Daily GK Updates: 8th August 2014

1.    WHO declares Ebola epidemic a global emergency
i. The World Health Organisation today declared the killer
Ebola epidemic ravaging parts of West Africa an international health emergency
and appealed for global aid to help afflicted countries.

ii. The decision after a two-day emergency session behind
closed doors in Geneva means global travel restrictions may be put in place to
halt its spread as the overall death toll nears 1,000.
iii. WHO director Dr Margaret
Chan, appealed for greater international aid for the country’s worst hit by the
outbreak, which she described as the most serious in four decades, echoing an
earlier claim by MSF that the “epidemic is unprecedented in terms of geographical
distribution, people infected and deaths“.
iv. States of emergency
were in effect across overwhelmed west African nations, including Liberia,
Guinea and Sierra Leone.
v. Ebola has claimed at least 932 lives
and infected more than 1,700 people since breaking out in Guinea earlier this
year, according to the WHO.
vi. Ebola causes severe fever and, in the worst cases,
unstoppable bleeding. It is transmitted through contact with bodily fluids, and
people who live with or care for patients are most at risk.
Note: First discovered in 1976 and named
after a river in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ebola has killed
around two-thirds of those infected, with two outbreaks registering fatality
rates approaching 90 per cent. The latest outbreak has a fatality rate of
around 55 per cent.
2.   
RBI proposes
‘anytime anywhere’ bill payment system
i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 7
August 2014 issued draft guidelines for implementation of Bharat Bill Payment
System (BPPS), an anytime anywhere bill payment system.
The proposed guidelines describe the basic requirements of operating the BBPS.
ii. Bharat Bill Payment System is
intended for the implementation of a unified bill payment system across the
country.
iii. It would enable the customers to pay
the bills with the help of agents and getting instant confirmation of the
payment made. School fees, municipal taxes and utility bills payments would
become easier now.
This
integrated bill payment system will comprise of two entities:
i.
Entity operating at Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) will
be setting up the standards related to payments, clearance and settlement
process
ii. Second entity would be Bharat Bill
Payment Operating Units (BBPOUs). It will be carrying out the operations in
adherence to the standards fixed by BBPS.
iii. Authorised entities such as agents,
banks, service providers, payment gateways would be the participants at the
Bharat Bill Payment System.
Bill
Payment in India
Generally,
most of the retail transactions are carried out through bill payments. The G.
Padmanabhan Committee 
was formed by RBI to study the Feasibility of
Implementation of GIRO-based Payment Systems anticipated that around 30800
million bills amounting to more than 600000 crore rupees are paid each year in
20 Indian cities.
3.    ASEAN foreign-minister-meeting to kick off in Myanmar
i. Foreign ministers of the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have gathered in Myanmar’s
capital of Nay Pyi Taw for their 47th meeting and related meetings due to begin
later on Friday.
ii. As the ASEAN Chair for
2014, Myanmar Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin will preside over the
meeting.
iii. Marking the 47th ASEAN
Day, Myanmar President U Thein Sein will deliver a keynote address on the
occasion.
iv. The annual ASEAN Foreign
Ministers Meeting (AMM) at the Myanmar Convention Center will also brings their
counterparts from dialogue partner countries to discuss political, security and
developmental issues that have significant impact on the region, said a press
release of the bloc.
v. Following the AMM, ASEAN
Foreign Ministers will meet with their counterparts of the bloc’s dialogue
partners on Saturday that include Australia, Canada, China, European Union
(E.U.), India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States.
4.    IDFC appoints Ravi Shankar as head of Bharat Banking
i. Ravi Shankar joined infrastructure finance company IDFC
as the head of Bharat Banking with effect from August 8, 2014.
ii. IDFC, which recently bagged a commercial banking
licence, plans to start bank operations by October next year.
iii. With about 29 years of experience across sectors,
Shankar will be responsible for conceptualizing and building the rural and
inclusion business at IDFC Bank, IDFC said in a statement.
iv. Prior to IDFC, Shankar was head of business and
marketing at Fullerton India Credit Co Ltd and Senior Vice-President at TNS
India Pvt Ltd.
v. Prior to IDFC, Shankar was head of business and
marketing at Fullerton India Credit Co Ltd and Senior Vice-President at TNS
India Pvt Ltd.
vi. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and a
post-graduate diploma in management.
5.   
Kapil Dev to head Arjuna Award selection committee
i. Former India cricket captain Kapil Dev will head the
Arjuna Awards selection committee for choosing this year’s outstanding
sportspersons of the country while former hockey skipper Ajitpal Singh is
likely to be in charge of selecting the Dronacharya awardees.
ii. While Kapil, who
bagged 434 wickets in 131 Tests in his 16-year-long career, got the Arjuna in
1980, former Olympian Ajitpal was conferred the Award in 1970, and awarded it
in 1972. 

iii. A
source in the sports ministry said the government had issued a notification in
writing to all persons concerned. The awards will be conferred on National
Sports Day which is August 29. 
iv. Each
committee will have 15 members, including 12 eminent sportspersons and three
officials. 

v. The
three officials — director general of the Sports Authority of India and a
joint secretary and deputy secretary from the ministry — will be on both
committees. 
6.   
National
rural scheme on PPP model launched
i. Rural Development Minister Nitin Gadkari today launched
the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee National Rural Mission on PPP model with an
allocation of 100 crore rupees.
ii. The scheme will be initially
available in three districts of the country on pilot basis. The districts are
Warangal in Andhra Pradesh and two districts in Maharashtra.
iii. The scheme is intended to stop
migration from rural areas to cities. He said that the government wants to
create infrastructure in villages so that people can get employment there and
do not migrate to cities.