Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 08 March 2018

Bank Exam Current Affairs

Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 08 March 2018


Aadhaar not compulsory for NEET

  • In a huge relief to thousands of students, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court stayed a CBSE notification.
  • Notification made it mandatory for aspirants to produce their Aadhaar or its enrolment proof mandatory in order to register or appear for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2018.
  • The five-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, which is hearing a batch of petitions challenging Aadhaar scheme, questioned the Centre about the issuance of such notifications by government authorities.
  • The Supreme Court had already made it clear in a series of interim orders that Aadhaar would continue to be voluntary till a final decision is taken by the court about its constitutional validity.
  • The petitioners, who approached the court against the CBSE notification, said the government had been issuing several such notifications, which in fact, amounted to contempt of the Supreme Court’s orders.

Panic buttons in Delhi buses

  • On the eve of International Women’s Day, in a move to bolster the security of women passengers, the Delhi government has announced a pilot project under which state-run buses would be installed with Panic Alarm Systems.
  • Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said on the occasion that panic alarms would be the third line of defence to ensure women’s safety.
  • “Our government has deployed bus marshals in all Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses and installed CCTV cameras in 200 buses on a pilot basis. By March 2019, the three initiatives will be scaled up to cover all DTC and cluster buses,” Mr. Gahlot said.
  • The pilot for the Panic Alarm System, according to the Delhi government, has been launched in five cluster buses of the Rajghat-2 depot, plying on route 522.
  • The project is being implemented in collaboration with a Bangalore-based NGO, Project Durga, which works on women’s safety and gender equity in public spaces.
  • The drivers and conductors covered under the project have been trained in operating and responding to the panic alarm system according to a set protocol.
  • On hearing the alarm, the driver would stop the bus. Meanwhile, the conductor will identify the location of the button being pressed and intervene.
  • If the situation isn’t minor and cannot be addressed on the spot, the conductor will immediately call the Depot Manager, who will contact a PCR van.
  • “The panic alarm system will also be integrated with the bus’ GPS location so that the Depot Manager and the Central Command Centre of cluster bus operations gets an immediate alert,” the official added.
  • Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Swati Maliwal said it was necessary to create deterrents for crimes against women.

Gastroenteritis breakout in Guntur

  • Three more persons died following the unprecedented outbreak of suspected gastroenteritis in several areas in Old Guntur.
  • The death toll since Monday reached five as the Guntur Municipal Corporation struggled to contain the spread of the epidemic.
  • Doctors said the symptoms of cholera were evident as the watery stools were pale brown.
  • All those who died so far had been admitted with complaints of diarrhoea, muscle cramps and symptoms of severe dehydration.
  • The deceased had been identified as Sk. Ghouse of Lalapet, Koti Reddy of Ziauddin Nagar, K. Padmavathy from Chebrolu and KandeGopi of RajagariThota.
  • Unprecedented scenes were witnessed at the superspeciality block at the Government General Hospital as more than 100 men and women were being treated at the waiting hall, which had been converted into a make shift ward.
  • Duty doctors and nurses were seen struggling to cope with the enormous influx of patients and in some cases, women patients were seen sharing the bed.
  • After being treated in the casualty ward, the patients were being sent to the cardiology wards while some were shifted to the psychiatric ward.
  • District Collector and Special Officer, GMC, Kona Sasidhar, convened an emergency meeting and instructed that water supply should be stopped from the BR Stadium water reservoir to Anandapet and Vinodbhava Nagar.
  • He also asked the GMC to ensure supply of water through tankers. Municipal Commissioner C. Anuradha was present.
  • A team of 300 nurses was visiting houses of the 10 wards in Anandapet.
  • District Medical and Health Officer Yasmin said the nurses were briefing people about the need to drink boiled water and keep the surroundings clean.

Vandalism of statues in various parts of India

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi came down heavily on incidents of vandalism of statues of leaders in various parts of the country and took up the matter with Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
  • The Home Ministry issued two strongly worded advisories to State governments to prevent such incidents from occurring.
  • In an official statement Prime Minister Modi was said to have strongly condemned such incidents of vandalism and assured stern action would be taken against those found guilty.
  • Following the BJP’s victory in the Assembly polls in Tripura, a statue of late Soviet leader V.I. Lenin in Belonia town in the State had been vandalised.
  • Following this, a statue of Jan Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mookerjee was defaced in West Bengal.
  • What added fuel to the fire was a Facebook post (now deleted and denied) from the account of BJP’s national secretary H. Raja that statues of Dravidian ideologue Periyar in Tamil Nadu be defaced too.
  • The government and the BJP strongly condemned the incidents at the highest level as the issue appeared to be gaining traction across the country.
  • A statue of Periyar in Vellore in Tamil Nadu was found vandalised, following which the BJP’s office in Coimbatore was attacked with a petrol bomb early on Wednesday morning.
  • No casualties were reported in the attack but the issue had acquired proportions that were alarming for both the government and the BJP.
  • The Home Ministry said on Wednesday that district magistrates and superintendents of police would be held “personally responsible” if statues of political leaders and icons were vandalised in their jurisdictions.
  • Mr. Rajnath Singh appealed to political parties to ensure that those found desecrating statues are dealt with strictly.
  • District officials have been told that they must ensure that the police keep strict vigil on anti-social elements, social media and rumour-mongers and take strong action against anyone indulging in any kind of violence or inciting violence, the spokesperson said.
  • The official said no State government has sought additional paramilitary forces.
  • Party president Amit Shah spoke to State units in Tripura and Tamil Nadu to counsel peace and seek action against those who were party to any defacement.

