Current Affairs 12th August 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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The Union Cabinet has approved liberalization of foreign investment norms for the non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) to improve the ease of doing business.  Decision in this regard, Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. Foreign investment in NBFCs can now come under the automatic route provided they are regulated by any of the financial sector regulators.  Entities not regulated by any of the regulators (RBI, SEBI, PFRDA etc.)/government agencies will need approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). Minimum capitalisation norms as mandated under FDI policy have been eliminated as most of the regulators have already fixed minimum capitalisation norms. A NBFC is a financial institution that provides banking services without meeting the legal definition of a bank, i.e. one that does not hold a banking license. It is established as a company registered under the Companies Act, 1956 but its operations are often still covered under a country’s banking regulations.  NBFCs may be engaged in the business of loans and credit facilities, savings products, investments and money transfer services. NBFCs business activities are akin to that of banks as they can lend and make investments; however there are a few differences between them.  NBFCs cannot accept demand deposits. They cannot issue cheques as they do not form part of the payment and settlement system. Deposit insurance facility of Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation is not available to depositors of NBFCs, unlike in case of banks

Parliament has passed the Central Agricultural University (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to help the north-eastern state achieve higher growth in animal husbandry sector.  The Bill proposes to amend the Central Agricultural University Act, 1992 to include Nagaland under the jurisdiction of Imphal Central Agriculture University (CAU). The amendment will help Nagaland to reap the benefit of the Imphal Central Agriculture University which was established for the entire north eastern region.  The CAU Act, 1992 provides for the establishment of University in the north eastern region for the development of agriculture and advancement of research in agriculture and allied sciences. It states that CAU is responsible for teaching and research in the field of agriculture for the north eastern states.  Earlier, the Act had defined the north eastern region as comprising the states of Manipur, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura.

The Assam Assembly has  passed a resolution to become the first state to ratify The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014 on 12 August 2016.The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on 8 August 2016 and by the Rajya Sabha on 3 August 2016. Provisions of the Bill : The GST will have two components keeping in mind the federal structure of India: the Central GST (CGST) and the State GST (SGST).For goods and services that pass through several states, or imports, the Centre will levy another tax, the Integrated GST (IGST).Alcohol for human consumption has been kept out of the purview of GST. It empowers the centre to impose an additional tax of up to 1% on the inter-state supply of goods for two years or more. This tax will accrue to states from where the supply originates.  Initially, GST will not apply to (a) petroleum crude, (b) high speed diesel, (c) motor spirit (petrol), (d) natural gas and (e) aviation turbine fuel. The GST Council will decide when GST will be levied on them.Tobacco and tobacco products will be subject to GST. The centre may also impose excise duty on tobacco. Parliament may provide for compensation to states for revenue losses arising out of the implementation of GST for up to 5 years, based on the recommendations of the GST Council.

Microsoft has announced the appointment of Sriram Rajamani as the new Managing Director (MD) of its India Research Lab on 11 August 2016 .The appointment is effective from 1 August 2016. Rajamani replaced Chandu Thekkath, who previously worked as Managing Director of the lab for two years. Sriram Rajamani : Rajamani is a renowned computer scientist.He holds a proven research and managerial track record spanning 17 years in Microsoft's research organisation. He has expertise in programming language design, security and privacy, cloud security and probabilistic programming. Prior to joining the India lab, he headed the software productivity tools group within Microsoft's Redmond research lab.He is a PhD holder in Computer science from University of California. Microsoft Research Lab India : Microsoft Research Lab India was founded in January 2005.It is located in Bengaluru. The lab conducts long-term basic and applied research in different areas, such as cryptography, security, and algorithms etc. Microsoft Research India also collaborates extensively with research institutions and universities in India and abroad to support scientific progress and innovation.

