Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 22 February 2018

Bank Exam Current Affairs

Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 22 February 2018


Saras fast-tracked

  • The government will fast-track the revived light transport plane Saras towards production.
  • Will also begin the feasibility study for a 70-seater regional transport aircraft RTA-70, Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan said.
  • The improved 19-seater would be first produced for the Indian Air Force by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. The IAF has offered to buy 15 of them.
  • A civil variant would be later manufactured by a private partner at 75% cost of similar imported small planes.
  • Saras would be a good fit for regional travel under the subsidised UDAN scheme, the Minister said. “Its successful development will be one of the game changers in the history of civil aviation in India,” he told a news conference.
  • Dr. Vardhan said the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) has also begun a feasibility study for the ambitious 70-seater regional transport aircraft RTA-70.
  • It would be in a tie-up with a foreign manufacturer. In the morning, the modified PT1N version flew for 20 minutes at the HAL airport and was witnessed by the Minister, CSIR Director-General Girish Sahni and NAL Director JitendraJadhav and the developer team.
  • Saras had been grounded in 2009 after an earlier prototype crashed and killed three crew members near Bengaluru.

UP Investors Summit

  • Reliance Industries chairman MukeshAmbani pledged he would invest Rs. 10,000 crore in Uttar Pradesh through his telecom venture Jio in the next three years.
  • Jio would reach every village in the State by December 2018.
  • Around two crore Jio smartphones would also be made available over the next two months on a priority basis, said Mr. Ambani.
  • Jio had already invested over Rs. 20,000 crore in U.P. providing “highest quality data and the lowest price” to 2 crore citizens of the State.
  • The two-day event, inaugurated by Mr. Modi, is being held to attract big investment to U.P. Around 5,000 delegates and over 100 speakers are slated to attend it.
  • The focus areas of the State government at the summit are civil aviation, IT, dairy, tourism, electronic manufacturing, films, MSME, textiles and handloom, agro and food processing and renewable energy.
  • Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath informed that 100 ‘Fortune 500’ companies were present at the summit and that 1,045 MoUs, worth Rs. 4.28 lakh crore, had already been signed.
  • Like Mr. Ambani, many other top business houses of the country vowed to increase investment and job creation in U.P.
  • Chairman of the Adani Group, Gautam Adani, promised to invest Rs. 35,000 crore in the next five years in a multi-modal logistics park, metro rail projects, food processing, power transmission, road building, warehousing, cold storage and setting up a multidisciplinary university. “Your leadership style is what U.P. needs today,” Mr. Adani said referring to the Chief Minister.
  • Chairman of Aditya Birla Group, Kumar Mangalam Birla, said his company planned to invest Rs. 25,000 crore in the next five years covering sectors like cement, chemicals and telecom.
  • N. Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons, assured that Tata Consultancy Services would continue to function out of Lucknow and that the company would expand operations in U.P. across sectors apart from coming up with a new 30,000-capacity campus.
  • Anand Mahindra, chairman of the Mahindra Group, promised to set up an electric vehicle manufacturing plant in U.P. and also execute an MoU of Rs. 200 crore with the State government for setting up a resort in Varanasi.
  • Mr. Modi announced that one of the two defence industrial corridors mentioned in the Union Budget would be set up in U.P.’s Bundelkhand region, bringing an investment of Rs. 20,000 crore and generating employment opportunities for 2,50,000 people.
  • The summit would be concluded by President Ram NathKovind.

