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National Current Affairs 2018

Current Affairs November 2018

  • National Data Repository: It is a data storage initiative which collects reliable exploration and production data for India with provisions for seamless access and on-line data management. The aim of the repository is to validate, store, maintain and reproduce high quality and reliable geoscientific data. Facilitate efficient data reporting, data exchange, and data trading among existing players including all geoscientific agencies. National Data Repository is equipped with cutting edge technology and provides ready access to interested companies. The Government has also brought out various others policy reforms including such as Coal Bed Methane policy, incentivize Enhanced Recovery for augmenting production of oil and gas from matured fields, exploration and exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbon from all fields.
  • Supreme Court: The Supreme Court of India is the highest judicial forum and final court of appeal under the Constitution of India, the highest constitutional court, with the power of judicial review. Consisting of the Chief Justice of India and a maximum of 30 other judges, it has extensive powers in the form of original, appellate and advisory jurisdictions. The Supreme Court has upheld the “presumption” that a couple who live together as husband and wife are legally married and the woman can claim maintenance under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. A Bench of Justices R. Banumathi and Indira Banerjee observed that it is “fairly well settled that the law presumes in favour of marriage and against concubinage when a man and woman have cohabited continuously for a number of years”. Citing past judgments of the apex court, the Bench quoted that “where a man, who lived with a woman for a long time and even though they may not have undergone legal necessities of a valid marriage, should be made liable to pay the woman maintenance if he deserts her”.
  • Artillery Gun: It is a heavy military weapons built to fire munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry's small arms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach fortifications, and led to heavy, fairly immobile siege engines. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has inducted three major artillery gun systems,including the M777 American Ultra Light Howitzers and the K-9 Vajra, into the Army. The third gun system inducted is the 'Composite Gun Towing Vehicle' for towing some of the existing guns in service with the country, while K-9 Vajra is a self-propelled artillery gun. The induction ceremony comes ahead of establishing the first regiment- each comprising of about 18 guns- of the M777s and the Vajra by around mid next year, an official said. For procuring 145 M777s, India in November 2016 had entered into a contract with the United States under the Foreign Military Sales programme for Rs. 5,070 crore. The M777s, which have been used in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, can be easily transported to high altitude areas by helicopters.
  • Whatsapp: WhatsApp is a freeware and cross-platform messaging and Voice over IP service owned by Facebook. The application allows the sending of text messages and voice calls, as well as video calls, images and other media, documents, and user location. WhatsApp has announced that it has selected 20 research teams to curb fake news. The teams include experts from India and those of Indian origin - who will work towards how misinformation spreads and what additional steps the mobile messaging platform could take to curb fake news. Each of the 20 research teams will receive up to $50,000 (roughly Rs. 36,30,300) for their project (for a total of $1 million).
  • Turga Pumped Storage Project : It is a project designed to envisages utilization of rainfall in the catchment of the Turga Nala in Ayodhya hills for peak power generation for a Pumped Storage type project development. The project envisages construction of Upper Dam (C.A. 8.29 Sq. Km) across Turga Nala, a tributary of Subarnarekha river and a water conductor system with an underground Power House on the downstream of Upper Dam and a Lower Dam (augmenting the existing Turga Dam of I&W Dte., Govt. of West Bengal) having intermediate catchment of 4.37 sq. km (total C.A. 12.66 sq. km). India and Japan have signed a loan agreement of Rs 18.17 bn for the construction of the Turga Pumped Storage in West Bengal. The deal was signed by the Additional Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), C.S. Mohapatra, and Katsuo Matsumoto, chief representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The objective of the project is to strengthen the capability to respond to fluctuation in supply and demand of power and to improve the stability of the power supply by constructing pumped storage facilities, thereby contributing to industrial development and improvement of living standards in the state of West Bengal.
  • Railways' UTS mobile app: It is a new mobile application which will enable booking and cancellation of unreserved tickets among other facilities. The Railways issued a statement saying that the app will also enable issue and renewal of season and platform tickets, check and load R-wallet balance and help maintain user profile management and booking history. The application which is called ‘utsonmobile’ has been developed by Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS) and it can be used by both Android and Windows phones. To download the app from one can go to Google Play Store or Windows store free of cost. First the passenger will get registered by providing his/her mobile number, name, city, default booking train type, class, ticket type, number of passengers and frequently traveling routes. Upon successful registration, Railway Wallet (R-Wallet) will be created automatically with zero balance to the passenger. There will be no extra cost for creating R-Wallet. The R-Wallet can be recharged either at any of the UTS counter or through recharge option available in the https://www.utsonmobile.indianrail.gov.in website.
  • Bharat Ratan Atal Bihari Vajpayee International Cricket Stadium: It is the new name of the Ekana International Cricket Stadium located in Uttar Pradesh. The move comes ahead of the first-ever international cricket match that is set to take place in the state capital – the second T20 International of the three-match series between India and West Indies. UP Governor Ram Naik was the one who approved the government proposal to this effect. Orders for the same were issued by Principal Secretary (Housing) Nitin Ramesh Gokaran. Officials of the Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) informed that the clause 17.5.1 of the agreement between Ekana Sports City Private Ltd, GC Constructions and Development Industries Pvt Ltd and the LDA says that the stadium will be named after the project is completed. The state government used the powers vested in it as per this clause, on the eve of the high-decibel match, and changed its name in the memory of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who passed away in August this year. Meanwhile, both cricket teams arrived in the city to a rousing welcome. The cricket mania has completely overtaken the Diwali festivities in the city and everyone seems to be scurrying for passes as the online tickets have been sold out. From ministers to bureaucrat sons, police officials, everyone worth their name on Monday evening was hunting for possibilities to see the match at the stadium which was built under the watch of Samajwadi Party (SP) chief and former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav during his tenure.
  • Operation Greens: It is a new scheme announced by Budget speech of 2018-19 with an outlay of Rs 500 crores to stabilize the supply of Tomato, Onion and Potato(TOP) crops and to ensure availability of TOP crops throughout the country round the year without price volatility. Ministry of Food Processing Industries(MoFPI) under Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal has approved the operationalisation strategy for Operation Greens. The strategy will comprise of a series of measures as decided by the Ministry which include, short term Price Stabilisation Measures. NAFED will be the Nodal Agency to implement price stabilisation measures. MoFPI will provide 50 % of the subsidy on the following two components, Transportation of Tomato Onion Potato(TOP) Crops from production to storage, hiring of appropriate storage facilities for TOP Crops, Long Term Integrated value chain development projects, Capacity Building of FPOs & their consortium, Quality production, Post-harvest processing facilities, Agri-Logistics, Marketing / Consumption Points, Creation and Management of e-platform for demand and supply management of TOP Crops. The pattern of assistance will comprise of grants-in-aid at the rate of 50% of the eligible project cost in all areas, subject to maximum Rs 50 crores per project. However, in case where PIA is/are FPO(s), the grant-in-aid will be at the rate of 70 % of the eligible project cost in all areas, subject to maximum Rs 50 crores per project.
  • Indian Railways: It is India's national railway system operated by the Ministry of Railways. It manages the fourth-largest railway network in the world by size, with 121,407 kilometres of total track over a 67,368-kilometre route. India is currently building the world’s highest railway line.The proposed 465km-long Bilaspur-Manali-Leh route will include 74 tunnels, 124 major bridges and 396 minor bridges—reducing the travel time from Delhi to Leh from 40 hours to 20 hours. According to an official source, the project will cost of Rs 83,360 crore, the railway line will pass through the Shivaliks, the Himalayas and the Zanskar range along with four mountain passes: Rohtang La, Barlacha La, Lachung La and Tangla La. Enroute, it will connect important locations between Bilaspur and Leh, such as Sundernagar, Mandi, Manali, Keylong, Koksar, Darcha, Upshi and Karu, plus cater to the other towns of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. Its contender, China’s Qinghai-Tibet line, connects Xining in Qinghai to the Tibetian capital of Lhasa. In Bilaspur, the line will commence at an elevation of 500 metres and culminate in Leh at 3,215 metres. The highest point on the route will be Tanglangla Pass at 5,360 metres. More than half of the line will be underground. Close to the Sino-India border, the line will feature a 27-km long tunnel with Keylong station inside—the first station in a tunnel on the Indian Railway network.
  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act:It is an Indian labour law and social security measure that aims to guarantee the 'right to work'. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has been generated 92 % wage payments within 15 days. According to an official release, wage payment was 26.85% in 2014-15, indicating the remarkable improvement towards making timely payments. The allocation of MGNREGA was also increased to a record Rs. 55,000 crore in 2018-19. So far, the Central Government has released over Rs. 45,070 crore to the States. Including State shares, over Rs. 50,000 crore is available for work so far. On receipt of audited accounts from the State Governments, additional funds are being released this week to ensure sufficient availability in all the States. The thrust on completion of incomplete works is showing with a record Rs. 1.70 crore assets completed in the last 30 months. These assets have been for Natural Resource Management (NRM), Water Conservation works, durable assets, and a very large number of Individual Beneficiary Schemes including a 90/95 days’ work availability for poor households in the construction of their own houses under Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G). Independent evaluation studies have indicated the success of Natural Resource Management in improving incomes, acreage, productivity, fodder availability, and water table. Similarly, independent assessment of Individual Beneficiary Schemes especially for animal resources has acknowledged their contribution in livelihood diversification and poverty reduction.
  • Statue of Unity : It is the name of the tallest statue in the world. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has unveiled the Statue of Unity – the world’s tallest statue at 182 metres -built in honour of freedom fighter and India’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Built at a cost of Rs 2,989 crores, the project took 42 months to complete. Apart from the statue itself, there are five other related sites that are constructed along with the world’s tallest statue. These include the walkway, the ticket counter, the food court, the four-lane approach highway, and the ‘Shrestha Bharat Bhavan’- a 52-room three-star lodging facility for the visitors coming to see the monument. The statue stands on Sadhu island on the Narmada in Gujarat and is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty in the US.
  • Nextgen Shatabdi Express:It is a new and the country’s first engine-less semi-high speed train - "Train 18" - was rolled out by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF). This train will eventually replace the Shatabdi Express for inter-city travel. The 16-coach semi-high speed 'trainset' built at a cost of Rs 100 crore per rake with 80 per cent Indian component has been designed for a maximum operating speed of 160 kmph. Fitted with CCTV cameras, Train-18 would have two executive compartments in the middle with 52 seats each, whereas trailer coaches would have 78 seats each.
  • International Solar Alliance : It is an alliance of more than 121 countries initiated by India, most of them being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The Union Cabinet gave its approval for moving a resolution in the first assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) to amend the framework agreement of the alliance to open up its membership to all UN countries. The decision was taken to put solar energy on the global agenda with the universal appeal for developing and deploying solar energy. The Cabinet also apprised of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with Russia on October 5. The MoUs/ MoCs provide a platform for Indian Railways to interact and share the latest developments and knowledge in the railway sector. They will also facilitate exchange of technical experts, reports and technical documents, training and seminars/ workshops focusing on specific technology areas and other interactions for knowledge sharing.
  • Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) : It is a branch of the Government of India, is the apex body for the formulation and administration of rules, regulations and laws relating to micro, small and medium enterprises in India. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the Union Government’s Support and Outreach Initiative for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. Besides Delhi, similar launch programmes will be held at 100 locations across the country, where Union Ministers, and Ministers from State Governments will be present. All these locations will also connect with Delhi, for the main event, which will include a special address by the Prime Minister. He is expected to touch upon several matters of vital interest to the MSME sector.
  • Veer Surendra Sai Airport : It is a new name given for Jharsuguda Airport, Odisha. It should be noted that Veer Surendra Sai is a well-known freedom fighter of Odisha. Renaming of the Jharsuguda airport in his name will fulfill long-pending demand of the Odisha Government, which reflects the sentiments of the local public of the respective area. It will also be a befitting tribute to the contribution of the revered personality associated with the State.

Current Affairs October 2018

  • CAPAM: It is a membership organisation dedicated to strengthening public management and consolidating democracy and good governance throughout the Commonwealth. It achieves this by building networks across the Commonwealth, through which it exchanges experiences on new developments, innovations and the reform of public administration. India has won the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management Award, 2018. During the Conference, CAPAM Innovation Awards were announced. Government of India had sent entries for CAPAM International Innovations Awards, 2018 under various categories. The CAPAM Awards celebrate the spirit of innovation in the public service by recognizing organizations that have made significant contributions to improve governance and services in the public sector. The initiative entitled “Unnayan Banka- Reinventing Education Using Technology of Banka District, State of Bihar has been awarded under the Category “Innovation Incubation”. “Unnayan Banka” is an initiative which envisages “Quality education for all’ especially for those at the bottom of the Pyramid, using latest technologies. It’s a holistic model of overall development of youths from Education to Employability. One of the most important Millennium Development Goals, “Education” is the great social Mobiliser & must be everyone’s Birthright and it is Government of India’s endeavour to provide this to all its children.
  • The Seoul Peace Prize : It is a peace prize established in 1990 to commemorate the success of the 24th Olympic Games held in Seoul, Republic of Korea .It aimed at creating harmony and friendship and a worldwide atmosphere of peace and reconciliation. The Seoul Peace Prize was established to crystallize the Korean people's yearning for peace on the Korean Peninsula and in the rest of the world. The Seoul Peace Prize Committee has decided to confer the 2018 Seoul Peace Prize on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in recognition of his dedication to improving international cooperation, raising global economic growth, accelerating the Human Development of the people of India by fostering economic growth in the world's fastest growing large economy and furthering the development of democracy through anti-corruption and social integration efforts. While awarding the 2018 Seoul Peace Prize, the Award Committee recognized Prime Minister Modi's contributions to the growth of the Indian and global economies, crediting 'Modinomics' for reducing social and economic disparity between the rich and the poor. The Committee lauded PM's initiatives to make the government cleaner through anti-corruption measures and demonetization. The Committee also credited Prime Minister for his contribution towards regional and global peace through a proactive foreign policy with countries around the world under the 'Modi Doctrine' and the 'Act East Policy.' Prime Minister Modi is the fourteenth recipient of this award.
  • Geographical Indication (GI): It is a name or sign used on certain products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin such as a town, region, or country. Its use may act as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities due to its geographical origin. Bihar's Shahi litchi has got the Geographical Indication (GI) tag and has become an exclusive brand in the national and international market. The GI registration was done in the name of Litchi Growers Association of Bihar, which had applied for the tag. The GI tag to Shahi litchi will boost up its demand in the market and will minimise the fear of fake and poor quality litchis. The GI tag for the fruit will help and benefit thousands of litchi growers who will gain access to more markets and get better price in the country and abroad. It should be noted that Bihar produces 40 per cent of the litchi grown in the country on 38 per cent of the area.
  • Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE): It is a national level Board conducting examinations for Classes X and XII. It affiliates schools across India and abroad upon fulfilment of various conditions as prescribed in its Affiliation Bye Laws. At present 20783 schools are affiliated with the Board. The Affiliation Byelaws in position were first made in the year 1988 and were last modified in the year 2012. Affiliation byelaws of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) have been completely revamped to ensure speed, transparency, hassle-free procedures and ease of doing business with the CBSE. It should be noted that the HRD Minister had earlier this year, directed the Board to completely revisit its affiliation bye laws to make the system more robust and quality driven. While highlighting the main changes, Prakash Javadekar said that the new byelaws denote a major shift from the highly complex procedures followed earlier, to a simplified system based on preventing duplication of processes. As a result of this major change the Board shall not revisit any of the aspects vetted by the state during inspection and the delay due to scrutiny and non-compliance of deficiencies in these documents shall be drastically curtailed.
  • Allahabad : It is a city in Uttar Pradesh state, north India. Triveni Sangam, the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and "invisible" Saraswati rivers, is considered holy by Hindus. The Uttar Pradesh government has issued a notification directing its departments to use Prayagraj instead of Allahabad for all official purposes. Governor Ram Naik approved the name change and the order comes into force with immediate effect. However, it will not have any bearing on cases already in the courts, The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who had said this was in keeping with the wishes of the people.
  • Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose : He was an Indian nationalist whose defiant patriotism made him a hero in India, but whose attempt during World War II to rid India of British rule with the help of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan left an ambivalent legacy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a national award in the name of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose will be given every year to police personnel who do "exemplary work" in rescue and relief operations during any kind of disasters. The announcement came on the 75th anniversary of Bose's declaration of the formation of India's first independent government -- the Azad Hind Government on October 21, 1943. PM Modi said the award will be announced on January 23, on Netaji's birthday.
  • Dhubri Phulbari Bridge: It is an upcoming bridge which is claimed as India’s longest river bridge. It will be built across the Brahmaputra, connecting Dhubri in Assam to Phulbari in Meghalaya. As a result the bridge will cut road travel by 203 km as also travel time. The 19.3 km, four-lane bridge will be built by 2026-27. According to a report publish in a national daily, National Highways and Industrial Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), recently reached out to global players in France. At present, vehicles take an over-200 km-long detour using the Naranarayan Bridge, which is 60 km upstream. The new bridge will complete the missing link of NH127B from Assam to Meghalaya. It also state that small boats run between Dhubri and Phulbari. It takes about two and a half hours to cross the river. Currently, the longest river bridge in India, at 9.15 km, is the Dhola-Sadiya Bridge which was opened last year. It will hardly take 15-20 minutes to cross the river after the bridge becomes operational. It will push economic activities and development on both sides of the river. The tenders will be floated for the project and will be awarded to within this financial year. It will be a public-funded work. The construction of any bridge across the Brahmaputra takes time since construction work can be carried out only for six months in a year.
  • Meghalaya : It is a state in Northeast India. The name means "the abode of clouds" in Sanskrit. Union Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot has announced that a stadium of international standard for differently abled persons will be set up in Meghalaya. According to an official source, the stadium will be constructed at an estimated cost of over Rs 200 crore. Talking to newsmen, Gehlot said his ministry intends to set up national sports stadium in five states across the country for the differently abled persons and Meghalaya is one of the states. He said that this was decided after Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma approached him with a proposal and also provided 50 acres of land for the same. The Union minister informed that the detail project report (DPR) will be prepared very soon and that the stadium, which will be of international standard, should come up before National Games 2022. The Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister said his ministry will set up a Composite regional centre in Meghalaya, which will start work once the space is made available.
  • Sikkim: It is a state in northeast India, bordered by Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal. Sikkim has won the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) Future Policy Gold Award for its achievement in becoming the world's first totally organic agriculture state. Sikkim is the first organic state in the world. All of its farmland is certified organic. At the same time, Sikkim's approach reaches beyond organic production and has proven truly transformational for the state and its citizens. Uniquely, the state has totally banned the sale and use of chemical pesticides. Sikkim sets an excellent example of how other Indian states and countries worldwide can successfully upscale agroecology. Nicknamed the "Oscar for best policies", the award is co-organised with the FAO by The World Future Council (WFC) and IFOAM -- Organics International, and recognises the world's best laws and policies promoting agroecology. Sikkim beat out 51 other nominees from around the world for the award.
  • National Health Profile 2018: It is an analytical Report of the National Health prepared by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI), under the aegis of the Directorate General of Health Services. It covers demographic, socio-economic, health status and health finance indicators, along with comprehensive information on health infrastructure and human resources in health. CBHI has been publishing National Health Profile every year since 2005. This is the 12th edition. E-book of NHP-2015 is a step towards realizing Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s vision of Digital India where digital documents give us an opportunity for wider dissemination of information.
  • Urban Leadership fellowship programme: It is a new fellowship programme launched by Delhi government to seeks to attract young leaders across the country to work with it on addressing some of the most pressing urban challenges. Any person under 35 years of age and has a dream to contribute for India can participate in the programme. The deadline for receiving applications will end on November 4. Selected fellows will be assigned to work with ministers or senior officials across various departments of the Delhi government such as education, health, water, transport, art and culture. Remuneration of Rs 1.25 lakh per month will be provided to Fellows (20 positions) an Rs 75,000 per month to Associate Fellows (10 positions).
  • Youth Road Safety Learners Licence programme: It is a new initiative launched in collaboration with Diageo India and the Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE). It attempts to bring a formal and structured training program for young, first-time drivers as they apply for learner’s license. Road safety is of prime importance for the Government as recent times have seen an alarming rise in road fatalities especially among the youth. Rash driving, drunken driving, lack of adequate safety measures like not wearing helmets are some of the major factors resulting in high road accidents. He said, the government is committed to making its vision of safer roads and cities a reality. This programme will help the Government achieve its target of reducing road accidents by 50 percent by 2020. Every individual road user is a brand ambassador for road safety. She informed that India accounts for 12.5 per cent (over 1.45 lakh fatalities a year) of global road accidents, with one road accident occurring every four minutes. Alarmingly, 72 per cent victims involved in such road mishaps are between the age groups of 15-44 years with speeding, reckless and drunk driving being the top reason accounting for 1.5 per cent of road traffic accidents and 4.6 per cent of fatalities. She welcomed the main-streaming of road safety in formal education system.
  • Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation: It is a subsidiary of the Indian Railways that handles the catering, tourism and online ticketing operations of the Indian railways. It has launched a chatbot to help its users answer various queries . The AI chatbot-- Ask Disha- is powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and it is aimed at facilitating accessibility by answering users' queries pertaining to various services offered by IRCTC. This first-of-its-kind initiative by IRCTC is live and it is already available on the bottom right corner of IRCTC's revamped website and it will soon be available on IRCTC's Android app. Besides this, the AI chatbot will be voice enabled and it will support several regional languages in the near future.
  • Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE): It is an autonomous council under the Environment Ministry, signed two pacts to spread awareness about forests, and environment among the youths of the country. The first pact was signed between ICFRE, Dehradun, and Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS), and the second with Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS). The MoUs have been signed to launch the 'Prakriti' programme, which aims to promote awareness about forests and environment, and to stimulate interest among the students of NVS and KVS in maintaining a balanced environment and for acquiring skills that reflect care and protection towards forests, environment and society. It added that another objective of the programme is to provide a platform to school children to learn practical skills for judicious use of resources and to mobilise a cadre of youths for raising a peoples' movement committed to conserve forests and the environment.
  • Saubhagya Scheme: It is an Indian government project to provide electricity to all households. It is also known as Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana. Ministry for Power and New & Renewable Energy has announced an award scheme under Saubhagya to felicitate the DISCOMs / Power Department of the States and their employees for achieving 100 per cent household electrification in their area of operations. According to an official release, awards would be provided for achieving 100 per cent household electrification at DISCOM/Power Department level of the States. Eight States which have already achieved more than 99 per cent household electrification prior to launch of Saubhagya (Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab and Tamil Nadu), are ineligible for participation under the award scheme. All the remaining States and their Discoms are eligible for the award. Award will be given in three categories, (i) DISCOMs / Power Departments of Special Category States (which includes seven North Eastern States, Sikkim, J&K and Uttarakhand); (ii) DISCOMs / Power Departments of other than Special Category States (which includes Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telengana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal)having more than 5 Lakh un-electrified households and (iii) DISCOMs / Power Departments of other than Special Category States having less than 5 Lakh un-electrified households.
  • Swasth Bharat Yatra: It is a new initiative launched by the Food Safety Food Safety and Standards Authority of India(FSSAI) to sensitize people about healthy eating habits among consumers. In association with the state, the union government took the initiative. A pan-India cycle rally is being organized to propagate safe and nutritious food among the consumers. The campaign is aiming to raise awareness among the consumers. Around 7500 cyclists are expected to participate the rally which will cover over 18,000 km in over 100 days. The cycle rally will pass through almost every state and UT while propagating a powerful message 'Eat Right India.' The rally will conclude in the national capital on January 27, 2019. The campaign will aim not only to mobilize masses but also to create a large pool of local community to sustain this movement.
  • Zika Virus: It is a member of the virus family Flaviviridae. It is spread by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes, such as A. aegypti and A. albopictus. Its name comes from the Ziika Forest of Uganda, where the virus was first isolated in 1947. In a written statement, the Union health ministry confirmed 22 Zika cases so far through the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) surveillance system. A joint monitoring group of technical experts headed by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has met twice to monitor the preparedness and response measures. To date, a total of 22 positive laboratory confirmed cases have been detected. A Control Room has been activated at the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to undertake regular monitoring of the situation. All suspect cases are in the defined area and mosquito samples from this area are being tested. Additional testing kits are provided to the Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratories.
  • Rapid Action Force: It is a specialised wing of the Indian CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) to deal with riot and crowd control situations. Government of India has sanctioned five battalions this year and their new bases have now been sanctioned. With these, the total number of RAF battalions in the country goes up to 15. The process for acquiring land for the five new bases is underway and the five battalions, which are already operational, will start functioning from their permanent locations in sometime. Apart from the temple town of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, the four other new battalions will be based in Jaipur (Rajasthan), Mangalore (Karnataka), Hajipur (Bihar) and Nuh (Haryana). Varanasi will be the fourth base of the RAF in Uttar Pradesh -- the three others being in Meerut, Allahabad and Aligarh. A single RAF battalion has a strength of just over 1,000 personnel and it is equipped with gadgets and non-lethal weapons like pump action guns, tear smoke grenade launchers and others to enforce security and law and order in case of protests or riot-like situations. The 10 old RAF battalions are based in Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Aligarh, Coimbatore, Jamshedpur, Bhopal and Meerut.
  • Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY): It is the government sponsored crop insurance scheme that integrates multiple stakeholders on a single platform. The Union Government has decided to cover damages done to crops in case of wild animal attacks under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna in select districts on an experimental basis. According to the information shared by a government official, the government also brought certain horticultural crops under the ambit of Fasal Bima Yojna ambit on an experimental basis. Initially, Fasal Bima Yojna did not previously cover damages incurred to an individual or a limited number of cultivators during unprecedented localised events such as waterlogging, landslide and hailstorms. However, now under its new provisions, the protection scheme will cover all these events.
  • Alphonso Mango: Alphonso mango is a seasonal fruit, considered to be among the most superior varieties of the fruit in terms of sweetness, richness and flavour. The variety is named after Afonso de Albuquerque, a Portuguese general and military expert who helped establish Portuguese colonies in India. Alphonso mango from Maharashtra's Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Palghar, Thane and Raigad districts has got Geographical Indication (GI) tag. A GI is an indication used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. Such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to its origin in that defined geographical locality. Darjeeling Tea, Mahabaleshwar Strawberry, Blue Pottery of Jaipur, Banarasi Sarees and Tirupati Laddus are some of the GIs. GI products can benefit the rural economy in remote areas, by supplementing the incomes of artisans, farmers, weavers and craftsmen.
  • Task Force for Closing the Skills Gap : It is a new initiative launched by Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in collaboration with the World Economic Forum. The task force will bring together leaders from business, Government, civil society, and the education and training sectors to accelerate the future-proofing of education and training systems in the country. The goal of the Task Force is to develop an action plan to address skills gaps in India and make the Indian workforce ready for jobs of future. Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship said that with more than half of our population in the working age, skills development will be critical to sustaining inclusive growth and development in India. The “Closing the Skills Gap” Task Force will be a significant step to accelerate the impact on skills development already achieved by bringing together relevant stakeholders to act collectively.He thanked World Economic Forum and Observer Research Foundation for coming out with reports on these important areas particularly related to the aspirations of Indian youth. The Task Force is the second country-led public-private collaboration of the World Economic Forum’s Closing the Skills Gap Project after South Africa.
  • India for Humanity: It is a new initiative launched by the government of India. It aims to touch the lives of thousands of people who are in need of such assistance and will span over one year covering several countries. These camps will be initially held in 12 countries identified through our missions with financial support of the central government. The larger aim is to provide for the physical, economic and social rehabilitation of the differently-abled around the world by helping them regain their mobility and dignity to become self-respecting and productive members of society. We stand open to extending the initiative to more countries. India for Humanity will provide that hope for the future. With its focus on Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy of compassion, caring and service to humanity, the initiative will feature a year-long series of artificial limb fitment camps in a number of countries spanning the globe, for which the MEA is collaborating with the renowned charitable organisation -- "Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti" (BMVSS).
  • National Policy on Electronics 2018 : It is a new policy proposed by Ministry of Information Technology which has set an ambitious target of creating a $400 billion electronics manufacturing industry by 2025, with the mobile phone devices segment accounting for three-fourths of the production. The draft National Policy on Electronics (NPE) aims to promote domestic manufacturing in the entire value-chain of ESDM (electronic system design and manufacturing) for spur economic development. The proposed policy aims to double the target of mobile phone production from 500 million units in 2019 to 1 billion by 2025 to meet the objective. The $400 billion turnover shall include targeted production of 1 billion mobile handsets by 2025, valued at $190 billion (approximately Rs 13 lakh crore), including 600 million mobile handsets valued at $110 billion (approximately Rs 7 lakh crore) for export, the draft states. According to the draft, 20 greenfield and three brownfield electronic manufacturing cluster projects have been sanctioned with the project outlay of Rs 3,898 crore, including Rs 1,577 crore from the Government of India. The policy proposes to push development of core competencies in all the sub-sectors of electronics including electronic components and semiconductors, defence electronics, automotive electronics, industrial electronics, strategic electronics etc.
  • World Economic Forum: It is a not-for-profit organization. It gained formal status in January 2015 under the Swiss Host-State Act, confirming the role of the Forum as an International Institution for Public-Private Cooperation. The World Economic Forum launches the centre for the fourth Industrial Revolution in India. Making the announcement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the launch of a Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which will be based in Maharashtra. The centre, he said, will "open the door to infinite possibilities for the future. The Fourth Industrial Revolution describes the huge ongoing changes in our lives due to the Internet and the resulting smart technologies. Describing the exponential changes, PM Modi said, "Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Blockchain, Big Data and several other new technologies have the capacity to take development in India to new heights... Coordination among diverse technologies is leading to 4th Industrial Revolution."
  • National Council for Vocational Education and Training: It is a new council created after the merger of National Council for Vocational Training(NCVT) and National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) to establish National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET). NCVET will regulate the functioning of entities engaged in vocational education and training, both long-term and short-term and establish minimum standards for the functioning of such entities. The primary functions of NCVET will include - recognition and regulation of awarding bodies, assessment bodies and skill related information providers; approval of qualifications developed by awarding bodies and Sector Skill Councils (SSCs); indirect regulation of vocational training institutes through awarding bodies and assessment agencies; research and information dissemination; grievance redressal.
  • Productivity Linked Bonus for Railway Employees : It is the new bonus scheme announced by government of India. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the payment of Productivity Linked Bonus (PLB) equivalent to 78 days’ wages for the financial year 2017-18 for all eligible non-gazetted Railway employees (excluding RPF/RPSF personnel). The financial implication of payment of 78 days’ PLB to railway employees has been estimated to be Rs.2044.31 crore. The wage calculation ceiling prescribed for payment of PLB to the eligible non-gazetted railway employees is Rs.7000/- p.m. The maximum amount payable per eligible railway employee is Rs.17,951 for 78 days. About 11.91 lakh non-gazetted Railway employees are likely to benefit from the decision. The Productivity Linked Bonus on Railway covers all non-gazetted railway employees (excluding RPF/RPSF personnel) who are spread over the entire country. Payment of PLB to eligible railway employees is made each year before the Dusshera/ Puja holidays. The decision of the Cabinet shall be implemented before the holidays for this year as well. For the year 2017-18 PLB equivalent to 78 days’ wages will be paid which is expected to motivate the employees for working towards improving the performance of the Railways.
  • Odisha: It is an eastern Indian state on the Bay of Bengal, is known for its tribal cultures and its many ancient Hindu temples. The capital, Bhubaneswar, is home to hundreds of temples, notably the intricately-carved Mukteshvara. The state government of Odisha has launched its own food security scheme on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, benefiting 25 lakh people who were left out of the National Food Security Act. Making the annoucement over the tweet, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik mentioned,“On Gandhi Jayanti, launched Odisha’s own food security scheme to benefit 25 lakh vulnerable populace that were excluded from coverage; sufficient and nutritious food is a basic need and prerequisite for a healthy Odisha, as a part of our resolve to eradicate hunger in Odisha,”. The beneficiaries will get 5 kg of rice per person per month at the rate of Rs 1 per kg, said the Chief Minister while launching the scheme at four different districts through videoconferencing from the State Secretariat here. The State government will spend Rs 443.5 crore per annum to support the scheme and Rs 221.75 crore in the current financial year, Mr. Patnaik added. The State government had decided to launch its own food security scheme after the Centre did not respond to its request to add additional beneficiaries under the NFSA.
  • Digi Yatra: It is new policy draft released by Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation. The initiative aims to develop standards for digital processing of passengers at airport to ensure uniform implementation and passenger experience across Indian airports through a connected ecosystem. A technical working committee having members from airport operators, airlines and industry has been formed for development of standards. DigiYatra Central Platform will be operational by end of February, 2019. Bangalore & Hyderabad International Airports will be ready with pilot implementation by end of February, 2019. Airport Authority of India (AAI) intends to roll out the programme initially at Kolkata, Varanasi, Pune and Vijayawada by April, 2019. DigiYatra will provide a pan-India powerful platform for future, adding that Airports will have the possibility of providing innovative services and consent based targeted services in future. Any service provider involved in facilitating travel of passenger from door to door will be able to use these platform in future through innovative solutions. The Minister asserted that the ultimate beneficiary will be the passengers, who will have all the travel related options available to them.
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  • The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA): It is an international organisation consisting of coastal states bordering the Indian Ocean. 21 countries in the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) adopted the Delhi Declaration on Renewable Energy in the Indian Ocean Region. The Delhi Declaration on Renewable Energy in the Indian Ocean Region calls for collaboration among IORA member states in meeting the growing demand for renewable energy in the Indian Ocean littorals, development of a common renewable energy agenda for the Indian Ocean region and promote regional capacity building. The declaration also calls for promotion of technology development and transfer, strengthening of public private partnerships in renewable energy and collaboration among IORA member states and the member nations of the International Solar Alliance (ISA). IORA member countries also resolved to collaborate with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
  • Swachh Survekshan Grameen Awards 2018: These are the awards given to states and districts for their sanitation status in public places. Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave awards to top Ranked State, District and State with maximum citizen participation based on the National Swachh SurvekshanGrameen 2018 commissioned by Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. Haryana was ranked as the best State while Satara District of Maharashtra was ranked as the best district as per the ranking undertaken by Swachh SurvekshanGrameen 2018. Uttar Pradesh was rewarded for maximum citizens’ participation. Overall Ranking: Top 3 States-1) Haryana, 2) Gujarat 3) Maharashtra. Top 3 Districts 1) Satara, Maharashtra 2) Rewari, Haryana 3) Pedapalli, Telangana. States with maximum citizen participation 1) Uttar Pradesh 2) Gujarat 3) Maharashtra. Districts with maximum citizens’ participation 1) Nashik, Maharashtra 2) Solapur, Maharashtra 3) Chittorgarh, Rajasthan
  • Loo Review campaign: It is a campaign launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, under the aegis of Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban (SBM – U), has partnered with Google to to encourage all local guides in India to rate and review public toilets on Google Maps. This campaign is part of a feature which allows all citizens to locate public toilets in their cities on Google Maps, Search and the Assistant and also provide feedback on the same. 500+ cities in India with more than 30,000 toilets with the name of “SBM Toilet” are currently live on Google Maps. One of the objectives of the Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban (SBM - U) is to provide sanitation coverage through public toilet facilities across cities in India for achieving Open Defecation Free (ODF) status. With around 3400cities already having achieved ODF status, and other cities gearing up towards the same, there is now a need to ensure that the ODF status is sustained through continuous usage and proper maintenance of public toilets. The joint campaign to be run throughout October and November 2018 is an effort to increase the awareness and ease of locating public toilets across India. The campaign will involve and engage Local Guides in India to rate and review public toilets on Google Maps, and use the hashtag #LooReview for the chance to be featured on Google Local Guides’ social channels. Local Guides are people who share reviews, photos, and knowledge on Google Maps to help people explore the world.
  • NITI Aayog: It is a policy think tank of the Government of India, established with the aim to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. NITI Aayog has joined hands with Cloud major Oracle, Apollo Hospitals and global pharmaceutical manufacturer Strides Pharma Sciences to pilot a real drug supply chain, using Blockchain decentralised ledger and Internet of Things (IoT) software. The collaboration is aimed to bring transparency, accountability and efficiency in tracing and tracking drugs manufactured in the country. The agreement was signed by Anna Roy, Advisor (Industry), NITI Aayog and Shailender Kumar, Regional Managing Director, Oracle India, in the presence of Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog and Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals.
  • Bullet train: It is a high-speed rail is a type of rail transport that operates significantly faster than traditional rail traffic, using an integrated system of specialized rolling stock and dedicated tracks. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has signed two agreements with the Government of India to provide Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail (MAHSR) and the Kolkata East-West Metro Project. The objective of the project is to develop a high-frequency mass transportation system by constructing the High-Speed Rail between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, using Japan's Shinkansen technology (also known as the "Bullet Train"), thereby enhancing mobility in India and contributing to regional economic development.
  • SATAT: It is a new initiative aimed at providing a Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) as a developmental effort that would benefit both vehicle-users as well as farmers and entrepreneurs. It was launched by Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship with PSU Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs ,i.e. IOC, BPCL and HPCL) inviting Expression of Interest (EoI) from potential entrepreneurs to set up Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) production plants and make available CBG in the market for use in automotive fuels. This significant move has the potential to boost availability of more affordable transport fuels, better use of agricultural residue, cattle dung and municipal solid waste, as well as to provide an additional revenue source to farmers.
  • Tobacco package warning messages : These are warning messages that appear on the packaging of cigarettes and other tobacco products concerning their health effects. They have been implemented in an effort to enhance the public's awareness of the harmful effects of smoking. India has slipped to the fifth position among 206 countries in terms of the largest pictorial warning on cigarette packs with 85 per cent of both sides of the packets covered, according to a report released by the Canadian Cancer Society. India secured the fifth rank, jointly with Hong Kong and Thailand, in the Cigarette Package Health Warnings: International Status Report 2018. While India has maintained the size of the pictorial warning on tobacco packaging, it slipped two places as other countries have improved on the parameter. The report released Monday highlighted that 118 countries worldwide have made pictorial warnings mandatory, representing a global public health achievement, and 58 per cent of the world's population is covered by this regulation. Timor-Leste has the largest warnings on cigarette packages in the world with 92.5 per cent on front and back, followed by Nepal and Vanuatu with 90 per cent and New Zealand at fourth with 87.5 per cent. This is the sixth Canadian Cancer Society international report on cigarette package health warnings. Previous reports were published in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016.
  • Dome: It is a rounded vault forming the roof of a building or structure, typically with a circular base. Indian Vice President Venkaiah Naidu has inaugurated the world largest dome in MIT World Peace University in Pune. VP Venkaiah Naidu and Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis appreciated the efforts of MIT in bringing together such a facility in the country. All the statues in the dome are made by 93 year old famous sculpture Ram V Sutir. The dome can house over a thousand people together and has spititual symbols of all religions in the world. With 160ft diameter and 263 feet height, this would be one of the largest dome in the world. Earlier the largest dome was at Vatican city with 136 ft diameter and 448 ft height. Vice president Venkaiah Naidu on this prestigious occasion dedicated the World Peace Monument to mankind. World Parliament with 110 speakers and thousands of delegates from around the world are expected to participate and speak on a wide spectrum spanning the spiritual and scientific realms over different sessions.

