Current Affairs Current Affair - 12 October 2015 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affair - 12 October 2015

General Affairs

Hardik Patel Bats for Peaceful Protest, Says Won't Stop Rajkot Match
  • Hardik Patel Bats for Peaceful Protest, Says Won't Stop Rajkot MatchRATLAM, MADHYA PRADESH:  In a bid to intensify the Patel quota agitation stir, its leader Hardik Patel today said members of his community will raise slogans to expose Gujarat's development model during the upcoming One-Day International between India and South Africa at Rajkot.

    The third ODI of the five-match series will be played on October 18. "Patidars have bought tickets of the October 18 ODI being played at Rajkot. We will neither stop nor intervene in the match," Mr Patel, who is the convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), said.

    "We will just protest peacefully in a novel way. On every four, we will shout 'Jai Sardar-Jai Patidar'. When the wickets will fall, we will howl at BJP to poke fun at them," the 22-year-old leader said.

    "During protest, we are going to put up placards with slogans. Our motive is to bare the Gujarat model of development," he said.

    Earlier, the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) had appealed Mr Patel and his supporters not to agitate during the ODI game.

    "The match would be telecast across the world and it should be our priority that it be played in a peaceful manner.

    I humbly request Hardik Patel not to agitate during Rajkot ODI," SCA Honorary Secretary Niranjan Shah had said.

      Badal India's Nelson Mandela, Says PM Modi. Twitter Has a Field Day.
      • Badal India's Nelson Mandela, Says PM Modi. Twitter Has a Field Day.NEW DELHI:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi's comment that Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is India's Nelson Mandela has not only created an online storm, but also prompted Congress leader Amarinder Singh to question the Prime Minister's "sense of humour."

        "Either it is a tongue in cheek comment by the Prime Minister and he really did not mean what he said, or he actually does not know what he is saying," Mr Singh, who is also a key leader of the Congress in Punjab, said a written statement.

        The Prime Minister's praise for Mr Badal was made at a function -- to mark the 113th birth anniversary of Jai Prakash Narayan -- where he felicitated public personalities for fighting the Emergency imposed by the Indira Gandhi regime.

        In what seemed to be  a reference to the Gandhi family, PM Modi said: "There is a special family about whom pages are  written in history even if their fingernails break. Very few people know that Badal Saheb is Nelson Mandela of India, who has spent nearly two decades in jail only because of political differences."

      Mulayam Singh slams Nitish Kumar, Says JD-U Leader Deceived Lalu Prasad
      • Mulayam Singh slams Nitish Kumar, Says JD-U Leader Deceived Lalu PrasadBHABHUA:  Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav today accused Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of having deceived Mr Lalu Prasad into forging an alliance between them, and expressed bewilderment at the RJD supremo falling into the JD-U leader's trap despite being convicted in the fodder scam cases pursued by Mr Kumar's men.

        "I wonder what has prompted the RJD supremo to stand with Kumar despite being convicted for five years of imprisonment in the fodder scam which was pursued by the Chief Minister's men in the courts," Mr Yadav said during an election meeting at Bhabhua town in Kaimur district.

        "Prasad suffered irreparable loss politically due to conviction in the fodder scam, but amazingly he chose to stand by Kumar... I wonder what could be the reason behind that," the SP chief said.

        Describing Mr Kumar to be a 'fraud', Mr Yadav said the JD-U leader ended up cheating despite initially making moves to bring the disparate Janata Parivar constituents under one banner, in an apparent reference to meagre five seats offered by the secular alliance to his party for the Bihar assembly polls which led to the party's exit.

        Mr Yadav also raised a question mark over claims of development undertaken by the Bihar Chief Minister during his decade-long rule in the poll-bound state, saying that the Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh has done much more in the three- and-a-half-year rule by the Akhilesh Yadav government.

        The former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister also attacked both the RJD and JD-U for betraying socialist movement by not doing enough for welfare of the poor people

      Iran Tests New Precision-Guided Ballistic Missile
      • Iran Tests New Precision-Guided Ballistic MissileDUBAI:  Iran tested a new precision-guided ballistic missile today in defiance of a United Nations ban, signalling an apparent advance in Iranian attempts to improve the accuracy of its missile arsenal.

        The Islamic Republic has one of the largest missile programmes in the Middle East, but its potential effectiveness has been limited by poor accuracy.

        State television showed what appeared to be a successful launch of the new missile, named Emad, which will be Iran's first precision-guided weapon with the range to strike its regional arch-enemy Israel.

        "The Emad missile is able to strike targets with a high level of precision and completely destroy them ... This greatly increases Iran's strategic deterrence capability," Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan said at a televised news conference.

        The UN Security Council prohibits foreign powers from assisting Iran in developing its ballistic missile programme in any way, a ban that will remain in place under the terms of the July 14 nuclear deal that will see other sanctions lifted.

        The United Nations also prohibits Iran from undertaking any activity related to ballistic missiles that could deliver a nuclear warhead, which applies to the Emad, but Iranian officials have pledged to ignore the ban.

        "We don't ask permission from anyone to strengthen our defence and missile capabilities," Dehghan said.

        "Our leadership and armed forces are determined to increase our power and this is to promote peace and stability in the region. There is no intention of aggression or threats in this action," he added.

