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Current Affairs - 2 August 2015

Rs. 50,000 Crore Earmarked for 100 Smart Cities, Says Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu
  • Rs 50,000 Crore Earmarked for 100 Smart Cities, Says Union Minister Venkaiah NaiduNEW DELHI:  Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday saidRs.50,000 crore have been earmarked by the government to develop 100 smart cities in the country, adding that each selected city would get central assistance of Rs.100 crore per year for five years.

    Mr Naidu, the union urban development minister, was speaking at an international seminar on sustainable and inclusive urban development organised by NITI (National Institute for Transforming India) Aayog, the Institute for Human Development (IHD) and Department of Urban and Regional Planning of the University of Florida in Delhi.

    "Special emphasis will be given to citizen participation while developing these smart cities. To recast the urban landscape of the country and make lives of urban people comfortable is the need of the hour."

    He added: "Sustainable and inclusive urban development is the main focus of the government and there is a need to go for reforms in a big way."

    "Good urban life also requires housing, office space and good transportation. Biggest challenge in the country has been one of creating space for cities and availability of land," NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya said at the event.

Congress Hits Back at Rajnath Singh on 'Hindu Terror' Remark
  • Congress Hits Back at Rajnath Singh on 'Hindu Terror' Remark
    NEW DELHI:  The Congress today launched a scathing attack on Home Minister Rajnath Singh, accusing him of diversionary tactics a day after he accused the previous UPA government of "weakening India's fight against terrorism" by coining the term "Hindu terror".

    "It's a completely diversionary argument. The fact is that he was referring to Mr Shinde who made a statement outside Parliament. He (Shinde) didn't use the phrase Hindu terror in the manner Rajnath Singh quoted... He was referring to right-wing extremist groups who had been implicated and some of them charged in several bomb blast cases," former union minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram told NDTV, referring to former Home Minister and party colleague Sushil Kumar Shinde.

    On Friday, Mr Singh, while making a statement in Lok Sabha on Monday's Gurdaspur terror attack, said, "The then Home Minister had coined the new term 'Hindu terrorism' in order to change the direction of probe. It weakened our fight... Hafiz Saeed of Pakistan had congratulated the then Home Minister."

    Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, is among India's most wanted men and roams free in Pakistan, often making provocative anti-India speeches.

    Saying that "terrorism has no religion, no caste," the Home Minister also censured the opposition party for making Parliament seem like a divided house on the serious issue of terrorism. His statement in the Rajya Sabha on the Gurdaspur attack, a day before, was drowned out by a slogan-shouting Congress.

    "The Home Minister has diverted attention from the issue. The reality is that this government has totally failed in tackling terrorism in the country," Congress's Ghulam Nabi Azad said today. Mr Chidambaram added, "Gurdaspur involved intelligence failure. That's very clear. The honest thing to do is to admit that it was a mistake."

    Seven people - four cops and three civilians - were killed in Gurdaspur in Punjab by three terrorists who engaged in a 12-hour gunbattle before being shot dead by the police. Rajnath Singh told Parliament that there was overwhelming evidence that the terrorists came from Pakistan by crossing the Ravi river.

Hypertension, Ailing Mother: Convicted Lawmaker Pacheco's Reasons for Seeking Pardon
  • Hypertension, Ailing Mother: Convicted Lawmaker Pacheco's Reasons for Seeking PardonDays after BJP government in Goa resolved to grant pardon to Francisco Pacheco, documents show that the convicted legislator had given hypertension and an ailing mother as reasons to get the pardon.

    "That he has an aged mother who is more than 89 years of age and is having multiple health complications and has undergone a number of surgeries in the recent past and she requires constant care and aid. He being the only made adult member in the house and his long absence has caused undue hardships to his mother whose health has stated deteriorating," says a cabinet note signed by Goa Chief Secretary R K Srivastava.