Current Affairs September 2018

  • Champions of the Earth: It is the highest environmental honour of the United Nations. The award celebrates outstanding figures from the public and private sectors and from civil society whose actions have had a transformative, positive impact on the environment. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been awarded with the UN's highest environmental honour, bestowed upon five other individuals and organisations, for his leadership of the International Solar Alliance and pledge to eliminate single use plastic in India by 2022. Six of the world's most outstanding environmental changemakers have been recognised with the Champions of the Earth Award. "This years' laureates are recognised for a combination of bold, innovative and tireless efforts to tackle some of the most urgent environmental issues of our times," the UN Environment Programme said. French President Emmanuel Macron and Modi have been jointly recognised in the Policy Leadership category for their pioneering work in championing the International Solar Alliance and promoting new areas of levels of cooperation on environmental action, including Macron's work on the Global Pact for the Environment and Modi's unprecedented pledge to eliminate all single-use plastic in India by 2022.
  • National Digital Communications Policy 2018: It is a new proposal approved by government of India to connect, propel and secure India Universal broadband connectivity at 50 Mbps to every citizen Provide 1 Gbps connectivity to all Gram Panchayats Ensure connectivity to all uncovered areas Attract investments of USD 100 Billion in the Digital Communications Sector. It is re-designation of the Telecom Commission as the "Digital Communications Commission�. The NDCP-2018 envisions supporting India's transition to a digitally empowered economy and society by fulfilling the information and communications needs of citizens and enterprises by the establishment of a ubiquitous, resilient and affordable digital communications infrastructure and services. The key objectives of the policy are: Broadband for all, Creating four million additional jobs in the Digital Communications sector, Enhancing the contribution of the Digital Communications sector to 8% of India's GDP from 6% in 2017; Propelling India to the Top 50 Nations in the ICT Development Index of ITU from 134 in 2017; Enhancing India's contribution to Global Value Chains and Ensuring Digital Sovereignty.
  • Border Infrastructure and Management (BIM): It is an umbrella scheme decided to meet special development needs of people living in those areas. The projects are being implemented in 17 states having the international borders with Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh. It containing 60 projects and with an outlay of Rs 8,606 crore has been approved. The projects are implemented in 111 border districts to meet special development needs of border population with focus on people living within 50 kms of the international border. The schemes include construction of roads, schools, primary health centres, promotion of rural tourism, border tourism, promotion of sports activities, cleanliness mission, protection of heritage sites, supply of drinking water, community centres, connectivity, drainage, to enable sustainable living in border areas. Construction of helipads in remote and inaccessible hilly areas which do not have road connectivity, skill development training to farmers for the use of modern and scientific technique in farming, organic farming are some of the other areas where the projects are being implemented. India shares borders with Pakistan (3,323 km), China (3,488 km), Nepal (1,751 km), Bhutan (699 km), Myanmar (1,643 km) and Bangladesh (4,096 km).
  • Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) : It is a Section 8 (under new companies Act, not for profit companies are governed under section 8), non-Government, private limited company. It was incorporated on March 28, 2013. The Government of India holds 24.5% equity in GSTN and all States of the Indian Union, including NCT of Delhi and Puducherry, and the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers (EC), together hold another 24.5%. Balance 51% equity is with non-Government financial institutions. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved the increasing of government ownership in Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) and change in the existing structure with transitional plan.
  • AGMARK: It is a certification mark employed on agricultural products in India, assuring that they conform to a set of standards approved by the Directorate of Marketing and Inspection, an agency of the Government of India. The government has launched an online platform for processing applications related to quality certification mark �Agmark� for agricultural products. Through the Agmark online system, certificate of authorisation, permission of printing press, permission of laboratories and services related to laboratory information management system will be provided. The use of modern technologies by the National Informatics Center has made these processes easy, reliable and cost effective by providing online electronic mode. In the new online application system, there are provisions for online receipt of fees from the applicants. Payment will be received in digital mode through the website bharatkosh.gov.in.
  • Indian Culinary Institute: It is a new institute which was dedicated to nation by Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu in Tirupati. Developed at an outlay of Rs. 99 crore, it is touted to become one of the top ranking institutes in the country in training aspirants in culinary and hospitality services. The imposing building is developed by NBCC (India) at the 14.21 acre site provided by the State government near the airport in Renigunta. Classes have already begun from the academic year 2016, which are conducted in a temporary campus developed on the premises of State Institute of Hotel Management (SIHM) in Alipiri.
  • Odisha: It is an eastern Indian state on the Bay of Bengal, is known for its tribal cultures and its many ancient Hindu temples. Government of India is seriously considering the revival of coal gasification based urea production facility in Odisha. The fertilizer project at Talcher at Odisha developed by Talcher Fertilizers Limited (TFL) shall be India's first coal gasification based urea production facility of 1.27 MMTPA installed capacity at an estimated investment of Rs. 11,600 crore. TFL is a joint venture of GAIL, CIL, RCF and FCIL. Environment clearance and selection of coal gasification technology are some of the key milestones achieved. TFL has been allotted captive coal mine in the Talcher region. Mine development activity has commenced and shall ensure steady supply of the feedstock for maintaining continuous operations of the plant. Full-fledged project activities are expected to commence at Talcher site within a month and is targeted for commissioning by 2022.
  • Supreme Court of India: It is the highest judicial forum and final court of appeal under the Constitution of India, the highest constitutional court. It has said that the legislators could not be banned from practising as lawyers in courts. A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court dismissed a petition seeking ban on the legal practice of MPs, MLAs and MLCs who are legal professionals. The Supreme Court said that no law debars the MPs, MLAs and MLCs from practising in court. The petition had been filed by BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay. He contended that allowing MPs, MLAs and MLCs to practise in a court of law amounts to violation of the fundamental right to equality before law as enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution.
  • Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana: It is a new health scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is claimed to be the world�s biggest health security scheme covering 10 crore families. Some important points about Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana are: It provides cashless and paperless access to health care services in public and private empanelled hospitals across the country. The scheme will provide a health insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh to 50 crore poor people. The scheme will cover 10.74 crore rural and urban families as identified in SECC 2011. The scheme will not cover primary care. It is to cover the cost of hospitalization. The states are going to decide on the mode of implementation with 7 states plan to adopt the insurance mode, 18 states will follow the trust route while the remaining 9 will follow the mixed model. Over 8,735 hospitals, both public and private, have been empanelled for the scheme, and as many as 31 states and union territories have signed MoUs with the Centre to implement the programme.
  • Sikkim: It is a state in northeast India. It borders Tibet in the north and northeast, Bhutan in the east, Nepal in the west, and West Bengal in the south. Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday inaugurated Sikkim�s first own airport at Pakyong. The airport, perched between the Himalayan ranges at a height of 4,500 ft, is India�s 100th functional airport. Modi arrived in Gangtok on Sunday evening after rolling out the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) � the largest government health insurance scheme in the world � in Jharkhand. The airport whose foundation stone was laid, around 33 km from Gangtok, in 2009 will ensure easier connectivity of the state with the rest of the country.
  • Chiller: It is a machine that removes heat from a liquid via a vapor-compression or absorption refrigeration cycle. They are used extensively for space conditioning of buildings and for industrial process cooling applications. The size of Indian chiller market which stood at 1 Million Tonne per year at 2017, is projected to grow at a CAGR of 3.6 per cent fuelled by a growth in the retail, hospitality and infrastructure projects. Chillers, being energy intensive system, contribute more than 40 per cent of the total energy consumption in commercial buildings. Therefore, it is important to optimize energy performance of chillers and create awareness amongst the end users to adopt transition towards energy efficient chillers. Ministry of Power under the Government of India launched an ambitious program to encourage the deployment of Energy Efficient chiller systems in the country here today. The Chiller Star Labelling Program has been formulated by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). The program envisages providing star rating in terms of its energy performance. Initially, the program is launched on voluntary basis and will be valid upto 31st December 2020.
  • Smart fence pilot project : It is an unique project launched by Government of India along the India-Pakistan international border in Jammu and Kashmir. The pilot project was inaugurated by the Home Minister during his one-day visit to the state. The BSF had taken up the initiative as part of the comprehensive integrated border management system. The smart fencing at the border was initially slated to be in place by March 2018. Speaking about the same in August 2017, BSF Director General KK Sharma had said that the smart fencing at India-Pakistan border was priority as anything happening there has grave consequences. Earlier this year, the BSF had operationalised the first smart fence on a riverine stretch with Bangladesh in Assam. The riverine stretch where the first fence was put up was previously patrolled by BSF speedboats. Due to its geographical features, no outpost could be erected in the area which often led to incidents like illegal migrations going unchecked. The introduction of the fence was done to bring down such instances.
  • Saridon: It is an analgesic combination indicated for the management of headache. It contains the analgesics propyphenazone and paracetamol and the stimulant caffeine. The Supreme Court has allowed the sale of painkiller Saridon and two other drugs that were mentioned in the list of combination medicines banned by the health ministry. Decision comes after the Supreme Court�s order came on a petition filed by the makers of these medicines. A bench of Justices R F Nariman and Indu Malhotra lifted the ban on Piramal Healthcare's Saridon, GlaxoSmithKline's Piriton, Juggat Pharma's Dart and another drug, the details of which could not be immediately known. The companies approached the top court after the government banned the manufacture, sale and distribution of 328 fixed-dose combinations (FDCs) drugs for human use with immediate effect to stop their "illegal use".
  • e-Sahaj: It is a portal launched to facilitate individuals and private companies in seeking security clearance for setting up businesses in certain sensitive sectors. The online �e-Sahaj� portal, launched by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, will strike a healthy balance between meeting the imperatives of national security and facilitating ease of doing business and promoting investment in the country. The portal will facilitate an applicant to submit application online and also to view the status of his application from time to time. The Union home secretary said with the introduction of online portal, the process has become standardised. It will be faster, transparent and easy to monitor.
  • Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojna : It is a new initiative launched by ESI Corporation. This scheme is a relief payable in cash directly to their Bank Account in case of unemployment and while they search for new engagement. Detailed instructions including eligibility conditions, application format, etc. will be issued separately. The initiative was launched after considering the change in employment pattern and the current scenario of employment in India which has transformed from a long term employment to fixed short term engagement in the form of contract and temping. ESI Corporation has approved the proposal for reimbursement of Rs. 10/- per person to the employers to encourage the seeding of Aadhar (UID) in ESIC database of their workers and their family members. It will curtail the multiple registrations of same Insured Persons and thus enable them to avail the benefits requiring longer contributory conditions.
  • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA): It is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. India has decided to place four more reactors under the IAEA safeguards. Accordingly, two Russian-designed Pressurised Light Water Reactors and two Pressurised Heavy Reactors being built with Indian technology will be covered. Making the announcement, Sekhar Basu, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, said a total of 26 Indian nuclear facilities will be under the international nuclear energy watchdog IAEA. This was stated at the 62nd General Conference of IAEA Vienna, Austria.
  • Sputum: It is a mixture of saliva and mucus coughed up from the respiratory tract, typically as a result of infection or other disease and often examined microscopically to aid medical diagnosis. Health Ministry has launches sputum sample transportation Through Department of Post. A significant proportion of patients are not tested becausethe specimen does not reach the laboratory due to non-availability ofspecimen transport mechanisms.Transport of collected specimen also spares the patient�s from travelling to the reference laboratory. Prompt transport of specimen followed by efficacious testing will enable appropriate management of the TB patients and reduced disease transmission. The learning from Delhi Pilot experience will be useful for adaptation of specimen transport mechanism throughthe Postal Department across the country.
  • Cybercrime.gov.in : It is a new portal launched by government of India, which will receive complaints from citizens on objectionable online content related to child pornography, child sexual abuse material, sexually explicit material such as rape and gang rape. Portal will enable complainants in reporting cases without disclosing their identity. This will not only aid the victims/complainants but also help the civil society organizations and responsible citizens to anonymously report complaints pertaining to child pornography, child sexual abuse material or sexually explicit material such as rape and gang rape. Complainants can also upload the objectionable content and URL to assist in the investigation by the State Police. The complaints registered through this portal will be handled by police authorities of respective State/UTs. There are other features such as a victim or complainant can track his/her report by opting for �report and track� option using his/her mobile number.
  • National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO): It is a central database of �sexual offenders� in the country which will be maintained by the NCRB for regular monitoring and tracking by the State Police. The database is accessible only to the law enforcement agencies for investigation and monitoring purpose. The database will include offenders convicted under charges of rape, gang rape, POCSO and eve teasing. At present the database contains 4.4 lakh entries. The State Police have been requested to regularly update the database from 2005 onwards. The database includes name, address, photograph and fingerprint details for each entry. However, the database will not compromise any individual�s privacy. This will be accessible only to law enforcement agencies, will assist in effectively tracking and investigating cases of sexual offences.
  • Muslim Women (Protection of Rights of Marriage) Ordinance 2018: It is a new ordinance which was approved by President of India. According to the ordinance, giving instant Triple Talaq has been made illegal and void, and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband. Seeking to allay fears that the law could be misused, the government has included certain safeguards in it such as adding a provision of bail for the accused before trial. These amendments were cleared by the Cabinet on 29 August. The Ordinance states that even though the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 is pending in the Rajya Sabha and despite the Supreme Court has observed that the practice of Triple Talaq is unconstitutional, the practice still carries on.
  • National Institute of Design: It is an autonomous body under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. NID is recognised by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research under Ministry of Science and Technology, government of India, as a scientific and industrial design research organisation. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for introduction of Bill in Parliament for amendment of NID Act, 2014 to include the four new National Institutes of Design (NID) viz. National Institute of Design, Amaravati/Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh; National Institute of Design, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh; National Institute of Design, Jorhat, Assam and National Institute of Design, Kurukshetra, Haryana within the ambit of the National Institute of Design Act, 2014 and to declare them as Institutions of National Importance (INIs) at par with the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. Some minor amendments to the Act including consequential amendments considered necessary namely, to re-name NID Vijayawada as NID Amaravati and nomenclature of Principal Designer as equivalent to Professor are also proposed in the Bill.
  • Fixed-dose combination drugs: These are combination drugs produced when two or more active drugs combine in a fixed ratio into a single dosage. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has prohibited the manufacture, sale or distribution of 328 fixed dose combinations (FDCs) for human use with immediate effect. It has also restricted the manufacture, sale or distribution of six FDCs, subject to certain conditions. Earlier, the Central Government had, through its notifications published on the March 10, 2016 in the Gazette of India, prohibited 344 FDCs under Section 26 A of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. Subsequently, the Government had prohibited five more FDCs under the same provisions.
  • Kempegowda International Airport: It is an international airport serving Bangalore, the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka. Spread over 4,000 acres, it is located about 40 kilometres north of the city near the village of Devanahalli. is set to become the first airport in Asia next year to use face recognition as the boarding procedure for passengers. According to an agreement signed by Hari Marar, CEO of Bengaluru International Airport Ltd. (BIAL), which operates KIA, and Miguel Leitmann, CEO of Vision Box, a Portuguese software firm, signed an agreement to this effect in Lisbon on September 5 to introduce face recognition technology at the airport from 2019. The agreement was signed in the presence of Indian-origin Portuguese Prime Minister Ant�nio Costa and India�s Ambassador to Portugal Nandini Singla.
  • Odisha : It is an eastern Indian state on the Bay of Bengal, is known for its tribal cultures and its many ancient Hindu temples. Odisha Assembly has passed a resolution for setting up a Legislative Council in the state. Speaking on the resolution, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said, �Odisha has picked up growth momentum and to further accelerate growth, wider consultations are necessary. In this context legislative council will be of great help.� The resolution was passed as it got support of 104 of the 147 members of the Assembly while opposition Congress and BJP stayed away from the House.
  • Accredited social health activists (ASHA): They are community health workers instituted by the government of India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as a part of the National Rural Health Mission. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a landmark increase in remuneration for ASHA and Anganwadi workers. The announcement which will be effective from next month was made during a video bridge interaction with lakhs of ASHA, Anganwadi and ANM workers. The Prime Minister announced the doubling of routine incentives given by the government to ASHA workers. In addition, all ASHA workers and their helpers would be provided free insurance cover under Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Prime Minister Suraksha Bima Yojana. Prime Minister also announced a significant increase in the honorarium given to Anganwadi workers. Those receiving 3000 rupees so far, would now receive 4500 rupees. Those receiving 2200, would now get 3500 rupees. The honorarium for Anganwadi helpers has also been increased from 1500 to 2250 rupees.
  • Malanad Malabar Cruise Tourism Project: It is a new tourism project sanctioned by Union Ministry for Tourism to improve tourism cruises in the state of Kerala. The project will be launched under Swadesh Darshan Scheme for development of a rural circuit in Kerala through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. The ministry will be developing three cruises with a budget of Rs 80.37 crores. The project will be focusing on the development of water-based thematic cruise experiences in and around Valapattanam and Kuppam Rivers of Kannur District. Three thematic cruises being developed under this project will be on Valapattanam and Kuppam River.
  • National Mission on Government e Marketplace (GeM): It is a mission launched by Government of India to accelerate the adoption and use of GeM by major central Ministries, State Governments and their agencies. It aims to promote inclusiveness, transparency and efficiency in public procurement and achieve cashless, contactless and paperless transaction. This will increase overall efficiency and lead to cost saving on government expenditure in procurement. Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises: It is a ministry which deals with the formulation and administration of rules, regulations and laws relating to micro, small and medium enterprises in India. Ministry has approved a proposal by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) to increase the wages of artisans by over 36 percent. According to the proposal, the wages will be increased from Rs 5.50 per hank previously to Rs 7.50 per hank. Wage increase will be along with payment of government subsidy Modified Market Development Assistance (MMDA), will be implemented (with effect from August 15, 2018).
  • Homosexuality: It is a romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality. The Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, unanimously held that criminalisation of private consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was clearly unconstitutional. Besides, the bench also prayed to the LGBTQ community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) to forgive history for subjecting them to �brutal� suppression. The court, however, held that the Section would apply to �unnatural� sexual acts like bestiality. Sexual act without consent continues to be a crime under Section 377. In four concurring opinions, the Constitution Bench declared the 156-year-old �tyranny� of Section 377 �irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary.� Section 377 thus far punished homosexuality with 10 years of imprisonment.
  • Law Commission of India: It is an executive body established by an order of the Government of India. Its major function is to work for legal reform. Its membership primarily comprises legal experts, who are entrusted a mandate by the Government. Law commission has released a consultation paper on family law reforms which discusses a range of provisions within all family laws, secular or personal, and suggests a number of changes to in the form of potential amendments and fresh enactments. As general suggestions to reforming family law, the paper discusses the introduction of new grounds for �no fault� divorce accompanied by corresponding changes to provisions on alimony and maintenance, rights of differently-abled individuals within marriage, the thirty-day period for registration of marriages under Special Marriage Act; uncertainty and inequality in age of consent for marriage, compulsory registration of marriage, bigamy upon conversion etc.
  • Other Backward Class (OBC) : It is a collective term used by the Government of India to classify castes which are socially or educationally or economically disadvantaged. The OBCs were found to comprise 52% of the country's population by the Mandal Commission report of 1980, a figure which had shrunk to 41% by 2006 when the National Sample Survey Organisation took place. In a move considered politically sensitive ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, government has decided to collect data on Other Backwards Castes (OBCs) in Census 2021. The ruling government is expected to highlight the decision to collect OBC data in the 2021 census in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as several OBC groups have been demanding for it for long.
  • Krishna Kutir : It is a special home for 1000 widows set up by the Ministry of Women & Child Development under Swadhar Greh scheme of the Ministry and is the largest ever facility of its kind created by a government organization. The Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, alongwith Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Adityanath Yogi inaugurated the widows� home �Krishna Kutir� at a function at Vrindavan, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. The home will offer shelter and protection to the large number of helpless widows of Vrindavan. An area of 4 acres has now been allocated near the home by the district administration which will be developed into a park and which can be used by the widows of the home, she disclosed. The WCD Minister further added that widows will be a part of various committees which will be formed to manage the widows� home.
  • Coffee Connect : It is a new mobile app launched by Ministry for Commerce and Industry to ease the work of field functionaries and improve work efficiency. This application provides solution by harnessing the power of mobility comprising the latest technology in easing the whole process of the field activities like digitization of Coffee Growers & Estates with Geo Tagging, collecting the Plantation details. It will also help in transparency in the activities of the extension officers and officials, transparency in subsidy disbursement and real time report generation.
  • Coffee KrishiTharanga : It is a digital mobile extension services for coffee stakeholders launched by Ministry for Commerce and Industry. It aims to offer customized information and services to increase productivity, profitability, and environmental sustainability. The customised services are two ways, 24 X 7 service supports. The �Coffee KrishiTharanga� is pilot tested in the Chikmagalur and Hassan districts of Karnataka State covering 30,000 farmers during the first year and will be extended to remaining growers in a phased manner.
  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare: It is an Indian government ministry charged with health policy in India. It is also responsible for all government programs relating to family planning in India. Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released the draft of patient�s rights. The draft, prepared by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has been put up on the Health Ministry�s website for comments and suggestions. According to a notice issued by Joint Secretary Sudhir Kumar, the Ministry plans to implement the Charter of Patients� Rights through State governments for provision of proper health care by clinical establishments. According to a government official, �Although some States have adopted the national Clinical Establishments Act 2010 and certain others have enacted their own State-level legislations to regulate hospitals, there is no consolidated document on patients� rights that can be followed by all States uniformly�.
  • NITI Aayog : National Institution for Transforming India, is a policy think tank of the Government of India, established with the aim to achieve Sustainable Development Goals and to enhance cooperative federalism by fostering the involvement of State Governments of India in the economic policy-making process using a bottom-up approach. NITI Aayog constituted group of experts has urged the government to set up a dedicated mission to save the spring water systems in the Himalayan states. The group noted in its report titled �Inventory and Revival of Springs in the Himalayas for Water Security that almost half of the perennial springs have already dried up or have become seasonal and tens of thousands of villages are currently facing acute water shortage for drinking and other domestic purposes. Almost 60% of low-discharge springs that provided water to small habitations in the Himalayan region have reported clear decline during the last couple of decades.

