Current Affairs, News & Facts of 14 Aug 2015

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  • IRDA allows banks to tie up with nine insurers

     

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    • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDA) has allowed banks to tie up with a maximum of nine insurers from three segmentswhich are  life, non–life and standalone health insurers. Banks have been allowed by the IRDAI to sell three products each from all life, non-life and stand alone health insurance.
    • This decision was taken as part of the IRDAI’s new Bancassurance model guidelines which will be notified soon but prior to this banks were not allowed to have insurance agency tie-ups with more than one insurer.However, it will not be mandatory for banks to implement the same and it has been left up to them to take a call on the subject.

    Changed norms :-

    • Existing norms say that policyholders can't get claims if suicide is committed in very first year of commencement of policy and this norm is often misused by insurers as they do not giving the sum assured to the policyholder in case of reinstatement of policy after a lapse and policyholder is paid only premium refund
    • The new norm will stop the misuse of existing provisions on claims settlement, IRDAI wants policyholders, who while renewing their policies, cannot be denied the payment of sums assured, in case of suicide, within one year of reinstatement of policy.

    About Bancassurance model

    • Bancassurance is a concept that originated in France in this model Bank and an insurance company form a partnership so that the insurance company can sell its products to the bank‘s customers using bank sales channel 
    • This partnership arrangement can be profitable for both Banks and Insurance companies as Banks can earn additional revenue by selling the insurance products, while insurance companies are able to expand their customer base without having to expand their sales forces or pay commissions to insurance agents or brokers
    • The bank and the insurance company share the commission. Insurance policies are processed and administered by the insurance company.

    Increase in FDI cap in the insurance sector to 49 per cent, has boosted insurance sector and IRDA has already received application from one foreign insurance company each, for life and non-life products and number of global insurance brokers and reinsurance companies have approached IRDA expressing their wish to open branches in India

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  • Founder of Hero Cycles Om Parkash Munjal passes away

     

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    Om Parkash Munjal,the chairman emeritus of Hero Cycles breathed his last in the DMC Hero Heart Centre, Ludhiana on 13 August. He was 87.

    • Om Prakash Munjal was born on 26 August 1928 in Kamalia ( now in Punjab province of Pakistan ). In 1944, when he was only a 16-year-old boy his family moved to Amritsar to start a bicycle spare parts business with his three brothers but shifted to Ludhiana later and established a cycle manufacturing company in 1956. In the 1980s, Hero Cycles became the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world.
    • From initially manufacturing 40 cycles a day in 1956, the company’s Ludhiana unit now manufactures nearly 20,000 cycles a day and has become one of the largest bicycle companies in the world. Hero cycles also holds the name in the Guinness Book of World Records and it has reached a turnover of Rs 1,634 crore per year.
    • Munjal also started Hero Motors, a two-wheeler components manufacturer, and has ventured into newer business fields including luxury hotels and four-wheeler components.

    Awards :-

    • Munjal had received the Indira Gandhi National Unity Award in 1990 
    • Sahir Award in 1994 for his contribution to literature 
    • Punjab Rattan Award for his contribution to business
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  • President appoints Om Prakash Rawat as Election Commissioner

     

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    • President Pranab Mukherjee has appointed Om Prakash Rawat, a retired Indian Administrative Service officer of the 1977 batch as the new election commissioner.
    • His appointment will come into effect from the day he assumes office. A Chief Election Commissioner or an Election Commissioner has tenure of six years or till he or she attains the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
    • With Rawat's appointment, the sole vacancy in the three-member poll body has been filled. He will join Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi and Election Commissioner A K Joti in the three-member poll-panel.

    About Om Prakash Rawat

    • Om Prakash Rawat was born on December 2, 1953, and is a 1977 batch officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre. He retired as a secretary of the Union government last December
    • Om Prakash Rawat is awardee of state government's 'recognition of forest rights' in 2009, Rawat did his MSc in Social Development Planning in 1989 in the United Kingdom. 
    • During 1993, he was a Director in the Defence Ministry. He has also served as Principal Secretary to Babu Lal Gaur, the then Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh between 2004 and 2006. 
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  • “Pahal” acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest cash transfer program 

     

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    A milestone today is that the Union Government’s ambitious Pratyaksha Hastaantarit Laabh (PAHAL) scheme has been acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest cash transfer program (households). As on 13.8.2015, 13.9 crore LPG consumers have joined the PAHAL scheme. 

    Pratyaksha Hastaantarit Laabh (PAHAL)

    • Pahal was initially launched  Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme on 1 June 2013 in 291 districts but consumers faced several issues particularly due to the mandatory requirement that an Aadhaar linked bank account was needed to avail the subsidy.
    • After reviewing issues faced by consumers with the scheme, the Government relaunched a modified scheme named PaHal on 15 November 2014 in 54 districts.The scheme was extended nationwide on 1 January 2015.
    • Under the scheme, LPG cylinders are sold at market rates and consumers receive a subsidy from the Union Government directly into their bank accounts. It replaced the previous system of selling subsidised LPG cylinders directly to consumers. It is the largest cash transfer programme in the world.

