Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs Update of 24th and 25th January, 2017. These are important for the Bank exams.
Financial and Banking News:
SBI installs ATM on board INS Vikramaditya
- State Bank of India (SBI) has installed an ATM machine on board INS Vikramaditya, the largest warship and the latest aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy, which has a strength of over 1,500 personnel.
- The ATM machine was inaugurated at the Naval Base Karwar by Rear Admiral KJ Kumar, Flag Officer Commanding, Karnataka Naval Area, and Rajnish Kumar, Managing Director and Group Executive (National Banking Group), State Bank of India.
- Rajni Mishra, CGM (Bangalore Circle), S M Farooque Shahab, CGM Designate (Bangalore Circle) and R K Mishra, CGM (Personal Banking Unit) of the SBI were also present at the inauguration.
- The ATM would service the requirements of Naval personnel on board the ship, which is a full-fledged township in itself. The facilities offered by the SBI include cash withdrawals, generation of mini-statements, access to bank balance details and change of PIN numbers. The facility would in future be upgraded to a recycler machine with cash deposit facility.
- Additionally, facilities such as cash transfer, card-to-card transfer, credit card payment, mobile number registration and updation would also be available.
RBI stops investments to 'non-cooperative countries'
- Reserve Bank on Wednesday prohibited Indian entities from making direct investments in any entity located in 'non co-operative countries and territories', as identified by the inter-governmental body FATF.
- The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) currently comprises two regional organisations and 35 member jurisdictions, including India, US, UK, China and the European Commission.
- The prohibition on investment is "in order to align" instructions under FEMA with the objectives of the FATF.
- At present, there is no restriction on an Indian entity with regard to the countries where it can undertake Overseas Direct Investment.
- Direct investment in an overseas entity (set up or acquired abroad directly as joint venture, a wholly owned subsidiary or indirectly as a step-down subsidiary) has been prohibited.
- FATF was established in 1989. Its objectives are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
India, UAE signed 14 agreements to boost bilateral relations
- India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 25 January 2017 signed 14 agreements to boost bilateral relations. The agreements were signed after successful talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the UAE Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
- The crown prince is the chief guest of Repubilc Day celebrations on 26 January 2017.
Some of the agreements signed are –
- Agreement on Comprehensive Strategic Partnership
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of defence industry
- MoU on institutional cooperation on maritime transport
- MoU on mutual recognition of certificates of competency
- MoU on bilateral cooperation in the road transport and highways sector
- MoU on cooperation in prevention and combating of human trafficking
- MoU on agriculture and allied sectors
- MoU for cooperation in programme exchange
- Agreement on oil storage and management
- MoU on cooperation in energy efficiency services
- MoU on trade remedial measures to promote cooperation in areas of mutual interest
Odisha portal unveils first ever rating system for properties
- In a first, gharabari.com, an Odisha-based property portal has declared a star rating system for real estate properties.
- The star rating system based on feedback from existing customers aims at mitigating the risk factor for the customers while buying properties. Also, the appraisal system is expected to guide prospective customers about the right valuations of properties.
- The portal, which has been there for 12 years now, has launched the rating system after considering requests from buyers. With this rating system, the portal says that buyers can expect to clinch hassle free standard deals and genuine developers can get an opportunity to enhance their reliability before millions of customers. Gharabari.com has a good presence in social media and boasts five million hits every year.
- Apart from star ratings on properties on a scale of one to five, the portal would offer useful information to the customers on status of the project plan approvals, financial approval and fire clearance.
India, Netherlands revise pact to allow seven additional flights
- India and the Netherlands have revised the air services agreement allowing carriers from both the countries to operate an additional seven flights each week. This will benefit Jet Airways and KLM, which currently fly between India and Amsterdam.
- An agreement was signed by civil aviation ministry and its Dutch counterpart in Delhi on Wednesday. The two sides, however, were unable to conclude an open skies pact, for which negotiations will be held later.
- Jet Airways has code share agreement with Air France-KLM covering routes in Europe and the United States. It has made Amsterdam as its European gateway. Passenger traffic between India and the Netherlands is growing and in first eight months of 2016 it rose by 56 per cent.
- The increase in seat entitlement for Netherlands comes in the wake of revision in traffic rights with Oman, Saudi Arabia and other countries last month.
Union Cabinet approved interest subsidy scheme to boost rural housing
- The Union Cabinet on 24 January 2017 approved a new scheme to promote rural housing across the country. A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
Features of the scheme are -
- Under the scheme, the Union Government will provide interest subsidy to every rural household who is not covered under the Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana (Grameen).