Current Affairs August 2018

  • National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme: It is a programme which aims to prevent and treat hepatitis which is among leading causes of liver cancer, cirrhosis of liver and acute liver failure. With this initiative, Government is strongly committed to work towards elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030.” This was stated by J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare as he launched the National Viral Hepatitis Control Program to mark the World Hepatitis Day, 2018.
  • Mission Satyanishtha : It is a programme launched by Indian Railways to improve Ethics in Public Governance. The objectives of the Mission are: 1) To train every employee to understand the need and value of ethics in Personal and Public life. 2) To deal with ethical dilemmas in life and Public Governance. 3) To help understand the policies of Indian Railways on ethics and integrity and the employee’s role in upholding the same. 4) To develop inner governance through tapping inner resources.
  • Ethanol: Ethanol is a renewable fuel made from various plant materials collectively known as "biomass. Union Food Ministry has notified decision to allow sugar mills to produced ethanol directly from sugarcane juice or an intermediate product called B-molasses. In this regard, Sugarcane Control Order, 1966 has been amended. The move would help mills divert cane juice for ethanol manufacturing during surplus years. Now in case of production of ethanol directly from sugarcane juice or B-molasses, the recovery rate of sugarcane factory will be determined by considering every 600 liters so produced as equivalent to one tonne of production of sugar. Earlier, sugar mills were allowed to manufacture ethanol from by-product called C-molasses, after sugar was taken out while processing raw sugarcane juice. Molasses is also used for manufacturing spirit and alcohol among other products.
  • Mobile Open Exchange: It is a focused mobile ecosystem that enables reduced operational costs and enhances profitability through an efficient supply chain system. Strategic location coupled with the predicted growth in the Indian telecommunication market, MOX is a significant hub for socio-economic development, thereby becoming the future of mobility. Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation of India's first Mobile Open Exchange Zone (MOX) at World Trade Centre, Noida, at a ground breaking ceremony in Lucknow which saw the launch of 81 investment projects worth over Rs. 60,000 crore in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Homeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill 2018: It is a new bill passed by Lok Sabha which seeks to replace the Homeopathy Central Council (amendment) ordinance that allowed a Board of Governors to run the council for one year till a new body is formed. The AYUSH ministry had introduced the bill in Lok Sabha for its consideration and passage on July 23. During a discussion on the bill, Opposition members criticised the government over promulgation of an Ordinance to dissolve the Homeopathy Council.
  • Fugitive Offenders Economic Bill : It is a bill which allows for a person to be declared as a fugitive economic offender (FEO) if: (i) an arrest warrant has been issued against him for any specified offences where the value involved is over Rs 100 crore, and (ii) he has left the country and refuses to return to face prosecution. To declare a person an FEO, an application will be filed in a Special Court (designated under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002) containing details of the properties to be confiscated, and any information about the person’s whereabouts. The Special Court will require the person to appear at a specified place at least six weeks from issue of notice. Proceedings will be terminated if the person appears. The Bill allows authorities to provisionally attach properties of an accused, while the application is pending before the Special Court. Upon declaration as an FEO, properties of a person may be confiscated and vested in the central government, free of encumbrances (rights and claims in the property). Further, the FEO or any company associated with him may be barred from filing or defending civil claims.
  • Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill (Triple Talaq Bill): The Bill makes all declaration of talaq, including in written or electronic form, to be void (i.e. not enforceable in law) and illegal. It defines talaq as talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq pronounced by a Muslim man resulting in instant and irrevocable divorce. Talaq-e-biddat refers to the practice under Muslim personal laws where pronouncement of the word ‘talaq’ thrice in one sitting by a Muslim man to his wife results in an instant and irrevocable divorce. Union Cabinet has introduced three amendments to the bill. As per the new amendment, a crime of triple talaq (FIR) will be cognizable only if the victim or her blood relatives or someone associated with the marriage files the complaint. A complaint filed by an agency or outside entity will not be cognizable. In the earlier version, any person could have initiated criminal proceedings against a Muslim man, who pronounces instant triple talaq on his wife. As per the second amendment, the crime remains non-bailable but a magistrate can grant bail after hearing the victim. Provision of bail was one of the demands of the opposition parties. The third amendment makes the crime compoundable. If friends seek reconciliation, the magistrate can compound offence.
  • SC and ST Amendment Bill, 2018: It is a new amendment passed by Rajya Sabha. The Bill states that the investigating officer will not require the approval of any authority for the arrest of an accused. A preliminary enquiry will not be required for the registration of a First Information Report against a person accused under the Act. The SC/ST Act 1989 states that persons accused of committing an offence under the Act cannot apply for anticipatory bail. The Bill seeks to clarify that this provision will apply despite any judgements or orders of a court that provide otherwise.
  • IMPRINT: It is the first of its kind government supported initiative to address the major science and engineering challenges that India must address and champion to enable, empower and embolden the nation for inclusive growth and self-reliance. The proposals were approved on Saturday at the IMPRINT 2 Apex Committee meeting held in New Delhi. Government has approved 122 new research projects of 112 crore rupees under its Impacting Research Innovation and Technology ‘IMPRINT-2’ scheme. Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar said in a statement that out of over two thousand proposals, 122 best proposals were selected for funding under IMPRINT-2. Of the selected projects, 81 are sponsored by industry.
  • Social Media Communications Hub: It is a platform proposed by government of India for digital medium. According to an official source, it is a technology platform is needed to collect digital media chatter from all core social media platforms as well as digital platforms such as news, blogs. In a single system providing real-time insights, metrics and other valuable data. Under the project, media persons would be employed on contractual basis in each district to be the “eyes and ears” of the government and provide real-time updates from the ground. According to the tender document, the platform is expected to provide automated reports, tactical insights and comprehensive work-flows to initiate engagement across digital channels. The platform maybe used to disseminate content and hence, should support publishing features. Amid bowing to the pressure to the Supreme Court which termed the government’s proposal to monitor online data akin to ‘creating a surveillance state’, government has withdrawn the proposal to set up, ‘‘Social Media Communication Hub’.
  • Facebook: Facebook is an American online social media and social networking service company. Facebook has announced the launching of a ‘Digital Literacy Library’ to help young people build the skills they need to safely enjoy online technology. The library is a collection of lessons to help young people think critically and share thoughtfully online There are 830 million young people online around the world, and this library is a resource for educators looking to address digital literacy and help these young people build the skills they need to safely enjoy digital technology’. The interactive lessons and videos, developed in partnership with the Youth and Media team at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University for educators of youth aged 11 to 18, can be downloaded for free.
  • The National Sports University Bill, 2018 : It is a new bill passed by Lok Sabha. The Bill establishes a National Sports University located in Manipur. It will promote sports education in the areas of: (i) sports sciences, (ii) sports technology, (iii) sports management, and (iv) sports coaching. It will function as a national training centre for select sports disciplines. It may also establish campuses and study centres in other parts of the country. The University will be empowered to grant degrees, diplomas and certificates. The key objectives of the University are: (i) research, development and dissemination of knowledge in physical education and sports sciences, (ii) strengthening physical education and sports training programmes, (iii) generating knowledge capabilities, skills and competence at various levels, and (iv) training talented athletes to help them to evolve into international level athletes.
  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands: The Andaman Islands are an Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal. These roughly 300 islands are known for their palm-lined, white-sand beaches, mangroves and tropical rainforests. Coral reefs supporting marine life such as sharks and rays make for popular diving and snorkeling sites. The Union home ministry has excluded 29 inhabited islands in Andaman and Nicobar from Restricted Area Permit (RAP) with an aim to boost tourism. Foreigners are not allowed to enter most of the hundreds of Andaman &Nicobar islands and they are required to obtain a RAP to visit the islands.
  • Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana: It is a nationwide plan in India to provide good all-weather road connectivity to unconnected villages. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has given its approval for continuation of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) beyond 12th Five Year Plan period. "It will help in connecting 38,412 habitations at an estimated cost of Rs. 84,934 crore (Central Share is 54,900 crore and State share is 30,034 crore). Habitation (population 250+) would be covered by March, 2019. PMGSY-II and habitations under identified LWE blocks (100-249 population) would be covered by March 2020. Initially the targets of PMGSY were to be achieved by March 2022, however, the sunset date of achievement of PMGSY-I was pre-poned to March, 2019, with enhanced fund allocation and changed funding pattern i.e. in the ratio of 60:40 between the Centre and State for all States except for 8 North Eastern and 3 Himalayan States (Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand) for which it is 90:10. The Task of connecting 1,78,184 eligible unconnected habitations under PMGSY on its way towards completion by March, 2019. So far, 95% habitations (1,69,415) have been sanctioned, of which 91% habitations (1,54,257) have been connected including 16,380 habitations connected by the States from their own resources. Against the sanctioned length of 6,58,143 km, 5,50,601 km road length has been completed. Under, PMGSY-II, against the target length of 50,000 km works of upgradation almost 32,100 km road length have been sanctioned in 13 States, which have transited to PMGSY-II. Against the sanctions issued, 12,000 km road length has been completed up to March, 2018.
  • Telengana: It is a state in the south of India. It is situated on the centre-south stretch of the Indian peninsula on the high Deccan Plateau. Government of Telangana launched for the first time Disaster Response Force (DRF) vehicles in the Hyderabad city. According to government sources, the vehicles will be parked at 24 locations with Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) DRF staff and they will reach the emergency spots in no time. Director of Vigilance, Enforcement and Disaster Management, GHMC, Viswajeet Kampati said, “The main aim to start this DRF is that a state should have its own Disaster force. Basically they have been trained in tackling of flooding, tree falls, structural collapses and any other site of normal emergencies. DRF has been first brought on to the ground with 120 personal with 8 specialised vehicles and other equipment’s which are required. Soon we are going to increase the number of vehicles, equipments and all the other special apparatuses that are required. They can continuously work in flooding. The Force also after starting has carried out rescue operations and saved couple of lives. The Disaster personal will be available on the field for 24/7."
  • NITI Aayog: The NITI Aayog, also National Institution for Transforming India, is a policy think tank of the Government of India, established with the aim to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. It has launched 5 Thematic Reports on Indian Himalayan Region. NITI Aayog had already set up these 5 Working Groups (WGs) in June 2017 to prepare a roadmap for actions in 5 thematic areas. The themes include: Inventory and Revival of Springs in Himalayas for Water Security, Sustainable Tourism in Indian Himalayan Region, Transformative Approach to Shifting Cultivation, Strengthening Skill & Entrepreneurship Landscape in Himalayas and Data/Information for Informed Decision Making. While these thematic areas are quite significant for the Himalayas. Mountain specificities require specific solutions for resilience building that address socio-economic and environmental challenges in the mountain setting. The reports from the five working groups discuss the significance, the challenges, the ongoing actions and a future roadmap.
  • Panini: He was a Sanskrit grammarian who gave a comprehensive and scientific theory of phonetics, phonology, and morphology. Sanskrit was the classical literary language of the Indian Hindus and Panini is considered the founder of the language and literature. It is a was an ancient Sanskrit philologist, grammarian, and a revered scholar in Hinduism. External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj has inaugurated 'Panini Language Laboratory' at Mahatma Gandhi Institute (MGI) in Mauritius. The lab, gifted by the Indian government, will help MGI in teaching Indian languages in Mauritius. Swaraj said that similar laboratories equipped with all modern technologies and similar facilities need to be build up in India also to promote Hindi and regional languages. Education Minister of Mauritius Leela Devi Dookun and other dignitaries were also present on the occasion. Swaraj and Minister of State for External Affairs Gen V K Singh also paid floral tribute to Mahatma Gandhi statue at the institute.
  • Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs): It is a new initiative launched by Home Ministry which enforces ATM Cash filling. In a notification, the Home Ministry said the new Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) would come into effect from February 8, 2019 in view of the spurt in incidents of attacks on cash vans, cash vaults, ATM frauds and other internal frauds leading to increased sense of insecurity. There are over 8,000 privately owned cash vans plying across the country, operated by non-bank private agencies, and they handle over Rs 15,000 crore daily on behalf of banks. Some times, the private agencies keep currency overnight at their cash vaults. No cash loading of the ATMs or cash transportation activities shall be done after 9 pm in urban areas, after 6 pm in rural areas and before 9 am or after 4 pm in the districts notified by the central government as Left Wing Extremism affected areas. The agencies shall provide private security for the cash transportation with the requisite number of trained staff, every cash van shall have one driver, two armed security guards, two ATM officers or custodians. One armed guard must sit in the front along with the driver and another in the rear portion of the van while in transit. During loading or unloading, nature's call, tea or lunch break, at least one armed security guard shall remain present with the cash van all the time.
  • IIT Kharagpur: It is the first public engineering institution established by the government of India in 1951. IIT Kharagpur will set up a Re-Water Research Center, seed-funded by two alumni members to replenish and rejuvenate water resources. The centre will aim to tackle the challenge of resolving two burning issues faced by urban India sewage disposal and access to clean potable water. The institute is setting up an on-campus plant which will convert 1.35 million litre of sewage water from the hostels to 1.2 million litre of potable water, on a daily basis. The pilot plant is expected to be ready by March 2019.
  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare: It is a ministry charged with health policy in India. It is also responsible for all government programs relating to family planning in India. It has notified a new set of specified health warnings for all tobacco products — manufactured or imported or packaged on or after September 1 — to be displayed on the packets. The new set of specified health warning for all tobacco product packs has been brought in by making an amendment in the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Rules, 2008 vide GSR 331(E) dated April 3, 2018, “Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products [Packaging and Labelling] Second Amendment Rules, 2018”. The amended rules will be applicable with effect from September 1, 2018.
  • National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) : It is a nodal agency responsible for collecting and analysing crime data as defined by the Indian Penal Code. Centre has directed NCRB as the designated nodal agency for monitoring the complaints received on a government portal that records child pornography and sexual violence videos. The decision was taken after a high-level meeting was convened to discuss recommendations on ways to curb “sexual violence” videos involving women and children. The NCRB would coordinate with service providers such as Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp and ask them to block malicious videos and contents.
  • Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) : It is a government body is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety FSSAI has notifies standards for honey and its products to curb adulteration. The move comes in the wake of government promoting farmers to venture into the beekeeping business to increase their income. The standards will help fetch farmers better prices for their products. At present, there are no separate quality standards for honey and its products. Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) CEO Pawan Agarwal said, ‘We have notified the standards for honey and its products recently. This will help address adulteration. Both domestic manufacturers and importers will have to comply with the new norms’. As per the FSSAI notification, honey should comply with 18 parameters like that of sucrose content, glucose ratio, pollen count, foreign oligosaccharides among others. The FSSAI has fixed maximum 5 per cent limit for sucrose content in the honey, while 10 per cent for carviacallosa and Honeydew honey. The moisture percentage should be maximum 20 per cent and pollen count should be 25,000 per gram. With regard to by-products, the FSSAI has fixed standards for 'Bees wax' and 'royal jelly' also.
  • University Grants Commission (UGC): It is a government body created for the coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of teaching, examination and research in university education. University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued a notice to Vice Chancellors of all universities requesting them to ensure strict adherence to the advisory issued in November 2016, which calls for banning junk food in colleges. A similar move was made earlier by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) which had directed all affiliated schools to take junk food off their canteen menu. At the time, schools were also asked to inspect lunch boxes of students, create awareness about nutritious food and regularly monitor students’ health.
  • National Logistics Portal: It is new portal being developed to ensure ease of trading in the international and domestic markets, as India eyes lowering logistics cost from14 per cent of GDP to less than 10 per cent by 2022. The portal will link all the stakeholders of export-import, domestic trade and all trade activities on a single platform. The portal will be implemented in phases and will fulfil the commitment of the government of India to enhance trade competitiveness, create jobs, boost India's performance in global rankings and pave the way for India to become a logistics hub. It will act as a single window online market place for trade. It will connect business, create opportunities and bring together various ministries, departments and the private sector. Stakeholders like traders, manufacturers, logistics service providers, infrastructure providers, financial services, government departments and groups and associations will all be on one platform.It also involves12 million employment base, 200 shipping agencies, 36logisticsservices, 50 IT ecosystems and banks and insurance agencies. Further,81 authorities and 500certificatesare required for EXIM.
  • World Bank: World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to countries of the world for capital projects. World Bank and state-owned EESL inked a $220 million loan agreement and $80 million guarantee pact to push energy efficiency programme in India. To be implemented by EESL, the programme will help scale up the deployment of energy saving measures in residential and public sectors, strengthen EESL's institutional capacity, and enhance its access to commercial financing. The $220 million loan, from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) to Energy Efficiency Services Ltd, has a 5-year grace period, and a maturity of 19 years. The Government of India, the EESL, and the World Bank on Tuesday signed a $220 million Loan Agreement and a $80 million Guarantee Agreement for the India Energy Efficiency Scale-Up Program.

Current Affairs July 2018

  • Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018: It is new bill passed by the Lok Sabha. The bill seeks lays down a stringent punishment of 10 years to life imprisonment for aggravated forms of trafficking, which include buying or selling of persons for the purpose of bonded labour, bearing a child, as well as those where chemical substances or hormones are administered, and a survivor acquires life-threatening illnesses such as AIDS. The Bill proposes establishing a National Anti-Trafficking Bureau (NATB) for coordinating, monitoring and surveillance of trafficking cases. It also provides for a Relief and Rehabilitation Committee and Rehabilitation Fund with an initial allocation of ₹ 10 crore. It prescribes forfeiture of property used or likely to be used for the commission of an offence.
  • Prime Minister’s Research Fellows (PMRF) Scheme : It is a national scheme aimed at attracting the talent pool of the country to doctoral (Ph.D.) programs of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) for carrying out research in cutting edge science and technology domains, with focus on national priorities. It was announced in the Budget Speech 2018-19. It will be implemented for period of seven years beginning 2018-19 at total cost of Rs. 1650 crore. Under it, best students who have completed or are in final year of B. Tech/Integrated M.Tech/M.Sc courses in Science and Technology streams will be offered direct admission in PhD programme in IITs/IISc. Maximum of 3000 Fellows would be selected in three year period, beginning 2018-19.Monthly fellowship: Selected students through selection process laid down in PMRF Guidelines will be offered monthly fellowship of Rs.70,000 for first two years, Rs.75,000 for 3rd year and Rs.80,000 in 4th and 5th years. Each selected fellow students will be also provided research grant of Rs.2.00 lakh for period of 5 years to cover their foreign travel expenses for presenting research papers in international conferences and seminars.
  • Kerala : Kerala, a state on India's tropical Malabar Coast, has nearly 600km of Arabian Sea shoreline. Kerala topped the list of best governed states in the country. According to an index released by Public Affairs Centre, Kerala topped the index, for the third time, for being the best governed large State in the country and Tamil Nadu and Telangana stood second and third respectively. The index was based on 10 themes, 30 focus subjects and 100 indicators. The states were divided into two categories -- large and small -- on the basis of their population. States with more than two crore population were considered large. A total of 30 focus subjects and 100 indicators were measured to derive the PAI, relying solely upon government data. Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar ranked the lowest on the PAI, indicating higher social and economic inequalities in the states. Among smaller states (with population less than two crore), Himachal Pradesh topped the list, followed by Goa, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura which figured among the top five states with good governance. Nagaland, Manipur and Meghalaya were ranked at the bottom of the index among small states.
  • Bangla: It is the new name proposed for the state of West Bengal. West Bengal assembly has passed a resolution to rename the state as ‘Bangla’. Though the process for final approval will be long drawn requiring an amendment to the constitution, the move is aimed at climbing the alphabetical sequence of state names in which West Bengal appears last in the list now. The resolution said the state will be called Bangla in three languages – Bengali, English and Hindi.
  • TreadWill: It is a is a website designed to help people deal with stress, low mood, lethargy and other depressive symptoms through different online exercises, questionnaires and games. People suffering from depressive symptoms such as feeling low and lack of pleasure in usual activities may find the contents of the site helpful. The website was developed by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur. It will help in overcoming depressive symptoms and becoming more resilient against stressful events in the future. The online tool has been developed by a team with collaborative support from the Computer Science and Engineering and HSS (Psychology) departments, and Dr Alok Bajpai, a psychiatrist, the professor said. It is based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) that helps people with depressive symptoms, Gupta said. The effectiveness of CBT is well established for many mental illnesses, including mood and anxiety disorders.
  • Student Police Cadet (SPC) programme : It is a new initiative launched by government of India, to SPC programme will provide a healthy interface between schools and police peace and inculcate in the students aspects of public safety, discipline, patience, tolerance, empathy, respect of senior citizens, social harmony, traffic sense and a corruption-free environment. The youth of tomorrow who emerge out of such programme would bear ethical values of social commitment and be aware of social evils such as drugs, alcohol abuse, intolerance and vandalism. The SPC project will also help the police assess their image in the public eye and strive for improving confidence and winning trust of the people. SPC initially will be launched as pilot programme in all States and Union Territories.
  • Negotiable Instruments Act: It is a new act, which seeks to penalize violation of negotiable instruments like Promissory notes, bills of exchange, and cheques. The Lok Sabha has passed Negotiable Instruments Act. The new bill seeks to amend the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. The Act defines promissory notes, bills of exchange, and cheques. It also specifies penalties for bouncing of cheques, and other violations with respect to such negotiable instruments. The Bill inserts a provision allowing a court trying an offence related to cheque bouncing, to direct the drawer (person who writes the cheque) to pay interim compensation to the complainant. This interim compensation may be paid under certain circumstances, including where the drawer pleads not guilty of the accusation. The interim compensation will not exceed 20% of the cheque amount, and will have to be paid by the drawer within 60 days of the trial court’s order to pay such a compensation.
  • Deposit in case of appeal: The Bill inserts a provision specifying that if a drawer convicted in a cheque bouncing case files an appeal, the appellate court may direct him to deposit a minimum of 20% of the fine or compensation awarded by the trial court during conviction. This amount will be in addition to any interim compensation paid by the drawer during the earlier trial proceedings. In case the drawer is acquitted (during trial or by the appellate court), the court will direct the complainant to return the interim compensation (or deposit in case of an appeal case), along with an interest. This amount will be repaid within 60 days of the court’s order
  • Khelo India Talent Identification Development scheme: It is a scheme launched by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) for atheletes to get training at government-accredited residential academies. An annual stipend of Rs 1.2 lakh will be given to each player on a quarterly basis to meet their out of pocket expenses, treatment of injuries and other expenses. The athletes will be put up at various Khelo India accredited academies which will take care of the training, boarding and tournament expenses of the athletes. Sports authority of India has cleared 734 athletes for a scholarship programme.
  • Sukanya Samriddhi Account: It is saving scheme targeted at the parents of girl children. The scheme encourages parents to build a fund for the future education and marriage expenses for their female child. government has reduced the minimum annual deposit requirement for accounts under Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana to Rs. 250 from Rs. 1,000 earlier. The government has amended the Sukanya Samriddhi Account Rules, 2016 for the purpose.
  • QR code (quick response code): It is a type of 2D bar code that is used to provide easy access to information through a smartphone. The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has initiated the process of introducing QR code in their textbooks, a move aimed at helping students understand chapters better by watching a film or reading additional content on laptops and digital boards.
  • Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill: It is a new bill which seeks jail terms of three to seven years, besides fine, to those convicted of taking or giving bribes to public officials. The Bill also extends the ambit of public servants who will be protected by the provision of a prior government sanction for prosecution. There is also a provision now to get prior permission for starting an investigation and that has prompted many to say that the law has been “diluted” from its original draft.
  • National Council For Teacher Education Bill: It is bill seeks to grant retrospective recognition to Central/State institutions that are conducting teacher education courses without NCTE approval. This has been done as a one-time measure to ensure that the future of students studying in these institutions is not jeopardised. All institutions running teacher education courses, such as B.Ed and D.El.Ed have to obtain recognition from the NCTE under section 14 of the NCTE Act. Innovate India Platform: It is a common developed for presenting all the innovation happening across the nation. It was created by NITI Aayog & MyGov. It aims to create the much-needed innovations platform for registering both grassroots and deep-tech innovators at a national level. Those searching for a critical innovation can leverage the portal advantageously for the benefit of the economy as well as national social needs.
  • Fixed Drug Combination (FDC) : It means a combination of two or more drugs in a fixed dosage ratio. An expert panel of the health ministry has recommended that 343 of them should be “prohibited” According to a senior government official, the expert sub-committee has clearly stated in its report that “for most FDCs, their use would lead to unnecessary overuse and the patients would be exposed to the risk of multiple ingredients when one would suffice".
  • Shale oil: Shale oil is an unconventional oil produced from oil shale rock fragments by pyrolysis, hydrogenation, or thermal dissolution. These processes convert the organic matter within the rock (kerogen) into synthetic oil and gas. The government has amended the Petroleum and Natural Gas Rules 1959 to include shale in the definition of petroleum, a change that would allow private companies to explore and produce the resource in the blocks they already operate. According to a government notification, "Petroleum means naturally occurring hydrocarbons, whether in the form of natural gas or in a liquid, viscous or solid form, or a mixture thereof, but does not include coal, lignite, and helium occurring in association with petroleum or coal or shale.
Current Affairs[June 2018]
  • National Sports University Ordinance, 2018: It is a bill which seeks to establish National Sports University will be established with its headquarters at Manipur. It is a specialized University, first of its kind, to promote sports education in the areas of sports sciences, sports technology, sports management and sports coaching besides functioning as the national training centre for select sports disciplines by adopting the best international practices. Atal Bhujal Yojana: It is a central sector scheme of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. The scheme is to be implemented over a period of five years from 2018-19 to 2022-23, with World Bank assistance. The scheme proposal has already been recommended by the Expenditure Finance Committee and the Ministry will be seeking Cabinet approval for the project shortly. Atal Bhujal Yojana has been formulated by the Ministry to address the criticality of ground water resources in a major part of the country. The scheme aims to improve ground water management in priority areas in the country through community participation. The priority areas identified under the scheme fall in the states of Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Election Commission of India (ECI): Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in India. ECI has launched its online RTI portal. This helps applicants seeking information under Right to Information Act. The portal can be accessed by general public on the Home Page of the Commission’s website `eci.nic.in’ by clicking on `Online RTI’. There is also online payment gateway for making payment of requisite fees under the RTI Act. The portal also facilitates online reply to applications and also for making first appeal and reply thereto. There will be timely notification alerts to RTI applicant via SMS and E-Mail. Applicants seeking information from the Commission under the RTI Act can make use of the online portal. The offline mode of applications will also simultaneously continue.
  • Bailout package for sugar industry: , the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has cleared a ₹7,000 crore bailout package for the cash-starved sugar industry, which includes the creation of a 3-million-tonne sugar stockpile and subsidised loans for the enhancement of the country’s ethanol production capacity. The Committee also decided to fix the minimum selling price of white/refined sugar at ₹29 per kg and provide an interest subvention of ₹1,332 crore on loans availed by sugar mills to enhance ethanol production, Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan told reporters here. The soft loans, for which ₹4,440 crore has been set aside, would be for five years, with a moratorium of one year. The buffer stock of 3 mt sugar for a year would cost ₹1,175 crore to the exchequer. The government will reimburse this sum on a quarterly basis directly to farmers not to the mills to be adjusted against their cane dues, he said.
  • Auto disable syringe: It is a syringe that cannot be reused. They incorporate a mechanism to break or lock the plunger when the injection is given to make the syringe inoperable for being used for second time. Andhra Pradesh plans to use auto disable syringes for clinical purposes from World Hepatitis Day on July 28 to prevent infection. It also noted that Immunisation injections however account for only 10-15 per cent of all injections. Bulk of the injections are used for clinical therapeutic use.
  • Swachh Bharat Mission: The Swachh Bharat Mission is the first sanitation programme in the country to measure outcomes (ODF) instead of output (toilets) alone. The SBM's emphasis on behavior change in rural sanitation at the grassroots also leads to rigorous verification and sustainability of the benefits accrued to rural communities under the progress made. A recent survey conducted by an Independent Verification Agency across 90,000 households in over 6000 villages has found the usage of toilets in rural India to be 93.4%. Two independent surveys conducted in the past by the Quality Council of India in 2017, and National Sample Survey Organization in 2016, have pegged the usage of these toilets at 91% and 95% respectively. This success has been achieved due to the difference in approach to sanitation adopted by the Swachh Bharat Mission in comparison to previous sanitation programmes in the country.
  • Swacch Iconic Places (SIP): SIP is a collaborative project with three other central Ministries, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Ministry of Culture, and Ministry of Tourism. It also involves local administrations in the concerned States and Public Sector and Private Companies as sponsoring partners. It aims to improve the discipline and cleanliness in iconic heritage, spiritual and cultural places. Government has launches ten new Swachh Iconic places under Swacch Bharat Mission. Ten new iconic sites under Phase III are RaghavendraSwamy Temple (Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh); Hazardwari Palace (Murshidabad, West Bengal); Brahma Sarovar Temple (Kurukshetra, Haryana); VidurKuti (Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh); Mana village (Chamoli, Uttarakhand); Pangong Lake (Leh-Ladakh, J&K); Nagvasuki Temple (Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh); ImaKeithal/market (Imphal, Manipur); Sabarimala Temple (Kerala); and Kanvashram (Uttarakhand).
  • Lithium ion battery : It is a type of rechargeable battery in which lithium ions move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode during discharge and back when charging. Central Electro Chemical Research Institute (CECRI)and RAASI Solar Power Pvt Ltd have signed a Memorandum of Agreement for transfer of technology for India’s first Lithium Ion (Li-ion) Battery project. A group at CSIR-CECRI headed by Dr Gopu Kumar has developed an indigenous technology of Lithium-ion cells in partnership with CSIR-National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL) New Delhi, CSIR- Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute (CSIR-CGCRI) Kolkata and Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT) Hyderabad. CSIR-CECRI has set up a demo facility in Chennai to manufacture prototype Lithium-Ion cells. It has secured global IPRs with potential to enable cost reduction, coupled with appropriate supply chain and manufacturing technology for mass production. Currently, Indian manufacturers source Lithium Ion Battery from China, Japan and South Korea among some other countries. India is one of the largest importers and in 2017, it imported nearly 150 Million US Dollar worth Li-Ion batteries.
  • Police museum: The central government has decided to establish a police museum in Lutyens' Delhi. The museum - depicting the history, artefacts, uniforms and gear of central and state police forces - will come up as an underground facility in the premises of the national police memorial in Chanakyapuri area of the national capital. The museum is expected to be inaugurated on October 21 (Police Commemoration Day) at the hands of either Prime Minister Narendra Modi or Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
  • WiFi Choupals: It is an ambitious initiative aimed at providing seamless Internet connectivity in rural panchayats. Department of Telecom under Ministry of Telecommunication, has launched 5,000 WiFi choupals in partnership with with CSC which will provide 60,000 WiFi hotspots in rural areas. Under the agreement signed between IRCTC and CSC e-Governance, all 2.9 lakh common service centres (CSC) will be able to book both reserved and unreserved train tickets. The move will help all 2.9 lakh CSCs will be connected with technology for railway ticket booking. Around 40,000 CSCs are providing this service, and IRCTC should accelerate and make sure that in the next 8-9 month every CSCs should have this facility.
  • Rail Madad App: It is a mobile app launched by Ministry of Railways. Salient features of Rail Madad application include, Rail MADAD (Mobile Application for Desired Assistance During travel) registers a complaint with minimum inputs from passenger(option of photo also available), issues unique ID instantly and relays the complaint online to relevant field officials for immediate action. The action taken on complaint is also relayed to passenger through SMS, thus fast tracking the entire process of redressal of complaints through digitisation. Rail MADAD also displays various helpline numbers (e.g., Security, Child helpline etc) and provides direct calling facility for immediate assistance in one easy step.
  • Atal Tinkering Lab : It is a dedicated work space where students (Class 6th to Class 12th) learn innovation skills and develop ideas that will go on to transform India. The labs are powered to acquaint students with state-of-the-art equipment such as 3D printers, robotics & electronics development tools, IoT & sensors etc. NITI Aayog's Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) has selected 3,000 additional schools for the establishment of Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) bringing the total number of ATL schools to 5,441.
  • Solar Charkha Mission: It is an initiative to promote employment to poverty-saddled citizens living in rural and semi-urban areas of this country. Solar Charkha Mission of the Ministry of Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) will be launched by the President, Ram Nath Kovind and will cover 50 clusters and every cluster will employ 400 to 2000 artisans. The Mission has been approved by the Government of India and will disburse subsidy of Rs. 550 crore to the artisans.
  • NITI Aayog: NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) is a national institution established to replace the Planning Commission. The aim of NITI Aayog is to encourage involvement and participation in the economic policy-making process. NITI Aayog has come up with the Composite Water Management Index. The index can be utilised to formulate and implement suitable strategies for better management of water resources. It has been finalized after an elaborate exercise including seeking feedback from the States and consultation with reputed experts. The index would provide useful information for the States and also for the concerned Central Ministries/Departments enabling them to formulate and implement suitable strategies for better management of water resources.
Current Affairs[May 2018]
  • Micro Irrigation Fund: It is a fund created to supplement the efforts of Per Drop More Crop Component (PDMC) of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana in an effective and timely manner. It helps facilitate states to mobilise resources for their initiatives, including additional (top up subsidy) in implementation of PMKSY-PDMC toachieve the annual target of about 2 Million ha/year during the remaining period of 14thFinance Commission under Per Drop More Crop Component of PMKSY as recommended by the Group of Secretaries.
  • National Agriculture Market (eNAM) : It is an online trading platform developed for agricultural commodities in India. The market also facilitates farmers, traders and buyers with online trading in commodities. The market helps better price discovery and provide facilities for smooth marketing of their produce. Aiming to encourage inter-mandi transactions, the government will link additional 200 wholesale mandis to the online trading platform called eNAM (electronic National Agriculture Market) this fiscal year.
  • Green Skill Development Programme: It is an initiative for skill development in the environment and forest sector to enable youth to get gainful employment and/or self-employment. The programme endeavours to develop green skilled workers having technical knowledge and commitment to sustainable development. It will help in the attainment of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), National Biodiversity Targets (NBTs), as well as Waste Management Rules (2016). GSDP aims to get 80,000 people imparted green skills and in filling the skill gaps in the environment sector. The number of people to be employed under GSDP will be increased to cover 2.25 lakh people next year and to about 5 lakh people by the year 2021.
  • Cabinet Reshuffle:
    The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, has directed the following reallocation of portfolios amongst the members of the Union Council of Ministers:
    1. During the period of the indisposition of Arun Jaitley, the portfolios of Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs held by him, be temporarily assigned to Piyush Goyal, in addition to his existing portfolios.
    2. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore is assigned the independent charge as Minister of State in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, in place of Smriti Zubin Irani, presently Minister of Information and Broadcasting.
    3. SS Ahluwalia, Minister of State be relieved of the charge of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and assigned the portfolio of Ministry of State in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
    4. Alphons Kannanthanam, Minister of State relieved of the charge of Minister of State in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
  • National Legal Services Authority of India (NALSA): It is a legal body formed under the authority of the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987. Its purpose is to provide free legal services to eligible candidates and to organize Lok Adalats for speedy resolution of cases. The prime objective of NALSA is speedy disposal of cases and reducing the burden of judiciary. The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) in consultation with the Centre has drawn up a relief policy offering minimum amount of Rs 5 lakh and Rs 7 lakh respectively. NALSA’s comprehensive scheme sets out the minimum amount as relief for gang rape and rape cases. The compensation scheme for women victims/survivors of sexual assault/other crimes has been prepared on an order of the apex court that sought ‘model rules’ to provide succour to women victims and their family members, particularly the poor and residents of rural areas lacking resources to fight legal battles. As per the scheme, a minimum Rs 5 lakh is to be paid in case of loss of life or gang rape of a victim and maximum has been fixed at Rs 10 lakh. A minimum amount of Rs 4 lakh is to be paid in case of rape or unnatural sexual assault.
  • Woman can file complaint against former husband for cruelty even after divorce:
    Supreme Court has declared that a woman can lodge a complaint under the domestic violence law against the excesses committed by her ex-husband even after the dissolution of marriage. The Supreme court has refused to interfere with the order of the Rajasthan high court which held that the absence of subsisting domestic relationship in no manner prevents a court from granting relief to the aggrieved woman. The high court had passed the order while adjudicating a matrimonial dispute. A bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi, R Banumathi and Navin Sinha dismissed the appeal against the high court verdict, saying it was not inclined to interfere with the order in the facts of the case. During the hearing, advocate Dushyant Parashar, appearing for the estranged husband, said that the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, which came into force on October 26, 2006, could not be applied retrospectively. He submitted that if the provisions of the domestic violence law were allowed to be used retrospectively, then it would be subjected to gross misuse. Parashar contended that husband-wife relationship often ends on an acrimonious note and if the provisions of the act were allowed to be used retrospectively, then it would further increase the acrimony and rule out the possibility of any compromise. He said that legislature's purposive interpretation has to be kept in mind while interpreting any provisions of the law.
  • AIIMS: The All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) are a group of autonomous public medical colleges of higher education. These institutes have been declared by an Act of Parliament as Institutes of National Importance. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved a plan to set up 20 All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) across the country, six of which have already been established, and to upgrade 73 medical colleges.
  • Van Dhan Scheme : It is a scheme developed by government of India under the ministry of tribal affairs aimed at improving standard of life of tribals and increase their income through value addition. Under the scheme, 10 Self Help Groups of 30 Tribal gatherers is constituted. They are then trained and provided with working capital to add value to the products, which they collect from the jungle. Working under the leadership of Collector these groups can then market their products not only within the States but also outside the States. Training and technical support is provided by TRIFED. It is proposed to develop 30,000 such centres in the country. Besides, the establishment of ‘Van Dhan Vikas Kendra’ is done for offering skill upgradation and capacity building training and setting up of primary processing and value addition facility. This first model Van Dhan Vikas Kendra in Bijapur is being implemented for training of 300 training beneficiaries with a total outlay of Rs 43.38 lakhs for training, providing equipment and tool for primary level processing and infrastructure & building for housing the Kendra. This Kendra to start with will have processing facility for Tamarind brick making, Mahua flower storage facility and chironjee cleaning and packaging.
  • Gobar Dhan Yojana: It is a scheme that focuses on managing and converting cattle dung and solid waste in farms to compost, biogas and bio-CNG. The Gobar-Dhan Yojana will help in keeping the village clean while increasing the income of farmers and cattle herders. The scheme also intends to provide a stable fuel supply in the market for oil companies and accessible credit in the market through government schemes and banks for entrepreneurs. Developing a pool of skilled manpower, the GOBAR-Dhan Yojana will effectively utilise agri-waste to produce clean fuel.
  • Pilot scheme for Procurement of Aggregate Power: It is a pilot scheme launched by government of India to procure aggregate Power of 2500 MW on competitive basis for 3 (three) years under medium term i.e. from generators with commissioned projects but without Power Purchase Agreement. The Ministry of Power had recently issued the model bid documents, model PAPP and PPSA on 6th April, 2018. The Guidelines for the said scheme were issued on 10th April, 2018. PFC Consulting Limited (A wholly owned subsidiary of PFC Ltd) has been appointed as Nodal Agency and PTC India Limited as the Aggregator. PTC India would sign three-year (mid-term) Agreement for Procurement of Power with successful bidders and Power Supply Agreement with the Discoms. Under the scheme a single entity can be allotted maximum capacity of 600 MW. The Scheme assures a minimum off-take of 55 per cent of contracted capacity. The Tariff will be fixed for three years without any escalation.
  • Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY): It is a Pension Scheme announced by the Government of India exclusively for the senior citizens aged 60 years and above. Scheme provides an assured return of 8% p.a. payable monthly (equivalent to 8.30% p.a. effective) for 10 years. Pension is payable at the end of each period, during the policy term of 10 years, as per the frequency of monthly/ quarterly/ half-yearly/ yearly as chosen by the pensioner at the time of purchase. The scheme is exempted from Service Tax/ GST. On survival of the pensioner to the end of the policy term of 10 years, Purchase price along with final pension installment shall be payable. The Union Cabinet, in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the doubling of investment limit to Rs. 15 lakh, from the current level of Rs. 7.5 lakh. This will help senior citizens earn a pension of up to Rs. 10,000 per month
  • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) : It is an autonomous body that has emerged as the largest research and development organisation in India. It runs thirty-eight laboratories and thirty-nine field stations or extension centres throughout the nation. CSIR was awarded the National Intellectual Property (IP) Award 2018. The award was given under the category 'Top R&D Institution/Organisation for Patents and Commercialisation. CSIR Laboratories have been developing and providing technology focused at the unmet need and the cutting edge knowledge base and human resource on the other for socio-economic development in the country.
  • Saraswati Samman: It is an annual award for outstanding prose or poetry literary works in any 22 Indian language listed in Schedule VIII of the Constitution of India. Eminent Gujarati poet Sitanshu Yashaschandras’s poetry collection ‘Vakhar’ has been chosen for the Saraswati Samman for 2017. According to an official announcement from the K K Birla Foundation, the selection for the award is made by a high level Chayan Parishad (selection committee), presided over by former secretary general of Lok Sabha, Subhash C Kashyap.
  • National Digital Communications Policy (2018): It is a policy that seeks to unlock transformative power of digital communications networks to achieve the goal of digital empowerment and well-being of the people of India. It seeks to establish a ‘National Broadband Mission – Rashtriya Broadband Abhiyan’ to secure universal broadband access for implementation of broadband initiatives, to be funded through USOF and Public Private Partnerships -- BharatNet for providing 1Gbps to Gram Panchayats upgradeable to 10 Gbps, GramNet for connecting all key rural development institutions with 10Mbps upgradeable to 100 Mbps, NagarNet for establishing one- million public Wi-Fi Hotspots in urban areas , JanWiFi for establishing two-million Wi-Fi Hotspots in rural areas -- and implementing a ‘Fibre First Initiative’ to take fibre to the home, to enterprises and to key development institutions in tier I, II and III towns and to rural clusters.
  • Green Revolution – Krishonnati Yojana: It is an Umbrella scheme comprises of 11 Schemes/Missions. These schemes look to develop the agriculture and allied sector in a holistic and scientific manner to increase the income of farmers by enhancing production, productivity and better returns on produce. The Schemes will be continued with an expenditure of Rs 33,269 crore for three financial years, i.e., 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20. These schemes include, Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), National Food Security Mission (NFSM), National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), Submission on Agriculture Extension (SMAE), Sub-Mission on Seeds and Planting Material (SMSP), Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation (SMAM) , Sub Mission on Plant Protection and Plan Quarantine (SMPPQ), Integrated Scheme on Agriculture Census, Economics and Statistics (ISACES), Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Cooperation (ISAC), Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Marketing (ISAM) and National e-Governance Plan (NeGP-A). The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for the Umbrella Scheme, Green Revolution – Krishonnati Yojana in agriculture sector beyond 12th Five Year Plan for the period from 2017-18 to 2019-20 with the Central Share of Rs 33,269.
  • Digital India Internship Scheme: It is a scheme launched by Ministry of Electronics and IT. The scheme aims to provide youths an opportunity to secure first hand and practical work experience under the guidance of a mentor and students will be able to apply for the internship scheme online. The internship is likely to start from the next month and will be of two months’ duration (extendable to three months). After completion of the internship and submission of report, students will be awarded with a certificate. Students with minimum 60 per cent marks in the last degree or certificate examination and students who are pursuing BE/ BTech (second/ third year) or integrated degree course/ dual degree (B.E/ B. Tech, M.E./ M. Tech) can apply for the programme.
  • Indian Pharmacopeia Commission (IPC): It is an Autonomous Institution of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. IPC is created to set standards of drugs in the country. Its basic function is to update regularly the standards of drugs commonly required for treatment of diseases prevailing in this region. Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC) has approved modern, animal-free tests for drug manufacturers. It will spare animals from suffering due to drug experiments. Indian Pharmacopoeia provides guidelines on tests for drugs manufactured and marketed in India. It replaces Pyrogen test carried out on rabbits and abnormal toxicity test carried out on guinea pigs and mice with tests that can be done in test tubes. These guidelines will come into effect from July 1, 2018.
  • Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM): IBM was set up by the Government of India on 1st March, 1948 under the Ministry of Works, Mines and Power, primarily as an advisory body to help in formulation of policy and legal framework for mining sector and advising Central and State Governments on development and utilization of mineral resources. The role and responsibility of IBM have changed with emerging needs of the sector as facilitator and regulator of mining sector (other than coal, petroleum and atomic minerals). The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the Restructuring of the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) by upgradation, creation and abolition of certain posts of Joint Secretary-level and above. The total cadre strength of Indian Bureau of Mines has been maintained at the existing strength of 1477.
  • Adult couple can live together without marriage: In a historic judgement, Supreme Court said, that adult couple has a right to live together without marriage, the Supreme Court . The observations came while the apex court was hearing a plea filed by one Nandakumar against a Kerala High Court order annulling his marriage with Thushara on the ground that he had not attained the legal age of marriage. Thushara’s father moved court after the two got married in April 2017, accusing Nandakumar of kidnapping her. Under the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 the groom has to be at least 21 years old and the bride 18. The High Court sent Thushara back to her father. But, the Supreme Court ruled that it was enough that the two were adults. “Even if they were not competent to enter into wedlock, they have right to live together even outside wedlock,” Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said. “It would not be out of place to mention that ‘live-in relationship’ is now recognised by the legislature itself which has found its place under the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005,” they added.
  • Indus Dolphins: The Indus river dolphin (Platanista gangetica minor) is a subspecies of freshwater river dolphin currently only found in the Indus river of India and Pakistan. This dolphin was the first discovered side-swimming cetacean. The Punjab Government joined hands with the WWF and began the census of the Indus Dolphin found in the Indus River. The main objective of this census is to find out the exact population of this species of dolphins. After this, their protection program will be run. This is India's first organized Dolphin Census, which will be completed within a span of five years. Before that very few dolphins were marked. The Forest and Wildlife Conservation Department of Punjab Government and WWF-India will complete this work together. Under this, dolphin census will be made by creating two teams.
  • One Stop Centre (OSC): It is a centre created to facilitate integrated services for women affected with violence such as police assistance, medical aid, psycho-social counselling, legal aid/counselling, temporary stay for 5 days etc. such that aggrieved women can avail services under one roof and The OSCs are established in existing buildings and in new constructed buildings in a standard format. Ministry of Women and Child Development has approved 100 additional One Stop Centres have been approved in the States of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
  • National Nutrition Mission (Poshan Abhiyaan): It is programme established to achieve improvement in nutritional status of Children from 0-6 years, Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers in a time bound manner during the next three years beginning 2017-18. The government has signed a loan deal worth $200 million (Rs 1,344 crore) with the World Bank for the National Nutrition Mission (Poshan Abhiyaan). A large component of Poshan Abhiyaan involves gradual scaling-up of the interventions supported by the ongoing World Bank assisted Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Systems.
  • Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL): Atal Tinkering Labs are dedicated works spaces where students (Class 6th to Class 12th) learn innovation skills and develop ideas that will go on to transform India. The labs are powered to acquaint students with state-of-the-art equipment such as 3D printers, robotics & electronics development tools, IoT and sensors etc. Aiming to encourage innovation among students, the NITI Aayog will set up 5,000 Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) by March 2019.
  • Patratu Super Thermal Power Project: It is one of the largest thermal power project setup in India. The project is a 74: 26 joint venture between Government of Jharkhand (GoJ) and Patratu Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd. (PVUN), which is a subsidiary company of NTPC. The NTPC's PVUNL is set to develop the project in two phases: 2,400 MW (3x800MW) in Phase-I and 1,600 MW (2x800 MW) in Phase-II, which will be developed later. This project will allocate 85 per cent of the power to Jharkhand that will benefit the state in the long run and help in the economic growth of the region. Under the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya) scheme, this project will ensure providing 24x7 power availability to households.
  • NASSCOM: The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) is a trade association of Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry. It was established in 1988, NASSCOM is a non-profit organisation. NASSCOM has established one more Digital Collaborative Opportunities Plaza (SIDCOP) platform in Dalian, China. The primary aim is to offer market access to Indian IT firms in the hugely potential Chinese market.
  • Cochin International Airport: It is an international airport serving the city of Kochi in Kerala. It is also the fourth busiest airport in India in terms of international traffic and seventh busiest overall terms. In fiscal year 2017-18, the airport handled around 10.2 million passengers with a total of 68,898 aircraft movements. The United Nations Environment Programme has recognized Cochin International Airport (CIAL) as the world's first fully solar energy-powered airport. United Nations Environment chief Eirk Solheim said that a placard be kept at the airport showing the UNEP's endorsement of CIAL as the world's first solar-powered airport. Eastern Peripheral Expressway: It is known as Kundli-Ghaziabad- Palwal (KGP) Expressway (135 km). It is the country's first highway to be lit by solar power making it as the first smart and green highway. At every 500 metres, as there are eight solar power plants on this Expressway, with a capacity of 4000 KW (4 megawatt) for lighting of the underpasses and running solar pumps for watering plants and also having arrangement for rainwater harvesting on both sides at every 500 meters and there is drip irrigation for plants all along the expressway.
  • PRAAPTI app: It is an app launched by power ministry. It aims to bring transparency to power sector during invoicing of generators. It will also contain all details related to the payment. The app will enable the citizens to monitor the payments that are being made to power generation companies. The app will also allow its users to know the details related to the payments made by the discoms to the power generation company and when it was made. They will also be able to see the details related to delays, if any, and check the number of reminders that was sent by the generation company and its impact on generation companies. PRAAPTI will also enable the consumers to know the performance of their discoms in terms of payments that are being made to the generation companies. Later, the performance of the discoms will be ratified on the basis of payments that were made. The app will allow people to know the tariffs at which the power was procured by the discom.
  • IRCTC: Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is a subsidiary of the Indian Railways that handles the catering, tourism and online ticketing operations of the Indian railways. has now launched beta version of its new User Interface. The new link has more user friendly features for easier navigation. Some of the salient features of the New User Interface include, enquire / search trains and check availability of seats without login, Change font size throughout the website for comfortable viewing experience. The new look and feel will have enhanced class-wise, train-wise, destination-wise, departure/arrival time wise and quota-wise filters for facilitating customer while planning their journeys. Single screen information about the train including the train no, train name, originating and destination station and distances between them, arrival and departure time and journey time has now been arranged. In addition, more features such as new filters on ‘My Transactions’ where user can also view their booked tickets based on Journey Date, Booking Date, Upcoming Journey and completed journey.
  • Facebook: Facebook is an American online social media and social networking service company based in Menlo Park, California. It has partnered with National Commission for Women (NCW) to launch a digital literacy programme in collaboration with the Cyber Peace Foundation (CPF). The move was a part of the digital literacy programme pilot, awareness training will be conducted for 60,000 women in universities across major cities in Haryana, Delhi-NCR, Manipur, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu over a one-year period.
  • Andhra Pradesh state symbols:
    State tree: Neem is the state tree.
    State animal: Black buck.
    State bird: Rose-ringed parakeet
    State flower: Jasmine
Current Affairs[April 2018]