        The Islamic Republic is wary of a potential pre-emptive strike on its nuclear sites by Israel. In turn, Israel fears that a nuclear agreement Iran sealed with world powers in July may be insufficient to stop Tehran developing an atomic bomb.

        The accord curbs proliferation-prone aspects of Iran's nuclear energy programme in exchange for crippling sanctions being lifted. Iran says its nuclear activity is wholly peaceful. Israel is widely presumed to have the Middle East's only nuclear weapons.


        Anthony Cordesman, a researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, wrote in January that the Emad would have a range of 1,700 km (1,060 miles), 500 metres (1,650 feet) accuracy and a 750 kg (1,650 pound) payload.

        It is a variant of the liquid-fuelled Shahab-3 missile, which has been in service since 2003 and has a similar range but is accurate only to within 2,000 metres.

        "The Emad represents a major leap in terms of accuracy. It has an advanced guidance and control system in its nose cone," Israeli missile expert Uzi Rubin said.

        But Michael Elleman, senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), said it would probably take Iran "many years... and dozens of flight tests" to master the new guidance technology.

        In August, Iran unveiled a new short-range missile named Fateh-313, which it said also offered improved precision over its predecessor, as part of an apparent drive to upgrade the accuracy of its missile arsenal.

        "What has become increasingly clear is Iran's desire to enhance missile accuracy and lethality, a priority that very likely supersedes the need for seeking longer-range missiles," Elleman said.

        The Fateh-313 has solid fuel, allowing it to be set up and launched faster than liquid-fuelled missiles, and a range of 500 km enough to hit targets in Gulf Arab powers locked in a regional cold war with the Islamic Republic, but not Israel.

        Improvements in accuracy could let Iran use its missiles in a wider variety of roles, for example by targeting military bases or economic assets rather than population centres.

        The IISS noted in 2010 that poor accuracy meant Iran could use its missiles only as a "political weapon" to target enemy cities since their military utility was "severely limited"

      Support for German Chancellor Merkel's Party Falls Over Refugee Influx

      • Support for German Chancellor Merkel's Party Falls Over Refugee InfluxBERLIN:  Backing for German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party has fallen to its lowest point in two years, a survey published today showed, as dissatisfaction over a record refugee influx spreads.

        Support for her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has dropped two percentage points to 38 percent -- its lowest since the last parliamentary election in September 2013, according to the latest weekly polls by newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

        Almost one in two Germans (48 percent) believe that Merkel's decision to open the country's doors to those fleeing war was wrong. Those who back her stance stood at 39 percent.

        The survey also showed political parties that have been pressing for Germany to shut its doors to refugees as gaining ground, with the populist-nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the liberal FDP both gaining one percentage point to six percent each.

        Germany is expecting to receive between 800,000 and one million asylum seekers this year.

        The record influx has left regional authorities scrambling to find ways to house the new arrivals.

        Merkel has however refused to budge, insisting that Europe's biggest economy can manage the large numbers.

        But doubts have been growing, particularly in the southern region of Bavaria, the gateway to Germany for many of the new arrivals.

        The CDU's sister Christian Social Union (CSU) party has been among the most vocal in condemning the government's refugee policy.

        CSU president Horst Seehofer this weekend condemned what he described as Germany's "surrender" in refusing to close its borders to migrants.

        He has also threatened to take the federal government to the German constitutional court, for allegedly hindering the proper functioning of regional states, some of which have been swamped by migrants and refugees.

        Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel criticised the conservatives' divided stance, saying: "The Union is swinging between Angela Merkel's 'We can do this' to Horst Seehofer's 'close the borders'."

        "And the reality is that both answers... are the expression of helplessness," said Gabriel, the leader of Merkel's coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD).

        Gabriel also saw opportunity in the conservatives' discord, saying his party must provide the answers that the Christian Democrats are failing to come up with on how to integrate the new arrivals.

        "The Union is silent on that. And on that we must speak up," he told a party Congress.

