Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 07 March 2018

Bank Exam Current Affairs

Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 07 March 2018


Extension possible on Aadhaar link deadline: Govt

  • The deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to avail various services and welfare schemes run by the government may be further extended beyond March 31, the Union government indicated in the Supreme Court.
  • The Centre said that since some more time would be needed to conclude the prolonged hearing in the Aadhaar case, the government may extend the deadline from March 31.
  • A five-judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra agreed with the contention of Attorney General K.K. Venugopal.
  • “We have extended the deadline in the past and we will extend the deadline again but we may do it by the end of month to enable the petitioners in the case conclude the arguments,” Mr. Venugopal said.
  • “It is a very valid point raised by the Attorney General and the court would not allow repetitive arguments made by the petitioners’ counsel in the matter,” Chief Justice Misra observed.
  • On December 15 last year, the court had extended till March 31 the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services and welfare schemes run by the government.

PNB scam loads $3 bn write off on Banks

  • The Rs. 12,700 crore Letters of Undertaking (LoU) fraud at the Punjab National Bank (PNB) could punch a bigger hole in India’s banking system as the closure of Nirav Modi and MehulChoksi’sjewellery businesses by investigative agencies.
  • It is likely to result in another Rs. 8,000 crore of loans extended to them by banks turning into non-performing assets (NPAs).
  • According to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines, banks have to write off the entire loan amount once a fraud has been reported.
  • So, the entire $2 billion exposure of the country’s second largest bank PNB through LoUs issued in favour of Nirav Modi group firms will have to be booked as an NPA.
  • Now, banks are preparing for another Rs. 8,000 crore or about $1.2 billion in bad loans, taking the total damage to about $3 billion.
  • ICICI Bank leads the consortium of lenders to Choksi'sGitanjali Gems.
  • The total amount of bank loans to Gitanjali stands at around Rs. 5,300 crore. ICICI Bank has an exposure of Rs. 500 crore .
  • However, Punjab National Bank has the largest exposure to the Gitanjali group.

Charges should on par with global experience: DoT official on ISRO prices

  • India built the cheapest satellites but had the most expensive bandwidth, a government official, blaming turf wars between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Department of Telecom (DoT) for delays in taking connectivity to far-flung areas.
  • DoT’s special secretary N. Sivasailam also flagged issues of costs and said the ISRO should do more in order to keep the charges on par with global experience.
  • Mr. Sivasailam said more transponders were required on satellites.
  • According to him, there is a “problem of domains” between the DoT and the ISRO that has impacted the roll-out of connectivity in far-flung areas for 20 years.
  • Admitting that there was “politics” which “makes things difficult”, Mr. Sivasailam pitched for both the agencies getting over the problems for the benefit of all.
  • “It is time it stopped because it is hurting business development and ultimately people are not getting (benefited),” he said, speaking at the annual FICCI Frames.
  • On the critical issue of costs, he said it would cost around Rs. 150 to serve one user with the current cost structure in the country whereas in the U.S., it cost $1 or Rs. 65.
  • “If the U.S. is getting it for USD 1 for the same bandwidth for the life of the satellite, I should be getting it at the same rate. There is no reason why it should not happen in India. That is my refrain,” he said.
  • Conceding that ISRO helped take satellite connectivity to 5,240 far-flung locations in the country, including 4,300 in the Northeast, Mr. Sivasailam said the cost of the satellite, bandwidth and spectrum made “operations unviable.”
  • “If you have the volume of business, we should be able to provide at the rates internationally available and that is a matter of some concern for us. We have been working on it but not necessarily successful on this,” he said.

Ration at door step: Delhi Govt.

  • The Delhi government approved a proposal to start home or doorstep delivery of ration under the Targeted Public Distribution System to all beneficiaries, announced Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.
  • The decision was taken following a meeting of the Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
  • The move allows home delivery of ration, including wheat flour, rice and sugar, in sealed packets under the National Food Security Act, 2013.
  • The proposal, the Delhi government said, is aimed at providing a higher level of transparency in the delivery system through inbuilt online monitoring, which will weed out corruption and diversion of foodgrain, and intends to “save time and resources of ration beneficiaries in Delhi”.
  • The proposal will now be sent to Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal for his approval.
  • It was mooted by the Department of Food, Supplies and Consumer Affairs.
  • The meeting was also attended by Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash and other officials concerned.
  • Theft of ration, poor quality of supplies and closed shops were the major issues that residents were facing, and the implementation of this new scheme would put an end to these, he added.
  • “The Delhi government is committed to ensure that eligible beneficiaries receive their due ration in a transparent manner with maximum ease,” Mr. Sisodia said.
  • Once approved by the L-G, the service provider for home delivery of ration will be selected in “a transparent manner through open bidding”, a senior government official said following the announcement.
  • The attention of the Cabinetwas also drawn to the extant rules and guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs asking the State governments to ensure home delivery of ration to the beneficiaries experiencing difficulty in getting their entitled quantum of subsidisedfoodgrain due to old age, physical disability and other reasons.
  • According to the government official, there are around 7.2 million PDS beneficiaries in the Capital.
  • The Deputy Chief Minister also took the opportunity to react to Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri’s remarks about the AamAadmi Party government “sitting” on the Delhi Metro Phase IV project, which is pending for the last three years.