    It further adds, "The petitioner himself has been a patient of hypertension and high blood pressure and requires frequent medical supervision and monitoring. Due to his incarceration he is unable to get the medical supervision and monitoring required to keep his health parametres in proper range on account of which he is facing a lot of health issues."

    The legislator has also used the mental health of his children to justify his need for pardon.

    Mr Pacheco - a former archives and archaeology minister - is the president of the Goa Vikas Party, which is part of the ruling BJP-led coalition in Goa. He was jailed on June 1 after the Supreme Court upheld his conviction in a 2006 case, in which Mr Pacheco was accused of assaulting a government employee.

    Mr Pacheco has several other cases against him - the charges include extortion, assault, bigamy and money laundering.

    A Catholic, Mr Pacheco is of strategic importance to the BJP, in order to attract the minority vote, especially in the Catholic-dominated constituencies of South Goa.

    The Goa Cabinet invoked Section 161 of the Constitution to justify the pardon - the section grants a Governor the power to pardon suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases. "Everybody has signed it. It is now up to the Governor to decide," Environment and Forests Minister Alina Saldanha said.

    Justifying the Cabinet's resolution to seek pardon for Mr Pacheco, Deputy Chief Minister Francis D'Souza said assaulting a government servant was a "minor offence" and that the pardon as in sync with the government's healthy disposition towards prison reform.

In Poll-Bound Bihar, Politics Heats Up Over Special Status
  • In Poll-Bound Bihar, Politics Heats Up Over Special StatusPATNA:  The latest political battle in Bihar as the state heads for Assembly elections is over special economic status for the state. A long standing-demand of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, it has been rejected by the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre. The BJP however says Bihar would have no lack of funds.

    Mr Kumar has for years pushed for special status for Bihar. Once classified as such, a state would have to bear only 10 per cent of the funding of Central schemes, instead of the 25 per cent share of normal states. Mr Kumar has said special category status for Bihar would mean tax sops for industries in the state, required for developing the state, and more money from the centre for public utility works.

    While rejecting the request for special status from Bihar and Orissa, Union Planning Minister Rao Inderjit Singh said in the Lok Sabha on Friday that the Centre would consider giving the states special financial assistance instead.

    But the assurance seemed to mean little to the Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United). "The BJP is two-faced. Narendra Modi says one thing in public, and his give does exactly the opposite. In the campaign for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he had promised special status for Bihar. But no one can be misled like this. The people of Bihar will stand against it", said Vashishtha Narayan Singh, the state president of the JD (U), which hopes that its tie-up with Lalu Prasad's RJD can help prevent a rout that they faced in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

    With the Assembly polls around the corner, the BJP too is attempting to leverage the issue, saying it is the money that is important to Bihar, and not what it is called. "Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself said last week that the Centre is mulling a financial package in the excess of 50,000 crore rupees for Bihar. What's in a name, as long as there is development in Bihar? The JD (U) wants to create controversy unnecessarily," said senior state BJP leader Nand Kishore Yadav.

    The National Development Council first accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Nagaland in 1969. Over the years, eight more states were added to the list - Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Tripura and Uttarakhand. Sources in the Central government have said giving special status to Bihar in an election year could lead to more such demands from other states in the future, which the Central government may not be able to fulfil because of financial constraints.

Yemen PM Returns to Aden From Saudi Exile
  • Yemen PM Returns to Aden From Saudi ExileADEN:  Yemeni Prime Minister Khaled Bahah flew into the southern port of Aden from exile in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, after pro-government forces ousted Shiite rebels from the city, an airport source said.

    Bahah, who is also vice president in the internationally recognised government, fled into exile with President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and the rest of his government when the rebels entered Aden -- their last refuge -- earlier this year.

    An airport source said that Bahah arrived on a Saudi military plane, becoming the highest ranking official to return to the devastated city since the government announced its liberation in mid-July.

    Impoverished Yemen has been rocked by months of fighting between the Huthi rebels and Hadi loyalists, who have received air support from a Saudi-led coalition.

    Thousands have been killed and millions are need of aid.

