Current Affairs India - 2 May 2014

1. The Supreme Court (SC) appointed Michael Hudson McHugh, former judge of the high court of Australia, as the third arbitrator to resolve the dispute between the Central Government and Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd on KG basin. Hudson McHugh was named as the chairman of the arbitral tribunal as the apex court had withdrawn the appointment of James Spigelman on 2nd April.

RIL has nominated former justice Bharucha as its arbitrator while the Central Government has chosen justice Khare as its arbitrator. SC decided to appoint an international arbitrator as the chairman for adjudication of dispute between RIL and the government over recovery of cost for developing the country-s key natural gas field in KG basin.

2. President of India Pranab Mukherjee conferred gallantry awards on 55 defence personnel for their distinguished service and bravery today. The awards include three Kirti and nine Shaurya Chakras. Two Kirti Chakras were given posthumously to Constable Brighu Nandan Choudhary of 205 Cobra Battalion, CRPF and Inspector Lohit Sonowal of Assam Police for valiantly gunning down terrorists. Three Uttam Yudh Seva Medals were given to brave soldiers.

3. The US Green Building Council (USGBC) has ranked India at 3rd position among the list of top 10 countries for LEED outside of the United States. Canada tops the list followed by China, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Germany and Brazil, among others.

The list demonstrates the global reach of the movement that is transforming the built environment into healthy, high-performing structures that benefit the planet and its people. According to a statement, the list of the top 10 countries for LEED reflects the global adaptability of the world-s most widely used and recognised system guiding the design, construction, operations and maintenance of green buildings.

4. India-s state owned Airlines Company, Air India is all set to join the world-s largest airline grouping, Star Alliance, in July this year. This will make it the first airline from India to be part of a global chain of carriers which will bring immense benefits to Indian fliers from Day One as they will be able to earn-and burn miles, get access to lounges across the globe and enjoy seamless connectivity across the world on Star members.

Star Alliance CEO Mark F Schwab said CEOs of Stars member airlines will meet in London on June 22 or 23 to have an endorsement vote on AIs entry. Once all airlines endorse the move, AI should be in Star by July. Earlier Star had put AIs entry on hold three years back due to apprehensions expressed by other carriers.

5. Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati has been ranked at No 87 in the list of the world's top 100 university (under 50 years of age) rankings for the first time. IIT Guwahati is the only Indian educational institute in the 2014 league table of '100 Under 50' institutions published by the 'Times Higher Education' (THE) magazine in London on 30th April.

6. The deadline to change to new format bank cheques under the cheque truncation system (CTS) ended on 30th April as announced by the RBI earlier. Transactions with cheques deposited without CTS technology will be delayed from 1st May, with banks likely to take four days or more from the date of deposit to credit the amount.

The CTS system will take transactions online, with the bank where a deposit is made scanning cheque image data and making an instant electronic transmission of the money to the recipient. The system will reduce transaction time from a few days to a few minutes and, by taking the physical instrument out of the process, enhance security and reduce the cost of transferring and processing cheques.

7. India-s manufacturing sector growth remained stable in April as the HSBC India compiled Manufacturing sector-s Purchasing Managers- Index (PMI), a parameter to judge performance of the sector, stood at 51.3 in April, unchanged from 51.3 in previous month of March. Any PMI reading above 50 indicates growth.

The momentum in the manufacturing sector held broadly steady, with domestic demand countering a slowdown in export orders.

8. Interim CEO & Wholetime Director of Cairn India, P Elango, resigned from the post today. Ending an 18-year stint and less than two-year tenure as the chief of the company, Elango has decided to step down on -personal grounds-. Sudhir Mathur, CFO, has taken over the additional responsibility of leading the organization for the time being till Cairn India appoints a new full time CEO.

Earlier MD and CEO Rahul Dhir had decided to step down to pursue -entrepreneurial interests- following its acquisition by Vedanta Group and P Elango had been appointed as Interim CEO.

9. India-s famous trap shooter Manavjit Singh Sandhu has jumped to third spot in the world rankings, after winning gold medal at the ISSF World Cup in Tucson, USA held in last month. Manavjit was earlier ranked 16th in the men's trap category. The 37-year-old has 1228 rating points and is behind Russian Alexey Alipov (with 1437 rating points) and Italian Giovanni Pellielo (with 1298 rating points).

10. India jumped by one position and regained its number one ranking in Twenty20 Internationals, as per the latest updated ICC rankings announced in Dubai yesterday. India is followed by Sri Lanka (2nd), Pakistan (3rd) and South Africa (4th) in the same ranking.  In another major move in the table, the West Indies have slipped two places to be at seventh position. This drop has helped Australia and New Zealand up by one place each to be at fifth and sixth spots, respectively.

11. India slipped to 5th position as per the latest ICC Test ranking while England and Pakistan have each gained a place, up to third and fourth respectively, as per the latest announcement in Dubai yesterday. Australia lead the table followed by South Africa. New Zealand now ranked sixth in Tests and Sri Lanka down to seventh, while West Indies, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh remain unchanged at the bottom of the table. Australia returned to the No. 1 Test ranking for the first time in nearly five years.

12. India secured 5th place in the ICC ODI annual ranking, announced yesterday in Dubai.  Australia lead the table followed by South Africa, England, Pakistan and India. It is the first time since December 2008 that Australia have been No. 1 in both the Test and ODI formats.