Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 23 August 2022
Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 23 August 2022
‘Xylitol’: IIT-Guwahati develops method to produce sugar substitute from bagasse
In a major breakthrough, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology in Guwahati (IIT-G) have developed an ultrasound-assisted fermentation method to produce a safe substitute for sugar which has potential anti-diabetic and anti-obesogenic effects.
The substitute – ‘Xylitol’ – is produced from bagasse (the residue left after crushing sugarcane) and the process overcomes operational limitations of chemical methods of synthesis and time delays associated with conventional fermentation, the IIT-G media cell said on Tuesday.
“With increasing awareness of the adverse effects of white sugar (sucrose), not only for patients with diabetes, but also for general health, there has been a rise in the consumption of safe alternative sweeteners,” an official release said.
“Xylitol, a sugar alcohol derived from natural products, has potential anti-diabetic and anti-obesogenic effects, is a mild pre-biotic and protects teeth against caries,” it added.
The research team, led by professor VS Moholkar of the institute’s chemical engineering department, included DrBelachewZegaleTizazu and DrKuldeep Roy who co-authored the research papers. The research has been published in two peer-reviewed journals – Bioresource Technology and UltrasonicsSonochemistry.
“Researchers used only 1.5 hours of ultrasonication during fermentation. Thus, xylitol production from bagasse using ultrasonic fermentation is a potential opportunity for forward integration of sugarcane industries in India,” he added.
Xylitol is industrially produced by a chemical reaction in which D-xylose, a costly chemical, is treated with nickel catalyst at very high temperatures and pressures that makes the process highly energy consuming.
Only 8-15% of the xylose is converted to xylitol and the method requires extensive separation and purification steps, all of which translate to a high price for the consumer.
Ukraine sanctions on Russia virtually ground Pak’s JF-17 fighter programme
A day after the Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully targeted the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror training camp at Balakot on February 26, 2019, to avenge the Pulwama terror strike, the Pakistanis launched a counter with US F-16 fighters and Chinese JF-17 fighters south of PirPanjal in Jammu and Kashmir.
There is documentary evidence that the Pakistan Air Force relied only on F-16s to target unspecified targets in the Nowshera-Rajouri-Poonch sector across the LoC with JF-17 fighters not involved in the action at all.
The Pakistani strike was intercepted by Indian fighters with Wing Commander AbhinandanVarthaman shooting down a much superior F-16 before crashing his vintage MiG-21 Bison in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). While the US F-16 fired air-to-air missiles at Indian fighters, the much-touted Sino-Pak developed JF-17 was just for show and did not see the air battle and remained hidden behind the American fighters. The JF-17 programme today is in the doldrums due to a lack of spare parts for the Russian-made Klimov RD 93 aircraft engine.
Stung by multiple failures of JF-17 aircraft, primarily due to the serviceability of RD-93 engines, Pakistan had directly approached Russia for procuring the RD-93 engines, bypassing China. In the aftermath of multiple negotiations by Islamabad with Moscow, Russian engine company Kilmov has now indicated its willingness to supply RD-93 engines and its associated repair systems and maintenance facilities to JF-17 aircraft.
However, in 2018, M/s Rosoboronexport, which is authorised to export defence equipment including RD- 93 engines and spares, was sanctioned by the US, thereby adversely affecting the sourcing of RD-93 engine spares by the PAF. The sanctions restrict Rosoboronexport from undertaking US dollar transactions, which the two governments and the concerned banks have now been attempting to sort out.
Russia has been strengthening its defence ties with Pakistan by allowing it to procure the RD-93 engine directly from it as opposed to using China as an intermediary as was the case previously. However, international relations are in a state of flux and strategic equations are changing fast with Russia coming under pressure from the West and looking for support from others. It is apparent that Russia is moving close to China in the evolving geo political matrix which is sought to be exploited by Pakistan.
RBL Bank's board approves raising Rs 3,000 crore to fund business growth
RBL Bank said its board has approved raising up to Rs 3,000 crore to fund the lender's business growth.
The fund raising will be subject to the approval of the shareholders, the bank said in a regulatory filing.
Besides, the board has approved issuance of 1.75 crore additional equity stock options exercisable into equivalent number of equity shares fully paid up of Rs 10 each, in addition to residual/remaining options which remain ungranted under ESOP 2018.
As per the filing, the bank's board also cleared the appointment of two independent directors -- Gopal Jain, Managing Partner and Founder Gaja Capital, and SivakumarGopalan, Faculty of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Bombay.
Banks' AT-1 bond issuances may decline to Rs 20,000 cr in FY23: Report
The issuance of Additional Tier-1 (AT-1) bonds by banks is likely to more than halve to Rs 20,000 crore this fiscal compared to the all-time high amount of Rs 42,800 crore raised in FY22, says a report.
AT-1 bonds are those debt instruments without a terminal maturity date.
In FY22, a majority of the funds raised through the instrument were to refinance bond issues done in FY17, Icra Ratings said in the report on Monday.
Majority of the bonds have a call option in the fifth year, resulting in the significant jump in new issuances which are basically for refinancing the earlier obligations.
The issuances in FY17 stood at Rs 32,100 crore for the state-owned banks and Rs 10,900 crore for private sector lenders. In FY18, the amounts stood at Rs 10,900 crore and Rs 23,500 crore, respectively, Icra said.
According to the report, lenders have already refinanced the FY18 bonds because of the lower interest rates in FY22.
Lenders have already raised Rs 5,320 crore from the instrument in the first four months of FY23.
As the net of new offerings and redemptions between April and July 2022, the AT-1 bonds outstanding as on July 31 was Rs 1.02 lakh crore and is expected to touch Rs 1.1 lakh crore by March 31, 2023, the report said.
The rating agency's Vice President Anil Gupta said a bulk of Rs 20,100 crore of the new issuances will be from state-owned lenders to fuel their growth aspirations while the private sector banks will be "modest" depending on the market opportunities.
On the demand side, investors are also more desirous of betting on AT-1 bonds now, driven by the public sector banks' improved financial positions.
AIFF elections on September 2, nomination to be filed from 25 August 2022
The elections to the AIFF Executive Committee will be held on September 2 and aspiring candidates can file fresh nominations from August 25, the returning officer has announced. The Supreme Court on Monday terminated the Committee of Administrator (CoA), as demanded by the world governing body FIFA, and pushed back the AIFF election by a week. Hours after the SC order, returning officer UmeshSinha issued a fresh notice, outlining the process afresh.
The nominations for the posts can be filed between Thursday and Saturday while the scrutiny will be on August 28. The candidates, whose nominations are deemed valid, will have a chance to withdraw the nomination, if they want, on August 29 while the returning officer shall prepare the final list of contesting candidates and put it on the AIFF website on August 30.