Current Affairs Update – 24 August, 2017


Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 24 August, 2017. These are very important for the upcoming IBPS PO, IBPS RRB, OICL AO, UIIC Assistant & NICL Assistant Exams.



Banking & Financial News

HDFC becomes the first bank in India to launch DigiPOS


  • HDFC Bank has become the first bank in India to launch DigiPOS, a Point of Sale (POS) machine that offers a complete suite of digital payment options. DigiPOS will offer customers various digital payment options such as UPI, Bharat QR, SMS Pay and PayZapp, in addition to the facility to pay through debit / credit cards.
  • The bank has a network of over 4 lakh PoS machines used by 3 lakh merchants across 4000 locations. In the next 3-4 months, HDFC Bank will convert its entire network of over 4 lakh PoS machines to DigiPOS without any investment by the merchants. The pilots are beeing carried out in all four metros with large retailers.
  • Through a market survey, the bank realized that the merchants were faced with several challenges around payments. The multiple payment modes and multiple devices cluttered the entire mechanism, multiple transaction reports resulted in reconciliation hassles, the complex steps in receiving payments required the merchants to train their counter staff and the multiple service providers added to the confusion. The DigiPOS payment solution alleviates these pain points and provides simplicity, value, convenience, security to the merchants. The customer interface is simple and intuitive. It gives the merchant one single report at the end of the day which reconciles all his transactions across payment methods.
  • The payment solution is available as a software upgrade fo the existing POS terminals. The merchant does not have to make any fresh investment to access DigiPOS. After a software upgrade done by the bank’s service engineer, the merchant can use the same POS terminal to avail of the payment solution.

Finance Ministry gives formal go ahead to printing of Rs 200 notes


  • The Union Finance Ministry on 23 August 2017 confirmed the launch of the new Rs 200 note.
  • The information was formally revealed through a Gazette notification, which stated, “The central government hereby specifies the denomination of bank notes of the value of 200 rupees.”
  • The notification has been issued under Section 24 of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, on the recommendations of the Central Board of Directors of the RBI.
  • Besides confirming the launch of the new Rs 200 note, the government also formally announced the release of a new fluorescent blue Rs 50 note. However, this does not indicate demonetisation of the earlier Rs 50 notes, as they would continue to remain as legal tender.
  • The printing of the new Rs 200 note is already underway and hence, it would be brought into circulation soon. The move aims to increase the circulation of smaller denomination notes, easing the pressure off the existing bills.
  • Following demonetisation of all ₹500 and ₹1,000 banknotes on 8 November 2017, there have been reports of people facing problems in using the new high-value Rs 2000 note due to insufficiency in the number of lower denomination currency, especially in the Rs 100 and Rs 500 banknotes.


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Union Cabinet approves amalgamation of Public Sector Banks through Alternative Mechanism


  • The Union Cabinet on 23 August 2017 approved amalgamation of Public Sector Banks through an Alternative Mechanism (AM) with an aim to facilitate consolidation among the Nationalised Banks to create strong and competitive banks.
  • The decision regarding creating strong and competitive banks will be completely based on commercial considerations.
  • The proposal of Consolidation must start from the Boards of Banks.
  • The proposals received from the banks for in-principle approval to formulate schemes of amalgamation should be placed before the Alternative Mechanism (AM).
  • After in-principle approval, the banks will be required to take steps in agreement with law and SEBI’s requirements.
  • The final scheme will be notified by Union Government in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

India-Nepal signed 8 agreements to boost the bilateral relations


  • India and Nepal on 24 August 2017 signed eight agreements in different areas of mutual benefit including demand reduction and prevention of illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and cooperation in the field of standardization and conformity assessment among others. The agreements were signed in New Delhi during Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba visit to India.
  • Nepal PM Deuba is on a five-day long state visit to in India (23 August to 27 August 2017). The signed agreements will help the two nations to boost the bilateral relations.
List of MoUs/Agreements signed during the visit of Prime Minister of Nepal to India

