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GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 1
GENERAL AWARENESS
SEPTEMBER 2014
Year: 2014 Vol. 3, Issue 03
A PUBLICATION OF GYANM E...
GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 2
DELHI 2nd
MOST POPULOUS CITY IN WORLD
A recent UN study “World Urbanization Prospects...
GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 3
ANSARI VISITS CHINA
Vice-President Hamid Ansari
visited China to meet
President Xi Ji...
GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 4
HIGHEST INFANT MORTALITY IN INDIA
More than seven lakh newborns die in India every ye...
GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 5
 A four-year ban which barred short messaging service
(SMS) on prepaid mobile phones...
GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 6
JUNE 2014
NO TRANSFERS FOR PARENTS OF DISABLED
Central government has decided that al...
GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 7
RBI PUTS GROWTH RATE AT 5-6 PER CENT
In its Second Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Stateme...
GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 8
TCS REACHES MARKET CAP OF 5 TRILLION
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has become first...
GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 9
BANKING & FINANCE
JULY 2014
RBI ALLOWS PAYMENT BANK AND SMALL BANK
The Reserve Bank h...
GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 10
BANK CREDIT GROWTH MORE THAN DEPOSITS
Bank deposits grew 13.24 per cent year-on-year...
GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 11
RUPAY CARD LAUNCHED BY THE PRESIDENT
President of India formally launched India’s fi...
GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 12
JUNE 2014
INS KAMORTA TO JOIN INDIAN NAVY
India’s first indige-
nously - built anti
...
GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 13
INTERNATIONAL
JULY 2014
6TH
BRICS SUMMIT HELD AT FORTALEZA, BRAZIL
Prime Minister Mr...
GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 14
USA FIRST CHOICE FOR FDI
A survey by global consulting firm A T Kearney has shown
th...
GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 15
PERSONS IN NEWS
JULY 2014
ARSENIY YATSENYUK: Ukraine’s Prime Minister was in
news as...
GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 16
N. SRINIVASAN: First Chairman of International Cricket
Council, Dubai
JUSTICE VK RAJ...
GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 17
BOOKS & AUTHORS
JULY 2014
The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee
Finding Neema by Jul...
GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 18
MAY 2014
HERAT: City in Afghanistan was in news as militants armed
with machine guns...
GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 19
National Games: The 35th edition of these will be held in
Kerala in Jan– Feb, 2015. ...
GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 20
BUDGET 2014-15 : HIGHLIGHTS
INCOME TAX SAVINGS
Individual taxpayers
Income Rate Savi...
GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 21
MARKET & BANKING
 PSU banks to raise Rs. 2.40 lakh cr capital by
2018
 Introductio...
GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 22
ECONOMIC SURVEY
2014 – 15
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely on 9 July 2014
present...
GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 23
ISRAEL GAZA CONFLICT
For past two months Israeli forces have been pounding the
areas...
GYANM GENERAL AWARENESS ISSUE SEPTEMBER 2014
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GYANM GENERAL AWARENESS ISSUE SEPTEMBER 2014

  1. 1. GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 1 GENERAL AWARENESS SEPTEMBER 2014 Year: 2014 Vol. 3, Issue 03 A PUBLICATION OF GYANM EDUCATION & TRAINING INSTITUTE PVT. LTD. SCO 13-14-15, 2ND FLOOR, SEC 34-A, CHANDIGARH CONTENTS CURRENT AFFAIRS MAY TO JULY 2014 1-19 BUDGET SPECIAL 22-22 ISRAEL GAZA CONFLICT 23 BULLET NEWS Feb 2014 to April 2014 24-33 BRICS BANK 34 600 SBI CLERK MCQs 35-63 IBPS PO MODEL TEST PAPER 64-80 LATEST GK BYTES 81-96 FIGURES TO REMEMBER REPO RATE 8.00% REVERSE REPO RATE 7.00% MARGINAL STANDING FACILITY RATE 9.00% STATUTORY LIQUIDITY RATIO 22.5% CASH RESERVE RATIO 4.00% BANK RATE 9.00% BASE RATE(s) (of various banks) 9.80% – 10.25 % INDIA’S RANK IN Human Development Index 135th Global Innovation Index 66th Economic Confidence Index 01st Choice for FDI 4th Global Peace Index 143rd 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 NATIONAL NEWS JULY 2014 FOREST COVER CROSSES 24 PER CENT As per India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2013 the total forest and tree cover of the country is 87.92 million hectare, 24.01 percent of the geographical area of India. Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover of 77522 square kilometer, followed by Arunachal Pradesh, 67321 square kilometer. In terms of percentage, Mizoram has highest cover at 90.38 percent, followed by Lakshadweep-84.56 percent. Punjab retains the ‘distinction’ of having the lowest area under Forest cover with only 3.52% of its area under forest cover while Haryana is a little better with 3.59% of its area under forest cover. AREA ( MILLION HA) AREA (IN %) Forest Cover 69.79 21.23 Tree Cover 9.13 2.78 Total 78.92 24.01 INDO–CHINA ENCYLOPEDIA RELEASED India and China have jointly released the first encyclopedia on their age-old cultural contacts, tracing back their history to over 2,000 years, starting from the visit of Chinese scholar Huen Tsang to India in the 7th century to bring Buddhist scriptures to China. INDIA RATIFIES MARRAKESH TREATY India has become the first country to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled. The Treaty was adopted by 79 member countries of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in June 27, 2013 at Marrakesh, Morocco. INDIA RANKED 66th IN INNOVATION India has slipped two places in the Global Innovation Index 2013 to the 66th rank. Switzerland topped the 142-nation list. The index ranks countries on innovation, based on a survey done by INSEAD, Cornell University and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). ULTRA RICH GROW FAST IN POOR INDIA The number of ultra-high networth individuals (UHNIs) in Indiahaving an investible surplus of over Rs 25 crore rose 16 per cent to 1.17 lakh last fiscal, and this is estimated to triple to 3.43 lakh in the next three years, says a wealth report by the Kotak group and Ernst & Young.
  2. 2. GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 2 DELHI 2nd MOST POPULOUS CITY IN WORLD A recent UN study “World Urbanization Prospects” by U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) has ranked Tokyo as the world’s most populous city with 38 million inhabitants, followed by Delhi with 25 million inhabitants. The study has projected rapid urban growth in India, China and Nigeria. INDIA RANKS 135TH IN HUMAN DEVELOPMENT India’s ranking in the Human Development Index (HDI) remained unchanged at 135 in 2013, reflecting little improvement in the living standard of its people. The report is topped by Norway, followed by Australia and Switzerland. Countries at the bottom of index are Niger, Congo and Central African Republic. The HDI reflects long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human lives - a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living. It covers 187 countries and is published annually by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). DILIP’S HOUSE IS NATIONAL HERITAGE SITE Legendary actor Dilip Kumar’s ancestral home at Mohalla Khudadad in Peshawar, Pakistan has been declared as a national heritage monument by the Pak government. After acquiring the house, the government is plans to convert it into a museum.  World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim visits India. JUNE 2014 PANJAB UNIVERSITY BEST IN INDIA Panjab University, Chandigarh, is the highest ranked Indian higher educational institution in the globally recognized Times Higher Education’s Asia rankings. Placed 32nd in Asia’s top 100 institutions, PU has outperformed IITs on all ranking parameters. University of Tokyo tops the list. INDIA SIGNS ‘WASHINGTON ACCORD’ Indian students with accredited technical education degrees will now find it easy to get academic recognition and jobs in 17 major nations across the world, including the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey and Russia as India has become a permanent signatory to the Washington Accord (WA), a global agreement that covers mutual recognition in respect of tertiary-level engineering qualifications among the signatory countries. INDIA HOUSE TO 1.56 LAKH MILLIONAIRES According to the World Wealth Report 2014, released by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management, there were 1,56,000 high net worth individuals in India in 2013, up from 1,53,000 in 2012. India has been ranked 16th in the list of countries with highest number of HNWI population, the US topping the chart with 40,06,000 millionaires, followed by Japan (23,27,000). U N AWARD FOR ‘MOBILE SEVA’ 'Mobile Seva', an initiative conceptualised by Indian government’s Department of Electronics and Information Technology for delivery of public services electronically through the mobile platform has been awarded a United Nations Public Service Award. INDIA NO 1 IN ECONOMIC CONFIDENCE In a 25 nation-list compiled by global research firm Ipsos, India has been placed at number one rank in terms of economic confidence of citizens. As many as 60 per cent Indians surveyed have predicted that domestic economy would be stronger in the next six months, making it the most confident nation. INDIA 4th CHOICE OF MNCs FOR INVESTMENT Unctad's annual World Investment Report 2014 shows that China remained the first choice of MNCs, followed by the US. But, Indonesia has overtaken India as the third most preferred destination for 2014-16. A series of policy flip- flops and harsh tax measures commonly referred to as "tax terrorism", have dented India's image. P M VISITS BHUTAN ON FIRST FOREIGN TRIP Prime Minister Mr. Modi made his first overseas trip by visiting Bhutan. He inaugurated the new Supreme Court building at Thimpu, constructed with Indian assistance. He also laid the foundation for a 600 megawatt hydroelectric power station as part of an energy cooperation plan. PROJECT ‘MAUSAM’ FOR INDIAN OCEAN Union Ministry of Culture has launched the Project Mausam at the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Doha, Qatar. The Project aims to explore the diversity of cultural, commercial and religious interactions in the Indian Ocean region. AIR INDIA JOINS STAR ALLIANCE National carrier Air India has joined Star Alliance - a group of 26 (now 27) carriers with as many as 4,338 aircraft flying to 1,328 destinations across 195 countries. It is an agreement between member airlines to use each other’s existing routes and facilities. For an Air India passenger it means simpler transit through single booking across multiple airlines to places where the national carrier does not operate.
