Daily Questions Challenge for IBPS Exams (22 May 2015)

Daily Questions Challenge for IBPS Exams (22 May 2015)

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1. Recently Union Government gave its Approval for revival of the Sindri unit of the Fertilizer Corporation India, this unit is situated in which of the following state of India?

A. Bihar
B. Himachal Pradesh
C. Jharkhand
D. Odisha
E. Uttar Pradesh

2. Which of the following Day is observed as the Anti-Terrorism Day in India every year?

A. 20th May
B. 21st May
C. 23rd May
D. 24th May
E. 22nd May

3. What is India’s rank in recently released Environment Democracy Index?

A. 22nd
B. 23rd
C. 24th
D. 25th
E. 26th

4. Which of the following agency has in its report recently released stated that India’s economic growth rate will superpass the China’s growth rate?

A. World Bank
B. International Monetary Fund
C. Asian Development Bank
D. United Nation
E. None of these

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Daily Questions Challenge for IBPS Exams (21 May 2015)

Daily Questions Challenge for IBPS Exams (21 May 2015)

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1. State Bank of India has recently inked a Memorandum of Understanding with which of the following e-commerce giant to develop payment and commerce solutions for customer and small business?

A. Snapdeal
B. Flipkart
C. Mayntra
D. Amazon
E. Alibaba

2. Consider the following statement about the Man International Booker Prise

1. The Man Booker International Prize, worth £60,000
2. It is presented once every two years
3. It is presented to an author for a body of work published either originally in English or available in translation in the English language.

Which of the above of the statement is/are true?

A. Only1 and 2
B. Only 2 and 3
C. Only 1 and 3
D. All of these
E. None of these

3. Who has won the 6th Edition of Man’s International Booker Prise for 2015?

A. László Krasznahorkai
B. Philip Roth
C. Lydia Davis
D. Chinua Achebe
E. Alice Munro

4. Which of the following organization has recently successfully launched indigenously developed beyond visual range air-to-air missile, Astra from Su-30 MKI?

A. Indian Army
B. Indian Navy
C. Department of Defence
E. None of these

5. The Union Finance Minister had constituted a Committee to look into the issue of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) on Foreign Institutional Investors under the chairmanship of_______?

A. Justice M.V.Sinha
B. Justice A.P. Shah
C. K. V. Thomas
D. Rao Inderjeet Singh
E. Justice M. V. Shah

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Daily Questions Challenge for IBPS Exams (20 May 2015)

Daily Questions Challenge for IBPS Exams (20 May 2015)

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1. Consider the following statement about P-Notes

1. P-Notes are financial instruments issued by foreign institutional investors to foreign investors
2. Investments into Indian markets through P-Notes have dropped to Rs.2.68 lakh crore at the end of April
3. P-Notes are also called offshore derivative instruments.

Which of the statement(s) is/are true?

A. Only1
B. Only2
C. Only 3
D. Only 1 and 2
E. All of these

2. Which of the following measures recommended by the technical Committee of BCCI headed by the Anil Kumble ?

1. Changes in the Ranji Trophy points system
2. One bonus point to the team scoring 300 runs in 85 overs and one bonus point for the team taking seven wickets in 85 overs.
3. Group system for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in place of zonals
4. New format for Deodhar Trophy

A. Only1, 2 and 4
B. Only 2 and 3
C. Only 3 and 4
D. All of these
E. Only 2, 3 and 4

3. Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), which give approval for foreign investment in India is headed by whom?

A. Commerce Minister
B. Finance Minister
C. Finance Secretary
D. Commerce Secretary
E. None of these

4. On which date, World Press Freedom Day is observed?

A. May 1
B. April 30
C. May 3
D. May 5
E. May 6

5. The Indian Navy has recently launched its Fourth Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) Corvette of Project-28. What its name?

A. Kavaratti
B. Deodhar
C. Kolkata
D. Vikrant
E. None of thes

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General Awareness : Science & Technology - March, 2015

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) Science & Technology

March - 2015

INS Alleppey decommissioned

  •  INS Alleppey , one of the six Ponchicherry class coastal minesweepers purchased from the erstwhile USSR in the 1970s, decommissioned at sunset after nearly 35 years of service under the Western Naval Command.

  •  After INS Alleppey ’s decommissioning, the Indian Navy will be left with six other operational minesweeper vessels.

  •  The ship was decommissioned by Rear Admiral MS Pawar, Flag Officer Commanding Maharashtra and Gujarat Naval Area at Mumbai Naval Dockyard.

ISRO’s launcher assembly unit gets Rs. 120 crore

  •  ISRO’s proposal for having a second facility to assemble launchers at Sriharikota has got a Rs. 120-crore Budget boost.

  •  The amount is the first big allocation for additional infrastructure since it was approved in late 2013.

  •  Estimated at Rs. 360 crore, the second Vehicle Assembly Building (SVAB) was conceived to increase the number of satellite launches from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) at Sriharikota.

  •  M.Y.S. Prasad, Director of SDSC, said the project was going through a multiple tendering process to choose agencies that would build it over the next two years.

  •  The SDSC has got a separate allocation of Rs. 559 crores.

NASA launches 4 spacecraft to solve magnetic mystery

  •  NASA has launched four identical spacecraft on a billion-dollar mission to study the explosive give-and-take of the Earth and sun’s magnetic fields.

  •  The unmanned Atlas rocket, and NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft, soared into a clear late-night sky, right on time. Within two hours, all four observatories were flying free.

  •  The quartet of observatories is being placed into an oblong orbit stretching tens of thousands of miles into the magnetosphere, nearly halfway to the moon at one point.

  •  They will fly in pyramid formation, between 6 miles (10 kilometres) and 250 miles (402 kilometres) apart, to provide 3-D views of magnetic reconnection on the smallest of scales.

  •  Magnetic reconnection is what happens when magnetic fields like those around Earth and the sun come together, break apart, then come together again, releasing vast energy.

  •  This repeated process drives the aurora, as well as solar storms that can disrupt communications and power on Earth.

  •  Data from this two-year mission should help scientists better understand so-called space weather.

  •  Each observatory resembles a giant octagonal wheel, stretching more than 11 feet (3.35 meters) across and 4 feet (1.22 meters) high, and weighing 3,000 pounds (1,360.79 kilogrammes) a piece.

  •  Numbered and stacked like tires on top of the rocket for launch, No 4 popped free first more than an hour after liftoff, followed every five minutes by another.

  •  “They’re all healthy and turned on. Essentially, we’re all green and headed into our mission,” said NASA project manager Craig Tooley.

  •  Once the long, sensor-laden booms are extended in a few days, each spacecraft could span a baseball field.

  •  Principal investigator Jim Burch from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio said measurements will be made down to the electron scale, significantly smaller than previous heliophysics missions.

  •  In all, there are 100 science sensors. Primary science-gathering will begin this summer, following a five-month checkout.

  •  The findings from the USD 1.1 billion mission will be useful in understanding magnetic reconnection throughout the universe.

  •  Closer to home, space weather scientists along with everyone on Earth hopefully will benefit.

Malaria: people with blood group A more vulnerable to severe disease

  •  A protein produced by some strains of the malaria parasite can cause red blood cells, especially in blood group A individuals, to form clumps, thereby increasing the severity of disease, according to research just published.

  •  When certain strains of Plasmodium falciparum , the single-celled parasite that is responsible for the most dangerous forms of malaria, get into red blood cells, those cells start sticking to other red blood cells as well as to walls of blood vessels.

  •  The resulting obstruction to blood flow can damage tissues and lead to severe malaria that is life-threatening.

  •  Previous research had implicated the ‘ P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1’ (PfEMP1) in red blood cells forming clumps. (Such clumps are called ‘rosettes’).

  •  Once the parasite infects red blood cells, this protein that it produces appears on the outer surface of those cells. The protein then latches on to receptor molecules found on other red blood cells, creating rosettes.

  •  However, when PfEMP1 was removed from red blood cell surfaces using enzymes, rosette-formation was reduced only in those of blood group O but not blood group A.

  •  This indicated that PfEMP1 may not be the only molecule involved in rosette formation, noted a Scandinavian team of scientists in a Nature Medicine paper.

  •  With a series of experiments, the team showed that another protein could have a hand too, principally affecting individuals of blood group A.

  •  The RIFINs too are secreted by the parasite and then get to the surface of red blood cells. There are 150 rif genes that carry the genetic information for RIFINs.

  •  One P. falciparum parasite examined by the team carried 85 such genes, but with just one of those genes being responsible for much of the RIFINs it produced.

  •  The RIFINs were thought to act as decoys, making it difficult for the human immune system to detect and destroy parasite-infected red blood cells, commented G. Padmanabhan of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, who has studied the malaria parasite over many decades but was not involved in the research that led to the Nature Medicine paper.

  •  Those cells, with the RIFIN protein on their surface, “bound large numbers of group A RBCs [red blood cells],” the scientists noted in their paper.

  •  The rosette formation with group O RBCs was “less pronounced.” Moreover, when molecular tags that marked RBCs as belonging to group A were removed, their binding to cells bearing RIFIN were similar to those of group O.

  •  Only RIFINs of sub-group A, which accounts for about 70 per cent of these proteins, led to rosettes being formed.

  •  The protection offered by blood group O could “explain why the blood type is so common in the areas where malaria is common,” said Mats Wahlgren, the study’s principal investigator, in a press release.

Oldest primitive animal fossil found in China

  •  Scientists have discovered the “earliest and most credible” primitive animal fossil in 600-million-year-old rocks in southwest China, media reports say.

  •  The research led by Chinese scientists described a well-preserved, rice grain-sized primitive sponge fossil in the Guizhou Province, a Xinhua report said.

  •  “It’s the world’s earliest and most credible fossil record of primitive animal bodies,” said the lead author of the research, Maoyan Zhu, of the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology.

  •  “The discovery will help remove doubts whether animals have emerged on earth 600 million years ago,” Mr. Maoyan said.

  •  The fossilised animal, slightly more than 1.2-mm wide and 1.1-mm tall, displays many characteristics of modern adult sponges, an analysis based on advanced imaging techniques found.

  •  The specimen is composed of hundreds of thousands of cells, and has a structure consisting of three adjacent hollow tubes sharing a common base, the researchers said.

Natco to launch Hepatitis C drug in India soon

  •  Natco Pharma plans to launch the generic version of Sovaldi, the blockbuster drug used to treat chronic Hepatitis C in India soon.

  •  Sovaldi is made by U.S. pharma major Gilead Sciences, and Natco recently entered into a non-exclusive licensing agreement with Gilead to make and sell generic versions of Sovaldi in 91 developing countries.

  •  The company, launched the generic version of Sovaldi in Nepal under the brand Hepcinat. The product is priced at Rs.19,900 per bottle of 28 tablets in Nepal, and covers the treatment duration of three months for a patient.

  •  Gilead’s compound sofosbuvir is a breakthrough treatment for Hepatitis C, a disease affecting the liver. If untreated, it can cause liver cirrhosis or liver cancer and has a high mortality rate.

  •  Sovaldi with a 90 per cent cure rate for Hepatitis C, was introduced in the U.S. in November 2013 priced at $84,000 per patient.

  •  In India Hepcinat will be priced as in Nepal, which is a fraction of the price Gilead prices it in developed markets. As per the agreement with Gilead, Natco will pay Gilead royalty at 7 per cent of billing price.

  •  In an unrelated development, the U.S. Supreme Court declined a review of a federal circuit court which had ruled in favour of Natco Pharma in a patent infringement litigation over Tamiflu, a drug used to treat swine flu. Natco has partnered with Alvogen in the U.S. to market the product.

  •  A statement from Natco said it was “pleased with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to deny certiorari for the generic version of Tamiflu oral capsules (oseltamivir phosphate).”

  •  Natco had received a tentative approval on March 14, 2014, for Oseltamivir Phosphate Capsules USP, 30 mg, 45 mg and 75 mg on the Abbreviated New Drug Application containing a paragraph IV certification filed with the  U.S. FDA.

India can shape the future of Internet, says ICANN chief

  • With next billion people on the Internet likely to come from India, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) CEO Fadi Chehadé said the country had the power to shape the future of Internet.

  •  ICANN, a non-profit organisation, is the global body that oversees operation and administration of the Internet domain name system.

  •  He added since his last visit to the country in October 2013, India’s place at the global level “has taken a new energy that is remarkable”.

  •  Mr. Chehadé said India plays an important role in making sure things are run in the right direction in digital economy. “Its shaping how digital economy would look like, not tomorrow, but 10 years form now because the next billion people who will share the Internet will come from here... you will shape the future of internet,” he said.

  •  Meanwhile, speaking at the same event, Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the future architecture of the Web should not be a prerogative of a few and should be open to all.

  •  He added that Internet must be equitable, effective, open-for-all and no one should be able to claim early arrival benefit.

Google may jump into virtual reality race

  •  A team of engineers at Google is reportedly working to build a version of the Android operating system to power virtual-reality applications.

  •  The move comes on the heels of Facebook’s $2 billion purchase of Oculus VR. The Wall Street Journal quoted “two people familiar with the project” as saying that Google has “tens of engineers” and other staff working on the project.

  •  Google plans to freely distribute the new operating system, they said, mimicking a strategy that has made Android the most popular OS for smartphones.

  •  The project is speculative, because no virtual-reality devices are yet shipping in large numbers.

MH370 report: Air Traffic Control supervisor was sleeping on duty

  •  The Air Traffic Control (ATC) supervisor was asleep on duty during the crucial hours following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 last year, an interim report into the tragedy has said.

  •  Released a year after the Boeing 777-200 went missing, transcripts of conversation between Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Controller and a Malaysia Airlines (MAS) official have showed that between 1.20 a.m. local time — when communications from the flight had ceased — and 5.20 a.m., the supervisor was asleep.

  •  A controller started the four-minute-long conversation with the MAS official at 5.20 a.m. when he repeatedly pressed the former for details, especially whether there was any positive handover between Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control Centre and Ho Chi Minh City air traffic control.

  •  The MAS official’s persistent request for information led the controller to say that he would wake his supervisor up.

  •  The controller replied he only took over tower operations after 3 a.m., and was not sure about the details, Star Online reported.

  •  The report said air traffic controllers in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City air traffic control took 20 minutes to ask why the plane had not yet entered its airspace when international protocols demand this should take place within two minutes.

  •  The report has also found that the battery powering the underwater locator beacon on the aircraft had expired in 2012.

  •  The nearly 600-page interim report submitted yesterday on the anniversary of the flight’s disappearance, however, does not cast any suspicion on the crew.

  •  Termed an “oversight” by investigators, the battery expiry could be key in legal action against Malaysia Airlines and in determining compensation, the paper said.

  •  Flight MH370 disappeared on March 8 last year while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board. There were five Indians on the flight.

  •  The plane is believed to have ended its journey in the southern Indian Ocean.

  •  A year-long, Australia-led search effort in the southern Indian Ocean where the aircraft is believed to have crashed has so far yielded no sign of the plane.

  •  Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) on January 29 had declared the plane’s disappearance an accident.
    24×7 drug store in three months

  •  Foundation stone was laid for the much-awaited 24x7 generic and other medicines store on the Government Wenlock hospital premises.

  •  The new medical store, called Janasanjeevini Medical Centre, operated by Union government’s HLL Life Care Limited, will come up in the 700 square-foot space next to the dilapidated jail ward of the hospital.

  •  The Health and Family Welfare Minister U.T. Khader Minister said the State government had fulfilled most of the promises made when the government was formed.

  •  He said the government giving final shape to providing free treatment to the extent of Rs. 25,000 for road accident victims in the first 48 hours of admission to hospital.

  •  The bike ambulance facility would also be launched soon.

  •  MP and senior Congress leader Oscar Fernandes earlier handed to the Wenlock Hospital Superintendent Rajeshwari Devi, the keys of a hearse van donated by SASVAT Foundation. U.T. Fareed Foundation will maintain and operate  the vehicle.

Census records increase in wildlife at Point Calimere

  •  The dry deciduous evergreen forest, spread over an area of 35 sq. km. at Kodiyakkarai near Vedaranyam, has recorded an increase in wildlife census when compared to last year, thanks to the intensification of anti-poaching activities, proper water management, and conducive habitat for animals and birds by the
    Forest Department.

  •  The department staff along with college students of AVC Engineering College at Mayiladuthurai and Government Arts and Science College at Poompuhar conducted one-day wildlife census at Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary at Kodiyakkarai on February 28.

  •  Over 50 students and 20 forest officials undertook this census. They were divided into 18 groups and conducted the exercise in 18 transit lines.

  •  The Forest Ranger of Vedaranyam, V. Gobinath, told The Hindu that the department has identified 948 bucks, 117 spotted deer, 172 horses, 77 monkeys, 82 wild boars, 12 black napped hares, 20 jackals, and 1,525 fruit-bearing bats.

  •  The department has recorded an overall 10 per cent increase in the wildlife when compared to last year.

  •  The Government has allocated Rs. 2.70 lakh for the construction of water troughs at Kathan Odai, Aruvankanni, S-curve, and a few other places to quench the thirst of animals and birds under Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Greening Project. Now, the sanctuary has 17 water troughs to provide water to animals and birds in the ensuing summer.

Lessons learnt as hunt for MH370 marks one year

  •  The hunt for Flight MH370 has failed to turn up any debris, but its unprecedented scale in one of the world’s remotest locations has provided valuable lessons for future search and rescue missions.

  •  The Malaysia Airlines plane disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, with mourning families and friends of the 239 people on board still waiting to hear what happened 12 months later.

  •  There has been no trace of the Boeing airliner despite an extensive air and sea search.

  •  Four ships, coordinated by Australia, continue to scour a huge underwater area at least 1,600 kilometres from the nearest piece of land in a stretch of the Indian Ocean previously only mapped by satellite.

  •  The MH370 search — jointly funded by Australia and Malaysia with a budget of US$93 million — is focused on a 60,000 square kilometre priority area and is scheduled to end in May.

  •  The search area is so remote that the four vessels involved — Fugro Supporter, Fugro Equator, Fugro Discovery and GO Phoenix — need up to six days to reach it from the Australian port of Fremantle, where they routinely refuel and restock.

  •  While at sea, they frequently encounter conditions similar to the “Roaring Forties” north of Antarctica, winds that whip up mountainous seas.

Microsoft unveils Lumia 640, 640 XL

  •  Microsoft unveiled two new smartphones — Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL — as it aims to strengthen its position in the affordable smart phone segment, especially in developing countries such as India.

  •  While Lumia 640 XL will begin rolling out globally in March, Lumia 640 will be available starting April. Both devices will be available in single-SIM and dual-SIM (3G & 4G) variants.

  •  “Pricing will vary by market and operator. Lumia 640 is estimated to be around 139 euro (about Rs.9,700) for the 3G model and 159 euro (about Rs.11,000) for the LTE model, before taxes and subsidies.

  •  “Lumia 640 XL will be around 189 euro (about Rs.13,000) for 3G and 219 euro (about Rs.15,200) for LTE, before taxes and subsidies,” Microsoft Devices Group Executive Vice President Stephen Elop said.

  •  Both smartphones are upgradeable to Windows 10, which will be available later this year.

  •  “The devices come with a one-year personal subscription to Office365, enabling the full Office experience on the Lumia as well as one tablet and one PC/Mac.

  •  The Lumia 640 comes with 5-inch HD display, 1.2GHz quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, Windows Phone 8.1 with Lumia Denim operating system, 8 MP rear and 1 MP front facing cameras, 8GB internal memory (30 GB free OneDrive and micro SD support up to 128 GB) and 2,500 mAh battery.

  •  The Lumia 640 XL has a 5.7-inch display, 13 MP rear and 5 MP front cameras and 3,000 mAh battery.

Air Force to get 38 more Pilatus basic trainers

  •  The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar cleared a follow-on order for 38 Pilatus basic trainer aircraft for the Air Force in addition to appointing Goa Shipyard Ltd. as the lead agency to build 12 Mine Counter-Measure Vessels (MCMV) for the Navy.

  •  The Air Force has projected a requirement of 181 basic trainer aircraft. As many as 75 Pilatus aircraft were procured from Switzerland in 2012 and 38 cleared on Saturday. The remaining 68 will be supplied by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) by the indigenous development of HTT-40 aircraft.

  •  Officials added that the progress of the project would be monitored by a committee that would periodically report to the DAC.

  •  The earlier global tender for eight MCMVs was scrapped after allegations of corruption. The process would start from scratch now.

  •  There would be a “Buy and Make” category under the procurement procedure and the GSL would build the ships under transfer of technology with a foreign vendor in a deal worth about Rs. 32,000 crore.

  •  The GSL had already invested Rs. 500 crore to develop the required facilities, the  officials informed.

  •  One C-130 would be acquired for Rs. 533 crore from the U.S. to replace the one that crashed in 2014. The crash killed five personnel, including four officers.

Govt. staff barred from using private e-mail for official purposes

  •  Government employees have been barred from using private e-mail services for official communications.

  •  “Users shall refrain from using private e-mail servers from government network. E-mail service authorised by the government and implemented by the IA (Implementing Agency under this policy is NIC) shall only be used for all official correspondence,” said the policy on use of IT resources notified .

  •  The new policy also bars officials from using forward option in e-mails to non-government e-mail services.

  •  “The e-mail services provided by other service providers shall not be used for any official communication,” the notification said.

  •  This policy is applicable to all employees of Central Government and employees of those State or Union Territories governments that use the e-mail services of provided by Central Government.

  •  This policy idea was mooted by the Department of Electronics and IT after whistle blower Edward Snowden claimed that U.S. intelligence agencies secretly monitors Internet data to spy on various countries, including India with help of some of software and Internet companies.

  •  As per new policy, government officials will be allocated two e-mail ids — one based on designation and other on name.

Russia plans its own space station

  •  The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) has revealed plans to build an orbiting outpost and land cosmonauts on the moon once the International Space Station (ISS) is mothballed next decade.

  •  In an official statement , Roscosmos pledged its support for the ISS until 2024 but outlined plans to disconnect its modules soon after, and use them to build a Russian space station in its place.

  •  The creation of a national space station would ensure that Russia has a base to fly cosmonauts to until it has developed its more ambitious plans to send crews on orbiting missions around the moon and land them on its surface by 2030.

  •  Since Nasa, the U.S. space agency, retired its fleet of space shuttles, Russia has been the only nation able to ferry humans to and from the ISS aboard its Soyuz rockets.

  •  The Russians’ commitment to the ISS was welcomed by some experts, including Chris Hadfield, the Canadian astronaut who covered the David Bowie classic, Space Oddity, from the ISS.

  •  Despite the enthusiasm over Moscow’s decision to extend its support, the plans outlined by Roscosmos for a national space station and human missions to the moon suggest that Russia is poised to break away from its international partners in space exploration.

Too many waiting for blood stem cell transplants: Study

  •  Over a million people have received blood and marrow stem cell transplants for life-threatening diseases in the past 57 years, but too many are still waiting, a study said.

  •  Haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) often offers the only possibility of a cure for blood diseases and rare cancers like myeloma or leukaemia.

  •  The procedure involves taking healthy stem cells from the blood or marrow of the patient or from a healthy donor, with which to boost the system of someone whose blood-manufacturing bone marrow or immune system is damaged or defective.

  • By 1985, 28 years after the first experimental marrow transplant, about 10,000 such procedures had been performed, rising to 500,000 by 1995, said a study in The Lancet Haematology journal.

  •  By December 2012, that number had risen to almost a million at 1,516 transplant centres in 75 countries.

India’s own GPS soon

  •  Scientists are eagerly awaiting the March 9 launch of IRNSS-1D, the fourth Indian regional navigation satellite.

  •  The Rs. 1,400-crore-plus IRNSS (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System) has been called ‘India’s own GPS.’ It can do all that we do with GPS, a U.S. military system, but apparently much better and at a local level.

  •  This satellite will complete more than half of the ambitious ‘Indian GPS’ ring over the subcontinent and allow ISRO’s sat-nav team to prove its usefulness in location-based applications.

  •  Four satellites out of the constellation of seven are said to be the minimum the scientists need to check out signals and accuracy.

  •  S.K. Shivakumar, Director of ISRO Satellite Centre in Bengaluru, told The Hindu that IRNSS-1D would finetune the details being provided by its earlier three siblings. The next three navigation satellites, he said, would take this to the targeted precision levels and make it easy to pinpoint required positions for many users.

  •  IRNSS-1D is slated to be put on the PSLV launcher on February 28 at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. The first one, IRNSS-1A, was launched in July 2013.

Spacewalk on ISS completed

  •  NASA astronauts at International Space Station (ISS) have successfully completed the first of three spacewalks to create parking spots for Boeing and SpaceX to deliver astronauts to the orbital laboratory.

  •  The 6-hour, 41-minute-spacewalk by Expedition 42 astronauts Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts was meant to prepare the ISS for a pair of international docking adapters that will allow future commercial crew vehicles to dock.

  •  The cable routing work is part of a reconfiguration of station systems and modules to accommodate the delivery of new docking adapters that commercial crew vehicles will use later this decade to deliver astronauts to the orbital laboratory.

  •  The spacewalk was the first for Mr. Virts. Mr. Wilmore now has spent 13 hours and 15 minutes in the void of space during two spacewalks.

  •  Astronauts have now spent a total of 1,159 hours and 8 minutes conducting space station assembly and maintenance during 185 spacewalks, NASA said.

Babies made from skin may be boon for same sex couples

  •  In a breakthrough, researchers led by an Indian-origin scientist, have shown that stem cells from the skin of two adults of the same sex can be used to make human egg and sperm cells.

  •  Scientists at Cambridge University collaborated with Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science and used stem cell lines from embryos as well as from the skin of five different adults.

  •  Researchers have previously created live baby mice using engineered eggs and sperm, but until now have struggled to create a human version of these ‘primordial germ’ or stem cells.

  •  Ten different donor sources have been used so far and new germ-cell lines have been created from all of them, researchers said.

  •  The team has compared the engineered germ cells with natural human stem cells taken from aborted human foetuses to check that the artificially created versions of the cells had identical characteristics, The Times reported.

  •  A gene called SOX17, previously considered to be unimportant in mice, has turned out to be critical in the process of ‘reprogramming’ human cells, researchers said.

A new weapon in the fight against malaria

  •  A new family of bacteria that are common in malaria mosquitoes has been found.

  •  Scientists are trying to genetically modify them to produce substances that stop malaria parasite development.

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Daily Questions Challenge for IBPS Exams (19 May 2015)

Daily Questions Challenge for IBPS Exams (19 May 2015)

Write and Discuss Your Answer with Q.No in Comment Box at the Bottom of Post.

1. GMR Infrastructure Ltd. has signed Memorandum of understanding with Guizhou International Investment Corporation (GIIC) for developing Kakinada special economic zone (SEZ) in Andhra Pradesh. In this regard what is E stand in SEZ?

A. Enterprises
B. Economic
C. Equipment
D. Essential
E. Enforcement

2. Which of the following agreement has been signed by India with South Korea in the recent PM Modi visit?

1. Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income.
2. Agreement on Cooperation in Audio-Visual Co-Production
3. MOU for Cooperation between the National Security Council Secretariat of the Republic of India and the Office of National Security of the Republic of Korea

A. Only 1
B. Only 2
C. Only 3
D. All of these
E. None of these

3. Reliance Jio has recently signed pact with which of the following telecom giant for 4G devices?

A. Huawei
B. Samsung
C. Nokia
E. Micromax

4. Match the list with Organization and their head?

1. IRDA: TS Vijyanan
2. SEBI: U.K. Sinha
3. FMC: Ramesh Abhishek
4. PFRDA: Hemant Contractor

A. Only 1 and 2
B. Only 2 and 3
C. Only 1, 2,and 3
D. Only2,3 and 4
E. All are true

5. Who of the following Indian Origin Person has recently won the prestigious Top Civilian Supervisor of the Year in United State?

A. Harkeert Singh Saini
B. Surjeet Singh
C. Boby Jindal
D. Supriya Sule
E. Rajni Gwadar

Write and Discuss Your Answer with Q.No in Comment Box at the Bottom of Post.

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SBI PO Exam Paper - (Reasoning) "held on 30-11-2014"

 SBI PO Exam Paper - (Reasoning) "held on 30-11-2014"

(Based on Memory)

Directions (Q. Nos. 1-6) Study the given information and answer the questions. When a word and number arrangement machine is given an input line or words and numbers, its arranges them following a particular rule. The following is an illustration of input and rearrangement.

(All the numbers are two-digit numbers)

Input 14 36 methodology 21 of research
        59 crucial 98 very 62 is
Step I 98 14 38 methodology 21 of research
        59 crucial very is 62
Step II 98 very 14 36 methodology 21 of
        59 crucial is research 62
Step III 59 98 very 14 methodology 21 of
            crucial is research 62 36
Step IV 59 98 very of 14 21 crucial is
        methodology research 62 36
Step V 21 59 98 very of crucial is
            methodology research 62 36 14
Step VI 21 59 98 very of is crucial
            methodology research 62 36 14

Step VI is the of the above arrangement as the intended arrangements is obtained.

As per the rules followed in the given, steps find out appropriate steps for the given input. Input 65 work in 23 to be 13 89 managed 48 97 load 34 healthy 55 style

1. Which element is exactly between ‘style’ and ‘be’ in second last steps of the given arrangements?

(1) Work
(2) Healthy
(3) 23
(4) Load
(5) Be

2. What is the position of 46 from the right end in the third steps?

(1) Sixth
(2) Seventh
(3) Fifth
(4) Eight
(5) Ninth

3. Which of the following is fifth step of the arrangement based on the given input?

(1) 46 65 97 to managed in 23 be 13 load healthy style work 89 55 34
(2) 46 work 65 style 97 in 23 be 13 load healthy 89 managed 55 to 34
(3) 46 65 97 work style in 23 be 13 load healthy managed to 89 55 34
(4) 34 46 55 65 89 97 work syle in 23 be, 13 load healthy managed to
(5) 89 55 34 work style in 23 be 13 load healthy managed to 46 65 97

4. In which, step are the elements ‘be 13 healthy in’ found in the same order?

(1) Third
(2) Sixth
(3) Fourth
(4) The given order of elements is not found in any stop
(5) Fifth

5. How many steps will be required to complete the given arrangement based on the given input?

(1) Eight
(2) Ten
(3) Seven
(4) Nine
(5) Six

6. Which elements is eight to left of the elements which is twelfth from the end of the third last step?

(1) 97
(2) 23
(3) Work
(4) Style
(5) To

Directions (Q. Nos. 7-11) The following questions consisting of a question and two statements I and II given below. You have to decide whether the data given in the statements are sufficient to answer the questions. Read both the statements and choose the most appropriate option.

7. All are the five friends F, G, H, I and J, situated in a straight line facing North?

I. F sits at one of the extreme ends of the line only two people sit between F and H. J sits to immediate left of H. G and I are immediate neighbours of each other.
II. J faces North and sits at one of the extreme ends of the line. Only two peoples sit between J and I. H sits second to the right of I. H sits to immediate left of G.
(1) The data in statement II alone are sufficient to answer the question. Which the data one alone are not sufficient to answer the question.
(2) The data in statement I alone are sufficient to answer the question while the data in statement II alone are not sufficient, to the answer the question.
(3) The data either in statement I alone or statement II alone are sufficent to answer the question.
(4) The data is even in both statements I and II together are not sufficient to answer the question.
(5) The data in both statements I and II together unnecessary to answer the question.

8. How ‘never’ will be written in a code language?

I. In that code language ‘never ever go there’ is written as ‘an ja ni ho’.
II. In that code language ‘go there and come back’ is written as ‘ma ho sa ni da’.
(1) The data in statement II alone are sufficient to answer the question, while the data one alone are not sufficient to answer the question.
(2) The data in statement I alone are sufficient to answer the question while the data in statement II alone are not sufficient to the answer the question.
(3) The data either in statement I alone or statement II alone are sufficient to answer the question.
(4) The data is even in both statements I and II together are not sufficient to answer the question.
(5) The data in both statements I and II together unncessary to answer the question.

9. Is C the mother of B?

I. P is the father of A and B. R has only the one brother P. C is sister in law of R. R is unmarried F is the mother of R. F has only two childrens.
II. H has only two childrens P and R. P is father of A. B is the only brother of A. R is unmarried. H is the father-in-law of C.
(1) The data in statement II alone are sufficient to answer the question, while the data one alone are not sufficient to answer the question.
(2) The data in statement I alone are sufficient to answer the question while the data in statement II alone are not sufficient to the answer the question.
(3) The data either in statement I alone or  statement II alone are sufficient to answer the question.
(4) The data is even in both statements I and II together are not sufficient to answer the question.
(5) The data in both statements I and II together unnecessary to answer the question.

10. Five movies P, Q, R, S and T are scheduled to be screened from Monday to Friday of the same week. Which movie will be screened on Friday?

I. Movies P will be screened on Tuesday. Only two movies will be screened between movies R and S. R will be screened before S.
II. Movie Q will be screened on Wednesday. Only one movie will be screened between movies Q and R. S will be screened immediate before movie T.
(1) The data in statement II alone are sufficient to answer the question, while the data one alone are not sufficient to answer the question.
(2) The data in statement I alone are sufficient to answer the question while the data in statement II alone are not sufficient to the answer the question.
(3) The data either in statement I alone or statement II alone are sufficient to answer the question.
(4) The data is even in both statements I and II together are not sufficient to answer the question.
(5) The data in both statement I and II together unnecessary to answer the question.

11. How far is point R from point P?

I. A person starts from point P, walks 15 m to the South takes right turn and walks 4 m. He then takes left turn and walks 7 m. He takes left turn again, walks for 4 m and reaches point Q. If the percent takes left turn and walks 7 m, he will reach point R.
II. A person starts from point P, walks 14 m towards the East, takes a left turn and walks 3 m. He than takes a left turn again and walks for 14 m to reach point N. If a takes a right turn from point N and walks 5 m, he will be 27 m away from point R.
(1) The data in statement II alone are sufficient to answer the question, while the data one alone are not sufficient to answer the question.
(2) The data in statement I alone are sufficient to answer the question while the data in statement II alone are not sufficient to the answer the question.
(3) The data either in statement I alone or statement II alone are sufficient to answer the question.
(4) The data is even in both statements I and II together are not sufficient to answer the question.
(5) The data in both statements I and II together unnecessary to answer the question.

Directions (Q. Nos. 12-17) Study the information carefully and answer the questions.

M, N, O, P, Q, R, S and T are sitting around a circular area of equal distances between each other, but not necessarily in the same order some of the people are facing the center while some face outside. (i.e., in a direction opposite to the centre).

Note : Facing the same direction means one faces the centre then the other also faces the centre and vice-versas. Facing opposite direction means if one person faces centre then the other faces outside and vice-versa.
S sits second to the right of P. P faces the centre. T sits second the left of S. T is an immediate neighbour of both O and Q. R sits second to the left of Q. M sits seconds to the left of R. T sits second to the left of N. M sits second to the left of O. T faces the same direction as Q. N sits third to the right of M.

12. Who sits exactly between S and T. When counted from the left of S?

(1) M
(2) Q
(3) P
(4) O
(5) N

13. How many people in the given arrangement face the centre?

(1) One
(2) Three
(3) Five
(4) Two
(5) Four

14. Who sits second to the right of N?

(1) R
(2) P
(3) T
(4) S
(5) O

15. Four of the following five are alike in a certain way based on the given sitting arrangement and so form a group. Which is the one that does not belong to that group?

(1) R
(2) S
(3) Q
(4) O
(5) M

16. Which of the following is true regarding T as per the given sitting arrangements?

(1) T faces the centre.
(2) Only two people sit between N and T.
(3) Only three people sit between T and P.
(4) S sits second to the left of T.
(5) Only one persons sits between T and R.

17. What is M’s position with respect to T?

(1) Second to the left
(2) Fifth to the right
(3) Third to the right
(4) Third to the left
(5) Fourth to the right

Directions (Q. Nos. 18-23) In these questions two/three statements followed by two conclusions numbered I and II have been given. You have to take the given statements to be true even if they seem to be at variance from the commonly known facts and then decide which of the given conclusions logically follows the statements disregarding commonly known facts.

18. Statements

Some prices are costs.
Some costs are amounts.
All amounts are expenses.


I. At least some amounts are prices.
II. All amounts being prices is a possibility.
(1) Either conclusion I or II is true
(2) Both conclusion I and II are true
(3) Neither conclusion I nor II is true
(4) Only conclusion II is true
(5) Only conclusion I is true

19. Statements

All invitations are rejections.
Some invitations are celebrations.
No rejection is an attraction.


I. Some celebrations are rejections.
II. All celebrations are rejections.
(1) Either conclusion I or II is true
(2) Both conclusion I and II are true
(3) Neither conclusion I nor II is true
(4) Only conclusion II is true
(5) Only conclusion I is true

20. Statements

All grades are scales.
All scales are categories.


I. All grades are categories.
II. All categories are scales.
(1) Either conclusion I or II is true
(2) Both conclusion I and II are true
(3) Neither conclusion I nor II is true
(4) Only conclusion II is true
(5) Only conclusion I is true

21. Statements

Some metals are papers.
All papers are alloys.
No alloy is a wood.


I. All woods being metals is a possibility
II. All metals being woods is a possibility.
(1) Either conclusion I or II is true
(2) Both conclusion I and II are true
(3) Neither conclusion I nor II is true
(4) Only conclusion II is true
(5) Only conclusion I is true

22. Statements

Some metals are papers.
All papers are alloys.
No alloy is a wood.


I. No paper is a wood.
II. At least some meals are alloys.
(1) Either conclusion I or II is true
(2) Both conclusion I and II are true
(3) Neither conclusion I nor II is true
(4) Only conclusion II is true
(5) Only conclusion I is true

23. Statements

Some prices are costs.
Some costs are amounts.
All amounts are expenses.


I. No expense is a cost.
II. At least some expenses are prices.
(1) Either conclusion I or II is true
(2) Both conclusion I and II are true
(3) Neither conclusion I nor II is true
(4) Only conclusion II is true
(5) Only conclusion I is true

24. This question consist of a statements followed by two course of actions numbered I and II given below it. A course of action is an administrative decision to be taken for improvements, follow-up or further action in the regard to the problems, policy etc. You have to assumed everything in the statement to be true and then decide which of the suggested courses of actions logically follows from the given statements.


There have been structural shifts from agriculture to industry in country Z. While industries contribute to 67% of the country’s GDP. It is leading to a study and undesirable declined in the participation of labour force in agriculture.

I. The government should curtail number of industries borrowing up in the country in order to promote the agricultures.
II. Incentives for working in agriculture should be made competitive with that of other sectors.
(1) Either conclusion I or II is true
(2) Both conclusion I and II are true
(3) Neither conclusion I nor II is true
(4) Only conclusion II is true
(5) Only conclusion I is true

Directions (Q. Nos. 25-27) Study the following information carefully and answer the questions.

Each of the six people U, V, W, X, Y and Z stayed for a different number of day in India. X stayed for less number of days then only V, Y stayed for more number of days then only two people. U and did not stay less than Y. W did not stay for the minimum number of days. The one who stayed for the second lowest number of days stayed for eight days. U stayed for 17 days in India.

25. Which of the following is possibly the number of days for which it stayed in India?

(1) 5
(2) 32
(3) 23
(4) 20
(5) 17

26. Which of the following is true with respect to Z as per the given information?

(1) The possible number of days for which Z stayed in India is 14 days
(2) Z stayed for the minimum number of days
(3) None of the given options is true
(4) Only two peoples stayed for more number of days than Z
(5) Z definitely stayed for more number of days than Y

27. Which of the following may be the possible number of days for which Y stayed in India?

(1) 11
(2) 8
(3) 19
(4) 5
(5) 25

Directions (Q. Nos. 28-32) Study the information carefully and answer the given questions.

Ten people are sitting in two parallel rows containing five people each in such a way that there is an equal distance between adjacent persons in row- I J, K, L, M and N are seated and all of them are facing North and in row-II P, Q, R, S and T are seated and all facing South (but not necessarily in the same order). Each person also likes different flowers namely Gazania, Plumeria, Tulip, Orchids, Lily, Rose, Daffodil, Daisy Peony and Dahila (but not necessarily in the same order).

N sits exactly in the centre of the row and faces the one who likes orchids. Only one person sits between N and the one who likes Lily. S faces one of the immediate neighbour of the one who likes Lily. Only one person sits between P and the one who likes Orchids. P is not an immediate neighbour of S. P faces one of the immediate neighbour of L. M is neither an immediate neighbours of L nor faces S. Q is not an immeidate neighbour of A and faces the one who likes Plumeria. M does not face R. M faces one of the immediate neighbour of the one who likes rose. Only one person sits between the one who likes Rose and the one who likes Gazania. The one who likes Peony and the one who likes Daisy face each other. Only two people sit between the one who likes Daisy and the One who likes Daffodil. J does not like Daffodil. The one who likes Dahlia sits fourth to the right of the one who likes Peony.

28. Who amongst the following is a immediate neighbour of the one who likes Peony?

(1) Who likes Rose
(2) Who likes Lily
(3) Who likes Gazania
(4) K
(5) T

29. Which of the following is definitely true as per the given arrangements?

(1) Lily
(2) Gazania
(3) Rose
(4) Orchids
(5) Daffodil

30. Which of the following flowers does S like?

(1) L face R
(2) Q is an immediate neighbour of P
(3) The one who likes Daisy is an immediate neighbour of P
(4) Q likes Daffodil
(5) The one who likes Dahlia faces N

31. Which of the following pairs represent the people sitting at the extreme end of the two rows?

(1) P, J
(2) Q, L
(3) R, K
(4) S, K
(5) S, L

32. Who amongst the following likes Tulip?

(1) N
(2) P
(3) S
(4) Q
(5) J

33. Read the following information carefully and answer the question which follows :

As per a recent survey 85% of the world force today is either actively looking for a job or open to talking to recruiters and relevant opportunities, the ones who are satisfied with their job.

Which of the following may be a reason for the above mentioned results of the survey?

(1) As there is the wide array of opportunity today and head hunters are always seeking for professionals, people are not willing to let go of an opportunity to do something new and challenging.
(2) As per a recent survey more than 40% people today are dissatisfied with their jobs as there is the wide gap between what they study in the class room as compared to the actual work they do
(3) Some people in the country take education loan for completing higher education and are expected to repay the loans themselves after they start working
(4) As employees today are of different age group and back grounds it becomes difficult for the HR department to organise employment engagement activities to improve the job satisfaction of employees
(5) Only a few people study for high specialised coursed in the country and they are always in demand as there is high scale gap in many organisations

Directions (Q. Nos. 34-35) The following questions consist of a statements followed by two statements numbered I and II given below it. You have to decide which of the given statements numbered I and II weakens or strengthens the statement and mark the appropriate answer.

34. Statement

The world should move towards using bio-fuels in the future as these are more environment friendly as compared to regular fossil-fuels.
I. While bio-fuels cleaner to burn, the processed to produce the fuel, including the necessary machinery leads to very high carbon emission.
II. As two-fuels are manufactured from materials such as crop waste, manure and other by products, these, unlike fossil-fuels, are easily renewable.
(1) Statement I weakens the information while statements II is a natural statement.
(2) Both statement I and II weakens the information.
(3) Statement I strengthens the information while statement II weakens the statement.
(4) Statement I weakens the information while statement II strengths the statement.
(5) Both statements I and II strengthens the information.

35. Statement

Always remain in an air conditioned environment for better health and well-being.
I. Filters in the air-conditioners lower exposure to allergy creating pollen and other outdoor allergies.
II. Spending two much times in an air-conditioned environment result in gradual intolerance of body towards natural temperatures.
(1) Statement I weakens the information while statements II is a natural statement.
(2) Both statement I and II weakens the information.
(3) Statement I strengthens the information while statement II weakens the statement.
(4) Statement I weakens the information while statement II strengths the statement.
(5) Both statements I and II strengthens the information.
Directions (Q. Nos. 36-14) The following questions have a statement followed by two conclusions (I and II). Assuming the given statements to be true, find which conclusion is definitely true.

