Wednesday, August 13, 2014


PM Narendra Modi in talks with Google, Facebook to develop Varanasi as cultural and tourism hub

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has started with the process of developing Varanasi, India’s ancient
temple town, into a national hub for culture, heritage and tourism as part of his ‘Kashi Vision’ that
is expected to get a high-power launch on August 20. Kashi is the ancient name for Varanasi. Apart
from various professionals and consultants who are working on the project, Modi is also believed to
be working with internet search giant Google to develop the city. However, there has been no official
confirmation from Google on this. Modi had also discussed the prospects of using social media for
projects on cleanliness and governance with Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg during
her visit to India last month. A team is engaged in identifying tourism hotspots in and around Varanasi,
beautification, landscaping, mapping the city for better movement and security. Modi also wants a
tourist help centre, an upgradation of the local airport and visas on arrival in the next few months.
Also on the cards, is the establishment of a state-of-the-art music academy of global standards as an
attempt to revive the ancient traditions of the city, once famous for organizing concert festivals.

HDFC, IndiaFirst sell policies through Common Service Centres (CVCs)

Insurance companies IndiaFirst and HDFC Ergo have started selling insurance policies through common
service centres (CSCs). These CSCs have been set up by the government through a special purpose
vehicle. TS Vijayan, chairman of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has
advised the companies not to adopt complicated products and procedures and ensure hassle-free
claim settlement service to the policy holders.

Recovering cheque-bounce money to get more costly

In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court has changed the ground rule under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act to prosecute a person who had presented the cheque which bounced forinsufficiency of funds.Earlier, a case under Section 138 could be initiated by the holder of the cheque at his place of business or residence. But, a bench of justices TS Thakur, Vikramjit Sen and C Nagappan ruled that the case has to be initiated at the place where the branch of the bank on which the cheque was drawn is located.


RBI releases draft guidelines for Bharat Bill Payment System

The Reserve Bank of India has issued draft guidelines for the implementation of Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS). The BBPS will function as a tiered structure for operating the bill payment system in the country and will provide customers the convenience of ‘anytime anywhere’ bill payment. The draft guidelines outline the requirement and the basic tenets of operating the BBPS, and prescribe the eligibility criteria, standards for settlement model and customer grievance redressal, roles and responsibilities and scope for entities seeking to be part of BBPS. The RBI has invited comments from stakeholders by September 5.

RBI transfers Rs. 52,679 crore surplus profit to the government of India

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has transferred a surplus profit of Rs. 52,679 crore to the government of India to help the government meet its financial deficit target. The amount is around 60% more than the Rs. 33,010 crore which the central bank had given last year. The government has proposed to bring down the fiscal deficit to 4.1% of GDP in this fiscal from 4.5% during 2013-14.Ericsson bags five-year deal from Vodafone India to upgrade their pre-paid charging system 

Politics and government 

Govt mulls FMC’s merger with Sebi

The government has begun discussions on reworking the regulatory architecture for the financial sector, including a possible merger of Securities & Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and Forwards Market Commission (FMC), the regulator for commodities futures.The move shows the Centre's willingness to go ahead with the proposed changes, despite the concerns expressed by the Reserve Bank of India over dilution of its powers, something that was even articulated by central bank governor Raghuram Rajan.The UPA government had introduced a Bill to amend the Forward Contracts (Regulation) Act. But, the Bill expired and will need to be re-introduced in Lok Sabha.


Tata SIA Airline to sport `Vistara’ brand name

Tata SIA Airline Ltd, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, on Monday launched a new full service carrier brand called Vistara. It is expected to start operations in October.Headquartered in Delhi, Vistara will take delivery of its first place, an Airbus A320-200, in September and plans to increase its fleet to 20 aircraft, including A320neos by the fifth year of operation.The airline’s logo is derived from a ‘yantra’, a perfect mathematical form that reflects the universe. The eight-pointed star at the centre of the logo reflects the high standards Vistara is committed to and the excellence that will be a hallmark of the airline.

Comic virtuoso Robin Williams dead at 63 from apparent suicide

Robin Williams, the versatile actor whose madcap comic style made him one of television and film's biggest stars, was found dead from an apparent suicide at his home in Northern California. He was 63. Williams had been recently suffering from severe depression, his publicist Mara Buxbaum said in a statement, and the actor had repeatedly talked about his past struggles with alcohol.Williams, a four-time Oscar nominee, won a supporting actor Oscar for Good Will Hunting for his portrayal of a wise and morose psychologist. He most recently starred in CBS' comedy The Crazy Ones, which lasted only one season. He was nominated for a People's Choice Award for his role as an advertising executive on the comedy, in which Sarah Michelle Gellar played his daughter.


Flipkart, government ink pact to offer online retail training to semi-urban & rural people

In its attempt to get micro, small and medium enterprises online, Flipkart has joined hands with the Indian government to train people from semiurban and rural areas and possibly employ them at the company or its business partners.It has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Labour and Employment's Directorate General of Employment & Training (DGET), is aiming to train at least 5,000 students by December 2014. Flipkart has created courses of two weeks to four months in areas like photography, cataloguing, social media marketing and handling customer communications.

Facebook joins GSM lobby group COAI

In a move that will help it get a bigger and effective platform to raise various issues with the government, while having a closer interaction with top mobile operators, Facebook has joined GSM operators lobby group Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). It has been inducted as an associate member of the association.COAI's associate membership is comprised of companies that manufacture or support the functioning, promotion, R&D and evolution of mobile communications services.COAI's other associate members include Alcatel Lucent, Cisco Systems, Ericsson, IBM, GTL Infrastructure, Huawei Technologies, Indus Towers, Intel Corporation, Nokia Solutions and Networks, Qualcomm and ZTE.

Ericsson bags five-year deal from Vodafone India to upgrade their pre-paid charging system

Swedish communication technology and services company Ericsson has entered into a five-year contract with Vodafone India for managing their pre-paid charging system for nearly 75 million customers spread across five key circles. As part of the agreement, Ericsson will modernise Vodafone's infrastructure with the new Charging System in circles of Uttar Pradesh (West), Uttar Pradesh (East), Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. The deal will provide Vodafone the flexibility to maintain one convergent system across all services, networks and payment methods. Customers will be able to adjust their plans themselves, improving their overall user experience. It will also enable Vodafone to provide personalized offers to individual consumers by understanding their service consumption patterns.

Science and Technology 

Gmail, Yahoo make phone number mandatory for creating new email ids

In an attempt to check spam email, Gmail and Yahoo have made telephone number mandatory for creation of new email addresses which the companies can use for verification. Google will also allow limited number of accounts that a person using one telephone number can create but Google did not specify the maximum number of email accounts it will allow. For Gmail a person can give either his telephone or mobile number. However, for Yahoo, mobile number is compulsory. Although Yahoo said that they would use the number only if there’s an unusual activity on the account, Internet Service Providers Association of India has condemned the move and termed it as an attack on user privacy.


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