Hello and welcome to exampundit . Here are the important Current Affairs of 1st and 2nd November, 2016. These are important for the upcoming IBPS PO Mains, IPPB Mains, IBPS Clerk Mains, NIACL AO Mains and other important exams.
Tweak ATMs to dispense more Rs100 notes, RBI tells banks
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to dispense more Rs 100 notes through ATMs within the next 15 days.
- In a notification on Wednesday, RBI asked banks to calibrate 10% of their ATMs to dispense Rs 100 notes exclusively on a pilot basis.
- “In keeping with the objectives of Clean Note Policy and to ensure that genuine requirement of members of public for Rs100 denomination banknotes are met, the banks should increase dispensation of Rs100 banknotes through ATMs which are widely used for distribution of banknotes for retail use,” RBI said.
- The move comes after the regulator observed that very few banks have taken steps to dispense lower denomination notes post RBI’s circular dated 5 May 2016. As per the circular, RBI introduced a scheme called the Currency Distribution & Exchange Scheme (CDES) under which the regulator agreed to incentivize banks for installing ATMs which dispense notes of denominations upto Rs100. As per the scheme, RBI had promised to reimburse 50% of the cost of ATM machine or Rs 2 lakh whichever is lower.
- RBI has now asked banks to speed up the process of configuring the ATMs in the next two weeks as it believes that this process is not complex. The regulator has also asked banks to share the feedback of the pilot project after a lapse of two months.
Australia announces 19 grants worth $6.3 million for projects with India
- In a bid to boost ties with India, the Australian government on Wednesday announced 19 grants worth $6,30,000 dollars for several projects in the field of education, science, sports, arts and culture.
- The successful grants include an exchange between TAFE NSW and India's Centurion University to share expertise for training indigenous learners, collaboration between University of New South Wales and Indian scientists to develop effective new water purification systems for the country's water supply.
- It also includes development of a website by Women's Legal Service Tasmania and TRS Law Offices in India to provide young Indian women with information about their rights.
- Sports programme will also be undertaken jointly in India by Hockey Australia and Dabang Mumbai Hockey Club to share expertise in hockey training.
- The grant has also been assigned to a project by Soft Tread Enterprises to tell the story of historical links between Australia and India through theatrical and literary performances and for a collaboration between Queensland University of Technology and KM Music Conservatory Chennai to develop new approaches to music curriculum and facilitate ongoing exchanges with New Colombo Plan students.
Govt to launch clean energy equity fund of up to $2 billion
- The Indian government and three state-run firms will jointly set up an equity fund of up to $2 billion for renewable energy companies to tap into to help New Delhi meet its clean energy goals, two government sources told Reuters on Wednesday.
- Private and public companies will be able to dip into an initial amount of more than $1 billion starting next fiscal year, said the sources with direct knowledge of the decision taken after a meeting of government officials more than a month ago. India's government hopes the Clean Energy Equity Fund (CEEF) will attract pension and insurance funds from Canada and Europe.
- Around $600 million of the initial pool will come from the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, under the finance ministry, and the rest from state entities NTPC Ltd, Rural Electrification Corp and the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency, according to one of the sources.
- The sources declined to be named as they are not authorised to talk to the media. Officials at the finance ministry, new and renewable energy ministry, NTPC, Rural Electrification, and Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
ICICI Bank launches overdraft facility for salaried home loan borrowers
- ICICI Bank has launched a credit facility against home loans for salaried customers.
- The Home Overdraft facility will enable a salaried customer to seek loans up to Rs. 1 crore for personal needs against his/her property.
- In a statement, the bank said: "This offering provides customers with the dual advantage of a term loan and an overdraft facility.''
- "While the term loan provides customers with quick funds for immediate needs, the overdraft facility offers them the flexibility to access funds instantly for expenses, as and when required."
- Customers can use the funds for an array of personal requirements, including education, medical treatment, home renovation, marriage and overseas travel, the statement added.
- The minimum and maximum loan over the Home Overdraft facility is Rs. 5 lakh and Rs. 1 crore, respectively.
- Customers can avail themselves of minimum 10 per cent of the total amount as term loan and maximum 90 per cent as overdraft.
