Daily GK Update - 31st August 2015

1. India to remain fastest growing major economy for second straight quarter 
i. For investors worried about the health of emerging economies, India's gross domestic product data for April-June should supply some cheer on Monday - the country is expected to remain the fastest growing major economy for a second straight quarter.

ii. The median estimate from a Reuters poll of economists put GDP annual growth at 7.4 percent in the quarter, just below 7.5 percent in January-March. 
iii. India's fiscal deficit was 3.85 trillion rupees ($57.93 billion) during April-July, or 69.3 percent of the full-year target, government data showed on Monday.
iv. The deficit was 61.2 percent during the same period a year ago. Net tax receipts were at 1.54 trillion rupees in the first four months of the current fiscal year that ends in March 2016.
v. with an economy only one-fifth the size of China's, India is in no position to support the global economy as its northern neighbour has. Blessed with a huge domestic market and a large cheap workforce, Asia's third-largest economy has an opportunity to get more investment. 

2. HDFC Bank throws gauntlet, cuts base rate by 0.35%
i. 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.
ii. 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.
iii. 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.
iv. 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.

3. ‘Housing For All’: Centre identifies 305 cities, towns
i.  The housing ministry has identified 305 cities and towns across nine states to start building houses for the poor in urban areas. The government has set the target to provide houses to two crore families belonging to the economically weaker section (EWS) in urban areas by 2022.
ii. The states that are likely to gain are Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, J&K, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana. Moreover, six other states — Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Uttarakhand — have agreed to implement six key reforms relating to clearances and approval for housing projects to accelerate their construction. 
iii. The Housing for All (Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojna) was launched on June 25. "Getting states to agree to the condition and signing of agreements with the Centre are also encouraging indications. Fifteen states have signed the agreement," a housing ministry spokesperson said.
iv. The mandatory reforms that form part of the MoAs including the doing away with the requirement of separate non-agricultural permission in case land falls in the residential zone earmarked in any city master plan and amending plans earmarking land for affordable housing. Another major reform is to do away with approvals below certain built up area or plot size for EWS and low income groups.

4. PM Modi released digitally restored recordings of epic ‘Ramcharitmanas’
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 31 August 2015 released digital recordings of epic Ramcharitmanas, as a set of digital CDs produced by All India Radio (AIR).
ii. Digital recordings of the epic is a part of AIR’s attempt to go digital in a big way so that the public broadcaster can reach audiences globally. 
iii. The recordings of Goswami Tulsidas work, sung by leading singers of Bhopal gharana, have been done by the AIR over several years and are regularly broadcast especially in the Hindi heartland.
iv. The Ramcharitmanas was composed and recorded for the first time in 1980 at Akashvani Bhopal.

5. Indian Bank launches IndPay mobile app service
i. State-owned financial services lender Indian Bank has launched IndPay mobile app service to enables its customers to operate bank accounts anytime from anywhere.
ii. It was formally unveiled by the Indian Bank MD and CEO M K Jain and it aims at helping bank’s customers to access their bank accounts from any corner of the country.
iii. It can be operated through smartphones compatible with Android, iOS and Windows mobile operating systems. It will help customers to do transactions like enquiries, transferring funds to any account and getting mini statements.

6. Union Government launches SAHAJ scheme for online release of new LPG connections
i. Union Government has launched SAHAJ scheme for online release of new LPG connections for the consumers as parts of its consumer friendly initiative. It was launched by Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan at a function held in New Delhi.
ii. Under the scheme, people can apply online for new LPG connection and they need not visit to the LPG distributors for it. 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.
iii. 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.
iv. 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.
v. Twelve cities are Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Chennai, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Patna, Mumbai and Pune.

7. SC stays Rajasthan HC verdict declaring Santhara illegal
i. The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the order passed by Rajasthan High Court declaring Santhara as illegal. The High Court, in a judgment on August 10, 2015, declared the practice, which involves voluntary fast-unto-death, illegal and an offence punishable under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
ii. The Bench was hearing a batch of petitions filed by various religious bodies of Jain community members against the High Court order on Santhara. The pleas had sought a stay on the High Court judgment, claiming it was passed without appreciating the basic philosophy and tenets of Jain religion.
iii. Santhara is a Jain custom of embracing voluntary death – it involves practitioners taking an oath to stop eating until they die of starvation. According to Jains, this is a way to purge oneself of bad 'karma' and attain ‘moksha’.

8. Mountaineer Jot Singh awarded Tenzing Norgay National Adventure award
i. Mountaineer Jot Singh of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has been honoured with the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award 2014-15. He was bestowed with the award by President Pranab Mukherjee during the national sports awards presentation ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on the eve of National Sports Day observed on 29 August.
ii. With this, Inspector Jot Singh became 11th ITBP official to receive this honour. He is one of the best mountaineers of ITBP and has been undertaking expeditions. He also has scaled the Mount Everest.
iii. ITBP is India’s mountain-trained armed force and also known as special force for mountaineering skills. Since 1962, it has been deployed primarily to guard high altitude Indo-China border.
iv. Ms. Arunima Sinha (Mountaineering), Wg. Cdr. Paramveer Singh (Aqua Sport), Lt. Col Satyendra Verma (Sky diving) and Col. Satish Chander Sharma (Mountaineering).
v. Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award is named after Indian and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay. It is an annual award given by Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

9. India’s Anil wins gold medal in Cadet Wrestling World Championships
i. Indian wrestler Anil has clinched gold medal in Cadet Wrestling World Championships in the 50 kg freestyle competitions. In the final match played at Sarajevo, Bosnia he defeated Erfan Aeini of Iran by 10-6 score.
ii. Earlier, Anil had defeated Tumentsogt Bold of Mongolia in the semi-final bout and Ertugrul Kahveci of Turkey in quarter-final bout.
iii. It was second medal for India in this championship. Earlier female grappler Ankus had won silver medal in the 38 kg women freestyle competitions. This is second time Anil has won gold medal at international level by defeating Erfan Aeini.
iv. Earlier in 2014, he had won gold medal in the 50 kg freestyle category at the 2014 Asian Championship by defeating Efan Aeini.


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