36. Statement

B £ A = N > K ³ S
I. A > S II. B £ K
(1) Either conclusion I or II is true
(2) Both conclusion I and II are true
(3) Neither conclusion I nor II is true
(4) Only conclusion II is true
(5) Only conclusion I is true

37. Statement

B £ A = N > K ³ S
I. B £ N II. S < N
(1) Either conclusion I or II is true
(2) Both conclusion I and II are true
(3) Neither conclusion I nor II is true
(4) Only conclusion II is true
(5) Only conclusion I is true

38. Statement

K ³ < = M ³ N = O £ P
I. L > O
II. L = O

(1) Either conclusion I or II is true
(2) Both conclusion I and II are true
(3) Neither conclusion I nor II is true
(4) Only conclusion II is true
(5) Only conclusion I is true

39. Statement

K ³ L = M ³ N = O £ P
I. K < P II. M ³ O
(1) Either conclusion I or II is true
(2) Both conclusion I and II are true
(3) Neither conclusion I nor II is true
(4) Only conclusion II is true
(5) Only conclusion I is true

40. Statement

X < Y £ Z = W
K ³ J > Z
I. Z < K II. Y £ W
(1) Either conclusion I or II is true
(2) Both conclusion I and II are true
(3) Neither conclusion I nor II is true
(4) Only conclusion II is true
(5) Only conclusion I is true

41. Statement

X < Y £ Z = W
K ³ J > Z
I. X ³ J II. K > Y
(1) Either conclusion I or II is true
(2) Both conclusion I and II are true
(3) Neither conclusion I nor II is true
(4) Only conclusion II is true
(5) Only conclusion I is true

Directions (Q. Nos. 42-44) Study the following information and answer the given questions. A and Y are brothers of K. Y is the son of P and S. P is the daughter of X. M is the father in law of S. Q is the son of X.

42. If J is brother of X, then how is J related to Q?

(1) Uncle
(2) Nephew
(3) Cannot be determined
(4) Brother-in-law
(5) Son-in-law

43. How is Y related to M?

(1) Nephews
(2) Father
(3) Brother-in-law
(4) Grandson
(5) Brother

44. How is K related to Q?

(1) Cannot be determined
(2) Niece
(3) Daughter (4) Nephew
(5) Son in law

45. Read the given information carefully and answer the question.

Five fisherman from country X were sentenced to imprisonment by the High Court of country Y on charges of smuggling narcotics from country X to country Y. Which of the following supports the legal action taken by country Y?

A. Country X had given details of a new fisherman that had no record of involvement in drug related activities.
B. The navel authorities of both the country X and Y have found traces of narcotics in the fish boxes that were shipped from country X to country Y by these fisherman.
C. All the fish boxes that are shipped between countries undergo a strict process of checking.
D. It was found that two of the five fisherman who were sentenced to death penalty were earlier imprisoned for the same reason a few years back.

(1) B and C
(2) B and E
(3) Only D
(4) None of these
(5) Only B

Directions (Q. Nos. 46-50) Read the given information and answer the given questions.

Eight people A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H live on separate floors of an 8-floor building. Ground floor is numbered H, first floor is numbered 2 and so on until the top most floor is numbered 8.

C lives on floor number 3. Only one person lives between C and F. Only one person lives between C and G. E lives immediately above B

H lives immediately above F. H lives on any of the floors below D.

Only one person lives between D and A. D lives above A.

46. Who lives on the floor immediately below D?

(1) Other than those given as options
(2) H
(3) A
(4) D
(5) C

47. Which of the following is true with respect to the given information?

(1) Only one person lives between E and G
(2) A lives on an even numbered floor
(3) A lives immediately below C
(4) F lives on floor number 5
(5) A lives immediately above H

48. How many people live between the floors on which D and C, live?

(1) One
(2) More than three
(3) Three (4) Two
(5) No more

49. Who amongst the following lives between B and G?

(1) No one
(2) C
(3) E
(4) H
(5) D

50. Who amongst the following lives on floor number 5?

(1) A
(2) G
(3) F
(4) D
(5) H

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Daily Questions Challenge for IBPS Exams (18 May 2015)

Daily Questions Challenge for IBPS Exams (18 May 2015)

Write and Discuss Your Answer with Q.No in Comment Box at the Bottom of Post.

1. Which of the following private sector bank has recently opened its branch in China?

A. Yes Bank
B. HDFC Bank
D. Kotek Mahindra Bank
E. HSBC Bank

2. IAAF Diamond League is associated with which of the following sport?

A. Tennis
B. Chess
C. Swimming
D. Shooting
E. Discus Throw

3. Recently India has announced to provide how much amount of credit to Mongolia?

A. $1-billion
B. $2-billion
C. $0.5-billion
D. $1.5-billion
E. $3-billion

4. The Union government has allocated Rs 5,000 crore for the growth of Department of AYUSH and launched an independent National AYUSH Mission aimed at capacity building for the sector. In this background what is Y stand in AYUSH?

A. Year
B. Yoga
C. Yash
D. Yajurveda
E. None of these

5. Which state is site to the India’s first hydro-engineering college?

A. Kerala
B. Himachal Pradesh
C. Odisha
D. West Bengal
E. Gujarat


Write and Discuss Your Answer with Q.No in Comment Box at the Bottom of Post.

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General Awareness : Sports -March, 2014

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) Sports

March - 2015

Sarabhai award for SHAR director M.Y.S. Prasad

  •  M.Y.S. Prasad, director of Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota Range (SHAR), has been selected for the Vikram Sarabhai memorial award to be presented by the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) at a function to be held soon.

  •  Dr. Prasad is selected for his outstanding contribution to R&D in the field of space science in his long and chequered career at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Prior to Dr. Prasad, those who received this award were former ISRO chairmen Dr. Satish Dhawan, Dr. K. Kasturi Rangan, Dr. G. Madhavan Nair and Dr. K. Radhakrishnan.

  •  The ISCA, which is a premier scientific organization of the country established in 1914 in Kolkata, has been giving this award in alternate years.
    Jhumpa Lahiri wins DSC Prize for 2015

  •  Indian-American author Jhumpa Lahiri won the $50,000 DSC Prize for Literature, one of South Asia’s top literary awards for her book, The Lowland .

  •  The Prize celebrates writing on the South Asian region from writers across the globe and is given to the best novel or translations into English of a work on or about the region.

  •  “This is an enormous honour for The Lowland and for me personally. I wish I was there in person to receive the award,” Ms. Lahiri said through a phone conversation from Rome. Publisher Caroline Newbury accepted the award on her behalf.
    List of Padma Awardees

  •  Following is the list of 104 persons conferred Padma Awards. They include nine Padma Vibhushan and 20 Padma Bhushan awardees.

Padma Bhushan

  •  Jahnu Barua (Art), Assam; Vijay Bhatkar (Science and Engineering), Maharashtra; Swapan Dasgupta (Literature and Education), Delhi; Swami Satyamitranand Giri (Others), Uttar Pradesh; N. Gopalaswami (Civil Service), Tamil Nadu; Subhash C. Kashyap (Public Affairs), Delhi; Gokulotsavji Maharaj (Art), Madhya Pradesh; Ambrish Mithal (Medicine), Delhi; Sudha Ragunathan (Art), Tamil Nadu; Harish Salve (Public Affairs), Delhi; Ashok Seth (Medicine), Delhi; Rajat Sharma (Literature and Education), Delhi; Satpal (Sports), Delhi; Shivakumara Swami (Others), Karnataka; Kharag Singh Valdiya (Science and Engg), Karnataka; Manjul Bhargava (Science and Engg), USA; David Frawley (Others), USA; Bill Gates (Social Work), USA; Melinda Gates (Social Work), USA; and Saichiro Misumi (Others), Japan.
    Padma Vibhushan

  •  Name (discipline), State/country: L.K. Advani (Public Affairs), Gujarat; Amitabh Bachchan (Art), Maharashtra; Prakash Singh Badal (Public Affairs), Punjab; D. Veerendra Heggade (Social Work), Karnataka; Dilip Kumar (Art), Maharashtra; Jagadguru Rambhadracharya (Others), Uttar Pradesh; Malur Ramaswamy Srinivasan (Science and Engg), Tamil Nadu; Kottayan K. Venugopal (Public Affairs), Delhi; and Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan (Trade and Industry) France/U.K.

Padma Shri

  •  Manjula Anagani (Medicine), Telangana; S. Arunan (Science and Engg), Karnataka; Kanyakumari Avasarala (Art), Tamil Nadu; Bettina Sharada Baumer (Literature and Education), J&K; Naresh Bedi (Art), Delhi; Ashok Bhagat (Social Work), Jharkhand; Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Art), Maharashtra; Lakshmi Nandan Bora (Literature and Education), Assam; Gyan Chaturvedi (Literature and Education), Madhya Pradesh; Yogesh Kumar Chawla (Medicine), Chandigarh; Jayakumari Chikkala (Medicine), Delhi; Bibek Debroy (Literature and Education), Delhi; Sarungbam Bimola Kumari Devi (Medicine), Manipur;

  • Ashok Gulati (Public Affairs), Delhi; Randeep Guleria (Medicine), Delhi; K.P. Haridas (Medicine), Kerala; Rahul Jain (Art), Delhi; Ravindra Jain (Art), Maharashtra; Sunil Jogi (Literature and Education), Delhi; Prasoon Joshi (Art), Maharashtra; Prafulla Kar (Art), Odisha; Saba Anjum (Sports), Chhattisgarh; Ushakiran Khan (Literature and Education), Bihar; Rajesh Kotecha (Medicine), Rajasthan; Alka Kriplani (Medicine), Delhi; Harsh Kumar (Medicine), Delhi; Narayana Purushothama Mallaya (Literature & Education), Kerala; Lambert Mascarenhas (Literature and Education), Goa; Janak Palta McGilligan (Social Work), Madhya Pradesh; Veerendra Raj Mehta (Social Work), Delhi; Tarak Mehta (Art), Gujarat; Neil Herbert Nongkynrih (Art), Meghalaya; Chewang Norphel (Others), Jammu and Kashmir; T.V. Mohandas Pai (Trade and Industry), Karnataka; Tejas Patel (Medicine), Gujarat; Jadav Molai Peyang (Others), Assam; Bimla Poddar (Others), Uttar Pradesh; N. Prabhakar (Science and Engg), Delhi; Prahalada (Science and Engg), Maharashtra; Narendra Prasad (Medicine), Bihar; Ram Bahadur Rai (Literature and Education), Delhi; Mithali Raj (Sports), Telangana; P.V. Rajaraman (Civil Service), Tamil Nadu;

  • J.S. Rajput (Literature and Education), Uttar Pradesh; Kota Srinivasa Rao (Art), Andhra Pradesh; Bimal Roy (Literature and Education), West Bengal; Shekhar Sen (Art), Maharashtra; Gunvant Shah (Literature and Education), Gujarat; Brahmdev Sharma (Literature and Education), Delhi; Manu Sharma (Literature and Education), Uttar Pradesh; Yog Raj Sharma (Medicine), Delhi; Vasant Shastri (Science and Engg), Karnataka; S.K. Shivkumar (Science and Engg), Karnataka; P.V. Sindhu (Sports), Telangana; Sardara Singh (Sports), Haryana; Arunima Sinha (Sports), Uttar Pradesh; Mahesh Raj Soni (Art), Rajasthan; Nikhil Tandon (Medicine), Delhi; H Thegtse Rinpoche (Social Work), Arunachal Pradesh; Hargovind Laxmishanker Trivedi (Medicine), Gujarat; Huang Baosheng (Others), China; Jacques Blamont (Science and Engg), France; Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin (Others), Maharashtra (Posthumous); Jean-Claude Carriere (Literature and Education), France; Nandrajan ‘Raj’ Chetty (Literature and Education), France; George L Hart (Others), USA; Jagat Guru Amrta Suryananda Maha Raja (Others), Portugal; Meetha Lal Mehta (Social Work), Rajasthan (Posthumous); Tripti Mukherjee (Art), USA; Dattatreyudu Nori (Medicine), USA; Raghu Rama Pillarisetti (Medicine), USA; Saumitra Rawat (Medicine), UK; Annette Schmiedchen (Literature and Education), Germany; Pran Kumar Sharma alias Pran (Art), Delhi (Posthumous); and R. Vasudevan (Civil Service), Tamil Nadu (Posthumous) .

Raghuram Rajan wins ‘Governor of the Year’ award

  •  RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has been named ‘Governor of the Year’ by Central Banking Publications. In a statement, the publication said that the award recognises, “Raghuram Rajan’s disciplined and focussed approach leading the Reserve Bank of India during his first year as Governor was remarkably impressive.

  •  Accepting the award, Raghuram Rajan said: “Of course, no central bank works alone. The important role played by the government in maintaining fiscal discipline, in initiating growth-friendly structural reforms and in launching ambitious new financial sector programmes, such as rolling out bank accounts for all, has been critical to any success the economy has had, and is likely to have.

  •  “Moreover, all our collective efforts should be seen as work-in-progress — inflation has to be fully tamed, growth has to be brought back to potential and the banking system cleaned of distressed assets, even while we build the platform for the financial sector to support strong and sustainable growth.

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General Awareness : In The News - March, 2015

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) In The News

March- 2015

Meira Kumar

  •  Former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar’s book entitled “Indian Parliamentary Diplomacy – Speaker’s Perspective” has been recenlty released by the present Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
  •  The book features an account of the parliamentary diplomacy and its role in furthering foreign policy and strengthening international relations.
  •  Meira Kumar was the first unopposed elected woman Speaker of Lok Sabha and served from 2009 to 2014. Kumar was also 5 time Member of Parliament and was elected to 8th, 11th, 12th, 14th and 15th Lok Sabha.

Venkatraman to head Royal Society of UK

  • India-born Nobel laureate Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan has been confirmed as president elect of Britain’s prestigious Royal Society.
  •  Dr. Ramakrishnan is the first India-born scientist to be elected President of the Royal Society. Dr. Ramakrishnan will take over his new appointment on December 1, 2015, replacing the eminent geneticist Sir Paul Nurse.
  •  Earlier in the year 2009 he won Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the structure and function of the ribosome, the molecular machine that synthesises proteins inside cell; and on the action of antibiotics on the process.
  •  The Royal Society is a self-governing fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine, set up to support excellence in science, and to encourage its use for the benefit of humanity.

Yusuf kechery

  •  Veteren Malyalam poet Yusuf Kechery, recently died at private hospital. He left a deep impression in Kerala’s cultural realm as a lyricist.
  •  Kechery known for his mystic lyrics on Hindu Gods, particularly Lord Krishna.
  •  He dominated Malayalam films along with ONV and P Bhaskaran as a top-notch lyricist, had written hundreds of songs known for their mystic and romantic charm with the semi-classical touch.
  •  His lyrics in Dhwani, composed by renowned musician Naushad Ali, are considered as one among the best works of him.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni

  •  Mahendra Singh Dhoni has become first Indian Cricket team Captain to register the 100 One Day International (ODI) match wins. This acievement came after indian team defeated bangladesh in the 2015 ICC World Cup quarter final matchby 108 run in Asutralia.
  •  He is the only third captain in the history of cricket world who got this title, prior to Dhoni the other two cpatain who achieve this feat are Allan Border (107) and Rickey Ponting (165) both from Australia.
  •  Mahendra Singh Dhoni assumes Indian captancy in the year 2007 after Rahul Dravid Put off this. Since then under his captaincy, Indian Cricket team has won 2007 World Twenty20, CB Series of 2007-08, Asia Cup 2010, ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, Champions Trophy 2013.
  •  It is important to note here that former Indian Captain Mohammad Azharuddin had recorded 90 wins in ODIs, followed by Sourav Ganguly with 76 wins.

Katharine Viner

  •  Katharine Viner has been appointed the editor-in-chief of the Guardian. She became the first woman to run the newspaper in its 194-year history. Viner will become only the 12th editor since the paper was founded in May 1821.
  •  Viner, currently deputy editor of the Guardian and editor-in-chief of Guardian US, will take up the role in the summer from incumbent Alan Rusbridger, who is to stand down after 20 years.
  •  Viner joined the Guardian in 1997 and has been a deputy editor of the title as well as editing the Saturday edition of the newspaper from 2008 until 2012. She has held a wide range of roles including editor of G2, deputy women’s editor, and editor of Weekend magazine.

Sohail Aman

  •  Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has appointed Air Marshal Sohail Aman as new air chief, after promoting him to the rank of air chief marshal.
  •  Earlier, outgoing Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt called on PM Nawaz in Islamabad. The premier lauded the services of the outgoing chief of air staff for national defense and the role of PAF in the ongoing war against terrorism.
  •  Air Marshal Sohail Aman, who is an accomplished fighter pilot, was commissioned in the GD (P) Branch of Pakistan Air Force in November,1980. During his remarkable career in PAF, he has flown various fighter and training aircrafts in PAF’s inventory.
  •  Aman remained on various important staff appointments including director operations, director plans and assistant chief of the air staff (operations) at Air Headquarters, in addition to air officer commanding, central air command and deputy chief of the air staff (training).

Kavinder Gupta

  •  Jammu & Kashmir Lagislative Assembly has unanimously elected BJP MLA Kavinder Gupta Speaker of the 12th Assembly.
  •  Basharat Bukhari, Minister of Law and Parliamentry Affairs moved the motion in the Assembly seeking his election to the post.
  •  kavinder Gupta, an MLA from Gandhinagar constituency in Jammu district, was elected with voice vote with no one vote against the motion. Mr. Gupta replaces the Protem Speaker Muhammad Shafi of the regional National Conference.

Narayan Desai

  •  Vetrent Gandhian of our country Narayan Desai, who known for his rendition of Gandhi Katha — stories on the Mahatma’s life — passed away at a private hospital in Surat.
  •  He is son of Mahatma Gandhi’s personal secretary and biographer Mahadev Desai.
  •  In 2004, Desai started a lecture series on Gandhi called ‘Gandhi Katha’, which he took across the world and received much acclaim for it.
  •  Desai served as the Chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapith from July 23, 2007 to November 2014 .
  •  Desai has won several award for his work which include the Sahitya Akademi Award for Gujarati in 1993 and the Jamnalal Bajaj Award in 1999 and the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence in 1998. He was also associated with anti-nuclear activism.

Marry Kom

  •  Union Government has selected five time world’s Boxing Champion and Olympic medallist boxer M.C. Mary Kom as the brand ambassador for north-east India to promote the region in the rest of the country and abroad.
  •  It was announced by Union Minister of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Jitendra Singh while adressing the 10th North East Business Summit in New Delhi. MC Mary Kom was selected to showcase the potential of the North East region which can offer Rs. 2.4 trillion business opportunities across various sectors.
  •  Mary, 32, who hails from Manipur is only woman boxer to have won a medal in each of the six world championships. She recently announced in Imphal that she would quit the sport after the Rio de Janeiro Olympics next year.
  •  The cultural tradition of Manipur is sports-oriented and the state, as a result, has produced many athletes. Mary Kom cemented the north-eastern state’s position as a powerhouse of talent with her 2012 Olympic bronze. Winning medals in many international and national meets, the Hindi film industry made a movie based on her life, starring actor Priyanka Chopra.

Sir Terry Pratchett

  •  Sir Terry Pratchett creator of the Discovered series and author of more thatn 70 novels has recently passed away in London.
  •  In his 44 years long career, Pratchett had written more than 70 books which were translated in 37 languages. His debut novel, The Carpet People was published in 1971 and his first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic was published in 1983.
  •  Pratchett has sold more than 85 million books worldwide was the UK’s best-selling author of the 1990s and later surpassed by Harry Potter author J K Rowling.
  •  He has won several award for his distinguish work which includes Knighted by the Queen Elizabeth II in 2009 for his services to literature and in year 2010, he was awarded the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement.
  •  In the year 1998 he was appointed as officer of Order of the British Empire (OBE).

Vinod Mehta

  •  Senior journalist and Outlook Group’s editorial chairman Vinod Mehta passed away at the AIIMS in New Delhi on Sunday.
  •  He had worked with several publications including Debonair, Sunday Observer, Pioneer and Indian Post.
  •  Born in Rawalpindi, Mehta has authored a biography of Meena Kumari and Sanjay Gandhi. His much-talked-about memoir, Lucknow Boy, was published in 2011.
  •  He was conferred with Yash Bharti Samman (2015) by Uttar Pradesh government.

Ram Sunder Das

  •  Former Bihar Chief Minister and senior JD(U) leader Ram Sundar Das has died, he was 95. He was chief minister of Bihar as the head of the Janata Party government in 1979.
  •  Earlier in the Lok Sabha election of 2009, he has defeated Ram Vilas Oaswan in the Hajipur, but in the parliamentary polls last year, had lost to the latter.
  •  Present Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, announced two days of state mourning as a mark of respect for the senior JD(U) leader.

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General Awareness : Awards and Prizes - March, 2015

General Awareness For Bank's Exams) Awards and Prizes

March, 2014

Veerappa Moily selected for Saraswati Samman 2014

  • Former Union law Minsiter and INC senior leader Veerappa Mioly has selected for the prestigious Saraswati Samman for 2014 for his famous Kannada poem ‘Ramayana Mahanveshanam.
  • Saraswati Saman is given by the K K Birla Foundation since 1991 for an outstanding literary work in any Indian language mentioned in the Schedule VIII of the Constitution. The award carries a cash purse of Rs 10 lakh, a citation and a plaque.
    Ramayana Mahanveshanam, which divided into five volume was first published in the year 2007 in Kannada. This poem has been later translated into English, Hindi, Telugu and Tamil.
  • This poem basically speaks about the true principle of the ideal State from a secular and modern point of view.
    Moily is an established writer in Kannada who has authored four novels, three collections of poetry, a number of plays and numerous essays. His novels ‘Kotta’ and
  • ‘Tembare’ have been translated to Hindi, English and many other languages. Moily handled many ministries in the previous UPA regime including Petroleum and Natural Gas, Corporate Affairs, Power and Law. He was chief minister of Karnataka from 1992 to 1994.
  • The selection for the award was made by a 13-member panel of scholars and writers headed by former Chief Justice of India R C Lahoti.
    Namibian President bags Mo Ibrahim Prize 2014
  • Outgoing Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba has won the world’s prestigious award Mo- Ibrahim proze for African leadership for year 2014.
  • Hifikepunye Pohamba has served as Namibian President two terms. For first time he was elected in 2004 and again in 2009. Now, he is due to be succeeded by elected President Hage Geingob.
  • This prize is given each year to an elected leader who has governed well, raised living standards and then left office. It is named after Mo Ibrahim, a British-Sudanese mobile communications entrepreneur and philanthropist who had made billions of fortune from investing in Africa.
    Mo Ibrahim had launched this prize in 2007 to encourage African leaders to leave power peacefully. It is the world’s most valuable individual award and carries monetary award of 5 million dollar and also $ 200,000 a year for life.
  • The inaugural prize was awarded to Joaquim Chissano, former president of Mozambique.

I & B Presents 4th National Photography Awards

  • Information and Broadcasting Ministry Secretary Shri Bimal Julka has conferred the 4th National Photography Awards to eminent photographers at a function organized by the Photo Division, under the aegis of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. Below are the list of awardee.  Shri Surendra R. Patel was given the Life-Time Achievement Award, Shri Swarup Dutta was awarded the Best Professional Photographer Award and Shri R. Sasikumar was awarded Best Amateur Photographer. Awards were also conferred to 10 winners under the Special Mention category for both, the Professional and Amateur segments. The theme for the Professional Category was “Hamara Bharat Swachh Bharat” and for the Amateur Category is “Mother and Child”.
  • Shri Surendra R. Patel, the winner of the Life Time Achievement Award is an eminent professional in the field of photography. He has participated in several national and international exhibitions and salons from 1951 and has 200 awards to his credit. He has been honoured with several awards and felicitations. He is credited for having presented more than 100 slideshows on Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, 1958 and pictorial photography in different parts of the country.

Namibian President bags Mo Ibrahim Prize 2014

  • Outgoing Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba has won the world’s prestigious award Mo- Ibrahim proze for African leadership for year 2014.
    Hifikepunye Pohamba has served as Namibian President two terms. For first time he was elected in 2004 and again in 2009. Now, he is due to be succeeded by elected President Hage Geingob.
  • This prize is given each year to an elected leader who has governed well, raised living standards and then left office. It is named after Mo Ibrahim, a British-Sudanese mobile communications entrepreneur and philanthropist who had made billions of fortune from investing in Africa. Mo Ibrahim had launched this prize in 2007 to encourage African leaders to leave power peacefully. It is the world’s most valuable individual award and carries monetary award of 5 million dollar and also $ 200,000 a year for life. The inaugural prize was awarded to Joaquim Chissano, former president of Mozambique.

Stree Shakti & Nari Shakti Puraskar

  • President Pranab Mukherjee on the eve of International Women Day i.e,. 8th March has awarded ‘Stree Shakti Puraskar’ and ‘Nari Shakti Puraskar’ for the year 2015, to Six illustrious women.
  • The awardees were nominated by the state governments, MPs, VIPs as well as on suo-moto basis which were ten selected by a national level Screening Committee. Six noted women have been presented with the award on March 8, 2015. Each award carries 3 lakh rupees and citation.

The Stree Shakti Puraskar has been conferred to the following noted Indian women:
1. Anyay Rahit Zindagian NGO of Goa has been conferred with Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Award
2. Rani Lakshmibai Award has been presented to Seema Prakash of Madhya Pradesh
3. Astha Sansthan , NGO of Rajasthan has been awarded Rani Rudramma Devi
4. Chandraprabha Bokey from Maharashtra has been conferred Mata Jijabai Award
5. Dr. P Bhanumati of Kerala has been presented with Kannagi Award
6. Sister while Mariola from Rajasthan has been awarded Rani Gaidinliu Zeliang
The Nari Shakti Puraskar has been conferred for the first time this year. Each award carries a 1 lakh rupees and a citation. The eight women have been presented with this award by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, in recognition to their contribution in specific areas.

Clemson University honours Ratan Tata with a Doctrate

Indian Businessman Ratan Tata has been honoured with Doctorate of Automotive Engineering by the Clemson University. He was presented with the honorary doctorate for his contribution to the global automotive industry at the South Carolina Automotive Summit this week. Ratan Tata holds bachelor’s degree in architecture from Cornell University. In 1962 he had joined the Tata Group. In 1981, he was named chairman of Tata Industries and led the group in various fields including transportation, consulting, communications, chemicals, hospitality and steel.

Ratan Tata serves as director on the boards of Alcoa Inc., Mondelez International. He is also on the international advisory boards of, JP Morgan Chase, Rolls-Royce, Mitsubishi Corp., Temasek Holdings and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

87th Academic Award

The 87th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) was held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles. The Academy Awards which is popularly known as Oscars were presented in twenty four categories.Below are the list of these awardee.

  •  Best Picture- Birdman
  •  Best Actor- Eddie Redmayne
  •  Best Actress- Julianne Moore
  •  Best Supporting Actor- J. K. Simmons
  •  Best Supporting Actress- Patricia Arquette
  •  Best Director- Alejandro G. Iñárritu for Birdman
  •  Best Original Screenplay- Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).
  •  Best Foreign Language Film- Ida (Poland).

Rajendra Singh bags Stockholm Water Prize

  • Prestigious Stockholm Water Prize 2015 has been conferred to Renowed enviornmental activist Rajandra Singh has been for his innovative water restoration efforts and courage to empower communities in Indian villages.
  • Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf, Patron of the Stockholm Water Prize, will present the prize during the World Water Week on August 26. The award carries $150,000 and a specially designed sculpture.
  • Stockholm Water Prize was constituted in the year 1991 to recognizes persons for their outstanding achievements in conservation and protection of the world’s water resources and presented annually.
  • Rajendra Singh is fourth Indian to win the prestigious global award, others are- Madhav Chitale in 1993, Sunita Narain in 2005 and Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak in the year 2009.

National Safety Award (Mines) for year 2011 & 12

  • The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee has presented the National Safety Awards (Mines) for the Years 2011 and 2012 at a function organized by Ministry of Labour & Employment.
  • For the purpose of the contest the National Safety Awards (Mines) has been divided into 7 different groups depending upon the type of mineral and nature of workings.These are - Coal mines - Belowground with difficult mining conditions; Coal mines - Belowground (others); Coal mines – Opencast; Metal Mines - Mechanised Opencast; Metal Mines – Manual Opencast; Metal Mines – Belowground and Oil Mines.

The indicators of safety performance for determining eligibility of these awards are-

  •  Longest accident free period (LAFP) in terms of man shifts worked during three consecutive years ending with the contest year.
  •  Lowest injury frequency rate (LIFR) during three consecutive years ending with the contest year. Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India instituted National Safety Awards (Mines) in 1983 (for the contest year 1982) with a view to promote a competitive spirit amongst mine operators for the betterment of safety standards in mines and to give due recognition to outstanding safety performance at national level. This award is generally given away by the Hon’ble President of India every year and has generated considerable enthusiasm amongst the Mining community.

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Daily Questions Challenge for IBPS Exams (16 May 2015)

Daily Questions Challenge for IBPS Exams (16 May 2015)

Write and Discuss Your Answer with Q.No in Comment Box at the Bottom of Post.

1. State Bank of India has launched contactless credit and debit cards with near field technology (NFC). What is the name of this card?

A. SBI Contactless Card
B. SBIinTouch
C. Tap and Pay
D. SBIin Contact
E. None of these

2. Reserve Bank of India has allowed transactions up to_______ without second factor authentication?

A. Rs 2000
B. Rs 3000
C. Rs 4000
D. Rs 2500
E. Rs 5000

3. Which of the following Indian Shooter has qualified for Rio Olympic 2016?

1. Abhinav Bindra
2. Gagan Narang
3. Jitu Rai
4. Apurvi Chandela

A. Only 1 and 2
B. Only 1, 2, and 3
C. Only 2, 3 and 4
D. All of the above
E. Only 2 and 3

4. Vice President Confers Pt. Haridutt Sharma Award to whom?

A. Barkha Dutt
B. Sazia Ilmi
C. Anurradha Prasad
D. Nalini Singh
E. Anzana Om Kashyap

5. Which of the following Country’s Parliament has passed a bill to shut ‘undesirable’ NGOs approved?

A. Russia
B. Spain
C. French
D. England
E. Belarus

Write and Discuss Your Answer with Q.No in Comment Box at the Bottom of Post.

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SBI PO Exam Paper - (General Awareness, Marketing and Computer Knowledge) "held on30-11-2014"

 SBI PO Exam Paper - (General Awareness, Marketing And Computer Knowledge) "held on30-11-2014"

(Based on Memory)

151. Rules for exchanging data between compuers are called

(1) Programmers (2) Hyperlinks
(3) Hyper actions
(4) Procedure
(5) Protocols

152. As per RBI guidelines, banks are no longer allowed to penalise its customer for

(1) None-maintainers of minimum balance in cooperative accounts
(2) Non-maintained of minimum balance in current account
(3) Non-maintained of minimum balance in savings account
(4) Bouncing of cheques issued for non-availability of terms
(5) Premature withdrawal of term deposits

153. How many gigabytes are there in a prototype?

(1) 500000 (2) 100000
(3) 1000 (4) 100
(5) 001

154. Subject to compliance of security features the CBS complaint Urban Cooperative Banks can offer the following types of internet banking facility to their customers

(1) Non-fund based view only facility
(2) Payment of direct/indirect taxes
(3) Online-fund transfer from one account to another
(4) Online e-commerce facility
(5) Remittance of funds through NEFT/RTGS

155. Anoushka Shankar is a famous Indian

(1) Famous music director
(2) Guitarist
(3) Other than those given as options
(4) Classical singer
(5) Sitarist

156. When a customer likes a product and talks about it, this becomes an example of

(1) Distalking
(2) Marketing
(3) Favouring
(4) Soliciting
(5) Word of mouth advertising

157. Which of the following is the autobiography of renowned politician K. Natwar Singh?

(1) Not just an accountant
(2) One life is not enough
(3) My life with Rajiv and Sonia
(4) The substance and the Shadow
(5) Other than those given as options

158. Basically, the CTS-2010 standards issued by the Reserve Bank of India are

(1) Cheque forms specifications
(2) Systems specifications
(3) Procedures specifications
(4) Technology specifications
(5) Equipment specification

159. Which of the following instrument is in the hands of the RBI controls liquidity in the banking systems by regulating the money supply in the hands of tanks that they can pump in economy?

(1) Cash revenue ratio
(2) Credit deposit ratio
(3) Other than given as options
(4) Capital adequate ratio
(5) CASA ratio

160. Which of the following banks is a public sector banks?

(1) ICICI Bank (2) IDBI Bank
(3) HDFC Bank (4) J & K Bank
(5) PNB Bank

161. The RBI has come out with a new concept of bank licensing termed as the ‘Differentiated Bank License’. A differentiated Bank License will allow a bank to

(1) Open branches in only identified geographical areas
(2) Deal with only an identified class of customers
(3) Offer products only in select
(4) Offer services to specified institutions/customers
(5) Operate on principles of universal banking

162. The mission the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority is to protect the interests of the policy holders and to

(1) Ensure orderly growth of insurance industry
(2) Promote the development of financial infrastructure
(3) Specify listing and transfer of securities
(4) Regulate business of mutual funds
(5) Regulate the money and credit market

163. Which of the following schemes aims at tackling malnutrition and health problems of children below the age of 6 years and their memebers?

(1) Kasturba Gandhi Shishu Sangopan Yojana
(2) Kishore Vaigyanic Yojana
(3) Janani Suraksha Yojana
(4) Other than those given as options
(5) Integrated Child Development Services

164. Which of the following country(ies) have the word ‘Dinar’ in its/official currency?

1. Algeria 2. Iraq
3. Kuwait

(1) 3 and 2
(2) 1 and 2
(3) Only 1
(4) 2 and 3
(5) All of these

165. Shares of a close ended fund is setting at 20% premium over NAV and its NAV is Rs. 10.00 market price of the

(1) Rs. 10.00
(2) Other than those given as options
(3) Rs. 11.00
(4) Rs. 12.00 (5) Rs. 8.00

166. Which button inExcel 2007 will automatically add the contents of a group of cells?

(1) Calculate
(2) Auto add
(3) Auto sum
(4) Formula
(5) Redo

167. In which of the following cases services marketing is resorted to?

(1) production houses
(2) only MNCs
(3) Banks and Insurance companies
(4) Public sector undertakings
(5) Industrial units

168. The SBI has recently launched a new facility called ‘M-passbook’ for its retail banking users on its ‘State Bank Anywhere’ mobile application. The facility enables users to

(1) Perform e-commerce transactions through their smartphone
(2) Bend requisition for cheque books through their smartphone
(3) Perform internet banking transactions through their smartphone
(4) Indicates view their transaction history on their smartphone
(5) remit funds under RTGS/NEFT through their smartphone

169. .............. indicates the buying process of customers.

(1) Evaluation of alternatives
(2) Separating needs and wants
(3) Purchase decision
(4) Information search
(5) Need recognition

170. The process of writing computer instructing in a programming language is known as

(1) Instructioning
(2) Coding
(3) Algorithming
(4) File
(5) Processing

171. The supply chain that stretches from raw materials to ............ represents a value delivery system.

(1) Final products for final buyers
(2) Warehouses for storage
(3) Production stage
(4) Suppliers
(5) Factory entrance point

172. Market Segmentation means

(1) Making selling arrangement
(2) Grouping sales team
(3) Grouping the customers as per their needs
(4) Grouping bank office staff
(5) Grouping the counter staff

173. An investor who wants to dematerialise his shares needs to open a demat account with

(1) The securities and Exchange Board of India
(2) The concerned company
(3) Any registered share broker
(4) A recognised stock exchange
(5) A depository participant

174. Which of the following is not parts of buying decision process of customer?

(1) Seeking discount
(2) Problem recognition
(3) Purchase design
(4) Information search
(5) Evaluation of alternatives

175. Which of the following sets of financial instruments is not derivatives?

(1) Floors and collars
(2) Future and forwards
(3) Swaps and options
(4) Caps and credit default swaps
(5) Equities and bonds

176. Which of the following pairs of old names and new names of countries names match of correct?

1. Constantnopie : Istambul
2. Mesopotamia : Parestine
3. Rhodesia : Zimbabwe
(1) Only 1 (2) 1 and 3
(3) All of these (4) Both 1 and 2
(5) 2 and 3

177. Which of the following is described as being too impersonal of one way communication?

(1) Sales promotion by door-to-door campaign
(2) Personal selling
(3) Direct marketing
(4) Public relations
(5) Advertising

178. A marketing network consists of the company and its

(1) Distributors only
(2) Employees only
(3) Supporting stock holders
(4) Shareholders only
(5) Suppliers only

179. Aggressive marketing is the result of

(1) Increased job solution
(2) Outsourcing
(3) Increased marketing staff
(4) Increased competition
(5) Increased production

180. The minimum wage ceiling for becoming a subscriber for social security schemes run by Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has now been raised to

(1) Rs. 1000 (2) Rs. 7500
(3) Rs. 15000 (4) Rs. 10000
(5) Rs. 1200

181. A(n) ............. analysis and executes each line of source code in succession, without looking at the entire programme.

(1) Compiler
(2) Device driver
(3) Utility
(4) operating system
(5) Interpreter

182. Value Added Service means

(1) Old products
(2) Extra service in addition
(3) Highly valuable products
(4) Low value products
(5) Substituted products

183. Which of the following is not a part of four P’s of marketing mix?

(1) Place (2) Price
(3) Promotion (4) Product
(5) Person

184. The decisions such as which country to enter in, how to enter and how to introduce the products are required in

(1) Local markets (2) Global markets
(3) Social markets
(4) Government markets
(5) Service markets

185. ................ indicates working more closely with customers to add value to the operative.

(1) Gaobasing
(2) Merging
(3) Customer partnering
(4) Re-engineering
(5) Outsourcing

186. Which of the following is a village development project under which each member of Parliament will take the responsibility of development physical and institutional is the infrastructure is the identified village?

(1) Swaran Jayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana
(2) Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana
(3) Provision of urban
(4) National Social Assistance Programme
(5) Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana

187. A device designed to read information encoded into a small plastic card is

(1) Card puncher
(2) ID puncher
(3) Tape puncher
(4) Badge reader
(5) Magnetic tape

188. The Central government has recently merger of National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL) with which of the following?

(1) Bombay Stock Exchange
(2) Financial Technologies of India Limited (FTIL)
(3) Other than those given as options
(4) National Stock Exchange
(5) Tech Mahindra

189. Which of the following type of credit/debit cards are not required to be swiped at the Point of Sale (PoS) terminates instead, they have to be dipped into .............. the device and the cardholder is required to key in a unique PIN to complete the transaction.

(1) Magnetic Stripe Base Debit Cards
(2) Magnetic Stripe Base Credit Cards
(3) Chip Based Credit/Debit Cards
(4) Cell Based Credit/Debit Cards
(5) Sim Based Credit/Debit Cards

190. The unique mobile money transfer and payment service ‘M-Pesa’ is the trademark of

(1) HDFC Bank
(2) IDEA Cellular
(3) Vodafone
(4) ICICI Bank
(5) IDBI Bank

191. The United Nations arm UNHRC acronym stands for United Nations

(1) Human Rights Council
(2) Human Rights Commission
(3) Human Resources Commission
(4) Other than those given as options
(5) Human Religious Committee

192. Quantitative Easing as a term which is generally used to refer to a policy, which is adaptive?

(1) Cause money from the markets
(2) Put a ceiling on the loanable funds of banks
(3) Increase money supply in the economy
(4) Absorb excess supply in the economy
(5) Sell assets to the financial sector

193. United Nations Organisations (UNO) was set upon which of the following dates?

(1) October 30, 1944
(2) October 31, 1945
(3) October 20, 1944
(4) October 24, 1945
(5) Other than those given as options

194. Product and Brand Management is sometimes characterised as

(1) Regional systems
(2) Segmental organisation
(3) Geographical systems
(4) Layered organisation
(5) Hub and spoke system

195. The ALU and control unit of most of the microcomputer are combined and manufactured in a single silicon chip. What it is called?

(1) ALU
(2) Touchpad
(3) Control Unit
(4) Men chip
(5) Microprocessor

196. Jeffrey Fournie, an American was freed unexpectedly recently by the government of

(1) North Korea
(2) Other than those given as options
(3) Syria
(4) South Korea
(5) Taiwan

197. National Chemical Laboratory is located at

(1) New Delhi
(2) Chandigarh
(3) Hyderabad
(4) Pune
(5) Other than those given as options

198. Which of the following is used to write webpages?

(1) HTML
(2) Telnet
(3) HTTP
(4) URL
(5) FTP

199. Which of the following is not a valid version of MS-Office?

(1) Office XP (2) Office 2003
(3) Office 2004
(4) Office Vista
(5) Office 2003

200. URL stands for

(1) Uniform Retail Location
(2) Universal Resource List
(3) Uniform Research Locator
(4) Universal Research List
(5) Uniform Resource Locator

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SBI PO Exam Paper - (Data Analysis and Intelligence) "held on 30-11-2014"

 SBI PO Exam Paper - (Data Analysis and Intelligence) "held on 30-11-2014"

(Based on Memory)

Directions (Q. Nos. 101-106) In these questions a number of series is given. After the series a number is given followed by (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e). You have to complete the series starting with the given numbers following the sequence of original series and answer the questions that follows the series.

101. 48 24  36 90  315 1417.5
        20 (a) (b) (c) (d)   (e)

What will come in place of (d)?

(1) 131.25
(2) 133.75
(3) 136
(4) 140
(5) 142.25

102. 2 11 52 183 430 555
        4 (a) (b) (c) (d) (e)

What will come in place of (b)?

(1) 92
(2) 98
(3) 82
(4) 88
(5) 96

103. 7 9 21 69 273 1371
        6 (a) (b) (c) (d) (e)

What will come in place of (b)?

(1) 19
(2) 22
(3) 18
(4) 20
(5) 17

104. 9 8 12 27 92 435
        7 (a) (b) (c) (d) (e)

What will come in place of (c)?

(1) 19
(2) 12
(3) 13
(4) 15
(5) 16

105. 8 9 21 68 279 1404
        5 (a) (b) (c) (d) (e)

What will come in place of (d)?

(1) 184
(2) 207
(3) 212
(4) 196
(5) 228

106. 4 7 19 73 381 2161
        8 (a) (b) (c) (d) (e)

What will come in place of (c)?

(1) 106
(2) 169
(3) 156
(4) 184
(5) 174

Directions (Q. Nos. 107-112) Study the following table to answer this questions.

107. Total number of female employees (manager and officers) in procurement department is by what percent more than their male counter part?

(2)79/7 %

108. What is the difference between total number of male officers in Advertising and Public  Relations Departments and the total number of female managers in these two departments?

(1) 240
(2) 180
(3) 150
(4) 200
(5) 220

109. What is the respective ratio between total number of female managers from Operations and Finance departments and the total numbers of male officers from these two departments?

(1) 4 : 5
(2) 3 : 5
(3) 1 : 2
 (4) 3 : 4
(5) 2 : 3

110. Total number of male officers in Advertising and Sale departement is what percent of the total number of officers in the two departments?

(1) 52
(2) 54
(3) 56
(4) 58
(5) 54

111. Total number of female managers in Finance department is what percent of the total number of male employees in sales department?

(1) 72.5
(2) 76.25
(3) 40
(4) 82.75
(5) 88.5

112. What is the ratio between of total number of managers in Public Relation, Finance and Sales, and Operation departments and the total number of officers in Finance Advertising, Sales and Procurement departments, respectively?

(1) 7 : 8
(2) 11 : 13
(3) 6 : 7
(4) 13 : 15
(5) 13 : 16

Directions (Q. Nos. 113-117) These questions consist of a question and two statements I and Ii given below it. You have to decide whether the data providing in the statements are sufficient to answer the question. Read both the statements and choose the appropriate option.