New Delhi on Male’s move

  • Expressing its disappointment over the Maldives government’s decision to extend the state of Emergency for another month despite India’s objections, New Delhi issued another statement.
  • It called the move unconstitutional, words that could lead to a face-off with the Yameen government.
  • “We are deeply dismayed that the government of Maldives has extended the state of Emergency for a further 30 days. The manner in which the extension of the state of Emergency was approved by the Majlis in contravention of the Constitution of Maldives is also a matter of concern,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
  • It referred to the passage of the Emergency extension resolution in Parliament on Tuesday despite there not being the requisite quorum of 43 members.
  • The Maldivian Ambassador to India, Mohamed Ahmed, denied the accusation that the move was unconstitutional.
  • Asked if the decision meant that ties between India and the Maldives had broken down, Mr. Ahmed said, “Channels of communication” remained open and Indian Ambassador to Male Akhilesh Mishra met with Maldivian Foreign Secretary Ahmed Sareer on Wednesday.
  • A statement from the Maldivian Foreign Ministry said the two officials had “discussed the ongoing political developments and reiterated the government of Maldives’s firm commitment to work with international partners, including India.”
  • The Ministry declined to comment on the meeting.
  • India has issued a series of statements of concern over the Maldives Emergency declared by President Yameen on February 5.
  • Also after the Maldivian Supreme Court overturned the imprisonment of nine political rivals, including former President Mohamed Nasheed.
  • Since then, the Yameen government has put more leaders in prison and arrested the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and other judges. India rejected an offer by President Yameen to send an envoy to explain the circumstances, saying that democracy must be restored first.
  • In a significant move, the government allowed Mr. Nasheed to travel to India for a conference organised by The Hindu last week, where he called for India to compel Mr. Yameen to reverse the Emergency.
  • However, India is yet to spell out what the consequences of not heeding its word will be to the government in Male.
  • In Washington, the U.S. State Department issued a statement of concern, while the European Union is expected to hold a meeting of senior Ministers on Monday to discuss the situation in the Maldives.

Mass Nesting begins

  • Starting the mass nesting this year, more than 3,100 female olive ridley turtles came out of the sea to the sandy beach of the Rushikulya rookery coast in Ganjam district of Odisha.
  • The Rushikulya coast is considered to be a major nesting site in the world and lakhs of olive ridleys come here every year to lay eggs.
  • Congregation of mother turtles in sea near the rookery is quite high this year.
  • In 2017, over 3,85,000 turtles had reached the Rushikulya rookery coast to lay eggs.
  • The mass nesting process is expected to continue for around a week.
  • The Forest Department has erected temporary fences on a stretch of 4.5 km to prevent predators from damaging the nests and the eggs in them.
  • To monitor the endangered marine reptiles, the department has established five control rooms near the Rushikulya rookery.
  • A data interpretation centre has also been started.

Canandian PM with Punjab CM

  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asserted that his country believed in a united India and assured the Punjab government that it would not support any separatist movement in India.
  • During the meeting, Capt. Singh sought the Canadian Prime Minister’s cooperation in cracking down on separatism and hate crime by a fringe element, constituting a minuscule percentage of Canada’s population.
  • In response Mr. Trudeau assured Capt. Singh that “his country did not support any separatist movement in India or elsewhere.”
  • An official spokesperson said that while citing the separatist movement in Quebec, Mr. Trudeau said he had dealt with such threats all his life and was fully aware of the dangers of violence, which he had always pushed back with all his might.
  • Capt. Singh handed over a list of nine Category ‘A’ Canada-based operatives alleged to be involved in hate crimes in Punjab by financing and supplying weapons for terrorist activities, and also engaged in trying to radicalise youth and children in Punjab.
  • At the meeting, in which Canadian Defence Minister HarjitSajjan and Punjab Local Government Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu were also present.
  • Capt. Singh also raised the issue of Indo-Canadians believed to be involved in targeted killings in Punjab, urging him to initiate stern action against such elements.
  • Earlier amid tight security, Mr. Trudeau, along with his wife and children, visited the Golden Temple.
  • In the visitors’ book, Mr. Trudeau wrote: “What an honour to be well received at such a beautiful, meaningful place. We are filled with grace and humility.”

