Current Affairs Update – 12-13 October, 2017


Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 12 & 13 October, 2017. These are very important for the upcoming IBPS PO, IBPS RRB, OICL AO, UIIC Assistant & NICL Assistant Exams.



Banking & Financial News

RBI introduces strict KYC guidelines for Prepaid Payment Instruments


  • RBI has announced a fresh guideline on the issuance and operation of PPI (Prepaid Payment Instruments). It has also has issued stricter Know Your Customer (KYC) norms for the users of prepaid instrument or mobile wallets.
  • With these guidelines to complete full KYC formalities, the mobile wallet user can now send-receive money between wallets of different companies and banks seamlessly through Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
  • The guidelines have come into effect from 12th October 2017 and the PPIs will have to comply with these norms on or before December 31, 2017.
  • According to the new guidelines, mobile wallets or PPI, which have been doing a minimum KYC through verification of mobile numbers, will have switch to full KYC wallet within one year of opening it. All existing wallet users have to switch to the full KYC format by this year end.
  • The minimum KYC wallets cannot have a balance of more than ten thousand rupees, and this can be allowed only for purchase of goods and services and not for remittances to other wallets or bank accounts.
  • Full KYC wallets will have a limit of one lakh rupees and can avail all facilities for fund transfer.
  • PPIs cannot be loaded with more than fifty thousand rupees per month.

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Union Minister launches Sampoorna Bima Gram Yojana


  • The Union Minister for Communications, Manoj Sinha on 13 October 2017 launched the Sampoorna Bima Gram (SBG) Yojana, an initiative for expansion of client base of Postal Life Insurance.
  • During the launch, the Minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to provide banking services through the postal network needs to be taken forward to provide affordable life insurance services to people living in rural areas of the country. He said that all villages under the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana will be brought under its ambit.
About Sampoorna Bima Gram Yojana

  • Under the Yojana, at least one village having a minimum of 100 households will be identified in each of the revenue districts of the country.
  • Following this, effort will be taken to cover all households of that identified village with a minimum of one RPLI (Rural Postal Life Insurance) policy each.
  • The main objective of the scheme is to cover all households in the identified Sampoorna Bima Gram village.
  • Under the scheme expansion of clientele base of PLI, it has now been decided that benefits of PLI will no more be confined to Government and semi-Government employees, but will also be available to professionals such as Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, Charted Accountants and Bankers.
  • The decision has been taken to expand the cover of social security and bring maximum number of people under the protection of Postal Life Insurance (PLI).
  • These major initiatives being undertaken by Department of Posts are expected to serve as an instrument of securing lives of people as well as enhancing financial inclusion.
Postal Life Insurance (PLI)

  • The scheme, which was introduced in 1884, is one of the oldest life insurance schemes introduced for the benefit of Government and semi-Government employees.
  • The Rural Postal Life Insurance (RPLI) was introduced on 24 March 1995 on the recommendations of Malhotra Committee.
  • The scheme provides insurance cover to people residing in rural areas, especially weaker sections and women living in rural areas.
  • The main highlight of the schemes include Low Premium and High Bonus.
  • Till 31 March 2017, there were 46.8 lakh PLI and 146.8 lakh RPLI policies across the country.

HDFC Bank launches SmartUp zones to nurture, collaborate with start-ups


  • HDFC Bank wants to become the ‘Go To’ bank and preferred banker for the start-up community in the country, a top executive of the private sector bank said.
  • Towards this end, HDFC Bank on Thursday announced the launch of SmartUp zones in its branches across India.
  • “We have now completely revamped our offering for start-ups. Our aim is to become the Go-to Bank and preferred banker in the start-ups community. Numbers will follow,” Smita Bhagat, Senior Executive Vice-President and Head of E-Commerce and Branch Banking, HDFC Bank, told BusinessLine in an interview here.
  • She said HDFC Bank, which is already engaged with 150 start-ups, wants to “nurture” innovate and collaborate with more start-ups, especially in interior India where there is an emerging start-up ecosystem.
  • A SmartUp Zone is an exclusive area inside the branch dedicated to start-ups. In the first phase, SmartUp zones will be launched in over 65 branches in 30 cities including Tier-2 and-3 cities that are emerging as start-up hubs.
  • Through these zones, specially trained bank staff will offer tailor-made banking and advisory solutions to entrepreneurs.

