Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 11 January 2018

Bank Exam Current Affairs

Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 11 January 2018


Centre eased several foreign direct investment norms,

  • The Centre eased several foreign direct investment norms, including allowing overseas airlines to own up to 49% of Air India and permitting 100% FDI in single brand retail and construction development under the automatic route.
  • The Union Cabinet allowed foreign airlines to invest up to 49% under the approval route in Air India, “subject to the conditions that: (i) foreign investment(s) in Air India, including that of foreign airline(s), shall not exceed 49% either directly or indirectly and (ii) substantial ownership and effective control of Air India shall continue to be vested in an Indian national.”
  • The move comes close on the heels of Singapore Airlines and Tata Group evincing interest in bidding for the debt-laden national carrier.
  • As per the present policy, foreign airlines are allowed to invest under the government approval route in the capital of Indian companies operating scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services, up to the limit of 49% of their paid-up capital.
  • However, this provision was not applicable to Air India. The government, therefore, decided to do away with this restriction.
  • The changes to the FDI norms would trigger significant interest in the carrier from foreign airlines, however the actual terms of the offer and conditions attached would determine the level of participation in the bids.
  • CAPA India, in October 2017, recommended that the government exit Air India completely. “Any level of equity retention will deter investors due to concerns about the prospect of continued government interference post-privatisation,” it had said at the time.
  • “No major Indian corporation from outside of aviation will invest in such a complex project without an experienced strategic partner. Allowing foreign airlines to participate will increase the number of interested bidders and the valuation.”
  • The government may, however, have to face opposition to its plans to divest stake in Air India.
  • The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, in a draft report, is said to have described Air India as a “national pride” and urged that the airline be “given a chance for at least five years to revive.”

SIT headed by a former High Court judge to independently probe 186 anti-sikh riot cases

  • In a relief for the 1984 Sikh riots victims who have waited decades for justice, the Supreme Court decided to set up its own Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by a former High Court judge to independently probe 186 cases not investigated further by the Centre’s SIT.
  • A Bench, led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, said the three-member SIT would also have two police officers, one serving and one retired.
  • On the government’s insistence, the Bench posted the matter for January 11 so that the Centre, represented by Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, and senior advocate H.S. Phoolka, who is appearing for the victims, could suggest names for the SIT.
  • “Regard being had to the nature of the cases, we think it appropriate that a fresh SIT be constituted for carrying on further investigation,” the Court said.
  • It said that besides the retired HC judge, the members would be a former IPS officer not below or equivalent to the rank of an IG and a serving IPS officer, all available in Delhi.
  • The Centre had earlier told the SC that of the 293 cases investigated by the SIT, closure reports were filed in 241.

BCI asks MP’s and MLA’s to why they should not be banned

  • The Bar Council of India, the country’s apex lawyers’ body asked Members of Parliament and State Assembly legislators, who double up as advocates, to respond on why they should not be banned from legal practice.
  • An expert committee of the Bar Council of India (BCI) is considering a plea filed by Supreme Court advocate Ashwini Upadhyay to ban lawmakers — Members of Parliament and Members of the State Legislative Assemblies — who practise as advocates, saying they are salaried public servants and cannot ride two horses at the same time.
  • “The committee, after considering the representation of the petitioner, has decided to issue notice to the MPs/MLAs and has invited their comments with regard to the representation,” the BCI said.
  • “The Council has thought it just and proper to seek the comments of those MPs, MLAs or MLCs who are in legal practice, before taking any final decision in this matter,” the BCI said in a statement.

PSLV set for 31 satellite launch

  • The PSLV rocket, after a shocking falter four months ago, will return to the launch pad at Sriharikota.
  • A successful flight of PSLV-C40 is expected to put behind the Indian light lift rocket’s freak failure on August 31. During the forced hiatus, the Indian Space Research Organisation diagnosed why the nose cone of the previous C-39 rocket did not release the satellite; it took necessary corrective steps.
  • Now among the world’s favourite and reliable commercial launchers for small satellites, the upcoming 42nd PSLV will carry a total of 31 satellites including 28 paid riders.
  • The main payload, the 710-kg Cartosat-2F, is the seventh in the Cartosat-2 series and is built to work for five years. Said to have a high, sub-metre resolution, it is unofficially said to serve military surveillance purposes.
  • ISRO is putting up two of its own small satellites — a 100 kg micro satellite and the 11-kg nano satellite INS-1C. There are also 28 smaller customers.
  • The commercial satellites include three 100-kg class micro satellites and 25 nanosats (1-10 kg) from Canada, Finland, France, Korea the U.K. and the U.S.
  • The PSLV has so far launched 209 small and medium satellites for foreign countries and earned revenue for the commercial arm, Antrix Corporation Ltd.
  • ISRO will be trying a two-orbit feat with the PSLV for the second time. On Friday, just after 17 minutes from take-off, the main satellite will be released first into a 505-km orbit, followed by 29 others.

Backward districts to be the target of govt.

  • At the Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told all Ministries to report on the initiatives taken up by them for 115 backward districts and also to come up with an action plan for these districts.
  • This is part of a concerted effort by the government to focus attention on these districts.
  • Officials in-charge
  • NITI Aayog had appointed officials of the ranks of Additional Secretary and Joint Secretary asprabhari or in-charge to coordinate the efforts of the Centre and the States.The Prime Minister will also start his visits to these districts from April 14.
  • Speaking at a conference organised by the NITI Aayog on the transformation of these 115 most backward districts in the country, Mr. Modi said that they should not be seen as just poor or backward but as sites of potential transformation.
  • Among the 115 districts, 35 are affected by Left-wing violence.The districts were identified on the basis of indicators of education, health, nutrition, basic infrastructure, rural household electrification, and access to potable water and individual toilets.
  • Jharkhand tops the list, with 19 backward districts, followed by Bihar with 13 districts; Chhattisgarh is at the third spot with 10 districts. NITI Ayog is developing a real-time monitoring mechanism of key performance indicators and will rank the districts on a continuous basis.
  • While selecting the districts, maximum weight was given to data of landless households dependent on manual labour.
  • The other criteria were nutritional level of children below five years of age and their drop-out rate from schools.
  • The government is also expecting electoral benefit from the plan because these districts also have a high population of tribes and Dalits, a section the BJP is hoping will stick with it in the Lok Sabha elections to be held in 2019.