  3. 3. GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 3 ANSARI VISITS CHINA Vice-President Hamid Ansari visited China to meet President Xi Jinping and Vice-President Li Yuanchao. He unveiled the first jointly compiled two - volume encyclopaedia, chronicling a 2,000-year history of cultural exchanges between India and China. TELANGANA, THE 29th STATE OF INDIA June 2, 2014 witnessed the birth of 29th state of India – Telangana. Formed by carving out 10 districts of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, the new state will have an area of 1.14 lakh sq kms and a population of over 3.5 crore. Telugu and Urdu are the main languages in the region. City of Hyderabad will continue to remain the joint capital of both – Telangana and Andhra Pradesh for next ten years. Telangana Rashtra Samiti President K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) is the new Chief Minister of the state. INDIA 143RD IN TERMS OF PEACE Global Peace Index (GPI) 2014 released by the Institute for Economics and Peace released in London has placed India at 143rd place in list of 162 countries. Syria is the least peaceful nation while Iceland is the most peaceful country in the world.  External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh on her first solo overseas visit.  The Narmada Control Authority gave its nod to Gujarat for raising the height of the Narmada dam to a level of 138.72 metres from the present 121.92 metres. 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. 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 story of a boy called ‘Titli’ who wants to escape from his oppressive brother. 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 $ 1 billion 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.
  4. 4. GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 4 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. 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. NEWS FROM STATES JULY 2014 AMITABH BACHCHAN: The Indian Megastar was appointed as Brand Ambassador of Maharashtra for promoting horticulture sector of the state. SANIA MIRZA: International tennis star was appointed Brand Ambassador of the Telangana State JUNE 2014 U K AWARD FOR BENGAL’s GIRL SCHEME Kanyashree Prakalpa, a West Bengal government scheme that provides scholarship to girls from economically- backward backgrounds, has been given international recognition jointly by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development and UNICEF. ‘GAURAVI’ TO HELP WOMEN IN STRESS India’s first One Stop Crisis Centre (OSCC) named Gauravi was launched in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh on 16 June 2014. It was launched by the Bollywood actor Amir Khan. The centre is first of its kind in India for women who are victims of violence. It will provide help and assistance to rape survivors and victims of dowry harassment, domestic violence and other atrocities on women, all under one roof. MUMBAI BECOMES 4TH CITY TO GET METRO Mumbai became the fourth city in the country to have Metro rail operations, besides Kolkata, Delhi and Bangalore. The 11.4 km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar section, connecting western suburbs with eastern suburbs, will carry around 11 lakh passengers every day. $100 MN WORLD BANK LOAN FOR HIMACHAL World Bank will provide $ 100 million to Himachal Pradesh for promoting development of sustainable hydropower, adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change and empower local communities to conserve their watersheds. SIKKIM TO GIVE JOBS TO BPL CANDIDATES Sikkim government has announced 12 per cent reservation in all state government jobs and posts in public sector undertakings for candidates of Sikkimese origin living below poverty line, with immediate effect.  Gujarat has become the first state in India to implement 33 per cent reservation for women in the police force, across all cadres. 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.
  5. 5. GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 5  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. GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES JULY 2014 WEBSITE LAUNCHED FOR PUBLIC GOVERNANCE Prime Minister has launched a website, mygov.nic.in to help people contribute in governance of the country by giving their views on important issues. Initially three suggested topics include–  Creative engagement with govt. departments  Suggest ideas to boost girl child education  Suggest a roadmap to clean the Ganga FDI IN INSURANCE HIKED TO 49% The Union Cabinet has hiked FDI cap in insurance sector from 26 to 49 per cent, liberalizing foreign investments, a move that will cheer foreign investors and facilitate funds’ flow. It will provide a boost for the pension sector also as the FDI cap in pension has been linked to insurance. GOVT TO LAUNCH 4 NEW VACCINES Four new vaccines will be introduced in India as part of the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) to reduce child mortality by two-thirds by next year and meet global polio eradication targets. With these new vaccines added, government will be providing free vaccines against 13 life threatening diseases to 27 million children annually. Vaccines against rotavirus, rubella and polio (injectable) will collectively expedite India’s progress to reduce child mortality by two-thirds by the year 2015. Rs. 7060 CRORE FOR URBAN MODERNISATION Government proposes an allocation of Rs 7,060 crore in this financial year for developing 100 ‘smart cities' in the country as satellite towns of larger cities and for modernising the existing mid-sized cities. The new cities need to be developed to accommodate the burgeoning number of people, otherwise, the existing cities would soon become unliveable. PRADHAN MANTRI KRISHI SINCHAYEE YOJANA The government plans to launch a nationwide rural irrigation scheme to insulate farmers from excessive dependence on monsoon. Rs 1,000 crore will be spent on creating infrastructure for the ‘Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana’ to provide assured water to farmers. ‘SOIL HEALTH CARD’ LAUNCHED FOR FARMERS Govt plans to provide 'Soil Health Card' to all farmers for optimum utilization of resources and right selection of crops. The Card will give crop-wise recommendations of nutrients/fertilizers required for a particular village to help the farmers improve productivity by wise use of inputs. ‘KISAN TV’ FOR AGIRCULTURISTS Government to launch ‘Kisan TV' dedicated to the interests of agriculturists and allied sectors and has allocated Rs 100 crore for this purpose. The channel will provide real time information on farming techniques, water conservation and on new technologies to help the farmers. SKILL DEVELOPMENT FOR 50 CRORE BY 2022 Government has set a target to develop skills of 50 crore people by 2022 under the National Policy on Skill Development (NPSD). This target will be distributed among 20 ministries and National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). Government has set up a National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) to coordinate and harmonise the skill development efforts of the government and the private sector. VALIDITY OF INDUSTRIAL LICENCES EXTENDED The Government has extended the validity period of an industrial licence to three years from present two years, with a provision for further extension by two years. The licence will, however, lapse automatically after five years, in the absence of commencement of commercial production PLAN TO MERGE 3 SOCIAL SECURITY SCHEMES The Ministry of Labour and Employment plans to launch a pilot in 20 districts from January 1, 2015 to enable unorganised workers to avail benefits of the Rashtriya Swastha Bima Yojana (RSBY), Aam Aadmi Bima Yojan (AABY) and Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) via one single smart card. The pilot project would be funded from the National Social Security Fund. GOVT TO SET UP 660 NIRBHAYA CENTRES Women and Child Development Ministry has advised that at least 660 rape crisis centres will be established across the country and named as Nirbhaya centres, as a tribute to the victim of December 16, 2012 Delhi gangrape case. The Nirbhaya Centres will act as one stop centre for women victims of molestation, rape, sexual assault, domestic violence and provide them medical assistance, police assistance, psycho-social support and counselling, legal aid and temporary shelter.  To protect investors, the Cabinet has cleared the SEBI Bill, to empower SEBI to initiate action against ponzi schemes and investment frauds.
