Current Affairs Current Affairs - 30 July 2018 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 30 July 2018

General Affairs 

India Has Taken Several Measures To Protect Tigers: Environment Minister
  • India has taken several measures, including bringing out guidelines for tiger safaris, to reduce the pressure of eco-tourism, protect habitats of the big cats and conserve its population, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said today.
    Noting that India is one of the few countries, where tigers have their natural habitat, he said the big cats were part of the country's heritage and "their protection is our responsibility towards the world and future generations".

     "#InternationalTigerDay - India has taken several measures to protect tiger habitats & conserve its population like Guidelines for Tiger Safaris to reduce pressures of Ecotourism, SOP to strengthen interstate coordination in bordering tiger reserves. @PMOIndia, @moefcc, @NTCAtiger," he tweeted on International Tiger Day.

    There are an estimated 2,226 tigers in the country and India has 70 per cent of the world's tiger population, according to the last tiger census.

    "#InternationalTigerDay - @NCTAtiger issues advisories to deal with emergent situation of tiger & sympatric species mortality due to electrocution in tiger reserves; strengthen tiger conservation concerns in intl sphere thro' bilateral consultations. @PMOIndia, @moefcc," he said on Twitter.

    The minister said smart patrolling and notification of five more tiger reserves are some of the other measures undertaken by his government to protect the big cats.

     ""#InternationalTigerDay - Smart patrolling, notification for five more tiger reserves, aerial surveillance, Economic Valuation of Tiger Reserves are part of the measures being undertaken to protect tiger habitats & conserve its population. @PMOIndia, @moefcc, @NTCAtiger," he tweeted.

    Mr Vardhan a few days back had said  the government has set a target of doubling the tiger population in the country.

    The preliminary census data of the ongoing tiger census has shown a rise in the population of the big cats in the country, which is a "big thing", he had said.  In the run-up to International Tiger Day this year, several events had been organised to raise awareness among the younger generation, an official statement had earlier said.

    In 2010, at St Petersburg, Russia, the heads of governments of Tiger Range states, which includes India, resolved to strive to double the number of wild tigers (T X 2) across their global range by 2022. They had signed the St.Petersburg Declaration on Tiger Conservation, which also decided to celebrate July 29 as Global Tiger Day.

    India has significantly contributed to this target and has resolved to safeguard tiger habitat and source populations to foster viable tiger population during the Global Stock Taking meeting held in 2012 at New Delhi to review progress in terms of the St Petersburg Declaration.

    India had launched Project Tiger in 1973 to conserve tigers.

    Till now, the coverage of "Project Tiger" has increased from nine reserves to 50 tiger reserves spread across 18 states.

This IT Firm Digitized 3 Crore People's Data For Citizen's Register
  • The task of creating a digitised database of over three crore people, the backbone for the much-awaited National Register of Citizens (NRC), was no mean feat, but a Guwahati-based Information Technology company accomplished the mission in stipulated time with its software solutions.
    Assam is the first Indian state where the NRC is being updated after 1951 with March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date to include the names of genuine Indian citizens.

    The first draft of the ongoing NRC process was released on the midnight of December 31, 2017 and it comprised 1.9 crore names out of the total application of 3.29 crore.

    The final draft is scheduled for release tomorrow.

    Abhijit Bhuyan is the managing director of IT firm Bohniman Systems

    An exercise of this magnitude for identifying the genuine Indian citizens in Assam, under the supervision of the Supreme Court, was a mammoth task, said Abhijit Bhuyan, the managing director of IT firm Bohniman Systems.

    "The challenges were daunting with myriad problems along the way during the last three-and-a-half years, beginning from September 2014, but we managed to create the database, which formed the basis of NRC," Mr Bhuyan told PTI.

    Over three crore (30 million) people, almost 95 per cent population of Assam, used "legacy data" while applying for the current NRC, he said.

    The legacy data are a combination of the 1951 NRC and electoral rolls of Assam from 1951 till March 24, 1971.

    "Each of these data sets was given a unique code. These unique legacy data code has also become the base for family tree, as it accounted for three crore people and almost 65 lakh families," he explained.

    The NRC Seva Kendras (NSKs) delivered 75 lakh Legacy Data Code (LDC) while 69 lakh LDCs were delivered online, he said.