Bandipur night ban

  • Karnataka stuck to its stance for status quo even as representatives from Kerala pushed for relaxation of norms on the ban on movement of vehicles through Bandipur Tiger Reserve from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • The meeting at the Forest Department headquarters saw drama towards the end when Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj barged in and said the proposals of the Kerala government should not be considered.
  • While a previous meeting of the committee — to look into issues of night ban — had been conducted by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in Delhi no February 7, representatives from the Karnataka Forest Department had not been invited.
  • National Tiger Conservation Authority had then objected and convened a preliminary meeting with stakeholders in AranyaBhavan in the city.
  • “We will write to the committee with an objection for not having been invited to the meeting in Delhi, and we will convey our firm stance opposing relaxing of the night ban. The issue is closed as discussed previously in meetings between Kerala and Karnataka Chief Ministers,” said PunatiShridhar, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Head of Forest Force).
  • Kerala government representatives, accompanied by consultants of the National Highway Authority of India, pressed for the reopening of the stretch at night, or at the least, the introduction of a convoy system.
  • However, officials said Karnataka Forest Department and conservationists responded saying an alternative route, barely 30-km longer, through Kodagu had been developed for use at the cost of ₹72 crore.
  • Moreover, representatives from here said if the issue was to be relooked at, they would demand an end to the movement of buses at night, as well as extension of the night ban from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • The meeting also witnessed protests outside the Forest Department.

Biplab in Tripura, Condrad in Meghalaya as CM

  • The Bharatiya Janata Party’s reign in alliance with regional parties in three north-eastern States began on a youthful note with Conrad KongkalSangma, 40, being sworn in as Meghalaya Chief Minister.
  • The day also saw State BJP president Biplab Kumar Deb, 48, being named Chief Minister of the party’s first government in Tripura.
  • While Nagaland Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang resigned to pave the way for veteran Neiphiu Rio to take charge of an alliance government of the BJP and the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP).
  • Meghalaya Governor Ganga Prasad administered the oath of office to Mr. Sangma and 11 Cabinet Ministers at the Raj Bhavan in Meghalaya capital Shillong.
  • Mr. Sangma, a Lok Sabha member, is the president of the National People’s Party (NPP).
  • Of the 11 Ministers, four are from NPP, three from the United Democratic Party, two from the People’s Democratic Front and one each from the Hill State People’s Democratic Party and the BJP.
  • Around the same time, Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari and JualOram and BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav met the 35 newly-elected party MLAs in Tripura capital Agartala to choose Mr. Deb as the CM. The party then named Jishnu Dev Varma, a member of the royal family, as the Deputy CM.
  • The BJP had after ending 25 years of communist rule on March 3 said Mr. Deb was the frontrunner for the CM’s post.
  • The announcement of his name was a mere formality.

Solar wealth mapped by Bengaluru

  • A helicopter hovering over the rooftops of the city had a singular mission: to help people make hay while the sun shines. It was mapping the solar potential of rooftops.
  • This data, which will be put in the public domain, could help people reduce their electricity bills and also make some money by consuming and/or selling the solar energy generated.
  • Flying over villas, high-rises, independent, smaller houses and large apartment complexes, the ‘web-based rooftop photovoltaic tool using aerial LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) project’, being executed by the Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP) for the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom), has been mapping rooftop solar prospects.
  • Taking off from Jakkur Aerodrome, the helicopter lingered particularly over dense concrete stretches, as the team aboard which was given exclusive access, took notes.
  • The helicopter has a camera that emits laser pulses. Reflections from the ground get captured, creating a rough 3D map.
  • This raw data will be sent to the Defence Ministry for vetting, after which will begin the process of shadow analysis and creation of a model city map.
  • In two-and-a-half weeks, about 990-odd sq km have been covered. This is a little short of the 1,100 sq km target, on account of no-fly zones.
  • “Dense urban sprawls across the city and industrial zones such as Electronics City and Peenya were covered,” said Saptak Ghosh, Research Scientist, CSTEP.
  • In about seven months, the outcome of the project could be a game-changer for both Bescom and its consumers.
  • Bescom will move to achieve the 1 GW solar target for 2021-22, with a map of the most lucrative rooftops to generate solar power.

