Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams 07 March 2016

Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams

07 March 2016

:: National ::

Terror alerts across the country

  • Gujarat and the national capital were on high alert with several teams of National Security Guard commandos on standby in the wake of intelligence inputs suggesting that a group of 8 to 10 terrorists may have sneaked into India from Pakistan.
  • The alert came on the eve of Shivratri festival on Monday.
  • National Security Adviser Ajit Doval told the Gujarat police top brass about the input on a team of 10 terrorists sneaking into the State to carry out terror strikes.
  • Senior officials in the State claimed that Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Naseer Khan Janjua informed his Indian counterpart about the group of fidayeen from the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e Muhammed on a major mission in the State.
  • Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel told the media in Delhi that the authorities had taken all measures, so there was no need to worry.
  • Meanwhile, all public functions to celebrate Shivratri at the historical Somnath temple have been cancelled.
  • Police have also heightened security at another historical pilgrimage centre, Dwarka, and Bhavnath in Junagadh where a huge fair is organised on Shivratri.
  • The national capital went into alert mode on Sunday, after some inputs suggested that the terrorists could have moved from Gujarat to Delhi.

Rotavirus vaccine will be launched through the national immunisation programme

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research will be launching the rotavirus vaccine through the national immunisation programme by the month-end.
  • The vaccine will be initially provided to all children in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Odisha and Himachal and later expanded across the country.
  • ICMR would soon be undertaking the first phase of trial of malaria vaccine.
  • The challenges in India were different from the West and hence the Western ideas could not be copied here.
  • We need to step up treatment options for malaria, tuberculosis, kala azar – diseases that the West did not have to worry about.
  • The University awarded six honorary doctorate degrees on eminent professionals in the field of engineering, science, medicine, social science and theology.

Modi says go beyond women development to women led development

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed the importance of women-led development and said a nation was always empowered by its women.
  • Mr. Modi, addressing the valedictory session of the National Conference of Women Legislators in the Central Hall of Parliament here, said: “We must think beyond “women development,” and move towards “women-led development.”
  • “A country is always empowered by its women. It is she who in different roles — as a mother, a sister and a wife — nurtures citizens and these empowered citizens then play a role in building up an empowered society and country,” said Mr. Modi.
  • Mr. Modi said that multi-tasking, which is considered to be a very important element of modern-day management, comes naturally to women.
  • Women representatives from both Houses of Parliament, State Legislative Assemblies and Councils are attending the two-day.
  • Mr. Modi urged the women legislators to engage with their constituents using technology.

:: Science and Tech ::

Evidence of element, curium, related to solar system formation found

  • Scientists from University of Chicago have discovered evidence of a rare element named curium that was present during the formation of the solar system.
  • The team found evidence of curium in an unusual ceramic inclusion they called “Curious Marie”, taken from a carbonaceous meteorite.
  • “Curious Marie” and curium are both named after Marie Curie whose pioneering work laid the foundation of the theory of radioactivity.
  • This finding ends a 35-year-old debate on the possible presence of curium in the early solar system and plays a crucial role in reassessing models of stellar evolution and synthesis of elements in stars.
  • Curium became incorporated into the inclusion when it condensed from the gaseous cloud that formed the sun early in the history of the solar system.
  • On Earth, curium exists only when manufactured in laboratories or as a by-product of nuclear explosions.
  • Thanks to this sample, the research team was able to calculate the amount of curium present in the early solar system and to compare it to the amount of other heavy radioactive elements such as iodine-129 and plutonium-244.
  • Scientists find evidence of curium in a ceramic inclusion taken from a meteorite

Indian Institute of Science have developed a eco-friendly lamp

  • Barely half a litre of water and two spoons of salt is the recipe for light.
  • In a country where electricity is yet to reach millions and where dim kerosene lamps overlook the life of many in villages, researchers from Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) have developed an eco-friendly lamp that runs entirely on salt water.
  • The salt water-run battery is as powerful as four AA batteries, and can power an LED lamp for 1,500 hours (or a little more than two months) at a stretch.
  • The concept is one that most are familiar with in high school chemistry. Electricity can be produced when two electrodes (one that can readily give away its electrons, and another to accept them as easily) are dipped in an electrolyte.
  • Salt water or seawater, which is nearly free, has to be replaced every 100 hours or so; while, after nearly 1,500 hours of use, the magnesium electrode has to be changed.
  • Currently, each electrode costs Rs. 50. It is this kind of conversion of simple technology, using renewable resources, that the fledgling company and the IISc.

