Current Affairs Update – 4 October, 2017


Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 4 October, 2017. These are very important for the upcoming IBPS PO, IBPS RRB, OICL AO, UIIC Assistant & NICL Assistant Exams.




Banking & Financial News

RBI monetary policy: Repo rate kept unchanged at 6%


  • The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), headed by Governor Urjit Patel, on Wednesday kept the repo rate – the key policy rate at which the RBI lends money to banks – unchanged at six per cent, in a decision that was broadly in line with expectations.
  • The RBI reduced the gross value added (GVA) growth target for the current financial year to 6.7 per cent from 7.3 per cent earlier.
  • In its fourth bimonthly review of the monetary policy, the RBI, however, lowered the statutory liquidity ratio – the reserve requirement that commercial banks need to maintain in the form of gold or government-approved securities before providing credit to customers – by 50 basis points to 19.5 per cent, with effect from October 14 fortnight. The MPC voted 5-1 in favour of the status quo on both repo rate and reverse repo rate -- the latter was kept unchanged at 5.75 per cent.
  • In the one year since the setting up of the MPC in October 2016, it has lowered the repo rate twice – by 25 basis points each in October 2016 and August 2017.
  • Most analysts had been expecting the central bank to maintain the status quo this time, but effect a rate cut later in the financial year. Some have even been saying that the rate-cut cycle, which started on January 15, 2015 with a rate reduction to 7.75 per cent from 8 per cent, might have reached its end.

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RBI to allow inter-operability in prepaid payment instruments


  • To make electronic payments efficient and more secure, the Reserve Bank of India today said it will issue revised directions by October 11 to allow 'inter-operability' among prepaid payment instruments (PPIs).
  • PPIs are the substitute for paper currency or cash that prepaid payments industry issues in the form of paper coupons, mobile wallets or electronic formats.
  • It is expected that PPIs can inter-operate within six months of the revised directions, RBI said in the 'Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies' today.
  • "Inter-operability amongst KYC compliant PPIs shall be implemented within six months of the date of issuance of the revised master directions, which will be issued within a week, i.e., by October 11, 2017," it said.
  • The first guidelines for issuance and operations of PPIs came in April 2009 with the objective to create an ecosystem and earlier in March this year, the RBI asked for feedback on the PPI industry so far.
  • The RBI said revised framework will pay the way for inter-operability into the usage of PPIs, as per the vision for Payment and Settlement Systems in the country.
  • The vision envisages for India to migrate to electronic payments and ensure that such payments are safe, secure, authorised, efficient and accessible.
  • Among others, the regulator has also eased processes for cooperative banks to open the current account with the RBI that will enable them to maintain sufficient liquid funds for clearing or settlement, transactions of government securities, remittance services and currency chest operations.

Service charge exemption on train e-tickets extended till March 2018: Railways


  • The Railway Board has directed the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to extend the benefit of service charge exemption on tickets booked online till March 2018.
  • This will enable the rail passengers to continue to enjoy the service for an extended time period.
  • The government had waived off service charges on online booked rail tickets in November 2016 following demonetisation to encourage digital modes of booking. The facility had been extended to 30 June and then to 30 September 2017.
  • Service charges on booking train tickets online through IRCTC ranges from Rs 20 to 40 per ticket.
  • This decision was taken by the Railway Board, the ticketing agency of the railways, on 29 September 2017 and a notification in this regard was sent to the IRCTC.
  • According to senior railway officials, almost 33 per cent of the IRCTC revenue comes from the service charge collected through online bookings. As per the revenue collection of the last financial year, about Rs 540 Cr of IRCTC’s revenue of over Rs 1,500 Cr came from ticket bookings.

Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017 to be held in Hyderabad


  • The eighth annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2017 will be held in Hyderabad, India from 28 to 30 November 2017. A high-level delegation from the Government of India and the USA met at NITI Aayog to plan the summit.
  • The Summit will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Advisor to the POTUS (President of the US) Ivanka Trump, who will lead the US delegation.
  • The GES is the paramount annual meeting of emerging entrepreneurs, business leaders and investors from around the world.  Through mentoring, networking and workshops, the GES allow entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas, secure funding, build partnerships, and create innovative goods and services that will change societies.
  • This year, the focus will be on women entrepreneurs and the incredible potential women bring to entrepreneurship.

