Current Affairs 20th January 2017 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Adama Barrow  was sworn in as the third President of The Gambia at a ceremony in the Gambian embassy in Dakar, Senegal. With the swearing in ceremony comes an event that marked The Gambia’s first change of presidency in 22 years. It is also the first change of presidency by democratic means since independence from Britain in 1965. Barrow had won the 2016 Gambian presidential elections that were held in The Gambia on 1 December 2016. Soon after the inauguration of Barrow in neighbouring Senegal, troops from a bloc of West African countries have entered Gambia in support of him. Adama Barrow : Adama Barrow is a member of the United Democratic Party (UDP). He served as the treasurer of the UDP and operated a real estate agency, before winning the presidential elections. A coalition of seven opposition parties chose him as their endorsed candidate for the 2016 presidential election. He went on to defeat the long-term incumbent, Yahya Jammeh. The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a resolution on 19 January 2017 expressing "full support" to Barrow as president.His claim to the presidency is disputed by the preceding president, Yahya Jammeh. 2016 Gambian presidential election : Presidential elections were held in The Gambia on 1 December 2016.On 2 December 2016, Jammeh conceded defeat. The final official results showed Barrow winning a 43.3 per cent plurality, achieving a 3.7 per cent margin of victory over Jammeh's 39.6 per cent. A third candidate, Mamma Kandeh, received 17.1 per cent of the votes. Jammeh, on 9 December 2016, announced that he was rejecting the results and called for a new election. The decision gave birth to a constitutional crisis.

The World Bank has sanctioned Rs 1,376 crore for complete upgradation and improvement of the power system network in the State. The total project cost sanctioned by World Bank is Rs 1,376 crore and the project is divided into five phases. SPML Infra Ltd has got contract of the first phase. In the first phase, Rs 461 crore would be spent. Large number of 132 KV and 33 KV substations will be constructed and upgraded under the project . The Minister added that new 132 KV substations would be constructed at Belonia, Bagafa, Sabroom and Satchand in South Tripura district, Rabindranagar, Gokulnagar in Sipahijala district, Mohanpur in West district, Amarpur in Gomati district and Manu in Dhalai district. 

State-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) will provide technology platform for pilot launch of India Post Payments Bank (IPPB).  The memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard was signed between PNB and IPPB  As per the agreement, PNB shall provide technology platform for pilot launch of IPPB on receipt of regulatory approval from Reserve Bank of India, the bank said in a regulatory filing to stock exchanges.  IPPB last year received certificate of incorporation from the Registrar of Companies, setting the stage for the new bank to begin operations during 2017.  The bank will be headquartered in New Delhi and plans to launch 650 branches across the country during the year. The first PSU under the Department of Posts, IPPB expects to complete the rollout of its branches all over the country by September 2017.  IPPB aims to become the most accessible bank in the world, riding on advanced banking and payments technology. Coupled with physical presence across 1.55 lakh post offices and the reach of the postman, it plans to become a powerful and effective vehicle of real financial inclusion in the country.  

Lloyd's, specialist insurance and reinsurance company, has got final regulatory approval from the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (Irda) to set up branch in India.  Lloyd's will open a reinsurance branch in India, in time for the April major reinsurance renewals. This will enable Lloyd's syndicates to offer specialist reinsurance in a variety of classes from a Lloyd's India branch in Mumbai.  Lloyd's will bring expertise and specialist capacity to India's insurance market and work in partnership with local insurance businesses to develop innovative solutions that meet the unique needs of the growing economy.  A local presence in India will bring Lloyd's closer to clients and risks enhancing understanding and the ability to develop new solutions for the needs of the Indian market with a particular focus on agriculture, infrastructure and disaster management .  

Mizoram Chief Secretary Lalmalsawma has inaugurated the Entrepreneurship Development Scheme (EDS) under the New Economic Development Policy (NEDP). Lalmalsawma the state government gave high priority to entrepreneurship development and has allocated Rs two crore under the NEDP during the current fiscal. Planning Secretary Dr C Vanlalramsanga said entrepreneurship was important for acquiring sustainable resources, knowledge and market, which would be instrumental in the state government's efforts to achieve market economy from subsistence economy.  The EDS could be instrumental in implementation of 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations with minimum harm to the environment.