CCEA approves SANKALP & STRIVE Schemes to boost Skill India Mission


  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 11 October 2017 approved two World Bank supported schemes Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP) and Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE) to boost Skill India Mission.
  • SANKALP is Rs 4455 crore centrally sponsored scheme including Rs 3300 crore loan support from World Bank whereas STRIVE is a Rs 2200 crore central sector scheme with half of the scheme outlay as World bank loan assistance.
  • SANKALP and STRIVE are outcome focused schemes.

Highlights of STRIVE scheme

  • STRIVE scheme will incentivize ITIs to improve overall performance including apprenticeship by involving SMEs, business association and industry clusters.
  • It will develop a robust mechanism for delivering quality skill development training by strengthening institutions- State Skill Development Missions (SSDMs), National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), Sector Skill Councils, ITIs and National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) etc.
  • It will support universalization of National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) including National Quality Assurance Framework (NQAF) across the skill development schemes.
  • It will provide the required push to the National Skill Development Mission 2015 and its various sub missions.
  • It aligned to flagship Government programs such as Make in India and Swachhta Abhiyan.

Highlights of SANKALP scheme

  • SANKALP envisages setting up of Trainers and Assessors academies with self-sustainable models. Over 50 such academies are to be set up in priority sectors.
  • It will leverage institutions for training the trainers in both long & short term VET thereby bringing about convergence. Additional trainer academies will also be set up.
  • Greater decentralization in skill planning will be ensured by institutional strengthening at the State level which includes setting up of SSDMs and allowing states to come up with District and State level Skill Development Plans (DSDP/SSDP).
  • It aims at enhancement of inclusion of underprivileged and marginalized communities including women, Scheduled Castes (SCs), Schedule Tribes (STs) and Persons with Disabilities (PWD).
  • It will develop a skilling ecosystem that will support the country's rise in the Ease of Doing Business index.

Union Cabinet approves signing of the MoC between India and Japan on establishing LNG Market


  • The Union Cabinet on 11 October 2017 approved the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between India and Japan for establishing a liquid, flexible and global Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Market.
  • The MoC will promote bilateral relationship between India and Japan in the energy sector.
  • It will contribute to the diversification of gas supplies for India.
  • It will strengthen the energy security and lead to more competitive prices for consumers.
  • It will provide a framework to cooperate in facilitating flexibility in LNG contracts and abolition of Destination Restriction Clause.
  • It will also explore possibilities of cooperation in establishing reliable LNG spot price indices reflecting true LNG demand and supply.

India to send 3-lakh youth to Japan for on-job training


  • Under the government's skill development programme, India will send 3-lakh youth to Japan for on-job training for 3-5 years, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.
  • The Union Cabinet has approved signing of Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between Japan and India on the 'Technical Intern Training Program (TITP)'.
  • The Technical Intern Training Program (TITP) is an ambitious program to send one Lakh Indian technical interns to Japan for on the job training for a period of 3-5 yrs.
  • These youth will work in the Japanese ecosystem and will get employment opportunities there along with accommodation facility.
  • It is also expected that about 50,000 out of one lakh interns may also get jobs in Japan.
  • The monetary cost of the skill training of Indian technical interns would be beared by Japan.
  • The selection of the youth for Intern Training Program will be done in a transparent manner as per the Japanese requirements.
  • The Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) is likely to be signed in this month.

Union Cabinet approves revised pay scales of teachers and academic staff


  • The Union Cabinet on 11 October 2017 approved the revision of pay scales for about 8 lakh teachers and other equivalent academic staff of universities and colleges recognised by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and also for the staff of Centrally Funded Technical Institutions.
  • The approval came following the implementation of the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission for Central Government employees.
  • The decision will benefit 7.58 lakh teachers and equivalent academic staff in the 106 Universities and Colleges which are funded by the UGC/MHRD.
  • It will also benefit 329 Universities which are funded by State Governments and 12912 government and private aided colleges affiliated to State Public Universities.
  • The revised pay package will cover teachers of 119 Centrally Funded Technical Institutions such as IITs, IISc, IIMs, IISERs, IIITs, NITIE, etc.
  • The approved pay scales will be effective from 1 January 2016.
  • The annual Central financial liability on account of this measure will be about Rs 9800 crore.

