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Current Affairs Today – August 31 2015

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Dear Readers, We cover some important news in Current Affairs Today Section, which are not covered in Daily Detailed News, More Current Affairs coverage will help you to Score Good Marks in Competitive Exam.

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Indian Affairs 

Union Government identifies 305 cities for implementing ‘Housing for All’ scheme

Housing for All (Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojna) was launched on June 25. Nowhousing ministry has identified 305 cities and towns across 9 states to start building houses for the poor in urban areas under the ‘Housing for All by 2022’ mission target to build 2 crore homes

Selected cities :

  • 74 are in Madhya Pradesh, 42 in Odisha, 40 in Rajasthan, 36 in Chhattisgarh, 30 in Gujarat , 34 in Telangana, 19 in Jammu & Kashmir and 15 each in Kerala and Jharkhand.
  • These 9 states along with other 6 more states have signed MoA with HUPA Ministry for their commitment to implement 6 mandatory reforms essential for making the housing for all mission successful in urban areas.
  • 15 states – Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Odisha, Telangana, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand are agreed to implement the mandatory reform measures.
  • Under the urban housing mission, Centre will provide assistance in the range of Rs one lakh and Rs 2.30 lakh per house under different components.

Union Government launched SAHAJ scheme for online release of new LPG connections

Union Government has launched SAHAJ scheme for online release of new LPG connections for the consumers .It was launched by Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan at a function held in New Delhi.

  • SAHAJ facility will enable the customers to post online request for a new connection by filing Know Your Customer (KYC) form by uploading bank account details and photographs.
  • After submitting the details, customer will receive the registration number to know the new connection status. Later, customer can opt for offline or online mode of payment for the new connection.
  • Once payment is done, electronic subscription voucher will be mailed to the new customer. Later distributor will do physical delivery of the Gas cylinder, regulator with hose pipe. Initially, the scheme has been launched in twelve cities across the country. In near future, this scheme will be extended to other parts of the country.
  • Twelve cities are Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Chennai, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Patna, Mumbai and Pune.

Vice President Inaugurates Golden Jubilee Session of ‘All India Muslim Majlis-e- Mushawarat’

Vice President M. Hamid Ansari inaugurated the 50th anniversary of All India Muslim Majlis-e- Mushawarat and said thatthey were an integral part of the freedom struggle against the British rule.

  • Shri M. Hamid Ansari has said that the Muslims of India constitute a community of 180 million, amounting to a little over 14 percent of the population of the country. They are, after Indonesia, the second largest national grouping of followers of Islam in the world.
  • He said that the Independence of India in August 1947, and the events preceding and following it, cast a shadow of physical and psychological insecurity on Indian Muslims.
  • Mushawarat was formed in response to a perceived need to defend and protect the identity and dignity of the Muslim community in India in terms of the rights bestowed by the Constitution of India on the citizens of this land. This objective remains relevant though some of its ingredients may stand amplified or modified.

17.74 Crore accounts opened under PMJDY

On the First Anniversary of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY),Launched by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 28th August, 2014, the Finance Minister said that with Close to 18 Crore (180 Million) Bank Accounts Opened Under the PMJDY.

  • At present more than 17.5 crore bank accounts have been opened under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and the people have deposited more than Rs.22,000 crore in these accounts.
  • The scheme has been started with a target to provide ‘universal access to banking facilities’ starting with “Basic Saving Bank Account” with an overdraft upto Rs.5000 subject to satisfactory operation in the account for six months and RuPay Debit card with inbuilt accident insurance cover of Rs. 1 lakh and providing social security schemes.
  • As on 22nd August, 2015, 8.17 crore beneficiaries have been enrolled under the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and 2.76 crore have been enrolled under Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana.  6.83 lakh account holders have been enrolled under Atal Pension Yojana.
  • 131012 Mega Financial Literacy camps were organized by banks under PMJDY ‘in coordination with various agencies and  89876 Financial Literacy counters, to spread awareness on PMJDY, use of RuPay cards etc. 147418 students in 2567 schools/collage were imparted training on Financial literacy from September 2014 to April 2015.

