Current Affairs – December 2012 Persons
- Rangaswamy Srinivasan-An Indian-American Rangaswamy Srinivasan, a renowned inventor at IBM, has been nominated by the US President Barack Obama for the prestigious National Medal of Technology for Innovation. Along with Srinivasan, Obama named 12 eminent researchers as recipients of the National Medal of Science and 10 extraordinary inventors as recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation,the highest honors bestowed by the United States Government upon scientists, engineers, and inventors. The recipients will receive their awards at a White House ceremony in early 2013. In 1981, Srinivasan discovered that an ultraviolet excimer laser could etch living tissue in a precise manner with no thermal damage to the surrounding area. He named the phenomenon Ablative Photo-decomposition (APD). The award recognises those who have made lasting contributions to America’s competitiveness and quality of life and helped strengthen the Nation’s technological workforce.
- Smitha Singh- The Obama administration has appointed Smita Singh as member of the president’s Global Development Council. The Council will inform and provide advice to the President and other senior US officials on American global development policies and practices, support new and existing public-private partnerships, and increase awareness and action in support of development by soliciting public input on current and emerging issues in the field of global development.The Global Development Council was established in February through an executive order of the President.Along with Singh, Obama also announced names of eight other members of the Council.Singh was the Special Advisor for Global Affairs and the founding Director of the Global Development Program at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, where she worked from 2001 to 2010.From 1998 to 2001, she was a scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. Previously, Singh consulted for the World Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission on Africa.
- Justice Swatanter Kumar- has taken over as chairperson of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), to decide on cases relating to environmental protection, and conservation of forests and natural resources.Though Justice Kumar’s tenure as a Supreme Court judge is due to end next week, December 14 was his last working day and he assumed charge of the new office on December 20. He is the first Supreme Court judge to preside over the Tribunal which was, till now, functioning without a full-time chairperson.
- Park Geun-Hye Elected As the First Woman President of South Korea
Park Geun-hye was elected as the president of South Korea on 19 December 2012, the first woman who acquired this post. Park Geun-hye is the daughter of longest ruling dictator of South Korea. After the counting of votes, it was declared by the National Election Commission that Park had enjoyed clear victory with 51.64 percent votes in comparison to 47.93 percent votes for Moon Jae-in, who is the former lawyer of human rights. Moon Jae-in was also imprisoned at some point of time for standing in opposition with the authoritarian rule of her father. Moon Jae-in accepted the defeat because clearly her lead was impossible. Election of Park Geun-hye, 60, is said to be the milestone for South Korean society which has remained mainly male-dominated. Dictator Park Chung-hee, the father of Park Geun-hye ruled the country from 1961 to 1979 and left behind political repression, something that is still dividing the country. While in office, Lee intensified several problems such as dwindling job opportunities, political corruption as well as increasing tensions with North Korea. While campaigning, Park had said that being a female would help her in a lot of ways. She never got married. Reputation of Park in South Korea is that of a steely as well as principled leader. Her role models are Queen Elizabeth and British PM Margaret Thatcher.
- Virbhadra Singh sworn in for sixth time as CM
Veteran Congress politician Virbhadra Singh was sworn in as Himachal Pradesh’s Chief Minister for a record sixth term on 24 December along with nine cabinet colleagues. Governor Urmila Singh administered the oath of office to Virbhadra Singh, 78, who has been chief minister of the hill state for more than 16 years, at the historic Ridge. He is 13th Chief Minister of the state. The others who took oath were eight-time legislator Vidya Stokes, seven-time legislator Kaul Singh, G.S. Bali, Sujan Singh Pathania, Thakur Singh Bharmouri, Mukesh Aghnihotri, Sudhir Sharma, Parkash Chaudhary and Dhani Ran Shandil. Outgoing BJP chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and his erstwhile cabinet colleagues were conspicuously absent from the ceremony.
- Biswal is new APPSC chief
The APPSC, which has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, gets a new chief who is reputedly honest, hard working and simple. The State Government has appointed Chitta Ranjan Biswal, IAS (retired) as chairperson of Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) in place of Rachel Chatterjee, IAS. Orders were issued on 26 December which come into effect from December 29. Chatterjee will retire a day before that. Biswal retired as principal secretary of Panchayatraj on November 30. Belonging to 1981 IAS batch, he would assume charge on December 29, and will be in the officer for the next 23 months.
