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Daily GK Update - August 2015 -- 51 to 100

51.Param Tyag Chakra Initiative launched to honour families of martyrs
i. The Param Tyag Chakra was launched by the Alumni Association of Rajagiri School of Engineering and Technology to honour family members of brave military men, who sacrificed their lives for the nation.
ii. For this initiative, the Alumni Association of Rajagiri School of Engineering and Technology in association with the management and students launched a web platform aimed at collecting the details of these family members.
iii. Everyone including the general public, the government, corporates, the media can join this initiative in multiple ways like by identifying and referring such families or by channeling the support required for them etc.

52.Suraksha Bandhan drive launched to facilitate enrolment under Social Security Schemes
i. Union Government launched Suraksha Bandhan drive in a Mission Mode through participating banks and insurance companies to facilitate enrolment under social security schemes.
ii. The drive launched in the back drop of Raksha Bandhan aims at taking forward the Government’s objective of creating a universal social security system in the country, targeted especially at the poor and the under-privileged. 
iii. The drive will be supported through the Jeevan Suraksha Gift Cheques, which will be available for purchase for 351 rupees in Bank branches by persons wishing to gift them to facilitate one year payment of premium for Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana by the recipient.

53.Raghavendra Gadagkar awarded with Germany's Cross of Order of the Merit
i. Indian sociobiologist Raghavendra Gadagkar was awarded with the Germany's highest civilian honour Cross of Order of the Merit at the German Consulate in Bengaluru.
ii. He was bestowed with the honour for his contribution in the field of behavioural ecology and sociobiology and for strengthening research corporation between India and Germany.
iii. His first book, Survival Strategies, has been translated into Chinese and Korean. He was also the founding Chair person of the Centre for Contemporary Studies, established at IISc in 2004.

About Cross of Order of the Merit 
  • Established in 1951 by the first President of the Federal Republic of Germany Theodor Heuss. 
  • It is highest civilian award of Germany awarded to Germans as well as to foreigners. 
  • It recognizes person for their outstanding achievements in the fields of political, cultural, economy, intellectual and volunteering.

54.Goa Tourism Minister Parulekar conferred with PATWA 2015 Award
i. Goa Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar received the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA) - Safari India South Asia Travel Award 2015. 
ii. Parulekar is the first tourism minister of Goa to receive this prestigious award.
iii. Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA) found in 1998 at the Pacific Area Travel Association (PATA) Conference in Colombo, Sri Lank, is a professional organization of travel writers.

55.10th August: World Bio-Fuel Day
i. Every year 10th August is observed as World Bio-Fuel Day in a bid to create awareness about non fossil-fuels (Green Fuels). 
ii. On this day in 1893, Sir Rudalph Diesel (inventor of the diesel engine) for the first time successfully ran mechanical engine with Peanut Oil. His research experiment had predicted that vegetable oil is going to replace the fossil fuels in the next century to fuel different mechanical engines. Thus to mark this extraordinary achievement, World Biofuel Day is observed every year on 10th August. 
56.Xiaomi ties up with Foxconn to set up facility in Andhra Pradesh through " Make in India" Initiative
i. China-based Smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc has tied up with Taiwan-based Foxconn to set first Assembly line in Andhra Pradesh under ‘Make in India’ initiative. 
ii. These two Smartphone manufacturer giants has forayed together into Indian electronics market to roll out Xiaomi’s first locally made Smartphone, the Redmi2 Prime as it seeks to expand its market share in India. 
iii. The size of the investment made in setting up the assembly line was not disclosed. 
57.Telecom Minister launches mobile app "Disha" to aid digital literacy in Bihar
i. Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has launched a new mobile app ‘Disha’ to aid digital literacy in Bihar. The app was launched in Bihar that aims to help people learn about computers and Internet through self learning modules. 
ii. The app envisages offering digital literacy to tribal and Dalit women in the State which is free and available on Google app store. This initiative was taken by Ministry to spread out digital literacy in women from tribal and Dalit background in Bihar. 
iii. To promote digital literacy government has initiated training program under “Digital Saksharta Abhiyan” in all states. 

58.Poet, freedom fighter Kayyara Kinhanna Rai passes away
i. Eminent Kannada poet and freedom fighter Kayyara Kinhanna Rai passed away at Badiyadkka in Kasaragod district of Karnataka. He was 101. 
ii. He was an author, poet, journalist and Indian independence activist. About Kayyar Kinhanna Rai He was born on 8 June 1915 in Kasaragod in then Madras Presidency of British India. 
iii. He had started his career as a secondary school teacher and later delved into journalism and contributed his writings to various newspapers. 
59. ISRO commissions Titanium Sponge Plant in Kerala
i. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 10 August has fully commissioned and started commercial production at the first indigenous Titanium Sponge Plant at Chavara in Kerala.
ii. The initiative was taken by ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre to establish Titanium Sponge Plant (TSP) a dedicated 500 MT per annum plant at M/s Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd (KMML), Chavara in Kollam district, Kerala.

iii. It is the only integrated plant in the world that undertakes all activities right from mining of Ti minerals to manufacturing of aerospace grade Ti sponge under one roof.
iv. It is a Titanium (Ti) alloy products produced by conversion of raw titanium through Kroll process which is subjected to leaching or heated vacuum distillation to remove impurities and gaining the purest form (99.7 per cent) of Titanium Sponge. India has become the seventh country in the world producing Titanium sponge commercially.

