Current Affairs Update – 19 May, 2017

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the important Current Affairs update of 19 May, 2017. These are important for the upcoming SBI PO Mains, BOB Manipal, NICL AO Mains and other exams in 2017 July and August.


Current Affairs at a Glance - 19 May, 2017
  1. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday mandated that 25 per cent of the total number of 'banking outlets' opened during a financial year should be located in unbanked rural centres. The RBI mandated this in its notification -- "Rationalisation of Branch Authorisation Policy- Revision of Guidelines" -- issued on Thursday.
  2. YES Bank, India’s fifth largest private sector bank, has launched YES Khushi – Affordable Home Loans. This product has been designed to cater to the housing needs of the common man in the EWS / LIG segment, fulfilling probably their biggest dream of owning a house.
  3. BSNL, a state-owned telecom operator has signed various agreements with Facebook and MobiKwik as it is eyeing to popularise the internet and its value added services among its users.
  4. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council on 18 May 2017 fixed the GST rates for specific products which may lead to lower prices for a majority of products of mass consumption. Moreover, the GST Council also fixed the deadline for rolling out the GST on 1 July 2017 to create a single national market. GST Rates of 1211 items were finalised by the GST council with 81 per cent of them facing a levy of up to 18 per cent. However, GST  Council has still to decide on the GST levy on gold, biscuits, packaged and branded cereals, footwear, bidis and textiles.
  5. After a 30-year wait for new artillery guns since the Bofors scandal, the Indian Army on 18 May 2017 received the first two M-777 A-2 (Indian) ultra-light howitzers (ULH) from BAE systems of the US.
  6. Anant G. Geete, Union Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises Minister, on 18 May 2017 formally inaugurated the Test Track Facility at Oragadam, Chennai
  7. Simbex-17, a bilateral naval exercise between India and Republic of Singapore commenced on 18 May 2017 in the South China Sea.
  8. The Annual Joint Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Exercise began on 18 May 2017 at Naval Station Karwar. Named as 'Karavali Karunya', the exercise is being conducted by Indian Navy’s Western Naval Command. It involves both professional exchange and actual disaster response mechanisms which is set on a Tsunami disaster scenario.
  9. The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, on 18 May 2017 received the first copy of book ‘Metaphysics, Morals and Politics’ in Kolkata, West Bengal.
  10. Grand Master R R Laxman of Integral Coach Factory on 18 May 2017 won the All India Open Rapid FIDE Rating Chess Tournament at the Kshudiram Anushilan Kendra, Kolkata, West Bengal.
  11. Britain's Indian-origin steel tycoon Sanjeev Gupta has bagged a top global award for his successful acquisitions and his drive to transform the steel industry in the UK, India and beyond.
  12. Pranay Varada, 14-year-old Indian-American student, on 18 May 2017 won the prestigious National Geographic Bee competition 2017. 






Financial and Banking News

RBI issues new branch expansion norms


  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday mandated that 25 per cent of the total number of 'banking outlets' opened during a financial year should be located in unbanked rural centres.
  • The RBI mandated this in its notification -- "Rationalisation of Branch Authorisation Policy- Revision of Guidelines" -- issued on Thursday.
  • "Domestic scheduled commercial banks (other than RRBs) are permitted to open, unless otherwise specifically restricted, banking outlets in tier 1 to tier 6 centres without having the need to take permission from RBI in each case," the central bank said in the notification.
  • "At least 25 per cent of the total number of 'Banking Outlets' opened during a financial year should be opened in unbanked rural centres."

Here are the highlights

  • —RBI has widened the role of bank boards, making them responsible for complying with the new guidelines
  • —The RBI removed the restriction on tier-I branches, which was earlier linked to the number of branches opened in the unbanked areas.
  • —RBI has also changed the definition of what constitutes a branch. As against the earlier definition of considering all the outlets including extension counters and ATMs as a 'branch', the new provisions have changed the nomenclature to calling it as a 'banking outlet'.
  • —There will be a 'banking outlet' which will be open for minimum four hours a day and five day a week
  • —There is scope for a part-time banking outlet which will be a fixed point service unit but not comply with working hours requirement.
  • —The RBI had constituted an internal working group before coming out with the draft guidelines
  • —The final guidelines issued on Thursday are operational with immediate effect

YES Bank launches affordable home loan YES Khushi for people in EWS/LIG segments


  • YES Bank, India’s fifth largest private sector bank, has launched YES Khushi – Affordable Home Loans. This product has been designed to cater to the housing needs of the common man in the EWS / LIG segment, fulfilling probably their biggest dream of owning a house.
  • YES Khushi Home Loans has partnered with more than 500 builders across 35 cities and towns across India.
  • YES Bank is also empanelled with the National Housing Bank (NHB) for dispensation of the housing loan subsidy under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) scheme to help customers avail this subsidy scheme.
  • A sizeable portion of the customer base has received the subsidy in the first eight months of operation.
  • A team of more than 300 skilled professionals along with more than 150 third party channel partners are responsible for sourcing and servicing of customers, ensuring timely service delivery, claimed the bank in a press release here.
  • Since the product specially caters to the EWS/LIG segment, a dedicated team of underwriters has been set up in-house to process loans only for this segment. The customer mix ranges from drivers, house helps, kiranawala, peons to courier boys, security guards, the hitherto overlooked segment of the society in the lending space.