  • MoU on modalities for utilization of India’s housing grant component to support reconstruction of 50000 houses
  • MoU on implementation of the grant component of India’s post-earthquake reconstruction package in the education sector in Nepal
  • MoU on implementation of the grant component of India’s post-earthquake reconstruction package in the cultural heritage sector in Nepal
  • MoU on implementation of the grant component of India’s post-earthquake reconstruction package in the health sector in Nepal
  • MoU for implementation arrangement on cost sharing, schedules and safeguard issues for construction of Mechi bridge under ADB's SASEC road connectivity programme (Tranche 2), funded by Union Government
  • MoU on drug demand reduction and prevention of illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemical and related matters
  • Agreement on cooperation in the field of standardization and conformity assessment
  • MoU between the institute of chartered accountants of India and the institute of chartered accountants of Nepal

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approves closure of Bharat Wagon and Engineering Company


  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 23 August 2017 approved the proposal of Union Ministry of Railways to close the Bharat Wagon and Engineering Company Limited (BWEL).
  • The BWEL is a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) under the Union Ministry of Railways.
  • The BWEL’s 626 employees will be benefitted from the voluntary retirement scheme to be offered at 2007 pay scale. The Union Government will have to provide one time grant off Rupees 151.18 crore towards severance package and for clearing the current liabilities of the company.
  • In view of the continues poor physical and financial performance of the company for more than 10 years, in spite of financial assistance and other support provided by the Ministry of Railways combined with low probability of its revival in future, the BWEL is being wound up.
  • The step will stop flow of financial support from public funds for carrying on the operations of sick/loss making BWEL resulting in savings for the Union Government.
  • The implementation will be done as per the timelines prescribed in the guidelines issued by Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) on time bound closure of sick/loss making CPSEs.


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News related to India & States

Privacy is a Fundamental Right under Article 21: Supreme Court


  • A nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court on 24 August 2017 ruled that the Right to Privacy is the Fundamental Right under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The bench observed that privacy is intrinsic to freedom of life and personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • The bench overruled the previous judgments in the M P Sharma and Kharak Singh cases, which declared that the Right to Privacy was not protected by the Constitution.
  • Henceforth, the question of whether Aadhaar violates the Right to Privacy is now likely to be taken up by a five-judge Constitution bench.
  • This verdict will now determine whether the submission of an individual’s Aadhaar number can be made compulsory for access to government schemes or not.
  • The bench, headed by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar, comprises Justices J Chelameswar, S A Bobde, R K Agrawal, R F Nariman, A M Sapre, D Y Chandrachud, S K Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer.

This ruling will have its impact on these landmark cases:
1. Aadhar - Union Government's decision to introduce biometric data enabled aadhar ID for citizen.
2. Section 377 - Homosexuality, oral sex is criminal offence.
3. Section 66 A of IT Act Verdict - State can take action against an individual for sharing his thoughts on social platform.
4. DNA Profiling Bill - DNA of an individual can be profiled without his consent.

Appointments

Union Government names Rajiv Bansal as CMD of Air India


  • The Union Government on 23 August 2017 named Rajiv Bansal, additional secretary and financial advisor in the Petroleum Ministry, as interim CMD of Air India Ltd.
  • The decision came a day after the previous Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani was appointed as the Chairman of the Railway Board.
  • He has also served in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, where he looked after digital payments, IT Act, Aadhaar and internet governance.
  • During his career spanning close to 30 years, he also served as Secretary of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), and Joint Secretary in the Department of Heavy Industries.

