Thursday, November 05, 2015

Current Affairs Update – 5th November, 2015


Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 5th November, 2015. These are Important for the upcoming NABARD Development Assistant, IBPS Clerical and RBI Grade B exam.


Finance/RBI –

PM Narendra Modi launched three gold related schemes


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 5 November 2015 launched three gold related schemes. The schemes are – Gold Monetization Scheme, Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme and Indian Gold Coins.
  • The three schemes were announced by the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his 2015-16 budget speech in February 2015.
  • The primary purpose of the schemes is to reduce dependence on imported gold, recycle the unutilized gold in the country and most importantly, streamline the gold business in the country. At present, India is the largest consumer of gold in the world.

Gold Monetization Scheme (GMS)
  • Its objective is to mobilize unutilized gold from individuals, households and institutions and make them available to gold-base industries including jewellers.

Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme
  • The purpose of the scheme is to reduce the demand for physical gold and to shift part of the estimated 300 tons of physical bars and coins purchased every year for investment into Demat (Dematerialised) gold bonds.

Indian Gold Coins
  • Its purpose is to revive investment and reduce dependence on imports of gold coins. At present, India has been importing about 60 tonnes of gold coins annually that are sold at a premium of 8-10 per cent.
  • Under the scheme, gold coins bearing the Ashok Chakra will be minted by the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India.
  • Initially, the coins will be available in denominations of 5 gm and 10 gm.



RBI notified Operational Guidelines of Sovereign Gold Bonds 2015-16

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 4 November 2015 notified the Operational Guidelines of the Sovereign Gold Bonds 2015-16. These bonds will be issued by the RBI from 5 November – 20 November 2015.

Main Operational Guidelines
  • Joint holding and nomination: Multiple joint holders and nominees (of first holder) are permitted. Necessary details may be obtained from the applicants as per practice.
  • Interest on application money: Applicants will be paid interest at prevailing savings bank rate from the date of realization of payment to the settlement date that is the period for which they are out of funds.
  • Lien marking: As the bonds are government securities, lien marking will be as per the extant legal provisions of Government Securities Act, 2006 and rules framed there under.
  • Agency arrangement: Scheduled commercial banks may engage NBFCs, NSC agents and others to collect application forms on their behalf. Banks may enter into arrangements or tie-ups with such entities.
  • Processing through RBI’s e-kuber system: Sovereign Gold Bonds will be available for subscription at the branches of scheduled commercial banks and designated post offices through RBI’s e-kuber system.



AP signed MoU with WEF to support state in assessing its competitiveness

  • Government of Andhra Pradesh on 4 November 2015 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the World Economic Forum (WEF) to support the state in assessing its economic competitiveness.
  • The MoU was signed in the presence of the State Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and WEF Managing Board member Philipp Rosler in New Delhi.
  • As per the MoU, the WEF will assist the state in assessing its economic competitiveness-both strengths and weaknesses.
  • The assessment is aimed at leveraging the key role played by the data driven and evidence based policy making and will employ the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI).
  • Accordingly, the WEF will provide technical support and training the government staff on GCI methodology, data collection and interpretation of results.



Dr T K Viswanathan Committee on Bankruptacy Law Reforms submitted its report

  • The Bankruptcy Law Reforms Committee (BLRC) headed by Dr T K Viswanathan on 4 November 2015 submitted its report to the Union Ministry of Finance.

The Report of the BLRC is in two parts-
  • Rationale and Design/Recommendations
  • A comprehensive draft Insolvency and Bankruptcy Bill covering all entities

Key recommendations of the report
  • Insolvency Regulator: The Bill proposes to establish an Insolvency Regulator to exercise regulatory oversight over insolvency professionals, insolvency professional agencies and informational utilities.
  • Insolvency Adjudicating Authority: The Adjudicating Authority will have the jurisdiction to hear and dispose of cases by or against the debtor.
  • The Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) and the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) shall be adjudicating authorities over individuals and unlimited liability partnership firms and companies and limited liability entities respectively.
  • NCLAT shall be the appellate authority to hear appeals arising out of the orders     passed by the Regulator in respect of insolvency professionals or information utilities.