West Bengal launches packaged drinking water

West Bengal Gov has decided to produce bottled drinking water-Pran Dhara. The government has chosen seven bottling plants across the state to filter water from Hoogly river.

  • The project is being supervised by state Public Health & Engineering Department.The seven plants, which produce around three thousand bottled water per hour, are at Haringhata, Nodakhali, Baharampur, Maldah, Siliguri and Coochbehar.
  • The 1 litre bottle will cost Rs 18 while the 500 ml bottle will cost Rs 9.

Manipur Legislative Assembly passes ‘Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015′

The Manipur Legislative Assembly onunanimously passed the Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015.

  • The House also unanimously passed two amendment bills- the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2015 and the Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015.
  • The three Bills were introduced in the House on Friday to protect indigenous peopleand also passed a resolution accepting the Peace Accord signed between the Centre and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN (IM)). The resolution was moved by CM Ibobi Singh.

PM to inaugurate international Hindi meet in Bhopal

PM Narendra Modi will inaugurate a three-day international Hindi conference in Bhopal on September 10 aimed at popularising the language globally, with delegates from at least 27 countries besides scholars from across India expected to participate.

  • Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan will address the gathering on the concluding day of the conclave which will have a total of 28 sessions on a range of subjects relating to Hindi.
  • Search engine giant Google and iPhone maker Apple Inc will be among a number of technology companies which will participate in the exhibition at the event where they will highlight their efforts to popularise Hindi.
  • The conference, theme is “Hindi jagat: Vistar evam Sambhavanai” (World of Hindi: Expansion and Scope), is being organised by the External Affairs Ministry in cooperation with Madhya Pradesh government.
  • Twenty Indians and another 20 personalities from abroad will be honoured at the conference.

AP govt initiates steps to develop 10 new ports

Andhra Pradesh gov has initiated steps to develop 10 new ports in the state, the Legislative Assembly was informed.

  • The 10 new ports are Bhavanapadu Port, Narsapur Port, Ramayapatnam Port, Machilipatnam Port, Kakinada SEZ Port (captive), Meghavaram Port (captive), Nakkapalli Port (captive), Nizampatnam and Vodarevu and Dugarajapatnam Port.
  • The Centre has been requested to develop the Dugarajapatnam Port in Nellore district (major port) as per the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, said by Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
  • Kakinada SEZ Port , Meghavaram Port and Nakkapalli Port have been awarded to different developers who have been requested to take up the development work.

Bengal govt plans water transport in 12 rivers

The ministry has developed a comprehensive policy for integrated development of inland waterways throughout the country as inland water transport is fuel efficient, cost effective and eco friendly said by Raja Roy, general secretary of Kolkata Goods Transport Association.

  • The Union ministry has identified 101 new inland waterways across the country as a cheaper mode of transport.
  • In West Bengal, 12 rivers that has been identified for national waterways, include the Allahabad-Haldia stretch of the Ganga Bhagirathi Hooghly river, Ajoy river, (96 km) Bakreswar Mayurakshi river (110 km) Damodar river (135 km), DVC canal, (130 km) Dwarekeswar river (113 km) Ichamati river (634 km) Jalangi river (131 km) Rupnarayan river (72 km), Subarnarekha river (314 km) and Sunderban Waterways (201 km).
  • The Union Government will provide adequate infrastructure for safe, convenient and sustained shipping operations through the waterways.

International Affairs 

India pitches for anti-terror treaty, UNSC reforms

India made a strong pitch for finalisation of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism(CCIT) at the UN during a meeting with the President-elect of the global body.

  • During Sushma Swaraj talks with President-elect of the UN General Assembly Mogens Lykketoft, who is in New Delhi on a two-day visit, she stressed on the need for UN Security Council reforms on the occasion of 70th anniversary to reflect current geopolitical realities and increasing role of developing nations.
  • The Indian sides also strongly pitched for early finalisation of the CCIT, a treaty proposed by India in 1996 to ban terrorists and make it binding for countries to deny funds and safe haven to them.

