August 26, 2013

Direct Cash Transfer Scheme

It is a poverty reduction measure in which government subsidies and other benefits are given directly to the poor in cash rather than in the form of subsidies.

What are its benefits?
It can help the government reach out to identified beneficiaries and can plug leakages. Currently, ration shop owners divert subsidised PDS grains or kerosene to open market and make fast buck. Such Leakages could stop. The scheme will also enhance efficiency of welfare schemes.
How is it implemented?

The money is directly transferred into bank accounts of beneficiaries. LPG and kerosene subsidies, pension payments, scholarships and employment guarantee scheme payments as well as benefits under other government welfare programmes will be made directly to beneficiaries. The money can then be used to buy services from the market. For eg. if subsidy on LPG or kerosene is abolished and the government still wants to give the subsidy to the poor, the subsidy portion will be transferred as cash into the banks of the intended beneficiaries.

What are the scheme's disadvantages?

It is feared that the money may not be used for the intended purpose and men may squander it.

Has it already been implemented in India?

Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) has already begun on a pilot basis in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Karnataka, Pondicherry and Sikkim. The government claims the results are encouraging.

Are there any other drawbacks?

Yes, because only Aadhar card holders will get cash transfer. As of today, only 21 crore of the 120 crore people have Aadhar cards. Two other drawbacks are that most BPL families don't have bank accounts and several villages don't have any bank branches.

These factors can limit the reach of cash transfer.

What about elsewhere in the world?

Many Latin American countries have conditional cash transfer schemes in which money is transferred to poor families through women. The money is given, subject to them ensuring that their children attend school regularly, take preventive healthcare measures and provide better nutrition to their children. The Indian scheme is unconditional.

On 1 January  2013 The governMent launched its scaled down Cash Transfer Benefit (CBT) in 20 districts,but food, fertiliser And fuel subsidies will not be covered in the initial phase. All 26 schemes are ready for rollout. On 1 January 2013 the seven schemes in which payout is due in the (20 selected) districts, the money will be transferred through the direct benefit transfer system using the UIDAI platform.The scheme is going to be rolled out in 43 districts by 1 March 2013, 20 districts from January 1, 11 districts from February 1 and 12 districts from March 1. By end of 2013, the direct cash benefit transfer will be rolled out in all the districts of the country.

Aphra Behn (1640 - 1689)

Aphra Behn, c.1675
Aphra Johnson was born near Canterbury in 1640, and baptised on 14 December of that year. She is thought to have spent some of her youth in Dutch Guiana in the West Indies. In 1664, she married Johan Behn a merchant of Dutch or German parentage, but the marriage is not thought to have lasted very long. She is known to have acted as a British spy in Antwerp in 1666. Imprisonment for debt led her to write for an income.
Behn wrote a series of successful plays. Her first, 'The Forc'd Marriage' was produced in 1671. 'The Rover' (1681), her most successful, was produced in two parts and included in its cast Nell Gwyn, mistress of Charles II. Among Behn's sources was the Italian commedia dell'arte (improvised comedy), which she used in her farce 'The Emperor of the Moon' (1687), forerunner of the modern-day pantomime.
Behn's novel 'Oroonoko' (1688) was the story of an enslaved African prince and is now considered a foundation stone in the development of the English novel. As well as plays and prose Behn wrote poetry and translated works from French and Latin. In her time she was a celebrity, unusual for her independence as a professional writer and her concern for equality between the sexes.
Behn died on 16 April 1689 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

John Logie Baird (1888 - 1946)

John Logie Baird
John Logie Baird was born on 14 August 1888 in Helensburgh on the west coast of Scotland, the son of a clergyman. Dogged by ill health for most of his life, he nonetheless showed early signs of ingenuity, rigging up a telephone exchange to connect his bedroom to those of his friends across the street. His studies at the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College were interrupted by the outbreak of World War One. Rejected as unfit for the forces, he served as superintendent engineer of the Clyde Valley Electrical Power Company. When the war ended he set himself up in business, with mixed results.
Baird then moved to the south coast of England and applied himself to creating a television, a dream of many scientists for decades. His first crude apparatus was made of odds and ends, but by 1924 he managed to transmit a flickering image across a few feet. On 26 January 1926 he gave the world's first demonstration of true television before 50 scientists in an attic room in central London. In 1927, his television was demonstrated over 438 miles of telephone line between London and Glasgow, and he formed the Baird Television Development Company. (BTDC). In 1928, the BTDC achieved the first transatlantic television transmission between London and New York and the first transmission to a ship in mid-Atlantic. He also gave the first demonstration of both colour and stereoscopic television.
In 1929, the German post office gave him the facilities to develop an experimental television service based on his mechanical system, the only one operable at the time. Sound and vision were initially sent alternately, and only began to be transmitted simultaneously from 1930. However, Baird's mechanical system was rapidly becoming obsolete as electronic systems were developed, chiefly by Marconi in America. Although he had invested in the mechanical system in order to achieve early results, Baird had also been exploring electronic systems from an early stage. Nevertheless, a BBC committee of inquiry in 1935 prompted a side-by-side trial between Marconi's all-electronic television system, which worked on 405 lines to Baird's 240. Marconi won, and in 1937 Baird's system was dropped.
Baird died on 14 June 1946 in Bexhill-on-Sea in Sussex.