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State of Emergency in Sri Lanka

  • Sri Lanka declared an island-wide state of emergency to curb growing anti-Muslim violence in the country’s Central Province.
  • The decision, taken at the weekly cabinet meeting, came in response to a series of arson attacks targeting dozens of mosques and Muslim-owned shops and homes in Kandy, located in the Central Province.
  • Police found the body of a Muslim youth, burnt to death, in a building that had been set to fire.
  • The emergency will lapse in two weeks unless the parliament votes to extend it, legal experts said.
  • Over the last few days, the police have arrested 24 suspects in connection with the attacks in Kandy.
  • The violence, according to police sources, was triggered by the death of a 41-year-old man, who succumbed to injuries inflicted by a group of Muslim men, following a road rage incident last week.
  • The suspects were arrested immediately after the incident and remanded, officials said.
  • The days that followed witnessed a spate of anti-Muslim attacks in the area, provoked reportedly by hard-line Sinhala Buddhist forces.
  • Prime Minister RanilWickremesinghe, who recently assumed additional charge as Law and Order Minister, told Parliament that the government would deal sternly with those who disturb peace, instigate communal clashes and spread racial sentiments.
  • However, critics accused the police and the Special Task Force of a delayed and inadequate response.
  • Following the incidents, the Sri Lankan government, which has condemned the violence, came under severe attack in Parliament for “pandering to extremist forces” in the Sinhala majority community.


Interim Dividend of Rs.10,000 to be paid by RBI for current fiscal

  • The government is likely to receive an interim dividend of Rs. 10,000 crore from Reserve Bank of India (RBI) this month, sources said.
  • According to the sources, the government expects the RBI to pay a total dividend of about Rs. 45,000 crore for financial year 2017-18.
  • Talks between the RBI and the government over the payment of dividend were still on, sources said, adding that the final call was yet to be taken.
  • Under the RBI Act, 1934, the central bank is required to pay the government its surplus, after making provisions for bad and doubtful debts, depreciation in assets, and contribution to staff and superannuation fund, among others.
  • In August 2017, the RBI had paid a dividend of Rs. 30,659 crore for its fiscal year ended June 2017.
  • It was less than half the Rs. 65,876 crore it had paid for 2015-16.
  • The government has budgeted for a Rs. 58,000-crore dividend from RBI for the current fiscal year.

India to receive first U.S. LNG shipment this month

  • India will receive its first LNG import from the U.S. later this month.
  • The cargo from Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG export facility in Louisiana was loaded on to GAIL’s chartered LNG ship ‘Meridian Spirit’ on March 5.
  • The sale purchase agreement was signed in December 2011 and the cargo is expected to discharge LNG at the Dabhol terminal of GAIL on or around March 28.
  • Under the terms of the agreement, GAIL would purchase approximately 3.5 million tonnes of LNG per year from Cheniere’s Sabine Pass.
  • “With supplies commencing from the U.S., GAIL will have a diversified portfolio both on price indexation and geographical locations.
  • This long-term pact would go a long way in strengthening ties between GAIL and Cheniere and reinforcing India-U.S. trade ties,” B.C.
  • Tripathi, chairman & managing cirector, GAIL, said in a statement.
  • GAIL, which commands 75% market share in gas transmission, is expanding pipeline network by about 5,000 km at an investment of more than $3 billion to operate more than 16,000 km by 2020.
  • “The commencement of this agreement marks the start of a long and productive relationship between Cheniere and GAIL,” Cheniere CEO Jack Fusco said.
  • “GAIL is one of the foundation customers of Cheniere, having signed the contract in 2011 and India remains an important market for LNG.”

India to join EBRD

  • India has got the go-ahead to join the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
  • This is after shareholders of the London-based multilateral lender agreed to the country becoming its 69th member, enabling Indian companies to undertake joint investments in regions in which the EBRD operates.
  • “This is an important step in the relationship between the EBRD and India, allowing us to build further on already very close ties,” said the development finance institution’s President Suma Chakrabarti.
  • Set up in 1991, based on a proposal by former French President Francois Mitterand, the bank’s initial focus was helping central and Eastern European nations reconstruct their economies in the post-Cold War era.
  • It remains committed to furthering the development of “market-orientated economies and the promotion of private and entrepreneurial initiative.”
  • Other members who receive investments include Mongolia, Turkey, Egypt, Cyprus, Greece and Lebanon, among a total of 38 member states.
  • Others including China, Russia, the U.S., U.K., and France are stakeholders, whose companies are able to invest in EBRD projects, but do not receive financing for domestic projects.
  • While Indian businesses have already cooperated on EBRD projects worth some €982 million, the hope is that the membership, which will see India take up a small stake in the bank, would spur further investment by Indian firms in a range of sectors from solar to utilities, providing them access to fast growing markets.
  • It will also enable Indian citizens to work for the organisation.
  • India’s stake will also give it a say in the direction of the EBRD’s future work. The EBRD’s largest shareholder is currently the U.S., while other G7 nations also hold significant stakes.
  • Following the approval of Indian membership, India is expected to join EBRD within the first half of the year.
  • The process for India’s approval moved swiftly: from its formal application on December 18, to the decision going to the board of directors in late January.
  • The EBRD works with the private sector and also local governments in the provision of services and infrastructure across 38 nations – with projects ranging from transport provision to agribusiness, heating, waste management, to renewable energy.
  • In 2017, the EBRD signed a pact with the International Solar Alliance, which was unveiled in 2015 in Paris.

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