Polity & Governance
- Government backs verdict denying AMU minority status
- Complete List of ‘India Rankings 2016’ Released by MHRD
- World’s first mass dengue vaccination
- UNIDO places India at 6th position in top-10 manufacturers list
- DCB Bank offers India’s first Aadhaar-based ATM transactions
Environment & Ecology
- The World’s First White Tiger Safari Opened in Madhya Pradesh
Art & Culture
- PM’s gift to the King of Saudi Arabia
Also in News
- Semi high speed train to start operations
Polity & Governance
Government backs verdict denying AMU minority status
The government has backed out of challenging an Allahabad High Court order denying the historic Aligarh Muslim University the minority status.
- The government has made it clear in the Supreme Court that the government is convinced that the 1967 Constitution Bench judgment, which had held that AMU was not “established” by Muslims, still held sway.
- The Azeez Basha versus Union of Indiaverdict of the Supreme Court had denied AMU protection under Article 30 of the Constitution.
- The verdict was criticised as AMU was not even a party to or heard in that case.
- In 1981, Parliament restored the minority status to the university. But the Allahabad High Court in January 2006 struck down the provision of the AMU (Amendment) Act, 1981, according minority status to the university. This order was challenged in the Supreme Court by the UPA government.
Article 30 of the constitution:
- Article 30 provides minority communities the fundamental right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
Complete List of ‘India Rankings 2016’ Released by MHRD
The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development has released the ‘India Rankings 2016‘.
- This is the first-of-its-kind indigenous ranking framework for higher education institutions.
- The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) has put IIT Madras on the top spot, as the topmost engineering college, followed by IIT Mumbai and IIT Kharagpur.
- The top management institution is IIM Bangalore, while Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore is the best university in India. While the JNU has been ranked third, Hyderabad University has been named fourth best institute.
- All 122 centrally-funded institutions – including all central universities, IITs and IIMs – participated in the first round of ranking.
The framework is primarily divided into two categories:
- Category A covered institutions with academic autonomy and a greater focus on research.
- Category B comprised colleges and centres affiliated to a university and more focused on teaching. An institution can volunteer to be ranked in both categories.
- The criteria for ranking included teaching/learning resources, research, graduation outcomes, outreach/inclusivity and perception.
- The data for the first four parameters, which account for 90% of the weightage, was submitted by the institutions and verified by National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), a body constituted by the HRD ministry last year to conduct annual surveys.
- For the perception criterion, various stakeholders including parents, teachers, and alumni were engaged to give their feedback. More than 3,500 top higher educational institutions are under consideration for the ranking.
World’s first mass dengue vaccination
The Philippines has launched world’s first public immunization programme for dengue fever.
- The programme seeks to administer the world’s first licensed vaccine Dengvaxia against a mosquito-borne disease to a million school children.
- The Philippines had the highest dengue incidence in the WHO’s Western Pacific region from 2013 to 2015, recording 20,0415 cases in 2015.
- The use of the first-ever vaccine, Dengvaxia, against dengue fever was approved by Mexicoon 9 December 2015.
- Dengvaxia is developed by the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur and has already been tested in Mexico.
- However, the Philippines on 22 December 2015 became the first Asian country to approve the sale of Dengvaxia.
UNIDO places India at 6th position in top-10 manufacturers list
India has been ranked sixth among the world’s Top 10 largest manufacturing countries in the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) 2015 Yearbook report.
- In this edition of report India has jumped by three positions to sixth position compared to earlier ninth position in the previous report.
- China tops the list of 10-top industrial producers followed by the US, Japan, Germany and Korea.
- Indonesia was at the bottom of the list.
DCB Bank offers India’s first Aadhaar-based ATM transactions
DCB Bank has launched an Aadhaar-based Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) usage facility wherein a customer can transact using his biometric details instead of the PIN. The step is first of its kind in India.
- The ATM will accept Aadhaar number and Aadhaar fingerprint (biometric) instead of ATM/Debit Card and PIN to dispense cash from the bank account. It is a Cardless and PIN less ATM.
- The user can key-in the 12-digit Aadhaar number or swipe the card at an ATM to start a transaction, but at the stage of confirming the identity, it requires biometric details rather than the PIN.
Environment & Ecology
The World’s First White Tiger Safari Opened in Madhya Pradesh
World’s First White Tiger Safari has been opened in Madhya Pradesh.
- The first of its kind safari is situated adjacent to the Mukundpur Zoological Park. The sanctuary is spread over an area of 25 hectares.
- Vindhya region holds a special relevance because the world’s first white tiger was discovered here around 100 years ago. However, in 1976, the region lost its lone white tiger named Virat.
- The safari will be named after Rewa princely state’s ruler Maharaja Martand Singh who had a ‘pet’ white tiger named Mohan in 1951. It later became the progenitor of all known white tigers in the world after the ruler arranged for its breeding.
Presently, there are three white tigers and two Royal Bengal tigers. The safari will get nine white tigers in the coming months.
White Tigers in India:
- The white tigeris a pigmentation variant of the Bengal tiger, which is reported in the wild from time to time in the Indian states of Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Sunderbans and especially in the former State of Rewa.
- These tigers have white fur because lack of the pigment pheomelanin, which is found in Bengal tigers with orange colour fur.
- When compared to Bengal tigers, the white Bengal tigers tend to grow faster and heavier than the orange Bengal tiger.
[Red: IE; Wiki]
Art & Culture
PM’s gift to the King of Saudi Arabia
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, during his recent visit to Saudi Arabia, gifted His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud a gold-plated replica of the Cheraman Juma Masjid in Kerala.
- The Prime Minister also visited the All Women IT and ITES Centre of Tata Consultancy Services in Riyadh during the tour.
About the Masjid:
- Situated in Thrissur district, the Cheraman Juma Masjid is believed to be the first mosque built in India by Arab traders around 629 AD, and symbolic of active trade relations between India and Saudi Arabia since ancient times.
- According to oral tradition, Cheraman Perumal was the Chera King and a contemporary of the Holy Prophetwho went to Arabia and embraced Islam after meeting the Holy Prophet at Mecca.
- Some years later, he sent letters to his relatives and the ruling chieftains of Malabar through his friends Malik bin Dinar and Malik bin Habib who, along with their companions, were then given permission by the local rulers to build the mosque at Kodungallur.
- The mosque has an ancient oil lamp that is always kept burning and believed to be over a thousand years old. People from all religions bring oil for the lamp as an offering.
Also in News
Semi high speed train to start operations
India’s first semi-high speed train ‘Gatimaan Express’ capable of running at a maximum speed of 160 KMPH is all set to be introduced on the Indian Railway system on 5th April, 2016.
- The semi high-speed train, with a 5,400 horse power electric locomotive and top speed of 160 kmph, covered the nearly 200 km distance between Delhi’s Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station and Agra Cantonment station in exactly 100 minutes, as promised.
- It is, however, only slightly faster than the Bhopal Shatabdi launched 28 years ago, which takes 117 minutes to reach Agra but also takes a longer route, starting from the New Delhi Railway station.