Current Affairs 26th August 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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The 8th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) meeting begins in Islamabad today without minister-level participation from a number of countries.  Finance ministers from Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Bhutan will attend the conference while the deputy finance minister of Afghanistan and India's economic affairs secretary will represent their respective countries. Its member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. SAARC compromises 3% of the world’s area, 21% of the world’s population and 9.12% of the global economy, as of 2015.  SAARC was founded in Dhaka in 1985. Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu.

 India will be hosting the first BRICS film festival which will begin from Sept. 2, said Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu. The five-day BRICS film festival would be held from September 2 to 6 at New Delhi. “The film festival will showcase an amalgamation of culture, films, song, dance and food of the 5-member countries including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The film festival will showcase an amalgamation of culture, films, song, dance and food of the 5-member countries including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa said Naidu. Around 20 movies are scheduled to be screened in the competition section — four from each of the countries. Idea of BRICS film festival was coined by Prime Minister Modi during BRICS Summit. The Malayalam movie Veeram will be screened on the opening day of film for the festival The Film Festival would be a great platform for people of the film industry of member countries to explore areas of cooperation in the domain of “cinema, culture and cuisine” said Naidu. 

US multinational banking firm Goldman Sachs says Indian economy is likely to grow 7.9% in this year 2016-17,growth in the current fiscal driven by better monsoon, government pay hike, key reforms and FDI inflows. The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is an American multinational banking firm that engages in global investment banking, investment management, securities, and other financial services,  primarily with institutional clients. Goldman Sachs was founded in 1869 and is headquartered at 200 West Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City, with additional offices in other international financial centers.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to provide loans up to Rs 3 lakh at 7 per cent interest rate to Women Self-Help Group (SHG). This loan scheme must be provided under the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM)-Aajeevika scheme during 2015-16. The revised guidelines on interest subvention scheme under NRLM have been issued after approval from the Union Ministry of Rural Development. Under this loan scheme, an interest subvention on credit up to Rs 3 lakhs at 7% per annum will be provided.  All women SHGs will be eligible for it. However, SHG availing capital subsidy under Swarnjayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY) in their existing credit outstanding will not be eligible for benefit under this scheme. All banks will be subsidised to the extent of difference between the weighted average interest charged and 7% subject to the maximum limit of 5.5% for the year 2015-16.  Further, SHGs will be provided with an additional 3% subvention on the prompt repayment of loans. The funding for this subvention will be provided to the State Rural Livelihoods Missions (SRLMs) from the allocation for NRLM. National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) : Aajeevika NRLM-Aajeevika was launched by the Union Ministry of Rural Development in June 2011. In November 2015, it was renamed Deen Dayal Antayodaya Yojana (DAY-NRLM). The Mission aided by World Bank aims at creating efficient and effective institutional platforms of the rural poor. It seeks to enable rural poor (below BPL) to increase household income through sustainable livelihood enhancements and improved access to financial services. It is the largest poverty reduction initiative and the largest programme for women in the world with its goal to reach out to nearly 70 million rural households.

World's first self-driving taxi service was launched in Singapore on 25 August 2016. With this, Singapore became the first country in the world to launch such service, beating Uber Technologies Inc by mere days to public road tests of a technology that could revolutionize the transport industry. The trial, although small, illustrates how intense the global race to develop autonomous driving vehicles has become. Highlights  :  Singapore based nuTonomy began testing a free taxi-hailing service in a small business district in Singapore called one-north, a campus-like space dominated by tech firms and biotechnology companies. The trial was given the approval of the Singapore government, which has long sought to turn the city-state into a hub for disruptive technology through firms like nuTonomy. NuTonomy’s test vehicles, a Renault Zoe and Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car, will have a computer engineer and backup human driver during the trial phase in case anything goes wrong. These vehicles can be hailed by select members of the public using a smartphone app. The company will also test its vehicles on a 6 kilometer (3.7 mile) route.

Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) has signed an memorandum of understanding (MoU) with The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri) for promoting renewable energy. The MoU with the chamber to popularise clean energy and climate. We will work with BCCI with our technical resource. We can offer technology and business models on renewables,TERI director general Ajay Mathur said in Kolkata State Power Minister Shobandeb Chatterjee, who was present on the occasion, promised all support to the clean energy initiative by the BCCI. BCCI energy committee chairman Deb A Mukherjee said the agreement will forge an alliance between the chamber and TERI to work toghther in the domain of renewables and allied fields.