Current Affairs April 23 to April 29

  • Anudeep from Telangana is UPSC topper: Union Public Service Commission has released the final result of Civil Services Exam 2017. Hyderabad candidate Anudeep Durishetty topped the list. Anu Kumari secured the second rank, while Sachin Gupta occupied the third spot. Anudeep (Indian Revenue Services officer- 2013 batch), hailing from Metpally of Jagityal district, is the son of Durishetty Manohar, an additional assistant engineer, and Durishetty Jyothy, a homemaker. The family currently resides in Adarsh Nagar of Metpally. Anudeep is posted with the Customs and Central Excise. Anudeep was awarded the best officer trainee in the IRS batch during the weapons training programme at NISA Hyderabad. His interest lies in football and Artificial Intelligence. Haryana's Anu Kumari, a mother of a four-year-old, topped the coveted examination among women. Kumari had graduated with BSc (Hons) in Physics from the Delhi University, and then went on to complete an MBA (Finance and Marketing) degree from IMT, Nagpur.
  • Ordinance awarding death penalty for child rape: Indian President Ram Nath Kovind has given his assent to the Criminal Law Ordinance, 2018, which allows courts to award death penalty to those convicted of raping children below 12 years of age. The Ordinance was approved by the Cabinet .The Ordinance will now have to be ratified by both Houses of Parliament within six weeks, once they reconvene. The Ordinance recommends a minimum of 20 years’ imprisonment or imprisonment for rest of life and the maximum of death for the rape of girls under 12. In case of gang rape of a girl below 12 years, the minimum punishment will be imprisonment for the “rest of life” and the maximum, death sentence. For the offence of rape, of those above 16, minimum punishment has been increased from rigorous imprisonment of 7 years to 10 years, “extendable to life imprisonment”. The proposed Ordinance also removes the provision for anticipatory bail for those of raping or gang raping a child under 16. It has also been provided that court has to give a notice of 15 days to the public prosecutor and the representative of the victim before deciding bail applications in case of rape of a girl under 16 years of age.
  • Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan: It is a scheme created for developing governance capabilities of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its approval for restructured Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA). The Scheme will be implemented during the period from 01.04.2018 to 31.03.2022 at the total cost of Rs 7,255.50 crore with the Central Share of Rs 4,500 crore and that of State Share of Rs. 2755.50 crore as per details. This scheme will extend to all States and UTs of the country and will also include institutions of rural local government in non-Part IX areas, where Panchayats do not exist. The approved scheme of RGSA will help more than 2.55 lakh Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) to develop governance capabilities to deliver on SDGs through inclusive local governance with focus on optimum utilisation of available resources.
  • e-Vidhan: It is a mission mode project to digitize and make the functioning of State Legislatures in India paperless. It is a part of the broader Digital India Programme of the Government and is likely to contribute to the cleanliness and environment by reducing the use of papers to a great extent. Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Statistics and Programme Implementation, Shri Vijay Goel inaugurated the new office of Central Project Monitoring Unit for the e-Vidhan project of the Government at the Parliament House Annexe. This was done as a part of Swachhata Pakhwada being observed by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs from 16thto 30th April, 2018. The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs is the Nodal Ministry for the project. It is taking all the necessary steps for rolling out the Project in all the States at an early date. One of the key component of the strategy devised for implementation of the project is to create Project Monitoring Units both at Central as well as State levels. Rejection of impeachment notice against CJI: Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu has rejected a notice by seven Opposition parties led by the Congress seeking the impeachment of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. After consulting the legal experts, Venkaiah Naidu who is also the Rajya Sabha Chairman said the notice lacked ‘substantial merit’. In his order, he said, ‘I have considered each of the allegations individually as well as collectively in the light of annexures annexed to the notice to the motion but also in the light of cogent, relevant material available in the form of judicial orders passed by the apex court of the country. Based on all this, I have come to conclusion that this motion does not deserve to be admitted’.
  • AFSPA: Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) is a law that gives armed forces the power to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”. They have the authority to prohibit a gathering of five or more persons in an area, can use force or even open fire after giving due warning if they feel a person is in contravention of the law. If reasonable suspicion exists, the army can also arrest a person without a warrant; enter or search premises without a warrant; and ban the possession of firearms. Any person arrested or taken into custody may be handed over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station along with a report detailing the circumstances that led to the arrest. The Centre has announced that it revoked the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from the state of Meghalaya from April 1.
  • New system for measuring air quality: India is joining hands with the United States and Finland to develop a pollution-forecast system that will help anticipate particulate matter (PM) levels at least two days in advance and at a greater resolution than what is possible now. According to Madhavan Rajeevan, secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), the new system, to be jointly developed with expertise from the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the U.S.’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will use a different modelling approach as well as computational techniques from that employed in the SAFAR model. He added, SAFAR will continue to be the backbone [for pollution forecast] but this system, which will require our scientists to get special training, will use a different method of analysis. This could mean better resolution and more accurate forecasts.
  • Foreigners to be allowed to visit Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur: The Home Ministry has decided to relax the six-decade-old Protected Area Permit regime from Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur for five years with effect from April 1. The protected areas currently include whole of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim, besides parts of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir. Some parts of Sikkim fall under the protected area regime while others under the restricted area. As per the new guidelines, a foreign national will be allowed to visit the states.
  • National Bamboo Mission: It is a centrally Sponsored Scheme under National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture. The Mission would ensure holistic development of the bamboo sector by addressing complete value chain and establishing effective linkage of producers (farmers) with industry. The scheme will benefit directly and indirectly the farmers as well as local artisans and associated personnel engaged in bamboo sector including associated industries. Since it is proposed to bring about one lakh ha area under plantation, it is expected that about one lakh farmers would be directly benefitted in terms of plantation. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has approved the scheme.
  • Atal New India Challenge : It is a programme under the Atal Innovation Mission to provide grants of up to Rs 1 crore to innovative products and solutions to address challenges in 17 different fields that have been named. The Atal New India Challenge will be run in collaboration with five Union Ministries, and will invite prospective innovators, MSMEs and start-ups to design market-ready products, using cutting edge technologies or prototypes across the 17 identified focus areas listed like, Climate-smart agriculture, Fog vision system for road and rail, Prevention of Rail failure using emerging technologies, Predictive maintenance of Rolling Stock, Alternate fuel based transportation, Smart Mobility, Electric Mobility, Safe transport, Instant Portable Water Quality Testing, Affordable Desalination / Recycling Technology, Waste management recycling / reuse, Garbage composition devices, Quality of compost, Decentralized composting, Mixing blades for composting, Waste in public spaces and Dissuading public littering. The grants will be awarded in up to 3 tranches within 12 - 18 months, contingent on achieving milestones. A total of 50 grants in fiscal year 2018 - 19 may be given out,

Current Affairs April 16 to April 22

  • UIDAI introduces new QR code: The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is a government agency that serves as the issuing authority for Aadhaar unique identification numbers (UIDs) and cards. The agency has been mandated by the government to develop, identify and set up the necessary infrastructure for issuing Aadhaar cards. The authority has added another layer of security to the user data as it has introduced a QR Code, which will contain sensitive details like name, address, photos and the date of birth. The code could be used for offline user verification without revealing the 12-digit Aadhaar number.

Current Affairs April 08 to April 14

  • Walmiki and Malhar: Walmiki and Malhar are two new languages discovered in India. The discovery was made by Professor Panchanan Mohanty, a researcher from the University of Hyderabad who is also the former dean of the School of Humanities. Walmiki is spoken in Koraput of Odisha and on the bordering districts of Andhra Pradesh, the second language Malhar is spoken in a remote and isolated hamlet about 165 km away from Bhubaneswar.
  • Tajmahal: Tajmahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (reigned from 1628 to 1658), to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Supreme Court demands documents to accept Taj Mahal as Walkf Board property. The country's top court has asked Sunni Central Walkf Board to produce original title documents bearing emperor Shah Jahan's signatures handing over Taj Mahal as Wakf property if the court had to accept the board's claim over the world famous monument.
  • Ganga Hariteema Yojana : It is a state government scheme to allow plantation in one-kilometre areas from the banks of river by government of Uttar Pradesh. The state government will also encourage the common people for plantation on their private lands under ‘One Person One Tree' slogan. The scheme aims to enhance the green cover in the catchment areas of the river Ganga and to control the land erosion. A high power committee under Chairmanship of Chief Minister has been set up to monitor the implementation of the scheme.The scheme Ganga Hariteema Yojana will be carried out by September 16 2018, the date that will be observed as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer 2018. Seven state government departments have been engaged for implementation of the Ganga Hariteema Yojana Scheme. A committee has been set up under the Chairmanship of the Chief Secretary Rajeev Kumar will check out the contribution of different.
  • Committee for Online media : Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry set up a 10-member committee to recommend policy formation to regulate online. The committee includes secretaries of Ministries of Home, and Information Technology, Departments of Legal Affairs, and Industrial Policy and Promotion. It also has a representatives from Press Council of India, News Broadcasters Association and Indian Broadcasters Federation. The committee will recommend appropriate policy formulation for online media/news portals and online content platforms, including digital broadcasting that encompasses entertainment, infotainment and news and media aggregators. It will do so keeping in mind the existing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms, programmes and advertising code for TV channels and norms circulated by the representative bodies of media organisations.
  • Steroids: Steroids are aerosols, creams, gels, lotions, and solutions that contain corticosteroids (often abbreviated to steroids) and are designed to be applied externally to the scalp or skin, depending on the condition being treated. Union Government of India has banned over 14 creams including alclometasone, beclomethasone, desonide, desoximetasone, flucinonide etc. These were banned under the Schedule H category by making amendments to certain Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945. The immediate decision was taken following consultation with the Drugs Technical Advisory Board which had recommended a ban on the sale of such creams without prescription and had also submitted their recommendations to the Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation.
  • Inland waterways: India has a large network of water bodies in the form of rivers, Lakes, Canals and backwaters. These long waterways are provides a good mode of transport across the cities as well as towns, like backwaters of Kerala, Canals in Gujarat and few waterways in Goa, West Bengal and Assam. In an effort boost the cooperation in the connectivity sector, India and Nepal has decided to develop inland waterways for cargo movements.
  • All electric high-speed locomotive in India: India's first all-electric high-speed locomotive developed in collaboration with French firm Alstom at Madhepura's Electric Locomotive Factory. The locomotive was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The powerful locomotive, each double section has a capacity to pull 6000 tonnes. These heavy haulage locomotives will be used to transport coal and iron ore. This high-speed all-electric rail engine will reduce the congestion faced by Indian railways with a speed of 120 km/hr. Since the locomotive is fully electric, it will lower the operating costs for the Railways and will cut down greenhouse gas emissions as well.
  • Project Dhoop: It is a nation-wide campaign which aims to spread awareness about availing Vitamin D through natural sunlight and consuming fortified food among school-going children. Project Dhoop urges schools to shift their morning assembly to noon time, mainly between 11am and 1pm to ensure maximum absorption of Vitamin D in students through natural sunlight. The project was implemented in collaboration with the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), North MCD and several private schools through a Joint Noon Assembly. Twenty-five schools from the National Capital Region were among the participants.
  • eAadhaar with digitally signed QR code with photo: The UIDAI has brought in secure digitally-signed QR Code on the e-Aadhaar which will now contain photograph of the Aadhaar holder too, in addition to demographic details. But in order to ensure that a person is a bonafide owner of the Aadhaar card, there will be a manual check of photo with the individual's face or through use of agency specific authentication scheme. A QR code is a form of barcode label which contains machine-readable information, while e-Aadhaar is the electronic version of Aadhaar that can be downloaded from UIDAI website. The new feature, the digitally-signed QR code, will contain photo of the Aadhaar holder in addition to existing facility of demographic details, in turn allowing various user agencies like banks to verify authenticity of Aadhaar card offline. UIDAI's e-Aadhaar QR Code reader software has been made available on the agency's website from 27 March 2018.
  • Pay revision for Lieutenant Governors of UT: The Cabinet has approved the proposal for increasing the pay and allowances of Lieutenant Governors of Union Territories with effect from 1st January, 2016 from Rs.80,000/- per month plus dearness allowance, sumptuary allowance at the rate of Rs.4,000/- per month and local allowances to Rs. 2,25,000/- plus dearness allowance, sumptuary allowance at the rate of Rs.4,000/- per month and local allowances at the same rate as applicable to the officers of the rank of Secretary to the Govt. of India It will be subject to the condition that the total emoluments (excluding sumptuary allowance and local allowances) shall not exceed the total emoluments drawn by the Governor of a State. The pay and allowances of Lieutenant Governors of Union Territories remain at par with those of officers of the rank of Secretary to the Government of India. The pay and allowances of Lieutenant Governors of Union Territories was last revised with the approval of the Cabinet with effect from 1stJanuary, 2006 from Rs. 26,000/- (fixed) per month to Rs.80,000/- (fixed) per month plus dearness allowance, sumptuary allowance at the rate of Rs.4,000/- per month and local allowances. The pay of officers of the rank of Secretary to the Government of India has been revised from Rs.80,000/- to Rs.2,25,000/- per month with effect from 01.01.2016 as per CCS (Revised) Pay Rules, 2016.
  • UIDAI introduces new QR code: The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is a government agency that serves as the issuing authority for Aadhaar unique identification numbers (UIDs) and cards. The agency has been mandated by the government to develop, identify and set up the necessary infrastructure for issuing Aadhaar cards. The authority has added another layer of security to the user data as it has introduced a QR Code, which will contain sensitive details like name, address, photos and the date of birth. The code could be used for offline user verification without revealing the 12-digit Aadhaar number.
  • Oxytocin: Oxytocin is a hormone which is involved in childbirth and breast-feeding. It is a neurotransmitter which is deeply associated with empathy, trust, sexual activity, and relationship-building. The Union government of India has banned imports of the hormone oxytocin. The immediate ban comes after the severe misuse has been noted in the livestock industry, where activists say it causes hormonal imbalances and shortens the lives of animals. The government has also asked customs officials to step up vigilance against smuggling of oxytocin into the country.
  • UTTAM App: UTTAM app Unlocking Transparency by Third Party Assessment of Mined Coal (uttam.coalindia.in). It provides a platform for monitoring of sampling and coal dispatches. The App is designed with an aim to make the citizens a stakeholder in the coal ecosystem. UTTAM is an example of leveraging technology to facilitate a bidirectional channel between Coal India Limited and a common citizen. It ensures transparency and efficiency in the coal quality monitoring process and brings coal governance closer to people.
  • Election Commission of India (EC): It is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in India. The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, state Legislative Assemblies in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country. Election Commission has voiced its stand on validity of the candidate's contesting in more than one constituency. The Election Commission (EC) has told the Supreme Court that a candidate should not be allowed to contest election from more than one constituency. The commission noted that, there have been several cases where a person contests election from two constituencies and wins both. In such a situation he vacates the seat in one of two constituencies. The consequence is that a bye-election would be required for one constituency involving avoidable labour and expenditure on the conduct of that bye-election.
  • National Medical Commission Bill: It is a new bill approved by union cabinet and was introduced by the Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda in Lok Sabha on December 29, 2017. The Bill seeks to repeal the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and provide for a medical education system which ensures: (a) availability of adequate and high quality medical professionals, (b) adoption of the latest medical research by medical professionals, (c) periodic assessment of medical institutions, and (d) an effective grievance redressal mechanism. The Bill sets up the National Medical Commission (NMC). Within three years of the passage of the Bill, state governments will establish State Medical Councils at the state level. The NMC will consist of 25 members, appointed by the central government.
  • Baseline ranking and Real-time monitoring for Aspirational Districts : This programme is a policy priority of Government of India. NITI Aayog anchors the programme with support from Central Ministries and the State Governments. While NITI Aayog is steering the initiative in 30 districts, various central ministries oversee 50 districts besides the Ministry of Home Affairs, which focuses on 35 Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected districts. Officers at the level of Joint Secretary / Additional Secretary have been nominated to become the ‘Central Prabhari Officers' of each district. States have appointed state-nodal and Prabhari officers. An Empowered Committee under the Convenorship of the CEO, NITI Aayog will help in the convergence of various government schemes and streamlining of efforts.
  • Monument Mitra: Government has launched Monument Mitra to adopt heritage sites. It is an important project launched by Ministry of Tourism works in close collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). It is a unique project which aims to focus on providing basic amenities that include cleanliness, public convenience, drinking water, and ease of access for tourists, signage etc. and advanced amenities like TFC, Souvenir shop, Cafeteria etc. The project envisages that selected public sector companies, private sector companies and individuals will develop tourist amenities at heritage sites. They would become ‘Monument Mitra' and adopt the sites essentially under their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity. They would also look after the operations and maintenance of the adopted site initially for the 5 years subject to review at any time. The project began with 93 ASI ticketed monuments and has now been expanded to other natural and cultural heritage sites and other tourist sites across India. The project was launched by the Hon'ble President of India on 27th Sept, 2017 on the occasion of World Tourism Day.
  • OBC List: 120 castes and communities included in OBC list in the Central List of Other Backward Classes for different States/Union Territories. These inclusion were made on the basis of recommendation from by National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) under Section 9(1) of the NCBC Act, 1993. A total of 120 entries containing castes, their synonyms and sub-castes have been notified in the Central List of Other Backward Classes in the last three years.
Current Affairs[March 2018]
  • Indian Railways: Indian Railways has introduced an innovative analytical approach to optimize the deployment of electric and diesel locomotives run passenger trains. This involves use of a software based mathematical decision support system to increase the productivity of locomotives. Indian Railways has a fleet of about 3300 electric and diesel locomotive running passenger trains across the country. Locomotives are deployed to run passenger trains through cyclic schedules called locomotive links. Hitherto, locomotive links were being manually prepared by the respective sixteen zones to operate the trains allocated to the zones.
  • Plastic ban: The Maharashtra government has decided to ban the use of plastic from "Gudi Padva", the Maharashtrian New Year which falls on March 18. Making the announcement, Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam on Friday said that the ban would cover the production, use, storage, sale, distribution, import and transportation of plastic, the minister informed the House. He said that those violating the ban would be fined Rs 25,000 and could also face a three-year jail term.
  • SATH-E : SATH-E has been envisaged as a programme which aims to transform elementary and secondary school education across these three states. SATH-E roadmap refers to a time-bound, goal-driven exercise that will reach its logical culmination by the end of the academic year 2020. Further, the foundations of other long term interventions,as is found necessary by each state, would be laid during this period. The roadmaps for the Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital in Education (SATH-E) Project of NITI Aayog, being undertaken in partnership with three participating States of Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, were released on Saturday, March 17 by Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, in presence of Shri Sudhir Tripathi, Chief Secretary, Jharkhand, Shri Alok Kumar, Adviser (HRD), NITI Aayog, Principal Secretaries for education, State Project Directors (SPDs), knowledge partners and representatives operating in the field of education.
  • CISF: Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) was raised with modest three battalions to provide integrated security cover to Public Sector Undertakings. The CISF has launched a mobile application through which travellers can register complaints to recover items they lost or forgot at various airports. The app called 'Lost and Found' can be downloaded from the website of the Information and Technology Ministry. The 'Lost and Found' scheme was first launched by the force on its website in 2015 to trace and restore items and valuables left behind by the commuters at airports. CISF restored property worth 50.05 crore last year while valuables/items worth Rs 5.49 crore were restored to the passengers this year through the web portal, Singh said. The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) guards 59 civil airports across the country.
  • National Cultural Audiovisual Archives (NCAA): NCAA aims to identify and preserve the cultural heritage of India available in audiovisual form through a process of digitization and making it accessible to the people. Over 23,000 hours of unpublished audiovisual recordings have already been digitized. NCAA pilot digital repository was developed in collaboration with the Centre of Excellence for Digital Preservation by C-DAC, Pune. NCAA digital repository is established with and powered by DIGITĀLAYA which is developed by C-DAC Pune in compliance with Open Archival Information System (OAIS) Reference Model ISO 14721:2012. NCAA has been certified as the world's first Trusted Digital Repository as per ISO 16363:2012 standard, granted by Primary Trustworthy Digital Repository Authorisation Body Ltd. (PTAB), United Kingdom.
  • Autonomy for Higher Educational Institutions: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has granted autonomy to sixty Higher Educational Institutions which have maintained high academic standards. Making the announcement Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the Government is striving to introduce a liberalized regime in the education sector and emphasis is on linking autonomy with quality. The central universities which are given autonomy included Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Aligarh Muslim University , Aligarh and The English and Foreign Languages University, Telengana. The minister said that the sixty Higher Educational Institutions which have been granted autonomy includes 52 Universities i.e. 5 central universities, 21 state universities, 24 deemed universities, and 2 private universities.
  • Tuberculosis: Government has made mandatory doctor, hospital authorities, chemists and druggists to report the cases to the health authorities. According to a notification, the Union Health Ministry said failure by clinical establishments to notify a tuberculosis patient to the nodal officer and local public health staff can be punished with a jail term of six months to two years under the provisions of Sections 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). While Section 269 provides for a jail term of six months and/ or fine, Section 270 has provision for a jail term of two years and/ or fine.
  • Gratuity amendment bill: The legislation will enable the government to enhance the ceiling of tax-free gratuity to Rs. 20 lakh from the existing Rs. 10 lakh for employees falling under the Payment of Gratuity Act. Parliament on Thursday passed a key bill that will empower the government to fix the amount of tax-free gratuity and the period of maternity leave with an executive order. The Lok Sabha gave its approval to the important bill last week. After the implementation of the 7th Pay Commission, the ceiling of gratuity amount for Central government employees was doubled to Rs. 20 lakh. It also allows the government to fix the period of maternity leave for female employees as deemed to be in continuous service in place of the existing 12 weeks. The amendment to the payment of gratuity law comes in the backdrop of Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 enhancing the maximum maternity leave period to 26 weeks.
  • Surrogacy Bill 2016: Surrogacy is an arrangement whereby an intending couple commissions a surrogate mother to carry their child. The intending couple must be Indian citizens and married for at least five years with at least one of them being infertile. The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for moving official amendments to the ‘Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016'. The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 proposes to regulate surrogacy in India by establishing National Surrogacy Board at the Central level and State Surrogacy Boards and Appropriate Authorities in the States and Union Territories. The proposed legislation ensures effective regulation of surrogacy, prohibit commercial surrogacy and allow altruistic surrogacy to the needy Indian infertile couples
  • Passive Euthanasia : Passive euthanasia occurs when the patient dies because the medical professionals either don't do something necessary to keep the patient alive, or when they stop doing something that is keeping the patient alive. It is done, through switching off life-support machines, disconnect a feeding tube, don't carry out a life-extending operation or don't give life-extending drugs. In a historic decision, the Supreme Court on Friday declared passive euthanasia and the right of persons, including the terminally ill, to give advance directives to refuse medical treatment permissible. A Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, in three concurring opinions, upheld that the fundamental right to life and dignity includes right to refuse treatment and die with dignity. The fundamental right to a "meaningful existence" includes a person's choice to die without suffering, it held.
  • DIU: It is a union territory in Western India. With an area of 112 km2, it is the smallest federal division of India on the mainland. The territory comprises two distinct regions Daman and Diu, geographically separated by the Gulf of Khambhat. The state of Gujarat and the Arabian Sea border. Diu becomes India's first fully solar-powered Union Territory. Diu becomes the first destination to be fully run by solar power. The Union Territory has made such significant progress in the last three years that now Diu produces more than 100 per cent solar power. Diu, which has a geographical area of 42 sq km, has installed solar power plants across 50 acres of its land.
  • National Academy of Coastal Policing (NACP): The Union home ministry recently sanctioned the launch of the National Academy of Coastal Policing (NACP) from a campus of Gujarat's Fisheries Research Centre located in coastal Okha in the newly created Devbhoomi Dwarka district. An official order, accessed by PTI, said the first-of-its-kind institution of the country will be created and run by a multi-agency team of paramilitary and defence forces and sharpen the response and skills of the marine forces of multiple states which have sea lines. As per the order, while the Union home ministry's policing think tank -- the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) -- will pilot the establishment and running of the academy, the Border Security Force (BSF), that guards the Indian frontier in Gujarat with Pakistan, the navy and the Coast Guard will form the core to run the academy. The BSF will also provide security to the campus which on the Arabian Sea coast and is at a flying distance from the Pakistan coast.
  • Aadhaar: Supreme Court extends Aadhaar deadline indefinitely the March 31 deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile phones. The Supreme Court said that its interim order on not insisting Aadhaar, except for giving subsidy, will remain in force till the five-judge bench gives its judgment on petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar. The government cannot insist for mandatory Aadhaar even for issuance of Tatkal passport," the Supreme Court said. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had on March 7 said it may not be possible to decide by March 31 the batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act.
  • Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR): The 2017 Kochon Prize was awarded to the Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR) for building a tradition of excellence in TB research and development. According to an official source, ‘The $65,000 Prize is awarded annually by Stop TB Partnership to individuals and/or organizations that have made a significant contribution to combating TB. The ICMR emerged the winner from amongst 18 nominations. The 2017 Kochon Prize is specifically about contributions to TB research. Since ICMR and several of its research groups — NIRT, JALMA and India TB Research Consortium — are engaged in TB research, and some of them for a very long time, it made sense to nominate ICMR for this Prize this year.
  • Innovation Cell: Aiming to boost new ideas about promoting innovation in the country, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar has announced the setting up of an ‘Innovation Cell' in the Ministry of Human and Resource Development (HRD). Ministry of HRD also tweeted, “‘Innovation Cell' to be set up in @HRDMinistry to promote #Innovation further - HRD Minister @PrakashJavdekar (1/3)#TransformingIndia #Research #NewIndia” .In a series of tweet, the ministry said, "There has been considerable improvement in India's ranking in Global Innovation Index 2017. Since the large part of Global Innovation Index relates to Education, the setting up of Innovation Cell in the Ministry will lead to more focused attention on innovation and research efforts."
  • Citizen Services App: It is a mobile app developed in-house by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) . It offers a bouquet of various essential police related services to the citizen. The mobile app can be used by citizen for various services such as Complaint Registration and Status Check, View FIR Detail, SOS – Stay Safe, Locate Police Stations, Vahan-Samanvay, Emergency Contact List, Police Stations Telephone Directory etc. The app was released as a part of NCRB's inception day celebration.