News related to India & states

Indian Naval Ships to participate in Passage Exercise with Japanese Marine


  • Indian Naval Ships Satpura and Kadmatt would be participating in the Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with Japanese Marine Self Defence Force.
  • The information was shared by Indian navy on 13 October 2017. The navy said in a statement that both the ships, INS Satpura and Kadmatt, are visiting Sasebo, Japan, from 12-15 October.
  • Following the completion of the harbour phase, the ships would take part in the Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with the Murusame Class destroyer, JS Kirisame.
  • The visit of the ships to Japan is a part of the Indian government's initiatives to strengthen the long-standing, mutually supportive and strong relationship between Japan and India.

Indian Air Force launches health mobile app 'MedWatch'


  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) on 11 October 2017 launched an innovative health mobile App named `MedWatch' on the occasion of its 85th anniversary. It was launched by Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa during the Air Force Commanders' Conference in New Delhi.
  • The Mobile app was launched to keep up with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of ‘Digital India'.
  • The concept and content of the App is given by the Directorate General of Medical Services (Air).
  • The app was developed in-house with zero financial outlay by the Directorate of Information Technology (DIT).
  • It comprises a host of features that will provide authentic health information to all IAF personnel.
  • An important component of the App is a Reminder Tool that enables timely immunization for the children of all Air Warriors. This will directly enable 'Mission Indradhanush' of Union Government.
  • It is the first health mobile app among the three Armed Services- Indian Army, Indian Navy and IAF.
It is available on the IAF's AFCEL network.

Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th Anniversary to be celebrated from 2 October 2019 to 2 October 2020


  • The Union Government on 12 October 2017 announced to observe the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi from 2 October 2019 to 2 October 2020.
  • To commemorate the same, the Union Government constituted a National Committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • This Committee comprises Chief Ministers of all the states, representatives from across the political spectrum, Gandhians, thinkers and prominent people from different spheres of life.
  • The Committee will direct and approve policies, programmes, activities for the commemoration and will also supervise the implementation of the decisions taken from time to time.

Chennai Metro Rail introduces free bicycle ride scheme


  • The Chennai Metro Rail, CMRL has introduced a free bicycle ride scheme for its customers. The metro corporation has tied up with a private agency to provide 100-hours of bicycle ride free of cost every month.
  • Speaking on the development, the CMRL said that the initiative is an effort towards providing last-mile connectivity service to passengers in order to help promote eco-friendly travel in the city. The move is expected to reduce dependence on private vehicles and provide a more economical option to the travellers.
  • No registration fee or charge has to be paid for renting the bicycles.
  • The users can avail 100 hours of free ride under the condition that the cycle is returned within 24 hours.
  • There are 10 cycles in each of the stations and people can gain access to them at any time of the day.

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Morocco on cooperation in the field of water resources


  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 11 October 2017 gave its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Morocco on cooperation in the field of water resources.
  • The main objective behind signing of the MoU is to enhance cooperation in the field of water resources development and management within the framework of their expertise and their respective legislations.

Union Cabinet approves MoU between India and Belarus for cooperation in Vocational Education


  • The Union Cabinet on 11 October 2017 approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Belarus for cooperation in the field of Vocational Education and Training (VET).
  • The MoU was signed between both the sides on 12 September 2017 during the visit of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko to India.
  • This is for the first time that India signed MoU for cooperation in area of vocational education, training and skill development with Eurasian country.
  • It will pave the way for systematic transfer of their expertise and knowhow in skilling the manpower specially in manufacturing sector.
  • The MoU will be implemented through establishing institutional partnerships between Republican Institute for Vocational Education (RIPO) , an apex institution for development of Belarusian vocational education system and Directorate General of Training in VET delivery & its sustainability.
  • Belarus will provide comprehensive transfer of know-how of emerging technologies, training and evaluation methodologies, content development for training of master trainers, competency building of the assessors.

