1) Periyar tiger reserve won NTCA award: The Periyar Tiger Reserve, spread over 925 sq.km. in Kerala, bagged the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) biennial award on 20 January 2015 for encouraging local public participation in managing the reserve. There are 75 communities living around the reserve, including tribal people who are dependent on eco-development programmes, said field director of the reserve Amit Mallick.
2) Jan Dhan Yojana featured in Guinness Book of World Records with 11.5 cr bank accounts: Banks have opened 11.50 crore accounts under the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana, much higher than the targeted 10 crore, and these accounts would be used to pass on benefits of various social security schemes to the account holders, finance minister Arun Jaitley said. Financial services secretary Hasmukh Adhia said even Guinness Book of World Records has recognised the achievements made under the scheme. The Guinness Book said: “Most bank accounts opened in one week as part of the Financial Inclusion Campaign is 18,096,130 and was achieved by the Government of India from August 23 to 29, 2014.”
3) TCS ends RIL's 23-year run as most profitable firm: After 23 years, India has a new numero uno when it comes to net profit. Information technology major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) posted a net profit of Rs 5,328 crore for the quarter ended December, overtaking long-standing champion Reliance Industries Ltd.
4) Twitter acquired Indian startup ZipDial: Microblogging site Twitter has acquired Indian startup ZipDial, a mobile value added services company based out of Bangalore, a statement by Twitter said. The statement added this is Twitter’s first ever acquisition in India. However, the deal size has not been mentioned. ZipDial has built a mobile platform that lets people follow and engage with content across all interfaces. The user experience combines SMS, voice, mobile web, and access to mobile apps to bridge users from offline to online.
5) European Union lifted ban on import of mangoes from India: The seven-month ban on Indian mangoes, imposed last year by the European Union, has been lifted well in advance of the deadline set for the ban, which was originally till December 2015. EU had imposed this ban on 1 May 2014.
6) India's tiger population increased by 30% in past three years: The population of tigers has increased in India from 1,706 in 2011 to 2,226 in 2014. The new tiger census, released by Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar, shows that India — which has 70% of the world tiger population — has registered an increase of 30 per cent in country's tiger population in the past three years. The latest tiger census figures show that Karnataka has the highest number of tigers in the age group of 1.5 years and more.
7) India ranked 78th globally in Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI): Indicating acute shortage of skilled workforce, India has been ranked 78th globally in terms of talent competitiveness of its human capital, while Switzerland has topped the charts. In the list of 93 countries -- compiled by INSEAD business school in partnership with Adecco and Human Capital Leadership Institute of Singapore (HCLI) -- Switzerland is followed by Singapore, Luxembourg, Denmark, United States and Canada in the top five.
8) World Toilet Summit held in New Delhi: The 14th edition of the World Toilet Summit was recently held in the country’s capital. It has added an impetus to the government’s quest for making the country clean and hygienic.