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  1. 1. GENERAL AWARENESS – JULY 2014 1 ROAD TO 16th LOK SABHA Article 79 of the Constitution of India provides for formation of Parliament with two houses – Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and The House of the People (Lok Sabha). As per article 83, Lok Sabha has a tenure of five years. After which it has to be dissolved to elect a new Lok Sabha.  Article 324 of the Constitution of India confers the relevant powers, duties and functions upon the Election Commission of India. Accordingly, elections were notified by Election Commission on March 5, 2014 to elect the 16th Lok Sabha.  Section 14 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 provides for conduct of the elections.  General Elections 2014 commence from April 7 to May 12, and take place in nine phases covering 543 constituencies  An estimated 81.4 Crore (814 Million) voters were eligible to vote in this election, 10 Crore more than the elections held in 2009.  Counting of votes took place on May 16, 2014 and Election results were announced by Election Commission on 18th May, 2014 PARTY POSITION IN 2014 LOK SABHA Bharatiya Janata Party 282 Indian National Congress 44 AIADMK 37 Trinamool Congress 34 Biju Janata Dal 20 Shivsena 18 Telugu Desam 16 Telangana Rashtra Samithi 11 Others 81 Total 543 MARCH TOWARDS NEW LOK SABHA May 17: Last meeting of cabinet of UPA II under Chairmanship of Dr. Manmohan Singh recommended the dissolution of 15th Lok Sabha. May 18: Election results notified by Election Commission 15th Lok Sabha Dissolved by the President May 20: Mr. Narendra Modi elected as leader of BJP Parliamentary Party President invites Mr. Modi form the government May 26: Mr. Modi sworn as 15th Prime Minister of India June 4: The first session of 16th Lok Sabha: June 4 to June 11. June 9: President Address to both Houses of Parliament PROFILE OF 15TH PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA Name: Narendra Damodardas Modi Born: September 17, 1950 (age 63), Vadnagar Education: M.A. Pol. Sci., (Gujarat University) Spouse: Jashodaben Modi (married 1968) Parents: Heeraben, Damodardas Mulchand Modi Siblings: Soma Modi, Pankaj Modi, Prahlad Modi Swearing in ceremony was attended by following leaders of the SAARC nations: Pakistan: Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister Nepal: Sushil Koirala, Prime Minister Bhutan: Tshering Tobgay, Prime Minister Sri Lanka: Mahinda Rajapakse, President Bangladesh: Shirin Chaudhury, Speaker Afghanistan: Hamid Karzai, President Maldives: Abdulla Yameen, President Prime Minister of Mauritius Mr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam also participated in the swearing in ceremony COUNCIL OF MINISTERS LIST OF CABINET MINISTERS WITH PORTFOLIOS NARENDRA MODI Prime Minister, Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions; Department of Atomic Energy; Department of Space; all important policy issues and all other portfolios not allocated to any Minister Rajnath Singh Home Affairs Sushma Swaraj External Affairs, Overseas Indian Affairs Arun Jaitley Finance, Corporate Affairs, Defence M. Venkaiah Naidu Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Parliamentary Affairs Nitin Jairam Gadkari Road Transport and Highways, Shipping D.V. Sadananda Gowda Railways Uma Bharati Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Dr. Najma A. Heptulla Minority Affairs Gopinathrao Munde Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water and Sanitation Ramvilas Paswan Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Kalraj Mishra Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Maneka Sanjay Gandhi Women and Child Development Ananthkumar Chemicals and Fertilizers Ravi Shankar Prasad Communications and Information Technology, Law and Justice AG Raju Pusapati Civil Aviation Anant Geete Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Harsimrat Kaur Badal Food Processing Industries Narendra Singh Tomar Mines, Steel, Labour and Employment Jual Oram Tribal Affairs Radha Mohan Singh Agriculture Thaawar Chand Gehlot Social Justice and Empowerment Smriti Zubin Irani Human Resource Development Dr. Harsh Vardhan Health and Family Welfare 23 other ministers of states were also sworn in
  2. 2. GENERAL AWARENESS – JULY 2014 2 Dance of Democracy India is known for its ‘kumbh mela’, the epitome of faith and devotion for millions of Indians observed every twelve years. A much larger celebration is held every five years “General Elections”- the biggest democratic exercise on the earth involving a much larger number of Indians and 814.5 million this time. The whole country, without any distinction in caste or creed, without any fear or greed and without any hatred or despise visit the electoral booths like they enter their places of worship with nothing to demand but with determination to see that the democratic traditions of the country are upheld. When the devotee ( elector) presses the ‘button’ making a choice, he knows that he is just not going to select a candidate, but deciding the destiny of the country, with which his own future is intertwined. And the most beautiful part of the exercise is the grace with which he accepts the results of the mandate without any rancour and bitterness. This we can say is the beauty of democracy. The people have the ultimate power to decide who would rule them and they have the right to change the rulers if they do not come to their expectations. The power to rule in India does not come by birth nor by force. The people can even choose a person who once was a tea vendor! India this time has voted for a change. Beginning of Change: The elections to the sixteenth Lok Sabha held during April and May 2014, have been remarkable for their unexpectedness. Without any doubt, it was a landslide. Even the winner, Bhartiya Janta Party had not thought that it would win a clear majority in the elections of its own and would not have to depend on any outside support to form the government. No psephologist had given the party the numbers it eventually got. A few months back, the general expectation was that the party would get, at the most, around 160-180 seats and would emerge as the single largest party to get the invite from the President to form the government. But even then it would have had to depend on support from regional parties to win the vote of confidence on the floor of the house. It is also for the first time since 1984, that any party has got the majority of its own in the Lok Sabha. Further, most of the opinion polls had given the Grand Old Party, the Congress around 120 seats and no one had imagined that the party would face its worst defeat in its history of existence since independence with just 44 seats and being reduced to a rump of what it was a few days back. Rise of Aspirational Class: One great change in these elections is addition of more than ten crore new and young voterssince last general elections held in 2009. They have proved that they cannot be taken for granted and that they are not a pocket borough of any one party. This new generation of voters has pressed their hand against the EVMs with their open minds. With mobile in their hands and google in their reach, the hopes of this generation have soared high. Infact, these elections are victory of aspirational class over dynastic politics. The greatest achievement of Mr. Modi was his ability to connect with this class, who is looking past the ‘roti, sadak, bijli, pani’ kind of politics. As rightly stated by a journalist, “Mr. Modi tapped into the frustrations of a generation of Indians who climbed out of poverty in the past decade, but who have been prevented from joining the middle classes by slowing growth and a lack of employment” This new generation is looking for better life, which they know cannot come without better governance. In this age of communication, people will look for results and not slogans. Dawn of a New Era: The results of these elections are an eye opener for all traditional parties as they have rejected caste based parties like Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal(U). However, some states have elected regional parties like Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, Biju Janta Dal in Odisha and AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and simultaneously in Kerala also supporting the UDF with thumping majority. It may lead to concerns like those witnessed in sixties when the Chief Ministers of Southern states ( aka non-hindi states) had formed a syndicate to stymie the efforts of the government in power at that time. The Prime Minister of the country Mr. Narendra Modi has single handedly changed the contours of Indian polity and put at rest any doubt about his abilities. He also made a great beginning by inviting all SAARC leaders at the swearing ceremony which is likely to create more conducive environment for better neighbourly relations. The future beholds a tough time for him and he knows this when in his acceptance speech, laying contours of his policy,he said: “At the end of the day, for who is the government for? It is for the poor. For rural areas, farmers, untouchables, the weak and the pained; this government is for them. To meet their aspirations and hopes, this is our priority, because our weakest, our poorest have sent us here.” We join all countrymen in wishing him good luck in running the new government !!!
  3. 3. GENERAL AWARENESS – JULY 2014 3 GENERAL AWARENESS JULY 2014 Year: 2014 Vol. 3, Issue 01 A PUBLICATION OF GYANM EDUCATION & TRAINING INSTITUTE PVT. LTD. SCO 13-14-15, 2ND FLOOR, SEC 34-A, CHANDIGARH CONTENTS SECTION – A CURRENT AFFAIRS March to May 2014 1-18 SECTION – B BULLET NEWS DEC 2013 TO FEB 2014 19-30 SECTION – C SBI PO MOCK TEST MCQS FOR SBI DESCRIPTIVE ENGLISH 31-49 50-63 64-72 SECTION – E LATEST GK BYTES 73-95 FIGURES TO REMEMBER REPO RATE 8.00% REVERSE REPO RATE 7.00% MARGINAL STANDING FACILITY RATE 9.00% STATUTORY LIQUIDITY RATIO 23% CASH RESERVE RATIO 4.00% BANK RATE 9.00% BASE RATE(s) (of various banks) 9.80% – 10.25 % INDIA’S RANK IN Press Freedom Index 2014 78th Ease of Doing Business (World Bank) 134th Social Progress Index 102nd World Press Freedom Index 140th Environment Performance Index 155th Index for Nuclear Safety 23rd Index of Economic Freedom 120th Rank in Energy Usage 69th Ease of Doing Business (Forbes) 98th Corruption Perception Index 94th World Prosperity Index 106th Global Hunger Index 2013 63rd Human Capital Index 78th Global Gender Gap Index 101st Global Competitiveness Index 60th Corruption Risk Index 69th NATIONAL NEWS MAY 2014 INDIA 2nd BEST IN CONSUMER CONFIDENCE As per the Nielsen global survey, Consumer confidence level in India jumped to 121points in the first quarter of the current fiscal, the highest optimism level since the fourth quarter of 2012. India retains its position as the second most-optimistic country in the survey. Indonesia leads the global index with 124 points and the Philippines is in third place with 116 points. INDIA 3rd IN GDP SIZE Data released by the international comparison programme of the World Bank group shows that in a matter of six years, India has emerged as the world's third largest economy (in terms of PPP) in 2011, from being the 10th largest in 2005, moving ahead of Japan, while the US remained the largest economy closely followed by China. The world produced goods and services worth over $90 trillion in 2011 and almost half of this came from low and middle-income countries. GHNP FOR WORLD HERITAGE SITE The Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) of Himachal Pradesh has been nominated for the prestigious UNESCO-approved World Heritage Site status by The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the advisory body to the UNESCO Committee on Nature. INDIAN CULTURAL FESTIVAL IN CHINA India started its biggest year-long cultural festival, “Glimpses of India” in China with a performance of classical Indian dances in Shanghai by artists from Chennai-based Kalakshetra cultural academy. INDIA 134TH IN ‘EASE OF DOING BUSINESS’ World Bank and International Finance Corporation have released their annual report for “Doing Business” as per which India ranks 134th among 189 nations when it comes to ease of doing business. Singapore ranked first in the list. INDIAN EVMs TO BE USED IN NAMIBIA Namibia has imported 3400 India-made Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) for use in their Presidential Election. Namibia is the first African country to use such machines in any of its Polls. These EVMs are manufactured by the public sector unit, Bharat Electronic Limited (BEL) based in Bangaluru. ‘TITLI’ SCREENED AT CANNES Indian film Titli (butterfly), directed by Kanu Behl and produced by Aditya Chopra was screened at Cannes Film Festival at Cannes, France. The film is about the journey of a boy called ‘Titli’ who wants to escape from his oppressive brother.