    On Monday, a humanitarian pause declared by the coalition went into effect but it collapsed the next day.

    The interior and transport ministers toured parts of Aden in mid-July during a brief visit to assess the damage from the fighting.

    They also looked at ways to fully reopen the ports and airport to allow the delivery of desperately needed relief supplies.

    The rebels and their allies remain in control of the capital Sanaa and large swathes of the country.

Towns Cut Off, Villages Submerged as Manipur Battles Floods
  • Towns Cut Off, Villages Submerged as Manipur Battles Floods
    Incessant rain in the last few days have washed away bridges and national highways besides rendering thousands of people homeless in Manipur. Low-lying areas in capital Imphal and its outskirts have been inundated.

    The state has witnessed moderate to heavy rainfall in the last few days, with several rivers flowing above the danger mark.

    The overflowing rivers have flooded many parts of Thoubal and the adjoining Chandel districts and with water levels continuing to rise, residents have been moved to relief camps set up with the help of local MLAs.

    Angry locals have alleged that the state government has not done enough to help those affected by the floods.

    Moreh, a town on the India-Myanmar border, and Jiribam have been cut off from the rest of the state due to landslides caused by flash floods triggered by the heavy downpour.

    Normal vehicular movement along the Imphal-Jiribam section of NH-37 has been disturbed after damages were caused to a bridge on Barak river.

'Is India Doing Business With IS in Libya?' Congress's Manish Tewari Taunts Sushma Swaraj
  • 'Is India Doing Business With IS in Libya?' Congress's Manish Tewari Taunts Sushma SwarajNEW DELHI:  Former Union Minister and Congress leader Manish Tewari today took a dig at Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, saying she seemed to have a "direct 'hotline' to the ISIS in Libya", and asked whether India is "doing business" with the extremist group in that country.

    "Happy 2 Indians released in Sirte Libya pray for others Ques- since Sushma Swaraj claiming credit- is India doing business with IS in Libya?," Mr Tewari tweeted, adding, "Since Foreign Minister seems to hv direct"hotline" to IS or ISIS in Libya what happened to 57 people from Punjab Are they dead or alive FM?"

    The 49-year-old Congressman's comments came after the Foreign Minister yesterday announced the release of two Indian teachers who were among four kidnapped in an Islamic State-controlled territory in Libya earlier this week. "Four Indians abducted in Libya - I am happy we have been able to secure the release of Lakshmikant and Vijay Kumar. Trying for other two," Ms Swaraj tweeted on Friday.

    Slamming Mr Tewari for making irresponsible comments, BJP Spokesperson Nalin Kohli said, "Why does the Congress Party feel unhappy or perturbed when Government of India achieve something for Indian citizens?"

    The four men, who have been working for more than a year at the Sirte university in Libya, were detained at a checkpoint about 50 kilometres outside the town late on Wednesday while on their way back to India.

    The government had, in July last year, issued an advisory asking its citizens to leave Libya.

    Various militias and Islamist factions have been battling in Libya since former strongman Moammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed in 2011.

    The area where the men were detained is controlled by the Islamic State, which has seized large swathes of Iraq and Syria and has declared itself a caliphate.

US House Introduces Resolution on India's Independence Day
  • US House Introduces Resolution on India's Independence DaySAN FRANCISCO:  The California National Guard is using a drone to search El Dorado National Forest for a missing San Francisco teacher, marking the first time the Guard has used an unmanned aircraft for a search-and-rescue mission.

    The drone will collect images in real time, allowing searchers on the ground to make faster, more informed decisions about where to concentrate their efforts, said Capt. Will Martin, a spokesman for the California Guard.

    The Guard previously used the drone to support firefighting efforts in 2013 at Yosemite National Park.

    "For the purpose of collecting imagery, it's unrivaled," Martin said of drone technology.

    The search for Edward Kavanaugh, 45, has intensified in the 12 days since he went missing. Kavanaugh was last seen July 17 driving a motorcycle on a trail through El Dorado County, about three hours east of the San Francisco Bay Area. He was with another driver before cruising off on his own.

