1) India’s Leander Paes and Swiss Martina Hingis won the mixed-doubles title of 2015 Australian Open on 1 February 2015. They defeated third seeds Daniel Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic by 6-4, 6-3 in the final. With this win, both Paes and Hingis have now won similar number of Grand Slam titles respectively. What is this identical number of Grand Slam title wins for both? – Fifteen
Explanation: Leander Paes has won seven mixed doubles titles and eight doubles Grand Slam titles in his illustrious career. On the other hand Martina Hingis, who came out of retirement for the second time a couple of years back, has now won her tenth doubles Grand Slam apart from her five singles titles. Hingis was a top singles player during her prime and had won three singles Australian Open titles.
2) World No.1 Novak Djokovic (Serbia) the 2015 Australian Open singles title. He defeated Britain’s Andy Murray by 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-0 in the final on 1 February 2015. With this title win Djokovic has now won how many Australian Open titles? – Five
Explanation: Djokovic had earlier won the Australian Open titles in 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013. This was his 8th career Grand Slam title. Murray has now been runner-up four times here, losing twice previously to Djokovic in 2011 and 2013 and to Roger Federer in 2010.
3) A government-appointed committee on anti-Sikh riots of 1984 recently submitted its report to Home Minister Rajnath Singh. What is the main recommendation of this committee, which was headed by former Supreme Court Judge Justice (retd.) G.P. Mathur? – Fresh probe into these riots through a Special Investigation Team (SIT)
Explanation: The Justice Mathur committee was constituted by the government on 23 December 2014 to examine the possibility of reinvestigation of anti-Sikh riots cases through an SIT. The committee has recommended constitution of an SIT for reinvestigation the riots. The anti-Sikh riots were triggered after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by on 31 October 1984. Of the 3,325 victims, 2,733 were killed in Delhi alone while the rest were from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and other States. On 10 December 2014, the government had approved a proposal to give an additional compensation of Rs. 5 lakh each to the kin of victims of these riots.
4) The 29th edition of the famed Surajkund International Crafts Mela started from 1 February 2015 at Surajkund (Faridabad) in Haryana. Which state has been chosen as the theme state for this year’s mela? – Chhattisgarh
Explanation: While Chhattisgarh is the theme state, Lebanon is participating as the Partner Nation in the Mela. 17 other countries are also participating in the event. Surajkund International Crafts Mela is held every year from 1 to 15 February and has been held continuously since 1987.
5) India on 1 February 2015 launched its flagship diplomacy magazine in Chinese language to give “interesting” information about the country’s rich culture and tradition. This Chinese version (‘Yindu Shijiao’) was launched on the occasion of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s maiden visit to China. What is the name of this diplomacy magazine published by India? – ‘India Perspectives’
Explanation: ‘India Perspectives’ is printed in 15 languages and is circulated in as many as 170 countries. It is published by the External Affairs Ministry to propagate information about India’s rich culture and tradition.
6) Australia won the one-day international tri-series on 1 February 2015 by defeating England by 112 runs in the final played at Perth. This title win boosted Australia’s preparation for the Cricket World Cup which commences from 14 February in Australia-New Zealand. Who was awarded the man of the match award for an incredible all-round performance? – Glenn Maxwell
Explanation: Glenn Maxwell scored 95 and took 4-46 in the final to spur Australia to this emphatic win. He led Australia to 278-8 as it batted first after losing the toss, then had the opportunity of a hat-trick as it bowled out England for 166. Current ODI World Cup holders India was the third team of this tri-series but it could not win a single match in the series.
TODAY’S NEWS FOR FUTURE
1) The RBI deadline for applying for the payments banks ended on 2 February 2015. Which companies/groups are the prominent bidders for the payments banks which will offer services such as remittances and deposits? – Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd., Future Group, UAE Exchange India, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, IIFL, PayTM and Oxigen
Explanation: Payments banks are proposed to put basic banking within the reach of hundreds of millions. In a country like India where nearly half the population does not have access to formal banking payments banks are expected to play the role of the ‘last-mile bank’. Payments banks will be allowed to not only accept cash, but also pay it out, boosting their appeal for low-income savers. They will, however, not be allowed to provide loans. Their precursors, Pre-paid Payment Instrument (PPI) providers, were not allowed to pay out cash. Payments banks could cut the use of cash in an economy where nine out of 10 transactions are still paid in notes and coins and kick-start the use of low-cost payment forms like mobile money that have been used by only one in every 300 Indians.
2) Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has applied for a payments bank licence, the application deadline for which ended on 2 February 2015. It tied up with which bank for seeking this licence? – State Bank of India (SBI)
Explanation: RIL has entered into a partnership venture with SBI for seeking payments bank licence. Under this, RIL will be the promoter of the payments bank entity while SBI will be joint venture partner with equity investment of up to 30%. The partnership is in accordance with the guidelines for payments bank issued by RBI. The proposed payments bank by RIL-SBI combine will leverage SBI’s nationwide distribution network and risk management capabilities along with the substantial investments made by RIL in its retail and telecom businesses.
3) Union Govt. has decided to rename the second phase of JNNURM, the scheme to rejuvenate India’s 500 cities and towns, after Atal Bihari Vajpayee. What will be the new name of this scheme? – Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT)
Explanation: Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) was a massive city-modernisation scheme launched by the Government of India under Ministry of Urban Development. It was launched on 3 December 2005 to improve the quality of life and infrastructure in the cities. It had seven-year time frame and its first phase ended in March 2012. Though UPA-II had done preparatory work to approve second phase of JNNURM, it could not clear the scheme. Now the Modi government has decided to rename the second phase after the first BJP Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. AMRUT will be a 10-year programme with total investment of about Rs 2 lakh crore.
4) Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) recently announced plans to offer cash-on-delivery (CoD) option for railway tickets bought online. The scheme is aimed at targeting customers who are reluctant to use their bank credit card or those who don’t have net-banking enabled bank account or cards. Which entity has been authorized for providing these CoD-based train tickets? – Anduril Technologies
Explanation: Anduril Technologies will use its website and its app called BookMyTrain.com for providing this scheme. The scheme has been launched on pilot basis and the service will be available in more than 200 cities initially. Under it train travelers can book a ticket five days prior to commencement of journey. The delivery charges will be similar to IRCTC I-tickets: Rs 40 will be charged for delivery of each sleeper class ticket and Rs 60 for an AC class ticket. The move is an attempt to move people away from the ticket counters and decongest the booking windows.
5) India’s first germplasm bank in the private sector started its operations from 1 February 2015. This bank capable of protecting the seeds up to 40 years has been set up at Medchal near Hyderabad. Which company has established this germplasm bank? –Gubba Group
Explanation: Gubba Group has a network of 12 cold storage facilities. This germplasm bank has the facilities for maintaining a temperature of -20 degrees Celsius which makes it capable of protecting the seeds up to 40 years. The bank has been established with an investment of Rs. 4 crore and it can withstand earthquakes, power outages and fire accidents. Germplasm is a collection of genetic resources for an organism. For plants, the germplasm is generally stored as seeds and such advanced storage is called germplasm bank or simply seed bank.
6) What is the name of the teenage netball player of Maharashtra who died of cardiac arrest on 2 February 2015 after participating in a match at the ongoing 35th National Games of India at Thiruvananthapuram? – Mayuresh Pawar
Explanation: 19-year old Mayuresh Pawar took part in Maharashtra’s match against Chandigarh at the Agriculture College Indoor Stadium earlier on the same day. He complained of chest pain after the game and was given first aid. However, the condition worsened and Mayuresh was soon taken to a nearby hospital but could not be revived.