PC maker Lenovo has appointed Pankaj Harjai to head its newly constituted Small and Medium Business (SMB) vertical.  Pankaj has also taken charge ofLenovo's commercial channel business. He will be reporting to Rahul Agarwal, Managing Director, Lenovo India. Pankaj will lead sales, product and go-to-market strategy for the SMB vertical. He is also tasked with managing and growing the partner base for the commercial channel segment. Pankaj has been a part of Lenovo since August 2012. Before his appointment as the head of the SMB group, he wasthe Sub Regional General Manager for the West Region.  Announcing the appointment, Rahul Agarwal said, "SMBas an individual business group is in line with our overall objective of simplifying the existing structure. It also ensures that our customers get access to expertise that fits their business and technology needs.

G. Satheesh Reddy, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister and DRDO's DG (Missiles & Strategic Systems), was conferred the first IEI-IEEE Award for engineering excellence 2015 on 24 August,2016. The award is in recognition of his ‘significant national contributions towards missiles and aerospace technologies. The award was presented by the Institution of Engineers (India) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Asia Pacific region, during the latter’s 50th anniversary. Dr. Reddy is a renowned aerospace and navigation scientist. As director of DRDO’s Research Centre Imarat, he led the indigenous development of denied sensor and avionics technologies related to Indian missile navigation and other programmes.  He is also credited with development of the Medium Range Surface-to-Air Weapon System, or MRSAM, and the country’s first guided bomb, among others.

Private sector lender IndusInd Bank has tied up with IBM to use its Cloud commerce solutions to transform customer engagements and enhance its cross-sell platforms.  As a part of a three year strategic agreement, IBM will provide a cloud and predictive analytics based multi-channel campaign management solution that enables IndusInd Bank to strengthen its online banking presence while improving the product holding per customer.  In the highly competitive Indian retail banking space, businesses need digital marketing solutions capable of sifting through large amounts of transactional and interaction data from various touch points as well as strong analytical capabilities.  Using customer behavior analysis and real-time contextual marketing, banks can ensure that customers connecting with the bank on any channel will receive relevant and timely communications and offers that address their unique needs.  IBM will be combining its Digital Marketing and Analytics consulting, hardware, software, cloud, and business process services offerings to provide digital marketing as a service which helps centralise and standardise activities.  Our objective is to build a cognitive framework powered by an automated marketing platform in conjunction with advanced analytical models which enables us to engage with our clients in a relevant and timely manner.  This unique managed marketing partnership with IBM helps us leverage their market leading UNICA platform as well as their proven expertise in technology delivery. It allows us to focus on our client and business delivery without having to worry about technology components, capital costs, operations management and talent management. The solution will also enable us to engage across whichever channels the client may prefer from the contact centre to their relationship manager in real time where relevant .

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its approval for 9 projects worth Rs. 24,374.86 crore in nine States for expansion of railway network and connectivity across the country. The cabinet approved for construction of third line between Itarsi and Nagpur at an estimated cost of Rs.2, 449.91 crore and expected completion cost of Rs.2,882.94 crore. The 280 km long railway line is expected to be completed in five years.  Besides facilitating the travel, industries in and around Itarsi-Nagpur route will have additional transport capacity to meet their requirements. It also approved construction of third line between Ballarshah and Kazipet at an estimated cost of Rs.2,063.03 crore.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu today commissioned a new railway line between Nandyala and Yerraguntla.  They also flagged off a new passenger train between Nandyala and Kadapa. The 123-km railway line was built at a cost of Rs 967 crore and connects Kurnool and Kadapa districts of Andhra Pradesh. This will also directly connect the Rayalaseema region with the state's new capital Amaravati.  The new line will gave a fillip to industrial activity in Kurnool and Kadapa districts that have a large mineral base, particularly the cement industry.  There will be eight stations between Nandyala and Yerraguntla with no unmanned level crossing for a length of 75 kms out of the entire stretch.  The passenger train will provide access to large parts of Kurnool and Kadapa districts and cater mostly to traders, students and employees commuting between Nandyala and Kadapa.  It will also connect holy places like Yaganti Venkateswara Swamy temple, Hussain Shah Vali Dargah and Jain temple at Danavulapadu. 

