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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Current Affairs Update - 23rd February, 2017

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the important Current Affairs of 23rd February, 2017. These are important for the upcoming SBI PO Mains, NIACL Assistant and NICL AO 2017 Exams.

Current Affairs at a Glance - Click or Tap to Show
  1. All the five associates will merge with State Bank of India from April 1, in the largest consolidation exercise in the banking history of India.
  2. Andhra Pradesh has today signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with fintech multinationals Visa and Thomson Reuters at Mumbai.  The milestone represents another step by the state government designed to catapult Fintech Valley Vizag as the national and global hub for financial technologies (fintech) innovation.
  3. Direct-to-home operator Dish TV today said it has tied up with private lender ICICI Bank for digital payments.
  4. Bharti Airtel on Thursday announced acquisition of Telenor India. It’s a no-cash deal that will see Norway’s telco packing up and leaving the country as business had become unsustainable.
  5. The Finance Ministry on Thursday launched a mobile app for Goods and Services Tax so as to provide updates to taxpayers on the new tax regime which is to be rolled out from July 1.
  6. The Union Cabinet gave its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Australia for promotion and development of cooperation in civil aviation security.
  7. India and Uganda on 22 February 2017 agreed to cooperate in various fields like the space programme, vocational training and peaceful use of atomic energy.
  8. The Union Government on 22 February 2017 announced setting up of POSCO Victims Compensation Fund to provide financial help to children who are victims of sexual crimes. The money for this fund will be drawn from the Nirbhaya Fund.
  9. The Government of Uttarakhand on 21 February 2017 issued a shoot-at-sight order in the Corbett Tiger Reserve to curb poaching of tigers.



Financial and Banking News:

Five associate banks to merge with SBI from April 1

  • All the five associates will merge with State Bank of India from April 1, in the largest consolidation exercise in the banking history of India.
  • The assets of State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBBJ), State Bank of Mysore (SBM), State Bank of Travancore (SBT), State Bank of Patiala (SBP) and State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH) will be transfered to SBI from April 1, 2017, SBI said in a regulatory filing.
  • With the merger of all the five associates, SBI is expected to become a lender of global proportions with an asset base of Rs 37 trillion (Rs 37 lakh crore) or over $555 billion, 22,500 branches and 58,000 ATMs. It will have over 50 crore customers.
  • Officers and employees, with the exception of the board of directors and executive trustees of the associate banks, will become employees of SBI following the merger.

Vizag to be developed into India's first less–cash city by Visa


  • Andhra Pradesh has today signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with fintech multinationals Visa and Thomson Reuters at Mumbai.
  • The milestone represents another step by the state government designed to catapult Fintech Valley Vizag as the national and global hub for financial technologies (fintech) innovation.
  • The Government of Andhra Pradesh is also hosting the first Fintech Valley Vizag Spring Conference 2017 on March 9-10, 2017.
  • The conference will bring together fintech companies, startups, researchers and key government officials who are working in the fintech sector, and will provide opportunities for disruptive business solutions.

Dish TV joins hands with ICICI Bank for digital payments


  • Direct-to-home operator Dish TV today today said it has tied up with private lender ICICI Bank for digital payments.
  • “We are glad to announce a new payment method, which is another customer-oriented initiative in the DTH industry to recharge through unified payment interface (UPI) transactions,” Dish TV India Chief Executive Officer Arun Kapoor said in a statement.

Airtel acquires Telenor in no-cash deal


  • In what will lead to yet another multinational exit in the telecom space, Bharti Airtel on Thursday announced acquisition of Telenor India. It’s a no-cash deal that will see Norway’s telco packing up and leaving the country as business had become unsustainable.
  • While the companies refused to speak on the size of the deal, sources in the know pegged Bharti’s cost of acquisition at Rs 1,600 crore. This money will primarily go towards payment of spectrum that Telenor has acquired, it is learnt.
  • The spectrum payment will be made in phases for the next 10 years . Saying that telecom was a “spectrum game’’, a source added the additional spectrum of 43.4 MHz in the 1,800-MHz band, coming from Telenor, was expected to be “more than sufficient for Bharti over the next four to five years”.
  • Bharti claimed the acquisition will bolster its footprint with the additional spectrum band, besides eliminating smaller and fringe players. 

Govt launches app to provide GST updates to taxpayers


  • The Finance Ministry on Thursday launched a mobile app for Goods and Services Tax so as to provide updates to taxpayers on the new tax regime which is to be rolled out from July 1.
  • Minister of State for Finance Santosh Gangwar said the Centre and states are in the final lap of discussions for the implementation of GST which will usher in 'one-nation one-tax' regime.
  • "GST discussion is in final stages and GST will be implemented within the given time-frame," he told reporters on the sidelines of Central Excise Day event in New Delhi.
  • The GST mobile app launched by the ministry can be downloaded for free on Android platforms. The iOS version will be made available shortly, an official statement said.
  • With the app, the taxpayers can readily access a host of GST information such as migration to GST-approach and guidelines for migration, draft law-Model GST Law, IGST Law and GST Compensation Law, draft rules related to registration, returns, payment, refund and invoice.
  • The app will also provide Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on GST and help desk/email contacts.

