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National Current Affairs 2017

Current Affairs[March 2017]
  • CDSL & NSDL - they are the depository organization in India which works as a link between listed companies and the share holders. The Depository Act of 1996 pave the way for the establishment of the two depositories in India, namely national Securities Depository Limited(NSDL),promoted by the National Stock Exchange, Industrial Bank of India and Unit Trust of India among others. The other depository is the Central Depository Services Limited (CSDL), which is promoted by the Bombay Stock Exchange, State Bank of India and Bank of India among others.
  • 148th - the rank of India in the world for the number of women in Parliament, according to a report prepared by Inter-Parliamentary Union and United Nations Women. The report reveals that it will take 50 years for number of women to equal men in legislative bodies in India. Rwanda is ranked 1st and Bolivia is ranked 2nd in this ranking.
  • CBM - it stands for coal-bed methane whose free pricing was recently approved by Union Cabinet which will boost the output of this barely tapped source of energy in the country. Contractors can sell CBM, the natural gas extracted from a coal mine,at arms length prices in the domestic market. Of the 33 CBM blocks awarded to companies at various times, four are currently producing a total volume of about 1.17 million standard cubic metres. Many blocks have been relinquished by companies. Free pricing can help tap domestic CBM resources estimated at about 92 trillion cubic feet. This is the latest in a series of reforms in the oil and gas sector over the past two-and- a half years. Earlier the government deregulated fuel prices and allowed higher prices for natural gas and introduced a new exploration policy.
  • Bhim - the name of the countrys first indigenous superpower drone developed by a research group at IIT Kharagpur. BHIM can create a Wi-Fi zone within a nearly 1 km radius when it flies overhead. BHIMs special ability lies in maintain long flight times and dropping emergency supplies by accurately using parachutes. It can be also be used for rescue operations in remote areas.
  • Vodafone - they recently announced its decision to merge with Idea Cellular to create the country's undisputed leader in the world's second largest telecom market after China. The combined 394-million subscriber base of India's second and third largest telcos will eclipse Bharti Airtels 270 million - and catapult the merged company to No 2 spot globally. The mega-merger will create a company that will be No. 1 or a strong No. 2 in all telecom circles except Jammu & Kashmir. Voda's 204 million subscribers and Idea's 190 million (at the end of 2016) will give them a combined market share of 35%.
  • National Testing Service (NTS) - it will conduct majority of tests conducted by Central Board of Secondary Education from 2018. Once the Cabinet's nod is given, the agency will start with the National Entrance Examination for Technical Institution (NEETI) for admission to engineering courses from January 2018. According to sources, entrance tests for courses in higher education and other professional tests conducted by the CBSE will come under the NTS fold making it the country's largest exam conducting body. Apart from Class X and XII Board exams, CBSE conducts five other tests which include Joint Engineering Entrance (JEE), NEET, UGC's National Eligibility Test (twice a year), Central Teacher Eligibility Test (twice a year) and the entrance test for JawaharNavodayaVidyalayas. While the Board exams are taken by over 27 lakh candidates, the four professional tests are conducted for nearly 40 lakh aspirants.
  • BMB - it stands for Bharatiya Mahila Bank which is the bank whose merger was recently announced with State Bank of India(SBI) in order to ensure greater banking services outreach to more women. SBI group already has 126 exclusive all-women branches across the country while BMB has only seven. In the three years since BMB was set up in 2013, it has extended loans of Rs 192 crore to women borrowers. The SBI group has provided loans of about Rs 46,000 crore to women. SBI has more than 20,000 branches. Out its workforce of around 2 lakh, 22 per cent are women.
  • NSEBC - it stands for National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes is the name of the new constitutional panel formed by government. It will look into requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class and hear complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion. The union cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister, approved the proposal of setting up of new commission recently. It will replace the existing National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) that looks into inclusion or exclusion in the OBC quotas. The new panel will have a constitutional status. It will have much wider ambit to deal with caste and class related issues than the existing ones, which only looked at possible exclusions or additions of classes in the OBC category.
  • ATAS - it stands for Alternate Train Accommodation Scheme is the new scheme announced by Indian Railways to provide confirmed births to waitlisted passengers in an alternate train without any extra charges. The scheme which will be operational from 1st April 2017 will optimize berth utilization across all the trains. In order to give boost to cashless economy the scheme will be initially available for e-tickets only.
  • IISc, Bangalore - which stands for Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore recently became the first Indian educational institute to make it to the top 10 of the global university. The Times Higher Education (THE) recently revealed that India is home to one of the world's best small universities, as it made public the 2017 edition of the rankings. Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, has been ranked eighth at the 'THE's Best Small Universities in the World 2017'. IISc, a public university for scientific research and higher education, was established in 1909 with active support from Jamshed ji Tata and Sir Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, the Maharaja of Mysore. In 2015-16 it became the first Indian institute to be ranked among the top 100 in THE World University Rankings for engineering and technology at 99th position.
  • Features of Digital Locker - Allowing citizens to sign up for a Digital Locker account via web based portal or mobile app, Allowing accessing of documents from issuers using document references available in the Digital Locker account, Allowing access to requesters to access issued documents by providing document references are the services which will be offered by the Digital Locker Portal which is being set up the government. The government is planning to give license to public and private agencies to provide Digital Locker Services for which the government has set up The Digital Locker Authority which will provide licenses to Digital Locker Service Providers (DLSPs). The first Digital Locker service Provider called as Digi Locker (https:www.digilocker.gov.in) was launched by Honble Prime Minister on 1st July 2015. In July 2016, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology notified Information Technology (preservation and Retention of Information by Intermediaries Providing Digital Locker Facilities) Rules, 2016 under Information Technology Act (2000) and further amendments rules on 8th Feb.2017. As per provisions of these rules government has planned to issue licences to public and private agencies for Digital Locker Services.
  • Major points of the new definition of ragging - Any act of physical or mental abuse on the ground of colour, race, religion, caste and ethnicity; Any gender specific abuse; Any abuse related to sexual orientation, appearance, nationality, regional origins, linguists identity, place of birth, place of residence or economic background are the major points of the new definition of ragging which were issued by AICTE recently. The notification holds for all engineering and technical colleges-government, government-aided and private-across the country. This is the first expansive definition of ragging by AICTE after it came out with asset of rules in 2009 to check the widespread menace.
  • Main features of The Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme Budgetary - Allocation of Rs.600 crore for 3 years, Annual outlay of Rs.200 crore are the main features of The Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme which will be implemented from April 1, 2017. The scheme will provide assistance for setting up and upgrade of infrastructure projects with overwhelming exports linkages such as border haats, land customs stations, quality testing and certification labs, cold chains, trade promotion centres, dry ports, export warehousing and packaging, special economic zones, ports and airports. It will provide grant-in-aid up to half of equity being put in by implementing agencies, with a ceiling of Rs.20 crore per project and 5% of the grant approved will be used appraisal, review and monitoring.
  • 35 - the number of clusters, accounting for half of all freight movement, which have been identified for building multimodal logistics parks (MLPs) to improve transportation and warehousing in the country. Out of this, 15 would be developed across Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The proposed parks would reduce transportation cost by a tenth for industries in the 35 clusters, enabling freight movement on higher sized trucks and rail. Locations for development of MLPs have been prioritized based on the level of production and consumption activity in a particular city, as measured by freight flows, quality of road and rail connectivity to there and its importance in international trade, he said. National Highways Authority of India would be the nodal agency for development of the first set of MLPs. It would form a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) with state governments. Within the SPV, states are expected to provide land for the MLPs.
  • SPARSH - the life size model of a green building which was inaugurated in India recently. Launched by the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA), SPARSH has been designed to enhance the user experience of a "green building". According to a statement by the GRIHA Council, SPARSH "is an effort to bring an economically viable and structurally sound green building option to the masses. The cost of building a structure of any size on the SPARSH platform would be much less than the cost of traditional building of an equivalent size with similar amenities". GRIHA, developed by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) together with the New and Renewable Energy Ministry, has been endorsed as the national rating system for green buildings in India in 2007. It is an indigenous green building rating system developed specifically to suit Indian climate and construction practices.
  • Antyodaya Express - the long distance, fully unreserved, superfast train service which has been started by Indian Railways. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu recently flagged off the first Antyodaya Express between Kochi's Ernakulam Junction and Howrah Junction. The 22-coach train will cover a distance of 2,307 kilometres in 37 hours. Antyodaya Express is a long distance, fully unreserved, superfast train service, for the common man to be operated on dense routes. Prabhu also flagged off Humsafar Express between Rajasthan's Sriganganagar and Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu. Humsafar Express is an all-AC 'affordable' luxury train for the common man and was announced in the Railway Budget 2016. The train has air-conditioned 3-tier coaches.
  • Dabfi - it stands for Digital Asset and Blockchain Foundation of India is the name of the body that will work as a self-regulatory organisation for Bitcoin start-ups. Bitcoin start-ups Zebpay, Unocoin, Coinsecure and Searchtrade have jointly launched Dabfi, with the aim of orderly and transparent growth of the virtual currency market. They have appointed Nishith Desai Associates, an international law firm, to develop self-regulation norms for the segment.Dabfi will prepare self-regulatory regimes for trading of bitcoins and other block chain-based digital assets, and, standardise Know Your Cusotmer and anti-money laundering norms for member companies.It is to also build credibility and create awareness about the benefits and risks, liaise with regulators and get clarity on taxation, attract investment and set up incubators to promote start-ups, build global relations and actively engage with the global community in this regard.And, create a public website and regularly print reports on and around bitcoins and block chain, the body said. Bitcoin is not yet legally recognised in India.
  • Alibaba - the international firm that has joined hands with India's firm Paytm and has launched Paytm Mall, a consumer shopping app, to take on local rival Flipkart and global rival Amazon in the country. The Paytm Mall, an Android app for smartphones is modelled on TMall, China's dominant e-commerce platform. Alibaba is stepping up investments in the online commerce market in India. The Chinese firm has already infused around $200 million into Paytm, valuing the company at around $1 billion making it a unicorn.It has expanded its offerings from over 0.14 million local sellers, across products to consumers and has set up 17 fulfilment centres for speedy service as the company aims to dominate the Indian online shopping market.
  • BBC - the network which along with its journalist Justin Rowlatt has been banned for five years by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) that governs all tiger reserves in the country. This was done following a BBC documentary questioning India's aggressive protection measures at Kaziranga national park in Assam. BBC's South Asia correspondent Justin Rowlatt's documentary titled `One World: Killing for Conservation' on Kaziranga's rhino conservation methods came in for sharp criticism from the Union environment ministry for being "grossly erroneous". The documentary had claimed forest guards in Kaziranga had been given powers to shoot and kill anyone they think was a threat to rhinos. It has asked chief wildlife wardens of all tiger range states and field directors of tiger reserves to disallow filming permission to BBC for five years.
  • Tropex - it stands for The Theatre Readiness Operational Exercise, is the name of a month-long naval exercise put to test the combat readiness of the Navy, the IAF and the Army with over 45 ships and 70 aircraft taking part which was completed recently. It started on January 24 and concluded on February 23. It was conducted along the Western seaboard. Tropex, in complete coordination with the Army and the Indian Air Force, took place in phases to test the various facets of war-fighting and joint combat capabilities of the armed forces. The previous edition of the exercise was conducted in January 2015.
  • Kalvari - the first of indigenously-built submarine from which the Indian Navy recently successfully test-fired an anti-ship missile in the Arabian Sea. This missile launch is a significant milestone, not only for the Kalvari, which is the first in a series of Scorpene-class submarines being built in India, but also in enhancing the Navy's sub-surface warfare capability. All six Kalvari submarines will be equipped with the missile, with a proven record in combat, to neutralise surface threats at extended ranges.
  • Thamirabarani - the river of Tamil Nadu which was in the news recently after the Madras High Court order allowing Pepsi and Coca Cola to draw water from this river for their bottling plants for manufacturing soft drinks. In opposition to this order a large number or persons stood in knee deep water in the river to express their ire. The protesters also shouted slogans against the state government for not taking necessary steps to prevent the carbonated water companies from drawing water from Thamirabharani, when the farmers in the was facing acute water shortage for their farming activities. The Thamirabarani River is a perennial river that originates from the famous Agastyarkoodam peak of Pothigai hills of the Western Ghats, above Papanasam in the Ambasamudram taluk. It flows through Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts of the Tamil Nadu state of southern India into the Gulf of Mannar.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University - this university bagged the annual 'Visitor's Award' for the best varsity in the country. JNU has been hogging limelight for all the wrong reasons since last February when three of its students were arrested on sedition charges in connection with an event on campus during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.
  • World Bank - the international organization whose CEO Kristalina Georgieva visited India recently. She praised India's Prime Minister Narendra's Modi decision to ban high-value banknotes as part of efforts to stamp out corruption which she said will have profound and positive impact on India's economy.
  • Rs.50,000 - the expected savings made by government due to Direct Benefit Transfer(DBT) over the last three years as on 31st December 2016. This amount is equivalent to the subsidy paid put under DBT in this financial year, implying nearly a year's subsidy was saved. This savings figure is expected to significantly rise further in the next financial year as the government will be bringing a total of 533 central payout schemes in 64 ministries under the DBT mechanism by 31st March, 2018-Rs.14,000cr saved in PDS & deleting 2.33cr ration cards, Rs.7,633crore saved in MGNR EGS & Rs.26408cr savings in LPG PAHAL, Rs.399cr saved in National Social Assistance Programme.
  • 12th - it is the rank of India in holding of the US government securities at the end of 2016, with exposure of $118 billion. With holdings of $1.09 trillion, Japan remained the largest holder of these securities followed by China with exposure to the tune of $1.06 trillion.
  • Liveability Index - the index which was recently introduced for India taking a leaf out of international practice of rating cities on liveability. Beginning with 100 smart cities, the liveability index would rank all Indian cities on 77 parameters including how they fare in terms of grievance redressal of citizens, pollution, availability of water and power, online citizen services, upkeep of historical buildings, increase in tourists footfalls, crime rate, extent of crimes recorded against women, children and elderly, availability of traffic surveillance system and education. Presently Hyderabad is the most liveable city, but ranks 139 globally. Vienna has been topping the survey for the past 4 years.
  • IFC - the World Bank arm which is planning an aggressive foray into startups at Series-a level, as part of its recent push towards early-stage investing in India. As part of the programme, IFC will invest between $1-3 million in early stage focused venture funds and accelerators. Till now, it has backed more mature startups like Byju's, Lenskart, Bigbasket and Blackbuck, with ticket sizes upwards of $5 million at Series-B stage and onwards.
  • Rs.20lakh - the amount of gratuity which will now be exempt from taxes for private sector employees after the Centre decided to amend a law and bring them at par with central government staff. Currently, private sector employees can get tax exemption up to Rs.10 lakh in gratuity after five years of continuous employment.
  • 4.5% - the percentage of India's population which is suffering from depression, which is similar to global percentage, which stands at 4.4%, as per the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) data. The number of people in India suffering from depression is roughly about 5,66,75,969. Also,3% of India's population(3,84,25,093) is living with anxiety disorder. Depression is ranked by WHO as the single largest contributor to global disability and anxiety disorders is ranked 6th.India also has the highest cases of depression in the WHO's South East region(WHO-SEAR)- Pakistan(4.2%), Bhutan (4.2%) etc.
  • Indian nationals - they accounted for nearly 60% of the skilled work visa granted by UK last year according to the new figures released by the British government recently. Indians accounted for 53,575 of the 93,244 skilled work visas granted by Britain-or 57%- for the year ending September 2016. This was followed by US nationals with 9,348 visas or 10% of the total.
  • 40,000 MW - the new capacity for the scheme for development of solar parks and ultra mega solar projects, recently revised by the government. The capacity of the solar park scheme has been doubled from 20,000 MW after considering the demand for additional solar parks from the states. The solar parks and ultra mega solar power projects will be set up by 2019-20 with financial support of Rs.8100 crore from the centre. Production of 64 billion units of electricity per year will lead to abatement of about 55 million tonnes of carbon every year. All states and union territories are eligible for benefits under the scheme which is up to Rs.20 lakh per megawatt or 30% of the project cost.
  • 1% - the proposed Tax Collected at Source(TCS) on ecommerce companies under the Goods and Services Tax(GST) as decided recently by the GST Council. The GST council also approved the Central GST(CGST) and Integrated GST(IGST). The government plans to roll out GST from July 1,2017.
  • M3 - the latest avatar of the Electronic Voting Machine(EVMs) which the Election Commission is looking to ramp up its production ahead of the 2019 Loksabha polls. The plans are to replace all pre 2006 EVMs with M3-the more sophisticated machine with built in self diagnostics, minimal chances of machine failure and the ability to shut the moment any tampering effort is made. The M1 and M2 are the older versions of the EVM with M1 being kept out of use. The first EVM was used in 1982 by poll election and came to be used on a larger scale starting in 1992.
  • 30th June 2017 - the deadline set by government for the people to get biometric identification document-Aadhaar. The government has made Aadhaar mandatory to avail of benefits under nearly three dozen central schemes apart from the midday meal scheme at schools and Sarv Siksha Abhiyan. People should apply for card by 3oth June and till then other documents will be sufficient to get the benefits.
  • 58% - the percentage of the Indian kids below five years are anaemic as per the recently released family health survey (NFHS 4). This means that they suffer from insufficient hemoglobin in the blood, leaving them exhausted, vulnerable to infections and possibly affecting their brain development. The survey which was carried out in 2015-16 covered six lakh households, also showed that around 38% of children in the same age group were stunted,21% were wasted and 36% underweight. Kids with low weight relative to their height are considered wasted, those with low height relative to age are stunted and those with low weight relative to age are underweight.
  • 2017-23 - the period for which India launched its latest plan to phase out a key refrigerant, hydrochloroflurocarbon (HCFC), under its efforts to end the use of ozone-depleting substance (ODS) that harm the environment and human wealth. Though the plan is meant for the period 2017-23 , the goal is to phase out consumption and manufacturing of HCFC by 2030. HCFCs are currently used in sectors including refrigeration, air-conditioning and foam manufacturing. India being a signatory of Montreal Protocol in 1987 has successfully phased out CFCs and halo well in time. After phasing out HCFCs, India will have to work on to phase out Hydro fluorocarbon(HFC). Though HFC is not an ODS, it has climate-damaging potential. India has to phase out HFC by 85% by 2047 over the 2024-26 level(baseline).
  • INS Viraat - the longest-serving aircraft carrier which was decommissioned from the Naval dockyard in Mumbai recently. It was commissioned in 1959 and had worked with the British Royal Navy and the Indian Navy.
  • 'Lipstick Under My Burkha' - the Indian film which won the audience award at Glasgow Film Festival recently. Director Alankrita Shrivastava received the award from 'Doctor Who' star David Tennant during the fest's closing ceremony. This film was in the news after it was denied release in India by censor board. The film, which stars Ratna Pathak Shah and Konkana Sensharma in key roles, resolves around the lives of four Indian women seeking more from life than docile domesticity.
  • DFS - it stands for Double Fortified Salt will be distributed in Uttar Pradesh to help end anaemia. The DFS augments iodised salt with iron, vital to countering anaemia. Professor Levente Diosady, an emeritus professor in the department of chemical engineering and applied chemistry at University of Toronto, is the man behind the salt.
  • 2% - the number of world millionaires which are in India as per the recently released Knight Frank Global Wealth Report 2017. As per the report India was sixth in 2016 in terms of growth rate in the number of ultra high net worth individuals(UHNWI) and is likely to move up to third rank over the next decade out of 89 countries. In the last 10 years, India added about 500 new UHNWIs annually and over the next decade this number is expected to double with 1,000 new additions every year.
  • 40% - the percentage increase witnessed in institutional births in all Empowered Action Group(EAG) states(Bihar, Jharkhand, MP, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Rajasthan, UP and Uttarakhand) and Assam, according to the National Family Health Survey-4. A rise in the number of institutional deliveries is crucial as it helps reduce maternal and infant mortality, besides ensuring better health for women and children in the long run. Kerala, Lakshadweep and Puducherry are the best states in institutional birth with 99.9% while Rajasthan is worst at 29.6%.
  • 26 weeks - the weeks of paid paternity leave, which will now be granted to women working in the organised sector which is up from earlier 12 weeks, a decision which will benefit around 1.8 million women. The law will apply to all establishments employing 10 or more people and the entitlement will be for the first two children. For the third child, the entitlement will be 12 weeks. With this, India becomes the country with the third highest maternity leave. Canada and Norway grant 50 weeks and 44 weeks respectively as paid maternity leave. The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was passed by Lok Sabha recently. Rajya Sabha had passed it in August last year. The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her full paid absence from work to take care of her child.
  • Among other things, the bill provides for 12 weeks of maternity leave to a woman who legally adopts a child under three months of age and a commissioning mother (defined as a biological mother) who uses her egg to have a surrogate child.
  • The bill also requires every establishment with 50 or more employees to provide creche facilities within a prescribed distance. The woman will be allowed four visits to the creche a day. This will include her interval for rest.
Current Affairs[February 2017]
  • Social Registry System - the new system proposed by the government to monitor welfare schemes. It will allow government to monitor the well being of beneficiaries under various central rural welfare schemes. The idea is to expand the scope of the Socio Economic Census (SECC) of 2011 by regularly updating the data for each household covered under the survey. The Sumit Bose Committee has suggested one register for all programmes. The SECC data provides for automatic exclusion of beneficiaries on the basis of 14 parameters, automatic inclusion on the basis of five parameters and grading of deprivation on the basis of seven criteria.
  • Central Industrial Security Force's (CISF) - theirs Republic-Day contingent, which was adjudged the "best marching contingent" among para-military forces and other auxiliary marching contingents that participated in this year's Republic Day parade. This is the fifth time CISF contingent has been adjudged as the best, the earlier occasions being in 2007, 2008, 2013 and 2015. The CISF contingent this year comprised 148 officers and jawans, including 3 lady sub-officers, and was led by Assistant Commandant Prabh Simran Grewal.
  • ISB(Indian School of Business), Hyderabad - it was recently ranked as the best B-school from India and 27th in the world in the Financial Times Global MBA Ranking of the best 100 management programmes for 2017. INSEAD was ranked the best B-school in the world for the second consecutive year. Other than ISB, IIM-A, IIM-B and IIM-C were the other top schools finding a mention among the best 100 management programme worldwide.
  • India Posts - they recently launched the pilot services of India Posts Payments Bank (IPPB) at Raipur and ranch recently. India Post, which got the permit to launch banking operations on January 20,2017 is only the third entity to have received the central bank's approval to start operations, after Airtel Payments bank and Paytm. Payment banks can accept deposits of up to Rs.1 lakh per account from individual and small businesses. The new banks will confine activities to acceptance of deposits, remittance services, internet banking and other specified services.
  • 79 - the rank of India among the 176 countries in the anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International's 2016 report. Denmark and New Zealand were ranked as the least corrupt nation while Somalia and South Sudan was ranked as the most corrupt nation in the report. The index is an indicator of perceptions of public sector corruption i.e. administrative and political corruption.
  • Major recommendations made by Chandrababu Naidu - headed high level panel on digital payments - Banking cash transaction tax on transactions of Rs.50,000 and above, a cap on the maximum allowable limit for large-size cash transactions, creation of an authority to promote adoption of digital payments and abolition of charges on card payments are some of the major recommendations made by Chandrababu Naidu-headed high level panel on digital payments which submitted its report to government recently. The recommendations seek to make digital transactions more cost effective and attractive than cash transactions.
  • RBI ( Reserve Bank of India) - they recently removed limits placed on daily cash withdrawals from automated teller machines from Feb. 1 and also lifted all curbs on branch withdrawals from current account, cash credit and overdraft accounts. The RBI, however, allowed banks to use their "discretion" in placing their own daily cash withdrawal limits at ATMs, as was the case prior to Nov. 8, when the government had announced its move to abolish all high-value notes that accounted for 86 percent of the bills in circulation. Cash withdrawal limits for over-the-counter savings bank accounts however stands at 24,000 rupees a week.
  • Financial inclusion, social schemes and women power - they were the major themes of the President Pranab Mukherjee speech before the start of the Budget session of Parliament recently. Kicking off the session, President Pranab Mukherjee called the move to merge the Railway and Union Budgets this year as historic. The major big takeaways from his speech were- Resilience demonstrated by our countrymen particularly the poor in the fight against black money and corruption is remarkable, various steps taken by government to transform the lives of farmers ,start of the Indian Postal Payment Bank , Mission Indradhanush commited to vaccinate "every child everywhere" against preventable diseases etc.
  • GDP growth for next fiscal - it was pegged at 6.75-7.5%, Farm sector to grow at 4.1% this fiscal, up from 1.2% last year, Growth rate of industrial sector to moderate to 5.2% this fiscal, from 7.4% last fiscal,Service sector estimated to grow at 8.9% in 2016-17 are some of the highlights of Economic Survey 2016-17 which was tabled in Parliament recently.
  • Standard & Poor's - the rating agency whose methodology was questioned in the Economic Survey 2016-17 presented recently. It questioned the complex methodology that global rating agencies use while assigning sovereign ratings to countries. In a hard-hitting analysis, the survey said if the per capita GDP is a key to upgrading sovereign rating - as is suggested by Standard & Poor's while maintaining status quo on India's rating in November, 2016 - then poorer countries might be provoked into saying, Please don't bother this year, come back to assess us after half a century." The Standard & Poor's ruled out any ratings upgrade for India for a considerable period, mainly on the ground of its low per capita GDP and relatively high fiscal deficit. The survey talked about 'contrasting experiences' of change in sovereign ratings assigned by rating agencies to China and India over the past couple of years. Comparing India with China, the survey noted that Chinese credit expansion in 2009 pushed the credit-to-GDP ratio higher by 63 percentage points of GDP. This was much larger than the India's credit-to-GDP ratio. "At the same time, Chinese growth slowed down from over 10 per cent to 6.5 per cent. How did S&P react to this ominous scissor's pattern, which has been acknowledged universally as posing a serious risk to China, and indeed the world? In December 2010, S&P raised China's rating from A+ to AA and it has never adjusted it since, even as the credit boom has unfolded and growth has experienced a secular decline," the survey pointed out. "In contrast, India's rating has remained stuck at the much lower level at BBB-, despite the country's dramatic improvement in growth and macro-economic stability since 2014," it added.
  • Rs.1 lakh crore - the corpus of the proposed 'Rashtriya Rail SanrakshaKosh' (National Rail Safety Fund) announced in the Railway Budget, merged with General Budget 2017-18. "For passenger safety, a Rashtriya Rail SanrakshaKosh will be created with a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crores over a period of 5 years. Besides seed capital from the government, the Railways will arrange the balance resources from their own revenues and other sources. The government will lay down clear cut guidelines and timeline for implementing various safety works to be funded from this 'Kosh'. Unmanned level crossings on Broad Gauge lines will be eliminated by 2020. Expert international assistance will be harnessed to improve safety preparedness and maintenance practices," as announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
  • Passenger safety, Development work , Cleanliness, Reform in Accounts - they are the four major priorities for railways which announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Railway cum General Budget 2017 recently. 500 stations will be made differently abled friendly by providing lifts and escalators. It is now proposed to introduce 'Coach Mitra' facility, a single window interface, to register all coach related complaints and requirements. By 2019, all coaches of Indian Railways will be fitted with bio toilets. Pilot plants for environment friendly disposal of solid waste and conversion of biodegradable waste to energy are being set up at New Delhi and Jaipur railway stations.
  • SANKALP - it stands for Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion Programme will be launched at a cost of Rs 4,000 crore to provide market relevant training to 3.5 crore youth as per the announcements made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget 2017. He said the government proposes to extend Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras to more than 600 districts across the country, from 60 districts at present. Moreover, 100 India International Skill Centres will be established across the country to offer advanced training and also courses in foreign languages will help those of our youth who seek job opportunities outside the country.
  • STRIVE - it stands for Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement will be launched in 2017-18 at a cost of Rs 2,200 crore. STRIVE will focus to improve on the quality and the market relevance of vocational training provided in ITIs and strengthen the apprenticeship programme through industry-cluster approach.
  • Five percent - it is the income tax which the people earning income up to Rs.5 laths will have to give as the announcements made in the Budget 2017. The cut in the tax rate for the lowest slab will also save up to Rs 12,500 for incomes in other slabs, increasing disposable income of the middle class that can provide a spur to the slowing down economic growth. The present super rich tax in the form of 15 per cent surcharge will remain for those earning income over Rs one crore. However, those earning above Rs 50 lakh and up to Rs one crore will have to shell out an additional 10 per cent surcharge.
  • Rs. 3 lakh - the amount above which all cash transactions have been banned as per the Union Budget 2017-18 which was tabled recently in Parliament. This will be effective from April 1, 2017. The decision to ban cash transactions beyond a threshold is based on the recommendation of the Special Investigation Team on black money that was set up by the Supreme Court. The SIT, headed by Justice M B Shah (retired), in July had submitted its fifth report to the Supreme Court on steps needed to curb black money.
  • FIPB - it stands for Foreign Investment Promotion Board, a body that clears proposals envisaging foreign investment up to Rs 5,000 crore (Rs 50 billion) was recently abolished by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Union Budget 2017. The minister also announced that further liberalisation of Foreign Direct Investment policy is under consideration. He said that FIPB has successfully implemented e-filing and online processing of FDI applications. He said that country has reached a stage where FIPB can be phased out. So it has been decided to abolish the FIPB in the year 2017-18. The roadmap for the same will be announced in the next few months. Investments in sectors that are not under the automatic route require approval of the FIPB. Over 90 per cent of the foreign direct investment (FDI) is coming through automatic route. Currently, FIPB offers a single window clearance for applications on FDI in India that are under the approval route. The sectors under automatic route do not require any prior approval from FIPB and are subject to only sectoral laws. FIPB was initially constituted under the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in the wake of the economic liberalisation drive of the early 1990s.The Board was reconstituted in 1996 with transfer of the FIPB to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). It was again transferred to the Department of Economic Affairs, under the Ministry of Finance, in 2003.
  • National Testing Agency - the name of the new agency proposed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Union Budget 2017 to conduct all entrance examinations for higher education institutions. Unveiling the budgetary proposals for 2017-18 in Parliament, Jaitley said the government proposes to establish a National Testing Agency as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organisation to conduct all entrance examinations for higher education institutions. This would free Central Board of Secondary Education, All India Council for Technical Education and other premier institutions from these administrative responsibilities so that they can focus more on academics, he said.