    Kavanaugh is a popular veteran teacher who works for San Francisco Unified School District. Several staff members and students have gone to El Dorado National Forest to join the search efforts, SFUSD spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said.

    Martin said the drone has yet to provide any new leads in Kavanaugh's disappearance.

    Officials have gathered more than 50 volunteers to help sweep El Dorado and neighboring counties by foot, car and helicopter.

National Insurance Company Limited (NICIL) Administrative Officer Exam General Awareness Solved Paper (exam Held on:12-04-2015)
  • 1. Which of the following is the largest general insurance company of India on the basis of gross premium collection inclusive of foreign operations? 
    (a) United India Insurance Company Limited 
    (b) Oriental Fire and General Insurance Company Limited 
    (c) New India Assurance Company Limited 
    (d) Agriculture Insurance Company of India 
    (e) National Insurance Company Limited 
    (Ans : c)
    2. The proposed Micro Units Development Refinance Agency (MUDRA Bank) will have a Credit Guarantee corpus of– 
    (a) Rs. 15000 crore 
    (b) Rs. 10000 crore 
    (c) Rs. 3000 crore 
    (d) Rs. 20000 crore 
    (e) Rs. 5000 crore 
    (Ans : c)
    3. The chemical name of ‘caustic soda’ is– 
    (a) potassium hydroxide 
    (b) aluminium oxide 
    (c) sodium hydroxide 
    (d) sodium chloride 
    (e) sodium bicarbonate 
    (Ans : c)
    4. The term ‘Front-end load’ is associated with– 
    (a) term deposits 
    (b) term loans 
    (c) insurance policies 
    (d) mutual funds 
    (e) government securities 
    (Ans : d)
    5. When an insurer passes some part of or all risks to another insurer called Re-insurer, this type of insurance is called– 
    (a) Self Insurance 
    (b) Dual Insurance 
    (c) Void Insurance 
    (d) Two Fold Insurance 
    (e) Re-insurance 
    (Ans : e)
    6. The capital of the ‘People’s Republic of China’ is– 
    (a) Taiwan 

    (b) Hong Kong 
    (c) Shanghai 
    (d) Beijing 
    (e) Shenzhen 
    (Ans : d)
    7. A complaint can be lodged with the insurance ombudsman by an aggrieved– 
    (a) corporate policy holder 

    (b) trust/association holding an insurance policy 
    (c) sole-proprietor of a firm holding the insurance policy 

    (d) individual policy holder 
    (e) partnership firm 

    (Ans : d)
    8. Which of the following teams won the Santosh Trophy, the main State competition in Indian Football? 
    (a) Punjab 

    (b) Asom 
    (c) Services 
    (d) West Bengal 
    (e) Maharashtra 
    (Ans : c)
    9. ‘Joko Widodo’ has been elected as President of– 
    (a) Indonesia 

    (b) Mexico 
    (c) Argentina 
    (d) Ukraine 
    (e) Austria 
    (Ans : a)
    10. The FIBA Cup is associated with which among the following sports? 
    (a) Table tennis 

    (b) Basketball 
    (c) Hockey 
    (d) Football 
    (e) Cricket 
    (Ans : b)
    11. An agency which holds electronic records of insurance policies issued to individuals, is known as–
    (a) Insurance Depository 

    (b) Insurance Attorney 
    (c) Stock Insurance Company 
    (d) Insurance Actuary 

    (e) Insurance Repository 
    (Ans : e)
    12. A life insurance policy which provides coverage at a fixed rate of payments for a limited period of times, is known as– 
    (a) Whole Life Insurance 

    (b) Variable Universal Life Insurance 
    (c) Term Life Insurance 
    (d) Universal Life Insurance 

    (e) Permanent Life Insurance 
    (Ans : c)
    13. ‘Tribhuvan International Airport’ is situated in– 
    (a) Port Louis (Mauritius) 

