Current Affairs 13th July 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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The world's best airline for 2016 is Emirates, according to a survey of millions of airline passengers conducted by Skytrax. The international airline, based in Dubai, won the top honors at Tuesday's Skytrax World Airline Awards ceremony at the Farnborough International Airshow in England. As jet engines screamed from the Farnborough airfield and thousands of visiting aviation geeks explored the airshow, smiling flight attendants dressed in brightly colored uniforms stepped to the stage as each award was announced. The survey underscores the consistency of the quality service among the world's top carriers. The awards run the gamut from 73 categories from best economy class onboard catering to best airline staff to best seats to best cabin cleanliness. Indian Airlines : Low-cost airline in Central Asia & India: IndiGo The top 10 best airlines were named as: Emirates Qatar Airways  Singapore Airlines Cathay Pacific ANA All Nippon Airways Etihad Airways Turkish Airlines EVA Air Qantas Airways  Lufthansa

IDFC Bank has announced the acquisition of Grama Vidiyal Microfinance, a Trichy-based Microfinance company. The bank said it had completed a share purchase agreement with the lender, but declined to comment on the value of the deal.  A person familiar with the transaction said the deal is estimated at nearly Rs 300 crore, adding that it will lead to a 20-fold surge in IDFC Bank's customer base to more than a million. IDFC Bank said it is the first time an Indian bank has acquired a microfinance institution. Prior to this, the bank had purchased 10% stake in Dhaka-based ASA International in January for nearly Rs 8.5 crore.  Grama Vidiyal would become a dedicated BC (banking correspondent) and a 100% subsidiary of IDFC Bank, Rajiv Lall, MD, IDFC Bank, said while announcing the deal. One of the largest microfinance institutions in the country, Grama Vidiyal has over 12 lakh customers and an asset book of Rs 1,502 crore. All loan assets on the book will be transferred to IDFC Bank.  Grama Vidiyal's network is spread over 319 branches across seven states and 65 districts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka , Puducherry, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, and has over 3,000 employees. Its annual profit is nearly Rs 60 crore and has a a loan recovery rate of 99.99%.  The 30-year-old company is known for its double-bottom-line approach, focusing on the sustainability of financial inclusion programmes and the development of women and their families. Current customer households of Grama Vidiyal, in turn, will benefit from IDFC Bank's full range of liability products, customised credit offerings, innovative digital services and doorstep banking.  Over 90% of IDFC Bank's book comprises loans from large corporates and the remaining is retail. The bank, licensed two years ago, currently has a deposit base of Rs 8,219 crore, as on March 31, of which about Rs 200 crore worth of deposits came from its retail customers.   

As part of programmes to implement the Roadmap for Disaster Risk Reduction in Bihar (2015-30), the state government has signed an MoU with Bangkok-based Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC). Bihar often faces disasters like flood, drought and earthquake.  As per provisions of the MoU, the ADPC will provide technical assistance to the state government to implement the Roadmap for Disaster Risk Reduction in Bihar (2015-30), which was approved by the Cabinet in March.  One of the targets of the roadmap is cutting down the loss of human lives in natural disasters by 75 per cent within 2030 in comparison to the current data.  The MoU was signed by the ADPC Executive Director Jingjai Hanchanlash and state Disaster Management Department Principal Secretary Vyasji.  But, despite such irregular rainfall, Bihar has been afflicted by floods due to discharge of water from rivers in Nepal, he said and recalled the Koshi tragedy of 2008 which caused large scale loss of lives and damage to properties.  Bihar witnessed severe heat wave this summer with the maximum temperature rising to 44-45 degree Celsius in April due to which fire incidents increased and human lives and properties were lost. The heat wave-led fire incidents became so frequent that the state government had to issue advisory to the people to cook meals at home and complete religious rituals like 'havan' by 9 AM before onset of heatwave later in the day. The Chief Minister also expressed concern at increased incidents of lightning strike, which claimed lives of 56 persons in different parts of the state on a single day in June. 

Myntra, the fashion portal owned by Flipkart that it has acquired Cubeit, a start-up that allows content aggregation on mobile. Myntra did not disclose the cost of acquiring Cubeit, which allows users to search for content on mobile apps delivers them as easy to read cards. But both Flipkart and Cubeit have common investors in Accel Partners. This is the third acquisition Myntra. Last year it acquired Native5, a mobile app development platform and in 2013, Fitiquette, that offered a virtual fitting room solution. Cubeit builds mobile application which allow users to aggregate content from anywhere, organize, view and share the same from a given location. The company has developed an interactive mobile application that allows a user to access to multiple apps depending on the need, through a smart interface and allowing the same to be shared with individuals or groups as a 'cube', . Technology is at the core of our operations and we are looking at leveraging it to further enhance customer experience through social and community interactions on our platforms. 