  • Rs 2000 is the maximum amount of donation which the political parties can receive in cash from one source as per the announcement made In the Union Budget 2017 by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. For any donation above Rs 2,000, parties will have to disclose the identity of the donor. This is a sharp drop from the Rs 20,000 limit that the political parties were so far allowed to receive as anonymous cash donations. Political parties can receive donations in cheque, electronic mode; electoral bonds to be issued by the RBI. Jaitley said the government has accepted the Election Commission's recommendation to bring in transparency in political funding and political parties can take donations from donors through cheque and digital payments. He said as an additional step, the government proposes to amend the Reserve Bank of India Act for issuing electoral bonds that can be bought through cheques and will be redeemable in the registered account of a political party.
  • AT1 bonds - they are additional Tier 1 bonds, which is a combination of debt and equity and interest on these bonds are paid provided banks have adequate profit to service them. It was in the news as Reserve Bank of India permitted banks to use statutory reserves for payment on AT1 bonds if free reserves are not sufficient which will prevent loss-making banks from defaulting on these bonds which were raised to boost their capital adequacy ratio-the minimum capital that banks keep as a cushion against default on loans.
  • CERT - it stands for Computer Emergency Response Team is the initiative announced by government in Union Budget 2017 to check cyber attacks in the financial sector. Reserve Bank of India has asked banks to report any cyber security incident within two to six hours and also warned that any delay in reporting and flagging loan frauds could result in banks and bankers being charged for abetting the criminal offence. RBI has also created a specialized cell(C-SITE) within its supervision department to conduct detailed IT examination of bank's cyber security preparedness, to identify gaps and monitor the progress of remedial measures. These steps comes at a time when the government is pushing e-payments in a big way.
  • Carbon credits - they are incentives given to industrial undertaking for reduction in emission of GHGs(Green House Gases),including carbon dioxide, which is done through several ways such as switching over to wind and solar energy or installation of energy-efficient machinery. The Kyoto Protocol commits certain developed countries to reduce their GHG emissions and for this they will be given carbon credits. A reduction in emissions entitles the entity to a credit in the form of a Certified Emission Reduction(CER) certificate. The CER is tradeable and its holders can transfer it to an entity that needs carbon credits to overcome an unfavourable position on the same. Though from 2012 new applications for grant of credit have not been entertained under the UN framework however those companies which have applied for it before this date continue to accumulate credits. It was in the news after the government in the Union Budget 2017 proposed a levy of 10% on transfer of carbon credits and such a tax will be levied on the gross income, without allowing for any deductions.
  • FAME - it stands for Faster Adoption of Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles is the government initiative to encourage production of electric, hybrid and mild-hybrids vehicles by providing subsidy to them. These are aimed at improving air quality in a nation that is home to some of the world's most polluted urban centres.
  • REER - it stands for Real Effective Exchange Rate. REER is the exchange rate arrived at after adjusting for inflation in 36 countries whose currencies comprise the basket that compete with India. It was in the news after Economic Survey 2016-17 highlighted that Rupee remained competitive in REER terms.
  • PARA - it stands for Public Sector Asset Rehabilitation Agency is the agency proposed by government in the Economic Survey 2016-17 which will be set up to buy bad loans from state-run banks. This will allow these banks to focus on lending and government can focus on recovery rather than recapitalizing banks.
  • UBI - it stands for Universal Basic Income is the new scheme proposed by government in the Economic Survey 2016-17 that ensures citizens to have a right to a minimum income to cover their basic needs as a long-term solution to reduce poverty in the country. The survey admitted that financial inclusion and well functioning financial system are crucial to implement a universal basic income.
  • CISCE - it stands for Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations, which is a private Council was recently brought under the purview of the RTI Act by the The Central Information Commission (CIC). Under the new rules, students will be able to get copies of answer books and also apply for re-evaluation. "An examining body like CISCE might have an intellectual property right over the question paper, but they do not have any such right over answer sheets of students," the CIC said in its order. "Without sharing evaluated answer sheets, the board cannot assure justice to students who, at times, might be victims of unreasonable evaluation. It is not proper on the part of this prestigious council to leave students remedy-less in such situations of injustice," the order said. This order follows two high court judgments holding that CISCE was not a public authority. "The issue is not whether it is a public authority but whether it should be accountable or not," the CIC order stated. The Supreme Court had earlier directed the CBSE to share answer sheets with students who seek re-evaluation.
  • Rs. 3 lakh - the amount above which the cash transaction ban has been proposed in the Budget for 2017-18. In a bid to check generation of black money, a steep penalty awaits those accepting cash in excess of Rs 3 lakh, beginning April 1, to settle any transaction. Finance Minister ArunJaitley had in his Budget for 2017-18 proposed to insert Section 269ST in the Income-Tax Act to state that "no person shall receive an amount of Rs 3 lakh or more by way of cash in aggregate from a person in a day; in respect of a single transaction; or in respect of transactions relating to one event or occasion from a person". However, the restrictions will not apply to the government, any banking company, post office savings bank or co-operative bank. A panel of Chief Ministers headed by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu had in its interim report just days before the Budget recommended a cap on cash transactions beyond a threshold and a tax on payments of over Rs 50,000 as a way of discouraging people from using physical currency.
  • Ujjivan Small Finance Bank - it opened its first set of branches for public transactions from 6th February, 2017. The bank is backed by UK's CDC Group whose holding after the IPO came down to 48.32%,below the maximum 49% they can hold in a small finance bank.
  • Neutral - the stance which was taken by Reserve Bank of India in the recently announced Monetary Policy. RBI kept the rates unchanged and shifted its policy stance to neutral after one-and-a-half years of accommodative stance, signaling a possible end to the downward interest rate cycle. The shift to a neutral stance signals the end of the downward interest rate cycle though governor Urjit Patel said that it gives the monetary policy committee the flexibility to 'move in either direction'.
  • Review threats inherent in innovations in fintech space - this along with adoption of security protocols, check interface with stakeholders and suggest policy are the major functions suggested for the inter department Standing Committee on Cyber Security constituted by Reserve Bank of India as announced in its sixth bi-monthly policy statement for 2016-17 announced recently. It will be cross functional and have industry experts as well as government representatives. The standing committee was constituted following the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Information Technology and Cyber Security headed by RBI executive director, Meena Hemchandra.
  • TPS - it stands for The MicraTranscatheter, recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration(FDA),is a new type of heart device that provides patients with the most advanced pacing technology at one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker and is the only leadless approved for use in the US. This world's smallest pacemaker, which is about as big as a large vitamin capsule and provides the most advanced pacing technology, has been successfully implanted for the first time in a patient in the US.
  • 6.9 percent - the economic growth forecast for the country given by the Reserve Bank of India which is a reduction from 7.1 per cent estimated earlier. "GVA (gross value added) growth for 2016-17 is projected at 6.9 per cent with risks evenly balanced around it. Growth is expected to recover sharply in 2017-18 on account of several factors. GVA growth for 2017-18 is projected at 7.4 per cent, with risks evenly balanced," the RBI said in its 6th bi-monthly monetary policy statement recently. In its last monetary policy on December 7, the central bank had cut growth forecast to 7.1 per cent, from its earlier projection of 7.6 per cent for this fiscal. The RBI projection of 6.9 per cent GVA growth for the current fiscal comes on the back of the Economic Survey last week forecasting economic growth of 6.5 per cent. The Central Statistics Office, in its advance estimates for 2016-17 on January 6, placed India's real GVA growth at 7 per cent for the year, but it did not take into account the impact of demonetisation on economic activity. The growth forecast of 7.4 per cent in 2017-18 is on the upper end of the 6.75 to 7.5 per cent band estimated in the Economic Survey.
  • 6.25 percent - the present Repo rate, Reverse Repo rate at 5.75 percent were the major highlights of the interest rates which were kept unchanged by the Reserve bank of India in its latest Monetary Policy. The repo rate is the rate at which it lends to the system while the reverse repo rate is the rate at which it absorbs excess liquidity from the system. The Reserve Bank has kept key interest rates unchanged saying it wants to assess how the transitory effects of demonetisation on inflation and the output gap play out. The monetary policy committee said it is "committed to bringing headline inflation closer to 4.0 per cent on a durable basis and in a calibrated manner" and this requires further "significant decline in inflation expectations, especially since the services component of inflation that is sensitive to wage movements has been sticky.
  • Peugeot - the French carmaker company which is buying the iconic Indian car brand, Ambassador. The C K Birla Group-opened Hindustan Motors formalized the deal for Rs.80crore recently. Production of Ambassador car had stopped around three years ago.
  • 2018 - the year from which the centre has approved a proposal for a single entrance exam for engineering and architecture at the undergraduate level. It will be on the lines of the national eligibility and entrance test for medical colleges. The test will be conducted multiple times a year, as is the case with college admission tests like SAT in the US and is intended to bring uniformity in academic standards and reduce the influence of donations. The test will, however not include admission to IIT,which will continue to hold their own entrance exams.
  • Zoom Air - it is India's newest airline which had its inaugural flight from Delhi-Durgapur route. The move makes Zoom air the tenth national carrier in the country. The airline, which will start daily scheduled operations on the Delhi-Kolkata-Durgapur from February 15, 2017, is marketing itself as a premium commuter airline with on-board snacks and beverage service.
  • Sardar Jokes - they were in news recently after the Supreme Court ruled out blanket ban on them saying that the judiciary couldnot lay down moral guidelines for citizens and that it should not pass orders on how people should conduct themselves. The court said that it was part of the fundamental duties, as laid down in the Constitution that people should respect each other and no particular community should be joked about, but expressed its reservation on passing an order to ban the jokes.
  • 104 - the number of satellites which were launched by an Indian rocket successfully at the Sriharikota rocket port in Andhra Pradesh.The rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) blasted off from Sriharikota on 15th February 2017 with major cargo being the 714 kg Indian Cartosat-2 series satellite.The co-passenger satellites comprise 101 nano satellites, one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, The Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and 96 from US, as well as two nano satellites from India. The total weight of all the satellites carried on-board by 44.4 metre tall PSLV rocket weighing 320 ton is about 1,378 kg.
  • 5 - the number of subsidiaries of State Bank of India which will be merged into SBI after getting the necessary approval by Union Cabinet recently."The cabinet approved the merger into SBI of its five subsidiaries, namely, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Travancore, State Bank of Mysore and State Bank of Patiala. However the proposed merger of Bhartiya Mahila Bank into SBI is still under consideration and the cabinet did not take a decision on the matter. Last year, SBI had announced that it would merge its five subsidiaries and Bharatiya Mahila Bank on receipt of government approval for the same.
  • Pre-loaded SIM cards - these will be given to tourists arriving in India on e-visa as per the latest announcements by Union Tourism Minister. These SIMs, which will be provided by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, will have Rs 50 talk time and 50 Mb internet data at free of cost. Tourists can get information in their own language using our 24x7 Tourist Helpline, which provides service in 12 foreign languages. These facilities would be initially available at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, which will later cover remaining 15 international airports in the country. The e-visa service is being provided to citizens of 161 countries and 10 lakh e-visas were issued in 2016.
  • 0.40% - it is the MDR (Merchant Discount Charge) proposed on debit card payment from April 1, 2017 for small merchants with annual turnover of Rs.20 lakh and special category merchants like utilities, insurance, mutual funds, educational institutions and government hospitals. The MDR charge would be even less at 0.3% if the transaction is through digital point of sale (PoS) (QR Code) as per the RBI draft circular on rationalization of MDR for debit card transactions. The existing MDR is capped at 0.75% for transactions up to Rs.2, 000 and 1% for over Rs.2, 000. However, there is no RBI cap on MDR on credit card payments. Post-demonetisation, the RBI has reduced the charge till March31, 2017. The new charges, as per the draft, would come into effect from April1, 2017. The draft also proposes that banks will ensure that all merchants display the signage 'No convenience or service charge is payable by customers'.
  • 1991 - the year when India's only live volcano, the Barren Island Volcano, located 140km north-east of Port Blair, last erupted. It was in the news recently after it started spewing ash and lava again. The volcano started spewing ash and lava on January 23, 2017 in small burst that lasted five to 10 minutes according to researchers at Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography.
  • Diwali - the theme on which India and Canada will issue their first-ever joint postage stamps in September 2017. An announcement to this effect was made after a meeting department of posts secretary B V Sudhakar and Canada Post President Deepak Chopra. These stamps will be in celebration of Diwali and of Canada's 150th anniversary.
  • Air Asia - the airlines with which whose collaboration the Odisha government is planning to formulate a policy to promote tour packages to Southeast Asia. Recently, the state government signed a memorandum of agreement with Air Asia to start direct international flight operation to Kuala Lumpur.In addition to this Odisha government is planning new tour packages like Jagannath Trail, Coastal Trek, Coastal Cruise, Cycle Tours, Food Festivals and Weekend Gateways to be organised under the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation.
  • Olive Ridley turtles - the variety of turtles which are known their eggs on the Odisha coast. It was in the news recently after the endangered Olive Ridley turtles have laid a record 3.55 lakh eggs on Odisha coast within a span of one week of mass nesting in Rushikulya river mouth of Ganjam coast, which is an all-time record. The turtles had laid 3, 09,000 eggs last year. The egg laying may touch four lakh this year as the Sunday night calculation was yet to be completed.The Odisha Forest Department has arranged high security for smooth and safe egg laying of the endangered turtles like including establishing observation camps, fencing coast with nets and patrolling in sea for protection of the sea turtles and their eggs during their mass nesting. The Forest Department has deployed speedboats and trawlers with staff to guard the coast and restricted entry of fishing trawlers into the zone.After laying eggs, the female turtles go deep into the sea without waiting to see the hatchels, which generally emerge around 45 days of nesting.
  • CSK - it stands for Cyber Swachhta Kendra, is a new desktop and mobile security solution for a secure cyber space in the country which was launched recently by government. The Cyber Swachhta Kendra is part of the government of India's Digital India initiative under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).The new solution will notify, enable cleaning and secure systems of end-users to prevent further infections. This centre will work in coordination with the internet service providers (ISPs) and Industry. This Kendra will also enhance awareness among citizens regarding botnet and malware infection along with measures to be taken to secure their devices. The government also announced that the National Cyber Coordination Centre will be operational by June 2017 and that it would set up CERT-Ins at the state level as well.Part of the solution, USB Pratirodh is a desktop security solution that controls the usage of removable storage media like pen drives, external hard drives and other USB-supported mass storage devices. M-Kavach tool offers a comprehensive mobile device security solution for Android devices addressing threats related to mobile phones. AppSamvid is a desktop solution which protects systems by allowing installation of genuine applications through white listing. This helps in preventing threats from malicious applications.The move comes at a time when over 50,300 cyber security incidents like phishing, website intrusions and defacements, virus and denial of service attacks have been observed in the country during 2016.
  • Skype Lite - the new version of Skype developed by Microsoft with the help of Microsoft's development centre in Hyderabad. It is an attempt to challenge the popular WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger apps. Not only does it occupy just over a third of the storage space of the original Skype, it also consumes far less data and has features that are not even available yet on the richer version. Skype Lite needs just 13 MB of storage space, compared to 36 MB of the regular version. It understands when it is using the cellular network and when Wi-Fi, and consumes less data when it is on the former. Skype Lite will be available in seven Indian languages.
  • Sangam - the skilling-cum-job-search/hiring platform for low-skilled people in India developed by Microsoft. The platform combines Microsoft's cloud, video and other technologies with LinkedIn's assets. Sangam is an open platform that will allow any training content provider to offer their courses over the cloud. A training aspirant can go through all the options available and choose the one she wants. When the candidate joins, the system will create a LinkedIn-like profile of her, and this profile will be updated appropriately as the candidate enhances her skills. At the other end, companies wanting to hire, say, hospitality, retail or construction staff, can upload their requirements. Sangam will match these requirements with those of the trained personnel and offer options to both sides. Sangam will allow them to reach out to candidates in remote locations, and it will even allow for remote learning through Skype, which is also integrated into the platform. Candidates can use their Aadhaar authentication to sign into the system.
  • 1 crore - the amount of cost involved for approaching the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) otherwise, complainants begin at the district consumer forums , as per the Consumer Protection Act. It was in the news recently after the Supreme Court allowed flat owners to join hands to directly approach the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) against realtors. The SC's rejection of Amrapali Sapphire Developers' technical plea will come as a boon to middle-class flat owners, who find it easier to come together to fight rich realtors who have deep pockets and employ top lawyers to find legal loopholes to frustrate flat allottees from making claims against them. On August 30 last year, NCDRC member Justice V K Jain had ruled in favour of the 43 flat owners in Amrapali's Sapphire housing project and said that they could form an association to achieve the pecuniary limit of Rs 1 crore for approaching the NCDRC directly.
  • TCS - this company has announced an Rs.16, 000 crore share buy-back, the biggest in the Indian capital market. The board of the company approved buyback of up to 5.61 crore shares, or 2.85% of its share capital, at Rs.2, 850 apiece. The buyback if successful, will surpass Reliance Industries'2012 share buyback of Rs.10, 400 crore.
  • Bharat QR - the world's first nationwide interoperable payments service developed by National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI), Visa Inc. and Master card Inc. which can be used for making payments by storing debit or credit card details within a mobile app. Soon the code will also enable payments using the Unified Payments Interface and Aadhar-enabled payments.
Current Affairs[January 2017]
  • Flipkart - the ecommerce giant whose payment application PhonePe was recently in the news as it was blocked by ICICI Bank had blocked payment originating from this application citing security-related concerns. The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) thereafter ordered ICICI bank to open up Unified Payments Interface (UPI) - based transactions immediately for PhonePe.
  • UBI - it stands for Universal Basic income which was in the news after the government is mulling cash transfers, a form of UBI to help end poverty. UBI is a form of social security that involves payments to anyone without work or means of livelihood without conditions. This will allow more focused action against poverty. As per Socio Economic and Caste Census(SECC),2011 there are 24.49 crore total household in India out of which rural households is 17.97 crore and there are 7.07 crore households that need no benefits(automatically excluded). The households that may need help would be 8.89 crore( 0.16 crore identified poor households and 8.73 households that face some deprivation). Rs.1.6 lakh crore will be the cost if every deprived rural household is given Rs.1500 a month. The case for UBI are - Best way of addressing poverty by providing subsistence dole, it can help cut down on multiple welfare schemes, direct cash transfer will reduce pilferage and social inequality will be reduced. The case against UBI are-Too costly for government to implement, discourage people from seeking employment and temptation to withdraw other benefits.
  • General insurance - the public sector companies of this sector will now hit the market to raise capital. The Cabinet recently gave in-principle approval to a proposal to list state-owned general insurance companies, by issuing fresh equity or through the offer for sale route. The proposal was first announced by finance minister Arun Jaitley in last year's budget. The companies include New India Assurance, Oriental Insurance Company, National Insurance and United India Insurance, besides re-insurer General Insurance Corp of India (GIC). The government holding will gradually come down from 100% to 75% in all these companies.
  • BHIM - it stands for Bharat Interface for Money is the umbrella organisation for all digital payments in the country which was launched by government with the support from National Payments Corporation of India. It is an instant payments application meant for sending money as well as requesting for payments. BHIM can be used across android smartphones with versions 4.0 and above and also it will be made available on iPhones and Windows smartphones very soon. The feature phone users need to use the USSD feature by dialing *99#.
  • CMBA - it stands for Cash-Mukt Bharat Abhiyan is the name of helpline running from December 15,2016 to help users understand digital payment systems. 14444 is the number being dialed for grievance redressal on specific digital payment platforms. The idea was Nasscom's and the suggestion came from NitiAayog. 6 BPOS,2telcos and a consultancy is running the helpline for government for free. The companies will run the helpline free till March31,2017. It is a one-of-a kind effort in which the IT industry-perhaps for the first time has come together and provided support to the government free of charge.
  • Nine - the number of indicators which are considered for computation of the Business Expectation Index(BEI) by the Reserve Bank of India. BEI is a composite indicator calculated as weighted (share of GVA of different industry group) net response of nine business indicators. These are: 1) overall business situation, 2) production, 3) order books, 3) order books, 4) inventory of raw material, 5) inventory of finished goods, 6) profit margin, 7) employment, 8) exports, 9) capacity utilization. It gives a single snapshot of business outlook in every quarter. BEI lies between 0 to 200, and the 100 is the threshold separating expansion and contraction. It was in the news recently after RBI said that BEI declined in the 3rd quarter between Oct- Dec'17.
  • 30 January - the date observed as Martyrs' Day at the national level. The date was chosen as it marks the assassination of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in 1948. On Martyr's Day the president, the vice president, the prime minister, the defence minister, and the three Service Chiefs gather at the samadhi at Raj Ghat memorial and lay wreaths decorated with multi-colour flowers. The armed forces personnel blow bugles sounding the Last Post. The inter-services contingent reverse arms as a mark of respect. A two-minute silence in memory of Indian martyrs is observed throughout the country at 11 AM.
  • 5.7% - the percentage to which the industrial activity rose up in November 2016, 13-month high, belying expectations of an adverse impact from demonetisation. It had contracted 1.8% in October, revealed the Index of Industrial Production data released recently. However, the sharp rise was also due to a statistical illusion -- low industrial numbers in November 2015, called the base effect (the IIP fell 3.4% last November), and sharp reversal of a 12-month declining trend in capital goods, helped by highly volatile cable and insulated rubber. If capital goods are taken out, IIP rose 4.7% in November, against 2.1% in the previous month.The sharp rise in IIP in November could also be gauged from the fact that the index rose just 0.4% in the first eight months of the current financial year (April-October), against 3.8% in the corresponding period of the previous year.
  • 7th September 2016 - the cutoff date from which the investors/depositors whose unpaid dividends, matured deposits or debentures etc. were transferred to Investor Education and Protection Fund(IEPF) under Companies Act 1956/2013 can now claim refund of the amount transferred. These refunds can be taken by submitting the claim in form IEPF-5 which can be downloaded from the website of IEPF (http://www.iepf.gov.in).
  • Rs.10000 - the amount of daily cash withdrawal from ATMs which has been allowed as per the new directives of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) from the present Rs 4,500 with immediate effect. However, there is no change in the weekly withdrawal limits, which stays at Rs 24,000.The limit on withdrawal from current accounts has been enhanced from the current limit of Rs 50,000 per week to Rs 1,00,000 per week. This also extends to overdraft and cash credit accounts.
  • Cooperative banks - they were recently barred from accepting deposits under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Deposit Scheme(PMGKDS). This notification comes after income tax department spotted irregularities in deposits. The deposit scheme is part of the Taxation and Investment Regime for Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana(PMGKY), 2016 under which a declarant has to deposit 25% of the declared undisclosed income in an authorized bank as notified by the government.
  • State Bank of India - it is the leader of the consortium of banks which was recently ordered by the Debt Recovery Tribunal(DRT) to start the process of recovery of Rs.6203 crore at an annual interest rate of 11.5% from embattled tycoon Vijay Mallya and his companies in the Kingfisher Airlines case.
  • Arbitrage - is an investment strategy which is used to take advantage of the price differential between two or more markets to earn a profit. This activity of buying and selling the same security can happen on different exchanges or between spot prices of a security and its future contract. Cross selling across exchanges is not allowed in Indian markets, so one has to reverse the position before the end of day as trade needs to be squared off on the same exchange.
  • Digital Unlocked - the name of training programme launched by Google recently for Indian small business owners, to empower them with essential digital skills. Along with this it also launched a free website builder called Google My Business app. These are aimed at empowering nearly 51 million small and medium businesses SMBs) in the country. Under Digital Unlocked, Google will hold 5,ooo offline training workshops, in partnership with FICCI and the Indian School of Business over the next three years across 40 cities. The internet giant also launched a new mobile app, called Primer, which will impart similar training to businesses in an interactive manner.
  • BEML - the defence equipment manufacturer company in which the government decided to sell 26 % stake, making it the first major PSU to be sold through strategic disinvestment which may fetch exchequer over Rs.1,000 crore. Cabinet recently gave an 'in-principle' approval for strategic disinvestment of 26% equity shares in BEML out of government's shareholding of 54.03%. Air India -the airlines company which in a first-of-its-kind move in the aviation industry recently announced to reserve six seats for women on its flights operating on domestic routes. It has been decided to keep all the six seats in the third row of the economy class on Airbus A320 reserved only for women from January 18, 2017.
  • Khanderi - the name of submarine which was recently launched by India. The second Kalvari class, this Scorpene-class submarine has superior stealth and can use guided weapons - torpedoes and tube-launched anti-ship missiles -- on enemy subs from surface or underwater. Besides warfare, its varied functions will include intelligence gathering, mine laying and area surveillance etc. Khanderi is named after the island fort of Maratha forces, which played a vital role in ensuring their supremacy at sea in the late 17th century.
  • Airtel - they launched its first payments bank in the country. The company has rolled out the service in all the 29 states of the country. Airtel Payments Bank, a fully digital and paperless bank, aims to take basic banking services to the doorstep of every Indian by leveraging Airtel's vast retail network. Airtel retail stores across the country will also function as banking points, and customers will be able to open savings accounts, deposit and withdraw cash across any of these banking points. The Payments Bank will not charge any processing fee from its customers and merchants partners for digital transactions. The company has also rolled out an app for the Payments bank, which is available for both Android and iOS users. In November last year, the company rolled out a pilot of its banking services in Rajasthan aimed at testing systems and processes ahead of a full scale pan-India launch.
  • World Bank - they has cut India's 2016-17 growth estimate to 7% from 7.6% due to the impact of demonetization. It expects the economy to recover and post a growth of 7.6% in 2017-18 and 7.8% in the following year due to reform measures.
  • Political parties - they will continue to enjoy income tax exemption for the funds they collect, with the Supreme Court ruling recently that there was no illegality in the exception granted to keep parties out of the tax net. The bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and DY Chandrachud dismissed a PIL challenging the constitutional validity of Section 13A of the Income Tax Act which grants exemption to political parties.
  • Schemes announced on 31st December 2016 - Nation-wide scheme for financial assistance of Rs.6,000 to pregnant women, 3 crore farmers who have Kisan Credit Cards to be given RuPay debit cards within three months, Underwriting loans to small enterprises upto 2 crore by banks and NBFCs, Increase of working capital loans by banks from 20% to 30%, for enterprises that transact digitally are some of the major announcements which were made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation on 31st December,2016.
  • NEXT - it stands for National Exit Test is the exam in which all the medical students completing the five-and-a-half-year medical course will have to clear to use the 'doctor' title. The draft Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill 2016, unveiled by the Union health ministry recently, said they will have to pass NEXT. The test is expected to create a level-playing field in medical education. It is believed that NEXT would improve the quality of medical education in the country and help benchmark students.
  • Section 8(1) (g) - it is the relevant section of the RTI Act,2005 by which the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) reserved the right to keep mum on the money it disbursed after demonetization. The section bars "information", "the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes".
  • Rs. 4500 per day - it is the limit of cash withdrawal from ATMs with effect from January 1, 2017. The RBI has decided to increase the cash withdrawal limit from ATMs to Rs 4,500 per day from the present Rs 2,500 with effect from January 1. However, there is no change in the weekly withdrawal limits, which stays at Rs 24,000.
  • Agni IV - it is the intercontinental ballistic missile which was successfully test-fired by India recently from a road-mobile launcher on the Abdul Kalam Island off Damra village on the Odisha coast. The Agni IV is an intercontinental ballistic missile with a strike range of 4,000 km. It is being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. Agni IV is nuclear capable, with a payload capacity of one tonne of high-explosive warhead. It is the fourth variant in the series of medium to long range Agni missiles. Agni I, II, III have already been inducted for military use. Last month, Agni-V was successfully launched in its final phase of canisterised testing.
  • BJP - it is the ruling party in Arunachal Pradesh after 33 of the 43 People's Party of Arunachal MLA's including CM Pema Khandu joined the party. The BJP now has 47 MLAs in the House of 60. It's the second time in 13 years that the BJP is in governance in this border state.
  • 500 crore or more - it is the amount above which the list of corporate loan defaulters will soon be made public, as the Supreme Court directed the Centre recently to provide a compendium of corporate entities, who owe such amount to banks, in four weeks. A bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud brushed aside the RBI's objections in October against making public the list of big loan defaulters, which was submitted in a sealed cover.
  • Rs. 5 - it is the amount of discount being offered per cylinder if one book and pay LPG refill online. This is the latest in a series of incentives that the oil ministry has announced to promote cashless and digital payments. Customers can make payment through existing online modes i.e. net banking, credit and debit cards at the time of web- booking their refills. On doing so, customers will get the discounted amount displayed on their screens. This net amount payable will be retail selling price minus incentive amount of Rs 5 per cylinder.
  • 5 poll bound states - Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand are the states which are going to be polls in 2017. The Election Commission recently announced the poll dates for these five states.
  • New features of election process - colorful voter guides will be distributed to each family, Height of voting compartment raised to ensure complete privacy, Separate polling stations for women in certain areas, Ballot paper will have photo of candidates are some of the new additional features announced by the Election Commission which will be implemented from the forthcoming assembly elections in 5 states.
  • Rs.20, 000 - it is the amount above which all the expenses by the candidates have to to compulsorily to be made by way of cheque. Candidates will be required to open bank accounts and expenses over Rs 20,000 will be by way of cheque from this bank account. The limit of expense is Rs 28 lakh per candidate in Punjab, Uttarakhand, UP and Rs 20 lakh in Manipur and Goa is Rs 20 lakh.
  • Bengal Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works Ltd. - it is India's first pharma company whose strategic sale was recently approved by the Union Cabinet recently. It was set up by eminent scientist-entrepreneur P C Ray in Kolkata in 1901. Union government took over the management of the company in 1977 and nationalized it in 1981. Chloroquine and paracetamol are among the well known drugs produced by the company. The cabinet also approved the closure of Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (IDPL) and Rajasthan Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (RDPL).
  • State Bank of India - the bank which recently signed an agreement with Coca-Cola India and Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages to enable over 2.6 million retailers and 5,000 distributors in conducting business transactions digitally. Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairman, SBI and T Krishnakumar, Chairman & CEO HCCBPL & Region Director (South Asia) signed the MoU to forge the strategic partnership. It entails initiating the digitisation process among the retailers by on-boarding them into the SBI's digital payment options such as Buddy P2P, Buddy Merchant App, SBI Pay. To aid a smooth transition process, Coca-Cola and SBI will provide training to the retailers on new and evolving digital business transaction solutions.