  4. 4. GENERAL AWARENESS – JULY 2014 4 INDIA 78TH IN PRESS FREEDOM Latest Press Freedom Index 2014 has placed India at 78th place on the basis of freedom of media in the country. Press freedom in India has deteriorated due to increased "interference" by media owners ahead of the general elections this year. Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden topped the list, which included 197 countries. W B AID FOR SARVA SHIKSHA ABHIYAN – III World Bank has agreed to provide $ 1billion assistance to India to support its Sarva Shikhsa Abhiyan – III, the largest school education programme in the world. Funds will be deployed by the HRD Ministry over a period of three years. S C BANS BULLS USE IN ‘JALLIKATTU’ The Supreme Court has prohibited use of bulls in Tamil Nadu’s ‘Jallikattu’ festivals, holding that use of bulls in such events severely harmed the animals and constituted an offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to the Animals Act. INDIA TOPS IN ‘OPEN DEFECATION’ A UN report- ‘Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation, 2014 says that 82 per cent of the one billion people practising open defecation in the world live in just 10 countries, topped by India having sixty per cent (597 million) of this population. DELHI MOST POLLUTED CITY WHO has stated that the quality of air in most cities worldwide failed to meet the WHO standards for safe levels of pollution. The release counted Delhi among one of the most polluted city in the world in terms of air quality as it has highest concentration of particulate matters less than 2.5 microns, which is considered most serious. HIGHEST INFANT MORTALITY IN INDIA More than seven lakh newborns die in India every year, the highest number of such deaths globally, a new study has claimed. Each year 5.5 million babies leave the world without celebrating their first birth day. SC NOD FOR PROBING SENIOR BUREAUCRATS A three judge Supreme Court bench headed by the Chief Justice of India has held as invalid the legal provision that makes prior sanction mandatory for the Central Bureau of Investigation to conduct a probe against senior bureaucrats (joint secretary and above) in corruption cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act as it violates the article 14 (equality before law) of the constitution. APRIL 2014 KEJRIWAL, MODI IN TIME TOP 100 The Time has named the 100 most influential people in the world without ranking them and four Indians have made it to the list. The four are - Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal (highest score), followed by BJP leader Narendra Modi, noted author Arundhati Roy and Coimbatore-based health activist Arunachalam Muruganantham. ‘AADHAAR’ NOT MANDATORY – S C The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to immediately withdraw the instructions, if any, issued by it for making Aadhaar card mandatory for citizens to avail government services. The Court also said that biometric or any other data should not be shared with any authorities unless the accused gives consent in writing. INDIA RANKS 83RD IN USE OF ICT A World Economic Forum report says that India has slid down to 83rd spot among 148 economies in terms of leveraging information and communications technologies for growth and well being. In 2013, it ranked 68th out of 144 countries. SMALL STATES TOP IN POLICY EFFECTIVENESS The India Public Policy Report 2014, brought out by Jindal School of Government and Public Policy at the Sonepat- based O.P. Jindal Global University, in association with the Oxford University Press, has ranked India’s smallest states — Sikkim, Mizoram, Goa, Punjab and Delhi — best in policy effectiveness, while Gujarat has slipped over the decades to the 16th place and Kerala comes in at 21st slot. INDIA RANKS 102ND IN SOCIAL PROGRESS The Social Progress Index 2014 compiled by US-based non- profit group Social Progress Imperative ranks India102nd among the 132 countries. The index aims to measure quality of life using measures of access to basic human needs such as food and shelter and of equality of opportunity such as education and personal freedom. INDIA BHUTAN FOR JOINT HYDROPOWER India and Bhutan have signed an agreement on development of four hydropower projects for producing 2120 MW on a joint venture-model between public sector undertakings of the two countries. EUNUCHS RECOGNIZED AS ‘THIRD’ GENDER In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court has recognised transgenders or eunuchs as third category of gender and directed Centre and states to take steps to treat them as socially and educationally backward classes and extend reservation for admission in educational institutions and for public appointments. The Court clarified that its verdict pertains only to eunuchs and not other sections of society like gay, lesbian and bisexuals who are also considered under the umbrella term 'transgender'. MARCH 2014 INDIA’S LARGEST SOLAR POWER PLANT The largest Solar Power Plant of India, producing 130 MW of power, was launched at Bhagwanpur in Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh on 26 February 2014. The Welspun Solar MP project has been constructed at a cost of Rs.1100 crore on 305 hectares of land.
  5. 5. GENERAL AWARENESS – JULY 2014 5 INDIA OFFERS $1 BN LOAN TO BANGLADESH India has offered Bangladesh a $1 billion soft loan for infrastructure development. This is the biggest loan amount India offered to any foreign country at 1.75 per cent interest rate with a repayment period 20 years, including a grace period 5 years. MANDATORY OPV FOR SEVEN COUNTRIES India-bound travellers from seven countries where polio cases are still being reported, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Syria, Kenya, Somalia, Nigeria and Pakistan will have to receive mandatory oral polio vaccine (OPV) six weeks before coming to India. Indians headed for these countries will also be administered the vaccine. INDIA LARGEST IMPORTER OF ARMS The report published by as Swedish Think Tank, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has claimed that India continues to be the largest buyer of arms in the world, much ahead of China and Pakistan.  Home Ministry has advised that Telangana, the country's 29th state, will come into exsistence on June 2 to start functioning as a separate state.  A commemorative postage stamp released in the honour of freedom fighter “Maulana Hasrat Mohani” .  Global Ayurveda Festival held at Kochi, Kerala. NEWS FROM STATES MAY 2014 VIDHAN SABHA ELECTIONS IN 5 STATES Along with the general elections, five states also elected their new MLAs (member of legislative assembly). Following were elected as the new Chief Ministers: Naveen Patnaik (Biju Janata Dal) – Odisha, 4th time Pawan Chamling (Sikkim Democratic Fund) – Sikkim, 5th time, becoming the longest serving C M in India. Chandrababu Naidu (Telugu Desam Party)—Andhra Pradesh K Chandrasekhara Rao (Telangana Rastra Samithi) – Telangana Nabam Tuki (Congress) -- Arunachal Pradesh Some other Chief Ministers were also changed: Anandiben Patel (BJP): Elected as Chief Minister of Gujarat in place of Narendra Modi. Jitan Ram Manjhi became new Chief Minister of Bihar as present CM Nitish Kumar resigned owing the responsibility for poor performance of his party in general elections. T R Zeliang (Naga People's Front): Elected as the new Chief Minister of Nagaland following the resignation of current C M Neiphiu Rio as he got elected as M P.  A four-year ban which barred short messaging service (SMS) on prepaid mobile phones in Jammu and Kashmir has been lifted by the state government.  Rajasthan has decided to open 325 Ma Bari centres in tribal areas of the four districts to provide education to the children of 6 to 12 age where there are no schools. APRIL 2014 ARUNACHAL GETS CONNECTED BY RAIL The Arunachal Pradesh was put on the country’s railway map on April 7 with the first passenger train of about 400 commuters arriving at Naharlagun, near state capital Itanagar, starting from Dekargaon, Assam. MAHARASHTRA TOPS IN INVESTMENT According to an Assocham report, Maharashtra has emerged as the number one investment destination in the country replacing Gujarat, attracting cumulative investment proposals of Rs 14,73,466 crore as on December 2013, while Gujarat drew proposals worth Rs. 13,98,347 crore only. Asia’s largest Tulip garden - Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip garden is located on the banks of Dal Lake, Srinagar, J&K. Spread on 15-hectares, it has over 1.5 million tulips. India’s first double-decker flyover opened in Mumbai on 18th April connecting the eastern suburbs with western suburb via the Santa Cruz-Chembur link road. MARCH 2014 MAHA LAUNCHES PHASE - I OF DMIC The Maharashtra government launched the first phase of the ambitious Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project that aims at generating industrial output of Rs 20 lakh crore by 2042. First phase includes development of Shendre-Bidkin industrial city and an exhibition-cum-convention centre in Aurangabad, alongwith multi-modal logistics park at Karmad and water supply scheme for Shendre.  Nagaland and Assam became the first two states to be issued with Plastic Photo Identity Card for elections in India. GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES MAY 2014 SIT FOR PROBING BLACK MONEY The Supreme Court has reconstituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under the chairmanship of retired judge MB Shah to monitor the probe into the black money cases, both inside and outside the country. Incidentally, this is also the first major decision taken by the Union Cabinet lead by Mr. Modi.
  6. 6. GENERAL AWARENESS – JULY 2014 6 SECURITY PACT SIGNED WITH MYANMAR India and Myanmar have inked a pact to enhance security cooperation in combating the key issues of insurgency, arms smuggling and human trafficking. The agreement was signed at Nay Pyi Taw, capital of Myanmar.  In a move that signals changed priorities, the ministry of environment and forests has been renamed as the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. APRIL 2014 FREE SALE OF 5KG LPG CYLINDERS Indian Oil Corporation has introduced the sale of market- priced 5-kg Free Trade LPG (FTL) cylinders through kirana stores and supermarkets for the first time in India. To begin with, these have been launched in Bangalore, Chennai, Gorakhpur, Lucknow and Aligarh. MARCH 2014 FREE CHECK-UPS FOR MINORITY STUDENTS Govt has launched the 'Maulana Azad Sehat Scheme' for minority students in the age group of 5-14 years, enrolled in institutions aided by the Maulana Azad Education Foundation, to provide them free health check-ups twice a year at the place where they are studying. ECONOMIC INDICATORS MAY 2014 UN PUTS INDIA’S GROWTH AT 5% According to the UN World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2014 report, Indian economy will grow 5 per cent in 2014 and record a slightly higher expansion of 5.5 per cent next year riding on stronger consumption and investment. ECONOMY TO GROW BY 4.9% - OECD Latest economic outlook by the Paris-based think-tank- Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) says that India's economy is expected to grow up to 4.9% in calendar year 2014 from 4.5% a year earlier, helped by a rebound in capital investments as well as a pick-up in private consumption, but rising bad loans at its banks threaten to choke the recovery. IIP SHRINKS BY 0.5% IN MARCH The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) contacted 0.5% in March, compared with a 1.8% decline in February this year. This shows the economy is still not showing signs of recovery from tepid below-5% growth in 2013-14 CORE SECTOR GROWTH DOWN TO 2.5% The core sector growth slowed to 2.5 per cent in March from 7 per cent in the same month a year ago as the output of crude oil, natural gas and fertilisers declined. The eight industries forming the core sector - fertiliser, cement, steel, electricity, crude oil, coal, petroleum refinery products and natural gas, have a combined weight of about 38 per cent in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). CAD SHRINKS TO 1.7% OF GDP India’s CAD (Current Account Deficit) - a measure of the inflow and outflow of foreign currency sharply narrowed to 1.7 per cent of the GDP or USD 32.4 billion in 2013-14 from a record high of 4.7 per cent ($87.8 billion) in FY’13. The position improved mainly due to sharp decline in imports led by a steep fall in gold imports TRADE DEFICIT DOWN BY $ 48 BILLION India's exports grew to $318.6 in 2013-14, $ 12 billion more than previous year, while imports shrinked to $ 466.2 billlion, $36 billion less than previous year, bringing down the trade deficit to $147.6 billion, compared with $195.7 billion in last year.  Foreign exchange reserves rose by $1.093 billion to $314.92 billion in the week ended May 16, on account of increase in currency assets. APRIL 2014 LOW GROWTH DUE TO INTERNAL FACTORS World Economic Outlook report by the International Monetary Fund has attributed India's declining economic growth, which has touched a decade's low of 4.5 per cent in 2012-13, to mainly internal factors. India's economic growth, which touched 8.9 per cent in 2010-11 declined to 6.7 per cent in the following year and touched a decade's low of 4.5 per cent in 2012-13. As for the 2013-14, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) has pegged it at 4.9 per cent. However as per the projection of ADB and RBI, the growth in the current fiscal is likely to increase to 5.5 %.. GDP GROWTH MAY IMPROVE - IMF According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), growth of India’s GDP could recover to 5.4 per cent in the current fiscal year (2014- 15) from 4.4 per cent expected in 2013-14. It may further increase by one percentage point to 6.4 per cent in the year 2015-16 due to stronger global growth, an improvement in export competitiveness and implementation of the recently- approved investment projects. WORLD BANK PUTS INDIA’S GROWTH AT 5.7% The World Bank has projected an economic growth rate of 5.7 per cent in fiscal year 2014 for India on the back of a more competitive exchange rate and many large investments going forward. ADB PUTS GROWTH RATE AT 5.5% The Asian Development Bank has cut India's growth projection for 2014-15 to 5.5% against 5.7% estimated earlier, on account of weaker than expected industrial growth. The Bank pointed out that government needed to clear projects quickly and boost manufacturing, besides carrying out structural reforms.