Current Affairs[February 2018]
  • Rise Scheme - Revitalising of Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE). THE INDIAN Institutes of Technology (IITs) will corner the largest chunk of loans on offer under the new funding model - Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) - for all centrally-run institutes, announced in the Union Budget this month. Under RISE, all centrally-funded institutes (CFIs), including central universities, IITs, IIMs, NITs and IISERs, can borrow from a Rs 1,00,000 crore corpus over the next four years to expand and build new infrastructure. However, The Indian Express has learnt that a quarter of this amount - Rs 25,000 crore - will be set aside exclusively for the 23 IITs. The second largest share, Rs 20,000 crore, will be earmarked for central universities. While the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) can borrow up to Rs 11,300 crore, the new IIMs will get Rs 4,500 crore, and five IISERs Rs 5,000 crore. According to sources, in addition to loans for infrastructure development, about Rs 9,000 crore will be available for building robust research ecosystems, like world-class laboratories, in CFIs.

  • Amma Two wheeler scheme - It is subsidised two-wheeler scheme meant for working women, on the occasion of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's 70th birth anniversary. As part of the scheme, every beneficiary will be given 50% of the cost of a two- wheeler or a grant of ₹25,000. Each year, one lakh working women would be covered. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launches Amma two-wheeler scheme. Addressing a function outside the Kalaivanar Arangam, Modi expressed happiness over his being able to inaugurate 'one of her [Jayalalithaa-s] dream projects.' Explaining how women's empowerment would help empower households, the Prime Minister pointed out those women accounted for 70% of beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana. This had demonstrated how the women 'are stepping out of the age old shackles and seeking self-employment', he said. He added that about 11 crore loans had been sanctioned totally under the scheme and ₹4.6 lakh crore provided without any bank guarantee.

  • Cabinet approves the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill- It is a bill which addresses the issue of trafficking from the point of view of prevention, rescue and rehabilitation. It includes Aggravated forms of trafficking, which includes trafficking for the purpose of forced labour, begging, trafficking by administering chemical substance or hormones on a person for the purpose of early sexual maturity, trafficking of a woman or child for the purpose of marriage or under the pretext of marriage or after marriage etc. Punishment for promoting or facilitating trafficking of person which includes producing, printing, issuing or distributing unissued, tampered or fake certificates, registration or stickers as proof of compliance with Government requirements; or commits fraud for procuring or facilitating the acquisition of clearances and necessary documents from Government agencies.

  • Bal Aadhaar - Bal Aadhaar: Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has introduced a blue coloured 'Baal Aadhaar' card for children below the age of 5 years. UIDAI took to its official Twitter handle to tweet that a blue coloured Baal Aadhaar will be issued to children below 5 years and when the child does become 5, then he/she has to submit biometric authentication. Failing to do so within the next 7 years would result in suspension of the Aadhaar card. Though there is no compulsion to register for Aadhaar at such a young age, it will be required to be eligible for overseas education or to get government scholarships. As per the report, to register for Baal Aadhaar, visit your nearest enrolment centre and fill out the required forms. As mentioned earlier no biometric data will be collected from your child, however, you are needed to carry a photo of him/her. The Baal Aadhaar will be linked with his/her parent's UID. A biometric update is mandatory at age 5, at age 10 and again at age 15. If your child is above the age of 5, then you have to carry the child's birth certificate and valid school ID.

  • Viral Load Test - The viral load test measures the amount of HIV virus in your blood. It is the preferred way to monitor how HIV treatment is working. L Government has launched free Viral Load Tests, which measure the quantity of virus in the body. The move is likely to benefit 12 lakh people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) in the country. Speaking on the launch, Health Minister said, 'the viral load test is a big step towards the treatment and monitoring of people living with HIV. This test is of immense importance to monitor the effectiveness of treatment of patients taking lifelong anti-retroviral therapy (ART). Ending the stigma towards the PLHIV was essential to enable them to access health services. To facilitate reduction in stigma and discrimination, the long pending HIV/AIDS Act has been passed, which is a historical step. Very few countries globally have such a law to protect rights of people infected with HIV,'. He added routine viral load testing will optimise the utilisation of first-line regimens, thus preventing drug resistance and ensuring the longevity of people living with HIV. As per WHO guidelines, India, in 2017, revised the anti-retroviral treatment protocols to initiate all PLHIV to ART. Currently about 12 lakh PLHIV are undergoing treatment in more than 530 ART centres.

  • Rustom 2 - UAV - Rustom 2 is being developed on the lines of predator drones of the US to carry out surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) roles for the armed forces. This unmanned Aerial Vehicle Rustom-2 was successfully test-flown by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). According an official statement from DRDO, 'This flight assumes significance because of the fact that this is the first flight in user configuration with a higher power engine. All parameters were normal'. The flight was conducted at the DRDO's Aeronautical Test Range at Chitradurga in Karnataka. Rustom-2 belongs to a family of UAVs under development, besides Rustom-1 and Rustom-H. It is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance drone (MALE). It can fly up to an altitude of 22,000 feet and has an endurance of over 20 hours. It is capable of carrying payloads for electronic and signal intelligence missions. Currently, the three services employ hundreds of Israeli drones and have projected a requirement of hundreds of more UAVs, including armed variants, in the near future. The DRDO is also developing other drones in different categories.

  • ATGM Nag - It is a third-generation, fire-and-forget, anti-tank guided missile developed by India's ate-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to support both mechanised infantry and airborne forces of the Indian Army. India has successfully test-fired Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) Nag in desert conditions. The Nag ATGM has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Wednesday's flight tests have once again proved their capability.

  • Defence Acquisition council- DAC approves procurement proposals worth Rs 9,435 Cr. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman-led Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has approved capital acquisition proposals of the defence services, valued at Rs 9,435 crore. These include the procurement of 41,000 Light Machine Guns (LMGs) and over 3.5 lakh Close Quarter Battle Carbines under Buy and Make (Indian) category.

  • Prime Minister's Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) - It is a credit-linked subsidy programme aimed at generating self-employment opportunities through establishment of micro-enterprises in the non-farm sector by helping traditional artisans and unemployed youth. Any individual above 18 years of age is eligible. For setting up of projects costing above Rs.10 lakh in the manufacturing sector and above Rs. 5 lakh in the business /service sector, the beneficiaries should possess at least VIII standard pass educational qualification. General category beneficiaries can avail of margin money subsidy of 25 % of the project cost in rural areas and 15% in urban areas. For beneficiaries belonging to special categories such as scheduled caste/scheduled tribe/OBC /minorities/women, ex-serviceman, physically handicapped, NER, Hill and Border areas etc. the margin money subsidy is 35% in rural areas and 25% in urban areas. The Scheme was launched during 2008-09. A total of 4.23 lakh micro enterprises have been assisted with a margin money subsidy of Rs 8695.27 crore providing employment to an estimated 35.48 lakh persons since 2008-09 till 2016-17 across the country including the State of Maharashtra.

  • National Financial Reporting Authority - It is independent regulator created for the auditing profession which is one of the key changes brought in by the Companies Act, 2013. The need for establishing NFRA has arisen on account of the need felt across various jurisdictions in the world, in the wake of accounting scams, to establish independent regulators, independent from those it regulates, for enforcement of auditing standards and ensuring the quality of audits to strengthen the independence of audit firms, quality of audits and, therefore, enhance investor and public confidence in financial disclosures of companies.

  • The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2017 - The Bill aims to stop economic offenders who leave the country to avoid due process. Offences involving amounts of ₹100 crore or more fall under the purview of this law. Economic offences are those that are defined under the Indian Penal Code, the Prevention of Corruption Act, the SEBI Act, the Customs Act, the Companies Act, Limited Liability Partnership Act, and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.

  • Core sector growth-Growth in the country's core sector accelerated to 6.7% in January, 2018 from 3.4% a year ago thanks to a huge jump in the output of cement and petroleum refinery, and a robust performance by the electricity sector. The growth in eight core sectors, which comprise 40.27% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), was 4.2% in December and 7.4% in November, 2017. Cement output surged to 20.7% in January against 13.3% contraction in the same month a year ago, while refinery products jumped 11% in January against a flat output in January 2017.

  • Action plan for champion sectors - The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of the Department of Commerce to give focused attention to 12 identified Champion Services Sectors for promoting their development, and realizing their potential. These include Information Technology & Information Technology enabled Services (IT & ITeS), Tourism and Hospitality Services, Medical Value Travel, Transport and Logistics Services, Accounting and Finance Services, Audio Visual Services, Legal Services, Communication Services, Construction and Related Engineering Services, Environmental Services, Financial Services and Education Services.

  • Ombudsman scheme for NBFC -The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued an ombudsman scheme for non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), offering a grievance redressal mechanism for their customers. The scheme will come into effect immediately, the regulator. According to an official release, exercising the powers conferred by Section 45L of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, the RBI being satisfied that for the purpose of enabling it to promote conducive credit culture among the NBFCs and to regulate the credit system of the country to its advantage, it is necessary to provide for a system of ombudsman for redressal of complaints against deficiency in services concerning deposits, loans and advances and other specified matters, hereby directs that the NBFCs should comply with the provisions of the Ombudsman Scheme for Non-Banking Financial Companies, 2018. An officer at the RBI not below the rank of general manager will be appointed by the regulator as the ombudsman with territorial jurisdiction being specified by the central bank. The tenure of each ombudsman cannot exceed three years and can be reduced by the regulator if needed.

  • Atal Bhoojal Yojana - It is a government scheme intended to conserve ground water. According to this scheme, the government has the plan to boost conservation of ground water with a fund of Rs.6,000 crores. By the implementation of this scheme ground water will recharge consequently increasing the level of ground water. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari informed that the fund for this project will be raised by the Ministry of Finance and the World Bank. Under this scheme, ground water will recharge and hence it will provide sufficient water for the use of agriculture purposes because in the past several years the ground water has decreased to a great extent. This scheme will also revive the water bodies like rivers so that the level of ground water can be increased especially in the rural areas.The water available in the Ganga River will be used under this scheme "Atal Bhoojal Yojana" to increase the ground. The Ministry of Water resource is eagerly working on it, once done the Ministry of finance will approve the funds for the scheme. The scheme will be implemented all over the India. . The cabinet committee has set a fund of Rs.6,000 crore for this scheme but yet to get the approval from the ministry of Finance. Government of India has not announced any official date for the launch of this scheme.

  • Parliament House to Have A Creche - The Parliament House will soon be setting an example of an inclusive and supportive work environment for its women employees by establishing creche facility on its premises. Under the direct supervision of Speaker, creche development work is in progress and a senior official has also been deputed to oversee the work. In a letter dated 29th March, 2017, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Union Minister for Women and Child Development, apprised Sumitra Mahajan, Speaker of Lok Sabha, about the absence of a creche facility at the Parliament House. In her letter, Gandhi pointed out that since over one-third of the total number of officials working in the Parliament were women, provision of creche facility was crucial. Swiftly responding to the letter, the office of the Speaker notified that a creche facility will soon be functional within the premises of Parliament House. The Ministry of Women and Child Development thanked the Speaker on twitter.

  • NITI Forum for North East - The NITI Forum for Northeast is tasked to identify various constraints on the way of accelerated, inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the North East Region of the country and to recommend suitable interventions for addressing identified constraints. It will also review the development status in the NER. Members of the Forum will include Secretaries of Ministries of Road Transport & Highways, Railways, Power, Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, New & Renewable Energy, Health & Family Welfare, Human Resource Development, Environment, Forest & Climate Change. Chief Secretaries of Northeastern states of Assam, Sikkim, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram will also be members of the Forum. Secretary, North East Council (NEC), Shillong will be Member Secretary. Joint Secretary (NE), MHA, besides a number of experts from various fields will also be members of the Forum. The Forum may examine and address any other issues which are of importance but not specifically spelt out in its Terms of Reference. It may devise its own procedure to conduct its business/meetings/fields visits or constitution of Sub-Groups etc.

  • National Urban Housing Fund - It is a fund created by Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC), an autonomous body registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. Primary function of the fund is to create houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojan (Urban). The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given approval for creation of National Urban Housing Fund (NUHF) for Rs 60,000 crore. There was a good response from the States/UTs and nearly 2 to 3 lakh houses are being sanctioned every month. About 5 lakh houses have been completed. Under Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS), wherein housing for EWS/LIG/MIG beneficiaries is being sanctioned by the banks/HFCs to the eligible beneficiaries under the PMAY (Urban), the responses have grown significantly. Nearly 87,000 housing loans have been sanctioned in past eight months under the scheme and over 40,000 applications are under consideration for approval. The target is to cater to the demand of housing shortage of nearly 1.2 crore and make available housing to all by 2022, when the country celebrates its 75th anniversary of Independence. NUHF will facilitate raising requisite funds in next four years so that flow of Central Assistance under different verticals that is Beneficiary Linked Construction (BLC), Affordable Housing in Partnership(AHP), In-Situ Slum Redevelopment (ISSR) and Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) is sustained and construction of houses to address the gap in urban sector progresses smoothly.

  • Aadhar - Aadhaar was recognized as the world's largest biometric enabled identification programme, which provides access to service, bank accounts, social services benefits, income tax, passport services by providing 1.2 billion citizens unique identification card with fingerprint, eye-print and other vital data. The initiative is managed by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. The award for it recognized India's efforts of invention and innovation in field of technology and making the country completely digitalized.

  • Umang App - Umang stands for Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance. This app was named winner of the Best M-Government Service award in the Accessible Government category while Aadhar won the best emerging technology award at the recently concluded World Government Summit 2018 in Dubai.

  • National Deworming initiative - It is a major deworming programme was run by the government in the country for treatment of soil-transmitted helminths (STH), or parasitic worm infection. This provided the basis for a nationwide initiative. If untreated this disease can lead to anaemia and malnutrition as well as affecting mental development and has a negative impact on school attendance. In order to address the problem, India has instigated National Deworming Day with the support of the Deworm the World Initiative: the first was held in February 2015 and treated 140 million children in 12 states; the second was held a year later and treated 270 million children in 36 states and union territories nationwide. Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare launched the National Deworming Day at a function at Gurugram, today. Speaking on the occasion he said, 'Government of India is committed to ensuring high quality healthcare, accessible to every child and upto the last mile. One of the interventions, the National Deworming Day, is one of the largest public health initiatives in the world. '. The Government is aiming to reach more than 32.2 crore children. Shri Nadda further stated that the Ministry had first launched National Deworming Day (NDD) in 2015 which was implemented in 11 States/UTs across all Government and Government-aided schools and Anganwadi centres targeting children aged 1 to 19 years. Since then the program has been scaled up throughout the country. Shri Nadda further informed that last year 25.6 crore children in the February 2016 round and 22.8 crore children in the August 2016 round were successfully reached and treated with deworming treatment on National Deworming Day. He also released the 'Deworming Factsheet' at the event.

  • National Women Entrepreneurship Council - It is an autonomous body setup to promote entrepreneurship as it would be the umbrella organization for socio-economic gender parity, financial inclusion and economic empowerment of women in India. The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development is considering to establish National Women Entrepreneurship Council (NWEC). It will be umbrella organization for socio-economic gender parity, financial inclusion and economic empowerment of women n India and to promote entrepreneurship among women. It will give advice to government on issues related to entrepreneurship in women as current business chambers are largely dominated by male. According to Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs, India ranked 49 among 54 economies globally with overall low score of 41.7 points. It shows that India presents lower opportunities for women to engage in entrepreneurial activities, assume leadership roles or participate in workforce. The main concern is lack of education, technological know-how and cultural bias coupled with stringent business and government regulations which undermine women's ability take advantage of entrepreneurial opportunities in India. Economically empowered women are major catalysts for development. There is greater recognition of positive relationship between increased economic activity by women and improved social outcomes

  • New World Wealth Report - It is a report developed by New World Wealth is a global market research group, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. We specialize in ratings, surveys, country reports and wealth statistics. Mumbai, India's financial capital is the 12th richest city in the world with a total wealth of $950 billion, says a report by New World Wealth which ranks New York as the richest city in the world. Total wealth refers to the private wealth held by all the individuals living in each city. It includes all their assets (property, cash, equities and business interests) less any liabilities. Government funds are excluded from the figures. According to the New World Wealth report, Mumbai is followed by Toronto with a total wealth of $944 billion, Frankfurt ($912 billion) and Paris ($860 billion). The report further said that Mumbai also features among the top 10 cities in terms of billionaire population as the city is home to 28 billionaires, individuals with $1 billion or more in net assets.

  • National Highway Authority of India - The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is an autonomous agency of the Government of India, responsible for management of a network of over 50,000 km of National Highways out of 1,15,000 km in India. NHAI is going to launch a ranking system of the toll plazas. Every quarter, the three best toll plazas will be identified and their names will be published on the NHAI website. He said he was confident that the competitive atmosphere created by the ranking of toll plazas will improve the amenities and overall convenience for highway users.

  • Anti-Narcotics Scheme - It is a scheme created to assist state governments and Union Territories which are contributing in controlling the inter-state and cross border drug trafficking. Financial assistance will be provided to all the anti- narcotics agencies for strengthening their enforcement capabilities to combat illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, the notification said. Financial assistance is also proposed to be provided for all capacity building ctivities, including training of personnel. Taking into consideration the 40 lakh drug addicts in the country, the Centre has extended for three more years a scheme which combats illicit trafficking in drugs and psychotropic substance.

  • KUSUM - It is a government scheme to promote solar power production through solar farming. Titled as Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahaabhiyan (KUSUM) government has announced a fund of Rs 1.4 lakh-crore for the scheme. The scheme will work towards promoting solar power production a.k.a. solar farming up to 28,250 MW to help farmers. The Union Budget 2018-2019 has allotted Rs 48,000 crore to lead the scheme for a period of ten years. Some of the important facts about the Kusum scheme are 1.75 million off-grid agricultural solar pumps, build 10,000 MW solar plants on barren lands for solar farming and farmers will be given a chance to earn extra income if they help produce additional power by setting up solar power project on their barren land. The energy produced by the farmers on their barren land will be bought by the state electricity distribution companies (DISCOMS).The scheme is likely to decrease the consumption of diesel in the agriculture sector (used in pumps). KUSUM scheme also includes the distribution of 17.5 lakh solar pumps for which 60 per cent subsidy will be given to the farmers.

  • Green Good Deeds Campaign - It is programme launched by Government of India to sensitise the people and students, in particular, about climate change and global warming. Speaking on the launch of the compaign Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr Harsh Vardhan has appealed to the teaching community to join the 'Green Good Deeds' campaign, launched by the Ministry to sensitise the people and students, in particular, about climate change and global warming. Addressing about 700 principals of all government schools from North Delhi Municipal Corporation, the Minister said that environment is a matter of global concern, as never before..

    Further stressed that the whole world is concerned about the dangers of global warming and climate change. People in Delhi are already facing air pollution. Environment and its effects on the life of human beings are now on the agenda at every global forum. Everyone is looking up to India with expectationbecause they think that Indians have the DNA to protect the environment. Our ancestors had made protection of environment an integral part of their lifestyle. It was a 'part-n-parcel' of our culture - our ancestors worshipped the rivers, air, trees or forests and earth andexisted in harmony with the land.

  • Exam Warrior - Exam warrior is a book authored by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for students facing exams. The book aims to get through to students across the country on the threshold of examinations, and hopes to help them thread the needle with ease.

    The book was launched on Saturday by HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi. The book will be translated in multiple languages and will be made available across the country. The book is 208 pages thick and is being published by Penguin Randon House India. In the book, the PM has penned down almost 25 mantras for students as well as their parents and teachers on how to tackle exams without stress and anxiety. The book highlights issues of importance to students such as coping with exam related stress, keeping calm during exams as well as what to do after the exams get over, a statement by the publishing house reads.

  • Solar City - Development of Solar Cities' programme is designed to support and encourage Urban Local Bodies to prepare a Road Map to guide their cities in becoming 'renewable energy cities' or 'solar cities'. The Solar City aims at minimum 10% reduction in projected demand of conventional energy at the end of five years, through a combination of enhancing supply from renewable energy sources in the city and energy efficiency measures. The basic aim is to motivate the local Governments for adopting renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency measures. In a Solar City all types of renewable energy based projects like solar, wind, biomass, small hydro, waste to energy etc. may be installed alongwith possible energy efficiency measures depending on the need and resource availability in the city. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has approved a proposed master plan to develop 50 solar cities, including three in the national capital region. Out of the proposed 60 solar cities, sanctions have been issued for 50 cities that include New Delhi, Agra, Chandigarh, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Amritsar, New Town (Kolkata), Howrah, Madhyamgram, Kochi and Bhopal, as per the information available on the ministry's website.

  • Karnataka Flag -The Kannada flag is a bi-coloured flag identified with Karnataka, Kannadigas and Kannada language. The flag is divided into two equal horizontal strips, a yellow strip for the top half and a red strip below. The yellow and red colors in the flag represent Arrishna Turmeric and Kumkuma (Vermillion) which symbolize auspiciousness and well-being of the state. In general, the yellow and red colours signify positivity and courage respectively. A committee formed by the Karnataka government has recommended a separate flag for the state, discounting any constitutional or legal hurdles for it. The nine-member committee submitted its report on designing a separate flag for the state and providing a legal standing for it.

  • MSME Act - A single comprehensive act developed by the government of India for the growth and regulation of small enterprises. The act was conceived since there was a long outstanding demand of the sector so as to free it from a bundle of laws and regulations and visit of inspectors, which it had to face with limited awareness and resources. In order to remove the unnecessary hassles faced by the sector, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved change in the basis of classifying Micro, Small and Medium enterprises from 'investment in plant & machinery/equipment' to 'annual turnover'. This will encourage ease of doing business, make the norms of classification growth oriented and align them to the new tax regime revolving around GST (Goods & Services Tax). Section 7 of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (MSMED) Act, 2006 will accordingly be amended to define units producing goods and rendering services in terms of annual turnover as a micro enterprise will be defined as a unit where the annual turnover does not exceed Rs five crore; a small enterprise will be defined as a unit where the annual turnover is more than Rs five crore but does not exceed Rs 75 crore and a medium enterprise will be defined as a unit where the annual turnover is more than Rs 75 crore but does not exceed Rs 250 crore.

  • Prime Minister Research Fellowship Scheme - It is a scheme which will enable 1000 best students who have completed or are in the final year of B. Tech or Integrated M.Tech or M.Sc. in Science and Technology streams from IISc/ IITs/ NITs/ IISERs/ IIITs to get direct admission in PhD programme in the IITs/IISc. Under this fellowship scheme, selected students will be offered a fellowship of Rs.70,000/- per month for the first two years, Rs.75,000/- per month for the 3rd year, and Rs.80,000/- per month in the 4th and 5th years. Apart from this, a research grant of Rs.2.00 lakh will be provided to each of the Fellows for a period of 5 years to cover their foreign travel expenses for presenting research papers in international conferences and seminars. A maximum of 3000 Fellows would be selected in a three year period, beginning 2018-19. The scheme will go a long way in tapping the talent pool of the country for carrying out research indigenously in cutting edge science and technology domains. The research under the Scheme will address our national priorities at the one hand and shortage of quality faculty in the premier educational institutions of the country, on the other.

  • Google - It is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware. Recently, India's antitrust watchdog today imposed a Rs. 136 Crore fine on Google for 'search bias' and abuse of its dominant position, in the latest regulatory setback for the world's most popular internet search engine. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) said Google, the core unit of US firm Alphabet Inc, was abusing its dominance in online web search and online search advertising markets. According to a release from CCI, 'Google was found to be indulging in practices of search bias and by doing so, it causes harm to its competitors as well as to users. Google was leveraging its dominance in the market for online general web search, to strengthen its position in the market for online syndicate search services'.

  • Defense

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) - Artificial intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence processes by computer systems and mechanical systems. These processes include learning (the acquisition of information and rules for using the information), reasoning (using the rules to reach approximate or definite conclusions), and self-correction. Particular applications of AI include expert systems, speech recognition and machine vision.

    Recognizing the importance of Artificial intelligence (AI), The Department of Defence Production under the Indian Defence Ministry has constituted a task force headed by Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran to study use of artificial intelligence, which it said has potential to provide military superiority apart from driving technology-driven economic growth. According to an official release from Department of Defense production, 'Experts believe that future progress of artificial intelligence (AI) has potential to have transformative impact on national security. It is also seen that AI is essentially a dual use technology. While it can fuel technology driven economic growth, it also has potential to provide military superiority. India has a strong talent pool of engineers which are advantages which need to be leveraged. To study the whole gamut of issues surrounding strategic implications of AI in national security perspective, in global context, it has been decided to constitute a multi-stakeholder task force'.

  • Agni 1- Agni-1 is an indigenously developed surface-to-surface, single-stage missile which was inducted into service in 2004. The state-of-the-art missile is propelled by a solid rocket propellant system. It was launched as part of a regular training exercise by the armed forces. Agni-I missile with nuclear weapon carrying capability flight-tested successfully. India has successfully flight-tested the indigenously developed Agni-I ballistic missile that can carry a nuclear payload as part of a user trial by the Army from a test range off the Odisha coast. The Strategic Forces Command of the Army conducted the user trial of the 700 km range missile from launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Abdul Kalam Island in Balasore. It was 18th version of Agni-I, which could achieve all parameters within the stipulated time period, said defense sources.

    The missile was inducted into service in 2004, the sources pointed out. The surface-to-surface, single stage missile, powered by solid propellants, was launched as part of a regular training exercise by the armed forces, said the sources. The trial reconfirmed the Army's readiness to fire it at short notice. The missile has a specialised navigation system, which ensures it reaches the target with a high degree of accuracy and precision. It has proved its excellent performance in terms of range and accuracy. The 15-metre-long Agni-I, weighing 12 tonnes, can carry payloads up to 1,000 kg. The last trial was successfully conducted on November 22, 2016 from the same base.

  • Prithvi 2 - It is a single-stage liquid-fueled missile having a maximum warhead mounting capability of 500 kg, but with an extended range of 250 km (160 mi). It was developed with the Indian Air Force which is being the primary user. India on Wednesday successfully test-fired its indigenously developed nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile as part of a user trial by the Army from a test range in Odisha. The trial of the surface-to-surface missile, which has a strike range of 350 km, was carried out from a mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur near Balasore at around 11.35 a.m., they said. Describing the trial as a complete success, they said all mission objectives were met during the test launch. The perfect test launch came after successful trial of Agni-5 on January 18 and Agni-1 missile conducted from Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast on February 6.

  • Environment

  • Rhododendrons Park - It is located in the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh. It contains two patches of area - 0.28 ha and 0.83 ha. Patch one was planted with 16 different species of Rhododendrons in first phase including Arboreum, Nerifolium, Hodgsonii, Keysii species of Rhododendrons.

    Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has laid the foundation stone for Rhododendron Park in Tawang in presence of RWD Parliamentary Secretary Jambey Tashi, local MLA Tsering Tashi, PCCF Omkar Singh, Commander of 190 Mt Brigade Brigadier MP Singh and others. He also carried out plantation drive of different varieties of Rhodos. Tawang is home to 50+ different varieties of Rhodos.

  • ASH TRACK App - It is a web-based monitoring system and a fly-ash mobile application which would act as an interface between producers and consumers. These platforms will enable better management of the ash produced by thermal power plants by providing an interface between fly ash producers (thermal Power Plants) and potential ash users such as road contractors, cement plants etc. Proper management of fly ash is important not only for the environment but for us also as the ash produced by power plants occupies a lot of land space. Speaking at the launch of the app, R K Singh, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and New and Renewable Energy, added that proper management of fly ash is 'important not only for the environment but for us also as the ash produced by the power plants occupies a lot of land space'. According to calculations by Ministry of Power, a 1000 MW thermal power plant require approximately 250 acres of land to dump its fly ash

  • Economy

  • Cryptocurrency - A cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses cryptography to secure its transactions, to control the creation of additional units, and to verify the transfer of assets.

    Aiming to ensure crypto currencies doesn't move in Indian financial system, India is planning steps to ensure cryptocurrencies are illegal within its payments system. According to a government official, the government is also appointing a regulator to oversee unregulated exchanges that trade in crypto assets .Besides, a panel set by the government to look into issues relating to cryptocurrencies is expected to submit its report in the current fiscal year, ending on 31 March, S.C. Garg, economic affairs secretary Speaking to an news channel, Mr Garg said, 'The government will take steps to make it illegal as a payment system,' he said at a post-budget event telecast by the news channel, adding the trading of 'crypto assets' at the unregulated exchanges would be regulated. We hope now within this financial year the committee will finalise its recommendations ... certainly there will be a regulator'.

Current Affairs[January 2018]
  • Rotavac - Rotavac is the India's first indigenously developed vaccine against rotavirus, which is the major cause of diarrhea deaths among children. Rotavac vaccine is similar to the oral polio drop. It is administered under the age same regimen 6, 10 and 14 weeks. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has awarded pre-qualification to India's first indigenously developed rotavirus diarrhoea vaccine, Rotavac, developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech. The recognition will allow UN agencies and Gavi, the global vaccine alliance, to purchase the vaccine from Bharat Biotech at significantly lower prices than those sourced from global pharmaceutical majors and make it available in other developing regions including Africa where diarrhoea kills thousands of children every year.

  • Khelo India School Games - It is national programme for development of sports aiming to highlight the country's sporting talent and its potential to the world. Besides, giving the importance of how sports and fitness in one's life is invaluable. The Khelo India Games, will be open only to select students in the under-17 age group, who meet clearly specified criteria. There will be a specific number of players and teams in each discipline. There will be a total of 209 gold medals up for grabs, with the major share going to athletics (36), swimming (35), wrestling (30), boxing (26), gymnastics (20), judo (16) and weightlifting (16). The selection of athletes for each discipline has also been clarified. The top eight from the 63rd SGFI National School Games will be taken apart from four nominations from federation, one each from CBSE and host State apart from two wild card entries for the individual events. In team competition, the top four from the National School Games will be joined by two nominated by the federation apart from one each from the host State and the organising committee. For the three disciplines archery, badminton and shooting, the top 16 from the National School Games will be joined by eight nominated by the federation, one each from CBSE, host State and organising committee, apart from six wild cards. The best talent selected from the Khelo India Games will gain scholarship to the tune of about ₹5 lakh each per year.

  • HAL Light Combat Helicopter - HAL Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) is an Indian multirole combat helicopter developed and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). It has been ordered for both the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd has said that it was satisfied with test run of the HAL Light Combat Helicopter. According to an official release, pilots have successfully flown the home-made 5.8-tonne Light Combat Helicopter with its own automatic flight control system for the first time. The 20-minute maiden flight of the multirole copter was flawless with the engagement of the flight control system throughout. HAL Chairman T Suvarna Raju said the flight control system, whose development the company funded, would replace the imported one. HAL Chief Test Pilot Wing Commander Unni K Pillai (retired) and Test Pilot Group Captain Rajesh Verma (retired) flew the chopper after taking off from the defence airport in the city's eastern suburb.

  • New Wealth Report 2017 - New Wealth Report is an annual list developed by Capgemini, a global leader in technology, consulting and outsourcing. Total wealth refers to the private wealth held by all the individuals living in each country/city. It includes all their assets (property, cash, equities, business interests) less any liabilities. The report, however, excludes government funds from its figures. According to the report, India has been ranked sixth in the list of wealthiest countries with total wealth of $8,230 billion, while the United States topped the chart. the US is the wealthiest country with total wealth of $64,584 billion, followed by China ($24,803 billion) and Japan ($19,522 billion). Others in the list include United Kingdom (4th, $9,919 billion), Germany (5th, $9,660 billion), France (7th, $6,649 billion), Canada (8th, $6,393 billion), Australia (9th, $6,142 billion) and Italy (10th, $4,276 billion).

  • Democracy Index -Democracy Index is list prepared by UK based The Economist Intelligence Unit. The EIU is the research and analysis division of the UK- based media behemoth The Economist Group. Created in 1946, the EIU describes itself as having over 70 years of experience 'in helping businesses, financial firms and governments to understand how the world is changing and how that creates opportunities to be seized and risks to be handled. Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Based on their scores on 60 indicators within these categories, each country is then itself classified as one of four types of regime: full democracy; flawed democracy; hybrid regime; and authoritarian regime. India has slipped to 42nd place on an annual Global Democracy Index amid 'rise of conservative religious ideologies' and increase in vigilantism and violence against minorities as well as other dissenting voices. While Norway has again topped the list, followed by Iceland and Sweden, compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), India has moved down from 32nd place last year and remains classified among 'flawed democracies'. The index ranks 165 independent states and two territories on the basis of five categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation and political culture. The list has been divided into four broad categories-full democracy, flawed democracy, hybrid regime and authoritarian regime. The US (ranked 21), Japan, Italy, France, Israel, Singapore, and Hong Kong have also been named among 'flawed democracies'.

  • Ghodazari wildlife sanctuary - The sanctuary, is located in the North East of Tadoba, will include 159 sq km of Brahmapuri forest . The wildlife sanctuary located North East of Tadoba Tiger Reserve will be carved out in total of 159 sq km area covering Nagbhir, Talodhi and Chimur forest areas. The Maharashtra government has approved Ghodazari in Chandrapur district as a new wildlife sanctuary in the state. The decision was taken at the 13th meeting of the Maharashtra State Board for Wildlife, chaired by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. According to experts, the decision to setup a sanctuary will not only save the forest, but will also improve tourism in nearly 40 villages in the area. The board also discussed various proposals for development work within the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) and wildlife sanctuaries in the state. The proposal for road widening and strengthening of National Highway 8 outside SGNP was also approved at the meeting.

