Current Affairs, News & Facts of 19 Aug 2015

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  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi announces Rs 1.25 lakh crore special package for poll bound Bihar



    Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a package of Rs. 1.25 lakh crore for poll bound Bihar which political pandits see as a part of vote strategy of BJP but but BJP leaders insisted that it was not just about elections but part of the Centre's commitment to develop the eastern region of the country 

    The package would be in addition to Rs 40,657 crore pledged to ongoing highway and power projects bringing the total to Rs 1.65 lakh crore besides Rs 8,500 crore of unused money from Bihar’s last central package.

    Details of Fund distribution :-

    • A total of Rs 54,713 crores have been allotted for highways which includes 2,775 kilometres of highways and construction of bridges across the Kosi, Sone and Ganga rivers 
    • Other big part of the package has been allotted in the petroleum and gas sectors.Expansion of the Barauni Refinery and a petrol-diesel pipeline from Raxaul to Nepal are some of the projects planned. 
    • The special package includes the allotment of Rs 16,130 crores for the electrification of villages and small towns. A 1,300 MW power plant at Buxar is also planned another 3,094 crores have been planned under the package for farmer welfare.
    • A big sum has been allotted for the skill development of youth so Rs 1,000 crores have been allotted in the education sector. Projects planned include an IIM at Bodh Gaya and a Central University near Bhagalpur. 
  • SP Misra, TPP Nair, Romeo James named for Dhyan Chand award 2015



    Award selection committee, headed by ex-India hockey captain Zafar Iqbal recommended the names of TPP Nair, SP Misra and Romeo James for 2015 Dhyan Chand award. Their names were shortlisted from the names of 60 applicants.

    TPP Nair is former volleyball captain of Indian team. SP Misra is former Davis Cup captain and is the incumbent chairman of the All India Tennis Association selection committee (AITASC). Romeo James is current goalkeeper of Indian Hockey team.

    • S.P. Misra  is also the chairman of the current All India Tennis Association (AITA) selection committee, was the Davis Cup captain of the country for a long time.
    • TPP Nair led the Indian team which bagged a bronze medal in the 1958 Tokyo Asian Games and a silver medal in the next edition at Jakarta.
    • Romeo James, the former goalkeeper of the Indian hockey team, represented the country in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics where India finished fifth.

    About Dhyan Chand Award :-

    • Dhyan Chand award is India's highest award for lifetime achievement in sports and games, given by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
    • The award is named after the legendary Indian hockey player Dhyan Chand
    • The award was Instituted in 2002 and carries a cash prize of 5 lakh rupees, a plaque and a scroll of honour.
  • ICICI Bank launches ‘Smart Vault’ digital locker facility



    India’s largest private sector lender ICICI Bank has launched "Smart Vault digital locker" the first of its kind fully automated digital locker, which would be available to customers even on weekends and post banking hours. It was launched by Managing Director (MD) and CEO of ICICI Bank, Chanda Kochhar in New Delhi

    Key features of Smart Vault’

    1. The locker is equipped with a multi-layer security system, including biometric and PIN authentication and debit cards.
    2. Customers can access it without any intervention by the branch staff and it will be available to customers even on weekends and post banking hours
    3. The ‘Smart Vault’ is an example of ‘Make In India’ programme as it has been designed and manufactured by Indian partners
    4. The vault uses robotic technology to access the lockers from the safe vault and enables customers to access their lockers at any time of their preference
    5. The lockers are of three different sizes and charges would depend on that. Also, the locker charges in different cities would vary depending on the real estate cost
  • SBI launches mobile wallet app ‘Buddy’



    • Country’s largest lender State Bank of India launched a mobile wallet app "SBI Buddy" in collaboration with Accenture and Mastercard
    • The app was launched by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley along with Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Finance and Hasmukh Adhia, Secretary, Department of Financial Services.
    • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also unveiled brand logo and website for SBI Foundation, a arm set up to implement corporate social responsibility (CSR) of the State Bank of India group.
    • The 'Buddy' application will be available for all customers irrespective of the bank the customer is banking with or card customer is using. 
    • Customers of SBI as well other banks can download the mobile wallet application from Google Play Store and use it currently it is available for android users but it will soon be available in the Apple App Store as well.

    Features of  SBI Buddy :-

    • It will allow users to send money to registered and new users, send reminders to settle dues, transfer additional cash into accounts of their choice free of cost, recharge and pay bills instantly, book movie tickets, flights and hotels, and shop.
    • The mobile wallet app is available in 13 languages. In later satge "SBI Buddy"  will be linked to debit cards, bank accounts, etc. It will be a precursor to making mobile as the banking channel of choice.