      Business Affairs 

      Market Outlook: Caution over Q2, macro data to flare up mkt volatility, say experts
      • The real deal-breaker for next week will start with major firms realeasing their second quarter results.Key economic data and upcoming quarterly results are expected to flare up volatility in the domestic markets in the coming week, market observers noted.
        The domestic markets have performed stellarly since September 29, when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI ) cut key lending rates by 50 basis points.
        The two Indian bellweather indices, BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty closed last week with gains of three per cent.
        Market experts pointed out that the sharp rise might lead to a short-term correction led by profit-bookings, as investors decide to unwind their investments before the key economic data of factory output and inflation are released.
        Since September 29, the barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (S&P Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) had gained a total of 1,418.97 points till October 7.
        "Indian markets which participated in the rally seem to be shrugging off the global uncertainty and are poised for a consolidation move," Sanjay Sachdev, chairman of ZyFin Holdings, told IANS.
        Nitasha Shankar, vice president, research with YES Securities, told IANS that the markets have entered into a minor consolidation phase following a decent rise from the recent lows.
        "For the coming week, the markets could see a rise in volatility again which may lead to minor corrections in the markets, if it fails to sustain above the Nifty 8,220-8,250 mark, which is now acting as a stiff resistance zone," she said.
        "Bank-Nifty, could trigger minor corrections dragging it lower."
        Vaibhav Agrawal, vice president, research, Angel Broking, told IANS: "We expect profit booking to continue resulting in some downside early next week."
        The real deal-breaker for next week will start with major firms realeasing their second quarter results. The season kicked-off from October 5.
        Infosys will be the first bluechip to come out with its results on Monday.
        "Investors will be very cautious over the upcoming earnings season, especially after some information technology (IT) companies had come out with a negative guidance and outlook," Anand James, co-head, technical research desk with Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services, told IANS.
        Interestingly, Monday will also see the government releasing the factory output data for August and inflation figures for September. Both the key data points will give future guidance to the RBI's next move on lending rates.
        "Better than expected Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and inflation numbers could, however, boost market sentiment," Agrawal elaborated.
        The Consumer Price Index (CPI) will point out any seasonal variations in food and fuel prices, especially after a below-average monsoon.
        The markets will bet big on the revival in IIP data on the back of healthy eight core industries' (ECI) output figures released on September 30.
        "The IIP data is expected to be positive," James predicted.
        The ECI comprises nearly 38 per cent of the total weight of items included in the IIP. The ECI output had jumped by 2.6 per cent in August from an increase of 1.1 per cent in July.
        "Notwithstanding the expected volatility in the coming week, the country's benchmarks are expected to continue on their positive journey pushed ahead by the recent RBI monetary easing and lower the chance of a US rate hike in October," said Gaurav Jain, Director Hem Securities.
        "Movement of commodity prices and interest of foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) will dictate the trend on the bourses," Jain said.
        Apart from the domestic cues, the investors will also watch out for September IIP and CPI data coming out from the US, as well as Chinese exports data which is expected to decline.
        For the week ended October 9, both the bellweather indices of the domestic markets gained three per cent each on the back of lowered chances of a US rate hike, and a strengthening rupee.
        The barometer S&P BSE Sensex rose 858.56 points or 3.17 per cent at 27,079.51 points from its previous weekly close at 26,220.95 points.
        The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) rose 238.8 points or three per cent at 8,189.70 points.

      RBI's rate cut tempts shoppers to buy new cars, major appliances
      • Auto loans are down only 25 bps, and home loans by 30 bps, yet retailers expect the festival-season discounts to help pull shoppers in.The way car salesman Ashish Bhavsar tells it, in India, men come first on their own to eye up a potential purchase. Then they bring their wives. Then - if it's serious - the whole family.
        On this weekday, almost two weeks after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI ) cut interest rates, a young boy and his elderly grandmother inspect a sports utility vehicle at a busy Hyundai Motor dealership in downtown Mumbai, while his parents speak to a sales agent nearby. That's good news for branch manager Bhavsar.
        He estimates that cheaper borrowing could mean sales growth of 12 to 15 per cent this year, above his 10 per cent target.
        "Many customers were waiting for rate cuts. They didn't want to make a decision," he says with a grin, surrounded by gleaming new cars. "They will definitely come now."
        The country kicks off its two-month religious festive period starting on Monday, a time considered auspicious to buy big-ticket items such as cars. Company executives say they see the RBI's unexpectedly sharp 50 basis points cut last month as a lifeline.
        Consumers have already been showing an eagerness to spend more on small luxuries, like movie tickets and fancy hair cuts, even as the overall economy struggles to take off after a period of cooler growth.
        Yet with retail spending accounting for 50 to 60 per cent of the economy, India needs households to splurge on more expensive, higher-margin items like washing machines, TVs and cars.
        To date, a combination of slow consumer spending and a dearth of corporate investments has delivered a double punch to the economy, which grew a slower-than-expected 7 per cent in the April-June quarter, well below the government's 8 to 8.5 per cent target.
        With inflation around record lows and central-bank rate cuts totalling 125 basis points so far this year, retail executives believe a consumer recovery is now in the offing.
        Firms selling discretionary items such as cars and electronics are desperate for such a recovery. They have reported double digit annualised falls in earnings for the past four quarters.
        Banks have not passed on all of the RBI's latest cut. In the last two weeks, auto loans are down only 25 basis points, and home loans by 30 basis points. But retailers expect traditional festival-season discounts to help pull shoppers in.
        Added to that, the consumers often prefer instalment plans to finance bigger purchases. Known as equated monthly instalments (EMI), they are typically provided on a floating-rate basis, so consumers benefit from falling loan rates.
        Sunita Pednekar, a 35-year old nurse, at one downtown electronics store, said she planned to buy a washing machine for now, and a TV next month during Diwali.
        "We can afford the washing machine now since EMI will be cheaper after interest rates have come down, and there are discount offers before festive season," she said, speaking as she headed into the store with her husband and young son.
        "I can spread out the expenditure, rather than pay a lump-sum amount upfront."
        Optimism about consumer demand is being given a further boost as India gears up to raise the wages of 10 million government employees and pensions from next year.
        Abheek Barua, chief economist at HDFC Bank in New Delhi, says last month's official rate cut and the expected pick-up in consumer demand would help boost economic growth. He has forecast 7.5 per cent growth for the year ending in March.
        "Earlier we were banking on investment demand to push up growth," he said. "Now we are expecting a better consumption phenomenon to drive growth."

