Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 15 January 2022
Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 15 January 2022
Railways ‘guard’ redesignated as 'train manager'. Will it affect pay scale?
Indian Railways on Friday announced its decision to re-designate the post of ‘guard’ as ‘train manager’, fulfilling a long-pending demand. The ministry of railways said that the issue of designation had been under deliberation in Railway Board in consultation with recognised federations. The ministry added that the new designation of ‘train manager’ is “more in consonance with their existing duties and responsibilities” and will improve the motivation level of the employees.
In an order dated January 13, the ministry of railways said that ‘assistant guard’ and ‘goods guard’ will now be known as ‘assistant passenger train manager’ and ‘goods train manager’, respectively. The ‘mail/express guard’ will be known as ‘mail/express train manager’. Similarly, ‘senior goods guard’ and ‘senior passenger guard’ have been re-designated as ‘senior goods train manager’ and ‘senior passenger train manager’, respectively.
The ministry clarified that the pay levels will remain unchanged after redesignation. The method of recruitment, seniority and avenues of promotion will also remain unaffected by the decision.
“The revised designations will not entail any change in their pay levels, method of recruitment, existing duties and responsibilities, seniority and avenues of promotion,” the order stated.
A senior official in the railway ministry told HT that a train guard is virtually in-charge of the respective train and demands were raised that the existing designation has become outdated. Another senior railway official said 'train manager' would be a dignified designation for them “so that they can also lead a respectful life in society.”
The United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday raised concerns that cloth masks that popularly replaced medical-grade surgical and N95 masks through the course of the pandemic may not provide enough protection against the coronavirus disease.
Although a known factor to the public, cloth masks became increasingly popular across the world due to their reusability. Until now, the CDC had not explicitly addressed any difference between a regular cloth mask and protective N95 respirators.
However, with more contagious strains like Omicron continuing to soar, experts have now urged the CDC to recommend N95 masks for all citizens.
According to a report by The New York Times, in its previous version of the recommendations, the CDC had said individuals may choose to use a disposable N95 respirator instead of a mask “when supplies are available”.
The agency has now recommended all Americans to “wear the most protective mask you can that fits well and that you will wear consistently”.
However, the CDC has relaxed Covid-19 guidelines and reduced the isolation period for those infected to five days, provided their symptoms stop and if they wear masks in public for another five days.
RBI proposes adding corporate bonds in banks' HTM category
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) proposed allowing banks to keep corporate bonds, or even equity shares of subsidiaries, associates and joint ventures in the held-to-maturity category (HTM) of their investment books.
An investment in the HTM category doesn’t require being valued at the current market price, and therefore, banks do not have to incur mark-to-market losses if the current prices of the instruments dip in the market.
Earlier, only government and state government securities, and certain securities by infrastructure companies were allowed in the HTM category. Also, banks were not allowed to keep more than 25 per cent of their total investments in this category.
In a draft discussion paper on prudential norms on investments by banks, the central bank proposed removing the ceiling on investments in HTM as a percentage to total investments and also the ceiling on SLR securities that can be held there. Feedback on the draft can be given by February 15.
However, the “controls for sales out of HTM (barring certain existing exemptions) shall be tightened to ensure that the basic principles and tenets for classification of securities as HTM and valuing them at cost is not invalidated,” the draft discussion paper said.
For example, “only debt instruments with fixed or determinable payments and fixed maturity with the intent of holding till maturity shall be classified under HTM”. This can be even corporate bonds, while the central bank made exceptions for the equities of subsidiaries.
Banks hire scores of oversight agencies to keep tabs on end-use of loans
With increasing cases of fund diversions, banks have come together and empanelled as many as 83 oversight agencies to keep a tab on the end-use of loans, State Bank chairman Rajnish Kumar.
The chairm of the largest lender said there have been instances where an individual or a company has borrowed from one bank and at the same time uses a current account facility with some other bank to divert funds.
"The consortium discipline or the multiple banking disciplines has to be improved and there the regulator also has to pay a role," he said.
On the tepid credit growth, Kumar said he expects some pick up during the second half.
"If you look at the year-on-year growth, we are seeing 13 percent. Hopefully, if this continues or remains at the same level in the second half, we will be very happy. Only by the second half we will know how much credit is needed," Kumar said.
Talking about the liquidity conditions, he said at the sectoral level, there is enough liquidity in the system as the RBI announced many measures immediately after the budget to improve liquidity for NBFCs.
::Science and tech::
Potato-shaped planet discovered about 1.8k light yrs from solar system
Astronomers have finally announced that an exoplanet discovered a few years ago is somewhat similar to a potato. The planet, named WASP-103b, is located in the constellation “Hercules”, at a distance of about 1,800 light-years from the solar system.
According to news agency AFP, WASP-103b is a close distance away from its star WASP-103, which is about 50 times closer to its sun than Earth is to its sun, to the extent that the planet’s cycle takes only 22 hours, while the Earth’s cycle takes 365 days.
Astronomers initially discovered this unusually shaped planet back in 2014.
“WASP-103b is the exoplanet with the highest expected deformation signature in its transit light curve and one of the shortest expected spiral-in times,” a study published in the Astronomy and Astrophysics journal said.
The study added that measuring the tidal deformation of the planet would allow it to estimate the second-degree fluid Love number and gain insight into the internal structure of WASP-103.
“This will allow to constrain the internal structure and composition of WASP-103b, which could provide clues on the inflation of hot Jupiters,” it added.
Susanna Barros, an astrophysicist at the University of Porto, Portugal pointed out that if this planet is 1.5 times more massive than Jupiter, then its radius is twice as large. Barros predicts that WASP-103b will be very puffy because of the hotness of its star along with other mechanisms.
Djokovic's appeal of canceled visa moves to higher court
Novak Djokovic’s effort to play in the Australian Open despite being unvaccinated for Covid-19 moved to a higher court Saturday as the No. 1-ranked tennis player appealed the second cancellation of his visa.
Djokovic was not seen on the online feed available to the public for the 15-minute procedural hearing, which began just two days before he is scheduled to play his first match of 2022 at Melbourne Park.
Judge David O'Callaghan ruled that lawyers representing Djokovic and the government would need to submit written arguments later Saturday and scheduled another hearing for Sunday morning.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke blocked the 34-year-old Serb’s visa, which was originally revoked when he landed at a Melbourne airport last week. But it was restored Monday by a judge on procedural grounds, because Djokovic was not allowed to have a lawyer with him at the airport.