Jul 6, 2015

Current Affairs Power Capsule – June 2015 (The Hindu Review)

1. Vijai Sharma was appointed as the Chief Information Commissioner in the Central Information Commission. He will have tenure of 5 years or till he attain the age of 65, whichever is earlier.

2. IRS officer KV Chowdary was appointed as the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC).

3. Senior IPS Officer RC Tayal was appointed as the Director General of National Security Guard.

4. Syed Asif Ibrahim was appointed as the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Countering Terrorism and Extremism. 
5. Journalist and writer Aakar Patel appointed as Executive Director of Amnesty International India.

6. IAS officer G Gurucharan was given additional charge as Director General, Bureau of Indian Standards.

7. Archana Ramasundaram was appointed as the Director of National Crime Records Bureau.

8. Narendra Kumar Yadav took charge as CMD of telecom operator Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited.

9. U P Singh was appointed as Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Oil India Limited.

10. Prof Sanghmitra Bandyopadhayay was appointed as the Director of Indian Statistical Institute.

11. K Sivan was appointed as the Director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre.

12. P Kunhikrishnan was appointed as the Director of Satish Dhawan Space Centre.

13. Meena Hemchandra was appointed as the Executive Director of Reserve Bank of India. As an ED, She will look after Department of Banking Supervision, Department of Co-operative Banking Supervision and Department of Non-Banking Supervision.

14. Muhammadu Buhari assumed the office of 5th President of Nigeria.

15. Former Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo was appointed as the new Chancellor of the Nalanda University, Bihar. Yeo will succeed Nobel laureate Amartya Sen.

16. Veena Jain was appointed as Director General (news) in Doordarshan.

17. Pradeep Kumar Sinha was appointed as the Cabinet Secretary to the Union Government. He succeeded Ajit Seth.

18. Distinguished Scientist G Satheesh Reddy was appointed as Scientific Advisor to Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

19. Eminent scientist Dr. S Christopher was appointed as the Director General of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

20. RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan in its 2nd Bi-Monthly monetary policy review cut repo rate by 25 basis points to 7.25 per cent from 7.5 per cent, third time this year.
a. Bank Rate – 8.25 % (Decreased 0.25%)
b. Cash Reserve Ratio – 4 % (Unchanged)
c. Statutory Liquidity Ratio – 21.5 % (Unchanged)
d. Repo Rate – 7.25 % (Decreased 0.25%)
e. Reverse Repo Rate – 6.25 % (Decreased 0.25%)
f. Marginal Standing Rate – 8.25 % (Decreased 0.25%)

21. Sir Fazle Hasan Abed was selected for the 2015 World Food Prize.

22. Anisa Rasouli nominated as the first ever female Supreme Court judge of Afghanistan.

23. The Government of Mauritius designated Ameenah Gurib-Fakim as new President.

24. Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa was sworn-in as Governor of Arunachal Pradesh. He became the 19th Governor of the state.

25. Lt. General (Retd.) Nirbhay Sharma was sworn-in as Governor of Mizoram.

26. Darshan Jain, an Indian-American teacher, US named for prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching by President Barack Obama.

27. Sanjeev Galande was selected for G D Birla Award for Scientific Research for 2014.

28. Veteran Writer Vishwanath Tripathi was selected for the 28th Moorti Devi Award for the year 2014 for his book Vyomkesh Darvesh.

29. The district administration of Nadia, West Bengal was on 26 June 2015 conferred with the United Nations Public Service Award 2015 for eliminating open defecation in the district.

30. The spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was conferred with the Columbia’s highest civilian award Orden de la Democracia Simon Bolivar en el grado de cruz Caballero (Order of the Democracy Simon Bolivar) by Columbia.

31. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was presented with the Space Pioneer award for the year 2015 in the Science and Engineering category during the 34th Annual International Space Development Conference held at Toronto in Canada.

32. Uttarakhand’s Medical, Health and Family Welfare Minister Surendra Singh Negi was conferred with the World No Tobacco Day Award 2015 by the World Health Organsiation.

33. Super 30 founder and mathematician Anand Kumar was honoured by Legislature of British Columbia in Canada at Toronto University for his pioneering work in the field of education.

34. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on a two-day visit to Bangladesh from 6 June to 7 June 2015. The two nations signed, exchanged, adopted and handed 22 bilateral documents in Dhaka, including historical 1974 Land Boundary Agreement which would settle the 4096-kilometre-long border dispute. Modi along with her Bangladeshi Counterpart Sheikh Hasina and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee flagged off the Dhaka- Shillong-Guwahati and Kolkata-Dhaka-Tripura bus services.

