Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 30 August 2022
Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 30 August 2022
PM Modi’s Economic Advisory Council releases ‘Roadmap for India@100’
The Economic Advisory Council to Prime Minister (EAC-PM) on Tuesday launched the ‘Competitiveness Roadmap for India@100’ that will guide the path of India to become a higher-income economy by 2047, when the country will mark the 100th year of Independence.
The roadmap is created in collaboration with EAC-PM, the Institute for Competitiveness and Dr. Christian Ketels from Harvard Business School. The report was released in New Delhi in the presence of EAC-PM chairman Dr. BibekDebroy, India’s G20 Sherpa and former CEO of NITI Ayog, Amitabh Kant, chairman of the Institute of Competitiveness, Dr. AmitKapoor, Harvard professors Dr. Christian Ketels and Michael E. Porter.
“The Prime Minister charged us to think about the next 25 years. No policy that will be decided today will last for 25 years. But if we manage to affect the thinking about India’s competitiveness and what it takes for this country to grow, then actually I think we have the opportunity to have an impact for many years into the future,” said Dr. Christian Ketels.
He said that India is one of the few countries that was able to achieve “high long-term prosperity growth” and “avoided deep crises”. He further added, “India’s performance has global ramifications. How India addresses its competitiveness challenges and harnesses opportunities will affect how different countries address challenges they face.”
India@100 is a roadmap for the country’s development journey towards the centennial year that proposes policy goals and principles and approaches for steering the economy in the direction of sustainability, said EAC-PM.
“Government policies shape the context in which enterprises and individuals function. For the Indian development trajectory to reach higher levels of competitiveness, the focus must be on government policies and the enterprises and individuals functioning in the environment shaped by these policies,” Dr. BibekDebroy said in his keynote address.
China censors article, censures think tank for arguing against zero-Covid policy
China has swiftly censored a Beijing-based research centre’s report disagreeing with the government’s zero-Covid strategy after it argued that the virus containment policies are disrupting trade and industry and stalling the Chinese economy.
Beijing has continued to enforce its zero-Covid policy with snap lockdowns, mass tests, contact tracing and hard quarantine for the infected and their contacts to tackle the mostly Omicron-driven clusters, which have continued to break out across China despite strict containment strategies.
Covid-19 infection and death numbers have remained low in China compared to other countries but the policies have severely impacted the economy.
Experts say that China’s response is increasingly disproportionate - shutting down a neighbourhood if there’s a single case and continuous mass testing in cities like Beijing, for example - given the rest of the world is learning to coexist with the virus.
Anbound Research Centre, a Beijing-based think-tank, argued against these policies in a report published on its social media handles.
“The Anbound Research Center gave no details of possible changes but said President Xi Jinping’s government needs to focus on shoring up sinking growth. It noted the United States, Europe and Japan are recovering economically after easing anti-disease curbs,” the Associated Press said in a report.
The AP report added, quoting the Anbound article that the economic impact of repeated shutdowns of companies and neighbourhoods is more severe than last year.
The report from Anbound, which calls itself an independent think tank focussed on public policy, said that the freezing effect might be even worse than when the outbreak began in 2020 and the whole economy shut down temporarily.
Centre may revamp framework for setting state-owned banks' targets
The Centre may revamp the target-setting mechanism for public sector banks (PSBs) and is looking to come up with a fresh framework to monitor the performance of state-owned lenders. The new framework could be on the lines of ‘Statement of Intent’ (SoI) the government used to sign with PSBs to fix their annual targets.
If implemented, the new framework will monitor the performance of these banks based on parameters such as return on assets (RoA), reducing non-performing assets (NPA), efforts taken to improve financial inclusion, customer-centric initiatives, among others, an official said.
At present, the boards of state-owned lenders, which also comprise of government officials, are empowered to set internal targets based on certain defined parameters including credit growth, cash recoveries and financial inclusion. The board of PSBs monitors the respective banks’ performance based on these defined parameters. The performance of whole-time directors of PSBs is monitored based on government-prescribed criteria based on which they receive incentives.