- Kamal Nath appointed as the new ex-officio Member of Planning Commission
Prime Minister’s Office on 26 December 2012 re-constituted the Planning Commission and appointed the Parliamentary Affairs and Urban Development Minister – Kamal Nath as its new ex-officio member, replacing Jairam Ramesh. The decision was taken with the view to lay down government emphasis on the Urban Development and schemes like MNREGA, already in existence for rural development. The other ex-officio members of the Commission are Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister M K Alagiri, Communications Minister Kapil Sibal, Law Minister.
- Security and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) appointed S Raman as Whole Time Member
Indian Market Regulator SEBI on 28 December 2012 appointed S. Raman as Whole-time Member of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Prior to this appointment, Raman, had served as Chairman and Managing Director of Canara Bank from September 2010 to September 2012 and had also served as Executive Director of Union Bank of India from October 2008 to August 2010. As per the Finance ministry Raman is going to hold the post of SEBI whole-time member for a period of five years from the day he assumes charge or up to 65 years of age or until further orders, whichever is earlier. With this appointment, SEBI has three wholetime members, including Prashant Saran and Rajeev Kumar Agarwal.
- MS Sahoo appointed as Secretary of Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI)
MS Sahoo, the former member of SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) on 27 December 2012 had been appointed secretary of the Institute of Company Secretaries. The appointment of MS Sahoo is going to be effective from 1 January2013.
MS Sahoo had over three decades of rich work experience in self-employment, private sector, public sector, regulator and government in varied functional areas such as reforms, policy, regulations, research and analysis.
Before joining the ICSI, he was an eminent legal practitioner in the field of securities laws.
He was a Whole Time Member of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) during 2008-11.
He served as the Joint Secretary (non-functional), Director and Joint Director in the Ministry of Finance, as the Chief General Manager with SEBI, and as Economic Adviser with National Stock Exchange of India Limited (NSE).
As an officer of Indian Economic Service (1985 batch), he served the Government of India for 22 years. He played a key role in designing of major reforms in securities market, including dematerialization of securities, trading of derivatives, corporatisation and demutualization of exchanges, building regulatory and market infrastructural institutions, enforcement process / actions. M S Sahoo was instrumental in development of human resource capacity in securities markets through various interventions such as NSE’s Certification in Financial Markets (NCFM), National Institute of Securities Markets (NISM) and a number of reputed publications. He has served / serves as a member on several expert committees / boards and professional groups.
- Subhash Joshi-S.Joshi on 18 December 2012 appointed as the new chief of Border Security Force (BSF). Subhash Joshi is at present is the director general of National Security Guard and he is going to lead the 1.8 lakh strong border force BSF. The post of the chief of Indian Border Force had fallen vacant on 1 December 2012 due to retirement U K Bansal’s, the director general of the Border Security Force ( BSF).Subhash Joshi is a 1976 batch IPS officer from Uttrakhand cadre and is due to retire in February 2014.
- Ajay Chandha- The special secretary (Internal Security) was appointed as director general of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). Ajay Chadha is a 1977 batch IPS officer of AGMU cadre and is going to have his tenure till August 2013.The post of director general of ITBP had fallen vacant after Ranjit Sinha was appointed as director of CBI.
- Naina Lal Kidwai became the First Woman President of FICCI
Naina Lal Kidwai on 15 December 2012 took over as President of FICCI, becoming the first woman to head the leading industry body. Kidwai, is the first woman and professional manager to be elected as President of the chamber. She is 55 years old. Digjam Ltd,Sidharth Birla was elected as Senior Vice-President of FICCI. Kidwai succeeds R V Kanoria of Kanoria Chemicals & Industries Ltd. Chairman of Xpro India Ltd. Naina Lal Kidwai on 15 December 2012 took over as President of FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry), becoming the first woman to head the leading industry body. Kidwai, is the first woman and professional manager to be elected as President of the chamber. She is 55 years old. Chairman of Digjam Ltd, Sidharth Birla was elected as Senior Vice-President of FICCI. Kidwai succeeded R V Kanoria of Kanoria Chemicals & Industries Ltd. Chairman of Xpro India Ltd. Naina Lal Kidwai is the Country head of HSBC India and Director of HSBC Asia Pacific.