7) What is the name of the 17th edition of the international theatre festival by the National School of Drama (NSD) that started on 1 February 2015 in New Delhi and which is believed to be the largest such festival in the whole of Asia? – “Bharat Rang Mahotsav”
Explanation: 17th Bharat Rang Mahotsav is being held from 1 to 18 February 2015. The first play of this year’s event was the war play ‘Ghazab Teri Adaa’, the latest creation by NSD. 12 countries including UK, Germany, China, USA, Poland, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh are taking part in the 18-day long festival. 82 productions in 23 languages and performances by 125 groups will be the highlight of the theatre extravaganza. For the first time, the festival will travel to other Indian cities like Agartala, Jabalpur, Aurangabad and Panaji. Lalit Kala Akademi, Sahitya Akademi, Sangeet Natak Akademi and other government cultural bodies have associated with the festival for the first time. The first edition of Bharat Rang Mahotsav was held in 1999 and since then it has been held annually.
TODAY’S NEWS FOR FUTURE
1) The Reserve Bank of India on 3 February 2015 constituted a committee to evaluate applications received for the proposed small finance banks. Who is heading this committee? – Usha Thorat, former Deputy Governor of RBI
Explanation: The purpose of the small banks will be to provide a whole suite of basic banking products such as deposits and supply of credit, but in a limited area of operation. The objective for these Small Banks is to increase financial inclusion by provision of savings vehicles to under-served and unserved sections of the population, supply of credit to small farmers, micro and small industries, and other unorganised sector entities through high technology-low cost operations. RBI had received 72 applications for small finance banks till 2 February 2015. However, the number could change as this excludes applications that might have been received at other venues. Those who applied to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for small bank licences included Nirmal Jain-led IIFL Holdings Ltd, UAE Exchange, Kerala-based ESAF Microfinance, Punjab-based Capital Area Local Bank and Andhra Pradesh-based Coastal local Area Bank.
2) The Reserve Bank of India on 3 February 2015 constituted a committee to evaluate applications received for payments banks. Who is heading this committee? – Dr. Nachiket Mor, Director, Central Board, RBI
Explanation: Objective of payments banks is to increase financial inclusion by providing small savings accounts, payment/remittance services to migrant labour, low income households, small businesses, other unorganised sector entities and other users by enabling high volume-low value transactions in deposits and payments/remittance services in a secured technology-driven environment. Those who can promote a payments bank can be a non-bank PPIs, NBFCs, corporate’s, mobile telephone companies, super market chains, real sector cooperatives companies and public sector entities. Even banks can take equity in Payments Banks. RBI received 41 applications for payments banks till 2 February 2015 which was the deadline for the same. Prominent applicants for payments bank include Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd., Future Group, UAE Exchange India, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, IIFL, PayTM and Oxigen.
3) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 3 February 2014 released its 6th Bi-monthly Monetary Review. It decided to keep the most important Repo Rate unchanged at 7.75%. Which is the only prominent rate that was changed in this review? – Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR)
Explanation: The RBI reduced the statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) of scheduled commercial banks by 50 basis points from 22.0% to 21.5% of their net demand and time liabilities (NDTL) with effect from the fortnight beginning 7 February 2015. The reduction in SLR is expected to release more funds in the economy.
Following are the main highlights of RBI’s 6th Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Review
- Repo rate unchanged at 7.75%
- Consequentially, Reverse Repo Rate remain unchanged at 6.75%
- Marginal standing facility (MSF) rate remain unchanged at 8.75%
- Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) unchanged at 4%
- Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) reduced from 22.0% to 21.5%
- Targetted inflation by January 2016 at 6%
- GDP growth estimated at 5.5% for 2014-15 and 6.5% for 2015-16 (under old base year)
4) The RBI on 3 February 2015 increased the amount Indians can remit in foreign exchange without end-use restrictions to $ 2,50,000 per year per person. What was this limit at present? – $ 1,25,000 per year per person
Explanation: The RBI had reduced the eligibility limit for foreign exchange remittances under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) to USD 75,000 in 2013 as the rupee came under strong pressure. With stability in the foreign exchange market, this limit was enhanced to USD 125,000 in June 2014 without end-use restrictions, except for prohibited foreign exchange transactions such as margin trading, lotteries and the like.