The Supreme Court has ordered the restoration of former Chief Minister Nabam Tuki’s Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh. Verdict in this regard was given by a five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice JS Kehar on a bunch of petitions.  These petitions were dealing with discretionary powers of Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa to summon or advance the assembly session. Governor’s decision advancing session of the state assembly by a month is violative of the Constitution and is liable to be quashed. All steps and decision taken by the Legislative Assembly pursuant to Governor’s December 2015 are unsustainable and have been set aside. Struck down removal of speaker Nabam Rebia and he should be restored back as Speaker of the House. The SC judgment means the present Arunachal Pradesh government headed by Chief Minister Kalikho Pul would have to step down and make way for then Congress government headed by Nabam Tuki.  It also for the first time in this history, Supreme Court has put back a state government that had been dismissed by the Centre under the President’s rule (under Article 356). The north eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh had plunged into political crisis in November 2015 after 21 of the Congress’ legislators of the total 47 had rebelled against then CM Nabam Tuki. The rebellion had reduced the Congress government to 26 legislators (i.e. in minority) in the 60-member assembly.  Following the political crisis, the Union Government had imposed President’s rule under Article 356 of Constitution on January 26, 2016. Later the leader of the Congress dissidents’ faction, Kalikho Pul, was sworn in as the 9th Chief Minister in February 2016 with support of twenty rebel Congress legislators and 11 BJP legisators.

The Union Government has notified the UIDAI (Terms and Conditions of Service of Chairperson and Members) Rules, 2016 to give legal status to Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). These rules have been framed as per provisions of Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016. These rules have detail provisions for appointment of its chairperson and members. The chairperson of UIDAI will be selected on the recommendation of a search-cum-selection committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary. Besides, Secretaries of Department of Personnel and Training, Finance and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY) and two experts will be its members. The two experts will be nominated by the Union Communications and IT Minister.  The Chairperson will draw a salary of the level of a Secretary. Presently over 102 crore persons in the country have unique identity numbers and Aadhaar card. The Aadhaar has been linked to more than 12 crore LPG consumers, 27 crore bank accounts, 13 crore ration cards holders and 7 crore MGNREGA workers. Union Government is going to notify the Aadhaar Act in two phases for complete operationalisation of the Act. After the chairperson and members are appointed they will pass the regulations for notifying rest of the Act. Presently, only Sections 11to 20, 22 to 23 and sections 48 to 59 of the Act have been notified for operationalisation.

Forbes has 2016 released the list of world's highest-paid celebrities of 2016 on 11 July. The list is also termed as Celebrity 100. The key factors that are taken into account to rank the celebrities include income, Google hits, fan base, press clips and magazine covers. The list, which ranks 100 celebrities from all over the globe, was topped by Taylor Swift with earnings of 170 million US dollars. Music band One Direction grabbed the second position with earnings of 110 million US dollars. Author James Patterson was ranked third with earnings of 95 million US dollars. In 2015, the list was topped by boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Taylor Swift     170 Million US dollar One Direction  110 Million US dollar James Patterson  95 Million US dollar Dr. Phil McGraw   88 Million US dollar Cristiano Ronaldo  88 Million US dollar Kevin Hart   87.5 Million US dollar Howard Stern  85 Million US dollar Lionel Messi 1.5 Million US dollar Adele  80.5 Million US dollar Rush Limbaugh  79 Million US dollar

The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) has ruled in favor of the Philippines in a maritime dispute on South China Sea on 12 July 2016. The tribunal concluded that China do not have legal basis to claim historic rights to the bulk of the Sea. Rulings and Finding of the tribunal : The tribunal gave a ruling that China does not has the right to resources within its nine-dash line  which extends hundreds of miles to the south and east of its island province of Hainan and covers some 90 percent of the disputed waters. The tribunal also found that none of the sea features claimed by China were capable of generating what's called an exclusive economic zone which gives country maritime rights to resources such as fish and oil and gas within 200 nautical miles of that land mass.  It found that they were rocks or low-tide elevations such as reefs, rather than islands. The tribunal found that some of China’s activities in the region were in breach of the Philippines' sovereign rights.Tribunal in its ruling also stated that China had violated those rights by interfering in fishing and oil exploration, constructing artificial islands and failing to stop Chinese fisherman from fishing the zone. It found that China had caused severe harm to coral around the site of its artificial islands. It had also violated its obligation to preserve and protect fragile ecosystems.Chinese fisherman had also killed endangered sea turtles and giant clams on a substantial scale that too with the knowledge of China. The tribunal said it "lacked the jurisdiction to consider the implications of a stand-off" between the Chinese and Philippines military, specifically at Second Thomas Shoal, and said any resolution of the dispute was "excluded from compulsory settlement."The tribunal did not order China to take any particular steps to remedy the situation, dismantle construction on the islands or provide reparations to the Philippines. Effects of the Ruling : The ruling doesn't just affect China and the Philippines, but other countries that have competing claims with the nation over large areas of the sea. Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia have also taken exception to China's growing presence in the region and could now be emboldened to take further action.While the ruling in The Hague is regarded as legally binding, there is no mechanism to enforce it. The Philippines and China have longtime maritime dispute as China claims of sovereignty over large swaths of the South China Sea, and Manila took its fight to the court in 2013.It increased the tensions as China reclaimed the land in massive dredging operations, turning sandbars into islands equipped with airfields, ports and lighthouses. China refused to participate in the case, which marks the first time an international court has ruled on the region's mess of overlapping claims.  