BSNL inks pact with Facebook, Mobikwick & Disney India


  • BSNL, a state-owned telecom operator has signed various agreements with Facebook and MobiKwik as it is eyeing to popularise the internet and its value added services among its users.
  • The pacts were signed to commemorate the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Facebook, under the signed MoU, will provide connectivity for the social network's 'Express Wi-Fi Program'.
  • The social media website, Facebook through public hotspots offers internet facility in rural parts of the country, under the Express Wi-Fi Service, with a partnership with other telecom operators.
  • The company along with MobiKwik will work together to co-create a BSNL mobile wallet to facilitate payment for its services and products, under the MoU.
  • In addition to this, the digital payments firm will through its app and website exclusively also enable "digital sale" of BSNL sim cards.
  • The telecom operator in its filing to the exchange also added that it has inked a third MoU with Disney India which will provide its telecom customers premium online gaming services.


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GST Council announces GST Rates of 1211 items


  • The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council on 18 May 2017 fixed the GST rates for specific products which may lead to lower prices for a majority of products of mass consumption.
  • Moreover, the GST Council also fixed the deadline for rolling out the GST on 1 July 2017 to create a single national market.
  • GST Rates of 1211 items were finalised by the GST council with 81 per cent of them facing a levy of up to 18 per cent. However, GST  Council has still to decide on the GST levy on gold, biscuits, packaged and branded cereals, footwear, bidis and textiles.

GST Rates of various commodities

  • Foodgrains, cereals and milk will cost less from 1 July as the GST Council decided to exempt these daily-use commodities from the GST levy.
  • Common use products like hair oil, soaps and toothpaste will be charged with GST of 18 per cent instead of present 22-24 per cent tax incidence.
  • Milk and curd will be exempted from taxation when the Goods and Service Tax.
  • 'Mithai' or sweets will attract 5 per cent GST levy.
  • Daily-use items like sugar, tea, coffee (barring instant coffee and instant tea) and edible oil will attract the lowest tax rate of 5 per cent, almost the same as current incidence. Instant tea and coffee are expected to be in a separate bracket.
  • Automobiles will attract 28 per cent GST, with luxury vehicles facing an additional cess of 15 per cent.
  • Small petrol cars will face 1per cent GST, while diesel-powered small cars will attract 3 per cent GST.
  • In addition, bikes with engine capacity of over 350cc, which are seen as luxury goods, will see a new cess of 3 per cent.
  • For coal, there will be reduction of tax from 11.69 per cent to 5 per cent, helping lower the cost of power.
  • Similarly, the burden on those buying refrigerators or washing machines will come down from around 31-32 per cent to 28 per cent.

News related to India and states

Indian Army gets M777 howitzers 30 years after Bofors scandal


  • After a 30-year wait for new artillery guns since the Bofors scandal, the Indian Army on 18 May 2017 received the first two M-777 A-2 (Indian) ultra-light howitzers (ULH) from BAE systems of the US.
  • This is a part of an order for 145 long-range guns which will be mostly deployed on borders. The M-777 A-2 (Indian) ultra-light howitzers (ULH) having a maximum range of 30 km were being taken to Pokhran firing range in Rajasthan for test firing.
  • After firing tables are ready, three more guns will be received in the second stage in September 2018 for training. Thereafter, induction will commence from March 2019 onwards at the rate of five guns per month till complete consignment is received by mid-2021.
  • While 25 guns will come in a fly-away condition, the rest will be assembled in India by the BAE Systems in partnership with Mahindra Defence. The 155 mm, 39-calibre guns will fire Indian ammunitions.

Anant Geete inaugurates Test Track Facility developed by Global Automotive Research Centre


  • Anant G. Geete, Union Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises Minister, on 18 May 2017 formally inaugurated the Test Track Facility at Oragadam, Chennai. 
  • The test track facility is developed by Global Automotive Research Centre (GARC). The facility has been notified to issue certificates under CMVR 1989.
  • The total cost of Test tracks project is Rs. 193.25 crore.
  • The Global Automotive Research Centre is a body working under the National Automotive Testing & R&D Infra Project (NATRiP).
  • The NATRiP is the largest and one of the most significant initiatives of the Government of India in the automotive sector. It represents a unique joining of hands between the Government of India, a number of State Governments and Indian Automotive Industry to create a state of the art Testing, Validation and R&D infrastructure in India.
  • The Project aims at creating core global competencies in automotive sector in India and facilitate seamless integration of Indian Automotive industry with the world as also to position India prominently on the global automotive map.

