Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs Update of 7th, 8th and 9th January, 2017. These are important for the upcoming RBI Assistant Mains, IPPB Mains and Other exams.
Financial and Banking News:
HDFC Bank unveils its first Humanoid Banking Assistant “Ira”
- If next time you walk into a branch and get greeted by a human shaped robot offering help, do not be surprised, the country’s second largest private sector lender HDFC Bank is in the process of introducing ‘Ira’ at its branches to help customers in their transactions.
- The bank said that depending on customer reaction they would install more such robots across its branches in the country. However with the current wave of digitisation across the financial sector banks are also looking at ways to be up with the time by introducing automation to ensure quick decision making on their part.
- Chugh said that even Ira was a customer facing physical form of all sorts of automation that the bank was undertaking at its back end.
- While introducing Ira the bank also launched the second edition of its Digital Innovation Summit, and said that it was betting on blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, internet of things and technology services aimed at smoothening processes in rural banking to drive customer services from their end in the near future.
Axis Bank becomes third lender to offer block chain service
- Private sector Axis Bank on Monday became the third lender in the country to announce usage of block chain solutions for its operations, after its peers ICICI Bank and Yes Bank. The Shikha Sharma-led bank, the third largest private sector lender, will be using the upcoming technology for cross-border remittances, it said in a statement.
- Block chain solutions is a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing list of ordered records called blocks. It is said to reduce turnaround times, is transparent and also ensures zero errors. Axis Bank has tied up with fintech firm Ripple to offer the solution.
- Axis Bank’s larger peer ICICI Bank was the first to announce block chain solutions in for international trade finance and remittances last October. This was followed up by mid-sized rival Yes Bank last week under which it will be using the technology for vendor financing.
Union Government amends Income-tax Rules, 1962 to link PAN in all existing bank accounts
- The Union Finance Ministry on 8 January 2017 amended the Income-tax Rules, 1962 to allow banks to obtain and link PAN or Form No 60 (where PAN is not available) in all existing bank accounts (other than BSBDA) by 28 February 2017.
- The amended rules are referred as Income-tax (33rd Amendment) Rules, 2016.
- Earlier in December 2016, RBI mandated that no withdrawal will be allowed from the accounts having significant deposits, if PAN or Form No 60 is not provided in respect of such accounts.
- Therefore, people, who have bank account but have not submitted PAN or Form No 60 yet, will now be required to submit the PAN or Form No 60 to the bank.
- Moreover, the banks and post offices were mandated to submit details of cash deposits from 1 April 2016 to 8 November 2016 in accounts where the cash deposits during the period 9 November 2016 to 30 December 2016 exceeds the specified limits.
PM Narendra Modi announced Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 8 January 2016 announced that the government is planning to launch Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana to train Indian youth for overseas employment.
- The announcement was made at the inauguration of the 14th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas Convention in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
About Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana
- The programme seeks to train and certify Indians who are seeking overseas employment.
- The skill training will be given in those sectors that have high demand in the global labour market. The training will be of international standards.
- The programme will be implemented by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) in consultation with Union Ministry of External Affairs and the Union Skill Development Ministry.
- For the effective implementation of the programme, the NSDC will leverage various MoUs it signed with agencies of the UK, Germany, Australia, the USA, Canada, Singapore, European Union, France, Iran and China between 2011 and 2015.
- The launch of the Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana is in tune with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of making India the Skill Capital of the World. Some of the other skill development initiatives announced by the Union Government in recent times are -
- The Union Budget 2016-17 identified Education, Skill Development and Employment as one of the nine pillars to transform the Indian economy.
- The objective is to provide quality education, better skills and employment opportunities.
- In March 2015, the Union Cabinet approved Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana to impart skill training to youth at an estimated cost of 1500 crore rupees.
- National Mission for Skill Development was launched in July 2015 to train a minimum of 300 million skilled people by 2022.
India, Portugal signed seven agreements including defence cooperation
- India and Portugal on 7 January 2017 signed seven agreements to boost the bilateral relations between the two nations. The signed agreements include support in defence cooperation and renewable energy.
- The MoUs were signed after bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Portuguese counterpart Antonio Costa in New Delhi. PM Antonio Costa was on a seven-day visit to India.
List of agreements signed include
- MoU in the field of Information Technology and Electronics: This agreement aims at promoting cooperation in the area of information technology and electronics through specific projects between public and private sector institutions on both sides.
