Current Affairs Update – 23-25 September, 2017


Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 23, 24 & 25 September, 2017. These are very important for the upcoming IBPS PO, IBPS RRB, OICL AO, UIIC Assistant & NICL Assistant Exams.


Banking & Financial News

PM Narendra Modi launches 'Saubhagya' scheme

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ‘Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana-Saubhagya’ on 25 September 2017 in New Delhi to mark the birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya.
  • Listed on the agenda of the Cabinet meeting held last week, the scheme is expected to cover all rural families after expected electrification of all villages by the end of 2017.

Aim & Objective

  • The Yojana mainly aims to provide last mile power connectivity to all rural and urban households.
  • The scheme would provide subsidy on electrical equipments such as transformers, meters and wires.
  • The Yojana aims to re-enforce the centre’s target of achieving power for all.
Impact

  • The benefit of this Yojana is expected to reach villages, especially the rural area of the country by the end of 2017.
  • The scheme is expected to provide all the villages with equal benefits.
  • With electric connection in the villages, the rural sector is expected to receive more benefits.
  • The scheme would also further revitalise the ‘Digital India’ vision and there will be penetration of more technology in the remote areas of the country.


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SBI launches chatbot "SIA" to help customers in banking activities


  • Artificial intelligence banking platform Payjo today said it has launched an AI-powered chat assistant for State Bank of India to addresses customer enquiries.
  • The chat assistant, known as SBI Intelligent Assistant, or SIA, will help customers with everyday banking tasks just like a bank representative, the company said in a statement.
  • "SIA is a revolution in the banking industry. It is set to disrupt the way banks and customers interact," Payjo founder and CEO Srinivas Njay said.
  • SIA has been set up to handle nearly 10,000 enquiries per second, or 864 million in a day, which is nearly 25% of the queries processed by Google every day.
  • "SIA will enhance customer service several notches above. Payjo's expertise in the conversational banking domain helped us build SIA as a superior chatbot in the global banking space.
  • With SIA, the bank will reduce significant operational expenditure over time.
  • Currently, SIA can address enquiries on banking products and services.

SBI revises service charges on maintaining monthly average balance


  • State Bank of India (SBI) has reviewed the requirement of maintaining Monthly Average Balance (MAB) and the charges for non-maintenance of MAB. In this context, SBI would like to state that financial inclusion including JAN DHAN Accounts have never been subject to any charges.
  • In respect of the rest, it has now been decided to exempt the pensioners, beneficiaries of social benefits from the Government and accounts of Minors. Therefore, this is in addition to the already exempted categories under PMJDY accounts and Basic Savings Bank Deposit Accounts (BSBD).
  • The Bank has also decided to treat the metro and urban centres in the same category and the requirement of MAB in metro centres stands reduced to Rs 3,000.
  • For non-maintenance of MAB, the charges have also been revised downward ranging from 20% to 50% across all population groups and categories.

PM forms Economic Advisory Council; Bibek Debroy appointed chairman


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today constituted Economic Advisory Council to the PM (EAC-PM), which will focus on structural reforms.
  • NITI Aayog's Bibek Debroy has been appointed as its chairman.
  • Surjit Bhalla, Rathin Roy, Aashima Goyal and Ratan Watal will be part-time members of EAC-PM.
Terms of reference of the EAC would be as follows:
1) Analyse any issue, economic or otherwise, referred to it by the PM and advising him theron.
2) Addressing issues of macro-economic importance and presenting views thereon to the PM.
3) Attending to any other task as may be desired by the PM from time to time.


Union Government announces new PPP Policy for Affordable Housing


  • The Union Minister of Housing & Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri on 21 September 2017 announced a new PPP Policy for Affordable Housing that allows extending central assistance of up to Rs 2.50 lakh  for each house to be built by private builders even on private lands.
  • The policy seeks to assign risks among the government, developers and financial institutions and to those who can manage them the best besides leveraging underutilized and un-utilized private and public lands towards meeting the Housing for All target by 2022.
The two PPP models for private investments in affordable housing on private lands include:

  • Central assistance of about Rs 2.50 lakh per each house as interest subsidy on bank loans as upfront payment under the Credit Linked Subsidy Component (CLSS) component of Pradhan Mantri Awas yojana (Urban).
  • Central assistance of Rs 1.50 lakh per each house to be built on private lands would be provided in case the beneficiaries do not intend to take bank loans.
This new policy gives eight Public Private Partnership (PPP) options for private sector to invest in affordable housing segment. Among these, six options call for using government lands. These 6 PPP options are:

  • DBT Model: Under this option, private builders can design, build and transfer houses built on government lands to public authorities. Government land will be allocated based on the least cost of construction.
  • Mixed  Development Cross –subsidized Housing: Government land will be allotted based on number of affordable houses to be built on the plot offered to private builders.
  • Annuity Based Subsidized Housing: Builders will invest against deferred annuity payments by the Government and land allocation to builders will be based on unit cost of construction.
  • Annuity-cum-Capital Grant Based Affordable Housing: Builders will be paid a share of project cost as upfront payment.
  • Direct Relationship Ownership Housing: Under this option, promoters will directly deal with buyers and recover costs. Allocation of public land will be based on unit cost of construction.
  • Direct Relationship Rental Housing:  Recovery of the costs by builders is through rental incomes from the houses built on government lands.

