Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 16 January 2018

Bank Exam Current Affairs

Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 16 January 2018


Face recognition feature in Aadhaar soon

  • The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) said it will enable Aadhaar authentication using face recognition from July 1 onwards.
  • However, this feature will be used only in “fusion mode”, along with one more existing mode of authentication such as fingerprint, iris or one-time password (OTP).
  • The decision has been taken “so that people facing difficulty in other biometric authentication (fingerprint and Iris) could easily authenticate,” UIDAI said in a statement, adding that some people are not able to biometrically authenticate due to their worn out fingerprints, old age or hard working conditions.
  • UIDAI emphasized that the new method, which will be allowed on need basis, will “only be allowed only in fusion mode along with one more authentication factor combined with either fingerprint or iris or OTP to be able to successfully authenticate an Aadhaar number holder.”
  • The moves comes a few days after UIDAI introduced the concept of a virtual ID, which an Aadhaar holder can use in lieu of his/her Aadhaar number at the time of authentication, and sharing of ‘limited KYC’ with certain agencies. This was aimed at eliminating sharing and storing of Aadhaar numbers.
  • There is also no need to capture any new reference data. “Camera is now available on laptops and mobiles, making face capture feasible for Authentication User Agencies (AUAs) without any additional hardware. Face authentication with liveness detection can be used as an additional factor to increase security,” it said.
  • UIDAI will release necessary details for implementation for AUAs by March 1, 2018. It will also provide software development kits that will have the ability to capture face image, check liveness, and create digitally signed and encrypted authentication input

India proposed to access India’s big data

  • Boosting measures to counter cyberthreats and to “revolutionise” Indian farm production, Israel has proposed to access India’s “big data,” the Ministry of External Affairs said at the end of the bilateral discussions, when both sides concluded four agreements.
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Vijay Gokhale, Secretary in charge of economic relations in the MEA, said Israel proposed to track individual Indian farmers, even as both sides joined hands to use a similar data-driven method to fight cybercrimes.
  • “The idea of big data was brought into the discussion by the Israeli side in the context of emphasising how technology can now be used to agglomerate vast amounts of information and then bear on individual field and individual [Indian] farmer’s efforts, to improve the yield,” Mr. Gokhale said.
  • Minister for Agriculture Radhamohan Singh participated in the delegation-level talks on agriculture collaboration using Indian population’s big database, he said.
  • The official refused to elaborate whether India had safeguards in place to share Aadhaar-based data with Israel, but indicated that the data under consideration would be of a magnitude to facilitate monitoring of “individual farmers’ and ‘water utilisation, cutting of crop, plantation, soil condition.”

Israel sees India’s Vote in U.N. a small problem in the ties

  • India’s recent vote at the United Nations General Assembly, opposing U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, did not dent ties as the scope of the bilateral relations is “much larger” and it could not be determined by just one issue.
  • Vijay Gokhale, Secretary in charge of Economic Relations in the Ministry, said both sides viewed ties “holistically” and they sought an early resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
  • “Our side expressed our position on both the status of Jerusalem and Palestine. Both sides agreed that our relationship is much larger and our relationship is not determined by this [vote],” Mr. Gokhale said.
  • The Palestine issue was discussed by the delegations led by Prime Ministers Modi and Netanyahu and sources said the Israelis were aware that Mr. Modi was likely to visit the West Asian region soon, which may include a trip to the Palestinian capital of Ramallah.
  • Both sides also discussed possibilities of resuming the stalled peace talks between the Israel and Palestine.
  • Israeli Ambassador Daniel Carmon had said the talks about India’s vote at the General Assembly were continuing through bilateral “diplomatic channels”.
  • Discussion on India’s traditional position was held in a frank manner and both sides agreed that this one issue should not become an impediment given the widespread convergence of a number of issues in the bilateral relations.
  • “Israelis understand that there are several factors that determine our position over Palestine,” another official said.

All is still not well between the SC judges

  • Suggestions that the differences between the four Supreme Court judges and Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra had been resolved at the daily tea meeting before the hearings in the court began, were scotched by sources close to the four judges.
  • They described the reports as deliberate misinformation. Reports of a resolution gained currency after Attorney General K.K. Venugopal was quoted in a section of the media saying that the issues had been ironed out at the informal tea meeting.
  • There have been no attempts so far to resolve the issue raised by the four judges.
  • While all four attended the morning tea session and spent a few minutes there before the day’s work began, the source claimed that talk of a resolution was a deliberate attempt to trivialise the issue raised by them.
  • While everyone in a democracy has the right to say that the four judges were wrong in going public, what they are now facing is “mischief”.
  • Monday was the first working day in the Supreme Court after the foursome – Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph – held an unprecedented press conference on January 13, criticising the Chief Justice of selective allocation of sensitive cases.
  • The day began as usual in the courtrooms of Chief Justice Misra and the four judges.All of them went about hearing the listed cases as usual with no sign of the simmering tensions within.