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Bloodshed in Syria

  • Residents of Syria’s Eastern Ghouta district said they were waiting their “turn to die” on Wednesday, amid one of the most intense bombardments of the war by pro-government forces on the besieged, rebel-held enclave near Damascus.
  • At least 38 people died on Wednesday. At least 310 people have been killed in the district since Sunday night and more than 1,550 injured, the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said.
  • A massive escalation in bombardment, including rocket fire, shelling, air strikes and helicopter-dropped barrel bombs, since Sunday has become one of the deadliest of the Syrian civil war, now entering its eighth year.
  • An air strike warning system run by the Syrian Civil Defence, a rescue service in opposition areas, was by Wednesday afternoon sending alerts every few minutes, triggered when warplanes are spotted taking off from air bases.
  • The United Nations has denounced the bombardment, which has struck hospitals and other civilian infrastructure, saying such attacks could be war crimes.
  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed on Wednesday for an “immediate suspension of all war activities in Eastern Ghouta”.
  • Speaking to the UN Security Council Guterres said residents were living in “hell on earth”.
  • Mr. Guterres expressed support for a Swedish and Kuwaiti push for the 15-member council to demand a 30-day ceasefire in Syria.
  • Diplomats said that the council could vote on a draft resolution in the coming days. But Mr. Assad’s veto-wielding ally Russia has called the proposal “not realistic”.
  • Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday described as “groundless” accusations that Russia bears some of the blame for civilian deaths in Eastern Ghouta.
  • A commander in the coalition fighting on behalf of Mr. Assad’s government said that the bombing aims to prevent the rebels from targeting the eastern neighbourhoods of Damascus with mortars.
  • It may be followed by a ground campaign.


RBI on inflation

  • The Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) could shift from its current ‘neutral’ policy stance to a ‘withdrawal of accommodation’ stance.
  • This may happen if headline inflation projection for the year ahead remained well above the target, the minutes of the central bank’s interest rate setting panel’s last meeting show.
  • RBI, which has a mandate with keep retail inflation between 2% and 6%, decided at its sixth bimonthly policy review on February 7 to keep interest rates unchanged, while maintaining a neutral stance.
  • While five MPC members voted to preserve the status quo, one of them recommended a 25 basis points rate increase.
  • RBI Governor Urjit Patel observed that consumer price inflation — the main yardstick to determine policy rates — had accelerated for a six consecutive month in December and said inflation was getting generalised with rising input prices.
  • Dr. Patel also said that since the economic recovery was at a nascent stage, a cautious approach was needed at this juncture.
  • Blockchain tech to prevent frauds
  • The adoption of blockchain by India’s banks could help avert frauds such as the one at Punjab National Bank.
  • The disaggregated and transparent nature of the technology, which updates information across all users simultaneously, would have ensured that various officials would have instantly been alerted to the creation of the letters of undertaking (LoUs), according to bankers and blockchain specialists.
  • Blockchain, a distributed ledger technology originally developed as an accounting system for the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
  • It is being researched across the banking and financial services industries for the potential benefits it may offer in an increasingly digitised business environment.
  • Central banks including the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Reserve Bank of India have been examining the technology to understand the regulatory challenges it may pose.
  • SBI was convinced of blockchain’s utility, especially its potential to improve internal fraud monitoring, and had already implemented it in its reconciliation systems and in several cross-country payment gateways, according to Mr. Mahapatra.
  • “In blockchain, from the source system it will try to match the transactions, so one can immediately verify any transaction using blockchain.”
  • However, Mr. Mahapatra pointed out that simply depending on technology to prevent frauds is fraught, since they take place at the human level, where an official with the correct authentication can misuse the system.
  • “The modus operandi of the fraud as it appears right now is that somebody used all the authentication methods and it was compromised at the user level,” Mr. Mahapatra said.
  • “If that is the case, then any technology can be hoodwinked. Here, what was given into the system is not in doubt, the one who gave it into the system is in doubt.”
  • Still, blockchain’s technology is such that even human error can be greatly mitigated, KartikMandaville, CEO of SpringRole, a blockchain solutions company said. “Blockchain can fix this by having everything linked to the same database.”

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