Ashwani Lohani appointed as Chairman of Railway Board


  • Ashwani Lohani was on 23 August 2017 appointed as the Chairman of Railway Board of India. Lohani will succeed AK Mittal, who resigned as the Chairman of Railway Board following two back-to-back train accidents.
  • The announcement was by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet after Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu offered his resignation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi following the recent train accidents. However, his resignation was not accepted.
  • Mittal's resignation came hours after Delhi-bound Kaifiyat Express got derailed in Uttar Pradesh's Auraiya district early on 23 August 2017. At least 74 people were injured in the incident as nine coaches of the Kaifiyat Express got derailed after colliding with a dumper.
  • Earlier on 19 August 2017, 23 people were killed and 156 injured after fourteen coaches of Utkal Express got derailed near Muzzafarnagar in western Uttar Pradesh.

Sports News

England striker Wayne Rooney retires from international football


  • Former England captain Wayne Rooney on 23 August 2017 announced his retirement from international football, ending a 14-year career.
  • With this, Rooney also leaves as England's most-capped outfield player with 119 appearances.
  • He is the record goalscorer for the England national team and for Manchester United.
  • Along with Michael Carrick, he is the only English player to win the Premier League, FA Cup, UEFA Champions League, League Cup, UEFA Europa League and FIFA Club World Cup.
  • He had joined the Everton youth team at the age of 9, and made his professional debut for the club in 2002 at the age of 16.
  • He made his senior international debut for England in February 2003 aged 17, becoming the youngest player to represent England (a record since broken by Theo Walcott) and he is England's youngest ever goalscorer.

Australia beats Iran to clinch 2017 FIBA Asia Cup


  • Australia on 20 August 2017 was crowned the FIBA Asia Cup 2017 basketball champions.
  • The team defeated Iran 79-56 in the final to grab the title.
  • On the other hand, South Korea clinched the third place with a win over New Zealand 80-71.
  • The 2013 and 2015 was the last Asian Championship to serve as qualifiers to the FIBA Basketball World Cup and the Olympic Games.
  • The 2017 FIBA Asia Cup was the 29th continental basketball championship in Asia.
  •  It was held at the Nouhad Nawfal Stadium in Lebanon from 8 to 20 August 2017, a week earlier from the initial scheduled date.
  • The tournament determined the composition of the joint FIBA Asia and FIBA Oceania qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

World News

Nepal launches Climate-Smart Snow Leopard Plan


  • Nepal on 23 August 2017 launched its climate-smart snow leopard landscape management plan.
  • The plan aims to safeguard the endangered species of snow leopard and its habitat.
  • The plan is the first climate-smart landscape management plan for snow leopard conservation in the world.
  • The conservation plan was launched ahead of the International Snow Leopard Summit and Ecosystem Forum that addresses key current and emerging threats to the snow leopards, including climate change.
  • Nepal's conservation plan also comes ahead of the Bishkek Declaration, which will be signed by all 12 range states at the close of the summit and must pave the way for more substantial action in securing 20 snow leopard landscapes by 2020.

Books & Authors

I Do What I Do: On Reform, Rhetoric & Resolve authored by Raghuram Rajan


  • Raghuram Rajan explains economic concepts and talks of issues like tolerance and connection between political freedom and prosperity in his new book, which is a collection of essays and speeches during his stint as RBI head.
  • When Rajan took charge as governor of the Reserve Bank of India in September 2013, the rupee was in free fall, inflation was high, India had a large current account deficit, and exchange reserves were falling.
  • As measure after measure failed to stabilise markets, speculators sensed a full—blown crisis and labelled India one of the Fragile Five economies.
  • Rajan’s response was to go all out, not just to tackle the crisis of confidence, but also to send a strong message about the strength of India’s institutions and the country’s ongoing programme of reform, publisher HarperCollins India said.
  • Rajan’s commentary and speeches in “I Do What I Do: On Reform, Rhetoric & Resolve” convey what it was like to be at the helm of the central bank in those turbulent but exciting times, it said.
  • This is not Rajan’s first book. He co-authored “Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists” with Luigi Zingales and wrote “Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy”, for which he was awarded the Financial Times-Goldman Sachs prize for best business book.


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