    (b) Paro (Bhutan) 
    (c) Jakarta (Indonesia) 
    (d) Kathmandu (Nepal) 

    (e) Bangkok (Thailand) 
    (Ans : d)
    14. Under the recently re-launched Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana (VPBY) for senior citizens, the insured person can receive a monthly pension ranging from 
    (a) Other than those given as options– 
    (b) Rs. 100 to Rs. 5000 

    (c) Rs. 500 to Rs. 5000 
    (d) Rs. 1000 to Rs. 10000 

    (e) Rs. 50 to Rs. 500 
    (Ans : c)
    15. Lia Van Leer of Israel, who recently died at the age of 90 years, is a pioneering figure in the field of– 
    (a) cultural studies 

    (b) farm productivity and profitability 
    (c) human computer protection 
    (d) film programming and archiving 

    (e) film photography 
    (Ans : d)
    16. Against a global average of 50%, the female labour force participation rate in India is found to be– 
    (a) 23% 

    (b) 53% 
    (c) 33% 
    (d) 63% 
    (e) 13% 
    (Ans : c)
    17. Who amongst the following has recently been appointed by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region as the Brand Ambassador of the North-East region? 
    (a) Mary Kom 

    (b) Sarjubala Devi 
    (c) Suman Bala Devi 
    (d) M. Thomas Meiter 

    (e) Likhmabam Sushila 
    (Ans : a)
    18. The Cabinet Minister for Civil Aviation in the Union Council of Ministers, is– 
    (a) Ananth Kumar 

    (b) Radha Mohan Singh 
    (c) Anant Geete 
    (d) Jual Oram 

    (e) Ashok Gajapati Raju 
    (Ans : e)
    19. It is a joint venture between Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC), one of India’s leading housing finance institution and– 
    (a) Standard Life 

    (b) Prudential Life 
    (c) Sun Life 
    (d) Max Life 

    (e) Aviva India 
    (Ans : a)
    20. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which one of the following is the world’s biggest importer of arms during the five year period from 2010 to 2014? 
    (a) India 

    (b) Iran 
    (c) Germany 
    (d) Pakistan 
    (e) China 
    (Ans : a)
    21. Prime Minister recently inaugurated the first of the eight Coastal Surveillance Radar Systems (CSRS) being set-up by India in which of the following countries? 
    (a) Mauritius 

    (b) Sri Lanka 
    (c) Maldives 
    (d) Seychelles 
    (e) Philippines 
    (Ans : d)
    22. The traditional new year celebrations ‘Rongali Bihu’ which is celebrated with fun in abundance by all people irrespective of caste, creed and belief in the Indian State of– 
    (a) Goa 

    (b) Asom 
    (c) Telangana 
    (d) Andhra Pradesh 
    (e) Odisha 
    (Ans : b)
    23. The ‘Kaziranga National Park’ is situated in the Indian State of– 
    (a) Asom 

    (b) West Bengal 
    (c) Uttarakhand 
    (d) Chhattisgarh 
    (e) Bihar 
    (Ans : a)
    24. The Japanese encephalitis, a virus born disease, which claimed many deaths in India recently, affects which part of the human body? 
    (a) Kidney 

    (b) Brain 
    (c) Lungs 
    (d) Intestine 
    (e) Heart 
    (Ans : b)
    25. The ‘Pudhu Vezhvu Scheme’ is an empowerment and poverty reduction initiative launched by– 
    (a) Tamil Nadu 

    (b) Andhra Pradesh 
    (c) Kerala 
    (d) West Bengal 
    (e) Telangana 
    (Ans : a)
    26. Which of the following noted Gandhians, is known for his rendition of Gandhi katha-stories on the Mahatma’s life, which he look across the world and received much acclaim for it? 
    (a) SN Subbarao 