  7. 7. GENERAL AWARENESS – JULY 2014 7 MARCH 2014 FITCH PUTS ECONOMY GROWTH @ 4.7% Global rating agency Fitch expects that India's economy may grow 4.7 per cent in the current year, lower than the official estimate of 4.9 per cent. The agency expects the economy to pick up in the next two financial years. Latest data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India shows that the total number of telecom subscribers in the country rose marginally to 92.20 crore in January, 2014 from 91.51 crore at the end of December 2013. MAY 2014 AGRI PRODUCTION TO CROSS 264 MN TON The 3rd Advance Estimates of crop production in the 2013- 14 crop year (July-June) released by the Agriculture Ministry says that India is likely to produce 264.38 million tonnes of foodgrains during 2013-14 compared to 257.13 million tonnes last year, supported by higher production of wheat and rice. The Agriculture Ministry comes out with four estimates on foodgrains production at different stages of crop harvesting. INDIA IS CHEAPEST MAJOR ECONOMY A report from German banking giant - Deutsche Bank says that a weaker Indian rupee has allowed India to remain the cheapest major economy in the world despite persistently suffering the highest inflation rate. Australia is overall the most expensive major economy, while the United States is the cheapest developed country and Brazil most expensive developing country. TELECOM BASE TOUCHES 933 MILLIONS India’s telecom industry added over one million users in March, taking the total number of subscribers to 933 million, as per latest data released by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai). Rural India is growing faster claiming 377.73 million subscribers.  Exim Bank has extended $ 100 million in line of credit to Nigeria for building energy projects that will eventually help boost Indian exports.  FDI inflows from Singapore added up to nearly $6 billion in 2013-14, making it largest source of FDI in India, followed by Mauritius at $4.9 billion. APRIL 2014 INDIA TOPS IN INWARD REMITANCES As per a World Bank report, India ranked first in receiving global remittances in the year 2013 with a whopping $70 billion in its kitty, of which $65 billion were earned from the country's flagship software services exports. STEEL EXPORTS EXCEED IMPORTS India became net steel exporter in 2013-14 after a gap of six years and is likely to maintain the momentum in 2014- 15. Total steel exports by India during the last fiscal stood at 5.59 million tonnes (MT), as against imports of 5.44 MT. India is the world's fourth largest steel maker. JICA TO FUND FOREST PROJECT IN U’KHAND The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has approved a loan of about Rs 674 crore for a forest project in Uttarakhand. The project will support implementation of disaster reconstruction and prevention measures in the forest area of Uttarakhand where heavy rains caused devastating floods and landslides in June 2013. MORE WOMEN DIRECTORS IN COMPANIES Under the rules notified by the Corporate Affairs Ministry, every listed company and those public firms having paid up share capital of Rs 100 crore or more should have at least one woman director on their board. It will be also applicable to entities with a minimum turnover of Rs 300 cr. SC ALLOWS IRON ORE MINING IN GOA The Supreme Court has allowed mining of iron ore in Goa after a gap of nearly one-and-a-half year when it was banned. However, the court has fixed an annual cap of 20 million tonnes of iron ore that can be extracted in Goa. SUN PHARMA BUYS OUT RANBAXY In the biggest deal in two years, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries announced to fully acquire rival Ranbaxy Laboratories in an all-stock transaction valued at USD 3.2 billion to become the largest pharmaceutical company in India, with estimated combined revenue of USD 4.2 billion, and 5th largest speciality Generics Company in the world. CADBURY COMPANY CHANGES ITS NAME Cadbury India has changed its name to Mondelez India Foods Limited to fall in line with its parent company - Mondelez International. The change in name will have no impact on the names or packaging of its products such as Dairy Milk, 5 Star, Gems, Perk, Bournvita, Tang and Oreo. MARCH 2014 INFLATION TARGET FOR RBI In a stern message to RBI, the Finance Minister has stressed that economic stability should include both price stability and growth and so the Parliament could also set a target for the RBI to rein in inflation. CSR RULES NOTIFIED Govt has notified that ‘corporate social responsibility’ (CSR) rules will take effect from April 1, 2014 as part of the new Companies Act-2013. They will apply to companies with at least Rs 5 crore net profit, or Rs.1,000 crore turnover or Rs.500 crore net worth. Such companies will need to spend 2 per cent of their three-year average annual net profit on CSR activities in each financial year, beginning 2014-15.
  8. 8. GENERAL AWARENESS – JULY 2014 8 ETF LAUNCHED FOR PSEs The government has launched an exchange-traded fund of central public sector enterprises, to raise 3,000 crore rupees for its disinvestment plan. This is an open ended scheme, comprising of shares of 10 central PSEs including ONGC, GAIL India and COAL India. It tracks an index fund, but trades like a stock on the exchange. INTEREST HIKED ON PO DEPOSITS Govt has decided to hike interest rates on fixed deposit schemes offered by post offices by up to 0.2 per cent, to 8.4 per cent, w.e.f. April 1, 2014. The interest rate on PPF (public provident fund) has, however, been kept unchanged at 8.7 per cent. BANKING & FINANCE MAY 2014 NAYAK COMMITTEE SUBMIT ITS REPORT P J Nayak Committee appointed by the RBI to review Governance of Boards of Banks in India has recommended that the government should cut its stake in public sector banks to below 50 percent. All banks be incorporated under the Companies Act and a Bank Investment Company (BIC) be constituted to which the Government transfers its holdings in banks. It has also said that RBI — and not the finance ministry — should have the last word on regulation of public sector banks which command 70% of the market share. NO PENALTY FOR TERM LOAN PREPAYMENT RBI has asked banks to consider allowing their borrowers the facility of prepaying all floating rate term loans without any penalty. Earlier this facility was available on house loans only. Some banks are charging pre-payment penalty of up to 2 per cent of the outstanding loans. NO PENALTY IN INOPERATIVE ACCOUNTS RBI has asked banks not to levy penalties on customers who don’t maintain a minimum balance in any inoperative account, as part of a consumer protection initiative. Already, Banks are not allowed to charge customers for non-operation or activation of Basic Savings Bank deposit accounts. However, Banks are permitted to recover charges for non maintenance of minimum balance in normal savings accounts. INDEPENDENT SB ACCOUNTS FOR MINORS RBI has advised that banks are allowed to open only savings bank account in the name of minors of age above 10 years, independently, without the name of their guardians. However, it has been left to the banks to decide various terms and conditions, including amount of withdrawal, issuance of cheque book / debit cards. RUPAY CARD LAUNCHED BY THE PRESIDENT President of India formally launched India’s first indigenous payment gateway, RuPay, to counter rival networks such as Visa and Mastercard to work on ATMs and merchant outlets and help in reducing cash transactions. Developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), it is the seventh such payment gateway in the world. LOK ADALATS FOR CHEQUE BOUNCE CASES The Law ministry is working on amendments to the Legal Services Authority Act that would allow leading banks to set up permanent Lok Adalats on their premises for settlement of all disputes related to cheque bouncing. Retired district judges or additional district judges may be appointed as chairpersons of such Lok Adalats. CRYSTALLIZE INOPERATIVE FC ACCOUNTS-RBI The Reserve Bank has directed banks to convert credit balances in any inoperative foreign currency (FC) denominated deposit into Indian rupee if the former remains not in use for three years from the date of maturity of deposit. BANKS TO TRANSFER UNCLAIMED ACCOUNTS The Reserve Bank of India has asked banks to remit amount lying in deposit accounts classified as unclaimed to the Depositor Education and Awareness Fund (DEAF) by 30th of June. An unclaimed deposit account is one in which there are no transactions for 10 years or more. BANKS TO HAVE TALKING / BRAILLE ATMs RBI has directed that all new ATMs to be installed by commercial banks from July 2014 onwards would provide audible instructions and Braille keypads to customers. Later, all existing ATMs should also be converted as talking ATMs with Braille keypads. RBI also asked banks to provide the facilities of magnifying glasses at all bank branches for the use of persons with low vision. 10 YEAR TERM LOANS FOR EXPORTERS The Reserve Bank has allowed banks to provide long-term loans of up to a maximum tenor of 10 years to exporters to be utilised for execution of long-term supply contracts for export of goods. Existing norms allow banks to give loans for up to one year only. BMB DECLARED AS SCHEDULED BANK Bharatiya Mahila Bank, the country's first all-women lender, has been included in the second schedule to the RBI Act. This means that now it is eligible for loans from RBI on bank rate and to acquire membership of clearing houses. RBI TO LAUNCH PLASTIC CURRENCY RBI has advised that one billion plastic notes of Rs.10 denomination will be introduced in a field trial to be launched in the latter half of 2014 in five cities selected for their geographical and climatic diversity. The selected cities are Shimla, Kochi, Mysore, Jaipur, and Bhubaneswar. Plastic notes have an average life span of about five years and are difficult to imitate.