113. What is the speed of the train? (in km/h)

I. The car takes 2 h more than the train to cover a distance of 264 km.
II. The train moves 22 km/h faster than the car.
(1) If the data either in statement I alone or in statement Ii alone are sufficient to answer the question
(2) If the data in both the statements I and II together are not sufficient to answer the question
(3) If the data in both the statements I and II together are necessary to answer the question
(4) If the data in statement I alone are sufficient to answer the question while the data in statement II are not sufficient to answer the question
(5) If the data in statement II alone are sufficient to answer the question while the data in statement I are not sufficient to answer the question

114. How many students are there in the class?

I. The average weights of the class is 52 kg.
II. If two students weighing 44 kg and 52 kg leave the class and are replaced by two students weighing 64 kg and 56 kg. The average weight of the class increases by 1.2 kg.
(1) If the data either in statement I alone or in statement II alone are sufficient to answer the question
(2) If the data in both the statements I and II together are not sufficient to answer the question
(3) If the data in both the statements I and II together are necessary to answer the question
(4) If the data in statement I alone are sufficient to answer the question while the data in statement II are not sufficient to answer the question
(5) If the data in statement II alone are sufficient to answer the question while the data in statement I are not sufficient to answer the question

115. In how many days can 14 men complete a piece of wouk?

I 18 women can complete that work in 24 days.
II. 28 children can complete that work in 56 days.
(1) If the data either in statement I alone or in statement II alone are sufficient to answer the question
(2) If the data in both the statements I and II together are not sufficient to answer the question
(3) If the data in both the statements I and II together are necessary to answer the question
(4) If the data in statement I alone are sufficient to answer the question while the data in statement II are not sufficient to answer the question
(5) If the data in statement II alone are sufficient to answer the question while the data in statement I are not sufficient to answer the question

116. What was the percentage of discount given on the marked price of the table?

I. 15% profit was earned by selling the table for Rs. 14490. If there were not discount, percent profit would have been 20%.
II. Cost price of table is Rs. 12600.
(1) If the data either in statement I alone or in statement II alone are sufficient to answer the question
(2) If the data in both the statement I and II together are not sufficient to answer the question
(3) If the data in both the statements I and II together are necessary to answer the question
(4) If the data in statement I alone are sufficient to answer the question while the data in statement II are not sufficient to answer the question
(5) If the data in statement II alone are sufficient to answer the question while the data in statement I are not sufficient to answer the question

117. What is area of the circle? (in sq cm)

I. The diameter of the circle is 90 cm less than its circumference
II. The radius of the circle is equal to the length of a rectangle whose perimeter in 77 cm.
(1) If the data either in statement I alone or in statement II alone are sufficient to answer the question
(2) If the data in both the statements I and II together are not sufficient to answer the question
(3) If the data in both the statements I and II together are necessary to answer the question
(4) If the data in statement I alone are sufficient to answer the question while the data in statement II are not sufficient to anwer the question
(5) If the data in statement II alone are sufficient to answer the question while the data in statement I are not sufficient to answer the question

Directions (Q. Nos. 118-121) Study the information and answer the given questions.

A bag contains four blue shirts five red shirts and six yellow shirts.s

118. Three shirts are drawn randomly. What is the probability that exactly one of them is blue?

(1) 36/91
(2) 40/91
(3) 44/91
(4) 48/91
(5) 31/91

119. One shirt is drawn randomly. What is the probability that it is either red or yellow?

(1) 4/15
(2) 7/15
(3) 11/15
(4) 8/15
(5) 13/15

120. Two shirts are drawn randomly. What is the probability that both of them are blue?

(1) 3/35
(2) 1/35
(3) 2/35
(4) 5/35
(5) 6/35

121. If three shirts are drawn random 14, what is the probability that all the three shirts are of different colour.

(5)None of these

Directions (Q. Nos. 122-126) Study the following information carefully to answer the questions. As a part of renovation of an office flooring, painting and carpenting of a hall is to be undertaken. The hall has length 16 m, breadth 12 m and height 5 m. Cost of flooring is Rs. 2250/m2, cost of painting is Rs. 750/m2 and cost of carpenting is Rs. 850/m2.

122. What will the total cost of flooring the hall and painting the ceiling?

(1) Rs. 560000
(2) Rs. 576000
(3) Rs. 524000
(4) Rs. 580000
(5) Rs. 564000

123. What will be the cost of painting the four walls of the hall if it has a door of 1.6 m × 2.5 m and a window of 0.8 m × 1.5 m?

(1) Rs. 190900
(2) Rs. 208000
(3) Rs. 196800
(4) Rs. 198600
(5) Rs. 206100

124. What will be the cost of flooring the hall if the contractor offered 12% discount on the total cost?

(1) Rs. 380160
(2) Rs. 336440
(3) Rs. 328240
(4) Rs. 342320
(5) Rs. 360350

125. While painting the hall it was noticed that one wall on length side having no door or window required plastering which will cost Rs. 320/m2. What will be the cost of plastering and painting that particular wall?

(1) Rs. 85600
(2) Rs. 84400
(3) Rs. 82800
(4) Rs. 86400
(5) Rs. 85200

126. What will be the difference between the cost of painting the wall on length side and the wall on breath side neither of the walls has a door or a window?

(1) Rs. 14000
(2) Rs. 15000
(3) Rs. 15600
(4) Rs. 16000
(5) Rs. 14500

Directions (Q. Nos. 127-132) Study the following pie-charts and the information given below them carefully and answer the questions given.

127. The total number of which level employees in both the organsiation together is maximum?

(1) A
(2) F
(3) C
(4) E
(5) D

128. The difference in the number of employees in the two organisation of which level is the maximum?

(1) A
(2) D
(3) E
(4) F
(5) C

129. The number of C level employees in organisation I is approximately equal to the number of which level employees in organisation II?

(1) B
(2) D
(3) F
(4) C
(5) A

130. Number of B level employees in organisation I is less than that in organisation II by what percent approximately?

(1) 60
(2) 55
(3) 59
(4) 40
(5) 45

131. What is the total number of F level employees in organisation level I and E level employees in orgainsation II together?

(1) 7916
(2) 2652
(3) 7116
(4) 8126
(5) 4464

132. The number of A level employees in organisation II is approximately what percentage of the number of D level employees in organisation I?

(1) 30
(2) 62
(3) 57
(4) 48
(5) 43

Directions (Q. Nos. 133-138) Study the table and answer the given questions :

(Consider each of the given companies equally distributed book among the districutors working with it)

133. What was the average number of books published by companies A, C and D together?

(1) 5700
(2) 5900
(3) 5500
(4) 5300
(5) 6100

134. Number of books distributed by company B is what percent of the number of books distributed by company E?

135. Among the total number of books distributed by company D the respective ratio of academic and non-academic books was 5: 4. What was the number of non-academic books distributed by company D?

(1) 1200 (2) 1800
(3) 1400
(4) 1500
(5) 1600

136. Number of books received by each distributor working with company F was what percent more than the number of books received by each distributor working with company E?

137. What was the respective ratio between total number of books distributed by company A and the total number of books distributed by company C?

(1) 53 : 88
(2) 171 : 176
(3) 53 : 92
(4) 49 : 82
(5) 57 : 92

138. What was the difference between number of books received by each distributor working with company B and number of books received by each distributor working with company F?

(1) 252
(2) 260
(3) 264
(4) 268
(5) 256

Directions (Q. Nos. 139-144) Study the following graph carefully and answer the questions given :

139. What is the percentage increase in the income of company Y from 2008 to 2010?

(1) 103/2
(2) 80/3
(3) 100/3
(4) 119/3
(5) 105/4

140. The total income of all the three companies together was minimum in which of the following years?

(1) 2011
(2) 2008
(3) 2009
(4) 2012
(5) 2007

141. In which year was the percentage increase in income of company Z from the previous year the maximum?

(1) 2010
(2) 2008
(3) 2012
(4) 2011
(5) 2009

142. What is the approximate average income of all the three companies together in 2011?

(1) Rs. 210 crore
(2) Rs. 240 crore
(3) Rs. 300 crore
(4) Rs. 260 crore
(5) Rs. 250 crore

143. What is the ratio between the total income of all three companies in 2007 and 2008, respectively?

(1) 5 : 7
(2) 4 : 7
(3) 3 : 4
(4) 4 : 5
(5) 3 : 5

144. The income of company Z in 2010 is what percentage of income of company y in 2011?

Directions (Q. Nos. 145-150) Refer to the graph and answer the given questions.

Note (i) Profit = Income – Expenditure
(ii) Percent Profit = (Profit/Expenditure) = 100
(iii) Loss = Expenditure – Income
(iv) Percent Loss = (Loss/Expenditure) = 100

145. What is the total profit earned by the businessman in 2005 and 2008?

(1) 50 thousand
(2) 52 thousand
(3) 55 thousand
(4) 58 thousand
(5) 60 thousand

146. What is average profit earned by the businessman in 2005, 2007 and 2009 together?  (in Rs. thousand)

(1) 240
(2) 260
(3) 320
(4) 280
(5) 360

147. What is the respective ratio between total profit earned by the businessman in 2004 and 2009 together and total loss incurred by him in 2006 and 2008 together?

(1) 13 : 11
(2) 11 : 7
(3) 11 : 9
(4) 15 : 13
(5) 13 : 9

148. Profit earned by the businessman in 2009 is what percent more than the profit earned by him in 2004?

(1) 162/3
(2) 221/3
(3) 122/3
(4) 142/3
(5) 181/3

149. Expenditure of the businessman increased by what percent from 2005 to 2008?

(1) 92.5
(2) 85
(3) 95
(4) 87.5
(5) 82

150. What is the percent loss incurred by the businessman in 2006 and 2008 together?

(1) 286/13
(2) 3610/13
(3) 321/13
(4) 384/13
(5) 348/13

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SBI PO Exam Paper - (English Language) "held on 30-11-2014"

 SBI PO Exam Paper - (English) "held on 30-11-2014"

(Based on Memory)

Directions (Q. Nos. 51-55) In the following questions, the sentences have two blank, each blank indicates that something has been confined. Choose the word that best fits in the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

51. .............. Dinosaurs live to be the ancestors of modern birds, the discovery of soft tissue in Dinosaurs fossils containing proteins found only in birds is very ...........

(1) Though, unfortunate
(2) Recently, common
(3) Since, exciting
(4) Perhaps, remarkable
(5) Moreover, welcome

52. The van Allen belts which are ............ between 13000 to 60000 km above the Earth’s surface were discovered in 1958 and contain electrons which play ............ with electronic systems on satellites.

(1) Somewhere, damages
(2) located, havoc
(3) Position, mayhem
(4) Situated, part
(5) Vicinity, confusion

53. Rice farmers use ........... methods of farming and old equipment making the cost of price ......... twice as much as it is in other countries.

(1) Obsolete, economical
(2) Modern, expensive
(3) Future, virtuality
(4) Antiquated, almost
(5) Sustainable, approximate

54. Some experts believe that the best .......... to reduce the number of accidents caused by drivers using their mobile phones to create an “app/ ......... communications when the vehicle in is motion and unblocking them when the vehicle reaches its destination”.

(1) Tactic, block
(2) Strategy, disabiling
(3) Part, facilitating
(4) Decision, expediting
(5) Method, further

55. Services provided by money transfer companies are ............... for people who don’t use bank account or who are working for from home and are helpful to ........... trade and dispersion wealth.

(1) Fundamental, compute
(2) Prerequisite, invigorating
(3) Vitally, strengthen
(4) Essentally, boester
(5) inherent, foster

Directions (Q. Nos. 56-60) Rearrange the given six sentences A, B, C, D, E and F in a proper sequence so as to form a meaningful paragraph and then answer the given questions.

A. She follows the foot steps of other renowned female politicians like Chile’s Michelle Bachelet and Germany’s Angela Merkel.
B. Women are also rein to the fore front in other parts of the government.
C. And this leadership can be seen in the growing number of women who are becoming political leaders and the most recent being Dilma Rouseff who looks over as Brazil’s first women President.
D. It is defined as the ability to influence or lead through persuasion or attraction by co-opting people rather than coercing them.
E. The leadership of women in politics business and society is becoming evident across the globe.
F. These trends represent the growing needs for ‘soft power’ in today’s world.

56. Which of the following should be the FOURTH sentence after the rearrangement?

(1) A
(2) B
(3) C
(4) F
(5) E

57. Which of the following should be the SECOND sentence after the rearrangement?

(1) C
(2) B
(3) F
(4) D
(5) E

58. Which of the following should be the SIXTH (LAST) sentence after the rearrangement?

(1) E
(2) D
(3) B
(4) A
(5) F

59. Which of the following should be the FIFTH sentence after the rearrangement?

(1) E
(2) D
(3) B
(4) F
(5) C

60. Which of the following should be the FIRST sentence after the rearrangement?

(1) A
(2) C
(3) B
(4) F
(5) E

Directions (Q. Nos. 61-70) Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions. Certain words/phrases are given in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions.

Infrastructure projects take a long time to built but then deliver cash flows over an extended period, precision funds have liabilities that’s stretch our several decades. Why not get the letter to finance the former? A new report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates that global pension funds have just point 9% of their portfolios in pure infrastructure in part i.e., due to the OECD’s decision to define infrastructure assets as untrusted debt and equity.

But pension funds has significant exposure to tested shares and bonds of power companies and the due from the point of view public policy however, the OECD’s definition is the correct one. The utility shares owned by pension funds are those of power companies that were privatised in the 1980s and 1990s and the infrastructure they operate is a result of government spending in previous decade. Governments would rather not see more infrastructure get built, thought at the moment public financial are very tight. They would rather not bear the whole burden. The difficult bit about infrastructure projects apart from the original decision to commission them is the cost of construction i.e., where governments would like pension funds and the rest of the private sectors to open their wallets.

Risk is clearly one important factor. Pension funds want reliable cash flows that can be used to pay retres, not the uncertains that are associated with projects. As the OECD points out there is a lack of objective high quality data on infrastructure investments. These make this difficults for funds to calculate how infrasture would fit in to there portfolio. Another problems is that pension funds may lack the expertise to get involved in such large projects, they have to invest via and infrastructure funds and pay a  management fee for the previlege. The biggest infrastructure investors so far have been the joined Australian and Canadian pension funds which can benefits from economics of scale. Britain is trying to achieve the same effect by setting up pension investment platform which will pool infrastructure investment. However, the scheme is slow to get going and not be sufficient fund brattish highest profile projects, a proposed high speed rail line additional problems include the lack of political certainty. Capital spending is often the first item to be cut when governments run into budget difficulties and tough decision and put of to suit electoral cycles. One possible solution is for governments to borrow separate sum to finance infrastructure spending with the stated intension of the selling assets to the likes of pension funds over a number of years such are debt would be recorded separately in the National Accounts. An ultimative option could be a National Investment Bank among the lines of European investment bank. It would borrow from the market and used its capital to guarantee the equity portion of the infrastructure project. They would allow pension funds to buy the more secure debt elements of project findings the needs is clear among the G-7 countries. Only Italy is recorded as having worlds infrastructure. There is no shortage of protection funding-Britains pension assets are equal to 112% of GDP. Clearly to can be put together. The Olympics showed that Britain can built projects on time when the country puts its mind to it.

61. Which of the following is the role of pensions investment platform?

(1) To create guidelines regarding infrastructure investment in retain.
(2) To provide services only to small pension funds to invest in infrastructure.
(3) To monitor prestigious infrastructure projects and public private partnership
(4) To provide guidance to authorities in Europe regarding infrastructure development.
(5) To garner funding for infrastructure projects.

62. What is the author’s view of OECD report on infrastructure?

(1) He feels that the report unnecessarily focusses on the negative aspects of investing in government projects.
(2) He is an agreement with the data and contentions cited in the report.
(3) He is in favour of the OECD’s view of governments keeping investment in infrastructure on hold.
(4) He opposes the OECD’s restrictions on diverting funds to infrastructure development.
(5) He recommends that investments levels prescribed by the report beared opted by Britain Accordingly

63. According to the passage, why is there a need for Britain to invest in infrastructure?

(1) Britain’s desire to surpass Italy in infrastructure development
(2) Surplus pension funds need to be gainfully diverted to avoid misuse
(3) Infrastructure is deficient and in need of an overhaul
(4) Britain’s prestige as host of the Olympics is at stake
(5) Not clearly mentioned in the passage

64. Which of the following factor(s) impact(s) investment decisions of the pension funds?

A. Political uncertainty and financial risk.
B. Requisite expertise in infrastructure projects.
C. Returns on investment.
(1) Only B
(2) A and B
(3) Only A
(4) All of these
(5) B and C

65. Which of the following is the main objective of the author in writing the passage?

(1) To examine the misappropriation of Britain’s pension funds
(2) To estimate how unprofitable it is for the country if pension funds are used to create infrastructure
(3) To urge the government to reduce risky exposure of pension funds and bonds an invest in safe options
(4) To analyse the claims made by the OECD report and point out inconsistencies
(5) To suggest that pension funds can and should more in infrastructure

66. Choose the word which is opposite in meaning to the word Extended given in bold as used in the passage.

(1) Absolute
(2) Fleeting
(3) Equitable
(4) Steady
(5) Regular

67. Choose the word which is most nearly the same in meaning to the word Commission given in bold as used in the passage.

(1) Agency
(2) Committee
(3) Contract
(4) Payment
(5) Expense

68. Which of the following can be inferred in the content of the passage?

(1) Britain is making efforts to reform its infrastructure sector
(2) Britain’s GDP is abysmal and prestigious infrastructure projects should be kept on hold till the pension and infrastructure projects are reformed
(3) Investments banks are risky as they are governed by political powers
(4) Britain’s national accounts data lacks crucial parameters
(5) All the given statements can be inferred in the context of the passage

69. What does the author want to convey through the phrase “They would rather not bear the whole burden”?

(1) Government would prefer to privatise utilities like power etc
(2) Government are vary about the public takeout of pension funds going bust
(3) Governments short on capital, are cautious about society financing infrastructure as it is costly
(4) The private-sector is unwilling to continue their monetary support of loss making public facilities
(5) Other than those given as options

70. According to the passage, which of the following can be said about infrastructure investment?

A. It provides tremendous opportunities to investors as there is a huge need for infrastructure.
B. Creative solutions are required to generate the necessary investment.
C. It is crucial for governments to invest in infrastructure to win elections.

(1) None
(2) A and B
(3) Only A
(4) Only B
(5) A and C

Directions (Q. Nos. 71-75) Which of the phrase given against the sentence should replace the word/ phrase given in bold in sentence to make it grammatically correct? If the sentence is given as it is given and no correction is required, mark ‘No correction required’ as the answer.

71. Getting tax refunds is a problematic not only for the common man but also sensor officials.

(1) are problems (2) is a problem
(3) are a problem (4) is problem
(5) no correction required

72. The World Bank represents a particularly difficult case of organisation cultural changes.

(1) Represent (2) Representing
(3) Representation
(4) Have representing
(5) No correction required

73. Big companies are hiking stipends for summer internships by 40%, sending out a strong signal. That they expects the economy to new up.

(1) Them expecting
(2) They expect
(3) These expectation
(4) Expect these
(5) No correction required

74. Declining crude prices have raise hopes of interest of rate cuts.

(1) Have rise
(2) Have rising
(3) Have raised
(4) Has risen
(5) No correction required

75. India continues to be on the top of the global consumer confidence under this year as well.

(1) Continue to being
(2) Continuing to be
(3) Continuing too be
(4) Continue to be
(5) No correction required

Directions (Q. Nos. 76-80) Read this sentence to find out whether there is any grammatical mistakes/ error in it. The error, if any, will be in one part of the sentence. Mark the part with the error as your answer. If there is no error, mark ‘No error’ as your answer. (Ignore the errors of punctuation, if any)

76. After the cash-strapped corporation/expressed its inability to provide funds/for various devlop- mental works, the office bearers of the civic body started/lobbying at special financial and from State government.

(1) After the cash-strapped corporation
(2) Expressed its inability to provide funds
(3) For various development works, the office bearers of the civic body started
(4) Lobbying for special financial and from State government
(5) No error

77. Three things are/essential for a start up to succeed,/a product that is in demand,/a good team and as well as a minimum expenditure.

(1) Three things are
(2) Essential for a start up to succeed
(3) A product that is in demand
(4) A good team as well as a minimum expenditure
(5) No error

78. We all have at/some point in our lives/wondered if we are actually/being too nice to someone.

(1) We all have at
(2) Some point in our lives
(3) Wondered if we are actually
(4) Being too nice to someone
(5) No error

79. Anticipating a foggy winter,/the railway authorities has/decided to/cancel thirty trains.

(1) Anticipating a foggy winter
(2) The railway authorities have
(3) Decided to
(4) Cancel thirty trains
(5) No error

80. New businesses today/are increasing by focusing on/introducing various perks and motivation programmes/to help retain employees.

(1) New businesses today
(2) Are increasing focusing on
(3) Introducing various perks and motivation programmes
(4) To help retain employees
(5) No error

Directions (Q. Nos. 81-90) Read the following passage carefully and answer the given questions. Certain words are given in bold to help you to locate them while answering some of the questions.

In our day and age, technology is omnipresent and integral part of our lives. However, although, the main purpose of technology is to make our lives easier, the reactions on opinions and technology are very diverse. This year, various sessions at the Women’s Forum covered the influence of new technologies in our daily life. It is worthwhile analysing two contrasting perspectives in depth, to understand how broad this debate is. On the one hand, technology and digital media can be a great help to reach out to other people and spread your message to a very large platform. The session ‘How to be a digital influencer’ was analysing exactly this question, and introduced various platforms and strategies on how too use the digital world to your advantage. Social media removes all distances : Geographic, social and hierarchical. You cna reach, at any time, and communication in real time. Thus, a permanent link for communication has been created. Today; everyone has the ability to transmit knowledge and thus credibility of the creator of knowledge is more important than even before. Technology has taken the universal communication method of storytelling and transformed it, in a way that now more stories can reach more people through social media platforms than ever before. People should find their digital media voice, tell sharable stories and drive engagement. Also, it is very important to be authentic and truly about the message you are trying to convey through the digital media. Another session, the very same day, analysed how exactly the opposite is true and how new technologies actually cause stress and suffering, because of a concept referred to as ‘infobesity’, we have changed the way we consume and generate information. People are trying to live ten lives at once and a lot of stress and anxiety occurs from that. Thus, we are suffering from digital bulimia, meaning that we take in a lot of information at once, without really processing if for ourselves, and in turn create a lot of new information. We are at the same time creators and victims of information overload. Thus, it is obvious that technological advancement has failed at its mission of making everybody’s life easier, as many people are reacting negatively to it.

81. According to the passage, which of the following is not true about the characteristics of ‘infobestiy’?

(1) The pace of our lives has increased significantly due to technology
(2) With the help of technology, people try to domultiple things at the same time, leading to stress
(3) Technology makes our lives sedentary and leads to health problems
(4) Due to technology, each individual is bombarded with excess information
(5) All the options are true according to the passage

82. Which of the following is most opposite in meaning of the word given as bold as used in the passage?

(1) Similar
(2) Separate
(3) Interwoven
(4) Simultaneous
(5) Together

83. Which of the following can be said about the invention of the car?

A. More than being a boon, this invention has become an inconvenience to us.
B. It has invoked in us the desire to travel to places that we would not have otherwise gone to
C. It has enabled us to have more time for ourselves

(1) A and C
(2) B and C
(3) A and B
(4) All of these
(5) Only B

84. Which of the following can be the most suitable title for the passage?

(1) The paradox of technological advance
(2) The different types of technology available
(3) Technology propagation-the road to nowhere
(4) Technology and gainful insight
(5) Technological progress across the continents

85. According to the author, which of the following can be said about reaching to people through the medium of technology?

A. Today’s digital age has made it essential for an individual to send a message that is genuine in nature.
B. The ability to impact many people through a message is solely dependent on the number of times the same message goes out, regardless of its authenticity.
C. Technology has made it easier to reach out to masses of people at the same time.

(1) Only C
(2) All of these
(3) A and C
(4) A and B
(5) Only B

86. Which of the following is true according to the passage?

A. It is in our own interest that we keep check on the amount of digital information that we generate.
B. The promise on which technology was designed was that it should make our lives simpler.
C. It is best that we learn to survive without any technological intervention in our lives.

(1) A and B
(2) All of these
(3) B and C
(4) Only A
(5) Only B

87. According to the passage, which of the following is author’s opinion/statement about technology?

(1) Beware! Technology can only bring doom if allowed to proliferate.
(2) Take responsibility for how you let technology impact your life.
(3) Go head and invest in the latest technology, it is worth it.
(4) What the future of technology holds for us is unknown, wait and watch
(5) Other than those given as options.

88. Which of the following is most nearly the same in meaning to the word given in bold as used in the passage? Engagement

(1) Appointment
(2) Involvement
(3) Meeting
(4) Rendezvous
(5) Date

89. Which of the following is most nearly the same in meaning to the word given in bold as used in the passage?Credibility

(1) Calculated
(2) Deliberated
(3) Believed
(4) Created
(5) Patterned

90. Which of the following is the most opposite in meaning to the word given in bold as used in the passage?  Spread

(1) Collect
(2) Take
(3) Restrict
(4) Join
(5) Multiply

Directions (Q. Nos. 91-100) In the given passage, there are blanks, each of which has been numbered. Against each, five words are suggested, one of which fits the blank appropriately. Find the appropriate word in each case.

Changing an organisation’s culture is one of the most difficult leadership challenges. That’s because an organisation’s culture (91) interlocking set of goals, roles, processes, values communications parctices, attitudes and assumptions. These elements (92) together as a mutually reinforcing system and combine to prevent any (93) to change it. That is why single-fix challenges, such as the introduction of teams. Of lean, or agile, or scrum or knowledge management or some new process, may (94) to make progress for a while, but (95) the interlocking elements of the organisational culture (96) over and the change is inexorably drawn (97) into the existing organisational culture. Changing a culture is large scale undertaking and eventually all of the organisational focus for changing minds will need to be put in play. However, the (98) in which they are deployed has a Critical (99) on the (100) of success.


(1) Less
(2) Embraces
(3) Comprises
(4) Makes
(5) Composes


 (1) Amalgamate
(2) Conjoin
(3) Fill
(4) Stand (5) Attach


(1) Attempt
(2) Energy
(3) Ways
(4) Power
(5) Tries


(1) Look
(2) Appear
(3) Perform
(4) Suspect
(5) Seek


(1) Especially
(2) Presently
(3) Likely
(4) Eventually
(5) Lately


 (1) Bounce
(2) Throw
(3) Seize
 (4) Jump
(5) Take


 (1) Forth
(2) Ahead
(3) Gain
(4) Set
(5) Back


(1) Order
(2) Succession
(3) Idea
(4) Step
(5) Label


(1) Affect
(2) Impact
(3) Control
(4) Jolt
(5) Shake


(1) Change
(2) Odd
(3) Risk
(4) Likelihood
(5) Option

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Daily Questions Challenge for IBPS Exams (15 May 2015)

Daily Questions Challenge for IBPS Exams (15 May 2015)

Write and Discuss Your Answer with Q.No in Comment Box at the Bottom of Post.

1. Which of the following agreement has been signed between India and China during the Prime Minister recent visit to China?

1. Protocol for establishment of consulates in Chengdu and Chennai
2. Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of Yoga college in Kumning
3. Agreement on the establishment of sister states Sichuan and Karnataka

A. Only 1
B. Only 2
C. Only 3
D. All of these
E. None of these

Ans. D

2. Which of the following social networking site has recently launched ‘Instant Article’ Program?

A. Twitter
B. Facebook
C. YouTube
D. Instagram
E. Flickr

3. Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has allowed IDB-NBFC to invest in public-private partnerships (PPPs) and infrastructure projects. In this regard what stand for IDB?

A. Intuitional Debt Fund
B. Infrastructure Development Fund
C. Infrastructure Disinvestment Fund
D. Infrastructure Debt Fund
E. None of these

4. Recently which of the following Indian-origin councillor woman has became the first Asian woman elected mayor of Ealing Council in London?

A. Harbhajan Kaur Dheer
B. Harshmeet Kaur
C. Nirupama Mittal
D. Anupama Patel
E. Rajni Abbi

5. Tejaswini Sagar who recently wins gold in under-15 category of World School Chess Championship after defeating______?

A. Kavinya Miyuni Rajapaksa
B. Alisa Kozybayeva
C. Irina Barbayeva
D. Saloni Sapole
E. Susan Polgar

Write and Discuss Your Answer with Q.No in Comment Box at the Bottom of Post.

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SBI PO 2015 Tentative Exam Schedule Released

SBI PO 2015 Tentative Exam Schedule Released

1 Download of Call Letter for Pre-Examination Training (PET) for SC/ST/ Minority Community 26.05.2015 to 08.06.2015
2 Pre-Examination Training for SC/ST/ Minority Community 08.06.2015 to 13.06.2015
3 Download of Call letter for Preliminary Examination After 08.06.2015
4 Online Preliminary Examination 20.06.2015,
5 Result of Online Preliminary Examination 2nd Week of July 2015
6 Download of Call letter for Main Examination After 15.07.2015
7 Online Main Examination 01.08.2015
8 Result of Online Main Examination Last week of August 2015
9 Download of Call letter for GD & Interview Last week of August 2015
10 Conduct of GD & Interview 3rd Week of September 2015
11 Final Select List Last week of October 2015

Click Here for Official Exam Schedule

Courtesy: SBI

Daily Questions Challenge for IBPS Exams (14 May 2015)

Daily Questions Challenge for IBPS Exams (14 May 2015)

Write and Discuss Your Answer with Q.No in Comment Box at the Bottom of Post.

1. Recently Parliament has passed a bill seeking to amend the Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881. Which of the following does not fall under the Negotiable Instrument?

1. Bills of exchange
2. Promissory notes
3. Cheques
4. Demand Draft

A. Only 1, 2 and 4
B. Only 2, 3 and 4
C. Only 1 and 2
D. Only 1, 2 and 3
E. All of these

2. Recently Union Cabinet gave its approval for signing of an agreement on the transfer of sentenced persons between India and ______?

A. Mongolia
B. China
C. South Korea
D. Japan
E. Thailand

3. Who of the following is the Union Agriculture Minister of India?

A. Sh. Nitin Gadkari
B. Sh. Suresh Prabhu
C. Sh.Radha Mohan Singh
D. Sh. Bijendra Choudhary
E. Sh. Ramvilash Paswan

4. Union Cabinet, has given its approval to brought the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) (Amendment) Bill, 2015 in Parliament. This bill will amend the which of the following Act?

A. Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1987
B. Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988
C. Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1989
D. Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1990
E. Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1991

5. Suchitra Bhattacharya who recently passed was a distinguish______?

A. Singer
B. Diplomat
C. Politician
D. Writer
E. Social Activist

Write and Discuss Your Answer with Q.No in Comment Box at the Bottom of Post.

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General Awareness : Economy - March, 2015

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) Economy

March -2015

Good response for residential properties at SBI’s e-auction

  •  State Bank of India (SBI), successfully completed the e-auction of around Rs.1,200-crore worth of stressed assets with a good number of bids for residential properties, said a senior official.
  •  The bank had put on auction a mix of offices/shops/apartments/factory buildings and others numbering 300 properties.
  •  Mr. Malhotra said the number of hits was large on the two websites where the properties were auctioned and the speed got slowed down.
  •  “We had extended the auction time to compensate for the slow speed,” he said.
  •  According to him, the bank had saved sizable outgo in terms of advertisement spend for auctioning the stressed assets.
  •  As per the norms, advertisements should be given in two newspapers for every property auction but this time, the bank had consolidated all the properties to be auctioned and hence saved good sum, he said.
  •  Agreeing that not all the 300 properties got sold, he said based on the feedback and the data collated, the bank would decide on going for next round of e-auction.
  •  He said the banking major had taken a first step in this arena and could be the trend setter for others.

Facebook buys The Find

  •  Facebook has waded further into e-commerce with the acquisition of shopping search engine Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  •  Members of TheFind team are joining Facebook, where they plan to put their technology to work making ads at the leading social network ‘more relevant’, according to the post.
  •  The acquisition will result in shutting down in the next few weeks.
  •  Facebook has been playing catch-up regarding searching for information at the social network and becoming a middle-man of sorts for online commerce. “Together, we believe we can make the Facebook ads experience even more relevant and better for consumers,’’ the social network said in statement
  •  TheFind — “Everything you need when shopping to quickly decide what to buy and where to buy it’’ — will shutter the Silicon Valley base it has operated from since launching in 2006 and move team members to Facebook’s campus in Menlo Park, California.

Britain applies to join Chinese-led Asian bank

  •  Britain has applied to join a proposed Chinese-led Asian regional bank that Washington worries will undercut institutions such as the
    World Bank.
  •  The British Treasury said it will join talks this month on the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s structure and governance arrangements.
  •  China proposed the bank in 2013 and has pledged to put up most of its initial $50 billion in capital. Twenty-one other governments including the Philippines, Thailand, New Zealand and Vietnam have said they want to join.
  •  The United States has expressed concern the bank will allow looser lending standards for the environment, labour rights and financial transparency, undercutting the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
  •  The British Treasury said it would try to ensure the Asian bank “embodies the best standards.”

Work on GST rollout on track, says Shaktikanta Das

  •  The Narendra Modi government is working on full throttle to implement the Goods and Services Tax (GST), a key indirect tax reform, from April 1, 2016, said Union Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das.
  •  He also pointed out that several committees and sub-committees, comprising Centre and State finance and taxation officers were working on aspects such as business processes and reporting systems. A special purpose vehicle was working on the IT backbone for the rollout, he added.
  •  “Doubts have been raised about the implementation timeline. I want to confirm that work related to implementation is very much on,” Mr. Das said at an interactive session, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
  •  Mr. Das said all States and political formations were on board. He was hopeful that the bill on GST would go through in the current session of Parliament.
  •  Mr. Das also said that there would not be much revenue loss due to transition to GST.
  •  Mr. Das said the government had agreed to compensate States for GST loss for the first five years on a differing basis. He also pointed out that the manufacturing States would lose more than the consumption States. That was why a one per cent origin-based tax had been included with a sunset clause of two years, he pointed out
  •  He also said that GST would be tax buoyant while terming the 42 per cent devolution of Centre’s net taxes to the States as a big bang reform.
  •  Mr. Das also said the plan to reduce corporate tax rates was done to make India competitive with other ASEAN countries as an investment destination.

LIC to invest Rs.1.50 lakh crore in Railways

  •  The Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) will provide Rs.1.50 lakh crore in the next five years to the Railways for funding projects.
  •  The move is in line with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s plan to look for funds outside of budgetary support and tap low-cost long-term funds. The Railways will need Rs.8.50 lakh crore in the next five years for various projects.
  •  “There would be a five-year moratorium on interest and loan repayment, and the rest of the terms would be negotiated while signing the finance assistance agreement,” a press statement said.
  •  As per the memorandum of understanding signed between the two parties, the LIC will make available the funds to the Railways and its entities from 2015-16.
  • According to the latest Railway budget, its total Plan budget is Rs.1 lakh crore for 2015-16.
    RBI issues new norms for sale of bad loans
  •  In a boost to banks, which are facing rising asset quality issues, the Reserve Bank of India, allowed such lenders to reverse the excess provision on sale of bad loans to their profit and loss account, provided the transaction took place before February 26, 2014.
  • The central bank had on the February 3 monetary policy day had said that it would issue the final guidelines on this front after banks requested it to include the provision to those sales took place before February 26, 2014, as well.
  •  The move is aimed at incentivising banks to recover appropriate value in respect of NPAs (non-performing assets)
  •  Almost all banks, including private sector players, have been reporting higher NPAs and lower profits as they have to make more provisions for bad loans, which crossed 5.5 per cent as at the end of December. Together with restructured loans, the total pain on the system is close to 12 per cent
  •  The new guidelines extending the sale period prior to February, 2014, will help banks report better numbers and, thus, take a little pain off their back. From April 1, banks will have to make full provision — 5 per cent of the bad asset — if they have restructured the loan, and the entire amount if the asset in corporate debt restructuring (CDR) turns bad.
  •  The apex bank said the new guidelines will be applicable if only the excess is for a value higher than the bank’s net book value (NBV).
  •  Further, the notification said, “The quantum of excess provision reversed to profit and loss account will be limited to the extent to which cash received exceeds the NBV of the NPAs sold.”
  •  It also made it mandatory for banks to report the quantum of such excess provision reversed to the profit and loss account in the financial statements of the bank under ‘notes to accounts.’ Bad loans in public sector banks more than tripled to about Rs.2.17 lakh crore in three years to March, 2014.
  •  The move is aimed at incentivizing banks to recover appropriate value in respect of NPAs.
    IMF raises India growth forecast to 7.2 % this fiscal
  •  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast India will grow 7.5 per cent in 2015-16, up from 7.2 per cent in the current year, a projection less optimistic than that of the Modi government.]
  •  In the Union budget 2015, the government estimated growth of up to 8.5 per cent in 2015-16.
  •  The Indian economy is the bright spot in the global landscape, becoming one of the fastest-growing big emerging market economies in the world, the IMF said in an official statement.
  •  The report stressed the urgency of certain key reforms, including the bottlenecks in the energy, mining and power sectors; infrastructure gaps, land acquisition processes and environmental clearances.
  •  In its annual assessment of the Indian economy in the mandatory Article IV annual report, the IMF said that India’s vulnerabilities have receded more than those of most emerging markets and sentiment has been revived.
  •  “The Indian economy is reviving, helped by positive policy actions that have improved confidence and lower global oil prices…To continue on this trend, India needs to revitalise the investment cycle and accelerate structural reforms,” according to the statement.
  •  “New investment project announcements have started to pick up, particularly in the power and transport sectors,” said IMF Mission Chief for India Paul Cashin. He also noted that bolstering financial sector health and further financial inclusion would support growth going forward.
  •  Mr. Cashin said that while India is well placed to cope with external shocks, there are possible risks on the horizon, both external and domestic.
  •  These include spillovers from weak global growth and potential global financial market volatility that could be disruptive, including from any unexpected developments as the United States begins to raise its interest rates.
  •  On the domestic front, the weaknesses in corporate balance sheets, especially in light of the increase in corporate leverage of the past few years, and worsening bank asset quality bear watching, as they could weigh on growth.
  •  The IMF report also said that India’s economic profile recently got a lift as the country improved the way it measures economic output.
  •  “The revised national accounts series incorporates numerous conceptual and methodological improvements that make them more consistent with international best practices,” it said adding that the report itself was prepared before the revisions were released by the Central Statistics Office.
  •  Mr. Cashin also gave thumbs up to the Modi government’s recent move to introduce a flexible inflation-targeting framework. “It will help deliver low and stable inflation, and diminish the prospect of renewed bouts of high inflation,” he said.
  •  Among the reforms the report recommended are steps in the agriculture sector for efficient procurement, distribution, and storage of food in the public system. Greater flexibility in labour markets and improvements in education for meeting the rising shortages of skilled labour were among the key reforms suggested.

RIL heads the list of top 10 asset firms

  •  At the end of 2014, India has 68 billionaires and occupies the seventh slot in that club globally.
  •  The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has come out with the names of top ten corporates having assets ranging from Rs.89,000 crore to Rs.3.68 lakh crore, based on the balance sheets filed for March 2014.
  •  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, released the list containing eight public sector firms and two private sector firms (Reliance Industries and Housing Development Finance Corp).
  •  RIL occupies the first slot among the corporates, in terms of assets, with over Rs.3.68 lakh crore for the year ended March 2014.
  •  The second slot is taken by Indian Oil Corp with assets of Rs.2.52 lakh crore.
  •  The latest list contains asset details of 4.16 lakh firms valued at Rs.117.08 lakh crore.
  •  The share of top 10 firms, at Rs.17.89 lakh crore, accounts for 15.3 per cent of the overall value.
  •  HDFC was in the third slot, followed by Power Finance Corp, NTPC, Rural Electrification Corp, Power Grid Corp, LIC Housing Finance, Steel Authority of India and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. PFC’s assets stand at Rs.1.94 lakh crore, NTPC at Rs.1.80 lakh crore, REC at Rs.1.53 lakh crore, Power Grid at Rs.1.40 lakh crore LIC Housing Finance at Rs.95,777 crore, SAIL at Rs.91,962 crore and BSNL at Rs.89,333 crore.
  •  The list contains eight public sector firms and two private sector firms.

Black money taxable at highest rates

  •  Under the new law on black money, the offence will be made non-compoundable and offenders will not be permitted to approach the Settlement Commission. Undisclosed incomes or returns from foreign assets will be taxable at the maximum marginal rate and exemptions or deductions which may otherwise be applicable in such cases, shall not be allowed.
  •  The offence of concealment of income or evasion of tax in relation to a foreign asset will be made a predicate offence under the Prevention of Money- laundering Act, 2002. This provision would enable the enforcement agencies to attach and confiscate unaccounted assets held abroad and launch prosecution against persons indulging in laundering of black money, Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das told.
  •  Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said in his budget speech that he would introduce the law in Parliament during the current session. Under it, he had said, it would be mandatory to disclose all overseas bank accounts and assets to the tax authorities and concealment of income or assets held overseas could attract a jail term of up to 10 years.
  •  The government has also said that ahead of the law’s enforcement, it would provide a one-time compliance window of a few months
  •  Das said the penalty during the compliance window could be lower than 300 per cent — the rate Mr. Jaitley had said in his budget speech would apply to the concealment of income and assets overseas under the new law.

Govt working to wrest Khadi trademark from German firm

  •  Government is working in tandem with the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) to expedite the process of de-registering ‘Khadi’ trademark in the European Union by a German company, Parliament was informed .
  •  KVIC has also initiated the process to register ‘Khadi’ trademark in India and internationally.
  •  The German company, named Khadi Natureprodukte GbR, has registered ‘Khadi’ as a trademark with the European agency, OHIM (Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market).
  •  Spain-based OHIM is the nodal agency for Trademarks and Design Registration in the European Union.
  •  “Indian Embassies abroad have been in touch with the authorities of European Union for cancellation of the registration of Khadi as a trademark,” Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Minister of State Giriraj Singh informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply.
  •  The government, KVIC and the Indian Embassies are working in tandem to expedite the process of de-registering the trademark of Khadi, he added.
  •  Singh said the process to register for international trademarks for ‘Khadi’ is being done in two stages — first at national level and second at international level.
  •  He added that KVIC has filed an application to register ’Khadi’ as a word mark under IPR Authority in Mumbai.
  •  “This mark has been filed for 27 classes under IPR Act covering various products relevant to KVIC comprising of Khadi fabrics and village industries,” Singh said.
  •  Online registration for ‘Khadi’ as a “Word mark” has already been done and application for International IPR under Madrid Protocol has been filed for the US, European Union and Russia and China, he added.
  •  KVIC is a statutory body engaged in promoting and developing khadi and village industries.
    Shiv Nadar Foundation sells shares in HCL Technologies
  •  The Shiv Nadar Foundation, a philanthropic arm of Shiv Nadar, Founder and Chairman of HCL, sold its entire stake in HCL Technologies for Rs.1,109 crore in the open market.
  •  The proceeds are expected to be used for various objectives and initiatives of the foundation.
  •  Established in 1994, the Shiv Nadar Foundation supports education and art. It runs institutions such as Shiv Nadar University, Shiv Nadar School and Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, among others.
  •  Mr. Nadar has so far committed around Rs.6,000 crore from his wealth to philanthropy. The foundation has already spent around Rs.3,000 crore on philanthropic initiatives until March 31, 2014.
  • Under the initiative, Mr. Nadar wants to build prestigious educational institutions and improve the lot of the underprivileged by tackling critical parameters. He is also looking for a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model to solve India’s basic problems of water, education, employability, health and infrastructure.
  •  According to bulk deal data on Bombay Stock Exchange, 56 lakh shares (0.8 per cent stake) were sold at Rs.1,980.18 a share, at a discount to the firm’s closing price of Rs. 2,064.75 on Thursday last.
  •  “This transaction has been concluded at one go at a discount to the last closing price of HCL Technologies share to avoid any overhang in the market for shareholders of HCL Technologies,” Shiv Nadar Foundation said in a statement.
    • The Foundation said the sale was done to fulfil the governance, tax and legal regulations that required it to the sell the shares before March 31, 2015. It ha
  • reviously sold HCL Technologies shares in February 2012.
    • After the transaction was announced, HCL Technologies shares declined to day’s low of Rs. 1,975. However, it recovered and closed flat at Rs. 2067.35 on the BSE.