  6. 6. GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 6 JUNE 2014 NO TRANSFERS FOR PARENTS OF DISABLED Central government has decided that all the government employees who have differently abled children to take care of will be exempted from routine transfers and they will not be asked to take voluntary retirement on refusing such postings. GOMs AND EGOMs SCRAPPED With a view to improve accountability and responsibility, govt has decided to abolish, with immediate effect, all the Groups of Ministers (GoMs) and Empowered Groups of Ministers (EGoMs) set up by the previous UPA-II govt. FOOD BUDGET RAISED FOR POWER SPORTS Govt has decided to increase the daily food supplement budget from Rs 280 to Rs 750 for the power games which include boxing, wrestling, weightlifting, judo and boxing. The decision was taken keeping in mind the Commonwealth Games & Asian Games this year and Rio Olympics in 2016. 12000 LABOUR CHARGES TO POOR FOR HOUSE The Centre has decided to give Rs 12,000 per household as labour charges to the poor for building their homes under Indira Awaas Yojna-IAY. Govt. provides Rs. 75,000 for construction of a house under IAY in hilly areas and Rs 70,000 in plains, of which 20% is the labour component. 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 new Union Cabinet. 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. ECONOMIC INDICATORS JULY 2014 NOMURA PREDICTS 6% GROWTH FOR INDIA According to the Japanese brokerage firm Nomura, India is set to be Asia's biggest turnaround story and the country's GDP growth is expected to rise to over 6 per cent in FY 2015 and over 7 per cent in FY 2016. The Indian economy is starting to turn around as inflation is abating, the current account deficit is narrowing, forex reserves are accumulating and growth is just starting to rise. ADB PUT INDIA’S GROWTH AT 5.5 % Asian Development Bank has upgraded India’s economic growth forecast to 6.3 per cent in 2015-16 on hopes of speedy reform process. However, it has retained forecast of 5.5 per cent growth for the current year. FITCH PROJECTS 5.5 % GROWTH FOR INDIA International rating agency Fitch has improved India's economic growth forecast to 5.5 per cent this financial year and 6.5 per cent in FY16 due to the clear mandate received by the pro-reform Narendra Modi government. The agency said there will be significant risks to growth if the monsoon turns out to be much weaker than expected. IIP JUMPS TO 4.7 PER CENT The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) for the month of May came in at 4.7 percent. The factory output in May is at a 19-month high – highest since October 2012. Electricity sector growth came in at 6.3 percent while manufacturing sector growth jumped to 4.8 percent. CORE SECTOR GROWTH SLIPS TO 2.3% The core sector growth of eight core industries slowed to 2.3 per cent in May, from 5.9 per cent in May last year. During the month, crude oil output shrank 0.3 per cent, natural gas output declined by 2.2 per cent, refinery products were down 2.3 per cent and steel production was 2 per cent lower. TRADE DEFICIT JUMPS TO $11.76 BILLION Taking benefit of improvement in global markets, India's exports grew by 10.22 per cent to $26.4 billion in June this year while imports stood at $38.24 billion, up by 8.33 per cent, leaving a trade deficit of $11.76 billion, boosted by a 65 per cent annual rise in gold imports.  India's foreign exchange reserves have risen by $813 million for week ended June 18 to reach $317.85 bn. JUNE 2014 GDP GROWS @ 4.7% IN 2013-14 Latest data released by the Central Statistical Office (CSO) has estimated value of India’s GDP at current market prices at Rs. 113.55 lakh crore, achieving a growth rate of 4.7 percent in 2013-14 as against 4.5 percent achieved in 2012- 13. This is the first time in 26 years after 1987-88 that GDP has grown at sub 5% in two successive years. The per capita income at current prices during 2013-14 is estimated to have attained a level of Rs.74,380.
  7. 7. GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 7 RBI PUTS GROWTH RATE AT 5-6 PER CENT In its Second Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement, the Reserve Bank has stated that economic growth is expected to be between 5 and 6 per cent in 2014-15 even as uncertainty over the monsoon clouds the forecast for agriculture. India's economic growth stayed below 5 per cent for the second year in a row at 4.7 per cent in 2013- 14, mainly due to a decline in manufacturing and mining output. INDIA TO GROW @ 5.5% - WORLD BANK The World Bank has projected a 5.5% growth for India in 2014-15, estimating that this will accelerate to 6.3% in 2015-16 and 6.6% in 2016-17. 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. ECONOMY JULY 2014 RANGARAJAN PANEL REPORT ON POVERTY As per Dr. C Rangarajan panel estimates, a person spending less than Rs 1,407 a month (Rs 47/day) in urban areas and Rs 972 a month (Rs 32/day) in rural areas would be considered Below Poverty Line. The number of poor in India stood at 36.3 crore (29.5%) in 2011-12, down from 45.4 crore (38.2%) in 2009-10, as per the Rangarajan panel norms. As per Tendulkar Committee, these figures were fixed at Rs 1,000 a month (Rs 33/day) in cities and Rs 816 a month (Rs 27/day) in villages. INDIA HAS WORK FORCE OF OVER 47 CRORE As per NSSO survey result for 2011-12, the estimated workforce in India is 47.41 crore persons of which 82.7 per cent is in unorganised sector and 17.3 percent is in organised sector. DISINVESTMENT TARGET - RS. 58,425 CRORE The government has set a target of mopping Rs 43,425 crore from stake sale in PSU firms and an additional Rs 15,000 crore from sale in other entities such as SUUTI (Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India). The bulk of the Rs 15,000 crore would be from offloading shares in Axis Bank MSP FOR KHARIF CROPS 2014-15 CROP MSP PER QUINTAL PADDY 1360 JOWAR 1530 BAJRA 1250 MAIZE 1310 GROUNDNUT 4000 TUAR AND URAD DAL 4350 MOONG 4600 SUNFLOWER 3750 SAHOO PANEL PROPOSES ‘BhDRs’ A government panel led by M S Sahoo has proposed a new class of securities, 'Bharat Depository Receipts (BhDRs)', for foreign firms to raise money in India, to provide more choice to domestic investors. A BhDR would be a rupee denominated instrument issued by domestic depository against listed equities of a foreign company. FDI IN DEFENCE, INSURANCE RAISED TO 49% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in defence manufacturing has been hiked from 26 per cent to 49 per cent. The ownership of such joint ventures will stay with Indian companies. FDI in insurance sector has also been hiked to 49 per cent from 26 per cent. W B LOAN FOR ROAD CONNECTIVITY World Bank has sanctioned $500 million loan for India’s National Highways Inter-connectivity Improvement Project (NHIIP) to improve the national highway network connectivity to less-developed states. INDIA SIGNS FATCA WITH USA India and the US have agreed to implement Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), a US law that targets tax non-compliance by US taxpayers with foreign accounts. As per FATCA, it is compulsory for US taxpayers to report about their offshore assets and accounts. Similarly, foreign financial institutions are required to report about accounts held by US taxpayers. INDUSTRIAL MoU SIGNED WITH CHINA India and China have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that allows Chinese companies to invest in industrial parks and zones in India. This way Indian firms will get the benefit of learning economies of scale and inventory management from the Chinese firms.
  8. 8. GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 8 TCS REACHES MARKET CAP OF 5 TRILLION Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has become first Indian company to achieve a market capitalization of Rs. 5 lakh crore rupees. TCS is followed by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) at 3.5 lakh crore rupees and Reliance Industries at 3.3 lakh crore rupees.  World Bank to provide $153 million (Rs 920 crore) loan for the Odisha Disaster Recovery Project to restore and improve housing and public services in Odisha.  The ADB has approved a multi-tranche loan facility of $300 million to help Assam continue its drive to eliminate power sector inefficiencies.  Britain has granted one billion pound ($1.68 billion) credit line for investment in Indian infrastructure projects.  The government has granted Navratna status to Container Corporation of India Limited (CONCOR). JUNE 2014 SOLO EVENTS NOT PART OF CSR The Corporate Affairs Ministry has clarified that one-off events such as marathons / awards / charitable contribution /advertisement / sponsorships of TV programmes etc would not be qualified as part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expenditure. Activities like housing for Economically Weaker Sections, slum clearance, disaster management, rural development, road safety, skill development of agriculture labour can be considered under the CSR. CSR rules are applicable to companies having at least Rs 5 crore net profit, or Rs 1,000 crore turnover or Rs 500 crore net worth. As per CSR rules, such companies are required to shell out at least two per cent of their three-year annual average net profit towards CSR activities. BAN ON MILK PRODUCTS FROM CHINA The government has extended the ban on imports of milk and its products from China for one more year till June 2015. The ban was first imposed in September 2008 due to presence of melamine in milk products, a chemical used for making plastics and fertilisers. F I OF 10% TO BE TREATED AS FDI Foreign investment of 10 per cent or more in a listed company will now be treated as foreign direct investment (FDI) as the government has accepted the Finance Secretary Arvind Mayaram committee’s recommendations on rationalising definitions of FDI and FII. NEW SEBI NORMS FOR DEBT SECURITIES SEBI has issued new norms for public issuance of debt securities (debentures, bonds etc.) under which such offers will have to be of minimum Rs 100 crore and the companies will have to attain at least 75 per cent subscription. ISRAEL TO HELP IN AGRICULTURE Israel is planning to open two centres of excellence at Nalanda and Vaishali in Bihar in the field of vegetables and mango respectively to help cultivators increase their produc- tivity. In these centres, Israeli agricultural experts along with local farm scientists would impart knowhow of the latest technology to growers to help them raise the production level. PSUs TO HAVE 25% PUBLIC HOLDING SEBI has said that public sector undertakings listed on stock exchanges to have should also adhere to the mandatory 25% public shareholding norms that are applicable to private companies. At present, private sector companies are compulsorily required to have at least 25% public shareholding, while for government-owned companies, minimum threshold level is only 10%.  India has overtaken Germany and Italy to emerge as the world's second largest textile exporter. But it lags China, whose exports are nearly seven times higher.  The World Bank has approved funding of USD 107 million (nearly Rs 650 crore) for a road project in Mizoram, connecting Myanmar and Bangladesh. 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.