- Shinzo Abe-led LDP wins Japan general elections
Japan’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party surged back to power in a major election victory on 16 December. Just three years after it was defeated in 2009, former Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe-led LDP trounced PM Yoshihiko Noda’s ruling Democratic Party of Japan and bagged 294 seats in the 480-seat lower house of parliament, according to a tally from public broadcaster NHK.
The election victory for LDP means that Shinzo Abe will return as Japanese PM and will be the seventh PM in six-and-a-half years.
LDP has ruled Japan for most of the post-World War II era till 2009, when Noda’s Democratic Party of Japan came to power. Abe’s win also spells a rightward shift in the government that further signifies a possible increase in tensions with China over the disputed islands in South China Sea.
- Cyrus Pallonji Mistry Appointed as Chairman of Tata Sons
Cyrus Pallonji Mistry was appointed as the chairman of Tata Sons, the firm that holds more than 100 billion dollar Tata Group, on 18 December 2012. Cyrus Pallonji Mistry would take on the role of chairman of Tata Sons with effect from 28 December 2012, after Rata Tata retires as the current Chairman of the company. Ratan Tata who will also celebrate his 75th birthday on 28 December 2012 was conferred the honorary title of chairman emeritus. Tata Sons Board gave the title to Ratan Tata. Cyrus Pallonji Mistry, 43, is billionaire Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry’s son. Cyrus Mistry has already remained the director of Tata Sons since 2006. He was appointed as the deputy chairman of Tata Sons in November 2011. Pallonji Mistry, along with the sons, Cyrus Mistry and Shapoor Mistry are the owners of 18.5 percent stake in the company. This makes the Mistrys the largest shareholders on individual basis of this company. Earlier in December 2012, Cyrus Mistry was also appointed as chairman of Tata Motors. He would commence playing his role from 28 December 2012. He was also appointed as chairman of two other Tata companies- Tata Chemicals and Tata Steel. In November 2012, Ratan Tata also bowed out from Tata Global Beverages as the chairman, which paved way for Mistry.
- Pandit Ravi Shankar(92)- Pandit Ravi Shankar had passed away on 11 December 2012 after heart-valve replacement surgery in California. Ravi Shankar is said to be a pioneer for introducing Indian music to Western world. The most well-known Sitar player of not just India, but the world, he is also said to be ambassador of the international music.He received the Padma Bhushan in 1967, Padma Vibhushan in 1981 and Bharat Ratna in 1999. He is also a three-time Grammy award winner. He bagged a nomination again for the 2013 Grammy Awards for his album “The Living Room Sessions Part-1?. Interestingly, he is pitted against his daughter Anoushka in the category. He shared an Oscar with George Fenton for the original musical score for the 1982 movie “Gandhi”. Shankar was an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and also a member of the United Nations International Rostrum of composers. He received the Music Council UNESCO award in the year 1975. Shankar won the Silver Bear Extraordinary Prize of the Jury at the 1957 Berlin International Film Festival for composing the music for the movie “Kabuliwala”. He was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for 1962, and was named a Fellow of the academy for 1975. He received the Kalidas Samman from the government of Madhya Pradesh for 1987-88, the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize in 1991, the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1992, and the Polar Music Prize from Swedan in 1998.In 2001, Shankar was made Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for his “services to music”.Shankar in 1997 received the Praemium Imperiale for music from the Japan Art Association.In 2010, Shankar received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Melbourne, Australia.
- Norman Woodland(91)-The inventor of bar code, which revolutionalised retail in 70s,died on 8 December 2012 at New Jersey. Woodland was the co-inventor of bar code; the zebra pattern which stores information about the products. He as well as his partner Bernard Silver (who died in 1963) patented this idea of bar code back in 1952 and also sold that to Philco, the electronics company for 15000 US dollar. For his invention, Woodland was also awarded National Medal of Technology in 1992.