Simbex-17, bilateral naval exercise between India and Republic of Singapore, begins


  • Simbex-17, a bilateral naval exercise between India and Republic of Singapore commenced on 18 May 2017 in the South China Sea.
  • Indian naval ships Shivalik, Sahyadri, Jyoti and Kamorta and one P8-I Maritime Patrol and Anti-Submarine Warfare Aircraft are participating in the excercise. While INS Sahyadri and INS Kamorta are at Singapore since 12 May 2017, INS Shivalik and INS Jyoti would be joining directly for the sea phase of the exercise. The ships are under the command of Rear Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta, YSM, VSM, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet.
  • Simbex is an acronym for Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercises.
  • Bilateral cooperation between Singapore and India was first formalised when RSN ships began training with the Indian Navy in 1994.

Joint HADR Exercise commences at Naval Station Karwar


  • The Annual Joint Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Exercise began on 18 May 2017 at Naval Station Karwar.
  • Named as 'Karavali Karunya', the exercise is being conducted by Indian Navy’s Western Naval Command. It involves both professional exchange and actual disaster response mechanisms which is set on a Tsunami disaster scenario.
  • Kravali Karunya means 'assistance to the coast of Karnataka'. It will see the armed forces, central government agencies and state government departments working together to provide relief in a post-tsunami scenario.
  • Two first-hand accounts of actual Tsunami relief operations of 2004 were presented by Rear Admiral Suraj Berry and Colonel Vikram Sharma, who brought out the real scenario of 2004 Tsunami Hit areas in Sri Lanka and Andaman and Nicobar Islands respectively.
  • The proceedings of the day also included setting up of Internally Displaced People camp and static display. The Camp at Rabindranath Tagore Beach will be open to public.


Books & Authors


President Pranab Mukherjee receives first copy of book ‘Metaphysics, Morals and Politics’


  • The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, on 18 May 2017 received the first copy of book ‘Metaphysics, Morals and Politics’ in Kolkata, West Bengal.
  • The book is authored by Professor Amal Kumar Mukhopadhyay.
  •  In 1961, Prof Mukhopadhyay joined as a research scholar at the London School of Economics and began his Ph.D. research on Thomas Hill Green, the 19th century English idealist political philosopher.
  • In 1965, he was awarded Ph.D. degree by London University. His thesis was published in a book titled ‘The Ethics of Obedience’.
  • Later, he decided to bring out his original thesis contradicting and elaborating some of his earlier arguments. Now, the book has come with a new title ‘Metaphysics, Morals and Politics’.

Sports News

R R Laxman wins All India Open Rapid FIDE Rating Chess Meet


  • Grand Master R R Laxman of Integral Coach Factory on 18 May 2017 won the All India Open Rapid FIDE Rating Chess Tournament at the Kshudiram Anushilan Kendra, Kolkata, West Bengal.
  • Laxman finished on top in the tournament with 9.5 points.
  • FIDE Master Mitrabha Guha racked up 8.5 points to finish second in the 10-round tournament while untitled Srijit Paul finished third ahead of Grand Master Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury with a better tie-break score.
  • International Master Somak Palit scored 7.5 points to secure the fifth place while another International Master Prantik Roy was placed eighth in the tournament.

Awards & Honors

Indian-origin steel tycoon Sanjeev Gupta bags prestigious 'CEO of the Year' award in UK

  • Britain's Indian-origin steel tycoon Sanjeev Gupta has bagged a top global award for his successful acquisitions and his drive to transform the steel industry in the UK, India and beyond.
  • Gupta, the executive chairman of the Liberty House Group who has been behind a series of acquisitions in the British steel industry of former Tata Steel and Caparo assets, received the title "CEO of the Year" at the prestigious Platts Global Metals Awards in London last night.
  • He was chosen from a shortlist of 10 top metal industry executives, including Indian CEOs Sajjan Jindal of JSW Steel and Prakash Kumar Singh of the Steel Authority of India.


Indian-American student Pranay Varada wins 2017 National Geographic Bee Competition

  • Pranay Varada, 14-year-old Indian-American student, on 18 May 2017 won the prestigious National Geographic Bee competition 2017. As National Geographic Bee champion, he gets USD 50000 in scholarship and other prizes.
  • He was declared the winner as he won the first tie breaker question when he correctly identified the Kunlun Mountains as the 1200 mile range that separates the Taklimakan Desert from the Tibetan Plateau.
  • Veda Bhattaram another Indian-American from New Jersey finished third at the finals, while Thomas Wright from Wisconsin was declared the runner up.








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