60. ICICI Bank launches ‘Saral-Rural Housing Loan’ Scheme for weaker sections
i. India’s largest private sector lender Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) Bank has launched ‘ICICI Bank Saral-Rural Housing Loan’ Scheme for weaker sections of society.
ii. The scheme is new home loan proposition of the bank with special interest rate to cater people from rural areas including women borrowers as well as from weaker sections.
iii. Housing loan will be provided at the ICICI Bank Base Rate (known as I-Base) which is currently at 9.70%. An eligible customer can avail of loan to purchase, construction or renovation of a home in the rural areas.
iv. The loan will range from five to fifteen lakh rupees for a period of 3–20 years and the loan can be up to 90 per cent of the property value.
v. With the launch of this scheme, the private bank seeks to support the socio-economic development of a larger section of the society especially economically deprived sections.

61. Kerala government announces State film awards 2014
i. Kerala government announced State film awards 2014 in various categories. The list of awardees was declared by State Minister for Cinema Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

Winners :
  • Best actor award: Nivin Pauly (Bangalore Days and 1983) and Sudev Nair (My Life Partner).
  • Best actress: Nasriya Naseem for her performance in the films ‘Om Shanthi Hosana’ and ‘Bangalore Days’.
  • Best Director: Sanalkumar Sasidharan for his film OraalPokkam.

62. Google unveils restructuring under new parent company Alphabet Inc
i. Search engine giant Google Inc has announced formation of a new holding or parent company called Alphabet Inc to encompass its search engine unit and all other subsidiaries.
ii. The new parent company was formed as part of Google’s new organisational structure which will help the company to keep tremendous focus on the extraordinary opportunities and products.
iii. Now Google will be replaced by Alphabet Inc as the publicly-traded entity and all its shares will automatically converted into the of shares of new parent entity with same rights. Under the new structural arrangement all subsidiaries of Google will be brought under the control of Alphabet Inc which will come into effect later 2015.
iv. The new company will be led by Co-founder and current CEO of Google Larry Page while Sergey Brin, the other co-founder will serve as the President and Eric Schmidt will be executive Chairman. Google’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Ruth Porat will become CFO of Alphabet and current directors of the company will become directors of Alphabet Inc.
v. Chennai born Sundar Pichai has been appointed of as CEO of new Google (subsidiary of Alphabet).

63. Kochi first to join World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) Council
i. Kochi becomes first Indian city to be a member of Beijing headquartered, World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) Council and join its league of leading tourism cities across the world. The invitation to be the member of the council was sent to Kerala Tourism Department by WTCF which was formally accepted the state Tourism Department on 10 August 2015.

ii. The membership acceptance document was handed over to Chinese Ambassador to India Le Yucheng by the Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany in the presence of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy at the function held in Kochi.
iii. Kochi was invited to be the member of the council on ground of its partnerships in culture, sports and tourism. In case of Kochi its cuisine, martial arts and snake and dragon boat races fulfils the set ground for membership.
iv. The WTCF, headquartered at Beijing is a non-profit, non-governmental international organisation voluntarily formed by tourism cities like Los Angeles, Berlin, Barcelona and many other world famous tourism cities and tourism-related institutions.

64. India’s social security pact with Canada comes into force
i. The social security pact between India and Canada which was approved by Union Cabinet in 2013 comes into force after two years of long waiting. According to the pact the employees posted by Indian entities in Canada are not required to contribute towards Canada’s social security schemes for period of 60 months and similarly the Canadian employees posted in India would enjoy the same benefit.
ii. The employees on both the countries will be able to enjoy this benefit only when they produce a certificate of coverage that specifies that they are contributing towards social security schemes such as PF and pension in their home country.
iii. This pact was sign to enable Indian as well as Canadian employees to avoid double social security contribution and to enhance competitiveness of their services and products.
iv. Government has authorised Employment Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) to implement social security agreements in India and to issue certificate of coverage to the employees posted by Indian entities to Canada.

65. Sania Mirza to be conferred Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna
i. Sania Mirza on Tuesday became only the second tennis player to be recommended for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, while star cricketer Rohit Sharma and ace shooter Jitu Rai were among the 17 sportspersons picked for this year's Arjuna awards.
ii. Sania, currently ranked world number one in women's doubles, scripted history by becoming the first Indian to clinch a women's doubles Grand Slam when she partnered Swiss great Martina Hingis for the Wimbledon trophy earlier this year.
iii. Sania is only the second tennis player after Leander Paes to be named for the top award. Paes had been bestowed the honour way back in 1996 after his bronze medal in the Atlanta Olympics.
iv. The 28-year-old, who has won three mixed doubles Grand Slams in her career, beat competition from squash player Deepika Pallikal, discus thrower Vikas Gowda, track and field star Tintu Luka, rising shuttler P V Sindhu, and hockey captain Sardar Singh for the coveted honour.

