GK Update – Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Early Life

Dr. A. P. J Abdul Kalam (full name:- Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam) was born on 15 October 1931 to a Tamil Muslim family in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu. His father was a boat owner as well as an imam of a local mosque. Kalam’s mother Ashiamma was a housewife.

Due to the poor financial condition of his family, Kalam used to sell newspapers at an early age.

Education

Kalam completed his matriculation from Schwartz Higher Secondary School, Ramanathapuram. Then, he studied aerospace engineering at the Madras Institute of Technology.

Career as a scientist

After completing graduation from the Madras Institute of Technology 1960, Kalam joined the Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as a scientist.

Kalam started working on an expandable rocket project at DRDO in 1965, after his visit to NASA’s Langley Research Center, Goddard Space Flight Center, and Wallops Flight Facility between 1963 to 1964.

Kalam was transferred to ISRO from DRDO in 1969 as the Project Director of India’s first indigenously designed and produced Satellite Launch Vehicle SLV-III which successfully injected the Rohini satellite in July 1980.

Abdul Kalam returned to DRDO as Chief Executive of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) in 1983. The project led to the development of four missiles under leadership of Dr. Kalam, i.e. (1) Prithvi (short-range surface-to-surface missile), (2) Trishul (short-range low-level surface-to-air missile), (3) Akash (medium-range surface-to-air missile) and (4) Nag (third-generation anti-tank missile).

Due to his contribution to the success of IGMDP, Kalam became famous as “Missile Man of India”.

Dr. Kalam was appointed as the Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister from July 1992 to December 1999.

During this period he played a major role in conducting the Pokhran-II nuclear tests in May 1998 in collaboration with the Department of Atomic Energy.

He was appointed as the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India which holds the rank of Cabinet Minister, from November 1999 to November 2001.

Kalam as President of India

National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government proposed name of Dr. Kalam for the post of the President of India on 10 June 2002, and this proposal was supported by Samajwadi Party and the Nationalist Congress Party.

Kalam defeated Lakshmi Sehgal and served as the 11th President of India from 25 July 2002 to 25 July 2007.

Kalam as Professor

 After leaving the Rashtrapati Bhavan,  Dr. Kalam chose the academic field and became a visiting professor at various institutes such as the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, the Indian Institute of Management Shillong, the Indian Institute of Management Indore and became honorary fellow of the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore.

Why we use Dr. before the name of Abdul Kalam?

In his lifetime, Dr. Kalam has received doctorates from 48 universities and institutions including Anna University Chennai, IIT Kanpur, Maharaja Sayajirao University, Nyenrode Business University Breukelen, Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, University of Kentucky, University of Wolverhampton London, Queen’s University United Kingdome, University of Waterloo Toronto, University of Edinburgh UK, etc.

Awards

Dr. Kalam was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1981, the Padma Vibhushan in 1990, and the highest civilian award of India “Bharat Ratna” in 1997.

Death

Dr. Abdul Kalam died of cardiac arrest on 27 July 2015 at IIM Shillong where he was delivering a lecture.

GK Update – History of Reserve Bank of India

Questions about the History of Reserve Bank of India have been asked so many times in Competitive Exams.

Brief History of Reserve Bank of India

Prior to the Reserve Bank of India, all the functions of a central bank were being performed by the Imperial Bank of India which was established in 1921 under the Imperial Bank of India Act, 1920.

The Reserve Bank of India was conceptualized after the guidelines presented by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar to the “Royal Commission on Indian Currency & Finance” in 1925. Royal Commission on Indian Currency & Finance also known as Hilton Young Commission was appointed on August 25, 1925.

Hilton Young Commission published its report on August 4, 2026 that recommended the government to create a central bank. Commission members used Dr. Ambedkar’s book “The Problem of the Rupee- Its Problems and Its Solution” as reference.

A bill was introduced in the Legislative Assembly in 1927 to give effect to the recommendation to make a central bank. But it was withdrawn due to lack of agreement among the assembly members.

Later in 1933, a new bill was introduced in the Legislative Assembly after the publication of The White Paper on Indian Constitutional Reforms recommending the creation of Reserve Bank. This bill was passed on March 5, 1934.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is the central bank of India which was established on April 1, 1935 under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 on the basis of the recommendations from the Hilton Young Commission.

Initially RBI was privately owned as it was established with a share capital of Rs. 5 crores which were divided into shares of Rs. 100 each.

Sir Osborne Smith was the first Governor of the RBI.

Sir James Braid Taylor became second Governor of RBI onJuly 1, 1937.

RBI became banker to the Government of Burma in 1937.

Accounting Year of RBI was changed from January-December to July-June on March 11, 1940.

Sir C. D. Deshmukh became first Indian Governor of RBI on August 11, 1943.

RBI stopped acting as banker to the Government of Burma in 1947.

Nationalization of RBI

RBI stopped to function as the central bank for Pakistan with effect from June 30, 1948. State Bank of Pakistan started its operations with effect from July 1, 1949.

The RBI was nationalized w.e.f January 1, 1949 on the basis of the Reserve Bank of India (Transfer to Public Ownership) Act, 1948. All the capital shares of the Bank were transferred to the Central Government of India, However suitable compensation were paid to shareholders. And that’s how RBI became fully owned by the Government of India.

IDBI (Industrial Development Bank of India) was established on July 1, 1964 by the act of Parliament as a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India to provide long term industrial finance.

Operations of co-operative banks were brought under the regulation by RBI on March 1, 1966.

Indian Rupee was devalued by 36.5 % on Jun 6, 1966, as the monsoon had failed in the years 1965 and 1966. Production of food grains declined from 89 million tonnes in the year 1964–65 to 72 million tonnes in the year 1965–66. The US Dollar rose to Rs 7.50 which earlier was equivalent to Rs 4.75.