Non-financial news related to India and states:

India, Australia MoU for cooperation in civil aviation sector approved


  • The Union Cabinet gave its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Australia for promotion and development of cooperation in civil aviation security.
  • The approval was given at a meeting of the Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 22 February 2017 in New Delhi.
  • The MoU will also provide compliance of international obligation as well as enhance promotion in the area of security cooperation between the two countries.
  • India and Australia have several commonalities, which serve as a foundation for closer cooperation and multi-faceted interaction between the two countries.
  • The relationship has grown in strength and importance since India’s economic reforms in 1990s’.
  • The present bilateral cooperation extends to all the vital areas such as trade, energy, mining, science and technology, information technology, education and defence.

India, Uganda agreed to cooperate in space programme and atomic energy


  • India and Uganda on 22 February 2017 agreed to cooperate in various fields like the space programme, vocational training and peaceful use of atomic energy. The agreements were announced in a joint press conference by the Vice President Hamid Ansari and Ugandan President Yoweri Kauta Museveni in State House at Entebbe, the official residence of President.
  • VP Ansari was in Uganda during the second leg of 2-nation of his visit to East Africa, namely Rwanda and Uganda. He was in Rwanda from 19 February to 21 February 2017 and in Uganda from 21 February to 23 February 2017.
  • Besides these agreements, the Vice President held talks with President Yoweri Museveni at the State House. During this meet, the two leaders reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral cooperation. They also committed to work together in trade, investment, agriculture, defence cooperation and IT among others.
  • In addition, President Museveni called Indian companies to manufacture automobiles locally, which would help the country in discouraging import of cars. It seems that this call for assembling and manufacturing vehicles locally in Uganda would provide a new market to Indian manufacturers.

Union Government decided to set up POSCO Victims Compensation Fund


  • The Union Government on 22 February 2017 announced setting up of POSCO Victims Compensation Fund to provide financial help to children who are victims of sexual crimes.
  • The announcement was made by the Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi as as a response to a letter, which sought her attention to the plight of a three-year-old from Ahmednagar who was raped in December 2016.
  • The establishment of the fund is in tune with the objectives of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act, 2012. The money for this fund will be drawn from the Nirbhaya Fund.
About Nirbhaya Fund

  • The fund was operationalised by the Union Government in April 2015 with a corpus of Rs 3000 crore.
  • The primary objective of the fund is to improve safety and security of women in the country.
  • As per the guidelines of the fund, the Ministry of Women and Children (WCD) can be approached by various Ministries and Departments with the proposals and schemes.

Shoot-at-sight order issued in Corbett Tiger Reserve to curb poaching


  • The Government of Uttarakhand on 21 February 2017 issued a shoot-at-sight order in the Corbett Tiger Reserve to curb poaching of tigers.
  • The order was issued by the State Chief Secretary in view of the increased incidences of poaching from the southern border of the tiger reserve.
  • Jim Corbett National Park, which is a part of the larger Corbett Tiger Reserve, is located in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand.
  • Established in the year 1936 as Hailey National Park, Corbett is considered as India's oldest and most prestigious national park.
  • The prestigious Project Tiger was first launched in this area in 1973.


World News:

South Africa's decision to leave ICC ruled invalid


  • The South African government’s decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court was declared invalid and unconstitutional by the high court in Pretoria on 22 February 2017.
  • The court determined that the decision to withdraw from the International court was taken by South African President Jacob Zuma and Minister of Justice Michael Masutha without appropriate approval from the parliament, which amounts to a breach of the separation of powers.
  • South Africa notified the United Nations of its intent to leave the ICC in October 2016, stating the court’s intention of pursuing a regime change as one of its main reasons to leave.
  • The decision was not approved by the leading opposition party in South Africa, the Democratic Alliance (DA), which approached the Pretoria court arguing that the ruling government had to first seek Parliamentary approval.

Digital payments industry to hit USD500 billion by 2020: Google-BCG study


  • The Digital Payments 2020 report said that digital payment industry in India is expected to reach USD 500 billion by 2020. The USD 500 billion accounts for about 15 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
  • The report was jointly published by Google and Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
  • The report says that by 2020, over 50 per cent of Internet users in the country will be using the mode of payment.
Digital Payments 2020 estimates

  • The report projects that the non-cash contribution in the consumer payments segment will double to 40 per cent.
  • The estimates say digital technology in India will influence up to 45 per cent of all retail sales by 2025.
  • It says that the non-cash transactions will exceed cash transactions by 2023.
  • It says that the about 81 per cent of the existing users of the digital payments prefer it over other methods of non-cash payments.


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