66. 5 Gold, 5 Silver and 7 Bronze: India top Asian Youth Chess Championship with 17 medals
i. India impressed with a rich haul of 17 medals to be declared overall winners in the Asian Youth Chess Championship that concluded here today.
Bagging 5 Gold, 5 Silver and 7 Bronze out of the available 36 medals, Indian juniors made their presence felt in the event organised by Korea Chess Federation.
ii. Iran took four gold, two silver and one bronze for a tally of seven medals. Vietnam won four medals, one gold, two silver and one bronze, while strong contender China could win just two medals in one gold and one silver.
iii. Players like Divya Deshmukh (Girls Under-10) of Nagpur, R Vaishali (Girls U-14) of Chennai have won both Asian and World Age Group competitions. Vaishali won by the widest of margins.
iv. Champions Bharath Subramaniyam (Open U-8), Aakanksha (Girls U-16) and Krishna Teja (Open U-18) are a few names we are going to read more in the future.

67. NABARD accredited by UN’s Green Climate Fund as National Implementing Entity
i. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) got accredited by the Green Climate Fund as a national implementing entity for undertaking climate change related projects in India.
ii. In 2010 the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) had set Green Climate Fund (GCF) to help developing countries to finance clean energy projects other mitigation efforts and adaptation to climate change.
iii. Accordingly NABARD is the only national implementing entity in the country for undertaking climate change projects. NABARD will get funds in the form of concessional loan or in form of grant or through other modalities approved by the GCF Board.
iv. In line of this NABARD has submitted a proposal to GCF for financial support on ‘Mitigating climate change and enhancing adaption for farmers through agro-forestry project set by Haryana Government.
68. Facebook awarded $21 million to Indian app developers under FbStart initiative
i. On 11 August the social network giant Facebook doled out 21 million US dollar to Indian app developers under its FbStart initiative.
ii. With an aim to attract next billion Internet users towards social networking, last year Facebook launched FbStart an initiative to promote and help new mobile app developers around the world. The two Indian entrants Hyderabad-based Samosa and Delhi’s Cardback received the 21 billion US dollars under this initiative.
iii. The Hyderabad-based Samosa had developed an app that offers a curated collection of clips from popular movies that people can share with friends. The Delhi- based Cardback developed an app that helps cardholders and wallet users identify the best ways to pay and maximise their rewards and savings for every transaction they make.

69. India signs Financing Agreement with World Bank for NCRMP Projects
i. On 11 August 2015 Government of India and the World Bank signed the Financing Agreement for the assistance of National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project- I & II (NCRMP- I & II) for $ 104.00 Million and $ 308.40 Million respectively.
ii. The two separate financing agreements were signed for NCRMP- I & II under a common objective for coastal states to mitigate vulnerability to the cyclone and hazards prone coastal communities. NCRMP-I covers States of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. NCRMP-II covers States of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala,  and West Bengal.
iii. The agreement for the project with respect to these state were signed by the representatives of the respective State Governments.
iv. It proposes to reduce vulnerability to cyclone and other hydro-meteorological hazards of coastal communities in the respective States through; Establishing Early Warning Dissemination System (EWDS) and Capacity building for coastal communities.
v. Establishing Cyclone Risk Mitigation Infrastructure and early warning systems benefitting coastal communities in the target states. Financing technical assistance for strengthening of multi-hazard risk management at the national level.

70. Libya chaos deepens as PM resigns
i. The future of Libya's internationally recognised government was uncertain Wednesday after Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani said he would resign, as fraught peace talks were set to enter a second day.
ii. It was unclear whether Thani planned to follow through on his resignation vow, made during an emotional live television appearance where he faced a barrage of angry questions from citizens.
iii. The move added to the political chaos in Libya, as the country's rival factions were to meet for a second day of UN-sponsored peace talks in Geneva.
iv. The prime minister, who escaped an assassination attempt in May when gunmen opened fire on his car after a parliament meeting, was also hit with accusations of corruption against his government in the television interview.

71. Sanjay Jalona appointed as MD and CEO for L&T Infotech
i. Larsen and Toubro has appointed former Infosys executive Sanjay Jalona as the Managing Director and CEO of its subsidiary L&T Infotech, IT arm of L&T.
ii. The new CEO Sanjay Jalona will run L&T Infotech from its New Jersey office in order to add thrust to its profitable growth. Company aims to boost growth and strengthen its presence in the United States, Europe, Gulf Cooperation Council countries and the East countries.
iii. Before joining the L&T Infotech country’s sixth largest IT services firm he was working as an executive vice-president and global head of High-Tech Manufacturing and Engineering Services for Infosys.
iv. He was with Infosys for fifteen years and had held senior leadership positions across the Europe, India and US.