The 10th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) is all set to begin tommorow with Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, veteran lyricist Gulzar, American poet Anne Waldman and spiritual writer Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, inaugurating the five-day event.  Touted to be world's largest free literary festival, this year JLF has been themed on "The Freedom to Dream: India at 70" and will see over 250 authors, thinkers, politicians and popular culture icons engaging in stimulating discussions and sessions at the historic Diggi Palace . The opening session will see Sadhguru, Founder of Isha Foundation in conversation with Sanjoy Roy, the festival director, during which he will discuss his latest book "Inner Engineering - a Yogi's Guide to Joy.  Over the course of the next five days the festival will also see a a special focus on world literatures with Booker winning authors like Paul Beatty (2016) and Richard Miller Flanagan (2014) talking about their journeys.  JLF will also see translations as one of the major areas of focus, and will represent over 30 languages from across the country, besides driving conversations around modern India in the context of its history and future.  The festival will come to a close on January 23.

The 58th edition of India International Garment Fair (IIGF) was inaugurated by the Union Textiles Minister Smriti Zubin Irani on January 18, 2017 in New Delhi. The three day long fair has been organized by Apparel Export Promotion Council India. The events is Asia’s largest apparel Fair providing a platform for the overseas buyers to source garments products and develop business relationships with India in the apparel and fashion accessories sector. The Fair will witness a total of 312 participants from 14 states including Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Gujarat and Karnataka. The sellers would showcase products ranging from women’s wear, accessories, kids wear and menswear. Besides, the event will also have theme pavilion and best display awards and fashion shows.

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the second edition of Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi on January 17, 2017.  The conference has been organized by the Ministry of External Affairs and Delhi based prestigious think tank Observer Research Foundation. The theme of the three day conference is “The New Normal: Multilateralism in a multipolar world”. More than 250 participants from 65 countries attended the flagship geo-political conference. PM Modi highlighted that India’s economic development is deeply impacted by the developments in the world and vice-versa. World needs India’s sustained rise as much as India needs world’s rise.  India’s economic and political rise represents a regional and global opportunity of great significance.

Delhi Police Commissioner and Senior IPS officer Alok Kumar Verma was appointed as new Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation.  He will have tenure of two years. He was selected by a three-member committee comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice J S Khehar and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge.  He will take over from interim director Rakesh Asthana, who was handed the reins of the premier investigating agency after former director Anil Sinha retired on December 2, 2016. Alok Verma :  He is a 1979 batch IPS officer of the Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre.  Prior to taking charge as the Commissioner of Delhi Police in February 2016, he was the Director General of Tihar jail. He has served in the Delhi Police in number of positions, including DCP (south district), JC of Crime Branch, JCP (New Delhi Range), Special CP (Intelligence) and Special CP (Vigilance).  He has also served as the Inspector General (IG) of Police in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and as the Director General of Police (DGP) of Puducherry. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)  : CBI is the foremost investigative police agency in India. It derives power to investigate from Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946. It was established in 1941 as the Special Police Establishment. It was renamed to present nomenclature in 1963. Headquarters: New Delhi. Motto: Industry, Impartiality, Integrity.  It is headed by Director, an IPS officer of DGP rank. He is selected as per the provisions of Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) Act, 2003. The CBI Director is selected by a collegium comprising Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and Leader of Opposition or leader of the largest party in opposition in Lok Sabha.  

The Union Cabinet on 18 January 2017 excluded States and Union Territories except Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh from National Small Savings Fund (NSSF) investments with effect from 1 April 2016. On the occasion, the cabinet also approved one-time loan of Rs 45000 crore from NSSF to Food Corporation of India (FCI) to meet its food subsidy requirements.  Highlights : Arunachal Pradesh will be given loans to the tune of 100 per cent of NSSF collections within its territory, while Delhi, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh will be provided with 50 percent of collections. Servicing of interest and principal of debt will be extended to Food Corporation of India through the budget line of Department of Food and Public Distribution.  The repayment obligation of the FCI in respect of NSSF Loans will be treated as the first charge on the food subsidy released to the Food Corporation of India.  Moreover, FCI will be required to reduce the amount of its current Cash Credit Limit with the banking consortium to the extent of the NSSF loan amount. An agreement will also be signed between FCI, Department of Food and NSSF on the modalities for repayment of interest rate and the restructuring of FCI debt will be made possible within 2-5 years. In the future, NSSF will invest on items whose expenditure is ultimately borne by Union Government and the repayment of the principal and interest of that amount would be borne from the Union budget. The Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC) in its report recommended that the State Governments shall be excluded from the investment operations of the NSSF as the NSSF loans come at an extra cost to the State Governments as the market rates are considerably lower.  Following this, the Union Cabinet on 22 February 2015 said that this recommendation will be examined in due course in consultation with various stake holders.  Later, except Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, the other States expressed a desire to be excluded from NSSF investments.

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