- Naina Lal Kidwai- Country Head-HSBC India and Director-HSBC Asia Pacific has taken over as the first woman president of the country’s leading chamber of commerce, Ficci, on 15 December. Kidwai is known for being the first woman CEO of a private sector bank India besides being the first Indian woman MBA to have passed out of Harvard Business School. At Ficci, she has, in the past, chaired several committees, including the Water Mission, the Finance Council, the Capital Markets Committee and Financial Inclusion Committee and has served on the Chamber’s national executive committee for several years. She is a member of the Government of India’s Industry Task Force, and the Working Group on Banking, Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission; and on the governing boards of the National Council of Applied Economic Research and the National Institute of Bank Management.
- Bhanu Athaiya(85)- the first Indian to win an Oscar for costume design in the movie Gandhi decided to return her award to the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) in December 2012. Bhanu Athaiya fears that she might lose her trophy as the government might not be able to protect it.Bhanu Athaiya blamed that the central government had neglected her work and contributions. She also blamed that there was no one or no museum that could protect these things. Athaiya had won the most prestigious Oscar award for costume design for classic film Gandhi in 1982. Athaiya had dressed Ben Kingsley in the film Gandhi.
- Justice PN Bhagwati- A copy of memoirs of former Chief Justice of India PN Bhagwati titled ‘My Tryst with Justice’ was presented to the President, Pranab Mukherjee on 12 december, by Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir at a function held in Rashtrapati Bhavan. The President said Justice P.N. Bhagwati is much more than a great jurist, an extraordinary judge and an ambassador of human rights across the world. He is a humanist whose heart aches for marginalized and forgotten millions. The President said Justice Bhagwati is a pioneer of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in India, promoter of the right to legal aid and emissary of Lok Adalats. He converted the courtroom into a site of people’s struggle in humanizing law.
- T.Shanmugam(93)-Olympian T Shanmugam, one of India’s most illustrious footballers, passed away on 14 December, due to respiratory problem.Shanmugam had represented India in 1952 Olympics at Helsinki and was also a part of the team that won the Asian gold medal at New Delhi 1951.Legendary midfielder represented Maharaja Socials and Bangalore Student Football Club in the Bangalore Senior Division League but his big jump came when he joined the Sullivan Police Sports Club of the Bangalore Police Force in 1941.He was quite an extraordinary coach and was instrumental in Karnataka lifting Santosh trophy in 1983-84 season.He also coached the state team to success when it lifted the Santosh Trophy in 1968-69 along with Basheer as chief coach at Cuttack Nationals.Shanmugam was much in demand as a coach not only in Karnataka, but also in other states. He played for Karnataka in Santosh Trophy between 1944 and 1954.
- Vinod Rai Re-Elected As Chairman of UN Panel of External Auditors
United Nations gave Vinod Rai, the comptroller and auditor general of India a second term as the designation of chairman of UN Panel of External Auditors for 2013. CAG of the UK, Amyas Morse was re-elected as the vice-chairman. Panel of the United Nations is the deciding body of the course as well as subject of audit of the different UN organisations which also include International Atomic Energy Agency. The UN Panel of External Auditors for 2013 includes apex auditors of various countries such as Switzerland, Tanzaniam, Canada, China, India, Italy, Philippines, UK, France and Pakistan as the members.
- Uttarakhand’s First Chief Minister Nityanand Swami Passed Away
The first chief minister of Uttarakhand, Nityanand Swami, passed away on 12 December 2012. He was 85 years old and belonged to the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP). Nityanand Swami, served the people throughout his life, focused on developmental issues and built a very good rapport with the people. Uttarakhand Government had declared three days’ of state mourning as a mark of respect to the departed leader. Nityanand Swami was born on 27 December 1927 in Haryana. He was the first chief minister of the Uttarakhand and had served serving from 9 November 2000 to 29 October 2001 and then resigned willingly in favor of Bhagat Singh Koshiyari when asked by the BJP leadership.