National Current Affairs 2016

Current Affairs[December 2016]
  • The Reserve Bank of India - it recently allowed banks to issue prepaid instruments to any institution that can be given to their employees to facilitate greater adoption of digital payments. Earlier, this facility was available only for listed companies. The central bank modified a clause in its circular for prepaid instruments, allowing employers such as "unlisted corporates, partnership firms, sole proprietorship, public organisations like municipal corporations, urban local bodies, etc. to issue prepaid instruments for their employees.
  • Cheetah - the mammal which is 'sprinting' to extinction due to habitat loss and other forms of human impact, according to a new study released recently which calls for urgent action to save the world's fastest animal. The study published in the "Proceedings of the National academy of science" estimated that just 7,100 cheetahs remain in the wild, occupying just 9% of the territory they once lived in. India was home to many cheetahs but the last is believed to have been killed in 1947. The cheetah was declared extinct in India in 1952-the only large mammal to have been declared extinct in the country according to the Union environment ministry.
  • Rs 200 crore - the amount which was recently sanctioned by government to the Tirupur dyeing industry which was on the verge of closure due to severe financial crisis. The industry was facing problems on account of their huge investments in the first ever Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) projects in the country. Finance Ministry sanctioned Rs 200 crore to Tamil Nadu for the 18 CETPs (Common Effluent Treatment Plants) as an interest free loan to be converted into grant based on the performance of the CETPs.
  • The move will help ailing CETPs and 450 dyeing units to recover from the financial crisis and help them to complete the project to achieve 100 per cent capacity utilization. More than 450 dyeing units in Tirupur had collectively set up 18 ZLD enabled CETPs with a total cost of Rs 1,013 crore.
  • 9.1 - the percent of the Gross Non Performing Assets (GNPA) ratio in September 2016 of banks as per the Financial Stability Report which was published by Reserve Bank of India recently. Bank's asset quality that has been under pressure may deteriorate even further if the macroeconomic condition takes a beating, a stress test undertaken by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) suggests. The ratio may increase to 9.8 per cent by March 2017. This could further increase to 10.1 per cent by March 2018.
  • BHIM - it stands for Bharat Interface for Money is the Aadhaar-based mobile payment application - a rebranded version of UPI (Unified Payment Interface) and USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Digi Dhan Mela event in Talkatora stadium in New Delhi recently. The new app is expected to minimise the role of plastic cards and the point of sale (PoS) machines once believed to be essential for a less-cash society. The app would eliminate fee payments for service providers like card companies such as Mastercard or Visa, which has been a stumbling block in merchants switching to digital payments. That will make it affordable even to merchants in remote villages, said people familiar with the development.
  • Housing sector - this sector will get a boost after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his speech on New Year's eve announced measures including financial assistance for urban and rural poor for buying and building homes, a move aimed at fulfilling the government's promise of housing for all. The government announced interest subvention of 3% and 4% for loans of up to Rs 12 lakh and Rs 9 lakh, respectively, under Prime Minister Awas Yojana (PMAY). In addition to this relief, a 3% subvention will be given for loans of up to Rs 2 lakh to build and expand existing houses in rural areas. The government has also decided to increase the number of homes to be built in rural areas under PMAY by 33%.
  • Rs.6000 - the amount which will be transferred directly to the bank accounts of pregnant women who undergo institutional delivery and vaccinate their children. This was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a slew of announcements in his speech on December 31, 2016.So far, pregnant women in 53 districts were being given financial assistance of 4000 rupees, under a pilot project
  • Caste, Creed and religion - the basis on which grounds no politicians can seek votes as per the landmark ruling on elections by the Supreme Court recently. This ruling was passed in the midst of the 1995 Hindutva cases' hearing. Four judges out of the seven-judge Constitution bench headed by chief justice TS Thakur ruled that elections are essentially a secular activity. In its order, the SC said that the 'relationship between man and God' is an individual choice and the state is forbidden to interfere in such an activity. The top court in a majority verdict held that any appeal for votes on ground of religion amounts to corrupt practices under electoral laws. The court also said the function of an elected representative should be secular. The judgment will have significant implications in states that go to the polls just months from now, especially in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab where religion is a top campaign issue.
  • 26 November 2016 - this day was observed as the National Milk Day (NMD) to mark birth anniversary Dr. Verghese Kurien, father of the White Revolution in India. To mark this event, all dairy cooperatives across the country had conducted a mega activation in all markets across the country. In addition, the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which markets the Amul brand of milk and dairy products printed 150 million milk pouches with the National Milk Day logo featuring Dr. Kurien's picture with the National Milk Day logo on it.
  • Annapurna Rasoi Programme - the programme which has been started by Rajasthan Government to provide quality meal at cheap and affordable price to people belonging to the weaker section and labourers. The main beneficiary of the scheme will be rickshaw pullers, labourers, auto drivers, students, working women, elders and other weaker section. Key Facts The food under this programme will be provided at subsidized rates, breakfast at Rs 5 per plate and lunch/dinner at Rs 8 per plate. In the first phase the scheme will be started in 12 districts. They are Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Ajmer, Kota, Bikaner, Bharatpur, Pratapgarh, Dungarpur, Banswara, Baran and Jhalawar. The food will be distributed by 80 mobile vans at locations decided by local self-help agencies in districts. The remaining 21 districts of state will be covered in second phase.
  • Samvidhan Diwas - observed on 26th November to spread awareness of Indian Constitution. On this day in 1949, constitution of India was adopted and came into force on January 26, 1950 marking the beginning of a new era in the history of free India. The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) is the nodal Ministry for the celebration of Constitution Day. This year it is second edition of the Constitution Day. On this occasion Prime Minister Narendra has released two books on Constitution 'Making of Constitution' and 'New Version of Constitution of India'.
  • 'e-pashuhaat portal' - launched by The Union Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Minister, Radha Mohan Singh for livestock. to connect farmers and breeders of bovine animals. The portal will provide all details at a single platform, including availability of bovine germplasm. The e-pashu haat portal will not only enable the farmers to buy bovine animals but cattle frozen semen and embryo may also be purchased through it. It can be reached at "www.epashuhaat.gov.in"
  • Fertilizer - the item for which the Union Government has decided to introduce Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) system subsidy payments. Under the proposed system, 100% subsidy on various fertilizer grades will be released to the manufacturers and importers on basis of actual sales made by the retailer to the beneficiaries. Initially, the modified subsidy procedure under DBT system will be introduced on pilot basis in 16 select districts. In the second phase, the new payment system will be rolled out in all states only after its due stabilization in first phase. The proposed DBT will address the issues relating to diversion and smuggling of urea.
  • Rs 630323cr - the amount of NPA of all PSBs as a whole as on 30 September 2016 grown from Rs550346 Cr as on 30 June 2016. It shows increase of Rs. 79,977 crore NPAs on quarter on quarter basis during this period. This is an alarming level of increase. Large number of NPAs affects the profitability & liquidity of the banks. It adversely affects the value of bank in terms of market credit and widens assets and liability mismatch.
  • TeamIndus - the private aerospace startup company is planning to send a spacecraft to the moon aboard an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) rocket on December 28, 2017. It will be India's first private moon mission to be launched. It will be launched onboard of ISRO's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). TeamIndus moon mission's aim is to land this spacecraft on the moon. It will also travel at least 500 metres and beam high- definition images, video and data back to the earth. Except for the launch vehicle, all of the technology that will power the lander and rover will be developed in-house by TeamIndus. For launching purpose TeamIndus has signed an agreement Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO. ISRO's workhorse PSLV will launch the TeamIndus's spacecraft in a three-day window centred on December 28, 2017.
  • The Hornbill Festival - it began in the Naga Heritage village of Kisama of Nagaland. The festival coincides with the Statehood Day of Nagaland which is observed on 1st December. It is also called as the 'Festival of Festivals'. It is organized by the State Tourism and Art & Culture Departments. It is also supported by the Union Government. It was established on 1st December 1963 and was inaugurated by the then President Dr. S Radhakrishnan.
  • Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan (VISAKA) - this was launched by the Union Ministry for Human Resource Development (HRD) to make people aware about cashless economic system. It was launched by Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar in New Delhi. It is campaign by Higher Educational institutions for digital econmy. VISAKA aims to create awareness among people about digital economy and cashless modes of transactions It was launched on line with Prime Minister's appeal to youth in 'Mann Ki Baat' for creating awareness for making India digital and cashless economy.
  • POCSO e-BOX - it stands for "Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) e-box BOX" which was launched in August 2016 for easy and confidential registration of complaints regarding sexual offence against children. This information has recently given by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Krishna Raj in the Rajya Sabha.
  • 102nd - the rank of India among 136 nations in the 2016 Enabling Trade Index (ETI), as per recently published 'Global Enabling Trade Report 2016 of World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation. The list is topped by Singapore followed by the Netherlands, Hong Kong SAR, Luxembourg and Sweden. The index assesses the extent to which economies have in place the factors facilitating the free flow of goods over borders and to their destinations. It takes into consideration various factors, including domestic and foreign market access, border administration, transport and digital infrastructure and operating environment.
  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) - the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research. It is in news because ICMR has recently signed a MoU with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) for cooperation in the area of zoonoses, anti-microbial resistance, nutrition and pesticide residues. This MoU will strengthen the ties between the two organizations and energize environment of mutual cooperation and collaboration. The headquarters of ICMR is located in New Delhi.
  • Rs. 20 & Rs. 50 - the denominations for which the new currency will be issued as per Reserve bank of India directives, which will be issued with numerals in ascending size in the number panels and without intaglio printing. The old notes of Rs 20 and Rs 50 will remain legal tender.These new notes come against the backdrop of government last month scrapping Rs 500/1000 currency notes to crack down on black money.
  • Amritsar Declaration - the declaration which called for dismantling of terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens in the region, as well as disrupting all financial, tactical and logistical support for terror networks was issued after the Heart of Asia Conference which was held at Amritsar recently. The two-day deliberations was attended by 40 countries including major regional and global powers and blocs. Held in the backdrop of number of cross-border terror attacks on India and elsewhere, the HoA expressed serious concern over gravity of the security situation in Afghanistan and in many parts of the region, holding that united efforts are required to contain terror groups. Apart from calling for concerted cooperation to combat the terror groups, the declaration sought early finalisation of the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. It also favoured an early meeting of experts to discuss a draft Regional Counter-Terrorism Framework, recently prepared by Afghanistan, for its early finalisation. The delegations of Afghanistan, India, Iran, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan, and of the European Union were led by the respective Ministers. The Conference also saw the presence and participation of guest countries Austria, Bulgaria, Latvia and Uzbekistan.
  • 4th December - this day was recently celebrated as Navy Day. Navy Day is observed on December 4 every year to celebrate the magnificence, achievements and role of the naval force to the country. During the India-Pakistan war of 1971, the Indian Navy had launched Operation Trident on this day and played a significant role in the bombing of the Karachi harbour.
  • NitiAayog - it is providing financial support to incentivize the district administration to reach out to the general public and small traders in villages and talukas, and encourage them to shift to cashless payments.It has also asked district magistrates to ensure that financial transactions in the district and subordinate organizations are cashless and on e-platforms. As per the plan, an incentive of Rs 10 will be given to the district administration for every individual who has shifted to digital payment mode and has made at least two digital transactions for day-to-day activities, like selling and buying goods or services. The Aayog has already given up to Rs 5 lakh to every district to kick-start the process, right from the panchayat level. An incentive of Rs 100 will be provided to common services centre operators for every merchant transacting digitally and Rs 5 for every citizen shifting to digital payments. The government think tank wants the district administration to ensure that money transfers, whether to beneficiaries of welfare schemes or payments to labourers engaged by contractors, are through digital mode. To speeden the transition from cash transactions to digital platform at the grassroots level, the Aayog asked DMs to collect all types of user charges, fees and penalties through digital payment modes. The first 50 panchayats to go cashless will be given the 'digital payment award of honour' by Niti Aayog. Also, the top 10 best performing districts will be given the 'digital payment champions award' by the government think tank.
  • $300 billion - the amount of foreign direct investment milestone which was reached by India recently firmly establishing its credentials as a safe investment destination in the world. India crossed this milestone between April 2000 and September 2016.Thirty three per cent of the FDI came through the Mauritius route, apparently because the investors wanted to take advantage of India's double taxation avoidance treaty with the island nation. India received $101.76 billion from Mauritius between April 2000 and September 2016. The cumulative FDI inflows during the period amounted to $310.26 billion. The other big investors have been from Singapore, the US, UK and the Netherlands.
  • NIOS - it stands for National Institute of Open Schooling was recently declared the best distance education institution of the world by The Commonwealth of Learning (COL).
  • Visas, Cyberspace and investments - the sectors in which India recently signed four agreements with Qatar following delegation level talks led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Qatar counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Naseer bin Khalifa Al Thani.
  • Rs.100 - the denomination of notes whose new version will be put up in circulation in market by the Reserve Bank with enlarged identification features.The notes with '2016' printing year will be similar in design with the existing Rs 100 notes in the Mahatma Gandhi Series-2005 having ascending size of numerals in the number panels, bleed lines, and enlarged identification mark, on the obverse.RBI said it has already put to circulation Rs 100 currency notes with the ascending size of numerals in the number panels but without bleed lines and enlarged identification mark.These banknotes will remain in circulation concomitantly with the banknotes being issued now.
  • INS Betwa - the navy warship which tipped over during undocking in Mumbai recently. The 3850-tonne Brahmaputra-class guided missile frigate which was undergoing a medium maintenance refit at the dockyard since April 2016, slipped from her dock blocks.
  • Rs.2000 - the amount up to which the Reserve Bank of India recently relaxed two-factor authentication for acceptance of card payments. This authentication process entails generation of one-time password (OTP) on the user's phone to complete a card transaction. Presently the customers need to wait for text message containing the OTP before concluding the transaction. But now users will be able to complete a payment just by entering a password authenticated by the card network if they register with the merchant.
  • Repo rate unchanged at 6.25 percent, Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) unchanged at 4% and reduction of GVA forecast to 7.1% were the main policy recommendations of the Reserve Bank of India which were announced by The Reserve Bank of India (RBI in its fifth bimonthly policy review recently. Rate cut: RBI maintained its key policy rate unchanged at 6.25 per cent. In its maiden policy review on October 4, RBI's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) had cut the policy rate by 25 basis points. CRR: RBI kept the cash reserve ratio unchanged at 4 per cent, but said the incremental cash reserve requirements that it had imposed in November will be removed with effect from December 10. Under the incremental CRR rule, RBI had asked domestic lenders to keep all the deposits they received between September 16 and November 11 under cash reserve requirement. Inflation/GDP outlook: RBI is expecting the consumer price inflation (CPI) to drop by 10-15 basis points in the ongoing quarter due to the government's recent demonetization move. The central bank has cut its gross value added (GVA) forecast for FY17 to 7.1 per cent from 7.6 per cent earlier. Governor Urjit Patel said the MPC felt that it was important to achieve 5 per cent CPI inflation by March 2017. Market stabilisation scheme: RBI said the liquidity released by the discontinuation of the incremental CRR would be absorbed by a mix of MSS issuances and liquidity adjustment facility (LAF).
  • Neil and Havelock are the islands of Andaman and Nicobar Islands which were recently effected by cyclone. Nearly 1,500 tourists were stranded at two famous tourist destinations in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, namely, Neil and Havelock. The Navy ships were deployed for the evacuation due to the high intensity of the cyclone.
  • 1900 is the number of political parties in India which is the largest in the world. Out of thesethere are over 400 of them which have never contested any elections. It was in the news recently as Election Commission has now decided that it will now annually 'strike off' names of such parties from the list. Once off the list these parties won't be eligible for tax breaks on contributions and donations.
  • India was recently granted the "major defence partner" status by the United States. India's Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and outgoing United States Defence Secretary Ashton Carter recently finalised the "major defence partner" status to India which will fast-track cooperation and sharing of high-end American defence technology. Both sides also vowed to expand the bilateral defence cooperation as Carter met Parrikar in New Delhi for the record breaking seventh time.
  • Discount of 0.75 per cent on purchase of petrol and diesel, 10 per cent and 8 per cent discount in case of general and life insurance PSU's for buying new policy or paying premium online, 0.5 percent discount on monthly and seasonal suburban railway tickets purchased through digital mode are some of the incentive measures announced in a bid to promote less-cash economy. Announcing 11 decisions to promote digital transactions, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that Online booking of Railway tickets will get Rs 10 lakh accident insurance. Those using digital mode to pay for railway catering, accommodation, retiring room will be entitled to discount of 5 per cent. Jaitley said that public dealings with government departments and PSUs through digital mode will be free of transaction fee and MDR charges.The minister further said 10 per cent discount will be available on use of digital mode for paying for RFID or fast-tags for highway toll.
  • Service Sector Enterprise is the theme of the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO)'s 74th Round Survey which under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India conducts nationwide sample surveys on various socio-economic subjects to collect data for planning and policy formulation. During the current survey (July 2016-June 2017), information on economic and operational characteristics of Services Sector enterprise would be collected under the provisions of Collection of Statistics Act 2008 and Rules 2011.
  • Indus, Jhelum and Chenab is the western rivers of the Indus river system which India intends to develop under its ambitious plan to utilize its share of water from Indus river system. India looks to speed up its three proposed hydro power projects on these western rivers-the PakalDul of 1,000MW on Marusudar river, tributary of Chenab in Kishtwar; Sawalkot of 1856 MW on Chenab in Ramban district and Bursar of 800 MW on Marusudar river, tributary of Chenab in Kishtwar. The three eastern rivers of the Indus river system are Ravi, Beas and Sutlej and their tributaries.
  • NitiAayog has planned an incentive scheme including Rs.1 crore prizes, for those using digital payments system the most as the government steps up measures to push electronic transaction. It has asked the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to conceptualise and launch the scheme to incentivize digital payments. Under the scheme, all consumers and merchants using digital payments will be eligible. All modes of digital payments such as USSD, AEPS, UPI and RuPay Cards will be eligible.
  • Vardah - it is the name of cyclone which recently effected many parts of Tamil Nadu with heavy rains and winds disturbing normal life in these regions. It is the most intense to have hit the Tamil Nadu capital in two decades which flattened homes, snapped power, communication lines and threw into disarray rail, road and air traffic as it crossed the coast, pounding Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram with heavy rain and squall. No flight landed or took off from Chennai Airport as NOTAM (notice to airmen) was issued after strong cyclonic winds and poor visibility hit Chennai and other parts of the state, throwing life out of gear. NOTAM, is a notice filed with an aviation authority to alert aircraft pilots of potential hazards along a flight route or at a location that could affect the safety of the flight.
  • 100 Million for 100 Million - the name of campaign that strives to change the future of millions of children world-wide. This was launched recently by President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhawan recently. Conceptualised by Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi, the campaign was flagged off by President in the presence of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, Nobel laureates Tawakkol Karman and Leymah Gbowee,former Australian PM Julia Gillard and First Lady of Panama Lorena Castillo.
  • The Indian Egg Eater - the rare species of egg eating snake found in Indian subcontinent. The snake belongs to the monotypic genius Elachistodon. This is the only snake in Asia which has a specialization in taking egg content as food and is the only true egg-eater of the continent. The species, which comes under Schedule-I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, was spotted for the first time in Rajasthan in Ranthambore recently which has been reported in the Russian Journal of Herpetology.
  • The National Green Tribunal - it recently banned the sale and use of glass coated thread in the entire country including Chinese manjha. The thread is responsible for numerous accidental deaths during the kite-flying festival of Sankranti.
  • Single Tax to replace multiple levies, Single tax leviable on goods and services, Automated processes to reduce human interface, Reduced cost of compliance for taxpayers- these along with Lesser logistics and inventory costs are the major benefits of GST Tax (Goods and Services Tax). It is also expected to increase economic activity and investment, fillip to 'Make in India' initiative and exports, of more employment and efficient neutralization of taxes to make our exports competitive.
  • Ratan Watal - the former finance secretary headed the government committee on electronic payments which submitted its final report recently. However this report has run into difficulties with the Reserve Bank of India unwilling to cede its control over payment settlements to an independent regulator -- as the committee has recommended. H R Khan, former deputy governor of the central bank, has made his dissent clear in a note as a member of the committee. The differences mean it will be difficult for the finance ministry to push for the more significant changes in the payment systems to make digital cash more accessible for Indians. The key issues are as follows: When a payments service provider like Paytm or SBI Buddy offers a consumer to load her e-wallet with cash and authorise payment, they have to route the final settlement through a bank, before crediting the seller. Only some of the payment service providers have direct access to banks including those which are run by banks. Most have indirect access as sub-members of a particular bank. The banks, of course, earn fees from the sub-members, which is loaded as cost on the final consumer. The Watal Committee, minus Khan, wants this to end to 'enable payments to be interoperable between bank and non-banks as well as within non-banks'. Not only that, the committee has suggested a two month time-frame for the government to make it happen. According to them, the current system makes payment companies dependent on the banking sector without any benefit.
  • NITI Aayog - it stands for National Institute for Transforming India Aayog is the agency which recently announced daily, weekly, and mega-awards on digital transactions to incentive cashless payments for consumers and merchants to encourage a transition to digital payments. The awards will be offered through two schemes - the Lucky Grahak Yohajana for consumers, and the Digi-dhan Vyapari Yojana for merchants, and the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) will implement the schemes. Under the Lucky Grahak Yojana, 15,000 winners will get Rs 1000 each every day starting on December 25 and ending on April 14 next year. In addition, there will be weekly awards for 7000 people, and the maximum prize is worth Rs 1 lakh. The scheme runs from December 25, 2016, to April 14, 2017. On April 14, a mega award of Rs 1 crore will be announced. Under the Digi Dhan Vyapari Yojna, 7000 winning merchants will receive prizes worth up to Rs 50,000 every week, also within the same time frame. In addition, mega-awards will be announced on April 14 for both consumers and merchants. Both schemes will cover small transactions between Rs.50 and Rs.3000 to encourage every section of the society to move to digital payments.
  • IAF - it stands for Indian Air Force is the service in which Muslim cannot grow a beard after joining it as discipline, uniformity and cohesiveness in the armed forces could not be sacrificed for religious beliefs, which clashed with the rules of a defence force, the Supreme Court ruled recently. A bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao said the defence forces were required to maintain a secular character as people from different faiths and religions joined to serve the nation and regulations and policies on personal appearance were not intended to discriminate against religious beliefs.
Current Affairs[November 2016]
  • Samvat 2073 - the Hindu Year which started recently.
  • Agni-I - the indigenously built nuclear capable ballistic missile was successfully test-fired from a test range off Odisha coast, as part of a user trial by India Army. It was test-fired from a mobile launcher from the launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Abdul Kalam Island (Wheeler Island). The last trial of Agni-I was conducted successfully in March 2016 from the same base. About Agni-I missile Agni-I is intermediate range nuclear capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile. It is first missile of the Agni series launched in 1983.
  • Rs 2.5 lakh - the amount which was allowed by the Union Government recently for families celebrating weddings to withdraw from bank account.
  • Project Insight - the project name which is planned by Income Tax Deptt to start from May 2017 to monitor high value transactions, with a view to curbing the circulation of black money. This project has been initiated for data mining, collection, collation and processing of such information for effective risk management with a view to widening and deepening tax base. 'Project Insight' is an integrated platform that will utilize vast amount of information easily available on social media to conduct raids online rather than traditional way of conducting random searches, known as tax raids. The Permanent Account Number (PAN) will be the unique identifier is used by the Income Tax department to link and analyse various transactions relating to the tax payers.
  • NSS - it stands for National Student Startup Policy which is a programme launched to promote technology-driven student start-ups. It was launched during the second Visitor's Conference held at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. The NSSP has been formulated by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). It aims to create 1 lakh technology based student start-ups and a million employment opportunities within the next 10 years. It also aims to propel Indian youth to contribute to the nation's socio-economic progress through promotion of technology-driven student start-ups. NSSP seeks to develop an ideal entrepreneurial ecosystem by lending crucial soft skills like decision-making in the students. It also seeks to promote strong inter-institutional partnerships among technical institutions.
  • Textile Ministry - they launched scheme of 'Pehchan' identity cards to artisans in Ahmedabad. The upgraded 'pehchan' cards were distributed to artisans from five clusters of Gujarat namely Jamnagar, Naroda, Surendranagar, Amreli and Kalol. Pehchan cards scheme was launched as part of the Pehchan' initiative of Union Textile ministry to register and provide Identity (ID) cards to handicraft artisans and link them to a national database. It is a new upgraded ID card for artisans that will be linked with their Aadhar numbers and bank accounts so that they can receive direct cash transfer benefit.
  • 138th - the rank of India in 2016 ICT Development Index with IDI score of 2.69. In 2015, it stood at 135th position with IDI score of 2.50. UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) released the 2016 edition of the Measuring the Information Society Report. The report was launched on 22 November 2016 during the World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Symposium (WTIS). WTIS was held in Botswana, South Africa from 21 November to 23 November 2016. The ITU index prepared after surveying 175 economies of the world was topped by the Republic of Korea with IDI of 8.84. The Sub-Saharan Africa's Niger with an IDI of 1.07 ranked lowest. India was placed at 138th rank
  • Airtel - they launched Airtel Payments Bank Limited on 23 November 2016 launched India's first live Payments Bank in Rajasthan. The bank will provide an interest of 7.25% per annum on deposits. The Bank rolled out a pilot of its banking services in Rajasthan, which is aimed at testing systems and processes ahead of a full-scale pan-Indian launch.
  • Jaguar DARIN III - the twin-seat aircraft on 24 November 2016 received the Initial Operation Clearance (IOC). IOC is a significant milestone for India's military aviation sector. The aircraft is now equipped with world-class avionics system. The up gradation was part of IAF's modernisation plan to upgrade the four decades old Jaguar fighter planes.
  • 82 - the number of foreign satellites ISRO is planning to launch in a daring single shot on January 15, 2017. Out of this 60 belong to the US, 20 are from Europe and 2 are UK made. The record for launching the highest number of satellite in one go is currently held by Russia which launched 37 satellites on June 19,2014.If the mission in January succeeds, India will once again break a global space record- for the second time in about two and a half years. On September 24, 2014 in a record breaking feat, India entered the Martian orbit in the very first attempt, garnering international acclaim.
  • SAHYOG - the livelihood donation programme of Khadi India where one can donate Rs.13500 for a Charkha. It is a grass root livelihood support initiative where the donations will help over a million artisans living in rural India, predominantly women to get possession of Charkha which can sustain a family for life.
  • 28th October 2016 - the Dhanwantari Jayanti which was recently celebrated as First National Ayurveda Day.
  • NAD - it stands for the National Academic Depository is the store of online academic certificates which is going to be started by the government soon. The proposal for this was approved by cabinet recently. It will be in place for institutes to upload certificates issued to the students at the end of the academic year.
  • AQI - it stands for air Quality Index which tells us how clean or polluted the air is. AQI has six categories-Good (0-50), Satisfactory (50-100), Moderate (100-200), Poor (200-300), Very Poor (300-400), Severe (400-500). The AQI considers eight pollutants (PM10, PM2.5, NO2, SO2, CO, O3, NH3 and Pb). Based on the measured ambient concentrations of these pollutants, a sub-index is calculated for each of these and the worst sub-index reflects the overall AQI. PM stands for Particulate Matter. PM2.5 comprises fine particles of diameter 2.5 micrometres or less. These particles are invisible to the naked eye and can only be seen using an electron microscope. PM10 comprises coarse dust particles of diameter ranging between 2.5 to 10 micrometres.
  • 87th - it is the rank of India globally in terms of gender equality on the annual Global Gender Index 2016 compiled by Geneva based World Economic Forum. India was ranked 108th in the 2015 index. Iceland has emerged at the top of the list followed by Finland.
  • NCR - it is the US based ATM manufacturer recently bagged a Rs.334 crore order from SBI to install over 7,000 cash vending machines, making this the single largest order in the country. NCR is the largest player in the domestic ATM market with over 1 lakh cash vending machines running.
  • SEBI - it stands for Securities and Exchange Board of India, the securities market regulator recently tightened rules for credit rating agencies (CRAs) as per the new circular issued recently. The new guidelines standardizes the rating criteria, method of public disclosures, the internal functioning of rating committees and disallows the suspension of ratings.
  • Vigilance Awareness Week, 2016 - this is being celebrated from 31st October 2016 to 5th November 2016. The theme of this year celebrations are 'Public participation in promoting Integrity and Eradicating Corruption'.
  • 67 -it is the percent by which the global wildlife population could fall by an average between 1970 and 2020 as a result of human activities, according to World Wildlife Fund's Living Planet Report 2016.The report indicated that the global populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles have already declined by 58 per cent between 1970 and 2012.The report also highlights the magnitude of human impact on the planet and highlights the changes needed in the way society is fed and fuelled. According to the report, the top threats to species were directly linked to human activities including habitat loss, degradation and over exploitation of wildlife.
  • 1st July, 2017 - it is the time after which the government's plan to make Indian languages support for mobile phones mandatory will become effective. The government was trying to notify the regulations by the end of this year but the initiative was delayed by issues raised by handset makers. Handset makers have pointed to difficulties in making the changes required and have sought more time.
  • IIT-Kharagpur - the institute which recently developed tool to prevent train collision. Train journeys could soon be safer as scientists successfully tested a new tool for electronic railway interlocking system which prevents trains from colliding into each other. The tool suite is developed by the Computer Science and Engineering Department of the institute in collaboration with Research, Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) and Service Improvement Group (SIG) of the Indian Railways. The Indian Institute of Technology researchers said this project has the potential to be further extended to study and develop optimum traffic operation plans, alternative plans for emergencies. The Indian Railways, through RDSO, has awarded 12 research projects to IIT Kharagpur's Centre for Railway Research in the area of analysis and design of rolling stock, infrastructure, operations and maintenance.
  • The Paris Agreement - this agreement on climate change came into force from 4th November, 2016. The Agreement's entry into force comes a month after countries representing 55% of the worlds emissions committed to joining the deal -- the level required to put the agreement into action -- and less than a year after negotiators from nearly 200 countries agreed to the specifics of the text at the 2015 UN climate summit. India ratified the landmark Paris climate deal in October. Next week's meeting in Marrakech will provide the first opportunity since that summit in Paris for all parties to the agreement to iron out implementation details. The Paris Agreement provides a valuable framework for countries to address climate change in an international context, but negotiators kicked many of the implementation details down the road, to be determined at later climate meetings, known as COPs. The rapid entry into force put pressure on negotiators to hash out those details sooner rather than later.
  • 83.9 - the percent of the Budget Estimates in the first half of 2016-17 is the fiscal deficit of the centre. This is the highest in the first six months of a financial year since 1998-99, on account of elevated capital spending and higher salaries outgo. On revenue side, lower realisations from disinvestment and other streams hurt the exchequer. The gap between the Centre's expenditure and revenue was significantly higher than 68.1 per cent in the corresponding period of the previous financial year. In fact, it was the highest for April-September period since 1998-99, the oldest year for which the data is available on the Controller General of Accounts website. The closest it came to was in 2014-15 when the deficit was 82.6 per cent of BE in the first half.
  • The construction sector - the sector which is now India's second-largest employer after agriculture, the trend coinciding with India's high-growth phase and decline in poverty levels. Construction has played a major part, both in rural areas (through the 10-year-old Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, which provides jobs building ponds, roads and other infrastructure) and urban areas (through real estate and infrastructure).Construction is a $126 billion (Rs 8.39 lakh crore) industry - larger than pharmaceuticals and gems and jewellery sectors, for example - attributed to the infrastructure sector, industrial activities, residential and commercial development.
  • 7.9% - it is the rate of growth of GDP of India by S&P India ratings which recently predicted a stable economy growth of India. International rating agency Standard & Poor's has affirmed its 'BBB-/A-3' credit ratings for India. A BBB rating means the country has adequate capacity to meet its financial commitments. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity to meet its financial commitments.
  • 31st October - it is the date every year on which National Unity day (also known as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas) is celebrated by the people all through India. It is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who really unified the country. Rashtriya Ekta Diwas or National Unity Day was introduced by the Government of India in 2014 with the aim of celebrating this event every year on 31st October.
  • The Micro Solar Dome (MSD) - it is a day and night lighting single device unique in its features, that has a transparent semi-spherical upper dome made of acrylic material which captures the sunlight and the light passes through a sun-tube having a thin layer of highly reflective coating on the inner wall of the passage.
  • Surya Jyoti Project - it is a clear and green energy initiative of the Department of Science and Technology which will also supplement the Green Energy initiatives of Govt of India.
  • Robot Lakshmi - India's first banking robot Lakshmi made her debut in Chennai. Launched by the Kumbakonam-based City Union Bank, the artificial intelligence powered robot will be the first on-site bank helper. It can answer intelligently on more than 125 subjects.
  • 'School Chalo' - the name of operation which has been launched by the Indian Army in South Kashmir, under which it provides free coaching to students and makes them participate in extra-curricular activities.
  • Mission Raftar - the name of the project introduced by Indian Railways to increase the train speed to up to 160 km per hour on the total 9000-km main trunk routes across the country. Strengthening of the track, upgrading of signalling system and fencing off vulnerable sections along the route are to be undertaken to ensure 160 km per hour speed. Currently, Mail and Express trains including Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains can speed up to 130 km. After the successful launch of Gatimaan Express, Railways has undertaken a mammoth exercise of reducing journey time on the Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai routes by increasing speed of trains to up to 160 km per hour at an estimated cost of about Rs 10,000 crore.
  • Red Fort - the famous monument of Delhi which is the major theme of the new Rs.500 note. The new design in the Rs 500 denomination incorporates a different colour, size, theme, design and location of security features. The note, measuring 63 mm by 150 mm will be in a new colour (stone grey).
  • Mars - the planet whose India's low cost mission 'The Mangalayan' will find place on the new Rs 2,000 note, which is a first under the denomination and it will be called the 'Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series. The base colour of the note will be magenta and the size of the note will be 66 mm by 166 mm. Both the new designs, Rs 500 and Rs 2,000, will be very friendly towards the visually-impaired by having features which make it accessible for all sections.
  • 1946 -the first time when the Rs. 1,000 and higher denomination notes were first demonetised. It was first demonetized in January 1946 and again in 1978. The highest denomination note ever printed by the Reserve Bank of India was the Rs. 10,000 note in 1938 and again in 1954. But these notes were demonetised in January 1946 and again in January 1978, according to RBI data.
  • 133rd - the rank of India out of 183 countries in the 2016 Global Youth Development Index (YDI) compiled by the Commonwealth Secretariat. The Global Youth Development Index report measures countries' prospects for young people in employment, education, health, civic and political spheres. The top 10 countries in 2016 are Germany (1), Denmark (2), Australia (3), Switzerland (4), UK (5), Netherlands (6), Austria (7), Luxembourg (8), Portugal (9) and Japan (10).
  • Pradhan Mantri Yuva Yojana - a flagship scheme of MSDE launched recently with a fund support of Rs 499.94 Crores and will provide entrepreneurship education and training to over 7 Lakh students in 5 years through 3050 Institutes. It will also include easy access to information and mentor network, credit, incubator and accelerator and advocacy to create a pathway for the youth.
  • Digital India - the theme adopted for the 36th edition of India International Trade Fair (IITF), started at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. 150 companies from 27 countries are taking part in the fair. The 2016 IITF has been organised by the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), under aegis of Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry. This year's partner country is South Korea and focus country is Belarus. Besides, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand are partner states and Haryana is focus state. This year's theme highlights country's persistent efforts to alleviate poverty through meaningful convergence of digital technologies and e-governance.
  • Hand in Hand - the joint military training exercise held between India and China every year. Recently sixth edition of same started in Pune. The aim of the bilateral military exercise is to share the expertise in drills and practices while tackling insurgency and terrorism between Indian Army and People's Liberation Army of China. Thus, it seeks to promote healthy military to military relations between the two armies and developing joint strategies for conducting operations in a counter terrorism environment.
  • CACP - it stands for Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices gives recommendation to Government for change in minimum support prices for certain important agricultural commodities like wheat, pulses etc. The Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP since 1985, earlier named as Agricultural Prices Commission) came into existence in January 1965. Currently, the Commission comprises a Chairman, Member Secretary, one Member (Official) and two Members (Non-Official). The non-official members are representatives of the farming community and usually have an active association with the farming community. The prices are decided by CCEA on the basis of the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).
  • Rs 100 - the amount which has been increased in the minimum support price of wheat. The procurement cost of wheat will be 1,625 rupees per quintal against 1,525 rupees per quintal last year. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has hiked the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of wheat and pulses to boost the output of these Rabi crops and check prices.
  • 14 November 2016 - the date on which super moon was observed. This is for the first time moon came closest to Earth since 1948. Last time, the moon came closer to earth on 26 January 1948. Next time the super moon will be observed on 25 November 2034. During this time moon will be even closer than this year.
  • Super moon or perigee full moon is a phenomenon that occurs when a full moon coincides with the moon being the closest to the Earth on its orbit. During this time, the natural satellite appears roughly 30% larger in area and 30% brighter than the smallest full moons. In terms of diameter, the width of the moon is about 14% wider than the smallest full moons.
  • SAIL - it stands for The Steel Authority of India limited which has won the prestigious 2016 Golden Peacock Award for Corporate Governance. It was bestowed with this award on account of its exemplary performance in the field of corporate governance i.e. for balancing the interests of all the stakeholders of the company management, customers, shareholders, suppliers, financiers, government and community. They are presented annually under various categories. The awards comprise to sets Global Awards and National Awards. SAIL is one of the largest state-owned steel in India and one of the top steel makers in world.
  • Rustom-II (TAPAS 201) - India's indigenously developed long-endurance combat-capable drone has successfully completed its maiden-flight. The test flight took place from Aeronautical Test Range (ATR), Chitradurga, Karnataka, which is a newly developed flight test range for the testing of UAVs and manned aircraft. RUSTOM-II is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV. The UAV weighs two tonnes. It has an endurance of 24 hours. It has been designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), the Bangalore-based lab of DRDO. HAL and BEL are the production partners.
  • CRPF - it stands for The Central Reserve Police Force which for the first time has deployed a team of women commandos in anti-Naxal operations in Jharkhand. The 135 women commandos belonging to the 232 battalion's Delta Company have started carrying out anti-Naxal operations. CRPF is the largest central armed police force or paramilitary force in India. It functions under the aegis of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Its primary role is to assist States/Union Territories in police operations to maintain law and order and contain insurgency. It was established in 1939, under Crown Representative's Police but after independence it was made statutory after enactment of the CRPF Act, 1949. At present, CRPF is the world's largest paramilitary force with 228 battalions and over three lakh personnel.
  • Ministry of Minority Affairs - the department of government which for the first time had inaugurated Hunar Haat (Skill Haat) at India International Trade Fair (2016) at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. It is aimed at promoting and supporting artisans from Minority communities and providing them domestic as well as international market for display and sell their products. The Hunar Haat exhibition has been organised by the National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC) under "USTTAD" scheme In it about 184 master artisans from across the country are showcasing their traditional art and skills at about 100 stalls at the international platform. USTTAD stands for upgrading the Skills & Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development. It was launched by the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs.
  • NSSP - this stands for National Student Startup Policy is a programme launched to promote technology-driven student start-ups. It was launched during the second Visitor's Conference held at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. The NSSP has been formulated by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). It aims to create 1 lakh technology based student start-ups and a million employment opportunities within the next 10 years. It also aims to propel Indian youth to contribute to the nation's socio-economic progress through promotion of technology-driven student start-ups. NSSP seeks to develop an ideal entrepreneurial ecosystem by lending crucial soft skills like decision-making in the students. It also seeks to promote strong inter-institutional partnerships among technical institutions.
  • Rs 2.5 lakh is the amount which was allowed by the Union Government recently for families celebrating weddings to withdraw from bank account.
Current Affairs[October 2016]
  • Rs.2500 - the cap on fares for 1-hour flights by the government in its recently introduced UDAN scheme. From January 2017 the government will roll out its ambitious plan to introduce budget regional flying by connecting small towns by flights whose fares will be capped at Rs.2,500 for a one-hour flight. Termed "Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik" or UDAN, this regional connectivity scheme+ (RCS) will be funded by levying a fee on aircraft landing at bigger airports.
  • DGCA - it stands for Directorate General of Civil Aviation has been allowed to penalise pilots and airlines found violating aviation safety norms by imposing fines and going beyond just suspension or cancellation of permissions, in a move that will give more power to aviation regulator. Presently, the DGCA only debars, suspends and sometimes cancels permission to fly for airlines, individual pilots or engineers who err on the wrong side but is not allowed to impose any monetary penalty.
  • Sophia - the name of dog which along with horse 'Thunderbolt'-- the four-legged soldiers of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police created history by becoming the first animals which were decorated with special service medals during the celebrations of the 55th Raising day of ITBP recently. While seven-year-old Thunderbolt is part of the Animal Transport unit of the force, 'lifeline' of the force at high-altitude forward posts, three-year-old Sophia undertakes special sniffing operations to detect IEDs with her handler in Left Wing extremism hit areas of Chhattisgarh. The 80,000-personnel strong ITBP was raised in 1962 in the aftermath of the Chinese aggression and the force, apart from rendering border guarding duties, is tasked to carry out various activities in the internal security domain in the country.
  • Air India - they recently earned the record of operating the longest non-stop flight in the world with its October 16, 2016 Delhi-San Francisco flight over the Pacific covering the 15,204 km journey in 14.5 hours, two hours less than the 13,900km Atlantic route. Despite the route being longer, the flight took almost two hours less due to the winds blowing in the same direction and thus making it go faster.
  • TPC - it stands for Total Polar Compounds is the measure which can be used to continually monitor the changes in oil quality during frying. This was in the news recently after India's top food regulatory body, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) initiated a process that sets a maximum limit beyond which the edible oils become unsafe and must not be reused.
  • Carbon Monoxide - it is one of the 100 toxic gases released by 'lithium-ion' battery commonly used in smartphones and tablets as per the new study by researchers from the institute of NBC Defence in the US and the Tsinghua University in China. It was also found that a fully charged battery will release more toxic gases than a battery with 50% charge.
  • Vaibhavi - the name christened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the new born daughter of a couple, Bharat Singh and Vibha Singh from Mirzapur. PM granted the wish of the Mirzapur couple after the infant's mother wrote to him.