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Japan accuses China of coming in disputed waters

  • Japan said that a Chinese naval submarine spotted in waters off flashpoint islands in the East China Sea was one of its new type of nuclear-powered attack vessels.
  • Earlier, China said three of its “Coast Guard vessels conducted a patrol in waters off the Diaoyu Islands,” Beijing’s name for the contested isles called Senkaku in Japan.
  • Japanese Navy protested after it spotted Jiangkai II class frigate and an unidentified submarine in disputed waters.

::Business and economy::

Goods trade deficit goes up in dec till 14.7 billion dollar

  • Goods trade deficit in December, 2017 widened to $14.9 billion from $10.5 billion in December 2016 as imports outpaced exports, government data showed.
  • Gold imports in December, 2017 surged 71.52% to $3.39 billion. Imports of petroleum products rose 34.94% to $10.3 billion and those of pearls, precious and semi-precious stones by 94% to $3.46 billion, Commerce Ministry data showed.
  • Global Brent (oil) prices (U.S. dollar/barrel) increased by 18.75% in December 2017 vis-a-vis December 2016 as per World Bank commodity price data, the Ministry said.
  • They were among the factors leading to overall imports for December increasing by 21.12% year-on-year to $41.9 billion.
  • “The rising trade deficit is alarming and the import profile needs to be analysed carefully to see whether imports would augment domestic production or shall pose a challenge for the same,” said G. K. Gupta, president, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).
  • Imports during April-December 2017-18 increased by 21.76% to $338.36 billion while trade deficit during the period widened to $115 billion from $78.4 billion in the corresponding period of the previous financial year.
  • Meanwhile, exports for the month rose by only 12.36% to $27 billion.
  • Referring to the 8% contraction in exports of ready-made garments in December. While decline in exports of minerals is understandable, the similar trend for apparel is extremely disappointing as appreciation of Indian rupee would further blunt the competitive edge of the sector,” he said.

WPI cooled down in dec

  • Wholesale price-based inflation (WPI) has cooled in December, 2017 to a three-month low of 3.58% thanks to the decline in prices of food items, according to data released by the Commerce and Industry Ministry.
  • This prompted India Inc to demand lowering of interest rates. In November, the annual rate of inflation based on monthly WPI, was 3.93% (provisional), while in December 2016 it was 2.1%. Inflation in food articles eased to 4.72% in December 2017 from 6.06% in November 2017.
  • “As inflation numbers are being driven largely on account of supply side factors, we urge the Reserve Bank of India to calibrate its monetary policy stance giving equal weightage to growth consideration. Lowering of repo rate in the upcoming monetary policy is critical to boost investments and build growth momentum at this juncture,” said Rashesh Shah, president, FICCI.
  • He also sought measures in the Union Budget to strengthen the agriculture supply chain for effective management of food prices, as well as inclusion of petrol and diesel under the Goods and Services Tax regime to help lower the pressures of fuel inflation.
  • Consumer price index -based inflation had surged to a 17-month high of 5.2% in December due to increased inflation in food, housing and personal care items. Meanwhile, WPI for October was revised upwards to 3.68% from the provisional estimate of 3.59%.

Year 2017 has been best for both investments and exits

  • The year 2017 has been the best for both investments and exits in India, surpassing respective previous highs.
  • The private equity and venture capital investments in 2017 recorded $26.8 billion across 589 deals, a 37% increase compared with the previous record achieved in 2015, according to accounting and professional services firm EY’s private equity deal tracker.
  • It said that the year saw 257 exits worth $13 billion, almost double the previous high recorded in 2016.
  • Apart from some unforeseen global macroeconomic risks in 2018, the Indian PE/VC sector is likely to continue to see growth in investments as well as exits, he said. The capital markets are expected to stay buoyant and initial public offerings should continue to be a compelling exit story for most of the year.
  • PE and VC investments in India in 2017 witnessed a sharp increase in value on account of some very large deals (19 deals) with each of them in excess of $300 million including four deals of over $1 billion, according to EY.
  • Growth, start-up and PIPE (private investment in public equity) deals witnessed a multifold increase in investment flow in 2017 compared with the previous year.
  • Growth deals stood at $13.8 billion (2.4 times the value recorded in 2016). This was primarily driven by four mega deals accounting for 46% of the value of growth deals; three involving Softbank’s investments in the Indian e-commerce and fintech space and another by GIC in DLF.
  • EY said 2017 was the best ever for exits in both value and volume. The aggregate deal value for PE exits in the year at $13 billion was almost twice that of the previous high of $6.7 billion seen in 2016.
  • But strategic exits recorded a significant decline with $881 million reported across 42 deals in 2017 compared with $2.7 billion registered across 55 deals in 2016.

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