72. President Pranab Mukherjee presented Saraswati Sammaan to Dr. M Veerappa Moily
i. President of India, Pranab Mukherjee on 10 August 2015 presented the 24th Saraswati Sammaan for the year 2014 to Dr. M Veerappa Moily, Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) in New Delhi. He received the award for his epic Sri Ramayana Mahanveshanam written in Kannada.
ii. Divided into five volumes, Ramayana Mahanveshanam was first published in 2007 in Kannada. Later the poem was translated into English, Hindi, Telugu and Tamil.
iii. Moily’s work was selected for the award in March 2015 by a 13-member panel of scholars and writers headed by former Chief Justice of India RC Lahoti.
iv. 75-year-old Moily a senior Congress leader from Karnataka is an established writer in Kannada. He has authored four novels, three collections of poetry, a number of plays and numerous essays.

73. Pankaj Advani bags 13th World Snooker Championship
i. India’s poster boy of cue sports Pankaj Advani on Wednesday clinched his 13th world title after winning the World 6-Red Snooker Championship in a convincing manner.
ii. Defending champion Advani outplayed Chinese Yan Bingtao 6-2, stamping his authority on the green baize in the final. The final started off with a bang with the Bangalore cueist racing to a rapid 3-0 lead in the best-of-11 final. But the Chinese found his form and ran away with the next two frames with the aid of a 66 break.
iii. In no mood to give anything away, Advani did not allow his opponent to score a single point in the next two. He fired in a massive 71 break in the seventh frame to be one frame away from defending his title which he won in Egypt last year.

74. Union Cabinet approves MoU between India, Nepal for construction of petroleum pipeline
i. The Union Cabinet has approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Nepal for construction of petroleum products pipeline from Raxaul (Bihar) in India to Amlekhgunj in Nepal.
ii. The MoU seeks to promote bilateral cooperation in the oil and gas sector between both neighbouring countries and secure long term supply of petroleum products to Nepal.
iii. In the first phase it will be constructed by Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) on behalf of Indian Government at a cost of 200 crore rupees. IOC will be also engaged in re-engineering and construction of the Amlekhgunj Depot and allied facilities.
iv. The Union Cabinet also gave its ex-post-facto approval to MoU between India and Mongolia to establish cooperative institutional relationship and to promote and encourage technical bilateral cooperation on new and renewable energy between both countries.
v. The Union Cabinet also gave ex-post-facto approval to a MoU signed between India and France to establish cooperative institutional relationship to promote and encourage technical bilateral cooperation on new and renewable energy issues between both countries.

75. Indian Railways ink 4 MoUs with Union Power Ministry to save power, improve efficiency
i. Union Railway Ministry has signed 4 Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with Union Power and New & Renewable Energy Ministry for energy conservation, transmission and solarisation.
ii. These MoUs seek to boost cooperation between both parties in the areas of electricity transmission, promotion of renewable energy and energy conservation in a time bound manner.
iii. First MoU seeks to boost knowledge sharing in the field of energy and electricity conservation to reduce the cost of electricity for the Railways. Second MoU was signed to promote solar energy usage  and provide a framework for providing future energy solutions.
iv. Third MoU it was signed between India Railways and Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) to identify technologies to improve energy utilisation. Fourth MoU was signed between Railway Energy Management Company (REMC) and Energy Efficiency Services (EES) Ltd for implementation of energy efficient systems and conservation of energy projects for the Railways.
v. These agreements will help Indian Railways in increasing savings on the power as it the largest power consumer in the country by providing future solutions (switching to renewable energy) in the power sector.

76. Coca-cola India signs Sourav Ganguly for 3-years as social ambassador
i. Beverage maker Coca-Cola India has roped in cricketerturned-commentator Sourav Ganguly as its social ambassador for a three-year deal ending in 2017, replacing Sachin Tendulkar, the country's most famous cricketer, whose contract ended last year.
ii. Besides the cricket association, Ganguly will lead Coca-Cola's football programmes and run various grassroots football activities. Ganguly has also volunteered to be a part of the Coca-Cola Support My School movement - a programme that promotes the cause of healthy schools
iii. Establishing an association with sports resonates well for cola companies, which often face flak for promoting sugary drinks. Rival Pepsi-Co, too, has cricketers MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli as the faces of its brands. 

77. Amitabh Bachchan is now Maharashtra's Tiger ambassador
i. Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan has accepted the proposal of Maharashtra Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, to be the tiger ambassador of the state.
ii. To promote eco-tourism, especially tiger tourism in Maharashtra, Mungantiwar had requested Amitabh Bachchan to represent the state as its tiger ambassador.
iii. The 72-year-old actor has communicated his consent to Mungantiwar on Monday through a letter.
iv. Mungantiwar had written letter to Bachchan on July 29 on the occasion of World Tiger Day.

