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Friday, July 17, 2015

Current Affairs Update – 17th July, 2015

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 17th July, 2015. These are important for the upcoming RBI Assistant 2015 Exam.

Finance/RBI/Insurance –

RBI permitted CBS-enabled Cooperative Banks to issue ATM cards in tie-up with a sponsor bank
  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 16 July 2015 permitted Cooperative Banks with Core Banking Solution (CBS) to issue ATM cards/ATM-cum-debit cards in tie with a sponsor banks.
  • The decision was taken by the RBI in an attempt to move towards a less-cash economy and with an aim to inculcate the habit of using electronic payment channels among bank customers.
  • Further, these cooperative banks by virtue of being a sub-member of National Financial Switch (NFS) are required to fulfil the risk management requirements prescribed by the sponsor bank and meet expenses devolving on them under the agreement with the sponsor bank.
  • Also, banks should set up their own arrangement for issuing cards, authorization of cards and customer support/redressal mechanism and ensure to provide uninterrupted services to their customers.
  • The RBI took the decision after it received representations from cooperative banks not having their own ATMs and sought permission to issue ATM-cum-debit cards to their customers in tie-up with banks having their own ATM network.

Following are the criteria to become a sub-member of NFS:
  • Core Banking Solution (CBS) fully implemented
  • Licence for conducting banking business
  • Introduction from sponsor bank (a bank having ATM network connectivity)
  • Connectivity with National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI)
The decision is in addition to the earlier decision of the RBI taken on 16 April 2015 to allow State Cooperative Banks (StCBs) to install offsite/ mobile ATMs as per their need and potential in their area of operation.
However, they were allowed to install mobile ATMs only with prior permission of the RBI and subject to satisfying the following criteria:
  • CRAR not being less than 9 per cent
  • No default in maintenance of CRR/SLR during the preceding financial year
  • Net NPA being less than 5 per cent
  • The bank should have a track record of regulatory compliance and no monetary penalty should have been imposed on the bank on account of violation of RBI directives/guidelines during last two financial years

Overall direct lending to farmers should not fall below average of past 3 years: RBI

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 16 July 2015 directed banks to ensure that their overall direct lending to farmers should not fall below the average of last three years.
  • The direction was given by RBI against the backdrop of government expressing concern over adverse impact of any reduction in direct credit, given the adverse weather conditions.
  • Further, the RBI warned the banks that direct lending below the target set for priority sector lending will attract usual penalties.
  • The apex bank also said that banks should also continue to maintain efforts to reach the level of 13.5 percent direct lending to beneficiaries who earlier constituted the direct agriculture sector.
  • In an effort to increase direct lending to agriculture, the RBI in April 2015 revised the target for direct lending to small and marginal farmers under priority sector norms to 7 percent for 2015-16 and to 8 percent for 2016-17.

CCI imposed Rs 671 crore penalty on 4 state-run insurance companies

  • The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on 17 July 2015 imposed penalty of 671.05 crore rupees upon four Public Sector Insurance Companies.
  • The penalty was imposed for manipulating the bidding process initiated by Government of Kerala for selecting insurance service provider for Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna for the years 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13. The beneficiaries of the schemes were BPL and poor families.
  • These companies and their penalties are National Insurance (162.80 crores rupees), New India Assurance (251.07 crores rupees), Oriental Insurance (100.56 crores rupees) and United India Insurance (156.62 crores rupees).
  • The orders were passed on anonymous information in Suo Moto case received by CCI under Section 19(1) of the Competition Act, 2002 against the four Insurance companies. The information alleged contravention of the provisions of section 3 of the Act which deals with anti-competitive agreements including bid rigging.

RBI tightens norms for credit card billing

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday asked banks to levy any late payment penalty on credit card customers, or report them to credit information companies, only if the payment has been due for more than three days.
  • For banks, RBI said they can treat a credit card as non-preforming asset if the 'minimum amount due' has not been paid within 90 days from the due date.
  • To bring in greater credit discipline as also to provide operational flexibility to credit card issuers, RBI said the 'past due' status of a credit card account for the purpose of asset classification would be reckoned from the payment due date mentioned in the monthly credit card statement.
  • It further asked banks to report a credit card account as 'past due' to credit information companies (CICs) or levy penal charges, such as late payment charges only when a credit card account remains 'past due' for more than three days.
  • The number of 'days past due' and late payment charges should be, however, computed from payment due date mentioned in the credit card statement, it added.
  • In credit card accounts, the amount spent is billed to the card users through a monthly statement with a definite due date for repayment.
  • Banks give an option to the card users to pay either the full amount or a fraction of it or a minimum amount on the due date and roll over the balance to the subsequent month's billing cycle.