  9. 9. GENERAL AWARENESS – JULY 2014 9 RBI DEFERS BIOMETRIC AUTHENTICATION RBI has put on hold its order requiring all future credit card swipe machines and ATMs to be capable of biometric authentication. Instead, a pilot project will be launched where issuers of prepaid cards will be allowed cash withdrawals on the basis of biometric authentication. APRIL 2014 BANK LICENCE FOR IDFC AND BANDHAN The Reserve Bank of India has granted "in-principle" bank licences to only two applicants - Infrastructure Development Finance Company and microfinance lender Bandhan Financial Services Ltd. The in-principle approval is valid for 18 months. The announcement took time as there was a debate over whether corporate houses and entities with exposure to real estate should be given licences or not and finally they lost the race. RBI TO MEASURE INFLATION BY CPI The Reserve Bank has adopted the new Consumer Price Index (combined) as the key measure of inflation. Earlier, RBI had given more weightage to Wholesale Price Index (WPI) than CPI as the key measure of inflation for all policy purposes. This has been done on recommendations of Urjit R. Patel panel. NO CHARGES ON MIN BALANCE VIOLATION The Reserve Bank has asked banks not to levy penal charges for non-maintenance of minimum balance in ordinary savings bank account and inoperative accounts. Instead, banks could curtail the services accorded to those accounts until the balance is restored. DOUBLE PASSWORD FOR ONLINE BANKING The RBI report on 'Enabling Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) in Payment System Applications’ has suggested that banks should introduce two-stage authentication to ensure security of online transactions. It also said that banks should also inform customers about risks associated with different types of online banking transaction. RBI TO LAUNCH MSS FOR 50,000 CRORE The Reserve Bank has fixed the quantum of intervention through Market Stabilisation Scheme (MSS) at Rs 50,000 crore to manage liquidity. The government launched MSS in consultation with RBI in 2004 with the objective to absorb excess liquidity, arising out of significant foreign exchange inflows, by issuing treasury bills or dated securities. SBI JOINS TWITTER COMMUNITY State Bank of India has taken one more step on the social media front by launching a twitter handle. The Twitter handle for SBI is https:// twitter.com/ The Official SBI". The bank expects this Twitter handle to connect better with the tech-savvy young generation. PRE PAID CARD LIMIT FIXED AT Rs 50,000/- The Reserve Bank has fixed the upper limit to Rs. 50,000 for issuance of pre-paid payment instruments to make all issuers comply with the strict money laundering laws and all the relevant KYC norms. No card can be issued without verifying the KYC of the issued party. FIMMDA/FEDAI TO ADMINISTER BENCHMARKS Accepting the recommendations of the Vijaya Bhaskar committee, the Reserve Bank has asked the Fixed Income Money Market and Derivatives Association of India (FIMMDA) and the Foreign Exchange Dealers’ Association of India (FEDAI) to act as administrators of the Indian rupee interest rate and foreign exchange benchmarks. GOVERNMENT INTERNAL REVENUE ORDER The panel set up by RBI under chairmanship of Umesh Bellur to suggest modalities for setting up a system for GIRO - Government Internal Revenue Order has suggested a mechanism for centralised bills payment system in the country, primarily by setting up two organisations - Bharat Bill Payment Services or BBPS and the Bharat Bill Payment Operating Units or BBPOUs. The BBPS will function as a 'not-for-profit' organisation which has necessary experience in the payment systems while the BBPOUs may be operated on commercial lines.  The Reserve Bank has directed banks offering gold metal loans (GML) to strengthen their credit appraisal process in the wake of frauds committed by certain jewelers. MARCH 2014 RBI EXTENDS TIME FOR BASEL III NORMS The Reserve Bank has extended the timeline for full implementation of the Basel III capital regulations by a year to March 31, 2019, instead of as on March 31, 2018. This breather comes in the wake of industry-wide concerns about the potential stresses (of the implementation of the regulations) on the asset quality and consequential impact on the performance/profitability of banks. BANK DEPOSITS MOVE UPWARDS Bank deposits continued to outpace credit growth, growing by 15.55 per cent year-on-year to Rs 7,692,309 crore as on March 7, according to RBI. Meanwhile, credit grew at 14.65 per cent year-on-year to Rs 5,937,249 crore during the same period. SBI LAUNCHES ITS OWN PAYMENT GATEWAY State Bank of India has launched a payment intermediary christened as 'SBI ePay', which will facilitate e-commerce or m-commerce transactions among merchants, customers and various financial institutions for all kinds of payments with electronic connectivity. SBI is the first bank in India to start its own online aggregator services.
  10. 10. GENERAL AWARENESS – JULY 2014 10 SWIFT TO START OPERATIONS IN INDIA SWIFT India, the domestic arm of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication has tied up with nine domestic banks to provide its electronic channel for financial messaging on transactions between banks and other financial institutions. So far, they provided services to banks for overseas transactions only, now, they will develop the same platform for domestic operations by end 2014. JOINT LENDERS’ FORUM FOR NPAs RBI has issued guidelines for revitalising high value distressed assets (loans gone bad) by forming Joint Lenders’ Forum (JLF) and adoption of Corrective Action Plan (CAP) for operationalising the framework. The Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) would prepare a master JLF agreement and operational guidelines for JLF which could be adopted by all lenders.  Reserve Bank has extended the date for exchanging the pre-2005 banknotes to January 01, 2015.  Axis Bank has become first private sector bank to introduce the "Kisan Card" through which a farmer can withdraw up to Rs 1 lakh per day from ATMs.  RBI has announced to conduct review of the Monetary Policy at bi-monthly intervals from 1st April, 2014 onwards, instead of quarterly and mid quarterly at present. DEFENCE, SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY MAY 2014 NANO FINGERPRINTS FOR CURRENCY / CARDS Scientists have developed invisible nano 'finger- prints' that could be embedded into gadgets, banknotes and credit cards, making it impossible to counterfeit the objects. Unique patterns made from tiny, randomly scattered silver nanowires have been created in an attempt to authenticate goods and tackle the growing problem of counterfeiting. NEW ANTIBIOTICS DISCOVERED In a breakthrough, scientists have discovered a new class of antibiotics to fight deadly bacteria such as methicillin- resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other drug- resistant bacteria that threaten public health. The new class, called oxadiazoles, was discovered by University of Notre Dame, USA. UN WARNS AGAINST ‘EL NINO’ EFFECT The UN weather agency-World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has warned that there is strong possibility of an "El Nino" climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean this year, bringing droughts and heavy rainfall to the rest of the world, including India. The El Nino phenomenon occurs every two to seven years, when the prevailing trade winds that circulate surface water in the tropical Pacific start to weaken. JOINT NAVAL DRILL WITH SINGAPORE Singapore Indian Maritime Bilateral Exercise - SIMBEX 14, the 2014 series of annual bilateral naval exercises between the Indian Navy and Singapore Navy was conducted in the Andaman Sea from 22 May to 28 May 14 to enhance inter- operability and mutual understanding between the two navies. ARMY HOLDS WAR PRACTICE IN RAJASTHAN Indian Army conducted the “Sarvada Vijay” exercise in West Rajasthan as part of regular training with a large army formation for practising and honing war fighting skills in tough desert conditions. ‘NABHRATNA’ TO TEST RADAR SYSTEMS Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has delivered a Dornier light-weight aircraft named Nabhratna to the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) to carry out testing of its under-development airborne radar systems. ASTRA MISSILE TEST FIRED India’s first indigenously developed beyond visual range (BVR) air to air missile successfully test fired from a Russian-built Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jet. It has a range of 60 kilometers. SINO INDIA JOINT MILITARY EXERCISE India and China have decided to conduct a joint military exercise at Bathinda, Punjab, less than 100 kms from Pakistan. Bathinda is the base of the Indian Army’s 10 Corps and has a big airbase also.  The DRDO has successfully test-fired the surface to air Akash air defence missiles off the coast of Balasore in Odisha.  Pakistan successfully test-fired its surface-to-surface ballistic missile Hataf-III Ghaznavi capable of carrying nuclear weapons up to 290 kilometers. APRIL 2014 IRNSS 1B LAUNCHED SUCCESSFULLY India successfully launched its second navigational satellite IRNSS 1B onboard PSLV-C24 from Sriharikota on Andhra coast. The 1,432 kg satellite will form part of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), an equivalent to GPS of the USA, comprising of seven satellites. MICROSOFT SAYS GOODBYE TO WINDOWS XP From April 8, Microsoft has stopped technical support for its most popular operating system (OS) Windows XP globally. The OS launched in October 2001, is three generations behind the latest Windows 8 that hit markets in Oct. 2012.
  11. 11. GENERAL AWARENESS – JULY 2014 11 NAVY SELLS OFF ITS FIRST AIRCRAFT CARRIER The Navy has sold the iconic air craft carrier INS Vikrant to a ship-breaking company for Rs. 63.2 crore. The ship decommissioned in 1997 played a major role in 1971 war. INS Vikrant (formerly HMS Hercules) was purchased by India from the United Kingdom in 1957. It was operated from 1961 to 1997. (The present INS Vikrant is the indigenously built aircraft carrier which was launched in 2013 will be commissioned around 2018.) NEW INTERCEPTOR MISSILE TESTED In a significant milestone in the direction of developing a two-layered ballistic missile defence system, India successfully tested its maiden Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) for engaging targets (incoming missiles) at more than 120 km altitude. JOINT INDO FRENCH AIR EXCERCISE From June 3, India and France will start a 10-day joint Air exercise 'Garuda-5 in Rajasthan's Jodhpur airbase, aimed at training the pilots and crew of Indian and French fighters in air superiority operations. WOMEN TO BECOME COMBAT OFFICERS The government has approved recruitment of young women as 'combat officers' in Sashastra Seema Bal. Young women up to the age of 25 years will be recruited as direct entry officers in the rank of Assistant Commandants. AGNI -I TESTED IN NIGHT TIME India successfully conducted maiden night test of its indigenously developed nuclear-capable surface to surface ballistic missile – Agni-I, with strike range of 700 km from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheeler Island, off Odisha coast. INS SHIVALIK: The advanced Indian missile frigate visited Qingdao - the eastern port city of China, to take part in exercises to mark the Chinese Navy’s 65th anniversary.  The Army successfully test fired an advanced version of 290-km range supersonic cruise missile, BrahMos, at the Pokhran test range in Rajasthan.  DRDO team successfully tested its indigenously developed surface-to-air missile Aakash from the Integrated Test Range near Chandipur, District Balasore in Odisha. MARCH 2014 LARGEST YELLOW STAR Astronomers have spotted the largest yellow star ever observed in our galaxy that is 1,300 times larger and one million times brighter than the sun. Despite its great distance of nearly 12,000 light-years from earth, the star named HR 5171 can be seen with the naked eye. WORLD’S LARGEST AIRCRAFT Britain has unveiled the world’s largest aircraft—a 300 feet long monster which is part plane, airship and helicopter, capable of flying non-stop for 3 weeks without refuelling. BRAIGO: Name of the low-cost Braille printer developed by 12 years old Indian-origin boy Shubham Banerjee in USA by using toy construction Lego pieces. VENOM GT: World’s fastest car developed by the US car manufacturer Hennessey, with a top speed of an incredible 435 km/hr. JUMBO LOSS TO AIR FORCE A recent and most modern acquisition of the Indian Air Force from the United States, the C-130J Super Hercules military transport aircraft, crashed on Friday near Gwalior (MP), killing all five IAF personnel on board. Ex-Surya Kiran Drills VI: Joint Indian and Nepal army military exercise at Saljhandi in Rupandehi district, Nepal.  Prithvi-II: India successfully test-fired it’s indigenously developed nuclear-capable missile having a strike range of 350 km, from a test range in Odisha. INTERNATIONAL MAY 2014 RUSSIA, CHINA VETO AGAINST SYRIA Russia and China on 22 May 2014 exercised their veto power in UN Security Council against a draft resolution which was intended to refer the Syrian civil war to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Of the total 15 votes in Security Council, the resolution received 13 votes in favour but was double vetoed by the Russia and China for the fourth time. VIETNAM PROTESTS AGAINST CHINA Widespread violent protests against China spread in Vietnam over the South China Sea dispute as thousands of angry Vietnamese torched several Chinese projects to protest attempts by a Chinese oil rig to drill in the disputed waters. US TROOPS TO STAY IN AFGHANISTAN USA has said that America will withdraw its troops from Afghanistan completely by 2016. The current 32,000-strong US deployment in Afghanistan will be reduced to around 9,800 by the start of 2015 and to bare minimal by end of 2016. OVER 200 GIRLS ABDUCTED BY BOKO HARAM Suspected Boko Haram Islamist militants abducted more than 200 school girls aged between 12 and 15 from north- eastern Nigeria to pressurize Nigerian government for release of their ally militants. USA and several other countries have condemned this ghastly act and offered all possible help to Nigeria for locating the girls. Boko Haram literally means ‘Western education is forbidden’.