  • INS Karanj - INS Karanj is the third submarine of the first batch of six Kalvari Class submarines designed and developed for Indian Navy. It is diesel electric attack submarine based on Scorpene class submarine. Though it was designed by French company, it was manufactured in Mazagon Dock (Mumbai) in India under the Project 75 programme. The submarine was launched by Reena Lanba, wife of Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba, here on Wednesday. The new submarine is named after the earlier Kalvari class INS Karanj, which was decommissioned in 2003. Six Scorpene class submarines are being built under Project 75 by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDSL), Mumbai, under a $3.75 billion technology transfer signed in October 2005 with the Naval Group of France.

  • Budget 2018-19

  • Agriculture and Rural Economy- The government has decided to keep MSP for all unannounced kharif crops atleast one and half times of their production cost after declaring the same for the majority of rabi cops. The volume of institutional credit for agriculture sector from year-to-year increased from Rs.8.5 lakh crore in 2014-15 to Rs.10 lakh crore in 2017-18 and proposed to raise this to Rs.11 lakh crore for the year 2018-19. After the establishment of Dairy Infrastructure Fund, Shri Jaitley announced setting up a Fisheries and Aqua culture Infrastructure Development Fund (FAIDF) for fisheries sector and an Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) for financing infrastructure requirement of animal husbandry sector with a total corpus of Rs.10,000 crore for the two new funds. On the lines of 'Operation Flood' a new Scheme 'Operation Greens' was announced with an outlay of Rs 500 Crore to address the challenge of price volatility of perishable commodities like tomato, onion and potato. Develop and upgrade existing 22,000 rural haats into Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs) to take care of the interests of more than 86% small and marginal farmers. Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund with a corpus of Rs.2000 crore will be setup for developing and upgrading agricultural marketing infrastructure in the 22000 Grameen Agricultural Markets (GrAMs) and 585APMCs. Re-structured National Bamboo Mission with an outlay of Rs.1290 crore to promote bamboo sector in a holistic manner.

  • Education, Health and Social Protection - Estimated budgetary expenditure on health, education and social protection for 2018-19 is Rs.1.38 lakh crore against estimated expenditure of Rs.1.22 lakh crore in 2017-18. Shri Jaitley announced setting up of Ekalavya Model Residential School on par with Navodaya Vidyalayas to provide the best quality education to the tribal children in their own environment by 2022 in every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons with special facilities for preserving local art and culture besides providing training in sports and skill development. a major initiative named 'Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) by 2022' with a total investment of Rs.1,00,000 crore in next four years was announced . The Government also decided to allocate additional Rs.600 crore to provide nutritional support to all TB patients at the rate of Rs.500 per month for the duration of their treatment. Shri Jaitley said, the government will be setting up 24 new Government Medical Colleges and Hospitals by upgrading existing district hospitals in the country. A total of 187 projects have been sanctioned under the Namami Gange programme for infrastructure development, river surface cleaning, rural sanitation and other interventions at a cost of Rs.16,713 crore.

  • Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) - A sum of Rs. 3794 crore has been provided for giving credit support, capital and interest subsidy and for innovations. MUDRA Yojana launched in April, 2015 has led to sanction of Rs.4.6 lakh crore in credit from 10.38 crore MUDRA loans. 76% of loan accounts are of women and more than 50% belong to SCs, STs and OBCs. It is proposed to set a target of Rs.3 lakh crore for lending under MUDRA for 2018-19 after having successfully exceeded the targets in all previous years.

  • Employment - Reiterating that creating job opportunities is at the core of Government policies, Finance Minister cited an independent study as showing that 70 lakh formal jobs will be created this year. To carry forward the momentum created by the measures taken during the last 3 years to boost employment generation, Shri Jaitley announced that the Government will contribute 12% of the wages of the new employees in the EPF for all the sectors for next three years. He proposed to make amendments in the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 to reduce women employees' contribution to 8% for first three years of their employment against existing rate of 12% or 10% with no change in employers' contribution.

  • Railways - Railways Capital Expenditure for the year 2018-19 has been pegged at Rs.1,48,528 crore. A large part of the Capex is devoted to capacity creation. 4000 kilometers of electrified railway network is slated for commissioning during 2017-18. Work on Eastern and Western dedicated Freight Corridors is in full swing. Adequate number of rolling stock - 12000 wagons, 5160 coaches and approximately 700 locomotives are being procured during 2018-19. Over 3600 kms of track renewal is targeted during the current fiscal. Redevelopment of 600 major railway stations is being taken up. Mumbai's local train network will have 90 kilometers of double line tracks at a cost of over Rs.11,000 crore. 150 kilometers of additional suburban network is being planned at a cost of over Rs.40,000 crore, including elevated corridors on some sections. A suburban network of approximately 160 kilometers at an estimated cost of Rs.17,000 crore is being planned to cater to the growth of the Bengaluru metropolis.

  • Air transport - The Budget proposes to expand the airport capacity more than five times to handle a billion trips a year under a new initiative - NABH Nirman. Under the Regional connectivity scheme of UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) initiated by the Government last year, 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads would be connected.

  • Relief to Senior Citizens - Exemption of interest income on deposits with banks and post offices are proposed to be increased from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 50,000. TDS shall not be required to be deducted under section 194A. Benefit will also be available for interest from all fixed deposit schemes and recurring deposit schemes. Hike in deduction limit for health insurance premium and/ or medical expenditure from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 50,000 under section 80D. Increase in deduction limit for medical expenditure for certain critical illness from Rs. 60,000 (in case of senior citizens) and from Rs 80,000 (in case of very senior citizens) to Rs 1 lakh for all senior citizens, under section 80DDB. Concessions will give extra tax benefit of Rs. 4,000 crore to senior citizen. It is also proposed to extend the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana up to March, 2020. The current investment limit is also proposed to be increased to Rs. 15 lakh from the existing limit of Rs. 7.5 lakh per senior citizen.

  • Taxation - Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has proposed no new changes in income tax rates applicable to individual. The finance minister, however, introduced standard deduction of Rs. 40,000 for the salaried class. Standard deduction allows for a flat deduction from income of a salaried individual towards expenses that would incur in relation to his or her employment. The government has made many positive changes in individual tax rates in past three years