India to collaborate with Russia for Bangladesh nuclear power plant


  • India announced a collaboration with Russia on 20 September 2017 to build a nuclear plant in Bangladesh.
  • The move is the first initiative under the Indo-Russia deal to undertake atomic energy projects in the third-world nations. It will also be India's first atomic energy venture abroad.
  • The information was shared by Atomic Energy Commission chairman Sekhar Basu at the 61st general conference of the global nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)."We are collaborating with our Russian and Bangladeshi partners on establishing Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant in Bangladesh," he said.
  • The Roppur project, which is being built near Dhaka, will be Bangladesh's first atomic energy project.
  • After commissioning of two units, each with a capacity of 1200 MWs, Bangladesh will be the third South Asian country after India and Pakistan to harness energy from atomic fission.
  • In India, the government has approved construction of 10 new indigenously built nuclear power projects.
  • With this, the total number of reactors would go up to 21 under construction and 22 in operation, which in turn will increase the country’s atomic energy capacity to over 22,000 MW by the end of next decade.

News related to India & states

Union Government launches Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhayay Vigyan Gram Sankul Pariyojana


  • Dr. Harshvardhan, the Union Minister of Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Environment, Forest & Climate Change, on 22 September 2017 launched the Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhayay Vigyan Gram Sankul Pariyojana.
  • The Project aims at formulating and implementing appropriate Science and Technology (S&T) interventions for sustainable development through cluster approach in Uttarakhand.
Key highlights

  • The project has been inspired by teachings and ideals of Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhayay whose birth centenary falls in the year 2017.
  • The Department of Science and Technology (DST) conceived to adopt a few clusters of villages in Uttarakhand and transform them to become self-sustainable in a time bound manner through the tools of S&T.
  • The key deliverable in this approach is to utilise local resources and locally available skill sets and convert them in a manner using science and technology, that substantial value addition takes place in their local produce and services which can sustain the rural population locally. 
  • Under the project, the local communities are not compelled to migrate from their native places in search of jobs and livelihoods. Once this concept is validated in the few selected clusters, it can be replicated across large number of village clusters in the country.
  • Four clusters at Gaindikhata, Bazeera, Bhigun (in Garhwal) and Kausani (in Kumaon) have been selected for the intervention through a series of dialogues held among officials of DST and Uttarakhand State Council of Science and Technology (UCOST), Gramodaya Network, Surabhi Foundation and Uttarakhand Utthan Parishad, and other experts.
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New underground water treatment plant inaugurated in Tripura


  • In Tripura, a new underground water treatment plant was inaugurated on 23 September 2017 at Sadhutilla in southern part of Agartala with the support of the state Urban Development department.
  • The plant mainly aims to fulfil the long cherished aspiration of people of drinking water that is free from iron and any other contamination.
  • The water treatment plant has been designed to treat surface water and deep tube wells.
  • The plant will start by treating underground water collected through six deep tube wells of the Sadhutilla locality.
  • It has treatment capacity of 4.8 million litres per day and will supply potable water to 2500 connections at households, schools, markets and institutions of 13 small residential settlements.
  • It also has two Over Head Storage Reservoirs with capacities of 1,130 kilo litre and 450 kilo litre.
  • Initially, the plant will supply treated water to 565 households through pipe line.
  • The main speciality of the plant is that it would be treating water at higher standards with minimizing turbidity and iron in water much below the permissible level.

Multi-agency exercise Pralay Sahayam held in Hyderabad


  • A multi-agency exercise Pralay Sahayam was conducted on 23 September 2017 on the banks of Hussain Sagar Lake in Hyderabad, Telangana.
  • The event demonstrated efforts of all central and state agencies, National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and the Armed Forces towards jointly tackling an urban flooding scenario in Hyderabad.
  • For the purpose of the multi-agency exercise, Hussain Sagar Lake was transformed into urban colonies partly submerged under water, post heavy showers in the city.
  • A large number of dummy structures depicting multi-storied buildings and houses with stranded people, power stations, educational institutes etc., were erected in the lake in an inundated condition.
  • The hapless stranded occupants of these dwellings were rescued in joint operations carried out by the State Government agencies, Police, State Fire & Emergency Services, NDRF, CISF and the Armed Forces.

Appointments

Rajiv Mehrishi sworn in as new CAG of India


  • Rajiv Mehrishi took over as the 13th Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India on 25 September 2017, succeeding Shashi Kant Sharma, who left office on 22 September.
  • Mehrishi was administered the oath of office and secrecy by President Ram Nath Kovind at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan, Delhi. Several dignitaries including Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were present at the occasion.
  • His predecessor Shashi Kant Sharma had taken over as the CAG on 23 May 2013. Prior to his appointment, Sharma was serving as the defence secretary.

Awards & Honors

C N R Rao chosen for 2017 Von Hippel Award


  • Renowned scientist C N R Rao in September 2017 became the first Asian to be chosen for the Von Hippel Award.
  • Rao is chosen for the prestigious award for his immense contribution in materials research.
  • The award citation noted Rao’s immense work on novel functional materials, including nanomaterials (having particles of nanoscale dimensions), graphene (the strongest and thinnest material) and 2D materials, superconductivity, and colossal magnetoresistance (change in electrical resistance of a material in a magnetic field).
  • The award is the US-based Materials Research Society’s (MRS) highest honour.
  • Rao will be presented with the award on 29 November 2017 in Boston during an MRS meeting.

Sports News

Mary Kom to be AIBA representative at IOC Athletes’ Forum


  • Five-time world champion and Olympic bronze-medallist M C Mary Kom in September 2017 became the first Indian to be picked as representative of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) for the IOC Athletes’ Forum.
  • The 33-year-old athlete has been invited to attend the 8th International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Athletes’ Forum in Lausanne from 11 November to 13 November 2017.
  • However, the event overlaps with the Asian Championship in Vietnam, which is scheduled from 2 November to 12 November 2017. If Mary Kom is selected for the tournament after trials later in September 2017, her participation at the IOC event would become uncertain.

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