Industrialist Deepak Khaitan passes away

  •  City based industrialist Deepak Khaitan (60), passed away after a prolonged spell of illness. He was 60 and is survived by his wife, son and daughter.
  •  He was the eldest son of B.M. Khaitan and had in his fold major companies like Eveready Industries, Mcnally Bharat and Kilburn Engineering. He is perhaps best known for the acquisition of the Eveready brand from the Union Carbide.
  •  The turnover of the group is around Rs. 6,000 crores.
    News Corp acquires VCCircle Network
    • The Rupert Murdoch-led firm has signed a definitive agreement to acquire media firm VCCircle Network for an undisclosed sum.
    • Rupert Murdoch-led News Corp has signed a definitive agreement to acquire media firm VCCircle Network for an undisclosed sum.
    • This is the third investment by News Corp in India.
    • Previously, it had invested in financial advisory start-up firm and realty portal
    • In a statement, News Corp said it has signed “a definitive agreement to acquire VCCircle Network, which includes,, VCCEdge, VCCircle Training, in addition to a premium-content driven conference business.”
    • Terms of the acquisition, which is expected to close by March, were not disclosed.
    • Commenting on the announcement, News Corp Chief Executive Robert Thomson said: “India is an increasingly meaningful part of our portfolio, which is itself increasingly digital and global.”
    • VCCircle Network is owned by Mosaic Media Ventures and has about 100 employees across India, with its headquarters
    in Noida.
    • VCCircle Network Founder and CEO P V Sahad and the management group will become part of News Corp’s India team.
    • Sahad will report to News Corp Senior Vice President (Strategy) Raju Narisetti, the statement said.
    • In November 2014, News Corp had acquired 25 per cent stake in Indian realty portal for USD 30 million (Rs 185 crore) as part of its strategy to expand presence in digital media.
    • It had picked up stake in Singapore-based Elara Technologies Pte Ltd, the parent firm of
    • In the following month, News Corp announced acquisition of for an undisclosed sum. The portal was set up by Manish Shah and Gaurav Roy in early 2013.

Walmart India appoints Ashwin Mittal as CFO

  •  Walmart India announced Ashwin Mittal as the new Chief Financial Officer and Javier Rojo as Head of Real Estate and Business Development. Mr. Mittal will replace Jill Anderson, the present CFO, the company statement said.

Apple to join  Dow blue-chip index

  •  U.S. tech giant Apple will join the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Index later this month, replacing telecom company AT&T, S&P Dow Jones Indices announced.
  •  The inclusion of the iPhone and iPad maker in the elite list of 30 top companies comes long after Apple had become the biggest U.S. company by market capitalisation, now with a value of more than $730 billion.
  •  The change will take effect March 19, S&P Dow Jones said.
    No tax on premature withdrawal of private PF below Rs. 30,000
  •  Members of private provident fund trusts need not have to pay tax on premature withdrawals if the amount is either less than Rs. 30,000 or their tax liability is nil even after including the withdrawn sum to their income.
  •  A proposal to this effect is contained the Budget 2015-16. As per existing provisions in respect of such premature withdrawal, the trustees of the recognisedprovident funds (trusts) shall deduct tax as computed at the time of payment.
    • Under the existing EPF & MP Act (Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act), withdrawal shall be taxable if the employee makes withdraal before continuous service of five years (other than the cases of termination due to ill health, closure of business, etc) and does not opt for transfer of balance to new employer.
  •  It is proposed to insert a new provision in the Act for deduction of tax at the rate of 10 per cent on premature withdrawal from Employees Provident Fund Scheme (EPFS).

NPCI links 15 cr bank accounts with Aadhaar

• National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the umbrella organisation for all retail payments system in India, said that it reached a major milestone of successfully linking 15 crore bank accounts with Aadhaar number.
• Beneficiaries of all types of government subsidies /benefit transfers are expected to be brought under the linkage programme very soon.
• “The current focus is on linking the bank accounts of 17 crore DBTL (direct benefit transfer for LPG) beneficiaries with Aadhaar numbers, latest by June 30, 2015,” NPCI stated in a release.

TRAI asks Vodafone to stop using 111 service

  •  The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) directed Vodafone to stop using ‘111’ for offering customer care services, as it violates the national numbering plan, and submit a compliance report by March 10.
  •  In a direction to Vodafone, TRAI said that the Department of Telecom had issued the national numbering plan 2003, wherein the number 111 to 115 have not been allocated for any type of services and have been kept as ‘spare’
  •  However, the authority said it observed from the advertisement on the website of Vodafone that customers were being urged to call ‘111’ to get Internet settings on their handset for pre-paid data offers, post-paid 3G data packs, self help for data services, Blackberry Internet offers and to find out the balance.
  •  “Now therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred upon it... the authority hereby directs Vodafone India to discontinue use of level ‘111’ and submit compliance report latest by March 10,” TRAI said.

Financial sector set on a path towards innovation

  • •The budget outlines several much-needed measures for development of the financial sector.
    \The three notable aspects are the focus on innovation, steps towards structural strengthening, and move to develop various segments of the financial sector.
  •  Other key highlights include steps to channelise savings from physical assets to financial ones, enhance financial inclusion, and remove constraints for foreign investors.
  •  Some more, though, was expected for debt markets and public sector banks.
  •  Budget laid a clear emphasis on enhancing innovation in the financial sector. Proposal to set-up Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA Bank) will enable microfinance institutions to lend to individual-run micro-enterprises.
  •  Clarity and rationalisation of taxation rules for Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs) will pave the way for these new vehicles to be introduced during the year. This will benefit real estate players having lease-generating commercial assets and infrastructure developers with operating projects
  •  The plan to set-up the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) for taking equity in infrastructure projects will catalyse the infrastructure investments.
  •  With the approval for Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT), India will take baby steps towards developing as a global financial centre.
  •  Finally, the planned Trade Receivables Discounting System (TReDS) will help SMEs to reduce their working capital cycle. Once implemented, these innovations have a potential to significantly develop the Indian financial sector to support multiple stakeholders and industries.
    • On the structural side, to strengthen the sector, the Finance Minister has announced reforms in the bankruptcy law, which will effectively address the non-performing assets challenge for banks in the long term. Allowing large non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) to use the SARFAESI Act will significantly augment their recovery efforts.
    • The proposed merger of Securities and Exchange board of India (SEBI) and Forward Markets Commission (FMC) will ensure better regulatory supervision of financial markets that are becoming increasingly complex.
    • The establishment of a Bank Boards Bureau to select heads of government-owned PSU banks and drive their capital management strategies will also strengthen the sector.
    • Finally, path towards a bank holding company over the medium term will enhance governance practices and allow better visibility of capital for public sector banks.
    • Another notable push has been given to the alternate asset management, insurance, pension, and asset management sectors.
    • Alternate Investment Funds have been made pass-through from an income tax perspective and foreign investment has also been allowed.
    • This has the potential to significantly increase the flow of funds to real estate, start-ups and early stage companies and infrastructure projects through professionally managed specialised structure.
    • Given the large investment needs, the bond markets and banking sector are expected to play a critical role in providing the necessary debt funding. In this context, greater attention on steps to develop the bond markets would have complemented the investments push of the budget.
    • Similarly, a higher capital allocation for public sector banks would have prepared them well for growth, as well as to meet their current challenges.

Full electrification by 2022

  •  Giving a major boost to the government’s plans to make India energy surplus by 2019 and to provide electricity to each household by 2022, the government proposed five new Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPPs), each of 4,000 MW which will come up in the plug-and-play mode enabling investors to start these plants without much delay.
  •  Out of the 4 UMPPs announced earlier, two (Mundra and Sasan) are operational now.
  •  Presenting the Union budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said all clearances and linkages would be in place for these five new UMPPs before the projects are awarded through a transparent auction system.
  •  He also said the second unit of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Station would be commissioned in 2015-2016. Apart from this the budget has also made several provisions for the growth of Renewable Energy sector in the country.
    • By 2022, the government announced plans to have 1,75,000 MW of renewable energy generation (100000 MW solar, 60,000 wind and 15,000 MW other technology). Solar energy will get the biggest in capacity from 3,500 MW now to 1,00,000 in 7 years.
    • According to experts the government’s intention to drive new investment in power generation is a welcome and necessary move, but to continue to attract investors, the government must revive the distribution sector.
    • The government has decided to increase clean energy cess on coal from Rs 100/tonnes to Rs 200/tonnes which will help mobilise funds for clean energy initiates.
    Changes in corporate tax regime to reduce disputes: Jaitley
    • The proposal to correct the corporate tax regime by lowering the tax rate and removing the exemptions will lead to higher level of investment, higher growth and more jobs, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in his budget speech in Parliament.
    • The proposed changes, he said, would come into effect from the next financial year.
    • At 30 per cent, the basic rate of corporate tax in India is higher, he argued, than the rates prevalent in the other major Asian economies, making the domestic industry uncompetitive. Still, the effective collection is just about 23 per cent, the Finance Minister said.
    • Further, the regime of exemptions has led to pressure groups, litigation and loss of revenue and it also gives room for avoidable discretion, he said.
    • In the Budget, the Finance Ministry has estimates that the revenue collected under corporate tax will go up marginally during 2015-16 to Rs. 4,70,628 crore against Rs. 4,26,079 crore during the current year.

Nirbhaya fund  Gets Rs. 1,000 crore

  •  The 2015-16 budget pledged a ‘top-up’ of Rs.1,000 crore to the already existing Nirbhaya Fund for ensuring safety of women, while slashing the allocation to the women and child ministry by over half.
  •  The Women and Child Development Ministry received Rs. 21,193 crore in last year’s budget, an improvement over the RS. 18,584 crore in 2013-14 .
  •  This year however, in his second outing, Mr. Jaitley slashed it to Rs.10,351 crore, while earmarking Rs.79,258 crore for ongoing schemes related to welfare of women.
  •  The Nirbhaya fund, set up by the UPA government in the aftermath of the December 16 Delhi gangrape, has made more news for being alarmingly underutilised than for making any significant improvement to women’s safety.
  •  Besides monetary allocations, Mr. Jaitley spelled out a moderate push for small savings for educating the girl child under the Sukanya Samriddhi initiative.
  •  The government had adopted gender budgeting (or gender-responsive budgeting) in 2005 to help advance gender equality through comprehensive and integrated planning by several government departments.
    4-D solution for banking industry
  •  The Economic Survey 2014-15 has proposed a 4-D prescription to the Indian banking sector, which is hobbled by policy constraints, which create double financial repression, and, by structural factors, impede competition.
    The four Ds include:
  •  De-regulation (addressing the statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) and priority sector lending (PSL)),
  •  Differentiation (within the public sector banks in relation to recapitalisation, shrinking balance sheets, and ownership),
  •  Diversification (of source of funding within and outside banking), and Disinterring (by improving exit mechanisms). Highlights of Union Budget 2015
  •  FM’s Budget speech dwelt on agriculture, public investments in infrastructure, manufacturing and social sector spending.
  •  States to be equal partners in economic growth; move to making India cashless society; social sector programmes to continue.
  •  Some of the challenges mentioned by the Finance Minister are: poor agricultural income, decline in manufacturing ; and the need for fiscal discipline.
    Here are sector-wise highlights:


1 Abolition of Wealth Tax.
2 Additional 2% surcharge for the super rich with income of over Rs. 1 crore.
3. Rate of corporate tax to be reduced to 25% over next four years.
4. Total exemption of up to Rs. 4,44,200 can be achieved.
5. 100% exemption for contribution to Swachch Bharat, apart from CSR.
6. Service tax increased to14 per cent.


1. Rs. 25,000 crore for Rural Infrastructure Development Bank.
2. Rs. 5,300 crore to support Micro Irrigation Programme.
3. Farmers credit - target of 8.5 lakh crore.


1. Rs. 70,000 crores to Infrastructure sector.
2. Tax-free bonds for projects in rail road and irrigation
3. PPP model for infrastructure development to be revitalised and govt. to bear majority of the risk.
4. Rs. 150 crore allocated for Research & Development
5. NITI to be established and involvement of entrepreneurs, researchers to foster scientific innovations.
6. Govt. proposes to set up 5 ultra mega power projects, each of 4000MW.


1. AIIMS in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and Assam.
2. IIT in Karnataka; Indian Institute of Mines in Dhanbad to be upgraded to IIT.
3. PG institute of Horticulture in Armtisar.
4. Kerala to have University of Disability Studies
5. Centre of film production, animation and gaming to come up in Arunachal Pradesh.
6. IIM for Jammu and Kashmir and Andhra Pradesh.


1. Rs. 2,46,726 crore for Defence.
2. Focus on Make in India for quick manufacturing of Defence equipment.


1. 50,000 toilets constructed under Swachh Bharath Abhiyan.
2. Two other programmes to be introduced- GST & JAM Trinity. GST will be implemented by April 2016.
3. MUDRA bank will refinance micro finance orgs. to encourage first generation SC/ST entrepreneurs.
4. Housing for all by 2020.
5. Upgradation 80,000 secondary schools.
6. DBT will be further be expanded from 1 crore to 10.3 crore.
7. For the Atal Pension Yojna, govt. will contribute 50% of the premium limited to Rs. 1000 a year.
8. New scheme for physical aids and assisted living devices for people aged over 80 .
9. Govt to use Rs. 9000 crore unclaimed funds in PPF/EPF for Senior Citizens Fund.
10. Rs. 5,000 crore additional allocation for MGNREGA.
11. Govt. to create universal social security system for all Indians.


1. Rs. 75 crore for electric cars production.
2. Renewable energy target for 2022: 100K MW in solar; 60K MW in wind; 10K MW in biomass and 5K MW in small hydro


1. Develpoment schemes for churches and convents in old Goa; Hampi, Elephanta caves, Forests of Rajasthan, Leh palace, Varanasi , Jallianwala Bagh, Qutb Shahi tombs at Hyderabad to be under the new toursim scheme.
2. Visa on Arrival for 150 countries.
Budget 2015 : Glossary of terms used in Budget
Here is a ready reckoner for some of these terms.

Disinvestment Receipts

The term refers to the money raised by the Government through disinvestment, or the sale of its equity stake in companies it owns.
Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act
The Act is an attempt to make the Government adhere to a phased plan to reduce fiscal deficit, which denotes an excess of expenditure over revenue.

Dividend Distribution Tax

This is a tax levied on companies that pay out dividends to its shareholders, i.e. share a portion of earnings with them.

Venture Capital Funds

These are funds that invest in startups, a financially riskier proposition than investing in established companies.

Securities Transaction Tax

It is a tax on all transactions done over the stock exchanges involving securities such as shares, derivatives, and equity-linked mutual funds.

Wholesale Price Index (WPI)

It is a measure of inflation, or price change, arrived at after regularly measuring the prices of a slew of wholesale goods.

Consumer Price Index (CPI)

It is a measure of inflation, or price change, arrived at after regularly measuring the prices of a slew of household goods and services.

Capital Gains Tax

It is a tax on the gains that ensue when an asset is sold for a price higher than what it was bought for.

Value-Added Tax (VAT)

It is a tax on the value added to a product at each stage of distribution, so that inputs that go into making the product aren’t taxed more than once.

Ad Valorem Tax

This is charged as a percentage of the value of a good or service, not at a specific rate per unit.

Advance Pricing Agreement (APA)

It is an agreement between a taxpaying entity and the taxman that indicates how the former will price transactions with its associates.

Fiscal Policy

It is what a Government does to influence the course of an economy through decisions on taxes and spending.

Monetary Policy

It is what a central bank does to influence the course of an economy through decisions on money supply and interest rate.

Direct Tax

A tax such as the income-tax, which has to be borne by the person it or entity it is imposed on.

Indirect Tax

A tax on goods and services, typically, levied on an entity but paid by another.

Direct Taxes Code (DTC)

India’s likely replacement to the long-standing Income Tax Act, the Direct Taxes Code is meant to make direct tax laws simpler and more efficient.

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

Proposed to be rolled out in India from April 1, 2016, the GST seeks to make the indirect tax structure simpler and efficient by replacing a slew of levies such as octroi, central sales tax, State sales tax, entry tax and so on.

External Commercial Borrowing (ECB)

ECBs refer to commercial loans with a minimum three-year maturity that can be raised from lenders from overseas where interest rates are lower than in India.
Fiscal Consolidation
The term refers to the things a Government does to maintain good fiscal health — cut debt and wasteful expenditure and improve revenue opportunities.

Current Account Deficit

It is a trade measure that shows the value of a country’s imports of goods and services to be higher than the value of its exports.
White Paper outlines challenges of Railways

  •  Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu tabled a white paper before presenting the budget .
  •  The paper delineates the challenges before the Railways — how it is “perched on a precipice but is capable of flying off and attaining great heights.”
  •  A plan for the ‘railways of tomorrow’ has been outlined.
  •  The organisation has suffered from considerable under-investment during the last several years, said Railway Minister Mr. Prabhu in the paper. As a consequence, capacity augmentation has suffered and so has the quality of service.
  •  Resources have been insufficient for improving customer satisfaction and introducing technological improvements. Investments in safety have also been insufficient.
  •  The status paper is the first in a series of three documents.
  •  The budget, being the second, lays down a five-year action plan of the Ministry in bringing about a turnaround.
  •  Finally, during the course of the current year, Indian Railways will bring out a Vision 2030 document which will contain a blueprint of the long-term development.
  •  Prabhu proposed a paradigm change with faster trains, swanky stations and skilled staff and flagged areas in need of ‘urgent attention’ such as cleanliness, punctuality of services, safety, terminal quality, capacity of trains, food quality, passenger security and ease of booking tickets.
  •  The five-year plan is to undertake measures to ensure delivering safe and punctual services, increasing average speed by 50 per cent and increasing loading to 1.5 billion tonnes.

Highlights of Railway Budget 2015

The key themes of the Budget were in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiatives - Swachch Bharat Mission, Make in India and Digital India.

  •  The most-expected part about this year’s Railway Budget - there is no increase in passsenger rail fares.
  •  Rs.8.5 lakh crore will be invested in Railways in next 5 years.
  •  ‘Operation 5 mins’, wherein passengers travellling unreserved can purchase a ticket in 5 minutes.
  •  Bio toilets and airplane-type vaccum toilets in trains.
  •  Surveillance cameras in select coaches and ladies compartments for women’s safety without compromising on privacy.
  • Rail tickets can now be booked 120 days in advance.
  •  Speed on nine railway corridors to go up to 200 km per hour.
  •  Wi-Fi in more stations, mobile phone charging facilities in all train compartments.
  •  Facility of online booking of wheelchair for senior citizens.
  •  Satellite railway terminals in major cities
  •  Centrally managed Rail Display Network is expected to be introduced in over 2K stations over the next 2 years.
  •  All india 24/7 helpline - 138 from March 2015 ; Toll free No.182 for security.
  •  917 road under-bridges and over-bridges to be constructed to replace 3,438 railway crossings; at a cost of Rs. 6,581 crore.
  •  Four Railway Research Centres to start in four universities.
  •  Details about new trains and increased frequency will be announced later in this session of Parliament after review.

What is the investment plan?

  •  The Railway Budget envisages an investment of Rs. 8.5 lakh crore in next five years.

How is it going to be mobilized?

  •  The Minister suggested that the money could be raised from multiple sources - from multilateral development banks to pension funds.
    What is the action plan in the sphere fund raising?
  •  Go in for partnership with key stakeholders - States, PSUs, partner with multilateral and bi-lateral organizations other governments to gain access to long-term financing. Also, get technology from overseas. The private sector could be roped in to improve last-mile connectivity, expand fleet of rolling stock and modernize station infrastructure.

What is the thrust?

  •  The thrust will be on revamping management practices, systems, processes, and re-tooling of human resources.
    What is the proposal on capacity augmentation?
  •  De-congesting networks with basket of traffic-generating projects will be the priority
  •  Priority to last-mile connectivity projects
  •  Fast-track sanctioned works on 7,000 kms of double/third/fourth lines
  •  Commissioning 1200 km in 2015-16 at an investment of Rs. 8,686 crore, 84% higher Y-O-Y.
  •  Commissioning 800 km of gauge conversion targeted in current fiscal.
  •  77 projects covering 9,400 km of doubling/tripling/quadrupling works along with electrification, covering almost all States, at a cost of Rs. 96,182 crore, which is over 2700% higher in terms of amount sanctioned.
  •  Traffic facility work is a top priority with an outlay of Rs. 2374 crore .
  •  Award of 750 km of civil contracts and 1300 km of system contracts in 2015-16 on Dedicated
  •  Freight Corridor (DFC); 55 km section of Eastern DFC to be completed in the current year.
  •  Preliminary engineering-cum-traffic survey (PETS) for four other DFCs in progress.\
  •  Acceleration of pace of Railway electrification: 6,608 route kilometers sanctioned for 2015-16, an increase of 1330% over the previous year.

SEBI slaps  Rs.86 cr penalty on DLF

  •  The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), penalised the real estate major, DLF, and other connected entities by levying a penalty of Rs.86 crore for violating capital market regulations by engaging in fraudulent and unfair trade practices.
  •  SEBI penalised DLF Rs.26 crore and other top officials including, K.P. Singh, Rajiv Singh and Pia Singh, another Rs.26 crore. Further, SEBI fined another related 35 entities, including individuals, Rs.34 crore.
  •  The case is pertaining to the irregularities and non-disclosure violations related to its 2007 initial public offering (IPO).
  •  DLF said it did not violate any law and it will challenge the SEBI order. DLF further said that the company and its board were guided by and acted on the advise of “eminent legal advisors, merchant bankers and audit firms” while formulating its IPO documents. “We are presently reviewing the said orders and after taking appropriate legal advice, we will challenge the said Orders in appeal,” DLF said in a statement.
    Cabinet approves agreement on BRICS development bank
  •  The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave approval for establishing the New Development Bank (NDB) and the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA).
  •  Heads of the five nation BRICS group — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — decided at their sixth summit in Fortaleza in July last year to create a development bank as well as a reserve fund to finance infrastructure projects and other sustainable development projects.
  •  The $100 billion BRICS CRA would help countries deal with short-term liquidity pressures, provide mutual support and further strengthen financial stability.
  •  The agreement will enter into force and the Bank begin operations only after all member-countries deposit their instruments of ratification with Brazil.
  •  The release added that signing of the agreement for the establishment of the New Development Bank was expected to allow India to raise and obtain more resources for the much-needed infrastructure development, the lack of which was coming in the way of inclusiveness and growth.
  •  Besides, the governance structure and decision-making in the Bank would be equitable unlike the existing multilateral development banks, it added.
  •  India will hold the Presidency of the New Development Bank for the first six years. The Bank will be based in Shanghai, China’s financial hub.

CommonFloor  launches new solution

  •  Online real estate platform CommonFloor launched its virtual reality application CommonFloor Retina.
  •  The application, available for customers using Android platforms, will allows buyers to view and assess builder properties.
  •  According to a press release, the solution offers ‘real’ property experience for the seekers allowing them to view or review and assess multiple properties from anywhere at any point of time.
  •  At present, the feature is only available on Android phones like Nexus 4, MotoG 2nd Gen, Samsung Galaxy 4, MotoX, One Plus and Xiaomi Mi3.
    Industrialist Bhadrashyam Kothari passes away
  •  Mr. Bhadrashyam Kothari, prominent industrialist and Chairman and Managing Director, Kothari Sugars and Chemicals, died at Houston, in the U.S., after a brief illness. His passing was peaceful, surrounded by his family members. He was 53.
  •  As an industrialist, he brought to bear a visionary leadership to his group and displayed a pioneering spirit in venturing into new areas opened up by the economic reforms. He was also deeply involved in philanthropy and the promotion of education.

Rajan warns  against ‘Appellate Raj’

  •  In a veiled attack on suggestions made by the government-appointed Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC) panel for overhaul of financial sector laws, Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan, said the country should not end up in ‘Appellate Raj’ after escaping the ‘License Permit Raj.’
  •  The comments assume significance in the wake of the high-profile FSLRC having suggested creating a single appellate authority for all financial sector watchdogs, including the RBI.
  •  The proposal, which was aimed at providing checks and balances for decisions made by the regulators, has been hanging fire for a long time due to opposition from various quarters, including the RBI.

New accounting  standard rules notified

  •  Moving closer to the implementation of new accounting norms, the government has notified the rules for the Indian Accounting Standards (Ind AS), which will be mandatory for companies from April 1, 2016.
  •  Ind AS norms, which are converged with global standards IFRS, can be followed by corporates on a voluntary basis from April 1, this year.
  •  For companies having net worth of Rs.500 crore or more, the new norms would be mandatory from April 1, 2016. In a notification, the Corporate Affairs Ministry said the ‘Companies (Ind AS) Rules 2015’ would come into force with effect from April 1. Last month, the ministry had announced the Ind AS roadmap.

Videocon launches Wi-Fi enabled ACs

  •  Consumer electronics major Videocon Industries, unveiled a range of Wi-Fi enabled ACs to expand its presence in the highly competitive domestic air-conditioner (AC) market.
  •  The new Wi-Fi AC can be controlled from anywhere in the world through an app on a smartphone.
  •  It uses the Wi-Fi network at the consumer’s home to connect with a smartphone and receives signals on any 2G, 3G and 4G devices.
  •  The company, launched four new split ACs from 1-1.5 tonnes belonging to the Wi-Fi series. These are priced between Rs.35,990 and Rs.41,990.
  •  The focus markets for the range are Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala and Delhi. The range is to be launched nation-wide in the next few days.

Godrej Properties joins hands with Snapdeal

  •  Realty firm Godrej Properties said it has tied up with Snapdeal to offer online booking of its real estate projects.
  •  Godrej Properties already offers online booking through its website and has added this additional sales channel to further enhance customer access, the company said.
  •  The tie-up with Snapdeal will offer customers increased flexibility and unique offers at the time of booking, it added.

Snapdeal buys fashion  portal

  •  Expanding its presence in the high-end fashion segment, online marketplace Snapdeal has acquired luxury fashion portal for an undisclosed amount.
  •  With this acquisition, the city-based firm that gets a little over $1 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) from its fashion business expects this figure to touch $2 billion by the end of the current calendar year.

Hyundai launches new Verna

  •  Hyundai Motor India, launched the updated version of its mid-size sedan Verna, priced between Rs.7.74 lakh and Rs.12.19 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
  •  The new Verna that will compete with Honda City and Maruti Ciaz, will be available in both petrol and diesel options and have ten variants.
  •  For the April 2014-January 2015 period this fiscal, Honda City sold 61,102 units, while Maruti Ciaz, which was launched in October last year, sold 23,490 units till January.

Aero India 2015 to focus on ‘Make in India’

  •  ‘Aero India 2015’ will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Bengaluru on February 18, with the theme squarely focused on ‘Make in India’ in aerospace, defence, civil aviation and airport infrastructure in line with the government’s mantra.
  •  “We want to set ‘Make in India’ as the major theme of the exhibition and see it progress in the defence sector also,” Defence Production Secretary G. Mohan Kumar said.
  •  A global CEOs conference will be chaired by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. Around 300 CEOs from Indian and foreign companies are expected to attend the conference.

SEBI plans profiling of major investors to boost surveillance

  •  To strengthen its surveillance activities, capital markets watchdog Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is planning to conduct ‘profiling’ of major investors in different segments of the market to understand their trading patterns and the impact on the market.
  •  This follows SEBI having put in place mechanisms for risk profiling of the brokers and listed companies so as to understand the associated risk.
  •  This has become more important in cases of algorithmic or high-frequency trades, as the impact of the trading activities of major investors or traders could be quite big and really fast, requiring a very robust surveillance system, he added.
  •  To help it better regulate the marketplace and strengthen its surveillance system, SEBI has adopted a supervision model based on risk levels for various market entities including brokers and mutual funds.
  •  Under the new model, various market entities are being divided into four groups — very low risk, low risk, medium risk and high risk — and the quantum of surveillance and number of inspections increase as per the risk level.
  •  This new supervision regime has been put in place as per recommendations of an independent global consultant and the subsequent suggestions made by an internal task force at SEBI, while taking into account practices followed by many overseas regulators.
  •  The move would help the existing surveillance system take care of most of the smaller offences, so that the investigation resources are utilised more effectively to tackle serious violations in the market place.

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General Awareness : India & The World - March, 2015

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) India and The World

March -2015

India & Sri Lanka  Signs four Agreement

  •  India signs four agreement with Sri Lankan government during recent PM Modi visit to Island nation. This was the first bilateral tour by any Indian premier in 28 years.
  •  During this visit the both country has singned four agreements on visa, customs, youth development and building Rabindranath Tagore memorial in Sri Lanka.
  •  PM here announced that, India is ready to help develop Trincomalee as petrolium hub for this the Indian government would provide a fresh Line of Credit of up to US $318 million for the railways sector in Lanka.
  •  Prime Minister also announced that the apex bank of both the country i.e. reserve Bank of India and Central Bank of Sri Lanka have agreed to enter into a Currency Swap Agreement of US $ 1.5 billion to help keep the Sri Lankan rupee stable
  •  PM Modi here urged Sri Lankan Government to fully implement the 13th Amendment as early.

India to Develop Infrastrucre in Mauritius and Seychelles

  • With the motive to building strategic assets in Indian Ocean countries, Mauritius and Seychelles, as New Delhi signed agreements with them to develop “infrastructure” in two islands one each in both nations.
  • In Mauritius, India signed an MoU for the “improvement in sea and air transportation facilities” at Agalega island. This pact provides for “setting up and upgradation of infrastructure for improving sea and air connectivity at the Outer Island of Mauritius which will go a long way in ameliorating the condition of the inhabitants of this remote Island.
  • In Seychelles, India inked a pact to develop the infrastructure of Assumption island, one of the 115 islands that constitute the country. Spread over 11 sq km, it is strategically located in the Indian Ocean, north of Madagascar.

India signs security Coperation pact with Mauritius

  • India and Mauritius announced a new security cooperation agreement, as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Indian Ocean outreach.
  • This agreement would give India a strategic advantage in the Indian Ocean region, working closely with the Mauritius Defence Forces guarding the outer islands. In addition, India has extended a $500-million Line of Credit for development or security projects that Mauritius will decide on.
  • The highlight of India’s push for maritime heft during the visit will be the commissioning of a 1,300-tonne, Indian-built coastal patrol vessel, MCGS Barracuda . The ship will showcase India’s commitment on maritime security, particularly along the African coast that faces the threat of piracy.

India and Spain  Signs a defence Deal

  • India and Spain have signed an agreement on Mutual Protection of Classified Information to provide the framework for enhanced bilateral cooperation in areas of defence research, development and technology cooperation. The agreement was signed by the defence minister ManoharParrikar and his visiting Spanish counterpart Pedro MorenesEulate after the first full-fledged delegation-level meeting between the two sides held in New Delhi. During the talks, the Spanish side evinced keen interest in participation in the ‘Make-in-India’ initiative in defence sector. Both sides agreed to continue to work for enhancing bilateral defence cooperation. They also exchanged views on a wide range of issues concerning bilateral defence cooperation and issues of regional and global security. Eulate is on a two-day official visit to India. He had earlier visited India in October 2012 as a member of the Spanish delegation led by the King of Spain.

India & Kyrgyzstan signs MoU on Cooperation in textile sector

  • The governments of Kyrgyzstan and India have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the textile sector.The document aims at strengthening bilateral cooperation in three directions: Textiles and Clothing, Silk and Sericulture and Fashion.

The MoU aims to achieve

this via:

  •  Cooperation in development of trade, economic and investment relations
  •  Techno-commercial collaboration, joint trade missions
  •  Stimulation of investment cooperation, such as joint ventures, industrial cooperation, marketing, leasing and management
  •  Mutual assistance in R&D, technical collaboration in product development and manufacturing, testing and certification
  •  Mutual assistance in skill development, training and retraining of personnel, carrying out of joint scientific, industrial and other meetings and exchanges
  •  Cooperation in export promotion
  •  Facilitating of participation of business delegations, exhibitors and buyers of each other in the trade exhibitions, buyers sellers meets, business forums
  •  Mutual assistance in organizing visits of technical experts, specialists and scientists
  • The MoU was signed by ShriSantosh Kumar Gangwar, Minister of State for Textiles (independent charge) and his counterpart Mr. Kubanychbek Turdubaev.
  • The two countries have agreed to set up a Joint Working Group (JWG) to explore details of cooperation within the scope of the MoU and the steps required to facilitate bilateral trade and investment. The JWG will be co- chaired by an official of appropriate level from the Ministry of Energy and Industry of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Ministry of Textiles of the Republic of India.

India and Nepal joint militaryexercise Surya Kiran VIII concludes

  • Eighth India-Nepal Combined Exercise (Surya Kiran VIII) which commenced on 23 Feb 2015, concluded on 07 Mar 2015 at Salijhandi, Nepal. The exercise was conducted under the aegis of Nepalese Army. The exercise aimed to create a greater understanding between Indian & Nepalese Army and develop interoperability in Jungle Warfare and Counter Terrorism operations in mountainous terrain. It also focussed on the basics of Disaster Management with special reference to Pandemic/ Epidemic control and aviation aspects.
  • Over the years, the two countries have decided to progressively increase the scope and content of the combined exercise. The training culminated in a 48 hours consolidation and validation exercise in which troops of both countries carried out a search and destroy mission in the general area of Saljhandi. The final exercise was reviewed by Maj Gen PadamvillasKarki of Nepalese Army and Major General VinodPrakash Singh Bhakuni of Indian Army.

Kathmandu-Varanasi Bus Service Flagged off

  • A direct bus service between Nepal’s capital Kathmandu and India’s Varanasi city has recently flagged off .The service has been started under the Motor Vehicle Agreement between Nepal and India signed during the visit of Indian Prime Minister NarendraModi to Nepal for the 19th SAARC Summit last November.
  • Nepal’s Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport BimalendraNidhi and Indian Ambassador Ranjit Rae flagged off the bus service from near the Dashrath Stadium here. The Nepal-registered bus will travel on the Kathmandu-Bhairahawa-Sunauli-Azamgarh-Varanasi route, covering the 600 km journey in about 12 hours.

India & US held dialogue on United Nation

  • India and the US held their first ever bilateral dialogue on the United Nations and multilateral issues on February 19, 2015 in Washington.
  • The dialogue was held in the spirit of the “Delhi Declaration of Friendship” to strengthen and expand the relationship between the two countries. The countries have vowed to hold regular consultations in multilateral forums.
  • At the discussions focused was given on the international peace and security, peacekeeping operations, counter-piracy and the Post 2015, Development Agenda, the UN Human Rights Council and many other matters of mutual interest.
  • The US spokesperson was Sheba Crocker who holds the post of Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, whereas Indian delegation was led by Vikas Swarup, Minister of External Affairs Joint Secretary.
  • In January 2015, during the US President Barack Obama’s visit to India, both nations had agreed to elevate their long-standing strategic partnership.
  • This meeting was held in the bacdrop of an statement issued by the India-US in January 2015 during the US President visit to India in which both nations had agreed to elevate their long-standing strategic partnership through coperation across all areas of human endeavour.

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General Awareness : International Events - March, 2015

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) International Events

March, 2015

Democracy jailed for 13 years: Nasheed’s party

  •  Former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in prison on a terrorism charge after what rights groups said was a “flawed” trial, sparking international concern.
  •  Mr. Nasheed called on his supporters to take to the streets to protest against the sentence after a trial his party said was “blatantly politicised”.
  •  “I appeal to all of you today to stay courageous and strong, to confront the dictatorial power of this regime,” his office quoted him as saying.
  •  Mr. Nasheed, the Indian Ocean archipelago’s first democratically elected leader, had been arrested on February 22. He was convicted under the country’s Anti-Terrorism Act for ordering the arrest of a chief judge, Abdullah Mohamed, when he was President in January 2012.
  •  “The Anti-Terrorism Act, inter alia, classifies an act of terrorism to include kidnapping, holding as hostage or apprehending someone against their will or attempts to kidnap, hold hostage or apprehend someone without their will, for the extra judicial enforced disappearance of the sitting Chief Judge of Criminal Court,” sources told PTI, quoting the court judgement.
  •  The 47-year-old was then taken to Dhoonidhoo prison on an island near the capital Male.
  •  Mr. Nasheed’s lawyers resigned before the end of his brief trial, saying it was biased and aimed at destroying his political career.
  •  The conviction came amid growing opposition to the government of President Abdulla Yameen and will effectively prevent Mr. Nasheed from running for President at the 2018 elections.
  •  Mr. Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) said the verdict dealt a blow to the young democracy seven years after it embraced multi-party elections following three decades of rule by former strongman Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
  •  “Democracy jailed for 13 years on March 13, 2015,” said MDP spokeswoman Shauna Aminath. “Nothing good will come out of this.
  •  It’s a sad, sad, sad day for the Maldives,” she added. The MDP said its lawyers would appeal Nasheed’s conviction in the high court.

Modi calls for implementation of 13th Amendment in full

  •  India stands for a “united Sri Lanka,” but wants an “early and full implementation of the 13th Amendment” that provides for devolution in the Tamil majority Northern and Eastern provinces, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said .
  •  Mr. Modi, who was speaking at the historic Presidential Secretariat after talks with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, also referred to “going beyond” the 13th Amendment that would “contribute to the process” of building a “future that accommodates the aspirations of all sections of society, including the Sri Lankan Tamil community.”
  •  The Prime Minister’s comments came a day ahead of his visit to Jaffna and Talaimannar, the first ever by an Indian Prime Minister.
  •  In an interview to The Hindu this week, Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran had called upon India to remember its role as “guarantor” of Tamil rights, saying the 13th Amendment was “inadequate” and seeking “something beyond it.”
    Japan, France sign pact
  •  France and Japan agreed on Friday to work together on researching military equipment, as Tokyo looks to broaden its defence ties and bolster its international profile.
  •  In the latest in a spate of meetings, involving defence and foreign ministers, the fellow G7 members signalled a closer working relationship.
  •  French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Japanese Defence Minister Gen Nakatani and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida pledged to fight terrorism, to help bring stability to Ukraine, and to seek political solutions to Syria and Iraq.

Allow us to visit India: panel on religious freedom

  •  The chair of a high-profile Congressional commission on religious freedom has asked the Indian government to reconsider its view to withhold permission for the commission members to visit the country to assess the state of religious tolerance.
  •  Katrina Lantos-Swett, Chairperson of the U.S. Congress-established Commission on Religious Freedom (USCIRF), said, “I would also say that we would really welcome the opportunity to travel to India and we’ve been saddened that until now India has not been yet ready to welcome a USCIRF delegation to come for a visit.”
  •  Under her leadership and Congressional mandate, the USCIRF continues to produce an annual report on the state of religious freedom worldwide, which in years past had designated India as a “Tier II” or “watch-list” country.
  •  Dr. Lantos-Swett’s comments are significant in the context of two recent occasions on which U.S. President Barack Obama has remarked upon the dangers of religious intolerance for India, a view that Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeared to cognise in February, when he condemned religious-based violent acts in the country.
  •  On those remarks by Mr. Obama, Dr. Lantos-Swett appeared to differ from State Department officials who suggested that the President did not specifically intend to critique India’s religious tolerance and that it was a general observation.
  •  The Commissioner said that she did not believe that the recent meetings between Mr. Obama and Mr. Modi were any indication that U.S. concerns as a country regarding religious freedom issues in India had gone away, rather that the White House aspired to being able to “speak out about concerns that exist with respect to the robust protection of religious freedom” in India, even as the bilateral rapprochement deepens simultaneously.

Iceland withdraws  its bid to join the EU

  •  The North Atlantic island of Iceland has withdrawn its bid to join the European Union, with the government saying that its interests are best served outside the 28-nation EU.
  •  EU spokesperson Maja Kocijancic said that the bloc would “fully respect such a decision” and underlined that Iceland remained an important partner.
  •  Iceland started its membership negotiations in 2010 looking to better anchor itself to Europe two years after its economy imploded amid a banking collapse.
  •  The biggest challenges to those talks were fishing rights and agriculture. The new government froze the EU accession application when it came to power in 2013.
  •  Iceland’s foreign ministry had announced that the application was withdrawn.

Rushdie to join journalism faculty of NY university

  •  Controversial India-born author Salman Rushdie will join the journalism faculty at the New York University later this year to teach courses and advise graduate students.
  •  Mr. Rushdie will join the New York University (NYU) journalism faculty as a ‘Distinguished Writer in Residence’ at the Arthur L Carter Journalism Institute of the Faculty of Arts and Science in September, 2015.
  •  A Fellow of the British Royal Society of Literature and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Mr. Rushdie won the 1981 Booker Prize for Midnight’s Children.
  •  Mr. Rushdie had spent nearly a decade in hiding after Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini had issued a fatwa against him in 1989 following the publication of his book ‘The Satanic Verses’, which was considered offensive to Islam.

‘Time to replace 13th Amendment with a more dynamic system’

  •  It is time the 13th Amendment was replaced with a more dynamic system of devolution of powers, according to Sri Lanka’s Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran.
  •  Speaking ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka, the former Supreme Court judge said: “[The] 13th Amendment can never be the final solution. Be that as it may, we welcome him [Mr. Modi]. We know we have a friend in him. We appreciate his concerns for us, in wanting to come to
    the North.”
  •  Mr. Modi will be in Sri Lanka on a two-day visit. He will travel to the island’s war-torn Northern Province where Mr. Wigneswaran won a historic provincial election in September 2013.
  •  Ever since the Chief Minister and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) — the main party representing the Northern Tamils — have been pointing to hurdles in governance due to the limited powers.
  •  As “a proponent and an advocate of devolution,” Mr. Modi would appreciate the situation in Sri Lanka, the Chief Minister said. “Especially the inadequacies of the 13th Amendment would no doubt be understood by him.His visit and understanding would be very vital in the ultimate finalisation of our constitutional problems.”
  •  From the time Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict ended in May 2009, New Delhi has been pushing Colombo for the full implementation of the 13th Amendment, following up on former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s earlier assurance.
  •  Pointing to the Indian model of power sharing between the Centre and the States, Mr. Wigneswaran said it was the quantum of devolution prevalent under the Indian Constitution that made possible Mr. Modi’s “excellent leadership” and “people-centred approach that transformed Gujarat.”
  •  In comparison, under Sri Lanka’s unitary Constitution, there was “no chance of our performing the way Hon. Modi performed.”
  •  On the changes after former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was unseated, he said President Maithripala Sirisena was “refreshingly different” but certain sections of the new government were acting irresponsibly “following the age-old political tactics of the past which had led to the worsening of the ethnic issue,” adding that the regime change was not an end in itself.
  •  As an advocate of devolution, Mr. Modi would appreciate the situation in Sri Lanka, says Northern Province CM Wigneswaran.

Pakistan lifts death penalty moratorium for all cases

  •  Pakistan has lifted its moratorium on the death penalty in all capital cases, officials said , after restarting executions for terrorism offences in the wake of a school massacre by the Taliban.
  •  The Interior Ministry has directed provincial governments to proceed with hangings for prisoners who had exhausted all avenues of appeal and clemency, a senior interior ministry official told .
  •  Pakistan has hanged 24 convicts since resuming executions in December after Taliban militants gunned down more than 150 people, most of them children, at a school in the restive northwest.
  •  The partial lifting of the moratorium only applied to those convicted of terrorism offences, but officials said it has now been extended.
  •  Rights campaign group Amnesty International estimates that Pakistan has more than 8,000 prisoners on death row, most of whom have exhausted the appeals process.
  •  Amnesty International estimates that Pakistan has more than 8,000 prisoners on death row.

ICC hands over  Bashir case to U.N.

  •  Sudan has failed to arrest its long-time leader Omar al-Bashir for genocide and war crimes, the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled, referring the matter back to the U.N. Security Council.
  •  Mr. Bashir (71) is wanted by The Hague-based ICC, the world’s only permanent court, for his role in the western Sudanese region of Darfur where insurgents rose up in 2003 in an ongoing conflict that has left more than 300,000 people dead.
  •  He faces five counts of crimes against humanity including murder and torture, three of genocide and two of war crimes including attacking a civilian population.
  •  The ICC in 2009 and 2010 issued two warrants against Bashir, but he continues to travel across the African continent despite a legal obligation by ICC member states to arrest him.

More U.S. sanctions on Venezuela

  •  U.S. President Barack Obama ordered a fresh wave of sanctions against senior Venezuelan officials involved on opposition crackdown, including the prosecution of Caracas’s Mayor.
  •  Mr. Obama ordered the freezing of U.S. properties and bank accounts of seven officials, including the director general of the intelligence service and the director of the national police.
  •  Most of those targeted for U.S. sanctions on Monday were accused of being involved with a 2014 crackdown on opposition protests that left more than 40 dead.

Sri Lanka may review Tata housing project

  •  Sri Lanka has said that a $400 million housing project by the Tata group is being reviewed, weeks after the country’s new government said it was looking for a fresh start into the first-of-its-kind township plan.
  •  Tata launched the housing project last year in central Colombo that involved the displacement of 65,000 people.
  •  The scale of displacement and the compensation offered have been a sore point with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s opponents, it said. Company spokesperson refused to comment on the matter.

