Daily GK Updates: 30th Sept 2014

1.    RBI announced fourth Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement, keeps key rate unchanged
i. For the fourth time in a row, RBI kept key interest rates unchanged today maintaining that it will not cut them unless inflation moderates to anticipated levels, disappointing borrowers and the industry in this festive season.

ii. Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan hoped that inflation will moderate to acceptable level of 6 per cent by January 2016 and maintained that the GDP growth in the current fiscal will be 5.5 per cent, same as projected earlier.
iii. RBI relaxed the 'know your customer' norms by allowing self-certification of documents needed for opening bank accounts.
iv. The short-term lending rate (repo) rate will remain at 8 per cent, and the cash reserve requirement of banks at 4 per cent. The statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) has also been retained at 22 per cent.
v. RBI has reduced the liquidity provided under the export credit refinance (ECR) facility from 32 per cent of eligible export credit outstanding to 15 per cent with effect from October 10.
vi. It has decided to continued providing liquidity under overnight repo at 0.25 per cent at the LAF repo rate and liquidity under 7-day and 14-day term repos of up to 0.75 per cent through auctions

Current Rates are as follows:
1. Repo Rate – 8%
2. Reverse Repo Rate – 7%
3. SLR – 22%
4. CRR – 4%
5. Bank Rate – 9%
6. MSF – 9%
2.    RBI relaxes KYC norms for opening bank accounts
i. The Reserve Bank of India, RBI, today relaxed Know Your Customer, KYC norms by allowing self-certification of documents for opening bank accounts. 
ii. RBI has asked banks to allow self-certified copy of the document by mail, or post for opening an account. Banks have also been asked not to seek fresh documents, if a KYC compliant customer desires to open another account in the bank. 
iii. The RBI added that if the customers are unable to comply within a reasonable period of time, partial freezing may be introduced for KYC non-compliant customers. 
iv. This means that only credits would be allowed in such accounts, but debits would not be allowed. The account holder would have the option to close the account and take back the money in the account.
3.    AP Government signed MoU with Google India for Digital AP project
i. The Andhra Pradesh (AP) Government on 29 September 2014 signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreement with Google India for Digital AP project.
ii. Under the memorandum, Google India will work with the AP government to get women and small and medium businesses online and help them gain from the internet economy. It will launch a series of initiatives to transform the State into digital AP in a record time.
4.    ONGC to contribute Rs. 20.75 cr for upkeep of Taj Mahal
i. Hydrocarbon behemoth Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) will contribute Rs. 20.75 crore for the beautification and cleanliness of the Taj Mahal.
ii. A tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) for this was signed at the Red Fort in New Delhi on Monday between ONGC, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Union Ministry of Tourism.
iii. ONGC has launched a ‘Swachchha Smarak, Swachchha Bharat’ campaign to clean up memorials and heritage places. It also participated in a cleanliness drive at the Red Fort, an official said here on Tuesday.
5.    Muthuraman Vice Chairman of Tata Steel retired
i. B Muthuraman, Vice-Chairman of Tata Steel retired from the Board of the company on 26 September 2014 after attaining the age of 70. He retired as per the company’s retirement policy.
ii. B Muthuraman who was also a chairman of Tata International Ltd, the global trading and distribution arm of the Tata group was replaced by former Union Home Secretary GK Pillai. Pillai was appointed for the post on 26 September 2014.
6.    Bhagat Singh’s last surviving sister Bibi Prakash Kaur died
i. Bibi Prakash Kaur, the last surviving real sister of martyr Bhagat Singh died on 28 September 2014 in Canada. She was 94. 
ii. She was paralysed and bed ridden since 2008. Coincidently, she passed away on the 107th birth anniversary of the martyr Bhagat Singh which falls on 28 September every year.
iii. Bibi Prakash Kaur was born in 1921 and was only 12 years old when Bhagat Singh was hanged to death by British rulers on 23 March 1931. 
iv. Prakash Kaur was settled in Canada since 1980 and was residing there with her elder son Rupinder Singh Malhi. 
7.    Auto Portal Cardekho acquired Gaadi.com for 11 million US dollar
i. Auto Portal Cardekho on 29 September 2014 acquired Gaadi.com. Cardekho is expected to have paid 11 million US dollar for Gaadi.com. 
ii. However, both the companies will continue to run independently and operate as separate businesses in order to drive focus, especially in the pre-owned car business. 