- The bank said for term loan, equated monthly instalment (EMI) will be applicable. For overdraft, interest is charged only on the utilised amount for the period the funds are used.
Benami Transactions Amendment Act to curb black money comes into effect
- The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 came into effect on 1 November 2016. The Act was formulated to curb black money.
- An official release of Central Board of Direct Taxes said, after coming into effect, the existing Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 will be renamed as the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions (PBPT) Act, 1988.
- The new legislation provides for seven years imprisonment and fine for those indulging in illegal transactions. The previous Act provided for up to three years if imprisonment or fine or both. It says that properties held as Benami are liable for confiscation by the government without payment of compensation.
- The act has amended the definition of benami transactions and establishes adjudicating authorities and an Appellate Tribunal to deal with benami transactions.
Highlights of Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act
- It expands the definition of benami transaction by including following
- Transaction is made in a fictitious name
- Owner is not aware of and denies knowledge of the ownership of the property
- Person providing the consideration for the property is not traceable
- Earlier, it defined benami transaction as a transaction where a property is held by or transferred to a person, but has been provided for or paid by another person.
- Specific cases will be exempted from the definition of a benami transaction. These include cases when a property is held by
- A member of a Hindu undivided family, and is being held for his or another family member’s benefit, and has been provided for or paid off from sources of income of that family
- A person in a fiduciary capacity.
- A person in the name of his spouse or child, and the property has been paid for from the person’s income.
- Section 58 empowers government to exempt the genuine properties of religious organisation like a church or a mosque or a gurdwara or a temple from the action. But the exemption to such entities cannot be a pretext for tax evasion.
Definition of Benamidar
- It defines benamidar as the person in whose name the benami property is held or transferred, and a beneficial owner as the person for whose benefit the property is being held by the benamidar.
- Under the Act, an Authority to acquire benami properties was to be established by the Rules.
Four Authorities for conducting Inquiry
The Act establishes four authorities to conduct inquiries or investigations regarding benami transactions and they are
- Initiating Officer
- Approving Authority
- Adjudicating Authority
Work of Initiating Officer
- In any case, if he/she believes that a person is a benamidar, he may issue a notice to that person.
- The Initiating Officer may hold the property for 90 days from the date of issue of the notice, subject to permission from the Approving Authority.
- At the end of the notice period, the Initiating Officer may pass an order to continue the holding of the property.
- If an order is passed to continue holding the property, the Initiating Officer will refer the case to the Adjudicating Authority.
Work of Adjudicating Authority
- The Authority will pass an order on whether or not to hold the property as benami after examining all documents and evidence relating to the matter.
- Based on an order to confiscate the benami property, the Administrator will receive and manage the property in a manner and subject to conditions as prescribed.
- The act also established an Appellate Tribunal that will hear appeals against any orders passed by the Adjudicating Authority
- Appeals against orders of the Appellate Tribunal will lie to the high court.
- Rigorous imprisonment from one year to seven years, and a fine which may extend to 25% of the fair market value of the benami property. The previous penalty under the Act for entering into benami transactions was imprisonment up to three years, or a fine, or both.
- Specifies the penalty for providing false information to be rigorous imprisonment of six months up to five years, and a fine which may extend to 10% of the fair market value of the benami property.
- Certain session courts would be designated as Special Courts for trying any offences which are punishable under the Act.
TCS signs MoU with University of New South Wales
- Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India's largest IT Services provider on Wednesday said that University of New South Wales (UNSW) Australia and TCS have signed a memorandum of understanding to pursue technology research collaboration.
- The agreement will enable the University and TCS to work together in areas of common interest such as machine learning, virtual reality, robotics, data analytics and cloud computing.
- The MoU also opens the prospect of exchanges of scholars and internships for UNSW students at TCS’s global research facilities. The agreement was signed by TCS’ Chief Technology Officer Ananth Krishnan and UNSW’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Enterprise Professor Brian Boyle, at the TCS Asia-Pacific Summit in Sydney.
Zensar to acquire UK-based design agency Foolproof
- Zensar Technologies, an RPG Company, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Foolproof Ltd. along with its two wholly-owned subsidiary companies in UK and one wholly-owned subsidiary Company in Singapore for an undisclosed sum.
