1) Arvind Panagariya named vice-chairman of Niti Aayog: Prime Minister Narendra Modi appointed Indian-American economist Arvind Panagariya as the first vice chairman of the Niti Aayog--an institution that came into being on January 1 and replaced the 65-year old Planning Commission--along with six members and three special invitees. Economist Bibek Debroy and former Defence Research and Development Organisation chief VK Saraswat were appointed as full-time members by the Prime Minister, who will be the chairman of the body, according to a release issued on 5 January 2015. Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Suresh Prabhu and Radha Mohan Singh will be ex-officio members while Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani and Thawar Chand Gehlot will be special invitees to the institution.
2) Sports Ministry recommends Saina's name for Padma Bhushan: Sports Ministry has recommended ace badminton player Saina Nehwal's name for Padma Bhushan. Secretary of Sports in the Ministry of youth affairs Ajit Mohan Sharan confirmed the decision to DD News. Saina was awarded Padma Shri in 2010. A sports ministry statement said Nehwal's name is being recommended as a special case in wake of her achievements although the last date for making the recommendation is long over.
3) PM launched scheme for LED bulb distribution: Moving towards his government's aim to conserve energy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched a scheme for LED bulb distribution under the domestic efficient lighting programme in Delhi; and a National Programme for LED-based Home and Street Lighting. The initiative is part of the government's efforts to spread the message of energy efficiency in the country. LED bulbs have a very long life, almost 50 times more than ordinary bulbs, and 8-10 times that of CFLs, and therefore provide both energy and cost savings in the medium term.
4) Union Cabinet approved 2G telecom spectrum auction: Union Cabinet on 5 January 2015 approved the largest ever telecom spectrum auction that is targeted to fetch at least Rs 64,840 crore from its sale next month. The government will sell 380.75 megahertz of second generation (2G) spectrum in three bands - the premium 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 800 MHz. Spectrum in 2100 MHz may also be put on auction simultaneously after Defence Ministry vacates it.
5) Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir appointed Chief Justice of Jammu & Kashmir high court: President Pranab Mukherjee on 5 January 2015 appointed Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir as the Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. According to a statement by the Department of Justice, the Ministry of Law and Justice, the appointment is effective as of January 5. "In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 100 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, the President is pleased to appoint Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir, the senior most Judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to perform the duties of the Office of the Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court," the statement read.
6) New Jersey to host international conference on Hindi in April: The International Hindi Conference with the theme of "Expanding World of Hindi: Possibilities and Challenges," would be held in New Jersey in April. To be attended by Hindi scholars from various parts of the world, in particular from the US and India between April 3-5, participants of the International Hindi Conference would discuss the current status of the teaching and learning of Hindi among other things.
7) E-passports to be rolled by 2016: The new age e-passports are expected to be rolled out in the country by 2016, a top official said in Kochi. “We are going ahead and are in the process of tendering. By 2015-16 we should be able to achieve e-passport,” Muktesh K Pardeshi, joint secretary (PSP) and chief passport officer, ministry of external affairs, told reporters.
8) Habib Essid nominated as the new Prime Minister of Tunisia: A former Tunisian interior minister Habib Essid has been nominated as prime minister to form a new government after an agreement among political parties in the newly elected parliament. He will now have to form his government and then get it approved by parliamentary vote.
9) New LPG schemes launched for BPL families: Union Minister of State for petroleum and natural gas, Dharmendra Pradhan on 5 January 2015 launched a scheme to provide new LPG connections to BPL (below poverty line) families at a concessional rate for three months. In addition, the Union minister also launched the sale of Rs 5kg cylinder for the benefit of BPL families and sale of 5 kg cylinders under free trade LPG (FTL).
10) Planning Commission website archived: After replacing it with NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India), the government has archived the website of the erstwhile Planning Commission while the new body will launch its own website in a few days. "The Planning Commission website has been archived and all related material can be accessed on the following url: "http://planningcommissionarchive.nic.in/" tweeted NITI Aayog.