            ONGC may not get much compensation in gas dispute with Reliance Industries
            • ONGC claims that 11.9 billion cubic meters (bcm) of its gas may have been produced from RIL's KG-D6 field.ONGC may not get much compensation even if it is established that natural gas from its idling fields in Bay of Bengal had migrated to adjoining KG-D6 block of Reliance Industries as the contract does not provide for retrospective penalty for such acts.
              Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC ) had in 2013 claimed that RIL had deliberately drilled wells close to the boundary that its Krishna Godavari basin KG-DWN-98/3 (KG-D6) block shares with the state-owned firm's Godavari Block (G-4) and that some of its gas may have been pumped out from the adjoining block.
              US-based consultant DeGolyer and MacNaughton (D&M) has been appointed by the two firms to study if the two blocks are contiguous and have a common gas reservoir from which gas can be produced from either side.
              HSBC Global Research in a note said the underlying contract - production sharing contract (PSC), provides for the resolution of such a dispute.
              A full chapter on resolution of such a dispute through unit development has been devoted in the PSC.
              As per the terms of the contract, if a reservoir is situated partly within a contract area belonging to a party and partly in a different contract area, any of the parties could write to the government, and the government then will ask the two contractors to collaborate and agree on a joint development of reservoir within a stipulated time period.
              If parties fail to agree to do so, the government can force the parties to prepare and execute such a joint plan, it said.
              RIL began gas production from KG-D6 block in April 2009 while ONGC is yet to begin development work on gas fields in G-4 that were discovered more than 12 years back.
              PSC does not provide for an explicit retrospective penalty on any of the parties that produced from its approved contract area (mining lease area) as per an approved field development plan, if the other party to the dispute failed to seek such a unit development, HSBC said.
              ONGC had sought compensation for the gas belonging to it that RIL had produced. Sources said D&M has in its preliminary comments stated that the reservoir in the two neighbouring blocks are connected and there is no unconnected area in G-4.
              ONGC claims that 11.9 billion cubic meters (bcm) of its gas may have been produced from RIL's KG-D6 field. This at a gas price of $4.2 per mmBtu, will be worth less than $180 million.
              Even this it can get only after field expenses as well as taxes and royalty paid by RIL is deducted, they said.
              D&M is likely to submit its report on the issue by next month. And as per Supreme Court order the Oil Ministry will have six months from the date the report is submitted to decide if ONGC is entitled to any compensation from RIL. 

            As the spotlight in India turns on encryption, we take a look at the growing trend of encrypted social media across the world.
            • Encrypted FortressesNow that the hullabaloo over handing encryption codes to the government has died down, it's time to look at the encrypted social media landscape. Data is gold for digital thieves and hackers. Which is why all information, be it sensitive messages or inane chatter on social media, is encrypted - with the code usually in the hands of the service providers. The Indian government in its draft encryption policy wanted the service providers to hand over this code, which led to a great furore. Imagine if the code fell into the hands of hackers.
              It was a rather ironic move from the government considering that globally there is a move towards greater and greater encryption and privacy protection. Earlier this year, for instance, saw the launch of, a heavily encrypted social network set up with support from Anonymous, a group of hacktivists. Minds works exactly like any other social network except that advertisers and government cannot access this as it offers end to end encrypted private messaging and greater privacy.
              In the past, there have been attempts like Syme, a social media network that came up when Edward Snowden leaked documents to show the kind of spying done by the US government and how unsafe Facebook and Twitter were. The danger of posting anything on Facebook is that anybody can copy and paste the content to share over other platforms. What Syme offered was encrypted content which would be protected if someone tried lifting it off across the internet: basically intercepted content could not be accessed or read. Syme has been inactive for a while now, but a number of encrypted apps have come up to protect your Facebook and other chats.

              For instance, Facebook users can use Cryptocat to have encrypted conversations with other Facebook + cryptocat users. Then there is Wickr, an app that offers features like auto destruct which allows users to time deletions of messages. Indeed, leaky chat apps like Facebook and Whatsapp have fuelled a host of new messaging apps that come with very high security settings. Take Telegram, built by Paul Duorv, founder of Russia's largest social network VKontakte, which is so heavily encrypted that it promises it can withstand infiltration by Russian security agencies. It has secret chat features wherein only the sender and receiver can read messages with not even Telegram staff able to intercept it.
              Such has been the clamour for security and privacy that a body called Electronic Frontier Foundation rates apps across seven criteria to see which apps keep your messages absolutely safe from prying eyes. Telegram and Text Sure shine in EFF's scrorecard while Facebook, Viber and Whatsapp are shown as fairly easy to crack. EFF says it has published the scorecard to spur innovation around stronger security practices. But if governments demand encryption codes, then the whole security issue will collapse like a house of cards. ~
              Listening Post
              No more following
              At a time when every platform is adding on a social feature or two, photo sharing app Storehouse is running the other direction. It has dropped its newsfeed and no more follows, likes or timelines will be seen on this app. "People are craving authenticity and real connections more so now than ever before," Mark Kawano, CEO of Storehouse said in a statement. It will henceforth focus on story creation through a new feature called Spaces. Now, a user can share features with a group of friends privately only through a link. Will the 1 million users of the app like this 'antisocial' twist?
              Nescafe Tumbls!
              In a bold gamble, food giant Nestle has decided to convert its website into Tumblr blogs. All content on Nescafe's websites will move to the Tumblr platform. The rationale behind the move is to build stronger relationships with younger consumers. In a statement, Nescafés marketing chief Michael Chrisment said that "the dotcom is reflection of us talking to people; this approach is dead. It should be much more inclusive and allow conversations." The company hopes that by moving to a social forum, the brand's fans will be involved in content creation, and get casual endorsements from real users. Lets see if this works.