- Under the terms of the agreement, Foolproof will now be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Zensar Technologies (UK) Ltd. The deal will be financed by internal accruals, and will be EPS positive for the company.
- Foolproof is one of Europe’s leading experience design agencies, headquartered in London with other offices in Norwich and Singapore. The company helps global brands design better, and more relevant, digital products and services, and counts many Global500 firms amongst its clients.
Union Government notifies rules for Real Estate Act for five UTs
- The Union Government on 31 October 2016 notified the rules for Real Estate (Regulation and Development) (General) Rules, 2016 that seeks to regulate the housing sector besides bringing transparency and ensuring timely completion of projects in five Union Territories.
- The rules notified by the Housing Ministry will be applicable to Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, and Lakshadweep.
- Ministry of Urban Development will come out with such rules for the National Capital Region of Delhi while the other States and UTs will come out with their own rules.
- The Act, which is touted as a major reform measure to regulate the vast real estate sector, requires registration of all projects with state-level Real Estate Regulatory Authorities to ensure protection of the interests of both buyers and builders.
Himachal Pradesh becomes India’s second open defecation free state
- Himachal Pradesh on 28 October 2016 was declared India’s second Open Defecation Free (ODF) State. The first state to achieve the feat was Sikkim.
- Himachal Pradesh successfully achieved total rural sanitation coverage of 100 per cent in the state, with all 12 districts in the state being both, declared as well as verified as ODF.
- The state is also the first among bigger Indian states to become ODF under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachch Bharat Abhiyan.
Kerala becomes third open defecation-free state of India
- Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on 2 November 2016 declared Kerala as Open Defecation Free” (ODF) state. With this, Kerala became third state to achieve this status.
- Over 1 lakh villages across the country have become ODF. The Kerala government had constructed about 175000 toilets in the last four months to make Kerala the first among the big states to claim ODF status.
- About 800000 people benefitted from the Edamalakkudy initiative to free Kerala of open defecation, including those in tribal hamlets in inaccessible hilly areas like Edamalakkudy in Idukki district. Everyone from local politicians to college students pitched in their support to construct toilets.
- So far, two other states Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh were officially declared as free from open defecation.
- On the occasion, the state also launched four major programmes- Parippida Mission, Haritha Keralam, Ardram and Life in the education, health, housing and sanitation sectors.
LinkedIn signs MoU with HRD Ministry for students to use its Placements platform
- Microsoft-owned social network for work LinkedIn has signed an MoU with the Ministry of Human Resource Development for all colleges affiliated with the All India Council for Technical Education to use its platform for their placement process.
- Placements, a product that LinkedIn has built for India, allows students and placement officers at colleges maximise their reach when searching for prospective jobs. Students will also be able to take an online assessment test which will give them access to openings in partner corporates.
- The company says adoption of Placements, which was launched in September has been great, with over 200,000 students registering on the platform and making over 1.2 million job applications. So far LinkedIn has signed up 35 companies for its online test programme and plans to add more.
10th Indo-Nepal joint exercise Surya Kiran commences
- Indo-Nepal joint military exercise Surya Kiran-X commenced on 31 October 2016 at Army Battle School, Saljhandi, Nepal. The exercise will conclude on 13 November 2016.
- The joint military exercise is the tenth in the series of such exercise between the two nations.
- The Surya Kiran series of exercises are being conducted annually, alternatively in Nepal and India.
- In the series of military training exercises undertaken by India with various countries, Surya Kiran series with Nepal is the largest in terms of troop’s participation.
Key highlights of the exercise
- Indian Army is represented by the elite Kumaon Regiment.
- Jabar Jung Battalion of Nepal Army is participating in the tenth edition of the joint exercise on behalf of Nepal Army.
- The aim of the exercise is to conduct battalion level joint training with emphasis on Counter Terrorism in mountainous terrain.
Maharashtra most farmer friendly state: NITI Aayog Index
- NITI Aayog on 31 October 2016 launched the first ever Agricultural Marketing & Farm Friendly Reforms Index. The index was topped by Maharashtra.
- Maharashtra implemented most of the marketing reforms and offers best environment for doing agribusiness among all the states and Union Territories (UTs).