:: International ::

Presidential nomination race still open

  • The Republican Party establishment’s efforts to stop real estate developer Donald Trump from winning the party’s presidential nomination appears to have an unintended consequence, if at all.
  • All anti-Trump voters in the party are now gravitating towards Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who won two of the four States that voted in the nomination race.
  • On the Democratic side, front runner Hillary Clinton won only one of the three States that voted but picked up more delegates than Senator Bernie Sanders.
  • Mr. Sanders said after the results that his campaign would continue all the way up to the party national convention.
  • Nomination is secured by winning a majority among the delegates at the respective national conventions of parties.
  • After Saturday, with 27.89 per cent of the total delegates allocated on the Democratic side, Ms. Clinton’s lead appeared unassailable.
  • With 37.37 delegates allocated on the Republican side, the contest remains scattered but Mr. Trump’s advantage is apparent.
  • He has 378 delegates, still a long distance away from the halfway mark of 1,297 needed to secure the nomination. Mr Cruz has won 295 so far.

1.26 million People seek EU asylum in past year

  • The number of people applying for asylum in the European Union (EU) more than doubled in 2015, reaching a record 1.26 million, according to the EU statistics agency.
  • Syrians accounted for almost a third of the total, with 362,775 people seeking shelter in Europe, followed by Afghans and Iraqis, Eurostat said.
  • The data came as Brussels stepped up warnings to member states to take urgent action to resolve the refugee crisis by agreeing on plans to redistribute asylum seekers around Europe.
  • The European Commission also called on countries to lift all internal border controls by November, while stepping up protection of Europe’s external frontiers.
  • Since September, eight countries have reintroduced border checks, aimed at preventing large numbers of refugees and migrants entering their countries.
  • The latest Brussels plan is based on the assumption that Turkey will take decisive steps to reduce the number of people making the perilous crossing across the Aegean Sea.
  • EU leaders are meeting the Turkish Prime Minister, at an emergency summit in Brussels, where they hope to get a promise of decisive action to reduce numbers, especially targeted at people who do not qualify for EU asylum.

:: Business and Economy ::

Country heading more towards a cashless economy

  • E-payments and mobile wallets are getting more popular among the youth in the country.
  • As these are gaining wider acceptance, a major concern of our financial regulator too is getting addressed — the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has started working towards making India a cashless economy and to bring in accountability and transparency in each financial transaction.
  • Last week, the Union Cabinet cleared the implementation of a few short and long term measures to promote digital and card-based payments to curb cash use in the system.
  • Some of the measures include withdrawal of surcharge, service charge or convenience fee on card and other digital transactions. With this, digital payment, which is already gaining traction, is expected to gain momentum.
  • Foreseeing this big opportunity, a bunch of youngsters has kick-started a movement by launching mobile wallets and is slowly changing the way Indians transact.
  • A mobile wallet app is a virtual wallet where a registered customer can pre-load a certain amount of money with any service provider, which can be used for various bill payments and recharges.
  • The major reason for this is the smart phone that enables internet penetration in to rural parts of India. Increasing government support is another catalyst.
  • According to a recent report from TechSci Research titled ‘India Mobile Wallet Market Opportunities and Forecast, 2020’, the mobile wallet market in India is projected to reach $6.6 billion by 2020.
  • In April last, e-commerce major Snapdeal had made one of the biggest acquisitions in the Indian e-commerce industry by buying wallet player Freecharge for about $400 million.
  • As the wallets allow a user to load cash from a very small amount to a maximum of Rs 10,000, the risk associated with the loss of money through transaction is minimal. Apart from this, the wallet companies provide high security standards for customers while transacting.
  • Recently, the RBI had issued certain guidelines that allow the users to increase their limit to Rs 1,00,000 based on a certain KYC verification.
  • The mobile wallet user base in India has even surpassed the total number of credit cards issued in the country.
  • The RBI data shows that till November 2015, around 22 million credit cards have been issued by 55 banks, while a rough estimate shows there are more than 100 million wallet users in India.
  • In a bid to garner market share, almost all players are offering cash back and discounts, which can be used for another transaction. Some players even provide offline way of wallet balance top up.
  • Mobikwik has its 'Cash Pickup' service in select cities that will facilitate cash to be directly added to MobiKwik wallet. There are different types of E-wallets:
  • OPEN WALLETS: The ones that allow you to buy good and services, withdraw cash at ATMs or banks and transfer funds; these services can only be jointly launched with a bank. Apart from the usual merchant payments, it also allows you to send money to any mobile number bank account. M-Pesa by Vodafone is an example.
  • SEMI-OPEN WALLETS: You can't withdraw cash or get it back. In this scenario, a customer has to spend what he loads. Airtel Money is a semi-open wallet, which allows you to transact with merchants having contract with Airtel.
  • CLOSED WALLETS: Quite popular with e-commerce companies, where a certain amount of money is locked with the merchant in case of a cancellation or return of the order, or gift cards.
  • SEMI-CLOSED WALLETS: These do not permit cash withdrawals or redemption, but allow you to buy goods and services from listed merchants and perform financial services at listed locations. Paytm is an example.