Uncertainity in Aadhaar can’t go on: Justice Chandrachud

  • Justice D.Y. Chandrachud became an unexpected voice from within the Supreme Court to highlight the prevailing uncertainty and dangers, especially in the banking and financial sectors, of waiting till the “last minute” to extend the March 31 deadline for Aadhaar linkage.
  • One of the five judges on the Constitution Bench hearing the challenge to the Aadhaar scheme, Justice Chandrachud agreed with the apprehensions raised by petitioners on whether the March 31 deadline would be extended or not.
  • The Bench, led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, had so far remained non-committal on the extension, saying there was still time. On December 15, the Supreme Court had extended the deadline till March 31 to link Aadhaar with bank accounts, mobile phones and several other essential services, welfare schemes and benefits.
  • Justice Chandrachud’s observations and the repeated urging of the petitioners’ lawyers, including senior advocates K.V. Vishwanathan, Arvind P. Datar and ShyamDiwan, to extend the March 31 deadline saw the Chief Justice react positively in favour of an extension.
  • “Extension of deadline… that we will do. Let them [arguments by petitioners’ lawyers in the Aadhaar case] finish. We will pass the order,” Chief Justice Misra orally observed.
  • Justice A.K. Sikri indicated from the Bench that it may pass an order to extend the deadline on the next day of hearing, March 13.

Sensor Operated Automated Traffic Barriers

  • The Assam government informed the National Green Tribunal that the State government had sanctioned a sum of Rs. 11 crore.
  • It is for the installation of sensor-operated automated traffic barriers to check the death of animals in road accidents close to the Kaziranga National Park.
  • Upon the State government submitting that the tenders will be issued within a month after the Assembly’s approval, the Bench headed by judicial member Jawad Rahim said, “We direct that the undertaking given by the Assam government be complied with and the tenders issued within four weeks.”
  • The directions came while the tribunal was hearing a plea filed by wildlife activist RohitChoudhary, who opposed the widening of NH-37 which passes along the national park.
  • Earlier, the green panel had rejected the Assam government’s proposal of deploying manpower instead of installing the sensor-operated automated traffic barriers to curb the deaths.
  • The tribunal said that except budgetary constraints, there was no reason for the government to deploy manpower instead of sensors.
  • The green panel had also said that any vehicle that surpassed the 40 km speed limit would be liable to pay an environmental compensation of Rs. 5,000 apart from the fine under the Motor Vehicles Act.

No special status, only package: Jaitley

  • The States enjoying ‘special status’ only have to pay 10% of this contribution.
  • Mr. Jaitley said the TDP’s contention that the division left Andhra Pradesh at a disadvantage is fair.
  • He, however, claimed that the problem is how to transfer this fund to the State.
  • The Andhra Pradesh government, he said, initially wanted this assistance to be routed as loans through external agencies like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
  • Under this, the Union government would have paid 90% of the loans.
  • “This January they modified the request. Instead of externally aided projects, they asked us to provide funds through NABARD loan,” Mr. Jaitley said.
  • “It is almost as if the Union government is waiting to pay the funds but is waiting for a bank account number,” he added.

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2 Financial Superpowers battling for technology