    "The need to create a searchable legacy database was first felt during the pilot NRC process in 2010. The entire process was, however, derailed due to non-availability of legacy data in a comprehendible format," he said.

    After the NRC authorities, who had called for tenders, accorded the work of digitization to Bohniman systems, the IT team set out to work with great zeal, Mr Bhuyan said.

    "The professionals, however, faced the initial challenge of collecting legacy data of 1951 NRC (handwritten) and electoral role (printed and handwritten) between 1951 NRC and March 24, 1971, which were in the lockers of the offices of deputy commissioner and district superintendent," he said.

    In 1951, there were only eight districts in Assam, which increased to 27 by 2014. At present there are 33 districts.

    People have migrated over the years and it would have been very difficult for them to go search for certified copies of their legacy data in their places of origin, the Managing Director stated.

    "Even if people knew their origin, mapping the original eight districts to the current day 27 or 33 districts would not have been possible. The Bohniman systems team had to create multiple filtering options for zone-wise search and all legacy data were mapped with the present districts," he said.

    The second challenge was to translate the legacy data from Assamese and Bengali to English.

    "We developed a software to transliterate these Assamese and Bengali data to English. The entire database was then made available in all three languages," Mr Bhuyan said.

    The third challenge was that most of the people were not sure about the spellings of their forefathers' names.

    "A phonetic-based search engine was designed by us to search these legacy records that will display all similar sounding names. Also, additional mechanisms were designed to search with the name of villages or neighbours," he added.

    Another major issue was that most of the legacy documents were in fragile condition and flat scanning was not possible under any circumstances.

    "We had to use photo scanners for these records. Each and every image was linked with the data through special tools developed by us," he added.

    After the legacy data phase was over, next came the challenge of digitization of applicant's data submitted in physical form at NSKs.

    "Every NSK had two operators, which meant 5000 operators in 2500 NSKs with two laptops and these people were experienced in computers. The original idea was to digitize the data centrally but we developed an application which was easy to install," he said.

    The final step was to develop the 'Family Tree Application' to map the manual inputs of 65 lakh families with the computerized data, Mr Bhuyan added.

    Parallely, 6.5 crore documents submitted by the applicants were also handled by an app developed by Wipro by creating a metadata and sending it to the place of origin for verification.

    "The results that returned were entered into the system and the final family tree information was merged with field verification results. The authorities took the decision for each applicant based on these results," he pointed out.

    In addition, Bohniman Systems also digitised the 27,000 village boundaries of Assam and plotted all data in layers for monitoring the project in a graphical view, together with an integrated view on Google maps, Mr Bhuyan added.

Centre To Unveil Key Policy To Make India Hub For Defence Manufacturing
  • The government is likely to unveil a major policy next month outlining a roadmap to build a robust defence production industry and make India one of the top five manufacturers of military equipment and platforms in the next 10 years.

    Official sources said the final touches are being given to the policy before it is being placed before the Union Cabinet for approval.

    They said a significant focus of the defence production policy (DPP-2018) will be to invest adequate resources to develop critical technology for manufacturing state-of-the-art military platforms including fighter jets, attack helicopters and weaponry indigenously.

    The DPP-2018 is likely to be released next month, the sources said.

    According to the draft policy, the government is looking at achieving a turnover of Rs. 1,70,000 crore in military goods and services by 2025.

    A Swedish think tank, in a report in March, said India remained the largest importer of military hardware in the world in the last five years, adding Indian imports of major weapons rose by 111 per cent in the last five years compared to 2004-08.

    Officials said the aim of the DPP would be to indigenously develop all major platforms which are being imported since in the last six decades.

    According to official figure, India inked 187 contracts worth Rs. 2.40 lakh crore with foreign and domestic firms for various military equipment and weapons in the last four years. However, majority of the projects are yet to take off due to procedural delays.

    Officials said the DPP is also likely to simplify the procurement process by cutting several layers of approval which often cause delays.

    They said the policy aims to make India one of the top five manufacturers of defence platforms with active participation of public and private sectors.

    The draft policy released in March listed as major objective export of Rs. 35,000 crore in military equipment and services by 2025.

    The government identified 12 military platforms and weapons systems for production in India to achieve the aim of "self-reliance".