The GPS-enabled mobile app of the Telangana Aarogyasri Healthcare Trust bagged this year’s Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI)’s healthcare excellence award. It is the second award for the app having secured the ‘Elite Smart Healthcare Conclave’ for being the most important mobile app in the nation. The app was made by the project monitoring unit of the Trust which enables any patient to locate the network hospital within 10 km radius through a map. FICCI is an association of business organizations in India. Established in 1927, on the advice of Mahatma Gandhi by GD Birla and Purushottam Das Thakurdas, it is the largest, oldest and the apex business organisation in India.

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)  said the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) will go live for customers of 21 banks.  The relevant details of the service would be available on the website of 21 banks .According to NPCI, the UPI application of 19 banks can be downloaded from Google Play Store in next two to three working days.  The list of banks providing the app on Google Play Store are: Andhra Bank, Axis Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Bhartiya Mahila Bank, Canara Bank, Catholic Syrian Bank, DCB Bank, Federal Bank, ICICI Bank, TJSB Sahakari Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Karnataka Bank, UCO Bank, Union Bank of India, United Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, South Indian Bank, Vijaya Bank and YES Bank.  According to NPCI, two banks - IDBI Bank  and RBL Bank - are on-boarded as issues. The customers of the two banks can download any UPI enabled apps and link their account.  This is a success of enormous significance. Real-time sending and receiving money through a mobile application at such a scale on interoperable basis had not been attempted anywhere else in the world. Now the UPI App will be made available on Google Play Store by banks .

National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has constituted a five-member review committee to probe the shooters' Rio Games debacle on 25 August 2016. The committee will be headed by India's first and only individual Olympic gold-medallist Abhinav Bindra. The committee has been asked to submit the report within a maximum period of four weeks. Mandate of the committee : To examine and identify the causes behind shooting not securing any medals at the Rio Olympics.To recommend concrete steps that NRAI must immediately undertake to ensure that this is not repeated in future Olympics. Other members of the committee include former tennis player Manisha Malhotra, who has also been appointed Convenor of the committee, NRAI Secretary Rajiv Bhatia and two journalists. Bindra, who finished at the fourth position in the men’s 10 meter air rifle event in Rio, retired from the sport in third week of August 2016.

Cristiano Ronaldo won the UEFA Best Player in Europe award for 2015-16. He won the award for the second time in three years on 25 August 2016. Ronaldo defeated Antoine Griezmann and Gareth Bale to bag the honours. Ronaldo scored 35 goals for Real Madrid in La Liga and 16 goals in Champions League competition in 2015. He scored three goals for Portugal at Euro 2016. Ada Hegerberg was voted the winner of the UEFA Best Women's Player in Europe Award for 2015-16 ahead of Amandine Henry and Dzsenifer Marozsan. In 2014-15, Barcelona's Lionel Messi was the winner of the award. Ronaldo joins Messi as the only player to win the award twice. On the other hand, Messi won the UEFA Goal of the Season award for 2015-16. Messi won the award for his strike against Roma. During the match, he dinked the ball over goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny in a 6-1 win over Roma in the Champions League in November 2015. The famous goal received 73331 votes, giving Messi a 34 percent share. UEFA : The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is the administrative body for association football in Europe. It is one of six continental confederations of world football's governing body FIFA. UEFA consists of 55 national association members.It represents the national football associations of Europe, runs nation and club competitions including the UEFA European Championship, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Super Cup. Until 1959, its main headquarters were located in Paris, France and later in Bern, Switzerland.In 1995, UEFA headquarters transferred to Nyon, Switzerland. Henri Delaunay was the first general secretary and Ebbe Schwartz the first president.The last elected president was former French footballer Michel Platini.

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of new Air Services Agreement (ASA) between India and Fiji. The Agreement is for updation of the existing ASA between the two countries which was signed in January, 1974. The objective of new ASA is to improve the air connectivity between the two countries by updating the existing ASA, keeping in view the latest developments in civil aviation sector. Under new ASA, both countries shall be entitled to designate one or more airline. These airlines shall have right to establish offices in other country for promotion and sale of air services.  The designated airlines shall have fair and equal opportunity to operate the agreed services on specified routes. The routes and frequencies shall be decided subsequently.  These airlines will have freedom to decide tariffs in respect of the agreed services at reasonable levels based on the commercial considerations. Besides, they can enter into cooperative marketing arrangements with the designated carriers of same party and other party.

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