India is not a country of rapists: German envoy to discriminating German professor

  •  “Let’s be clear: India is not a country of rapists.” This was what German envoy in India Michael Steiner wrote, in his strongly worded letter, to a German professor who denied internship to an Indian male student citing “India’s rape problem”.
  •  Mr. Steiner also commended the high quality of public debate on rape in India, while advising the professor to “learn more about the diverse, dynamic and fascinating country”.
  •  “In India, ‘the Nirbhaya case’ has triggered a lively, honest, sustained and very healthy public debate... of a quality that wouldn’t be possible in many other countries,” he wrote in his letter.
  •  Dr. Annette Beck-Sickinger, professor of biochemistry at Leipzig University, had refused to accept an Indian student for an internship because of India’s “rape problem”.
  •  “Unfortunately, I don’t accept any Indian male students for internships. We hear a lot about the rape problem in India which I cannot support. I have many female students in my group, so I think this attitude is something I cannot support,” Dr. Beck-Sickinger wrote to the student.
  •  Mr. Steiner asked the professor to correct her simplistic image “particularly unsuitable for a professor and teacher.”
  •  Women’s rights activist Kavita Krishnan termed the professor’s response “shameless racial profiling”.
  •  However, it was Ambassador Steiner’s unequivocal condemnation of the actions of the professor, that warmed the heart of several Indians, who thanked and congratulated him for the bold step.

Israel will not cede land to Palestinians: Netanyahu

  •  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will not cede territory due to the current climate in the Middle East, appearing to rule out the establishment of a Palestinian state.
  •  Mr. Netanyahu said “any evacuated territory would fall into the hands of Islamic extremism and terror organizations supported by Iran. Therefore, there will be no concessions and no withdrawals. It is simply irrelevant.”
  •  The statement was released by his Likud party .
  •  Mr. Netanyahu is seeking to appeal to hard-liners ahead of elections.
  •  Party spokesman Elie Bennett says Mr. Netanyahu’s 2009 speech calling for a Palestinian state alongside Israel is not currently relevant.
  •  The international community has long pushed for the creation of a Palestinian state on lands captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war.
  •  Mr. Netanyahu’s spokesman declined comment.

Pollution control: China sends mixed signals

  •  China has sent mixed signals about its approach to tackle pollution — by announcing zero-tolerance to violators of a stringent environmental law, but the same time seemingly curbing public debate on the subject by pulling out from mainstream video sharing sites a hard-hitting documentary on emissions that had gone viral on the internet.
  •  “We are going to punish, with an iron hand, any violators who destroy ecology or environment, with no exceptions,” said China’s President, Xi Jinping, while reviewing the work report of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) — the official body that exercises administrative and planning control over the  Chinese economy.
  •  Mr. Xi’s remarks had followed the release of the documentary Under The Dome , which had drawn over a million hits on the internet on account of its unvarnished focus on the enormity of the crisis.
  •  The film, produced by Chai Jing, a former employee of CCTV, the state-run broadcaster, began to disappear from mainstream domestic video-sharing sites.
  •  It was now no longer available on popular mainland video sites, including Youku and iQiyi.
  •  The move was surprising as the film had been praised earlier this week by China’s newly-appointed Environmental Protection Minister, Chen Jining. People’s Daily , the official newspaper of the Chinese government had also posted the documentary on its website.
  •  China’s decision to lower its growth rate target for 2015 to seven per cent; the framing of the new environment law; and plans to enhance the role of nuclear and renewables in its energy mix, is expected to sharply reduce emissions in the world’s second largest economy.
  •  A major element of China’s clean energy strategy is the reduction in the use of coal — a double-edged weapon that has been both at the heart of the country’s breakneck growth story and the cause for heavy smog choking many Chinese cities.
  •  “For areas affected by severe smog, regions where conserving energy is difficult, and industries with overcapacity, we will strictly control the number of energy-intensive projects and implement policies for reducing coal use, and for replacing coal with alternative energy sources,” the report said.
  •  Planners say that the country’s energy use has entered “medium-low growth,” in tune with the more sustainable model of development that China plans to follow.
  •  Nur Bekri, the head of National Energy Administration, predicts a steep decline in the expansion of China’s primary energy consumption.
  •  While annual energy intake increased by 7.9 per cent since 2000, it is expected to grow by only 3.4 per cent over the next six years.
  •  That figure conforms with China’s target of capping annual primary energy consumption at 4.8 billion tonnes of standard coal equivalent by 2020.
  •  Mr. Bekri said that energy growth will further dip to 2.3 per cent during 2015-2030.
  •  China hopes to reduce the use of coal — which fuels 66 per cent of the current energy consumption — by expanding the share of non-fossil energy to 15 per cent by 2020, and 20 per cent by 2030.

Modi to unveil plaque of Jaffna cultural centre

  •  Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil the plaque of a cultural centre to be built with Indian assistance in Jaffna on March 14.
  •  Mr. Modi, in the first state visit to Sri Lanka by an Indian Prime Minister in nearly three decades, will travel to the war-torn Northern Province of the island nation.
  •  The cultural centre will serve as a space connecting people through the arts and culture, official sources said.
  •  The event will be held at the adjoining Jaffna Public Library, a historic structure torched by a mob during riots in 1981.
  •  The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Mr. Modi would hand over houses constructed as part of the 50,000 built under an Indian housing scheme to beneficiaries in Jaffna and flag off train services from Talaimannar to Colombo restored with Indian assistance.
  •  The Prime Minister will visit the ancient town of Anuradhapura and the Sri Maha Bodhi tree, which Buddhists consider sacred with the legend that it grew out of a branch transported from Bodh Gaya in India centuries ago
  •  On his first day in Sri Lanka, the Prime Minister will address a special sitting of the Sri Lankan Parliament in Colombo and pay homage at the memorial to Indian Peace Keeping Force personnel, the Foreign Ministry statement said.

Motion in Commons on Gandhiji’s statue

  •  An early-day motion (EDM) to mark the unveiling of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Parliament Square here was tabled in the House of Commons by Britain’s longest-serving Indian-origin MP Keith Vaz.
  •  The EDMs allow MPs in Britain to draw attention to an event or cause and register their support by signing individual motions. There is generally no debate held on such a motion.
  •  Mr. Vaz welcomed Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s visit to the U.K. to be present at the high-profile ceremony to be attended by British Prime Minister David Cameron.
  •  Mr. Jaitley is expected to arrive in London late on March 12.  Outrage as

IS destroys ancient site

  •  Activists, officials and historians have condemned Islamic State (IS) for the destruction of the ancient Assyrian archaeological site of Nimrud in Iraq, saying the group’s actions were part of a systematic campaign reminiscent of the Mongol invasion of Arabia that aims to erase millennia of culture
    and civilisation.
  •  Iraq’s tourism and antiquities ministry said that IS had bulldozed the ancient city of Nimrud, south of Mosul, which was conquered by the militants in a lightning advancelast summer.
  •  The destruction of the site, which became the capital of the neo—Assyrian empire, was confirmed by a local tribal source speaking to Reuters.

Maldives’ internal issues might have led to cancellation of Modi trip

  •  The omission of the Maldives from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Indian Ocean foray next week is significant because the Foreign Minister of the island nation, Dunya Maumoon, announced the trip two weeks ago.
  •  Mr. Maumoon met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi, and reportedly discussed the “upcoming visit.”
  •  Sources said the government did not want to be seen “involved in domestic issues” of the Maldives, though the Ministry gave no explanation for the cancellation of the Male trip.
  •  Sources said the government was taken by surprise over the treatment of former President Mohammad Nasheed, who was arrested and charged with treason and roughed up by the police on the way to court.
  •  The External Affairs Ministry issued a strong statement expressing “concern” over his “arrest and manhandling.”
  •  Despite the concern, the Prime Minister’s visit was expected to continue, and local newspapers in Male have been reporting on various investment initiatives and agreements planned by President Yameen’s government during the visit.
  •  The Maldives government has not reacted to the cancellation of Mr. Modi’s visit. However the opposition groups led by Mr. Nasheed’s MDP said that Mr. Modi’s decision was caused by the strain in India’s relations with the Maldives, because of what it called “the authoritarian actions and confrontational nature of President Yameen.”

‘Colombo will work in cooperation with U.N.’

  •  Sri Lanka will take pointers from the U.N. report on Sri Lanka’s rights record for its domestic mechanism, the country’s Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has said.
  •  Addressing the high level segment of the 28th Session of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Minister briefed the Council on developments in Sri Lanka following the presidential election on  January 8.
  •  Pointing to the Maithripala Sirisena government’s efforts to ensure media freedom, Mr. Samaraweera said it unblocked websites that were earlier blocked, lifted restrictions placed on foreign media personnel visiting the country, enabled journalists to travel freely to all parts of the country and invited all media personnel living in exile to return.
  •  The Human Rights Council, in March 2014, adopted a U.S.-sponsored resolution calling for an international probe into allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka.
  •  As many as 23 countries backed the resolution then, while 12 voted against it and 12 other countries, including India, abstained.
  •  The Mahinda Rajapaksa administration then had refused any cooperation to the process and rejected the resolution.
  •  A year later, the Council, in a clear departure from its earlier stance on Sri Lanka, deferred the key report on the country’s conflict that was due for submission in the ongoing March sessions, to September 2015.
  •  The decision was to allow space for the new government to demonstrate its willingness to cooperate on human rights issues, it said.

Google Maps goes ‘trekking’ in Amazon

  •  For its next technological trick, Google will show you what it’s like to zip through trees in the Amazon jungle.
  •  The images released are the latest addition to the diverse collection of photos supplementing Google’s widely used digital maps.
  •  The maps’ “Street View” option mostly provides panoramic views of cities and neighbourhoods photographed by car-mounted cameras, but Google has found creative ways to depict exotic locations where there are no roads.
  •  In its latest foray into the wilderness, Google teamed up with the environmental protection group Amazonas Sustainable Foundation, or FAS, to explore a remote part of an Amazon rainforest.
  •  Google Inc. lent FAS its Trekker device, a camera mounted on an apparatus originally designed to be carried like a backpack by hikers walking on trails.
  •  FAS, though, sent the Trekker down a zip line. Google is renowned for going out on a technological limb, but even this project made the company nervous at first, said Karin Tuxen-Bettman, who oversees Google’s Street View partnerships.
  •  The set-up required FAS workers to tread through the rainforest to find a place where they could string the zip line so the Trekker would not bump into tree trunks and branches as it zoomed through the thick canopy.
  •  With the help of some monkeys who joined their scouting expedition, FAS workers found just enough room to erect a zip line for the Trekker’s trip.
  •  Since Google developed the Trekker camera in 2012, the device has been dispatched on other unusual journeys. The Trekker went scuba-diving in the Galapagos Islands to take underwater photographs of the preserve, and travelled on a dog sled in the Canadian Artic to photograph the tundra.
  •  Privacy issues should not be an issue in any of the photographs taken by the zip-lining Trekker. Birds and insects are the only visible forms of life in the pictures it took.

Writer’s body donated for research

  • Thousands of people from all strata of life on Sunday paid their last respects to assassinated writer-blogger Avijit Roy.
  •  The coffin of Avijit was placed on a platform erected at the base of Dhaka University’s Aparajeyo Bangla, the symbolic architecture built in memory of the Bangladesh Freedom Fighters of 1971.
  •  Keeping in with his wish, Avijit’s body was handed over to Dhaka Medical College Hospital for medical research. Avijit and his wife Rafida Ahmed Bonya were hacked on Feb 26 by suspected extremists. His badly injured wife is being treated at a hospital in Dhaka.

Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia to trial new flight tracking system

  •  Indonesia and Malaysia will lead a trial to enhance the tracking of aircraft over remote oceans, allowing planes to be more easily, Australia’s transport minister said.
  •  The announcement comes one week ahead of the anniversary of the disappearance of flight MH370, which vanished last year on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. No trace of the plane has been found.
  •  The trial is expected to use satellite-based positioning technology already on board 90 per cent of long-haul aircraft that transmits the plane’s current position and its next two planned positions, said Airservices Australia chairman Angus Houston, who helped lead the search for MH370.
  •  The trial would boost the frequency in which planes would automatically report their position, allowing air traffic controllers to better track them, Houston said.
  •  There is no requirement for real-time tracking of commercial aircraft and ever since flight 370 disappeared, air safety regulators and airlines have been trying to agree on how extensively planes should be tracked.
  •  The Boeing 777 veered sharply off-course and vanished from radar shortly into its flight on March 8.
  •  An international team of experts who analysed a series of hourly transmissions between the plane and a satellite later determined that the plane travelled for another seven hours before crashing somewhere within a remote 60,000 square kilometer or 23,000 square mile patch of the Indian Ocean.

The Tablet set to celebrate 175th year of continuous publication

  •  The Tablet , the Catholic weekly regarded as one of Britain’s oldest journals, is about to celebrate 175 years of uninterrupted publication.
  •  Founded in May 1840 by a Quaker convert to Catholicism, Frederick Lucas, it is published in London but has garnered an international audience.
  •  Its anniversary will be marked with a series of events throughout the year, including a mass at Westminster Cathedral on 16 May. In June, novelists Antonia Fraser, David Lodge and Andrew O’Hagan, plus historian Roy Foster, will debate faith and fiction at the Tablet Literary Festival in Birmingham.
  •  In October, an interfaith seminar at the London School of Economics will consider whether Catholics, Jews and Muslims remain outsiders in British society. It will be moderated by Professor Conor Gearty.
  •  Also that month, the pianist Stephen Hough will perform a specially commissioned Tablet Sonata at the Barbican Centre. Throughout 2015, The Tablet will also be awarding bursaries to postgraduate students in religious studies departments.
  •  Catherine Pepinster, The Tablet ’s editor, points out that few publications have lasted 175 years, adding: “That a Catholic publication should have done so, given the tempestuous history of Roman Catholicism in this country, is testimony not only to The Tablet ’s journalism but to the capacity for a minority group to thrive in Britain.”

China formally backs trilateral partnership with India, Sri Lanka

  •  China formally backed a trilateral partnership with India and Sri Lanka to establish a Maritime Silk Road (MSR) and promote the rise of Eurasia.
  •  It is an announced by the Chinese Forign Minister Wang Yi During a joint press Conference.
  •  He reinforced the three-way engagement by pointing out that China would like to “expedite such cooperation and see practical measures between China and India,” where each country would pool its bilateral strengths, leading to Sri Lanka’s social and economic development.
  •  Mr. Wang’s comments, signalling a more inclusive strategic appreciation of the region, run counter to Indian concerns, expressed during former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s tenure, that a firm military relationship between China and Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean was taking root, following the docking of a Chinese submarine in Colombo.
  •  Mr. Wang said China would “certainly like to hold talks” with India on a triangular relationship with Sri Lanka in the future, in tune with Sino-Indian partnership on key global and regional issues.
  •  The Chinese Minister commented that Beijing would like to see progress in India-Sri Lanka relations, which would become a factor of stability in South Asia.
  •  With the conceptual lines of a triangular relationship surfacing, Mr. Samaraweera also said Sri Lanka saw China as a “great friend” and India as a “neighbour and relative.”
  •  He stressed that Sri Lanka’s centrist and pragmatic foreign policy, liberated from any specific ideology, was grounded in the principle of non-alignment, and was ultimately geared to benefit the Sri Lankan people.

Writer hacked to  Death in Dhaka

  •  Suspected radical Islamists have hacked to death a popular writer and blogger, Avijit Roy, and seriously injured his wife Rafida Ahmed Banna in Dhaka
    . The couple came under attack as they were returning home from Bangla Academy Book Fair near the Dhaka University campus.

  •  Avijit, son of Prof Ajay Roy who taught physics at Dhaka University, used to work in the U.S. as a software engineer. He had received several threats from Islamist fundamentalists, said family members and fellow bloggers.

  •  The attackers dragged the couple onto the footpath and hacked them with sharp knifes. Avijit suffered a deep gash on his head in the indiscriminate attack and Banna, also a writer and blogger, lost a finger and suffered cut wounds.

  •  Islamist radicals have been threatening Avijit, who was founder of popular blog Mukto-Mona, for his sustained campaign against Islamist radicals. He is also well known for his books “Biswaser Virus” (Virus of Faith) and “Sunyo theke Mahabiswa” (From Vacuum to the Universe).

  •  Last year,, an online bookstore, was forced to remove Avijit’s books from its list following threats by Shafiur Rahman Farabi, a fundamentalist blogger.

  •  Mr. Farabi was arrested for posting provocative comments on his Facebook page supporting the killing of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haidar in Mirpur on February 16, 2013. He was later released on bail.

  •  The couple came to Dhaka recently to attend the Bangla Academy Book Fair, where two of his recent titles had been launched. His writing and blogging had evoked the ire of fanatics and he regularly received threats. He was to fly back to the U.S. on March 4.

  •  The attack on Avijit resembles the one on noted writer Prof Humayun Azad and bloggers Rajib Haidar and Asif Mohiuddin. Prof. Azad was also returning home from the same book fair when he was hacked with machetes by radical militants a few years ago. He later died in Germany while undergoing treatment.

  •  The radicals had attacked several other secular bloggers after the Shahbagh agitation, demanding capital punishment for war criminals, polarised opinions in Bangladesh. Police said they recovered two bloody machetes and a bag from the spot, and were working to identify the killers.

Iraq statue-smashing video sparks outrage

  •  A video of jihadists in Iraq gleefully smashing ancient statues to pieces with sledgehammers sparked global outrage and fears that more of the world’s oldest heritage will be destroyed.
  •  The destruction of priceless Assyrian and other artefacts from the main museum and an archeological site in the northern city of Mosul drew comparisons with the 2001 dynamiting of the Bamiyan buddhas in Afghanistan.
  •  Archaeologists and heritage experts called for urgent action to protect the remains of some of oldest civilisations in the world and the U.N. cultural agency demanded an emergency meeting of the Security Council.

China’s draft anti-terrorism law high on privacy and human rights

  •  China is drafting an ambitious counterterrorism law, which seeks to address concerns over privacy and human rights, without losing the sting to target international terror groups.
  •  The draft law has taken into account the Charlie Hebdo terror incident in France, the Copenhagen strike, as well as the essence of the Global War on Terror (GWOT) led by the United States.
  •  Besides, the legislation has been sensitised by last year’s deadly terror attack, at Kunming station, in the country’s Yunnan province, which left 29 people dead, and scores injured
  •  The draft advocates establishing mechanisms that would ensure that access to private phone and Internet records goes through a strict approval procedure.
  •  The information that is gathered should also be used solely for the purpose of counterterrorism and not otherwise. A similar approval must also be obtained to inquire into, seal up, seize or freeze assets.
  •  The new law is being drafted at a time when Chinese President Xi Jinping has been calling for firmly implanting the rule of law as the anchor for China’s national rejuvenation.
  •  Chinese state-media has been reporting that the President has been advocating, “Four Comprehensives” — a moderately prosperous society, reform, rule of law, and Party discipline — as the blueprint for China’s future.
  •  It challenges the western narrative on counterterrorism and human rights by pointing to a more rational Chinese alternative.
  •  Besides, it hopes to shore up CPC’s legitimacy, especially among China’s cyber connected youth. President Xi is well aware of the dangers of a widening legitimacy gap in his country.

Britain misses targets on immigration control

  •  The British government has missed its targets on immigration control, which was a key pledge by Prime Minister David Cameron. He had promised in 2011 to cap immigration at 100,000 by the end of the current Parliament.
  •  The figure for net migration (inflows minus outflows) stood at 298,000 for the year 2014 till September, according to figures released by the Office of National Statistics.
  •  According to opinion polls, immigration has emerged as a key issue for voters — ahead of the National Health Service, the economy, unemployment and crime — in the run-up to a closely-fought general elections this May.
  •  However, while immigration into the United Kingdom has substantially risen, there is no evidence to suggest that this has had a negative impact on jobs, wages, housing and other public services for the U.K.-born.
  •  This are the findings of a study done on the latest U.K. immigration statistics by the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)of the London School of Economics, and the first in a series of background briefings by the CEP on important policy issues in the run up to the general elections.
  •  The report ‘Immigration and the U.K. Labour Market’ by author Professor Jonathan Wadsworth finds that rising immigration in the last 20 years means that there are now around 7.8 million individuals – and 6.5 million adults of working age – living in the U.K. who were born abroad.
  •  Indeed, the doubling of the share of immigrants among working age adults in the U.K. between 1995 and 2014 – from 8% to 17% “is not particularly different from many other rich countries in terms of its share of immigrants,” he argues.
  •  European Union (EU) countries account for one-third of the total immigrant stock, and new inflows of EU immigrants are almost as large as inflows from outside the EU. While EU arrivals are for work-related reasons most non-EU arrivals are for study-related reasons.
  •  While 30 years ago 30 per cent of all immigrants came from just two countries, Ireland and India, today these two countries account for just 13 per cent of all immigrants.

Death toll from Afghan avalanches crosses 200

  •  More than 200 people have been killed in a series of avalanches triggered by heavy snowfall around Afghanistan, warning the death toll could rise still further.
  •  The bulk of the deaths came in Panjshir province, north of Kabul, where at least 168 people were killed.
  •  The avalanches came after days of heavy snow, which destroyed more than 100 homes in the province and blocked main roads, making it difficult for rescue workers to reach the stricken villages.

U.K. mulls proposal to raise new Sikh regiment

  •  The British Army is examining proposals to re-establish a Sikh Regiment, along the lines of the erstwhile British Indian Army.
  •  Chief of the general staff, General Sir Nicholas Carter, is looking into the feasibility of a Sikh unit, including the possibility of a reserve company, and it “may well have merit,” U.K. armed forces minister Mark Francois told the House of Commons recently.
  •  A new unit would inherit many of the “proud traditions of Sikh regiments” from the army’s past, he said.
  •  Latest figures show the British armed forces have around 160 Sikhs in their ranks, including 130 in the army.
  •  Thousands of Sikhs had served in the British Indian Army during the two World Wars. They were known for their bravery and gallantry and won as many as 10 Victoria Crosses, the highest British battlefield honour.
  •  In 2007, the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence had scrapped a similar plan after the Commission for Racial Equality warned it could be seen as divisive and perceived as “segregation”.
  •  The Network of Sikh Organisations said it was in favour of a Sikh unit.

Iranian wins award for ‘giving voice to the voiceless’

  •  An Iranian journalist has received a human rights award in Geneva for creating a Facebook page inviting women in Iran to post pictures of themselves without their headscarves in defiance of rules requiring them to wear a hijab .
  •  Masih Alinejad (38) launched Stealthy Freedoms of Iranian Women last year, attracting more than half a million likes on Facebook in a matter of weeks. Thousands of women took off their veils in public and sent in their photos to be published.
  •  The Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, a group of 20 non-governmental organisations, gave Ms. Alinejad its women’s rights award for “giving a voice to the voiceless and stirring the conscience of humanity to support the struggle of Iranian women for basic human rights, freedom and equality.”
  •  Ms. Alinejad’s campaign, reported in the Guardian last May, irritated Iranian authorities, and state-affiliated media launched a smear campaign accusing her of using recreational drugs or being perverse.
  •  Ms. Alinejad said she was delighted to win the award and hoped it would raise awareness about Iranian women demanding basic rights
  •  Ms. Alinejad, who lives in exile, told the Guardian last year that she was not opposed to the hijab and that her mother was veiled, but she had created the page because she wanted people to have the freedom to choose.
  •  A year after it was created, the Facebook page has more than 760,000 followers and still receives photos from Iran.
  •  Many Iranian men have also supported the campaign. One man took a picture of himself along with his mother while she was without veil last week, saying they were both against compulsory hijab .

Draft Accord  Reached, says Greece

  •  Euro zone Finance Ministers drafted an outline agreement that could form the basis for extending Greece’s financial rescue package, officials on both sides said.
  •  However, they stressed there was no formal deal on a common text in the full 19-nation Eurogroup of Ministers.
  •  European Union paymaster Germany, Greece’s biggest creditor, had demanded “significant improvements” in reform commitments by the new Leftist government in Athens before it would accept a six-month extension of euro zone funding.
  •  With the 240 billion euro EU-IMF bailout programme due to expire in about a week, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras voiced confidence of an agreement despite the objections to the request made in a letter to Dijsselbloem.

India-Israel ties out in the open, says Ya’alon

  •  In a statement of strategic significance, Israel Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon acknowledged that India and Israel ties were out in the open after keeping a low profile for years.
  •  Talking on the significance of his visit, Mr. Ya’alon said that India was important to his country’s defence industry and pledged complete support to partner with India on “Make in India.”
  •  India and Israel established bilateral relations in 1992 and with several common concerns, strategic cooperation quickly progressed. Since Mr. Modi’s government came to power, India has been more assertive in acknowledging the depth of the relationship. Both sides have seen a flurry of interactions even at the highest level.
  •  India is one of Israel’s biggest defence customers and both sides have embarked on joint development of weapon systems. A long-range surface-to-air missile under development was tested for the first time in November. In October, India selected Rafael’s Spike anti-tank guided missile over the U.S. Javelin missile in a deal worth $525 million.

Second film festival in Saudi Arabia

  •  Saudi Arabia is rolling out the red carpet for its second film festival in seven years but the deeply conservative country has one major problem — cinemas are banned.
  •  The kingdom practises an austere version of Islam that does not permit conventional entertainment venues such as cinemas so screenings will take place in an arts centre in the Gulf coast city of Dammam.
  •  Organisers said they hope the five-day festival will open eyes in Saudi Arabia to the possibilities of film despite objections from some conservatives that cinema will “Westernise” the kingdom or corrupt its morals.
  •  Most of the film-makers being showcased are under the age of 25, said Mr. Mulla, who sees his role as helping them to develop.
  •  Without cinemas, “sadly there is no way” to show such films publicly in Saudi Arabia, Mr. Mulla said, though many end up on video websites such as YouTube. Others are sometimes featured at small, special screenings.
  •  As well as no movie theatres, Saudi Arabia has no film industry to speak of, said Mr. Eyaf, whose award-winning 2006 documentary Cinema 500 km highlighted the kingdom’s theatre ban.
  •  This year’s event comes seven years after the first Saudi Film Festival, which Mr. Mulla also directed.
  •  Mr. Mulla expects an overflow audience at the society’s 600-capacity screening hall on Friday’s opening night.

U.S.-based news portal Mashable to foray into Indian market

  •  U.S.-headquartered news portal Mashable announced its foray into the Indian market in partnership with Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd’s JV firm
  •  Mashable, which termed India as one of its top five global markets, said its Indian arm would have an editorial team based in the country for localised content.
  •  Commenting on its India foray, Mashable Founder and CEO Pete Cashmore said: “As Mashable continues to grow in parallel with the expansion of digital, entering India was an obvious next step.”
  •  Mashable India will have an editorial team based in India for localised content. It will offer the best global coverage from and augment it with extensive editorial coverage from India.
  •  The addition of Mashable India will continue Mashable’s global expansion, which began last year with the opening of a U.K. office, while also adding reporters in Australia and building a strong network of global journalists.
  •  Approximately, half of Mashable’s 42 million monthly unique visitors come from outside the U.S., the company said.

China’s ‘Silk Road fund’ becomes operational

  •  China has taken a firm step to implement its vision of the Silk Road Economic Belt — an initiative to integrate the economies of Asia and Europe along the Eurasian corridor — by putting into operation its $40 billion infrastructure fund for this purpose.
  •  Xinhua quoted President Xi as saying during the November meeting with officials from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Tajikistan that the purpose of the fund is to “break the connectivity bottleneck” in Asia.
  •  The $40 billion fund was in addition to the decision to establish a $50 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which is also meant to help finance construction in the region.
  •  On Monday, the semi-official China Business News quoted Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), as saying the $40 billion fund “has already started operations, with registration on December 29 and the first board meeting on January 6”.
  •  China has poured part of its foreign exchange reserves in the fund, which include investors such as the China Investment Corp, the country’s sovereign fund, and China Exim-Bank.
  •  Analysts point out that as its economy slows down from its earlier blistering pace, China has developed large overcapacity in construction material, including cement and steel. China’s “One Road, One Belt” strategy, aimed at establishing new “growth engines” along the Eurasian corridor, could well absorb some of this surplus.

China opens ‘largest’ embassy in Pak

  •  China has opened a new embassy in Pakistan, its “largest overseas” diplomatic mission, which Foreign Minister Wang Yi described as a symbol of friendship between the “all weather” allies.
  •  “As China’s largest overseas embassy, it is a symbol of friendship between China and Pakistan,” state-run China Daily quoted Mr. Wang as saying. It however did not provide the details of the new embassy. An opening ceremony was held on February 13, during Mr. Wang’s visit to Islamabad.

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General Awareness: National Events-March-2015

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National Events

March - 2015

PwC man Involved in Spying: CBI

  • The Central Bureau of Investigation, which has arrested five suspects in the corporate espionage racket, said that the investigation had revealed the alleged role of a representative of PricewaterhouseCoopers India in obtaining information from the Department of Economic Affairs.
  •  The agency produced accused Paresh Chimanlal Buddhadev, a partner in Chitale & Associates, before a Mumbai court that granted his transit remand for being brought to Delhi. Another accused, Ram Niwas, Assistant in the Finance Ministry, was also sent to five days’ CBI custody.
  •  The agency earlier arrested Mumbai-based accused Chartered Accountant Khemchand Gandhi, who had allegedly been procuring the documents, Ashok Kumar Singh, Under Secretary in the Department of Disinvestment; and Lala Ram Sharma, Section Officer in the Department of Economic Affairs. The three are in CBI custody.

SC gives one last chance to Sahara

  •  The Supreme Court granted the Sahara group a last opportunity to raise bail money to its chief Subrata Roy and two directors in jail since March 2014.
  •  A Special Bench of Justices T.S. Thakur, Anil R. Dave and A.K. Sikri, at one point, said the court had lost its patience with Sahara’s repeated assurances that they would sell their assets soon to pay security for securing bail.
  •  The Bench stopped short of going ahead and appointing ‘court receivers’ to take over from Sahara and initiate sale deals in a “transparent” manner.
  •  But Sahara’s counsel and senior advocate Kapil Sibal prevailed over the court and requested to give his client “one last chance” to sell their assets and collect Rs. 6000 crore more required for bail security.
  •  Earlier the court had asked 65-year-old Roy to pay a total Rs 10,000 crore to get bail.
  •  During the hearing, the Sahara group blamed Mirach Capital for the failure of the second proposed deal for selling of offshore properties.
    Haryana set to Ban Cow Slaughter
  •  Haryana is all set to bring legislation for banning cow slaughter and making it a punishable offence. The move is not only likely to have an adverse impact on the cuisine and business of premier hotels in the State but also the livelihood of a large number of people dependent on butchery, especially in the minority-dominated district  of Mewat.
  •  Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij said that the State Government is framing a stringent law to clamp a complete ban on cow slaughter which would help in the protection and promotion of cows.
  •  Following Maharashtra’s ban on beef, Haryana now looks all set to follow suit. Haryana Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Minister Om Prakash Dhankar had also confirmed that stringent punishment would be handed out for cow slaughter and sale and storage of beef in the State.

You sat on Rape videos, SC tells Home Ministry

  •  The Supreme Court pulled up the Home Ministry for sitting on crucial video material about a gang rape highlighted in the “Shame the Rapist” campaign launched by activist  Sunitha Krishnan.
  •  The Social Justice Bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice U.U. Lalit found the Ministry made no move to hand over the video evidence to the CBI for over 20 days.
  •  It received the videos on February 10 from Ms. Krishnan, but chose to pass them on to the CBI only on March 5. Despite repeated queries from the Bench to explain its conduct, the Ministry had nothing to offer.
  •  “So between February 10 and March 5, you just sat on these videos. You people did not do anything ... only yesterday you filed the FIRs,” Justice Lokur told Additional Solicitor-General Maninder Singh, who appeared for the Ministry.
  •  The court directed Mr. Singh to name the officer who received the video evidence from Ms. Krishnan, and demanded a full explanation on “What you were doing all that time till March 5.”
  •  The court, during the previous hearing on February 27, took suo motu cognisance of a letter by Prajwala, a non-governmental organisation of Ms. Krishnan, highlighting the existence of the videos and the immediate necessity to nab the culprits. The Bench had ordered the CBI investigation.
  •  In the videos, five men are seen smiling into the camera after taking turns at sexually assaulting their victim.
  • Mr. Singh said the videos showed a total of 12 clips, of which three were repeats. He said eight FIRs had been filed and a preliminary inquiry had started on one.
  •  The court ordered the Ministry to share the photos with the Directors-General of Police in Odisha, West Bengal and U.P. where these men may hail from.

MHA tells States, UTs not to use national flag made of plastic

  •  The Union Home Ministry had directed all State Government and Union Territories not to use National Flag made of plastic for any function as these are not biodegradable and thus their appropriate disposal is not possible.
  •  The letter, which has been sent to all State governments and Union Territories, noted that National Flag made of plastic are being used in place of paper flags on important functions. Since plastic flags are not biodegradable like the paper flags, these do not get decomposed for a long time and are harmful to the atmosphere. Further, ensuring the appropriate disposal of national flags made of plastic with the dignity of the flag
    is a problem.
  •  Therefore, the MHA said State governments and others should ensure that on important national, cultural and sports events, only flags made by the paper are used in public.
  •  It cautioned that offence pertaining to showing disrespect to the National Flag can invite up to three years jail term, fine or both.
    Process on to implement One Rank One Pension scheme
  •  The modalities for implementing ’One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) scheme for armed forces are under consideration and the financial implication could be calculated once the details are finalised and approved by the government, Lok Sabha  was informed.
  •  Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh said in a written reply that the principle of OROP for the armed forces has been accepted by
    the government.
  •  He was asked whether the implementation of the scheme has been delayed.
  •  Responding to another part of the question on removing disparities in pension of various ex-servicemen, he said possible amendments to the pension policies are being examined with a view to reduce litigation.
  •  Explaining the reasons behind the delay, the Minister had said, “The methodology of calculating the One Rank, One Pension is an issue pending between the Services and the Defence Ministry.”
  •  The scheme, which seeks to ensure that a uniform pension is paid to defence personnel who retire at the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement, has been a long-standing demand of the over two million ex-servicemen in the country. It is important to note that, earlier Army Chief Dalbir Singh Suhag said that the scheme will be implemented by the April and this year.

Law panel bats for stronger EC

  •  Law Commission has pitched for a stronger Election Commission by giving equal constitutional protection to all members of the poll body and appointing the CEC and the two ECs by a high-powered collegium.
  •  In its report on electoral reforms submitted to the Law Ministry, the law panel has also recommended creation of a permanent, independent Secretariat for the EC.
  •  The law panel said Article 324(5) of the Constitution should be amended to equate the removal procedures of the two Election Commissioners with that of the Chief Election Commissioner.
  •  The President appoints Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners after the Law Ministry initiates the file for their appointment.
  •  The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from office only through impeachment by Parliament. The government can remove the ECs based on the recommendation of the CEC.
  •  The Law Commission said the appointment of all the Election Commissioners, including the CEC, should be made by the President in consultation with a three-member collegium or selection committee, consisting of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition of the Lok Sabha (or the leader of the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha) and the Chief Justice of India.
  •  It said elevation of an Election Commissioner should be on the basis of seniority, unless the three member collegium or a committee, for reasons to be recorded in writing, finds such Commissioner unfit.
  •  The precedent is to appoint the senior-most EC as the CEC.

Govt. rethinking strategy on Land Bill

  •  In a major shift in stance, the government will not bring the controversial Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill in the first half of the Budget Session of Parliament ending on March 20.
  •  It may either allow the ordinance to lapse or repromulgate it after Parliament is prorogued.
  •  This was indicated by Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu to party leaders during the meeting of the Rajya Sabha Business Advisory Committee.
  •  On the face of it, the government maintains that it needs to confer with the Opposition to build a consensus, but with tremendous pressure from the RSS and its affiliates and farmers’ organisations, the BJP is reframing its strategy on  the Bill.
  •  Significantly, Prime Minister’s “Man ki Baat” radio talk on March 22 is on farmers’ issues.
  •  He has invited comments from farmers, saying he would like to “hear them.”
  •  According to sources, the government is keen that the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill and the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill be approved by the Upper House after they are returned by the respective Select Committees on March 18.
  •  Since coal auctions are under way, the government is keen that legislation is in place and the Opposition parties are on board on this.
  •  But because of differences on the Land Bill, the government is having a rethink on its strategy.

Ban on airing India’s Daughter to Continue

  •  Remarking that media trials tend to influence judgements, the Delhi High Court said that although it had no objection to screening the BBC documentary “India’s Daughter,” the matter could only be decided post a verdict regarding the fate of the convicts, from the
    Supreme Court.
  •  The Division Bench further said a decision on lifting the ban could only be taken by an appropriate Chief Justice’s Bench.
  •  It also refused to pass any interim orders on the appeal asking for the ban to be lifted. “Had it been originally placed before us, we would have asked you to place material before us on why the ban should be lifted.
  •  But it has come here from the roster bench of the Chief Justice, so we will not pass any interim orders. Let the roster bench decide it,” the court said.
  •  The judges spoke at length over the subject of media trials influencing court decisions. “Media trials do tend to influence judges. Subconsciously, a pressure is created and it does have an effect on the sentencing of the accused. Whether he [the accused] has shown remorse or not would be considered at the time of his sentencing. Why not wait till the Supreme Court decision?”

Make paid news a poll offence: Law panel

  •  The Law Commission has recommended that newspaper advertisements on the eve of elections be banned. In a report released on Thursday, the commission wanted Independent candidates to be barred from contesting elections, and paid news made an electoral offence leading to disqualification.
  •  Headed by Justice A.P. Shah, the commission submitted its 255th report, on the issue of electoral reforms, to the Union Law Ministry.
  •  Noting that the ban on broadcast of election matter 48 hours prior to an election was restricted to the electronic media now, the commission recommended such prohibition for the print media also.
  •  The report recommends regulating opinion polls and making disclosures about the methodology mandatory.
  •  The commission, while stopping short of recommending state funding of elections or limits to political parties’ expenditure on elections, recommended several changes to election funding legislation.
  •  Noting that “the current system tolerates, or at least does not prevent, lobbying and capture, where a sort of quid pro quo transpires between big donors and political parties/candidates”, the report recommends making it mandatory for all parties to declare donations of even less than the current Rs. 20,000 limit, if the total of such contributions adds up to Rs. 20 crore, or makes up 20 per cent of the party’s income, whichever is lower.
  •  Welcoming many of the recommendations, Jagdeep Chhokar, co-founder of the Association for Democratic Reforms, whose work the report refers extensively to, said, however, that the organisation would continue to press for limits on political parties’ expenditure.
  •  Independent candidates are often “dummy” candidates, the commission said. It criticised compulsory voting, recently introduced during local elections in Gujarat, and did not support the right to recall or a move to proportional representation.
  •  The report recommended measures to strengthen the Election Commission and for a collegium or selection committee, which includes the Leader of Opposition, to appoint commissioners.

Citizen ID systems tend to exclude marginalised: WB

  •  Despite heavy investment on large-scale citizen identification systems, akin to the UID-Aadhaar project, these often run the risk of increased exclusion of the most vulnerable and marginalised groups, a new World Bank study cautions.
  •  While the study, titled “Identification systems don’t always serve the bottom 40%”, does not specifically discuss Aadhaar, it analyses similar systems in several Asian and African countries and finds “less than robust” evidence to justify their multi-million dollar budgets.
  •  It cautions of a real risk in “over-selling” development benefits of identification systems, especially those related to service delivery, which is primarily what the Indian government intends to use Aadhaar for.
  • “Attracted by the promise of new technology, countries and development partners ... have invested heavily in identification systems ... [however] rigorous evidence on the link between registration/ documentation and development outcomes is limited and mixed,” the study says.
  •  Authors Megan Brewer, Nicholas Menzies and Jared Schott argue that strengthening large-scale identification systems could result in several “perverse consequences” that undermine development gains.”
  •  Since registration among marginalised groups, like rural poor, could be significantly lower than national averages, using such data for development planning could result in further exclusion of these groups, the researchers say.

NGO seeks CBI, ED probe into Aditya Birla group

  •  Common Cause, the NGO whose PIL plea led to the cancellation of coal block allocations, moved the Supreme Court accusing Aditya Birla group of hawala transactions, money laundering and bribery and sought a CBI and Enforcement Directorate probe.
  •  The application filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan for the NGO cited how coal extracted from a captive block allocated to the Sasan ultra mega power project was allowed to be diverted, resulting in a huge post-bidding concession worth Rs. 29,000 crore to Reliance Power Limited (a Reliance ADAG company).
  •  It alleged that huge amounts of cash were routed through hawala by the Birla Group.
  •  The application also pointed to alleged recovery of unaccounted Rs. 25 crore during the raids on the company office.

SC upholds life term in Manjunath murder case

  •  A decade after he was gunned down for fighting the oil adulteration racket in Uttar Pradesh, IIM-Lucknow alumnus and Indian Oil Corporation manager Manjunath Shanmugham won justice, with the Supreme Court confirming the life imprisonment of six persons accused for his death.
  •  In a judgment, a Bench of Justices S.J. Mukhopadhaya and N.V. Ramana quoted the prosecution about how the brutal death of the young Karnataka-born manager had shaken the nation’s conscience.
  •  The judgment reproduces the prosecution’s submissions about the lonely battle waged by Mr. Manjunath, who was shot dead at Gola area of Lakhimpur Kheri district on November 19, 2005 after he threatened to cancel a petrol pump’s licence for selling spurious fuel.
  •  Though the trial court had sentenced him to death, Mr. Mittal’s punishment was commuted to life imprisonment by the Allahabad High Court.
    ‘RTI Act applies to A-G’s office’
  •  Stating that even under common parlance the office of the Attorney General of India has always been understood to mean a “constitutional authority,” the Delhi High Court refused to accept that this office was outside the ambit of the Right to Information Act and further directed it to reconsider the RTI application that it had rejected on these grounds.
  •  The issue came into question when a petition challenging an order by the Central Information Commission was up for hearing before the single Bench of

Justice Vibhu Bakhru.

  •  The CIC had held that the office of the AGI was not a public authority under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act.
  •  The petition was also challenging a letter by the AGI refusing all information to the petitioner under the RTI act.
  •  “An office that is established under the Constitution would clearly fall within the definition of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act…,” said Justice Vibhu Bakhu while rejecting AGI’s arguments.

Land Bill Clears Lok Sabha hurdle

  • The controversial Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill was approved by the Lok Sabha , but not before the Modi government reached out to unhappy NDA allies and unattached parties such as the BJD and the AIADMK to seek their support for this
    crucial legislation.
  •  The Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the Samajwadi Party, the RJD and the BJD walked out of the House while NDA ally Shiv Sena abstained as the Bill was passed by voice vote.
  •  In the official amendments it moved, the government accommodated some concerns of the Opposition and allies, such as dropping “social infrastructure” from the five categories of land use exempted from the consent clause.
  •  However, other key points of contention — the Social Impact Assessment and the restoration of the consent clause — remained unresolved as the Bill moves to the Rajya Sabha, where the government is outnumbered — and the Opposition plans to force the Bill to a Select Committee.
  •  Barring the Swabhiman Paksha and the Shiv Sena that held its counsel during the meeting, all the other allies agreed to back the government if it addressed their concerns.

SC unhappy with fund use for Taj zone green project

  •  Noting its unhappiness with the Uttar Pradesh government, the Supreme Court came to the brink of ordering a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in its utilisation of funds meant for compensatory afforestation at the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) in Agra.
  •  Justice Thakur considered directing a CBI probe into the “irregularities,” but said the court would give the government one last opportunity to fulfil its commitment to plant saplings to replace trees felled across the land spread over several hundred hectares.
  •  It said the only explanation for “discrepancy and failure” from the officials was non-release of funds.
  •  Calling their attitude “cavalier,” the court asked why these officials could not have approached the court had their intentions been in earnest.
  •  A Bench gave the State four weeks to comply with its orders. The State’s Additional Advocate-General Gaurav Bhatia promised that the court orders would be complied with and a better affidavit, removing all discrepancies on the number of trees uprooted and the number of trees planted.

Mumbai to come under CCTV surveillance, says Governor

  •  The installation of CCTV-based surveillance systems for Mumbai is expected to be completed within 90 weeks and the project is already being implemented in Pune, Maharashtra Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao told the joint session of the Maharashtra Assembly on the opening day of the budget session.
  •  “It is proposed that GPRS-based system will be installed in Meru and other Private Taxis and the front seats reserved in share taxis in Mumbai for women,” he said to underline the measures for improving the safety and comfort of women commuters in Mumbai.
  •  Emphasising several measures taken by the Devendra Fadnavis government to decongest Mumbai and improve its infrastructure, Mr. Rao said the government has expedited the work of Navi Mumbai International Airport Project, the second international airport for the city, and has received consent letters from Project Affected People (PAP) for land acquisition.
  •  On the plan to decongest Mumbai by developing new smart cities, Mr. Rao said the government has proposed a new city on an area of 600 sq km around the Navi Mumbai international airport, and the city would be christened NAINA.