iii. The combined Cardekho and Gaadi entity is expected to become the largest online auto classifieds play by revenue and traffic.
8.    Vikas Gowda settles for silver in discus throw
i. Vikas Gowda lost out to his old nemesis and defending champion Ehsan Hadadi of Iran once again as he settled for a silver in men’s discus throw event in the Asian Games in Incheon on Tuesday.
ii. Gowda, who recently won the gold in Glasgow Commonwealth Games, came up with a best effort of 62.58m which he did in his second attempt to fetch the silver at the Incheon Asiad Main Stadium.
iii. Hadadi, who was struggling for form this season but a pre-Games favourite, outperformed Gowda with a best throw of 65.11m to clinch the gold and run away with his hat trick of titles. He has also won gold in 2006 and 2010 Asian Games.

9.  Former International cricket umpire Mohammad Ghouse died
i. Former International cricket umpire Mohammad Ghouse died on 29 September 2014 following a brief illness. He was 83.
ii. Mohammad Ghouse made his debut as an umpire in a Ranji Trophy match in 1968-69 and went on to officiate over its 18 seasons. 
iii. His first Test as an official was in 1975-76 in the match between India and New Zealand.

10.WWF released Living Planet Report 2014

Who: Living Planet Report 2014
What: Released by WWF
When: 30 September 2014
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on 30 September 2014 released the Living Planet Report 2014. The theme of the report is Species and Spaces, People and Places.

The report provides the data compiled on over 10000 vertebrate species populations from 1970 to 2010 through the Living Planet Index - a database maintained by the Zoological Society of London.
The report also includes WWF’s One Plant Perspective with strategies to preserve, produce and consume more wisely.

Main Highlights of the Report
  • Creatures across land, rivers and the seas has decimated due to human activities like killing for food in unsustainable numbers and polluting or destroying their habitants.
  • Populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles have declined by 52 percent since 1970
  • Freshwater species have declined by 76 percent. The decline is an average loss that's nearly twice as that of land and saltwater marine species.
  • It says that human consumption of natural resources at the present rate would require 1.5 Earths to produce the resources necessary to support our current demand
  • It also highlighted the differences in consumption and biodiversity loss between nations and regions. It stated that the low-income countries have the smallest footprint but suffer the greatest ecosystem losses
  • The wildlife decline was worst in the tropics with a 56 percent drop as compared temperate regions that faced the drop by 36 percent
  • Latin America suffered the most drastic losses with an overall decline of 83 percent
  • It highlights the terrible situations for local populations due to increasing water scarcity mainly in countries like India, Australia and the United States that has highest water footprint of production and contains 8 of the top 10 most populous river basins
  • The report finds that humans are cutting timber much more quickly than trees regrow, pumping freshwater faster than groundwater restocks, and releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere faster than nature can sequester it.
  • The 10 countries with the largest per capita Ecological Footprints are: Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Denmark, Belgium, Trinidad and Tobago, Singapore, United States of America, Bahrain and Sweden.
About Living Planet Report 2014
The Living Planet Report 2014 is the tenth edition of WWF’s biennial flagship publication. The partners of the Living Planet Report are Zoological Society of London, Global Footprint Network and Water Footprint Network.

The report's measure of humanity's Ecological Footprint is provided by the Global Footprint Network.

11. Indo-US Combined military exercise Yudh Abhyas 2014 concluded in Uttarakhand

Who: India-US Combined Military Training Exercise- Yudh Abhyas 2014
Where: Ranikhet in Uttarakhand
What: held
When: 17 September to 30 September 2014 

12. World Tourism Day observed across the world

Who: World Tourism DayWorld Tourism Day
What: Was observed across the world
When: 27 September 2014
27 September: World Tourism Day
World Tourism Day (WTD) was observed across the world on 27 September 2014. The theme of the World Tourism Day 2014 is Tourism and Community Development.