    SBI Foundation :-

    • SBI Foundation is an subsidiary of SBI which was launched recently to carry out its massive corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives although even befor SBI Foundation came up SBI was spending 1 per cent of it's profit on corporate social responsibility (CSR)
    • SBI foundation will encourage,causes related to environment, education, children welfare, women empowerment and manage all the CSR activities of the SBI Group.
  • RBI suspended licence of seven non-banking finance companies (NBFCs)



    Reserve Bank of India (RBI) suspended licences of seven non-banking finance companies. The seven NBFCs whose licences were suspended are  Religare Finance, Artisans Micro Finance, Eden Trade & Commerce, RCS Parivar Finance, Nott Investments, Dewra Stocks & Securities, Swetasree Finance. 

    There are around 12,000 NBFCs in the system. RBI has the power to cancel licence if the companies do not fulfil various norms including minimum net owned funds.

    Non-banking financial companies:-

    • Non-banking financial companies, or NBFCs, are financial institutions that provide banking services, but do not hold a banking license. These institutions are not allowed to take deposits from the public but  all operations of these institutions are still covered under banking regulations.
    • NBFCs do offer all sorts of banking services, such as loans and credit facilities, retirement planning, money markets, underwriting, and merger activites
    • Under RBI Act 1934 , RBI has power to register, regulate, lay down policy, inspect, issue directions, supervise and exercise surveillance over NBFCs that meet the 50-50 criteria of principal business.

  • Tata Trusts to develop 264 villages in Vijayawada under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY)

    • Tata Trust owned by Tata group is planning to develop to 264 villages in Vijayawada Lok Sabha constituency of Andhra Pradesh under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana(SAGY) initiative. Tata Trust will touch the lives of almost 1 million people through a proper planning and development centered around their needs.
    • The objective of this initiative is to build self sustainable and self driven villages with a focus on the well-being and happiness of the poor along with building the roads and infrastructure.
    • Srinivas Kesineni an entrepreneur turned politician  has played a key role in designing and implementing the programme as he was the one who approached Ratan Tata seeking his collaboration to develop model villages in Vijayawada constituency under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) .
    • Chief minister N Chanrababu Naidu has promised to support the project by providing Rs 600 crore to Rs 700 crore or more funds in addition to what these villages can get under the normal governmental schemes.
    • Under this programme Tata Trusts will be engaged in data collection, micro planning and village development programmes  and will bring convergence among various Central and state government schemes.

    About Tata Trust:-

    • Sir Ratan Tata Trust (SRTT) was established in 1919, with a sum capital of Rs 8 million the Sir Ratan Tata Trust (SRTT) is one of the oldest philanthropic institutions in India, and has played a pioneering role in changing traditional ideas of charity
    • The Trust has, for more than a century, has been instrumental in development processes, providing grants to institutions in Rural areas for health and education of poors.Currently Sir Ratan Tata Trust (SRTT) is headed by Mr. Arun Pandhi and and B. S. Taraporevala 
  • Bombay Stock Exchange sets up new system for reporting suspicious trades


    • Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) has instituted new methond to check money laundering through stock markets for this it has instituted Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) under which it has asked  its members to report on a monthly basis details of the STRs (Suspicious Transaction Reports) submitted to the government's Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).
    • Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) also said that the trading members are required to submit the data through a specific FIU-STR module of the online gateway BSE Electronic Filing System (BEFS).
    • The members have been asked to provide details of their registration with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) , and also the information about the principal officer and the designated directors for the PMLA 
    • Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) also suspended trading in 12 listed companies to "orderly development in the securities market"

    Companies that have been suspended are :-

    • Exotic Coal, Khyati Multimedia Entertainment, Kriptol Industries, Newtime Infrastructure, Shreekrishna Biotech, Simplex Trading Agencies and Sterling Webnet,  Sunbright Stock Broking, Toheal Pharmaceuticals, Zenith Capitals, PFL Infotech and Dee Kartavya Finance. are the companies whose trading will be suspended with effect from August 21

    About Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) :-

    • Financial Intelligence Unit  of India was set by the Government of India as the central national agency responsible for receiving, processing, analyzing and disseminating information relating to suspect financial transactions
    • FIU is also responsible for coordinating and strengthening efforts of national and international intelligence, investigation and enforcement agencies in pursuing the global efforts against money laundering and related crimes
    • FIU is an independent body reporting directly to the Economic Intelligence Council (EIC) headed by the Finance Minister.
  • Sri Lanka's PM defeats ex-president in elections


    • Sri Lanka's ruling United National Party (UNP) has won the country's parliamentary election. The UNP has emerged as the single largest party with 106 seats in the 225-member legislature.
    • Mr. Rajapaksa, who was president of the island nation for over nine years till January this year suffered a huge blow and leader of the UNFGG and UNP and current Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is expected to form a new government with the support of 95 MPs of United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) loyal to President Maithripala Sirisena

    Sri Lankan parliamentary election 2015 :-

    • Sri Lankan parliamentary election was held on 17 August 2015 to elect 225 members to the Sri Lanka’s 15th Parliament. Voters showed a massive turnout of  77.66 per cent.
    • There were total 225 seats of which 196 were to be directly elected from 22 multi-member electoral districts based on open party list proportional representation method and remaining 29 seats are National list seats which were allotted to the parties on basis of their overall votes secured by them.