35. Sepp Blatter resigned as President of FIFA amid the corruption scandal.

36. Matti Makkonen, the man responsible for conceiving the idea of short messaging service (SMS) technology, died.

37. The Great Wall of China, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was in news as Beijing Times published a survey report stating that around 30 percent of the Wall disappeared overtime and around 1185 km of the fortification are in poor condition.

38. Nathu La pass was in news on 16 June 2015 as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj flagged off the first batch of pilgrims for Kailash-Manasarovar yatra that will travel through the pass. During the yatra, piligrims visit Mount Kailash, which Hindus believe as the abode of Lord Shiva, and the Manasarovar Lake located in the south-western corner of Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) of China. The pass was reopened after China agreed to open the route following a bilateral agreement signed in September 2014 during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India.

39.The place Tengnoupal in Manipur was in news as at least 20 Army personnel were killed and 16 others injured after a group of militants ambushed 6 Dogra Infantry Regiment.

40.Two Indian organizations Indian Army and Indian Railways are among the world's biggest employers, together employing around 2.7 million people, as per a research published by the World Economic Forum. Indian Railways was ranked at the eighth place in the list of world's biggest employers with 1.4 million staff. Immediately after Indian Railways is the Indian Armed Forces with 1.3 million people.

41. Institute for Economics and Peace released the Global Peace Index (GPI) 2015. Among these 162 countries, India was placed at the 143rd position, the same as 2014.

42. An unmanned American SpaceX rocket dubbed Falcon-9 broke apart in flames minutes after lifting off from Cape Canaveral in Florida on 28 June 2015.

43. Indian Medical Association’s (IMA) first-ever Jan Aushadhi Generic Drug (JAGD) Store was inaugurated at its headquarters in IP Estate, New Delhi. The store will offer over 118 commonly used drugs at a 10 to 20 percent lesser price than market value.

44. G7 Summit 2015 was held at SchlossElmau in Bavaria, Germany from 7 June to 8 June 2015. This was the 41st G7 summit and the theme for the summit was Think Ahead. Act Together.

45. India by celebrating the first International Yoga Day in Rajpath, New Delhi created two Guinness World Records (GWRs) on 21 June 2015. The two records include participation of most individuals and individuals from the largest number of nationalities performing asanasat a single venue. Around 36 thousand participants performed asanas and 84 nationalities joined the official observation of International Yoga Day at Rajpath in New Delhi. The celebration at Rajpath was led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who termed the venue as Yogpath. 192 countries celebrated the first International Yoga Day on 21 June 2015.

46. Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh launched a weather alert service named NOWCAST. NOWCAST will be used to send SMS alerts on extreme weather data like hailstorm, thunderstorm and squall originated by India Meteorological Department (IMD) to over one crore farmers whose mobile numbers are registered on government’s mKisan portal.

47. Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) launched the country’s first consumer complaint mobile app named ASCI online. ASCI launched this consumer friendly app with an aim to address the issue of misleading advertisements.

48. Indian Railways rechristened Ahmedabad-Haridwar Mail Express also known as 'Haridwar Mail' as Yoga Express.

49. Union Government launched Mobile Blood Bank Locator App.

50. To provide security to those devotees taking part in the 59-day-long annual Amarnath Yatra in Jammu and Kashmir, Indian Army in first week of July 2015 launched Operation Shiva.

51. Exercise Ajeya Warrior is a joint exercise between the armies of India and UK. Exercise began on 13 June 2015 at Westdown Camp in Salisbury Plains Training Area, UK.

52. The term Magna Carta was in news as the Queen Elizabeth II of the UK inaugurated a ceremony to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. The ceremony took place at Runnymede near London where King John II sealed the original accord on 15 June 1215.

53. The Buddhas of Bamiyan were recently in news as they were resurrected in Bamiyan Valley, Afghanistan via 3D light projection technology. The two statues of Standing Buddhas of Bamiyan, 115 ft and 174 ft tall respectively, were carved out of sandstone cliffs and stood at one point painted and gilded. These statues were destroyed in March 2001 by Taliban declaring it as false idols.

54. Cyclonic storm ASHOBAA was in news after it developed into a cyclonic storm from only a depression that formed over the Arabian Sea.