13.Union Commerce Ministry cancelled approvals of nine SEZs

Who: The Union Commerce Ministry
What: cancelled approvals of nine special economic zones (SEZs)
When: 29 September 2014
The Union Commerce Ministry on 29 September 2014 cancelled approvals of nine special economic zones (SEZs), including that of Hindalco Industries, Essar and Adani.

The decision was taken after it was found that no satisfactory progress was made to execute the projects since the grant of approvals to these SEZs.

The decision was taken in the meeting of the Board of Approval (BoA) headed by Union Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher. Further, the board asked the developers to refund the duty benefits availed by them.

The other developers whose SEZs were cancelled include Chennai Business Park, Integrated Warehousing Kandla Project Development and Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation.

As per SEZ rules 2005, formal approval is valid for a period of three years, by which time at least one unit has to commence production and the zone becomes operational from the date of commencement of such production.

About the Projects
Hindalco Industries had proposed to set up an aluminium product SEZ in Orissa. The formal approval to the developer was granted in July 2007. The developer was granted extension from time to time and the last extension granted expired on 31 December 2013.

Essar Jamnagar SEZ, which had proposed to set up a multi-product zone in Gujarat, got formal approval in August 2006. It was expired in August 2009. The developer did not make any request for further extension of approval.

Similarly, Adani Townships & Real Estate Company had proposed an IT/ITeS zone in Gujarat. The BoA granted formal approval in June 2007, which expired in June 2010.

14. Sumitomo acquired Carzonrent unit for 200 crore rupees 

Who: Sumitomo Group of Japan
What: acquired the car lease division of Carzonrent India for 200 crore rupees
When: 30 September 2014
Sumitomo Group of Japan on 30 September 2014 acquired the car lease division of Carzonrent India for 200 crore rupees.

Carzonrent had a market share of about 18% in the domestic organized car rental sector. Carzonrent will now focus on investing 2000 crore rupees in the next four years to grow its network from 39 to 100 cities in India, increase the fleet size of 7500 cars to 30000 cars in the car-with-driver and self-drive services and foray into markets outside India.

Sumitomo Group

Sumitomo Group runs Japan's largest car lease business with over six lakh cars. It has set up Sumitomo Mitsui Auto Service Company Limited (SMAS) Auto Leasing India.
It will gain rights to car lease division of Carzonrent with a fleet of about 2000 cars and about 135 marquee corporate clients spread across India.

Carzonrent India

The company was founded by Rajeev K. Vij in year 2000 and caters to over 6000000 customers annually. It operates Easycabs radio taxis and provides car rentals and self-drive cars.

15. Leela Samson resigned as Sangeet Natak Akademi chairperson

Who: Leela Samson
What: resigned as chairperson of Sangeet Natak Akademi
When: 30 September 2014
Leela Samson resigned as the Chairperson of Sangeet Natak Akademi on 30 September 2014. Her resignation has been accepted by Union Ministry of Culture.

62-year-old Samson submitted her resignation as the Chairperson of the Sangeet Natak Akademi a year before her term ends.

Samson, an eminent Bharatnatyam dancer was appointed as the chairperson of the Akademi in August 2010 for a period of five years by the Union government.

About Leela Samson
• At present, Samson is also a chairperson of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) since 2011 and was also director of Kalakshetra from 2005 onwards.
• In 1995, Leela Samson formed Spanda, a dance group to review the traditional vocabulary of Bharatanatyam
• Sanchari and The Flowering Tree are two documentary films made on her works

Awards conferred on Samson are
• Padma Shri (1990) in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the art of Bharata Natyam
• The Sanskriti, Nritya Choodamani, Kalaimamani (2005) given by Government of Tamil Nadu
• The Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1999–2000) for contributions to Bharatanatyam

Sangeet Natak Akademi
The Sangeet Natak Akademi is India's national academy for all performing arts. It was set up as an autonomous body in 1952. It is fully funded by the Ministry of Culture and is currently headed by Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Shripad Yesso Naik.

16. India signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury

i. India on 30 September 2014 signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury. The convention is named after the Japanese city Minamata that has become synonymous with deadly mercury contamination since 1950. 
ii. The Minamata Convention gives five years time to India to control and reduce emissions from new power plants and 10 years time for the already existing power plants.
Minamata Convention 
The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. It was agreed at the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee in Geneva, Switzerland on 19 January 2013.