    Sri Lankan parliamentary election 2015 Result :-

    • United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) :- It  was leaded by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. It won 83 seats directly won and 12 seats in National list. Thus total seats won are 95.
    • United National Party (UNP) :- It was leaded by th ruling govt.  It won 93 seats in direct election and 13 seats in National list. Thus total seats won are 106.
    • Tamil National Alliance (TNA) /Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK):-  It won 16 seats.  It should be noted that they are largest party representing Sri Lankan Tamils.
    • Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna :- It won 6 seats
    • Others:-  They won total 2 seats
  • Demarcation of ESZ around Okhla Bird Sanctuary completed



    • Standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) approved a draft notification of the eco-sensitive zone around the Okhla Bird Sanctuary on the capital’s border with Uttar Pradesh because union Government has completed the demarcation of eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) around the Okhla Bird Sanctuary.
    • Earlier, National Green Tribunal (NGT) had passed an order barring any infrastructure development within 10 kilometre radius from the sanctuary’s boundary due to which flat owners were denied possession of their apartments .
    • A final notification is now expected within a week once the notification is issued, the government will allow the home buyers outside the ESZ to get occupancy certificates of their flats, which had been pending for quite some time
    • The NBWL committee also cleared other projects including the widening of National Highway 7 and another All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)-like institute in Jhajjar, Haryana.
  • Finance Minister launches two funds for promoting MSMEs and Start-ups



    • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley launched two funds the India Aspiration Fund (IAF) and SIDBI Make in India Loan for Enterprises (SMILE) under Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) in line to carter funding for start-ups and to aid small enterprises in India.
    • SIDBI under the first fund India Aspiration Fund (IAF) would invest in venture capital funds for meeting the equity requirement of MSME start-ups and for this the initial corpus of Rs. 2,000 crore has been set. Life Insurance Corp. of India (LIC) will be a partner and co-investor in this fund.
    • Under second fund the SIDBI Make in India Loan for Enterprises (SMILE) is a debt-fund which will carter soft term loans to MSMEs to meet debt-to-equity norms and pursue growth opportunities, SIDBI has set Initial corpus of Rs. 10, 000 crore under SMILE fund.
    • Finance Ministry has launched these funds under SIDBI to boost MSME and start-ups under Make in India initiative and expects to create employment for over one lakh person for four to five years.
    • Ministry also intend to move people from overstaffed agriculture sector to areas such as services and manufacturing through MSMEs and start-up which fund their own business and creates employment.
  • Lonely Planet ranks Taj Mahal as world's fifth most attractive travel hotspot 



    India’s pride Taj Mahal has ranked fifth position in the prestigious list of most attractive travel hotspot in the world. Lonely Planet's "Ultimate Travelist" ranks the historic mausoleum built in Agra by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as the fifth most attractive travel hotspot in the world and has also described the monument as a magnificent Mughal masterpiece.

    • The Temples of Angkor, a UNESCO World Heritage site in northern Cambodia, tops the list as a complex of more than 1,000 temples, shrines and tombs which attracts more than 2 million visitors annually. 
    • The Great Barrier Reef in Australia comes in at number two, the Inca city of Machu Picchu in Peru at number three, and the Great Wall of China at four. 
  • ‘Send Your Kids To Govt Schools’:  Allahabad HC Directs UP Officials, Politicians



    • The Allahabad high court directed the Uttar Pradesh chief secretary to ensure that children of government officials, representatives of people and judiciary send their wards to government primary schools.
    • In case the government employees fail to send their kids to the government primary schools, an amount, which they are paying as fee for their wards in private schools, will be deducted from their salaries every month
    • In its order, the HC asked the state government to take appropriate steps to ensure that these guidelines are implemented from the next academic session.
    • While hearing a group of petitions by Shiv Kumar Pathak and several others, the HC bench of Justice Sudhir Agarwal also suggested strict penalties for those officials/employees failing to follow the new rules.
    • During the course of hearing, the court noticed the deplorable condition of these schools and observed that although they are catering to the needs of 90% population of children, even their condition is pathetic

2nd Aug

Exam Date : 02-08-2016

Exam Time : 07:15:00

Ques/Time : 6/5 min


Exam Date : 01-08-2016

Exam Time : 06:00:00

Ques/Time : 8/5 min

Todays test

Exam Date : 22-07-2016

Exam Time : 05:10:00

Ques/Time : 3/5 min