The book titled Ringside With Vijender authored by Rudraneil Sengupta released on 8 July 2016. The book, published by Juggernaut Books, throws light on the Beijing Olympics bronze medallist boxer Vijender Singh's life post his transition to the world of pro boxing. The book also deals with the boxer’s sudden decision to turn pro just an year ahead of the Rio Olympics. It also offers an insight into his struggles, changes in his boxing style, training and his personal life. Vijender Singh : Vijender Singh is an Indian professional boxer.He practised boxing at the Bhiwani Boxing Club.He was coached by the Indian Boxing Coach Gurbaksh Singh Sandhu.At the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, he won the bronze. At the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, he won bronze medal by defeating Carlos Gongora of Ecuador. It was the first ever Olympic medal for an Indian boxer. In 2009, he participated at the World Amateur Boxing Championships where he won the bronze medal. On 29 June 2015, he bid adieu to his amateur career by turning professional as he signed a multi-year agreement with Queensberry Promotions through IOS Sports and Entertainment. His decision to turn pro ruled him out of 2016 Olympics as he no longer remains eligible as an amateur. Rudraneil Sengupta : Rudraneil Sengupta is the deputy editor of Lounge, the weekly feature magazine of Mint.He spent many hours and days with Vijender in England for writing the book. In 2008, he was awarded the Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism for a documentary on river rafting in India. In 2015, he won the Society of Publishers or Asia (SOPA) award for excellence in reporting on human rights issues.

K V R Murthy has taken over as chairman-cum-managing director of the Jute Corporation of India Limited from July 2. His appointment is for a period of five years or till the date of his superannuation, whichever is earlier. Murthy was earlier associated with Eastern Railways in the capacity of Chief Commercial Manager. PTI BSM DKB JM MKJ. Jute Corporation of India : The Jute Corporation of India Ltd. (JCI) is based in Kolkata, is an agency of the government of India that assists jute cultivators in states where this crop is grown, providing minimum price support. An audit issued in February 2010 identified various deficiencies in the JCI operations that were severely handicapping its effectiveness.

The Union government has set in motion the process of rewarding performing states under Uday, the flagship programme in power sector. It would extend support to the country’s first smart grid project to be set up at Gurgaon in Haryana, which has been a performing state under the debt restructuring programme for state-owned power distribution companies.  The NDA government also expects interest rates to come down in near future which will help the states in further saving loan costs. For the first phase of smart grid project, the Union government would extend a grant of Rs 273 crore to the state. The assistance to Haryana would be given from the Power System Development Fund (PSDF) for Rs 7,000-crore project, the first phase of which would cost Rs 1,382 crore. The project would be spearheaded by Power Grid Corporation along with the state government, industry and real estate developers. Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal had a meeting with Goyal earlier in the day for a review of power sector in the state. The smart grid project would ensure 24X7 quality power supply to the city which depends on diesel gensets due to irregular power cuts. While the state government would match the Centre’s grant for the project, 60% cost would be met through loans. Goyal said Haryana was among the better performing states under UDAY and they would be provided special incentives as central funding for various projects. UDAY or Ujwal Discoms Assurance Yojana is the revival plan for state owned power distribution companies. The state owned discoms cumulatively own a debt of Rs 4 lakh crore. Till yet, 19 states have given their consent to join the scheme, out of which 10 States, viz. Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Punjab, Bihar, Haryana, Gujarat, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir have already signed MOUs with the Central Government. In the year 2015-16, bonds worth Rs 99,541 crore were floated by the participating states to clear half of the outstanding debt of states and outstanding CPSU dues in Jharkhand and Jammu & Kashmir. The Union Cabinet recently approved the extension of the deadline for applying for the UDAY scheme which works on a reward system attached to certain parameters. Goyal is also banking on lowering of interest rate for the renewable energy sector. “The two key state owned lenders – PFC and REC are preparing a special financial product for the renewable energy sector. We will wait for the interest rate to fall further which would be the benchmark for the equity fund that we are preparing for the sector.