August 25, 2013

Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

Charles BabbageBabbage was a British mathematician, an original and innovative thinker and a pioneer of computing.
Charles Babbage was born on 26 December 1791, probably in London, the son of a banker. He was often unwell as a child and was educated mainly at home. By the time he went to Cambridge University in 1810 he was very interested in mathematics.
After graduation Babbage was hired by the Royal Institution to lecture on calculus. Within two years he had been elected a member of the Royal Society and, with his Cambridge friends, was instrumental in setting up the Astronomical Society in 1820, the first to challenge the dominance of the Royal Society. From 1828 to 1839, Babbage was Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge.
The 1820s saw Babbage work on his 'Difference Engine', a machine which could perform mathematical calculations. A six-wheeled model was initially constructed and demonstrated to a number of audiences. He then developed plans for a bigger, better, machine - Difference Engine 2. He also worked on another invention, the more complex Analytical Engine, a revolutionary device on which his fame as a computer pioneer now largely rests. It was intended to be able to perform any arithmetical calculation using punched cards that would deliver the instructions, as well as a memory unit to store numbers and many other fundamental components of today's computers. The remarkable British mathematician Ada Lovelace completed a program for the Analytical Engine but neither it, nor Difference Engine 2, were finished in Babbage's lifetime.
Babbage also worked in the fields of philosophy and code-breaking, as well as campaigning for reform in British science. He died at his home in London on 18 October 1871.

August 12, 2013


• The principal architect of India’s missile programmes who on 31 May 2013was  appointed DRDO chief and scientific advisor to defence ministerAvinash Chander

• The  person who resigned as Chairman of IPL on 1 June 2013 in the wake of the raging spot-fixing scandal- Rajiv Shukla

• The name of bombs which is being developed by India for its fighter jets, which are expected to be geared up for deployment by the end of year 2014- Glide Bombs

• The Person who was appointed new Prime Minister of Palestine, by Mahmoud Abbas on 2 June 2013 - Rami Hamdallah 

• The 25-year old Bollywood actress who allegedly committed suicide on 3 June 2013 at her Juhu residence in Mumbai – Jiah Khan

• The Person who became the youngest Indian to scale the Mount Everest on 21 May 2013 with his five schoolmates- Raghav Joneja

• The Leader of Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N), who on 3 June 2013 elected as the Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan- Ayaz Sadiq 
• The Person who became the first woman to be elected to the FIFA Executive Committee (ExCo) for a full term of four years- Lydia Nsekera
• The theme of World Environment Day which was observed on 5 June 2013 -Think, Eat, Save Reduce YourFoodprint
• The Person who was appointed as the National Security Adviser of US President Barack Obama on 5 June 2013- Susan Elizabeth Rice

• The Australian radio presenters who responsible for Royal prank and was awarded with Jock by the employer- Michael Christian
• The Person who on 6 June 2013 was reelected as the chairman of  India Bank Association (IBA) for 2013-14 tenure- KR Kamath

• The Irish writer who won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for his debut novel City of Bohane which is the portrayal of  Ireland of 2053- Kevin Barry

• The Uttarakhand NGO which on 6 June 2013 bagged a French award for its contribution to protection of human rights- Central Himalayan Environment Association (CHEA)
• Name the Scottish author, who is best known for his novels The Wasp Factory and The Crow Road, died of Cancer on 9 June 2013- Iain Banks
• The BJP leader who  resigned from all top positions of BJP on 10 June 2013 a day after Narendra Modi was selected as the chairman party’s election campaign- LK Advani

• A former Union Minister and Congress veteran from Chhattisgarh, died on 11 June 2013 of multiple organ failure- Vidya Charan Shukla
• The theme of World Day against Child Labour which was celebrated on 12 June 2013-No to Child Labour in Domestic Work
• The first Indian-American girl from Avon School to get admission in United States Military Academy at West Point- Sneha Singh

• The  First NATO and European Country to Draft Women in Military Service- Norway

• The Indian-origin sculptor who was honoured with Knighthood, the highest honour of Britain by Queen Elizabeth II- Anish Kapoor

• The Person who became only the second Hindu to be part of the Pakistan’s Punjab assembly after Seth Bharta Ram- Kanji Ram

• The ambassador to the United Nations for Antigua and Barbuda who was selected as the President of UN General Assembly for its 68th session- John William Ashe
• One of the founders of RAW, who passed away on 16 June 2013 in Chennai after a long fight with cancer- Bahukutumbi Raman

• The ex-chairman of the Tata Group who was appointed as the Chief Advisor of AirAsia’s India board- Ratan Tata

• The moderate cleric of Combatant Clergy Association party won the presidential election in Iran on 15 June 2013- Hassan Rohani

