1. Marat Safin inducted into International Tennis Hall of Fame
- Former World No.1 tennis player Marat Safin of Russia has joined the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
- Safin is a two-time Grand Slam Champion and the dual Davis Cup champion, winning the trophies with the Russian national team in 2002 and 2006.
- In his career he bagged a total of 15 ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) in men’s singles category.
- At the time of retirement he was ranked the 61st best player in ATP world best men’s singles rankings.
- He will be conferred at an official award ceremony scheduled for July 16 that also makes him the first Russian national to have won the honour.
2. Start up India action plan unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently launched the ‘Startup India’ initiative to boost digital entrepreneurship at the grassroots level.
- The Startup Action Plan was announced in the the Vigyan Bhawan auditorium where various salient features of the action plan were discussed. Some of the highlights are –
- To promote growth of startups, profit of startups, set up after April 1,2016, shall be exempted from income-tax for a period of three years. In addition to this, there will be no government inspection for three years for newly formed startups.
- The initiative also involves 10,000 crore corpus fund for startups, capital gains tax exemption for venture capital investments.
- 80% reduction in patent registration fee and also making the IPR procedure transparent.
- Simplifying the setting up process of startups just by filling up a short form through a mobile app and online portal.
- Self certification compliance for startups to reduce regulatory burden.
- Relaxed norms of public procurement – startups (in the manufacturing sector) shall be exempted from the criteria of prior ‘experience/turnover’ without any relaxation in quality standards or technical parameters.
- Faster exits for startups-Startups with simple debt structures may be wound up within a period of 90 days by making an application for winding up on a fast-track basis.
In addition to the above initiatives as a part of the Startup Action Plan, the Government also plans to –
- Start an innovation program that will open 5 lakh schools and target 10 lakh students.
- Launch an app to set a platform to that will help people to interact with startups.
- Set up 35 new incubators in institutions.
- Set up 7 new research park that is modelled on the IIT Madras research park.
- Promote entrepreneurship in Biotechnology.
3. Capgemini appoints iGATE Srinivas Kandula as CEO of India operations
- In a recent announcement, French IT services firm Capgemini has appointed Srinivas Kandula as the CEO of its India operations.
- Kandula’s appointment is effective from January 1 and he will replace Aruna Jayanthi, the former CEO of Capgemini in India.
- Other than the appointment, he is also expected to join the Capgemini Group Executive Committee.
- Kandula, has joined Capgemini through the company’s $4-billion acquisition of IGATE. Previously he was the EVP, Member of the Executive Council and Chief People Officer at IGATE and has been credited with playing a key role in the acquisition of Patni by IGATE in 2011.
4. Bhaskar Bhat appointed as Chairman of TATA SIA Airlines
- Recently, Managing Director of Titan took over as the Chairman of Tata SIA Airline Ltd (Vistara) with effect from January 1.
- Bhatt succeeded Prasad Menon who was the former Chairman at Vistara.
- Bhatt is a founding member of Titan Industries and has been the MD of Titan since 2002.
- He led Titan to become fifth largest watch manufacturer in the World and the largest manufacturer in India.
5. Analjit Singh resigns as chairman of Max Financial Services Limited
- Analjit Singh has resigned as the Chairman of Max Financial Services Limited, following the demerger of Max India Limited. However, Singh will continue to serve as the Chairman of Max Ventures and Industries Limited.
- Singh will also continue to be the Chairman Emeritus and a permanent invitee to the boards and committees of all Max Group companies.
- Post the demerger, Max India Limited will manage investments in health and related businesses such as Max Healthcare, Max Bupa and Antara Senior Living.
- While, Max Ventures and Industries will handle the investment in the manufacturing business, Max Speciality Films.
6. Ankita Anand wins European prize for work on Khaps
- Ankita Anand, has won the European Commission’s prestigious Lorenzo Natali Media Prize for 2015 (Asia-Pacific) for her sensitive portrayal of life for young women facing the threat of the diktat of khap panchayats in Haryana.
- The Delhi based writer was conferred with the award for a write-up ‘No Country for the New Woman’ that was published in the quarterly magazine ‘The Equator Line’, which centred on the theme of women’s freedom in India.
- Anand is one of the nine winners out of about 1,400 contestants from around the world and the award consists of a trophy and a money prize of 5000 euros.
- The 2015 edition of the Lorenzo Natali Media Prize was launched under the motto ‘Today’s stories can change our tomorrow’.
7. Facebook’s COO gives $ 31 million in stock to charity
- Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has decided to donate $31 million in Facebook stock to charity.
- Sandberg has donated 2,90,000 shares of Facebook stocks that are now in the Sheryl Sandberg Philanthropy Fund.