  9. 9. GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 9 BANKING & FINANCE JULY 2014 RBI ALLOWS PAYMENT BANK AND SMALL BANK The Reserve Bank has issued guidelines for setting up of Payment Bank and Small Banks. A minimum paid-up capital of Rs.100 crore will be required for setting up of these banks. Both the banks will have to comply with the CRR and SLR requirements. Payment Banks will be allowed only acceptance of demand deposits and payments and remittances services to migrant labour workforce, low-income households, small businesses and other unorganised entities. They will not be allowed to undertake lending activities. Small Bank shall primarily undertake basic banking activities of acceptance of deposits and lending to small farmers, small businesses, micro and small industries and unorganised sector entities. The area of operations of the small bank will be restricted to contiguous districts in a homogenous cluster of States REVISED KYC NORMS FROM RBI RBI has revised its "know your customer" guidelines where a main change is that it has now specified "officially valid documents" to be the Aadhaar card, voter ID card, permanent account number (PAN) card, driving licence, passport, or the NREGA card. The Ration Card has been dropped from the list. Now, Banks are no more authorized to accept any other document as proof of identity. Rs. 5000 OD FOR NEW BANK ACCOUNT To promote financial inclusion, govt proposes to sanction an overdraft (OD) facility of Rs 5,000 by the bank to individuals who open an account with them. But there is a caveat for those availing of the OD: customers should be willing to take financial literacy lessons from lenders. A Rs 1,000-crore credit guarantee fund will be set up by NABARD for this purpose. The OD offer is part of 'Sampoorn Viteeyea Samveshan' (SVS) or Comprehensive Financial Inclusion to ensure that every earning citizen opens a bank account. Rs. 5000 CR LYING IN UNCLAIMED ACCOUNTS Parliament has been advised that Banks had Rs 5,124 crore in unclaimed deposits (accounts with no operations for 10 years) lying with them as of December 31, 2013. This amount will be transferred to the Depositor Education and Awareness Fund to be utilized for promotion of depositors' interests. The Reserve Bank has from time to time advised banks to play a more pro-active role in finding the whereabouts of the people whose accounts have remained inoperative. Banks are required to transfer the unclaimed amount to Reserve Bank of India every month. RBI TO IDENTIFY ‘LARGE’ BANKS The Reserve Bank has said that Banks having size equal to or more than 2 per cent of GDP will be designated as domestic systemically important banks (D-SIBs) and they will be subject to higher capital requirements. Additionally, five largest foreign banks, based on their size, will also be added to the sample for identification of D-SIBs. D-SIBs are perceived as banks that are ‘Too Big To Fail (TBTF)’. This perception of TBTF creates an expectation of government support for these banks at the time of distress. Due to this perception, these banks enjoy certain advantages in the funding markets. PSBs TO ISSUE RUPAY CARDS Govt has urged public sector banks to issue RuPay cards to all existing customers who do not have debit cards as well as to new clients. Banks have also been told to "encourage" merchant establishments to install point of sale terminals for RuPay cards. Already, 20 million cards have been issued. GOVT PLANS UBI’s MERGER WITH IDBI The government has asked IDBI Bank and Kolkata based United Bank of India to prepare a consolidation plan in view of poor performance of UBI. Govt also plans to approve the merger plan of SBI and State Bank of Patiala. SIX NEW DRTs TO BE SET UP To expedite the process to recover bad bank loans, govt proposes to set up six new Debt Recovery Tribunals. The Government of India had constituted 33 Debts Recovery Tribunals and five Debts Recovery Appellate Tribunals across the country. These six additional tribunals will make total number of tribunals to 39. NO 60% CUT OFF FOR EDUCATION LOANS The Madras High Court has ruled that banks cannot fix 60% cut off of minimum marks in Plus Two as condition for extending education loan to students joining engineering courses. Once a candidate has been admitted in a course, banks should consider his request for loan on genuine grounds of need and not on basis of marks obtained at plus two level. RBI TO SWAP GOLD RBI plans to swap some of the old gold lying in its Nagpur vault since pre-Independence times — and whose quality is not exactly top grade — with purer gold. The operation would "standardise the gold available with RBI in India with respect to international standards" and the gold acquired would be delivered to its overseas custodian, the Bank of England. MFIs CAN NOT CHARGE MORE THAN 27.75% RBI has advised that the lending rate ceiling for micro finance companies will continue at their present level - at 27.75% for the July to September quarter. This is the highest rate MFIs can charge to their borrowers in the next quarter. They may have to charge less if their cost of funds is lower than 17.75%. The Non Banking Finance Companies engaged in Micro Finance are required to be registered with RBI as NBFC- MFIs and have to follow the guidelines for maximum rate of interest they can charge on loans.
  10. 10. GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 10 BANK CREDIT GROWTH MORE THAN DEPOSITS Bank deposits grew 13.24 per cent year-on-year to Rs 79,96,060 crore during the fortnight ended July 11 and credit growth was 13.67 per cent reaching Rs 61,21,418 crore during the same period.  The RBI has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Monetary Authority of Hong Kong for exchange of supervisory information of banking.  The Reserve Bank will soon put to circulation Rs 10 denominated coins on the occasion of diamond jubilee of Coir Board.  RBI has allowed Non Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) to accept e-KYC service to verify identity and address proof of customers to reduce risk of fraud. JUNE 2014 RBI CUTS SLR DOWN TO 22.5 % RBI in its second bimonthly policy statement reduced statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) to 22.5% from 23%, freeing almost Rs 40,000 crore of resources. Interest rates on home and auto loans are unlikely to fall soon, but they could gradually ease as the banks may lend more to companies and individuals rather than buy government securities. SLR is the mandatory provision for banks to block a certain prescribed percent of their total deposits in government securities. INTEREST ON ‘UNCLAIMED’ DEPOSITS RBI has advised that Interest on unclaimed deposits transferred to a newly set up fund for educating depositors shall be payable only from the date of their transfer to the fund. Banks will transfer the accounts to the fund after applying up-to-date accrued interest. PROOF OF LOCAL ADDRESS NOT REQUIRED RBI has advised that for opening of bank accounts, in case the proof of address furnished by the customer is not the local address or address where the customer is currently residing, the bank may take a declaration of the local address on which all correspondence will be made by the bank with the customer. No proof is required for this local address. ECR REDUCED TO 32 PER CENT The Reserve Bank has reduced the availability of funds under the export credit refinance (ECR) window from 50 per cent of export credit outstanding to 32 per cent with immediate effect. To compensate for the resulting reduction in liquidity, RBI has introduced a special term repo facility up to 0.25 per cent of their net demand and time liabilities- NDTL (total deposits). RBI ALLOWS ENGAGING NBFCs AS BC The Reserve Bank has permitted non-banking finance companies -NBFCs to act as business correspondents (BCs) of banks, allowing them to offer limited services with the aim of spreading financial inclusion. The RBI said the existing guidelines on the appointment of BCs were reviewed taking into account recommendations of the Nachiket Mor Committee. LIMIT RAISED TO CARRY CURRENCY ABROAD The Reserve Bank has permitted residents and non- residents, except Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, to carry up to Rs 25,000 in Indian currency notes while leaving the country as against Rs 10,000 earlier. Till now, foreigners were not allowed to carry Indian currency while leaving the country.  IndusInd Bank has launched ‘video branch’ - a unique service allowing customers to interact face-to-face with their bank branch using desktop, tablet or smartphone.  Reserve Bank has raised the annual overseas investment ceiling for individuals to $ 125,000 from present $ 75,000.  The Reserve Bank has asked banks to disclose sector wise loans in their financial statements from 2014/15 onwards. 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.