                    Online budget hotel aggregators are catching the fancy of investors and travellers alike. Will the hype sustain?
                    • Founders of Treebo (L-R): Kadam Jeet Jain, Rahul Chaudhary and Sidharth Gupta.Palaniswami Mudaliar, 29, is a senior programmer at a data analytics company in Pune. He visits his parents at his sister's house in Coimbatore every two months. On each visit in the past, he felt he was inconveniencing his sister's family, which lives in a two-bedroom apartment. Then he discovered Stayzilla, an online marketplace for budget hotels. "I got a good room for Rs 1,200 and managed to enjoy quality time with my family, without having to sleep on the sofa," he says.
                      Or Harish Krishnamurthy. When his house in Bangalore was being fumigated, the family decided to shift to a hotel for the night as they had a nine-month-old baby. "The pest control guys said we could stay, but as my son was small, we decided to shift to a hotel for a day. It was like a mini-holiday. We ordered food, relaxed and enjoyed, all for just Rs 1,650." The booking was done through OYO Rooms.
                      'Given the amount of money we have raised, we will build scale. This will largely be a winnertakes-all market', says Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, Oyo Rooms. (Photo: Shekhar Ghosh)
                      India is familiar with budget hotels - those with room tariffs below Rs 3,000 - as well as online travel aggregators (OTAs) such as MakeMyTrip and Yatra. But places where Mudaliar and the Krishnamurthy family stayed are part of an emerging universe in which players such as OYO Rooms and Stayzilla are bringing together budget hotels on their platforms while also helping them improve service quality. The aim is to offer customers a high-quality experience while keeping costs low.
                      The scope is huge. The number of travellers, both domestic and international, has been rising at a fast pace. And given the average incomes in the country, most action is in the budget hotel space. The Federation of Hotels & Restaurants Association of India estimates that there are just 103,000 "branded" hotel rooms in India, of which just 35 per cent are budget. Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, alone has 125,000 rooms. It estimates that India needs another 180,000 rooms by 2020 if it is to meet its target for tourist arrivals. Real estate consultancy Cushman & Wakefield estimated in 2014 that an additional 52,000 new hotel rooms would be added by 2017.

                      About OYO Rooms:
                      OYO Rooms is India's largest branded network of hotels founded by Ritesh Agarwal, India's first graduate of the Thiel Fellowship, a program started by Paypal founder, Peter Thiel. OYO Rooms currently operates in 125 Indian cities including Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Goa, Chennai, Kolkata and others. OYO's presence includes major metros, regional hubs, top leisure destinations, as well as pilgrimage towns. The company's vision is to become the most preferred and trusted hotel brand for both customers as well as partner hotels and is backed by the world's leading investors including the Softbank Group, Lightspeed India, Sequoia Capital and Greenoaks Capital.
                      OYO Rooms promises comfortable, premium, delightful stays with features such as an air conditioned room, complimentary breakfast and Wi-Fi with 24x7 customer service support. Guests can use the OYO Rooms App (over 1.5 MILLION downloads) for booking rooms as well as order beverages and request room service along with booking a cab and searching nearby restaurants. Hotel owners who partner with OYO Rooms see a significant increase in occupancy levels, get access to the world's first tablet based property management apps and become part of a brand that is recognized and loved by travelers nationwide.
                      OYO Rooms has received several national and international accolades including Business World Young Entrepreneur Award, TIE Lumis Business Excellence Awards, India International Travel Mart Award and Lufthansa ET Now Runway to Success Award.
                      Number of Hotels - 3000+
                      Number of rooms - 30000+
                      Number of cities - 125+
                      Who started OYO and when? At 17, Ritesh Agarwal founded Oravel Stays Pvt. Ltd in February 2012. In May 2013, Oravel transformed from a discovery marketplace to a managed marketplace for standardized hotels by launching OYO Rooms.
                      Leadership team behind OYO Rooms
                      • Ritesh Agarwal - Founder and CEO,
                      • Abhinav Sinha - Chief Operating Officer,
                      • Kavikrut - Chief Growth Officer,
                      • Anuj Tejpal - Chief Business Development Officer,
                      • Abhishek Gupta - Chief Financial Officer,
                      • Anurag Gaggar - VP Product Management,
                      • Ajay Shrivastava - VP Engineering & Chief Culture Ambassador

                      • How many people across the country: 1900+
                      • How many offices across the country: 8
                      • Which is the highest point in India, where you can find an OYO? - Leh-Ladakh
                      • Which is the lowest point in India, where you can find an OYO? - Kumarakom
                      • Which is the city with Maximum number of OYO Rooms? - Delhi
                      • Current points of standardization followed for transforming a property - 150
                      • How many downloads does OYO Rooms app have? - 1.5 MILLION plus
                      • How many calls managed a day? - 250+ per person
                      • How many bookings made in a day? - 25,000+
                      • How many bookings made in a month? - 500,000
                      • Total funding raised by OYO Rooms- $125 Million

