DAILY GK UPDATE - 21st June 2014

1.    Hindi poet Kedarnath Singh wins Jnanpith
i. Noted Hindi poet Kedarnath Singh has been chosen for the prestigious Jnanpith award for 2013.
ii. Singh is the 10th Hindi writer to receive the honour and joins the likes of Sumitra Nandan Pant, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar among others. He will be the recipient of the 49th Jnanpith award.

iii. Singh, 80, who has also written essays and stories, was born in Balia, UP, and Abhi bilkul abhi and Yahan se dekho are among his prominent works.

iv. The award includes Rs 11 lakh and a citation, a release from the Jnanpith award committee said
2.    World Bank lowers India's GDP growth forecast to 5.5 per cent for 2014-15
i. The World Bank has lowered India's GDP growth forecast to 5.5 per cent for 2014-15, from the earlier forecast of 5.7 per cent.
ii. The World Bank report, however, said that India's growth would accelerate to 6.3 per cent in 2015-16, and 6.6 per cent in 2016-17.
iii. It attributed the acceleration in growth rate to rising global demand, the expected rebound in domestic investment and pick-up in manufacturing activities.
iv. The Report added that implementing the Goods and Services Tax regime, targeting subsidies better, and broadening the tax base will help create the fiscal space for supporting accelerated growth and poverty reduction.
3.    UBI launches merchant payment service on mobile phones
i. United Bank of India (UBI) on Friday rolled out its merchant payment service on mobile phones using the IMPS (immediate payment service) merchant payment service offered by the National Payment Corporation of India.
ii. The service will now allow customers to have round-the-clock (24x7) merchant payment services including mobile recharge, utility payments and ticketing facilities, among others.
iii. The merchant payment service on mobile phones was inaugurated at the bank’s head office by Sanjay Arya, Executive Director of the bank.
iv. UBI has all the alternate banking delivery channels (ATMs, debit cards, Internet banking & mobile banking) and plans to route over 50 per cent of its total transactions through these modes, Arya was quoted according to the bank’s release.
4.    Govt constitutes Committee to inquire gas leakage in Bhilai Steel Plant
i. The Government has constituted an independent High Level Committee to inquire into the gas leakage incident in Bhilai Steel Plant in Chhattisgarh last week. 
ii. The Committee will be headed by K.K. Mehrotra, former CMD, Metallurgical and Engineering Consultants (India) Limited alongwith three other members.
iii. The Committee will submit its report to the Steel Ministry by 17th of next month. The incident reportedly happened following a leakage in a methane gas pipeline at a water pump house in the plant.
5.    Treat foreign investment over 10% in listed firms as FDI: Mayaram panel
i. Seeking to simplify norms, a government panel has suggested that foreign investment of over 10 per cent in a listed company be treated as FDI and the one from NRIs on a non-repatriable basis be deemed as domestic investment.
ii. The panel on rationalising definitions of FDI and FII, headed by Finance Secretary Arvind Mayaram, said foreign investment in an unlisted company should be treated as FDI.
iii. It aims at removing ambiguities over clear demarcation between FDI and foreign institutional investment.
iv. If the stake is not raised to 10 per cent or above, then the investment can be treated as portfolio investment. Foreign direct investment is subject to sectoral caps.
v. FDI reflects a lasting interest and long-term relationship, while under portfolio investment, the relationship between the investor and the company remains largely anonymous, the report says.
vi. “The monitoring of the individual FPI limit of less than 10 per cent will be done as hitherto by the Securities and Exchange Board of India. The compliance with the FPI aggregate limit is as of now being done by the RBI...and this will continue,” the report says.
6.    Kodela Siva Prasada Rao elected as the first Assembly speaker of AP after bifurcation
i. Kodela Siva Prasada Rao on 20 June 2014 was elected as the first Assembly speaker of Andhra Pradesh after bifurcation.
Kodela of Telugu Desam Party was the only person to be nominated for the Speaker of Assembly. He is a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Sattenapalli constituency.
ii. The role and function of Speaker of the state Assembly is similar to that of Lok Sabha Speaker.
iii. Article 178 of the Constitution of India   provides for Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.
7.    Sixth Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction will begin tomorrow in Bangkok
i. The sixth Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction will begin tomorrow in Bangkok.
ii. Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju will lead the Indian delegation to the five-day conference and share the measures being taken by India in reducing disaster risks. The main focus of the Asian Ministerial Conference will be on enhancing community resilience at local level.
8.    Anand finishes joint fifth in World Blitz
i. Indian chess ace Viswanathan Anand had to be content with a joint fifth finish even as reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen scripted history by winning the World Blitz Championship that concluded in Dubai.
ii. Anand, starting the day on 7.5 points from the first 11 games, scored another six points out of last 10 to end on 13.5 points in all which was good enough for the joint fifth place. The five-time world champion finished seventh overall when the tie was resolved. 
iii. After winning the world rapid, Carlsen became the first chess player ever to hold three world championship crowns as he handsomely won the blitz title too with a remarkable 17 points. 
iv. Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia gave Carlsen a tough fight in the race but eventually he and Hikaru Nakamura of United States tied for the second spot a full point behind Carlsen. 
v. For the records, Nepomniachtchi won the silver while the bronze went to Nakamura who started as the top seed in the championship. 


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