  11. 11. GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 11 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 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. 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. DEFENCE, SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY JULY 2014 INS KOLKATA JOINS INDIAN NAVY The Indian Navy‘s largest ever destroyer – INS Kolkata was inducted in to service on 10th July. It is India’s first domestically built guided missile destroyer to feature a Western-style air search radar and stealth technology. ADVANCED BRAHMOS TEST FIRED An advanced version of the 290-km range Brahmos supersonic cruise missile was successfully tested off the coast of Odisha, giving the country the capability to hit enemy targets hidden behind mountains or in a cluster of buildings with “pinpoint accuracy”. The missile travelled its full strike range of 290 km in 500 seconds. INDIA LAUNCHES FIVE FOREIGN SATELLITES India successfully launched five foreign satellites from four countries on board PSLV-C23 rocket on June 30. The five satellites, launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, included two from Germany, and one each from France, Canada and Singapore. PSLV: Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle HIGH SPEED DATA TRANSFER BY LI-FI A Mexican software company has managed to transmit audio, video and Internet data across the spectrum of light emitted by LED lamps — at a data transfer rate of 10 gigabytes per second. The technology called Li-Fi or light fidelity can illuminate a large work space, such as an office, while providing full mobile Internet to every device that comes into the range of the light spectrum. OBJECTS SPOTTED BEYOND PLUTO Scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope have discovered two new objects beyond Pluto for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft to visit. New Horizons spacecraft, launched in 2006, is on track to become the first probe to visit Pluto in July 2015, some 4.7 billion miles from Earth in the Kuiper Belt. CARBON GEL – WORLD’s LIGHTEST MATERIAL The world's lightest solid material - carbon aerogel - created by Chinese scientists has fetched a staggering $1.6 million at an auction. With a density of just 0.16 milligrams per cubic centimeter, a sixth of air's density, the carbon aerogel was developed by scientists at Zhejiang University last year. NASA SATELLITE TO TRACK CO2 American space agency NASA has successfully launched a satellite -Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2), designed to track atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, a leading human- produced greenhouse gas responsible for global warming.  Warships, submarines, aircrafts and helicopters of India, US and Japan participated in the trilateral Malabar naval exercise from 24th July in North Western Pacific Ocean.
  12. 12. GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 12 JUNE 2014 INS KAMORTA TO JOIN INDIAN NAVY India’s first indige- nously - built anti submarine warfare corvette INS Kamorta will be commissioned into the Indian Navy next month. Built by the Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd (GRSE), Kolkata, it will be the first warship armed with an indigenous rocket launcher for anti submarine warfare. BRAHMOS MISSILE TEST FIRED Indian-Russian joint venture Brahmos Aerospace test-fired its 290-km range supersonic missile from the stealth destroyer INS Kolkata off India's west coast near Karnataka. GARUDA-V: AIR EXERCISE WITH FRANCE The fifth Indo-French bilateral air exercise — Garuda-V was held at the Jodhpur Air Base. It is aimed at enhancing operational cooperation and validating capabilities. During the war games, both the Air Forces will practice aerial warfare, including manoeuvres to carry out surgical strikes. NASA TO BUILD WORLD’s LARGEST TELESCOPE NASA plans to build world’s most powerful telescope - Advanced Technology Large Aperture Space Telescope (ATLAST) to analyse the environment of other planets and ability to track existence of aliens life. It will be able to track life which is as far as thirty light years away. EARTH’s LARGEST WATER RESERVOIR FOUND Researchers at Northwestern University and the University of New Mexico believe they have found the Earth's largest water reservoir around 643 km underneath North America, inside mantle rock. Though not in the familiar liquid form - the ingredients for water are bound up in rock deep in the Earth's mantle. ‘KEPLER 10 C’ – NEW GIANT PLANET A huge Earth-like planet found by US astronomers has changed the perception of planet formation. The newly discovered Kepler-10c planet has been dubbed ‘Mega-Earth’ thanks to its diameter of 29,000 kilometers and an estimated weight 17 times greater than Earth, which has a diameter of 12,742 kilometers. This makes Kepler-10c the biggest rocky planet ever discovered. 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. 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 two navies. 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. 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 to carry out testing of its under-development 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.
  13. 13. GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 13 INTERNATIONAL JULY 2014 6TH BRICS SUMMIT HELD AT FORTALEZA, BRAZIL Prime Minister Mr. Modi visited Fortaleza, Brazil to attend the 6th BRICS Summit. The five countries decided to establish the New Development Bank with an initial authorised capital of USD 50 billion which will be equally shared by the founding members to prevent domination by any one member. The Bank will work for funding infrastructure and “sustainable development” projects in the BRICS countries. India will have the first Presidency of the NDB for six years with headquarters in China Agreement was also reached on establishing a Contingency Reserve Arrangement with an initial size of USD 100 billion to provide additional liquidity protection to member-nations during balance of payments problems. Funding of CRA is 41 per cent by China, 18 per cent each from Brazil, India, and Russia, and 5 per cent from South Africa. The 7th BRICS Summit will be held in the Russian city of Ufa. ISRAEL OPENS WAR WITH GAZA Israel Defence Forces (IDF) launched “Operation Protective Edge” against Hamas militants in Gaza strip for their alleged kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers. In over a month long conflict, Israeli forces have killed over one thousand persons in Gaza strip through attack by ground and air strikes. (See the specil) MALAYSIAN PLANE SHOT DOWN, KILLING 298 A Malaysian aircraft, flight MH 17 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down by terrorist using a Russian Buk missile when it was flying above 33,000 feet over eastern Ukraine on July 17, killing all 295 people aboard. The disaster is clouded in mystery as both Russia and Ukraine claim that their forces have not shot the plane. UKRAINE MOVES TOWARDS EUROPEAN UNION Ukraine signed a landmark economic trade pact with the European Union June 27. The Association Agreement is expected to boost Ukraine’s exports to the European Union but has attracted strong negative reaction from the Russia. It was a refusal to sign this pact last year by Mr Poroshenko’s predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych, which triggered popular protests in Ukraine, leading to Russia’s annexation of the Crimea peninsula  India will host the 7th IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) summit in 2015. JUNE 2014 ISIS LAUNCHES FIERCE ATTACK IN IRAQ Sunni militants, led by jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have since the beginning of June, killed thousands of civilians and army personnel in Iraq in their bid to dethrone the present Shia government led by Premier Nouri al-Malikii. They have been successful in gaining control of some major cities like Tikrit and Mosul. ISIS militants are supporters of Saddam Hussein, ex president of Iraq who was sentenced to death in 2012. The rift between the two major Islamic communities – Sunnis and Shias, runs like a tectonic fault-line. The division between Sunni and Shia Muslims is the oldest in the Middle East — and yet it is one which seems increasingly to be shaping the destiny of this troubled region. The rift goes right back to the beginning — and a row over who should succeed the Prophet Mohamed as leader of the emerging Islamic community when he died in the early 7th century. The majority of his followers thought his closest associate, Abu Bakr, should take over. They became the ‘Sunnis’. But a minority thought the Prophet’s closest relative, his son-in- law and nephew Ali, should succeed. This minority came to be known as ‘Shias’. Word Shia is an abbreviation of Shiat Ali “the party of Ali”. Intrigues and violence followed. Eventually Ali was killed, as was his son Hussein, and persecution and martyrdom became ingrained in the Shia psyche. The two sides agreed on the Quran but had different views on hadith, the traditions recorded by the Prophet’s followers about what he had said and done in his life. From time to time, however, violence has flared in which the Shia, in the main, have been brutally and even genocidally persecuted. There are around one and a half billion Muslims in the world. Of these, somewhere between 10 and 20 per cent — estimates vary considerably — are Shia. In most countries Shias are minority in a Sunni homeland. But in Iraq, Iran, Bahrain and Azerbaijan, Shias are in majority. For past several years, Shia majority of Iraq was ruled by Sunni warlord – Saddam Hussein, until the invasion of Iraq by US forces that ended with hanging of Saddam in 2012. Afterwards, when elections took place, Shias came in to power. Since then, Sunni supporters of Saddam have been waging a war against the elected govt. They got together to form the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – ISIS with the sole objective of regaining the lost power.
  14. 14. GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 14 USA FIRST CHOICE FOR FDI A survey by global consulting firm A T Kearney has shown that the USA is the top destination in the world for foreign direct investment. India has slipped to its lowest position; seventh, in over a decade.  China plans to shut down over 2,000 small coal mines by next year to eliminate outdated capacity and improve work safety and address pollution concerns.  G7 meet of industrialized nations held at Brussels, Belgium 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’. E EU 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 (EEU) 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 of China. 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.