    They are fighter aircraft, medium lift and utility helicopters, warships, land combat vehicles, missile systems, gun systems, small arms, ammunition and explosives, surveillance systems, electronic warfare (EW) systems and night fighting enablers, among others.

    According to the policy, the government aims to make one of the top five manufacturers of military equipment and platforms in the next 10 years as well as to fulfil demand of other friendly countries.

    The draft policy says the licensing process for defence industries will be liberalised and the list of items requiring licences will be reviewed and pruned.

Jammu And Kashmir Police Staffer Kidnapped By Terrorists, Returns Home
  • A police staffer who was kidnapped by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district has returned home, police said today, according to a news agency Press Trust Of India report.

    The relatives of the special police officer or SPO, who was working as a cook, had earlier said he had gone to his aunt's house.

    According to PTI quoting police officials, the special police officer was kidnapped by terrorists from his house at Chainattar village in south Kashmir's Tral area on Friday night.

    SPOs are special police officers who help the police in day-to-day and anti-terrorism operations. They are not regular employees of the police force.

    Jammu and Kashmir has seen several kidnappings of people in the security forces in recent times. Security analysts say the terrorists are targeting individuals to deter them from joining the police and the military.

    After the Kulgam kidnapping and murder of a police constable who had come home on leave from his training centre in Jammu, the army and police had shot dead three terrorists within 12 hours.

    Earlier this month, police constable Javed Ahmad Dar was kidnapped from his village in Shopian and killed by terrorists.

    Last month, army jawan Aurangzeb was kidnapped and killed in Pulwama when he was going home for Eid.

    The swift operation against the Kulgam terrorists was a clear signal to those targeting security personnel on leave that they will be dealt with quickly.

    "One after the other, our security forces are successfully moving ahead in their anti-terrorism operations, but killings of local security personnel can be a conspiratorial design to discourage the local Kashmiri youth to join the security forces," Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh had said.

Anna Hazare To Launch Hunger Strike Over Lokpal From October 2
  • Social activist Anna Hazare said today he will launch a hunger strike from October 2 against the Union government for the delay in appointment of a Lokpal at the Centre.

    He also appealed people to join him in his campaign for a corruption-free country.

    "I will go on a hunger strike from October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, at my native Ralegan Siddhi village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra," the anti-corruption crusader told PTI.

    He criticised the NDA government, saying it had earlier assured it will appoint the Lokpal and implement the Lokpal Bill, passed by Parliament and signed by the then President in January 2014.

    "But there is a lack of will in this government to curb corruption and hence, it is giving a lot of reasons and delaying the appointment of the Lokpal," Mr Hazare said.

    Mr Hazare, who has been the face of the Lokpal movement, went on a 12-day hunger strike in 2011.

    He later launched a fast, which garnered popular support across the country. The UPA government later passed the Lokpal bill.

    The Supreme Court had earlier this week expressed dissatisfaction over the centre's response on appointment of search committee members for a Lokpal.

    The centre had earlier told the top court that the Lokpal selection committee, headed by the prime minister, was scheduled to meet to set up a search panel for recommending a panel of names for the appointment of the anti-graft ombudsman and its members.

    The government had said the search panel would lay down its procedures, following which the selection committee would fix the time frame within which the names for selecting the chairman and members of the Lokpal would be recommended.

    The committee comprises the prime minister, the chief justice of India, Lok Sabha speaker, the leader of the largest opposition party and an eminent jurist.

    The top court, in its last year's verdict, had said there was no justification to keep the enforcement of Lokpal Act suspended till the proposed amendments, including on the issue of the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, were cleared by Parliament.

Business Affairs

Market Outlook: Monetary Policy, Macro-Data, Monsoon To Set Equity Indices' Course
  • The upcoming monetary policy review coupled with the ongoing financial results season and key macro-economic data points will influence the trajectory of key equity indices in the week ahead, analysts opined. According to market observers, direction of foreign fund flows, rupee's movement against the US dollar as well as global crude oil prices will also affect investors sentiments. "The next week is dominated by macro data and RBI monetary policy meeting," Devendra Nevgi, Founder and Principal Partner, Delta Global Partners, told IANS.