- Most of the money will go to causes that Sandberg has supported in the past like women’s empowerment groups, such as Lean In,to help and support women in the workplace and also in anti-poverty efforts and educational groups.
- Sandberg earlier had signed The Giving Pledge, the commitment by wealthy people to give the majority of their wealth to philanthropy in their lifetime.
- This announcement of Sandberg’s charity comes a few days after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged to give away 99 percent of his company shares worth $ 45 billion.
8. Jet Airways and Bangkok Airways enter into Frequent Flyer Partnership
- Jet Airways has entered into a Frequent Flyer Partnership with Bangkok Airways.
- The partnership came into force with the tie-up of award-winning loyalty and rewards management programme of Jet Airways named JetPrivilege and FlyerBonus, the loyalty scheme of Bangkok Airways.
- The tie-up will allow frequent fliers of the two carriers redeem reward points while travelling on each other’s network.
- JetPrivilege members can now earn and redeem JPMiles when travelling across the Bangkok Airways network including on destinations like Samui, Krabi, Phuket and Luang Prabang via Bangkok.
- Similarly members of Bangkok Airways’ FlyerBonus programme can also earn and redeem their miles across Jet Airways’ extensive network in India and key international destination in North America, Europe, Middle East and SAARC.
9. Flipkart ties-up with Mahindra for online bookings of KUV100
- E-Commerce giant Flipkart has tied up with auto major Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd to exclusively launch the latter’s newest SUV- KUV100.
- Customers can start booking KUV100 starting January 18th, 2016 in this first of its kind initiative in the automobile industry.
- According to Pawan Goenka, Executive Director, Mahindra & Mahindra, the company apart from its dealership model, would depend on e-commerce to sell the product and would tie up with Flipkart and Car & Bike portal for online bookings.
- Flipkart introduced automobiles as a category last month with an objective to change the way vehicles are purchased in India. As part of this tie-up, both Flipkart and Mahindra have assured in-a-month delivery to customers.
10. Sania Mirza, Martina Hingis win 2016 WTA Apia International Sydney Title
- Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis have won the 2016 WTA Apia International Sydney title of Tennis in the women’s doubles category in Sydney, Australia.
- They won the title by defeating French pair Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic by 1-6, 7-5, 10-5, making it their 30th win in a row.
- This win makes it their 11th WTA title together and second of this year for Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis.
11. Dr Jancy James selected for Prof MV Pylee Award for the Distinguished Academician of India
- Dr Jancy James, the first woman Vice Chancellor of Kerala, has been selected for the Professor MV Pylee Award for the Distinguished Academician of India.
- James is an established author, literary critic, researcher and translator and the former Vice Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University and founder Vice Chancellor of Central University of Kerala.
- She also served as member of Kendra Sahitya Akademi and as the National President of the Comparative Literature Association of India.
- She completed her post-doctoral from Commonwealth Fellow in University of Warwick, UK and also worked as a Faculty Research Fellow in Toronto University, Canada.
- James was a member of the Indian delegation at the Indo-US Higher Education Summit at Washington under the Obama-Singh Initiative in 2011.
- The MV Pylee Award is given by Cochin University of Science and Technology in the honour of Indian scholar, educationist and management guru MV Pylee. Pylee is widely regarded as the father of management education in Kerala.
12. Chinese President inaugurates Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
- The Asian Infrastructure Investment bank was formally launched by the Chinese President, Xi Jinping at a special function in Beijing, China.
- Despite opposition from Washington, U.S. allies including Australia, Britain, Germany, Italy, the Philippines and South Korea have agreed to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in recognition of China’s growing economic power.
- In all 57 countries have joined as founding members, while the US and Japan have stayed out of the deal.
- The inaugural meeting of the board of governors of the bank concluded with approved bylaws, rules and codes of conduct for the bank.
- AIIB, with authorised capital of $ 100 billion and subscribed capital of $ 50 billion, will invest in various sectors including urban construction, education, healthcare, energy and others.
13. World Bank releases report titled World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends
- The World Bank released a report in Washington DC titled World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends. The report analyses the impact of the internet, mobile phones, and related technologies on economic development across the world including India.
- In many instances, digital technologies have boosted growth, expanded opportunities, and improved service delivery. Yet their aggregate impact has fallen short and is unevenly distributed.
- According to official reports, for digital technologies to benefit everyone everywhere requires closing the remaining digital divide, especially in internet access. But greater digital adoption will not be enough. To get the most out of the digital revolution, countries also need to work on the “analog complements”-by strengthening regulations that ensure competition among businesses, by adapting workers’ skills to the demands of the new economy, and by ensuring that institutions are accountable.
- In relation to India, the authors of the report of the World Bank appreciated the Aadhaar scheme as it saved $ 1 billion by bringing down corruption. The authors included Kaushik Basu, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank.
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