Lists & Indexes

Global Hunger Index 2017 released: India ranked 100th among 119


  • The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) on 12 October 2017 released the '2017 Global Hunger Index: The Inequalities of Hunger'. This year, India ranks at low 100th position out of 119 countries on the Index, owing to the fact that one in every five children under age 5 has low weight for height.
  • As per the Global hunger Index 2017, the global hunger levels have fallen more than a quarter since 2000.
  • The Global Hunger Index this year underlines that famine has cast a shadow over four countries in 2016 while conflict and climate change continue to hit the poorest the hardest. There have been long term obstacles to reduce hunger in several countries, which is in-turn threatening efforts to reach zero hunger.
Highlights of the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2017

  • According to 2017 GHI scores, fortunately, the level of hunger in the world has decreased by 27 per cent from the year 2000.
  • Out of the assessed 119 countries, 1 falls in the extremely alarming range on the GHI Severity Scale; 7 fall in the alarming range; 44 fall in the serious range and 24 in the moderate range.
  • Only 43 countries have scores in the low range.
  • Nine of the 13 countries that lack sufficient data for calculating 2017 GHI score raise significant concern. These countries such as Somalia, South Sudan and Syria may have some of the highest levels of hunger.
  • In South Asia, India at 100th place is the third-worst in all of Asia, better only than Afghanistan and Pakistan. China ranked the highest at 29; Nepal ranked at 72, Myanmar at 77, Sri Lanka at 84, Bangladesh at 88, Pakistan at 106 and Afghanistan at 107.
  • In Africa south of the Sahara, the Central African Republic is placed in the “extremely alarming” category. The country has the same score today as it did in 2000, suggesting any progress made in recent years has been subsequently reversed.
  • Several countries including Sri Lanka, Mauritania, and Venezuela have higher GHI scores in 2017 than in 2008, after witnessing falling scores in the previous two decades.
  • The GHI scores of 14 countries including Senegal, Azerbaijan, Peru, Panama, Brazil and China improved by 50 per cent or more.

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Safe Cities Index 2017: Tokyo safest in world; Delhi is 43rd


  • Tokyo has once again topped the list of The Economist's Safe Cities Index 2017 while Delhi and Mumbai ranked 43rd and 45th respectively.
  • The index, produced by The Economist Intelligence Unit, was based on 49 indicators covering digital, health, infrastructure and personal security.
  • Of the 10 cities at the bottom of the index, two are in South Asia (Dhaka and Karachi), three in South-east Asia (Manila, Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta) and two in the Middle East and Africa (Cairo and Tehran), The Economist said.
  • In 2016, there were 31 megacities, each having more than 10 million people. And that figure is projected to rise to 41 million by 2030, the study said.
  • It cited recent terror attacks in London, Paris and Barcelona and said the wealthy urban centres are increasingly becoming targets of terrorists.
  • The study also noted income disparities and growing inequalities among people which can trigger 'violent outbursts such as the 2011 London riots'.
  • The index has retained four security categories from the 2015 version and added six new indicators. It has also been expanded to cover 60 cities, up from 50 in 2015.
  • Though Japan has fallen out of the top ten, to 12th in infrastructure security, it has managed to retain the overall ranking for the third consecutive year.
  • Tokyo's strongest performance is in the digital security category and it has risen seven points in the health security category, the report said.

Appointments

Gautam Bambawale appointed as India's Ambassador to China


  • Gautam Bambawale was on 12 October 2017 appointed as India's new Ambassador to China. Bambawale is an Indian Foreign Service Officer of the 1984 batch. He will succeed Vijay Gokhale.
  • Bambawale is familiar with Mandarin Chinese and has earlier served in Hong Kong and Beijing.
  • He served as director in the Americas Division of the ministry, responsible for relations with the US and Canada (1993-94).
  • He has also functioned as the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Indian Embassy in Beijing.
  • After taking up the position, one of the major tasks of Bambawale will be to stabilise India-China ties that were rocked by a military face off in the Doklam area of Bhutan which lasted for 73 days.
  • Both the sides agreed to end the face-off on 28 August 2017, paving the way for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit China for the BRICS summit in September 2017.

