1) DRDO Chief Avinash Chander sacked: Government on 13 January 2015 removed Chief of top defence research organisation Avinash Chander, 15 months before his contract was to end. The Appointments Committee of Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi "approved the termination" of the contract of Avinash Chander with effect from January 31, an official notification said. Interestingly, Chander who was Secretary, Defence Research and Development cum Director General, DRDO and Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, had retired on November 30 last on attaining 64 years of age and he was given a contract for 18 months till May 31 next year. Chander is the chief architect of Agni series of ballistic missile systems.
2) ISRO Mars Orbiter Mission team eins Space Pioneer Award: India’s Mars Orbiter programme team has won the 2015 Space Pioneer Award in the science and engineering category from the US based National Space Society (NSS), the society said. This award will be presented to an ISRO representative during the National Space Society’s 2015 International Space Development Conference, the 34th ISDC, to be held in Toronto, Canada,” the statement said.
3) Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu flagged off first CNG-based train in Haryana: Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu flagged off the first CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) based two trains from Haryana's Rewari station. These trains based on the dual fuel system - diesel and CNG - will reduce greenhouse gas emission and also the consumption of diesel. Prabhu launched the trains on Rewari-Rohtak and Rewari to Bikaner section.
4) Arvind Panagariya took charge as Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog: Noted economist Arvind Panagariya on 13 January 2015 took charge as the first vice-chairman of the newly-created NITI Aayog. NITI Aayog has replaced the 65-year old Planning Commission. The government had notified the Cabinet resolution (on January 7) regarding the constitution of the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog which was approved by the Prime Minister on January 1.
5) Google launched its flight search tool in India: Google has finally launched its flight search tool in India, a move that has been feared by online travel aggregators for some time. The tool allows users to find and compare airfares online and book tickets directly on an airline portal or through a partner aggregator. The new feature from the search giant cuts out online travel aggregators, who provide flight information and take a cut on the tickets they sell. Google's presence in the space could reduce traffic to their portals.
6) Air Marshal Anil Khosla took charge as Director General Air Operations: Air Marshal Anil Khosla took over as Director General Air Operations at the Air Headquarters on 13 January 2015. An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, he was commissioned in the fighter stream of the Indian Air Force in December 1979. He has over 4000 hours of flying experience having flown the Jaguar and MiG 21. He is equally experienced on both ground attack and air defence roles with specialization on maritime role.
7) Union Minister Uma Bharti inagurated India Water Week 2015: Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti inaugurated the India Water Week – 2015. The theme of five day water week is “Water Management for Sustainable Development". India Water Week-2015 will address the issues of sustainability of water resources development and management in line with Sustainable Development Goals 2015 being finalized by UN.
8) Burning of cow dung cakes near Taj Mahal banned: Amid concerns over Taj Mahal turning yellow due to increasing pollution, the district administration has banned burning of cow dung cakes in the city while use of coal by small units will also be prohibited soon.
9) Ringo mobile app makes international calls cheaper: Ringo, an international calling app which provides low cost calling without the use of the Internet, has commenced operations in India offering international calls at 70 per cent cheaper than most mobile telephone service providers and 20 per cent cheaper than calls made on Skype and Viber through the Internet for most destinations. This service is already available in 16 countries including the US, UK, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore. Ringo is available for free download on apple Appstore, Google Playstore and Window phone app store. Subscribers need to recharge a minimum of Rs 31 or a maximum of Rs 315 to make calls using the app.