World War I Commemorations begin

  •  Over 74,000 Indian soldiers laid down their lives fighting the war.
  •  The Centenary Commemoration of the First World War (1914-1918), in memory of the 1.5 million Indian soldiers who fought in the war, began with President Pranab Mukherjee laying a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti in India Gate.
  •  The commemoration, from March 10-14, is also in memory of the over 74,000 soldiers who laid down their lives fighting the war, whose names are etched in stone on the walls of India Gate. They fought in several theatres across Asia, Africa and Europe.
  •  The centenary commemo-rations will continue till 2018.
  •  March 10 coincides with the Battle of Neuve Chapelle marking the British offensive in the Artois region of France, in which the Garhwal Brigade and the Meerut Division of the Indian Corps participated.
  •  Between 1914 and 1918, around 90,000 Indian soldiers fought on the French soil, more than 8,500 of whom perished.
  •  General Jean-Pierre Bosser, Chief of Staff of the French Army, is currently on an official visit in India to pay tribute to the sacrifice of Indian soldiers who laid down their lives for France’s freedom during World War I.
  •  The highlight is an exhibition at Manekshaw Centre in which the moments and conditions of World War I have been recreated.
  •  The ‘Corner of Remembrance’ in the exhibition will have old letters and an old home with belongings of soldiers while the ‘Sacrifice Hall’ includes replicas of Indian memorials and paintings of Victoria Cross winners in India and abroad.
  •  The Army has also created a replica of a World War I bunker showcasing the living conditions of the soldiers then.

Delhi, Kerala, Tamil Nadu top in girls’ education

  •  Delhi, Kerala and Tamil Nadu are India’s best-ranked States in terms of gender-related education indicators, new data from the Ministry of Human Resource Development and UNICEF, shows.
  •  Using district-level indicators of girls’ education, health and social disadvantages, the government aims to identify the most backward pockets of the country, requiring the most attention.
  •  While the atlas uses data earlier collected by other government agencies, it also creates a new composite index using 21 indicators to do with girls’ education, along four axes — access, infrastructure, teachers and outcomes. Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Delhi and Punjab are in the top 25% of the index’s range for elementary education, and the two Southern states and Delhi make the top quarter of the index for secondary education as well. Central and northern States, including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, are among the worst performers.
  •  The atlas also creates a Vulnerability Index of factors which impinge on girls’ education, including the likelihood of joining the workforce early and
    early marriage.
  •  The two southern States, along with Delhi and Himachal Pradesh, are the best performers here, with Gujarat, Rajasthan and the central and northern States among the worst.

Nagaland submits report on lynching

  •  The Nagaland government has submitted an interim report to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on the lynching of a person from Assam in Dimapur on March 5.
  •  The report, it is understood, says the police and prison security staff were overwhelmed by the huge crowd.
  •  Police could not open fire initially since there were a number of women and children among the protesters.
  •  A 7000-strong mob had stormed the jail on March 5 and pulled out Syed Sarif Khan, who was accused of raping a Naga student. He was stripped and dragged all the way and when police caught up with the mob, the accused was already dead.

Ruskin Bond lends a hand to Swachh Bharat campaign

  •  Celebrated author Ruskin Bond has joined the Swachh Bharat campaign, wielding a broom specially made by the students of the Moran Blind School
    in Assam.
  •  Actor Victor Banerjee — who runs the school at Moranhat in upper Assam’s Dibrugarh district — handed over the broom to the famous storyteller at the latter’s residence  in Mussoorie.

‘India’s Daughter’ documentary: HC refuses urgent hearing on PIL to lift ban

  •  The Delhi High Court refused to give urgent hearing to a PIL seeking lifting of the ban on telecast of a controversial documentary featuring an interview of one of the four convicts in the December 16 gangrape case.
  •  A bench of justices B.D. Ahmed and Vibhu Bakhru said there is no so urgency in the matter and it will be heard on March 11.
  •  The court’s response came after two law students — Arun Menon and Kritika Padode —— in their public interest litigation (PIL) sought urgent hearing, saying the ban on the documentary is a clear violation of their fundamental rights under Article 19 of the
    Indian Constitution.
  •  The duo approached the High Court after a trial court on March 4 had banned until further orders the broadcast of the interview of December 16, 2012 gangrape convict Mukesh Singh, which was allegedly conducted in July 2013 inside Tihar jail in New Delhi.
  •  Earlier, a trial court had restrained the media from broadcasting or publishing the interview of Mukesh Singh after the Delhi police moved court for a restraining order against his interview.
  •  The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has also issued an advisory to all television channels to not broadcast the documentary on the victim.
  •  The government has also sought an explanation from Tihar jail authorities over how the convict was interviewed while being in judicial custody.
  •  A similar petition was filed last week, by a law student, who has sought lifting of the ban on the ground that it is “nothing but a honest look at the mind and mindset of one of the convicted rapists of the young woman”.
  •  The plea also said that a direction be issued to the Supreme Court registry to constitute a three judge special bench to hear the appeals of the four death row convicts, which is pending since August  25, 2014.
  •  Initially the apex court in July had stayed the execution of the four convicts in the gang-rape and murder case.
  •  The other petition, prepared by Vibhor Anand, had also said that “it is legally wrong to oppose the screening of the film after giving it legal approval and after the documentary-makers fulfilled all legal commitments.”
  •  It claimed that the parents of the gangrape victim have also not objected to the telecast of the documentary.
  •  It also said that as per social media the public at large wanted to see the documentary as within 24 hours of its being put up on YouTube, it was viewed by more 2.86 lakh people.
  •  The victim, a physiotherapy student was raped and assaulted with an iron rod after she was tricked into boarding an unregistered private bus to go home after watching a movie with a male friend on December 16, 2012.

World’s first Solar-powered Aircraft

  •  The Swiss solar-powered aircraft’s flight got delayed by a day due to bad weather conditions in the UAE.
  •  Solar Impulse, claimed to be the world’s only solar-powered aircraft, will make a stop over in Ahmedabad as a part of its maiden global journey.
  • After making a landing here, the solar-powered aircraft’s founders and pilots Bertrand Piccard and Androrschberg are likely to stay in the city for two days before leaving for Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, the  release said.
  •  The Swiss solar-powered aircraft’s flight got delayed by a day due to bad weather conditions in the UAE. The aircraft was scheduled to land in Ahmedabad.
  •  Piccard and Borschberg, during their stay in the city, will reach out to the government, NGOs, universities and schools to spread the message of
    clean technologies.
  •  The aircraft is also likely to hover above river Ganga in Varanasi to spread the message of cleanliness and clean energy, an official associated with
    the project said.
  •  Solar Impulse is claimed to be the first aircraft to fly day and night without a drop of fuel, propelled solely by the sun’s energy, as per the
    project’s website.
  •  The single-seater aircraft made of carbon fibre has a 72 metre wingspan, larger than that of Boeing-747 and weighs just 2,300 kg, equivalent to the weight of a car.
  •  The 17,248 solar cells built into the wing supply electric motors with renewable energy. The solar cells recharge four lithium polymer batteries totalling 633 kg each, which allow the aircraft to fly at night and therefore have virtually unlimited autonomy, it said.
  •  This round-the-world flight will take-off from Abu Dhabi and make a halt at Muscat (Oman), Ahmedabad and Varanasi in India, Mandalay in Myanmar and Chongqing and Nanjing  in China.
  •  After crossing the Pacific Ocean via Hawaii, the aircraft will fly across the US stopping at Phoenix, the Midwest and New York City, said the website.
  •  The test flight of the aircraft was conducted in the US in 2013.

As tensions rise, Assam on alert to Protect Nagas

  •  The Assam government has put its administration on high alert following the lynching of a rape accused, Syed Sarif Khan, from the State by a mob after dragging him out of the Dimapur jail in Nagaland .
  •  The government has asked the Deputy Commissioners, the Superintendents of Police and the Divisional Commissioners to provide security to people from Nagaland living in the State and to ensure the safety of travellers between the two States.
  •  Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rockybul Hussain listed the steps in a statement in the Assembly after the Opposition raised the issue.
  •  The government informed the Assembly that Nagaland promised to arrest the guilty and instituted a judicial investigation, besides suspending three officials.
  •  Mr. Hussain said Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had written to his Nagaland counterpart, T.R. Zeliang, requesting that those behind the lynching be arrested and the lives and property of Assamese be secured.
  •  Thehief Minister had written to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to take up the matter with the Nagaland government.
  •  He said Sarif Khan, 28, from Bhanga village in Karimganj district had been living in Dimapur for over two years after marrying a Naga woman.
  •  Mr. Gogoi told presspersons that it was important to fix responsibility for security lapses. The Union government owed an explanation because the Central Reserve Police Force was deployed for jail security.
  •  The movement of lorries to Nagaland remained suspended. Members of the All-Assam Goods Carrier Truck Drivers and Handyman Union staged a protest in the city.

Mufti orders  Release of political prisoners

  •  Senior separatist leader Masarat Alam was released from prison just days after Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed directed the police to release political prisoners against whom no criminal charges had  been registered.
  •  Earlier in the day, police sources had confirmed that he had been moved from the Baramulla prison to a police station
    in Srinagar.
  •  Head of the Muslim League in the State, Mr Alam was among the main organisers of pro-Azadi protests in the Valley in 2010. He was arrested along with several other leaders after those protests and remained one of the few senior leaders still behind bars.
  •  Arrested under the Public Safety Act (PSA) — a preventive detention law in J&K which gives a Deputy Commissioner the authority to take anyone in his district into preventive custody for up to two years without trial if he feels the person poses a threat to the security of the State — Mr. Alam has been in various prisons for more than four years now.
  •  Police sources said since 2010, more than six consecutive PSA charges had been slapped on him.
  •  Reacting strongly to the release of Masarat Alam, the BJP said the decision was anti-national, unacceptable and detrimental to the coalition.

Nirbhaya film: Bar council issues notice to defence lawyers

  •  Even as the Bar Council of India initiated suo motu proceedings for professional misconduct against two defence lawyers in the Nirbhaya gang-rape case for their alleged derogatory remarks against women in the BBC documentary ‘India’s Daughter’, senior members of the legal community said lawyers, above all, should be sensitive to the equality and dignity of women.
  •  They said the proceedings gives the BCI, the highest regulatory body for legal practice, an opportunity to amend rules to check lawyers from making unsubstantiated, off-the-cuff remarks, especially when they represent sensitive cases involving crimes against women.
  •  The two lawyers – Manohar Lal Sharma and A.P. Singh – represent the four persons on death row for the brutal gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old medical student in Delhi in December 2012.

New Kailash Mansarovar Yatra route by June

  •  The new route for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through Nathu La in Sikkim will be operationalised during this yatra season beginning in June, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj informed the Parliament.
  •  “The route through Nathu La will augment the capacity and reduce the hardship enabling many pilgrims, particularly aged ones, to undertake the yatra,” the government said.
  •  The understanding for the new route was reached between India and China during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to India last year.
  •  The new route was necessitated as the current route through Lipulekh pass in Uttarakhand is cumbersome and also the number of pilgrims increasing.
  •  In the last three years about 1700 pilgrims had visited Mansarovar. With the addition of the second route, 1000 pilgrims are expected to undertake the yatra this  year alone.
  •  As per the understanding, five batches of 50 pilgrims each are expected to travel through Nathu La this year.
  •  A dedicated website has been set up and the application procedure has been simplified.
  •  Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit China in May but External Affairs Ministry officials have denied reports that he would travel to Kailash Mansarovar.

Activists continue bid to post India’s Daughter on the Web

  •  Free speech activists continued efforts to make available India’s Daughter on the Internet ,demand grew more vocal for a revocation of the ban on the controversial documentary on the December 16, 2012 gang rape in Delhi.
  •  Though the hour-long documentary, aired on BBC Four on Wednesday evening, could not be accessed on YouTube for much of the day, at least one URL (Uniform Resource Locator) provided it for watching in the evening.
  •  On clicking the YouTube link to the video, the video-sharing site threw up a black screen for the most part of the day with a message, “This content is not available on this country domain due to a court order.”
  •  Asked if the government had issued any new communication to pull down more URLs, a Google India source said: “There was no update.” The film was, however, accessible on other video-sharing websites as people found ways of circumventing the ban to share the film.
  •  As more people managed to access the film, the clamour for revoking the ban grew, resulting in more endorsements for an online petition to the Union Home Minister to reverse the decision and “celebrate International Women’s Day (March 8) by shining a light on the problems our country faces, instead of shying away  from them.”
  •  The decision to ban the film, which the government said was part of an international conspiracy to defame India, drew world media attention with most leading media houses reporting on it or carrying editorials.

Ex-editor of RSS organ replaces NBT Chairman

  •  The Government appointed Baldev Bhai Sharma, former editor of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s weekly magazine, Panchajanya, as the next Chairman of the National Book Trust (NBT) cutting short the term of incumbent A. Sethumadhavan – better known by his pen name ‘Sethu’ — by six months.
  •  Officially, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) was filling a vacancy that fell open last week.
  •  According to Mr. Sethumadhavan, he had put in his papers last week after he was called to the Ministry by the joint secretary overseeing NBT affairs and given a clear indication that the Government wanted to appoint someone else.
  •  Conceding that it was the Government’s prerogative to replace him, Mr. Sethumadhavan said he had hoped to complete his three-year term as there had been no interference from the Ministry since the change of guard at  the Centre.
  •  He had been appointed NBT Chairman on September 12, 2012, for three years, and had a little over six months to go.

Centre to amend RBI Act to set up monetary policy panel

  •  An agreement between the Centre and the Reserve Bank of India last month formalised a policy that the central bank had been following since January 2014, of prioritizing controlling price rise.
  •  The Centre would amend the RBI Act for the setting up of the proposed monetary policy committee, a key element of the new framework.
  •  Replying to a query, Mr. Mehrishi said the budget announcement about proposed ‘strategic disinvestment’ in public sector units would enable the Centre to induct private strategic partners.

Nanditha Krishna, M.D. Srinivas in ICHR

  •  The Union MHRD has reconstituted the Indian Council for Historical Research, inducting 18 new members.
  •  Included in the restructured Council is C.I. Issac, former Head of the Department of History at CMS College, Kottayam, Kerala and author of The Evolution of Christian Church in India, which questions the origins of Christianity in India from  St Thomas.
  •  Jadavpur University Professor Purabi Roy who has worked extensively on Subash Chandra Bose also joins the Council.
  •  The new nominees to the Council include Dilip K. Chakrabarti, Professor Emeritus of South Asian Archaeology, Cambridge University,
  •  Nanditha Krishna, Director of C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation, Chennai,
  •  Michel Danino, Guest Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar, and author of books on
    ancient India,
  •  M. D. Srinivas, chairman of Chennai-based Centre for  Policy Studies,
  •  Cambodia-based Sachchi-dananda Sahai who authored the five-volume Lao Ramayana and helped restore Angkor  Vat, and
  •  Rahman Ali, Head of the Department of the School of Studies in Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology at Vikram University, Ujjain. PDP gets  10 Cabinet berths, BJP six
  •  Among the 24 legislators sworn in as Ministers in Jammu and Kashmir, 16 will join the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Cabinet. While 10 of the PDP are in the Cabinet, the BJP has six, including People’s Conference chairman and party ally  Sajjad Lone.
  •  The Cabinet Ministers from the PDP are Haseeb Drabu, Haq Khan, Imran Raza Ansari, Abdul Rehman Bhat (Veeri), Javed Mustafa Mir, Basharat Bukhari, Choudhary Zulfikar Ali, Ghulam Nabi Lone, Altaf Bukhari and Naeem Akhter.
  •  The PDP has three Ministers of State — Abdul Majeed Padder, Ashraf Mir and Asiya Naqash.
  •  The six Cabinet ministers from the BJP are Mr. Lone, Nirmal Singh, who will be Deputy Chief Minister, Lal Singh, Bali Bhagat, Sukhnandan Kumar and Chander Prakash.
  •  The party has five Ministers of State — Shirin Dorji, Sunil Kumar Sharma, Abdul Gani Kohli, Priya Sethi and Independent candidate Pawan Kumar Gupta.
  •  Mr. Sayeed described as a breakthrough the joining of Mr. Lone, who formerly held a separatist position, in the government, but refrained from suggesting that it would become an example for other separatist leaders.

Pakistani singer Adnan Sami applies for Indian citizenship

  •  Pakistani singer-musician Adnan Sami has applied for Indian citizenship for a second time despite an earlier plea of his having been rejected by the Centre.
  •  The 43-year-old singer - whose earlier request was rejected some two years back - has made his application to the Foreigners’ Division of the Home Ministry.
  •  Last month, Home Ministry had asked Law Ministry as to whether Sami can be granted Indian citizenship. But Law Ministry refused to entertain the request, saying that the power of granting Indian citizenship lies with the Home Ministry under the Citizenship Act.
  •  The Law Ministry, however, said that it can help Home Ministry with the interpretation of any provision of the Citizenship Act to enable it to decide the case.
  •  Under the Indian Citizenship Act, a foreigner is entitled to receive citizenship provided that he or she has rendered distinguished service to the cause of science, philosophy, art, literature, world peace or human progress.

Nai Manzil to bridge lack of skills in minorities

  •  The ‘Nai Manzil’ scheme announced in the budget is something that the Minority Affairs Ministry has been talking about ever since the Modi Government assumed office last year.
  •  In reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha on July 16, 2014, the Ministry had listed ‘Nai Manzil’ as one of the steps “being taken’’ by the Government for the welfare of minorities.
  •  It was billed as a “bridge course to bridge the academic and skill development gaps of the deeni Madrasa passouts with their mainstream counterparts’’.
  •  Seven-and-a-half months later, Mr. Jaitley flagged ‘Nai Manzil’ as a scheme that “will be launched this year’’ to enable minority youth who do not have a formal school-leaving certificate to obtain one and find better employment.
  •  The other minority community-related programme that he flagged in the Budget speech on Saturday pertained to show-casing the civilisation and culture of Parsis. The Government will support an exhibition ‘The Everlasting Flame’, he said.
  •  The allocation for the Ministry “is being protected’’ with an estimate of Rs. 3,738 crore. Last year’s budget had allocated Rs. 3,734 crore to the Ministry which was cut down to Rs. 3,165 crore in the  revised estimates.
  •  A bulk of this is for the Multi Sectoral Development Programme for Minorities and the other main claimants to the allocation are the pre-matric and post-matric scholarships for minorities.

Vistara to have fleet size of 20 aircraft by 2018

  •  Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, said its fleet size will be increased to 20 by 2018, from five at present.
  •  Phee Teik Yeoh, Chief Executive Officer, Vistara (Tata SIA) Airlines Ltd also said that the aviation industry in India is facing challenges such as high fuel cost and a high tax regime.
  •  The airlines launched its first flight from Hyderabad to New Delhi. Having started with its operations on January 9, with 68 frequencies weekly, Vistara now operates 164 flights in a week.
  •  Replying to a query on challenges that the Indian Aviation Industry is facing, Mr. Yeoh said government should work on addressing the issues such as high aviation turbine fuel coast which is 40-60 per cent more expensive than other countries.
  •  He also said that government must remove the 5/20 rule — five years of flying experience, and a fleet size of 20 — for allowing domestic airlines to fly globally.
  •  Justifying the launch of flights from Hyderabad, he said it is due to the low sales tax on ATF which formed one of the key consideration to expand the network from the capital of Telangana.

E-commerce transactions on ‘aggregator’ platforms turn costly

  •  E-commerce transactions through websites and mobile apps based on ‘aggregator model’, including for cab services and online shopping, may turn expensive as those providing such services under their own brand are being brought under the service tax net.
  •  The Finance Bill has proposed changes in the Service Tax rules with respect to certain e—commerce transactions involving aggregator model, which may impact online aggregator taxi services like Uber and Ola Cabs.
  •  There are also many online retail websites that follow ‘aggregator’ model. Under this model, an entity does not produce or warehouses any product itself, but collects or aggregates information on goods or services on one single platform from several sources.
  •  The aggregator draws customers to its platform and allows them an easy comparison of prices and specifications of product or service offered by several sellers.
  •  As per the Finance Bill 2015, presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament, “In respect of any service provided under aggregator model, the aggregator, or any of his representative office located in India, is being made liable to pay Service Tax if the service is so provided using the brand name of the aggregator in  any manner.
  •  “If an aggregator does not have any presence, including that by way of a representative, in such a case any agent appointed by the aggregator shall pay the tax on behalf of the aggregator.”
  •  In this regard, appropriate amendments have been made to the Service Tax Rules, 1994, it said, while adding that the change has come into effect immediately, that is with  effect from today.
  •  As a result, such services will turn expensive once the aggregators decide to pass on the service tax levy to the consumers.
  •  According to leading law firm Khaitan & Company, “In respect of certain e—commerce service transactions, the person liable to pay Service tax has now been clearly specified.”
  •  For services offered under aggregator model, the aggregator, or its representative office in India would be now made “liable to pay Service tax if the service is provided by using the brand name of the aggregator in any manner.”
  •  If an aggregator does not have any presence, then its agent will have to pay the tax, the law  firm clarified.

States will have  More spending Freedom: CEA

  •  Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian said that calculations showed that the total transfers from the Centre to the States as a percentage of the divisible pool of its net tax revenue would remain nearly the same even after the acceptance of the 14th Finance Commission’s recommendations.
  •  However, transfers from the Central government would no longer be scheme-and-grant-based, and it would rather be devolution-based, leading to more spending freedom for the States — and that would be a “watershed change in the story of Indian federalism.”
  •  In a presentation to reporters after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tabled the Economic Survey 2014-15 in Parliament, Dr. Subramanian said that in the last three years, the Centre transferred, on an average, 64 per cent of the divisible pool of its net taxes to the States under various heads.
  •  This included the States’ share of 32 per cent of the pool on account of the 13th Finance Commission’s award and the Centre’s assistance to the States by way of plan transfers.
  •  The Centre would have had to transfer to the States funds amounting to 65 per cent of the pool had the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission (which is for a 42 per cent States’ share against the 13th Finance Commission’s 32 per cent) applied in the current year, he said.
  •  The 14th Finance Commission’s recommendations do not apply in the current year; they will be applicable for the five-year period starting April 1.
  •  With the share for the States in the pool rising, the Centre’s plan transfers to the States by way of assistance would diminish, the Economic Survey indicated. “Balancing the enhanced fiscal autonomy of the States with preserving fiscal space of the Centre entails a reduction in the Central assistance to the States,” it said.
  •  The Survey said the biggest gainers from the 14th Finance Commission’s award in absolute terms under the general category States are Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh. Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Assam are the most benefited in the special category.
  •  The 14th Finance Commission’s recommendations would add substantial spending capacity to the States’ budgets, the Survey said.

SC moved for CBI probe into Essar leaks

  •  The Centre for Public Interest Litigation, NGO which successfully fought the 2G Spectrum scam case, moved the Supreme Court for a CBI investigation into the nexus between multi-billion dollar Essar Group and top bureaucrats, journalists and politicians, including Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari and a host of UPA leaders.
  •  The petition is based on internal emails and documents leaked from Essar by a whistleblower.
  •  The petition, supported by a host of annexures, mostly emails, alleged that Essar not only sponsored high-end gifts but also luxury travel of politicians and their family members.
  •  A series of emails details that Mr. Gadkari and his family used Essar vice-chairman Ravi Ruia’s 280-feet super luxury personal yacht ‘Sunrays’ for cruise in 2013 when he was BJP president.

Liberalise FDI in retail for farm sector: Survey

  •  The Economic Survey said that by adopting what it called the JAM Number Trinity — Jan Dhan Yojana accounts seeded with Aadhaar numbers and operated through mobile numbers — would allow the States to deliver the subsidies to the poor in a targeted and less distorted manner.
  •  Pointing to the lop-sidedness of policies, it said India’s public expenditure on agriculture was a fourth of the subsidy bill on food and fertilizer.
  •  In its recommendations for farm sector reforms, it said liberalisation of foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail could help fill the massive investment and infrastructure deficit which resulted in supply-chain inefficiencies. The Narendra Modi government’s stand has been to disallow FDI in multi-brand retail.
  •  The Survey also found that India’s manufacturing was skill-intensive, which was not in line with the country’s comparative advantage in unskilled labour and recommended rebalancing of policies:
  •  “While ‘Make in India’ occupies prominence as an important goal, the future trajectory of Indian Development depends on both it and ‘Skilling India’.”
    SCO: Russia to push for India’s full membership
  •  Russia will push for India’s full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) during the upcoming meeting it is hosting in July, said Sergey E. Naryshkin, Chairman of the Russian State Duma. India is currently an observer in the multilateral grouping.
  •  The SCO, founded in 2001, comprises Russia, China and several Central Asian republics and is seen as a counter to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
  •  Russia is also pushing for deeper engagement among the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) group as well as the Russia-India-China
    (RIC) troika.
  •  Mr. Naryshkin said it was logical “to turn BRICS into a full scale strategic forum” for discussing issues of mutual interest.
  •  Russia is scheduled to take over chairmanship of the BRICS grouping and the next summit will be held in Russia in July.

Govt. digs in heels on land ordinance

  •  A day after Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari sought to make out a case for the government’s land ordinance at a press briefing, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made a spirited defence of the land reforms that have been denounced as “anti-farmer” and “pro-corporate” by a united Opposition and civil society groups.
  •  Mr. Jaitley’s speech in the Rajya Sabha is being read as the government’s definitive stand, the position that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to take on this controversial issue.
  •  Mr. Modi is absolutely clear that he will not allow major changes to what he sees as one of his key reforms.
  •  In discussions with Cabinet colleagues on how to tackle the dissent, Mr. Modi indicated that an all-party meeting would serve little purpose since the Opposition had shown no signs of softening.
  •  Worse, BJP allies Shiromani Akali Dal, Shiv Sena and Lok Janshakti Party also expressed their reservations. Now it is learnt that another NDA partner, the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, is poised to do the same.
  •  Against this backdrop of a hardened stand, Mr. Jaitley made a frontal attack on the Congress, under whose watch the Land Acquisition Act — that this government is seeking to amend — was enacted in 2013.

President clears Amitava Roy’s elevation as SC judge

  •  Flagging it as proof that there is no friction between the government and the highest judiciary in appointment of judges, the government has acted quickly to get the President’s approval for the elevation of Chief Justice of Orissa High Court Amitava Roy as a Supreme Court judge.
  •  The notification on his appointment would be issued as soon as the papers reached the Law Ministry from the President’s office.
  •  Union Law Minister V. Sadananda Gowda said the judicial appointments through the collegium system would continue for the time being.
  •  The apex court had two more vacancies and there were several vacancies to fill in the various High Courts.
  •  With the appointment of 62-year-old Justice Roy, the strength of judges in the Supreme Court climbs to 29. The sanctioned strength is 31.
    Bureaucrats reshuffled
  •  The Narendra Modi-led Appointments Committee of the Cabinet approved a series of Secretary-level transfers.
  •  Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Bhanu Pratap Sharma, has been given additional charge of Department of Health Research for three months, whereas Siraj Hussain has been shifted as Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation from the Ministry of Food Processing Industries.
  •  Special Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ranglal Jamuda, has been appointed Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, in place of Mr. Hussain.
  •  S.M. Vijayanand, Special Secretary in the Department of Rural Development, has been made Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, whereas Jugal Kishore Mohapatra, Secretary, Department of Fertilisers, has been appointed Secretary, Department of Rural Development.

Irom Sharmila gets Sthree Shakti award

  •  Activist Irom Sharmila, who has been on an indefinite fast since November 4, 2000, demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, has been conferred with the Sthree Shakti award.
  •  The award is in recognition of her extraordinary courage and determination, M.L. George, managing trustee of Smaraks Sthree Trust, Kochi, told reporters.
    Section 66A a necessary deterrent, says government
  •  The government argued before the Supreme Court that Section 66A of the Information Technology Act should be interpreted on a case by case basis.
  •  In arguments which continued through the day before a Bench led by Justice J. Chelameswar, the government was addressing the court’s view that the penal provision was too vague. Section 66A prescribes a three-year jail term to a person found guilty of causing “annoyance or inconvenience” through social media.
  •  The court had asked the government to explain what constituted “grossly offensive.” The government maintained that the provision was a necessary deterrent and could not be cast away on the apprehension that it would be misused to affect the freedom of speech and expression.
  •  The court is hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the validity of certain provisions in the 2000 Act. One of the petitions filed is by Shreya Singhal, a law student, which deals with the arrest of two girls, Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Shrinivasan, in Thane, Maharashtra, in connection with a comment against the shutdown in Mumbai following Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray’s death.

Panel against trying juveniles as adults

  •  A Parliamentary Standing Committee has taken on board civil society’s apprehensions of treating 16-to-18-year-olds as adults in cases of heinous crimes, and called for a review of this provision in The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014, introduced in the Lok Sabha in August.
  •  This amendment to the JJ Act is among the slew of changes that the UPA Government had initiated in various laws of the country following the huge public outcry over the Delhi gang rape.
  •  A juvenile was among the accused and the brutality of his actions prepared the ground for proposing differential treatment to juveniles in the 16-18 age group in case of heinous crimes.
  •  In its report in the Lok Sabha, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development recommended that all relevant clauses dealing with Children’s Courts, and differential treatment of children between 16 and 18 years need to be reviewed as subjecting them to an adult judicial system goes against Articles 14 and 15(3) of the Constitution.

Under pressure, government agrees to consult all parties

  •  A united Opposition, backed by sustained protests outside, compelled the Modi government to agree to consult leaders of all parties to find a way out of the Land Acquisition Bill imbroglio.
  •  However, the government, despite pressure from both the Opposition and RSS affiliates, sources said, is reluctant to give in and make all the changes suggested, as then, the final product will resemble the original Land Acquisition Act.
  •  At BJP parliamentary party meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged MPs to explain the Bill’s provisions to their constituents to counter the Opposition’s criticism.
  •  The government-Opposition stand-off in Parliament on five other ordinances continued, with each side registering a minor victory of its own. Simultaneously, the NDA’s parliamentary managers tried to create public opinion to use the infrequently deployed provision of a joint session.

Swachh Bharat, food subsidy need huge funds

  •  If an allocation of Rs. 40,000 crore is made in the Union Budget for 2015-16 for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan as required, there will be enough money to build toilets for India’s 12.3 crore households without them, but if this will achieve zero open defecation is a different story.]
  •  Not everyone with a toilet is convinced of the need to use one, yet the share of public outreach in the recast scheme’s Budget fell to under 10 per cent, Payal Hathi of the Research Institute for Compassionate Economics, which studies sanitation, found, and over half of this remains unspent, Accountability Initiative has shown.
  •  The food subsidy, including the Public Distribution System, the mid-day meal scheme and other nutrition programmes cost the government Rs. 1.25 lakh crore in its last Budget, and would need to rise to Rs 1.5 lakh crore with an additional Rs. 12,000 crore in maternity benefits for the government to meet its obligations under the National Food Security Act.

Harvard researcher offers free online legal research tool for students

  •  An online legal research initiative started by an Indian student research fellow with the Harvard Law School Centre offers a level playing field for his counterparts spread across 140 law schools and colleges in the country.
  •  The Standard India Legal Citation (SILC), an online India-centric legal citation manual which can be accessed free of cost, provides legal research material ranging from parliamentary debates, circulars of government bodies like RBI and SEBI to academic papers on Indian family laws to help law students with their academic work.
  •  Citations help readers easily find reference to cases  and facts. India, Russia sort out differences on fighter jet project
    • India and Russia have generally agreed upon the amount and division of work during the research and development (R&D) stage of the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) project.
  •  A contract for the R&D phase is being prepared and expected to be signed this year, said Yuli Slyusar, president and chairman of Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) at Aero India 2015 in Bengaluru.
  •  The work share of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has been a contentious issue as the project will have equal investment between India and Russia and is likely to cost over $30 billion for about 400 aircraft. India plans to induct 144 of them.
  •  But HAL’s share in the work has been limited to a meagre 13 per cent so far which will not build any critical technological gains.
  •  Both sides have been holding discussions to sort this out before the final agreement.
  •  FGFA is crucial for Indian Air Force’s evolving structure as was recently acknowledged by the air chief recently.
  •  The final announcement could come later this year with President Pranab Mukherjee visiting Moscow in June, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi expected to visit Russia twice

Modi suit fetches Rs. 4.31-cr in auction

  •  Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monogrammed suit fetched Rs. 4.31 crore as bidders scrambled to own the two-piece ensemble in the final moments of the three-day auction that ended at 5 p.m.
  •  Lalji Patel, a diamond trader, and his son, Hitesh Patel, are the new owners of the suit that Mr. Modi wore during a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama on January 25.
  •  With a reportedly Rs. 10-lakh price and the name Narendra Damodardas Modi embroidered down the length of the fabric to look like golden pinstripes, the navy-blue bandhgala suit had raised a controversy.
  •  Bids flew thick and fast in the last hour of the auction, which had no base price. District Collector, Surat, Rajendra Kumar said bids, one of Rs. 5 crore, received after the deadline had been disqualified.
  •  Mr. Lalji Patel, who owns the Dharmananda Diamond Company, told presspersons that he wanted to do something for the country, and the auction gave him an opportunity. China protests  PM's Arunachal Visit China expressed its “diametrical opposition” to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh.
  •  Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that China had lodged “strong representation with India,” that it was “not conducive to properly resolving and controlling disputes between the two sides, nor in conformity with the general situation of growth of bilateral relations,” Xinhua quoted her as saying.
  •  In a statement posted in English on the Chinese Foreign Ministry website, Ms. Hua urged “the Indian side to take China’s solemn concerns seriously, meet the Chinese side halfway and commit itself to fairly and properly resolving the bilateral boundary question through negotiation.”
  •  The Xinhua report said that Mr. Modi visited a “disputed zone in the eastern part of China-India borders” to participate in activities marking the founding of the so-called “Arunachal Pradesh,” a State that Indian authorities “illegally and unilaterally declared in 1987.”

Centre defends pictures of politicians in ads

  •  Noting that there was nothing “mala fide” in publishing photographs of the Prime Minister, political leaders and “higher authorities” in government advertisements, the Centre said it was the prerogative of a democratically elected government to decide its expenses and the Supreme Court could not interfere.
  • Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi told a Bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi that an ulterior motive of “trying to gain political mileage” could not be read into every government advertisement published with the photographs of political leaders. He submitted that any restriction on government advertisements even before their publication would amount to “pre-censorship.”
  •  The court was debating if it should make into law a recommendation by a Supreme Court-appointed high-power committee, led by eminent academic N.R. Madhava Menon, that names and pictures of political parties and their office-bearers should not be mentioned in government advertisements.
  •  The committee, in a report to the court in October 2014, said that such advertisements were instances of self-aggrandisement and misuse of public money. It has framed a series of guidelines to regulate expenditure and contents of government advertisements in order to “keep politics out of ads.”
  •  Prashant Bhushan, counsel of petitioner Common Cause, said such advertisements were harmful instances of patronage of media houses by the government.
  •  Mr. Rohatgi said such guidelines were unnecessary as a constitutional framework was in place to regulate expenses. “All expenses of the government are provided through the Appropriation Bills passed by Parliament. Every penny spent is audited. There is a constitutional requirement for audit. The Comptroller and Auditor General will check. These guidelines have limited value,” Mr. Rohatgi said.

Amartya Sen to Leave Nalanda Post

  •  Nobel laureate Amartya Sen withdrew his candidature for a second term as Chancellor of Nalanda University in Bihar, since the Narendra Modi government had not given its approval to his nomination.
  •  More than a month had passed since the Board made the unanimous choice that he should serve as Chancellor of the university for a second term.
  •  In a letter to members of the Governing Board, he said there was a unanimous resolution in January that he should have another term, but the President as Visitor was not able to give his assent to it.
  •  Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen said academic governance in the country remained “deeply vulnerable to the opinions of the ruling government,” where it chose to make political use of special provisions in a university’s statute.

Defence at the  heart of “Make in India”

  •  Stressing on the need for domestic manufacture of defence equipment to equip the country for the future, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called upon foreign defence manufacturers to become strategic partners as he inaugurated “Aero India 2015” in Bengaluru.
  •  India has an annual defence budget of about $40 billion of which 60 percent is spent on capital expenditure for purchase of equipment. But having failed to build a domestic defence manufacturing base the country has the distinction of being the world’s largest defence importer.
  •  Addressing the private sector’s concerns for a level playing field in defence manufacturing, the Prime Minister has assured significant policy changes to facilitate the same.

Legendary filmmaker Ramanaidu is no more

  •  Legendary film producer Daggubati Ramanaidu, who entered the record books for producing maximum number of films in the world died, leaving a void in the Indian film industry.
  •  Rama Naidu established the well-known film house Suresh Productions after his elder son Suresh and produced about 150 films in most of the Indian languages with Telugu topping the list. Considered as an icon, he introduced several new faces and directors through his film company.
  •  Recipient of Dada Saheb Phalke Award for life time achievement in 2009 and also Padma Bhushan in 2012 in recognition of his contribution to Indian cinema, Ramanaidu also holds the record for producing films in many languages in India including Bhojpuri and Punjabi.
  •  Born in an agricultural family in Karamchedu in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, Mr. Ramanaidu also represented the Bapatla constituency in Parliament during 1999 - 2004 getting elected on the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) ticket.
  •  Some of his well-known films include “Prem Nagar, Mundadugu, Soggadu, Jeevana Tarangalu, Devatha, Sangharshana, Prathidwani, Aha Na Pellanta, Prema, Indrudu Chandrudu” and the latest being “Gopala Gopala” starring Venkatesh and Pawan Kalyan. Some of his runaway hits in Hindi include “Tohfa, Insaf Ki Awaz” and “Prem Qaidi” in which he introduced Karishma Kapoor. The entire film industry landed at his residence to pay their last respects.

BJP, PDP propose phased withdrawal of AFSPA

  •  The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will have a lot of explaining to do to their respective constituencies if they tie up. The task is harder for the BJP and difficult to pull off, unless Prime Minister Narendra Modi throws his weight fully behind it.
  •  During the talks the point came up that while the Army has in practice already diluted the impunity of troops under the AFSPA, its continuing application in the entire State is bringing a bad name to New Delhi. Both parties are working towards a scheme to roll back the law in a phased manner.
  •  While the BJP has been open to engaging the separatists and Pakistan and to address the concerns regarding the AFSPA, the most difficult of all issues is formulating a position acceptable to both parties on the State’s special status. The proposal on the table is for the CMP to keep all contentious issues in suspension for discussion in a future mechanism, a “roundtable.”
  •  Two other questions on the BJP agenda that are sensitive in the Valley are delimitation of constituencies in the State, and the status of those who crossed over to Jammu from what became Pakistan in 1947. These issues also will have to be suspended, for the CMP to take shape.

Malnourishment high among children of migrants: study

  • The level of malnourishment is high among children whose parents migrate in search of livelihood. Inherent malnourishment in mothers, lack of food and nutrition security, feeding and dietary practices and illnesses are some of the reasons identified for high levels of malnourishment.
  •  A study ‘Understanding hunger and malnutrition among high migrant communities’ conducted in south Rajasthan by Aajeevika Bureau and EdelGive Foundation has revealed that more than half the children were underweight in those communities where migration was high. Stunting or retarded growth was reported in 53 per cent of the children with 28 per cent of them severely so; 33 per cent are wasted (debilitated growth) with over 9 per cent of them severely so and one-fourth severely underweight. South Rajasthan — broadly Udaipur division — is a semi-arid region with a largely tribal population which owns small land holdings. Small land holdings are unable to help them sustain a livelihood which results in high levels of migration.
  •  Each panchayat, where the study was done, had 550-600 migrants. The study was done in four panchayats in one block — two had high levels of migrations and the other two low migration.
  •  The sample of 884 households, which had less than three children, was picked up from 13 villages.
  •  A total of 695 children under the age of three were weighed and measured as were 607 mothers. The median BMI (body mass index) of mothers was 18.1 with 58 per cent having a BMI of less than 18.5. An analysis has suggested inter-generational transfer of under-nutrition. When the mother is under-nourished, children are 1.8 times more likely to have severe malnutrition.
  •  Also, less availability of food items, small land holdings resulting in low produce and caring practices caused malnutrition. Roti was the only food item eaten by children daily and more than 60 per cent had access to it. Only 58 per cent were breastfed, and less than one per cent had daliya (porridge) which is supposed to be highly nutritious.
  •  The study further shows that children of migrating families were less likely to be enrolled at the anganwadi centres where the government provides supplementary food to pre-school children. Importantly, the anganwadi centres were less functional in areas with high migrating population.
  •  When a mother goes for work, the primary caretakers are grandparents in 57 per cent of the cases, father in just 4 per cent and elder brother in 5 per cent.

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Daily Questions Challenge for IBPS Exams (13 May 2015)

Daily Questions Challenge for IBPS Exams (13 May 2015)

Write and Discuss Your Answer with Q.No in Comment Box at the Bottom of Post.

1. Who is the author of the book The Lives of Others?

A. Neel Mukherjee
B. Indu Gita
C. Ragini Rawat
D. Taslima Nasreen
E. Cyrus Mistry

2. The iconic Rajabai Clock Tower has recently reopened after two years of restoration work, is situated in which of the following city?

A. Delhi
B. Mumbai
C. Calcutta
D. Chennai
E. Hyderabad

3. Daniel Mookhey has become first Indian-origin Member of Parliament, of which of the following state?

A. Australia
B. Newzeland
C. Wales
D. Scotland
E. Philipines

4. Which of the following Indian novelist has recently won the Encore award for the year 2014?

A. Chetan Bhagat
B. Rajkumar Roy
C. Ragini Rawat
D. Neel Mukherjee
E. None of these

5. Who has been recently appointed as the Governor of Jharkhand?

A. J.P. Rajkhowa
B. Nirbhay Sharma
C. Droupadi Murmu
D. Syed Ahmed
E. V. Shanmuganathan

Write and Discuss Your Answer with Q.No in Comment Box at the Bottom of Post.

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General Awareness : Science & Technology - February, 2015

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) Science & Technology

February - 2015

Raj Jain: new CEO of Bharti Retail

Former Walmart India president Raj Jain will be heading the retail operations of Bharti Enterprises.

Bharti Retail had roped in Jain as its group advisor after the company split with world’s top retailer Walmart last year, but the company appointed him as the CEO.

Jain will report to Rajan Bharti Mittal, vice-chairman and managing director, Bharti Enterprises.

In fact, Jain will not be the first former Walmart India official to join Bharti Group.

Golf Digest 50 list

World number one Tiger Woods has cracked USD 1.3 billion in career earnings by leading the Golf Digest 50 with USD 83 million in income last year, the magazine reported on its website.

Woods, a 14-time major champion, topped the list for the 11th time in its 11-year history with $83,091,508, including an estimated $71 million off the course and more than $12 million in prize money.

The story says Woods' winnings of more than $155 million reflect less than 12 per cent of his career earnings, with $1.16 billion coming from endorsements since his pro debut in 1996, a figure that continues to increase even in the wake of an infamous sex scandal and ensuing divorce.

Second on the Golf Digest list for 2013 income was Phil Mickelson at $52,009,156, with an estimated $45 million in endorsements and other non-prize money income.

The US left-hander won last year's British Open and hopes to complete a career Grand Slam by winning this year's US Open, an event where he is a record six-time runner-up.

Tata’s fourth international nodal office

  • Tata Group has opened its fourth international nodal office in Singapore to help group companies grow faster in ASEAN region (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).
  • Tata Sons the investment holding company of the group today said that it appointed K V Rao, a former civil servant of Singapore, as resident director for ASEAN – Tata Sons. Rao is also managing director of Trust Energy Resources, a subsidiary of Tata Power.
  • ASEAN comprises ten countries located in Southeast Asia including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei ,Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. More than 15 companies of Tata Group already has their presence in Singapore in diverse areas employing over 3,100 people and assets over $7 billion.
  • Tata Technologies, the engineering and design company of the group, has its headquarter in Singapore. Besides group firms such as Tata Motors and Tata Power have respectively made inroads in countries such as Indonesia and Vietnam.
  • The $100 billion Tata Group is aiming for $500 billion turnover target by 2022. This would require aggressive inorganic route across the globe to seek new opportunities. Group’s recent focus on Africa and ASEAN would help it achieve the same.

