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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Current Affairs Update – 18th August, 2015

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 18th August, 2015. These are Important for the upcoming IBPS RRB 2015 Exam.

Finance/Banking –

Reserve Bank of India suspends licences of Religare Finance, 6 Other NBFCs

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) suspended licences of seven non-banking finance companies, including Religare Finance, which the company said is a dormant entity and would not affect its business.
  • The seven companies include Religare Finance, Eden Trade & Commerce, Artisans Micro Finance, Nott Investments, RCS Parivar Finance, Swetasree Finance, Dewra Stocks & Securities. Religare Enterprises, the holding company of the group, said its lending operations continues under Religare Finvest.
  • There are around 12,000 NBFCs in the system. RBI has the power to cancel licence if the companies do not fulfil various norms including minimum net owned funds.

ICICI Bank launched locker facility named Smart Vault

  • ICICI Bank on 18 August 2015 launched Smart Vault, a first-of-its-kind locker facility by a bank in India with latest robotic technology. The facility was launched by Chanda Kochhar, MD & CEO of ICICI Bank at the Defence Colony branch of Delhi.
  • The Smart Vault uses robotic technology to access the lockers from the safe vault and enables customers to conveniently access their lockers at any time of their preference, in the comfort of a secure lounge where the locker automatically comes up to the customer.
  • Smart Vault locker is equipped with multi-layer security system, including biometric and PIN authentication and debit cards, among others. Customers can access it without any intervention by the branch staff.
  • The lockers are of two-three different sizes and the charges of availing this facility would depend on their size. Also, the locker charges in a city would vary depending on the real estate cost.

SBI launches mobile wallet app ‘Buddy’

  • Country’s largest lender State Bank of India today launched a mobile wallet app, SBI Buddy, in collaboration with Accenture and Mastercard.
  • The service will be available to existing as well as non-SBI customers.
  • The app was launched by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley along with Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Finance and Hasmukh Adhia, Secretary, Department of Financial Services.
  • The mobile wallet app can be used to send money to new and registered customers, book for movies, flights, hotels as well as for shopping.
  • It also has features like reminders to settle dues, recharge and pay bills instantly.
  • The app is available on Google Play Store, at present, and soon will be launched on Apple App Store.

Snapdeal raises $ 500 m from Alibaba, Foxconn and others

  • Online marketplace Snapdeal has raised $ 500 million (about Rs. 3,269 crore) in a fresh round of funding from a clutch of investors led by Alibaba Group, Foxconn and SoftBank.
  • Existing investors Temasek, BlackRock, Myriad and Premji Invest also participated in the latest funding round, Snapdeal said in a statement.
  • The company had raised more than $ 1 billion, from investors including Softbank ($ 627 million) and iconic business leader Ratan Tata (personal investment).
  • As per market estimates, the new round would value the city—based firm at about $ 4—5 billion.

India –

Telangana Government launched Grama Jyothi Scheme across the state

  • Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on 17 August 2015 launched a flagship programme Grama Jyothi across the state. The scheme is aimed at comprehensive development of rural areas allowing planning and execution of works by villages themselves.
  • For the successful implementation of the scheme, the state government has decided to invest 25000 crore rupees to empower villages.
  • The scheme will focus on improving the Human Development Index (HDI) by addressing core issues such as drinking water and sanitation, health and nutrition, education, infrastructure, natural resources management, agriculture, social security and poverty reduction.
  • The Grama Jyothi programme aims to empower gram panchayats. The programme introduces a participatory approach in preparing village development plans involving the panchayats, self help groups, people and all interested in the holistic development of the village.

Kerala Government signed MoU with Adani Group for development of Vizhinjam Port

  • Kerala government on 17 August 2015 signed a MoU with Adani Group led Adani Vizhinjam Port Private Ltd for developing 7525 crore rupees Vizhinjam International Deepwater Multipurpose Seaport near Kovalam beach.
  • The MoU was signed by Kerala Principal Secretary (Ports) James Varghese and Santosh Kumar Mahopatra, CEO of Adani Vizhinjam Port Private Ltd.
  • The proposal for the project was first initiated 25 years ago in 1991 by late Kerala Chief Minister  K Karunakaran but he project failed to take off for various reasons.
  • The project is expected to start from November 2015 and promises to be operational in a record time of less than 1000 days.
  • Out of the total cost, 4089 crore rupees would be the PPP component and 1463 crore rupees will be the funded work expenditure to be borne by the state government.
  • The MoU is for granting of licence for construction and operation of the port for a 40-year period, including the construction period of four years.