  12. 12. GENERAL AWARENESS – JULY 2014 12 E E S FORMED LED BY RUSSIA The leaders of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus have signed a treaty in Astana on the creation of a Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EES) to create a territory for unified customs tariffs beginning on January 1, 2015. WORLD ECONOMY TO GROW BY 2.8% - U N The United Nations has lowered its forecasts for global economic growth in 2014 and 2015 to 2.8 per cent and 3.2 percent respectively, for reasons such as the exceptionally cold winter in the United States, the escalating political crisis in Ukraine, and financial turbulence earlier this year. WHO WARNS AGAINST POLIO The World Health Organisation has warned that polio has reemerged as public health emergency, as new cases of this crippling disease have been noticed in countries like Syria and Pakistan. UNO AND IOC TO PROMOTE SPORTS The United Nations and the International Olympic Committee have signed a historic agreement to use the power of sports to promote peace and economic development, a move that strengthens collaboration between two of the world's major organizations. TRAIN TUNNEL AT AN ALTITUDE OF 3.6 KMS The world's highest tunnel for high-speed trains became operational in northwest China on May 1 passing through the Qilian Mountains at an altitude of 3,607.4 metres (11835 feet). The 16.3-km-long tunnel links the Gansu and Xinjiang provinces. MOLDOVA AND GEORGIA JOIN HAND WITH E U Two former Soviet republic countries-Moldova and Georgia have signed the European Union (EU) Association Agreement to strengthen their trade and political ties with EU. The accord will also help them defend from threats by Russia which opposes the EU's eastward expansion. ISLAMIC BANKING IN AFGHANISTAN Afghanistan's Central Bank, Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) has signed an agreement with a non-profit independent organization 'Harkat' for implementing the Sharia compliant banking system in the country. The Islamic banking or Sharia compliant banking is a system based on the principles of Islam which prohibit payment/charging of interest on deposit/loans, respectively.  Bhutan is likely to become the first country in the world to go wholly organic in its food production, totally avoiding usage of chemical fertilisers and pesticides.  Royal Navy Submarine Service of United Kingdom for the first time in its 110-year history has appointed female submariners.  Spain has suspended the 12th bull fight festival (called San Isidro festival in Spain) after matadors got injured by bulls.  Brazil released two postage stamps to pay tribute to the 100 years of Indian cinema.  Saudi Arabia has decided to ban the import of Indian chilies due to presence of high pesticide residues. APRIL 2014 G-20 FMs MEET AT WASHINGTON Finance Ministers and business leaders from G20 nations met at Washington, USA, to discuss ways to boost investment in infrastructure to boost world GDP by more than $2 trillion over the coming five years. E U BANS IMPORT OF MANGOES FROM INDIA The European Union has decided to temporarily ban the import of Alphonso mangoes and four other vegetables from India from May 1 due to the alleged presence of pests in them. The trading community pegs the loss because of the ban at more than Rs100 crore as India is the leading exporter of mangoes in the world. India accounts for more than half of the total Mango production in the world. WORLD TRADE TO GROW BY 4.7% Latest WTO report projects global trade to recover and grow by 4.7% in 2014, more than double of what was achieved in 2013. The growth is projected to be slightly faster at 5.3% in 2015, which is also the 20-year average growth rate. For the past two years, global trade growth averaged 2.2%. MARCH 2014 CRIMEA BREAKS AWAY FROM UKRAINE Crimea's Parliament voted to join Russia, breaking away from Ukraine. Crimea has now become a province of Russia, despite strong protests from USA and its European allies. The UN General Assembly has not approved this merger. RUSSIA EXPELLED FROM G-8 The United States and its closest allies in the Group of 8 industrialized democracies expelled Russia from the G-8 Group to punish President Vladimir V. Putin for his lightning annexation of Crimea. The Group has threatened further tougher sanctions if Russia escalates aggression against Ukraine. The Group also cancelled its proposed meet at Sochi, Russia. The meet now will be held at Brussels, Belgium. MH 370 BOEING 777 MISSING Investigating authorities from over 10 countries have failed to locate the Beijing-bound Boeing 777-200 flight MH370 of Malaysia Airlines, having 239 passengers aboard that went missing mysteriously over the South China Sea on March 7. GATES IS BACK AS TOP BILLIONAIRE Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has regained the title of the world's richest man with $ 76 billion, in the Forbes magazine's annual billionaire list that includes 56 India based billionaires led by RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani. Gates is back at the top spot after a four-year gap when Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu was at top.
  13. 13. GENERAL AWARENESS – JULY 2014 13 AIR POLLUTION CLAIMS 7 MN LIVES From taxi tailpipes in Paris to dung-fired stoves in New Delhi, air pollution claimed seven million lives around the world in 2012, according to figures released by the World Health Organization. More than one-third of those deaths, the organization said, occurred in fast-developing nations of Asia, where rates of cardiovascular and pulmonary disease have been soaring.  The Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) 2014 held at The Hague, Netherlands.  Changi Airport, Singapore: Declared as world’s best airport PERSONS IN NEWS MAY 2014 YINGLUCK SHINAWATRA: Prime Minister of Thailand was removed from office by a Constitutional Court as she was found guilty of abusing her power when she transferred a civil servant to another post more than three years ago. The court ordered her to step down immediately along with all members of her cabinet who were in office at that time. Later the army imposed martial law in the country. RAMARNI WILFRED: An 11-year-old boy in the UK has achieved the highest possible score of 162 on a Mensa IQ test, making him brainier than physicist Albert Einstein. ALENKA BRATUSEK: First lady Prime Minister of Slovenia submitted her resignation as she lost the majority in her own party. APRIL 2014 CHUNG HONG-WON: South Korea’s Prime Minister resigned taking moral responsibility for the sinking of a passenger ferry that left 300 people dead or missing. He apologized for having been unable to prevent the accident from happening and unable to properly respond to it afterwards. SERIK AKHMETOV: Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Central Asia's largest economy, was in news as he resigned from his post, along with his entire cabinet. JEAN-MARC AYRAULT: Prime Minister of France was in news as he was sacked by his President after a stinging defeat of his (Jean’s) group in local elections. NANCY POWELL: The U.S. ambassador to India has resigned following a row over the arrest of a junior Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York and her subsequent strip search that pushed relations between the world's biggest democracies to their lowest ebb in more than a decade. MARCH 2014 NANDAN NILEKANI: He was in news as he resigned from the Chairmanship of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on 13 March 2014 to contest Lok Sabha election from the Bangalore South on congress ticket. K. C. CHAKRABARTY: Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India was in news as he resigned three months ahead of the completion of his term. ARJUN KAPOOR: Bollywood actor was in news as he became the national ambassador of the Earth Hour 2014 that was observed on March 29. Under the Earth Hour initiative, citizens are asked to switch off electricity for an hour from 8.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. This year’s theme is “I Will If You Will” ALI ZEIDAN: Prime Minister of Libya was in news as he was ousted by his country’s parliament, after passing a no- confidence motion against him. APPOINTMENTS MAY 2014 MUKUL ROHATGI: 14th Attorney-General of India RAJIV MATHUR: Chief Information Commissioner Lt Gen D S SUHAG: Chief of Army Staff (28th) RAJEEV SURI: President and CEO of Finnish tele- communications equipment maker Nokia. AHMED MAITEEQ: Prime Minister of Libya DALIA GRYBAUSKAITE: President of Lithuania, popular as ‘Iron Lady’ of Lithuania PETRO POROSHENKO: President of Ukraine JACOB ZUMA: President of South Africa, from African National Congress party LUIS GUILLERMO SOLIS: President of Costa Rica APRIL 2014 RAJENDRA MAL LODHA: Chief Justice of India (41st), appointed by President of India ILA PATNAIK: Noted economist has been appointed Principal Economic Adviser in the Ministry of Finance. Admiral Rabinder Kumar Dhowan: New Chief (22nd) of Indian Navy ARVIND MAYARAM: Union Finance Secretary. R. CHANDRASEKARAN: Chairman, National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) R. GANDHI: Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India VIKTOR ORBÁN: Prime Minister of Hungary KARIM MASSIMOV: Prime Minister of Kazakhstan ABDELAZIZ BOUTEFLIKA: President of Algeria MANUEL VALLS: Prime Minister of France
  14. 14. GENERAL AWARENESS – JULY 2014 14 MARCH 2014 JUSTICE R.M. LODHA: 41st Chief Justice of India RAJIV TAKRU: Finance Secretary, Govt. of India SHEILA DIKSHIT: Governor of Kerala RAKESH SETHI: Chairman and Managing Director of Allahabad Bank. JUSTICE B N SRIKRISHNA: Chairman of Financial Planning Standards Board India AJAY SHRIRAM: President CII (Confederation of Indian Industries) AAMIR KHAN: National Icon of The Election Commission to spread awareness about the importance of voting and to urge people to cast their votes. ARJUN BAHADUR THAPA: Secretary General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). SANCHEZ CEREN: President of El Salvador MICHELLE BACHELET: First women President of Chile AWARDS & HONOURS MAY 2014 GOLD MEDAL FOR INDIAN DOCUMENTARY “Silent Screams — India’s Fight Against Rape” a documentary film directed by Pria Somiah won a Gold World Medal for ‘Best Investigative Report’ as well as Bronze Medals each in the ‘Current Affairs’ and ‘Human Concerns’ sections respectively at the 2014 New York Festivals International TV and Film Awards. NEW FRONTIERS AWARD 2014 FOR INDIA Arabian Travel Market (ATM) awarded this award to India for its outstanding contribution to rebuild physical infrastructure and its rural tourism economy in the wake of the June 2013 floods, landslides in the northern state of Uttarakhand and the devastation wreaked by tropical Cyclone Phailin. Palme d’Or: The top prize for best picture at the Cannes Film Festival Turkey’s Winter Sleep by Nuri Bilge Ceylan National Florence Nightingale Awards 2014 conferred on 35 nursing personnel by President of India for their meritorious services. APRIL 2014 THE IIFA 2014 AWARDS Held at Tampa Bay, Florida, USA Best Picture: Bhaag Milkha Bhaag Best Actor: Farhan Akhtar for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag Best Actress: Deepika Padukone for Chennai Express Best Director: Rakeysh Om Mehra for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag Lifetime Achievement Award: Shatrughan Sinha Best Entertainer of the Year: Deepika Padukone 61ST NATIONAL FILM AWARDS – 2013 NAME OF AWARD NAME OF THE WINNER Best Feature Film Ship of Theseus (English-Hindi) by Anand Gandhi Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (Hindi) by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Best Hindi Film Jolly LLB by Subhash Kapoor Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration Thalaimuraigal(Tamil) by Balu Mahendra Best Direction Hansal Mehta for Shahid (Hindi) Best Actor Raj Kumar For Shahid (Hindi) & Suraj Venjaramoodu for Perariyathavar(Malayalam) Best Actress Geetanjali Thapa for Liar’s Dice (Hindi) FEMINA MISS INDIA WORLD 2014 (KOYAL RANA) 1st Runner Up Jhataleka Malhotra 2nd Runner Up Gail Nicole Da Silva Femina Miss India Asia Lopamudra Raut Pacific 2014 GOLDMAN ENVIRONMENTAL PRIZE: Indian environment activist Ramesh Agrawal has won the prestigious award ‘Green Nobel’ that honours heroic grassroot environmentalists around the world for their achievements. Agrawal founded Jan Chetana, a grassroots movement to protect people and the environment from rampant industrialisation. The award is given to six persons across the world annually by Goldman Environmental Foundation based in San Francisco, USA. PULITZER PRIZE (public service): American journalism’s highest honour awarded to the leading US newspapers The Washington Post and The Guardian for revealing the massive U.S. government surveillance effort. PULITZER PRIZE (POETRY): India-born poet Vijay Seshadri, for his witty and philosophical collection of poems – ‘3 sections’.