Key highlights of the index
- Maharashtra topped the index with a score of 81.7 out of 100.
- Gujarat ranks second with a score of 71.5.
- Rajasthan stood third with a score of 70.0 and Madhya Pradesh scored 69.5.
- Almost two third states could not reach even halfway mark of reforms score. Major states like Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Jammu and Kashmir are in this group.
- Some states and UTs either did not adopt APMC Act or revoked it. They include Bihar, Kerala, Manipur, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Andaman and Nicobar. Therefore, they are not included in the ranking.
Arnab Goswami resigns as Editor-in-Chief of Times Now
- Arnab Goswami on 1 November 2016 resigned as the Editor-in-Chief of Times Now, the Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd-run news channel.
- Goswami was the anchor of Newshour, the prime time news programme which he anchored on weekdays at 9 pm everyday.
Sushil Chandra takes over as Chairman of CBDT
- Indian Revenue Service Officer Sushil Chandra on 1 November 2016 took over as the Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).
- Chandra replaced Rani Singh Nair, who retired on 31 October 2016.
- The CBDT Chairperson is placed above the officers of the rank of Lieutenant-General, Vice-Admiral or Air Marshal, CBI Director and Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General in the Order of Precedence.
Rishi Jaitly, Twitter's India head, resigns
- Twitter India Head Rishi Jaitly on 1 November 2016 resigned from the company. He made the announcement on his twitter handle.
- Jaitly, who formerly worked at Google India, had joined Twitter in November 2012 to lead the microblogging giant's expansion to India.
- In 2014, Jaitly took on additional responsibility as Twitter’s Market Director for India and South East Asia, leading the company’s growth and media partnerships across SE Asia.
- Prior to joining Twitter, Jaitly worked at Knight Foundation as Program Director. However, he is better known for his stint as the head of Public-Private Partnerships at Google India.
Rashtriya Ekta Diwas observed across India
- Rashtriya Ekta Diwas was observed across India on 31 October 2016 to commemorate the birth anniversary of Iron Man of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
- The theme for the 2016 Rashtriya Ekta Diwas was Integration of India.
- The decision to observe 31 October as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas or National Integration Day was taken by the Union Government to reiterate India’s strength and buoyancy against adversaries.
International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists observed globally
- The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists was observed globally on 2 November 2016.
- The Day is celebrated to spread awareness against the violence and crimes done to journalists and media workers and to bring to justice perpetrators of crimes against journalists and media workers, and ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies.
- It aims to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work independently and without undue interference.
Vigilance Awareness Week observed across India
- Vigilance Awareness Week was observed across India beginning from 31 October 2016 to promote probity in public life and achieve a corruption free society.
- The theme of the Vigilance Awareness Week 2016 was Public participation in promoting integrity and eradicating Corruption.
- The observance of week commenced with pledge taking by public servants in the Ministries, Departments, PSUs, Banks and all other Organisations.
- Several functions were organised to create awareness among the people about the corrupt practices as it adversely affects the development of the country.
- In addition to these activities, the concept of Integrity Pledge was envisaged for enlisting support and commitment of the citizens and corporate and firms to prevent and combat corruption.
World Cup top-scorer Klose retires at 38
- Miroslav Klose, the all-time World Cup top-scorer, announced his retirement from football on 1 November 2016. Klose, 38, the leading scorer of Germany with 71 goals in 137 internationals, was without a club after his Lazio contract expired last season.
- Now, the former world-class striker plans to join Germany's coaching staff after an invitation from head coach Joachim Loew. For the purpose, he will have to attend a set coaching programme for the national team as well as the required qualifications for an A-license.
- His first match of the coaching team for national side will be on 11 November 2016 for the World Cup qualifier against San Marino.
Awards & Honors –
IFFI to honour Im Kwon-taek with Lifetime Achievement Award
- Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on 1 November 2016 announced that renowned South Korean director Im Kwon-taek will be honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the upcoming 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa.
- The IFFI will take place from 20 November to 28 November 2016. The festival will pay a special tribute to late Polish filmmaker Andrzej Wajda and late Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami.
- The 47th edition of IFFI will have its country focus on Republic of Korea under which the best of Korean films will be screened.