Government reduces central excise duty on Petrol and Diesel by Rs 2 per Litre


  • The Union government has decided to reduce the central excise duty on Petrol and Diesel by Rs 2 per Litre effective from 4 October 2017.
  • With this reduction, the decrease in prices of Petrol and Diesel will be Rs 2.50 per litre and Rs 2.25 per litre respectively in Delhi. This measure is aimed at giving relief to the consumers and farmers, especially in the view of the upcoming agricultural season when Kharif crops would be harvested and Rabi crops would be sowed.
  • Since the past few weeks, prices of both the fuels were rising due to increase in their prices in the international market.
  • The prices of Petrol and Diesel on 3 October were Rs 70.88 per litre and Rs 59.14 per litre respectively in Delhi.
  • Besides this, the centre has also requested the state governments to make reduction in VAT imposed by them on Petrol and Diesel so as to give more relief to consumers.
  • The Revenue loss on account of these reductions in excise duty would amount to about Rs 26,000 Cr in a full year and about Rs 13000 Cr during the remaining part of the current financial year.

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Reports

India to top global remittances chart with $65 billion in 2017: World Bank


  • India is likely to maintain its place as the top remittances receiving nation, with its Diaspora set to pump in a whopping USD 65 billion in the year 2017, the World Bank said today.
  • Ahead of the annual summit of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, a report published by the global lender said that remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, are projected to grow by 3.9% to USD 596 billion.
  • The other top 5 remittances receiving countries after India are China (USD 61 billion), Philippines (USD 33 billion), Mexico (USD 31 billion), and Nigeria (USD 22 billion).
  • However, as a share of GDP (gross domestic product) for 2017, the top 5 recipients are smaller countries- Tajikistan, Nepal, Kyrgyz Republic, Haiti and Liberia.
  • The bank said that the remittances increase to the South Asia region, will be moderate at 1.1% to USD 112 billion this year, due to systematic impact of lower oil prices and 'nationalisation' polices leading to controlled labor market situation in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
  • The report also pointed out that the remittances the world’s largest remittance recipient country India will grow by 4.2% in 2017 to USD 65 billion, following a decline of 9% in 2016.
  • In 2016, India received remittances of USD 62.7 billion.
Highlights of Report:

  • Remittances to Pakistan are likely to remain flat this year, while Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal will see a decline.
  • Remittances to the region will grow by a weak 2.6% USD 114 billion in 2018.
  • However, India’s remittances is expected to grow at 2.5% in 2018.
  • The economic deceleration in the GCC has badly impacted migrant worker flows from the South Asia Region.
  • Authorised migrant workers in Saudi Arabia fell from 522,750 in 2015 to 462,598 in 2016; those in the United Arab Emirates declined from 326,986 in 2015 to 295,647 in 2016 for Pakistan.
  • The number of Indian workers migrating to Saudi Arabia dropped from 306,000 in 2015 to 162,000 in 2016; those going to the United Arab Emirates decreased from 225,000 in 2015 to 159,000 in 2016.
  • Total Indian worker outflows fell from 781,000 in 2015 to 506,000 in 2016, the bank said.

With 6 per cent growth, India to surpass China as fastest-growing oil market in Asia


  • India will outshine China as the fastest-growing petroleum product market in Asia on the back of a 6 per cent demand growth says a report. This seems possible as Chinese stipulated growth is seen halving to 2.5-3% in 2017-18 from a higher 6% in 2016-16.
  • Despite the failing growth numbers in both these countries, India and China will maintain to be the key growth engines for the sector in Asia, representing over 80% of the expected growth in 2018.
  • Highlighting the American energy information administration projections, the report said that the demand for petroleum products in the Asia Pacific will increase a modest 2% or 0.7 million barrels per day to 34.6 million bpd in 2018.
  • The report said that the seeing the oil sectors dependence on China and increasingly India, it is believed that demand would face considerable threat if economic growth weakens materially below our expectations.
  • However, India will outshine China as the fastest growing product market in Asia with petroleum consumption growing 6 % in 2018.
  • It also says India and China growth will make sure that Asian refining margins will stay firm, thereby supporting the earnings growth.
  • On China, the report says that as China’s economic activity dials back, we anticipate its refined product demand growth will modest to 2.5-3% in 2017-18 which is nearly half of higher CAGR of 5% in 2012-16. Still, in absolute terms, China will account for 48% of Asian R&M demand growth in 2018.

News related India & states

Turtle Sanctuary to be set up in Allahabad


  • The Union government has approved the development of a Turtle sanctuary in Allahabad along with a River Biodiversity Park at Sangam under Namami Gange programme to protect the rich aquatic biodiversity of river Ganga from growing anthropogenic pressures.
  • This project will be initiated at an estimated cost of Rs 1.34 crore and it would include expansion of River Biodiversity Park at Sangam (convergence of Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Sarasvati), establishment of a Turtle Rearing Centre (Permanent nursery at Triveni Pushp and makeshift annual hatcheries) and to raise awareness about the significance of river Ganga and imperativeness of its conservation has been agreed.
  • This Turtle sanctuary project will give much needed platform to make the people aware of their place in the ecosystem, improve their understanding of the complexity of co-existence with the environment, their task and responsibilities, and help generate awareness for reducing the impact of human actions on crucial natural resources.
  • The task of dissipating knowledge about river Ganga will be taken up ardently in this project, which is 100 percent centrally funded.
  • The sustenance of more than 2000 marine species including dolphins, endangered gharials,  and turtles in river Ganga exemplifies the rich biodiversity of this lifeline to over 40% of the country’s population.