Rukaiya Rangwala appointed MobiKwik payment gateway head


  • MobiKwik, mobile wallet major and a payment gateway provider, on Friday announced the appointment of Rukaiya Rangwala as the Business Head of 'MobiKwik Payment Gateway' to drive the growth of the entity.
  • The company had recently relaunched its Payment Gateway and aims to have over $5 billion worth of transactions processed on the platform by the end of 2017-18.
  • Commenting on the appointment, Upasana Taku, Co-founder, MobiKwik said: "Rukaiya brings a wealth of experience to MobiKwik and we are pleased to welcome her as the leader of our Payment Gateway business.''
  • Prior to joining MobiKwik, Rukaiya, who has 15 years of experience in the technology and e-commerce industry, spent two years working on entrepreneurial ventures. She spent eight years at Dell prior to coming to India with Rocket internet, helping the VC establish its portfolio in the country.

World News

US withdraws from Unesco over its 'anti- Israel bias


  • The United States on Thursday announced it will withdraw from the Unesco, accusing the UN's cultural body of "anti-Israel" stance.
  • The withdrawal will take effect on December 31, 2018. The US will remain a full member of UNESCO until that time.
  • "This decision was not taken lightly and reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at Unesco, the need for fundamental reform in the organisation and continuing anti- Israel bias at Unesco," State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said.
  • She said the Department of State today notified United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation Director-General Irina Bokova of the US decision to withdraw from the organisation and to seek to establish a permanent observer mission to Unesco.

Sports News

ICC approves Test world championship and 13-team ODI league


  • The International Cricket Council (ICC) is set to start a nine- team Test league and a 13-team ODI league in 2019 and 2020 respectively, aiming to bring "context and meaning to bilateral cricket".
  • The Test series league will see nine teams play six series over two years -- three home and three away -- with each having a minimum of two Tests and a maximum of five. All matches will be played over five days culminating in a World Test League Championship Final.
  • The ODI league will be a direct qualification pathway towards the World Cup and will be contested by the 12 full members plus the winners of the current ICC World Cricket League Championship.
  • In the first edition of the league, each side will play four home and four away series each comprising of three ODIs moving to all teams playing each other from the second cycle onwards.
  • The ICC Board also approved a trial of four-day Tests to run through until the World Cup 2019. Members will be able to schedule four-day games by bilateral agreement and a set of standardised playing conditions will now be finalised.

Ashish Nehra bids adieu to all forms of cricket


  • Ashish Nehra on 11 October 2017 announced retirement from all forms of international and domestic cricket. Nehra will be playing his last match T20 International (T20I) against New Zealand on 1 November 2017 at the Feroz Shah Kotla Ground, Delhi.
  • Left arm medium fast bowler Nehra will also retire from the Indian Premier League, which played a huge role at his international comeback in 2016.
  • Ashish Nehra made his cricket debut in 1999 under Mohammed Azharuddin in India.
  • He made his international debut in a Test match against Sri Lanka in Colombo in February 1999.
  • Owing to injuries, Nehra did not play a single international match for India between September 2005 and June 2009.
  • He returned to international cricket with 2011 World Cup. He played the semi-final where he broke his finger while going for a catch of Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq as a result; he had to give World Cup final, a miss.
  • He has taken 44 Test wickets, besides 157 ODI and 34 T20.
  • He is best remembered for his 6 for 23 against England at Durban in the 2003 World Cup, despite being unwell and puking throughout the match.
  • Nehra has played 17 Tests, 120 ODIs and 26 T20 Internationals for the country till date

Days

International Day for Disaster Reduction observed globally


  • The International Day for Disaster Reduction was observed across the world on 13 October 2017 with the theme ‘Home Safe Home: Reducing Exposure, Reducing Displacement’.
  • The 2017 campaign aims to raise global awareness about effective actions, policies and practices taken to reduce exposure to disaster risk at the community level, thereby contributing to saving homes and livelihoods.
  • The same can be accomplished only through coordination, cooperation and collaboration among many stakeholders.
  • The International Day was to be observed annually during the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, 1990-1999.








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