                      Anil Kumar Prasanna, the Chief Executive Officer of Axis Rooms, which helps hotels manage inventory, says older companies such as MakeMyTrip solved the problem of booking hotels online. What is different with this new breed is that "it is solving a different problem of standardising quality in terms of room standards, user experience, etc, while also working on dynamic revenue management". Smaller hotels used to shy away from using technology. "This was an opportunity for these aggregators to use technology for building large hotel chains," he says.
                      One player building a nationwide chain is OYO Rooms, run by the 21-year-old Ritesh Agarwal, a college dropout. He says his experience of staying in sub-standard hotels that charged high prices gave him an idea that there was a market waiting to be cracked. He says OYO today has a network of 1,300 hotels with 14,000 rooms in 73 cities, making it "India's largest budget hotel chain." It has raised more than $125 million so far (see Leading the Way).
                      'I think the marketplace model will win, which is why we are betting on it', says Yogendra Vasupal, Co-Founder, Stayzilla. (Photo: Jaison G)
                      Others like Stayzilla and Zo Rooms question these claims. Yogendra Vasupal, the co-founder of Stayzilla, says they offer 32,000 properties with 100,000 rooms in 4,500 cities and towns. These claims and counter claims are understandable as different players are following different business models. While the well-funded OYO co-opts existing brands and rebadges them "after they meet the OYO criteria", Stayzilla follows a marketplace model where even OYO is welcome to sell. No wonder there is a debate about which model will succeed.
                      "Less than 4 per cent properties are part of chains. This number is set to grow to 20 per cent over the next few years with more and more branded chains coming up," says Rajinder Balaraman, Vice President, Matrix Partners, which has invested in Stayzilla.
                      While online marketplaces and hotel chains slug it out, some entrants are introducing their own tweaks. Treebo, run by Sidharth Gupta, Rahul Chaudhary and Kadam Jain, which has raised $6 million from venture funds, says it focuses more on service quality than scale. "A competitor may be involved in just a part of the property. However, we take over the property completely, bring it up to our standards and rebadge it under our name. While owners continue to run the hotels, we train their staff and improve the ambience, even to the extent of helping them buy cushions, duvets and towels from vendors vetted by us. Most important, we help in marketing too, enhancing occupancy," says Gupta.
                      Ritesh of OYO says such hand-holding is common in the industry and OYO also does it. "From the thread count of the bed spread to the colour of the duvet, we engage with owners to provide same experience at similarly-priced rooms across OYO properties." He says regular auditing is done to check if the standards are being followed. The job of 'mystery shopping' to ensure quality has been outsourced. The tie-up with OYO, he says, has helped hotels registering 40-50 per cent occupancy to report 85 per cent occupancy within two months. "We also assure them a minimum revenue," he says. The training to employees, too, has helped, by increasing the turnaround time for housekeeping by 60 per cent.
                      Vaibhav Aggarwal, the co-founder and CEO of FabHotels, which has 150-plus hotels across 25 cities with 3,000 rooms, says the minimum guarantee model is not viable. "We also work on a franchise model but don't give such assurances. Hotel owners sign up with us because they see results. We want to roll out like a KFC or a McDonald's, that is, provide the franchisee help to succeed. The attraction to customers is two-fold. First is our sharp focus on the sub-Rs 2,000 segment and the second is the level of service predictability." FabHotels has raised $5 million from Accel Partners and Qualcomm.
                      mosimageOne of the latest players to enter the market is Zip Rooms, started by Keshav Baljee, an industry veteran who has co-promoted Spree Hotels and the listed Royal Orchid Hotels. Baljee says while the likes of Makemytrip, Yatra and other OTAs got people to book online, "they did not guarantee the quality of the hotels and did not own the experience". Zip Rooms, he says, will look after the end-to-end offering. "We see ourselves as a brand and a chain of hotels rather than a booking service," he says. Zip, which has 200 employees, is in talks with investors to raise funds. Other entrants in the field are the yet-to-be-launched Zen Rooms, which is betting on being part of an international chain of branded budget hotels, and Vista Rooms, which operates only in Tier-II and Tier-III cities, and works with 450 properties. There is also WudStay, which has got $3 million backing from Mangrove Capital Partners, and Vikas Saxena, CEO of messaging app Nimbuzz, which launched this April. "There is a lack of trust among customers in the quality of budget hotels in smaller cities. This is the problem we are trying to solve," says the head of partnerships at Vista and a co-founder, Ankita Sheth.
                      Then there is Room Central, which like Axis Rooms is a booking engine and a property management platform. It says it has raised $2 million from an angel investor and is working with 50 properties. Naspers, also among the new entrants, is supposed to have acquired a minority stake in a sales management platform called Djubo, which says it is working with 100 hotels. With so many players in the fray, consolidation through acquisitions is bound to happen, feel experts. Also, with customer expectations high, those who shortchange on standards will fall by the wayside as the online booking game is based on reviews and ratings.
                      Vasupal of Stayzilla, however, is sceptical about players trying to just rebrand and rebadge existing properties. "If there are 20 OYO hotels in, say, Koramangala in Bangalore, will it work? I think the marketplace model will win, which is why we are betting on it." He says he is also trying to bring homestays, hostels and other properties into the market. "If you have an extra room to rent out for the night, we want to be able to help you first fix it up. I am more interested in expanding the market rather than just rebadging existing properties."
                      Ritesh of OYO, though, seems to be gung-ho on building a branded hotel chain. "We don't want to be another OTA. We want to build not just in India. Given the amount of money we have raised, we will build scale. This will largely be a winner-takes-all market."
                      Whether it is the marketplace or the branded chain model, these companies expect to earn 25-60 per cent of the amount billed to a customer. Sidharth of Treebo is clear that "the current crazy discounting will not sustain. Some are buying rooms for Rs 1,600 and selling for Rs 999, taking a hit in the name of customer acquisition, using venture money. Treebo will never do that."
                      No matter how the future pans out, for now, expectations about explosive growth have made every player gung-ho. "The demand for budget hotel rooms in India has been growing at 18-20 per cent but supply has been growing at only 10 per cent. At the same time, 70 per cent hotel rooms are in unbranded hotels. Thus, India will see the emergence of a large branded player, much like what China has seen," says Mayank Khanduja, Vice President, SAIF Partners, which has invested in Treebo.
                      For now, though, there has never been a better time to stay in a budget hotel.  