- MoU in the Agriculture and Allied Sectors: It aims to exchange of scientific and technical information and the organisation of training programmes. It also seeks to promote agricultural trade including market access of agricultural products between the two countries.
- MoU on Renewable Energy: It aims to promote innovative technologies in the field of renewable energy. It also seeks for exchange in experts training programme and technical visits and workshops, joint seminars, conferences in the energy sector.
- MoU on Marine Research and Resources: The MoU proposes to enhance cooperation in Marine Research through subjects such as oceanography, marine ecology, technical and scientific development of aquaculture and bio-geo-chemistry and ocean acidification.
- MoU on Defence: The MoU envisages defence cooperation and exchanges covering High-level visits
- MoU on the establishment of an ICCR Chair of Indian Studies in University of Lisbon: The MoU is regarding establishing an Indian Chair at the University of Lisbon
- Agreement on visa waiver for holders of diplomatic passports: The agreement allows visa-free travel for diplomatic passport holders of India and Portugal to each other’s countries for short term visits.
16th meeting of Financial Stability Development Council held in New Delhi
- The 16th meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) was held on 5 January 2017 in New Delhi. The meeting was chaired by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
- The meeting, which was attended by heads of all financial sector regulators, discussed the problems of the Indian economy.
- The major issues discussed in the meeting are non-performance assets (NPAs) of banks, steps taken to improve financial literacy, the status of financial inclusion measures andproblems and opportunities associated with financial technology.
- Besides, the participants in the meeting also discussed recently announced demonetisation measures and their impact on common man and the Indian economy as a whole.
- Genesis: The idea was mooted by the Committee on Financial Sector Reforms in 2008. The committee was headed by former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan.
- After the consideration of the committee’s report, the Union Government formed the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) in December 2010.
- Objectives: The objectives of the FSDC include institutionalising mechanisms to maintain financial stability, financial sector development, inter-regulatory coordination and monitoring macro-prudential regulation of economy.
Regional Labour Conference of North-Eastern Region held in Guwahati
- The Regional conference of State Labour Ministers and Principal Secretaries of Labour of North Eastern States was held on 5 January 2017 in Guwahati, Assam.
- The conference was inaugurated by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. It was held in the presence of Bandaru Dattatreya, the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Labour and Employment.
- In the conference, Bandaru Dattatreya highlighted various labour reforms that were under taken by the government to ensure job security and social security of workers including the National Career Service Project.
- He stated that out of 100 model career centres to be established in India, 18 will be set up in North East States.
Appointments – India and World:
Gionee signs Virat Kohli as brand ambassador
- Mobile handset brand Gionee has roped in Indian test captain Virat Kohli as the brand ambassador. The poster boy for Indian cricket will be joining Bollywood actor Alia Bhatt who was roped in a few months ago. The announcement of Kohli's appointment was made alongside the announcement of Gionee clocking 1.2 crore customers in India.
- Gionee has two manufacturing units in India and is continuously beefing up its brand and marketing initiatives with the aim to grow as much as 2.5 times in 2017.
- As part of this, it will also be establishing 500 brand stores in India along with doubling their strength of retail representatives to 20,000.
Flipkart appoints former Tiger Global exec Kalyan Krishnamurthy as new CEO
- Flipkart today named Kalyan Krishnamurthy as its new Chief Executive Officer to run operations of India’s largest e-commerce company, while elevating co-founder Binny Bansal to the position of Group CEO.
- The move to make Krishnamurthy, a former executive at marquee investor Tiger Global, would mean that Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, who founded the company in 2007, would lose all operational control over Flipkart. Krishnamurthy joined Flipkart in June last year as head of its commerce unit.
- The change in organisation structure at Flipkart comes a year after Binny Bansal took over as CEO, while co-founder Sachin Bansal was elevated to the position of Executive Chairman. The move to rope in Krishnamurthy in June last year was seen as a move by Tiger Global, the largest shareholder and investor in Flipkart, exerting more control.
- Nitin Seth, currently the Chief Administrative officer, will now be the new COO.
Suresh Nagarajan appointed as Chief Financial Officer of Reliance Power
- Reliance Power on 5 January 2017 announced the appointment of Suresh Nagarajan as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the company.
- At present, Nagarajan is working as the Senior Executive Vice President of Reliance Power. He was elevated to the position of CFO by the Board of Directors at their meeting.
- Nagarajan is a Chartered Accountant and Company Secretary. He holds many years of experience in the power sector. He has been associated with Reliance Power since 2006.