- The scheme would enable people in rural areas to construct new houses. The scheme is also applicable to those who are willing improve their dwelling units by adding additional rooms.
- The beneficiary who takes a loan under the scheme would be provided interest subsidy for a loan amount up to Rs 2 Lakhs.
- The National Housing Bank (NHB) will implement the scheme. The NHB is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
- The Government would provide net present value of the interest subsidy of 3 per cent to the NHB upfront.
- The NHB will pass the amount to the primary lending institutions such as scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs).
- As a result the equated monthly installment (EMI) for the beneficiary would be reduced.
- The new scheme is expected to improve housing stock in the rural areas, as well as create employment opportunities in rural housing sector.
Union Cabinet approved short term market borrowing by NABARD
- The Union Cabinet on 24 January 2017 gave its post-facto approval to a series of decisions related to the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
- The approval was given at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
The decisions for which approval was given are –
- National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is allowed to make short term borrowings at the prevailing market rate of interest for about Rs 20,000 crore.
- The money raised will be utilized to lend to cooperative banks at 4.5 per cent rate of interest.
- Additional capital of Rs 2,000 crore will be provided to NABARD for this purpose through the Union Budget.
- To start with, additional capital of Rs 500 crore may be released to NABARD during the 2016-17 financial year itself.
- Interest subvention of about 1.8 per cent and NABARD's administrative cost of 0.2 per cent to be provided as per the scheme of Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW). The extent of interest subvention may vary depending on the rate at which NABARD raises funds.
- The NABARD will coordinate the conversion of operative Kisan Credit Cards (KCCs) into RuPay or ATM-enabled KCCs by cooperative banks and Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) in a mission mode.
Union Cabinet approves Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana 2017
- The Union Cabinet, presided by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 24 January 2017 gave its post-facto approval for launching of Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana 2017 (VPBY 2017).
- The Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana 2017 is a part of Union Government’s commitment for financial inclusion and social security.
Key highlights of the Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana 2017
- The Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) will implement the VPBY 2017 during the current financial year.
- The scheme aims at providing social security during old age and protecting elderly persons aged 60 years and above against a future fall in their interest income due to uncertain market conditions.
- It will provide an assured pension based on a guaranteed rate of return of 8 per cent per annum for ten years.
- The scheme also has an option to opt for pension on a monthly/quarterly/halfyearly and annual basis.
- The difference between the return generated by LIC and the assured return of 8 per cent per annum will be borne by Government of India as subsidy on an annual basis.
- The scheme is proposed to be open for subscription for a period of one year from the date of launch.
Indian economy projected to grow by 7.7% in FY 2017: UNWESP report
- India's economic growth is projected to reach 7.7 per cent in the Financial Year (FY) 2017 and 7.6 per cent in FY 2018 amid strong private consumption, as per the 2017 Report of United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects (UNWESP) that was released on 18 January 2017.
- As per the report, in 2016, the world economy expanded just by 2.2 per cent, which was the slowest rate of growth since the Great Recession of 2009.
- However, the report forecasts World gross product to expand by 2.7 per cent in 2017 and by 2.9 per cent in 2018.
- According to the report, the moderate improvement expected for the FY 2017-18 is an indication of economic stabilization.
- Developing countries continue to be the main drivers of global growth, as they accounted for about 60 per cent of the world’s gross product growth in 2016-18.
- East and South Asia remain the world’s most dynamic regions which got benefitted from robust domestic demand and supportive macroeconomic policies.
Union Government launched Rubber Soil Information System for rubber growers
- Union Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 23 January 2017 launched the Rubber Soil Information System (RubSIS) in New Delhi.
- The RubSIS recommends application of an appropriate mix of fertilizers to the specific plantations of rubber growers depending upon their soil nature.
- The RubSIS was developed by the Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) in collaboration with three agencies.
The agencies are -
1. Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, Kerala
2. National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)
3. National Remote Sensing Center of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
The RRII is a research and development agency. It works under the Rubber Board.
Features of RubSIS
- The RubSIS brings soil data to the fingerprints of rubber growers and recommends the optimal mix and quantities of chemical fertilizers that his/her holding requires.
- It is a cost effective tool for sustainable and scientific management of rubber growing soils.
- It helps in preventing indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers and soil degradation.
Non-financial News – India and States:
DRDO successfully test fires Guided PINAKA
- The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) on 24 January 2017 successfully test fired the Guided PINAKA from Launch Complex-III at ITR, Chandipur.
- Guided PINAKA is the enhanced version of PINAKA Rocket Mark-II which has been equipped with navigation, guidance and control kit.