78. Acharya Dev Vrat sworn-in as 27th Governor of Himachal Pradesh
i. Acharya Dev Vrat was sworn in as the Governor of Himachal Pradesh at oath taking ceremony held in Raj Bhawan, Shimla.
ii. He is 27th Governor and 18th regular Governor of the Himachal Pradesh, since it was granted full statehood in 1971.
iii. Vrat took his oath of office in Sanskrit and it was administered by Chief Justice of the Himachal High Court, Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir as per provisions of Article 159 of Constitution.
iv. Acharya Dev Vrat is an eminent educationist and hails from Haryana. He was born on 18 January 1959. He holds double post-graduate in History and Hindi from the Punjab and Kurukshetra University, respectively. He also has studied Naturopathy and Yogic Science.
v. He has also authored several books including Gurukul Kurukshetra ka Gauravshali Itihaas, Swasthya ka Anmol Marg – Prakritik Chikitsa (Hindi and English editions) besides, editing various magazines and translation works.

79. Uninor signed worth Rs 1,200 cr contract with Huawei for modernising its network
i. Uninor a subsidiary of Norway’s telecom major Telenor has inked an agreement worth 1,200 crore rupees with Chinese firm Huawei for modernising and managing its network across six circles in the country.
ii. The advancement of payment will be done in phase manner for three years. As per the partnership Huawei will modernise and manage Uninor’s network by making it future ready for 4G network and internet service.
iii. Accordingly Huawei India will modernise its entire telecom network across all six operating telecom circles in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, UP (East), UP (West), Bihar (including Jharkhand), which as of now has 24,000 base stations.
iv. Huawei has announced that the network modernisation will be done in environment-friendly green solutions that would lower power consumption by almost 30 per cent and increase spectral efficiency.

80. Government sanctioned 1,500-MW ultra mega solar power park for Andhra Pradesh.
i. The Ministry for New and Renewable Energy sanctioned a 1,500-MW ultra mega solar power park for Andhra Pradesh. The 1,500 MW ultra mega solar park will be developed in Kadapa district by NTPC, which will the third mega park of over 1,000 MW to be taken up by the state.
ii. Earlier two mega parks of 1,000 MW each were executed by NTPC at Anantapur and Kurnool districts, respectively.
iii. Part from the above projects the state utility Andhra Pradesh Genco has approved a move to set up a 500 MW (250×2) solar park in Anantapur.
iv. Andhra Pradesh Government has set target to develop over 9,000 MW energy from renewable sources by 2019, which includes 5,000 MW of solar and 4,000 MW of wind capacity.

81. Union Cabinet approves Spectrum Sharing Guidelines
i. The Union Cabinet gave its approval to the spectrum sharing guidelines based on the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
ii. The decision is part of Union Government’s commitment to improve spectral efficiency and quality of telecom service across the country.
iii. Spectrum sharing will be allowed only for the access service providers in the first instance in a Licensed Service Area (LSA). In this case both spectrum license holders should have spectrum in the same band and have paid market price for it.
iv. Access of all spectrums including traded spectrums will be sharable provided that both license holders having spectrum in the same band.
82. Axis Bank launched the First Multi-Currency Contactless Card service in India
i. India’s third largest private sector lender, Axis Bank has launched the first Contactless Debit, Credit and Multi-Currency Forex Card in association with VISA payWave in the country.
ii. Axis Bank will offer a contactless debit/credit cards to its 1.7 million premium customers which also enables withdrawal of 15 currencies via Multi-Currency Forex facility.
iii. To facilitate contactless cards operations bank will upgrade 50,000, of its point of sale (PoS) machines across the country.
iv. Axis Bank Contactless cards contain a chip and an antenna (based on radio frequency) that facilitates seamless, faster and hassle free payments.
v. The customer has to enter the purchase amount in the contactless PoS terminal and then simply has to tap the card on the terminal to complete his/her payment wirelessly and in a secure manner.
83. IRDAI allows Banks to tie up with insurers
i. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has allowed banks to tie up with insurers.
ii. This decision was taken as part of the IRDAI’s new Bancassurance model guidelines which will be notified soon. Prior to this decision, banks were not allowed to  have insurance agency tie-ups with more than one insurer.
iii. As per new decision banks can tie up with nine insurers from three segments viz. life, non–life and standalone health. It will not be binding on banks and they are free to take their call.
iv. Earlier, IRDAI had constituted a 7 member committee to study the reviewing of the existing architecture of the Banacassurance model.
v. Bancassurance is a French term referred as selling of insurance through a bank’s. Thus it can be said that Bancassurance= Banks as Insurance Agents. In this case, selling insurance means distribution of insurance and other financial products of insurance companies through Banks.

84. Government approves MoU between India and America to establish PACEsetter Fund
i. The Union Cabinet gave its ex-post-facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between American and India to establish the PACEsetter Fund.
ii. The PACEsetter Fund is a fund that supports the Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy (PEACE) an initiative between US and India through Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE).
iii. Accordingly both the countries has raised corpus of about 8 million US dollars (Rs. 50 crore) on a 50:50 sharing basis.
iv. PACE is a flagship initiative initiated between the U.S. and India in 2009, to work jointly on energy security and clean energy, which primly focuses on accelerating the transition to high-performing, low emissions, and energy-secure economies.
v. It endeavours to boost joint efforts to demonstrate the viability of existing clean energy technologies as well as identify new technologies that can increase energy access and security.