Non-Financial News – India and States:
Aamir Khan's Dangal becomes the highest grossing film of Bollywood
- Aamir Khan is on a spree to break all possible records with 'Dangal'. Adding another feather to the already loaded cap, the flick has now become the biggest blockbuster of Bollywood earning Rs. 345 crore.
- Within 17 days of its release, the sports biopic has managed to cross even the lifetime business of 'PK' and is now aiming to become the first film to enter the Rs. 350 crore club.
- The film collected an astounding Rs. 14.33 crore on Sunday which is also the biggest 17th day collection for any film. This took the cumulative total to a whopping Rs. 345.3 crore.
- Mr. Perfectionist is giving a tough time to the other Khans as he has moved way ahead of Salman Khan's highest grossing film 'Bajrangi Bhaijan' (Rs. 315 crore) or Shah Rukh Khan's 'Chennai Express' (Rs. 206.85 crore).
- 'Dangal' is inching towards greater heights and Aamir seems to be heading to create unimaginable benchmarks for others to even try touching.
US Army issues new regulations, allows turbans and beards in military
- The United States army has issued new regulations, allowing servicemen and women sporting turbans, beards or hijabs to enrol in the military effective immediately.
- The new sets of rules, which have been issued by the Secretary of the US Army, Eric Fanning, are more inclusive of minority religious traditions, especially Indian ones. They will allow military men with unshorn hair, beard and turbans to enrol in the army unless they are not sincere in their beliefs. They will also allow religious accommodations to be approved at Brigade-level. Previously it was approved only at the level of Secretary.
- According to Joe Crowley, sitting Congressman from New York, this progress is not only major for the Sikh- American community but also for the nation’s military. He further added by saying that this move will give the Sikh Americans equal opportunity to serve America.
Raheel Sharif appointed Commander-in-Chief of Islamic Military Alliance
- Pakistan’s recently retired Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif on 6 January 2017 was appointed the first Commander-in-Chief of the Islamic Military Alliance (IMA).
- The Islamic Military Alliance is an intergovernmental military alliance of multiple Muslim Countries. Through IMA, these countries come together for military intervention against ISIL and other counter-terrorist activities.
- The Islamic Military Alliance is officially named as Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT).
Novak Djokovic beats Andy Murray to win 2017 Qatar Open
- Novak Djokovic on 7 January 2017 won the 2017 Qatar Open Men’s Singles title. He defeated Andy Murray to grab the title that also ended the latter’s winning streak of 28 consecutive ATP Tour matches.
- However, Murray remains world number one despite the 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 defeat by Djokovic.
- On the other hand, Murray became the first man to reach the final of the Qatar Open four times.
Roberto Bautista Agut beats Daniil Medvedev to win 2017 Chennai Open
- Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut on 8 January 2017 clinched the Men’s Singles title of the 2017 Chennai Open.
- Agut defeated Russia’s Daniil Medvedev 6-3 and 6-4 to claim the first ATP tournament of the season.
- It was the second time that the Spaniard was playing a final at the Chennai Open. In 2013, he ended up as a runner-up to Janko Tipsarevic at the Nungambakkam stadium.
- In 2016, the Chennai Open Men’s Singles title was clinched by Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka.
Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan win Chennai Open Men's Doubles title
- Indian tennis players Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan on 8 January 2017 won the 2017 Chennai Open Men’s Doubles title.
- The duo defeated compatriots Purav Raja and Divij Sharan 6-3, 6-4 in the summit clash held in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
- It is the first time that an Indian pair clinched the title after Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, who won the title in 2011.
Sania Mirza wins 2017 Brisbane International Women’s Doubles title
- Sania Mirza along with her American partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands on 8 Janaury 2017 won the 2017 Brisbane International Women’s Doubles title. It was the first win of the season for Mirza.
- However, with the trophy came an end to Mirza’s 91-week reign as the world No. 1 doubles player in the WTA rankings. She ended up losing the world No.1 ranking to her partner, Mattek-Sands.
- The top-seeded Indo-American duo scored 6-2 6-3 against the second-seeded Russian team of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in the final of the tournament.
- In 2016, the women’s doubles trophy was won by Sania Mirza and Swiss Martina Hingis.
Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani dies
- Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani passed away on 8 January 2016 following a cardiac arrest. He was 82.
- Rafsanjani served two terms as Iran's president from 1989 to 1997.