Mumbai’s new airport terminal

Mumbai unveils its long-awaited $2 billion new airport terminal recently . Hemmed in by Mumbai's sprawling slums, the renovated Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport was delayed for nearly two years and overran its construction budget by 25 per cent. The project was dogged by political disputes, regulatory snarls and difficulty reclaiming more than 300 acres of airport land near the runway occupied by tens of thousands of squatters.

The Mumbai airport's developer and operator, a public-private venture led by GVK Group, is betting that passengers will find the result worth the wait for its sleek and airy design, abundant greenery and some 7,000 pieces of Indian art.

The art works make up the centerpiece of the terminal, embedded in a 3-kilometer (1.9-mile)-long internal wall that runs along the departure and arrival gates of the four-story building. The check-in facility has a gleaming white, 11-acre roof with dozens of skylights that resemble the plumage of a peacock, India's national bird. The 700,000-square-foot retail and gateway areas feature more than 1,000 lotus-flower-shaped chandeliers.

Aiming high, Mumbai International Airport Ltd. has declared the facility will be "one of the best airports in the world that consistently delights the passengers."

The airport will shift all international carriers to the new terminal within a few weeks and hopes that most domestic airlines will operate from a lower level in the same building in about a year after it demolishes the current terminal and finishes the fourth leg of the new, X-shaped building.

Millennium Bus Depot removed

In a move that has been welcomed by environmental activists, the Millennium Bus Depot, constructed as a temporary structure on the Yamuna river bank during the 2010 Commonwealth Games, will be shifted out.

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that the government would clear its stand on the controversial depot before the high court through an affidavit. The case will come up for a hearing . The CM also announced that no further construction would be allowed on the river bed.

Kejriwal stressed that it was not just a question of safeguarding the environment but also the important issue of ensuring that the city's natural resources are protected. "It is a catchment area for water which cannot be meddled with," he said.

Millennium Depot is one of the biggest depots that the DTC operates at present. Spread over 60 acres, the depot houses four units within the complex. These four depots in turn park 800 low-floor buses— the single depot to have so many low-floor buses.

Besides the buses, the depot also has four CNG filling stations, workshops, ETP, automated washing plants and air-inflation plants. Delhi government had spent over Rs 60 crore to construct the depot in 2010 with more funds being pumped in to build the existing infrastructure.

Moody's rating

A rating downgrade for India is not on the cards according to a report, citing Moody's rating analyst Thomas Byrne.

Moody's has an investment grade rating of Baa3 on India with a stable outlook.

Last month, Moody's had said India's economic growth rate remains weak and there is little chance of recovery next year.

The May elections open possibility of better governance . The global rating agency had also earlier cautioned that low growth and high inflation could weaken the country's debt profile and raise financing cost.

If current lower growth and high inflation persist over the medium term, the domestic financial system's capacity to absorb government debt could fall quite considerably.

This could change the structure of government debt, raise debt financing costs and weaken government debt ratios.

Sameer Goel: Cipla India Head

Drug major Cipla has announced the appointment of Sameer Goel as Country Head - India,. Goel, who comes to Cipla from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), will be reporting to company's Managing Director and Global CEO Subhanu Saxena.

Goel, in his last assignment, led a USD 0.4 billion business based out of Johannesburg, with responsibility for 44 markets in Sub-Saharan Africa. In his last India-based role at GSK, he led the sales team comprising 4,500 direct and indirect field executives.

Top 100 BPO cities list

Manila is now the world's second most important place for business process outsourcing, dislodging Mumbai from the position, according to the Tholons Top 100 Outsourcing Destinations for 2014

Seven Philippine cities were listed in the Top 100 rankings, as Manila and Cebu – No. 8 – were in the Top 10 of the Tholons list.

Up a notch onto 69th place is Davao City. Sta. Rosa, Laguna moves two places to 82nd and Bacolod is up also by a notch to 93rd while Iloilo slips to 95th from 93rd and Baguio City is holding on to the 99th place.

Cities of India remained dominant on the Top. Bangalore continued to occupy the top spot, followed by Mumbai (No. 3), which Manila dislodged from No. 2), Delhi (No. 4), Chennai (No. 5),Hyderabad (No. 6), and Pune (No. 7).

Krakow, Poland is No. 9, and Dublin, Ireland is No. 10.

Airbus A380 superjumbos

India will allow Airbus A380 planes to land at the country's four main airports, lifting restrictions on the superjumbos flying into the country.

The four airports equipped to handle the A380s are in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

The ban on A380s was mainly due to concerns that foreign carriers may further hurt state-run Air India by grabbing a larger share of international traffic.

The rule change will benefit carriers like Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Lufthansa and British Airways that operate the super-jumbo and fly to India, as well A380 customers like Etihad and Qatar Airways who have yet to take delivery of the aircraft.

Lee Yong-dae banned

South Korea's Olympic badminton gold medallist Lee Yong-dae has been hit with a one-year ban for missing doping tests, said the Badminton World Federation (BWF) .

The 25-year-old won mixed doubles gold at the 2008 Games in Beijing and a bronze medal in the men's doubles in London four years later. Another Korean player, Kim Ki-jung, was also banned for one year.

The ban was effective until Jan. 23, 2015, the federation said in a statement, meaning the players would miss the Asian Games in Incheon later this year.

Highest base price bracket in IPL auctions

Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh have retained their highest base price bracket of Rs.2 crore for the upcoming IPL auctions.

There are 46 capped Indian players on the list of 208 international players who have enrolled for the auction.

Kiwi sensation Corey Anderson’s base price is a relatively modest Rs.1 crore.While Michael Clarke has pulled out of the auction, Ashes hero Mitchell Johnson’s base price is Rs.2 crore.

Like Sehwag and Yuvraj, Ashish Nehra is also expected to fetch atleast Rs.2 crore or more at the auction, going by his highest bracket base price.

Dinesh Karthik, who was widely tipped to be retained by Mumbai Indians, also has a base price of Rs. 2 crore.

Yusuf Pathan is in the highest bracket too despite three poor seasons with Kolkata Knight Riders.

Praveen Kumar, Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, M. Vijay, Manoj Tiwary and Robin Uthappa are the other capped Indian players in the highest bracket.

Record set by Anirban Lahiri

  • Confident Top-ranked golfer Anirban Lahiri made his intentions clear by gaining a two-shot lead at the end of the first round of the PGTI Ahmedabad Masters
  • The Bangalorean’s round one exploits helped him set the KBG course record which is staging its first ever professional event. Angad Cheema, who was part of group comprising Lahiri and Rashid Khan, posted a creditable six-under-66 to lie second.

Satya Nadella : the next Microsoft CEO

  • Technology giant Microsoft is likely to name Indian-American top executive Satya Nadella to replace longtime chief Steve Ballmer as the new Chief Executive Officer, capping a five-month search for the only third CEO in the company's history.
  • The Hyderabad-native, who is the executive vice president of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise group, has been among the front-runners being considered for the top job.

First woman to chair US Fed

  • Janet Yellen, the first woman to chair the Federal Reserve in its 100-year history, will take over the reins of the US central bank and formally be sworn in soon.
  • She succeeds Chairman Ben Bernanke, Yellen will be sworn in by Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo,
  • Yellen will be one of a handful of women heading central banks globally. Her main task will be to navigate the US central bank's way out of its extraordinary stimulus, beginning with a further dialing down of its massive bond-buying programme, and deciding when to raise rates.
  • The Fed has already announced a $20 billion reduction in its monthly asset purchases and is expected to completely shut down the program by year-end.

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General Awareness : In The News - February, 2015

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) In The News

February - 2015

H.S. Brahma

  •  H.S. Brahma, the seniormost Election Commissioner, will succeed V.S. Sampath as the next Chief Election Commissioner of India. Mr. Sampath will demit office after turning 65.

  •  Mr. Sampath paid a farewell visit to President Pranab Mukherjee. In just under six years in the Election Commission, first as EC then as CEC, he helped conduct two Lok Sabha elections and at least one round of Assembly elections in every State.

  •  A 1973-batch IAS officer from the Andhra Pradesh cadre, he held several important positions in the Union government, including as Secretary, Rural Development and Power, before being appointed an Election Commissioner in March 2009.

  •  Mr. Brahma, who hails from Assam, is also an IAS officer from the 1975 batch of the Andhra Pradesh cadre. Like Mr. Sampath, he too held the post of Power Secretary before being appointed Election Commissioner in August 2010.

  •  He will hold office for only a very short period, until he turns 65 on April 19 this year. Mr. Brahma has also held posts such as Joint Secretary (Border Management) in the Union Home Ministry. He also worked as Special Secretary & Additional Secretary in the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

Anupam Shrivastava

  • Anupam Shrivastava has been appointed the chairman and managing director (CMD) of state-run BSNL from January 15, a company statement said.

  •  Mr. Shrivastava has been appointed CMD of BSNL for a period of five years or till the time of superannuation at the age of 60 years, it said.

  •  “Government is focusing on connecting unconnected people with telecom services including high-speed broadband. As BSNL CMD, it will be my top propriety to work with government in connecting people at affordable cost, expeditiously and at turning around BSNL into a profitable venture,” Mr. Shrivastava said after assuming the office.

  •  “I will take up important pending project of NOFN (National Optical Fibre Network), mobile service in Maoist-hit areas,” he added.

  •  Prior to this posting, Mr. Shrivastava has served as director (consumer mobility) BSNL. He has also worked as senior general manager at Jodhpur, Ajmer and Jaipur in Rajasthan Telecom Circle.

Kiran Vadodaria

  •  Kiran B. Vadodaria of Sambhaav Metro was elected president of Indian Newspaper Society (INS) for 2014-15 at its 75th annual general meeting.

  •  P.V. Chandran ( Grihalakshmi ) will be the deputy president, Somesh Sharma ( Rashtradoot Saptahik ) the vice-president, Mohit Jain ( Economic Times ) the honorary treasurer and V. Shankaran the secretary-general of INS.
    V. Gowarikar

  •  Vasant Ranchhod Gowarikar, a stalwart who played a key role in India’s space programme, passed away in Pune after catching dengue. He was 81.

  •  A chemical engineer with a doctorate from Birmingham University, Dr. Gowarikar joined the Indian Space Research Organisation in 1967, settling down in Thiruvananthapuram.

  •  Dr. Gowarikar was director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, the lead agency for the rocket programme, before leaving ISRO in 1986 to become Secretary for the Department of Science & Technology. He is survived by his wife, three daughters and two grandchildren.

Atul Khare

  •  United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced the appointment of Atul Khare of India as Under-Secretary-General, Department of Field Support (DFS). He succeeds Ameerah Haq of Bangladesh.

  •  Dr. Khare, a former Indian Foreign Service officer and AIIMS graduate, brings to the position strategic management and innovative reform expertise in both headquarters and field perspective, a U.N. statement said.

  •  Currently providing charitable medical advice in India, Dr. Khare has a long senior career with the U.N., most recently as Assistant Secretary-General leading the Change Management Team
    (2011-2012) and Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations and Deputy Head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York (2010-2011).

  •  He was previously Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste and Head of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) at the level of Under-Secretary-General (2006-2009).
    A.S.Kiran Kumar

  •  A.S. Kiran Kumar is the new Secretary of the Department of Space as also Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation and the Space Commission.

  •  Currently Director of the Space Application Centre, Ahmedabad, Mr. Kiran Kumar will head the organisation for three years from the date he assumes charge, according to the order issued by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, Department of Personnel & Training under the Ministry of Personnel & Public Grievances.

R K Laxman

  • The messy business of the democracy that was India was unforgettably captured in the iconic creation, labelled simply The Common Man , of R.K. Laxman, died .

  •  Mr. Laxman, who was awarded the Padma Vibhushan and the Magsaysay Award, was a complex man, who defined his métier with an ingenious lightness of touch as evinced in his autobiography, Tunnel of Time.
    Shekhar Sen

  •  Eminent singer and theatre director Shekhar Sen has been appointed the new chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the country’s premier institution for performing arts.

  •  Mr. Sen was awarded the Padma Shri on Republic Day

  •  According to an order issued by the Culture Ministry , Mr. Sen has been appointed for a five-year term with immediate effect.

  •  The Akademi has been without a head after earlier chairperson Leela Samson, who was appointed by the UPA government, quit on September 30 last year.
    Subhash Ghisingh

  •  Subhash Ghisingh, the founder-leader of the movement for a separate homeland for the Gorkhas in northern Bengal, passed away at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi. He was 80 and is survived by two sons and a daughter.

  •  For almost 20 years — from 1988 to 2007 — Mr. Ghisingh headed the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC). However, in 2007, his political disciples led by Bimal Gurung formed a separate outfit, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM). Eventually, it became difficult for the legendary Gorkha leader to operate from the hills and he was forced to shift to Siliguri in the plains of north Bengal.

  •  Colombia’s Paulina Vega was crowned Miss Universe , beating out contenders from the United States, Ukraine, Jamaica and the Netherlands among the top-five at the world’s top beauty pageant in Florida.

  •  The 22-year-old model and business student triumphed over 87 other women from around the world, becoming only the second beauty queen from her nation to take home the prize.

  •  The last time Colombia won the crown was in 1958, when Luz Marina Zuluaga took the title.

  •  A beaming and tearful Vega, wearing a long silver-sequinned gown, accepted her sash and crown from the reigning Miss Universe, Gabriela Isler, from Venezuela.

  •  She hugged first runner-up, Nia Sanchez, from the United States as the win was announced.

  •  London-born Vega dedicated her title to Colombia and to all her supporters.

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General Awareness : Awards and Prizes - February, 2015

General Awareness For Bank's Exams) Awards and Prizes

February, 2014

Sarabhai award for SHAR director M.Y.S. Prasad

  •  M.Y.S. Prasad, director of Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota Range (SHAR), has been selected for the Vikram Sarabhai memorial award to be presented by the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) at a function to be held soon.

  •  Dr. Prasad is selected for his outstanding contribution to R&D in the field of space science in his long and chequered career at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Prior to Dr. Prasad, those who received this award were former ISRO chairmen Dr. Satish Dhawan, Dr. K. Kasturi Rangan, Dr. G. Madhavan Nair and Dr. K. Radhakrishnan.

  •  The ISCA, which is a premier scientific organization of the country established in 1914 in Kolkata, has been giving this award in alternate years.
    Jhumpa Lahiri wins DSC Prize for 2015

  •  Indian-American author Jhumpa Lahiri won the $50,000 DSC Prize for Literature, one of South Asia’s top literary awards for her book, The Lowland .

  •  The Prize celebrates writing on the South Asian region from writers across the globe and is given to the best novel or translations into English of a work on or about the region.

  •  “This is an enormous honour for The Lowland and for me personally. I wish I was there in person to receive the award,” Ms. Lahiri said through a phone conversation from Rome. Publisher Caroline Newbury accepted the award on her behalf.
    List of Padma Awardees

  •  Following is the list of 104 persons conferred Padma Awards. They include nine Padma Vibhushan and 20 Padma Bhushan awardees.

Padma Bhushan

  •  Jahnu Barua (Art), Assam; Vijay Bhatkar (Science and Engineering), Maharashtra; Swapan Dasgupta (Literature and Education), Delhi; Swami Satyamitranand Giri (Others), Uttar Pradesh; N. Gopalaswami (Civil Service), Tamil Nadu; Subhash C. Kashyap (Public Affairs), Delhi; Gokulotsavji Maharaj (Art), Madhya Pradesh; Ambrish Mithal (Medicine), Delhi; Sudha Ragunathan (Art), Tamil Nadu; Harish Salve (Public Affairs), Delhi; Ashok Seth (Medicine), Delhi; Rajat Sharma (Literature and Education), Delhi; Satpal (Sports), Delhi; Shivakumara Swami (Others), Karnataka; Kharag Singh Valdiya (Science and Engg), Karnataka; Manjul Bhargava (Science and Engg), USA; David Frawley (Others), USA; Bill Gates (Social Work), USA; Melinda Gates (Social Work), USA; and Saichiro Misumi (Others), Japan.
    Padma Vibhushan

  •  Name (discipline), State/country: L.K. Advani (Public Affairs), Gujarat; Amitabh Bachchan (Art), Maharashtra; Prakash Singh Badal (Public Affairs), Punjab; D. Veerendra Heggade (Social Work), Karnataka; Dilip Kumar (Art), Maharashtra; Jagadguru Rambhadracharya (Others), Uttar Pradesh; Malur Ramaswamy Srinivasan (Science and Engg), Tamil Nadu; Kottayan K. Venugopal (Public Affairs), Delhi; and Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan (Trade and Industry) France/U.K.

Padma Shri

  •  Manjula Anagani (Medicine), Telangana; S. Arunan (Science and Engg), Karnataka; Kanyakumari Avasarala (Art), Tamil Nadu; Bettina Sharada Baumer (Literature and Education), J&K; Naresh Bedi (Art), Delhi; Ashok Bhagat (Social Work), Jharkhand; Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Art), Maharashtra; Lakshmi Nandan Bora (Literature and Education), Assam; Gyan Chaturvedi (Literature and Education), Madhya Pradesh; Yogesh Kumar Chawla (Medicine), Chandigarh; Jayakumari Chikkala (Medicine), Delhi; Bibek Debroy (Literature and Education), Delhi; Sarungbam Bimola Kumari Devi (Medicine), Manipur;

  • Ashok Gulati (Public Affairs), Delhi; Randeep Guleria (Medicine), Delhi; K.P. Haridas (Medicine), Kerala; Rahul Jain (Art), Delhi; Ravindra Jain (Art), Maharashtra; Sunil Jogi (Literature and Education), Delhi; Prasoon Joshi (Art), Maharashtra; Prafulla Kar (Art), Odisha; Saba Anjum (Sports), Chhattisgarh; Ushakiran Khan (Literature and Education), Bihar; Rajesh Kotecha (Medicine), Rajasthan; Alka Kriplani (Medicine), Delhi; Harsh Kumar (Medicine), Delhi; Narayana Purushothama Mallaya (Literature & Education), Kerala; Lambert Mascarenhas (Literature and Education), Goa; Janak Palta McGilligan (Social Work), Madhya Pradesh; Veerendra Raj Mehta (Social Work), Delhi; Tarak Mehta (Art), Gujarat; Neil Herbert Nongkynrih (Art), Meghalaya; Chewang Norphel (Others), Jammu and Kashmir; T.V. Mohandas Pai (Trade and Industry), Karnataka; Tejas Patel (Medicine), Gujarat; Jadav Molai Peyang (Others), Assam; Bimla Poddar (Others), Uttar Pradesh; N. Prabhakar (Science and Engg), Delhi; Prahalada (Science and Engg), Maharashtra; Narendra Prasad (Medicine), Bihar; Ram Bahadur Rai (Literature and Education), Delhi; Mithali Raj (Sports), Telangana; P.V. Rajaraman (Civil Service), Tamil Nadu;

  • J.S. Rajput (Literature and Education), Uttar Pradesh; Kota Srinivasa Rao (Art), Andhra Pradesh; Bimal Roy (Literature and Education), West Bengal; Shekhar Sen (Art), Maharashtra; Gunvant Shah (Literature and Education), Gujarat; Brahmdev Sharma (Literature and Education), Delhi; Manu Sharma (Literature and Education), Uttar Pradesh; Yog Raj Sharma (Medicine), Delhi; Vasant Shastri (Science and Engg), Karnataka; S.K. Shivkumar (Science and Engg), Karnataka; P.V. Sindhu (Sports), Telangana; Sardara Singh (Sports), Haryana; Arunima Sinha (Sports), Uttar Pradesh; Mahesh Raj Soni (Art), Rajasthan; Nikhil Tandon (Medicine), Delhi; H Thegtse Rinpoche (Social Work), Arunachal Pradesh; Hargovind Laxmishanker Trivedi (Medicine), Gujarat; Huang Baosheng (Others), China; Jacques Blamont (Science and Engg), France; Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin (Others), Maharashtra (Posthumous); Jean-Claude Carriere (Literature and Education), France; Nandrajan ‘Raj’ Chetty (Literature and Education), France; George L Hart (Others), USA; Jagat Guru Amrta Suryananda Maha Raja (Others), Portugal; Meetha Lal Mehta (Social Work), Rajasthan (Posthumous); Tripti Mukherjee (Art), USA; Dattatreyudu Nori (Medicine), USA; Raghu Rama Pillarisetti (Medicine), USA; Saumitra Rawat (Medicine), UK; Annette Schmiedchen (Literature and Education), Germany; Pran Kumar Sharma alias Pran (Art), Delhi (Posthumous); and R. Vasudevan (Civil Service), Tamil Nadu (Posthumous) .

Raghuram Rajan wins ‘Governor of the Year’ award

  •  RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has been named ‘Governor of the Year’ by Central Banking Publications. In a statement, the publication said that the award recognises, “Raghuram Rajan’s disciplined and focussed approach leading the Reserve Bank of India during his first year as Governor was remarkably impressive.

  •  Accepting the award, Raghuram Rajan said: “Of course, no central bank works alone. The important role played by the government in maintaining fiscal discipline, in initiating growth-friendly structural reforms and in launching ambitious new financial sector programmes, such as rolling out bank accounts for all, has been critical to any success the economy has had, and is likely to have.

  •  “Moreover, all our collective efforts should be seen as work-in-progress — inflation has to be fully tamed, growth has to be brought back to potential and the banking system cleaned of distressed assets, even while we build the platform for the financial sector to support strong and sustainable growth.

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General Awareness : Sports - February, 2014

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) Sports

February - 2015

Poland wins Hopman Cup

  • Poland has won its first ever Hopman Cup title, beating the USA 2-1 in the final. Agnieszka Radwanska showed why she should be considered among the favourites for the Australian Open later this month by beating the world No. 1 Serena Williams in the final.

  •  The world No. 5 Radwanska teamed up with Hopman debutant Jerzy Janowicz to beat the US pairing of Serena Williams and John Isner 2-1.
    Avinash emerges champion in National junior snooker

  •  Avinash Kumar continued his giant-killing spree to win his maiden National junior snooker title at the BRC. The 20-year-old Delhi cueist won all his round-robin semifinal league games, losing just three frames.

  •  “He played spectacular snooker. His extraordinary show has caught the attention of everyone in this National meet,” said former World billiards champion Manoj Kothari.

  •  “We will try and get him scholarship from one of the oil companies,” he informed. Avinash, whose parents migrated to Delhi from Patna, did not drop a single frame.

  •  Playing his second league game against Hritik Jain from Madhya Pradesh, Avinash was thrashed 1-63 in the opening frame. “I came to the venue late and hardly had time to warm-up,” he said.

  •  “Though I won the second frame I was still not be able to focus well. I got my rhythm back in the fourth and there was no stopping me.” Avinash lost the first frame to S. Shrikrishna of Tamil Nadu 11-72 in the final league game only to take the next four in a row.
    India have slipped to 7th place in Test rankings

  •  India have slipped a place to be seventh in the latest ICC Test rankings after losing the four-match away series against Australia 0-2. India’s slide in the rankings come after the two fighting draws which were not enough to prevent another series loss overseas.

  •  India captain Virat Kohli however has gained three places to be 12th in the batsmen standings after amassing 692 runs in the eight innings Down Under. His Australian counterpart Steven Smith has reached a career-high fourth after piling up 769 runs in the series at a staggering average of 128.16.

  •  Amongst the bowlers, pacer Mohammed Shami has risen seven places to a career-high 31st place after taking match figures of six for 145 runs in Sydney, while Australia’s Mitchell Starc has moved up nine places to 33rd after returning five wickets for 142 runs.

  •  Amongst the other bowlers from the Sydney Test are Australia duo Shane Watson and Josh Hazlewood, up to 38th and a career-high 46th respectively.
    Railways’ teams win in contrasting styles

  •  It was double delight for Railways at the 63rd senior national volleyball championship as it clinched the men’s and women’s titles beating Tamil Nadu and Kerala respectively.

  •  While the women’s final was a cakewalk, the men’s title-round will probably go down in the history of Indian volleyball as one of the greatest comebacks in the finals of the national championship.

  •  Railways was down two sets and staring down the barrel before it saved three match points in the fourth set and went on to turn it around and win the match 19-25, 18-25, 25-23, 26-24, 15-9.

  •  Defending champion TN had no one to blame but itself for the result — letting its crown slip when it had one hand on it with some poor defence work and unforced errors in the final three sets.

  •  For Railways, attacker S. Prabagaran was the star performer of the day. He, along with all-rounder Manu Joseph, kept the visitors in the game with some attacking play.

Women’s hockey camp begins

  •  The Indian women’s hockey team began its preparatory camp for a Test series against Spain at the National Stadium.

  •  Goalkeepers: Yogita Bali, Savita, Rajni Etimarpu.

Brett Lee announced retirement from all forms of cricket

  •  Former Australia fast bowler Brett Lee announced his pending retirement from all forms of cricket after a 20-year career.

  • The 38-year-old pacer quit international cricket in July 2012, but had been a Twenty20 regular, both in the Indian Premier League and the domestic competition in Australia.

  •  Lee, who made the announcement at the Sydney Cricket Ground, remains the equal leading wicket-taker for Australia in ODIs with Glenn McGrath, with 380 in 221 appearances. Lee also took 310 wickets in 76 Tests for Australia.

Brett Lee announced retirement from all forms of cricket

  •  Former Australia fast bowler Brett Lee announced his pending retirement from all forms of cricket after a 20-year career.

  •  The 38-year-old pacer quit international cricket in July 2012, but had been a Twenty20 regular, both in the Indian Premier League and the domestic competition in Australia.

  •  Lee, who made the announcement at the Sydney Cricket Ground, remains the equal leading wicket-taker for Australia in ODIs with Glenn McGrath, with 380 in 221 appearances. Lee also took 310 wickets in 76 Tests for Australia.

Advani to meet Sitwala in National billiards final

  •  Six-time champion, Pankaj Advani, will take on PSPB teammate Dhruv Sitwala in the 82nd National billiards championship final at the BRC.

  •  Advani overcame Siddharth Parikh of Railways 4-2 and Sitwala, looking to win his maiden crown, registered a thrilling 4-3 victory over B. Bhaskar of Karnataka for the third entry into the title round.

  •  Advani took three hours to tame Parikh. An unfinished break of 148 gave Advani the first frame at 150-37 and two small breaks of 50 and 66 ensured 2-0 lead (150-87).

  •  Parikh compiled an unfinished 107 to neutralise Advani’s lead of 114 to take the frame at 114-150. The 12-time world champion hit back with vengeance in the fourth.

  •  A lead of 52 disappeared as Advani showed his cueing prowess with a terrific unfinished 154 to make it 3-1. It was a close fifth frame when Pankaj missed a fairly easy canon at 140-138 and Parikh ensured 2-3 in his favour.

  •  The master of green baize, however, proved his class with two good breaks of 70 and 53 to take the frame at 150-45. “I am glad that even on a day when I was not at my best I managed to pull it off,” Advani said.

  •  “Full credit to Siddharth who has come into top four after ten years. I am happy that I am through to the final,” a relieved Advani said.

IPL media rights: BCCI invites tenders

  •  The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has invited bids for media rights relating to the future editions of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

  •  The upcoming Pepsi IPL will be broadcast across the world through every technological medium available, thus reaching out to an even larger audience, BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel said in a statement.

  •  Bids should be submitted by February 3, at a meeting of the BCCI Marketing Committee, at which time it is intended that the bids will be opened, evaluated and the tender awarded in the presence of bidders.

Sania wins first title of the season in Sydney Open doubles

  •  India’s Sania Mirza won her first title of the season and 23rd of her career when she and Bethanie Mattek-Sands shocked top-seeded Americans Abigail Spears and Raquel Kops-Jones in the summit clash of the Apia International.

  •  The unseeded Indo-American combine humbled the top seeds 6-3, 6-3 in just 69 minutes.

Panel to decide penalty

  •  The Supreme Court formed a three-member committee to decide on the punishment against Chennai Super Kings (CSK and Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) betting scandal involving co-owners of the two teams.

  •  Former Chief Justice India R. M. Lodha will head the committee that includes former Supreme Court judges Ashok Bhan and R. V. Raveendran.

  •  The committee has been given six months for to further investigate and come to a decision regarding the allegations against Mr. Kundra and Mr. Meiyappan. The two teams face the possibility of being scratched from the high profile domestic T20 tournament.

  •  The Board will have to elect its new president in six months’ time and N. Srinivasan can contest only if he lets go of his commercial interest in CSK. It is East Zone’s turn to have a president. However, BCCI rules allow a candidate from outside the zone to contest if there is a proposer and seconder a from that zone.

  •  It is compulsory for the candidate to have attended two Annual General Meetings of the Board apart from being a principal office-bearer.

IPTL will help in expanding the frontiers of tennis

  •  Former English tennis star Tim Henman feels the newly launched International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) is the best thing to happen in Asia, where the sport is yet to pick up.

  •  Henman, who was in the city to conduct tennis clinics for trainees adopted by the ‘HSBC Road to Wimbledon’ junior development programme, said the tournament conceived by Indian star Mahesh Bhupathi will surely help in expanding the boundaries of the sport.
    Undertaking a must to contest BCCI elections

  •  Following the Supreme Court’s ruling that BCCI members with commercial interest in BCCI-organised events — including the IPL — are not eligible to contest the BCCI elections, the candidates will have to give an undertaking to that effect to the BCCI.

  •  Elections are to be held for the post of principal office-bearers (president, secretary, jt. secretary and treasurer) and five vice-presidents.

  • Apart from the IPL, the BCCI organises tournaments in the senior, junior and women’s categories and also organises the annual awards and the M.A.K. Pataudi Memorial lecture. Many other committees are also nominated by each zone. Generally BCCI office-bearers obtain unanimity for selection committees, but there have been occasions when selectors have been elected.

  •  The BCCI by-laws also specify eligibility rules for members wanting to contest elections. Past or present office-bearers or vice-presidents, except the president or a member who has represented his association at two AGMs, can contest for the post of office-bearer (secretary, jt. Secretary and vice-president).

  •  The president must be a past or present office-bearer or vice-president of the Board nominated by at least two full members from the zone, whose turn it is as per the principle of rotation.

  •  He must have attended two AGMs representing a full member.

  •  The BCCI’s rules also say that such candidate or candidates (for the post of president) need not be from the same zone that is exercising its right of nomination by rotation.

  •  According to the by-laws of the BCCI, the office-bearers and vice-presidents who get elected at the next AGM will have a tenure of three years.

  •  But the question now though is, will the BCCI be forced to conduct another election in September 2015, should the Supreme Court’s three-member panel recommend amendments to the eligibility rules for elections.

  •  The Supreme Court has said that the three-member committee’s deliberations will not affect the BCCI AGM and elections to be held within six weeks.

India set for Tri-series with one Eye on World Cup

  •  All set to defend its cricket World Cup crown in less than a month, India will get its preparations underway with the aim to find the right combination for the marquee event when it takes on Australia in the ongoing ODI tri-series.

  •  While this tri-series provides the perfect setting for experimentation, the need of the hour is to get a settled combination going ahead to instil confidence in the side.

  •  Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will return to international cricket after a little over two weeks since his Test retirement at the same venue, and he will have some decisions to make. The first order of business will be to make a firm choice about the opening combination.

  •  Ahead of Sunday’s game, the team management has failed to specify whether it will be Ajinkya Rahane or Rohit Sharma pairing up with Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order, or indeed whether a third possibly surprising combination might be thrown up.

  •  Unlike the team’s preparations ahead of any Test match, its net sessions for an ODI do not throw up any suggestive patterns and it was the same on Saturday as well. In no particular order then, all batsmen enjoyed a decent hit in the nets including Ambati Rayudu and Stuart Binny.

  •  Among the bowlers, playing two spinners is definitely par for the course for India, with R. Ashwin and Axar Patel slated to take up those spots.

Starc sets up Australia’s win

  •  Paceman Mitchell Starc took six for 43 to help Australia to a four-wicket victory over India, despite a brilliant century by Rohit Sharma.

  •  Rohit’s 138 at the MCG enabled India post a competitive 267 for eight after electing to bat.

  •  However, Australian opener Aaron Finch countered Rohit’s century with a match-winning knock of his own, making 96 as Australia reached 269 with four wickets in hand and six balls to spare

  •  He received great support from Steve Smith (47) as the pair put on 101 for the third wicket.
    Advani bags his seventh National title, Amee is women’s champ

  •  Pankaj Advani won his seventh senior National snooker title beating Varun Madan by six frames to three in a well-fought final of the BRC Gloster National billiards and snooker championship at the BRC .

  •  The victory also gave Advani a fourth double, having won the billiards and snooker crowns in 2007, 08 and 2009 also.

  •  MP’s Amee Kamani won her maiden senior snooker title defeating defending champion Vidya Pillay of Karnataka .

New Zealand wins series

  •  New Zealand wrapped up its one-day series against Sri Lanka with a game to spare when Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor orchestrated a 120-run win in game six.

  •  Williamson (97) and Taylor (96) provided the backbone of New Zealand’s 315 for eight in 50 overs and Sri Lanka was all out for 195 in the 41st over.

  •  The win puts New Zealand 4-1 up in the seven-match series with one game washed out.

  •  Only Kumar Sangakkara looked at ease in Sri Lanka’s run chase with 81 off 66 deliveries, but none of the other recognised batsmen were able to get past 30 as New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson stamped his mark on the game.

  • Anderson smacked 40 from 28 balls to support Williamson and Taylor during New Zealand’s innings and then took four for 52 with the ball as the Sri Lankan batsmen again showed a lack of fight.

Gilchrist and Ryder to be inducted into Australian Cricket Hall of Fame

  •  Celebrated wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist and late former captain and selector Jack Ryder will be inducted into Australian Cricket Hall of Fame at the annual Allan Border Medal ceremony .

  •  ACHoF chairman David Crow today announced that Gilchrist and Ryder were the selection committee’s choice for induction this year.

  •  The ACHoF recently expanded its criteria to include a player’s impact off the field following his playing career.

  •  Gilchrist said he was humbled by his nomination alongside many of the greatest players to represent Australia.

  •  Ryder was Don Bradman’s first Test captain but it is their association off the field for more than two decades as selectors which had a far greater impact on the game.

  •  A tall and aggressive batsman and lively medium pace bowler, Ryder played 20 Tests for Australia and 20 years for Victoria.

Delhi Open tennis from Feb. 16

  •  The cream of Indian tennis, spearheaded by defending champion Somdev Devvarman, is scheduled to compete in the Delhi Open $100,000 Challenger tennis tournament to be played at the R.K. Khanna Stadium here from February 16 to 22.

  •  In a release issued , the organisers have stated that Yuki Bhambri, Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan would also be seen in action, apart from top players like James Duckworth of Australia and Yuichi Sugita of Japan, ranked 120 and 136 respectively.

  •  Vishnu Vardhan will get a wild card into the main draw by virtue of having won the Fenesta National championship, while the runner-up Sidharth Rawat will get a wild card for the qualifying event, along with the national junior champion Vidit Vaghela.

  •  In the concurrently hosted $25,000 ITF women’s tournament, Prerna Bhambri will gain entry as a wild card as the national champion

  •  Karman Kaur Thandi who had finished runner-up will get a wild card for the qualifying event. Incidentally, she had also won the junior title in the national championship.

Boxing India to introduce new league, ranking system

  •  In order to work in line with International Boxing Association (AIBA)’s ambitious leagues such as AIBA Open Boxing (AOB), AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) and World Series of Boxing (WSB), Boxing India (BI) has decided to launch the Indian Series of Boxing (ISB) and a national ranking system in the second half of the year.

  •  The apex body has been making an effort for the synergy of amateur and professional boxing by allowing pugilists from professional leagues to qualify for the Olympics. BI’s new step will help the Indian boxers be part of the reforms “that will bring fresh value to boxers and boxing in India”.
    Debashis Das holds Topalov

  •  Grandmaster Debashis Das came up with his best performance ever to hold former world champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria to a creditable draw in the second round of the Masters’ section of Tradewise Gibraltar Chess festival.

  •  On a day of upsets, Indian Grandmaster Vishnu Prasanna defeated Grandmaster Emil Sutovsky of Israel while former world junior girls’ champion Soumya Swaminathan beat American Kayden Troff to maintain a clean slate after two games. Also ending on a high was Indian GM M.R. Venkatesh who scored a fine victory over Simen Agdestein of Norway.

  •  With eight rounds still to come, it was business as usual for some of the higher-ranked players.

  •  But highest rated Indian P. Harikrishna had to show his endgame-magic before he could secure his second victory in the tournament.

‘Revive defunct IBPWA’

  •  Olympian and former National badminton champion U. Vimal Kumar, said that shuttlers should revive the defunct Indian Badminton Players Welfare Association (IBPWA) and approach the Badminton Association of India (BAI) instead of floating a new body.

  •  He also expressed anguish over the players’ attitude as many thought of floating an association only when they were left out of the Indian team. “This way, they can never be united. Players should have a clear agenda and not be there for selfish reasons,” he remarked.

  •  Vimal said active players and recently-retired ones should take the responsibility of running the association.

  •  Vimal explained how players revolted against BAI in the mid-90s when All England champion Prakash Padukone had formed the Indian Badminton Confederation.

  •  He said BAI permitted players to send entries directly for National-ranking tournaments, and also for international events through BAI for forwarding it to the respective organisers. “The State associations, players and BAI functioned with better understanding,” he pointed out.

Gold for Bindra

  •  Former World and Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra shot gold with a spectacular finish in air rifle in the IWK Hockbrueck shooting championship in Munich .

  •  The 32-year-old Bindra beat Vitali Bubnovich of Belarus by 0.4 points with a total of 208.0. Bindra shot a perfect 10.9 on the penultimate shot after having led by 0.1 points, before the last two shots of the 20-shot final series.

  •  While Bindra ended with a 10.3, the Belarussian finished with 10.4 and 10.5, that saw him fall short of gold.
    Aussies break

Korean hearts in final

  •  Host Australia won the Asian Cup football after beating South Korea 2-1 in extra time of an electrifying final, substitute James Troisi smashing home a dramatic winner.

  •  Troisi broke Korean hearts with the last kick in the first period of extra time after Son Heung-Min had snatched a dramatic injury-time equaliser at the end of normal time.

  •  Australia’s triumph gave the Socceroos a first title since defecting from Oceania nine years ago, while South Korea’s anguish continued after failing to break a hoodoo in the tournament stretching back to 1960.

Maxwell leads Australia to a crushing win

  •  A career-best performance by all-rounder Glenn Maxwell inspired Australia to a crushing 112-run win over England in the ODI tri-series final at the WACA

  •  Maxwell scored 95 to help Australia recover from a poor start and make 278 for eight.

  •  He then took four wickets and a fine catch as England crumbled in the run chase to be dismissed for just 166 in 39.1 overs.

  •  England, which will face Australia in the World Cup opener later this month, was never in the hunt after paceman Mitchell Johnson claimed three quick wickets (three 27) to have it struggling at 46 for four.

  •  He removed Moeen Ali for 26 and then had England skipper Eoin Morgan bowled without offering a shot, off successive balls.

  •  Maxwell (four for 46) also found himself on a hat-trick after removing Jos Buttler (17) and the hapless Chris Woakes, who had a match to forget, with successive deliveries.

Indian Badminton League likely after June

  •  The Indian Badminton League (IBL), a franchise league, commercially managed by Badminton Association of India (BAI), will be held after June as the organisers are not finding a clear 20 days for the staging of the event for the second time, according to T.P.S. Puri, vice president (administration), BAI.

  •  He said that the earlier plans to hold the league in April appeared not possible as players would be busy preparing for the prestigious Sudirman Cup after taking part in two back-to-back fixtures — the All England championship and the Swiss Open in March.

  •  “Though players and franchises are keen to play, we are looking for a window. Most probably we may stage the event after June,” he pointed out.

  •  He said the IBL Governing Council should take into consideration the availability of players’ world over before finalising the schedule.

  •  He said the league will see new players entering the fray and a good many players may play for the existing franchisees as they were contracted for two years.

  •  “The format would remain the same. Depending on the wishes of the sponsor and the franchisees we will initiate the changes.”

  •  Reacting to Andhra Pradesh Badminton Association’s (APBA) decision to take legal action against shuttlers, who skipped the 79th senior National championship at Vijayawada, he said he would pursue APBA not to proceed.

  •  “Even though APBA wished to move the court, it has to go through BAI. We should emphasise to the players as they need to train hard to maintain their peak form.”

  •  He said a good number of Indian shuttlers were occupying top slots in the world ranking lists and that was possible as they play around 15 to 16 tournaments in a year.

  •  “They need to train hard to sustain the challenge. I think BAI should have a liberal view by permitting the elite players to train,” he said.
    A win for Anand

  •  Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand got some consolation after scoring a regulation victory over David Baramidze of Germany in the sixth and penultimate round of the Grenke Chess Classic here.

  •  Coming after two straight losses against nemesis Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Levon Aronian of Armenia, the victory served as a breather for Anand as this was also the first win of the year for the Indian ace.

  •  With just one round to go Carlsen and Naiditsch remain on top of the table with four points each while Caruana remains half a point behind them.

  •  The trio of Aronian, Bacrot and Adams are not far behind on three points each while Anand remained seventh in the eight-player round robin.

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Daily Questions Challenge for IBPS Exams (12 May 2015)

Daily Questions Challenge for IBPS Exams (12 May 2015)

Write and Discuss Your Answer with Q.No in Comment Box at the Bottom of Post.

1. India has recently named a private banker as the first head of the new development bank the BRICS group, what is his/her name?

A. K.V. Thomas
B. K. V. Kamath
C. Shindhu Shree
D. D.B. Gupta
E. B.B. Bhtaacharya

2. The BRICS nations had agreed last year to set up the New Development Bank, which will fund infrastructure projects in developing nations, it would have its headquarters in which of the following city?

A. Beijing
B. New Delhi
C. Shanghai
D. Mumbai
E. Moscow

3. Who is the Telecom Minister of India?

A. Arun Jaitly
B. Nitin Gadkari
C. Ravi Shankar Prasad
D. Dhrmendhra Pradhan
E. Rahul Khullar

4. Gir Forest which is famous for Asiatic lion inhabitant is situated in which of the following state of India?

A. Arunachal Pradesh
B. Himachal Pradesh
C. West Bengal
D. Madhya Pradesh
E. Gujarat

5. India Post has launched a centre in the national capital to exclusively handle all the e-commerce business. The centre is capable of handling how many parcels/articles a day?

A. 30,000
B. 20,000
C. 40,000

Write and Discuss Your Answer with Q.No in Comment Box at the Bottom of Post.

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Daily Questions Challenge for IBPS Exams (11 May 2015)

Daily Questions Challenge for IBPS Exams (11 May 2015)

Write and Discuss Your Answer with Q.No in Comment Box at the Bottom of Post.

1. President of India has recently inaugurated a festival of Indian Culture ‘Namaste India’ in which of the following city?

A. Moscow
B. Stockholm
C. Belarus
D. Madrid
E. Paris

2. When the CAG submit its tabled its report in Parliament, which of the following Constitutional body examine that report?

A. Estimate Committee
B. Public Account Committee
C. Standing Committee
D. Central Bureau of Investigation
E. Supreme Court

3. South Africa’s main Opposition Party has elected its first black leader, what is his name?

A. Jacob Jumma
B. Mmusi Maimane
C. Goodluck Jonathan
D. Jacob Antony
E. Jhonty Jinathan

4. Petra Kvitova who recently wins Madrid Open women single title after deafening whom in final

A. Serena Wiilliams
B. Sania Mirza
C. Din Lina
D. Svetlana Kuzentsova
E. None of these

5. Indian Celebrate National Technology Day on which of the following day?

A. 10 May
B. 11 May
C. 12 May
D. 13 May
E. 14 May

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General Awareness : Economy - February, 2015

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams) Economy

February -2015

SC allowed Sahara group to raise “junior loan”

  •  The Supreme Court allowed the Sahara group to raise a “junior loan” of $650 million from a foreign lender to pay Rs.5,000 crore and bank guarantee of same amount for the release of Subrata Roy and two directors on bail.

  •  A three-judge bench led by Justice T.S. Thakur said the amount, raised as loan against its three overseas hotels located in London and New York, would be parked in Aamby Valley (Mauritius) Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Sahara group’s India-based Aamby Valley Limited.

