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September 04, 2012

Current Affairs - People - August

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Laisenia Qarase- Former Fiji Prime Minister, the last democratically elected leader in the coup-plagued South Pacific nation, was sentenced to 12 months jail on 3 August after being found guilty of corruption. Mr. Qarase, who became prime minister in 2000 and was ousted in a military coup six years later, was convicted on nine charges of abuse of office and failing to discharge his duty when he was a public servant in the 1990s. The charges related to his time as a director of a government investment company called Fijian Holdings from 1992 to 1995, when prosecutors said he put the interests of his family and home village before the public.

Sushil Kumar Shinde(71)- the Union Home Minister on 3 august, will be the next Leader of the Lok Sabha, the first Dalit to hold that job. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, informing him of the nomination.Shinde is a seven time MLA and three time MP from Maharashtra.

Syed Nasim Ahmad Zaidi(60)- a 1976 batch IAS officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, is all set to become an Election Commissioner. A formal notification is expected from President Pranab Mukherjee. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has already approved his appointment. The vacancy in the three-member Election Commission arose after Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi retired on June 10. V.S. Sampath was appointed in his place. H.S. Brahma is the other Commissioner.

Bimal Gurung- president of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), was elected Chief Executive Officer of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) on 3 august, by the elected and nominated members of the new regional autonomous body.The members of the GTA, that replaces the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), will be sworn in Darjiling on 3 august.

Venu Rajamony-A 1986 batch officer of the Indian Foreign Service, assumed charge as Press Secretary to the President on 2 August. He took over from Archana Datta, who served as OSD to Pratibha Patil. A career diplomat, Mr. Rajamony has served as Joint Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs in the Finance Ministry.

RAGHURAM G RAJAN- Former IMF chief economist, has been appointed as the Chief Economic Advisor in the Finance Ministry. The Appointments Committee of Cabinet cleared the appointment of Mr Rajan as the new CEA on 10 august.Mr Rajan, known for his frank views, was also honorary economic advisor to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. At present, he is a professor in the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. He is also highly acclaimed for predicting the 2008 global financial crisis.An Alumni of IIM-Ahmedabad and IIT-Delhi, Mr Rajan did his doctorate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.The position of the CEA has been lying vacant since Kaushik Basu’s term ended on July 31. Mr Basu would now return as a professor in Cornell University.Mr Rajan was also involved with the report on Financial Sector Reforms, which was authorised by the Planning Commission. 

RAKESH SINGH-The Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI) has elected on 21 July Mr Rakesh Singh as its new President. He has replaced Mr M. Gopalakrishnan. Earlier, Mr Singh was the Vice- President of the institute. Meanwhile, Mr S.C. Mohanty has been elected as the Vice-President of the institute. Both Mr Singh and Mr Mohanty will hold the post for the year 2012-13.

Ashok Mehta(65)- One of India's most accomplished cinematographers, who had been critically ill from lung cancer, passed away on 15 August. Mehta was an award-winning lensman and had worked with prominent filmmakers like Subhash Ghai, Rajiv Rai and MF Husain. He was the director of photography in films like 36 Chowringhee Lane, Utsav, Trikal, Khalnayak, Bandit Queen, Chalte Chalte, Gajgamini, Trimurti, Khalnayak, Moksha and Ram Lakhan. He also launched model-turned-actor Arjun Rampal in 'Moksha' opposite Manisha Koirala. A true Renaissance Man, he even wrote and acted in some movies.

Vilasrao Deshmukh(67)- The Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences died of multiple organ failure at the Global Health City Hospital in Chennai on 14 August 2012. He was born on 26 May 1945 in Babhalgaon, Latur district, in Maharashtra. He first became the Chief Minister of Maharashtra after 1999 state assembly elections. He remained on the position till 2003. Again he became the chief minister in the year 2004 but he resigned from the post following the Mumbai Terror Attack on 26 November 2008.In 2009, Deshmukh was elected to the Rajya Sabha and was made the Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises. Later he became the Minister for Rural Development replacing Manishankar Aiyyar.

Vayalar Ravi- assumed charge as the Union Minister for Science and Technologyon 21 August 2012. He was allocated the charge after Vilasrao Deshmukh, who was holding the portfolio passed away on 14 August 2012.Vayalar Ravi is also holding the portfolio of Union Ministry of Overseas Affairs. Besides he also holds the charge of Ministry of Earth Sciences and Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. 

PJ Kurien- Congress leader, was unanimously elected as the Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha. Kurien has been the M.P for the last three decades representing Idukki, and Mavelikkara Lok Sabha constituencies. Since 2005 he is a member of the Rajya Sabha.The Deputy Chairman is elected in the meeting of the Rajya Sabha as decided by Chairman of the Rajya Sabha from amongst the members of the Rajya Sabha. He is supposed to resign from his original party because as a Deputy Speaker, he has to remain impartial.Deputy Chaiman of Rajya Sabha acts as the Presiding Officer in case of leave or absence of the Chairman of Rajya Sabha, the Vice-President of India.

Poonam Kishore Saxena –The Union Finanace Ministry appointed, P.K.Saxena, a 1975 batch IRS officer, as Chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on 21 August 2012. Prior to her appointment as CBDT Chairman, Saxena worked as Director General (Investigation) in Jaipur for three years. CBDT is responsible for administration of direct tax laws through the Income Tax Department and also provides essential inputs for policy and planning of direct taxes. 

Karl Mehta- Indian-American entrepreneur has been selected among the 18 ‘Presidential Innovation Fellows’ who will work on five ‘high-impact’ projects in the US capital. Selected from an applicant pool of nearly 700 innovators from across the country, the “Fellows” would spend six months in Washington DC to work on five high-impact projects aimed at supporting entrepreneurs, small businesses and the economy, while significantly improving how the Federal Government serves the American people. Mr. Mehta, the only Indian-American to be present in this list of 18 fellows, would work on “The 20 per cent Initiative” programme. “The 20 per cent Initiative will work to transition ‘the last mile’ of international development assistance payments from cash to electronic methods - lowering administrative costs, promoting financial inclusion, and reducing theft, fraud, and violence,” the White House said. A member of TiE Silicon Valley, Mr Mehta is founder & CEO of PlaySpan, which was acquired by Visa in March 2011.He won the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year 2010’ Award from Ernst & Young for Northern California. The fellows - the first of its kind initiative of the White House - was announced by the US Chief Technology Officer, Todd Park.

Kapu Rajaiah(87)- Famous folklore artist, passed away on 20 august, at his residence at Siddipet,Medak dt, A.P. Rajaiah rose to fame by focusing his paintings on the idiom of Telangana culture, pastoral life and simple village folks. His works were often compared with those of Jamini Roy.He won several awards and these include Lalit Kala Academy’s national award, Kala Vibhushana by All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society, gold medal at All India Art Exhibition, Patna and Kerala Buddha Jayanthi festival, first prize in Dussehara exhibition, Mysore and awards at All India Exhibitions at Gwalior and Bangalore. The Andhra Pradesh Government felicitated him with “Rajata Patra” in 1966.He also earned the title of “Chitra Kala Prapurna” in 1975. He received an honorary doctorate from the JNTU, Hyderabad.Lalita Kala Samithi etablished by him in Siddipet trained several budding artists.

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