Theme of his Presidency :’The United Nations at 70 – A New Commitment to Action’.

First ever MPhil degree in Hindi awarded in Pak

  • For the first time in Pakistan’s history, a university has awarded an MPhil degree in Hindi. Military-run National University of Modern Languages (NUML) here has become the first Pakistani university to award the degree.
  • NUML student Shahin Zafar is the first student from a Pakistani university to receive an MPhil degree in Hindi. Her thesis, titled ‘Swatantryottra Hindi Upanyason Mein NasriChittran (1947-2000)’ was supervised by Professor Iftikhar Husain Arif and endorsed by the Higher Education Commission.

Banking & Finance

Govt. to infuse Rs 947 crore in Canara Bank

Public lender Canara said the government will infuse an equity capital of Rs 947 crore in the bank.

  • It said the board of the bank at a meeting held today approved the proposal of issuing equity shares on preferential basis to the government in lieu of the capital infusion.
  • SBI also spoke of issuance of equity shares on a preferential basis to the government for a capital infusion of Rs 5,393 crore.
  • Earlier this month, the government decided to infuse a total of Rs 20,088 crore in 13 public sector banks, including SBI, PNB, IDBI, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, Indian Overseas Bank and Union Bank of India .

HDFC Bank cuts base rate by 35 bps to 9.35%

HDFC Bank, the country’s second-largest private-sector lender, slashed its base rate the minimum rate at which it lends by 0.35 percent to 9.35 percent, effective tomorrow.

  • The move comes after the Reserve Bank of India cut its benchmark repo rate thrice this year (by a total 0.75 percent), and urged banks to follow through with cuts on their lending rates.
  • The move by the retail customer-focused HDFC Bank’s will put pressure on other large lenders such as ICICI, SBI and Axis to follow through with rate cuts of their own.
  • At 9.35 percent, HDFC Bank’s base rate is the lowest among banks. Peers SBI and ICICI Bank are at 9.7 percent but may move soon.

Business

Godrej Agrovet buys Astec Life Sciences, makes open offer

Diversified Agribusiness Company Godrej Agrovet Ltd (GAVL), a subsidiary of Godrej Industries Ltd made an open offer to public shareholders to acquire an additional 26.05% stake at a price of Rs 246.60 per share.

  • The open offer follows its share purchase agreement with the promoters of Astec LifeSciences to buy 45.29 per cent stake.
  • Godrej Agrovet will also acquire Astec LifeSciences’ wholly owned subsidiary Astec Corp Care Pvt Ltd.
  • Depending on the response to the open offer, Godrej Agrovet may acquire additional shares from the promoters such that Godrej Agrovet’s total holding reaches 50% plus one share of the fully diluted share capital of the company after completion of the open offer.
  • Shares of Astec LifeSciences jumped to a high of Rs. 262 on the BSE and were currently ruling at Rs. 257, up 6.8 per cent. Godrej Industries stock gained 1.2 per cent at Rs. 372.

Reliance Group to expand business cooperation with Qatar

Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group has expressed a keen interest in playing a larger role in the growing economic ties between India and Qatar by expanding business cooperation with the Gulf country.

  • Ambani called on Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani among other senior Qatari ministers during a visit to the oil-rich country.
  • Accompanied by a team of senior executives, he discussed bilateral trade ties with Qatari dignitaries, underlining the group’s keen interest in playing a larger role in the growing economic partnership between India and Qatar.
  • Ambassador of India to Qatar Sanjiv Arora was present during Ambani’s meetings .An interaction hosted by Doha Bank Group CEO R Seetharaman and his team where Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker was the Guest of Honour.

Appointments & Resigns

Satish Chandra elected CAMPCO president

R. Satish Chandra was elected unopposed president of Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative Ltd. (CAMPCO). He succeeds Konkodi Padmanabha.