55. The Section 12(1)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was in news as the Union Government filed a complaint under it against Maggi, owned by Nestle. Maggi noodles containing high levels of lead and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG).

56. The term Abraj Kudai was in news as it was described as the world’s biggest hotel set to open in 2017. Abraj Kudai is under construction in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

57. India’s maiden indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant was undocked at the Cochin Shipyard in Kochi, Kerala.

58. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) set up an Expert Group headed by Dr. D Prabhakaran on Salt, Sugar and Fat in Indian Food Products.

59. Union Ministry of Finance constituted a Task Force headed by Dhirendra Swarup on Financial Redress Agency (FRA).

60. The Union Government formed a committee under the Chairperson-ship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to oversee the celebrations of 125th birth anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar, also called Bhim Jayanti which is annually celebrated on 14 April.

61. Union Ministry of Finance constituted a Committee on Revisiting and Revitalizing the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Model of Infrastructure Development under the Chairmanship of Vijay Kelkar.

62. Book titled Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji authored by former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and Arun Tiwari was released.

63. The book Beyond Doubt: A Dossier on Gandhi's Assassination was compiled and introduced by Indian civil rights activist Teesta Setalvad and published by Tulika Books.

64.   The book Benazir Bhutto: A Multidimensional Portrait was released. It was written by Dr Anna Suvorova of Russia.

65. A book on Prime Minister Narendra Modi titled Modi –Incredible emergence of a star written in Chinese language by Tarun Vijay was in news as one copy of the book was given to Vice-President M Hamid Ansari.

66. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a book titled Education of Muslims: An Islamic Perspective of Knowledge and Education – Indian Context edited by Professor JS Rajput.

67. The book Sourav Ganguly: Cricket, Captaincy and Controversy was written by Saptarshi Sarkar and was published in April 2015 by Harper Collins India.

68. Booker Prize awardee Amitav Ghosh released his new novel Flood of fire.

69. Greece became the first developed nation to default on International Monetary Fund (IMF) debt. It became a defaulter after it missed the deadline for payment of 1.7 billion dollar (1.5 billion euro) to IMF. The Eurozone Finance Ministers refused to extend its bailout to Greece after it rejected the proposal given by the troika viz., International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Commission (EC) and European Central Bank (ECB).

70. The Union Cabinet cleared a proposal to re-promulgate the contentious land acquisition ordinance a third time.

71. Central government came out with its much-awaited draft gold monetisation scheme with an aim to bring household and institutionally held gold within circulation. As per the draft guidelines, minimum gold deposit is proposed at 30 gms for a minimum period of one year and the interest earned on it would be exempt from income tax as well as capital gains tax.

72. PM Narendra   Modi government   approved   Rs 4,318.28 crore for constructing roads and basic amenities at two industrial regions in Gujarat and Maharashtra under the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project.

73. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley inaugurated a new production line in Hoshangabad to manufacture currency paper and would ensure high-denomination notes are printed on locally-made paper. Currently, currency notes of larger denominations are printed on imported paper though ink used is mostly produced within the country. With the development of new facilities at Hoshangabad and also Mysore, it would be possible to produce currency printing paper in adequate quantity to meet the need of the nation.

74. Hyderabad House, Vigyan Bhawan and Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan have topped the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA) ratings, leaving behind Rashtrapati Bhawan among the 49 government buildings in the capital that were screened for overall cleanliness.

75. Over one-third of Indian population living in rural areas is illiterate, according to the Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011. Around 64 per cent of the rural Indian population is literate, the Census data showed. Rajasthan leads the pack of illiterate states with 47.58 per cent of its population falling in that category, followed by Madhya Pradesh with 44.19 per cent of its people in rural areas being illiterate. Bihar is at the third place with 43.85 per cent and followed by newly carved state Telangana with 40.42 per cent population belonging to this category. However, the most literate state of Kerala has only 11.38 per cent population falling under the illiterate category. After Kerala, Goa has the least illiterate population with 15.42 per cent and Sikkim at the third spot with 20.12 per cent.

76. The disinvestment department plans to sell 15 per cent stake in Hindustan Copper Ltd (HCL), 10 per cent each in Oil India (OIL) and Engineers India (EIL) and 5 per cent each in NTPC and Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL).

77. Uttar Pradesh tops the list of states with highest mobile penetration in rural areas, while Naxal-affected Chhattisgarh finds its place at the bottom. In UP, 86.63 per cent households have mobile handsets, while only 28.47 per cent households in Chhattisgarh own the device.

78. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that the Cabinet has approved funds amounting to Rs 50,000 crore over the five years to ensure that the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana is a success.

79. Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, J.P. Nadda launched a voice-based web portal for 24/7 toll-free health services. The NHP Voice Web is a 24/7 toll free helpline (1800-180-1104) wherein the caller can get authentic health information on various topics.

80. Narendra Modi government has allocated Rs 200 crore for three years to set up an online national agriculture market by integrating 585 wholesale markets across India — a move that would help farmers realise better prices.

81. The Digital India initiative, launched by PM Narendra Modi, could potentially translate into a business opportunity of $3-4 billion annually for the Indian IT industry. In a show of support towards the government’s Digital India push, members of India Inc announced a total investment of Rs 4.5 lakh crore towards various projects which their companies would be undertaking in the next few years. It is estimated that the various projects and initiatives unveiled by the government and the private sector companies would offer employment to over 18 lakh people in the next five to 10 years while driving digital inclusion throughout the country.

82. The United States and Cuba formally agreed to restore diplomatic ties that had been severed for 54 years.

83. Government gave three months time till September 30 for people to declare their undisclosed foreign income and assets to escape prosecution under the new black money law, while tax and penalty on such funds can be paid till December 31. Those availing the one-time ‘compliance window’ would be required to pay a tax of 30 per cent and a penalty of a similar amount. Under the new black money law, which has been passed by Parliament and would come into force from April 1, 2016, the penalty would be much higher at 90 per cent, in addition to a 30 per cent tax on undisclosed foreign assets, while such persons would also face criminal prosecution with a jail term of up to ten years.

84. The World Bank approved $650 million towards loans for the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) to facilitate faster and more efficient movement of goods between northern and eastern parts of India. The Eastern Corridor is 1,840 km long and extends from Ludhiana to Kolkata.

85. India was among the 50 founding countries that signed an agreement providing the legal framework for the China-led USD 100 billion multilateral Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The AIIB will have authorised capital of USD 100 billion, and Asian countries will contribute to up to 75 per cent of the total capital. Each member will be allocated a share of the quota based on their economic size. China, India and Russia are the three largest shareholders, taking a 30.34 per cent, 8.52 per cent, 6.66 per cent stake, respectively. Their voting shares are calculated at 26.06 per cent, 7.5 per cent and 5.92 per cent.

86. The government plans to double trade with Pacific Alliance member nations like Mexico, Peru, Chile and Colombia to $30 billion by 2019.

88. A sub-committee of the Niti Ayog comprising state chief ministers reached a broad consensus on bringing down the number of centrally sponsored schemes to 30 from 66. Flagship schemes such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and the National Food Security Mission would continue even after the restructuring of schemes starting 2016-17. The panel chaired by Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

89. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is expected to elevate India and Pakistan as full-fledged members in next BRICS summit, to be held in Russia’s Ufa, which coincides with the SCO meeting.

90. The Centre has raised the national floor-level minimum wages (NFLMW) to Rs 160 per day from Rs 137.

91. Centre will give Rs 1 lakh per house for slum development and an interest support of 6.5% to ease the EMI burden of the urban housing scheme beneficiary. States will have the full flexibility in formulation, approval and execution of the public-private partnership projects under the schemes — Smart Cities, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (Amrut) and Housing for All by 2022 in urban areas. The guidelines common to all the three missions include the objective criteria for selection of cities and allocation of funds. Under the schemes, 100 Smart Cities, 500 cities under the urban transformation mission and two-crore affordable houses for the urban poor under the Housing for All project would be constructed. The ‘housing for all’ mission is to be implemented in 4,041 cities or towns. Each selected city for the smart city development will get a central assistance of Rs 100 crore a year, while under Amrut, allocation of funds will be as per urban population and number of cities/towns in the state. Also, 10% of energy needs of smart cities need to be met from renewable sources, 80% of building construction to be green and 35% of housing in greenfield projects need be for economically weaker sections. For smart city creation, states and urban local bodies will set up special purpose vehicles with equal stake. Under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban), ownership of houses would be in the name of woman or jointly with husband.

92. The Employee Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has notified an order to make the Universal Account Number (UAN) mandatory for all employers covered under the Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1952.

93. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete held delegation level talks in New Delhi.

