1) Govt plans to make health a fundamental right: For the first time since Independence, the Indian government has moved towards making health a constitutional guarantee, the denial of which will be punishable. The health ministry on 31 December 2014 released a draft of the National Health Policy 2015, a document that will provide an overarching framework for the government’s health targets. The document answers one of the fundamental policy questions of our times—whether to pass a health rights Bill making health a fundamental right in the way that was done for education.
2) Government splits Chairman & MD post in PSU banks: Government has split the post of chairman and managing director at public sector banks (PSBs). In a statement on 31 December 2014, the finance ministry named managing directors (MDs) and chief executive officers (CEOs) of four banks and said the procedure for selection of a non-executive chairman would be announced shortly. Under the new format, “the chairman (except for State Bank of India, or SBI) will be a part-time board member who will preside over board meetings and not be an executive chairman”, said a statement by the finance ministry. Earlier, a committee headed by former Axis Bank chairman PJ Nayak had suggested radical changes, including the government giving up control in PSBs, for improving corporate governance practices.
3) Aamir Khan's PK tax free in Uttar Pradesh: Amidst row and demonstrations over Aamir Khan-starrer 'PK', the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to exempt the movie from entertainment tax. "Chief Minister Akilesh Yadav has watched the movie and has directed that such films should be exempted from the entertainment tax," a senior officer said.
4) ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan retired: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K. Radhakrishnan retired on 31 December 2014. Shailesh Nayak, who is Secretary, Union Earth Sciences Ministry, will hold additional and interim charge as Chairman for a month or until a regular chief is named, said an order by the Secretary, Appointments’ Committee of the Union Cabinet. Dr. Radhakrishnan led ISRO in many achievements over the past five years after he took over the reins in November 2009. The historic Mars Orbiter Mission was launched and guided to an orbit around the red planet under his leadership. Dr. Radhakrishnan took over from G. Madhavan Nair in October 2009 as the seventh chief of the space establishment.
5) President Pranab Mukherjee signed National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill: President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday formally assented to the National Judicial Appointments Commission, setting the stage for the scrapping of the decades-old collegium system of judges appointing judges. Under the new system, the government will have some say in such appointments. A six-member panel led by the chief justice of India will decide all appointments of judges to the Supreme Court and the 24 high courts. This panel will also include the law minister, two eminent personalities and two senior-most judges of the court. The eminent persons will be named by a panel, comprising the Prime Minister, the chief justice of India and the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha. One of the members will be a woman or belong to the scheduled caste, scheduled tribe, other backward class or minority communities.
6) Commercial power generation started in Kudankulam nuclear power plant: Commercial power generation in Kudankulam nuclear power plant started in Tamil Nadu on 30 December 2014 night, after getting approval from the Nuclear Power Corporation. The hot run of second unit will start from end of January after fulfilling technical equirements. Of the 1000 Mega Watt electricity generated in the first unit, 562 will be given to Tamil Nadu, 221 MW to Karnataka, 133 MW to Kerala, 33 MW to Puducherry. Till now more than 335 crore units of electricity has been generated from Kudankulam nuclear power plant.
7) Union government blocked 32 websites for spreading anti-India views and ISIS propaganda: Union government has blocked access to 32 websites for carrying anti-India views and spreading banned terrorist outfit Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) propaganda. These websites were blocked after following an advisory given by an anti-terrorism team. The blocked uniform resource locator’s(URLs) include files, videos and source code-sharing websites. They were blocked by Department of Telecom(DoT) under Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and under Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009.
8) M Sathiyavathy becomes first woman to be appointed as Director General DGCA: The government has appointed M Sathiyavathy, 1982 batch UT cadre IAS officer, as the DG till January 28, 2017 — making her the first woman director general of civil aviation (DGCA). Sathiyavathy, who is currently additional secretary and financial advisor in the aviation ministry and has a clean image, may, however, remain DG only for a few months as she is going to be empanelled as secretary later this year. Sathiyavathy will replace Prabhat Kumar, who has completed his central deputation and will go back to parent UP cadre.
9) Microsoft to replace Internet Explorer with new browser in Windows 10: According to sources Microsoft is building a completely new browser to replace the ubiquitous but oft-maligned Internet Explorer. This new Windows browser is being called "Spartan," and it seems it's a completely new browser not based on Internet Explorer at all.