  15. 15. GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 15 PERSONS IN NEWS JULY 2014 ARSENIY YATSENYUK: Ukraine’s Prime Minister was in news as he resigned in a shock move to protest the disbanding of the ruling parliamentary coalition, plunging the strife-torn nation into political uncertainty. AKHOURI SINHA: In a rare honour, the USA has named a mountain in Antarctica after this eminent Indian-American scientist whose pioneering biological research expedition to Antarctica has provided vital data about animal populations in that area. NEYMAR: Ace striker of Brazil’s football team was in news as he suffered a back bone fracture after being hit by the Colombian defender Juan Zuniga. Brazil’s bid to win a sixth World Cup suffered a devastating blow as Neymar was ruled out of the rest of the tournament. JUNE 2014 ARUNADHATI BHATTACHARYA: Chairperson of State Bank of India has been ranked as most powerful women in India by the Forbes Magazine. She stood at 36th rank. KIRAN MAZUMDAR-SHAW: India's biotechnology queen, Chairperson of Biocon Industries, has been awarded the coveted Global Economy Prize for business by the Kiel Institute in Germany during its centenary celebrations. The annual prize is awarded to three individuals - a high-ranking policy maker, a renowned economist and an outstanding entrepreneur. IROM SHARMILA CHANU: A local court in Imphal, Manipur has ruled that there is prima facie evidence of attempt to commit suicide against Manipur social activist who has been on fast for the past 13 years demanding withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the State. MICHAEL SCHUMACHER: 45 year old German Formula One champion was in news as he emerged out of coma after almost five and a half months, following his devastating ski accident in December, 2013. ANGELA MERKEL: Chancellor of Germany, she has been declared as most powerful women in the world by Forbes Magazine. BOWE BERGDAHL: An US sergeant was in news as he was released by his Taliban captors in Afghanistan on May 31 to American forces in exchange for five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay prison in USA. JUAN CARLOS: Spain's King, who led Spain's transition from dictatorship to democracy, was in news as he announced his abdication in favour of his son, Prince Felipe, making way for a "new generation”. 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. APPOINTMENTS JULY 2014 NEW GOVERNORS APPOINTED Ram Naik Uttar Pradesh. Kesri Nath Tripathi West Bengal Om Prakash Kohli Gujarat Balramji Dass Tandon Chhattisgarh. Padmanabha Acharya Nagaland. Kaptan Singh Solanki Haryana Margaret Alva Goa (Add. Charge) PINKY ANAND: Additional Solicitor-General FUAD MASUM: President of Iraq JOKO WIDODO (JOKOWI): President of Indonesia JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER: President of the European Commission JUNE 2014 RANJIT KUMAR: Solicitor General of India Dr. AJIT KUMAR DOVAL: National Security Adviser, Govt of India ARUN JAITLEY: The Union Finance Minister has been appointed as India's Governor on the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank. MADHURI DIXIT: The Bollywood celebrity has been appointed as UNICEF's 'celebrity advocate for child rights'. VISHAL SIKKA: Chief Executive Officer, Infosys SUMITRA MAHAJAN: Speaker, Lok Sabha DR. SUDHIR KUMAR MISHRA: CEO & MD, BrahMos Aerospace Corporation Arun Mishra, Adarsh Kumar Goel and Rohinton Nariman: Judge in Supreme Court
  16. 16. GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 16 N. SRINIVASAN: First Chairman of International Cricket Council, Dubai JUSTICE VK RAJAH: Attorney General of Singapore, he is an Indian-origin judge. ALEXANDER STUBB: Prime Minister of Finland REUVEN RIVLIN: President of Israel, from Likud party BASHAR AL-ASSAD: Elected as President of Syria, for the third time successively. PRINCE FELIPE: New King of Spain ABDUL FATTAH AL-SISI: President of Egypt 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 AWARDS & HONOURS JULY 2014 PREM BHATIA AWARD for Journalism: SMITA GUPTA, Associate Editor with The Hindu, for political reporting. NITIN SETHI, Associate Editor, Business Standard, for excellence in environmental and development reporting JUNE 2014 49TH JNANPITH AWARD – 2013: Noted Hindi poet Kedarnath Singh. The award includes Rs 11 lakh as cash. 27TH MOORTIDEVI AWARD – 2013: Renowned scientist-turned- Malyalam writer C Radhakrishna for his book 'Theekkadal Katanhu Thirumadhuram' Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction: Eimear McBride for her first novel ‘A girl is a Half-Formed Thing’ 'LEGION OF FRANCE': Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan for his contribution to Cinema. It is one of its highest civilian awards conferred by France. TANG PRIZE 2014 DECLARED Dr. Samuel Yin, a business tycoon from Taiwan established the Tang Prizes in December 2012 in four major fields of Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology, Rule of Law to encourage research in these fields. They are given once in two years. FIELD NAME CONTRIBUTION Sinology Yu Ying-shih Research in Chinese cultural, intellectual and political history Sustainable Development Gro Harlem Brundtland, Ex. PM of Norway. innovation, leadership and implementation of sustainable development Rule of Law Albie Sachs fight against apartheid Bio-pharma- ceutical science Dr. Tasuku Honjo & James Allison fight against cancer WORLD FOOD PRIZE: won by Sanjaya Rajaram, India born veteran plant scientist from Mexico, for his contribution in increasing the wheat production in world. The Prize, carrying a cash prize of $ 250,000, would be presented during the U.N. World Food Day on October 16. DAG HAMMARSKJOLD Medal: Gallantry award given by UNO to eight Indian soldiers on 29th May - International Day of UN peacekeepers. Two Indian-Americans Sriram J Hathwar and Ansun Sujoe jointly won the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee at National Harbour, Maryland (USA). 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 won by Turkey’s Winter Sleep directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan National Florence Nightingale Awards 2014 conferred on 35 nursing personnel by President of India for their meritorious services.
  17. 17. GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 17 BOOKS & AUTHORS JULY 2014 The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee Finding Neema by Juliet Reynolds Half a Rupee Stories by Gulzar The Substance and The Shadow by Udaya Tara Nayar, a biography of veteran actor Dilip Kumar Innovation in India by Shyama V. Ramani JUNE 2014 Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. The Obamas by Edward Klein Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Americanah Hannah Kent – Burial Rites Audrey Magee – The Undertaking Eimear McBride – A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing Donna Tartt – The Goldfinch 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. OBITUARY JULY 2014 ZOHRA SEHGAL: Legendary actress from Hindi theatre and cinema, aged over 102 years. NADINE GORDIMER: South African Nobel Prize-winning author, one of the most powerful voices against the injustice of apartheid JUNE 2014 SULTAN AZLAN SHAH: Known as the 'Father of Malaysian Hockey' for his colossal contribution to the international hockey for over 41 years -- both as a player and as an administrator. He was Sultan of Perak, Malaysia. GOPINATH MUNDE: Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Prominent BJP leader from Maharashtra. 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. PLACES IN NEWS JULY 2014 NEOGURI: Name of powerful typhoon that lashed Japan's southern Okinawa islands on 8th July, forcing over half a million people to seek shelter, as the typhoon damaged buildings, downed trees and brought air/sea traffic to a halt. JUNE 2014 INDIRA GANDHI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: The airport in Delhi was declared second best in service quality in world and sixth best airport in the world. MEHRANGIR: Name of the bungalow of Late J. J. Bhabha, a pioneer nuclear scientist, at Malabar Hills, Mumbai that was auctioned for a record price of Rs. 372 crore. Sh. Bhabha wanted that auction money may be used for the development and the upkeep of the National Centre for the Performing Arts- NCPA, a non-profit organization. However, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has appealed to the govt to acquire the property and to maintain it as a monument. RANI-KI-VAV, PATAN: The 11th century step well at district Patan of Gujarat has been approved as a World Heritage site by UNESCO, describing it as an “exceptional example of technological development” in utilising ground water resources. Rani-ki- Vav (queen’s step well) is a particularly large and complex example of a stepwell with seven storeys of ornamented panels and relief representing the height of the Maru- Gurjara style. GHNP, KULLU: The Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh has been accorded the UNESCO World Heritage Site status for its “exceptional natural beauty and conservation of biological diversity.” Some other Indian World Heritage Sites (WHS) include the Taj Mahal, Ellora Caves, Kaziranga National Park, Keoladeo National Park, Manas National Park, Nandadevi Biosphere Reserve and the Sunderbans. THALOT/ LARJI: place about 40 km from Mandi in Himachal Pradesh was in news as 24 engineering students, including six girls, were washed away in River Beas due to sudden release of water from the reservoir of Larji hydropower project on river Beas, some five kilometers away from the accident site. The students were from a Hyderabad engineering college on an educational trip. The accident took place when they were taking photographs on the bank of the river. GARIPHEMA: Village in Nagaland was in news as it has been declared the country’s first tobacco-free village on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day on May 31.