                        General Awareness


                          • 1. On 23 September 2015, RBI said it will shortly issue banknotes in Rs.50 denomination. It is as per .........
                            1) Mahatma Gandhi Series - 2010
                            2) Mahatma Gandhi Series - 2015
                            3) Mahatma Gandhi Series - 2008
                            4) Mahatma Gandhi Series - 2007
                            5) Mahatma Gandhi Series - 2005

                            2. New Rs.50 denomination note will have the numerals in both the number panels in .......
                            1) Ascending size from right to left while the first three alpha - numeric characters (prefix) will remain constant in size.
                            2) Ascending size from left to right while the first five alpha-numeric characters (prefix) will remain constant in size.
                            3) Descending size from left to right while the first three alpha-numeric characters (prefix) will remain constant in size.
                            4) Ascending size from left to right while the first three alpha - numeric characters (prefix) will remain constant in size.
                            5) None of above is the correct option

                            3. As declared by RBI on 23 September 2015, the New Rs.50 banknote will have ..........
                            1) inset letter 'R'
                            2) inset letter 'S'
                            3) inset letter 'X'
                            4) inset letter 'Z'
                            5) inset letter 'A'

                            4. Rs.50 bear the signature of .........
                            1) Finance Minister
                            2) Finance Secretary
                            3) Governor of RBI
                            4) Prime Minister of India
                            5) President of India

                            5. New Rs.50 bank note will have ......... printed on the reverse.
                            1) the year of RBI establishment 1935 on the reverse side
                            2) the year of RBI nationalization 1949 on the reverse side
                            3) the year of independence of India 1947 on front side
                            4) the year of printing 2015 on the reverse side
                            5) None of above is the correct option

                            6. Reserve Bank of India will shortly put into circulation banknotes in the denominations of Rs.500 and Rs.1000 incorporating three new/ revised features as per its press release on 22 September 2015. Three new/ revised features are ...........
                            1) Descending size of numerals in the number panels, bleed lines, and enlarged identification mark.
                            2) Descending size of alphabets in the number panels, bleed lines, and enlarged identification mark.
                            3) Ascending size of numerals in the number panels, bleed lines, and enlarged identification mark.
                            4) Ascending size of alphabets in the number panels, bleed lines, and enlarged identification mark.
                            5) Zero size of numerals in the number panels, bleed lines, and enlarged identification mark.

                            7. As stated on 22 September 2015, which features are introduced for the benefit of visually impaired persons in the denominations of Rs.500 and Rs.1000 that will be issued shortly?
                            1) Rs.500 denomination will have five angular bleed lines in three sets of 2-1-2 lines on the obverse in both, the upper left and the right hand edge of the banknote.
                            2) Rs.1000 banknotes will have six angular bleed lines in four sets of 1-2-2-1 lines on the obverse in both, the upper left and right hand edge of the banknotes.
                            3) Rs.500 denomination will have four angular bleed lines in three sets of 2-2 lines on the obverse in both, the upper left and the right hand edge of the banknote.
                            4) 2 and 3 options correct
                            5) 1 and 2 options correct

                            8. Reserve Bank of India's Monetary Museum unveiled a special display on Mysore Coins on August 20, 2015. Where is RBI Monetary Museum?
                            1) Pune
                            2) Kolkata
                            3) Mumbai
                            4) Chennai
                            5) Hyderabad

                            9. What reason told by RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan on 18 September 2015 for not issuing the high denomination currency above Rs.1000 bank note presently?
                            1) Cost of high denomination notes are more.
                            2) World Bank not accepting to mint higher denomination above Rs.1000.
                            3) Fear of counterfeiting.
                            4) Finance minister warned RBI not to mint higher denomination.
                            5) None of the above statement is correct statement.

                            10. RBI declared it has withdrawn the instructions on compensation to banks at ........... of the notional value of counterfeit notes detected.
                            1) 10 percent
                            2) 15 percent
                            3) 25 percent
                            4) 50 percent
                            5) 5 percent

                            11. The RBI doubles Limits of Cash Withdrawal at POS for Tier III to VI Centres on 27 August 2015. Locate the correct statement regarding this.
                            1) RBI doubled the limit for cash withdrawal at point-of-sale (POS) in Tier III to VI centres from Rs.1000/- to Rs.2000/- per day.
                            2) The cash withdrawal limit remains unchanged at Rs.1000/- per day at Tier I and II centres.
                            3) In 2009, RBI enabled cash withdrawal at Point-of-Sale (POS) for debit cards
                            4) In 2013 this facility was extended to prepaid cards issued by the banks.
                            5) All above statements are correct

