Current Affairs of 30 August 2015

1. 305 cities identified under Housing for All scheme
The government has identified 305 cities and towns across nine states for implementation of its ambitious ‘Housing for All’ scheme.
The HUPA Ministry would provide assistance of over Rs. 2 lakh crore over the next six years for enabling two crore urban poor own their own houses.
The selected cities and towns are in Chhattisgarh (36 cities/towns), Gujarat (30), Jammu and Kashmir (19), Jharkhand (15), Kerala (15), Madhya Pradesh (74), Odisha (42), Rajasthan (40) and Telangana (34).
Under the ‘Housing for All’ initiative of the central government, named as Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 25 this year, two crore houses are targeted to be built for the poor in urban areas by year 2022, coinciding with 75 years of Independence.
Besides these nines states, the official said, six more states have signed Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the Ministry committing themselves to implement six mandatory reforms essential for making the housing mission in urban areas a success.
The states that have so far agreed to implement the mandatory reform measures are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana and Uttarakhand.
By signing the MoA, the states agreed to make necessary changes including doing away with the requirement of separate non—agricultural permission in case land falls in residential zone earmarked in Master Plan of city or town and preparing or amending Master Plans earmarking land for affordable housing, among others.

2. Land Ordinance not to be repromulgated : PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that land ordinance will not be re-promulgated after the existing one lapses on Monday.
“It means the situation (Land Act of 2013) before my Government taking over has been restored,” Modi said in his 11th edition of radio broadcast ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on Sunday.
However, he clarified that there were issues related with 13 Acts which prompted promulgation of ordinance. Now, the Government has issued an executive order to cover all the 13 Acts under the 2013 Land Act so that neither ‘the farmers should suffer nor there should be any economic loss to them", he said.
Highlighting the success of the financial inclusion programme, Modi said that as of now a total of 17.74 crore bank accounts had been opened. People have deposited over Rs. 22,000 crore in these accounts. He also appealed for not making these accounts dormant. “Over thousand and thousand people became eligible for availing the facility of overdraft and many of them availed too. This created an environment of trust where poor too can get money from banks. Now my request to you all to continue these accounts active and I am sure you will do it,” he said.
Modi also announced that work on his August 15 announcement about no interview requirement for lower post jobs in Government was in full swing and hoped that concrete steps would be taken very soon. The Prime Minister in his Independence Day speech had said that personality and experience of a candidate matters only for jobs of senior ranks, but it was painful to see that candidates even from the states of Nagaland and Mizoram rush to Mumbai to appear in exams for junior-level posts in Railways.

3. ‘Payments banks can free up Rs. 14 lakh cr for infra sector’
Payments banks can annually free up a whopping Rs. 14 trillion in incremental credit for the fund-starved infrastructure sector, says a SBI Research report.
“Apart from helping banks offer facilities to the unbanked sections, we estimate that on the asset side, an incremental amount of at least Rs. 14 trillion per annum can be freed up for credit needs of the infrastructure sector, as these banks can only invest in G-secs, this entire amount can be freed up to lend to infrastructure,” SBI Research said.
Explaining how they arrived at the Rs. 14 lakh crore of additional funds for investment, the report said people are holding around 13 per cent of cash with them for their day-to-day transactions. In a simple arithmetic, even if the cash with the public comes down by 1 per cent, it will increase banks’ deposit base by around Rs. 15 lakh crore and given a credit-deposit ratio of 75 per cent banks can loan out an additional Rs. 11.25 lakh crore, through the multiplier effects.
On August 19, the Reserve Bank had granted in—principle approval to 11 entities from 44 applicants to set up payment banks. Some of those who got the licence include Reliance Industries, the Birlas, the Mahindras, Vodafone, and Bharti Airtel, among others.
Outstanding deposits of a small bank is about Rs. 1 lakh crore. If each payment bank mobilises one-fourth of such deposits in a year (assuming a 25 per cent penetration, which is viable given that Jan Dhan mobilisation is around Rs. 22,000 crore so far), the 11 payment banks will be able to mobilize around Rs. 2.75 lakh crore in a year,

4. India's Jaisha Orchatteri breaks national record in women's marathon
Women marathoners round off India's campaign with a creditable show on the final day of the 2015 World Athletics Championships at the Beijing National Stadium on Sunday.
Jaisha Orchatteri broke Indian national record as she crossed the finish line in two hours, 34 minutes and 43 seconds to finish 18th ahead of her teammate Sudha Singh, who finished 19th with personal best time of 2:35:35. With these praiseworthy performances, the duo has booked their tickets to 2016 Rio Olympics.
The race was won by Mare Dibaba with a time of 2:27:35 as she became the first Ethiopian woman to win a world championships marathon title. Dibaba out-kicked Kenya's Helah Kiprop to win the gruelling event by just one second.

5. Indian women hockey team qualifies for Olympics after 36 years
The Indian women’s hockey team has become the 10th side to qualify for 
next year’s Rio Olympics. India had last played in the Olympics in 1980, the year in which women’s hockey made its debut in the mega event, and finished fourth after losing to the Soviet Union in the bronze medal match.
This is the first time when the Indian women made it to the Olympics through the qualification system.
“The winner of the EuroHockey Championships will qualify for the 2016 Olympics as European continental champions, opening up a further qualification spot which India secures as the team which ranked highest (5th) at the Hockey World League Semifinals not already qualified.
“Indian women join the nine teams already qualified for Rio 2016 — Korea as Asian Games champion, Argentina as Pan Am Games champion and Great Britain, China, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and the USA through the Hockey World League Semifinals.

6. ONGC, partners to invest $24 bn in Mozambique gas field 
 Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and its partners will invest about USD 24 billion in producing natural gas from a giant field off Mozambique and converting it into liquid fuel (LNG) for export by ships to consumers like India.
ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas investment arm of the state-run explorer, holds 16 per cent stake in Rovuma Area 1 where recoverable resources in excess of 75 trillion cubic feet have been established.
BPCL holds another 10 per cent and Oil India Ltd 4 per cent stake in the field and all three together hold more stake than operator Anadarko of the US (26.5 per cent).
“The Mozambique government has passed a decree law, paving way for start of construction work on the project. An estimated USD 23-24 billion will be required to bring first set of discoveries in Rovuma Area-1 on to production and convert that gas into LNG

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