94. The second round of the United Nations negotiations on climate change have concluded in Bonn, Germany.

95. The much-awaited Bibek Debroy committee report on the restructuring of Indian Railways lays down a five-year roadmap to evolve a statutory rail regulator and scrap the Rail Budget.

96. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju as the nodal minister of MoRTH has approved a sum of Rs 10 crore as immediate relief for Arunachal Pradesh.

97. Sri Lanka has invited former Indian President A P J Abdul Kalam as chief guest at a power and energy conference to be held in Colombo on June 26 and 27.

98. The Cabinet has approved the signing of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement for the regulation of passenger, personal and cargo vehicular traffic amongst BBIN.

99. A two member mission of the World Bank Group is on a two day-visit to India to collect data and information for Doing Business Report, 2016. The members are Nadine Abi-Chakra and Baria Nabil Daye. India ranked 142 among 189 nations in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business 2015 report.

100. Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu announced that Jind and Karnal districts of Haryana and Muzaffarnagar of Uttar Pradesh have been included in the National Capital Region (NCR).

102. Bangladesh has offered to establish two Special Economic Zones in Mongla and Bheramara for Indian companies. Opening its insurance sector, Bangladesh handed over consent letter by Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA) to Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) to start operations in the country.

103. On PM Narendra Modi’s Bangladesh visit, India and the neighbouring country signed 22 agreements and MoUs for co-operation in areas of trade, investment, education, climate change and Information and Communication Technology. Besides the landmark exchange of Instruments of Ratification of 1974 Land Boundary Agreement.

104. Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Power and Adani Power signed separate memorandums of understanding with state-run Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB).

105. RBI said banks can start using the strategic debt restructuring (SDR) scheme, which will allow them to acquire a 51% stake or more in stressed companies. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) had given its nod to the scheme earlier this year, allowing banks to convert debt into equity at a price that was fair but not below the face value.

106. The effective incidence of service tax on food bill in air conditioned restaurants will go up to 5.6 per cent as against 4.94 per cent previously. The increased incidence follows government raising service tax rate from 12.36 per cent to 14 per cent with effect from June 1. Air conditioned hotels and restaurants attract a service tax on 40 per cent of the billed amount.

107. India has decided to buy only 36 Rafale fighter jets scrapping the earlier plan to acquire 126 of the French aircraft on grounds of huge cost.

108. The controversial land ordinance was re-promulgated for the third time with President Pranab Mukherjee giving his assent.

109. Four Indians are among the world’s 100 most powerful women who are “transforming the world”, according to the Forbes’ 12th annual list, which is topped by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. SBI Chief Arundhati Bhattacharya (30), ICICI bank head Chanda Kochhar (35), Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (85) and HT Media Chair Shobhana Bhartia (93), and two women of Indian-origin — PepsiCo Chief Indra Nooyi (15) and Cisco Chief Technology and Strategy Officer Padmasree Warrior (84) — make the list.

110. India is home to the highest number of hungry people in the world, at 194 million, surpassing China, according to United Nations annual hunger report.

111. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) proposed to introduce a separate category of semi-closed Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPI) for Mass Transit System (PPI-MTS). The PPI-MTS can be used within the mass transit systems and will have a minimum validity of six months from date of issue. Such PPIs will be re-loadable instruments subject to an outstanding limit of Rs.2,000 at any point of time, RBI suggested in a draft circular for public comments.

112. President Pranab Mukherjee arrived In Stockholm on the first leg of his five-day state visit to Sweden and Belarus.

113. Bangladesh is set to honour former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for his outstanding support for the country’s independence from Pakistan in 1971 when he was a Lok Sabha member. Bangladesh will hand over Vajpayee’s “Friends of Bangladesh Liberation War Award” to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the country from June 6.

114. State-run operator BSNL will not charge mobile phone users for incoming calls when on roaming from June 15 onwards.

115. India and Belarus decided to work together on defence and security issues as President Pranab Mukherjee met his Belarusian counterpart and agreed on a 17-point road map aimed at strengthening mutual trust and confidence.

116. India joined the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information. The target is to reach 94 countries by 2017.

117. India and the Netherlands will collaborate on fighting terror and cyber crime and have decided to set up a joint working group on counter terrorism. This was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after his meeting with Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte who is in India on a two-day visit.

118. Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu took the first concrete step towards building a new capital for Andhra Pradesh, performing the bhoomi puja for “a world class capital city named Amaravati after the mythological City of the Gods.”