    "On the RBI policy, the markets are divided on policy rate hike in the next weeks meeting. The decision weightage given by MPC to core inflation is crucial and whether RBI changes its stance from neutral to hawkish. RBI is likely to be data dependent and cautious on hikes."

    Besides the monetary policy review slated for July 31-August 1, investors will look out for macro-economic data points such as the eight core industries' (ECI) output and the country's fiscal deficit numbers.

    In addition, the PMI manufacturing and services' figures, along with monthly automobile sales data will be released during the week.

    Furthermore, companies like Axis Bank, HDFC, Idea Cellular, IndiGo, Piramal Enterprises, Tech Mahindra, EIH, Tata Motors, Vedanta, Reliance Infra, ONGC and SAIL are expected to announce their Q1 earning results next week.

    "Going forward, besides the movement of rupee against the dollar and crude oil price movement, the next batch of April to June 2018 quarterly earnings and developments in monsoon session of parliament will dictate trend on the bourses next week," SMC Investments & Advisors Chairman and Managing Director D.K. Aggarwal told IANS.

    On a weekly basis, the rupee strengthened by 19 paise to close at 68.66 from its previous week's close of 68.85 per greenback.

    In terms of investments, provisional figures from the stock exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors bought scrip worth Rs. 2,539.58 crore during the previous week.

    As per technical charts, the underlying trend for the National Stock Exchange (NSE) Nifty remains bullish as it closed last week on a new record high.

    "It could now face resistance at 11,410 points-level, while downside support is at 11,071-points-mark," said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research at HDFC Securities.

    Last week, the S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty50 closed at their respective high levels on the back of healthy quarterly earnings and GST rate cuts on over 50 consumer items.

    Consequently, the barometer 30-scrip Sensex of the BSE closed at 37,336.85 points -- up 840.48 points or 2.30 per cent from the previous close.

    Similarly, the wider Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) settled at 11,278.35 points, higher by 268.15 points or 2.44 per cent -- from its previous week's close.

Zero Balance Account: Top Banks' Interest Rates, Other Facilities Compared
  • A zero balance savings account does not require customers to maintain any particular minimum average balance. Most leading banks offer the option of zero balance account. State Bank of India (SBI) offers the facility of opening a zero balance account in the form of a Basic Savings Bank Deposit (BSBD), Digital Savings and Insta Savings accounts. Axis Bank offers a basic saving deposit account and Axis ASAP savings account. HDFC Bank's BSBD or basic savings bank deposit account is also a zero balance account, wherein the customer is not required to any particular minimum balance.

    Here's a comparison of zero balance savings accounts (basic savings bank deposit account) offered by SBI, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank:
    SBI zero balance savings account (basic savings bank deposit account)
    This account can be opened by any individual provided he or she has valid KYC or know your customer documents. This zero balance savings account is primarily meant for poor sections of the society to encourage them to start saving without any burden of charges or fees, according to SBI's corporate website,

    Benefits of zero balance savings account (basic savings bank deposit account) of SBI
    A basic RuPay ATM-cum-debit card will be issued free of cost to the users of this account. However, there is no annual maintenance charge. The receipt or credit of money through electronic payment channels such as NEFT and RTGS is also free. The deposit or collection of cheques drawn by central/state governments is free.

    SBI does not charge anything on activation of inoperative zero balance savings accounts (BSBDA). There are no account closure charges, the lender said.

    A maximum of four withdrawals are allowed in a month. These withdrawals include ATM withdrawals at own and other bank's ATMs and transactions through other modes including RTGS, NEFT, clearing, branch cash withdrawal/transfer, internet debits, standing instructions, EMI etc. No further customer debits are allowed during the month.

    Interest rates offered on zero balance savings account/BSBD by SBI:
    The interest rates offered by SBI on BSBD accounts are the same as those on regular savings bank accounts. For savings deposits balance up to Rs. 1 crore, BSBD accounts fetches an interest rate of 3.5 per cent per annum. On savings deposits balance over Rs. 1 crore, the BSBD account offers an interest rate of 4 per cent per annum.