  • As the U.S. and China look to protect their national security needs and economic interests, the fight between the two financial superpowers is increasingly focused on a single area: technology.
  • The clash erupted in public after the U.S. government, citing national security concerns, called for a full investigation into a hostile bid to buy the American chip stalwart Qualcomm.
  • This is a review that is often a death knell for a corporate deal.
  • The proposed acquisition by the Singapore-based Broadcom would have been the largest deal in technology history.
  • But a government panel said the takeover could weaken Qualcomm and give its Chinese rivals an advantage.
  • “China would likely compete robustly to fill any void left by Qualcomm as a result of this hostile takeover,” a U.S. Treasury official wrote in a letter calling for a review of the deal.
  • The fight over technology is redefining the rules of engagement in an era when national security and economic power are closely intertwined.
  • Ambitions under Xi
  • China, under President Xi Jinping, has launched an ambitious plan to dominate mobile technology, supercomputers, artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge industries.
  • Beijing wants to build its own technology champions and is encouraging companies to acquire the engineering, expertise and intellectual property from big rivals in the United States and elsewhere.
  • The aggressive push has set off alarms in Washington.
  • The secretive panel that is reviewing the Qualcomm deal, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, has taken on a central role in the resistance to Chinese investment.
  • The panel, which is led by the Treasury Department and made up of representatives from multiple agencies, has the authority to block foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies for national security reasons; it has effectively killed several acquisitions linked to Chinese buyers over the past year.
  • Broadcom said it was cooperating with CFIUS, saying it was “making the combined company a global leader in critical 5G and other technologies”.
  • Qualcomm, in an earlier statement, said the review was a “very serious matter”.
  • In most cases, the panel weighs in after a deal is announced. With Qualcomm, CFIUS is taking a proactive role and investigating before an acquisition agreement has even been signed.
  • CFIUS has stymied several deals in the past year.
  • MoneyGram, the money transfer company, and Ant Financial, the Chinese electronics payment company, called off their merger in January, citing regulatory concerns of CFIUS.
  • If the deal had gone through, Ant Financial would have had access to reams of financial data, which could have created security problems.
  • Last year, the White House blocked a Chinese-backed investor from buying Lattice Semiconductor, which is a supplier to the U.S. government.
  • China Venture Capital Fund Corp., which was part of the investment group, is owned by state-backed entities.
  • Technology companies are stuck in the middle of the fight between the United States and China.
  • While there are concerns about Chinese encroachment, the industry also recognises that such deals are the price for entry to the world’s second-largest economy.


Ease in Spectrum Cap

  • The Union Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved relaxing the cap on spectrum holding by telcos, a move that is expected to aid mergers and acquisitions in the sector.
  • The Cabinet has also given telcos the option to extend the time period for payment of spectrum bought in auction to 16 years from the present 10 years.
  • This is likely to help with the cash flow in the short to medium term, while adding Rs. 74,446 crore till 2034-35 to the government’s kitty due to no reduction in interest rates.
  • The relief measures, based on the recommendations by the Inter Ministerial Group on stressed assets in the telecom sector, will facilitate investments, consolidation and enhance ease of doing business, said an official release.
  • The cap on overall spectrum that can be held by an operator in a circle has been raised to 35% from the current 25%.
  • In line with earlier recommendations of TRAI, the current cap of 50% on intra-band spectrum holding has also been removed.
  • Instead, there will be a cap of 50% on the combined spectrum holding in the sub-1 GHz bands (700 MHz, 800 MHz and 900 MHz bands).
  • There will be no cap on individual or combined spectrum holding in the above 1 GHz band.
  • The government is hopeful that this move would encourage participation in future spectrum auctions.
  • Rajan Mathews, director general, COAI said, “The new spectrum caps will facilitate consolidation in the industry – Reliance Jio-Reliance Communications and Idea-Vodafone.”
  • However, the debt payment extension will have only minimal benefit unless the interest rate is also reduced, Mr. Mathews said.
  • He added that the systemic issues of the industry such as excessive taxes and levies of 30% or more remained unaddressed.

U.S. New Tax code to hit Indian Domestic Industries

  • The proposal by the Trump administration to levy a steep tariff on steel imports will encourage steel-surplus nations to divert their exports to “vibrant consumption centres like India and distort domestic markets considerably,” according to the Indian Steel Association (ISA).
  • The association said that U.S. move to club India, a steel non-mature country, with other steel surplus nations “is not appropriate.”
  • In a statement, ISA, the representative body of Indian steel makers, said, “the proposal by the U.S. to include India among several others is not desirable as a policy measure.”
  • The U.S. proposal would dent the growth prospects of a developing nation like India, whose production and consumption were inward looking, the association added.
  • D. Bhaskar Chatterjee, secretary general of ISA, said that a nuanced distinction was imperative prior to imposition of across-the-board tariffs on the basis of a country’s steel production motives.
  • The proposal, if implemented, would result in major shifts in existing global trade flows of steel and steel products, ISA said.
  • “Though India is the third largest producer of steel and produces 12% of the world’s non-Chinese production of steel, it has only a 2.7% share in the U.S. imports,” it said.
  • ISA also pointed out that there were a total of 16 trade remedies in place in the U.S. against Indian steel companies.
  • This included 10 anti-dumping and six countervailing duties. “All these had made it nearly impossible to export to the U.S.,” the association said.

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