    Give It Up campaign

    The PaHaL scheme was accompanied by a "Give It Up" campaign requesting people to voluntarily give up their LPG subsidy, if they could afford to do so. 
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to the rich to give up their subsidies in order to benefit the poor. Modi stated, "Give up voluntarily. If one crore people give up this gas cylinder subsidy. one crore poor families who burn firewood, which leads to deforestation, carbon emission (and) their children grow up in smoke. The cylinder (subsidy) you give up should reach to the house of that poor

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  • Sudhakar Shetty elected as President of Gymnastics Federation of India

     

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    • Sudhakar Shetty of Maharashtra was elected as the president of the Gymnastics Federation of India (GFI)  he will replace Jaspal Singh Kandhari.
    • Election of  Sudhakar Shetty is for the term of  four year and it was attended by 35 members from 18 States and Units. 
    • Kandhari, the outgoing president who was in the fray for a third term, could not contest the elections as his nomination was rejected on the ground that he did not filled his address in the nomination form.
    • The elections were held with Justice P K Bhasin (Retired Judge of Delhi High Court) acting as the Returning Officer in the presence of H S Bhadu, IOA Observer and R K Saxena, Government Observer.
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  • Government approves setting up of All India Institute of Ayurveda

     

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    • The Union government has approved the setting up of All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) at Sarita Vihar in New Delhi for imparting MD and Ph.D level education in the traditional medicine.
    • The Institute will act as an apex institute of ayurveda with 200 bedded referral hospital for imparting education in the field of Ayurveda at MD and Ph.D level. 
    • Central Government has set up Research Councils and implemented a Central Scheme of Extramural Research to undertake and support research and development activities including development of drugs in Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy. 
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  • MoU between India and United States on cooperation to establish the Pace Setter Fund 

     

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    • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today gave its ex-post-facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation to establish the Pace Setter Fund – a fund to support the Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy track of the U.S. – India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE) between India and United States of America. This MoU was signed at New Delhi on 30th June, 2015.
    • The signing of MoU will help accelerate commercialization of innovative off-grid clean energy solutions by providing early-stage grant funding, which would allow businesses to develop and test innovative products, systems and business models.
    • The MoU will help cooperation through technical and commercial innovation and advancement of clean energy in off-grid space. The India-U.S. corpus of about Rs.500 million ($8 million U.S. Dollars) has been drawn on a 50:50 sharing basis. 

    Background:-

    The Government of India and the United States of America have announced the launch of a new initiative "Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy (PEACE)". This ambitious cooperation is a new tract under the U.S.-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE), a flagship initiative on Clean Energy that combines resources of several U.S. agencies and Government of India ministries. This has also been listed in the Joint Statement during the visit of the President of the USA to India in January, 2015.

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  • Odisha Cabinet gave nod to new Industrial Policy Resolution (IPR) 2015  

     

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    • Odisha cabinet today gave its nod to the much awaited Industrial Policy Resolution (IPR) 2015 after several rounds of consultation with different administrative departments and industry associations. In the IPR 2015 stress has been laid on infrastructure development and grant of employment based incentives.
    • IPR has identified various focus sectors for the next five years, such as auto & auto components, downstream and ancillary industries, agro and food processing, IT and ESDM (electronic system design & manufacturing), tourism, civil aviation and manufacturing in aviation, pharma, handicrafts and textiles and petroleum & petro chemicals.

    About SCRIPS scheme ?

    • State capital region improvement of power system (SCRIPS) scheme is a scheme with an outlay of Rs 1,500 crore. The scheme will be implemented from 2015-16 to 2019-20 and it is aimed at ensuring availability of quality and uninterrupted power to the consumers in the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.
    • SCRIPS scheme will be implemented entirely out of state's own finances. In 2015-16, the government had a provision of Rs 50 crore for the scheme. In the subsequent Budgets, the state government would earmark Rs 350-400 crore every year for the SCRIPS
    • The scheme would have different components like underground cabling of important lines, smart grid and SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition)
    • The scheme aims at renovation, modernisation and expansion of the existing transmission and distribution infrastructure with an objective to ensure 24x7 power supply to all classes of consumers in the geographical areas covered under the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.

    Biju Expressway Project:-

    • Biju Expressway, an ambitious scheme of the state government to upgrade road connectivity in Naxal infested regions, also received the Cabinet's nod. The length of this economic corridor stretching from Rourkela to Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh) is pegged at 650.64 km.
    • Under Biju Expressway the state government would develop 307.44 km of roads into four-lane at an estimated cost of Rs 3,630 crore, of which land acquisition cost is Rs 611 crore.
    • The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) would develop 183.2 km while the 160 km Sambalpur-Rourkela will be widened to four-lane standard on the PPP mode
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  • Axis Bank launched the First Multi-Currency Contactless Card service in India

     

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    • India’s third largest private sector lender, Axis Bank launched contactless debit, credit and multi-currency forex cards in partnership with Visa -the payments gateway company 
    • Axis Bank would be the first bank to issue multi-currency contactless cards or 'tap and pay' cards which can be loaded in 15 currencies such as Swiss Franc and Hong Kong dollar besides the three main currencies -US dollar, Euro and British Pound. Axis Bank has also launched contactless debit and credit cards for its premium customers. 
    • With the launch of these cards, banks are aiming to leverage Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s guidelines, which allow them to process contactless transactions below Rs 2,000 without a personal identification number. To facilitate contactless cards operations bank will upgrade 50,000, of its point of sale (PoS) machines across the country.

    What is 'Tap and pay' :-

    Tap and pay' refers to the use of near-field communication (NFC) technology, which enables holders of 'contactless cards' to make payments by waving or tapping the card near the card reader and customers does not have to punch in the four digit PIN. 

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2nd Aug

Exam Date : 02-08-2016

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