The Committee appointed to suggest changes in the Companies Act submitted its report

  • The Committee appointed by the Government of India to suggest changes in the Companies Act, 2013 and Rules made there under, in the interests of various stakeholders, has submitted its report.

  • The Committee has suggested that Section 4 (1)(c) of the Companies Act, 2013 should be amended to allow companies to have a generic object clause to engage in any lawful activity or business as per the law for the time being in force.

  • This proposal is based on Section 31 of the Companies Act, 2006 of the U.K. To supplant this English Law on to the Indian sub soil without regard to the ground realities of Indian business is highly misleading.

  • The Committee has suggested that the present prohibition against more than two layers of subsidiaries for investments should be done away with.

  • While the Committee recognises that numerous layers of subsidiaries are created to hide the source of funds so as to siphon off money, the Committee has sought to omit this provision in the Companies Act, 2013 in order not to impede the efficacy of corporate structuring.

  • When it comes to independent directors, Section 149 of the Companies Act, 2013 says that an independent director cannot have any pecuniary relationship with the company in which he is appointed as an independent director or with its satellites during the last two financial years or in the current year.

  • A similar provision in SEBI Regulations for listed companies says that an independent director should not have material pecuniary relationship with a company or with its satellites in the last two financial years or in the current year.

  • The definition of a managing director under the Companies Act, 2013 is almost identical with the definition under the Companies Act, 1956.

  • However, unlike under the Companies Act, 1956, under the Companies Act, 2013, the proviso saying that the managing director should be allowed to exercise his powers subject to the superintendence control and direction of the Board of directors, has been omitted.

  • When it comes to the National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA), the following views of the Committee are quite appropriate:

  • As suggested by the Committee, the provisions relating to the constitution of the National Company Law Tribunal and the National Law Appellate Tribunal should be amended to conform to the Supreme Court of India’s order of May, 2015. Otherwise, such a tribunal may become a still born baby.

  • Law is as good as it is administered. The Companies Act, 2013 is a modern law for a rising India. It is important that the administrators of such a law have a mindset keeping with the spirit of such a law.

:: Sports ::

India beat Bangladesh in Asia cup final

  • India demonstrated its dominance in Twenty20 cricket and regained continental supremacy, downing host Bangladesh by eight wickets in the final of the Asia Cup at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
  • Bangladesh found its total of 120, after having been asked to bat, too meagre to challenge the efficiency of the Indians who completed the run chase with seven balls to spare.
  • The match was reduced to a 15-over affair after a thundershower delayed the start by two hours.
  • Shikhar Dhawan played the lead with a chanceless 60 (44b, 9x4, 1x6) while Virat Kohli (41 not out) supported him ably in a 94-run stand for the second wicket.
  • Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni produced late fireworks, scoring 20 off just six balls (two sixes and a four), to ensure India’s sixth Asia Cup title. This was the 10th win in 11 matches for India — an encouraging statistic ahead of the ICC World T20.

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