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China will fund the construction of an Afghan counterterrorism base

  • China will fund the construction of an Afghan counterterrorism base in Badakhshan province to block cross-border infiltration of ethnic Uyghur militants.
  • Fergana News Agency (FNA) has quoted Gen. Dawlat Waziri of the Afghan Defence Ministry as saying that China will provide financial support to build the base, whose precise location inside Badakhshan, in northern Afghanistan, is yet to the determined.
  • Gen. Waziri said the Chinese side would cover all material and technical expenses for this base — weaponry, uniforms for soldiers, military equipment and everything else necessary for its functioning.
  • The decision to build the facility was taken during last month’s visit to China by Afghan Defence Minister Tariq Shah Bahrami.
  • Mr. Bahrami and his Chinese counterpart Gen. Chang Wanquan agreed that their counterterrorism focus should not only be confined to Badakhshan, but Afghanistan’s entire northern region.
  • Afghan analysts said the largest group of Uyghur militants already resides in Badakhshan, from where they can rapidly shift to China. The Afghan Defence Minister’s visit follows the first meeting of the foreign ministers of China, Pakistan and Afghanistan last month.

::Business and Economy::

Govt liberalised and simplified the FDI regime in a host of sectors

  • The Union government liberalised and simplified the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) regime in a host of sectors, including Single Brand Retail Trading (SBRT) and construction development.
  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its approval to a proposal permitting 100% FDI under the automatic route for SBRT.
  • The Centre also eased ‘sourcing norms’ in SBRT by permitting companies to set off their incremental sourcing of goods from India for global operations in the initial five years — beginning April 1 of the year of the opening of the firm’s first store — against the mandatory sourcing requirement of 30% of purchases from India.
  • After the completion of the five-year period, SBRT entities would be required to meet the 30% sourcing norms directly towards its India’s operation, on an annual basis, the government said in an official statement.
  • Apple is learnt to have sought the waiver on the ground that it manufactures ‘cutting-edge technology’ products for which it is not possible to source as much from India due to the absence of or low capacity of the requisite supply-chain items.
  • The relaxation in local sourcing norms would allow the SBRT entity adequate time to set up their supply chain for local souring in India, Mr. Wahi said, adding that it would also provide an impetus to the government’s “Make In India” initiative.
  • On its impact on consumers, Mr. Wahi said the move would open up the Indian retail markets, leading to greater number of brands entering the Indian retail space and thus increasing competition.
  • In construction development, the Centre said that real estate broking service did not amount to ‘real estate business’ and was, therefore, eligible for 100% FDI under the automatic route.
  • Bhairav Dalal, partner, Real Estate Tax, PwC India, said that the clarification on real estate broking services was a welcome move “given the number of start-ups in this space offering innovative broking products.”

India’s growth rate in 2018 is projected to hit 7.3% and 7.5% in the next two years,

  • India’s growth rate in 2018 is projected to hit 7.3% and 7.5% in the next two years, according to the World Bank, which said the country has “enormous growth potential” compared to other emerging economies with the implementation of comprehensive reforms.
  • India is estimated to have grown at 6.7% in 2017 despite initial setbacks from demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST), according to the 2018 Global Economics Prospect released by the World Bank here.
  • He said in comparison with China, which is slowing, the World Bank is expecting India to gradually accelerate. “The growth numbers of the past three years were very healthy,” said Kose, author of the report.
  • India’s economy is likely to grow 7.3% in 2018 and then accelerate to 7.5% in the next two years, the bank said.
  • China grew at 6.8% in 2017, 0.1% more than that of India, while in 2018, its growth rate is projected at 6.4%. And in the next two years, the country’s growth rate will drop marginally to 6.3 and 6.2%, respectively.
  • To materialise its potential, India needed to take steps to boost investment prospects, Kose said.
  • India has a favourable demographic profile which is rarely seen in other economies. “In that context, improving female labour force participation rate is going to be important,” he said.

confusion surrounding the final deadline for filing the GSTR-1 form

  • A combination of last-minute filers, glitches on the Goods and Services Tax Network portal, and confusion surrounding the final deadline for filing the GSTR-1 form meant that people faced several hurdles in filing their returns for the April to November period.
  • January 10 was the deadline for filing GSTR-1 forms for the July to September quarter for taxpayers with a turnover up to Rs. 1.5 crore and for the July to November period for taxpayers with a turnover above Rs. 1.5 crore.
  • Following the circulation of a fake notification on social media claiming that the government had extended the deadline to January 15, the government was forced to issue a clarification that the original deadline stood.
  • The other problem seems to be the systemic issue of tax filers waiting till the last date to file their returns, which overloads the portal. While some said that this was a major problem, others said the portal downtime was not a significant issue.
  • “There have been two broad problems with the GSTN portal,” Archit Gupta, founder and CEO of Cleartax said. “The first is that people are having trouble logging onto the portal, and the second is that the data, once uploaded, is not reflecting on the site.”
  • “For most of the taxpayers, the clients are sharing their information at the last moment, so consultants are finding it very difficult to file their returns on the last date,” Mr. Singhania added.

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