Michael Phelps won his fourth consecutive 200m individual medley Olympic title on 11 August 2016. With this, he became the first swimmer ever to win four consecutive golds in the same event.Phelps clocked one minute, 54.66 seconds to grab the 200m individual medley Olympic title. Japan’s Kosuke Hagino won the silver medal and China’s Wang Shun took the bronze. Michael Phelps on 11 August 2016 won his fourth consecutive 200m individual medley Olympic title. With this, he became the first swimmer ever to win four consecutive golds in the same event.  Phelps earned his 15th individual Olympic gold, breaking his tie with Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina for the record. His gold also marks the first time a swimmer earned at least three gold medals in four different Olympic Games.  He became the first swimmer to win the same individual event four times, surpassing the previous record of three held by Dawn Fraser and Krisztina Egerszegi. He also became the third Olympian to win the same event four times, after Al Oerter and Carl Lewis. With that 13th individual gold medal, he broke a 2168 year old Olympic Record, set by Leonidas of Rhodes, who had held the most Olympic Individual titles of all time, with twelve.  

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) has approved construction of 37013 houses for the urban poor in Karnataka and Haryana with an investment of 1491 crore rupees on 11 August 2016. These houses will be developed with central assistance of 569 crore rupees.The project was approved by the inter-ministerial Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee, chaired by HUPA Secretary Nandita Mukherjee.The total investment in construction of these houses would be to the tune of about 1491 crore rupees. City-wise details of houses to be built are: Karnataka : 36254 houses for the economically weaker sections would be constructed in Karnataka with an investment of 1468 crore rupees. 12371 dwelling units will be constructed in eight cities, namely Gadag-3630, Bengaluru (Basavangudi)-1699, Bidar-1500, Mysuru-1355, Bellary-1188, Raichur-1050, Vijaypura-1028, Padmanabhanagar (Bengaluru)-895 and Bagalkot-784.  These units will be constructed under Affordable Housing in Partnership component of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) for rehabilitation of slum dwellers. Another 23883 houses will be built in 207 cities and towns in Karnataka for urban poor under the Beneficiary Led Construction component of PMAY (Urban). Union government will provide a total assistance of 558 crore rupees for construction of these houses for urban poor in Karnataka. Haryana : 759 houses would be built in Haryana at a cost of 23 crore rupees. It will be developed in 11 slum colonies of Yamunanagar-Jagadhari under Beneficiary Led Construction component of PMAY (Urban) at a total cost of 23 crore rupees. Central government will provide an assistance of 11 croroe rupees in this regard. Slums to benefit from construction of these houses are in Harinagar, Lajpat Nagar, Mishra colony, Mukherjee Park, Tirath Nagar, Madhuban colony, Bhagirath colony, Jammu colony, Hamida colony and Burla colony.

Hanif Mohammad, the original 'Little Master,’ passed away on 11 August 2016 in Karachi, Pakistan. He was 81.Hanif was diagnosed with the cancer in 2013, for which he received treatment in London. Hanif Mohammad : Born on 21 December 1934, Hanif Mohammad was a Pakistani cricketer.He played for the Pakistani cricket team in 55 Test matches between 1952–1953 and 1969–1970. At his peak, he was considered one of the best batsmen in the world. He played at a time when there was very little Test cricket being played by Pakistan, with just 55 Test matches in a career spanning 17 years.He was trained by Abdul Aziz, an Afghan cricket player, who had earlier played in Ranji Trophy for Jamnagar.The highest of Hanif's Test centuries was a famous 337 made against West Indies in a six-day test at Bridgetown in 1957/58. It remains the longest innings in Test history. He is known to have played the slowest test innings when he scored 20 off 223 balls at a strike rate of 8.968He was named as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1968.In January 2009, he was named along with two other Pakistani players, Imran Khan and Javed Miandad, among the inaugural batch of 55 inductees into the ICC's Hall of Fame.  

Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has kicked-off a social media campaign to mark Daughters' Day tomorrow by tweeting a picture with her daughter-in-law and grand-daughter.  The entire week is being celebrated as Daughters' Week as part of government's 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' programme to check female foeticide, improve sex ratio and educate girls across the country.  Maneka Gandhi has also invited people to tweet their pictures with their daughters-in-law and grand-daughters with #BBPDaughtersWeek.  This opportunity is being used by the Ministry to engage citizens to celebrate the young women and girls in their lives, and spread the message of valuing the girl child.  Anasuya, the daughter of Sultanpur MP Varun Gandhi and grand-daughter of- Maneka Gandhi, accompanied the minister to Parliament House . Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Mann Ki Baat address had asked fathers across the country to click selfies with their daughters. The selfies were then retweeted by the PM. 

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has sanctioned Rs 26.06 crore to the Punjab government. The fund has been sanctioned for tackling waterlogging by constructing lift schemes in low-lying areas, village ponds and other allied works. The project will reclaim 5,913 hectares of land in 87 villages of Muktsar and Fazilka districts. Once the project is implemented, farmers will be able to cultivate crops in the previously waterlogged areas after a long gap. With this, the total sanctions to the Punjab government under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF), since its inception, stood at Rs 7,826.17 crore.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will launch a data bank to gather information about micro, small and medium enterprises MSMEs in New Delhi . In this regards, MSME Secretary K K Jalan has stated that, through the data bank, a census of MSMEs will be carried out online for the first time. He also said that this will help save money as the previous census conducted in 2008 cost 50 crore rupees, whereas this one is expected to be completed in just Rs. one crore. The census process will start formally today with the launch of the data bank. These Online Finance Facilitation Centres will be opened in Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Guwahati, Lucknow, Peenia, and Delhi.  The centres will operate as a one-stop-shop by providing collective financing options for MSMEs sourced from major financial institutions. It will also aid the enterprises with documentation work and help them prepare bankable project proposals. According to the MSME Development (Furnishing of Information) Rules, 2016, MSMEs need to furnish basic details to the Central government online in the databank maintained by it on www.msmedatabank.in.

Wipro chairman Azim Premji and HCL co-founder Shiv Nadar are the only two billionaires from India in Forbes' list of the world's 100 richest people in technology, ranking in the top 20 ahead of Google boss Eric Schmidt and Uber chief executive officer (CEO) Travis Kalanick. The '100 Richest Tech Billionaires In The World 2016' list has been topped by Microsoft founder Bill Gates with an estimated fortune of $78 billion.  Premji ranks 13th on the list, with a net worth of $16 billion and  Nadar comes on the 17th spot, with $11.6 billion of net worth.  Indian-American technology czars — Symphony Technology Group CEO Romesh Wadhwani and founders of IT (information technology) consulting and outsourcing company Syntel Bharat Desai and his wife Neerja Sethi — are also on the list.  Forbes said Premji, who heads India's third-largest outsourcer, Wipro, has been on a buying spree in the past year to boost growth.  Premji's son Rishad, who heads strategy and sits on the board, also oversees Wipro's $100-million venture capital fund. Nadar co-founded HCL, which is reportedly mulling a US listing, Forbes said, adding Nadar also owns HCL TalentCare, a skills-development firm. His latest venture is a $500-million fund to invest in startups and US health care technology firms. Wadhwani comes in on the 67th position with a $3 billion net worth. A recipient of the 2013 Forbes India Non-Resident Philanthropist Award, Wadhwani announced in 2015 that he plans to commit up to $1 billion to fund entrepreneurship initiatives in India. The titans on Forbes' second annual list of the world's richest in technology are worth a combined USD 892 billion, six per cent more than a year ago. Just over half of the 100 richest in tech are from the US, including eight of the top 10 richest on the list. China has the second highest number of tech tycoons, with 19 people worth a combined USD 132.7 billion. The richest Chinese member is Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who is on the 8th spot and has an estimated net worth of USD 25.8 billion. Ellison was also beaten by Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who climbed from fourth to third place thanks to a 30 percent jump in the value of Facebook's stock; he is now also California's richest person, another title that previously belonged to Ellison.