    HDFC Bank's zero balance savings account (HDFC Bank BSBD account):
    Customers can access the network of branches of the bank through this account. Key features of HDFC Bank BSBD account include zero balance and a free RuPay card, according to HDFC Bank on its website -

    Benefits of HDFC Bank BSBD account:
    Customers will be able to avail a safe deposit locker and super saver facilities, according to HDFC Bank's website, HDFC Bank issues a free passbook facility for all individual account holders and customers also get free cash and cheque deposit facility at branches and ATMs. Customers get four withdrawals free per month including ATM, RTGS, NEFT, clearing, branch cash withdrawal/transfer, internet debits, standing instructions, EMI etc. In case of more than four withdrawals in a month, HDFC Bank would convert the existing BSBD account into a regular savings account and all rules and charges as per regular savings account would be applicable.

    Customers also get free lifetime BillPay, InstaQuery and e-mail statement facilities. NetBanking, PhoneBanking and MobileBanking allow you to check account balance, pay utility bills, or even stop cheque payments via SMS, according to HDFC Bank.

    Interest rates on HDFC Bank zero balance account
    On account balance above Rs. 50 lakh and above, HDFC Bank offers an interest rate of 4 per cent. On account balance below Rs. 50 lakh, HDFC Bank pays an interest rate of 3.5 per cent.

    Axis Bank zero balance account details
    Axis Bank's zero balance account offers a zero balance facility, a free debit card and unlimited free cash deposit.

    Benefits of Axis Bank zero balance account
    Axis Bank's zero balance account allows you to access more than 12,000 Axis Bank ATMs, over 2,500 Axis Bank branches as well as internet, mobile and phone banking services. Deposit and withdrawal of cash at bank branch as well as ATMs is offered. Receipt/credit of money through electronic payment channels or by means of collection/deposit of cheques is also offered. Axis Bank allows customers up to four withdrawals a month (including branch cash, Axis/ other ATM cash withdrawal, PoS (Point of Sale), Micro ATM, NEFT/RTGS, DD/PO, ECS/SI debit transactions) and the facility of unlimited deposits, the bank said on its website,

    You can get monthly e-statements, passbook, and SMS alerts. Besides, Axis Bank zero balance account offers accidental insurance cover of Rs. 1 lakh to all account holders, at no charge or premium.

    The zero balance account is available for primary and joint account holders. The daily withdrawal limits of Rs. 40,000 at ATMs and Rs. 1,00,000 for shopping transactions are quite high, according to Axis Bank. A RuPay debit card can also be issued for customers who cannot read and write, according to the bank.

    Axis Bank zero balance account holders can seek help from 'Bank Mitra', an individual or an organisation, representative of a bank and authorised to offer basic banking services in rural and urban areas where there are no bank branches or ATMs.

    Interest rates on Axis Bank Zero Balance Account
    With effect from July 1, 2017, interest earned on zero balance account will be credited on the last business day of each quarter of the financial year. From August 8, 2017, customers can earn up to 4 per cent interest per annum on account balance of Rs. 50 lakh and above. Interest earned is 3.5 per cent per annum on account balance less than Rs. 50 lakh.

Jet Airways, AirAsia Offer Discount On Domestic, International Flight Tickets
  • Airlines are offering lucrative discount offers on domestic and international flight tickets to attract customers. Jet Airways is offering a discount on domestic and international flight tickets under its scheme called 'Your Next Vacation Awaits', said the country's second largest private airline on its official website -- AirAsia India is also offering domestic flights under the 'Last Minute Deals' scheme starting Rs. 1,399. On the international front, AirAsia is offering international flight tickets from fares starting as low as Rs. 2,510.

    Here are the offers on domestic and international flight tickets in detail:

    Jet Airways offer on flight tickets in detail:

    Jet Airways is offering 25 per cent discount on base fare in premiere and up to 15 per cent on base fare in economy on domestic flight tickets. Discount of Rs. 1,000 is applicable on base fare in economy and discount of Rs. 2,500 is applicable on base fare in premiere for travel to international destinations. Jet Airways' discount offer is valid till July 31, 2018.

    AirAsia India's offer on flight tickets in detail:

    AirAsia India is offering domestic flight tickets from Rs. 1,399. The latest offer of AirAsia is valid till July 29, 2018. Under the offer, AirAsia is offering flight tickets for domestic destinations such as Bengaluru, New Delhi, Ranchi, Jaipur, Kochi and Pune. The scheme is applicable on travel till October 31, 2018.