    (b) Rajmohan Gandhi 
    (c) ManadevDesai 
    (d) Narayan Bhai Desai 

    (e) Chandi Prasad Bhatt 
    (Ans : d)
    27. Which of the following organisation process insurance claims or certain aspects of employed benefit plans for a separate entity? 
    (a) Insurance broker 

    (b) Insurance surveyor 
    (c) Third party owner 
    (d) Insurance agent 

    (e) Third party administrator 
    (Ans : e)
    28. The ‘National De-worming Day’ is observed in India every year on– 
    (a) June 10 

    (b) April 10 
    (c) March 10 
    (d) February 10 
    (e) May 10 
    (Ans : d)
    29. Under the Sukayana Samridhi Yojana (SSN), the interest is payable by the Bank at the rate of– 
    (a) 8% 

    (b) 8.7% 
    (c) 8.5% 
    (d) 8.9% 
    (e) 9.1% 
    (Ans : e)
    30. What is the minimum number of employees is a firm covered by the retirement fund body Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) for providing social security net? 
    (a) Ten 

    (b) Twenty 
    (c) Thirty 
    (d) Fifteen 
    (e) Forty 
    (Ans : a)
    31. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), is a trade and investment agreement under negotiation between the– 
    (a) European Union and the USA 

    (b) European Union and India 
    (c) World Trade Organisation and India 

    (d) European Union and China 
    (e) India and the USA 

    (Ans : a)
    32. The currency ,of , the ‘Republic of Mauritius’ is– 
    (a) Other than those given as options 

    (b) Mauritian Riyal 
    (c) Mauritian Rial 
    (d) Mauritian Rupee 

    (e) Mauritian Rufiyaa 
    (Ans : d)
    33. ‘One Life is Not Enough’ is an autobiography of– 
    (a) Prime Minister Narendra Modi 

    (b) Natwar Singh 
    (c) Dr. Manmohan Singh 
    (d) Sharad Pawar 

    (e) APJ Abdul Kalam 
    (Ans : b)
    34. Future Group is an Indian private conglomerate, which is known for having a significant prominence in Indian retail and fashion sector, with popular supermarket chain– 
    (a) Hyper City 

    (b) Easy Day 
    (c) More 
    (d) D-Mart 
    (e) Big Bazaar 
    (Ans : e)
    35. In the recent Finance Bill-2016 place before parliament, government proposed the merging of commodity futures market regulator, Forward Markets Commission (FMC) with– 
    (a) IRDA 

    (b) PFRDA 
    (c) SEBI 
    (d) RBI 
    (e) FLSRC 
    (Ans : c)
    36. An insurance purchased by agricultural producers to protect themselves against either the loss of their crops due to natural disasters or loss of revenue due to declines in the prices of agricultural commodities, is known as– 
    (a) Crop Insurance 

    (b) Third Party Insurance 
    (c) Gap Insurance 
    (d) Marine Insurance 

    (e) Auto Insurance 
    (Ans : a)
    37. Discovered in 1866, the ‘Mesabi 1ron Range’ is the chief deposit of iron-ore in– 
    (a) South America 

    (b) Russia 
    (c) Australia 
    (d) Europe 
    (e) the USA 
    (Ans : e)
    38. According to latest Economic Census released by National Statistical Association, which State has emerged top among states having more household enterprises? 
    (a) Haryana 

    (b) Maharashtra 
    (c) Tamil Nadu 
    (d) Karnataka 
    (e) Rajasthan 
    (Ans : c)
    39. ‘Tasmania’ is an island State and is part of the– 
    (a) Commonwealth of Puerto Rico 

    (b) Commonwealth of Marina Islands 
    (c) Commonwealth of Australia
    (d) Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 

    (e) Commonwealth of Massachusetts 
    (Ans : c)
    40. ‘United Nations Industrial Development Organisation’ that promotes industrial development is the specialised agency of the United Nations. It is headquartered in– 
    (a) Rome (Italy) 

    (b) New York (USA) 
    (c) Vienna (Austria) 
    (d) Paris (France) 

    (e) Gland (Switzerland) 
    (Ans : c)

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