- Parthasarathy Shome- Government on 10 December, appointed tax expert Parthasarathy Shome as adviser to Finance Minister P Chidambaram with the rank of Minister of State. Shome was appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the Chairman of Committee on General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR) in July.The committee submitted its draft report in September wherein it has suggested deferring implementation of GAAR by three years to April 2016. The committee also submitted its final report to the Finance Minister in October.Between October 2004 – January 2008, Shome acted as adviser to the then Union Finance Minister. He was also a member of the Prime Minister’s Trade & Economic Relations Committee. As co-convener, Shome submitted the first report on Goods and Services Tax (GST) to the Empowered Committee of state FMs and Union Finance Minister in December 2007. Shome, who has authored several books on tax policies, was a Professor with the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER).He has earlier worked with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and also advised the World Bank and the United Nations in various projects.
- DevendraLal(83)-Noted geophysicist and Visiting Professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography [SIO] in California, USA, Devendra Lal, has died on 6 December. He contributed much to the earth and planetary nuclear physics during his 40-years of career at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego .Starting his research career at the age of 20 at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research at Mumbai, the primary thrust of his work was in the field of cosmic ray physics, earth and planetary sciences and astrophysics. He was particularly interested in studying records of climate found in terrestrial minerals, and chemical history of ocean waters based on marine biogenic minerals. His contributions included the setting up a national radiocarbon laboratory at TIFR to facilitate chronological studies of Indian archaeological sites going back to the Harappan era. He had also set up a Tritium Laboratory at TIFR which was later shifted to the National Geophysical Research Institute at Hyderabad. He won the CSIR’s prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar award in 1967 and was conferred Padma Shri in 1971. He was the recipient of NASA Group Achievement Award , and Hans Peterson Medal from Royal Swedish Academy. He was Director of the Physical Research Laboratory from 1972 to 1983.
- Oldest Person of the World, Besse Cooper Died At 116
Besse Cooper, the woman listed as the oldest person of the world died on 4 December 2012 in Georgia nursing home at 116 years of age. Besse Cooper had died peacefully in Monroe. Besse was recently taken ill with the stomach virus. Besse Cooper was declared as the oldest person of the world in January 2011 by the Guinness World Records. She was also the first Georgian who had world record with her. The birth place of Besse was Tennessee and she had moved during the First World War to Georgia. Guinness World Records declared that as of now, merely 8 people have reached the age of 116. Besse Cooper held this title of oldest person of the world since 2011. She explained her secret of living for such a long time, to Guinness World Records. She explained that she didn’t eat junk food.
- Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi on the List of Top 20 Most Powerful People of the World
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have been named in the list of top 20 most powerful people in the world by the Forbes Magazine in annual power rankings which were declared on 5 December 2012. Enjoying the first position for the second year consecutively is the US President Barrack Obama. Prime Minister Manmohan Sign was ranked at number 19. Sonia Gandhi dropped from the rankings of 2011 to number 12 in2012. Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, the richest business tycoon of India as well as Arcelor Mittal CEO Lakshmi Mittal also appeared in this list. Ambani is ranked at number 37 and he outranked Mittal by various positions. Forbes Magazine also noted that Rahul Gandhi was next to reign the most popular political dynasty of India. The magazine also described Ambani’s Reliance Industries as the most valued company of India and Mukesh Ambani’s home called Antilia was described as the most expensive private residence of the world. Antilia is the 27-storeyed 400000 sqft private residence of Ambani in Mumbai.
- S.A. Ibrahim’s Appointment as Director for Intelligence Bureau Approved
The Competent Authority on 3 December 2012 approved appointment of S. A. Ibrahim the IPS (MP-77) as officer on Special Duty in the Intelligence Bureau and also as the Director for Intelligence Bureau for a next two years from the date he acquires his charge or till the next order that is is further sent. His tenure to the post of Officer on Special Duty in the Intelligence Bureau started from 1 December 2012. At Present S.A. Ibrahim is serving as Special Director, Intelligence Bureau and will be taking over the charge of Director, Intelligence Bureau after vice Nehchal Sandhu will retire from his office on 31 December 2012.
- Ranjit Sinha(59)-An IPS officer of 1974-batch Bihar cadre on 3 December 2012 acquired the office as new CBI director. Ranjit Sinha, who was holding the designation of director general Indo-Tibetan Border Police, succeeded A.P. Singh who retired from the CBI office on 30 November 2012. Sinha will have two-year duration as the CBI director. He had served in CBI agency initially as the DIG and joint director as well.