RBI imposes Rs 1 crore penalty on Dhanlaxmi Bank


  • The Reserve Bank has imposed Rs 1 crore penalty on Dhanlaxmi Bank for violation of Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) norms.
  • It had issued a Show Cause Notice to the bank for not complying with KYC and AML guidelines "in respect of a current account under investigation" of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW), Mumbai.
  • After considering the bank's reply, as also, personal submissions, information submitted and documents furnished, RBI came to the conclusion that the bank had violated the instructions/guidelines issued, from time to time, which warranted imposition of monetary penalty on it.



Ola signs MoU with Rajasthan to train 50,000 people in state


  • Ride-hailing startup Ola has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Rajasthan government to train 50,000 men and women over the next five years, as it looks to expand its base of drivers on its platform.
  • The skill development program will target women and youth in particular to enable them to take to entrepreneurship through Ola's platform. The company will also back up its commitment by introducing Ola Auto and Ola Share services in the state, helping create employment.
  • Ola, which claims to be the largest cab aggregator in the country, has 3.25 lakh drivers on its platform and is adding close to 1,500 cabs a day on its platform. The company has also begun leasing cars to drivers through its fully owned subsidiary with the aim of adding 1 lakh vehicles on its platform by end of 2016.



India –

PM Narendra Modi launched research project Imprint India


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 5 November 2015 launched Imprint India, a Pan-IIT and IISc joint initiative.
  • The project encourages the Indian technical institutions to develop a blueprint for research to crack major engineering and technology challenges relevant to the nation.

Imprint India is a 1000 crore rupees project, which aspires to:
  • Identify areas of immediate relevance to society requiring innovation
  • Direct scientific research into identified areas
  • Ensure higher funding support for research into these areas
  • Measure outcomes of the research effort with reference to impact on the standard of living in the rural/urban areas

The Imprint India will focus on 10 themes and each will be coordinated by one IIT/IISc. The themes are:
1. Health Care - IIT Kharagpur
2. Computer Science and ICT – IIT Kharagpur
3. Advance Materials – IIT Kanpur
4. Water Resources and River systems – IIT Kanpur
5. Sustainable Urban Design – IIT Roorkee
6. Defence – IIT Madras
7. Manufacturing – IIT Madras
8. Nano-technology Hardware- IIT Bombay
9. Environmental Science and Climate Change – IISc, Bangalore
10.   Energy Security – IIT Bombay


Union Government constituted Empowered Committee to approve schemes under Nirbhaya Fund

  • The Union Government on 4 November 2015 constituted an Empowered Committee to approve schemes proposed under the Nirbhaya Fund.
  • The Committee comprises officials from various ministries, including Women and Child Development, Home Affairs, Road Transport and Railways.
  • The Secretary of the Women and Child Development Ministry will be the chairperson of the committee.
  • The Members of the Empowered Committee may nominate an officer not below the rank of Joint Secretary as representative to the Empowered Committee of Officers.
  • The Empowered Committee of Officers will take decision on the sanction of schemes/projects from Nirbhaya Fund within 15 days of the date of receipt of the proposal by the Ministry of Women & Child Development.



Indian Railways signed MoU with Odisha for implementation of railway projects

  • The Odisha Government and Indian Railways on 4 November 2015 inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to form a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for implementation of railway projects in the state.
  • The MoU aims at forming a Joint Venture Company to develop railway infrastructure in Odisha.

Key highlights of the MoU
  • It will work towards providing railway connectivity to Boudh, Kandhamal, Nayagarh, Nabrangpur, Kendrapada, Malkangiri and Deogarh districts.
  • Maoist-affected districts will be in the high priority list.
  • At least six-seven rail projects will be constructed in the state.
  • A 40-km link connecting the Nabarangpur district headquarters to the nearest station at Jeypore in neighbouring Koraput district will also be built.
  • The Odisha Government will have 51 percent stake in the project, while the Railways Ministry will have 49 percent stake.
  • Initially, 200 crore rupees has been allocated to be spent on the project.



Appointments –

Indian-born Harjit Sajjan sworn-in as Defence Minister of Canada


  • Indo-Canadian Sikh Harjit Sajjan was on 4 November 2015 sworn-in as Defence Minister of Canada. Sajjan succeeded Conservative Defence Minister Jason Kenney.
  • He is one of the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 30-member Cabinet that was sworn-in at a public ceremony held at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Canada. Trudeau was sworn-in as the 23rd Prime Minister of Canada.
  • Sajjan is a decorated Lt Colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces who was elected as a MP for Vancouver South. He has served in Bosnia and had three deployments to Kandahar, Afghanistan. He has received numerous military honours, including the Meritorious Service Medal in 2013.



