6 May released Global 2000 Companies list. According to the list, India is home to 56 of the world’s 2000 largest and most powerful public companies.The list is topped by US (579 companies), followed by China (232 companies) and Japan (218 companies). Reliance Industries, the topmost India company is ranked 142 on the list, down from last year’s 135th spot.

SBI launches RuPay Platinum Debit Card
India’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) on 7 May launched State Bank RuPay Platinum debit card in association with National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI). Initially, the card will be issued free to customers maintaining a quarterly balance of 50000 rupees. The RuPay card is accepted at all payment channels like ATMs, PoS and eCommerce.

Forbes World’s 10 Biggest Consumer Financial Services Firms
Mortgage lender HDFC has emerged as the only Indian company among the world’s 10 biggest consumer financial services firms, after giants like American Express, Visa and Mastercard. HDFC is ranked 7th on the list, compiled by business magazine Forbes, where American Express is placed on the top followed by Capital One Financial, Visa, Discover Financial Services and Orix in the top-five.

Four Indians Among Forbes world’s 100 Most Powerful Women
SBI Chief Arundhati Bhattacharya, ICICI bank head Chanda Kochhar, Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and HT Media Chair Shobhana Bhartia were listed in the 12th Forbes’100 Most Powerful Women List, which was released on 26 May . Arundhati Bhattacharya ranked 30th on the list, followed by Kochhar on the 35th spot, Mazumdar-Shaw (85) and newcomer on the list Bhartia is on the 93rd spot.The world’s most powerful woman in the list is German Chancellor Angela Merkel who fetched the first spot.


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

NASA ended Operations of MESSENGER Mission To Mercury
NASA on 1 May ended the operations of MESSENGER Mission. MESSENGER stands for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging and it was launched on 3 August 2004 to study Mercury’s atmosphere. The journey of the spacecraft came to an end with Expected Impact (EI) on Mercury’s surface. It plunged to the Mercury’s surface at around 14000 kmph, creating a crater up to 52 feet wide.NASA’s Messenger probe was launched on 3 August 2004 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Messenger was actually an acronym for Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geo-chemistry and Ranging.

‘ Akash Weapon System ‘ Missile Inducted In Indian Army
Indian Army on 5 May inducted the first regiment of the indigenously-developed Surface-to-Air missile Akash Weapon System (AWS).
About Akash Weapon System (AWS) :-
* Akash Missile is able to target a multitude of aerial threats of upto a range of 25 km.
* Akash has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and is being built by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).
* It has a large operational range from a low altitude of 30 metres to a maximum of up to 20 km.
* At 96 per cent indigenisation, it represents a major capability development for a crucial weapon system.
* The first test flight of Akash missile was conducted in 1990, with development flights conducted up to March 1997.

Indian Army Test Fires BrahMos Cruise Missile Successfully
Land-to-land configuration of BrahMos missile was on 8 May successfully test-fired from the Car Nicobar Islands.BrahMos Block–III version i.e. land-to-land configuration of missile was launched from a Mobile Autonomous Launcher (MAL) for its full-range of 290-km test. The missile flight test met all flight parameters, including high-level manoeuvres.It also hit the designated land- based target with the desired accuracy.

INS ‘Sardar Patel’ Commissioned In Porbandar
India’s latest naval establishment – INS ‘Sardar Patel’ – was commissioned in Porbandar, Gujarat, by state Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on 9 May. It became the second in the state for the Indian Navy after INS Dwarka near Okha. It has been established as a Forward Operating Base (FOB) of the Indian Navy. Cmde BR Prakash, VSM who is the Naval Officer-in-Charge (Gujarat, Diu & Daman) became the first Commanding Officer of INS Sardar Patel.


PERSONS IN NEWS

A) APPOINTMENTS

KV Kamath Appointed as First President of NDB of BRICS nations
Eminent banker Kundapur Vaman Kamath was on 11 May 2015 appointed as the first President of the New Development Bank (NDB) of BRICS nations. He will have of five year term after the bank becomes operational within one year. He was conferred with Padma Bhushan Award in 2008. The Leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) had meeting in 2014 and reached an agreement to establish the New Development Bank, with its headquarters in Shanghai. As per the agreement, India got the right to nominate the first president.

Four New Governors Appointed
President of India Pranab Mukherjii on 12 May 2015 appointed four Governors and transferred two others.
Following are newly appointed Governors :-
1) Jharkhand – Draupadi Murmu
2) Tripura  – Tathagata Roy
3) Arunachal Pradesh – J P Rakkhowa
4) Meghalaya – V Shanmuganathan
Transferred Governors :-
* Syed Ahmed, Governor of Jharkhand was shifted to Manipur. He was appointed in September 2011. His tenure will end in September 2016.
* Lt General (retd.) Nirbhay Sharma, who was serving as Governor of Arunachal Pradesh since May, 2011, was transferred and appointed as Governor of Mizoram for the remainder of his term, which ends in 2018. He is the eighth Governor of the state since 2014.