  18. 18. GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 18 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. 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. SPORTS WORLD JULY 2014 20TH C’WEALTH GAMES START IN GLASGOW The 2014 Commonwealth Games (officially the 20th Commonwealth Games) will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, from 23 July to 3 August 2014. Mascot for the games has been named ‘Clyde’ after the famous Clyde river of Scotland. It is in the shape of a thistle plant, not an animal. Shooter Vijay Kumar led Indian Contingent as flag bearer. INDIA’S GOLD MEDAL WINNER AT COMMONWEALTH GAMES (UPTO 30TH JULY) SR. NO. SPORTS PERSON SPORTS 1 K Sanjita Chanu Weight lifting 2 Sukhen Dev Weight lifting 3 Satish Sivalingam Weight lifting 4 Abhinav Bindra Shooting, 10 m rifle 5 Apurvi Chandela Shooting, 10 m rifle 6 Jitu Rai Shooting, 50 m pistol 7 Rahi Sanorbat Shooting, 25 m pistol 8 Sushil Kumar Wrestling 9 Amit Kumar Wrestling 10 Vinesh Phogat Wrestling *For more news on medals won, please check latest news SAINA NEHWAL: Indian shuttler lifted her first Super Series title in two years, clinching the $ 750,000 Star Australian Open after outplaying Spain's Carolina Marin at Sydney, Australia. PANKAJ ADVANI won his 9th world title beating Poland’s Kacper Flilpiak in the IBSF World 6-Red snooker championship at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Ritu Rani to captain India’s women hockey team for the Commonwealth Games, Glasgow. GERMANY LIFTS FIFA WORLD CUP 2014 Mario Gotze scored the winning goal for Germany in the 22nd minute of extra time as Germany became the football world champions when they beat Argentina 1-0 in the final at Rio-de Janeiro. Germany, who had made the final for the fourth time in a row, won their first title after 1990. AWARDS FOR FIFA WORLD CUP 2014 GOLDEN BALL Player of the Tournament- Lionel Messi, Argentina GOLDEN BOOT Highest Goal Scorer (6) –: James Rodriguez, Colombia GOLDEN GLOVE Best Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer, Germany The Indian men's football team has been ranked 151th in the FIFA world rankings, which is topped by recently- crowned world champions Germany. Wimbledon Tennis Open, London: Novak Djokovic of Serbia won the Men’s title defeating Roger Federer of Switzerland. Women’s title was won by Petra Kvitova of Czechslovakia by defeating Eugenie Bouchard of Canada VINCENZO NIBALI of Italy won the world famous three week cycling marathon - Tour de France. SIM BHULLAR has become the first player of Indian origin to be a part of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in USA after joining the Sacramento Kings team. The 21-year- old is 7.5 feet tall and hails from Kapurthala in Punjab. India clinched their first Test win against England at the historic Lord's ground in London in nearly three decades. JUNE 2014 Jitu Rai became first Indian shooter to win three medals in successive ISSF Shooting World Cup. Also, by winning his first-ever Gold medal and one Silver at the ongoing ISSF World Cup in Maribor, Slovenia, he became the first Indian shooter to win two medals at the same World Cup. Abhishek Verma has become the first Indian archer to win three gold medals in a single international tournament after a silver medal he won last year was converted to gold. Abhishek won a silver in the compound men’s event at the Asian Archery Championship in Chinese Taipei in October- November last year. Yogeshwar Dutt and Sushil won the gold medal and silver medal respectively, in wrestling in International Competition in Sassari city, Italy. Indian Premier League – 7: Kolkata Knight Riders won the IPL title beating Kings Eleven Punjab at the final played at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. Viswanathan Anand won the bronze medal at the World Rapid Chess Championship held at Dubai.
  19. 19. GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 19 National Games: The 35th edition of these will be held in Kerala in Jan– Feb, 2015. Sachin Tendulkar has been appointed as Goodwill Ambassador for these games. FRENCH OPEN TENNIS at Roland Garros, Paris Rafael Nadal of Spain won the men’s title for the ninth time, and the fifth time in a row, beating Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Women’s title was won by Maria Sharapova of Russia, defeating Romania's Simona Halep. Hockey World Cup (men) Australia defeated The Netherlands to win the cup at The Hague, Netherland. Women’s cup was lifted by The Netherland defeating Australia 16th Asian Junior Athletics Championship: India won 2 Gold, 5 Silver and 5 Bronze medals to finish 5th in final medal tally at Taipei City, China from 12 June to 15 June 2014. 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 to retain 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. DAYS & DATES AUGUST World Breast – Feeding Week August 1-07 Friendship Day August 05 Hiroshima Day August 06 August Kranti Divas August 09 Nagasaki Day August 09 Dengue Prevention Day August 10 International Youth Day August 12 National Independence Day August 15 World Photography Day August 19 Sanskrit Day August 24 Women’s Equality Day August 26 National Sports Day August 29 JULY Architecture day, Doctor’s 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 World Refugee Day June 20 International Olympic Day June 23 International Widows Day June 23 International Anti-Drugs day June 26 World Diabetes Day June 27 THE SECRET IN EDUCATION LIES IN RESPECTING THE STUDENT ALL THE NEWS ITEMS IN THIS MAGAZINE HAVE BEEN SOURCED FROM VARIOUS NEWS PAPERS AND GOVT. PRESS RELEASES
  20. 20. GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 20 BUDGET 2014-15 : HIGHLIGHTS INCOME TAX SAVINGS Individual taxpayers Income Rate Savings Up to Rs. 250000 Nil Rs. 5000 Rs. 250001 to Rs. 500000 10% Rs. 5000 Rs. 500001 to Rs. 1000000 20% Rs. 5000 Above Rs. 1000000 30% Rs. 5000 For senior citizens Income Rate Savings UP to Rs. 300000 Nil Rs. 5000 Rs. 300001 to Rs. 500000 10% Rs. 5000 Rs. 500001 to Rs. 1000000 20% Rs. 5000 Above Rs. 1000000 30% Rs. 5000 TAXES & INTERESTS  Income tax exemption limit raised from Rs. 2 lakh to Rs. 2.5 lakh  Deduction limit under Section 80 C raised to Rs. 1.5 lakh  Annual PPF ceiling hiked to Rs. 1.5 lakh  No tax for income up to Rs. 3 lakh for senior citizens  Housing loan interest deduction limit raised from Rs. 1.5 lakh to Rs. 2 lakh  AIM: Big relief to a large number of taxpayers WOMEN’S SAFETY  Rs. 50 cr for ‘Safety’ for Women  Rs. 150 crore for security net in large cities  Crisis Management Centres to come up in Delhi  Rs. 100 crore for ‘Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao Yojana’  AIM: To instill a sense of security amongst women by curbing the crime against women which jumped by 26.7% in 2013. POWER & ENERGY  Rs.500 crore Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana for providing 24 x 7 power supply to all homes in rural areas  Rs. 100 cr for “Ultra-Modern Super Critical Coal Based Thermal Power Technology  Rs. 200 cr for power reforms in Delhi  Rs. 500 cr for solar power projects  Rs. 400 crore scheme for financing solar-power- driven agricultural pump sets and water pumping stations.  AIM: For meeting ever-growing demand for electricity. Villages and rural areas to benefit most AGRICULTURE  Rs. 8 lakh crore for agriculture credit by banks  Farmers to get loans at 7% interest rate  Rs. 100 cr Agri- infrastructure fund  Rs. 50 cr for indigenous cattle breeding  Rs. 500 cr for price stabilization fund  Rs. 100 cr for Kisan Television  AIM: To encourage R & D in agriculture and rationalize fertilizer prices to boost rural economy RURAL DEVELOPMENT  Rs. 14389 cr for Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana  Initial sum of Rs. 100 cr for Village Entrepreneurship Programme  Swatch Bharat Abhiyaan targeting total sanitation by 2019  AIM: To provide Self-employment opportunities in rural areas TOURISM  E-visas to be allowed at nine airports,  Rs. 500 cr for 5 new tourism circuits  National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana to be launched  Rs.100 crore for the preservation of archaeological sites  AIM: Promotion of tourism to attract more revenue and foreign currency. Govt aims to achieve an average annual growth of 8% per year in tourism. INFRASTRUCTURE  Rs. 37850 crore allocated for road building plan via NHAI, including Rs. 3000 cr for the North East  Rs. 11635 crore to develop existing ports & harbrours  Schemes for development of airports in tier-I and II cities via AAI and PPP  Rs. 7060 cr for 100 smart cities  AIM: Clear highways sector from the maze of clearances