Cabinet approves the Extradition Treaty between India and Lithuania


  • The Union Cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 4 October 2017 gave its approval for the signing and ratification of the Extradition Treaty between India and Lithuania.
  • With the approval of the treaty, it would now provide a legal framework for seeking extradition of terrorists, economic offenders and other criminals to and from Lithuania.

Government constitutes a High Level Committee for water resource management in NER


  • The Union government has constituted a high-level committee for proper management of the water resources in the North Eastern Region (NER).
  • The committee would be headed by the Vice-Chairman of Niti Aayog, Dr Rajiv Kumar. The move follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Guwahati in August 2017 to review the flood situation and relief work in the North Eastern States.
  • The committee would mainly facilitate optimising benefits of appropriate water management in the form of hydro-electric power, agriculture, bio-diversity conservation, reduced flood damage erosion, inland water transport, forestry, fishery and eco-tourism.
  • Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) will serve as the coordinating point.
  • The Committee will have to submit its report including Plan of Action by June, 2018.

India unveils 3rd National Wildlife Action Plan for 2017-2031


  • Third National Wildlife Action Plan for 2017-2031 was unveiled by India spelling out the future road map for wildlife conservation.
  • A road map to conserve wildlife of the country, in the form of an Action Plan was mooted in the 15th convention of Indian Board for Wildlife (NBWL) during 1982 and accordingly, the 1st National Wildlife Action Plan (NWAP-1) was drafted and adopted in 1983. It was put into practice from 1983 through 2001.
Highlights of Third National Wildlife Action Plan

  • The Plan is based on the foundation that ecological processes that are governed, supported or strongly moderated by ecosystems are essential for food production, health and other aspects of human survival and sustainable development. So, maintenance of these ecosystems that can be termed as ‘Life Support Systems’ is vital for all societies regardless of their stage of development.
  • It also emphasizes on other two aspects of living resource conservation that is, preservation of genetic diversity and sustainable utilization of species and ecosystems which has a direct bearing on our scientific advancements and support to millions of rural communities.
  • It additionally underlines on other two parts of living resource preservation namely, conservation of genetic diversity and sustainable utilization of species and ecosystems which has a direct bearing on our scientific progressions and support to a million rural communities.
  • The plan implements landscape approach in the preservation of all uncultivated flora and undomesticated fauna that has ecological value to mankind irrespective of where they occur.
  • It accords special emphasis to the rehabilitation of endangered species of wildlife while conserving their habitats which include coastal, inland aquatic and marine eco-systems.
  • It also takes note of apprehension relating to climate change on wildlife by integrating it into wildlife management Planning.

UP tops all states by building 3.2 lakh toilets in 17 days


  • The Uttar Pradesh government on 3 October 2017 stated that it has built over 3.52 lakh toilet units in 17 days under the Centre's Swachhta hi Seva campaign thereby, topping other states in the  effort.
  • According to an official statement, the toilets were constructed between 15 September and 2 October.
  • Following UP in the effort is Rajasthan, which constructed around 2, 54,953 toilets and then Karnataka, which built around 2, 41,708 toilets in the same period.
  • Overall, almost 18, 24,549 toilets were constructed across states, according to a statement issued by the office of chief secretary Rajive Kumar.
  • The statement also added that nagar panchayat Sahanpur in Bijnore district was declared open defecation free by the Centre on 4 September. Further, it said that the state government has requested the Centre to declare 12 nagar panchayats and other local bodies of the state open-defecation free following a third party inspection.
  • Besides this, the chief secretary has instructed officials to speed up the work, so that 653 urban local bodies of the state could be declared open- defecation free by May 2019. Instructions have also been issued to raise the amount given for construction of personal toilets from Rs 8,000 to Rs 20,000 under urban local bodies.


Appointments

Rajnish Kumar appointed as SBI Chairman


  • Rajnish Kumar, Managing Director of State Bank of India (SBI), was on Wednesday appointed as the next Chairman of the largest public sector bank.
  • He will succeed Arundhati Bhattacharya, who is at present serving her one-year extension, that ends on Friday.
  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Kumar for a period of three years from October 7, according to an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).

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