  • ISA -it stands for International Solar Alliance has become the first treaty-based international government organisation to be based in India after 19 countries ratified its framework agreement. This marks the culmination of India's efforts, which had taken a lead role in setting up the ISA-an alliance of 121 sunshine countries situated between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. The ISA now has become a treaty based inter-governmental international organisation and it will be recognized by UN legally to become fully functionable. The ISA is an Indian initiative, jointly launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the president of France on 30 November 2015 in Paris, on the sidelines of COP-21, the UN climate conference. The ISA, headquartered in India, has its secretariat located in the campus of the National Institute of Solar Energy, Gurgaon, Haryana.
  • NSG -it stands for Nuclear Suppliers Group is a multinational body concerned with reducing nuclear proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that may be applicable to nuclear weapon development and by improving safeguards and protection on existing materials.
  • IBBI -it stands for The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India recently notified the regulations for handling of grievances and complaints against Insolvency-related service providers. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India was set up on 1st October 2016 under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (Code). It is a unique regulator: regulates a profession as well as transactions.
  • Trachoma -the eye disease from which India is now declared free as per The National Trachoma Survey Report (2014-17) which was released recently. The survey findings indicate that the active trachoma infection has been eliminated among children in all the survey districts with overall prevalence of only 0.7%.
  • MSME Sambandh -it is a Public Procurement Portal launched recently by the government to monitor the implementation of the Public Procurement from MSEs by Central Public Sector Enterprises. With this app, the Micro and Small Enterprises would be able to access the information about the products being procured by CPSEs. Thus, it would help the MSEs in participating in the procurement process.
  • Benefits of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards are -OCI is essentially a lifetime visa status offered by India to an Indian person who has given up his citizenship, OCI cards give lifetime multiple entry visa to India, If one remains an OCI for 5 years, he/she can attain Indian citizenship and then live in India for a period of one year including short breaks, Special immigration counters are provided at all international airports in India for OCI card holders in addition to that an OCI cards holder can open special bank accounts in India just like NRIs and make investments, OCI holders can also buy non-farm property and exercise ownership rights, An OCI card allows to apply for a driver's license, PAN card or open a bank account in India, they get same economic, financial and educational benefits like NRIs and can also adopt children. Restrictions for OCI card holders are-An OCI card holder cannot vote, hold a government job or purchase agricultural or farm land. The person can also not run for public office or travel to restricted areas without permission.
  • NARI -it is the name of online portal launched by the ministry of Women & Child Development. It is an online portal which will provide information to women on issues affecting their lives. The portal aims to provide women citizens with easy access to information on government schemes and initiatives for women. The portal contains information about schemes being run by both Central as well as the States Governments.
  • GAIL- the state run gas transmission utility company has commissioned the country's second-biggest rooftop solar power plant which is in Uttar Pradesh. Tata Power Solar has earlier commissioned India's largest solar rooftop project with 12 MW capacity in Amritsar.
  • NKN -it stands for National Knowledge Network is a multi-gigabit pan-India network which facilitates the development of India's communications infrastructure, stimulates research and creates next generation applications and services. With its multi-gigabit capability, NKN aims to connect all universities, research institutions, libraries, laboratories, healthcare and agricultural institutions across the country to address such paradigm shift.
  • State Bank of India -the bank which has been chosen to sell the new electoral bonds. In an attempt to ensure more transparent financing of political parties participating in elections, the government has announced the introduction of new electoral bonds that donors can buy from the State Bank of India (SBI). The bonds will be available at specified SBI branches for 10 days each in the months of January, April, July and October. Electoral bonds will allow donors to pay political parties using banks as an intermediary. Although called a bond, the banking instrument resembling promissory notes will not carry any interest. The electoral bond, which will be a bearer instrument, will not carry the name of the payee and can be bought for any value, in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh or Rs 1 crore.
  • PMSSY -it stands for Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Surakhsa Yojnaand it is the scheme under which the Union Cabinet recently approved setting up of an AIIMS in Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh with an outlay of Rs. 1,350 crore. The Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) was announced in 2003 with objectives of correcting regional imbalances in the availability of affordable/ reliable tertiary healthcare services and also to augment facilities for quality medical education in the country.
  • Swine Influenza (swine flu) -it is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. H1N1 is a flu virus. When it was first detected in 2009, it was called 'swine flu' because the virus was similar to those found in pigs. The H1N1 virus is currently a seasonal flu virus found in humans.
  • Typbar TCV -it is the Typhoid conjugate vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech Ltd (BBL).The World Health Organisation (WHO) has pre-qualified its typhoid conjugate vaccine. The new vaccine was found to have given a longer immunity from typhoid than older vaccines and it required fewer doses for childhood immunisation. The pre-qualification by WHO allows for the sale of the vaccines to UN agencies such as UNICEF and GAVI. Typbar TCV is reportedly the world's first typhoid vaccine clinically proven for use on recipients who can be as young as six months. A single dose offers 87% protective efficacy against typhoid.
  • The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Amendment) Bill, 2017-Increase in capital of NABARD to Rs.30, 000 crore, Transfer of the RBI's share to the central government & Addition of Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) are some of the important points of The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which was recently passed by voice vote in the Rajya Sabha. The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in August, 2017.The Bill seeks to amend the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Act, 1981. The Bill allows the central government to increase this capital to Rs 30,000 crore. . The Bill provides that the central government alone must hold at least 51% of the share capital of NABARD. The Bill transfers the share capital held by the RBI and valued at Rs 20 crore to the central government. The central government will give an equal amount to the RBI. The Bill replaces the terms 'small-scale industry' and 'industry in the tiny and decentralised sector' with the terms 'micro enterprise', 'small enterprise' and 'medium enterprise' as defined in the MSME Development Act, 2006.
Current Affairs[July 2017]
  • Two major changes in election to President of India introduced in 1997-The number of proposers and seconders for any nomination paper was increased from 10 to 50, the security amount was increased from Rs. 2,500 to Rs.10, 000-these are the two major changes in election to President of India which were introduced in 1997.
  • The World Bank-they cleared a $250-million loan for making Indian youth more employable through reskilling, in a move that is seen to aid the Skill India mission.The multi-lateral lender is keen to support the Indian government in its efforts to better equip the young workforce with employable skills. It said the support will help the youth contribute to India's economic growth and prosperity.The $250-million Skill India Mission Operation (SIMO), approved by the World Bank board of executive directors, will increase the market relevance of short-term skill development programmes (3-12 months or up to 600 hours) at the national and state level. Under the programme, adults in 15-59 years of age, underemployed or unemployed, will get the skill training. It will also include the 1.2 crore youngsters in the age group of 15-29 years who are entering the labour market every year.Theprogramme has a mandate to provide placement and entrepreneurship opportunities to women and increase their exposure to skill training.The Washington-headquartered World Bank's SIMO is a six- year programme in support of the Indian government's National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (2017-23).SIMO will be implemented through the National Skill Development Mission and will specifically target labour market entrants.
  • Food grain production-in 2016-17 it has touched a new record of 273.4 million tonnes, Projection for the country's economic growth to 7.6 per cent for the current fiscal, The level of water storage in the country's main reservoirs in 2017-18 is better compared to last year are some of the estimates made in the quarterly review of the economy by economic think-tank of the country,NCAER.Recent estimates show that food grain production in 2016-17 has touched a new record of 273.4 million tonnes or 8.7 per cent higher as compared to last year. Economic think-tank NCAER has revised up its projection for the country's economic growth to 7.6 per cent for the current fiscal, compared with the earlier prediction of 7.3 per cent on forecast of normal monsoon.In its quarterly review of the economy, NCAER said prospects for the agricultural sector in 2017-18 remain optimistic on forecast of good rains.Also, the level of water storage in the country's main reservoirs in 2017-18 is better compared to last year. In fact,better than the average storage over the last ten years.The forecast for growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at market prices in 2017-18 was also made at 7.6 per cent at constant (2011-12) prices bythe National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER).The agency has also revised upward its forecast of GVA (Gross Value Added at Basic Prices) growth at 7.3 per cent for 2017-18 from its February estimate of 7 per cent.The quarterly report further said Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation is projected at 6.7 per cent for 2017-18.
  • Some benefits of GST-Easy Tax Compliance, Boon for House Hold, Creating One Economic India, Simplified Tax Structure, Benefits to Economy, Advantages for Trade & Industry are some of the benefits of GST which was launched at midnight of 30th June 2017 in the Central Hall of Parliament as part of the single biggest tax reform in the history of the nation.
  • Slabs of GST-Unpacked food grains, Fresh vegetables, Unbranded atta/maida/besan, Gur, Milk, Eggs, Curd, Lassi, Unpacked Paneer/Natural honey, Palmyra jiggery, Salt, Kajal, PhoolJharo, Children's Drawing and Colouring Books, Education services, Health services-0%; Sugar, Tea, Roasted Coffee Beans, Edible Oils, skimmed Milk Powder, Milk Food for babies, Packed Paneer, Cashew Nuts, Raisin, PDS Kerosene, Domestic LPG, Footwear(up to Rs.500), Apparels(up to Rs.1,000), Agarbatti, Coir Mats-5%; Butter, Ghee, Almonds, Fruit Juice, Packed Coconut Water, Preparations of Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts or other parts of Plants including Pickle, Murabba, Chutney, Jam & Jelly, Umbrella,Mobiles-12%; Hair Oil, Toothpaste, Soap, Pasta, Corn Flakes, Soups, Ice Creams,Toiletries,Computers,Printers-18% are the major categories of tax slabs for the households under the GST.
  • 'Ani SemyaMayodhLehiyot Po'-which means 'I am delighted to be here' is the language of Israel which was in the news recently for the historical visit of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July 2017, the first visit by Indian PM to Israel. Pranab Mukherjee became the first Indian President to visit Israel in 2015.
  • Indus OS-it is the name of the Indian mobile operating system. This was in the news after Indus OS launched the first OS-integrated United Payments Interface(UPI) platform in partnership with YES Bank. This will bring UPI directly to the phones of 8 million Indus OS users across eight smartphone brands that the mobile operating system has integrated with.
  • RE - thismeans Resource Efficiency is the ratio between a benefit and the natural resource required for it. This was in the news recently after NITI Aayog strategy paper prepared under supervision of its principal advisor Ratan P Watal mooted tax incentives and viability gap funding for eco-labelled products as part of the governments green procurement policies to substantially improve resource efficiency in the country. There is a global commitment to achieve resource efficiency in order to establish sustainable consumption and production patterns. It is also a priority for the government and is reflected in various policies and programme announcements such as Make in India, Zero Effect-Zero Defect Scheme, Smart Cities, Swachh Bharat and Ganga Rejuvenation Mission.
  • Article324(2)-this article of the Indian Constitution was in the news recently which deals with appointment of Election Commissioners(ECs) was in the news recently after the Supreme Court asked the government to frame rules for appointment of ECs. Presently Article 324(2) of the Constitution says that President on the advice of the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister would appoint ECs, the process of appointment would remain subject to the law made by Parliament. SC questioned government that till date why no law has not been enacted for appointment of ECs.
  • Railways- the sector in which the government is planning to introduce the 'Give-It-Up' campaign requesting the passengers the option to voluntarily forego the subsidy on tickets. Presently the Railways bears 43% of the cost of all rail fares even as it incurs a loss of about Rs.30, 000 crore every year. The biggest drain on the railways exchequer is subsidy on suburban travel segment. Suburban passengers pay only 36% of the travel cost.
  • 7-the number of MoUs which were signed between India and Israel on the first visit of India's Prime Minister to Israel in July 2017. The list of MoUs are-1) Department of Science & Technology (India) and National Technological Innovation Authority Israel to set up India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund(I4F) 2) Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources of Israel sign MoU on National Campaign for Water Conservation in India.3) UP Jal Nigam, Government of Uttar Pradesh and Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources of Israel sign pact on state water utility reform in India 4) India Israel Development Cooperation-Three Year Work Programme in Agriculture 2018-2020 5) Plan of Cooperation between Isro and Israel Space Agency(ISA) for cooperation in atomic clocks 6) MoU between Isro and ISA regarding cooperation in GEO-LEO optical link 7) Isro and ISA pact on cooperation in electric propulsion for small satellites.
  • Olly-the mascot of 22nd Asian Athletics Championships is an Olive Ridley turtle. The 22nd Asian Athletics Championships was organised from 05-09 July 2017 at Bhubaneshwar. The Olive Ridley turtles endure thousands of miles of journey for nesting in the sands of Odisha's coast so a mascot for the game being held in Odisha has been selected accordingly.
  • 3 days- the specified date within which customers will not be liable at all if they report financial losses on account of frauds. The Reserve Bank of India in a major step to protect customers from large financial losses on account of frauds has capped the customer liability at Rs.25, 000 if they reportunauthorized transactions within seven working days. These rules will be applicable for third party breach-were the deficiency lies neither with the banks nor with the customers but lies elsewhere in the system. It has however given banks the freedom to determine the customer liability if such transaction is reported after seven working days. The RBI has placed the onus of informing about the fraud on the customers but the burden of proving it lies with the bank.
  • What is voting- Voting is a right, Voting is a not a duty are the correct statement in the context of India. This was in the news after the Centre told the Supreme Court recently that exercising one's franchise is the fundamental right of every citizen but not a duty. The government relied on the 255th Law Commission Report, which says 'electoral right' of the voter includes the right to 'vote or refrain from voting at an election. 'The Representation of People Act, 1951 too talks of 'right to voter rather than a duty to vote. The idea of compulsory voting in India has been rejected time and again on the grounds of practical
  • PRAGATI -itstands for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation is the monthly web based interaction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with bureaucrats. This meeting was in the news recently after the Prime Minister set a five year deadline for completing all pending projects and said that all incomplete projects should be completed by 2022 when the nation would be celebrating 75 years of India's independence.
  • The main predictions about India as per the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2017-2026-It will be most populous country by 2026, It will be world's largest milk producer by 2026, It will account for the biggest increase in wheat production globally by 2026 are the main predictions about India as per the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2017-2026.The report said the world's population will increase from 7.3 to 8.2 billion over the course of the next decade with India and Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 56 % of total population growth. India's population will grow from 1.3 billion to 1.5 billion, an increase of almost 150 million. India will overtake China and is projected to be the most populous country in the world by 2026.The report said that given their strong population growth, India and Sub-Saharan Africa will also drive a large share of global demand. Global production of wheat is projected to increase by 11 % over the outlook period of 2017-2026, while the wheat area increases by only 1.8 %.The increase in wheat production is expected to occur through higher yields, most notably in Asia and Pacific, which will account for 46 % of additional wheat production.
  • BCCC -it stands for Broadcasting Content Complaints Council is the independent self-regulatory body set up by The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) to examine the content-related complaints relating to all non-news general entertainment channels. This was in the news recently after former Supreme Court judge Justice Vikramajit Sen was appointed as the new chairperson of BCCC.
  • 40 million-it was the quarterly target for the first quarter of 2017-18(April-June) for the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), the flagship digital payment instrument launched by the Reserve Bank of India. It was in the news recently as the number of transactions under UPI was around 26 million in the first quarter of the financial year, 35% less than the quarterly target set by the finance ministry as per the data received from the National Payment Corp of India (NPCI) which manages the railroad. Payment railroad is used to describe the pathways through which the digital payments move which in the case of UP is managed by NPCI.
  • 39th-the rank of India among a 46-country study by Stanford University for the lazy people. The researchers using step-counters installed in most smartphones to track the walking activity of about 700,000 people in 46 countries around the world. The least lazy, according to the study published in the journal Nature, are the Chinese, particularly those in Hong Kong, where people averaged 6,880 steps a day. India is ranked at 39, with people averaging just 4,297 steps a day. The worst nation was Indonesia, where people walked nearly half as much, averaging 3,513 steps a day. The worldwide average is 4,961 steps, with Americans walking an average 4,774 steps. The top half of the chart includes Hong Kong, China, Ukraine and Japan walking over 6,000 steps daily while the countries at the bottom of the rung include Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia who walk less than 3,900 steps.
  • New initiatives launched by Indian Railways-Launch of SAARTHI, Additional facilities for Divyang, 365 Days Advance Reservation for Foreign Tourists are the new initiatives which were recently launched by Indian Railways. SAARTHI is an integrated mobile application which stands for 'Synergised Advanced Application for Rail Travel Help & Information' for passengers.
  • 100metre- the distance area on either side of Ganga between Haridwar (Uttarakhand) and Unnao (Uttar Pradesh) has been declared as no-construction and no-development zone by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) recently. It also ordered a green compensation of Rs.50, 000 on anyone dumping waste in the river. The NGT also directed that no dumping or landfill could come up within 500 metres of the river or its tributaries in the Haridwar-Unnao stretch. The tribunal imposed a complete prohibition on disposing of municipal solid waste, electronic waste or biological waste on the flood plains or its tributaries in the same stretch.
  • Features of Sovereign Gold Bonds Scheme-Can be used as collateral for loans, Capital Gains Tax Exempted on redemption for individuals, Exempted from GST are some of the Sovereign Gold Bonds Scheme which were issued recently. The other salient features of scheme is that the minimum investment is 1gm and maximum investment is 500gm and its tenure is 8 years with exit option in 5th, 6th, 7th year also and is tradable through NSE & BSE and is available in Demat and paper form.
  • FLDG-it stands for First Loan Default Guarantee. It protects interests of lenders to MFIs or NBFCs and the magnitude of cover depends on bank's risk appetite. It was in the news recently after the Reserve Bank of India in its preliminary paper on P2P lending is learnt to be wary of peer-to-peer lending platforms offering any FLDG or first loan default guarantee cover to institutional lenders for nay lending they do through these technology start ups.
  • Saraswati -the name of an 'extremely large super cluster of galaxies' in the universe which was recently discovered by Indian scientists, the first ever achievement in this field in the country. This ultra large structure is on the direction of constellation Pisces and 400 light years away from Earth. These findings were published in the latest issue of The Astrophysical Journal, the premier research journal of the American Astronomical Society.
  • 10 percent -the percent of agricultural production which is the de minimis level for developing countries like India. De minimis is the minimal amount of trade-distorting subsidy (classified as Amber box) the WTO permits at 1986-88 prices. India recently submitted details of its domestic support programme in agriculture to the World Trade Organisation and asserted that it is under no obligation at the moment to cut any of its subsidies. On its minimum support programme (MSP) for various food grains such as rice, wheat and coarse grains, which is continuously being questioned by the US and Australia, among other members, the notification points out that the outgo for each item was below the ceiling level. For cotton and sunflower, too, the outgo on MSP is much below the permitted level. The domestic support numbers provided by India are for the years 2011-12 to 2013-14.The notification also gave details of input subsidies for farmers for items such as fertilizers, pesticides which, at $22.82 billion in 2013-14, was much higher than the MSP support, but New Delhi pointed out that these were permissible under WTO rules as the beneficiaries were resource-poor farmers."As per the agricultural census for 2000-01, 98.97 per cent of farm holdings are of low-income or resource-poor farmers, which has increased to 99.15 per cent as per the census for 2005-06," the notification said. The breakdown of expenditure for general services such as pest and disease control, training services, extension and advisory services, market promotion services and buffer stock operations were also provided. These are covered under the 'Green box' of permissible subsidies as these are not viewed as trade-distorting. New Delhi is trying to get subsidies under its MSP programme treated as Green box (permissible) subsidies, but is facing resistance from a number of developed countries and some developing countries that import food. The present rules and commitments on agriculture are often called the "Uruguay Round reform programme" - they were negotiated in the Uruguay Round and they include reductions in subsidies and protection as well as other disciplines on the trade.
  • Sessions of Parliament- Budget Session, Monsoon Session & Winter Session are the three major sessions of Parliament in India. The period during which the House meets to conduct its business is called a session. The Constitution empowers the president to summon each House at such intervals that there should not be more than a six-month gap, between the two sessions. Hence the Parliament must meet at least twice a year. In India, the parliament conducts three sessions each year: Budget session: February to May, Monsoon session: July to September, Winter session: November to December.
  • WEST -which stands for Wheebox Employability Test is the name of the India's largest employability skills test which was recently launched launched across 29 states and seven Union Territories. It will test employability of fresh graduates and share scores with prospective employers. The test, by employability assessment company Wheebox, was launched to mark "World Skills Day" in collaboration with the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), UNDP, Association of Indian Universities (AIU), Pearson Education and HR technology outsourcing firm People Strong. It will be open to students who are final year graduates, post-graduates or diploma holders from engineering, polytechnic, Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), and state-run colleges or management schools, the company said in a statement. The test is available in both Hindi and English. The70-minute test will measure an individual's numerical and problem-solving skills along with English language, basics of information technology (IT), and behavioural traits. It aims to give the students a snapshot of their capabilities. It will also provide an initial transcript and detailed scorecard for each module to the candidate, highlighting strengths as well as improvement areas. The scores will be then shared with 110 organisations across 10 sectors to help employers to shortlist candidates using the scores.
  • 30th June -the date on which Reserve Bank of India closes its book for the accounting year. This was in the news recently as for the first time RBI's weekly disclosures failed to divulge its asset-liability figures as on June 30- a move aimed at avoiding an indication of the amount of demonetized currency turned in. The RBI discloses its asset-liability figures under its Weekly Statistical Supplement (WSS). This WSS data is part of the information the central bank has committed to disclose as a signatory to the International Monetary Fund's Special Data Dissemination Standards (SDDS).
  • Project Connect -the name of the initiative launched by Bank of India to revive the bank that has suffered huge losses for two consecutive years due to a sharp rise in bad loans. It is called Project Connect because the Connect between internal staff and clients is not as strong as it was in olden days. The new initiatives are aimed at reducing bad loans, improving the share of low-cost deposits and retail credit. Bank of India has posted huge losses for two consecutive years and has run up total bad loans of close to 13% in FY17 before making provisions. So far, RBI has initiated prompt corrective action (PCA) on six banks - IDBI Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, United Bank of India, Central Bank of India, Dena Bank and Indian Overseas Bank - by putting restrictions on their banking activity. Further, the bank has opened a new vertical 'Premium Client Care' which will cater to the needs of the 1,000 top customers identified from the top five centres of the country.
  • IITs -it stands for Indian Institute of Information Technology are the institutes which were recently declared institutes of national importance and were thus allowed to grant degrees. There are presently 15 IIITs established through public-private partnership. The cost of each IIIT is Rs.128 crore and is contributed by the Centre, state government , and the industry in the ratio of 50:35:15 sustainable within five years of commencement.
  • Antrix -the name of commercial arm of The Indian Space Research Organisation's (Isro). This was in the news recently after it earned has earned 6.1 million Euros from the launch of 29 nanosatellites from 14 countries on June 23, 2017, adding to the 157 million Euros it earned from foreign launches in the last four years. While the space agency has launched 130 satellites in the first six months of 2017, all the foreign satellites it has launched have been small in size. Presently Antrix only sells additional space-that left after India's main satellite is accounted for-available on launch vehicles to foreign customers. The launch that earned 6.1 million Euros, for instance, had India's Cartosat-2 as the main passenger and all the foreign satellites were co-passengers. The satellites belonged to Austria, Chile, Belgium, France, Finland, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, the USA, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and the UK. Antrix earned revenue of 76.5 million Euros and $4.5 million from launching foreign satellites in just the past two years (2015-16 and 2016-17 up to February). In 2013, it earned 6.9 million Euros from foreign launches, and the same was 18.2 million Euros and 55.5 million Euros in 2014 and 2015.
  • 2017-18 -the target year for completion of all projects sanctioned under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana(Urban) for construction in years 2015-16 and 2016-17. In order to ensure housing for all by 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked states to "accord priority" to its implementation and send a detailed roadmap to the Prime Minister's Office. The Centre is providing money to implementing agencies and urban local bodies through states to build nearly 20 million affordable houses for the urban poor in 4,025 cities by 2022. Since 2015 till March 2017, only 1.7 million houses have got nod from the Centre in about 2,000 cities, with central assistance of Rs 27,879 crore and total investments of Rs 95,660 crore, based on the proposals sent by the states. The nod from the Centre for construction of affordable houses is dependent on the states sending a verified list of beneficiaries - a count on which many states are not up to the mark. It is not known that how many houses have been constructed so far by various states. All states have been asked to send the roadmap to the 2022 target to the PMO so that the same can be closely monitored at the level of the cabinet secretary.
  • NDDB -it stands for National Dairy Development Board's launched quality mark logo which dairy cooperatives can use after complying with quality norms. This was recently launched by Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh. The 'Quality Mark' logo will be valid for three years and surveillance audit for checking compliance with quality norms will be held once every year by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), an apex dairy sector body. An 11-member management committee will oversee the activities of Quality Mark. The panel comprises members from agriculture ministry and managing directors of four dairy federations as also representative of food safety regulator FSSAI and two dairy experts.
  • PMVVY -it stands for The Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana is the name of the pension scheme which was launched recently by Finance minister Arun Jaitley. The pension scheme for the elderly comes with 8% fixed rate of interest on their savings. It can be purchased offline as well as online through Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India which has been given the sole privilege to operate this scheme. The Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY) is a pension scheme announced by the government exclusively for senior citizens aged 60 years and above -- available from May 4, 2017 to May 3, 2018.The scheme provides an assured return of 8% per annum payable monthly (equivalent to 8.30 per annum effective) for 10 years. Pension is payable at the end of each period, during the policy term of 10 years, as per the frequency of monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, yearly as chosen by the pensioner at the time of purchase. The scheme is exempted from the Goods and Services Tax and loan up to 75% of purchase price shall be allowed after 3 policy years to meet the liquidity needs. Loan interest will be recovered from the pension installments and loan to be recovered from claim proceeds and the scheme also allows for premature exit for the treatment of any critical or terminal illness of self or spouse. On such premature exit, 98% of the purchase price will be refunded. On death of the pensioner during the policy term of 10 years, the purchase price will be paid to the beneficiary. The shortfall owing to the difference between the interest guaranteed and the actual interest earned and the expenses relating to administration shall be subsidised by the government and reimbursed to the LIC.
  • 7 days -'the silent period' before and after the rate decision which has now to be observed by the members of the powerful Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). The six-member MPC constituted in September 2016 has three persons appointed by the central government while the rest, including the Governor are from Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Now they will also be paid Rs.1.5 lakh per meeting along with air travel and other reimbursements. The panel is required to meet at least four times in a year and the RBI has been convening a bi-monthly meeting of this committee. Chetan Ghate, Professor of the Indian Statistical Institute, Pami Dua, Director at Delhi School of Economics and Ravindra H Dholakia Professor at the Indian Institute of Management are the three government appointed members. The appointment is for a period of four years or until further orders, whichever is earlier. Apart from RBI Governor Urjit Patel, Deputy Governor Viral V Acharya and Executive Director M. D. Patra are also part of the committee. Each member of the MPC has one vote and in case the numbers are equal, the governor has the casting vote.
Current Affairs[June 2017]
  • NPCI-it stands for National Payment Corporation of India which is planning to ask banks not to charge for transactions made through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to promote digital payments and prevent consumers from going back to cash payments. The value of UPI transactions has gone up from value of Rs.90 cr (Volume-0.3m) in November 2016to Rs.2, 200crore (Volume-6.9m) in April 2017. As per banking estimates the cost for digital payment through UPI comes to Rs.2.5 per transaction.
  • Major three benefits of Atal Pension Yojana- Minimum guaranteed pension between Rs.1000-Rs.5000 from age of 60, Same pension to spouse after death of subscriber after 60 years, Return of pension corpus between Rs.1.70 lakh to Rs.8.50 lakh to nominee after death of subscriber & the spouse are the major three benefits of Atal Pension Yojana. More than 54lakh people have already subscribed to Atal Pension Yojana (APY).
  • 2 percent- the percentage higher than the previous forecast is the latest forecast for monsoons in India by India Meteorological Department (IMD) which will boost farm incomes and economic growth. India's crucial monsoon rains are expected to reach 98 percent of the long-term average this year. The monsoon delivers about 70 percent of India's annual rainfall, critical for crops such as rice, cane, corn, cotton and soybeans because nearly half of the country's farmland lacks irrigation. Monthly rainfall across the country is likely to be 96 percent of its long-term average during July, and 99 percent of the average during August, both with a model error of 9 percent, the IMD said in a statement. India is likely to receive higher monsoon rainfall than previously forecast as concern over the El Nino weather pattern eased.
  • SahithiPingali- the student from Bangalore who will be sharing the space with other luminaries in the Milky Way by having a minor planet named after her. This milestone is part of her winning streak at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) in Los Angeles. Earlier this month at ISWEEEP (The International Sustainable World Engineering Energy Environment Project) Olympiad held in Houston, Texas, Sahithi won the Gold Medal for her research on 'An Innovative Crowdsourcing Approach to Monitoring Freshwater Bodies' which was based on city lakes. She has also researched on Varthur Lake with her school team especially. The Lincoln Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which has the right to name minor planets, decided to name a planet after her.
  • Main features of GSLV MkIII-D1-It is a three-stage vehicle with indigenous cryogenic upper stage engine , It is the heaviest rocket to be launched from our own soil, It has two solid strap-on motors (S200) and a core liquid booster (L110) are the main features of GSLV MkIII-D1 which was successfully launched from the spaceport in Sriharikota. Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III (MkIII D-1) injected the 3,136-kg GSAT-19, the heaviest satellite to be launched from the country yet, into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit about 16 minutes later. GSLV MkIII can orbit payloads or satellites weighing upto 4,000 kgs into the GTO and 10,000 kgs into Low Earth Orbit.
  • Major highlights of the second bi-monthly monetary policy for 2017-18- Repo rate unchanged at 6.25%, Reverse repo unchanged at 6%, Statutory Liquidity Ratio cut by 0.5% to 20% were the major highlights of the second bi-monthly monetary policyfor 2017-18recently announced by Reserve bank of India. The policy lowered projections for inflation while striking a less hawkish tone in a policy statement.
  • Major highlights of the 'TB Cough'campaign- It warns people of increasing risk of TB associated with smoking cigarettes or bidis, It warns people of increasing risk of TB on being exposed to second-hand smoke are the major highlights of the 'TB Cough', the campaign launched to spread awareness against TB by Ministry of Health, Govt. of India on World No Tobacco Day on May 31. With this India has become the first country to launch a national mass campaign establishing the link between smoking and tuberculosis(TB) in a bid to raise awareness and encourage smokers to seek medical opinion when they have persistent cough.
  • El Nino-the phenomenon which affects the normal monsoon in India. The south west monsoon began on strong note in 2017 as El Nino is not likely to effect Indian sub-continent this summer.
  • Main of issues of conflict between India and China-Sovereignty issues, NSG issues and terrorism issues in neighbouring state as the main of issues of conflict between India and China. Both the countries which saw worsening of ties over these issues recently talked of managing their differences as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, recently to discuss the impact of mega connectivity projects such as OBOR among other issues. The two leaders were meeting for the first time since India skipped Xi's mega show-a summit on One Belt One Road project in Beijing in May 2017.
  • 23-the number agricultural commodities for which the government fixes minimum support prices or MSPs. The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) is required to give recommendations to the government regarding MSP. The commission assesses demand and supply by sending questionnaires and holding discussions with government agencies and various trade and industry bodies. These prices are announced at the beginning of each sowing season. The government essentially guarantees to buy any of the harvest that is offered to it at this price. The assurance of remunerative prices are supposed to encourage farmers to invest more and hence increase production of these crops.
  • Main agriculture produce of states- Turmeric-Telangana, RedChilli-Andhra Pradesh, Onion-Maharashtra, Soyabean-Madhya Pradesh along with Sunflower of Haryana and Wheat of Uttar Pradesh are the main agriculture produce of the respective states. This was in the news recently as the each of the produce has suffered price crash in the light of bountiful production. The glut and the plunging prices are believed to be the sum total of the crisis staring at farmers across the country.
  • STEM subjects -it stands Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics subjects. This was in the news recently as due to complete domination of boys in this sector there is a move by joint admission board of IITs to recommend an increase of 600 seats- a hike of 14%-in number of seats allotted to women, taking the quotas to 1440 seats. Currently, women make up to just 8% of the student strength at the 23IITs. The IITs are among India's best institutes and rank high in global surveys but are plagued by a paltry number of women students, seen as society's belief that women are more suited for technical jobs.
  • Tax Invoices after GST-All GST taxpayers are free to design their own invoice format, Only certain fields must mandatorily be in the invoice are some of the facts about Tax Invoices which would be in vogue after the implementation of GST from 1st July, 2017. Other highlights of the tax invoice are that for small transactions up to a value of Rs200 per transaction for unregistered customers no need to issue invoices for each transaction, Taxpayers with annual turnover of Rs.1.5 crore need not mention the HSCN Code of the goods in the invoices.
  • Major decisions taken in the first quarterly performance review of PSBs- Consolidation of state-run banks on the anvil, Financial computer emergency response team for cyber threats, States to bear the burden of farm loan waivers are some of the major decisions taken in the first quarterly performance review of PSBs in the presence of Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley recently.
  • The major estimates in internet usage of India as estimated by Cisco- 829 million internet users(59% of population in 2021),up from 373 millon(28% of polulation in 2016); 2 million networked devices in 2021,up from 1.4 billion in 2016; 67% of all networked devices will be mobile connected by 2021 are the major estimates in internet usage of India as estimated by Cisco. It also estimated that mobile data traffic will grow seven-fold from 2016 to 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 49% and the mobile data traffic in 2021 will be equivalent to 88 times the volume of all india's internet traffic in 2005.
  • Clauses under which the cash transaction of Rs.2.00 lakh or more is prohibited from 1st April 2017: In aggregate from a person in a day, In respect of a single transaction, In respect of transactions relating to one event or occasion from a person are the clauses under which the cash transaction of Rs.2.00 lakh or more is prohibited from 1st April 2017. Section 269ST has been inserted in the Income-tax Act, 1961 w.e.f 1st April 2017 which restricts acceptance of cash of Rs 2 lakh or more by any person. This section applies to all persons receiving cash of Rs.2 lakh or above however this restriction shall not apply to any receipt by the government or any receipt by or from any Banking Company, Post Office Savings Bank or Co-operative Bank.
  • Pulses, Oilseeds and cotton -they are the crops for which the government recently increased the MSP(Minimum Support Price) for the 2017-18 crop year and also convinced seed associations to curtail prices of hybrid seeds by 10%. The maximum hike in MSP is fixed for pulses whose output is estimated to be a record 22.40 million tonnes (MT) in the 2016-17 crop year ending June as against 16.35 MT in 2015-16. The record production was attributed to good monsoon, higher MSP and better procurement arrangement. The MSP of tur(arhar) was increased from Rs.5,050 per quintal(including bonus) in 2016-17 to Rs.5450per quintal(including Rs.200 bonus) in 2017-18- hike of Rs.400 per quintal. Similarly the support price for Urad has risen from Rs.5000(including bonus) per quintal in 2016-17 to Rs.5400(including bonus) per quintal in 2017-18. In case of Moong,it stands increased from Rs.5225(including bonus) per quintal in 2016-17 to Rs.5575(including bonus) in 2017-18. Among oilseeds, the government has increased the MSP of groundnut-in-shell(Rs. 4450 per quintal), soyabean(Rs.3050 per quintal), sunflower seed(Rs.4100 per quintal), sesamum(Rs.5300 per quintal) and nigerseed(Rs.4050 per quintal).
  • 4% -it is India's share of global water resources, Over 80% of rural and urban domestic water needs in India is served by groundwater, India has no national law on water , Water is state subject are some of the key facts related to groundwater resources of India. India has no national law on water unlike countries like Israel, South Africa, Australia etc. which has national water laws. In India water is a state subject which means that states are free to deal on their water issues like irrigation, drainage etc. Centre has powers only to regulate and develop interstate rivers.
  • AICTE & AITMC -they have combined together to launch Earn While Learn initiative to create 1.5 million jobs in rural India in one year. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and non-governmental organization AITMC recently launched 'Earn While Learn' to educate and develop the skill set of over 1.5 million youth and provide them assured livelihoods. 'Earn While Learn' initiative was recently announced at the 'Global Summit 2017' and will be implemented in collaboration with industries and business owners.
  • Seekho aur Kamao, USTTAD, Nai Manzil, Gareeb Nawaz Skill Development Program - these are the major skill development schemes for inclusive development of minorities in India. In last 3 years, including 40% women, more than five lakh minorities (Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis & Jains) were extended opportunities of skill development and education through employment oriented skill development schemes.
Current Affairs[May 2017]
  • KELT-11b-the name of potentially habitable Earth-like planet discovered by scientists, located just 21 light years away which may host liquid water on its surface. Scientists from Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias(IAC) in Canary Islands found that the planet, with a mass between two and three times the Earth, resides at the edge of the habitable zone of its host star GJ625(Gliese 625). This is the sixth super-Earth closest to our solar system in the habitability zone of its star.
  • Marocail-the deciding word which helped the twelve-year-old Ananya Vinay to win won the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee. The sixth-grader from Fresno, California, won by spelling 'marocain', a French word for dress fabric made of ribbed crepe. She got more than $40,000 in cash and prizes .Runner-up Rohan Rajeev missed the word 'marram', a Scandinavian-derived word for beach grass. Ananya's victory was the first time since 2013 that the bee has declared a single champion. It ended in a tie for three consecutive years. Competitors age 6 to 15 emerged from early spelling bees involving more than 11 million youths from all 50 US states, US territories from Puerto Rico to Guam, and several countries, from Jamaica to Japan.
  • �Connecting People to Nature�-the theme for World Environment Day 2017 which implores us to get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty and its importance, and to take forward the call to protect the Earth that we share.World Environment Day is the biggest annual event for positive environmental action and takes place every 5 June. This year�s host country Canada got to choose the theme and will be at the centre of celebrations around the planet.World Environment Day is a day for everyone, everywhere. Since it began in 1972, global citizens have organized many thousands of events, from neighbourhood clean-ups, to action against wildlife crime, to replanting forests.
  • 3.5% of GDP�this was the target of fiscal deficit for 2016-17 which was achieved by government for the year as the recent release issued by the Controller General of Accounts. For 2017-18, the government aims to further bring down the fiscal deficit- the gap between expenditure and revenue-to 3.2%.
  • 116- the rank of India in the global index of places where childhood is most and least threatened- the index is part of a new report �Stolen Childhoods, from Save the Children, which assesses children missing out on childhood. The index scores reflect the average level of performance across a set of eight indicators related to child health, education, labour, marriage, child birth and violence. India lagged behind many of its neighbouring countries like Myanmar (112), Bhutan (93), Sri Lanka (61) and Maldives (48).
  • 7.1%-the GDP growth in 2016-17 which was almost at 2 year low. India�s growth slumped to a two-year low and the country ceded its top ranking as the world�s fastest growth economy back to China in the March 217 quarter, suggesting that the effects of November�s note swap were rippling through economy.
  • INAM-Pro+-the first of its kind web based platform for procurement of various kinds of infrastructure materials and machinery by Construction agencies engaged in implementation of infrastructure projects. The platform www.inampro.nic.in has been developed by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India through National Highways Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited.
  • 31st May�this day was recently celebrated as World No Tobacco Day to spread awareness about the use of tobacco which can help in prevention of cancer and heart disease. There are about 1,200mn total tobacco users in the world out of which around 274.9mn are in India.
  • 7.5%-the expected rate of growth of Indian Economy in the fiscal year 2017as per global ratings agency,Moody�s Investors Service. It will grow by 7.7% in 2018 and will reach 8% in 3-4 years.The agency said that the negative impact of last year's demonetization on the economy has been limited in size and duration.Moody's said the government has been successful in pushing through several key reforms including liberalization of foreign direct investment rules in a number of key sectors, including defense, railway infrastructure, civil aviation and insurance; the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme for food; fertilizer and kerosene subsidies; the goods and service tax , which is expected to come into effect in July; and a national bankruptcy code,together these will help reduce inefficiencies and improve trend growth over the long run.
  • DIPP �it stands for The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) is the nodal department for managing the Fund of Funds (FoF) created by the government for pumping money into startups. This was in the news as the nodal department has asked the finance ministry for an additional allocation of Rs.1600 crore in the current financial year. The fund announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2016 has a total corpus of Rs.10, 000 crore to be released till 2025. The FoF has committed Rs.623 crore to 17 alternative investment funds(AIFs) set up under it and these AIFs have further invested in 62 startups as on March 2017.The FoF is being managed by Small Industries Development bank of India (SIDBI).
  • 6.8%-the expected GDP growth of India in 2016-2017 as per the World Bank bi-annual India Development Update released recently. India's economy was slowing down in early 2016-17, until the favourable monsoon started lifting the economy, but the recovery was temporarily disrupted by the government's demonetisation initiative. As a result, a modest slowdown is expected in the GDP growth in 2016-2017 to 6.8 per cent as per World Bank report. The report attributes it to coping mechanisms, including greater usage of digital transactions, higher rural incomes, and robust public consumption. The pick-up in rural wages in November and December, 2016, and the growth of agricultural output suggests the positive impact of the monsoons substantially dampened the disruption from demonetisation.The report said that demonetisation has the potential to accelerate the formalisation of the economy in the long-term leading to higher tax collections and greater digital financial inclusion.It also said that the country's growth is expected to recover in 2017-2018 to 7.2 per cent and is projected to gradually increase to 7.7 per cent in 2019-2020.The World Bank also noted that India remained the fastest growing economy in the world with strong economic fundamentals and ongoing reform momentum.
  • GCMMF-it stands for Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) which recently signed an agreement with ISRO for fodder acreage assessment using satellite observation and space technology.GCMMF markets its products under the brand name of 'Amul'.Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), ISRO will help in identification between food crops and fodder crops at village level and also locate suitable areas of current fallows and cultivable wastelands at village level for green fodder cultivation. Amul and Space Applications Centre (SAC), ISRO, had earlier carried out a joint pilot, which found that to assess green fodder availability for dairy livestock at district and village level through remote sensing is feasible. Fodder acreage estimation would act as a decision making tool for monitoring and planning of fodder development activities by the stakeholders in the dairy sector. Amul is currently procuring around 150 lakh litres of milk daily from around 35 lakh milk producer members from over 18,500 villages. The milk producer farmers of Gujarat will get benefit of fodder cultivation by using this technology.
  • Prithvi-II- the indigenously developed nuclear-capable missileof India which was recently successfully test-fired from a test range in Odisha as part of a user trial by the Army. The trial of the surface-to-surface missile, which has a strike range of 350 km, was carried out from a mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur. The Prithvi-II missile is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1,000 kg of warheads and is thrusted by liquid propulsion twin engines. It uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory to hit its target with precision and accuracy.
  • Trin-the name of the India's first public bicycle sharing (PBS) system, which was launched recently in Karnataka by chief minister Siddaramaiah, bringing Mysuru on the list of select global cities which already have bicycles as a commuting option. A total of 450 bicycles (430 regular and 20 with gear) can be borrowed for a nominal fee from 48 automated docking stations set up at major tourist destinations, universities and offices. The users have to obtain a smart card which they can swipe and take a bicycle from a docking station, and return it at any other station, where a user fee would be deducted from the smart card. The initiative has been jointly funded by the World Bank, Global Environmental Fund and state directorate of urban land transport. While Mysuru City Corporation owns the bicycles, the project is being operated by Green Wheel Ride, a city-based manufacturer of eco-friendly bicycles. While the city's cycling enthusiasts had a joyride, more people, particularly foreigners, are expected to opt for the green transport mode in the coming days.
  • World Bank�they projected a strong 7.2 per cent growth rate for India for 2017 against 6.8 per cent growth in 2016.They have also said that India remains the fastest growing major economy in the world as for now. The growth projections for China remains unchanged at 6.5 per cent for 2017 and then 6.3 per cent for the next two years, 2018 and 2019. The World Bank in its latest Global Economic Prospects, projects India�s growth to 7.5 per cent in 2018 and 7.7 per cent in 2019.
  • Block level�this would be the base level of weather forecast systems under the National Monsoon Mission (NMM) from 2019 as per the recent announcements by Union Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan recently.The Rs 400 crore National Monsoon Mission will be a revolutionary step in weather forecasting and it would help the farmers, policy makers, administrators and all concerned alike. Further to make weather forecasting with higher accuracy in the mountainous northeastern region, most modern Doppler weather radars have been installed in Cherrapunjee in Meghalaya, Mohanbari in Dibrugarh (Assam) and Agartala (Tripura). Rs 475 crore project has been set up two mega centres at Koyna in Maharashtra and Shillong in Meghalaya for the study of earthquake prediction.
  • Tejas Express-the name of the train, which boasts several modern facilities on-board like LED TV and tea, coffee vending machine, was flagged off from Mumbai to Goa by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu recently. The train has got all the ultra-modern amenities like on-board infotainment, Wi-Fi, CCTV, fire and smoke detection facilities, tea and coffee vending machine etc.India's first premium train will run at an average speed of 130kmph.The train, manufactured at the Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala, will have automatic entrance door, a first in non-suburban train in Indian railways. The graffiti proof, vinyl-wrapped specially designed exterior has a bright colour theme of orange and yellow. Tejas Express has a dust-proof/sealed inter car gangway.The Tejas Express would operate between Mumbai and Karmali (Goa) five days a week during non-monsoon period and three days a week during monsoon by halting at Dadar, Thane, Panvel, Ratnagiri and Kudal stations.The high-speed train has all the safety measures like suppression system, fire suppression system, smoke detection and fire detection. A GPS-based passenger information display system and a digital destination board has also been installed for the convenience of the passengers.
  • 2011-12-the new base year from which the new series of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) of India was launched recently. The new series for IIP captures industrial activities on monthly basis. A high-level panel had firmed up the methodology for the IIP with the new base year of 2011-12. Currently, the IIP is calculated on base year of 2004-05.The Central Statistics Office (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, revises the base year of the macroeconomic indicators, as a regular exercise, to capture structural changes in the economy and improve the quality and representativeness of the indices. In this direction, the base year of the all-India Index of Industrial Production (IIP) has also been revised from 2004-05 to 2011-12 to not only reflect the changes in the industrial sector but to also align it with the base year of other macroeconomic indicators like the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Wholesale Price Index (WPI). Revisions in the IIP are necessitated to maintain representativeness of the items and producing entities and also address issues relating to continuous flow of production data. In the past, such changes were effected at the time of a revision in the base year. With the release of the new series of IIP (base 2011-12), an institutional mechanism has been established for facilitating dynamic revision of the item list of products and the panel of factories, through a Technical Review Committee, chaired by Secretary, Ministry of Statistics & PI. This Committee will meet at least once a year for identifying new items that need to be included in the item basket and removing those that have lost its relevance in the industrial sector or are no longer being produced.
  • Oversight Committee- the committee which will be reconstituted to operationalise the banking ordinance for resolving the issue of non-performing assets (NPAs) by Reserve Bank of India as per its plan to deal with the mounting problem of banks' bad loans. The existing OC, which has two members, was constituted by the Indian Banks Association (IBA) in consultation with the RBI. The government earlier this month passed the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, that allowed more power to the RBI to tackle the NPAs' issue. It has been empowered to issue directions to commercial banks to initiate insolvency proceedings for recovering bad loans. The NPAs, or bad loans, of state-run banks at the end of last September rose to Rs 6.3 lakh crore (almost $100 billion), as compared to Rs 5.5 lakh crore at the end of June 2016. The RBI said it is also working on a framework to facilitate an "objective and consistent" decision-making process for cases that may be referenced for resolution under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
  • Paytm-the entity which launched its payment bank in India recently. Paytm is the third entity in the country to launch a payments bank after Airtel and India Post.Targeting 500 million customers by 2020, digital payments firm Paytm on 23rd May 2017 launched its payments bank with 4 per cent interest rate and cashbacks on deposits, zero fees on online transactions and no minimum balance requirement. Backed by Chinese firm Alibaba and Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, the company has earmarked an initial investment of Rs 400 crore to build its banking network over two years. Paytm plans to roll out 31 branches and 3,000 customer service points of the bank in the first year.Paytm will offer virtual Rupay debit cards to customers immediately and physical cards on request for withdrawing cash from any ATM in the country.