  21. 21. GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 21 MARKET & BANKING  PSU banks to raise Rs. 2.40 lakh cr capital by 2018  Introduction of uniform KYC norms  One single operating DMAT account  Two bank accounts in each household to be opened to promote financial inclusion  AIM: To ensure Banking facilities for all households EDUCATION  5 new IITs and an equal number of IIMs, 4 new AIIMS to be opened  Rs. 28635 cr for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan  Rs. 4966 for Rasthtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan  AIM: To check high school dropouts and boost higher education DEFENCE  Highest ever allocation of Rs. 2.29 lakh crore,  one rank one pension adopted  FDI limit in defence sector raised from 26% to 49%  Rs. 1000 cr for border area rail network  Additional Rs. 5000 cr for the modernization of armed forces  Aim: To provide for India’s need for state- of-the-art weapons and capability to deploy troops swiftly in border areas. INFO TECHNOLOGY  All govt depts, ministries to be integrated through e-platform  Tax benefits for IT industry restored  FDI in e-commerce sector to boost to the online retail industry  Biotech clusters to be set up in Bangaluru and Faridabad  Aim: To promote new technology and integration of technology across sectors CUSTOMS & EXCISE  Colour picture tubes exempted from basic customs duty  Basic customs duty on LCD, LED panels below 19 inches reduced  More proposals to cut excise on food processing and footwear  Cigarettes, tobacco products, aerated water containing sugar to become expensive  AIM: To curb use of tobacco products as smoking results in 1 million deaths every year and 20% of the total deaths in the country. KEY BUDGET FIGURES – 2014-15 BUDGET HEAD Rs in Cr 1 Revenue Receipts (2+3) 1189763 2 Tax Revenue (net to centre) 977258 3 Non-Tax Revenue 212505 4 Capital Receipts (5+6+7) 605129 5 Recoveries of Loans 10527 6 Other Receipts 63425 7 Borrowings and other liabilities 531177 8 Total Receipts (1+4) $ 1794892 9 Non-Plan Expenditure (10+12) 1219892 10 On Revenue Account - of which, 1114609 11 Interest Payments 427011 12 On Capital Account 105283 13 Plan Expenditure (14+15) 575000 14 On Revenue Account 453503 15 On Capital Account 121497 16 Total Expenditure (9+13)(Budget Size) 1794892 17 Revenue Expenditure (10+14) 1568111 18 Of Which, Grants for creation of Capital Assets 168104 19 Capital Expenditure (12+15) 226781 20 Revenue Deficit (17-1) 2.9% of GDP 378348 21 Effective Revenue Deficit (20-18) 1.6% of GDP 210244 22 Fiscal Deficit {16-(1+5+6)} 4.1% of GDP* 531177 23 Primary Deficit (22-11) 0.8% of GDP* 104166 *–GDP for 2014-2015 has been projected at ` 128.77 trillion GOVT HOUSE KEEPING (In %) Rupee Comes From Rupee Goes To Borrowings 24 Central Plan Outlay 11 Corporate Tax 21 Plan Asst. to State / UTs 15 Income Tax 13 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 03 Subsidies 12 Total 100 Total 100
  22. 22. GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 22 ECONOMIC SURVEY 2014 – 15 Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely on 9 July 2014 presented Economic Survey of India 2013-14 in the Lok Sabha. The Economic Survey is presented every year, just before the Union Budget and after the Railway Budget. It is an annual document of the Union Ministry of Finance, Government of India and it reviews the developments in the Indian economy of previous 12 months (fiscal year). It summarizes the performance on major development programmes, and highlights the policy initiatives of the government and the prospects of the economy in the short to medium term. HIGHLIGHTS  Economy to grow in the range of 5.4 – 5.9 per cent in 2014-15 overcoming sub-5 percent growth.  Aided by favourable monsoons, agricultural and allied sector registered a growth of 4.7 per cent in 2013-14.  RBI has indentified five sectors -- infrastructure, iron and steel, textiles, aviation and mining as the stressed sectors.  Public sector banks (PSBs) have high exposures to the ‘industry’ sector in general and to such ‘stressed’ sectors in particular.  The India’s balance-of-payments position improved dramatically in 2013-14 with current account deficit at US $ 32.4 billion as against US$ 88.2 billion in 2012-13.  India’s foreign exchange reserves increased from US$ 292.0 billion at end March 2013 to US$ 304.2 billion at end march 2014.  In 2013-14, FDI inflows to the services sector (top five sectors including construction) declined sharply by 37.6 per cent to US$ 6.4 billion compared to an overall growth in FDI inflows at 6.1 per cent resulting in the share of the top five services in total FDI falling to nearly one-sixth.  Record food grains and oilseeds production of 264.4 million tonnes (mt) and 32.4 mt is estimated in 2013- 14.  Horticulture production estimated at 265 mt in 2012-13 has exceeded the production of foodgrains and oilseeds for the first time. Industry grew by just 1.0 per cent in 2012-13 and slowed further in 2013-14 to just 0.4 per cent.  India has the second fastest growing services sector with its CAGR at 9.0 per cent and ranked 12th in world. The NHAI constructed 2844 km length in 2012-13, its highest ever annual achievement. During 2013-14 a total of 1901 km of road construction was completed.  The cumulative costs of India’s low carbon strategies have been estimated at around USD 834 billion at 2011 prices, between 2010 and 2030.  According to Human Development Report 2013, India has slipped down in HDI to 136th rank as against 134 in 2012. It is still in the medium human development category.  The poverty ratio (based on the MPCE of 816 for rural areas and 1000 for urban areas in 2011-12 at all India level), has declined from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05 to 21.9 per cent in 2011-12.  During 2004-05 to 2011-12, employment growth was only 0.5 per cent, compared to 2.8 per cent during 1999-2000 to 2004-05 as per usual status. RAILWAY BUDGET 2014 – 15 HIGHLIGHTS  No new increase in passenger fares and freight charges.  Bullet train to start on Mumbai-Ahmedabad sector.  Diamond quadrilateral to be developed for high speed trains connecting the four metros.  Plan to hike speed of trains to 160-200 km/hr in 9 sectors.  Online booking to support 7,200 tickets/minute; to allow 1.2 lakh users log in simultaneously.  Seat reservation system to be revamped, ticket-booking through mobile phones, post offices to be popularized.  Platform and unreserved tickets to be available online  Tourist trains to connect pilgrim centres.  Combo parking-cum-platform tickets at stations.  Women RPF Constables to escort ladies coaches; 4,000 women constables to be inducted.  Retiring room facility to be extended to all stations.  Feedback services through IVRS on quality of food.  Battery operated cars for differently abled and senior citizens at major stations.  Food can be ordered through SMS, phone; Food courts at major stations.  Cleanliness budget up by 40 per cent over last year.  CCTVs to be used at stations for monitoring cleanliness.  RO drinking water at stations and trains.  Provision of automatic door closing in mainline and sub- urban coaches.  FDI to be allowed in railway projects but not in operations.
  23. 23. GENERAL AWARENESS – SEPTEMBER 2014 23 ISRAEL GAZA CONFLICT For past two months Israeli forces have been pounding the areas in Gaza strip controlled by Hamas militants, killing hundreds of innocent Palestinians in retaliation to the sporadic rocket attacks by the Hamas militants. This is not the first time that armed conflict has erupted between Israel and Palestine. The conflict between Arabs led by Palestinians and Israel has its roots in the late 19th and early 20th century. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: After the First World War, the Britain took the control of the then Palestine, comprising of present day area of Gaza, West bank, Jordan and the Israel. In 1930s, Britain captured Syria also leading to protests by Arabs. This conflict continues till date. Later, during the Second World War when German Nazi forces committed genocide of Jews to punish them for support to Britishers, demand for a separate homeland for Jews grew strong. BIRTH OF ISRAEL: On November 29, 1947, the U N General Assembly adopted a resolution recommending the partition of the then Palestine into an Arab state called Palestine and a Jewish state called Israel and UN controlled Jerusalem. The state of Palestine had two geographically separate parts - West Bank and Gaza strip. The Israel was declared an independent country on 14th May 1948. Palestinians, obviously, protested partition of their homeland and vowed to get the area evicted of the ‘illegal occupants’ (Israelis). Israel on its part never accepted Palestine as independent country and demanded that Gaza Strip and West Bank should be merged with adjoining Egypt and Jordan, respectively. The attempts by Palestinians supported by Arabs of Egypt, Syria and Jordan to evict Israel from Palestine led to four wars between them: 1948 War of Independence 1956 Sinai War 1967 Six Day War 1973 Yom Kippur War In all these wars, the Arabs were defeated by the Israelis backed as they were by US, Britain and France. PEACE PROCESS In 1978, USA and its allies attempted to brokerage peace between Israel and Egypt, one of the main player in the region. Known as Camp David Accord, it was the first such agreement between Israel and any Arab country. They agreed to recognize existence of each other. However, no peace could be brought between the two warring sides and frequent armed conflict continued, killing numerous people on both sides. Another major breakthrough came in the shape of the Oslo Accord 1993 and 1995 when Israel recognised the Palestine Liberation Organisation led by Yasser Arafat. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS However, peace could never be achieved in reality and armed skirmishes continue till date. The area in West Bank is presently controlled by militant group called Al-Fateh and the Gaza Strip is controlled by another militant group called Hamas. Israel controls borders of Gaza and has put it under a under a military siege. CURRENT PROVOCATIONIN GAZA The present strife is result of alleged killing of three Israeli youth by Palestinians. Israel has retaliated by firing its own rockets and air strikes killing hundreds of Gaza inhabitants. FUTURE PROSPECTS There does not seem to be any solution in sight as Hamas refuses to accept Israel and Israel refuses to accept the existence of Palestine.

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