The SoI mechanism was introduced in 2005 to set annual goals and monitor the performance of PSBs based on parameters such as cost-to-income ratio, net profit per employee and ratio of staff in branches to total staff, among others. Targets were discussed between the Ministry of Finance and banks. In 2015, the centre introduced changes to the framework by inserting key performance indicators (KPIs) that were used to monitor PSBs performance due to delays in the previous target-setting exercise.
These new parameters included efficient use of capital, diversification of business/processes and NPA management and financial inclusion. Certain qualitative parameters were also included such as strategic steps taken to improve asset quality, efforts made to conserve capital, HR initiatives and improvement in external credit rating, among others. The performance of banks based on this new framework was linked to the performance bonus to be paid to the MD & CEOs of banks by the government.
CRISIL SME tracker: Export duty will hurt large steel players, spare MSMEs
The sharp correction in domestic steel prices following the imposition of export duty by the government, together with falling exports, will lead to a 2-4 per cent fall in industry revenue in 2022-23 (FY23). However, micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), with higher exposure to long steel, will grow 5-10 per cent, CRISIL Research shows.
Export duty was imposed owing to a surge in domestic steel prices over January-May this year. The move led to a swift 25 per cent correction in the price of flat steel — which accounts for almost 80 per cent of finished steel exports and is dominated by large integrated steel players — from its April peak. Long steel saw a limited correction.
Rising input prices will constrain margins across the board. Integrated players, whose margin was 30 per cent in FY22, will see a margin correction of 400-600 basis points (bps) YoY this fiscal. Secondary players, with margins typically at 9-10 per cent, will see a contraction of 150-200 bps.
That said, lower dependence on exports and healthy demand growth from the infra and housing segment will drive volume growth for secondary players, cushioning the margin fall.
::Science and tech::
Artemis 1 mission: Engine leakage among snags that delayed launch, says NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Artemis 1 moon mission was postponed after the crew could not get the rocket’s engines to the proper temperature range required to start the engines at lift-off. NASA has informed that the mission management team will announce the further course of action on Tuesday 6 pm (i.e.,3:30 am Wednesday as per Indian time).
The countdown for the first attempt of the NASA Artemis 1 mission was put on hold at T-40 mins and later called off after the crew ‘ran off time’ in the two-hour launch window available on Monday. The mission, hailed as the first step in the next era of human exploration on the moon, was scheduled to take off at 6:03 pm on 29th August.
“The launch director called a scrub because of an engine bleed that couldn’t be stopped,” NASA informed the reason behind postponing the launch.
The four RS-25 engines of Artemis Mission’s Space Launch System must be thermally conditioned before super cold fuel starts flowing through them for lift-off.
To condition them to the required temperature, the Launch controllers intensify the pressure on the core stage liquid hydrogen tank to route (bleed) a portion of the almost minus 423 F liquid hydrogen to the engines.
Apart from this issue, there were also other flaws detected during the launch. Leakage was found at the quick disconnect on the 8-inch line utilised to supply and drain core stage liquid hydrogen. There was also an outflow of hydrogen from a valve run to pour out the propellant from the core stage intertank, NASA stated.
Serena Williams puts off retirement with US Open first round win
Serena Williams signalled she is not quite ready for retirement advancing to the second round of the U.S. Open on Monday with a scrappy 6-3 6-3 win over Danka Kovinic.
The victory over the 80th ranked Kovinic, just her second this year, will be a confidence boost for Williams but the path to a record equalling 24th Grand Slam now gets treacherous.
Waiting in the wings is Estonian second seed AnettKontaveit, who breezed past JaquelineCristian 6-3 6-0.
It was far from a vintage performance from the 40-year-old American but it mattered not to a jam-packed Arthur Ashe Stadium as Williams' fighting spirit remained razor sharp even if her serve and ground strokes were not.
Even with Williams far from her best the odds always appeared stacked against the 27-year-old from Montenegro.
Playing in her 21st U.S. Open, Williams has never lost in the first round and her victory over Kovinic was her 106th at Flushing Meadows.