  • 3rd-the rank of India among nations most affected by internal displacements due to disasters and conflicts as per the recent report released by Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. In India 2.85 million people were displaced as per the report (2.4mn displaced due to disaster and 0.45mn displaced due to conflict & violence). China with 7mn and Phillipines with 6mn are the two top worst hit nations affected by internal displacement.
  • 50% or more�the value addition done in India which will qualify a good to be defined as local goods as per the new policy titled �Government Procurement preference to Make in India order, 2017� which was approved by Cabinet recently. The policy involves purchases of at least Rs.2 lakh crore a year and also covers autonomous bodies, government companies and entities under the government�s control. Small purchases of less than Rs.50, 000 are exempt from the policy, procurement of goods and services worth Rs. 50 lakh or less where the nodal ministry determines that there is sufficient local capacity and local competition can be made only from local suppliers. For procurement of orders worth more than Rs.50 lakh or where there is insufficient local capacity or competition, local suppliers or competition will get 20% margin of purchase preference.
  • FIPB�it, which stands for Foreign Investment Promotion Board was recently abolished by government in a major decision aimed at further easing doing business in India. The Union Cabinet recently abolished the 25-year-old Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), obviating the need for prior clearance for Foreign Direct Investment in more than 90 per cent cases. After this only 11 sectors would require prior approval for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).The Union Budget 2017-18 presented in February had announced the proposal for abolition of FIPB. The FIPB was set up in the early 1990s as an inter-ministerial single-window for allowing FDIs that need government approval. The government relaxed FDI norms in June 2016 in single brand retail, civil aviation, airports, pharmaceuticals, animal husbandry and food products, whereby investors in these sectors do not need to seek approval from the FIPB.
  • Rs.225 per quintal- the new fair and remunerative price (FRP) of sugarcane for 2017-18 which was approved by The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) recently. The CCEA gave the approval for fixing FRP of sugarcane at Rs 255 per quintal for sugar season 2017-18 linked to a basic recovery rate of 9.5 per cent subject to a premium of Rs 2.68 per quintal for every 0.1 per cent point increase in recovery above that level. The approved FRP reflects an increase of 10.87 per cent over the FRP of sugar season 2016-17.The recommended FRP has been arrived at by taking into account factors like cost of production, overall demand-supply situation, domestic and international prices, inter-crop price parity, terms of trade prices of primary by-products, and likely impact of FRP on general price level and resource use efficiency. FRP or the minimum price that sugarcane farmers are legally guaranteed, has been determined on the basis of recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and after consultation with state governments and other stake-holders. Cane price arrears for the current sugar season 2016-17 is the lowest as compared to last five years of the corresponding period. In order to address the current sugar season's shortfall in production and any possible adverse price sentiment, the Government has allowed import of only 5 lakh MT of raw sugar at zero duty. However, to protect the Indian farmers, import quantity has been restricted along with zonal restrictions so as to make it available only in actually deficient areas and safeguard the interest of cane farmers. The sugar industry impacts livelihood of about 50 million sugarcane farmers and around 5 lakh workers directly employed in sugar mills, apart from those employed in various ancillary activities.
  • e-Sanad-the name of programme which was launched by government for digital attestation of documents. The government recently announced a service to digitise the process of attestation of documents for those going abroad, so that they are spared the trouble of visiting government offices for the purpose. 'e-Sanad' -- an initiative of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), in association with two other ministries -- will initially be hosting school leaving certificates with the help of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). In subsequent phases, the portal will also host documents from central universities.'Parinaam Manjusha', the CBSE repository of documents like mark-sheets and migrations certificates, has been integrated with e-Sanad for this purpose.
  • State Bank of India (SBI)-they launched a national hackathon for developers, start-ups and students to come up with innovative ideas and solutions for the banking sector. The hackathon, named 'Code For Bank', will focus on the business value driven by technologies like predictive analytics, fin-tech/block chain, digital payments, IOT, artificial intelligence, machine learning, BOTS and robotic process automation. In the phase 1, participants can register their ideas during May 20-29 followed by hackathon which will start from June 6, 2017 and ends on June 20, 2017.
  • SIMBEX-17-the name of joint week-long mega maritime exercise between the Indian Navy and the Republic of Singapore Navy which recently came to a close. It also displayed the maiden participation of Singapore's F-15SG fighter jets. Hosted by Singapore, the exercise was held on land at the now renamed "RSS Singapura - Changi Naval Base" and at a sea phase in the South China Sea. This year's exercise was the 24th iteration of the annual bilateral exercise held since 1994. Over the years, SIMBEX has grown in scope and complexity, expanding beyond its traditional emphasis on anti-submarine warfare to incorporate elements of maritime security, anti-air and anti-surface warfare.
  • Mora- the name of the cyclone which affected areas around the Bay of Bengal. Under the influence of the Cyclone 'Mora' over east-central Bay of Bengal, conditions became favourable for further advance of southwest monsoon into some parts of southeast Arabian Sea, southwest Bay of Bengal and east central Bay of Bengal, remaining parts of southeast Bay of Bengal and some parts of west central and northeast Bay of Bengal.
  • Maruti Suzuki�this company recently pipped global car majors Audi, Hyundai, Subaru and Renault to enter the club of top ten auto makers by market capitalization. The high double digit volume growth last month catapulted Maruti�s market cap to Rs.2 lakh crore ($31.55 billion) recently, a first for an Indian auto company. It has also emerged the second most valued stock after Tesla on the basis of m-cap to sales ratio.
  • Net assets of more than Rs.25 crore, Gross NPAs less than 7% & No monetary penalty imposed on the bank for two financial years�these are the conditions which a co-operative bank must fulfil to deploy their own or third party point of sale (PoS) terminals. Reserve Bank of India recently permitted co-operative banks to deploy their own or third party point of sale (PoS) terminals with an intention of increasing digital transactions but only if they fulfil the above mentioned conditions.
  • 50,000-the amount up to which market regulators, SEBI, recently allowed investors to buy mutual fund schemes through digital wallets in order to promote digital payments in the MF industry and channelize household savings into capital market.
  • 273.38 million tones�it is the revised estimates for food grain production for 2016-17 made by agriculture ministry, marking 2016-17 as the best crop year in country�s history. The latest estimates are higher than the 272 million tonnes forecast by the ministry in its advance estimates released in mid-February. It is 0.51% higher than the second estimate and 8.67% higher than last year�s output. The record food production is 8.7% higher than the 252 million tonnes produced the year before (2015-16) when a drought cut output, and 8 million tonnes (3.2%) more than the previous record of 265 million tonnes in 2013-14. The production of rice, wheat, pulses, coarse cereals, oilseeds, cotton and sugarcane was 104.4 MT, 92.3 MT, 16.4 MT, 38.5MT, 25.3MT, 30MT, 348.5MT in 2015-16 respectively.
  • IDBI-the bank which was recently for which the Reserve Bank of India initiated Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) in view of the �high net non-performing assets and negative return on assets. PCA are loss-control measures aimed at preventing the weak banks from bleeding further by increasing curbs on lending and expenses. Banks can escape the watch list if they are able to improve profitability or get fresh infusion of capital. While revising the PCA guidelines in April, the RBI had said that if a bank�s common equity tier-I capital falls below the threshold of 3.625%, the bank could either be amalgamated or taken over by another entity.
  • Food and Beverages-the sector where the percentage share of spending in India at 44.63 % and the world consumer at 40.88% is the highest. This sector is followed by Housing, Energy, Clothing& Footwear respectively. The figures comes from the Global Consumption Database of the world bank, the most comprehensive data source on consumer spending patterns in developing countries. The database provides a starting point to understanding consumer spending in emerging market. The data set is based on nationally representative household surveys, covering 92 countries and spending across 12 sectors.
  • Mustard-the crop which is likely to move towards being a genetically modified (GM) crop in India. GM Mustard will the second crop that could potentially get an approval for commercial release. The first to secure approval was Bt cotton in 2002. First developed in 2000, GM mustard was one of the first genetically modified food crops to be considered. However Bt cotton secured the first approval for commercial release in 2002 and GM mustard now awaits its turn.
  • Environment Affairs-the ministry which was being looked after by Union Minister Anil Madhav Dave who passed away recently. Science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan will now hold additional charge of the environment ministry. He took charge as Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Independent Charge), in New Delhi on July 6, 2016. He hailed from Madhya Pradesh. Dave is the second Union minister of the Modi government to have died in office. Gopinath Munde died in a car accident in 2014.
  • 10-the number of indigenous atomic reactors whose approval for construction was cleared by Union Cabinet recently, the largest ever approval for such facilities in one go. Once completed, the 10 reactors of 700 MW each will give much needed fillip to the domestic nuclear industry. The Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors(PHWRs) will be developed by the Department of Atomic Energy. India currently has installed nuclear power capacity of 6,78 MW from 22 operational plants. Another 6,7 MW of nuclear power is expected to be added by 2021-22 when currently under construction projects go on stream in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. The 10 reactors would be built at Mahi Banswara (Rajasthan), Chutka (M.P), Kaiga (Karnataka) and Gorakhpur (Haryana.)
  • 25 per cent-the total number of 'banking outlets' opened during a financial year should be located in unbanked rural centres as per the new mandate issued by The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently. The RBI mandated this in its notification -- "Rationalisation of Branch Authorisation Policy- Revision of Guidelines" -- issued recently. Domestic scheduled commercial banks (other than RRBs) are permitted to open, unless otherwise specifically restricted, banking outlets in tier 1 to tier 6 centres without having the need to take permission from RBI in each case.
  • Major decisions approved by the Cabinet recently- Approval for signing of BEPS Convention, New law to evict unauthorized people staying in govt. residences, Amending the law to allow public-oriented construction in forbidden zone near monuments, Country wide implementation of maternity benefits are the major decisions which were approved by the Cabinet recently. BEPS Convention is aimed at plugging gaps and mismatches in tax low or no-tax locations, resulting in little or no overall corporate tax being paid.
  • M777s - the artillery guns which were received by India recently. India received its first artillery guns in almost 30 years after the Bofors scandal unfolded in the late 1980s. The two M777s that arrived in New Delhi are part of a $750-million contract with the US for 145 ultra-light howitzers. The howitzers weigh only 4,218 kg providing them superior tactical mobility. The two guns are part of the 25 ready-built weapons that will be supplied by the US over the next two years. The remaining 120 howitzers will be produced in India. Manufacturedby BAE Systems, the guns will be built in India in collaboration with Mahindra Defence.
  • 2032-the year by which NitiAayog has drawn a grand vision for �New India� in which nearly everyone will have houses with toilets, two-wheelers or cars, power, ACs and digital connectivity. The Vision 2031-32 document was unveiled by NitiAayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya to the Governing Council, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently. The presentation-India-2031-32: Vision,Strategy and Action Agenda-made before CMs also visualizes a fully literate society with access to health care. It also calls for having a much larger and modern network of roads, railways, waterways and air connectivity and clean India where citizens would have access to quality air and water.
  • $469 lakh crore or $7.2 trillion�this will be the size of India�s economy by 2030, growing at an average rate of 8% as per the NitiAayog�s 15-year vision document. This would be more than three-fold expansion from $137 lakh crore or $2.1 trillion in 2015-16. The increase of $332 lakh crore ($5.1 trillion) in 15 years compares with the addition of $8.1 trillion in China�s GDP over the past 15 years. India�s economy grew by 7% in the third quarter of 2016-17 compared with 7.4% in the second quarter. The Central Statistical office retained its projection of 7.1% growth in 2016-17, slowing from 7.6%, in the previous financial year. The IMF estimated India�s GDP growth at 7.2% for 2017-18.
  • 7 pillars of the 3 year action plan unveiled by Niti Aayog- Forecast for revenues and expenditure, Transformation of key sectors, Regional development in addition to Growth enablers, governance reforms, social sectors and sustainability are the 7 pillars of the 3 year action plan which was unveiled by NitiAayog recently. The key areas of Forecast for revenues and expenditure are Resources & allocation; for Transformation of key sectors are Agri, industry & services; for Regional development are Urban & rural transformation; for Growth enablers are Transport, digital, PPP, science & tech, energy & for Governance reforms are Tax policy & rule of law; for social sectors are Health, education & skill development and for Sustainability are Environment, forests & sustainable water usages.
  • Foreign travel�this for the first time has become the number one reason why Indian individuals spend money overseas. Until last year, the top reason forremittances was Indians spending money abroad for maintenance of close relatives and for studies. These remittances are made under the RBI�s Liberalised remittance Scheme under which individuals are allowed to spend up to $ 250,000 annually. The forex remittance limit was brought down from $200,000 to $70,000 in 2013 when the rupee went into a free fall. This limit was restored and then restored to $250,000 in May 2015.
  • 2%-the increase in deficit of GDP predicted by Chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian if the practice of waiving of farmers' loans by state governments in India is carried out nationwide. In an interactive session at the prestigious Peterson Institute, United States recently, on the sidelines of the annual Spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, he said actions like this pose a big challenge to the Centre's effort towards fiscal consolidation.
  • Need for consolidated approach and Adherence to strict timelines�these were the two major attributes underlined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his review of infrastructure projects. The meeting was told that the highest ever average daily construction rate of 130 kilometres has been achieved for rural roads under the Pradhan Mantri Gram SadakYojana. This has led to an addition of 47,400 kilometres of PMGSY roads in 2016-17 and 11,641 additional habitations have been connected with roads in the same period. Over 4000 km of rural roads have been constructed using green technology in FY17. In the highways sector, over 26,000 kilometres of 4 or 6 lane national highways have been built in FY17. In the railways sector, 953 kilometres of new lines were laid in 2016-17, as against the target of 400 kilometres. Track electrification of over 2000 kilometres, and gauge conversion of over 1000 kilometres was achieved in the same period. More than 1500 unmanned level crossings have been eliminated in 2016-17. In the aviation sector, the Regional Connectivity Scheme will connect 43 destinations, including 31 unserved destinations. The passenger capacity in the aviation sector has reached 282 million passengers per annum. In the ports sector, under the Sagarmala project, 415 projects have been identified with investment of Rs. 8 lakh crore, and projects worth 1.37 lakh crore rupees have been taken up for implementation. All 193 lighthouses are now powered by solar energy and digitisation of land records has been completed in all major ports. In the coal sector, rationalisation of coal linkages and movement yielded an annual saving of over Rs 2500 crore in 2016-17.
  • 273 million tonnes�the amount of food grain production in the 2017-18 crop year beginning July, is the target government is aiming to achieve anticipating goo monsoon. Food grain production is estimated to touch a record 271.98 million tonnes in the current year (July-June), as per the second estimate of the agriculture ministry. According to the agriculture ministry, there is sufficient supply of seeds for the forthcoming kharifseason. Fertiliser requirement is estimated to be 28.99 million tonnes for the season.
  • 4th-the rank of India in terms of online security breaches accounting for over 5% of global threat as per a Symantec study. The US and China occupy the top two slots and together make for almost 34%, followed by Brazil and then India. The year 2016 saw a resurgence of the email as an attack channel, multi-million-dollar virtual bank heists, ransomware and new frontiers like IoT and cloud getting exposed to threats. While China has managed to bring down hacks from nearly 24% in 2015 to under 10% in 2016, India saw instances of fraud increase from 3.4% in 2015 to 5.1% in 2016. Symantec uncovered evidence linking North Korea to attacks on banks in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Ecuador and Poland. Yahoo's data breaches grabbed maximum eyeballs in 2016, after the company said in September that 500 million of its user accounts were compromised in 2014. Symantec data reveals that in the last eight years, more than 7 billion online identities have been stolen in data breaches. In 2016, more than 1.1 billion identities were stolen in data breaches, almost double the number stolen in 2015 (563 million stolen identities).
  • ISRO�they recently demonstrated a solar hybrid electric car, designed and developed using in-house resources, at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvanathanapuram. Isro made an announcement about this environment-friendly car recently. VSSC is Isro'scentre for making various types of rockets like the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and the Reusable Launch Vehicle. The car is run using high-energy lithium ion batteries, which can be recharged using sunlight, said sources. The main challenges in developing the vehicle included designing a solar panel on top of the car and also control electronics for the battery and solar panel interface and, what is known as, "drive electronic" to run the car smoothly.
  • Major proposals recently approved by Union Cabinet-NPA clean �up package, Approval to New Steel Policy, MoU with Malaysia on urea plant along with modifications in the 7th Pay Commission for pensioner�s benefit are some of the major proposals which were approved by Union Cabinet recently. The cabinet cleared the nonperforming asset (NPA) resolution package that includes an ordinance to empower the Reserve Bank of India to more effectively deal with bad assets, a move that will kick off a long-awaited initiative aimed at cleaning up the balance sheets of banks burdened with bad debt. The cabinet also approved a new policy to boost consumption of locally produced steel and modifications to recommendations of the Seventh Central Pay Commission with respect to pensioners. The government also proposes to issue an ordinance to amend the Banking Regulation Act, which will empower Reserve Bank to deal much more effectively with stressed assets. Changes are being made to Section 35A of the Banking Regulation Act as also certain provisions of the Bankruptcy Code. These changes will empower RBI to give directions to banks to effectively resolve NPAs.
  • 31st July 2017-the last date up to which the builders can continue the marketing of their ongoing projects, even if they are not registered with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA). However, no new project can be launched without it being registered with RERA. According to the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA), existing ongoing projects need to file for registration with their respective regulatory authority by July 31. Till then the developers can continue their marketing and other activities like construction and securing the approvals from the existing authorities.
  • Dev Bhoomi-the feature film by the renowned Serbian director Goran Paskaljevic with actor Victor Banerjee in the lead which clinched the Best Film Prize in the International Panorma contest at Bari film festival (BIFEST) in Italy. The Hindi/Garhwali/English film was shot in the Garhwal regions of Uttarakhand and deals with social issues such as gender inequalities and caste prejudices. Banerjee is known for his roles in David Lean�s �A Passage to India� and Satyajit Ray�s �Ghare Baire�.
  • 60% of the creditors by value and 50% creditors by numbers�the new criteria by which one can now reach at a decision in a joint lender�s forum when approving the restructuring plan as per the new directives of the Reserve Bank of India. Banks will have to implement that plan agreed upon without any additional conditions and there would be a monetary penalty on those who veer away from the decision. The new corrective action plan covers restructuring of project loans, change in ownership under strategic debt restructuring and the scheme for sustainable structuring of stressed assets. The earlier rule required approval of 75% of creditors and 60% by numbers.
  • Section 35 AA & Section 35AB-the new sections which have been added by ordinance to 35A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 in a move aimed at breaking current logjam on stressed assets and expediting commercial decision-making by lenders. 35AA authorizes RBI to direct banks to resolve stressed assets through insolvency process. 35AB allows RBI to issue directions for resolution of stressed assets, set up committees or approve appointments for the same.
  • GSAT-9-the satellite which was put in space by GSLV-F09 which is meant to boost connectivity among Saarc nations, minus Pakistan. The South Asia satellite was launched atop a 50-metre tall rocket, the Geo-Synchronous Satellite Launch vehicle on its 11th flight. It weighs 414 kg and will use an indigenous cryogenic engine. The satellite will provide telecommunication links among India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. Each country can beam its own TV programmes while there will be the possibility for a common South Asia programming.
Current Affairs[April 2017]
  • 2,500 crore -the number of digital transactions which the India should target to achieve during this year. This target was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his latest version of Mann Ki Baat on 26th March 2017. He called upon all to take up the fight against black money and corruption to the next level and try to achieve the target of digital transactions in just six months.
  • 0.3% -the target percentage of blind people compared to total population which India has to achieve as per the targets set up 'Under Vision 2020'. Under this India is set to change the40-year old definition of blindness. A person unable to count fingers from a distance of six metres is categorised as 'blind' in India, against the WHO's stipulation of three metres. This change in definition will bring down the number of blind persons by 4 million in India.
  • BS-IV -the norm for vehicles which will come into force from 1st April, 2016. The Supreme Court on recently banned the sale of BS-III vehicles, saying that the health of citizens is more important than the commercial interests of auto manufacturers. The apex court directed that no BS-III vehicle shall be registered from April 1 and turned down the plea of automobile manufactures to allow them to dispose of 8.2 lakh such vehicles.
  • Aadhaar Bridge Payment System(ABPS) - this along with Aadhaar Enabled Payment(AEPS) & Aadhaar Pay are the major types of prevalent Aadhaar Enabled Payment Systems. ABPS is meant for direct benefit transfer and subsidy from the government to the beneficiaries. AEPS is used at the level of business correspondents or 'bank mitras' where bank customers can use Aadhaar to access various services like cash withdrawal, account opening and fund transfer even without going to a bank branch. Under Aadhaar Pay, merchants can accept payments through Aadhaar identification of their customers.
  • Central Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017- this along with Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017; Goods and Services Tax(Compensation to States) Bill,2017; Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill,2017 are the 4 GST related laws which were passed by the Lok Sabha on 29th March 2017 marking a major step towards the rollout of the single national tax on July 1, 2017. The major provisions are: 2.5% flat rate compounding scheme for small businesses with turnover up to Rs.50lakh, Centre can exempt some goods from CGST, Rs.20 lakh annual revenue threshold for GST, Tax rate capped at 40%( 20% central,205 state), Tax collected at source on CST capped at 2%(1%central,1% state),Registration in every state-no single state registration, Compensation to states for loss of revenues for five years, cess on luxury and sin goods to create a compensation fund, Anti-profiteering measures to ensure lower taxes passed to consumer, I-GST provides levy of tax on interstate supply of goods, Provision to set up GST appellate tribunal.
  • 5%, 12%, 18% & 40% -these are the four tax slabs which will be there after the GST regime. Farmers and small traders will be exempted from taxes. 5% will be on edible oil, tea, sugar and spice mix; 12% on Mobile phone, garments, medicines, air and rail travel and under-construction flats; 18% on Restaurants, processed food, television, microwave, refrigerators, telephones and 40% on Medium Cars, SUVs and large cars(28% on small cars).
  • 11,98,586 MW -the estimated total potential of renewable energy in the country, according to Energy Statistics2017. Rajasthan holds the highest share of this potential (14%), followed by Gujarat (13%) and Maharashtra (10%). Out of this the share from Solar sector is estimated to be 62.48%,Wind 33.78 %, Small-hydro 1.65%,Biomass power 1.46%, Bagasse based cogen in sugar mills 0.42% and Waste to Energy 0.21%.In 2016, the total installed capacity of grid interactive renewable power had gone up to 42,849,38MW which amounted to 3.6% of the total renewable generation potential.
  • 10% -the import duty which the government has imposed on wheat and tur or arhar dal (pigeon pea) with immediate effect- move which is aimed at protecting interests of farmers as pricing of pulses fell below the minimum support price(MSP) across key producing states with expectation of record food grain production in this crop year ( July 2016-June 2017). This is for the first time in a decade when the government has imposed import duty on tur or arhar dal, as it had been pursuing zero duty on imports of pulses since 2006.
  • Rs.50 lakhs -the income up to which individuals can file income tax return in the one page ITR Form-1(Sahaj) introduced from FY 2017-18. This form is valid for one residential property and other income such as interests. This will cover most tax payers.
  • Aadhar Number, Details of aggregate cash deposits if exceeding Rs.2 lakhs during demonetization -these are the two major inclusions in Income Tax Return(ITR) forms for FY 2017-18 notified recently.
  • Senior citizens of age 80 years or more- this along with Individuals or HUF with income of less than Rs.5 lakh and no refund are the only categories who have been granted exemption from electronically filing of income tax returns.
  • 500m - the distance across national and state highways, within which the sale of liquor has been banned across the country except for the hilly states of Sikkim and Meghalaya. The Supreme Court said that its order covers all hotels and restaurants. The judges reduced the benchmark to 220 metres for highways passing through municipal councils with population of less than 20,000, a rule that would also apply to Himachal Pradesh.
  • 60 days- the revised duration of stay which has been allowed under the e-visa scheme. The window for application under the e-visa scheme has also been increased from 30days to 120 days. The e-visa has now been sub-divided into three categories-e-tourist visa, e-business visa and e-medical visa- with the facility now being extended to nationals of 161 countries for entry through 24 airports and three ports of Cochin, Goa and Mangalore to tap into the potential of cruise tourism from different countries.
  • 9km-the length of the India's longest highway tunnel between Chenani & Nashri which was inaugurated recently by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It will reduce distance between Jammu & Srinagar by 31km. It is equipped with the most modern safety systems namely-integrated tunnel control system, ventilation, fire fighting, radio communication etc.
  • 6.25%-the repo rate which was kept unchanged by Reserve Bank of India during the latest monetary policy announced recently. The Reserve Bank of India kept its repo rate at 6.25 per cent for a third consecutive policy meeting on Thursday as it continues to guard against any potential flare-up in inflation and an uncertain global economic environment. The reverse repo rate however has been increased to 6 per cent. RBI projected inflation at 4.5 per cent for first half of 2017-18 and 5 per cent for second half. The GDP growth projected to be 7.4% for the current fiscal, up from 6.7% in 2016-17. The bank said that several indicators point to modest improvement in microeconomic outlook. It also said that risk are evenly balanced around inflation trajectory, however there is an upside risk from uncertainty about monsoon. RBI Governor Urjit Patel said the bank had to absorb a surge in liquidity in the system after demonetisation, and the focused is on removing the liquidity overhang.
  • Rs. 100 crore-the revised capital requirement for asset reconstruction companies as announced recently by Reserve Bank of India. Reserve Bank of India recently hiked the capital requirement for asset reconstruction companies to Rs 100 crore from Rs 2 crore now.In a note accompanying the monetary policy statement the central bank said that the enhanced capital requirements were necessary because of the higher amount of cash required to buy bad loans from the current fiscal. The change in the capital requirements comes after new norms notified by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in September said if security receipts (SRs) make more than 50% of the value of the asset under consideration, banks have to continue to provide for these loans as if the loans continue in the books of the bank. These norms were aimed at forcing banks to sell more NPAs at cash.
  • Twitter-the social networking site which launched a lighter version of its platform -- Twitter Lite -- in India, which is among its top five audience markets globally.The browser-based product, which will also be rolled out in countries like Indonesia and Philippines soon, uses 70 per cent less data and loads 30 per cent faster compared to the app.It will be available in 42 languages, including six Indian languages (Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Kannada, Gujarati and Marathi).Twitter has over 319 million users globally. It does not give out country-specific numbers.Twitter, which allows users to engage with peers, corporates and government using 140 characters, is also betting heavily on visual content like emojis and videos.Twitter has also partnered Vodafone to provide a customised timeline of top cricket related tweets via Twitter Lite to the telecom major's 200 million subscribers throughout the T20 season.
  • Neerja- the film which was declared as the Best Hindi Feature Film at the 64th National Film Awards which was announced recently. Akshay Kumar bagged the Best Actor award for his act in 'Rustom' while Ajay Devgan-directed 'Shivaay' won the award for Best VFX. Sonam Kapoor also got a Special Mention for her performance in 'Neerja'. Over 300 films vied for the honours this year. The process to choose the best from Indian cinema began in mid-March. Filmmaker Priyadarshan was the chairperson of the jury in feature films category, while nationally acclaimed cinematographer and writer Raju Misra was the chairperson in non-feature category.
  • Best Actor - Akshay Kumar (Rustom) , Best Actress - Surabhi Lakshmi (Minnaminungu) ,Best Film on Social Issues - Pink & Best Supporting Actress - Zaira Wasim (Dangal) are the winners of the 64th National Film Award winner in their respective category's which was announced recently.
  • Rs.200- the denomination whose note will be introduced soon in India as decided by the Reserve Bank of India. The RBI board recently approved this proposal to plug the paucity of paucity of lower deominations. The mints are likely to start the printing the new notes from June 2018. The central banks want to circulate the new notes only through bank branches similar to the way Rs.50 and Rs.10 notes are circulated.
  • 1st June-31st May -the period of annual insurance under Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana(PMSBY). Under PMJJBY life insurance is provided of Rs.2 lakhs for an annual premium of just Rs.330 and is available for all account holders aged between 18-50 years. For subscribers enrolling for the first time on or after 1st June 2016, insurance cover shall not be available for death (other than due to accident) occurring during the first 45 days of enrollment and during the lien period no claim would be admissible. Life insurance cover is valid up to 55 years. Under PMSBY accident insurance is provided of Rs.2 lakhs for an annual premium of just Rs.12. This scheme is for all bank account holders between 18-70 years and insurance covers death and permanent disability due to accident.
  • 5,525 MW -the new solar power capacity which India added in 2016-17 according to the latest figures provided by the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE). In comparison, India had added 3,010 MW of solar capacity in 2015-16, which means that the growth nearly doubled over the past year.Cumulative solar capacity currently stands at 12,288.33 MW against 6,762.85 MW at the end of March 2016. The JNNSM had initially set a target of 20,000MW of solar capacity by 2020. However this was scaled upwards by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he took over in 2014, raising it to 100,000 MW of solar power by 2022. Among the states, Andhra Pradesh added the maximum solar capacity in 2016-17 followed by Karnataka and Telangana.
  • Samsung -this brand emerged as the most trusted brand in India in 2017, according to a recent report released by brand analytics firm TRA Research. Samsung climbed 17 ranks over the previous year to grab the top spot. Sony was at Number 2 and LG was ranked Number 3 in the brand trust ranking.
  • Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru -this institute bagged the top position in the top 100 university ranking released by the centre recently. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras came in a close second. The ranking of 100 institutes was conducted by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) which comes under the MHRD. This year the ranking was released under five categories -- Overall, Colleges, Universities, Management and Engineering. IISc figured at the top in 'Overall' and 'Universities' categories. The ranking was decided on the basis of teaching-learning-resources, research-professional practice-collaborative performance, graduation outcomes and outreach of an educational institution.
  • International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) -the corridor being planned to connect India with Russia and Europe via Iran. A dry run of container movement via the green corridor (smooth customs facilitation) may be conducted soon, marking the 70th anniversary of Indo-Russian diplomatic ties. INSTC will substantially reduce time taken and cost for transport of goods between India and Eurasia once fully functional and increase economic activities between India and the resource-rich Russia as well as markets of Europe. The INSTC has moved closer to implementation after India decided to join international customs convention TIR following cabinet approval. The modalities of making INSTC functional was discussed at a multi-stakeholder meeting recently, people familiar with the developments told ET. INSTC is one of corridors that Delhi is working on as part of connectivity initiatives parallel to China's 'One Belt One Road' strategy.
  • Aadhaar Pay-the new system which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently at Nagpur on the 126th birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar, which will allow cash transfers using biometrics even without phones. The biometric-based indigenous payment solution will enable real-time bank-to-bank money transfers even for those without a phone and no additional cost. A customer has to link his bank account with his Aadhaar number and the merchants will be given a biometric reader that can be attached to a mobile; will also have to download an app. Customers will have to key in his Aadhaar number, the amount to be paid and then authenticate using biometric reader. A customer will pay no charge for using BHIM-Aadhaar. The merchant and the bank deploying PoS machine will each get an incentive of 0.25% of transaction value. The government has provided an outlay of Rs.495 crore for 6 months for the scheme to be paid from Digital Inclusion Fund.
  • 60 days-the period, as per the draft guidelines issued for prepaid payment instruments (PPI) by Reserve Bank of India, within which they will have to move to full KYC after issuance of PPI license. Currently e wallets and other such pre paid payments instruments can hold monthly up to Rs.20, 000 per user with minimum KYC. Existing semi-closed PPIs that require minimum details from customers have to convert to full KYC PPIs by June 30th 2017.
  • BBB-it stands for Banks Board Bureau, is an autonomous body set up by the government in April 2016 with the prime objective of improving governance standards in public sector banks (PSBs) and financial institutions. BBB also has the power to recommend names of people who could head PSBs and financial institutions. It is also tasked to help PSBs to put in place sound business strategies and also in their plans to raise capital. It is presented headed by Vinod Rai and it has six more members to assist the chairman. Of these, three are serving government officials while the other three are experts from the field of banking and finance.
  • 405-the number of business process reforms on which the states will be ranked on ease of doing business this year as per the list prepared by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion along with World Bank. The states will have to implement these reforms by October 31, 2017. The government will then gather feedback from users to access the action taken on the ground. The reforms have been classified into 11 broad areas including labour regulation, contract enforcement, registering property, inspection enablers, single window system, land availability and allotment and construction permit. States were ranked on 340 reforms last year.
  • PCA-it stands for Prompt Corrective Action are the set of action announced by Reserve Bank of India to get failed banks back on track. Though PCA have been around since 2002 but recently RBI came up with its new trigger points in this regard. According to norms, the RBI gets into action when the capital adequacy falls below a certain level. The central bank has said that a shortfall of the common equity tier I capital by 3.625% from prescribed limits would identify a bank as a likely candidate for resolution through tools like amalgamation, reconstruction or winding up. The current minimum requirement of common equity tier I capital is 6.75%. Under the new trigger points, banks with net non-performing assets between 6% and 9%(risk threshold 1) will face restrictions on dividend payments with promoters being asked to bring in more capital. Those with net NPAs between 9% and 12% would not be allowed to expand branches.
  • 27.6%-the percentage by which India's exports grew in March 2017, the fastest pace in five years on the back of rising shipment of petroleum products, engineering goods and marine products. Data released recently showed that exports rose to $29.2 billion compared to $22.9 billion in March 2016.However, overall exports during 2016-17 rose 4.7% to $274.6 billion compared with $262.3 billion in the previous year. This has been a difficult year for the country exports given the sluggish global economic environment.
  • 7.2%-the projected growth of India's GDP by IMF for 2017. Citing the impact of demonetization, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently reduced the India's 2017 GDP growth forecast by 0.4 percentage points to 7.2 percent. Earlier the Central Statistics Office (CSO) estimated that India's GDP growth for the full fiscal 2016-17 at 7.1 percent, which marked a sharp fall from the 7.9 percent recorded for the fiscal 2015-16.
  • 96 percent-the average rainfall which is expected to take place in India during this year monsoon as the recent announcement made by the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The actual status of the overall rainfall in India would however depends on the future status of 'El Nino' and 'Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD)' activities.'El Nino' is a climatic phenomenon which is the warm phase of the cycle of warm and cold temperatures in the Pacific Ocean that also impacts the monsoon. A high El Nino has a negative effect in terms of the weather, agriculture and economics.Similarly, IOD is a climate event occurring over the equatorial Indian Ocean. A positive dipole is associated with warming over the western Indian Ocean and cooling over the eastern Indian Ocean.The IMD data suggests that a moderate or strong El Nino and a positive IOD results in good rainfall. In 1997, the country experienced 102 per cent monsoon when both phenomenon were optimal.According to the IMD, 96 per cent is however averaged over the country as a whole, while the regional forecast will be done in June and the date of the monsoon's onset into Kerala will be announced in late May. IMD will issue the updated forecasts in early June as a part of the second stage long range forecast of monsoon rainfall.According to the weatherman, below 90 per cent rainfall is considered deficient and at 95 per cent, it is considered below normal. In 2005, the nation saw only 86 per cent of All India monsoon rainfall (per cent of LPA).A figure between 96 and 104 per cent of rainfall indicates a normal monsoon and between 105 and 110 per cent above normal.
  • The Brabo-the country's first locally designed and manufactured robot which was launched recently in Mumbai. The robots, which can increase productivity by up to 30%, have payloads of 2 kg and 10kg and are priced at Rs.5 lakh and Rs. 7 lakh respectively.
  • 14th May 2017- the date from which, fuel outlets in eight states will be shut every Sunday following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to conserve oil. It is estimated that nearly 20,000 outlets in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra and Haryana would be shut for 24 hours on Sundays, starting May 14.
  • 1st May 2017-the date from which the government has banned the use of red beacon on vehicles attached to dignitaries, including the central and state ministers and other VVIPs.It is reported that five categories would be allowed to use the red beacon --President, Vice President, prime minister, Chief Justice of India and the Lok Sabha speaker.The ban applies to Union ministers, chief ministers, state cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and judges of the high court and Supreme Court.
  • 1lakh per family-the amount the government is planning to lend to pull rural households out of poverty under its redrawn micro-credit programme. The proposal is to lend up to Rs 1 lakh per family in the next three to five years, with the loans coming collateral-free and with subsidised interest rates. Nearly 8.5 crore poor households identified in the Socio Economic and Caste Census will be linked to the plan by 2019. The government wants to double bank linkages to lend Rs 60,000 crore per year for creation of livelihood for deprived rural households by 2019. The aim is to reduce their dependence on local moneylenders and microfinance companies who charge usurious interest rates as against 11 per cent by banks. Under the new proposal, the interest burden on the borrower is much lower due to subvention. The rural development ministry has signed a memorandum of understanding with the agriculture and animal husbandry ministry to enable lending to such households for activities including tilling and setting up of poultry farms and goat sheds. The rural development ministry will provide an interest rate subvention of 4 per cent to make loans available at 7 per cent. Households in 250 backward districts will get an additional interest subvention of 3 per cent on prompt repayment, making their effective interest rate at 4 per cent.
  • Brahmos- the land attack supersonic cruise missile which was successfully test-fired by Indian Navy in the Bay of Bengal, joining an elite club of navies to have capability to strike on land targets from sea.The long-range missile was fired from guided missile frigate Teg on a target on land and it yielded desired results. The Brahmos Missile has been jointly developed by India and Russia, and its anti-ship variant has already been inducted into Indian Navy. Navies of the United States, Russia, Britain and China have similar strike capabilities.
  • 25%-the amount of the net salary is the amount which has been set as benchmark by Supreme Court for maintenance to be paid by a husband to his estranged wife citing this as 'just and proper' amount as alimony. In its recent judgement the Supreme Court said that the amount of maintenance or permanent alimony must be sufficient to ensure that a woman lived with dignity after separating from her husband.
  • 'Operation Indra'-the name of first tri-service war games which will be organised between India and Russia in October-November 2017 to crank up the military-to-military ties between the long standing strategic partners. It will include assets and manpower from the Army, Navy and Indian Air Force.
  • 3 years-the period for which the NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya recently presented a draft action agenda for the nation's development at the planning body's Governing Council meeting here. NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog incorporated inputs from the states as well as central ministries and subject experts in the agenda. Panagariya said that apart from the action agenda, there would be a seven-year strategy and a 15-year long-term vision that will replace the erstwhile Five-Year Plans for the nation's planning framework.The 12th Five-Year Plan ended on March 31.Panagariya said the 15-year vision document pegs the Indian economy's growth from Rs 137 lakh crore in 2015-16 to Rs 469 lakh crore by 2031-32 at 2015-16 prices. This projection is based on growth estimate of 8 per cent per annum.
  • Seven- the number of parts in which the three-year agenda of NITI Aayog has been divided into, with each part having a number of specific action points. Over 300 specific action points have been identified covering the whole gamut of sectors. in part one, a revenue and expenditure exercise is undertaken to illustrate how we can begin to shift our expenditure based on set priorities within a three-year period -- like increasing expenditure on health, infrastructure, agriculture, and rural economy. The subsequent parts deal with major sectors, growth enablers, governance, social sectors and sustainable development. Part two deals with agriculture, industry and services; part three with transport connectivity, digital connectivity, public private partnership, energy, and science and technology. Part four focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship; part five on governance, tax policy and administration, rule of law, and pro-competition policies and regulations. Part six deals with health, education and building an inclusive society; and part seven on environment and forests, and sustainable management of water resources.
  • January -December-the period of Financial Year which was proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi while delivering the closing remarks at the third meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog recently. He said that in a country where agricultural income is exceedingly important, budget should be prepared immediately after its receipt for the year. He said there have been suggestions to have the financial year changed to January-to-December -- in place of the existing April-to-March -- and urged the states to take the initiative in this regard. The Prime Minister said that because of poor time management, many good initiatives and schemes had failed to deliver the anticipated results. He also reiterated the idea of holding simultaneous parliamentary and state assembly elections, saying that the country had suffered from economic and political mismanagement for long now, and that a constructive discussion had already begun on the subject. He also called upon the state governments to work with the Centre as to build "the India of the dreams of our freedom fighters" by 2022, the 75th anniversary of Independence. He urged states, local governments and all government and non-government organisations to decide goals for 2022, and work in mission mode towards achieving them. He called upon the states to use the GeM (Government e-Marketplace) platform to reduce corruption and increase transparency in government procurement, adding that the use of technologies such as BHIM and Aadhaar would result in significant savings for the states.
  • 30th April 2017 -the last date of submission of KYC (Know Your Customers) & Aadhaar details to banks and financial institutions for accounts opened from July 2014 to August, 2015 and self-certify them to comply with FATCA regulations (Foreign Tax Compliance Act). In case the account holders are unable to furnish details and provide self-certification by the new deadline, banks and financial institutions have the option of blocking the accounts. Once the details are furnished they can operate the accounts. The provision applies to accounts which come under the ambit of FATCA regulations. Banks and financial institutions were asked to obtain self-certification and carry out due diligence for all individual and entity accounts opened from July 1, 2014 to August 31, 2015 to comply with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) pact signed by India and the United States. In July 2015, India and the US signed a tax information sharing agreement under a new US law, FATCA, aimed at bolstering efforts for automatic exchange of financial information between the two nations about tax evaders.
  • 7.2% -the expected growth rate India is expected to achieve by 2017 as per the World Bank report released recently. India's economic growth is expected to pick up speed from 6.8% in 2016 to 7.2% by 2017 after a modest setback due to weaker than expected investments and effects of withdrawal of large denomination bank notes. It said growth is expected to further gather momentum by 2019 when the Indian economy is expected to expand by 7.7%. Several multilateral agencies have raised India's growth prospects as the impact of demonetisation has waned. The report also said possible protectionism in advanced economies should not deter export-oriented growth in South Asia, including India, a region that could benefit from the backlash against globalisation. The report also confirms that South Asia remains the fastest-growing region in the world, gradually widening its lead relative to East Asia. Regional GDP growth is expected to rise from 6.7% in 2016 to 6.8% in 2017, and 7.1% in 2018.
  • PCA-it stands for Prompt Corrective action is the framework under which the Reserve bank of India can penalize public sector banks if they slip either on asset quality, profitability or leverage or capital. RBI can use its discretionary powers to sack the bank management, supersede the board, restrict access to deposits, staff expansion, capital expenditure or restrict lending altogether. The first risk threshold under PCA would be triggered if any bank's capital adequacy ratio falls below 10.25% with further action if it slips below 7.75% and 6.25% respectively. The threshold for net NPA is 6%,rising to 9% and further to 12%, a level at which strictest RBI action can be invited.
  • Key action points of Niti Aayog's road map- Reduce fiscal deficit to 3% by FY2019, Cut revenue deficit to 0.9%, Reform APMC, Increase productivity via precision agriculture are some of the key action points which were included in Niti Aayog's Road Map for 3 year which was unveiled recently. The sector wise key action points are: Revenue and Expenditure Framework:Reduce fiscal deficit to 3% by FY2019, Cut revenue deficit to 0.9%; Doubling farmer's income by 2022:Reform APMC, Increase productivity via precision agriculture; Job creation: Create costal employment zones, enhance labour market flexibility ; Education and Skill Development: Revisit automatic promotion up to eighth grade, Create tiered regulation of universities; Urban Development: Reduce land prices for affordable housing, Reform Rent Control Act, release land of sick units; Governance: Recalibrate role of govt. with focus on health, education, Implement road map on closing select PSEs; Energy: Reduce cross subsidy in power sector, Reform coal sector, set up regulator.
  • 17-25%-the percentage reduction in solar power yield which is caused by air pollution as per a new study, the first of its kind in India and one of the handful globally. The study has found that dust and particulate matter (PM) may be reducing the energy yield of solar power systems in north India by 17-25% annually. Half this reduction comes from dust and particles deposited on the surface of solar panels and which forms a physical barrier to light entry as per Duke University Professor, Mike Bergin who led the study. Most importantly, half the decline in energy yield came from ambient pollution-haze that reduces the amount of sunlight reaching the ground, a phenomenon known as solar dimming.
  • 136 - the rank of India in the World Press Freedom Index 2017, a report released by global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders. India has slipped three notches in the report that has cited the "threat from Modi's nationalism". In the list of 180 countries mapped, India stands at 136, down from last year's 133, colour-coded again in red to show the situation as "difficult". Norway came out the top of the index with the world's freest media. It took over from neighbouring Finland which had held the title for six years. At the other end of the scale, North Korea took the bottom place. United States also lost two points this year as compared to 2016, to be ranked 43 in the Index.
  • 18-the number of cities in which The Reserve Bank of India launched the May 2017 round of inflation expectations survey. The result of this survey is used by the RBI as one of the input for policy formation. The survey aims at capturing subjective assessments on price movements and inflation, of around 5,500 households, based on their individual consumption baskets, across 18 cities viz., Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Patna, Raipur, Ranchi and Thiruvananthapuram. The survey seeks "qualitative" responses from households on price changes (general prices as well as prices of specific product groups) in the three month ahead and in the one year ahead period. Also, it seeks "quantitative" responses on current, three month ahead and one year ahead inflation rates. Households will be approached by the Hansa Research Group Pvt. Ltd and the selected households are requested to provide their response. Other individuals, who are not approached by the agency can also participate in this survey by providing their responses on the RBI website. The survey seeks response on inflation expectations for general, food products, non-food products, household durables, housing and services.
  • 26th April 2017-the historic date when the Sensex closed above the 30K mark for the first time in its 31-year history. Stable domestic economic fundamentals, steady buying by local and foreign funds and strong global cues helped the Sensex to finally close above the 30K. After a strong opening backed by index heavyweights ITC, HDFC, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank, the Bombay Stock Exchange's bellwether index of 30 companies scaled an all-time high at 30,167 and overcame a bout of late selling to close at 30,133, up 190 points. The Nifty on the NSE too closed up 42 points at 9,352, also an all-time high.
  • Agriculture and Livestock- the sectors for which the Centre recently unveiled a model law and urged states to adopt it at the earliest. The model Agriculture Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion & Facilitation) Act, was released at a conference of agriculture-\marketing ministers of states recently. It seeks to create a barrier-free market for agricultural produce and livestock across the country. The proposed reform intends to bring farmers closer to consumers through a hassle-free system and ensure remunerative price for their produce. If all the states adopt the Model Act, it will eventually lead the country towards a unified agricultural market with one trader license and allow private players to set up wholesale markets by breaking the monopoly of traditional 'mandis'. At present, farmers can sell their produce only at regulated APMC (Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee) mandis. If the state governments implement it diligently, farmers will be empowered to decide who to sell and at what price to sell their produce. This Model Act also offers an investment opportunity in the market infrastructure from both private and public sectors. Since agriculture is a 'state' subject, only states can implement laws related to the farm sector. The existing regulatory framework under the existing APMC Act of states does not support free flow of agriculture produce and direct interface of farmers with processors, exporters, bulk buyers or end users. It, therefore, resulted in creating a chain of intermediaries which is neither good for farmers nor serves the interests of consumers. Levy at multiple points, the need to have separate licences for different markets, selling of even perishable items like fruits and vegetables within limited notified markets (mandis) and non-availability of markets near farms are some of the difficulties which obstruct free flow of farm produce and livestock including cows (for milk), buffaloes, bullocks, bulls, goats, sheep, poultry and fish.
  • 150th Anniversary of Allahabad High Court & One Hundred Twenty-fifth Year of National Archives of India-they are the image which will be depicted on soon to be issued new Rs 10 and Rs 5 coins by The Reserve Bank of India (RBI). According to the RBI, the central government has minted new Rs 5 coins to commemorate the "150th Anniversary of Allahabad High Court" and Rs 10 coins on the occasion of "One Hundred Twenty-fifth Year of National Archives of India". Besides, the Reserve Bank said that the existing Rs 5 and Rs 10 coins shall continue to be legal tender even after the issue of new coins.
  • Venus-the planet on which the ISRO is planning its next mission. This week, India's mission to Venus moved a step closer to reality with Isro inviting proposals for space-based experiments from scientists across the country. According to Isro, the payload capability of the Venus-bound satellite is expected to be 175 kg with 500W of power. The orbit will be 500 X 60,000km around Venus, which will gradually reduce over several months. The focus of the mission will be atmospheric and surface studies, Sun-Venus interaction, biology experiments and technology demonstration.
  • 1 day- the period in which government has made possible the incorporation of a company and starting a business in India. The government has established Central Registration Centre (CRC) to provide speedy incorporation related services in line with global best practices. The government has launched SPICe( Simplified Proforma for Incorporating Company Electronically), reduced fees from Rs.2000 to Rs.500 and has integrated MCA21 system with Central board of Direct Taxes(CBDT) for allotment of PAN and TAN at the time of issuance.
  • FATCA-it stands for Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, has to be complied with all individuals and entities who have opened mutual funds folios between July 1, 2014 and August 31, 2015, need to submit the FATCA-a self-certification by April 30, 2017. The purpose of FATCA is to encourage better tax compliance by preventing US citizens from using financial institutions outside their home country to avoid domestic taxation laws.
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. Contractor�s can sell CBM, the natural gas extracted from a coal mine,at arm�s 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 country�s 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. BHIM�s 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 Airtel�s 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 Hon�ble 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 images1, 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.