  • GEAC - it stands for Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee is the central biotech regulator of India. It was in the news recently after the sub-committee submitted its report to the GEAC saying that GM mustard was safe for consumption and cultivation.
  • 130 - it is the rank of India among 190 countries that had been surveyed for the annual rankings in the Ease of Doing Business list 2017 released by World Bank recently. The top 10 positions went to -New Zealand which was followed by Singapore, Denmark, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Norway, United Kingdom, United States, Sweden and Macedonia.
  • Rs.1.50 lakh per month - it is the monthly salary of President of India while it is Rs.1.25 lakhs for Vice-President of India. It was in the news recently after the Union Ministry prepared a proposal raising the emoluments of the two top functionaries. The move comes after the implementation of the 7th Pay recommendations which has created an anomalous situation in which the salary of President is Rs.1.00 lakhs less than the country top bureaucrat, the Cabinet Secretary.
  • INS Viraat - it is the aircraft carrier which recently made its last voyage, sailing under tow from Kochi to Mumbai. It is the oldest aircraft carrier and the 28,000-tonne warship was inducted into the Indian Navy in May 1987. It was commissioned in the UK's Royal Navy in 1959. The British operated it for 27 years. The aircraft carrier will fly the Indian flag and the naval ensign till it is decommissioned.
  • ePOS - it stands for electronic Point of Sales is the new system for monitoring transactions at fair price shops which has curtailed the scope of manipulation of purchase records and diversion of PDS grains to the open market. In India there are 5, 27,947 Fair Price Shops (FPS) in the country out of ePOS has been introduced in 1,54,628 shops. Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Chattisgarh and Rajasthan are the states where all fair price shops are ePOS enabled.
  • Great Indian Bustard - this bird along with vulture are two of the prominent birds among the 7% birds which are nearing extinction in India as per the biennial WWF study-the Living Planet report which takes stock of the global environment.
  • 1989 - the year in which the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was formed. The FATF is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering. In 2001 the purpose expanded to act on terrorism financing. It was in the news recently after the BRICS Goa declaration reaffirmed commitment to the Financial Action Task Force international standards on combating money laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation.It also called for swift, effective and universal implementation of FATF on combating terrorist financing, including effective implementation of its operational plan.
  • Rosneft - it is the Russia's state-controlled oil giant who recently took over major stake in India's second biggest private oil firm Essar Oil in an all-cash deal valued at about $13 billion (Rs 88,000 crore). Rosneft bought a 49 per cent stake in Essar Oil's refinery port and petrol pumps, while Netherlands-based Trafigura Group Pte, one of the world's biggest commodity trading companies, and Russian investment fund United Capital Partners split another 49 per cent equity equally. The remaining 2 per cent is held by minority shareholders after delisting of Essar Oil. The deal has an enterprise value of close to $13 billion, which includes Essar Oil's debt of $4.5 billion (Rs 30,000 crore) and about $2 billion (Rs13,342 crore) debt with the port company and power plant. Also, the near $3 billion dues to Iran for past oil purchases will continue to be on Essar Oil books. Essar Oil, part of a steel-to-ports conglomerate controlled by the billionaire Ruia brothers, operates a 405,000-barrels-a-day refinery at Vadinar in Gujarat. The refining complex also has a captive power plant as well as a port and terminal facilities.The deal would help the Essar Group, one of India's largest and most indebted conglomerates, trim its about Rs 88,000 crore (over $13 billion) debt and ward off creditor pressure.The deal was announced as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting of the leaders of the BRICS countries in Goa.The deal is the single largest foreign investment in the Indian refining sector and will strengthen the ties between the world's largest oil producer and the world's fastest growing fuel consumer.The acquisition is the biggest foreign acquisition ever in India and Russia's largest outbound deal.
  • Post Offices - it will be the new outlets for the sale of subsidised pulses by the government. In the absence of government outlets in states, the Centre will utilise huge network of post offices across the country to sell subsidised pulses, mainly tur, urad and chana, to ensure availability in the ongoing festival season.An inter-ministerial committee, headed by Consumer Affairs Secretary Hem Pande, took the decision at its meeting in New Delhi recently. There are 1.54 lakh post offices in the country, of which 1.39 lakh are in rural areas. The government has been releasing tur and urad from its buffer stocks for last many months to state governments as well as government agencies like Nafed and Mother Dairy for retail distribution at a subsidised rate in order to protect consumers from high prices.The government has targeted to create a buffer stock of 20 lakh tonnes this year and pulses are being procured directly from farmers in the domestic market and through imports.
  • PRJA - which stands for People's Resurgence Justice Alliance is the name of new party launched by rights activist Irom Sharmila recently in Imphal. Recently she broke her 16-year-old hunger strike demanding repeal of the AFSPA and announced that she would take her battle to the next level by floating her party as she wants to become the chief minister of Manipur to "press' for the demands.
  • INS Arihant - this is the country's first armed nuclear submarine capable of delivering atomic weapons from land, sea and air which was commissioned into service recently after extensive sea-trials. The 6,000-ton, 110-metre-long INS Arihant (the Sanskrit name meaning 'Slayer of Enemies') is powered by a 83 MW pressurised light water nuclear reactor. The vessel has been built under the Advanced Technology Vessel Project at the Ship Building Centre Visakhapatnam. With this induction, India has also completed its nuclear triad, which has a 'no first-strike' policy regarding the use of its nuclear weapons. Only five countries in the world -- US, UK, France, Russia and China have so far developed nuclear-armed submarines.
  • Cairn India Ltd - the company whose plea to export its share of crude oil from Barmer oil field in Rajasthan was rejected by the Delhi high court recently. This was rejected on the ground that domestic crude cannot be exported till India attained "self-sufficiency". It was said that in the instant case, as no notice of India attaining self-sufficiency was given to Cairn, it can only claim compensation from the government for not picking up its share of crude from the oil field. Under the production sharing contract (PSC) between Cairn and the Centre, the company gets 70 per cent of the crude produced from Barmer, with the rest going to the government.
  • Four - the slab GST tax structure of 6, 12, 18 and 26 per cent with lower rates for essential items and the highest for luxury goods that will also be levied with an additional cess was mooted recently at the GST Council meet recently.With a view to keep inflation under check, the proposal sponsored by the Centre proposed to continue exempting food items from tax as well as keep 50 per cent of the common use goods in either exempt category or lower band.Also, 70 per cent of the items is proposed to be governed by 18 per cent of lower GST rate. But ultra-luxury items like high-end cars and demerit goods like tobacco, cigarettes, aerated drinks, luxury car and polluting items would attract an additional cess on top of the 26 per cent GST rate.The panel that also includes representatives of all states, agreed on keeping base year for calculating the revenue of a state at 2015-16 and considering a secular growth rate of 14 per cent for calculating the likely revenue of each state in the first five years of implementation of GST.
  • Brahmos - these missiles are the one whose new generation series is going to be developed jointly by New Delhi and Moscow. The new generation of Brahmos missiles with 600 km-plus range will have the ability to hit protected targets with pinpoint accuracy. This range enables these missiles to strike anywhere within Pakistan. That Russia can work with India to produce these missiles has been possible due to New Delhi joining the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June 2016. Brahmos' current range is 300 km, which makes it difficult to hit targets deep inside Pakistan. India has ballistic missiles with longer range than the next generation Brahmos. But Brahmos' ability to take down specific targets, even well-protected ones, makes it a potential game changer in any conflict with Pakistan. Ballistic missiles are powered for the initial half of their flight path and they use gravity to complete their trajectory. But cruise missiles are powered throughout.
  • NBCC - the company in which the government recently initiated steps for its 15 per cent stake sale. The government holds 90 per cent in the company, which has a market capitalisation of Rs 15,180 crore.The Union Cabinet had in July this year cleared disinvestment in the project management consultancy and Real Estate Development Company.The stake sale is part of the government's Rs 56,600 crore disinvestment programme for the current fiscal. So far this fiscal, the government has raised Rs 6,414 crore through OFS and buyback of equity.NBCC is the third disinvestment through offer for sale (OFS) route by the government in the current fiscal. It had sold 7 per cent stake in Hindustan Copper to raise Rs 400 crore in September and 11.36 per cent in NHPC in April to garner Rs 2,716 crore.
  • INS Tihayu - the high tech water jet fast attack craft which was commissioned by the Indian Navy recently. Vice-Admiral H C S Bisht, Flag Officer Commanding-In-Chief of the ENC, commissioned the ship, built by Garden Reach Shipbuilder and Engineers, at the Naval Dockyard in Visakhapatnam.INS Tihayu, specifically built for meeting needs of extended coastal and offshore surveillance and patrol, has a length of 49.9 metres and maximum breadth of 7.5 meters. Named after an island in Nicobar, the vessel has an endurance of 2,000 nautical miles at 12 to 14 knots of economical speed.
  • April 2017 - the period from which no manufacturer will be allowed to produce vehicles that don't meet BS-IV emission norms as per the road transport ministry's notification. However it doesn't mention that already manufactured vehicles cannot be sold. The Supreme Court-appointed pollution control watchdog Environment Protection Control Authority (EPCA) recently threw a surprise suggesting that vehicle manufacturers should stop selling vehicles that are BS-III compliant from April 2017.
  • UDAN - which stands for Udey Desh Ka AamNagrik is the ambitious program of government set to give wings to its ambitious regional air connectivity scheme. The government had on July1,2016 unveiled the draft scheme which fixed all-inclusive fares at Rs.2500 for one-hour flight in its attempt to make flying affordable for common man.
  • The Ministry of Urban Development -this department recently signed a MoU with Ministry with Ministry of Railways under which railway stations and adjoining areas will be redeveloped on smart city lines for enhancing passenger amenities, providing easy access to stations and enabling optimal utilization of land at railway stations.
  • CIPAM which stands for Cell for IPR Promotion and management has been created as a professional body under the aegis of DIPP to take forward the implementation of National IPR Policy that was approved by the government in May 2016.
Current Affairs[September 2016]
  • India - it is the fourth country to demonstrate the flight testing of Scramjet Engine after the United States, Russia and European Space Agency. India recently successfully test fired its futuristic Scramjet (Supersonic Combustion Ramjet) Rocket Engine using oxygen from the atmosphere that could cut the cost of the launches several fold and help in Indian Space Research Organisation's bid to design advanced air breathing engines. The first experimental mission of Scramjet Engine was successfully conducted from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh recently. Scramjet engine designed by the ISRO uses Hydrogen as fuel and the Oxygen from the atmospheric air as the oxidiser. Usually, rocket engines carry both fuel and oxidiser on board for combustion, but these newly developed engines with air-breathing propulsion system will use oxygen from the atmosphere thereby reducing the lift-off mass of the vehicle. It will also help in bring down launch costs substantially.
  • August 29 - this day is celebrated as National Sports Day in India. This day marks the birthday of Dhyan Chand, the hockey player who won gold medals for India in the years 1928, 1932 and 1936. This day is celebrated by organizing friendly matches between different Indian hockey teams at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi, which was constructed in the respect and honor of Dhyan Chand.
  • E-rickshaws and e-carts - they will no longer require permits to ply on roads but states can impose restrictions on them under appropriate traffic laws regarding their movement in certain areas as per the decision taken by the government recently. According to the notification issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the provisions of the sub-section (1) of section 66 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, will not apply to e-carts and e-rickshaws (as defined in section 2A of the Act,) that are used for carrying goods or passengers with personal luggage. The notification has removed the legal hurdles in the way of running of electric rickshaws as last mile connectivity. As per the notification, e-rickshaws have been allowed to carry four passengers and 40 kg luggage while e-carts would transport goods up to 310 kg.
  • Tata Motors - the company whose controversial acquisition of 997.11 acres of land in Singur in 2006 by the then Left Front government in West Bengal to set up the ambitious Nano car manufacturing plant was set aside by the Supreme Court recently. They agreed that the land should be restored in 12 weeks to the owners and cultivators after completing the survey, identification and other formalities within 10 weeks. The apex court said the state government cannot claim back the amount of compensation given to the land-losers as it had enjoyed the right over the acquired land for 10 years.
  • Rs. 10 lakh - the amount of insurance cover being offered by Railways on booking a train ticket online which started from 1st September 2016. A person booking a train ticket through the IRCTC website will be able to opt for travel insurance cover for a premium of 92 paise only. The new facility will be available to all passengers, excluding those travelling by suburban trains while booking online irrespective of the class. The cover will not be applicable for children upto 5 years of age and foreign citizens. It will be for passengers holding tickets such as confirmed, RAC and wait-listed ones. The scheme offers travellers/nominees/legal heirs a compensation of Rs 10 lakh in the event of death or total disability, Rs 750,000 for partial disability, up to Rs 200,000 for hospitalisation expenses and Rs 10,000 for transportation of mortal remains from the place of a train accident or where an untoward incident, including terrorist attack, dacoity, rioting, shootout or arson, occurs. However, no refund of the premium will be given in case of cancellation of the ticket.
  • Avanti Finance - the name of proposed microfinance firm which is going to be started by Tata Trusts chairman Ratan Tata, former Infosys CEO Nandan Nilekani and National Institute of Public Finance and Policy chairman Vijay Kelkar. Avanti will apply to the RBI for registration and is expected to start operations before the end of financial year.
  • 72nd - the rank of IITs in Delhi and Mumbai in the recently released Reuters list of Top 75 Asia's Most Innovative Universities. The list identifies institutions doing the most advance science, invent new technologies and help drive the global economy. The list is topped by KAIST of South Korea followed by University of Tokyo, Japan. The Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, the only other Indian Institute in the list, is ranked 73
  • 7.1 - the percentage of GDP growth of India during the quarter April to June 2016 which was slowest in 15 months. Despite the slowdown, India remains the world's fastest growing major economy, ahead of 6.7% growth in China. GDP growth slowed mainly due to subdued performance of mining, construction and farm sectors.
  • Sony Pictures - the company which recently announced its deal to buy the Ten Sports from Zee Entertainment for $385 million (Rs2850 crore). This sale will consolidate the sports broadcast market in India between Sony Pictures and Star India, with Nimbus retaining the third spot.
  • Rs.3.93 lakh crore - the amount of Fiscal deficit in the first four months of the current financial year i.e. April -July 2016 which was 73.3% of the Budget Estimates (BE) for 2016-17. Fiscal deficit, which is the gap between expenditure and revenue for the entire current fiscal has been pegged at Rs.5.33 lakh crore or 3.5% of the GDP for 2016-17.
  • 75 - the percentage of money the government agencies and public bodies will have to pay to the contractors against a bank guarantee in case of any dispute of payment as per the new Cabinet decision. This move will unlock thousands of crores and infuse liquidity into the stressed construction sector.
  • 10 years - the period of residence which can be allowed to foreign investors if they invest Rs.10 crore over 18 months or Rs.25 crore over three years, resulting in jobs for at least 20 residents every fiscal as per the new policy approved by the Union cabinet recently. The residency permit can be extended by a decade. Up to now, such investors have been eligible for business visas lasting up to five years.
  • Rs.300 per day - the revised minimum wages in C category area for agricultural workers as announced by government recently which was previously Rs.211 per day. The daily wages for non-agriculture workers was Rs.246 which has now increased to Rs.350 per day.
  • Trinamool Congress - the party which was recently recognized by the Election Commission as a 'national party'. National party status for Trinamool comes after EC recently revised norms for recognition of parties, allowing for review of a party's recognition based on its performance over two consecutive polls.
  • 2050 - the year by which India is now expected to achieve the goal of universal primary education as per recently released UNESCO's new Global Education Monitoring report. As per the report India will be half a century late in achieving its global education commitments and the country needs fundamental changes in the education system if it wants to meet the 2030 sustainable development goals. UNESCO's report says that based on current trends universal primary education in Southern Asia will be achieved in 2051, lower secondary in 2062, and upper secondary in 2087. India is expected to achieve universal primary education in 2050, universal lower secondary education in 2060 and universal upper secondary education in 2085.
  • INSAT-3DR - on-board GSLV-F05, is the advanced weather satellite which was launched by ISRO recently. The launch of the GSLV-F05 marks the tenth flight of India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, designed to inject 2 to 2.5 ton class of satellites in geostationary orbits.The rocket is almost 49 meters high -- as much as a 17-floor building. It weighs 415 tons -- as much as the combined weight of 80 full grown elephants.GSLV-F05 is significant since it is the first operational flight of GSLV carrying Cryogenic Upper Stage. The INSAT-3DR satellite is an improvement of its predecessor -- INSAT-3D. The new satellite possesses an atmospheric sounding system which allows it to map vertical changes of humidity, temperature and ozone content in Earth's atmosphere. The INSAT-3DR will provide a variety of meteorological services to the country
  • Flexi fare system - the new concept of pricing of tickets which has been introduced by Railways in 2AC ,Chair Car and 3AC for premier trains - Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi from September 9.The base fare for Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi trains will be on flexi fare system. However, there will be no change in the existing fare for 1AC and Executive Class of travel in premier trains.While 10 per cent of the seats will be sold in the normal fare in the beginning, it will go on increasing by 10 per cent with every 10 per cent of berths sold with the ceiling limit at maximum 50 per cent depending upon the demand. For 2AC and Chair Car, the maximum hike is 50 per cent while for 3AC, it is 40 per cent. Other supplementary charges like reservation charges, superfast charge, catering charges, and service tax as applicable shall remain unchanged. There are total 42 Rajdhani trains, 46 Shatabdi and 54 Duronto trains.
  • ICICI Bank - the country's largest private sector lender,is employing robots to perform tasks like generating customer IDs, updating addresses and mobile numbers, resolving ATM-related queries, etc. Claiming to be the first Indian bank to use software robotics, ICICI Bank claimed recently that the use of this technology has helped them in reducing response time by up to 60 per cent. Software robotics is essentially a step up over automation, where bots ensure applications can interact seamlessly.
  • BYJU's - a Bengaluru-based education technology firm is the first venture where Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's investment arm for education and healthcare, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, has made its first investment in Asia.The $50 million commitment saw funding from investors such as Sequoia Capital, Sofina and Lightspeed Ventures, and Times Internet. The investment would be used for expansion. The BYJU's app has been downloaded more than 5.5 million times and reached 250,000 annual subscribers across India. It has an average engagement rate of 40 minutes per day and 90 per cent of users renew their subscription.
  • 1.4 million - the number of lives which was lost in India in 2013 due to air pollution as per the World Bank report released recently. As per the report released by the World Bank and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, in 2013 more than 5 million deaths worldwide were attributed to health conditions caused by air pollution. China and India were ranked 4th and 6th respectively in the world in the deaths per million due to air pollution in 2013.
  • Greek Landscape - the iconic grey painting by iconic modernist Akbar Padamsee which was recently sold for Rs.19.2 crore($2.9 million),setting a new auction record for the artist. It also became the fifth priciest work by an Indian artist with VS Gaitonde in the No.1 slot (Rs.29.3 crore).
Current Affairs[August 2016]
  • 60/40 - it is the admission formula which was scrapped recently by the Joint Entrance Examination Apex Board(JAB) for admission to the 31 National Institutes of Technology(NIT), Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology(IIEST-Shibpur, IIITs and government institutes. Now the minimum qualification criteria would be 75% marks in higher secondary (HS) exam or rank among the top 20 percentile in their board exams.
  • 15years - it is the period for which NITI Aayog is likely to form a committee of experts to estimate the demand for food supplies and chart out a roadmap to meet the requirement. This was finalised in a meeting of Niti Aayog chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Aayog was asked to adjust food production targets based on public consumption trends as it would help prioritize what would be required in future, considering the implications of an evolving middle class in India.
  • Universal banks - these banks in the private banks are the one for which the Reserve Bank of India released the final guidelines for their on-tap licensing, under which it ring-fenced the banking system from large industrial houses, excluding them from floating banks in the future. But conglomerates have been allowed to hold up to 10 per cent in the lenders. For this purpose, RBI defined large group NBFC as an entity which is a part of a group having total assets of Rs 5,000 crore (Rs 50 billion) or with the non-financial business of the group not accounting for 40 per cent or more in terms of total assets or gross income. The minimum paid-up equity capital for a bank would be Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion). The bank shall open at least 25% of its branches in un-banked, rural centres.
  • Rs. 10,000 - it is the fine for drunken driving which has been proposed in the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 which was approved by Government recently. The bill also has provision of up to Rs. 10 lakh compensation in case of road fatality and Rs 2 lakh compensation for hit-and-run cases. The proposals are based on the recommendations of transport ministers from 18 states, and the bill includes penalties in the range of Rs 1000-Rs 4000 for over-speeding. As per the bill, driving without insurance will be punishable with Rs. 2,000 fine and/or three-month imprisonment, while driving without helmets will attract Rs. 2,000 fine and 3-month suspension of licence. The provisions also include that guardian/owner will be deemed to be guilty in case of road offence by juveniles while registration of the vehicle will be cancelled.
  • April 1, 2017 - it is the target date for rollout of the Goods and Services Tax as per the detailed roadmap for its implementation unveiled by government recently. The government also said it is aiming for an 'optimal' rate of taxation though the final decision will be taken by the GST Council. Once implemented, the GST will subsume various taxes, including excise, services tax, octroi and other levies and the proceeds will be shared between the Centre and states.
  • 7th August - this day is celebrated every year as National Handloom Day. This day is celebrated to mark the 1905 Swadeshi movement. It was on August 7, 1905 that the formal proclamation of the Swadeshi Movement was made in a meeting at the Calcutta Town hall. The movement involved boycotting British products and the revival of domestic products and production processes.
  • 31st October -the name of film starring Soha Ali Khan and Vir Das based on former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's assassination that was recently cleared by the censor board. Directed by National award winning film maker Shivaji Lotan Patil, the movie is based on the aftermath of Indira Gandhi's assassination.
  • 6.5 percent -the repo rate presently which was kept unchanged by Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan recently in the 3rd bi-monthly monetary policy review citing upside risks to the Reserve Bank's inflation target for March 2017. Repo rate is the rate at which RBI lends to the system has been retained at 6.5 per cent, while the reverse repo rate which is paid to banks has been maintained at 6 per cent. The Cash Reserve Ratio will be at 4 per cent. On growth, RBI maintained its projection of 7.6 per cent on a gross value addition basis, saying the favourable monsoon which is 3 per cent above the average which raises agricultural growth and rural demand and higher consumption on the back of the 7th Pay Commission implementation will be aiding it.
  • Jaldoot Train - the name of train which was deployed to supply water from Miraj town to Latur in Marathwada. Since its first run in April2016 to then parched Latur, the train delivered 2.79 crore litre water to the drought-affected town till completing its 111th and last trip recently. The train, run jointly by Indian Railways and state government, filled up 50 wagons with water from Miraj junction and carried it 340-km away to Latur city on its last trip.
  • 3cm - the average growth in height of Indian men between 1914 and 2014 which has taken the average height of men in India to 165cm(5'5") while women grew taller by 5cm to take the average height to 153cm(5'1"). The men from Netherlands with average height of 182.5cm and women from Latvia with average height of 169.8cm are the tallest. These findings are based on study conducted by Imperial College, London.
  • NW1 - the name of country's first national waterway which was notified in October 1986 and its total length is 1620km. It was in the news recently after the government launched its first trial of cargo transport carrying 200 newly assembled Maruti cars and another 1000tonnes building material from Varanasi to Kolkata.
  • 2017 - it is the year from which there will be no separate Railway Budget in India putting an end to a practice that started in 1924. The finance ministry has agreed to railway ministry proposal to merge the annual exercise with the general budget.
  • 3days - it is the period fixed by the Reserve Bank of India for customers to report the unauthorized electronic transactions to get the benefit of zero liability' in third party frauds. This means banks will have to make goods the losses suffered by customers. In case where the victim notifies the fraud between 4 and 7 days after coming to know about it, the customer's liability will be capped at Rs.5, 000. In a draft notification issued recently RBI said that if a bank employee is responsible for the fraud the customer must get his money back irrespective of whether it is reported in time or not.
  • 66th - it is the rank of India as per report by the UN World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), which calls for more transparent policies if the country aspires to become a global driver of innovation India moved up 15 spots from 81st last year to 66th this year in the overall global rankings. The top rankers are: Switzerland 1, Sweden 2, UK 3, USA 4.The Global Innovation Index 2016, released by the WIPO, Cornell University, and the multi-nation business graduate school INSEAD, said India ranks among the top 50 economies overall in two pillars: market sophistication, 33, and knowledge and technology out-puts, 43.
  • Machhli - the name of the legendary Ranthambore tigress that died recently.She was 19 years old. She is believed to have died of age-related issues. Also referred to as T 16, Machhli was probably the world's most photographed tigress. She was named Machhli because of the marks on her face that resemble a fish. She had contributed more than $10 million a year to the economy of Ranthambore over the last 10 years.
  • Bharatiya Mahila Bank - it is the wholly-owned bank by the government started in 2013 which is going to be merged with State Bank of India by March 2017. The State Bank of India recently approved the share swap ratios for the merger of five associate banks and Bharatiya Mahila Bank with itself. SBI will also issue 44.2 million shares to the government for one billion shares of Bharatiya Mahila Bank.
  • 90 paise - it is the insurance premium which will be charged by Indian Railways (IR) from September 2016 for coverage of Rs.10 lakhs. At first, insurance would be available for those who book tickets online. Later, the scheme could be extended to season ticket travellers, where for a premium of Rs 200-300, they will get annual coverage. IR has selected three insurance companies - Shriram General Insurance, ICICI Lombard General Insurance and Royal Sundaram General Insurance - for insuring its passengers. Each would get insurance policies on a rotation basis from an automated system. The railway scheme is in line with the present government's policy of affordable insurance schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Suraksha Bima Yojana, where for an annual premium of Rs 330 and Rs 12, respectively, consumers get coverage of up to Rs 200,000.
  • 20% - it is the hike which has been made in the pension of the freedom fighters after it was announced by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address to the nation on the 70th Independence Day from the Red Fort. There are around 37,000 freedom fighters in the country. The existing dearness relief system based on All India Consumer Price Index for Industrial workers, which was hitherto applied to freedom fighter pensioners on annual basis, is being discontinued and replaced by the dearness allowance system applicable to central government employees twice a year.
  • 20ft - it is the cap on height of Dahi Handi as per the recent decision of Supreme Court. The court also directed that no one below 18 years of age can take part in human pyramids formed to celebrate Janmashtami.
  • 10 years - the new time period fixed by the Election Commission to review the national and state party status of political parties instead of the present five. A commission notification said while the criteria of being recognised as a national and state party will remain unchanged, the review of the status will take place every two consecutive Lok Sabha or assembly elections instead of one. Recognition as a national or a state party ensures that the election symbol of that party is not used by any other political entity in polls across India. Other registered but unrecognised political parties have to choose from a pool of "free symbols" announced by the commission from time to time. Besides, these parties get land or buildings from the government to set up their party offices. They can have up to 40 number of 'star campaigners' during electioneering. Others can have up to 20 such 'star campaigners'. A political party becomes eligible to be recognised as a national party if it has won 2 per cent of seats in the Lok Sabha from at least three different states in the latest general election; or in a Lok Sabha or assembly election it has polled 6 per cent of the total valid votes in at least four states, in addition to winning four Lok Sabha seats; or it has been recognised as a state party in at least four states.
  • Rs.4.31 crore - the price at which the suit donned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his meeting with United States President Barack Obama in New Delhi in 2015 was auctioned which has now entered the Guinness World records as ' the most expensive suit sold at auction' . The suit was purchased by Surat based diamond trader Lalji Patel who owns Dharmananda Diamonds Company. The suit which has stripes with ' Narendra Damodardas Modi' woven into gold letters was reportedly prepared at a cost of Rs.10 lakh.
  • 7th - the position of India according to the report by the New World Health as India figured among the top 10 wealthiest countries in the world with a total individual wealth of $5,600 billion. The US is the wealthiest in the world in terms of total individual wealth held at ($48,900 billion) while china stood second and Japan third with a wealth of $17,400 billion and $15,100 billion respectively. Wealth refers to net assets of a person, including assests (property, cash, equities, business interests).
  • UPI - it stands for Unified Payments Interface operated by which National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) which went live recently. It is an application that will make money transfer as easy as sending a text message by allowing real-time money transfer. By using this application, a customer can transfer money to another person through a unique virtual address (virtual addresses are aliases to a bank account allowing a customer's account to be uniquely mapped), or mobile number, or Aadhaar number. Therefore, customers do not need to know the payee's bank account details, etc, and this will make the process simpler. It is currently available for a customer of 21 banks. UPI is a payment solution which empowers a recipient to initiate the payment request from a smartphone. It facilitates 'virtual payment address' as a payment identifier for sending and collecting money and works on single click 2-factor authentication. The soft launch of UPI was announced by the outgoing Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan in April this year and was under pilot run, mainly with employee-customers, for some time. After assessing the success of pilot run, RBI had accorded its final approval for public launch of the product.
  • 25% - it is the new cap on exposure limit of banks to a single borrower group which was recently announced by Reserve Bank of India. At present banks can go up to 55% of their tier-I capital in case of infra loans. In case of individual entities the limit has been raised from 15% to 20%. The central bank also proposed to allow corporate bonds as a collateral for short term borrowings under repo- a mechanism where bonds are sold and bought back at predetermined prices. These steps have been announced to prevent banks from building up large exposures to a few big corporate and move them to bond market.
  • Rs. 70 lakhs - it is the expense limit set by Election Commission for each candidate for the Lok Sabha elections and Rs.28 lakhs for assembly polls for bigger states. For some states the limit is Rs.54 lakh and Rs.20lakh for Lok Sabha and assembly polls respectively. Till 1997 the limit was Rs.15 lakhs for LS polls and Rs.6 lakh for Assembly polls for most states. It was in the news recently after the Supreme Court ruled that the market value of the campaign materials fixed by the Election Commission is not "sacrosanct".
  • Gratuity - it is the benefit which has been extended to all government employees recruited after January 2004. The Centre and many state governments switched to the new pension scheme (NPS) from January 1, 2004 that required employees to contribute 10% of their monthly salary towards their pension with a matching contribution from the government. Gratuity is calculated as a proportion of the last salary drawn and takes into account the number of years put in by the employee. The upper limit for the gratuity was recently raised from Rs.10lakh to Rs.20lakh in line with the recommendation of the seventh Pay Commission. As per the pension department order issued recently all government employees covered by the NPS shall be eligible for the benefit of retirement gratuity and death gratuity on same terms and conditions as applicable to other employees.
Current Affairs[July 2016]
  • 105 - it is the rank of India on a Worldwide Human Capital Index, which measures countries' ability to nurture, develop and deploy talent for economic growth. The list was topped by Finland. India ranks much below China's 71st position while Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka are also placed higher on the index released recently by Geneva-based World Economic Forum. India was ranked 100th last year out of total 124 countries included in the 2015 index.
  • Tejas - it is the name of the locally produced light combat aircraft that will be now be inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) after 33 years the project was approved. The single-engine planes, a much delayed replacement for ageing MiG-21 fighters are being manufactured by Bengaluru based Hindustan aeronautics Limited (HAL)
  • NPPA - its stands for National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority and was in the news recently after it fixed/revised ceiling prices of 45 scheduled formulation of Schedule-I under Drugs(Price Control) Amendments Order,2016.The authorities has also fixed the retail price of 12 formulations under Drugs Price Control Order,2013. The government fixes the prices of essential drugs based on the simple average of all medicines in a particular therapeutic segment having sales of more than 1%. Companies are allowed to increase the prices of such drugs by up to 10% in a year.
  • 7th Pay Commission - the commission, whose recommendations were cleared by Union Cabinet recently. About 1 crore (10 million) central government employees and pensioners are going to get the benefit of hike. The pay panel had in November recommended 14.27 per cent hike in basic pay at junior levels, the lowest in 70 years. The previous 6th Pay Commission had recommended a 20 per cent hike which the government doubled while implementing it in 2008.After considering the increase proposed in allowances, the hike in remunerations comes to 23.55 per cent.
  • 7.6% - it is the percentage of bad loans of banks (as percentage of total advances) as on 31st March 2016 as against 5.1% as of 30th September, 2015. 8.5% is the estimated percentage of gross bad loans as of 31st March, 2017. The top 100 borrowers of banks accounted for 19.3% of bad loans as on 31st March, 2016, a surge from just 2.9% in September 2015. The clean- up process initiated by RBI has resulted in bad loans stocks of banks rising to a record Rs.5.8 lakh crore as of 31st March, 2016. These data's are based on Foreword to the RBI's Financial Stability Report written by the RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan.
  • 30th September, 2016 - it is the last date of the Income Declaration Scheme 2016 that gives tax evaders the opportunity to declare undisclosed income or face strong punitive action. The scheme announced in this year budget opened on 1st June, 2016. Those who had under-reported their income or assets for the previous assessment years have the option to come clean by paying tax, interest and penalty totaling 45% of the undisclosed income.
  • Varunastra - the name of indigenously-built heavyweight anti-submarine torpedo which was formally handed over to the Indian Navy by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar recently. With this, India has joined the list of eight countries having the capability to design and build such a system. Having almost 95 per cent indigenous content, Varunastra, costing about Rs. 10-12 crore per unit, is capable of targeting quiet and stealthy submarines, both in deep and littoral waters in intense counter-measure environment. Varunastra weighs around 1.25 tonnes and can carry about 250 kg of explosives at a speed of around 40 nautical miles an hour.
  • Prashikshak - it is the name of the Teacher Education Portal which was launched recently by Ministry of Human resources Development in association with NCTE. The features of portal are that it will have database about all DIETs, comparative index for DIETs, data analytic report and monitoring of CSSTE related parameters. The mission is to foster District Institute of Education and Training (DIETs) through Teacher Education Portal (TEP).
  • Madras High Court - the name of this court along with Bombay High Court will undergo a change in their names after the Cabinet approved a law ministry proposal to change the name of these two high courts through an Act of Parliament to correspond to the present names of the cities Mumbai and Chennai respectively. The proposal of the Department of Justice in the Law Ministry is to bring a bill-The High Courts (Alteration of Names) Bill, 2016-to rename the two High Courts established in 1860's under Indian High Court Act, 1861.
  • 3 years - it is the period for which the tax holidays are available to Startups in India in a block of initial five years. If a tax holiday is to be availed, the entity is required to be set up between April1, 2016 and March31, 2019 with an approval of an inter-ministerial board set up by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
  • 25 lakh or more - it is the amount which can be received by Startups via the convertible note route in a single tranche from a person which will not be termed as a 'deposit'. Such a convertible note is to be turned into equity or repaid within 5 years. Owing to this relaxation, the stringent rules relating to informing the registrar of companies (RoC) or creating a deposit repayment reserve in the books of accounts will not apply to start up receiving funds via convertible notes. But this relaxation is available only to those startups meeting the government prescribed norms.
  • Rs.331.75 - it is the monthly per capita spending on services in rural India as against Rs.819.36 in urban areas as per the data from the 72nd round of the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) carried out between July 2014 and June 2015.
  • 26th May 2016 - it is the date from which the affixing label of 'Star rating' of electric consumption has been mandatory on Colour TVs and Direct Cool Refrigerators. Mandatory labeled appliances now are frost free refrigerator, tubular fluorescent lamps, distribution transformers, room air conditioners, direct cool refrigerators and colour televisions.
  • Sankat Mochan - the name of operation aimed at evacuating over 500 Indians stuck in the war-torn South Sudan which got underway recently. The operation is being spearheaded Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh with the help of two C-17 Globemaster aircraft of the Indian Air Force from South Sudan's capital Juba.
  • Rs.3.00 lakhs - the amount over which the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money has sought a ban on cash transactions, limiting cash holdings and allowing the government to take over undisclosed cash beyond the threshold and overseas income. Pointing to rules in country such as France and Italy, the panel has proposed that cash transactions beyond Rs.3.00 lakhs be declared illegal and punishable under the law.
  • 10crore - the prescribed turnover of jewelers up to which the income tax department will not conduct search and seizure operations or challenge valuations regarding purity or weight of the metal, though the central government will not withdraw the 1% excise on non-silver jewellery. These are part of the recommendations of a panel headed by former chief economic advisor, Ashok Lahiri whose recommendations were accepted by the finance ministry recently.
  • 1gm - it is the minimum subscription which has been allowed in the 4th Tranche of the Sovereign Gold Bond which was issued by Government of India recently. These bonds have a tenure of 8 years with exit options in 5th, 6th and 7th year also.
  • Rs.22915 crore -the amount of capital which has been provided by the government recently to 13 PSU banks including SBI, PNB and IOB to enhance their lending operations and enable them to raise more money from the market. This is the first tranche of capital infusion for the fiscal and more funds would be provided in future depending upon the performance of PSU banks. The capital infusion exercise for the current fiscal is based on an assessment of need as assessed from the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of credit growth for the last five years, banks' own projections of credit growth and an objective assessment of the potential for growth of each PSBs
  • Deen Dayalu - it is the name of first modern unreserved coach which was rolled out recently by Railways. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu inaugurated the first Deen Dayalu coach in New Delhi recently. It will have facilities like potable drinking water, mobile charging points and bio-toilets among others to improve quality of travelling in general class.
  • IISc, Bangalore -it was ranked the top Indian institute in BRICS 2016 rankings. Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), global higher education analysts and compilers of the QS World University Rankings release a ranking of the best universities in the BRICS nations every year.
  • 7.4 percent - it is the growth projections for 2016-17 for India which has been trimmed by International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently, a drop of 0.1 per cent from its previous forecast, attributing it to a more sluggish investment recovery while declaring Brexit as a "spanner" in the global economic recovery. Updating its growth projection from the one it issued in April 2017, the IMF said in 2016 and 2017 India is projected to grow at a rate of 7.4 per cent. This it said is a drop of 0.1 per cent in both the years. According to IMF, China's growth rate in 2016 and 2017 would be 6.6 and 6.2 per cent.
  • 14 years - it is the age below which employment of children has been made a cognizable offence for employers and provides for penalty for parents. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill' makes employment of children below 14 years as cognizable offence for employers and provides for penalty for parents. The Bill defines children between 14-18 years as adolescents and lays down that they should not be employed in any hazardous occupations and processes.
  • NHAI - stands for National Highways Authority of India which plans to raise up to $750 million (around Rs.5000 crore) through green masala bonds that will be listed on the London Stock Exchange soon. Housing finance major HDFC became the first Indian company to list masala bonds-denominated in Indian rupees-on the London Stock Exchange when it raised Rs.3000 crore last week. Masala bonds-the name is derived from the Hindi word for spice-are instruments through which Indian entities can raise funds in rupees by accessing overseas capital markets while bond investors hold the currency risk.
  • INS Viraat - the India's majestic aircraft carrier which is being decommissioned after nearly six decades in service. Viraat had first served British Navy for over 30 Years before being bought by India. Viraat was originally commissioned by British Royal Navy as HMS Hermes on November 18, 1959.
  • Startup Village - the country's first public-private partnership business incubator, has been named India's best startup incubator. Startup Village is ranked number one in a first-of-its-kind comprehensive ranking by the India edition of Entrepreneur Magazine of the 100 best startup incubators in India (25 across sectors and 75 sector specific).
  • BharatNet - formerly National Optical Fibre Network project, is the ambitious project planned to improve internet penetration in rural areas. The government is in the process of establishing a massive network infrastructure by connecting all 250,000 gram panchayats through optical fibre, providing broadband connectivity by all categories of service providers which will be implemented in three phases. In the first phase, 100,000 gram panchayats will be connected by March 2017, and this connectivity would be further extended to the remaining 150,000 panchayats by December 2018. The third phase involving a future-proof network involving fibre between districts and blocks, is planned to be completed by 2023.
  • AN-32 - it is the name of Indian Air Force's Port Blair bound transport plane went missing after it took off from the Tambaram air base in Chennai on July 22, 2016. After 48 hours of frantic search involving assets drawn from Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard, authorities have lodged a formal complaint with Tamil Nadu police over the missing AN-32 aircraft. Meanwhile, the search and rescue team is seeking satellite imagery to find any clue of the plane that lost contact over the Bay of Bengal.
  • Karwan-e-Aman - meaning, Peace Caravan, is the name of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service which was in the news recently after it resumed its services. The Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service resumed recently after remaining suspended for two weeks in view of the unrest in Kashmir Valley. The bus service was started in April 2005 as part of the confidence building measures between New Delhi and Islamabad.
  • Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) - the software services major which has been ranked as the top employer in the Indian IT industry by the representative body Nasscom. The Mumbai-based firm was followed by its peers Infosys, Cognizant, Wipro and Capgemini. At the end of June, 2016, TCS had a total headcount of 3.62 lakh while Infosys and Wipro had 1.97 lakh and 1.73 lakh, respectively.
  • Myntra - the Flipkart-owned company which recently acquired Jabong from Global Fashion Group a move that will mark further consolidation in India's booming e-commerce industry.
  • Gujarat - the state which is having the cleanest railway stations in the country according to a passenger feedback survey on cleanliness carried out by the Railway Ministry, which says lack of sanitation at stations was the biggest area of concern for commuters. Out of the 40 different cleanliness parameters passengers rated stench at stations as their top concern, followed by lack of dustbins and unclean platforms. The survey was conducted at 407 major railway stations and nearly 130,000 passengers took part in it. Among the 10 cleanest stations in the order of ranking are Beas, Gandhidham, Vasco Da Gama, Jamnagar, Kumbakonam, Surat, Nasik Road, Rajkot, Salem and Ankleshwar. Five stations in Gujarat--Gandhidham, Jamnagar, Surat, Rajkot and Ankleshwar-- are among the top 10
  • Humboldt penguins - the species of penguins that have been brought to India for the first time. They will be put in special enclosure of Byculla zoo in Maharashtra after three months of acclimatization. Humboldt penguins nest in burrows and are medium sized, growing between 55cm and 70cm in length and can weigh up to 5.9kg. They are mostly found along the pacific coast of South America, from Isla Foca in Peru down to Algarrobo in Chile.
  • 1% -it is the additional tax on inter-state sales as proposed in the GST bill which was removed from the GST Constitutional Amendment Bill by the Union Cabinet recently which headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. By doing away with the 1 per cent inter-state tax over and above the GST rate, the government has met one of the three key demands over which Opposition Congress has been blocking the Bill in the Upper House. The other demands of including GST rate in the statute and a Supreme Court judge-headed dispute resolution body has not been accepted
  • GST Council - the committee that has been proposed in the GST Constitutional Amendment Bill to adjudicate any dispute between states and the Centre. It will have representation from both the Centre and states. The changes approved by the Cabinet are to the Constitutional Amendment Bill that was approved by the Lok Sabha in May last year. Once the Rajya Sabha approves the legislation, the amended Bill will have to go back to the Lok Sabha again for approval.
  • 5 -the number of initial years of rollout is the period which has been agreed for providing guarantee to compensate states for any revenue loss of the proposed indirect tax regime by the Cabinet in the GST Constitutional Amendment Bill. The Bill, in its present form, provides that the Centre will give 100 per cent compensation to states for first three years, 75 per cent and 50 per cent for the next two years. However, the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha had in its report recommended 100 per cent compensation for probable loss of revenue for five years. As per the amendments, the Centre will now constitutionally guarantee states any loss of revenue from the GST subsuming all indirect taxes, including VAT, in the first five years of introduction.
  • CAF Bill - it stands for Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill which was passed by the Parliament recently. The bill once it gets it ascent from President will also create a institutional mechanism for use of fresh accrual of an estimated Rs. 6,000 crore per anum(over the Rs.42000 crore lying unspent till now) that would be collected for diversion of forest land for non forest use in future. Bill is also meant for setting up a national authority at the Centre and one in respective states to monitor utilization of the funds.
  • Shyam Benegal committee - this committee has recommended scrapping the anti-tobacco warning running on the screen along with the film and instead put a static visual at the beginning of the film. The panel has also recommended that 'licensed suppliers' of performing animals be used for providing animals for films and clarity on definition of such animals.