Second Round of Foreign Office Consultations between India and Paraguay held

  • The Second Round of India-Paraguay Foreign Office Consultations (IPFOC) was held on 17 August 2015 in New Delhi. The meet aimed to strengthen the cooperation between the two countries.
  • The Indian delegation was led by R Swaminathan, Secretary (AMS, CPV &SA), MEA and Oscar Cabellow Sarubbi, Deputy Foreign Minister of Paraguay led the Paraguayan delegation.
  • During the meet, the entire gamut of bilateral relations including political, commercial & trade, financial, tourism, technical and other areas of cooperation were discussed. They also discussed important regional and multilateral issues including India’s ongoing engagement with Community of Latin American Caribbean States (CELAC), MERCOSUR and UN Reforms.

PM Visits –

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited United Arab Emirates

  • Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi visited United Arab Emirates (UAE) between 16 August and 17 August 2015. He is the first Prime Minister of India to visit UAE after 34 years. The last Indian Prime Minister to visit the UAE was Indira Gandhi in 1981.

Important events held during Modi’s visit to the nation includes
  • His Highness the Crown Prince decided to allot land for construction of a temple in Abu Dhabi.
  • He also visited the historic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, which is the third largest mosque in the world and can accommodate around 40000 people at a time. It is named after the founder and first President of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The other two mosques’s which are larger than the Zayed Grand Mosque ate the ones in Mecca and Madina in Saudi Arabia.
  • He visited Masdar City, a zero carbon city, where he met with investors.
  • He addressed Indian Diaspora of the country at the Dubai Cricket Stadium. Indian Diaspora forms 30 per cent of the UAE’s population.
  • He also interacted with Indian workers at the ICAD Residential Labour Camping, Abu Dhabi, which houses thousands of migrant labourers from the Indian subcontinent.
  • Besides this, the Prime Minister announced that the Indian mission in UAE has set up an e-migrant portal to help Indian migrant workers and an online platform 'MADAD' to assist them.

Appointments –

Kishor Piraji Kharat takes charge as MD & CEO of IDBI Bank

  • Kishor Piraji Kharat has assumed charge as managing director & chief executive director of IDBI Bank with effect from August 14, 2015.
  • He was earlier posted as executive director of Union Bank of India. Kharat is a graduate in commerce and law, and is a certified associate of the Indian Institute of Bankers.
  • He also holds an Executive Diploma in Management. Before Union Bank of India, Kharat had served Bank of Baroda for three decades. Kharat has dealt with various verticals of banking including credit, international business, information technology and general administration both in India as well as overseas.

Sports –

Australia’s Chris Rogers confirms Test retirement after Ashes

  • Australian opening batsman Chris Rogers confirmed on Tuesday that he will retire from test cricket at the end of the current Ashes series in England.
  • Rogers had already indicated that the series would be his last and the 37-year-old told reporters in London he had no reason to change his mind.
  • Rogers is the oldest member of the current Australian team but has been one of the few to shine in the Ashes, scoring 437 runs at an average of 62.42.
  • He made 173 in the first innings of the second test at Lord's, but retired hurt in the second innings, complaining of dizziness after being hit in the head earlier in the match.
  • After struggling for years to cement a place in the team, the left-hander has been in the best form of his career, in which he has excelled at first-class cricket but managed only 24 test appearances since his debut in 2008.

Obituaries –

First Lady Suvra Mukherjee passes away

  • President Pranab Mukherjee’s wife Suvra Mukherjee, who has been ailing for some time, passed away today.
  • Suvra Mukherjee, an accomplished Rabindra Sangeet singer, was 74.
  • The First Lady, who remained hospitalised for 11 days, breathed her last at 10.51 am at the Army Research and Referral Hospital.
  • Born in Jessore (now in Bangladesh) on September 17, 1940, Surva, a graduate, was an ardent fan of India’s national poet Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.
  • She was a vocalist of Rabindra Sangeet and performed in the poet’s dance-dramas for long years not only in different parts of India, but also in Europe, Asia and Africa.
  • Suvra founded the ‘Geetanjali Troupe’, whose mission is to propagate Rabindranath Tagore’s philosophy as expressed through his songs and dance-dramas. She was the guiding force behind all productions of the Troupe.


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