85. PAHAL scheme enters into Guinness Book of world records
i. Union Government’s ambitious Pratyaksha Hastaantarit Laabh (PAHAL) scheme has been acknowledged as the world’s largest cash transfer program (households) by the Guinness Book of World Records.
ii. The scheme was formally launched as Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme for LPG subsidy in 2013 in 291 districts under the aegis of Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
iii. It was modified and christened as PaHal in November 2014 and was launched in 54 districts. Later it was extended nationwide on 1 January 2015.
iv. Under the scheme, subsidized liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders are sold at market rates and consumers are entitled to receive LPG subsidy directly into their bank accounts.
v. It is done either through bank account or Aadhaar linkage. Currently it covers more than 9.75 crore LPG consumers across the country. The scheme aims at eliminating duplication or bogus LPG connections and its diversion. It also seeks to meet substantive savings in LPG subsidy.

86. President appoints Om Prakash Rawat as Election Commissioner
i. President Pranab Mukherjee has appointed former IAS officer Om Prakash Rawat as an Election Commissioner (EC) in the Election Commission of India (ECI). He will have tenure of more than three years which will end in December, 2018 i.e. till he attains the age of 65 years.
ii. Rawat was born on 2 December 1953 and is a 1977 batch IAS officer from Madhya Pradesh cadre. During his long bureaucratic career, he had served at various important portfolios at Centre and state level.
iii. In 1993, he had served as a Director in the Defence Ministry. He has also served as Principal Secretary to then Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh to Babu Lal Gaur from 2004 and 2006.
iv. He also had served as Secretary at Department of Public Enterprises in the Ministry of Heavy Industries from 2012 till December 2014 when he retired. With Rawat’s appointment, the sole vacancy in the three-member ECI has been filled. Other two members are Nasim Zaidi (Chief Election Commissioner) and A K Joti (EC).

87. NTPC signed two MoUs for Skill Development
i. National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has signed two Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with National Skill Development Fund (NSDF) and National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) for skill development training in eastern states and Bihar.
ii. As per the MoU NTPC will provide skill training to 5000 youth and women across 22 locations with special focus on the eastern states. The MoU is for two years with a project cost of Rs 6.5 Crore.
iii. As per second MoU NTPC will train over 25000 candidates in services and manufacturing sectors across under-served locations in Bihar. The MoU is for five years with a project cost of Rs 30 crore. Both the projects will be funded by NTPC and executed by NSDC through its Training Partners.
iv. The National Skill Development Corporation India (NSDC) is a Public Private Partnership Company with the primary mandate of promotion of the skills landscape in India. It aims to proactively catalyse creation of large, quality vocational training institutions by providing grants and equity.

88. Odisha Cabinet gave nod to new Industrial Policy Resolution (IPR) 2015
i. Odisha cabinet approved the much awaited Industrial Policy Resolution (IPR) 2015 after several rounds of consultation with different administrative departments and industry associations.
ii. The IPR 2015 lays focus on various sectors for the next five years which includes infrastructure development, auto & auto components, agro and food processing, IT and ESDM (electronic system design & manufacturing), tourism, civil aviation, manufacturing, pharma sector, handicrafts and textiles and petroleum & petro chemicals.
iii. State Cabinet further cleared the State Capital Region Improvement of Power System (SCRIPS) scheme and 650.64 km ambitious Biju Expressway.
iv. SCRIPS is a scheme with an outlay of Rs 1,500 crore that aims to avail quality and uninterrupted power to the consumers in the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. This scheme will be implemented entirely out of state’s own finances from 2015-16 to 2019-20, which would have different components like underground cabling of important lines, smart grid and SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition).
v. Biju Expressway Project is an ambitious 650.64 km four-lane economic corridor stretching from Rourkela to Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh) that aims to upgrade road connectivity in Naxal infested regions. The project got Central government nod and accordingly out of 650.64 km the state government would develop 307.44 km of roads into four-lane at an estimated cost of Rs 3,630 crore.

89. The founder of Hero Cycle Om Prakash Munjal passes away
i. The founder of Hero Cycle and a leading industrialist Om Prakash Munjal breathed his last in the DMC Hero Heart Centre, Ludhiana on 13 August. He was 87.
ii. On Prakash was born on 26 August 1928 in Kamalia, Punjab (then British India). He moved with his family to Amritsar in 1944 to start a bicycle spare parts business with his three brothers.
iii. The complete manufacturing of bicycle was started in 1956 under brand name Hero. This unit became the first bicycle manufacturing unit in India which produced 639 bicycles in that first year.
iv. Yesterday the Hero Cycles Limited is the world’s largest integrated bicycle manufacturing company that manufacture 7.5 million cycles per year.
v. Om Prakash has received the Udyog Rattan Award from Punjab Government, Punjab Rattna award, The Samman Patra award towards for the contribution to exchequer of the Punjab state government and The Indira Gandhi National Unity award to recognize his social contribution.