                            12. Which bank accredited by the Green Climate Fund as an implementing entity for climate change-related projects in India?
                            1) SBH
                            2) Canara Bank
                            3) NABARD
                            4) SBI
                            5) YES Bank

                            13. RBI proposed to allow domestic companies to borrow money from PFs, SWF and Insurance Funds as part of the ECBs. SWF stands for ..........
                            1) Singapore Wealth Fund
                            2) Supreme Wealth Fund
                            3) Sovereign Wealth Fund
                            4) Strict Wrap Fund
                            5) Signature Wealth Fund

                            14. FMC merged with SEBI on 28 September 2015. FMC is the chief regulator of commodity futures markets in India. FMC stands for .........
                            1) Forward Markets Commission
                            2) Forward Markets Core
                            3) Front Markets Commission
                            4) Forward Mark Commission
                            5) None

                            15. Forward Markets Commission established in ........
                            1) 1953
                            4) 1935
                            5) 2001

                            16. The Forward Markets Commission chairman at the time of merger with SEBI is .......
                            1) U.K. Sinha
                            2) Ashishkumar Chauhan
                            3) Chitra Ramakrishna
                            4) Raghuram Rajan
                            5) Ramesh Abhishek

                            17. Qualcomm, an American global semiconductor company that designs and markets wireless telecommunications products and services announced to invest $ 150 million to provide local innovative start-ups to help country's Mobile and Internet of Everything (IOE) ecosystem in India. Present Executive Chairman of Qualcomm .......
                            1) Mark Zuckerberg
                            2) Paul E. Jacobs
                            3) Satya Nadella
                            4) Jack Dorsey
                            5) Marissa Mayer

                            18. SEBI on 22 September 2015 imposed a penalty of Rs.7269.5 crore, the biggest in its history on which company and its four directors for illegal and fraudulent mobilization of funds from the public?
                            1) New Delhi Television (NDTV)
                            2) Rajratan Investments
                            3) Brook Laboratories
                            4) Pearls Agrotech Corporation Limited (PACL)
                            5) Reliance Industries

                            19. India on 2 October 2015 pledged to cut its carbon emission intensity by 33-35 percent and increase the share of renewable energy by a massive 40 percent in its total energy mix by ......
                            1) 2020
                            2) 2019
                            3) 2022
                            4) 2030
                            5) 2016

                            20. 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCCC), COP21 or CMP11 from 30 November to 11 December 2015 will be held at.....?
                            1) Geneva
                            2) Paris
                            3) New York
                            4) Washington D C
                            5) New Delhi

                            21. G-4 summit pressed for the UNO Security Council Reforms on 26 September 2015 held at New York. Which of the following nation is not one of the members of G-4 seeking the permanent membership in security council of UNO?
                            1) India
                            2) South Africa
                            3) Japan
                            4) Germany
                            5) Brazil

                            22. Joint Military Exercise between India and Sri Lanka MITRA SHAKTI 2015 held at .......
                            1) Mumbai
                            2) Visakaptanam
                            3) Kolkata
                            4) Mumbai
                            5) Pune

                            23. Which among the following indigenously developed second generation anti-tank guided missile, successfully test fired on 10 September 2015?
                            1) Bhishma
                            2) Aaksash
                            3) Amogha-I
                            4) Aditya
                            5) Nirbhay

                            24. INS Kochi, the second ship of the Kolkataclass (Project 15A) Guided Missile Destroyer on 30 September 2015 commissioned at ...........
                            1) Kochi
                            2) Kolkata
                            3) Pune
                            4) Mumbai
                            5) Balasore

                            25. The important days in the month of October given. Wrong combination is .......
                            1) World Vegetarian Day-1 October
                            2) International Non-violence Day-2 October
                            3) German Unity Day-3 October
                            4) World Animal Day-4 October
                            5) All of above are correct

                            26. International Day of Older Persons celebrates on ........
                            1) 1 Jan
                            2) 1 Apr
                            3) 1 Jul
                            4) 1 Oct
                            5) 1 Dec

                            27. The International Day of Older Persons 2015 theme is .......
                            1) You also become old so respect them.
                            2) Protect the old age people to allow them to survive.
                            3) Here are the guidelines for respect of old age person.
                            4) Your care sees your care in the future.
                            5) Sustainability and age inclusiveness in the urban environment.

                            28. List of abbreviations given. The wrong combination is .......
                            1) ANBC - Adjusted Net Bank Credit
                            2) BBPS - Bharat Bill PAN System
                            3) CVPS - Currency Verification and Processing System
                            4) DNSS - Deferred Net Settlement System
                            5) EMEs - Emerging Market Economies

                            29. World's 20 largest economies, including India, on 6 September 2015 launched W20, an engagement grouping of women leaders, to push for gender inclusive global economic growth at?
                            1) Canberra
                            2) New Delhi
                            3) Ankara
                            4) Tokyo
                            5) Hangseng

                            1-5, 2-4, 3-1K, 4-3, 5-4, 6-3, 7-5, 8-3, 9-3, 10-3
                            11-5, 12-3, 13-3, 14-1, 15-1, 16-5, 17-2, 18-4, 19-4, 20-2
                            21-2, 22-5, 23-3, 24-4, 25-5, 26-4, 27-5, 28-2, 29-3

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