  • K. Shankara Narayana Bhat was elected unopposed CAMPCO vice- president and other directors of the 16-member board elected unanimously are R.M. Ravi, Shambulinga Ganapathi Hegde, Padmaraja Pattaje, C.K. Balakrishna Rai, Jayarama Saralaya, Rajagopal K., K. Satishchandra Bhandary, M.K. Shankaranarayana Bhat, Shivakrishna Bhat, Dayananda Hegde, Kishore Kumar Kodgi, Mr. Padmanabha, Krishnaprasad Madthila and Thimmappa Shetty.
  • Newly elected president of Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative Ltd (CAMPCO) S.R. Satishchandra said that the cooperative wants to diversify its products.
  • The Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Co-operative Limited or CAMPCO was found on 11 July 1973 at Mangalore.
  • The organisation working on principles of co-operative was found to mitigate the sufferings of arecanut and cocoa growers in Indian states of Karnataka and Kerala.

Shri Rajiv Mehrishi appointed as Home Secretary

  • Rajasthan cadre IAS officer Rajiv Mehrishi became the third Home Secretary t appointed by the Modi government .Mr. Mehrishi replaces L.C. Goyal, who took premature voluntary retirement ,barely months after being appointed to the post.
  • A 1978 batch IAS officer, Mr. Mehrishi was to retire as Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs.
  • The appointment took many by surprise, with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) directly posting a press release, rather than routing the same through Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).

Raghav Chandra takes over as NHAI chief

Senior IAS officer Raghav Chandra has appointed as the Chairman of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

About Raghav Chandra:

  • He is an IAS Officer of the 1982 batch Madhya Pradesh Cadre, Chandra is a Post Graduate in Mathematics and also holds Post Graduate degree in Public Administration from Harvard University.
  • Prior to his current assignment, Chandra was Additional Secretary and Financial Advisor for the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, ADF and Culture.

NHAI:

  • NHAI is entrusted with the task of implementing National Highways Development Project (NHDP), India’s largest-ever highways project. The importance of the body can be gauged by the fact that it regulates 92,851 km of national highways across the country.

Obituary

Awakenings’ author, neurologist Dr.Oliver Sacks dies at 82

Dr. Oliver Sacks age 82, died at his home in New York City. He was terminally ill with a rare eye cancer that had spread to his liver. As a practicing neurologist, Sacks looked at some of his patients with a writer’s eye and found publishing gold.

He wrote many books, some of his publications are-

  • In his best-selling 1985 book, “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat,” he described a man who really did mistake his wife’s face for his hat while visiting Sacks’ office, because his brain had difficulty interpreting what he saw.
  • Sacks’ 1973 book, “Awakenings,” about hospital patients who’d spent decades in a kind of frozen state until Sacks tried a new treatment, led to a 1990 movie in which Sacks was portrayed by Robin Williams. It was nominated for three Academy Awards.
  • A prolific journal-keeper, Dr. Sacks compiled more than 600 notebooks. He published his essays in medical journals and magazines like The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books as well as small literary magazines like Antaeus.

Horror maestro Wes Craven dies at 76

The director of Scream and Nightmare on Elm Steet ,Wes Craven has died at 76.

About Wes Craven:

  • In the ’70s and early ’80s, Craven directed Last House on the Left, which quickly established his horror bona fides, followed by films including The Hills Have Eyes and  Swamp Thing.
  • Then, in 1984, he releasedA Nightmare On Elm Street — starring a 21-year-old .He departed from the horror genre to direct Music of the Heart, a drama starring Meryl Streep, which was nominated for two Oscars.
  • Most recently, he served as executive producer forThe Girl in the Photographs, which is debuting at the Toronto Film Festival next month.

Former Bihar minister Mohidur Rahman dead

  • SeniorCongress leader and former minister Mohidur Rahman died at 83 in his residence at Chandradei in this district of Bihar following prolonged illness.
  • A two-term MLA from Jokihat Assembly seat between 1980-90, he had served as a minister in the Congress governments headed by Chandrashekhar Singh and Jagannath Mishra respectively in Bihar.