B)RESIGNS

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Panneerselvam Resigned
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu O Panneerselvam resigned on 22 May 2015. He was appointed as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on 29 September 2014 as replacement of former AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa, who resigned after being convicted in the 18 year old disproportionate assets case of over 66 crore rupees. She was awarded a four year prison term by Bangalore Special Court after it found her guilty of amassing unaccounted wealth.

C)DEATHS

Oscar Winning Author Michael Blake Died
Michael Blake, the Oscar-winning writer of Dances With Wolves novel passed away on 3 May in Tucson, Arizona. He was 69. The novel had sold over 3.5 million copies, and was translated into 15 languages, and was later converted into film, which Kevin Costner directed and starred in. The film bagged 7 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Screenplay for Blake, who also won the WGA Award and Golden Globes for the novel.

D)VISITORS

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Visited China
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited China from 14 – 16 May 2015. During his three day visit, he met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Xian. In the visit, India and China signed 24 agreements to augment bilateral co-operation between the two countries. 24 agreements worth over 10 billion dollars were signed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with Chinese premier Li Keqiang at Beijing. In the visit, Narendra Modi announced electronic or e-visas for Chinese tourists. As many as 26 business agreements worth over USD 22 billion were signed on 16 May between Indian firms — including Adani group, Bharti Airtel and Welspun — and thier Chinese counterparts. Both the countries will also establish Additional Consulate General. Both the countries have also agreed to establish China-India think tank forum and three sister cities.

E)MISCELLANEOUS

Pablo Picasso’s ‘Women of Algiers’ Sells For World Record $179m at Auction
A painting by surreal Spanish artist Pablo Picasso has set a new world record for the most expensive artwork to be sold at auction after reaching $179m (£115m) in New York on 12 May.The previous world record was £92m, set for a triptych by British artist Francis Bacon – again at Christie’s in 2013.Picasso’s painting depicts nude and semi-nude women and is part of a 15-work series the artist created between 1954-55.


PLACES  IN  NEWS

Tunisians Unfurled World’s Largest Flag
World’s largest flag was unfurled at an event in Ong Jmel in the southern desert area of Tunisia. Tunisian national flag of the size of 19 football pitches was unfurled in a bid to set a Guinness World Record and promote patriotism in the face of Islamist extremism. The flag of 104,544 square metre was made using 80 kilometres of fabric and weighed arounf 12.6 tonnes.


ABBREVIATIONS

PMSBY – Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana

PMJJBY – Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Yojana

APY – Atal Pension Yojana

Wi-Fi – Wireless Fidelity

DARPA – Defense Advance Research Project Agency


BOOKS IN NEWS

Vice President Released The Book “China – Confucius In The Shadows”
A Book titled China – Confucius in the Shadows was released by the Vice President M. Hamid Ansari on 1 May 2015. Confucius was considered as the most efficient author in Chinese history. Book has been written by Poonam Surie. Poonam Surie is an Adjunct Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies, New Delhi.


COMMITTEES

Vijay Kelkar Committee To Revisit PPP infra Model
Union government on 26 May constituted a 10-member committee to review and revitalise Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode of infrastructure development. The committee will be chaired by under former finance secretary Vijay Kelkar and submit its report within a period of 3 months from the date of its Constitution. The Kelkar committee will review the PPP policy and suggest a better risk-sharing mechanism between private developers and the government after analysing such projects in different.


IMPORTANT DAYS AND DATES

World Press Freedom Day was Observed On 3 May 2015
The World Press Freedom day was observed globally on 3 May 2015.This year, the theme of World Press Freedom day is Let Journalism Thrive! Towards better reporting, gender equality and media safety in the digital age. The day marks the celebrations of the fundamental principles of press freedom to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991. Since then, 3 May is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day.

World Asthma Day was Observed On 5 May 2015
World Asthma Day was observed across the world on 5 May 2015. The day is observed across the world to spread awareness and care around the world including India. The theme for 2015 is You Can Control Your Asthma and sub-theme is It’s Time to Control Asthma.World Asthma Day takes place on the first Tuesday of May. The inaugural World Asthma Day was held in 1998. Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory long-term disease of the lungs which causes breathing problems by narrowing the airways. Symptoms of asthma include breathlessness, coughing, wheezing, and feeling of tightness in the chest and shortness of breath.

39 Responses to “May 2015 Current Affairs Study Material”

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