  •  However, the court said Sahara Group should also clear up with the Reserve Bank of India if there were any impediments under the Foreign Exchange Management Act in case of transfer of the loan amount from its Mauritius subsidiary.

Renault is set to launch sub-Rs.4 lakh car in 2015

  •  Renault is set to launch an all-new hatchback in the sub-Rs.4 lakh segment this year as the French car maker intensifies its efforts to transform into a volume player in the Indian passenger vehicle (PV) market.

  •  The proposed small car will compete in the Maruti Alto segment. And, it will be the first product out of Renault-Nissan’s new vehicle platform CMF-A, a global platform meant to design and develop low-budget cars for customers in India and other markets.

  •  “It is a very wide platform in terms of diversity, and this will be a global car. It will be sold in other countries also,” Sumit Sawhney, Country CEO and Managing Director, Renault India.

  •  He said the company had not finalised the launch dates. But the first new launch of 2015 would be its 7-seater MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) Lodgy, and the new hatch would come after that. Presently, Renault India sells only Pulse in the small car segment.

  •  The chairman and CEO of Nissan and Renault combine Carlos Ghosn had said that CMF-A would be India-based platform. It would be designed Indian engineers, he had said, and indicated that the first product out of this platform would hit the market by 2015.

  •  But, Mr. Sawhney declined to elaborate on the new hatchback. However, he said the segment accounted for 30-40 per cent of car market and company was keen to have a strong presence.

‘Vibrant Gujarat’ now India’s principle economic summit

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit has become the country’s “principle economic summit” and welcomed other states organising similar events.

  •  “The more the states organise it, the more their idiom and their attitude in support of investment change.... it’s a welcome phenomenon,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the summit in Gandhinagar.

  •  The Finance Minister said the recent trend, wherein states like Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal have held such summits while Maharashtra is also mulling one such show, is very heartening and he is glad that such aggressive activities are being undertaken.

  •  The Uttar Pradesh government has also adopted an aggressive posture in attracting investors, with a strong media campaign wooing investors. “I think this has become the principle economic summit as far as India is concerned.

  •  Now I think this is where economic activity is happening,” Mr. Jaitley said. Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also lauded the efforts by states and promised all help from the Centre in the efforts.

  •  “Today, many other states have adopted this approach. Government of India is committed to supporting any such initiative of any state government,” he said in his speech.

  •  Mr. Modi stressed a lot on the growth potential of the country and outlined his approach on the way forward in fastening the economic growth.

  •  Speaking at the session on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Mr. Jaitley said there is a huge amount of inequality in the society which is visible in things like lack of access to clean drinking water, absence of toilets etc, even though there is a widespread notion that the country is growing.

Aditya Birla Group will invest Rs 20,000 cr in Gujarat

  •  Making public his “personal bias” for investing in Gujarat, Kumarmangalam Birla said the diversified Aditya Birla Group will invest Rs. 20,000 crore over a period of time in the state to ramp up capacities across various existing facilities.

  •  “We will be continuing to grow our businesses. On the anvil are brownfield expansions at our cement plant in Sevagram, the VSF plants in Vilayat and Bharuch, and along with that, expansion in metal plants (among others)

  •  “Our investments will be close to Rs 20,000 crore, as we see it,” he said at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in Gandhinagar. He further said that for his company, Gujarat is the most preferred investment destination in India.

  •  “We’re greatly impressed by proactive approach of government of Gujarat...I have a personal bias for it,” he added. Mr. Birla said it was not tax sops but delivery of high quality infrastructure which has got the group latched on to the state.

  •  At present, the Aditya Birla Group’s investments in the state exceed Rs 25,000 crore and it generates revenues in excess of Rs 30,000 crore a year. The company, he said, employs 10,000 employees directly and 20,000 indirectly.

  •  Speaking on the occasion, MasterCard President and Global Chief Executive Ajay Banga said investors are hoping for a similar show from Modi (as he had shown as Gujarat Chief Minister) at national level.

  •  Mr. Banga, who is also Chairman of USIBC, said the NDA government has “gotten off to a very, very good start” but pointed out some concerns among investors. “They are waiting for clarity, they want transparency in policy decisions, consistency and predictability,” he said.

  •  He said progress on key issues like land reforms, labour reforms, property ownership reforms, GST rollout and Government moves on retrospective taxation will be keenly followed now on.

WB projects 6.4% economic growth in India this year

  •  Indian economy is likely to grow at 6.4 per cent in 2015 and accelerate further in the next year on the back of steps being taken by the Narendra Modi-led NDA government, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said.

  •  Speaking at the Vibrant Gujarat summit, he said the World Bank was committed to catalysing a vibrant India and there is much reason for optimism.

  •  “We project that India will be a bright spot in an otherwise medium global economic outlook. (The) economy according to our projections is expected to grow 6.4 per cent this year and even faster in 2016,” he said.

  •  After slowing to sub-five per cent growth in the previous two financial years, the economy has started showing signs of pick-up as it expanded by 5.7 per cent and 5.3 per cent in the second and third quarter of 2015.

  •  The World Bank President said Mr. Modi and his government have been quickly putting in place the building blocks for even more rapid growth, streamlining national regulatory structure and promoting social inclusion.

  •  Mr. Jim said, he was “very encouraged” by the recent proposal of a Constitution amendment bill for Goods and Services Tax. The proposed new indirect tax regime, he said, offers an opportunity to make it substantially easier to do business in India.

  •  “GST will create one common market and substantial saving for companies on logistics, especially if the structure of the GST is uniform,” he added. He was also encouraged to see that the Prime Minister has focused on programmes to promote the broad sharing of the benefits of growths.
    Deal for mega solar project

  •  SunEdison Inc, the U.S.-headquartered solar energy services firm, and India’s Adani Group have come together to invest $4 billion or Rs. 25,000 crore in setting up one of the world’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing facility in Gujarat.

  •  The project is expected to create not only thousands of jobs, but also provide a much-need impetus to the country’s electrification programmes through solar energy.

  •  The proposed solar PV production unit will come up at Mundra in about three years. And, it will vertically integrate all aspects of solar panel production on site, including poly silicon refining, and ingot, cell, and module production.

‘Jan Dhan Yojana’ a game changer: RBI

  •  The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Deputy Governor Urjit Patel said that ‘Jan Dhan Yojana’ scheme implemented by public sector banks, whereby 100 million bank accounts have been opened for those who were un-banked, is unequivocally a “game-changer.”

  •  “It provides an unprecedented scaffolding and a spring board for meaningful financial inclusion and, concomitantly, substantial financial deepening of our economy,” said Dr. Patel at an award function. The award was presented to Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research, Mumbai.

  •  Citing the discussion at the ‘Gyan Sangam’, gathering of bankers and top-level policy makers in Pune, recently, Dr. Patel said: “We should redefine the metric for effective lending and prioritise loans to enterprises, which will generate more employment.”

  •  In other words, he said “bankable labour-intensive enterprises should benefit as we go forward in this direction.”

  •  According to him this would benefit, a much larger number of small business loans. He said that the hard earned macroeconomic stability provides an important backdrop for optimal decisions by all stakeholders.

  •  “e have to preserve this. The dramatic fall in oil prices is a boon for us. It saves, on an annualised basis, around $50 billion roughly, one-third of our annual gross POL imports of about $160 billion. Of course, there willbe leakages and other set-offs,” he added.
    Ranjan hails

Decision to free banks

  •  The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan said that the decision of the Government to give freedom to public sector banks (PSBs) to function independently is a “land mark decision”. He was speaking at the convocation ceremony of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR).

  •  The Finance Ministry had issued a direction to banks recently asking them to take decisions without fear or favour and to ignore extraneous considerations in commercial decisions, in the aftermath of the ‘Gyan Sangam’, which was attended by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

  •  Mr. Modi said at the Gyan Sangam, the two-day bankers’ meet arranged to discuss banking reforms, that the Government will not interfere in the functioning of public sector banks. He also called for ending “lazy banking” and said that banks must prioritise lending to employment-generating sectors.

  •  Dr. Rajan said that institution plays an important role in the intellectual development of students. While asking students to pay back to the society, Dr. Rajan remembered, institution builders like Dr. Varghese Kurien, who built up a brand like Amul, T. N. Seshan, former Election Commissioner and Vinod Rai, former CAG.

  •  Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who was the Chief Guest at the convocation, congratulated the institute for the gender “reverse disparity” in favour of the women. Over 70 per cent of the students who passed out today were women.

  •  Mr. Jaitley also said that the election results recently proved that castes and dynasties will no more attract voters as they are interested only in governance and economic growth.

  •  Meanwhile visiting the LIC corporate Office, Mr. Jaitley said that one-third of the country would soon be insured by LIC by partnering with Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana.

  •  He said that LIC was a role model of how a public sector institution should function and appreciated claims performance of LIC, which was much better than the private sector.

  •  The Finance Minister also said that millions had built their houses with LIC’s support and people’s savings were channelised and invested in infrastructure. LIC also generated employment directly through employees and agents and indirectly by investing in the economy.

Digital India programme will help to boost GDP growth: Ravi Shankar

  •  Interlinking India’s growth to the government’s Digital India programme, IT and Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said increased computer literacy and growing use of mobile internet will help push India’s Internet economy to USD 200 billion by 2020.

  •  The minister was speaking at the release of a report by IAMAI and The Boston Consulting Group. According to the report ‘India@Digital.Bharat’, India is heading towards an internet economy worth USD 200 billion by 2020, that will contribute 5 per cent of the GDP.

  •  In 2013 alone, it contributed USD 60 billion or 2.7 per cent of India’s GDP. “For this, we need to move at a fast pace towards computer literacy.

  •  The other key area which will help the internet economy to grow is mobile internet,” Mr. Prasad said, adding the government is committed to digitisation and is looking extensive PPP for successful implementation.

  •  The minister said there is a need to create hubs in rural India that will help grow e-commerce.

  •  “Unless connectivity reaches every village of India, they dynamics of growth will remain unchanged… It took 30 years to cover 10 lakh km of optic fibre laying, and in just next 3 years7 lakh km will be added, making rural connectivity a reality,” he said.
    ‘Ringo’ app makes international calls cheaper

  •  Ringo, an international calling app which provides low cost calling without the use of the Internet, has commenced operations in India offering international calls at 70 per cent cheaper than most mobile telephone service providers and 20 per cent cheaper than calls made on Skype and Viber through the Internet for most destinations.

  •  This service is already available in 16 countries including the US, UK, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore. The company said it would offer high quality international calls at a fraction of existing cost of calls in India to companies conducting global business and families trying to keep in touch with friends and relatives staying abroad.

  •  The Internet-free Ringo calls traverse over regular phone networks and it uses a unique call flow to convert international calls into local calls, thus making the call rates very cheap.

  •  When a Ringo user from India contacts someone based in one of the 16 countries in which its service is available, Ringo will automatically dial out a local call to the Indian user and another local call to the desired number located in the foreign destination and connect the two over reliable carrier circuits.

  •  All this happens instantly and calls using Ringo are identical to making call on one’s carrier, Ringo officials said. “We believe our app will change the way India communicates with the world. In this country, reliable internet connectivity that can support VOIP calling is still far away.

  •  Ringo provides the perfect solution for Indians who want to stay in touch with people staying abroad reliably and at a low cost,” said Bhavin Turakhia, Chief Executive Officer, Ringo.

  •  “We believe that communication should be easy and inexpensive so that the market would grow phenomenally,” said Mr Turakhia.

RBI decided to cut repo rates by 25 basis points

  •  Encouraged by softening inflation, the RBI decided to cut the benchmark interest rate by 0.25 per cent to 7.75 per cent with a view to boost growth. The decision to reduce repo rate comes a fortnight ahead of the scheduled date of monetary policy announcement on February 3.

  •  “It has been decided to reduce the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points from 8.0 per cent to 7.75 per cent with immediate effect,” Reserve Bank said in a statement.

  •  The RBI has been keeping the benchmark interest rate at elevated level at 8 per cent since January 2014. The RBI, however, has decided to keep the cash reserve ratio (CRR), the portion of deposits which the banks are required to have in cash with the central bank, unchanged at 4.0 per cent.

  •  Following reduction in the repo rate, the reverse repo rate has been adjusted to 6.75 per cent and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and Bank Rate to 8.75 per cent.

  •  The RBI said that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has been easing since July 2014 and was below the expected trajectory and the government has reiterated its commitment to adhering to its fiscal deficit target.

Infosys announces $250 million ‘Innovate in India Fund’

  •  In a move to help the Indian start-up ecosystem, India’s second largets IT company Infosys, announced the creation of a $250 million (Rs. 1,550 crore) ‘Innovate in India Fund’ from its recently expanded innovation fund.

  •  Earlier, Infosys had said that it will expand its innovation fund to $500 million to accelerate the creation of its worldwide ecosystem of innovation.

  •  The Innovate in India Fund, announced by Dr. Vishal Sikka, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director in a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be dedicated for investments in promising new Indian companies that will be inducted into the global ecosystem of strategic partners that Infosys is building.

  •  The Fund will be used to invest in young companies innovating in next-generation solutions and technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), automation, pervasive connectedness as well as collaboration and design technologies, the company said in a statement.

  •  Speaking on the fund, Dr. Sikka said, “Start-ups represent the vision, the hope and the persevering entrepreneurial spirit taking root in India. With the ‘Innovate in India Fund’, Infosys will invest in great Indian start-ups, help amplify their engineering and operations, as well as help bring their innovations to market at scale.

  •  Next-generation solutions built on emerging computing technologies, in innovative new ways, can dramatically reshape and improve the world around us.

  •  That’s why, we look forward to working with innovative companies to strengthen our collective potential and also accelerate the success of the Prime Minister’s ‘Digital India’ mission aimed at helping people gain benefits from the latest in information technology.”

Government likely to sell 10% stake in IOC this fiscal

  •  The Department of Disinvestment (DoD) has circulated a draft note for the consideration of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for sale of 10 per cent out of government’s 68.57 per cent stake in Indian Oil Corporation, sources privy to the development said.

  •  It sought comments on the proposal from Petroleum Ministry as well as Departments of Expenditure, Public Enterprises and Economic Affairs.

  •  Sources said the plan to sell 24.27 crore equity shares in IOC was mooted after big-ticket disinvestment in Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) got stuck in subsidy woes.

  •  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had discussed possible disinvestment candidates in oil sector, other than ONGC, with Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on January 8. Government was to sell 5 per cent of its stake in the country’s biggest oil and gas producer ONGC to raise Rs 17,000-18,000 crore.

  •  However, the double impact of tumbling global oil prices and the rising subsidy burden has left the ONGC stock battered. It has slipped from Rs. 472 in June last year to Rs. 343.85 (at close of market). At current price, the government will get no more than Rs. 15,000 crore.

  •  In 2014-15, the government has sold 5 per cent stake in steel major SAIL to garner Rs. 1,700 crore. It is racing against time to meet its disinvestment target of Rs. 43,425 crore for this fiscal. Blue-chip companies like ONGC, NHPC and Coal India had been lined up for disinvestment.

Coca-Cola to cut jobs in India

  •  Beverages giant Coca-Cola will cut jobs in India as part of its “redesigning operating model” globally to accelerate business growth across markets.

  •  “As part of the Coca-Cola Company’s recently announced, multi-year productivity initiatives, we are now redesigning our operating model to streamline and simplify our structure and accelerate the growth of our global business,” a Coca-Cola India spokesperson said.

  •  “As we have acknowledged previously, this redesign work will result in impacts to jobs across our global operations including in India,” he said. With the company still working on the redesign process, the impact of the process is yet to be known, he said.

  •  Coca-Cola India employs around 250 people in India. Up to 15,000 people are employed by the company’s bottling partners. The Atlanta-based company had already announced it would cut between 1,600 and 1,800 jobs worldwide in coming months to trim costs.

  •  In October last year, the company had said it would cut costs by $3 billion by 2019 by bringing in enhanced efficiencies in its global operations.

Jaitley hailed decision of RBI to cut interest rate

  •  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hailed the decision of RBI to cut the interest rate, saying it is positive for the Indian economy and will certainly help in reviving the investment cycle the government is trying to restore.

  •  “The RBI decision to cut the interest rate will lead to more money in the hands of the consumer for greater spending,” Mr. Jaitley said.

  •  “It is positive for the Indian economy and it will certainly help in reviving the investment cycle the government is trying to restore,” said Mr. Jaitley who has been nudging the central bank to ease the interest rate to lower the cost of capital.

  •  Earlier in the day, the RBI cut interest rate by 0.25 per cent to 7.75 per cent.
    WPI inflation almost flat at 0.11% in Dec.

  •  Wholesale inflation inched up to 0.11 per cent in December from 0 per cent in November on the back of a surge in food prices, raising hopes of a rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India in its next Monetary Policy Review, scheduled to be held on February 3.

  •  Wholesale inflation in food, according to official data released on Wednesday, shot up to 5.2 per cent, a five-month high. It was 0.63 per cent in November. Inflation in pulses, vegetables and fruits was higher in December over the previous month.

  •  The rise in food prices is attributed to the increase in prices in vegetables, fruits, pulses, onion and potatoes. Inflation as measured by the wholesale price index (WPI) has been on the decline since June.

  •  The sub-1 per cent WPI inflation figure soon comes after the latest retail inflation data, released, at 5 per cent, too showed a marginal increase, and yet remained below expectations. With global crude now below $50 a barrel, fuel inflation continued to fall.

  •  Wholesale inflation for fuel fell to minus 7.82 per cent in December against minus 4.91 per cent in November. Commenting on the WPI inflation, Confederation of Indian Industry Director-General Chandrajit Banerjee said that the December figure was much more favourable than anticipated.

  •  The CII hopes that the conducive inflationary situation would spur the RBI to move away from its inflation-centric approach to policy making and focus on rejuvenating growth in the economy and industry, in its forthcoming monetary policy, he said in a statement.

Infosys announces $250 million ‘Innovate in India Fund’

  •  In a move to help the Indian start-up ecosystem, India’s second largets IT company Infosys, announced the creation of a $250 million (Rs. 1,550 crore) ‘Innovate in India Fund’ from its recently expanded innovation fund.

  •  Earlier, Infosys had said that it will expand its innovation fund to $500 million to accelerate the creation of its worldwide ecosystem of innovation.

  •  The Innovate in India Fund, announced by Dr. Vishal Sikka, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director in a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be dedicated for investments in promising new Indian companies that will be inducted into the global ecosystem of strategic partners that Infosys is building.

  •  The Fund will be used to invest in young companies innovating in next-generation solutions and technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), automation, pervasive connectedness as well as collaboration and design technologies, the company said in a statement.

  •  Speaking on the fund, Dr. Sikka said, “Start-ups represent the vision, the hope and the persevering entrepreneurial spirit taking root in India. With the ‘Innovate in India Fund’, Infosys will invest in great Indian start-ups, help amplify their engineering and operations, as well as help bring their innovations to market at scale.

  •  Next-generation solutions built on emerging computing technologies, in innovative new ways, can dramatically reshape and improve the world around us.

  •  That’s why, we look forward to working with innovative companies to strengthen our collective potential and also accelerate the success of the Prime Minister’s ‘Digital India’ mission aimed at helping people gain benefits from the latest in information technology.”

Government likely to sell 10% stake in IOC this fiscal

  •  The Department of Disinvestment (DoD) has circulated a draft note for the consideration of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for sale of 10 per cent out of government’s 68.57 per cent stake in Indian Oil Corporation, sources privy to the development said.

  •  It sought comments on the proposal from Petroleum Ministry as well as Departments of Expenditure, Public Enterprises and Economic Affairs.

  •  Sources said the plan to sell 24.27 crore equity shares in IOC was mooted after big-ticket disinvestment in Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) got stuck in subsidy woes.

  •  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had discussed possible disinvestment candidates in oil sector, other than ONGC, with Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on January 8. Government was to sell 5 per cent of its stake in the country’s biggest oil and gas producer ONGC to raise Rs 17,000-18,000 crore.

  •  However, the double impact of tumbling global oil prices and the rising subsidy burden has left the ONGC stock battered. It has slipped from Rs. 472 in June last year to Rs. 343.85 (at close of market). At current price, the government will get no more than Rs. 15,000 crore.

  •  In 2014-15, the government has sold 5 per cent stake in steel major SAIL to garner Rs. 1,700 crore. It is racing against time to meet its disinvestment target of Rs. 43,425 crore for this fiscal. Blue-chip companies like ONGC, NHPC and Coal India had been lined up for disinvestment.

Decision by RBI to cut rate to help revive realty market sentiment

  • The decision by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to cut the benchmark interest rate by 0.25 per cent to 7.75 per cent, although small, will boost the overall sentiment in the real estate market, the industry felt.

  •  The liquidity-starved industry has seen increasing non-performing assets (NPAs) and banks have been wary of increasing their exposure to it.

  •  The rate cut is also an indicator that inflation is now under control and that the government is keen on initiating steps to boost economic growth, felt experts.

  •  “It is a small step but reflects positive intent and sends the right signals,’’ Lalit Kumar Jain, President, Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI) said, adding, ``currently the effective rate is around 10.25 per cent as banks are not passing on the rates fully.

  •  The industry cannot sustain business at a rate above 8 per cent and we are sure the rate will be brought down further.’’ The move is expected to instill hope and confidence in the real estate industry.

  •  “However, the impact of this move on the real estate sector will be manifested only when commercial banks lower their lending rates. Leading banks may actually lead the obvious reduction,’’ said Sanjay Dutt, executive MD – South Asia, Cushman & Wakefield, a real estate consultancy. He expected demand from end-users to take a bit longer to actually transform into active buying.

  •  Mr. Jain said a reduction of 200 basis points within a short span is needed. “RBI should look at the housing sector favorably given its linkages. It needs a policy for project funding to developers and has to take into consideration the market’s cyclical nature.’’

SC seeks RIL response to the final CAG report

  • The Supreme Court directed Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) to respond to the final CAG report alleging irregularities, including in payments made to the contractors on drilling of D6 wells at the Krishna-Godavari basin.

  •  Granting RIL six weeks to respond, a Bench led by Justice T.S. Thakur posted the case for March 20.

  •  On that date, the Bench said would examine RIL’s reply in connection with the audit body’s report that sought disallowance of $357.16 million (about Rs 2,179 crore) expenditure RIL incurred on drilling of wells and payments to contractors in KG-D6.

  •  Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar said the Centre would wait to comment on the CAG findings until the Parliament’s Public Account Committee, which is examining it, gives a final word.

  •  The order was passed during a brief hearing of petitions filed in 2013 by senior CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta and NGO Common Cause. The petition challenged the then UPA government decision to double the price of natural gas from $4.2 to $ 8.4 per mmbtu and seeking cancellation of RIL’s contract for exploration of oil and gas from the KG basin.

  •  The court further permitted Mr. Dasgupta and the other petitioners to file their responses to the NDA government’s fresh guidelines which would “supersede” the earlier UPA dispensation’s policy on price fixation for natural gas, including that from KG basin.

Japanese companies want to invest in India

  •  The government said Japanese companies have ranked India as the top most preferred destinations for further investments.

  •  According to the Commerce and Industry Ministry, the business sentiments of Japanese companies were revealed in a survey conducted by Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) in July 2014.

  •  The survey of 1,000 Japanese manufacturing companies ranked India as the No.1 destination for future investments followed by Indonesia and China.

  •  “Some Japanese companies are seriously contemplating their future investment plans in India amounting to about Rs.75,000 crore ($12 billion) in next 2-3 years,” the survey said.

  •  During the period from June to September 2014, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow from Japan amounted to $618 million against $273 million for the corresponding period in 2013.

  •  The ministry said FDI inflow of $103.14 million took place in October 2014. The ministry further said that the government has set up a special management team called Japan Plus to facilitate Japanese investors.

  •  “The team is actively interacting with Japanese companies and handholding them through various approval processes, as and when required,” the ministry said.

Govt. to corporatise  Ordnance factories

  •  Days after terminating the contract of DRDO chief Avinash Chander, the government is planning to corporatise some of the ordnance factories. The plan is to initially corporatise about 10 ordnance factories and turn them into Public Sector Undertakings to make them more accountable and increase their capabilities.

  •  Those under consideration are the cloth-making and equipment factories in the Kanpur belt. A note on this matter has already been circulated in the highest echelons of the government and the proposal is likely to get the government nod by April, the sources added.

  •  These factories are into manufacturing personnel clothing, parachute material, small arms, metallurgical equipment, shells and other such equipment.

  •  The move comes close on the heels of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar promising a major overhaul of the DRDO and defence production units. This is not for the first time though that corporatisation of ordnance factories is being considered.

  •  In the UPA I regime too, the government mooted such a proposal in accordance with the recommendations of the Vijay Kelkar committee.
    Obama proposes higher tax on wealthy Americans

  •  President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address will propose closing multibillion-dollar tax loopholes used by the wealthiest Americans, imposing a fee on big financial firms and then using the revenue to benefit the middle class, senior administration officials said .

  •  Mr. Obama’s annual address to a joint session of Congress will continue his theme of income equality, and the administration is optimistic it will find some bipartisan support in the Republican-dominated House of Representatives and Senate.

  •  Mr. Obama’s proposals call for reforming tax rules on trust funds, which the administration called “the single largest capital gains tax loophole” because it allows assets to be passed down untaxed to heirs of the richest Americans.

  •  They also would raise the capital gains and dividends rates to 28 per cent, the level during the 1980s Republican presidency of Ronald Reagan.

  •  As a way of managing financial risk that could threaten the U.S. economy, Mr. Obama also wants to impose a fee of seven basis points on the liabilities of U.S. financial firms with assets of more than $50 billion, making it more costly for them to borrow heavily.

Amazon gets into movie production

  •  Amazon Studios announced that it will significantly expand into movie production by acquiring films for theatrical release and early-window streaming through its subscription service, Amazon Prime Instant Video.

  •  A key part of the new venture is to shrink what’s historically been a three-month window reserved for theatres, instead getting movies to its website four to eight weeks after theatrical release.

  •  Roy Price, vice president of Amazon Studios, said the company’s goal is to produce 12 movies a year, with production beginning later this year.
    India to beat China in growth in 2016: IMF

  •  “India will grow at 6.3% in 2015, up from 5.8% in 2014”

  •  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected India to grow at 6.5 per cent in 2016, overtaking China whose growth was forecast to slow down to 6.3 per cent.

  •  In its World Economic Outlook report released , the IMF forecast that India would grow at 6.3 per cent in 2015, up from 5.8 per cent in 2014. China’s 2014 growth rate was 7.4 per cent.

  •  In another forecast released , the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects (U.N. WESP) report predicted a smart recovery for India in 2015.

  •  It pegged its 2015 India growth forecast lower than the IMF’s — at 5.9 per cent. At 6.3 per cent, the UN WESP’s 2016 India growth forecast is, however,

closer to that of the IMF. Bajaj group to release book

  •  The Bajaj group will release a book, commemorating the birth centenary of Kamalnayan Bajaj.

  •  Titled ‘Kamalnayan Bajaj — Architect of the Bajaj Group’ and written by noted business historian Gita Piramal, the book traces the struggles, tribulations and emergence of one of the largest business houses in India and captures the spirit of the country in challenging times while profiling one of the giants of Indian industry.

  •  From a trading group whose reins he took over from his father Jamnalal Bajaj, the group founding, till his passing in 1972, Kamalnayan (Kakaji) Bajaj transformed the group to being among the top 20 industrial houses in the country.

Centre to release new series of Consumer Price Index next month

  •  For presenting a more accurate and realistic price situation, the government will release next month a new series of Consumer Price Index (CPI) with 2012 as base year for computing the retail inflation rate.

  •  The first series (revised) would be compiled for January, which will be released on February 12.

  •  From January, 2016, onwards, inflation rates would be compiled using the actual CPI of the revised series, according to an official release “Now the CSO is in the process of revising the Base Year from 2010=100 to 2012=100,” it said adding that with this (base) revision, the gap between Price Reference Year (Base Year) and the Weight Reference Year has been minimised. Apart from base revision, a number of methodological improvements have been introduced in the revised series.

TVS Srichakra to Launch radial tyres

  •  TVS Srichakra Ltd., a well-known maker of two-wheeler, three-wheeler and off-road tyres, will be launching radial tyres for motorcycles soon. Unveiling the company’s new identity and logo — TVS TYRES — here , P. Vijayaraghavan, Director of the company, said the new logo conveyed strength, speed and dynamism.

  •  Talking to reporters, he said there was a rapid increase in tubeless tyres in the country with manufacturers incorporating it in the new vehicles. The concept was catching up fast, and they were also significantly increasing the production of tubeless tyres for the motorcycles and scooters segments.
    Saradha scam: accused say bribes paid to SEBI official

  •  Some of the accused in the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam, in their disclosures to the Enforcement Directorate, have levelled bribery allegations against an official of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

  •  The ED has been told by the accused that the official, then holding a senior position, was paid bribes regularly to ensure smooth conduct of operations of the Saradha Group companies that were allegedly involved in the scam.

  •  Following Supreme Court observations last year, the Central Bureau of Investigation has also initiated investigations into the matter. “Investigation conducted so far puts a question mark on the role of SEBI, Registrar of Companies and officials of the RBI within whose respective jurisdictions and areas of operation the scam not only took birth but flourished unhindered,” said a Supreme Court Bench.

  •  The CBI has also questioned several SEBI officials in view of allegations that the regulating body initiated action against Saradha Realty swiftly after receipt of complaints regarding the company’s alleged illegal activities.

  •  A few days ago, the agency also sought clarifications from a SEBI member in connection with the probe conducted into the complaints and action taken by the body.

  •  The probing agencies have found that the Saradha Group of companies collected funds of Rs.2,459 crore from lakhs of investors spread across 14 States, including West Bengal, Assam and Odisha, between 2008 and 2013.

  •  Of the collected funds, Rs.1,983 crore — apart from the interest earned — remained outstanding and has, therefore, been marked as proceeds of crime committed by the accused persons for attachment of their properties under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The ED has already attached properties worth about Rs.500 crore.

Ashok Leyland gets ready for electric play

  • Ashok Leyland (AL) has indicated that the company is actively focused on developing electric and ethanol-powered vehicles in preparation for the emerging opportunities in the alternative transport solution segment.

  •  The Hinduja flagship, showcased full-fledged working prototypes of three electric zero emission vehicles (that include the all-electric light commercial vehicle Dost, 10-tonne electric truck and midi bus) and an ethanol-driven Dost.

  •  AL expects first major opportunity for plug-in electric vehicles to come in the bus segment. Its upcoming electric bus is being developed in-house with some parts sourced from Ashok Leyland’s UK subsidiary Optare, which is a pioneer in bus making.

  •  Though the commercial launch of electric vehicles and alternate fuel-powered vehicles may take some more years, AL is seeing some green shoots in terms of subvention schemes under the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020.

  •  The transportation sector accounts for a third of total crude oil consumption in the country and road transportation accounts for over 80 per cent of total consumption.

Kenstar ties up with Amazon

  •  Consumer electronics and appliances manufacturer Kenstar has made a foray into the air conditioner segment, and launched its range of split ACs. In a first, Kenstar has tied up with e-commerce player to distribute the ACs exclusively.

  •  A statement from the company said it aims to revolutionise the AC segment and plans to capture 5 per cent of the total market share by the close of 2014-15.

Xiaomi to set up first R&D base in India

  •  Handset maker Xiaomi will set up a research and development unit in Bengaluru, its first such facility outside of China, as it looks to beef up presence in the booming Indian smartphone market.

  •  The company, which expects the centre to be operational in the next few months, will focus on localising its products and features for the Indian market through the unit.

  •  Work on the facility is expected to commence by the end of March and in the next few months, it will be operational, Xiaomi India Head Manu Jain told .
    Banks free to decide NPA norms, says Supreme Court

  •  Dealing a blow to borrowers, especially in the industrial sector, the Supreme Court upheld a 2004 amendment enabling banks to follow different guidelines for declaring bad loans as “non-performing assets.”

  •  Noting that quick recovery of bad loans was essential to keep the financial health of the country intact, a Bench of Justices J. Chelameswar and S.A. Bobde upheld an amendment to Section 2, which defines non-performing assets (NPA) under the Securitisation and Re-constitution of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interests (SARFAESI) Act, 2002.

  •  The Act allowed a secured creditor bank to determine a bad debt as NPA and proceed to seize and sell the assets to recover the amount due to it as loan.

  •  The 2004 amendment classified borrowers into two categories. One, those who got secured loans from institutions which followed RBI guidelines framed on the declaration of NPAs. Two, those who borrowed from institutions governed by guidelines set by their own regulators.

  •  The court was deciding a batch of petitions filed by borrowers, contending that the amendment discriminated against between two classes of borrowers. Especially, when RBI guidelines gave only 60 days before a bad debt can be declared an NPA, while individual regulators were allowed up to 180 days to lapse before the secured loan is declared an NPA.

Base year change pushes GDP growth to 6.9% in 2013-14

  •  The base year was last revised in January, 2010 The Modi Government, sharply revised India’s 2013-14 GDP growth estimate to 6.9 per cent from 4.7 per cent. The 2012-13 growth estimate was revised to 5.1 per cent from 4.5 per cent.

  •  Former Finance Minister and Congress leader P. Chidambaram said that the data released showed that the 10 years of the UPA government recorded the highest decadal growth since Independence.

  •  GDP data for a fiscal undergoes three rounds of revisions; the process takes three years. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) releases the second Revised Estimate for a financial year ending in March on the subsequent January 30.

  •  The estimates released on Friday also follow a change in the base year for calculating national accounts to 2011-12 from 2004-05 in addition to the routine annual revision — where changes are made only on the basis of updated data becoming available.

  •  The base year was last revised in January, 2010.

  •  In case of base year revisions, apart from a shift in the reference year for measuring the real growth, conceptual changes, as recommended by the international guidelines, are incorporated, the official release said.

  •  The changes have reduced the gap between the way India calculates GDP and the methodology used by the International Monetary Fund.

  •  The jobs-creating manufacturing sector’s growth estimate for 2013-14 was revised to 6.2 per cent from minus 0.7 per cent and for 2012-13 was revised to 5.3 per cent from 1.1 per cent.

Cash transfers can plug PDS leakages: study

  •  A new study has estimated that 46.7 per cent or 25.9 million metric tonnes (MMTs) of the grains (rice and wheat), released through the PDS, did not reach the intended beneficiaries in 2011-12.

  •  In the study, based on the latest NSSO data, by Chair Professor for Agriculture at ICRIER and former Chairman, Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP), Ashok Gulati and Shweta Saini, Chhattisgarh was the best performing State with 0 per cent diversion. Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu were among the better performers with 11.1 per cent and 12.2 per cent leakages respectively.

  •  The worst-performing State was Manipur where 97.8 per cent of the grains failed to reach beneficiaries, followed by Daman and Diu where leakages were 95.8 per cent. In Delhi, 82.6 per cent of the grains were diverted.

  •  During the period under study, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister in Gujarat, the pilferage was 72.2 per cent. Poor States such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal delivered greater proportion of off-taken grains to the poor than Gujarat.

  •  The PDS operates through a network of roughly 5.00,000 fair price shops (FPS) across the country and is likely the largest public network of its type in the world, currently distributing roughly 50-55 MMT of grains annually

  •  The National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 also relies on this vehicle to deliver food security to 67 per cent of population (75 per cent rural and 50 per cent urban) with an estimated distribution of about 61.4 MMT of grains.
    Centre proposes major changes to Tea Act

  •  The Centre has proposed major amendments to the 1953 Tea Act to give more teeth to the regulator — Tea Board of India.

  •  The move aims at plugging loopholes in relevant sections of the Tea Act to enable takeover of the management or control of tea gardens, which have been closed for over 90 days.

  •  The amendments also propose new additions in the Act, like including in its ambit terms like small tea growers while defining tea estates. Special attention is also to be paid to protection of IPR of teas and monitoring of tea gardens. The Government feels that there is need to delete certain archaic provisions of the Indian Tea Act as they have become irrelevant. There is also a need to reinforce the powers and functions of the Tea Board so as to enable the body to regulate, develop and promote tea industry and trade while helping production and exports besides improving quality.

  •  Surprisingly, the existing Act does not clearly define the powers of the Tea Board although it is widely known as the industry regulator. The amendments plan to lay out clear definitions in this respect while setting out the powers of the Tea Board chairman.

  •  The Tea Board has sought powers to monitor the working of tea gardens, making its approach more direct and proactive than the present reactive attitude. It has been suggested that the Board shall constantly monitor the gardens and try to pre-empt closures.

  •  It is felt that the Section 16 of the Tea Act, which provides for handing over management of sick gardens, has many limitations.

Obama proposes  $3.99 trillion budget

  •  President Barack Obama proposed a $3.99-trillion budget for fiscal year 2016 that sets up a battle with Republicans over programs to boost the middle-class that are funded by higher taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans.

  •  The budget foresees a $474-billion deficit, which is 2.5 per cent of U.S. gross domestic product. It projects deficits stabilising at that rate over a 10-year period, senior administration officials said.

  •  Mr. Obama’s budget fleshes out proposals from his State of the Union address and helps highlight Democratic priorities for the last quarter of his presidency and the beginning of the 2016 presidential campaign.

  •  But it is as much a political document as a fiscal road map and would require approval from the Republican-controlled Congress to go into effect.

JK group Chairman Gaur Hari Singh passes away

  •  JK group Chairman Gaur Hari Singhania passed away following a heart attack.

  •  Singhania (80) was also the President of J. K. Organisation and a Promoter Director of JK Cement Ltd. since its inception in 1994.

  •  A sports lover, he was also the chief patron of Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association’s (UPCA). He is survived by a son, Yadupati Singhania.

  •  He was cremated this afternoon at Bhagwat Das Ghat in the city. Rajan for raising tax exemption limit on financial investments

  •  Days ahead of the Budget, Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan, pitched for increasing the tax exemption limit on financial investments by individuals from Rs.1.50 lakh a year.

  •  Acknowledging that there was a Rs.50,000 increase in the limit in the last budget to Rs.1.50 lakh a year, he said benefits of this instrument had been lost over time as the limit was anchored at Rs.1 lakh for a long time.

  •  Cracking its whip on entities using stock markets for evading taxes and laundering black money, watchdog SEBI has decided to suspend trading in listed companies that are found to be used by such manipulators.

  • The capital markets regulator has identified three parameters for taking action against such companies and the trading would be suspended in the shares of those entities that satisfy more than one of the criteria.

  • In its probe into various such cases, SEBI found huge share price rally in shares of the companies that existed only on paper and did not even exist on the addresses mentioned in their regulatory filings, while preferential allotment has emerged as a major route for laundering of illicit funds.

  • The modus operandi typically involves stock market dealings aimed at evading capital gains tax and showing the source of income as legitimate from stock markets. SEBI found a typical pattern in trading of shares of these companies. First, the shares would be allotted on preferential basis to certain connected entities, price would be pushed higher without any fundamental move, followed by an exit being given to these investors and the shares would be sold back to the company or related entities raking in huge profits.

  • Such huge profits were made in stocks where fundamentals or financials of the companies did not justify the price.
    A large number of small NBFCs and brokers are already under SEBI’s scanner for having facilitated illicit transactions worth thousands of crores of rupees over the past two-three years, sources said.

Naveen Chopra is new Vodafone India COO

  •  Vodafone India, announced the appointment of Naveen Chopra as Chief Operating Officer (COO) with effect from April

  • 1. Mr. Chopra, now Director (Vodafone Business Services), will succeed Sunil Sood, who will be the Managing Director and CEO of the company effective April 1.

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General Awareness : India & The World - February, 2015

(General Awareness For Bank's Exams)

India & The World

February, 2015

India is world’s second most trusting nation: Survey

  •  Moving up the ranks, India has emerged as the second most trusted country in the world in terms of faith reposed on its institutions even as globally trust levels have fallen, says a survey.

  •  As the world’s rich and powerful gather in the Swiss resort of Davos, a study by public relations firm Edelman has found that general level of trust in institutions among college-educated people around the globe are at levels not seen since 2009 in many of the markets it surveyed.

  •  Trust in institutions in India has improved sharply in 2015 with the country moving up three notches to the second place among 27 nations.

  •  While the number of “truster” countries are at an all-time low of six in 2015 including UAE, India, China and Netherlands, the number of “distruster” countries has grown significantly to 13 including Japan, Russia, Hong Kong, South Africa and Italy.

  •  Brazil, Malaysia, France and the US are among the 8 “neutral” nations as per the trust index, the survey said.

  •  India, which last year saw the BJP-led NDA government storming to power at the Centre, stands tall.

  •  According to the report, an “alarming evaporation of trust” has happened across all institutions, reaching the lows of the Great Recession in 2009.

  •  Trust in government, business, media and NGOs in the general population is below 50 per cent in two-thirds of countries, including the U.S., U.K. and Germany, it said.

  •  From fifth most trusted in 2014, India has now become the second-most trusted in 2015 with a score of 79 per cent in the barometer. The study has put India Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image on the first page.

Vision statement on Asia-Pacific, Indian Ocean

  •  After meeting for close to five hours, including an extended lunch, tea on the Hyderabad House lawns, and delegation level talks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama issued three separate documents: a declaration of friendship with a commitment to regular summits, a joint statement called “Shared Effort, Progress for all”, and a joint strategic vision statement for the Asia-Pacific and the Indian ocean region.

  •  The last document could raise eyebrows in China, when External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj visits Beijing next week, as it elaborates on the clauses in their previous joint statement for the disputed maritime region, and says, “We affirm the importance of safeguarding maritime security and ensuring freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region, especially in the South China Sea.”

  •  Conspicuous by its absence was mention of “cross-border” terrorism or India’s issues with Pakistan, although the two sides repeated their September commitment to “disrupt” terror groups including Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e- Mohammad, D Company and the Haqqani Network.

Germany eager to join ‘Make in India’ initiative

  •  German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble expressed interest in working with India in the manufacturing sector, especially in the auto and solar energy industries, at a meeting with business lobby Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) .The German minister is scheduled to hold talks with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley .

  •  Dr. Schäuble’s positive note on German manufacturing industry’s readiness to participate in the ‘Make in India’ policy comes close on the heels of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s voicing of the Obama administration’s worries over the initiative.

  •  Mr. Modi is scheduled to jointly inaugurate the Hannover trade fair along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during his visit to Germany in April 2015.
    Obama, Modi at India US CEO Forum
    The India-US CEO Forum began with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama present along with top business honchos of both countries.

India Inc is led by Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry.

  • The other CEOs who are expected to be present are Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director (CMD), Reliance Industries Ltd; Gautam Adani, chairman, Adani Group; Sunil Bhari Mittal, chairman and group CEO, Bharti Entreprises; Sashi Ruia, chairman, Essar Group; Hari S Bhartia, co-chairman and MD, Jubilant Life Sciences; and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, CMD, Biocon.

  • Among others are Anand Mahindra, CMD, Mahindra and Mahindra; Deepak Parekh, chairman, HDFC; Chanda Kochar, CEO and MD, ICICI Bank; Arundhati Bhattacharya, chairman, State Bank of India; Vishal Sikka, CEO & MD, Infosys; B Prasada Rao, CMD, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited; Sudhir Mehta, chairman emeritus, Torrent Pharmaceuticals; Preetha Reddy, executive chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Entreprises; Anurag Kumar, director, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; and D.K. Saraff, CMD, ONGC. Honeywell International Chairman and CEO Dave Cote was likely to lead the US CEOs team, which was to have Indra Nooyi, chairperson and CEO, PepsiCo, and Ajay Banga, CEO, Mastercard, among others. US-India Business Council (USIBC) acting president Diane Farrell told IANS: “The Forum will be focusing on two-way trade. Ease of doing business is something that will be focused. That will attract more US business to India. “Market access issue of both the countries will be discussed. US companies recognises the importance of both these programmes of Digital India and Make in India. The US companies will look at the consistency and predictability of Indian market.”

PIA closure will snap vital link between India, Pakistan

• Official Pakistani sources said they were worried that the Enforcement Directorate notice to the Pakistan International Airlines on its offices in Delhi, had political overtones.
• The move, they feared, would “cut off a vital link between both countries.” PIA runs the only flights between India and Pakistan, with two flights a week on the Delhi-Lahore sector and once a week on the Mumbai-Karachi sector.
• Pakistani officials insisted that the PIA service to India which started in 1976, would not be cancelled, despite all the problems. However, one official said there were apprehensions that the action came after Foreign Secretary talks were cancelled last July, and indicated other actions could follow “causing a further rift in ties.”


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