Bihar Government has decided to implement the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana in the state on an experimental basis. About 50 lakh farmers, who had already taken the loan from banks, would benefit from the new scheme that has replaced the National Crop Insurance scheme. The last date for implementation of the scheme is August 15. The  state government had made a plea before the centre to extend the financial support to meet the state share in this scheme. CM Nitish Kumar also wanted the centre to name the scheme as "Kendra-Rajya Fasal Bima Scheme" on the plea that the financial burden for implementing the scheme is shared by both the centre and the state.  According to a press release, issue by the state's Public Information and Public Relation Department, state government is committed to continue its fight in the interest of farmers. It seems that Pradhan Mantri Bima Fasal Yojana aims more to serve the interest of insurance companies/banks than the farmers, Co-operative Minister Mehta told reporters. He added his government placed its plea before the centre which did not change its policy. State government has taken a decision to implement he scheme in the interest of farmers immediately on experimental basis in Kharif season .

ITC's leading health & hygiene brand, Savlon is proud to announce Saina Nehwal, ace shuttler as its brand ambassador.In its new campaign with Saina, Savlon seeks to inspire parents to let go of their fears and encourage children to push their limits and maximize their potential to succeed in life. Savlon antiseptic has a heritage of more than 50 years inIndia and enjoys great equity. It is trusted by 90 percent doctors and offers 8 times better germ protection. Its unique formulation is recognized by experts for its powerful action against a broad spectrum of germs. Saina's magnificent journey to become a global Badminton champion exemplifies the core brand philosophy of Performance Power. Parents want their children to succeed but also want to protect them from the world. As a brand we seek toinspire parents to encourage their children to challenge limits and maximise their true potential. The brand purpose is to impact society in a positive manner and create a meaningful engagement. And also to showcase the performance of Savlon, which is the best product of its kind in the market. Savlon brings alive the narrative of Saina Nehwal. A young girl who relentlessly pursued her dreams fighting against all adversities with the unstinted support of her parents. Her parents' encouragement lent her belief in her talent to journey the course to becoming World's no. 1.

Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday formally joined Centre'sUDAY scheme meant for revival of debt-ridden powerdiscoms and the move will save the state Rs 17,515 crore during the period of turnaround. Besides, Puducherry also signed an MoU under the UDAY (Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana) scheme and became the first union territory to formally join the scheme. An overall net benefit of about Rs 17,515 crore would accrue to Madhya Pradesh by opting to participate in UDAY, by way of savings in interest cost, reduction in AT&C losses, interventions in energy efficiency, coal reforms etc during the period of turnaround. The scheme would allow speedy availability of cheaper power to around 131 villages and 52.86 lakh households in Madhya Pradesh that are still without electricity. The amount of debt being taken over by the Madhya Pradesh is Rs 26,055 crore, being 75% of the total discom debt of Rs 34,739 crore outstanding as on September 30, 2015, as envisaged in the scheme. The scheme also provides for the balance debt of Rs 8,684 crore to be re-priced or issued as state guaranteed discom bonds, at coupon rates around, 3% less than the average existing interest rate. With these two state/UT joining the scheme, the number of states/UT that have joined UDAY goes up to 16. The combined discom debt (including CPSU dues) that would be restructured in respect of these (16) states is around Rs 2.51 lakh crore as on September 30, 2015. The ultimate benefit of signing the MOU would go to the people of Puducherry. The scheme would allow speedy availability of power to around 7,948 households in the UT that are still without electricity.

Tech-giant Intel today acquired California-based deep learning start-up Nervana Systems run by an Indian-origin entrepreneur, allowing the the chip maker to foray into the world of Artificial Intelligence.  Co-founded by Naveen Rao in 2014 and headquartered in San Diego, California, Nervana has a fully-optimised software and hardware stack for deep learning.  The US-based chip giant isn't actually saying how much it is paying, but a source with knowledge of the deal said it is valued at around USD 408 million . Intel signed a definitive agreement to acquire Nervana Systems, a recognised leader in deep learning . Nervana Systems is led by former Qualcomm researcher Naveen Rao, founded in 2014 and headquartered in San Diego, California, Nervana has a fully-optimised software and hardware stack for deep learning. Nervana Systems has reportedly raised $25 million in venture funding. The company also reportedly has a contract to work with In-Q-tel, the US intelligence community's venture arm. While Intel is one of the world's largest and highest valued semiconductor chip makers, based on revenue.