5) Union Government is set to launch its own brand to sell low cost generic medicines from 1 July 2015. The Bureau of Pharma Public Sector Undertakings of India (BPPI), the nodal agency under the department of pharmaceuticals (DoP), has already floated the tender seeking application for supply of medicines for the programme. What is the brand name given to these low cost generic medicines? – ‘Jan Ausadhi’
Explanation: The Centre will procure medicines in bulk from public as well as private drug manufacturing firms and rebrand them under ‘Jan Aushadhi’. These will be sold in the retail market at a competitive price, allowing consumers to buy a cheaper yet quality product from the government. To start with, the government has identified 504 essential medicines, which include antibiotics, painkillers, vitamins and medicines used in treatment of cardiovascular, respiratory, diabetes and gastroenterology diseases.
6) How many Indians were in the Hurun Global Rich List of billionaires that was released on 3 February 2015? – 97
Explanation: The United States led this list with as many as 537 billionaires during 2014. It was followed by China with 430 billionaires. India was third in the list with 97 billionaires. Microsoft Corp founder Bill Gates topped the list with $85 billion, beating Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim. E-commerce group Alibaba’s Jack Ma is no longer China’s richest man, with the top spot snatched by Li Hejun, a solar energy entrepreneur. Jack Ma slipped to third place in China with second spot occupied by Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties Co Ltd’s Wang Jianlin and his family.
TODAY’S NEWS FOR FUTURE
1) Union Government on 4 February 2015 sacked Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami from his post. What is the reason for his removal? – His alleged attempts to stall the arrest of former minister Matang Sinh in Saradha scam
Explanation: Anil Goswami had admitted to calling the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials dealing with the Saradha case after former minister Matang Sinh was named in the multi-crore Saradha chit fund case of West Bengal. Sinh was arrested by the CBI team on 1 February 2015. Goswami was summoned by the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on 4 February and he was removed from his post by late evening. Goswami is the third top-ranking bureaucrat to have been shunted out since the Modi government took charge. Earlier, in January the tenures of Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh and DRDO chief Avinash Chander were cut short.
2) Who was appointed as the new Home Secretary after Anil Goswami was sacked from this post on 4 February 2015? – L.C. Goyal
Explanation: L.C. Goyal is a 1979-batch IAS officer of the Kerala cadre. Till now he was the Rural Development Secretary. He had earlier served as joint secretary (internal security) in the home ministry from 2002 to 2007. He will have a fixed tenure of two years as Home Secretary.
3) Which country is on its way to become the first in the world to allow the creation of babies from three people after this country’s parliament passed a bill associated with this controversial subject on 3 February 2015? – United Kingdom
Explanation: British Parliament’s lower house, the House of Commons, passed the bill by 382 MPs in favour and 128 against it on 3 February. Now the bill goes to the House of Lords for its approval. This bill allows the ground-breaking Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy (MRT) technique that uses a modified version of IVF to combine the DNA of the two parents with the healthy mitochondria of a donor woman. Thus three persons are required to give birth to such baby. This technique can prove a big boon for women having some mitochondrial problems which do not allow such women to bore a live or healthy baby. While advocates of this technique are pressing for its approval its critics feel that it raises too many ethical and safety concerns.
4) The RBI on 2 February 2015 directed banks to prominently display the name of unclaimed bank account holders on the websites and provide them with a “Find” option to locate the information easily. What are the present provisions for such unclaimed and inoperative bank accounts? – Banks are required to pay back the amounts laying in inoperative accounts for ten years or more, along with interest
Explanation: The banks can later lodge a claim for refund from the Depositor Education and Awareness Fund for an equivalent amount paid to the customer/depositor. This was done in a bid to help people who have unclaimed deposits lying with banks. The banks were asked to complete the action by 31 March 2015. In its directions to the banks, the RBI cautioned against disclosing the account numbers of such holders. It said that they should give information about process of claiming the unclaimed deposits or activating the inoperative account. As per government estimates, banks had Rs 5,124 crore in unclaimed deposits lying with them as on 31 December 2013.
5) Which country became the world’s top FDI destination during 2014 and thus replaced the United States from top place as disclosed by a latest report by United Nations Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD)? – China