Daily GK Potion – 24th and 25th March 2015

  1. Railways launches RuPay pre-paid debit card service
    • Railway passengers can now book their tickets, do shopping and pay service bills using RuPay pre-paid cards, as the IRCTC launched the debit card service.
    • The service was launched by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) in collaboration with the Union Bank of India and the National Payment Corporation of India.
    • The card holder will get free Rs 1 lakh accident insurance coverage as part of the benefits to customers.
    • The first five transactions per card every month done on IRCTC for purchase of train tickets will be free and no transaction charges will be levied to customers for six months only.
    • For every subsequent transaction post the free usage, customer will be charged Rs 10 per transaction.
  2. Centre Sanctions Rupees 2000 Crores for Drought-Affected Areas in Maharashtra For 2014
    • The Union Agriculture Minister Shri Radha Mohan Singh has informed that a high level committee sanctioned Rs. 2000 crores for year 2014 under National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) for drought affected areas of Maharashtra.
    • This amount is almost four times the amount of about Rs. 500 crores sanctioned for the year 2013 when the state was faced with severe drought.
  3. SC strikes down Section 66A of IT Act, calls it unconstitutional and untenable
    • Section 66A of the Information Technology Act has been struck down by the Supreme Court for being “unconstitutional and untenable”.
    • The court said that the section affected the freedom of speech and expression, adding that the definition for grounds of arrest under the section were vague.
    • The section had given police powers to arrest anyone for sending offensive messages from mobiles and computers with up to 3 years in jail.
  4. Union Government approves 17 Mega Food Parks for food processing across the country
    • Union Government has approved 17 mega food parks for food processing across the country. It was announced by Union Cabinet Minister of Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
    • Out of these 17 food parks, 7 parks have been allotted to state agencies whereas 10 to private players in 11 states.
  5. Maharashtra government makes gutka manufacture and sale a non-bailable offence in state
    • Maharashtra state government has said that those found involved in the sale of gutka in the state would be booked under non-bailable sections regarding the offence.
    • State government also had imposed punishment of six months to three years imprisonment. However, it was bailable offence that time.
  6. Ecologist Madhav Gadgil wins Tyler Prize
    • Renowned ecologist Madhav Gadgil has been chosen for the prestigious 2015 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement.
    • The prize, instituted in 1973, is awarded by the international Tyler Prize Executive Committee with the administrative support of the University of Southern California.
    • Prof. Gadgil, who was Chairman of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP), will share the $200,000 cash prize with noted American marine ecologist Dr. Jane Lubchenco for their work in changing policy and specifically for their “leadership and engagement in the development of conservation and sustainability policies in the United States, India and internationally”.
  7. World Tuberculosis Day (WTD) 2015 was globally observed on 24 March 2015.
  8. Government launches Digital India initiative with Twitter Samvad
    • The government on Tuesday launched a new platform in association with social networking service Twitter to facilitate direct communication between leaders and citizens.
    • Twitter Samvad’, the service is aimed to boost the nation’s e-governance plans. Through this the government bodies can have a direct communication with citizens on a daily basis via Tweets and SMS on their mobile devices.
  9. Akhil Sharma wins Folio prize for fiction
    • The Indian-American writer Akhil Sharma has been named winner of the second Folio prize for fiction for a novel which took him 13 long and painful years to complete.
    • Sharma won the prize for his second novel, Family Life, an autobiographical work which tells the story of a young boy Ajay and his family who emigrate from Delhi to New York in search of a better life.

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