National Current Affairs 2016

Current Affairs[June 2016]
  • 6.5 % - the short-term lending rate which was retained by Reserve bank of India second bimonthly monetary policy for the current fiscal. It is the rate at which the RBI lends to commercial banks. Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) which is the share of deposits bank must kept with RBI, was kept at 4 percent Reserve Bank of India. Governor Raghuram Rajan kept the key policy rate unchanged citing higher upside risks to 'inflation trajectory' but said the central bank will remain accommodative provided data are supportive.
  • Six - the number of nuclear power plant reactors to be set up in India for which the Nuclear Power Corporation of India and US firm Westinghouse have agreed to begin engineering and site design work immediately conclude contractual arrangements by June 2017. Once completed, the project would be among the largest of its kind, fulfilling the promise of the US-India civil nuclear agreement and demonstrating a shared commitment to meet India's growing energy needs while reducing reliance on fossil fuels.
  • INS Vikramaditya - the naval ship which recently saw an incident of gas leak during repairs which led to death of 2 persons. INS Vikramaditya, the Russian made aircraft carrier is India's largest naval ship equipped with a variety of integral weapons and sensors. It is presently undergoing repairs at Karwar in Karnataka.
  • Rs.100 - the rate per kg for the first 5 kg of excess baggage which has been fixed by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation(DGCA) which will be effective from 15th June 2016. In addition to this other changes has also been introduced relating to refunds, compensation, delays and passenger facilities.
  • IIS - stands for The Indian Institute of Science (IIS), Bangalore which has retained its position as the country's best university, according to the latest Asian University rankings by global higher education analysts Quacquarelli Symonds. It has risen one place to 33rd spot, driven largely by its research work. IIT, Mumbai has risen 11 places to 35th position. The top 3 universities in the overall QS University rankings 2016 (Asia) are national University of Singapore(NUS), Singapore; University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong; Nanyang Technological university(NTU), Singapore.
  • Rs 500 crore-the amount that should be the worth of accounts to be eligible for 'Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets' which was announced by The Reserve Bank of India recently. The Reserve Bank of India under this has allowed banks to conduct deep restructuring of large accounts to revive projects that can be saved, effectively throwing a lifeline to promoters who risked losing their companies. Only those promoters who have shown no malfeasance in their actions while running the show can ask for the permission to continue with the management, even if they get reduced to minority shareholders in the process.
  • Aviation sector - the sector to which the 5/20 policy relates to which was tweaked by the cabinet recently. '5/20' policy prevented Indian airlines from flying overseas unless they have operated for at least five years and have a fleet of 20 aircraft. Easing the 5/20 rule would mark an important further step towards liberalising India's aviation market, the world's fastest growing. The rule, unique to India, had sought to encourage the growth of the nascent domestic aviation industry, but many officials say that it now inhibits Indian carriers from growing their share of international travel.
  • Rs.29.7 lakh crore-it is the expected value of total assets worth of State Bank of India post- merger with its five associate lenders and Bharatiya Mahila Bank. The Union cabinet recently approved the merger in a definitive push for consolidation in the banking sector. The merger is expected to be completed in 2016-17. While India's largest lender would reap benefits of scale and a larger balance sheet, it will be a major challenge to integrate staff and rationalise branches. A significant aspect of employee rationalisation will be aligning the pay structures. The associates have a little over 70,000 employees, or 34 per cent of SBI's employee base.
  • 2% - the amount of cess the government will impose on domestic and international air travel after the approval of National Civil Aviation Policy by Union Cabinet recently. This cess has been imposed to fund the subsidy element to boost connectivity to smaller towns and cities. The airfares has been fixed at Rs 2,500 for one-hour long flights with an aim to increase connectivity to smaller towns and cities by offering incentives to airlines. The Centre will refund 80 per cent of the losses incurred by airlines due to the cap in fare on such routes.
  • HTT 40 - the name of India's indigenous basic trainer aircraft which made its inaugural flight recently. The two-seater aircraft designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is to be used for first stage training from all three military arms.
  • 21st June - this day was recently celebrated as International Yoga Day. International Day of Yoga (or commonly and unofficially referred to as Yoga Day, is celebrated annually on June 21 since its inception in 2015,as it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and shares special significance in many parts of the world
  • 100% - the percent of FDI which has been allowed in the airlines in the recent key reform decisions taken at a high level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narender Modi recently. FDI in existing airports have been allowed under automatic rule. Earlier the FDI allowed in airlines was just 49%.
  • Rs 10,000 crore - it is the amount by which the government recently set up 'Fund of Funds for Startups' to support them with an aim to generate employment for 18 lakh persons. The decision was taken in the Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Cabinet approved the establishment of 'Fund of Funds for Startups' (FFS) at Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) for contribution to various Alternative Investment Funds (AIF), registered with SEBI which would extend funding support to startups.
  • 6,000 crore - the amount of special package announced by government recently for textiles and apparel sector that aims at creating one crore (10 million) new jobs in 3 years and attract investments of $11 billion while eyeing $30 billion in exports. The measures approved include additional incentives for duty drawback scheme for garments, flexibility in labour laws to increase productivity as well as tax and production incentives for job creation in garment manufacturing. A unique feature of the scheme will be to disburse the subsidy only after the expected jobs are created.
  • PSLV - it stands for The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and it is India's work horse vehicle and so far it has successfully carried 113 satellites of which 74 were for international customers. It was in the news recently as it successfully launched a rocket carrying 20 satellites and placed the Cartosat-2 Series and 19 others in the designated polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO). The 727.5kg Cartosat-2 series will provide regular remote sending services and multispectral cameras and its imagery will be of multiple use.
  • India - this country recently joined Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) as its 35th member. Marking India's first entry into any multilateral export control regime, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar signed the instrument of accession to MTCR in the presence of France's Ambassador-designate Alexandre Ziegler, The Netherlands' Ambassador Alphonsus Stoelinga and Luxembourg's Charge d'Affaires Laure Huberty. The MTCR was created in order to curb the spread of unmanned delivery systems for nuclear weapons, specifically delivery systems that could carry a minimum payload of 500 kg for a minimum of 300 km.