Navtej Singh Sarna appointed as Indian High Commissioner to United Kingdom

  • Navtej Singh Sarna was on 31 October 2015 appointed as Indian High Commissioner to United Kingdom (UK). Sarna is a 1980 batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer.
  • Prior to this appointment, Sarna was working as Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs where he was responsible for looking after country’s diplomatic affairs with the UK and other European nations.
  • Earlier, he had served in Indian missions in Moscow, Warsaw, Thimphu, Geneva, Tehran and Washington DC. He has also served as Indian Ambassador to Israel.
  • He also held the distinction of being the longest-serving spokesperson of the External Affairs Ministry.
  • Sarna has also authored many books including The Exile- a novel based on the life of Maharaja Duleep Singh, We Weren’t Lovers Like That- a novel and a non-fiction The Book of Nanak.



Report/Indexes –


UNHCR released study titled I am Here, I belong on Need to End Childhood Statelessness

  • The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on 4 November 2015 released a study titled I am Here, I belong: the Urgent Need to End Childhood Statelessness.
  • The report draws on interviews with more than 250 stateless children and youngsters, their parents and guardians in seven countries around the world.

Highlights of the report
  • Every ten minutes a stateless child is born largely because of discriminatory citizenship laws and violent conflicts taking place across the globe.
  • The problem is most visible in the Syrian refugee crisis due to which around 140000 children born stateless in neighboring countries of Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.



Financial Secrecy Index 2015 released; India moderately secretive


  • Tax Justice Network on 2 November 2015 released the Financial Secrecy Index 2015 that ranked jurisdictions according to their secrecy and the scale of their offshore financial activities.
  • While Switzerland is the most secretive jurisdiction in the world, India, with 42 ranking, is identified as the moderately secretive among 92 countries/jurisdictions surveyed.

Key findings of the report
  • Though global financial transparency improving few countries like the USA threatening progress.
  • While Switzerland (1), Hong Kong (2), the USA (3), Singapore (4) and Cayman (5) are identified as the top secretive jurisdictions in the world, Slovenia (88), Dominica (89), Finland (90), Cook Islands (91) and Montserrat (92) are the most transparent among the surveyed countries.
  • An estimated 21 to 32 trillion US dollars of private financial wealth is located, untaxed or lightly taxed, in secrecy jurisdictions around the world.
  • Illicit cross-border financial flows have been estimated at 1-1.6 trillion US dollars per year.
  • Since the 1970s African countries alone have lost over 1 trillion US dollars in capital flight, while combined external debts are less than 200 billion dollars.

Report with respect to India
  • India is identified as moderately secretive jurisdiction as the index placed the jurisdiction between top 31 and 40 countries/jurisdictions surveyed.
  • With a secrecy score of 39.19, India ranked 45 among 92 jurisdictions surveyed.
  • India accounts for slightly less than 1.5 per cent of the global market for offshore financial services, making it   a   large   player   compared   with   other   secrecy jurisdictions.



Sports –

Jitu Rai won silver in 13th Asian Shooting Championship

  • Ace shooter Jitu Rai on 4 November 2015 won India's first senior medal at the 13th Asian Shooting Championship in Kuwait City. He bagged the silver in the finals of the men's 50 metre pistol event.
  • Korea’s Park Daehun, who won the gold medal of the event, shot finals world and Asian record score of 199.2, while Jitu finished with a finals score of 189.5.
  • In the process, Jitu defeated his long-time rivals Jin Jongoh of Korea and Vladimir Issachenko of Kazakhstan.



Obituaries –

India's former Ambassador to Nepal Bimal Prasad dead

  • India's former Ambassador to Nepal Bimal Prasad on 4 November 2015 passed away in New Delhi. He was 92.
  • Prasad, who was also a close aide of Jayaprakash Narayan, worked as professor of history at University of Patna. He also taught South Asian Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University. Later, he served as the dean of School of International Studies.
  • After retirement, Prasad was appointed ambassador to Nepal by Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar.
  • The former ambassador had also authored a number of books on Jayaprakash Narayan’s philosophy and life including Socialism, Sarvodaya and Democracy, Gandhi, Nehru and JP, Studies in Leadership and A Revolutionary's Quest.






Regards



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