1. Vikas Thapar appointed as Vice President of Micromax

i) Indian smartphone company Micromax has appointed Vikas Thapar as vice-president for finance. 

ii) Thapar will be in charge of strengthening the company’s asset and revenue base while steering external relationship developments with key partners including bankers, equity partners, investors and the government. 

iii) He will also be responsible for overall financial and management accounting, fund syndication & financial resourcing, and group operations, among others.

iv) Prior to this appointment, Thapar was executive director at Avocado Management Services and has also worked with One97 Communications (PayTm), Bharti Airtel and Morepen Laboratories.

2. Azim Premji donates Rs.27,514 crore for education in 2015

i) Wipro head Azim Premji was ranked the ‘most generous Indian’ in the Hurun India Philanthropy List 2015. 

ii) Hurun, a Chinese luxury-lifestyle publisher targeting billionaires, studied 300 wealthy Indian entrepreneurs and listed those who donated over Rs.10 crore to charity. 

iii) Through the Azim Premji Foundation, the 70-year-old donated Rs.27,514 crore for education, more than twice the amount he gave in 2014. The foundation works in eight states, managing over 350,000 schools.

iv) Nandan and Rohini Nilekani take the second place in the list followed by N R Narayana Murthy, K Dinesh, Shiv Nadar, Mukesh Ambani, Sunny Varkey, Ronnie Screwvala, Rahul Bajaj and Pallonji Mistry. 

3.  Bhanumurthy BM appointed as new COO of Wipro

i) India’s third-largest IT company Wipro appointed Bhanumurthy B M as its new COO in a major executive-level reshuffle. 

ii) The firm also instituted a new business unit called Marketing, Innovations and Technology, with G K Prasanna as its President.

iii) As per Wipro’s statement, “Bhanumurthy will provide leadership to all the Service Lines (Business Application Services, Global Infrastructure Services, Product Engineering Services, Analytics, Application Management Services and Business Process Services), Service Transformation and Excellence, Global Delivery Enablement, and Quality functions.”

4. Tech Mahindra ties up with MetricStream

i) Tech Mahindra tied up with American governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) apps company MetricStream in order to provide GRC solutions across the world.

ii) Tech Mahindra has stated that MetricStream’s enterprise and cloud apps for GRC enable clients to bolster risk management, regulatory compliance, vendor governance and quality management while propelling business performance.

iii) As per the tie up, Tech Mahindra has also established a dedicated MetricStream Center of Excellence (CoE) in Bengaluru.

5. ADB approves loans worth $27.15 bn in 2015

i) In 2015, the Asian Development Bank’s loan approvals touched a record high of $27.15 billion, a 19% increase vis-à-vis 2014, as per the bank’s recent data release.

ii) During the year, approval of loans and grants towards government (sovereign) as well as private sector hit a record $16.58 billion, a 23% rise from 2014. 

iii) While government approvals increased by 21% to $13.95 billion, private sector or non-sovereign approvals rose to $2.63 billion. 

6.  Rs.815 crore drought assistance for Odisha

i) The Union government approved drought assistance of Rs.815 crore for Odisha. The aid will be released from the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF). 

ii) The state’s Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Mohapatra said that the state government earlier submitted two memoranda seeking Rs.2199 crore because standing crops over 13.41 lakh hectares in 215 blocks of 26 districts sustained crop losses of over 33%. 

iii) Thus, final drought reports will be submitted soon to seek more funds as the severity of the disaster in many parts of Odisha is high.

7. Centre approves MoU between India & Singapore in civil aviation 

i) The Union Cabinet gave its ex-post facto approval for an MoU in civil aviation between the Airports Authority of India and the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise. 

ii) The MoU was inked between the two countries in November 2015 during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Singapore.

iii) The MoU aims to achieve collaboration in civil aviation in the areas of master-planning and design, traffic development, commercial development, service quality improvement, training and development and cargo handling and management, among others.

8. Union government’s ‘Watan Ko Jano’ programme gets good response

i) The Union Ministry of Home Affairs’ programme Watan Ko Jano is aimed at exposing the youth of Jammu & Kashmir to the vibrant cultures and ways of lives in the rest of India. 

ii) Children of militancy-affected victims and weaker sections are identified by the J&K State Rehabilitation Council as beneficiaries under the programme.

iii) The Watan Ko Jano initiative, launched in 2011, was in news recently after more than 240 youngsters in the age-group of 15-24 met with PM Narendra Modi in New Delhi. On December 29, 2015, a total of 250 youngsters participated in the Watan Ko Jano tour and interacted Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

9. Centre merges Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs with Ministry of External Affairs

i) The Union government gave its nod to merge Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) with Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to improve efficiency and avoid duplication of work.

ii) As a result of the merger, henceforth the flagship event of MOIA ‘Pravasi Bhartiya Divas’ will be conducted by the MEA.

iii) The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) was established in May 2004 as the Ministry of Non-Resident Indians’ Affairs by the previous government. It was renamed as the MOIA in September 2004.

10. Online realty portal CommonFloor.com acquired by Quikr

i) Classified advertising platform Quikr India Pvt. Ltd. has acquired online realty portal CommonFloor.com in a distress sale. 

ii) Media reports have estimated it to be a $120 million all-stock deal. This move comes four months after the launch of QuikrHomes. After the deal, Quikr will be valued at about $1.5 billion. 

iii) The merger will give CommonFloor.com access to Quikr’s 30 million consumers and enable it to utilise the potential of the cross-category nature of the platform, while QuikrHomes will benefit from CommonFloor’s structured data and domain expertise.

11. Sailesh appointed as the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India

i) Senior IAS officer Sailesh was appointed as the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, replacing C Chandramouli. 

ii) Sailesh is a 1985 batch IAS officer of Assam-Meghalaya Cadre.

iii) He will serve in the post till July 28, 2017 as per the Department of Personnel and Training’s order.

iv) The Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs is responsible for conducting the decennial Census.

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