Ikea, a global leader in retail furniture, will lay the foundation stone here next month for its first store in India that will open next year.  Ikea is performing ground-breaking and laying of foundation stone for its first Indian store on August 11. After completion of the construction, the outlet is expected to open somewhere in July-August next year . According to the official, the Swedish firm is planning to build a 400,000 square foot store here, which will also include a 1,000-seater restaurant serving Swedish cuisine, besides Indian and others.  Ikea India's CEO Juvencio Maeztu along with other senior officials of the company are expected to attend the event . kea had earlier said it has purchased 13 acres of land parcel to build retail store . The site is close to the IT hub in Hyderabad's HITEC city, and within easy access to public transport and next to an upcoming Metro line. 

France-based 3D software firm Dassault Systemes has appointed Samson Khaou as managing director for India. He joined Dassault Systemes in 1989 and has spent more than 15 years in Asia. In the last 10 years, he has launched Dassault Systemes' business in Korea and then took the responsibility of Industry Services for Europe before leading the Asia Pacific South in 2011. Dassault Systèmes "The 3DEXPERIENCE Company", is a European multinational software company that develops 3D design, 3D digital mock-up, and product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions. Dassault Systèmes (NYSE Euronext:DSY) is a subsidiary of the Dassault Group created in 1981 by Avions Marcel Dassault to develop a new generation of computer-aided design (CAD) software called CATIA.

Uttarakhand Governor K K Paul today released a book narrating the state's journey since its creation 15 years ago.  Uttarakhand: Fifteen Years of Development, edited by former chief secretary R S Tolia, takes stock of the state's achievements and shortcomings in the area of development since 2000. The book will be an important reference source for policy makers, administrators, academics.  It is appropriate that at the end of 15 years of the state's existence, an attempt has been made to assess its achievements and shortcomings in the area of development. A collective effort of experts from the field of administration, science and social research, the book has articles based on people's personal experiences.

Apple has reportedly bought a Seattle-based machine-learning startup as part of its continued investment in artificial intelligence. The quiet deal, first reported by Geekwire, is said to be worth around $200m (£153m). Turi, which uses the tagline “create intelligence”, let developers and data scientists incorporate machine learning and artificial intelligence into their apps.  Its tools are mostly using machine learning to help companies to understand data such as sentiment analysis on social media or customer segmentation. Apple’s purchase of Turi is a further proof the company is ready to put more resources into artificial intelligence. Apple’s chief executive, talked about longer term opportunities including the potential he sees in artificial intelligence earlier this month on Apple’s earnings conference call. Apple is also facing competition from Google and Facebook which have already announced greater focus on their artificial intelligence products this year. While Google is improving its Google Now software, Facebook is introducing intelligent “bots” to its Messenger service that can understand requests and questions from users. Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans

Kazakhstan’s Nijat Rahimov has broke the world record to win the gold medal of the men's 77kg weightlifting class at the Rio Olympic Games on 10 August 2016. Lu Xiaojun of China took the silver and Mohamed Ihab of Egypt claimed the bronze. Rahimov had to lift 214kg to win, 4kg more than Lu’s clean and jerk world record, which he set at the 2013 World Weightlifting Championships. Nijat Rahimov : Born on 13 August 1993, Nijat Rahimov is a Naturalized Kazakhstani weightlifter.He formerly represented his birthplace Azerbaijan. He won gold for Azerbaijan at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics and gold at the 2010 European Junior Weightlifting Championships.He served a doping ban between 2013 and 2015. He had been in doubt for the Olympics after the International Weightlifting Federation tried to exclude the entire Kazakh team over repeated doping positives. However, the procedure was not completed in time for Rio. He won gold for Kazakhstan at the 2016 Olympics in the 77kg weight class, simultaneously setting a world record in clean and jerk (214 kg).

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