RBI, Central Bank of Sri Lanka Ink Currency Swap Agreement

  • The Reserve Bank today signed a special currency swap agreement with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka that will allow the latter to draw up to USD 1.1 billion.
  • Under the arrangement, the Sri Lankan bank can draw up to USD 1.1 billion for a maximum period of six months.
  • This special arrangement is in addition to the existing Framework on Currency Swap Arrangement for the SAARC member countries.
  • In March, RBI had signed a Currency Swap Agreement with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka for USD 400 million under the existing SAARC Currency Swap Framework within the overall limit of USD 2 billion.
  • The proposal to extend the additional currency swap facility of USD 1.1 billion for a limited period was decided by the government in April based on the recommendation of RBI.
  • It was intended for mitigating the possible currency volatility in the spirit of strengthening India's bilateral relations and economic ties with Sri Lanka, RBI said.

India and World Bank signed Financing Agreement for Andhra Pradesh Disaster Recovery Project

  • India and World Bank on 16 July 2015 signed Financing Agreement for assistance of 250 million US dollars for Andhra Pradesh Disaster Recovery Project. It is a loan for an implementation period of 5 years and Andhra Pradesh Government will be the implementing agency of project.
  • The Financing Agreement was signed by S Selvakumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs in Union Government and Onno Ruhl, Country Director (India) of World Bank on behalf of the World Bank.
  • While, the Project Agreement was signed by Jagdish Chander Sharma, Principal Secretary, Land and Disaster Management on behalf of Government of Andhra Pradesh.

India –

Union Government approved signing of India-Canada Civil Aviation Pact

  • The Union Cabinet on 16 July 2015 approved the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Canada in the field of Civil Aviation. The MoU will help in enhancing the experience and technical knowledge in the field of Civil Aviation between India and Canada.
  • It will also deepen the bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

Highlights of the Agreement
  • Under the MoU, an appropriate platform shall be formalized for exchange of views on the possibilities of fostering economic cooperation between the two countries in the areas of civil aviation.
  • There will be a cooperation programme in the areas of safety of aircraft operations and related issues that will provide more up-to-date knowledge to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
  • Apart from the above, India firms will also be benefited from the exchange of technical knowhow with Canadian companies as the aviation industry is far more developed in Canada.
  • Canadian companies will gain from enhanced access to the fast developing civil aviation industry in India.

Identity Proof Not Required to Book Tatkal Ticket From Sept 1: Railways

  • Passengers booking tatkal train tickets would not be required to produce identity proof anymore as Railways have decided to discontinue with this provision.
  • The modified provision could come into effect by September 1.
  • "Under the modified rules, there will be no need to furnish photocopy of proof of identity while booking Tatkal ticket from computerised reservation counter or to indicate its number at the time of booking of tatkal ticket at the counter or through internet," said a railway statement.
  • However, one of the passengers has to produce the original proofs of identity during the journey to avoid being penalised.
  • Officials said the decision to do away with producing identity card while purchasing tatkal ticket was taken to avoid any duplicity as the passengers had to produce identity proof at the time of the journey too.
  • The present provision also led to harassment of those passengers carrying a different identity proof at the time of the journey than the one produced at the time of booking tickets, thus being penalised in the process, they said.
  • Currently, passengers at the time of booking a ticket has to provide a photocopy of identity card which he/she will carry during the journey.

White-Fi technology of Microsoft to boost Digital India Initiative

  • White-Fi technology or TV White Space Technology was in news in the second week of July 2015 as Microsoft announced plans to introduce this technology in India to providelast mile connectivity and give a boost to the Digital India initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • According to Microsoft, its technology can provide free Wi-Fi connectivity to the roughly one-billion Indians who don't have any net access and it plans to start with International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Bangalore campus.
  • White-Fi technology uses the unused spectrum in frequencies utilised for broadcasting of television signals and use it for the internet. In technology parlance, these unused spectrum spaces are called White Space and thus it is also called TV White Space technology.