- The conversion from PINAKA Rocket Mark-II to Guided PINAKA facilitated the enhancement in the range and improvement in the accuracy of PINAKA.
- The flight of this upgraded rocket was tracked and monitored by Radars, Electro Optical and Telemetry Systems at ITR Chandipur.
Setting up of world class Integrated Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre in New Delhi approved
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 24 January 2017 gave its approval for setting up of a world-class Integrated Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre (IECC) at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi.
- A decision in this regard was taken at a CCEA meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
- As per the proposal, the Pragati Maidan in New Delhi will be redeveloped as an Integrated Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre.
- The proposed development project will be executed by the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO).
- The ITPO is a Mini Ratna Category-1 Company under the Department of Commerce of the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
- The project will be executed at an estimated cost of Rs 2,254 crore.
- The ITPO will utilise Rs 1,200 crore out of its free reserves towards funding of the project.
Union Government constitutes committee to set rules for implementation of Disabilities Act, 2016
- The Union Government in the third week of January 2017 constituted a Committee to frame uniform rules for the states to avoid delay in proper implementation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 across India.
- The Committee will suggest model draft rules for the states in order to have a uniform rules across India and also to avoid delay in finalization of rules by any state.
- The Secretary from Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) will head the Committee.
- The Committee will submit its report within three months.
Union Government releases National Action Plan for Children 2016
- The Union Ministry of Women & Child Development (WCD) on 24 January 2017 released the National Action Plan for Children 2016 (NPAC) on the occasion of the National Girl Child Day 2017.
- The action plan was developed by the Union Ministry of Women & Child Development itself with an aim to ensure optimum health, education and success of the children as well as to contribute to the development of their talents.
Highlights of the National Action Plan for Children 2016
- The Action Plan will work in four key priority areas including- survival, health and nutrition, education and development and fourth one being protection and participation.
- It clearly defines the objectives, sub-objectives, action points, strategies and indicators for measuring progress under these four key priority areas.
- It also identifies the key stakeholders for the implementation of different strategies.
- It puts main focus on new and emerging concerns for children such as online child abuse, children who are affected by natural and man-made disasters and climate change, etc.
- The strategies and action points of the action plan largely draw upon the existing programmes and schemes of various Ministries/Departments.
Annual Status of Education Report (ASER 2016) released
- The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER 2016) was released in the second week of January 2017 in New Delhi.
- ASER is the largest annual household survey in rural India that focuses on the status of children's schooling and basic learning.
- The survey is facilitated by NGO Pratham. It is carried out by volunteers from local partner organizations in almost all rural districts of India.
- The survey was carried out in 17473 villages, covering 350232 households and 562305 children in the age group 3-16.
- Enrolment for the age group 6-14 has been 96 per cent or above since 2009. The proportion increased from 96.7 per cent in 2014 to 96.9 per cent in 2016.
- At the all India level, the proportion of children (age 6-14) enrolled in private schools is at 30.5 per cent in 2016.
- On a national level, the proportion of children in Class III who are able to read at least Class I level text has gone up slightly, from 40.2 per cent in 2014 to 42.5 per cent in 2016.
- Children's ability to read English is slightly improved in Class III. In 2016, 32 per cent children in Class III could read simple words in English as compared to 28.5 per cent in 2009.
Union Cabinet approved Indian Institute of Management Bill, 2017
- The Union Cabinet gave its approval to the Indian Institute of Management(IIM) Bill, 2017.
- A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 January 2017 in New Delhi.
- The IIM Bill, 2017 declares Indian Institutes of Management as Institutions of National Importance. This status will enable them to grant degrees to their students.
- The bill provides for complete autonomy to the institutions without compromising their accountability to the government.
- Management of these institutions would be Board-driven, with the Chairperson and Director of an institution will be selected by the Board of IIM.
- A greater participation of experts and alumni in the Board is amongst other important features of the bill.
Japan launches first-ever Military Communications Satellite Kirameki-2
- Japan on 24 January 2017 launched its first military communications satellite Kirameki-2 to boost the broadband capacity of its armed forces with an aim to reinforce its presence at the southern edge of the East China Sea.
- The satellite was launched through Mistubishi H-IIA rocket from southern-most islands of Japan, an area in which Tokyo and Beijing have clashed over the gas-rich East China Sea.
- Kirameki-2 is one of three planned X-band satellites that will allow communications across wider territory. It has a lifespan of 15 years. It was built by DSN Corporation for the Japanese Ministry of Defence.
- The Kirameki-1 satellite was damaged in 2016 during transportation to the launch site and is expected to be launched in March 2018. On the other hand, Kirameki-3 is intended to be launched in 2021.