National Current Affairs 2016

Current Affairs[May 2016]
  • 2.1% - the percentage by which the global remittance to India fell in 2015 over 2014. This was the first annual fall since the global financial crisis of 2008. The biggest fall happened in inflows from the Gulf region, which accounts for 52% of the total annual remittances. The yearly remittances fell from $70.4 billion in 2014 to $68.9 billion in 2015.
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - the foundation which has been chosen to partner with the Central Government to carry out a survey to rank the villages on different sanitation parameters. The idea is to encourage villages to improve sanitation and become open defecation-free. The survey will involve interaction with village panchayats, visiting households and taking pictures in different locations in villages.
  • CMS - it stands for Centralized Monitoring System which the government is setting up to automate process of lawful interception and monitoring of phones and Internet. The government has decided to set up the CMS in a phased manner to automate the process of lawful interception and monitoring of mobile phones, land lines and the internet in the country. The CMC at Delhi and RMC (Regional Monitoring Centre) at New Delhi and Mumbai have been operationalized.
  • 85% - the percentage of pictorial warnings which is compulsory to be displayed on surface of cigarette packets. It was in the news recently as the Supreme Court directed the tobacco manufacturing companies to comply with the 2014 rules until the validity of the law is decided by the court of India in reply to the petition filed by Tobacco Institute of India which challenged the rule.
  • 2 years - the period of holding of shares of startup companies which will be exempted from Capital Gains Tax as the fresh amendments introduced in the government in the Finance Bill. Currently, there is no capital gains tax on share transactions in listed companies if those stocks are held for 12 months but shares of unlisted entities face capital gains tax of 20% even after three years. The move to exempt capital gains on holding of shares of unlisted cos. for 24 months will benefit the startups and is expected to spur M & As.
  • 10% - the maximum percentage of investment allowed for corporate in new bank as per the draft guidelines released by Reserve Bank of India for issuing of bank licences recently. The RBI recently said that after a thorough examination the current 'Stop and Go' licensing policy will now pave way for 'Continuous authorization' policy where it will open a permanent window for bank licences. The new policy allows individual promoters with 10 years-experience in banking and finance to float banks. The new draft allows the promoter to own a minimum of 51% in the holding company while in the past the non-operating holding company had to be wholly owned by the promoter.
  • ICICI Bank - the first financial institution in the country to tie up with the BRICS promoted New Development Bank (NDB) for a partnership in bond issuances, co-financing, treasury management and human resources. As part of the pact the two lenders will look at each other as 'preferred partners'.
  • Six - the number of members who will be there in the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) set up for monetary policy review as per the amendments to the Reserve bank of India Act of 1934 as proposed in the Finance Bill, 2016. The MPC will be chaired by the RBI governor, however, will not enjoy a veto power to overrule the other panel members but will have a casting vote in case of a tie. The government will nominate three eminent persons to the MPC. No government official will be nominated to the MPC. The other three members would be from the RBI with the governor being the ex-officio chairman. Deputy Governor of RBI in charge of the monetary policy will be a member, as also an Executive Director of the central bank.
  • GeM - it stands for 'Government e-Marketplace' which will be online market being created for purchase of commonly used goods and services by ministries and departments of government. GeM will be utilized by government buyers to direct online purchases. Up to Rs.50, 000 of purchases can be made from any of the available suppliers on GeM.
  • SVA - it stands for Security Vetting Authority which is the name of authority which will be set up as per the draft of 'The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016'. Centre will set up SVA whose permission will be needed for acquiring maps, geospatial data through 'space or aerial platforms such as satellite, aircraft, balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles or terrestrial vehicles or any other means. An 'apex committee' will oversee SVA. Publication/dissemination of India's map, online or offline has to be vetted by SVA after publisher gets a license. The older maps must seek licenses within a year of bill being passed. Licensees must display 'insignia of clearance'.
  • NEET - it stands for National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test. It will be the only basis of all admissions to MBBS/BDS courses in government and private medical colleges or in deemed universities as per the recent decision of Supreme Court. NEET will be conducted by CBSE and will be based on NCERT syllabus for Classes XI and XII.
  • PMKVY - it stands for Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana which is the flagship scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE). The objective of this Skill Certification and Reward scheme is to enable and mobilize a large number of Indian youths to take up skill training in accordance to the national Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF). Under the scheme, Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) has also been started; wherein individuals with prior learning experience or skills are assessed and certified.
  • Anti - Hijacking Bill- the Bill which was recently cleared by Lok Sabha which provides for death penalty to the offenders in the case of death of hostages or security personnel and also has life imprisonment for the offence as well as confiscation of movable and immovable property of the accused. The Bill had been cleared by the Rajya Sabha earlier. The bill amends the 1982 act which provided for death penalty for the hijackers only in the event of death of the hostages.
  • Sea Harrier - the iconic aircraft of Indian Navy as recently phased out after 33 years of service. This maritime fighter was inducted in 1983 and was built by British aerospace. Indian Navy's Sea Harrier squadron was deployed during Operation Vijay in 1999 and embarked on the Viraat during the Operation Parakram in 2001 when standoff with Pakistan was at all-time high.
  • 7.3% - the rate by which India's economy is expected to grow in 2016 as per the mid-2016 update of the World Economic Situation and Prospect Report. As per the report India's economy is slowly gaining momentum and is expected to achieve a 7.5% growth in 2017. China which grew at 6.9% in 2015 is expected to witness slowdown in growth with its GDP projected to grow 6.4% in 2016 and 6.5% in 2017.
  • RAU - stands for Rajendra Agriculture University, Pusa, Samastipur, Bihar which was recently upgraded to central university after in a rarest of rare case, and both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha passed the legislation meant for upgrading the university as a central university in one day. Even President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to it the same day-making it a rarest of the rare case in parliamentary history. This gave Bihar its first central agriculture university.
  • 40% - the limit of holding the Financial Institutions can hold in banks as per the new circular issued by Reserve Bank of India. Individuals can hold up to 10% while non-financial entities have been allowed 15% stake.
  • Discovery Communications- the company which recently acquired 74% stakes in celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor -promoted Turmeric Vision which owns and operates TV network FoodFood and its digital products, in a deal estimated to be worth 47.10 million(around Rs.50 crore). Discovery's investment in FoodFood is being seen as part of strategy to expand its presence in the country and strengthen its portfolio of female and lifestyle brands such as TLC and ID.
  • Section 499 - the section of the Indian Penal Code which codifies the criminal defamation and punishment of up to two years in jail is prescribed in Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code. It was in the news recently as Supreme Court ruled that defamation will remain a criminal offence in India. The court said that the right to speech was sacrosanct but not absolute, and that one's right to reputation was part of one's fundamental right to life.
  • National IPR policy - it stands for National Intellectual Property Rights policy was unveiled by India recently which looks to safeguard trademark identities and promote creativity and entrepreneurship. It aims at fostering innovation, cutting delays in clearing patent, trademark and copyright applications, protecting traditional knowledge and encouraging entrepreneurship. This will bring India's IP regime in line with global standards and help improve its ranking in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business index. The new policy will also help substantially cut the time taken on clearing the backlog of IPR applications from the current five to seven years to 18 months by March 2018.
  • FSSAI - it stands for The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has turned its attention to restaurants, eating joints and hotels to enforce hygiene standards. A sub-group consisting of industry bodies like the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) and the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) and the FSSAI have been formed to amend rules that govern safety standards at eating establishments. The sub-group is expected to meet in the next three weeks to propose amendments to Schedule 4 of the Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011, that govern hygiene standards of food service operators.
  • IndusInd bank - the first bank to break away from the 'tied' agency model and partner multiple insurance companies. The private bank entered into a second distribution arrangement with Reliance GENERAL Insurance in addition to its partnership with Chola Mandalam Insurance. From April 2016, insurance regulator IRDA has allowed banks to follow an 'open architecture' where they can sell insurance plans of multiple companies.
  • Prithvi-II - the indigenously developed nuclear capable missile which was successfully test fired by India from a test range at Chandipur in Odisha recently. The trial of the surface to surface missile was carried out successfully from a mobile launcher from the launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test range at Chandipur.
  • Punjab National Bank - the bank which recently posted the highest quarterly loss by an Indian bank in India. The loss reported was Rs.5367 crore for the quarter ended March 2016 while in the same quarter last year bank reported a net profit of Rs.306 crore. The previous highest quarterly loss of Rs.3342 crore was reported by bank of Baroda for December 2015 quarter.
  • State Bank of India - the bank which recently announced its proposal to explore the possibility of acquiring India's first women bank-the Bhartiya Mahila Bank. It also announced the proposal to explore the merger of five associate banks with itself that could create an Rs.37 lakh crore banking monolith with a country wide presence and low costs.
  • 100% - the percentage of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) allowed by Reserve Bank of India in credit information firms. The RBI recently clarified that investors whose ownership is well diversified (shareholdings not concentrated in the hands of a select few) may pick up to 100 percent in a credit information company. A credit information company aggregates and analyses data of individuals and businesses and puts out a credit score which is an indicator of credit worthiness of that individual or business. Currently, India has four credit information companies-CIBIL, Experian, Equifax and CRIF High Mark.
  • SEBI - stands for the Securities and Exchange Board of India, the capital market regulators tightened rules on issue of Participatory Notes (P-notes) to bring in more transparency and curb misuse of the investment route used by foreign investors not registered in India. SEBI said that Indian KYC (Know Your Customers) or anti-money maundering rules (AML) will be applicable to P-note holders. P-notes allow foreign investors to take exposure to Indian stocks without registering with SEBI. These instruments are issued by foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) registered with SEBI.
  • 21st June - this day is celebrated as International Yoga Day or simply Yoga Day. It was declared to be internationally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on December 11, 2014. Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice or discipline that originated in India. June 21 is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and shares special significance in many parts of the world.
  • RLV-TD - India's first 'space shuttle', was successfully launched recently. India successfully launched the first technology demonstrator of indigenously made Reusable Launch Vehicle, capable of launching satellites into orbit around earth and then re-enter the atmosphere, from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. This is the first time ISRO has launched a winged flight vehicle, which glided back onto a virtual runway in the Bay of Bengal, some 500 kilometres from the coast. The RLV, being dubbed as India's own space shuttle, is the unanimous solution to achieve low cost, reliable and on-demand space access.
  • 21st May 2016 - this day was celebrated as International Buddha Poornima Diwas. The event was organised by Ministry of Culture and coordinated by International Buddhist Confederation to spread the ideals of peace and dharma.
  • Air India One - also referred to as AI-1 or AIC001 is the aircraft the Prime Minister or the President of India uses when flying abroad. The aircraft is operated as a VIP flight by the Indian Air Force.
  • Kesar - the famous saffron-coloured variety of mango, largely grown around the foothills of Girnar Mountain in Junagadh district of Gujarat, which recently got a global recognition as 'Gir Kesar' mango, after being granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag. Now, the Kesar mango is the second variety of mango in India to get GI registration, after the Dussheri mango variety grown in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Dairy - the sector which is getting a new boost with the launch of National Gokul Mission in which the government is focusing on the development of indigenous breeds. So far, the Centre has approved setting up 14 'Gokul Grams' (integrated indigenous cattle centres)-that would scientifically help local farmers conserve desi breeds of cows and buffaloes-across states under this mission. These Grams will be self-sustaining centres and will generate resources from milk sales, organic manure, vermicompost and urine distillates. Each centre will maintain milch and unproductive animals in the ratio of 60:40 and will have the capacity to maintain about 1,000 animals.
  • 180 days - the period within which the UGC has directed all universities across the countries to issue degrees to students qualifying for the degree. The communique also carried a sage comment that withholding a student's degree could hamper 'the entry into a world of possibilities and promises'. The Commission warned that any institution found violating the norm will face punitive action, including withdrawal of grants or status as a university.
  • 24 million tones - the target of pulse production government wants to touch in 2020-21. The five year road map wants to achieve self -sufficiency in pulses with a six-pronged strategy, to increase production consistently by raising yield (production per hectare) as well as area under pulse crops in all major pulse producing states including Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The target is to raise production from 170.6MT estimated in 2015-16 crop year(July-June) to 24 MT in 2020-21 and 27.5 MT in 2024-25. The target is also to increase yield from 750kg/hectare to 900kg/hectare in 2020-21 and 1000kg/hectare in 2024-25.
  • SEBI- stands for The Securities and Exchange Board of India which has barred those named as willful defaulters from raising public funds through stocks and bonds, and also from taking board positions at listed companies. Sebi notified these norms on Wednesday, disallowing defaulters from setting up market intermediaries such as mutual funds and brokerage firms. These defaulters would also not be allowed to take control of any other listed company. The changes apply to all individuals and companies declared willful defaulters by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • AIBMA - stands for The All India Bread Manufacturers Association, which represents over 90 organised bread manufacturers such as Harvest Gold and Britannia announced recently that they will stop using potassium bromate and potassium iodate voluntarily on its own. The Centre for Science and Environment had claimed that the bread samples of top brands in Delhi contained cancer-causing chemicals -- potassium bromate and potassium iodate.
  • SAY - stands for Shala Asmita Yojana, probably the world's largest student tracker which will be launched in India from February 2017. It will have data base of 25 crore school going children. ASMITA is the acronym for All Scholl Monitoring Individual Tracing Analysis. The prime minister's office recently gave the go ahead for SAY, which intends to use Aadhaar numbers to track the educational development of students, be it their attendance, enrolment, dropping out, mid day meals, toilets and other related parameters like teacher transfers and learning assessment of children. The initiative will cover 15 lakh schools and 77 lakh teachers of government and government-aided schools.
  • 24th - it is the rank of India in the QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings (HESSR) 2016 with a score of 60.9 out of 100. The US has scored a centum and tops the heap, UK is in the second place with 98.5, while Germany takes the third spot with 94. The QS HESSR(overall ranking0 is an assessment done through four categories- system strength, flagship, access and economic concept of different countries-in the field of higher education.
  • Capital Goods Sector-it is the sector in which the government recently approved 'The National Capital Good Policy' which aims to create over 21 million jobs by 2025, envisaging increasing the share of domestic production in India's capital goods demand from 60% to 80% by 2025 and in the process improve domestic capacity utilization to 90%.
  • New India Assurance - the largest state owned company, recently issued the country's first Nuclear Operator's Liability Policy to nuclear Power Corporation of India. This policy is underwritten by a consortium of insurance companies through the India Nuclear Insurance Pool. The entire Rs.1500 crore India Nuclear Insurance Pool is entirely supported by domestic companies and is managed by General Insurance Corporation(GIC) which has also committed funds to the pool. The policy was the missing component from the set of requirements for getting private investment in nuclear power-the doors for which were open ten years ago when the then Manmohan Singh led government signed the agreement with US.
Current Affairs[April 2016]
  • Rota virus vaccine - this was launched recently as part of its universal immunization programme by Health ministry to prevent diarrhoeal deaths due to virus which claims lives of nearly one lakh children every year. Rota virus, a leading cause of severe diarrhea and death among children less than five years of age, is responsible for around 10% of total child mortality every year. The vaccine developed by Indian firm Bharat Biotech will be initially introduced in four states-Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha. Its coverage will be expanded to the entire country in a phased manner.
  • Minor, Substantial and Non-substantial - they are the categories of Green Violations which have been proposed by Law Ministry to the proposed draft of the Environment Laws(Amendment) Bill - meant to amend the existing Environment(Protection) Act,1986 and the National Green Tribunal Act,2010. Minor would be an act of omission or commission by a person causing damage to environment due to failure of compliance of the provisions of environment laws. Substantial will be damage to environment by release of environment pollutant or handling of hazardous substance. Non-substantial would be -damage to environment which is neither a minor violation nor a substantial damage.
  • Directed Energy Weapons (DEWS) - they are basically beams of concentrated electronic magnetic energy or subatomic particles to hit targets. DEWS can be high-energy/solid-state lasers; high power microwaves; charged particle beams. These are futuristic weapons. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is already tom-tomming its ongoing development of a 10-Kilowatt DEW against UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) like targets with establishment of critical technology of precision tracking/pointing and laser beam combination.
  • Gatimaan Express - the India's first semi-high-speed train which was flagged off recently by Railway minister Suresh Prabhu. The new train will run between Hazrat Nizamuddin and Agra Cantonment stations and can touch a speed of 160km/hr. The train will have Railway hosts and hostesses, bio-toilets, LED lights, Free Wi-Fi. The train was indigenously built at a cost of Rs.50 crore at the Kapurthala Rail Coach Factory.
  • 25 basis - the points by which the Repo Rate cut by Reserve Bank of India in its latest monetary policy announced on 5th April, 2016. Repo rate-the rate at which banks borrow from the RBI was cut by 25 basis points, from 6.75% to 6.50%, signalling its belief that prices of goods were moderating. The monetary policy kept the overall cash reserve ratio -CRR-the amount of funds that the banks have to park with the RBI-unchanged at 4%, while the minimum daily maintenance of the CRR was cut to 90% from 95%.
  • Nine - the number of stations saw the launch of free Wi Fi after the successful implementation in Mumbai Central, bringing high speed internet access to about 1.5 million passengers and visitors. The Wi-Fi service is now available at Pune, Bhubaneshwar, Bhopal, Ranchi, Raipur, Vijayawada, Kacheguda (Hyderabad), ErnakulamJn (Kochi) and Vishakhapatnam stations. Google and RailTel, the telecom arm of the Indian Railways, had collaborated to make Wi-Fi network available across 100 stations to deliver high speed internet to 10 million Indians a day by the end of the year. The project will eventually be rolled out to cover 400 railway stations across India.
  • $94.7 billion - the projected amount of Current Account Deficit of India in 2021 as projected by International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its latest edition of the World Economic Outlook (WEO). The report predicted that India would achieve its inflation target of 5 percent in the first half of 2017, though it warned that un-favourable monsoon and the effect of public sector wages increase could pose a risk.
  • Canara Bank - they recently received the first loan from BRICS bank for renewable energy. The New Development bank (NDB) of BRICS countries has handled out $250 million to India's Canara Bank for renewable energy projects as part of its first set of loans amounting to more than $800 million. The first tranche of $75 million will be given to Canara bank for on lending to projects generating 500 MW additional renewable energy capacity.
  • 96-104% - the percentage of the 50 year average which is the range of monsoon to be considered as normal as per the parameters of Meteorological Department. The 104-110% is considered as above normal. The meteorological department has predicted a bountiful monsoon this year. Like any prediction model, the one Meteorological department uses to make this forecast has an error margin of 5%.
  • 2009 - the year before which those who registered for PhD need not have NET for lectureship. At present, a student who has a postgraduate degree or an MPhil and has cleared the NET/SET is eligible for lectureship in a college or university. If the student fails to clear the eligibility test but has an MPhil degree, he or she can teach in a college but not a university. From 2009 the UGC made NET and PhD the minimum criteria for the post of assistant professors in colleges and universities but now some relaxation has been issued for PhD registered before 2009.
  • Provident Fund - the withdrawal norms for this were rolled back by government recently. The government announced a complete and unconditional roll back of the new norms that barred employees from withdrawing their provident fund corpus before retirement.
  • 52.1% - the percentage of rural households going for open defecation as per the recently released Swachhta Status report by the National Sample (NSS) Office.The percentage of urban households stands at 7.5%. The nationwide rapid survey was conducted during May-June 2015, concurrently with the 72nd round of the NSS. The households having toilet in rural areas is 45.3% and in urban areas is 88.8% as per the report.
  • 41 km per day -it is the length target of highways which the government is planning to set up in 2016-17. The Road Transport and Highways Ministry will award contract for 25,000km national highway projects, two and a half times more than the projects it had sanctioned in the previous year. The National Democratic Alliance(NDA) government has set an ambitious target of constructing 41 km of national highways every day in 2016-17, up from more than 16 km per day of highways built in 2015-16.
  • 1:1,700 - the doctor to citizen ratio in India as of March 2015. The WHO stipulates a minimum ratio of 1:1,000. India will need 4 lakh more doctors by 2022 to achieve WHO standards. As of March 2015, India had 420 medical colleges- 200 run by the government, 220 privately run.
  • Rocket - it is the name of the National Security Guards(NSG) K-9 unit's expert assault and sniffer dog that has been recommended for the gallantry award following his valiant effort during the Pathankot attack. He was injured during the event but is back to work after one month treatment. This Belgian Malinois, raised in NSG itself, helped security forces in establishing the presence of one of the fidayeen attackers at the IAF base on January 4, 2016 when a massive fire had engulfed some buildings.
  • 24th April 2016 - this day was celebrated as National Panchayat Day in all Gram Panchayats across the country for the first time. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed all the Gram Sabhas from JRD Tata Sports Complex,Jamshedpur on that day.
  • SC/ST Act - the centre recently notified rules for amendment of Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities') Act of 1989 to tighten provisions to ensure speedier justice to SCs and STs, the Social Justice and Empowerment ministry notified the rules to give effect to the changes. The object of the amended provisions is to speed up the process of dispensation of justice, liberalise and expedite access to relief for victims of atrocities, ensuring special sensitivity in cases of offences against women.
  • Worker's Bank - it is the name of the bank for which the Labour Ministry has requested Reserve Bank of India to examine the proposal. The ministry has asked RBI to form a panel headed by a former Deputy Governor to look into a proposal of creating a Worker's bank using Employees' Provident Fund (EPF). The proposal was mooted by the trade unions about a decade ago and has been discussed by Labour Ministry and Employee's Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) for several years now. As on 31st march 2015, EPFO's total corpus stood at Rs.6.34 lakh crore.
  • 59th - the score of India in 'The World Justice Report' latest report which calculates rule of law index for 100 countries. The first three score holders are Denmark, Norway and Sweden respectively. It is based on surveys of over one lakh households and more than 2,000 experts in these nations about the general perception in the public about constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, order and security, justice system and other issues related to fairness in society.
  • Panic button - the button which should be present in all phones sold in India from 2017 which will enable users to intimate about emergency situations. The measure, aimed at women's safety, will also see a provision for installation of GPS from January 1, 2018 to track the location of the person in crisis with accuracy.
  • Distribution of LED bulbs - this is being undertaken under the UJALA scheme which stands for Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All. Under this scheme there is a target to distribute upto 77 crore LED bulbs in the next three years which will help in saving Rs.40,000 crore every year. This will also result in reduction of about 10.5 million tonnes CO2 every year. Out of this 10 crore LED bulbs have already been distributed which will presently save Rs.5, 194 crore annually on electricity bills. The scheme is being implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited.
  • IRNSS-1G - India's navigation satellite which successfully lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh recently. India completed its landmark mission for a regional navigational system on par with United States-based GPS with the successful launch of IRNSS-1G, the seventh and last in the constellation of satellites that make up the system. The IRNSS comprising the seven satellites will offer services with much 'better accuracy' and targeted position in navigation on par with the Global Positioning System of the United States. ISRO had launched and operationalised other six satellites - IRNSS-1F on March 10, 2016, IRNSS-1E (January 20, 2016), IRNSS-1D (March 28, 2015), IRNSS-1C (October 16, 2014), IRNSS-1B (April 4, 2014) and IRNSS-1A on July 1, 2013.IRNSS-1G which has a 12-year mission life would become operational in about a month's time, marking the full-fledged functioning of the IRNSS.
  • Hongi - the name of the traditional Maori greeting of New Zealand. This was in the news recently as New Zealand Governor General Lewis Moeau greeted India's President Pranab Mukherjee in this traditional style upon his arrival in Auckland recently. The Maori people of New Zealand will greet visitors with a beautiful gesture called hongi (pressing foreheads and noses together, with eyes closed). Maori will perform this move to initiate newcomers, and exchange the breath of life with them.
  • 54% - the percentage of construction of household toilets in urban areas as per the data submitted by the urban development ministry to the Lok Sabha. Out of a target of constructing 25lakh individual household toilets, only 13.2lakhs were actually built from October 2, 2014 to March 2016. Gujarat emerged the best performer accounting for more than one third of the total households toilets constructed.
  • INS Kalvari - the name of India's first new submarine in 16 years whose trial began recently. The diesel -electric submarine is believed to be commissioned by December end-2016 with the other five Scorpene submarines following at nine-month intervals till 2020.
Current Affairs[March 2016]
  • 112 - the single number which is going to be introduced for all emergency services in India soon, including the police, fire brigade and ambulance. At present, such callers need to dial in different numbers for different emergencies like 100 for police, 101 for fire, 102 for ambulance and 108 for emergency disaster management. The move recommended by the Telecom regulatory authority of India (TRAI) in April 2015 was approved by the Telecom Commission recently.
  • Bajrangi Bhaijaan - the picture which won the Best Popular Film award at the 63rd National Film Awards which were announced recently. S.S.Rajamouli's magnum opus Baahubali was declared the Best Feature Film.
  • Tata Sons - they recently increased its stake in Air Asia India to become the only company in India to run two airlines. Tata Sons already owns a majority stake in full carrier Vistara, a joint venture with Singapore Airlines.
  • Gensets - the one for use of which the centre recently notified stringent environment standards to make cities and towns shift to less noisy gensets running on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)/Natural Gas(NG),diesel with LPG/NG and petrol with LPG/NG. This is the first time such standards have been notified for gensets running on LPG/NG or in combination with diesel/petrol. Under the new standards, manufacturers across the country are required to obtain certification for engine products by empanelled agencies which help in regulating the unorganized sector. These standards were recommended by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) after consultations with industries and other stakeholders.
  • 100% FDI - the percentage of FDI which has been allowed by centre in the fresh guidelines issued for foreign domestic investments (FDI) in e-commerce in the market place based model-an arrangement where e-commerce companies provide an online platform to sell their products.
  • 1st April, 2016 - the date from which the inactive EPFO accounts will start earning interest. Out of the total of over 15 crore EPF accounts about 9 crore accounts worth Rs.32, 000 crore were inoperative as on 31st March 2015. Accounts in which contributions have not been received for 36 months at a stretch and that have definite claimants are classified as 'inoperative'. The system of not giving interest on inoperative accounts was stopped in 2011.
  • Marginal Cost of Funds Based Lending Rate (MCLR) - it is the system to which the banks will move to from 1st April, 2016. This will be closely based on market rates, allowing quicker transmission of monetary policy. Banks will set their lending rates under the marginal cost of funds (deposits) every month, which will be based on the rate offered on new deposits, which would reflect the market rates. However, fixed rate loans of tenor above three years will continue to be exempted from MCLR system. MCLR will benefit new customers, but existing customers will also have an option to shift to the new regime with some conditions.
  • World Bank - they recently signed a $1.5b loan agreement with India for the Swachh Bharat Mission Support Operation Project. The loan is to support the Government of India in its effort to ensure that all citizens in the rural areas have access to improved sanitation with a focus on changing behavior and eliminating the practice of open defecation by 2019. Additionally, the World Bank will provide $25 million in technical assistance for capacity building by some state governments to implement community led behavioral change programme.
  • 2,000 cc and more - this is the engine capacity above which the diesel vehicles have been banned in the National Capital Region. In December 2015 the court has imposed a three month ban on it. The Supreme Court recently extended the ban on registration of diesel vehicles with engine capacity of 2,000 cc and more in the National Capital Region till further orders, keeping the fate of carmakers in uncertainty.
  • Tuberculosis - the disease for which the miracle drug 'Bedaquiline' manufactured by Johnson & Johnson's pharma arm Janssen was rolled out recently to battle multi drug resistant tuberculosis MDR-TB and extensively drug resistant TB (XDR-TB). The drug was rolled out in six public hospitals across the country as part of a coordinated programme between the government and drug company Johnson & Johnson. This is the first instance when a multinational has partnered with the government to roll out treatment for a disease showing an alarming spread. Significantly, Bedaquiline (trade name Sirturo) is perhaps the first drug in decades, with potential to dramatically improve MDR-TB treatment outcomes and reduce the number of deaths due to the disease.
  • Chenab - the river is the one over which the tallest railway bridge which is expected to be ready by 2019. This is being built on the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramula Rail Link. The bridge which will rise 359 metres over the Chenab and is being built in hostile and isolated terrain and will be35 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower. Currently the tallest bridge is above the Tam River in France with its tallest pillar rising 340m from the river bed. The Chenab Bridge, which has an arch design will connect the steep banks on the Bakkai (Katra) and Kauri (Srinagar) ends.
  • Scripbox - an Indian online mutual funds investment platform founded barely four years ago, has been ranked No.2 among the 50 most effective financial services brands in terms of using LinkedIn platform to engage, educate and inspire its target audience. All others in the top10 are global brands with Citibank heading the list.
  • Kisan Suvidha - the name of mobile app which was recently launched for the benefit of farmers. The app helps farmers keep track of the weather and the price of agriculture produce in the market.
  • District level - the level from which the National Business register will list establishments. The government has launched a mammoth enumeration exercise to collect data on all the business enterprises for the National Business Register, a move aimed at strengthening assessment of economic activity. This will list establishments at the district level covering seven acts and authorities, including the factories Act, the shops and Commercial Establishments Act, the Societies Registration Act, the Cooperative Societies Act, the Khadi and Village Industries Board and the Directorate of Industries.
  • September 4, 2016 - the date on which Mother Teresa would be canonised. Pope Francis recently approved sainthood for Mother Teresa, the missionary nun who became a global symbol of compassion for her care of the sick and destitute. The pontiff set September 4 as the date for her canonization, elevating her to an official icon of the Catholic faith.
  • Quarterly - the interval after which Reserve Bank of India has mandated banks to credit interest on savings accounts.
  • 1.6% per anum - it is the growth rate in Farm sector in the first four years of the ongoing Five Year Plan(2012-17) as against the targeted 4% annual growth . The low average growth rate is attributed to setback in annual crop production except for 2013-14 due to deficiency in monsoon rainfall, moisture stress and un-favourable weather, temperature conditions impacting production of Kharif and Rabi crops.
  • 1st April, 2016 - the effective date of start of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. The PMFBY will replace National Agricultural Insurance scheme and Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme from the Kharif season of 2016. Banks, through their branches in notified areas have to ensure all farmers taking loans under seasonal Agricultural Operational Loans scheme or those holding Kisan credit cards are covered under the scheme.
  • Bharti Airtel - India's largest telecom operator by subscriber base recently agreed to buy Videocon Telecommunications Ltd. Spectrum for Rs.4,428 crore,the second such deal after the government allowed spectrum trading in October last year. These spectrum for these six circles was bought by Videocon for Rs.2,200 crore in 2012.
  • 8.1% - the new rate on Public Provident Fund (PPF) from April1,2016. This is the sharpest reduction in nearly 15 years. The rates are to be reviewed every three months. The rates of Kisan Vikas Patra have been reduced to 7.8% from 8.7% and that of Sukanya Samridhi Account to 8.6% from 9.2%.
  • 50 microns - the minimum thickness prescribed for plastic carry bags. The centre recently banned the use of plastic carry bags of less than 50 microns in thickness as against the existing norms of less than 40 microns. These rules are part of stringent plastic waste management rules to regulate use of the hazardous material and generate the waste generated by it. Shopkeepers and street vendors willing to provide plastic carry bags, will have to get registered with local body on payment of 'plastic waste management fee' of minimum Rs.48,000 per anum. They will have to display at prominent place that the plastic carry bags are given on payments.
  • 23rd March - this day is celebrated as Saheedi Diwas to mark the martyrdom of freedom fighters- Bhagat Singh, Sukdev and Rajguru, the greatest revolutionaries who are still idols for the youth and young generations.
  • PMUY - stands for Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana which aims to provide 1.5 crore free LPG connections to BPL families in the fiscal 2016-17.The guidelines for the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana are going to be issued soon.
  • India-this country recently made a sharp drop in development assistance to SAARC nations in the 2016-17 budget. Except Pakistan, all other six members of SAARC (Nepal, Afghanistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Myanmar) receive significant financial assistance from India. The slashing of the assistance to the SAARC countries is in line with the cut in Budget to the Ministry of external Affairs this year that has fallen by Rs.500 crore.
  • 1 crore-the amount of money the Department of Science and Technology(DST) may invest in every fresh start up from next financial year. Currently the maximum permissible limit is 50 lakhs. The DST outlay for seeding has been increased from Rs.40 crore to Rs.180 crore in the coming financial year to help fund the increased investment.
  • 5/20 rule-this rule stipulates that a domestic airline must have a fleet of 20 aircraft and have flown for five years in the domestic skies before it can undertake international flights. The centre recently indicated the promoters of domestic airlines that it is yet to take a final decision on the contentious 5/20 rule.
  • Citrus Pay- the country's second largest internet payment processor which has decided to waive all fees on online payments made to government bodies for the next 18 months- a move which will put pressure on banks to follow suit by cutting charges. This comes a day after the RBI floated a concept proposing banks to have a lower charge structure for transfer to government bodies to promote card usages.
  • IRNSS-1F-it is the India's sixth dedicated navigation satellite which was launched recently from Sriharikota. The satellite was launched on-board India's workhorse launch vehicle, the polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The Independent Regional Navigation satellite System (IRNSS) is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in India and the region extending up to 1,500 km from the border.
  • UDAY BONDS-it stands for Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana Bonds which will be issued by the electricity distribution companies as non-SLR (statutory liquidity ratio) grade. The Finance Ministry recently backed a reserve bank of India (RBI) proposal to go in for private placement of these bonds with the EPFO, LIC, mutual funds, FI's and banks.
  • 140kmph-itis the maximum limit of speed which the government is planning to allow on expressways from the current speed limit of 100kmph. The government is planning to come out with the norms on such stretches which will be access-controlled with minimum entry and exit points.
  • Andhra Pradesh-the state which is having the highest percentage of rural households in debt with 55.9% followed by Kerala with 49.5% and Karnataka with 46.4%. This data on rural indebtedness is based on NSSO statistics of 2013.
  • Aadhaar Bill, 2016-the bill recently passed by The Lok Sabha. Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 provides for unique identity to residents and give legal teeth to the government in ensuring that subsidies reach beneficiaries in full. Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identity number created after taking one's finger prints and iris scan. Aadhaar number is the window to get government benefits and subsidies. The law clearly states that only those who have Aadhaar will get government benefits.
  • IGNOU-stands for Indira Gandhi national Open University which recently reactivated its popular educational portal eGyankosh on an 'as-is-where-is' basis. The knowledge repository at eGyankosh was launched in October 2005 to store, index, preserve, distribute and share the digital learning resources developed by the open and distance learning (ODL) institutions in the country. It was shut down in 2013.
  • Allahabad High Court-they recently celebrated 150th year of its establishment. Addressing a galaxy of eminent personalities from politics and judiciary at the sesquicentennial celebrations of the Allahabad High court President Pranab Mukherjee said that there are 1056 posts of judges sanctioned in the country out of which only 591 judges have been appointed so far. He also said that several decisions of the Allahabad High court made a big impact on the country.
  • 111-the number of rivers across the country that was recently declared as National waterways which paved the way for development of these stretch as transport carriers. So far, only five of the river stretches were declared as national waterways. India has its unique advantage. Its 14 states were bestowed with 7,500km of coastline with 14,500 km of potentially navigable waterways.
  • EPF - stands for Employees Provident Fund which was in the news recently after the government announced in the Union Budget 2016 that EPF withdrawal taxable for contributions made after April 1, 2016.
  • 2.85 million hectare - the area which the government intends to bring under cultivation after the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana in mission mode.
  • 0.5% - the amount of new Krishi Kalyan Cess which will be levied on all taxable services with effect from June1, 2016 as announced in Union Budget 2016. The proceeds from this will be used to finance and promote initiatives to improve agriculture. This will effectively increase the service tax from 14.5% to 15%.
  • 2022 - the year by which the government is planning to double farmer's income as announced in Union Budget 2016.
  • Air India - the airlines which had an all women flight crew on AI173- Delhi to San Francisco on the occasion of International Women's Day.
Current Affairs[February 2016]
  • Humsafar- the new AC 3 trains introduced in Railway Budget 2016 which was announced recently by Rail minister Suresh Prabhu.
  • Tejas- the new premium super-fast train travelling at 130kmph which was announced in Railway Budget 2016 recently by Rail minister Suresh Prabhu.
  • UDAY- stands for Utkrisht Double Decker AC Yatri Express which was announced in Railway Budget 2016 recently by Rail minister Suresh Prabhu.
  • Antyodaya Express- the unreserved superfast trains which was announced in Railway Budget 2016 recently by Rail minister Suresh Prabhu.
  • EDF- stands for Electronics Development Fund which was recently launched by Department of Electronics and Information Technology with a corpus of Rs.10,000 crore. The fund has been set up in collaboration with Canbank Venture Capital Fund to encourage innovation in the electronics sector.
  • NCGP- stands for National Capital Goods Policy, India's first ever policy for capital goods that aims to triple the sector's production by 2025 was recently announced by government. The clear objective of this policy is to increase production of capital goods from Rs.2, 30,000 crore in 2014-15 to 7, 50,000 crore in 2025.
  • 8.8%- the revised interest rates on provident fund for 2015-16 from the existing rate of 8.75% as announced by Employees Provident Fund Organisation.
  • TRAI- stands for The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India which was in the news recently after it upheld uninhibited access to the internet and rejected differential pricing on data which dealt a strong blow to Airtel Zero and Facebook Free Basic platform.
  • Sec 377- this section of the Indian Penal code (IPC) which calls gay sex against the order of nature and makes it punishable was in news recently after the Supreme Court agreed to reexamine it and referred the curative petition to five-judge constitutional bench.
  • Tata Motors- they were in news recently when they decided to rename its soon-to-be launched hatchback 'ZICA' in view of the outbreak of the Zika virus that has caused hardships across many nations.
Current Affairs[January 2016]
  • 20- the number of cities which were selected in the first batch of cities planned to be developed as smart cities. Smart city denotes an urban area that provides world class sustainable infrastructure including uninterrupted clean water and power supply, roads, high speed internet, automated waste disposal, sustainable public transport, affordable housing and digitized public services. These cities are Surat, Ahmedabad from Gujarat; Jaipur and Udaipur from Rajasthan; Indore, Bhopal and Jabalpur from Madhya Pradesh; Sholapur and Pune from Maharashtra; Chennai and Coimbatore from Tamil Nadu; Vishakhapatnam and Kakinada from Andhra Pradesh; Ludhiana from Punjab; Bhubaneshwar from Odisha; New Delhi from Delhi; Guwahati from Assam; Kochi from Kerala; Belgaum and Davangere from Karnataka.
  • 24th January 2016- this day was recently celebrated as National Girl Child Day.
  • e-NPS- it is an online portal (htpps://enps.nsdl.com) of NPS Trust wherein a subscriber can register and contribute under NPS online. Through eNPS, a subscriber can register, generate a Permanent Retirement Account Number(PRAN) and contribute to his/her account through use of net banking/debit card or credit card. 15th January 2016- this day was recently celebrated as 68th Army Day.
  • 2%- the amount of premium which has been fixed for Kharif crops in the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana which was announced by the government recently. The premium for Rabi crops have been fixed at 1.5%. The new scheme will be implemented from the forthcoming Kharif season.
  • 10,000 crore- the corpus of the start-up fund which is going to set up by the government to boost Start-up's in India as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently in a series of new entrepreneur friendly measures which include no tax on profits and no inspection for 3 years, self-certification-based compliance for labour and environment laws and 80% reduction in patent fees.
  • Anything but Khamosh- the biography written by BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha which was released recently. The book focuses on Patna Sahib MPs troubled relations with the party post 2014 victory and its current leadership.
  • 1st April, 2020- the date from which government is planning to enforce the more stringent Bharat Stage VI fuel emission norms for vehicles, advancing the deadline by a year as part of ongoing efforts to reduce pollution. BS norms were introduced in 2000 and were modeled around European regulations.
  • Netflix- the popular American on-demand video streaming service which recently launched its services in India.
  • Jallikattu- the famous and controversial bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu which was recently revived by central government. The government also allowed bullock cart races, a popular sport in states such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Kerala and Gujarat.
  • Barack 8 missile-the Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LR SAM) manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited and jointly developed by India and Israel which was successfully test fired on Western Seaboard by INS Kolkata in the Arabian Sea.
  • 1, 00,000MW- the amount of electricity government plans to generate from solar panels by 2022, with a 40,000MW contribution from grid-connected rooftop systems.
  • Raptor MOU- stands for the MOU on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia with the Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS). India recently gave its approval for its readiness in signing this MOU which will help India gain knowledge in effectively managing the habitats of these raptors.