Mahindra Aerostructures, a subsidiary of Mahindra & Mahindra have bagged a Tier 1 supplier contract to supply airframe parts for Airbus’s AS565 MBe Panther helicopter. With this, Mahindra Aerostructures becomes the first Indian company to receive a direct manufacturing contract from Airbus (European aviation major) as a Tier 1 supplier. The helicopter parts will be produced at Mahindra’s facility in Bengaluru, Karnataka. They will be shipped directly to the Airbus Helicopter production line in Marignane, France.  In this facility these parts will be integrated with the rest of the airframe assembly and will form a critical part of the Panther helicopters sold worldwide. Airbus Helicopters and Mahindra Defence are in the process of forming a joint venture (JV) to target India’s military helicopter programmes under the Make In India initiative.  The JV will be formed for producing Naval Utility Helicopter, the Naval Multi-Role Helicopter and the Reconnaissance and Surveillance Helicopter for Indian Navy. It will play pivotal role in making blueprint that will piut India on the world map for military helicopter manufacturing.

The first direct bus service between Pokhara (Nepal) and New Delhi (India) was launched to connect South Asia’s two important cities.  The bus service was flagged off by Nepal Home Minister Shakti Bahadur Basnet and India’s ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae from Pokhara (Nepal’s famous tourist spot). The bus service was launched as per the Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) signed between both countries. The agreement was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Nepal visit in 2014.  The new bus service between Pokhara and New Delhi was proposed by the Uttar Pradesh State Road transport Corporation (UPSRTC) as per decision taken in MVA. After the signing MVA, regular buses are being plied from New Delhi- Kathmandu, Kathmandu-Varanasi and Mahendranagar-Delhi and vice versa.

The State Bank of India (SBI) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE) at IIT Bombay to promote innovation by start-ups in the financial sector. The SINE is IIT Bombay’s technology business incubator to promote innovation by startups in the financial sector. SBI and both the institutes will identify fintech (financial technology) start-ups that have products or applications to cater to the financial sector.  These products or applications will identified by SBI and institutes to explore opportunities to enhance the synergy for their banking services SBI will provide a platform for testing or piloting such products and applications and maybe also check for any specific business linkages.  SBI will also interact with the entrepreneurial and research community of SINE to understand latest innovations and conduct knowledge sessions for mutual benefit to arrive.

Bangladesh and India have signed an agreement for the construction of a 1,320 megawatt (MW) coal fired power plant near Sundarbans. The agreement was signed between Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company (Pvt) Limited (BIFPCL), the joint venture enterprise and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).  BHEL was selected under an open international tender for constructing the super thermal plant at Bangladesh’s southwestern Rampal near the Sundarbans. This coal fired power plant is the biggest project under bilateral cooperation between both countries that would mark the transition from electricity export to generation level. India’s Exim Bank will provide US 1.49 billion dollars for the project and it is scheduled to start generating power in 2019.  The deal came amid concerns by environmental groups that this power plant could affect the delicate ecosystem of the world’s largest mangrove forest in Sundarbans, a world heritage site spreading over both Bangladesh and India.  Earlier Bangladesh had earmarked Maitree Super Thermal Power Project (MSTPP) as one of its fast-track projects. It was started under a bilateral agreement between India and Bangladesh signed during Prime Minister Hasina’s India visit in 2010.

Indian Navy has commissioned INS Karna, an independent base of Marine Commandos (MARCOS) at Bheemunipatanam Naval Base, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. It was commissioned by Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba at the commissioning ceremony held at Bheemunipatanam Naval Base.  The commissioning of a new base to the Special Forces of the Indian Navy will play important role to safeguard our nation’s vast maritime interests. Captain Varun Singh will be the Commanding Officer of INS Karna. MARCOS :  MARCOS or the Marine Commando Force (MCF) was raised as the Indian Marine Special Force (IMSF) in February 1987 at INS Abhimanyu in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is capable of operating in all three dimensions viz. in air, at sea and on land.  The unit has progressed in terms of manpower, equipment holding, infrastructure and other resources. Since its establishment the force has been established itself as Special Operations Force of international repute.  MARCOS have successfully taken part in operations undertaken by the Indian Navy such as Operation Zabardast (Sri Lanka February 1993), Operation Leech (1998), Operation Tasha (1990-2009) and Operation Sagittarius 

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