119. As Prime Minister David Cameron prepares to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s membership of the European Union at a summit later this month, more than 50 Conservative party members of Parliament have said that they will vote to leave the EU if the Prime Minister does not achieve the autonomy from the EU they seek. In his election campaign, Mr. Cameron had promised far-reaching treaty change with the EU and an ‘in-out’ referendum on its membership of the European body to be held before 2017.

120. ICICI Bank appointed M. K. Sharma as the non-executive Chairman of the Board for a period of five years, in place of K. V. Kamath.

121. To ease pressure during peak hours, the Railways has decided to stagger booking of Tatkal tickets by allowing reservations in AC class from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and non-AC class from 11 a.m.

122. U.S. President Barack Obama approved the deployment of up to 450 more U.S. military personnel to Iraq, in a bid to reverse gains by the Islamic State group. The White House said the forces will take part in an already 3,000-strong U.S. mission to “train, advise, and assist” Iraqi army and Sunni tribal fighters.

123. African leaders signed a potentially historic 26-nation free trade pact to create a common market spanning half the continent from Cairo to Cape Town.

124. The Maharahstra government has made the teaching of English, Maths, Science and Social Science mandatory in all madrasas that seek grants from the State.

125. Rupert Murdoch is preparing to step down as chief executive of the media-entertainment conglomerate 21st Century Fox and hand the job to his son James, CNBC television reported.

126. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to permit non-resident Indians (NRIs) to subscribe to the chit funds without limit on a non-repatriation basis. The subscription to chit funds, however, should come through the normal banking channel, including through an account maintained with a bank in India, the apex bank said.

127. The Union government has launched an insurance pool of Rs. 1,500 crore, mandatory under the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act to offset the financial burden on foreign nuclear suppliers in case of an accident. The pool has been set up by General Insurance Corporation of India and 11 other non-life insurers, including New India, Oriental Insurance, National Insurance and United India Insurance, from the public

128. MLA Kapil Mishra was sworn in as a Cabinet minister in the Delhi government and given charge of the Law Department.

129. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will flight test an indigenously developed re-usable satellite launch vehicle for the first time this September.

130. Mt. Everest moved 40 cm to the northeast during the recent devastating earthquakes in Nepal.

131. The banking system as a whole has been witnessing higher level of non-performing assets (NPA). State-run banks continue to report higher bad loans and the gross non-performing assets as on March 31, 2015, stood at 5.17 per cent.

132. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. plans to set up 40,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the country in three years at a cost of Rs. 6,000 crore to provide seamless Internet connectivity.

133. An Egyptian court upheld a death sentence against ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsy for plotting jailbreaks and attacks on police during the country’s 2011 uprising.

134. Russia’s military this year alone will receive over 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of piercing any missile defences, President Vladimir Putin said.

135. Asian Development Bank proposes to increase lending to India by almost 50 per cent to $12 billion by 2018, ADB President Takehiko Nakao said.

136. Microfinance company, Bandhan Financial Services Ltd, said that it got the final nod from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to set up a universal bank. The bank is planned for launch in Kolkata — the city where Bandhan is headquartered — on August 23. Mr. Ghosh also said that the new Bank would start operations in 27 States with around 500 to 600 bank branches and 10 million customers at its launch. Further all the existing microfinance businesses of the NBFC and the clients would be transferred to the new bank.

137. James Horner, celebrated composer of musical scores for several smash-hit movies, including Titanic and Avatar , died in a plane crash at the age of 61.

138. In a “historic” decision, the Samajwadi Party government has renamed the Lucknow Prani Udyan, popularly known as Lucknow Zoo, as “Nawab Wajid Ali Shah Prani Udyan, Lucknow”.

139. The Indian Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) completed its 100th orbit around Mars.

140. The Union Cabinet cleared the proposal for the setting up of six new Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) in the country. The new IIMs will be located at Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), Bodh Gaya (Bihar), Sirmaur (Himachal Pradesh), Nagpur (Maharashtra), Sambalpur (Odisha) and Amritsar (Punjab).

141. Australia announced that it would join the new China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as a founding member. The bank already has 57 prospective members.

142. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended the date for the public to exchange their pre-2005 banknotes till December 31, 2015.

143. New Development Bank (NDB), also known as the BRICS Bank, is expected commence operations and start financing projects by April 2016, said its first President K.V. Kamath at the CII National Council Meeting. 
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