• The Malaysian author who  was declared as the winner of Walter Scott Prize for his English fiction novel The Garden of Evening Mists- Tan Twan Eng

• The 29-year-year-old Indian origin journalist became the Editor of UK national paper, The Independent, on 17 June 2013- Amol Rajan

• The former head of the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), was appointed as the Chairman of AirAsia India on 18 June 2013- Subramanian Ramadorai

• The Chinese supercomputer which is declared is the fastest computer of the world- Tianhe-2


• The Person who succeeded Ranjan Mathai to be the next Foreign Secretary of India by Manmohan Singh-Sujata Singh

• The vice chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia University who on 1 July 2013 appointed as the 20th Lt Governor of Delhi- Najeeb Jung

• The Person who on 2 July 2013 has been appointed as Director General of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)-Sunil Soni

• The first ever Indian woman to receive Dubai Government's coveted Emirates Woman Award for business excellence in June 2013- Vandana Gandhi
• The U.S. inventor who was known as the father of the computer mouse who died on 3 July 2013 at age of 88-Douglas Engelbart

• The Egyptian Leader who sworn in as interim president of Egypt till the next elections takes place succeeding Mohamed Morsi, who was removed after a military coup- Adli Mansour

• Renowned Madhubani painting artist who died at a private hospital in Ranti, near Madhubani on 4 July 2013-Mahasundari Devi

• The former Secretary, Department of Telecommunications (DoT), who was appointed as the President of NASSCOM on 5 July 2013- R. Chandrasekhar

• The Bollywood actress who on 6 July 2013 got the Best Actress award at 14th IIFA (International Indian Film Academy) awards 2013 held in Macau- Vidya Balan
• Leading liberal opposition leader who on 6 July 2013 was named as Egypt's new Prime Minister- Mohamed ElBaradei

• Senior parliamentarian who on 4 July 2013 was appointed as the new governor of Sikkim- Shriniwas Dadasaheb Patil

• Former Delhi police Chief, who on 8 July 2013 took over as the new Governor of Meghalaya- KK Paul
• An acknowledged food scientist and the former Director of the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) who died on 9 July 2013- Dr. H.A.B. Parpia

• The Person who on 8 July 2013 took over as the new Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands-Lt Gen (Retd) AK Singh
• The Theme of world Population day observed across the World on 11 July 2013- Focus is on Adolescent Pregnancy

• Indian Parsi conductor of western classical music who was selected to be honoured with Tagore Award 2013-Zubin Mehta

• The legendary actor and the proud recipient of Dada Saheb Phalke Award and Padma Bhushan Award who died on 12 July 2013- Pran

• The Person who on 16 July 2013 was appointed as the next Commissioner of Delhi Police and will besucceeding Neeraj Kumar- Bhim Sain Bassi
• The Person who was administered the oath of the office of Chief Justice of India (CJI) by he President of India on 19 July 2013-Justice Palanisamy Sathasivam

• The Chief Justice of India who on 18 July 2013 retired from the office after a short term of just nine months-Justice Altamas Kabir
• The day which was observed as Nelson Mandela International Day to inspire people to be an agent of change-18 July 2013

• 82 Years old Veteran Tamil film lyricist who died at a private hospital in Chennai on 18 July 2013- Vaali

• An Indian-American woman was nominated for the Post of Assistant Secretary of State of USA- Nisha Desai Biswal

• South Korean city which was named as the World Book Capital for the year 2015 as per UNESCO announcement-  Incheon

• Former Kuttanad MLA and Chairman of the Kerala State Farming Corporation, who died at a hospital in Kochi- Prof. Oommen Mathew

• The Finance Minister of Jammu and Kashmir who on 21 July 2013 appointed as the new Chairman of GST Panel- Abdul Rahim Rather

• The Chairman and CEO of Leo Burnett, India who was re-elected as the President of Advertising Agencies Association of India-Arvind Sharma

• Renowned south India yesteryear actor, who died in Chennai at the age of 59 on 23 July 2013 followed a brief illness- Manjula Vijayakumar

• The Duchess of Cambridge, who gave birth to a baby boy on 22 July 2013 at the London hospital- Kate Middleton

• Indian American author who novel The Lowland has been listed among 13 novels longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013- Jhumpa Lahiri

• The cousin of Rajiv Gandhi as well as the Minister for Internal Security during his government, who died in Gurgaon on 25 July 2013- Arun Nehru

• The famous Indian Port which was conferred with the Major Port of the Year award for its excellent performance in the year 2012-13- Paradip Port

• The Bollywood actor who held the Guinness World Record for being the most type-cast actor, died on 28 July 2013 at the age of 85 years- Jagdish Raj
• Sarod maestro who was chosen for the 21st Rajiv Gandhi National Sadhbhavna Award- Amjad Ali Khan

• The former Indian Test umpire who passed away on 29 July 2013 at a private hospital in Karnataka. He was 83 years of age- SN Hanumantha Rao