    AirAsia is also offering international flight tickets from fares starting as low as Rs. 2,510, which is valid till July 29, 2018. Flights tickets under AirAsia sale are available from New Delhi, Amritsar, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur among others, to Kuala Lumpur, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland etc. The travel period for AirAsia's sale is from November 1, 2018 to August 13, 2019.

State Bank Of India Offers Instant Money Transfer Facility.
  • State Bank Of India (SBI) offers an instant money transfer (IMT) facility which enables its customers to transfer funds to anybody, anywhere, anytime. Only the beneficiary's, or receiver's, mobile number, name and address are required to be known to the sender. The registration of the beneficiary by the sender is carried out by the system. Hence, the sender need not provide the name and address for recurring payments, said the country's largest lender on its website -- 
    Here are 5 things to know about State Bank Of India (SBI) Instant Money Transfer (IMT) feature:

    1. Transaction limit: Under the SBI's fund transfer feature, the minimum transaction limit is Rs. 100 and in multiples of Rs. 100 thereafter. The maximum amount is capped at Rs. 10,000 per transaction, which is subject to a monthly cap of Rs. 25,000 per month per beneficiary. The maximum amount per sender in a month is Rs. 50,000 and the maximum number of beneficiaries per sender is 10.

    2. Transaction charge: SBI charges the sender with a fee of Rs. 25 per transaction. However, there are no charges at the receiver's end.

    3. Steps to add an IMT beneficiary: For adding a beneficiary, one needs to log on to SBI's website and go to the IMT beneficiary option under manage beneficiary, which is in the profile section. A newly added beneficiary, between 6:00 am to 8:00 pm will be activated on the same day within 4 hours. Receivers approved beyond this period will be activated on the next day after 8:00 am. Once the added beneficiary is activated you can initiate the IMT. However, an IMT once created cannot be cancelled.

    4. Validity of the transaction: The beneficiary has T+2 days to withdraw the IMT else the money will automatically be refunded to the sender's account. However, charges will not be refunded. The beneficiary has to withdraw the whole amount in a single transaction, i.e. no partial withdrawals are allowed, at present, said SBI. 

    5. Withdrawal rules: The receiver can also withdraw the money through an ATM without using a card. The recipient can withdraw the money from any State Bank Group enabled ATM by entering his/her mobile number and entering the sender's password and the system generated password. Then the receiver needs to enter the full IMT amount.  

These Two Post Office Savings Schemes Offer Up to 8.3% Interest Rate
  • If you are planning to make an investment for your daughter or parents, post office schemes can be a good option. Post offices offer a host of saving schemes with different rates of interest. Two of the various savings schemes, post office offers is 'Sukanya Samriddhi' and Senior Citizen Saving Scheme. A Senior Citizen Saving Scheme is for people above the age of 60 years while the Sukanya samriddhi scheme is meant for girl child. Recently, the government slashed the minimum amount of annual deposit in Sukanya Samriddhi accounts to Rs. 250 from Rs. 1,000.
    Post office Senior Citizen Saving Scheme (SCSS) and Sukanya Samriddhi scheme in detail:

    Post office Sukanya Samriddhi scheme in detail:

    Rate of Interest 

    Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme offers an interest rate of 8.1 per cent per annum. The investment is calculated and compounded on an annual basis. 


    This scheme requires a minimum investment of Rs. 250 and a maximum of Rs. 1,50,000 in a financial year. The subsequent deposit should be made in multiple of Rs. 100. Deposits can be made in lump-sum amount. There is no limit on the number of deposits either in a month or in a financial year.

    A legal guardian/natural guardian can open the account in the name of girl child.

    A guardian can open only one account in the name of one girl child and maximum two accounts in the name of two different girl children.


    The account can be opened up to age of 10 years only from the date of birth. For initial operations of scheme, one year grace has been given. With the grace, a girl child who is born between December 2, 2003 and December 1, 2004 can open account up to December 1, 2015.

    If minimum amount of Rs. 250 is not deposited in a financial year, the account will be discontinued and can be revived with a penalty of Rs. 50 per year with the minimum amount required for deposit for that year.

    Partial withdrawal

    Partial withdrawal, maximum up to 50 per cent of balance standing at the end of the preceding financial year, can be taken after account holder's attaining age of 18 years.