  15. 15. GENERAL AWARENESS – JULY 2014 15 MILLENNIUM TECHNOLOGY PRIZE: Stuart Parkin, British-American physicist has won the 1 million-Euro prize for discoveries leading to a thousand-fold increase in digital data storage on magnetic disks. His discoveries enabled cloud services and the online distribution of social networks, music and film. THE KNIGHT GRAND CROSS: Tata Group chairman emeritus Ratan Tata has been decorated with the British government’s highest civilian honour in recognition for the work his group is doing in England. 45th DADASAHEB PHALKE AWARD – 2013: Gulzar, veteran poet and film lyricist. His real name is Sampooran Singh Kalra. It is the highest honour from the govt side to recognize a person’s contribution in promoting Indian cinema. MARCH 2014 GANDHI PEACE PRIZE- 2013: Chandi Prasad Bhatt, Eminent Gandhian and environmentalist, founder of ‘Chipko Movement’ to save forests. The award, given by Govt. of India, carries a cash reward of Rs one crore. SARASWATI SAMMAN 2013: Noted writer Govind Mishra for his Hindi novel, Dhool Paudhon Par. The award carries a cash reward of Rs. 10 lac. Protein Science Young Investigator Award: Dr. M. Madan Babu, Indian-born scientist won the award at Cambridge University, UK. International Women of Courage Award: Won by Indian acid attack victim, Ms. Laxmi for successfully leading the campaign against acid attacks on women in India. 86th ACADEMY AWARDS (OSCARS) LOS ANGELES, USA Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave by Steve McQueen Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity, Best Actor: McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club Best Actress: Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine TEMPLETON PRIZE- 2014: Tomas Halik, Czech priest and intellectual has been awarded £1.1 million prize for his “exceptional contribution to life’s spiritual dimension.” THE PRITZKER Architecture Prize: Shigeru Ban (Japan) for his simple low cost designs. BOOKS & AUTHORS MAY 2014 Post Haste: Quintessential India by B.G. Verghese Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton India Junction – A Window to the Nation brought out by Public Relations Directorate, Railway Board. A Stamp is Born by C. R. Pakrashi Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut Capital in The Twenty First Century by Thomas Piketty My Years with Rajiv and Sonia by R.D.Pradhan Shivaji, the Real Hero: A pictorial book by the artist Brijesh Mogre, released in Parliament of UK. APRIL 2014 ‘An Undocumented Wonder: The Making of the Great Indian Election’ by S. Y. Quraishi Story of A Death Foretold by Oscar Guardiola-Rivera Good Governance: Never On India's Radar by Madhav Godbole MARCH 2014 The Hindus: An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger India at Risk by Jaswant Singh My Way by Derek O’Brien, Rajya Sabha member In Pursuit of a Lesser Offence by Sujata Parashar Be Careful What You Wish For by Jeffrey Archer The Country Without a Post Office by Agha Shahid Ali Dhool Paudho Par by Govind Mishra The Political Economy of Energy and Growth by Najeeb Jung, Lt. Governor of Delhi. The Triple Package: What Really Determines Success by Jed Rubenfeld, Amy Chua OBITUARY MAY 2014 RUSSY MODI: Noted corporate personality, Ex Chairman and Managing Director of Tata Steel MADHAV MANTRI: India's oldest Test cricketer, maternal uncle of the legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar GARY BECKER: Nobel Laureate economist from Chicago, USA APRIL 2014 V K MURTHY: Renowned cinematographer and Dada Saheb Phalke awardee, known for capturing breathtaking images in Guru Dutt's classics like Pyaasa, Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam and Kagaz Ke Phool. GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ: The Nobel laureate, most popular veteran Spanish-language story writer and novelist from Colombia. His famous works include ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ and ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’. MARCH 2014 KHUSHWANT SINGH: Writer, historian, novelist, humorist and columnist. Known for his popular column ‘with malice towards one and all’. His famous novels include ‘Train to Pakistan’, ‘Delhi: A Novel’, ‘The Company of Women’ and ‘Sunset Club’ NANDA: Veteran film actress of Hindi Cinema
  16. 16. GENERAL AWARENESS – JULY 2014 16 PLACES IN NEWS MAY 2014 HERAT: City in Afghanistan was in news as militants armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades attacked the Indian Consulate. The Indian diplomatic staff escaped unharmed, while all four attackers were killed. The attack is believed to be the handiwork of elements operating from Pakistan. MANISA: place in the western Turkey was in news as over 300 people were killed and hundreds more remained trapped underground after an explosion and fire in a coal mine took place. AAB BAREEK: a village in Badakhshan province of Afghanistan was in news as several hundreds of persons were killed when their village was swept away due to a heavy mud slide. APRIL 2014 THE EBOLA (GUINEA): A deadly disease, outbreak of which in West Africa has claimed more than 145 lives so far. More than 240 people, mostly in Guinea, are suspected of having caught the illness. There is no vaccine, no treatment and the disease is almost always fatal. MARCH 2014 RAKHIGARHI: Place in Hissar district, Haryana, was in news as the discovery of two more mounds at this Harappan site has led archaeologists establishing it as the biggest Harappan civilisation site. Until now, Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan was regarded as the largest among the 2,000 Harappan sites known to exist in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. BHAGWANPUR: Site of the 130-MW solar power plant, largest in India, set up at a cost of Rs. 1,100 crore on 305 hectares of land in district Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh. AJNALA: City in Amritsar district was in news as the remains of at least 282 persons who were executed by the British for participating in the First War of Independence in 1857, were exhumed from a well at the local Gurdwara Shaheedganj, during a digging of the well which was popularly known as “Kalianwalia Khuh”. KUNMING: Capital city of Yunnan province in China was in news as a terrorist attack by knife wielding Islamic Uighur fanatics killed over 30 civilians and injured 140 others in city’s main Railway Station on March 1. SPORTS WORLD MAY 2014 Uber Cup for women’s badminton: China beats Japan in the final played at New Delhi. Indian team lead by Saina Nehwal won the bronze medal for the first time in Uber Cup. Thomas Cup: (men’s badminton) Japan beats Malaysia to lift their maiden trophy in the final played at New Delhi. National Football Championship (women’s): Manipur beats Odisha to clinch the title at Golaghat, Assam. Virat Kohli was ranked no 1 in the latest ICC list of One Day International (ODI) rankings. Malavath Purna: The 13 year old school girl from Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh created history by becoming the youngest female to scale the Mount Everest. Ronnie O'Sullivan: Snooker player from UK named World Snooker's ‘player of the year’ World Snooker Championship 2014: won by Mark Selby of England at Sheffield, England, beating the defending champion Ronnie O Sullivan. EUROPEAN CUP (football): Real Madrid won the cup beating Atletico Madrid in the finals played at Lisbon, Spain WTA Portugal Open 2014: Sania Mirza of India and Cara Black of Zimbabwe won women’s doubles title held in Oeiras, Portugal. ATP World Tour Masters Tennis: Men’s title won by Rafael Nadal (Spain) at Mutua Madrid, Spain. Women’s title was won by Maria Sharapova of Russia. FIFA WORLD CUP TO USE ‘BRAZUCA’ BALLS In the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil in June 2014, technology will get a new meaning as the ‘Brazuca’ balls to be used in the mega event will come with six in-built HD cameras capturing 360 degree view of the on-field action. These footballs have been specially manufactured by the global sports company Adidas. The word Brazuca meaning the Brazilian way of life was chosen by over one million football fans. Barcelona club has agreed to retained Football player Lionel Messi on net annual salary of 20 million Euros ($27.4 million) making him world’s highest paid player India has slid down two places to the 147th spot in the latest FIFA Rankings of Football playing countries. APRIL 2014 Manavjit Singh Sandhu: won the men's trap gold medal at the ISSF Shotgun World Cup in Tucson, USA. Saurav Ghosal: India's numero uno squash player has been awarded the Dato Alex Lee Award for the 'Outstanding Asian Men's Player of the Year 2013'.