90. PM Narendra Modi announced a new campaign " Start-up India; Stand up India"
i. On the eve of celebration of 69th Independence Day at Red Fort Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a new campaign ‘Start-up India; Stand up India’ an initiative to promote bank finance for Start-ups (an entrepreneurial venture). 
ii. The campaign was announced with an aim to boost entrepreneurship among the youth and to create employment in India. As per the initiative PM urged 1.25 lakh bank branches to provide finance to at least one Dalit or Adivasi and at least one woman entrepreneur. 
iii. The initiative is expected to open a new dimension to entrepreneurship and to set up a network of start-ups in the country. It also aims to make India a number one country in Start-ups. 

Other announcements: 
  • Government will rename the present Agriculture Ministry as ‘Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Ministry’.
  • He announced to replace the current practice of ‘interview-based’ selections with online merit based recruiting for low-skilled government jobs. 
  • Under the Skill India and Digital India initiative government to provide package of incentives to manufacturing units. 
  • To provide houses and access to basic services to all and to make India a developed nation by 2022. 
  • Set deadline of 1000 days to connect 18,500 villages with electricity.
91. Union Government unveils Indradhanush Mission for PSBs
i. Union Government has launched a seven pronged plan called Indradhanush Mission to revamp functioning of public sector banks (PSBs). It was launched by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi. 

Facts about Indradhanush Mission 
  • The seven shades of Indradhanush mission include appointments, de-stressing PSBs, capitalisation, empowerment, framework of accountability and governance reforms. 
  • It seeks to achieve the objective of economic growth revival through improving credit and minimising the political interference in the functioning of PSBs. 
  • Appointments: Selection of non-executive chairman in remaining 6 state owned PSBs till November 2015. Appointing MD & CEO of two PSBs as early as possible. 
  • Bank Board Bureau (BBB): It will be a body of ’eminent’ professionals to be selected within 6 months i.e. February 2015. It will become functional from Financial year 2016-17 i.e. form 1st April 2016. 
  • Capitalisation: Infuse 25,000 crore rupees of capital into debt-laden banks in this fiscal in phased manner. Out of this 20,000 crore rupees would be injected in August 2015. Rest 5,000 crore rupees will be performance based allocation to be allocated in the last quarter of 2016. 
  • De-stressing PSBs: To develop vibrant debt market for PSBs in order to reduce lending pressure on banks. Strengthen asset reconstruction of companies. 
  • Empowerment: Provide greater flexibility in hiring of manpower in PSBs. 
  • Framework of accountability: It will seek to streamline vigilance process for quick action in case major frauds and also include connivance of staff. 
  • Governance reforms in PSBs: Next Gyan Sangam (also known as the Banker’s Retreat) will be held from 14 to 16 January 2016. Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP) will be initiated for top management. 

92. Union Government to form Bank Board Bureau 
i. Union Government has decided to set up a Bank Board Bureau (BBB) to monitor key performance indicators of two dozen public sector banks (PSBs). It was announced by Union Finance Minister Arun Jailtley as part of a seven-pronged revamp plan for PSBs dubbed as Indradhanush (rainbow) plan. 

Facts about Bank Board Bureau 
  • Bank Board Bureau (BBB) will start the functioning from next financial year i.e. from 1st April 2015 and the selection of its member will start in the next six months. 
  • It will replace existing system Appointments Board in which appointments for top level jobs at PSBs are made by an appointments committee led by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor. 
  • Composition: The BBB will be a body of ’eminent’ professionals and shall consist of only one government official. It will be six members body with at least 3 former bankers, 2 professionals and secretary, department of financial services representing government. 
  • Functions: Give recommendations for appointment of full-time Directors as well as non-Executive Chairman of PSBs. 
  • Give advice to PSBs in developing differentiated strategies for raising funds through innovative financial methods and instruments and to deal with issues of stressed assets. 
  • Guide banks on mergers and consolidations. 
93. Gujarat Govt declares ban on use of Plastic
i. Gujarat Government has declared ban on the use of plastic in the State for the first time. It was announced by Gujarat’s first women Chief Minister Anandiben Patel after unfurling the National Flag at the Independence Day ceremony in Mahisagar district of Gujarat. 
ii. This decision was taken keeping in view protection of environment, cleanliness and cattle health. It should be several municipal bodies in the state already have banned use of plastic bags thinner than 40 microns. 
iii. Apart from plastic ban decision, she also announced that 159 towns and 8 cities in the state now have 100 per cent in-house toilets and nearly 8 lakh toilets have been built in rural areas.

94. Kerala Govt declares state as "Digital State"
i. Kerala Government has declared state totally digital, thus becoming first state in the country to achieve it. It was announced by Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy during his Independence Day speech held in the capital Thiruvananthapuram. 
ii. This declaration was made considering the rapid digital strides of the state which has achieved 100 percent mobile connectivity, maximum digital banking, 75 percent e-literacy, broadband connectivity upto the Panchayat level, linking bank accounts with Aadhar cards and e-district plan in all districts. 