National Current Affairs 2015

Current Affairs[December 2015]
  • Barack 8 missile-the Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LR SAM) manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited and jointly developed by India and Israel which was successfully test fired on Western Seaboard by INS Kolkata in the Arabian Sea.
  • 1, 00,000MW- the amount of electricity government plans to generate from solar panels by 2022, with a 40,000MW contribution from grid-connected rooftop systems.
  • Raptor MOU- stands for the MOU on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia with the Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS). India recently gave its approval for its readiness in signing this MOU which will help India gain knowledge in effectively managing the habitats of these raptors.
  • Beech Super King B-200- the aircraft of BSF which crashed just after take-off in New Delhi killing all 10 personnel on board.
  • Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children Bill), 2015- this bill was passed by Parliament recently which allow trial of offenders aged 16-18 as adults for heinous crimes such as rapes and murders.
  • India- this country rose by five rungs to 130 among 188 countries on the UN Human Development Index (HDI) but continues to trail poorer nations such as Iraq, Bangladesh and even Pakistan in women's progress, children's status and basic healthcare.HDI is a measure for assessing long term progress in 3 dimensions, a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living. The top five nations are Norway, Australia, Switzerland, Denmark and Netherlands.
  • January 1, 2016- the date from which individuals will have to disclose their permanent account number (PAN) for cash transactions above Rs.2 lakhs and hotel bills that exceed Rs.50, 000.
  • RBI- the Supreme Court in a landmark order brought Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under the purview of the overarching RTI Act and hence made it bound to divulge business details of all banks including the financial regulator's audit reports and list of defaulters.
  • 2000cc- the capacity and above of diesel engine luxury cars and SUV whose registration was banned until March 31, 2016 in the national capital region by the Supreme Court.
  • Marginal cost- the cost on which the banks will be required to fix their base rates from April 1, 2016 as per the new directives from the Reserve Bank of India. This is different from the present system where average cost is used to finalise the base rates.
  • Reliance Entertainment- the Anil Ambani led company which recently tied up with acclaimed Hollywood director Steven Spielberg's Dream Works for formation of Amblin Partners-a film, television and digital content creation company.
  • Cochin Shipyard- they became the first Indian company to be licensed by GTT, France to make membrane type technologies for LNG carrier ship in India.
  • 7th December 2015- this day was recently celebrated as Armed Forces Flag Day.
  • TAPI- stands for Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline which will stretch 1,800km and is expected to cost more than $10 billion. The work on this project is expected to start soon. Pakistan's Interstate Gas Systems, Turkmenistan's Turkmen gas, the Afghan Gas Enterprise and India's Gail Limited has equal shareholding in the Tapi Pipeline Company Limited (TPCL). India and Pakistan will get more than 1.3 billion cubic feet a day of gas from Tapi, while Afghanistan will get 0.5 billion cubic feet.
  • Sanofi- the French drug maker who has applied for regulatory approval of the world's first dengue vaccine in India. The vaccine branded as Dengvaxia was recently approved for use in Mexico.
  • Vaishno Devi- the famous shrine located at a height of 5,300 feet on the Trikuta Hills in Jammu which was in the news recently after a chopper carrying pilgrims crashed after a suspected bird hit.
  • e-Lala- the portal recently launched by brick and mortar trading companies to take on the challenge of e-tailers. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), the pan-India association of traditional traders launched this e-commerce platform in Nagpur recently.
  • HSBC India- one of the foreign bank which recently announced that it is shutting down its private banking business in the country following a world-wide strategic review, making it the third foreign financial services major to get out of this business after Royal bank of Scotland and Morgan Stanley. Chandrabhaga Beach- the beach in Konark of Odisha which recently hosted the International Sand Art Festival.
  • Vaishno Devi- the famous shrine located at a height of 5,300 feet on the Trikuta Hills in Jammu which was in the news recently after a chopper carrying pilgrims crashed after a suspected bird hit.
  • e-Lala- the portal recently launched by brick and mortar trading companies to take on the challenge of e-tailers. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), the pan-India association of traditional traders launched this e-commerce platform in Nagpur recently.
  • HSBC India- one of the foreign bank which recently announced that it is shutting down its private banking business in the country following a world-wide strategic review, making it the third foreign financial services major to get out of this business after Royal bank of Scotland and Morgan Stanley.
  • Chandrabhaga Beach- the beach in Konark of Odisha which recently hosted the International Sand Art Festival.
Current Affairs[November 2015]
  • Vaishno Devi- the famous shrine located at a height of 5,300 feet on the Trikuta Hills in Jammu which was in the news recently after a chopper carrying pilgrims crashed after a suspected bird hit.
  • e-Lala- the portal recently launched by brick and mortar trading companies to take on the challenge of e-tailers. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), the pan-India association of traditional traders launched this e-commerce platform in Nagpur recently.
  • HSBC India- one of the foreign bank which recently announced that it is shutting down its private banking business in the country following a world-wide strategic review, making it the third foreign financial services major to get out of this business after Royal bank of Scotland and Morgan Stanley.
  • Chandrabhaga Beach- the beach in Konark of Odisha which recently hosted the International Sand Art Festival.
  • CGWB- stands for Central Ground Water Board which recently issued new guidelines for ground water extraction. Under the new rules ground water extraction only for those homes not having public water supply, only one extraction permission per househould which will cease to exist once supply is provided, motors up to one horsepower will be allowed. India’s average groundwater level fell from 28.7 meters in 1950 to 61.2 metres in 2009. These guidelines will be applicable for residential houses in 6607 notified areas in one-fourth of the districts of the country.
  • Indian Highway Management Company Limited- the new company which has been set up to implement radio tag-enabled electronic toll collection(ETC) systems across all highways by March 2016 and has decided to make ETC lanes as a mandatory clause in the new highway building contracts.
  • HAM- stands for Hybrid Annuity Model launched by centre to fund road projects to aid revival by creating jobs and pushing income growth. Under this the government will pay 40% of the project cost to developer during construction and developer will pay the balance. The NHAI will collect the toll and refund 60% of the developer’s cost over a 10-year period. The government has set a target to build 30km of new national highways every day.
  • GE- this company along with Alstom were recently awarded contracts for setting up of Rs.40,000crore worth diesel and electric locomotive factories in Marhaura and Madhepura respectively in Bihar, marking the first major FDI in rail projects.
  • Air service- the sector in which the government recently announced 49% FDI in regional air transport service under automatic route. The government also allowed 49% FDI in Defence under the automatic route against the current prerequisite of government approval. The government also allowed 100% automatic FDI in completed projects for operation and management of townships, malls/shopping complexes and business centres; no restrictions on minimum floor area or minimum capitalization.
  • Project Loon- the hovering balloons project which is proposed to be launched by Google to provide internet connectivity to millions, mainly in rural India. Google has asked Indian government for permission to launch this scheme. The 15x12 m sized balloon made of polyethylene plastic are lighter than air and can beam internet connection to a ground area of 40km in diameter.
  • Gold Monetisation Scheme- the new scheme launched my Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Under this scheme one can earn on the depositing the idle gold and the country will benefit by importing less gold. All residents can invest and the minimum deposit will be 30grams of raw gold and these deposits will be available for short, medium & long term. Short term deposits will be redeemable in gold or in rupees at prevailing prices while medium and long term will only be redeemable in prevailing price. Gold will be collected and assayed before being accepted as deposit.
  • Sovereign Gold Bonds Scheme- the new scheme launched my Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Under this scheme bonds will be issued by Government of India in denominations in one gram gold and its multiples-minimum investment-2gm and maximum investment-500gm. The tenure of the bond will be 8 years with an exit option from 5th year on interest bearing dates. Bond is interest bearing, available in DEMAT & paper form, tradable on stock exchange and can be used as collateral for loans.
  • Indian Gold Coin- the new scheme launched my Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Under this scheme 24 carat purity, 999 fineness gold coins minted in India, hallmarked by BIS will be available for sale. These will have anti counterfeit features with tamper proof packaging and will be available in 5gm & 10gm coin and 20gm bullion at MMTC centres across India.
  • 0.5%- the amount of Swachh Bharat cess which has been imposed on all services liable for service tax from November 15, 2015 taking the service tax to 14.5%.
  • Gulam Kaderbhoy Noon- the Mumbai-origin person who migrated to Britain with little funds and went on to found several Indian food companies that made him known as Britain's first ‘Curry King’ died recently.
  • FTII- stands for Film and Television Institute of India located at Pune which was in the news recently after the students called off their 139-day-long strike. However they said they will continue to protest until the government revokes what they termed the ‘political appointments’ of Gajendra Chauhan and five others.
  • 7.5%- the percentage GDP growth of India forecasted by World Bank for India for current fiscal year 2015-16 in its bi annual report-India Development Update.
  • NRIs- stand for Non Resident Indians who were recently allowed to invest in National Payment System (NPS) by Reserve Bank of India.
  • October 31st- this day was celebrated as national unity day in honour of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel- the Iron Man and the architect of Modern India.
  • Vikalp- the new scheme launched by Indian railways under which the waitlisted passengers can get confirmed accommodation in next alternative train if they opt for the option while bookings their tickets online.
Current Affairs[October 2015]
  • Gulam Kaderbhoy Noon- the Mumbai-origin person who migrated to Britain with little funds and went on to found several Indian food companies that made him known as Britain's first ‘Curry King’ died recently.
  • FTII- stands for Film and Television Institute of India located at Pune which was in the news recently after the students called off their 139-day-long strike. However they said they will continue to protest until the government revokes what they termed the ‘political appointments’ of Gajendra Chauhan and five others.
  • 7.5%- the percentage GDP growth of India forecasted by World Bank for India for current fiscal year 2015-16 in its bi annual report-India Development Update.
  • NRIs- stand for Non Resident Indians who were recently allowed to invest in National Payment System (NPS) by Reserve Bank of India.
  • October 31st- this day was celebrated as national unity day in honour of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel- the Iron Man and the architect of Modern India.
  • Vikalp- the new scheme launched by Indian railways under which the waitlisted passengers can get confirmed accommodation in next alternative train if they opt for the option while bookings their tickets online.
  • IDFC- the new bank which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently.
  • Reliance Capital- the Anil Ambani led company which recently announced the acquisition of Indian mutual fund business of Goldman Sachs for Rs.243 crore in an all-cash deal.
  • Ind AS- the new accounting norms which banks and NBFCs have to adopt from April 1, 2018. These are part of the global IFRS accounting standards. The norms ask for anticipation of bad loans based on company’s track record and industry performances, among others. It also stipulates providing for bad loans for performing company on the presumption that a marginal percentage of the loan might turn bad. Companies have to migrate to the new norms from April1,2016.
  • June 2017- the month from when the country’s first women fighter will join the Indian Air Force making a watershed development in the air force’s 83 year old history. These pilots are presently receiving training at the Air Force Academy near Hyderabad.
  • January1,2016- the date from which the practice of holding interviews for selection to junior government posts in the non-gazette posts are proposed to be removed by the government as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Mann Ki Baat programme.
  • Article 44- the Article of the Constitution which says that the State shall endeavor to secure for citizens a Uniform Civil code throughout the country. This was in news after the Supreme Court asked the government to decide on Uniform Civil Code soon.
  • January 23, 2016- the date of birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose which has been set as date to start declassification of secret files related to him which will unravel the mystery surrounding the freedom fighter’s death. This was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after meeting the family members of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
  • Knesset- the Parliament of Israel which was addressed by President Pranab Mukherjee on his recent to Jerusalem, Israel.
  • Rs.1- the amount of penalty mobile operator will have to pay for call drop from January 1, 2016 as directed by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
  • German- the language which will come back as an additional language at Kendriya Vidyalayas a year after it was controversially replaced by Sanskrit at these schools after India and Germany signed an agreement in this regard recently.
  • IMF- stands for International Monetary Fund which downgraded India's GDP growth to 7.3% from 7.5% for 2015 in its World’s Economic Outlook update which was released recently. In 2016 India is forecast to grow at 7.5% against China's 6.3%.
  • ASTROSAT- India's first space research observatory, which was launched recently from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota. It will help in detailed understanding of the universe and also help in a detailed understanding of the universe and also put into orbit six foreign satellites, including the first from the US. So far only the US, Japan, Russia and Europe have launched the space observatory. It will observe universe in the optical, ultraviolet, low and high energy X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, while most other satellites are capable of observing a narrow range of wavelength band.
  • Face book- the famous social media whose office was recently visited by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent US visit where he interacted with its CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
  • REPO Rate- the key lending rate which was reduced by 0.50 percentage points to 6.75% recently by Reserve Bank of India’s Governor Raghuram Rajan in the monetary policy announced recently. This will lead to cheaper loans for households and companies. Repo rate is the rate at which banks borrow from RBI. Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) is the proportion of deposits banks have to park with RBI remains unchanged at 4% and Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) which stands for the proportion of deposits banks are required to park in govt. bonds also remains unchanged at 21.5%.
  • INS Kochi- the India’s latest warship, a stealth guided-missile destroyer which was commissioned in Mumbai recently. It is packed with an array of state-of-the-art weapons. It has four AK-630 rapid fire guns, indigenously developed twin-tube torpedo launchers and anti-submarine rocket launchers, Indo-Israeli developed LR-SAM (Long Range surface-to-air missiles) along with supersonic cruise missiles.
  • 35%- the percentage cut in intensity of carbon emissions from 2005 levels over the next 15 years formed part of the India’s ambitious climate change plan which was announced by India’s environment minister at Berlin recently. India also plans to generate 40%of its power from non-fossils fuels by 2030.The submission-called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)-requires a whopping $2.5trillion and targets were contingent on availability of international funds and affordable technology.
Current Affairs[September 2015]
  • ASTROSAT- India's first space research observatory, which was launched recently from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota. It will help in detailed understanding of the universe and also help in a detailed understanding of the universe and also put into orbit six foreign satellites, including the first from the US. So far only the US, Japan, Russia and Europe have launched the space observatory. It will observe universe in the optical, ultraviolet, low and high energy X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, while most other satellites are capable of observing a narrow range of wavelength band.
  • Face book- the famous social media whose office was recently visited by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent US visit where he interacted with its CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
  • REPO Rate- the key lending rate which was reduced by 0.50 percentage points to 6.75% recently by Reserve Bank of India’s Governor Raghuram Rajan in the monetary policy announced recently. This will lead to cheaper loans for households and companies. Repo rate is the rate at which banks borrow from RBI. Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) is the proportion of deposits banks have to park with RBI remains unchanged at 4% and Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) which stands for the proportion of deposits banks are required to park in govt. bonds also remains unchanged at 21.5%.
  • INS Kochi- the India’s latest warship, a stealth guided-missile destroyer which was commissioned in Mumbai recently. It is packed with an array of state-of-the-art weapons. It has four AK-630 rapid fire guns, indigenously developed twin-tube torpedo launchers and anti-submarine rocket launchers, Indo-Israeli developed LR-SAM (Long Range surface-to-air missiles) along with supersonic cruise missiles.
  • 35%- the percentage cut in intensity of carbon emissions from 2005 levels over the next 15 years formed part of the India’s ambitious climate change plan which was announced by India’s environment minister at Berlin recently. India also plans to generate 40%of its power from non-fossils fuels by 2030.The submission-called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)-requires a whopping $2.5trillion and targets were contingent on availability of international funds and affordable technology.
Current Affairs[August 2015]
  • UPTU- stands for Uttar Pradesh technical University which was recently renamed as Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University after late President.
  • Komen- the cyclone which created a depression over parts of Bangladesh and killed many people in the eastern states of India.
  • 7.25%- the Repo rate which was kept unchanged by Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan in the recent announced monetary policy review. It is the rate at which banks borrow from RBI.
  • 4%- the CRR rate which was kept unchanged by Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan in the recent announced monetary policy review. It stands for Cash Reserve
  • Ratio- proportion of the amount of deposits banks park with RBI.
  • BrahMos- the new series of this missile has been renamed BrahMos-II(K)-the K in its stands as tribute to former President APJ Abdul Kalam who fired India’s missile and nuclear programme. The hypersonic missile which will travel at a speed of 8,575 kmph is being developed by the Indo-Russian joint venture BrahMos Aerospace.
  • Biswa Bangla- the name of the state-of-the-art outlet of West Bengal which houses products made by thousands of weavers and artisans depicting culture of the state.
  • Indradhanush- the name of the seven point agenda announced recently to improve the PSU banks. They are- Appointments, Bank Board Bureau, Capitalisation, De-Stressing, Empowerment, Performance and Reforms.
  • Taj Mahal- the first historical monument to start an official handle on the micro-blogging site. The launch was done on 15th August 2015.
  • Buddy- the name of the mobile valet of State bank of India which was recently launched by Union Finance Minister, ArunJaitley in Mumbai.
  • SMILE- stands for Sidbi Make in India Loan for Enterprises which was recently launched by Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley in Mumbai. The Rs.10,000 crore SMILE is intended to take forward the government's Make In India campaign and help MSEs to meet the required debt-equity ratio as well as pursuing opportunities for growth of SMEs.
  • Rs 1,00,000 the maximum deposit that a payments bank can accept from an individual as per the new norms announced by Reserve Bank of India for payment banks. The central bank recently gave 11 entities licences to start payments banks. These banks will primarily provide remittance services. Though they can accept deposits from an individual, they cannot offer loans.
  • Ai-Ki-Do- the name of recently announced three enhanced service offerings in design thinking, platforms and knowledge based IT. The idea has been taken from the Japanese martial arts- Aikido.
  • Aurangzeb Road- the road located in Lutyen’s Delhi which is going to be renamed as the APJ Kalam Road in honour of the former President who passed away last month.

National Current Affairs 2015

Current Affairs[July 2015]
  • Airtel- the company led by Sunil Mittal which recently became the third largest mobile operator in the world with 303 million subscribers according to the data released by World Cellular information Service. It now stands behind china Mobile and Vodafone that have 626.27 and 403.08 million subscribers.
  • Dholpur Palace- the spectacular 19th century palace of Rajasthan which recently is news due to its ownership disputes.
  • PMKSY- stands for Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana. The Rs.50, 000 crore scheme was launched recently to boost the country's irrigation network over the next five years.
  • 31.2%- the percentage of population, nearly one of three people in India's villages are poor with an income hardly enough to buy even the bare essentials as per the new government study-Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) 2011, released recently. This is the first comprehensive exercise to estimate India's rural poverty levels. It concluded that the primary breadwinner in three of four households in rural India earns less than Rs.5000 a month. It defined rural households that spent Rs.26 or less a day as poor. As per SECC 2011, 243.9million is the total number of households in India out of which 64.8 million are urban and 179.1 million are rural households. It also found that in rural area 68.35% own a mobile phone and 20.69% own a vehicle-2/3/4 wheeler or fishing boat.
  • $200 billion- the cost which India will have to bear per anum due to the climate change if it fails to ensure adequate measures and fail to reduce their carbon emissions as per the study-Climate Change: A Risk Assessment- conducted by climate advisors to the government in United States, United Kingdom and China, the world's biggest carbon emitters.
  • NMSD- stands for National Mission for Skilled Development which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15th July 2015. The programme is part one of the PM's pet projects, national Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015, which aims to equip India's youth with employability and entrepreneurial skills. The project aims to equip 500 million Indians with skills by 2022 that would enable them to find jobs.
  • Give It Up- the name of the scheme launched to motivate capable people to give up their LPG subsidy.
  • IDFC the infrastructure finance firm which recently received the banking licence from Reserve Bank of India to do banking business in India under Section 22(1) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. Microfinance company Bandhan Financial Services is one of the other two companies which were granted preliminary bank permits last year. These two will become the new banks to be set up in India after more than a decade as Yes Bank was the last bank to b set up in 2004.
  • 6.2%- it is India's real interest rate now highest since 2005. REAL INTEREST RATES are interest rates adjusted for inflation while NOMINAL is the rate quoted in loan and deposit agreements. India's average real interest rate for the past five years is 4.22 while according to Reserve Bank of India India's desired real interest rate given the current conditions and priorities should be between 1.5-2%.
  • 1033- the toll free number recently launched for reporting accidents and seeking assistance after which the cashless treatment will be given to accident victim for the first 50 hours. The project will be launched in Gurgaon, Jaipur and Vadodra and then to Ranchi, Rungaon and Maurya national highways.
  • UPTU- stands for Uttar Pradesh technical University which was recently renamed as Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University after late President.
  • Komen- the cyclone which created a depression over parts of Bangladesh and killed many people in the eastern states of India.
Current Affairs[June 2015]
  • June 5- this day was celebrated as World Environment Day.
  • Maggi- the noodles which faced ban across India after the samples of the product showed dangerously high levels of lead and the chemical flavour enhancer, Monosodium Glutamate(MSG).
  • Victorias- the famous horse drawn carriages used in Mumbai for joy rides which were recently declared completely illegal and declared to be withdrawn within a year by Bombay High Court.
  • Vermin- this stands for nuisance animal. The environment ministry recently announced based on the recommendations of the state government the ministry would notify a particular animal as vermin and once notified the states would be free to hunt these animals for a limited period of time. There is a provision to declare wild animals listed in various Schedules of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) 1972 as vermin.
  • Ken and Betwa- the two rivers which flow through Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are going to be linked in the first phase of the ambitious river linking project.
  • Housing for All- the NDA government’s flagship project under which there is a plan to build two crore houses by 2022.
  • Bandhan Bank- the proposed bank of microfinance major Bandhan which recently received the final approval from the Reserve Bank of India to begin a full-fledged banking services and will debut on August 23, 2015.
  • 21st June- the first International Yoga day was celebrated all across the world.
  • June 25, 2015- this day marked the 40th anniversary of the imposing of Emergency in India.
  • Lifelines- the famous movie made on the life of Uttarakhand’s Makar Singh, his economic hardships and his efforts to uplift his community has won several awards and become a teaching tool in universities across UK, US, Canada and Australia. The movie has been produced by Jane Dyson. It was awarded the Outstanding International Impact Award by Britain’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) this week.
Current Affairs[May 2015]
  • Prabhadevi- the famous temple of Mumbai which recently completed 300 years. It was built in 1715 by Shyam Nayak- wealthy member of Pathare Prabhu community.
  • PDMA- stands for Public Debt Management Agency whose proposal was rolled back allowing the Reserve Bank of India to retain its status as the sole regulator of government bonds.
  • Weibo- the Chinese social media platform which is a cross between Twitter and Face book was in news recently after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made his debut in it.
  • Future Retail- the Kishore Biyani controlled group which recently decided to merge its retail business with Sunil Mittal led Bharti Retail. While Bharti retail runs 212 Easy day stores across India, Future Retail has 203 Big Bazaar stores.
  • GST- stands for Goods and Services Tax which is a single national tax levied across the country on all goods and services. GST will subsume multiple taxes such as VAT, CST, excise that states levy and will create a common market.
  • October 1,2015- the deadline from which the government has decided to make speed governors-a speed limiting device mandatory for all new transport vehicle. The governors will restrict the speed of commercial vehicles which have yellow number plates to less than 80kmph and to 60kmph for vehicles such as dumpers, tankers and school buses. Emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire tenders and police vehicles have been exempted from the rule.
  • 119th Amendment Bill- this was recently passed unanimously by Parliament which will allow in operationalising the 41-year old India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement (LBA). This historic agreement was signed between Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1974.
  • Namami Gange- The name of the flagship programme of the government, to integrate the efforts to clean and protect the Ganga in a comprehensive manner. The programme has a budget outlay of Rs.20, 000 crore for the next five years, which is a significant four-fold increase over the expenditure in the past 30 years.
  • USTTAD- It is the name of the initiative to augment and preserve rich heritage of traditional arts/crafts and build capacity of traditional artisans/craftsmen. This programme was recently launched to accomplish the government's commitment to minorities.
  • Hyundai Heavy Industries- the South Korean company which recently agreed to join hands with Hindustan Shipyard Limited, Vishakhapatnam for building warships in India. This agreement was signed during recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to South Korea.
  • Chhattisgarh Zinc Rice-1- the first zinc bio fortified rice developed by scientists which is expected to play a crucial role in fighting malnutrition in tribal dominated Chhattisgarh.
  • Gujjar- the community of Rajasthan for which the state government of Rajasthan agreed to introduce a bill ensuring 5%reservation outside the legal limit of 50%.
Current Affairs[April 2015]
  • GCTOCB- stands for Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Bill of 2015 which was recently passed by Gujarat government. This is an amended version of the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Bill which was earlier rejected by Presidents APJ Abdul Kalam and Pratibha Patil.
  • Fabindia- the company which came in limelight recently over a CCTV camera controversy, which happened in one of its outlet in Goa.
  • 1031- the anti corruption helpline, which was recently relaunched by Delhi's chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
  • AQI- stands for Air Quality Index which is colour coded index which was launched recently by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for 10 cities of India-Delhi, Agra, Kanpur, Lucknow, Varanasi, Faridabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. This will monitor the quality of air in major urban centres on a real time basis. The index will provide the current status of the level of pollution in a given city, with colour codes indicating air quality, ranging from dark green as 'good' to maroon as 'severe'.
  • 7th April- this was celebrated as World Health Day. The Central Government began a massive immunization campaign to cover by 2020 all children who are either unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated against seven preventable diseases. RERA- stands for Real Estate Regulatory Authority whose setting up was recently cleared by the Union cabinet. This will cover both residential and commercial real estate and will make it mandatory for builders developing a project exceeding 1,000 square metres to register with RERA before launching or even advertising a housing scheme.
  • 112- the toll free number whose implementation has been recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) as a single point of contact for assistance in major emergency. The new helpline would be an integration of the existing emergency numbers in India such as 100,101,102 and 108 which can be retained as secondary numbers. This is the Indian equivalent to the American 911-all emergency number.
  • CEPI- stands for Comprehensive Environmental Assessment of Industrial Clusters ranking system which has been revamped by the government recently setting aside the annual approval clause. The government has now decided that the approval to operate will be valid for five years in case of most polluting red category units, 10 years for slightly less polluting orange category and the cleaner green category will require one time approval.
  • MUDRA Bank- stands for Micro Units Development Refinance Agency, a separate bank to support small business and microfinance was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently.
  • FAA- the Federal Aviation Administration of US which recently restored India's aviation safety ranking to the Category I status which means that domestic airlines can increase flights to that country and have new code shares with American carriers.
  • Moody- the credit rating agency which upwardly revised the outlook on India's economy to 'positive' from 'stable'. A 'positive' outlook implies that Moody's is more bullish about the Indian economy prospects than earlier and India is likely to grow faster than its peers over the medium term.
  • Greenpeace India- the centre barred this organization from receiving foreign funds over allegation of working against India's economic progress and public interest.
  • Rafale jets- India recently decided to buy 36 of these jets for Indian Air Force from France as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to France. He along with French President Francois Hollande discussed bilateral issues during a boat ride along the Seine River in Paris.
  • Areva- the French nuclear major recently signed an agreement with L&T of India to bring down the cost of the proposed Jaitapur Nuclear Power project which has the capacity of generating 9,900 MW power.
  • GIFT city- stands for Gujarat international Finance Tech City which is located on the bank of river Sabarmati between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. The country's first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) is coming up here which will open doors for domestic and foreign banks to set up backend offices in the GIFT city.
  • Airbus- the French major aero planes manufacturer which has recently agreed to set up plant in India to manufacture helicopters, satellites and military transport planes.
  • NJAC- it stands for National Judicial Appointments Commission which has been set up for the appointment of judges. Apart from two senior most Supreme Court judges the NJAC will also have the law minister and two eminent jurists as members. The new law replaces the 22 year old collegiums system that kept the government out of the selection process for Supreme Court and high court judges.
  • Net Neutrality- the system in which Internet service providers treat all traffic on their networks equally- the system in which users are able to access all websites at the same speed and cost without any preferential treatment to any website.
  • Sholay- the Bollywood classic starring Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra, which hit the theatres in Pakistan recently for the first time, 40years after its India release.
  • Mary Kom- the film starring Priyanka Chopra based on the life of Olympic medal winning Indian boxer Mary Kom recently won the Bronze Horse Award, the highest honour at the Stockholm International Film Festival Junior in Sweden.
  • Visakhapatnam- the Indian Navy's new stealth destroyer of P-15 B class which has been designed indigenously and fitted with advanced features was launched recently at Mazagaon docks.
  • 21st April- this day was recently celebrated as Civil Services Day.
  • 2050- the year by which India has agreed to a US proposal to phase out refrigerating coolants called hydroflourocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol on the condition that rich countries pay the entire cost of the transition , a move that could lead to an increase in cost of refrigeration services.
  • India- it was ranked 117 out of 158 countries in the 2015 World Happiness Report released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative under the United Nations. This rank was given on the basis of GDP per capita, life expectancy, social support and freedom to make life choices.
  • Prabhadevi- the famous temple of Mumbai which recently completed 300 years. It was built in 1715 by Shyam Nayak- wealthy member of Pathare Prabhu community.
  • PDMA- stands for Public Debt Management Agency whose proposal was rolled back allowing the Reserve Bank of India to retain its status as the sole regulator of government bonds.
Current Affairs[March 2015]
  • Repo rate- the rate at which banks borrow from Reserve Bank of India was cut by 0.25 percentage points on 4th March 2015.
  • Re.1- the note of this denomination was released in the country after over 20 years bearing the signature of finance secretary, Rajiv Mehrishi.

  • LIC- they recently committed Rs.1.5 lakh crore for development of rail projects over the next five years which is the highest ever funding for the Indian Railways.

  • Insurance- the sector in which the cap of foreign investment has been raised from present 26 % to 49 % after the passage of Insurance Laws(Amendment)Bill 2015 by Parliament.

  • April 14,2015- the Baisakhi or the harvest festival day from which the government is planning to start a new channel Kisan TV which will be a help tillers after nearly 30 years of successful Krishi darshan.

  • Lupin- the major drug company which recently inked a pact to acquire an additional 40% stake in South Africa's Pharma Dynamics which will take its holding to 100% making it a wholly owned subsidiary.
  • The Undisclosed foreign Income and Assets( Imposition of Tax) Bill- the new bill that makes concealing foreign assets and income from tax authorities a crime punishable with a 10 year jail term and 300% fine on tax evaded was cleared by Union cabinet recently.
  • 1km- the limit of eco zones around forests in Goa which was recently approved by green ministry beyond which mining can be done.
  • Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill- this bill was passed by Parliament recently. This bill allows for auction of mines with a 50-year lease against current 30 years period, mines will to be re-auctioned after expiry. There is also provision for tough deterrents in the form of Rs.5,00,000 fine for illegal mining per hectare(currently Rs.25,000) and jail term of 5 years.
  • Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill 2015- this bill was passed by Parliament recently. This bill allows auction of mines, following a 2014 Supreme Court order cancelling allocation of over 2014 blocks after it termed process illegal.
  • DMH-11- the genetically modified crop of mustard which is in the final stage of trial and shown to be 28-30% higher yielding than the best mustard varieties. This is being developed by Delhi University's Centre for genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants and is funded by the department of biotech and the National Dairy Development Board.
  • 66A- the section of the Information Technology (IT) Act which was recently scrapped the Supreme Court. This law gave police sweeping powers to arrest anyone for posting annoying or offensive comments online.
  • NISH- stands for the National Institute of Speech and Hearing located at Thiruvananthapuram which has been elevated as the country's first university for disability studies and rehabilitation sciences.
  • GCTOCB- stands for Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Bill of 2015 which was recently passed by Gujarat government. This is an amended version of the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Bill which was earlier rejected by Presidents APJ Abdul Kalam and Pratibha Patil.
  • Fabindia- the company which came in limelight recently over a CCTV camera controversy, which happened in one of its outlet in Goa.
  • 1031- the anti corruption helpline, which was recently relaunched by Delhi's chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Current Affairs[February 2015]
  • SLR- stands for Statutory Liquidity Ratio is the proportion of deposits that banks have to maintain as liquid. This was cut by 50 basis points to 21.5% which will release Rs.45000 crore into the system.

  • LRS- stands for Liberalised Remittance Scheme which allows individuals to acquire shares, debt instruments and other assets outside India without RBI's prior approval. This has been recently raised to $250,000 a year.

  • Nehru & Bose: Parallel lives- the new book written by Rudrangshu Mukherjee.

  • Sholay- the iconic movie of Bollywood which is to be released in Pakistan after 40 years.

  • Adani Enterprise Ltd.- they recently signed a pact with the Rajasthan government to develop India's largest solar park in the state with 10,000MW capacity over the next 10 years, at an estimated investment of about Rs.40,000 crore.

  • AAP- stands for Aam Aadmi Party which won 67 of the 70 seats of Delhi in the recently concluded Assembly elections.

  • Mann ki Baat- the monthly radio programme of Primeminister Narendra Modi in which this month he advised students to take up examinations with ' a smile on their face' being 'warriors and not worriers' and advised parents not to compare their children to others as it mounts pressure on their wards.
  • Kejriwal Sworn In As Delhi's Chief Minister
    AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal was sworn in as Delhi's chief minister by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung at the Ramlila Maidan here along with six ministers on Feb 14, 2015.
    Tens of thousands of Aam Aadmi Party supporters who had gathered at the sprawling ground in the heart of the capital since morning cheered loudly and waved AAP flags as Kejriwal took the oath of office and secrecy.

  • Railways Launches India's First Customer Complaint Mobile App
    Indian Railways on Feb 2, 2015, became the first company in the country to provide customer complaint services on a mobile app besides providing the facility online by launching a complaint management system (Coms).
    The Coms comprises the mobile app, an online portal backed by a centralised grievance redressal monitoring system and a mobile network messaging facility.