    The account can be closed after completion of 21 years.

    Normal premature closure will be allowed after completion of 18 years, provided that girl is

    Post office Senior Citizen Saving Scheme (SCSS) in detail:

    Rate of Interest

    Senior Citizen Saving Scheme (SCSS) offers a return of 8.3 per cent per annum. In case of SCSS accounts, quarterly interest shall be payable on 1st working day of April, July, October and January. There shall be only one deposit in the account in multiple of Rs. 1,000 and the maximum amount not exceeding Rs. 15 lakh, according to


    An individual of the age of 60 years or more is eligible to open this account.

    An individual of the age of 55 years or more but less than 60 years who has retired on superannuation or under VRS can also open account subject to the condition that the account is opened within one month of receipt of retirement benefits and amount should not exceed the amount of retirement benefits.

    A depositor may operate more than one account in individual capacity or jointly with spouse (husband/wife). 

    Maturity period

    The maturity period of senior citizen saving scheme is five years. The account can be transferred from one post office to another. Any number of accounts can be opened in any post office subject to the maximum investment limit by adding balance in all accounts.

    After maturity, the account can be extended for further three years within one year of the maturity by giving application in the prescribed format. In such cases, the account can be closed at any time after expiry of one year of extension without any deduction.

    Premature closure

    Premature closure of the SCSS account is allowed after one year on deduction of an amount equal to 1.5 per cent of the deposit and after two years on deduction of an amount equal to 1 per cent of the deposit.

    Income Tax benefits

    Investment under this scheme qualifies for benefit under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961 from April 1, 2007. Tax is deducted at source if the interest amount is more than Rs. 50,000 per annum.

General Awareness

    Government extends Prime Minister’s Research Fellows Scheme all potential researchers
    • What to study?

      For Prelims and Mains: PMRF- objectives and significance of the scheme.

      Context: The government has extended the scope of Prime Minister’s Research Fellows Scheme. The decision was made after Government failed to find adequate number of candidates for PMRF this year. Only 135 fellowships were finally offered against 1,000 positions.

      Changes introduced:

      Prime Minister’s Research Fellows (PMRF) Scheme will now be open to all potential researchers from 2019 and not limited to candidates from IISc, IITs, NITs, IIEST and IISERs.

      About PMRF:

      Aim: The Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship (PMRF) scheme is aimed at attracting the talent pool of the country to doctoral (Ph.D.) programs of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) for carrying out research in cutting edge science and technology domains, with focus on national priorities.

      Eligibility: Under the PMRF scheme, students who have completed, or are pursuing, the final year of four year undergraduate or five year integrated M.Tech or five year integrated M.Sc. or five year undergraduate-postgraduate dual degree programs in Science and Technology streams from IIEST/IISc/IITs/NITs/IISERs and centrally funded IIITs are eligible for admission to full time Ph.D. programme in the IITs & IISc provided they fulfil prescribed eligibility criteria and finally get selected after shortlisting/written test/interview.

      Fellowship: Applicants who fulfil the eligibility criteria, and are finally selected through a selection process, will be offered admission to Ph.D. program in one of IITs/IISc with a fellowship of Rs.70,000/- per month for the first two years, Rs.75,000/- per month for the 3rd year, and Rs.80,000/- per month in the 4th and 5th years.

      A research grant of Rs.2.00 lakh per year will be provided to each of the Fellows for a period of 5 years to cover their academic contingency expenses and for foreign/national travel expenses.

      Other such government initiatives:

      For attracting highly skilled researchers and scientists to pursue their R&D interests in Indian Institutions, several initiatives have been launched such as: Faculty Recharge Programme, CV Raman Post-Doctoral Fellowship Scheme by University Grants Commission (UGC), Ramanujan Fellowship, JC Bose Fellowship, Swarnjayanti Fellowship, Young Scientist Project Award, Women Scientist Scheme by Department of Science & Technology (DST), and Ramalinga Swami Re-entry Fellowship by Department of Biotechnology.

      Ministry of Human Resource Development have launched Global Initiative for Academic Network (GIAN) which seeks to tap the talent pool of scientists and entrepreneurs from abroad, including those of Indian origin to augment the country’s existing academic resources.

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