95. Abhishek Verma wins gold medal in Archery World Cup 
i. Ace Indian Archer Abhishek Verma has won gold medal in Archery World Cup in the stage 3 in the compound men’s individual section. 
ii. In the individual final held in Wroclaw in Poland he defeated Esmaeil Ebadi of Iran by 148-145 score in the five round match. In the summit clash, Verma had shot 13 perfect 10s pointers, including five arrows closest to the centre from the total 15 arrows. 
iii. It should be noted that Verma is currently ranked 18 in the world in the men’s individual Archery. He hails from Delhi and earlier had won silver medal in the Asian Games.

96. Taj Mahal becomes first monument in world to have Twitter account
i. The iconic Mughal monument Taj Mahal became the first historical monuments in the world to have a Twitter account of its own.
ii. The monument’s official Twitter handle @TajMahal was launched by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on eve of 69th Independence Day in Lucknow.
iii. Taj Mahal is a 17th century white marble mausoleum located on the southern bank of Yamuna River in the present city of Agra. Then Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (reigned 1628–1658) had commissioned the monument in 1632 to house the tomb of his wife Mumtaz Mahal.
iv. It is based on Mughal architectural style and was constructed under guidance of chief architect Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.
v. In 1983, UNESCO had accorded World Heritage Site status on it. It is one of the world’s most celebrated structures and a symbol of India’s rich history. Presently it plays important role in India’s tourism industry and attracts around 3 million visitors every year.

97. HDFC to sell its 9 percent stake in HDFC life to JV partner Standard Life for Rs. 1700 Crore
i. HDFC has announced to sell its 9 per cent stake in HDFC Life Insurance to its British joint venture partner Standard Life for sum of 1,700 crore rupees. Prior this agreement HDFC had 70.65 per cent stake while Standard life had 26 per cent stakes which will be change to 61.65 per cent and 35 per cent respectively.
ii. This move was taken in line to increase the role of its foreign partner which followed the Centres approval to hike FDI to 49 per cent from 26 per cent in Insurance sector. As per the agreement HDFC will issue 17.5 crore shares at the rate of Rs. 95 per share to Standard life.
iii. There are over 52 insurance companies in India out of which 24 are in life insurance business and 28 are non-life insurers. Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) is the sole public sector company among Life Insurance Company and there are six public sector insurers among non-life insurers.
iv. Apart from that there is sole national re-insurer the General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC). The market size of India’s Insurance sector is 70 billion US dollars. Kotak Mahindra Bank is the first bank to set wholly-owned non-life insurance company.
v. As per Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana even the Zero balance account opened prior to August 28, 2014 get Rs 1,00,000 insurance cover.

98. Birla Corp to acquire Lafarge’s two Indian units for Rs. 5000 crore
i. Birla Corporation has signed an agreement with French-based Lafarge Group to acquire its Jojobera unit in Jharhkand and Sonadih in Chattisgarh for sum of Rs. 5000 crore.
ii. The Lafarge disinvested these two units in order fulfil the directions given by Competition Commission of India (CCI) as a part to conclude its mega global merger with Swiss-based Holcim Ltd and its operations in Indian, the merger took place on 15 July 2015.
iii. As per the acquisition deal Birla Corp will acquire these cement units along its brands ‘Concreto’ and ‘PSC’ and also its management team. These two plants have total cement capacity of 5.15 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) and have adequate reserves of limestone.
iv. After the disinvestment by Jafarge-Holcim group, its cement capacity will come around 68 million tonnes in India. The local cement companies ACC cement and Ambuja Cement are part of this group.

99. Ajit Seth to head Public Enterprises Selection Board
i. Former Cabinet Secretary, Ajit Seth, will take charge as the Chairman of the Public Enterprises Selection Board. Seth, an IAS officer from the Uttar Pradesh cadre of the 1974 batch, will be in charge of the post till the age of 65 or for three years, whichever is earlier.
ii. Seth will replace Atul Chaturvedi, who was also an IAS officer from the Uttar Pradesh cadre of the 1974 batch.
iii. The decision was announced in a statement from the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet on Monday.

100. Hero Cycles acquires leading UK-based Avocet Sports
i. World’s largest bicycle manufacturer Hero Cycles acquired majority stake in UK-based Avocet Sports for an undisclosed amount. It is the first overseas acquisition of Hero Cycle with an aim to enter into high-end bicycle market in Europe.
ii. Manchester-based Avocet is among top three players in bicycles, e-bikes, bicycle parts and accessories in the UK and with Hero Cycles it aims to capture high-end bicycle market in UK and Germany.
iii. With the experience of 20 years in high-end bicycles market Avocet has Tie-ups with leading retailers around the globe which includes Tesco, ASDA, Halfords,, Shop Direct, and Hero Cycles.

iv. It is a part of Hero Group that has its foot prints in sectors like bicycle components, automotive, automotive components, IT, services, Hospitality, Home Decor etc. Hero Cycles manufactures over 7.5 million bicycles per year from its manufacturing units in Bihta (Bihar), Ludhiana (Punjab) & Ghaziabad (UP)


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