  • Largest And Tallest Indian Flag To Be Unfurled
    The largest and tallest Indian flag will be unfurled by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah at Faridabad on Mar 3, 2015, said a member of the event's organising committee Monday.
    "The world's largest Indian flag will unfurled tomorrow by BJP president Amit Shah. The flag will be hoisted at 250 feet making it the tallest Indian flag," a member of the organising committee told IANS.

  • Delhi Police Launch Himmat WhatsApp, Hike For Women's Safety
    Enthused by the popularity of its 'Himmat' mobile app for women's safety, the Delhi Police launched the facility on WhatsApp and the Hike messenger group on feb 25, 2015.
    Women in Delhi can now send photos of autorickshaws and taxis they board to the Himmat WhatsApp group number 8800001091. The same number is for hike messenger group users.

  • Modi Flags Off Arunachal-Delhi Train
    In a historic development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the first express train from Naharlagun in Arunachal Pradesh to New Delhi on Feb 20, 2015.
    Modi, who arrived in Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar to participate in the state's 29th foundation day, flagged off the Naharlagun-New Delhi Express by pressing a button at a function held in Indira Gandhi Park in Itanagar.

  • On Sirisena visit, India, Sri Lanka ink civil nuclear agreement
    India and close neighbour Sri Lanka Monday sought to begin a new chapter in their ties as the island nation's newly-elected President Maithripala Sirisena, on his maiden visit abroad since taking over last month, held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi here and the two sides inked four agreements, including one on civil nuclear cooperation.
    Sirisena, who defeated long-time president Mahinda Rajapaksa in the Jan 8 election, signalled the new closeness in bilateral ties, saying Modi is expected to visit his country in March and that they are "eagerly awaiting the glorious event", which would be "an honour and a blessing" to their country.

Current Affairs[January 2015]
  • Rs.2- the amount of excise duty which has been levied on petrol and diesel recently to raise an annual revenue of Rs.10,000 crore to fund the ambitious plan of government to built an additional 15,000km of National highways over the next three years.

  • Niti Aayog- stands for National Institution for Transforming India Aayog which will now replace the 65 year old Planning Commission and will be headed by Prime Minister.

  • 27.6%- the percentage of people or 104 million people out of 377 million living in the urban India has been identified as poor, according to preliminary figures of the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC). This is the first time the urban poor have been identified.

  • 9th January- on this day in 1915 Mahatma Gandhi set foot on Indian soil and stepped on to the path of being the Mahatma

  • Repo rate- this rate was recently cut from 8% to 7.75% by Raghuram Rajan, RBI Governor.

  • Bio diesel- bthe cabinet recently allowed private manufacturers of this alternative fuel to sell it directly to consumers like Indian Railways.

  • Tejas- the first indigenously built light combat aircraft was handed over to the IAF recently, 32 years after the project was sanctioned.

  • Agni V-the nuclear capable missile having a strike range of 5,000km which was successfully test fired for the third time but from the first time from a canister mounted on a truck rather than a concrete launch pad from Wheeler island of Odisha coast recently.

  • 2226- the number of tigers in India in 2014 as reported in The 2014 Status of Tigers in India which is 30% more than that of 1706 in 2010.

  • Twitter- the micro blogging site which made its first acquisition in India by buying Bangalore based mobile marketing platform Zip Dial for an undisclosed amount.

  • Padma Vibhushan- the country's second's highest civilian honour was conferred to 9 people for this year-Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachan, LK Advani, Prakash Singh Badal, Dr.Veerendra Heggade, Mr. Srinivasan, KK Venogopal, Aga Khan and Swami Rambhadracharya. The Padma Bhusan was conferred to 20 people and Padma Shri on 75 people.

  • Mann Ki Baat- the monthly radio talk where US President Barack Obama and PrimeMinister Narendra Modi shared similar back stories of humble beginnings and hard work.

  • Coal India Limited-in the biggest ever disinvestment exercise, the government mopped up Rs.22557 crore from 10% stake sale in this company.

  • Jaishankar appointed as New Foreign SecretaryThe Government appointed India's envoy in the US, S. Jaishankar, as the new foreign secretary on January 28, 2015, replacing incumbent Sujatha Singh six months before her term was to end.
    The sudden appointment has echoes of the sudden replacement of India's then foreign secretary A.P. Venkateswaran by then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in January 1987.
    The appointments committee of the Cabinet, in a decision taken Wednesday, decided to "curtail the tenure" of the incumbent Sujatha Singh, "with immediate effect".

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi's assurance of "consistent policies" and "welcoming environment" leading to US President Barack Obama announcing steps to lead to $4 billion trade with and investment in India.
    "Over the next two years, our Export Import Bank (EXIM) will support $1 billion Made In America goods exports to India. Our Overseas Private Investment Corporation will support lending small and medium businesses across India in more than $1 billion in loans. And our US Trade and Development Agency will invest nearly $2 billion in renewable energy in India," Obama said in his address at the US-India Business Summit here Monday.

  • Modi Launches 'Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao' Campaign From Haryana
    In a determined effort to counter the adverse sex ratio in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the nationwide 'Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao' (save girl child and educate her) campaign from Panipat, in Haryana on Jan 22,2015.
    The prime minister flagged off 72 campaign vehicles (raths) on the occasion that will make people aware about the need to save the girl child in areas where the sex ratio is adverse.
    The campaign has been launched from Haryana as the state has the worst sex ratio (number of females per 1,000 males) and child sex ratio in the country. Out of the 100 worst districts in India for sex ratio, Haryana accounts for 12 districts.

  • Ashoka Chakra For Two Fallen Bravehearts On Republic Day
    Major Mukund Varadarajan and Naik Neeraj Kumar Singh were posthumously awarded the nation's highest peacetime gallantry award, the Ashoka Chakra, at the Republic Day parade.
    Both of them laid down their lives while fighting heavily-armed terrorists in separate gun-battles in Jammu and Kashmir last year.
    Their widows received the award from President Pranab Mukherjee.

National Current Affairs 2014

Current Affairs[December 2014]
  • Indian Film 'Jal' In Running For Two OscarsGirish Malik's National Award winning film "Jal" has found a place in the Oscar contenders of 2014 in two categories — Best Picture and Best Original Score.
    The film, which has the backdrop of water scarcity and tells the story of Bakka, a person gifted with a special ability to find water in the desert, features in the reminder list of productions eligible for the 87th Academy Awards.

  • Vivek Murthy Makes History As First Indian 'America's Doctor'
    Vivek Hallegere Murthy has made history as the youngest US Surgeon General and the first of Indian descent with his Senate confirmation in the teeth of strong opposition of powerful gun lobby.
    The Democratic controlled Senate voted Monday 51-43 to confirm Murthy, 37 as 'America's doctor' more than a year after his nomination with the Republicans dead set against him because of his support for gun control and President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law.

  • India successfully test fires its heaviest rocket
    India's heaviest test rocket with an experimental crew module blasted off from the spaceport here.
    Precisely at 9.30 a.m., the 630 tonne Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mark III) standing 43.43 metre tall freed itself from the second launch pad holds and with a reverberating deep throated roar, it rose into the sky.

  • India-China border resolution: Is it ever likely?
    Despite promising noises of an early resolution and many rounds of annual dialogue, why does the India-China border issue continue to fester? Why is there no moving forward in actual terms? Is it because it suits Beijing to let the status quo continue?
    According to China expert Ranjit Singh Kalha, a former secretary in the external affairs ministry, the "stalemate" on the boundary issue, which has seen 17 rounds of formal talks so far over the disputed boundary of around 4,000 km, is likely to continue.

  • India's Mars mission hits a century
    Chennai, India's Mars Orbiter completed 100 days of its Martian orbit on the New Year's Day 2015 Thursday, space agency officials said.
    The Mars Orbiter was inserted in Martian orbit Sep 24, 2014 is in good health, said officials of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Current Affairs[November 2014]
  • IAF Chief Unveils New Pilot Selection System
    Indian Air Force chief Arup Raha unveiled the new computerised pilot selection system, replacing the age-old pilot aptitude battery test.
    "The new system is aimed at addressing the alarming rate of flying accidents in the IAF attributed to pilot error," Air Chief Marshal Raha told reporters at the air force selection board here, about 150 km from Bengaluru.

  • India launches e-visa facility for 43 countries
    India launched electronic visa (e-visa) facility for tourists from 43 countries, including US, Israel, Palestine and Japan to boost tourism sector and offer hassle-free travel to foreign visitors.
    Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, along with union Culture and Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma launched the Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVOA) service enabled with electronic travel authorisation (ETA) scheme here.

  • India's First Smart City In Gujarat Wins Nasscom Award
    India's first smart city, the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City), announced it had been conferred with the e-LETS award for the smart city's command and control centre from the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom).
    The award was given by Nasscom president R. Chandrashekhar at the e-INDIA conference in Kovalam.

  • Modi Ranked 15th On Forbes Power List; Putin Tops
    Indian Prime Narendra Modi joined the world's most powerful people ranking 15th on the Forbes list with Russian President Vladimir Putin once again beating US President Barack Obama to the top spot.
    "India's newest rock star doesn't hail from Bollywood. He is the newly elected prime minister who sailed into office in May with a landslide victory, ushering the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) into power after decades of control by the Gandhi dynasty," said the US business magazine of Modi.

  • India, Australia Agree On Early Closure Of Civil N-Agreement
    India and Australia agreed on seeking an early closure on the civil nuclear agreement and also to speed up negotiations on a bilateral trade agreement as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott on Nov 18, 2014 (Tuesday).
    Modi, addressing the media here after talks with Abbott, said he has asked for easier access for Indian business to the Australian market and quicker investment approvals.
Current Affairs[October 2014]
  • List of 627 Foreign Account Holders Submitted to Supreme Court

    The central government submitted to the Supreme Court names of the 627 Indians who are holding accounts in foreign banks revealed to it by the French government on Oct 29, 2014 (Wednesday).

    Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi handed over two sealed envelopes to the apex court bench headed by Chief Justice H.L. Dattu.

  • India's Kailash Satyarthi shares Peace Prize with Pakistan's Malala

    Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Pakistani teenager Malala Yousufzai who stood up to the Taliban and survived a near-fatal shooting.

    The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Peace Prize for 2014 to Satyarthi and Malala Yousufzai "for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education," a statement said.

  • India, Vietnam To Ramp Up Oil Search In South China Sea, Defence Links

    India and Vietnam ramped up cooperation in exploring for oil and gas in the contested South China Sea, ignoring Chinese objections, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Hanoi is at the forefront of his government's intensified engagement in Asia Pacific after holding talks with his visiting Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung.

    Both sides inked seven agreements, including between ONGC Videsh Limited and PetroVietnam for exploration of two oil and gas blocks in Vietnam.

  • Modi Unveils Key Labour Reforms, Promises Better Work Culture

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled some key labour reforms that relies on trust and promotes ease of doing business and said these efforts will go a long way in changing India's work culture on Oct 16, 2014.

    The prime minister also dedicated the Shram Suvidha portal, a Labour Inspection Scheme, as also portability of social security through a Universal Account Number for Employees Provident Fund at an event in Vigyan Bhavan conference complex here.

  • Help rural students dream big: PM to AIIMS

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a novel idea to inspire children from rural background to take up higher calling. He wants prestigious institutions like AIIMS to invite them at their convocation ceremonies.

    Interacting with graduating medical students at the 42nd AIIMS convocation here, the prime minister suggested a tradition be introduced of having special guests at the convocation.

  • Government bans import of animal-tested cosmetics

    The ministry of health and family welfare banned the import of cosmetics which are tested on animals on Oct 14, 2014.

    The ban comes in the form of Rule 135-B that states: "Prohibition of import of cosmetics tested on animals. No cosmetic that has been tested on animals after the commencement of the Drugs and Cosmetics (Fifth Amendment) Rules, 2014, shall be imported into the country."

  • India to launch electronic toll collection at 350 highway plazas: Minister

    Launching an electronic toll collection (ETC) system for the Delhi-Mumbai highway, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said such a facility will be extended to as many as 350 plazas by the end of next year.

    "In the coming time, this system will get revolutionalised. This is our step towards a digital India. I have given orders that before March, there should be over 350 such tolls," the minister said at an event here to launch the project.

  • Sardar Patel's birth anniversary to be 'Rashtriya Ekta Divas'

    The central government will commemorate Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's birth anniversary Oct 31 as "National Integration Day", Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar announced.

    The central government will create awareness about the contribution of Sardar Patel during India's Independence movement and towards national integration, he said. "Awareness about Sardar Patel's

Current Affairs[September 2014]
  • Modi starts Clean India drive, says India can do it

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday (Oct 1,2014) symbolically wielded the broom in Dalit colony where Mahatma Gandhi once stayed to launch a unique nationwide campaign which seeks to change Indians' mindset vis-a-vis hygiene and clean up the country in five years.

    In a spirited speech near the India Gate monument a short while later, Modi told a huge gathering that Indians had a responsibility to fulfill Gandhi's dream by ridding the country of dirt and filth by 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Father of the Nation.

  • Modi Launches 'Make In India' Campaign, Portal And Logo

    Narendra Modi launched his pet "Make in India" campaign on Sep 25, 2014 (Thursday) to put India prominently on the global manufacturing map and, in turn, facilitate the inflow of new technology and capital, while creating millions of jobs.

    The ambitious scheme, that also puts in place the logistics and systems to address in a timely manner queries of potential investors, was unveiled along with a logo, a portal and brochures on 25 identified growth sectors before Who's Who of the corporate world from India and abroad at the Vigyan Bhavan conference complex here.

  • India enters Mars orbit, makes history

    India made history by becoming the first country in the world to enter the Martian orbit in its maiden attempt on Sep 24,2014 (Wednesday).

    "The spacecraft (Orbiter) was successfully inserted into the Martian orbit at 515 km away from the red planet's surface and 215 million km away from the earth in radio distance," a senior space official told at the mission's control centre here.

  • India, Japan Will Steer The 21st Century; Modi

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday said India and Japan's friendship will determine the course of the 21st century.

    "There is no doubt that the 21st century belongs to Asia. But India and Japan's friendship will determine how it will actually look like," Modi told the Indian community in Japan after inaugurating the Vivekananda Cultural Centre here.

  • India, China Cooperation Will Help Develop The World: Modi

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi hinted at the immense possibilities that could open with a free trade agreement between India and China and the creation of such a market.
    "India and China today constitute almost 35 percent of the world's population. From a purely arithmetic point of view, the betterment of 35 percent of the world's population and that they decide to work together will open big gates for progress and development in the world," Modi told Chinese journalists here ahead of President Xi Jinping's visit to India.

  • Justice Dattu sworn-in as new Chief Justice of India

    Justice Handyala Lakshminarayanaswamy Dattu was Sunday (Sep 28, 2014) sworn-in as the 42nd Chief Justice of India.

    Administered the oath of office by President Pranab Mukherjee, Chief Justice Dattu will hold office till Dec 2, 2015. He succeeds Chief Justice R.M. Lodha who demitted office Sep 27.

Current Affairs[August 2014]
  • Classes begin in Nalanda University – after over 800 years

    Classes opened Monday at the Nalanda University, an ancient international centre for learning in Bihar, after a break of over 800 years with 15 students, its vice chancellor said.

    "We have formally started the academic session of Nalanda University Monday morning in the International Convention Centre at the Buddhist pilgrim town of Rajgir," Vice Chancellor Gopa Sabhrawal told IANS. Rajgir is about 100 km from Patna.

  • Modi Launches Jan Dhan Yojana, Record 15 Mn Bank Accounts Opened

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday launched the union government's flagship financial inclusion scheme "Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana" (PMJDY), with the national rollout leading to the opening of an astounding 15 million bank accounts on a single day.

    Modi said the project, launched in a mission mode, aims at tackling poverty by ending "financial untouchability".

  • 20 new cancer treatment centres across India: Harsh Vardhan

    The government will set up 20 new advanced cancer treatment facilities across India over the next few years to meet the rising burden of the disease, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said here Tuesday.

    He said that for Madhya Pradesh, the central government has planned a new State Cancer Institute (SCI), along with two Tertiary Care Cancer Centres (TCCC).

  • India Building World's Highest Railway Bridge

    World's tallest railway bridge construction work started near Noney in Manipur, India. Northeast Frontier Railway Construction Organisation (NFRCO) will be administering the whole project.

    The bridge which is expected to be 35 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower when completed by 2016.

  • Cabinet approves amendments to Juvenile Justice Act

    The union cabinet gave its nod to amend the Juvenile Justice Act that will pave the way for 16/18-year-olds to be treated as adults when involved in heinous crimes on Aug 7 2014.

    The decision was taken at a meeting of the cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, informed sources said.

  • President presents best parliamentarian awards

    President Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday presented the outstanding parliamentarian awards to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Congress leader Karan Singh and JD-U president Sharad Yadav for 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively.

    At a function organised by the Indian Parliamentary Group, Mukherjee said Jaitley, Karan Singh and Yadav were worthy successors of the illustrious lineage of parliamentarians who have received the award in the past.

  • President opens India's first IIEST, seeks industry-academia synergy

    Calling for a synergy between academia and industry, President Pranab Mukherjee Sunday (Aug 24, 2014) stressed on giving high priority to the upgradation of state-level institutions.

    Speaking after inaugurating the first Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST) of the country at Shibpur in West Bengal's Howrah district, he said: "Quality up-gradation of state-level institutions, which account for 96 percent of the higher education capacity, needs to be accorded high priority."

Current Affairs[July 2014]
  • PM Launches Portal For People's Participation In Governance

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched an interactive online platform that allows people to share ideas and suggestions and participate in the country's governance.

    "Democracy cannot succeed without people's participation in Government and this participation should not be limited only during elections. The participation should be there in fulfilling peoples' aspirations and needs," Modi said while inaugurating the platform.

  • World Bank to provide $18 bn aid to India in three years

    The World Bank said it will provide financial support of $15-18 billion to India over the next three years to help accelerate economic growth and reduce poverty.

    Talking to media persons after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi here, World Bank group president Jim Yong Kim said the Indian government has outlined a comprehensive plan to reduce poverty and return to over nine percent economic growth trajectory.

  • Rangarajan Committee submits report on poverty to Planning Commission

    C Rangarajan has submitted the report on Tendulkar Committee methodology for estimating poverty to planning minister Rao Inderjit Singh.

    Rangrajan Committee retained consumption expenditure estimates of NSSO as the basis for determining poverty , it pegged the total number of poor in India at 363 million or 29.6 percent of the population.

  • Rajasthan Cabinet declared Camel as the State animal

    Rajasthan State Government declared Camel as the State animal on June 30 2014. This decision has been taken to check the diminishing number of camels in the State.

    Camel as an animal provide livelihood to numerous people of Rajasthan and is called as a ship of desert. However, over the years these animals are slaughtered for its meat and are also illegally transported to neighbouring states.

  • World's Maximum Child Labourers In India: Report

    India has 10.1 million child labourers in the 5-14 age group, the most in the world, a study revealed here Wednesday.

    "India continues to host the largest number of child labourers in the world with more than half of Delhi's working children forced to work more than eight hours a day without a single day's rest," said the report released by NGO Child Rights and You (CRY) in collaboration with Philips.

Current Affairs[June 2014]
  • Delhi became first kerosene free city in India

    Delhi has became the first kerosene-free city in the country government announced on 16 June 2014. The scheme was launched in 2012 under which no subsidized kerosene were being issued in the city.

    The three Oil Marketing Companies and Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas for which Delhi Government had incurred an expenditure of 62 core rupees.

  • National Missions To Be Launched By Modi Government

    National Land Use Policy – to facilitate scientific identification of non-cultivable land and its strategic development.

    Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana – with the motto Har Khet Ko Paani – according priority to water security.

  • Government Will Set Up IITs And IIMs In Very State: President

    President Pranab Mukherjee Monday said the government will set up IITs and IIMs in every state of the country.

    "My government will set up IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) and IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) in every state. A national e-library will also be set up," Mukherjee said while addressing the joint session of both houses of parliament.

  • Indian Rocket Carrying French, German Satellites Blasts Off

    An Indian rocket carrying a French earth observation satellite and four other foreign satellites blasted off from the rocket port here.

    Exactly at 9.52 a.m., the rocket – Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C23 (PSLV-C23) – standing around 44.4 metres tall and weighing around 230 ton tore into the bright morning skies with orange flames fiercely burning at its tail.

  • Gujarat Govt announced 33 percent quota for women in police force

    Chief Minister of Gujarat Anandiben Patel announced 33 percent reservation for women in the police force. With this announcement, the women of the state can get 33 percent reservation in new recruitment in the police force. The decision will be implemented in all cadres.

Current Affairs[May 2014]
  • Modi became India's 15th PM

    Narendra Modi, India's 15th prime minister, took oath Monday at a ceremony held in the open at Rashtrapati Bhavan and attended by the Who's Who of the nation – including political leaders, business honchos, celebrities and leaders of religious faiths – as well as leaders of neighbouring countries.

    The oath of office and secrecy was administered in Hindi to Modi by President Pranab Mukherjee.

  • IB Ex-Chief Is New Chief Information Commissioner

    Former Intelligence Bureau chief Rajiv Mathur was Thursday sworn-in as the new chief information commissioner, Rashtrapati Bhavan said.

    The oath was administered to Mathur by President Pranab Mukherjee, said a statement.

  • 2014 election sees highest ever voter turnout

    The national voter turnout of 66.38 percent in the 2014 general election was the highest ever in Indian polls, the Election Commission said Monday.

    "The voting percentage for the whole nation this time was 66.38 percent, which is the highest ever in history," Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi said at a press conference here.

  • Pranab to dedicate indigenous payment card RuPay to nation

    RuPay, an indigenous payment card accepted at most retail and e-commerce platforms and all automated teller machines (ATMs) across the country, will be dedicated to the nation Thursday.

    President Pranab Mukherjee is scheduled to dedicate the card payment network to the nation at a function at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

  • States Can't Make Linguistic Minorities Choose Mother Tongue: SC

    The Supreme Court Tuesday said states in India have no powers to compel the children of linguistic minorities to choose the language considered to be the mother tongue in a state as a medium of instruction at primary level.

    A constitution bench of Chief Justice R.M.Lodha, Justice A.K.Patnaik, Justice Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya, Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla said: "We hold that the state has no power under article 350A of the constitution to compel the linguistic minorities to choose their mother tongue only as a medium of instruction in primary schools."

  • Doval Tipped To Be Next National Security Advisor

    Former Intelligence Bureau chief Ajit Doval Monday met prime minister-to-be Narendra Modi and BJP chief Rajnath Singh, intensifying speculation that he may be appointed the next National Security Advisor.

    Doval, who was Intelligence Bureau chief 2004-05, is currently director of the Vivekananda International Foundation, a think tank.

Current Affairs[April 2014]
  • Hydro Projects were blamed for Uttarakhand Disaster

    After the Uttarakhand disaster which struck in June 2013, green activists have been blaming it all on dams, tunnels and hydropower projects in the area. But Now, an expert committee of the environment ministry believes that there should be enactment of legislation for protecting small but significant rivers as this area is eco-sensitive. "A larger number of members of the panel have consensus that the hydropower projects aggravated the damage to surroundings.

  • Indian Activist Honoured With Goldman Environmental Prize

    Indian environment activist Ramesh Agrawal has won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize that honours heroic grassroot environmentalists around the world for their achievements.

    The Goldman Prize, in its 25th year, is the largest award for grassroots environmental activism given annually by Goldman Environmental Foundation based in San Francisco, the foundation said in a statement Monday.

  • Disclosing Identity Of UPSC Interviewers May Be Harmful: HC

    The possibility of a failed candidate attempting to take revenge on the selection commission members of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) cannot be ruled out, said Delhi High Court as it agreed that disclosing their names will "expose them to danger".

  • Justice Lodha Is India's New Chief Justice

    Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha was Sunday sworn in as the chief justice of India. He was administered the oath of office by President Pranab Mukharjee.Chief Justice Lodha, 64, is the 41st chief justice.

    The oath taking ceremony at the Darbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan was also attended by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and cabinet ministers Sushilkumar Shinde, A.K. Antony, Kapil Sibal and M. Veerappa Moily.

  • 90 Fresh Candidates Selected Civil Services 2012

    90 candidates have been declared qualified for Civil Services Examination, 2012 by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

    998 candidates were declared qualified by the UPSC for the 2012 examination in order of merit for appointment to IAS, IFS, IPS and other central services, as against 1,091 vacancies, results of which were declared in May last year.

  • Modi, Kejriwal, Arundhati Roy among Time's 100 influential people

    Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal have made it to Time 100 list of the world's most influential people along with Indian novelist Arundhati Roy.

    While Modi figures in the category of "leaders", Kejriwal is listed among the "pioneers" and Roy makes the grade among "icons" in the annual list released Thursday after an online poll of readers.

  • Railways Integrator, Unifier Of India, Says President

    Millions of Indians from various backgrounds use one common mode of transportation – the Indian Railways – which thus play a major role as an "integrator and unifier" of the country, President Pranab Mukherjee said Tuesday.

    "Every day, millions of passengers speaking different languages, consuming different types of food, wearing different types of dresses and believing in diverse religions use one common vehicle for transportation," Mukherjee said addressing a group of 68 probationary officials of the Indian Railway Service of Engineers (IRSE) of the 2011 batch.

  • 2014 Lok Sabha Election – Some facts

    Following are some facts about the nine-phase Lok Sabha elections that begin Monday

    Total electorate – 814 million (814,591,184). Male voters – 426 million (426,615,513), Female – 387 million (387,911,330) and Others – 28,341

Current Affairs[March 2014]
  • India's own satellite navigation system by 2014 end: ISRO chief

    ndia is expected to have its own satellite navigation system with the launch of three more satellites before the end of this year, said the Indian space agency's chief Monday.

    Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K.Radhakrishnan told IANS that Indian communication satellite INSAT-3E has been decommissioned couple of days ago and the users are being migrated to other satellites.

  • Corruption, Lokpal to be key poll issues: Google survey

    Corruption and Lokpal are likely to be the two decisive factors on which young people are going to vote in the Lok Sabha polls, search engine Google has said.

    After a three-month survey, Google concluded that the Lok Sabha elections have evoked unprecedented interest among online users who want to know about the various issues influencing national politics.

  • India Visa Facility Via E-Button Soon

    The electronic visa facility or e-visa is in its final stage of development and is expected to be introduced this year, a tourism ministry official said Wednesday.

    Speaking at the "Think Tourism-Think India: Thought Leadership Meet", organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), tourism secretary Parvez Dewan said the move would catapult India among the top four countries with visa-friendly policies.

  • Empowering Rural Women Key For Kids' Nourishment

    Mothers in rural India who participate in vocational training programmes get, in return, an increased bargaining strength at homes – thus significantly improving their children's consumption of rice and dairy.

    "There is evidence that if women have more bargaining power in the household – particularly in developing countries where cash is very tight – quite often more resources go toward the kids," said economist Kathy Baylis from University of Illinois.

  • Basic Idea Of India Being Challenged: Sam Pitroda

    The basic ideas of India's democratic values, freedom of speech and social inclusion have been challenged in the run-up to the general elections, said Sam Pitroda, adviser to prime minister on public information infrastructure and innovations.

    "The upcoming elections are India's most important polls in recent history. However, the basic ideas of India, democratic values, freedom of speech and social inclusion are being challenged," Pitroda said while addressing the Growth Net 2014 conference here Tuesday.

Current Affairs[February 2014]
  • India, Russia To Conclude Deal On Two Kudankulum Reactors

    India and Russia Wednesday agreed to conclude at an early date the general framework agreement on reactors 3 and 4 of the Kudankulam nuclear power project in Tamil Nadu, official sources said.

    The "general agreement" concerning the reactors was reached during the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission meeting chaired by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin in Delhi.

    The meeting also focused on nuclear, space, energy and economic cooperation.

  • Rajiv assassins' death sentence commuted to life imprisonment

    Supreme Court Tuesday commuted the death sentence to the three assassins of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi to life imprisonment, holding that the 11-year long delay in deciding their mercy petition had a dehumanising effect on them.

    The apex court bench headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam said that the delay was not only inordinate but also unreasonable and unexplained.

    The court said that life imprisonment would mean life in jail till end.

  • Budget 2014 – Loan subsidy to benefit 9 lakh students

    Nearly nine lakh students stand to benefit from a subsidy scheme on educational loans taken before March 31, 2009, according to the interim budget proposals presented by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram Monday.

    According to the budget presented in the Lok Sabha, Rs.2,600 crore will be provided in the current fiscal for payment of outstanding interest liability for the period till Dec 31, 2013.

  • Budget 2014 – Government sets up fund for Scheduled Caste entrepreneurs

    >With an eye to the approaching general elections, the government Monday announced the setting up of a Rs.200 crore venture capital fund to promote entrepreneurship among the Scheduled Castes.

    The Industrial Finance Corporation of India will set up the fund that will provide concessional finance to entrepreneurs from the community, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said.

    "I propose to provide an initial capital of Rs.200 crore, which can be supplemented," said the minister, while presenting the inetrim budget for fiscal 2014-15.

  • Budget 2014 – Chidambaram bats for a new model of urban governance

    Stressing that urbanisation is a necessary condition for economic growth, Finance minister P. Chidambaram Monday called for a new model of governance to arrest urban decay.

    "Cities have wealth, cities also create wealth. That wealth should be tapped for resources to rebuild the cities with a new model of governance," Chidambaram said outlining his vision for the future.

    India is urbanising fast and the Planning Commission has observed that the pace of urbanization poses an unprecedented managerial and policy challenge.

  • Budget 2014 – Chidambaram's 10-point agenda to make India 3rd largest economy

    Finance Minister P. Chidambaram Monday unveiled a 10-point agenda that would help make India the third largest economy by 2043 only behind the US and China.

    While presenting the interim budget for the fiscal 2014-15 in the Lok Sabha, the finance minister said the size of Indian economy is the 11th largest in the world.

    "I wonder how many have noted the fact that India's economy, in terms of the size of its GDP, is the 11th largest in the world. There are great things in store," he said.

  • Budget 2014 – Chidambaram's poll budget seeks to please all, with prudence

    Seizing the limited elbow room in an election year, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram presented the interim budget for the next fiscal Monday saying the Indian economy was more stable today than two years ago and sought to win over key sections like scheduled castes, minorities, women, farmers and army personnel with more money for their welfare while pleasing the middle class with excise cuts to make cars, mobile phones and items of daily consumption cheaper.

  • No Fare Hike, 72 New Trains In India's Interim Rail Budget 2014

    Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge presented the interim rail budget for the next fiscal Wednesday sans much fanfare with no hike in fares or freight rates, and announced 72 new trains and connectivity to two more northeastern states.

    In what was his personal first and the last such exercise in the 15th Lok Sabha for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, Kharge also promised a new tariff-setting body and said work on eastern and western freight corridors was progressing well.

Current Affairs[January 2014]
  • Preliminary report on Status of Women released

    The High Level Committee released the Preliminary Report on Status of Women in India on 3 February 2014.

    The Committee headed by Pam Rajput was appointed by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development in February 2012 to understand the status of women since 1989.

    Report revealed that Violence against Women, Declining Sex Ratio and Economic Disempowerment of Women are three key burning issues which will require immediate attention and action by the government.

    There report made several recommendations for the immediate action by the government.

  • Committee to deal False Advertisement set up

    The Central Consumer Protection Council (CCPC) headed by K V Thomas decided to set up a sub-committee on 3 February 2014. The CCPC is under the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs.The committee will issue guidelines to monitor the advertisements as currently there is no any legal safeguard available for consumers to deal with the false advertisements.

    If the claims made by whitening creams proved un phenomenal as advertised, Consumer should have right to claim compensation not only from the advertisers but also from the celebrities endorsing the product.

    The committee will submit its recommendations by the end of February 2014.

  • National Cloud Computing under MeghRaj Initiative launched

    Union Ministry of Communications and Information Technology launched the National Cloud under MeghRaj Initiative on 4 February 2014.

    The National Cloud is being implemented by National Information Centre (NIC).

    The National Cloud will help the departments to procure ICT services on demand in the OPEX model rather than investing upfront on the CAPEX.

    The Cloud Services available are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Storage as a Service (STaaS). The features of the National Cloud includes self service portal, multiple Cloud solutions, secured VPN access and multi location Cloud.

    Government of India embarked upon an ambitious initiative GI cloud named MeghRaj to utilize and harness the benefits of Cloud Computing.