  17. 17. GENERAL AWARENESS – JULY 2014 17 Heena Sidhu has been ranked world No.1 in the 10 meters air pistol event by the International Shooting Sport Federation. Chitra Magimairaj: won the senior’s title in World Snooker Championships held in Leeds,UK. 7th South Asia Judo Championships: Indian judokas won 10 gold, one silver and one bronze medal at Kathmandu, Nepal. USA Open Karate Championship: Indian players won eight medals comprising two gold and six bronze in held at Las Vegas, USA. Sri Lanka lifts ICC World T20 trophy after beating India in the final at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Australia beats England to lift the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 trophy at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Stanislas Wawrinka won the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis Cup beating Roger Federer at Monte Carlo, Monaco. 2019 Asian Games: Vietnam has decided to quit as hosts due to lack of preparedness and concerns that holding the multi-sport event would not be financially viable. MARCH 2014 RECENT SPORTS EVENTS Event Venue Winner Looser Vijay Hazare Trophy – Cricket Eden Gardens, Kolkata Karnataka Railways Deodhar Trophy – Cricket Vishakhaptnam West Zone North Zone Santosh Trophy - National Football Championship Siliguri, West Bengal Mizoram Railways Federation Cup – Volleyball (Men’s) Kerala Tamil Nadu Services Federation Cup – Volleyball (Women’s) Kerala Railways Kerala Hockey India Senior Men National Championship Lucknow Air India CAG India Hockey India Senior Women National Championship Bhopal, MP Railway Haryana Manisha National Snooker Championship (Men’s) Lucknow, UP Pankaj Advani Kamal Chawla Manisha National Snooker Championship (Women’s) Lucknow, UP Vidya Pillai Arantxa Sanchis 64th National Basketball Championship New Delhi Tamil Nadu Punjab (Men’s) 64th National Basketball Championship (Women’s) New Delhi Chhattisgarh Railways BNP Paribas Open Indian Wells Tennis (Men’s) California, USA Novak Djokovic Roger Federer BNP Paribas Open Indian Wells Tennis (Women’s) California, USA Flavia Pennetta Agnieszka Radwanska Candidates Tournament – Chess Khanty Mansiysk, Russia Viswanathan Anand Peter Svidler Malaysian Grand Prix – F1 Sepang, Malaysia Lewis Hamilton Nico Rosberg 7th Asian Air Gun Championship in Kuwait: Chain Singh and Ms Heena Sidhu clinched gold medal Arvind Bhat won the Grand Prix Gold beating Hans- Kristian Vittinghus of Denmark at German Open Badminton Championship at Mulheim an der Ruhr, Germany. Sachin Tendulkar voted Cricketer of the Generation by a 50-member international jury. R V Rahul won two gold and one silver in the boys’ 77kg weight category in the 16th Asian Youth Weightlifting Championships at Bangsaen, Thailand LAUREUS WORLD SPORTS AWARDS - 2014 Men - Sebastian Vettel: Formula 1 world champion from Germany Women - Missy Franklin: American Olympic swimmer, winner of 6 golds. ICC World T20 tournament for men and women to be held in Bangladesh from March 22 to April 6, 2014. ICC U-19 World Cup: South Africa won the cricket trophy defeating Pakistan in final played at Dubai, UAE. Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship: Roger Federer beats Tomas Berdych to lift the cup. 1st Asian Grand Prix Archery Championships held at Bangkok, Thailand. ALL THE NEWS ITEMS IN THIS MAGAZINE HAVE BEEN SOURCED FROM VARIOUS NEWS PAPERS AND GOVT. PRESS RELEASES A Child Without Education ,is like a Bird Without Wings
  18. 18. GENERAL AWARENESS – JULY 2014 18 DAYS & DATES JULY Architecture day Doctor’s day International jokes day July 01 World Sports Journalists Day July 02 Free 4th of July July 04 World Zonnosis Day July 06 International day of Co-Operatives July 07 World Population Day July 11 Man Walks on the Moon July 20 Kargil Vijay Divas July 26 JUNE International Children’s Day June 01 World Naturist Day June 03 World Environment Day June 05 Father’s Day June 16 Hugging Day June 21 International Olympic Day Rath Yatra June 23 International Anti-Drugs day June 26 World Diabetes Day June 27 MAY World Labour Day, Maharashtra Day May 01 International Energy Day, World Asthma Day May 03 Coal Minor's Day May 04 World Midwives Day May 05 World Red Cross and Red Cresent Day May 08 World Migratory Bird Day, This year’s theme is - Destination Flyways: Migratory Birds and Tourism” May 10-11 National Technology Day May 11 Mother’s Day (Second Sunday of May) May 11 International Nurses’ Day May 12 International Family Day May 15 World Telecom Day May 17 National Anti Terrorism Day May 21 World Turtle Day May 23 NOW ALSO AT S E C T O R 1 5 CHANDIGARH Exam Oriented Study Material Emphasis on Shortcuts Full Day Batch / 5 Hour Classes Exclusive Mock Tests For Punjab Exams SCF 22, 1ST FLOOR, OPP. POLICE POST, SECTOR 15–C, 9646-15-9977
  19. 19. GENERAL AWARENESS – JULY 2014 19 (December 2013 – February 2014) For details please visit our website: www.gyanm.in N A T I O N A L N E W S FEBRUARY 2014  Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Kiran Kumar Reddy resigned from his seat and the state was put under President’s rule.  For the first time in its history, President’s Rule was imposed in Delhi following the resignation by the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.  The ceiling on poll expenditure for Lok Sabha seat has been raised to Rs. 70 lac per candidate from Rs. 40 lac at present and to Rs. 28 lac from Rs. 16 lac for assembly seat.  Joachim Gauck, President of Germany visits India.  India’s electorate for the general election 2014 will be 81.5 crore,  Prime Minister attended the BIMSTEC-Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation Summit at Nay Pyi Taw, capital of Myanmar.  India ranked 8th among 10 countries in their use of "digital government".  As per World Press Freedom Index, India has been ranked 140th in the list of 180 countries in terms of freedom of press.  Govt has directed that Companies should use words such as 'Bank', 'Stock Exchange' and ‘Exchange’ only after receiving no-objection from the concerned regulator.  Government has decided to give two additional attempts to all categories of candidates of the prestigious exam conducted by Union Public Service Commission.  Indian to construct the 450 kms long Haramain High Speed Railway project in Saudi Arabia to link two of Islam’s holiest cities, Makkah and Medina.  Purushottam Express, a super-fast train running between Delhi and Puri will become the first train in India to be attached with a Braille-embedded AC coach.  The National Green Tribunal has banned the burning of tyres at public places and also during protests by political and religious groups as it is likely to cause health hazard.  India and China have agreed to celebrate 2014 as the 'Year of Friendly Exchanges'.  India has signed a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with Fiji.  India signs three security agreements with Israel.  57.62 crore Aadhaar cards issued till January 31, 2014. People not having document based identity and address proof can avail of introducer-based enrolment.  India currently has the largest population of illiterate adults in the world at 287 million. 37 per cent of the global total.  India and Saudi Arabia signed a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in the field of defence manufacturing.  World Islamic Tamil Conference held at Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu from 14 to 16 February.  101st Indian Science Congress held at the University of Jammu, J&K, 3-7 February.  A commemorative stamp released in honour of noted ghazal singer Jagjit Singh  DAVID JOHNSTON: Governor General of Canada visits India.  Ali Mohamed Shein, President of Zanzibar visited India.  Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Baharin visited India. JANUARY 2014  The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, passed by the President. It has come in to force from 16th Jan. 2014.  Shinzo Abe, Japanese Prime Minister was the Chief Guest at the Republic Day Parade of 2014.  The 12th edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention was held from 7-9 January, 2014 at Vigyan Bhawan New Delhi  Malaysian Minister for Natural Resources and Environment, G Palanivel, who is president of the Malaysian Indian Congress, was the chief guest at this year’s PBD.  Park Geun-hye, President of South Korea, the country’s first woman president, visited India on a four-day state tour.  India has completed three years without reporting any case of polio.
  20. 20. GENERAL AWARENESS – JULY 2014 20  Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, President of Maldives visited India.  Export-Import Bank has agreed to provide a Line of Credit of $ 19.50 million to Vietnam  Govt. has allowed super jumbo A-380 aircraft to fly into India.  Jeevan Raksha Padak awarded to 37 people for their meritorious act of bravery in saving human lives.  The 18th National Youth Festival held in Ludhiana from Jan 12 to 16. 12th January is birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, observed as the National Youth Day.  After Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis, now the Jains have been accorded minority status by the central government.  A newly built railway platform at Gorakhpur has been declared as the longest railway platform in the world, spanning 1,355.40 metre.  In the Nuclear Materials Security Index 2014 released by the US-based think-tank Nuclear Threat Initiative, India has been ranked at 23rd place.  Finance Minister presented the vote-on-account for 2014-15 on February 17 in the Lok Sabha in place of regular budget.  The Index of Economic Freedom-2014 ranks India 120th globally as India continues to suffer from low, but improving levels of economic freedom.  Indian Ordnance Factory has come out with “Nirbheek”, a .32 bore light-weight (500gram) revolver designed especially for women to defend themselves.  Global Intellectual Property Cente, USA has placed India last in list of 25 countries in terms of protection and enforcement of intellectual property practices.  India has been ranked at a low 155th position in a list of 178 countries compiled by the 2014 Environmental Performance Index.  The seventh edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival started on 17th January in Jaipur with a keynote speech by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen.  The National Capital Region Planning Board has approved the inclusion of Jind and Karnal districts of Haryana in the National Capital Region, NCR.  Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to celebrate 50 years of its existence (Feb.1964)  India’s first Mono Rail starts operation in Mumbai  India signs labour cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia to cover about a quarter of the 28 lakh Indian expatriates working there.  Asia’s biggest botanical garden will come up on 153 hectares of area near the Khandwa reservoir, in Naya Raipur, Chhattisgarh.  India and Israel have agreed to set up a $40 million joint fund to support technological ventures for consolidating and strengthening economic ties.  Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and his wife Queen Jetsun Pema were in India on a five-day official visit.  Foundation stone laid for Global Centre for Nuclear Energy at Jassaur Kheri in district Jhajjar, Haryana.  UGC- University Grants Commission celebrates its Diamond Jubilee on completion of its 60 years. DECEMBER 2013  9th Ministerial Conference of WTO held in Bali, Indonesia agreed to allow countries to provide subsidy on staple food crops.  The International Court of Arbitration (ICA) has upheld India’s right to divert water from the Kishenganga river for power generation in Jammu and Kashmir  Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited India.  The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) — number of women who die of pregnancy-related causes per one lac live births — has come down to 178 in 2010-12  National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) report says that number of slum dwellings has come down to 88 lakh, compared to 1.3 crore households in 2011.  Number of homeless people across the country has come down by 8.8%, from about 19.4 lakh in 2001 to 17.7 lakh in 2011, says latest Census 2011 data.  The Global Energy Architecture Performance Index Report-2014 has placed India at 69th position in terms of their ability to deliver secure and sustainable energy.  India has been ranked 98th in the Forbes list of world's best countries for doing business.  India has been ranked among the world's highly corrupt nations at the 94th spot in a global list of 177 countries compiled by Transparency International.  The Labour Ministry report has revealed that unemployment rate in the country during 2012-13 was estimated to be 13.3 per cent for the age group 15-29.  Film 'Liar's Dice, directed by Geetu Mohandas, selected in the competition category at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in USA.  The Sankirtana — ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur has been added to UNESCO's list of "intangible heritage".  India and San Marino, a tiny country within Italy, signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) for exchange of banking and ownership information  Govt has cleared a services and investment deal with 10-member Asean group as part of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).  Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement-DTAA signed with Macedonia, a small country north of Greece. NEWS FROM STATES FEBRUARY 2014  The Union Cabinet has approved Odia as the sixth classical language of India. The other five classical languages are - Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.