INS Astravahini decommissioned after 31 years of service

  • INS Astravahini, indigenously built Torpedo launch and recovery vessel (TLRV), was on 16 July 2015 decommissioned after its 31 years service to the nation. The vessel had immensely contributed in the trials of indigenous torpedoes developed by Naval Science and Technological Laboratory (NSTL).
  • It was decommissioned at a ceremony presided over by Commodore K A Bopanna, Naval Officer-in-Charge ( Andhra Pradesh Division) at the Ship Building Centre, Andhra Pradesh.

Global Emergency Response Network to be launched In India

  • A new decentralized and personalized mobile app called MUrgency is being set up to create a global emergency response to help people in distress in developing countries.
  • Brain child of Indian social entrepreneur Shaffi Mather, MUrgency is being launched by MUrgency Inc. in global partnership with Business Call to Action at the United Nations Development Program, Young Global Leaders at the World Economic Forum, Stanford ChangeLabs, Harvard Asia Center and MIT Global Health.
  • MUrgency is a cloud platform and mobile application which will connect people who need emergency response with their trusted network, other users of the app and/or credentialed medical, safety, rescue and assistance professionals as the situation requires and the individual in emergency requests. It will make the nearest emergency responder (doctor, nurse, EMT, paramedic, ambulance etc.) available to a person facing an emergency.
  • MUrgency Inc., the San Francisco based tech company which has developed this emergency cloud platform and mobile app joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a commitment to assist half a million people at the base of the pyramid by the end of 2015 through the MUrgency platform.

Appointments –

Parineeti Chopra named brand ambassador of girl child campaign

  • Haryana government named Bollywood actress Parineeti Chopra as the brand ambassador for the ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao’ campaign to promote the cause of girl child.
  • Parineeti Chopra, hailing from Ambala in Haryana, has won several awards, including the Filmfare and National Film Award, a Haryana government release said.
  • A mega event has been planned in Gurgaon on July 21 to push the campaign to new heights, that will be attended by the actress, it said.
  • ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao’ campaign, aimed at ensuring survival, protection and empowerment of the girl child, was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Panipat in the state in January this year.

Neeraj Kumar appointed chief security advisor for World T20

  • Former Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar was today appointed as the Chief Advisor of Security and anti-corruption unit (ACSU) of BCCI for next year’s T20 World Cup to be hosted by India.
  • Kumar was already roped in by the BCCI for a one-year period in the anti-corruption unit during the IPL. “The Board of Control for Cricket in India today announced the names of the organising committee for the mega event with Dr M V Sridhar as the General Manager for Cricket Operations,” the BCCI said in a statement.
  • Amrit Mathur has been appointed as the Principal Coordinator while R P Shah will be the Tournament Manager, Finance.
  • In other positions, KVP Rao will be the Manager for Cricket Operations, while Nishant Jeet Arora, Media Manager of the BCCI, will double up as Tournament Media Manager.
  • Mayank Parikh has been nominated as Manager — Logistics and hospitality and Professor Ratnakar Shetty, who was the Tournament Director of the ICC Cricket World Cup-2011, has been appointed as an advisor to the Committee.

FlipKart appointed Eric Lange as Vice President of Product Management

  • India’s largest online retailer Flipkart on 15 July 2015 appointed Eric Lange as the vice president of product management for its customer experience division.
  • He is expected to take charge in August 2015 at the company’s headquarters in Bengaluru.
  • Lange is a Silicon Valley veteran and earlier worked with Yahoo and search engine major Google.
  • He was the third high-profile Silicon Valley technology executive to join Flipkart in 2015.

Awards & Honors –

Indian American Sunita Viswanath honoured as Champions of Change by US White House

  • Indian American woman Sunita Viswanath was on 16 July 2015 honoured as Champions of Change by the White House of United States (US). She was among 12 other faith leaders who were awarded for their efforts in protecting environment and communities from the effects of climate change.
  • Sunita was selected for her work to encourage Hindus to take care of the environment. Sunita is co-founder and active board member of the 14-year-old front-line women's human rights organisation, Women for Afghan Women.
  • Born in Chennai, she has been working with women's and human rights organisations for almost three decades.


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