- The country expects to send three X-band satellites into orbit over the coming years in order to quadruple the country’s broadband capacity.
US President Donald Trump signs executive order to pull US out of TPP
- Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, on 23 January 2017 signed an executive order to formally pull the country out of the negotiating process of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
- The TPP was one of the major international trade initiatives of Barack Obama. The partnership was aimed at setting trade rules for the 21st century and binding US allies against growing Chinese economic clout.
- The Obama administration considered the TPP a companion agreement to the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a broadly similar agreement between the US and the European Union.
WEF, UCSB partnered to protect world’s USD 2.5 trillion ocean economy
- The World Economic Forum (WEF) and Santa Barbara’s Marine Science Institute of the University of California (UCSB) on 20 January 2017 entered into a partnership to protect world’s ocean economy.
- The partnership was announced on the sidelines of the 47th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF). The meeting was held for four days between 17 January and 20 January 2017 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.
- The partnership seeks to improve the health of the world’s oceans and maritime resources.
- The partnership is a part of the World Economic Forum’s New Vision for Ocean Initiative.
- The vision seeks to bring together public, private and civil society sector stakeholders to achieve goal number 14 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG).
Nepal launches 10-year-plan to cut reliance on vegetable imports from India
- The government of Nepal on 22 January 2017 launched a 10-year-plan that seeks to cut its reliance on vegetable imports from India. The plan seeks to make the land-locked nation self-reliant in food by boosting domestic production.
- The government plans to adopt the modern farm techniques, which would lead to boost the productivity of the nation and make it self-reliant in food.
- With this plan, the government wants to achieve self-sufficiency in vegetable sand wheat by fiscal 2017-18.
- The government also aims at achieving self-sufficiency in paddy and potato in two years.
- The plan targets to make the country self-sufficient in maize in fish by the next three years.
Indian-origin Mauritius PM Anerood Jugnauth resigns
- Indian-origin Prime Minister (PM) of Mauritius Anerood Jugnauth resigned from his position on 23 January 2017. Anerood officially handed his resignation to Mauritius President Ameenah Gurib Fakim. He has been serving in his post since 2014.
- He will be succeeded by his own son Pravind Jugnauth. Pravind is the leader of the main political party of Mauritius Militant Socialist Movement (MSM). He had already formed his ministerial cabinet after receiving an appointment letter from President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim.
- Pravind also holds the post of Finance Minister of the country. His party has the majority of seats in the National Assembly since December 2014.
Appointments – India and World
Nikki Haley confirmed as US envoy to the United Nations
- The United States Senate on 24 January 2017 confirmed Nikki Haley as the next Ambassador to the United Nations (UN).
- With this, she will become the first Indian-American to serve on a Cabinet rank position in any presidential administration.
- The Senate approved Haley, the South Carolina Governor, on a 96-4 vote. Senate Foreign Relations Committee had earlier approved Haley’s nomination as the next US Ambassador to the UN.
- Haley is expected to be sworn in shortly. She will replace Samantha Power at the United Nations.
Mike Pompeo sworn in as Director of Central Intelligence Agency
- Mike Pompeo on 23 January 2017 was sworn in as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He was administered the oath to office by Vice President Mike Pence.
- The sworn-in ceremony was held swiftly after the United States Senate confirmed Pompeo to run the CIA, giving President Donald Trump the third member of his cabinet. Pompeo was confirmed by a vote of 66-32.
Days & Observances:
7th National Voters’ Day observed with theme Empowering Young and Future Voters
- The 7th National Voters’ Day (NVD) was observed across the country on 25 January 2017 by the Election Commission of India.
- The theme for the 7th National Voters’ Day is ‘Empowering Young and Future Voters.’
- The Commission’s objective through NVD is to increase enrolment of voters, especially of the newly eligible ones.
- The National function of the NVD was held in New Delhi and presided over by President of India, Pranab Mukherjee.
National Girl Child Day 2017 observed across India
- The National Girl Child Day was observed across the country on 24 January 2017. On the occasion, the Union Ministry of Women & Child Development threw the light on the exemplary achievements by nation’s daughters during 2016. The theme of this year National Girl Child Day was Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao.
- The Ministry also applauded the performance of females at the Olympics and Paralympics. It also highlighted the historic induction of the first female fighter pilots into the Indian Air Force.
- The event was attended by Avani Chaturvedi (Women Fighter Pilot), Arunima Sinha (First women amputee to climb Mount Everest), Deepa Malik (Silver medalist at Rio Paralympics 2016) and Shanno (Editor, Badhte Kadam).