  21. 21. GENERAL AWARENESS – JULY 2014 21  Sikkim has become first state to achieve more than 100 percent sanitation in rural and urban households and other public sanitary centers.  The Union Ministry of Tourism declares Sikkim as the best State in implementation of rural tourism projects.  Taj Mahotsav 2014 held at Agra, U P with the theme - Paigham-e Mohabbat - the message of love.  West Bengal and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched a campaign about safe drinking water and safe sanitation practices.  Central Govt. to develop the 37 km stretch between Sholinganallur to Kalpakkam in South Buckingham Canal, Tamil Nadu as the National Waterway-4 (NW-4). JANUARY 2014  Karnataka has topped the first ever ranking of state governments on the basis of their performance and implementation of the midday meal scheme  Odisha is the Best State for providing self employment to urban poor under SJSRY (Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rojgar Yojana) during 2012-13.  Kerala won the ‘UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance’ for the world renowned backwater resort of Kumarakom.  Odisha has launched 'Ama Jangal Yojana' (AJY) to enhance forest cover in the state jointly by govt. and forest dependent communities.  Uttarakhand became the first State to adopt the provisions of the recently passed Lokpal Act by passing the Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill-2014.  Jonbeel Mela held in Assam to promote harmony between people of Assam and Meghalaya  Bihar has announced a bonus of Rs 250 per quintal on procurement of paddy, pushing the MSP to Rs 1560 a quintal, highest in the country. DECEMBER 2013 ARUNACHAL PRADESH: is fast turning into a producer of large cardamom, a sought-after spice. 5 NEW CHEIF MINISTERS Vasundhara Raje: Rajasthan Arvind Kejriwal New Delhi Shivraj Singh Chouhan: Madhya Pradesh Dr. Raman Singh: Chattisgarh Pu Lalthanhawla: Mizoram GOVT INITIATIVES FEBRUARY 2014  Govt has accepted the long pending demand of ex- servicemen for ‘one rank, one pension’.  A Bill that provides for the protection of livelihoods rights, social security of street vendors and regulation of urban street vending has been passed by the parliament.  A Bill to set up a regular mechanism to encourage and protect persons to disclose information on corruption or wilful misuse of power by public servants has been passed.  Quota of subsidized LPG cylinders has been raised from nine to 12 in a year  A committee led by M. P. Bezbaruah, has been formed to examine the cause for violence and discrimination against people from the northeast  The government has extended Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna to auto and taxi drivers by committing to pay half of the premium amount and other half by state govt.  The Planning Commission has introduced an annual rating system for states to enable them improve on their business climate.  India will extend visa-on arrival to tourists of 180 nations as against 11 at present, to boost tourism.  In order to utilize and harness the benefits of Cloud Computing, Government of India has launched the ‘GI Cloud’ named as ‘MeghRaj’.  The Union government has launched an ambitious project titled ‘Green Mission’ to increase forest cover by 50 million hectares in the next 10 years  India plans a multi-nation and multi-modal transport corridor between India and Central Asia - Russia. JANUARY 2014  Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram launched to cover health needs of the nearly 243 million children in the age group of 10 to 19 years.  On recommendations of the Sachchar Committee, Govt has set up the National Waqf Development Corporation Limited for the development of Waqf properties.  Govt. has launched the India Inclusive Innovation Fund (IIIF), with the initial corpus of Rs 500 crore to invest in innovative, sustainable and profitable ventures.  PAN card applicants will now have to submit Proof of Address also.  Govt. has decided to include works relating to rural sanitation also in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).  The National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) launched in Bangalore to provide adequate and efficient urban public health delivery system for the urban poor  The Union Cabinet has approved a new framework for release of TRPs (Television Rating Points), fixing a sample size of not less than 50,000 households.  Union Cabinet has approved a proposal to constitute a Rail Tariff Authority, RTA to advise the Railway Ministry on fares.  Govt. has launched the Housing Start Up Index (HSUI) to measure level of house construction activity. The HSUI is a joint initiative of the National Building Organisation and RBI.
  22. 22. GENERAL AWARENESS – JULY 2014 22  Scheduled Tribes (ST) households living in forest areas who have received land rights under the Forest Rights Act, 2006 will get 150 days employment under mgnrega scheme.  The government has approved a proposal to pay formal sector workers a minimum monthly pension of Rs 1,000, benefiting over 27 lakh pensioners.  Govt has adopted the new National Youth Policy (NYP- 2014) to improve their participation in priority areas of education, skill development and entrepreneurship.  The Centre has approved the rollout of the Multi- sectoral Nutrition Programme to address the problems of maternal and child under-nutrition in the country.  To encourage school children to explore scientific discoveries, 100 innovation hubs will be set up by the National Innovation Council in the country by 2017. DECEMBER 2013  Govt has agreed to grant constitutional status to the proposed Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) for appointment and transfer of judges  The Centre has cleared a proposal for setting up of National Cancer Institute at Badhsa village in Jhajjar of Haryana at a cost of Rs 2035 crore.  The Union Cabinet has approved the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, raising the reservation for Persons with Disabilities (PWD) from three at present to 5%.  Every NREGA job cardholder who plans to build a toilet in his house will get Rs 10,000 from NREGA funds.  Govt has launched e-inclusion project to make people e-literate, aiming to make at least one individual in every household e-literate. ECONOMIC INDICATORS FEBRUARY 2014  India’s GDP growth during October-December 2013 was at 4.7 per cent  Due to subdued performance in agriculture, mining and manufacturing in 2012-13, govt has revised growth rate for the year to 4.5 per cent, from earlier 5 per cent.  Per Capita Income in India at ‘current prices’ for the year 2013-14 will be Rs.74920  India has recorded an average annual economic growth rate of 8 per cent during the 11th Five Year Plan (2007- 12) compared to targeted 9 per cent. JANUARY 2014  The Reserve Bank says that growth of GDP is expected to fall below 5 per cent in 2013-14 in absence of pick- up in manufacturing sector.  Moody's Analytics says that India’s GDP growth will be in the 5 to 5.5 per cent range through 2014, before heading north of 6 per cent in 2015.  UN World Economic Situation and Prospects 2014 (WESP) report projected India’s growth rate at less than 5.3 per cent for this year. DECEMBER 2013  The economy grew at a faster pace of 4.8 per cent in the second quarter (ending September 30th), primarily due to improved performance of agriculture ECONOMY FEBRUARY 2014 INTERIM BUDGET FOR 2014 – 15 HIGHLIGHTS  Income tax rates kept unchanged;  10 pc surcharge on 'super-rich' having annual income above Rs. 1 Crore to continue;  5 pc surcharge on corporates with turnover of Rs 10 cr.  Defence allocation increased by 10 per cent to Rs 2.24 lakh crore;  Moratorium on interest on student loans taken before March 31, 2009; to benefit 9 lakh borrowers  Rs 11,200 cr. to be infused as capital in PSU banks in 2014-15.  Target for banks for credit to farm sector during 2014- 15 fixed at Rs. 8 Lakh Crore  Disinvestment target for FY2014-15 fixed at Rs. 36,925 Cr; plus Rs. 3000 Crore by residual stake sale.  Allocates Rs 1,000 Cr more to Nirbhaya Fund;  Rs. 2,46,397 Crore for food, fertiliser and fuel subsidy. KEY BUDGET FIGURES – 2014-15 BUDGET HEAD Rs in Cr 1 Revenue Receipts (2+3) 1167131 2 Tax Revenue (net to centre) 986417 3 Non-Tax Revenue 180714 4 Capital Receipts (5+6+7) 596083 5 Recoveries of Loans 10527 6 Other Receipts 56925 7 Borrowings and other liabilities 528631 8 Total Receipts (1+4) $ 1763214 9 Non-Plan Expenditure (10+12) 1207892 10 On Revenue Account - of which, 1107781 11 Interest Payments 427011 12 On Capital Account 100111 13 Plan Expenditure (14+15) 555322 14 On Revenue Account 442273 15 On Capital Account 113049 16 Total Expenditure (9+13)(Budget Size) 1763214 17 Revenue Expenditure (10+14) 1550054 18 Of Which, Grants for creation of Capital Assets 146581 19 Capital Expenditure (12+15) 213160
  23. 23. GENERAL AWARENESS – JULY 2014 23 20 Revenue Deficit (17-1) 3.3% of GDP 382923 21 Effective Revenue Deficit (20-18) 1.8% of GDP 236342 22 Fiscal Deficit {16-(1+5+6)} 4.8% of GDP* 528631 23 Primary Deficit (22-11) 1.5% of GDP* 101620 *–GDP for 2014-2015 has been projected at `12839952 crore (Rs. 128.39 trillion) GOVT HOUSE KEEPING (In %) Rupee Comes From Rupee Goes To Borrowings 25 Central Plan Outlay 10 Corporate Tax 21 Plan Asst. to State / UTs 16 Income Tax 14 Non Plan expenditure State/UTs 03 Custom Duty 09 Non-Plan Expenditure 11 Excise Duty 10 States Share of Taxes 18 Service Tax 10 Interest Payments 20 Non-Tax Revenue 10 Defence 10 Non Debt Capital Receipts 01 Subsidies 12 Total 100 Total 100  ADB to give $ 605.2 million loan for road development in the N E region, power distribution in Madhya Pradesh and improvement of railways services in the country.  India and Namibia have agreed for early conclusion of a preferential trade agreement between New Delhi and Southern African Customs Union (SACU)  Govt plans to roll out electronic toll collection on all national highways by December to streamline the toll collection and reduce commuter hassle.  The government has set a deadline for public transport vehicles running in major cities with a population of over 10 lakh to install GPS devices by Feb. 20, 2014.  Government mopped up around Rs 61,141 crore from the auction of 2G spectrum in the 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz bands of radio waves.  Asian Development Bank to give a $300 million loan to improve road connectivity along key corridors in Chhattisgarh state. JANUARY 2014  Govt has approved setting up of the Amritsar-Kolkata Industrial Corridor (AKIC) and formation of the AKIC Development Corporation (AKICDC).  India, Bangladesh, China and Myanmarwill to develop a joint trade corridor from Kunming in China to Kolkata, via Mandalay (Myanmar), Dhaka and Chittagong.  The Foreign Investment Promotion Board has approved UK-based Tesco Plc's proposal to enter the multi-brand retail segment in jointly with a Tata Group company.  After a 16-month gap, India and Pakistan resumed their trade talks by announcing a series of steps, including 24x7 trade activity at the Attari-Wagah border.  EPFO has decided to increase the rate of interest on provident fund deposits from 8.5% at present to 8.75% for 2013-14.  South Korean steel giant Posco has won environmental clearance to build Rs 52,000 crore steel plant in Odisha, involving the largest-ever FDI in India.  RBI to include 'Maintenance, Repairs and Overhaul’ (MRO) of aircrafts as part of airport infrastructure for the purpose of external commercial borrowings (ECB).  The World Bank to give $500 million loan for the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project for Low Income States (Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh).  The ADB to provide $700 million loan under the Accelerating Infrastructure Investment Facility in India (AIIFI) to accelerate infrastructure growth.  ADB to provide $100 million loan for the project -- Supporting Human Capital Development in Meghalaya for vocational and educational training to youth.  As per a UN report, India received $ 28 billion as FDI, ranking 16th among the top 20 global economies receiving the most FDI in 2013. DECEMBER 2013  According to a study by global research firm Ipsos, has ranked India as the seventh most economically confident country in the world.  The Asian Development Bank has agreed to lend $176 million to extend the first metro train line in Jaipur. BANKING FEBRUARY 2014  RBI has allowed four companies for setting up and operating White-Label ATMs (ATMs allowed to NBFCs).  The country's first Post Office ATM was inaugurated at Thiyagaraya Nagar Head Post Office (HPO), Chennai  Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) has tied with New India Assurance Company to launch health insurance products - BMB Sakhee, BMB-Nirbhaya and BMB-Parivar Suraksha.  NABARD has developed the concept called Joint Liability Group (JLG) to provide institutional credit to small farmers  RBI has formed G Gopalakrishna committee to look into capacity building and skill requirements at various levels of banking and financial services  The Reserve Bank has withdrawn from April 1, 2014, the ceiling of 26% on the maximum interest rate that the micro finance institutions (MFIs)  The Reserve Bank has allowed banks to refinance existing infrastructure project loans through take-out financing agreements with any financial institution.  IBA has cautioned banks to ensure business continuity after Microsoft ends support for its Windows XP operating system on April 8, 2014.  HDFC Bank has launched its six basic banking transactions through toll-free numbers.  RBI has directed banks to provide credit data in a revised format for all loan accounts of Rs. 5 crore or