Current Affairs 10th November 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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The two -day second BRICS Communication Ministers meeting chaired by Minister of State for Communication Manoj Sinha will begin in Bengaluru . The high-level delegation from Brazil, Russia, India, Chinaand South Africa will deliberate for greater cooperation in Telecommunication and ICT sectors. To be hosted for the first time by India, the Communication Ministers Conference will draw course of action on creating new frameworks of cooperation and collaboration among BRICS countries. The meeting will discuss ways to improve collaboration in the field of digital economy, future communications, mobile technology among other things. An exhibition is also organized on the theme to coincide with the meeting. Industry leaders from these five countries are also invited to take part in the sessions.

From November 11 onward,ATMs in the country will also dispense banknotes of Rs 50 denomination. Currently, the lowest denomination note a customer can get at an ATM is Rs 100. The Reserve Bank of India said all ATMs and cash dispensing machines will have to be re-configured to disburse bank notes of Rs 100 and Rs 50 denominations prior to reactivation of the machines on 11th November, 2016. This move is likely to resolve the perennial problem -- not getting lower denomination notes -- that customers faced so far at ATMs. Usually, ATMs dispense only higher denomination notes – Rs. 500 and Rs.1,000. The RBI said banks, however, should await separate instructions from Reserve Bank of India on issuing Mahatma Gandhi (New) series Notes through ATMs and cash dispensing machines though they can be issued over the counters from November 9, 2016. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a bid to clamp down on black money and fake currency notes, announced on Tuesday that Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 banknotes will no longer be legal tender with effect from today. All ATMs, according to RBI, have been closed for operations so that they do not dispense the withdrawn old higher denomination banknotes (OHD). The ATMs may resume functioning from November 11, 2016 upon their recalibration to dispense bank notes of only Rs. 50 and Rs. 100 denominations. Further, to ensure customer convenience, the RBI has advised banks to provide all cash withdrawal transactions at their ATMs free of cost to their customers till December 30, 2016. It has also been decided that banks may fix a limit of Rs. 2,000 per day per card withdrawal limit at ATMs, for all their customers, till November 18, 2016.

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched Healthy India Initiative magazine and No More Tension mobile App. It was launched by Union Health Minister J P Nadda for promotion of health and to strengthen the health communications programmes. Healthy India Magazine: It will be a quarterly magazine. It will cater to health related information and raise awareness about healthy living.  The magazine will cover different aspect of health including women and child health, elderly health, daily nutritional needs, seasonal ailments, safe medication practices and home remedies for healthy living.  No More Tension App : It will help users to manage stress and will also provide information regarding stress, symptoms and its management. The application will allow user to measure their stress level and learn various techniques like yoga and meditation to reduce stress from their lives.

The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has launched Smart India Hackathon 2017. It is the world’s largest digital national building initiative.  Through this initiative, HRD Ministry is keen to reach out to all technology institutions in the country and challenge students to offer innovative solutions to some of the daunting problems faced by our nation. The Hackathon aims to find digital solutions by harnessing creativity and technical expertise of over 30 lakh students from technology institutes in remotest parts of India.  Besides, it seeks to spark several institute-level hackathons countrywide and help build a funnel for ‘Startup India, Standup India’ campaign. It is joint initiative of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), University Grants Commission (UGC), MyGov, NASSCOM, i4c, Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhiniand Persistent Systems. It will find digital solutions to problems in the areas of education, health, water, power, agriculture, finance, urban & rural development, energy, aviation & shipping, transport, sanitation, law & justice, sports, skill development & entrepreneurship, textiles, tourism, defence etc.  The initiative will help to institutionalize a model for harnessing the creativity and skills of youth for nation-building. The Hackathon will have nearly 500 problem statements in all and will be published on In the first set of 250 problem statements were unveiled.

The World Science Day for Peace and Development 2016 was observed on 10 November 2016 across the world. The theme for 2016 is Celebrating Science Centres and Science Museums. To mark the day, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) conducted several discussions, special campaigns, visits to science museums for school children, etc to raise awareness of benefits of science worldwide. For 2016, the theme Celebrating Science Centres and Science Museums is chosen to highlight the importance of science centres and museums for capacity building, for advocacy and to send strong messages about the importance of science for sustainable development. Science centres and museums plays key roles in nurturing the curiosity of women and men, as living laboratories of creativity, catalysing research and solutions to help societies meet challenges. They provide excellent ways to encourage children to pursue careers in science. Objectives  :  Strengthen public awareness on the role of science for peaceful and sustainable societiesPromote national and international solidarity for shared science between countries  Renew national and international commitment for the use of science for the benefit of societiesDraw attention to the challenges faced by science and raising support for the scientific endeavour

The Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has launched the Pradhan Mantri YUVA Yojana to boost up an ecosystem of entrepreneurship for young people. Highlights of the Yojana : The scheme was launched for the time period of over five years (2016-17 to 2020-21) with a project cost of 499.94 crore rupees. It will offer entrepreneurship education and training to around 7 lakh students in 5 years through 3050 Institutes. It will also offer easy access to information and mentor network, credit and advocacy to build a way-out for the youngsters. The institutes under the Yojana include 2200 Institutes of Higher Learning (colleges, universities, and premier institutes), 300 schools, 500 ITIs and 50 Entrepreneurship Development Centres.These institutes will carry out the training through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

Pramila Jayapal became the first Indian-American woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representative. She won the Senate seat from state of Washington. Jayapal received 57 per cent of the votes from Washington State, leaving behind her rival Brady Walkinshaw who secured 43 per cent votes. Pramila Jayapal : Pramila Jayapal is a Democratic politician from the state of Washington. She has represented the 37th legislative district in the Washington State Senate since 2015. Prior to being elected to the U.S. House of Representative, she was a Seattle-based civil rights activist, serving until 2012 as the executive director of OneAmerica, a pro-immigration advocacy group. She obtained her bachelor's degree from Georgetown University, and an MBA from Northwestern University.She is the author of Pilgrimage: One Woman's Return to a Changing India, published in March 2000.

California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris became the first India-American to win the U.S. Senate seat from the state. Harris defeated fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez from her own party. She is the first black woman elected to the upper chamber in more than two decades. She is also the sixth black individual to be elected to the U.S. Senate. Harris will replace Barbara Boxer who announced her retirement in 2014 after serving more than two decades in the Senate. Kamala Harris :  Kamala Harris is an American lawyer, politician, and member of the Democratic Party.She has been the 32nd and current Attorney General of California since 2011.She graduated from Howard University and University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She worked as a Deputy District Attorney in Alameda County, California, from 1990 to 1998.  From 1998 to 2000, she served as Managing Attorney of the Career Criminal Unit in the San Francisco District Attorney's Office. From 2000 to 2003, she served as the Chief of the Community and Neighborhood Division in the office of San Francisco City Attorney.She was elected California's Attorney General in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014. She is the first female, the first African-American, the first Indian-American, and the first Asian-American attorney general in California.  

Tata Sons Ltd has announced the appointment of Ishaat Hussain as the Chairman of IT giant, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) with immediate effect.  He will hold the position until the name of a new chairman is announced. The announcement was delivered to the company (TCS) through a letter dated 9 November 2016 from Tata Sons Ltd. Hussain succeeds Cyrus Mistry, who was ousted from the position on 23 October 2016 by the board of Tata Sons Ltd. At that time, the board appointed Ratan Tata as the Interim Chairman of the group until another suitable candidate was chosen.  Ishaat Hussain : He is a member of the board of Tata Sons and the Director of several Tata companies such as Tata Industries, Tata Steel and Voltas. He is also the Chairman of Voltas and Tata Sky.He is a member of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) committees on insider trading and primary capital markets.He is also a member of Confederation of Indian Industries finance committee. Prior to Tata Sons, Hussain served as the senior Vice President and Executive Director of finance at Tata Steel for around 10 years.   He joined the board of the Indian Tube Company (a Tata Steel associate company) in 1981 and moved to Tata Steel in 1983 after the merger of both the companies.  A pass out from the Doon School, he graduated in economics from St Stephens College, New Delhi and completed Chartered accountancy from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (FCA). Apart from this, Tata Sons also issued a special notice under Section 169 read with Section 115 of the Companies Act, 2013 and a requisition for convening an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders of the company under Section 100(2) of the Companies Act, 2013 to consider a resolution for the removal of Cyrus P Mistry as Director of the Company.

Union Government has announced that cash deposits above 2.5 lakh rupees threshold under the 50-day window could attract tax plus a 200 percent penalty in case of income mismatch. It seems that the decision was taken to make sure that people would fail in converting their black money into the white one. The decision was announced by the Revenue Secretary Hashmukh Adhia.  Highlights of the decision : The ministry would be getting reports of all cash deposited, above a threshold of 2.5 lakh rupees in every account, during the period of 10 November to 30 December 2016. The tax department would do matching of this with income returns filed by the depositors and suitable action may follow. Any mismatch with income declared by the account holder will be treated as a case of tax evasion. Earlier, the Union Government on 8 November 2016 allowed citizens to deposit in old currency of 500 rupees and 1000 rupee denominations in their bank accounts. These banknotes were declared invalid.

Global Rajasthan Agritech Meet (GRAM), a three-day international event, began in Jaipur on 9 November 2016. The main focus of the meet is to double the income of farmers through suitable technologies and agricultural activities. Australia, Netherland and Israel will be international partners of the meet. The representatives of these countries will share their new technology and agriculture activities with state's farmers. Representatives of industry and foreign delegation are also participating in the meet. GRAM : More than 50 thousand farmers from around the state are participating in the meet.Aside from familiarising the farmers with new technology, the meet will also educate them about the opportunities of investment in agriculture field in the state.  The meet would also host an exhibition presenting technology related to livestock and agriculture.Through Zazam Chaupal, the event will enable farmers to learn about the new technology in their own language. MoUs concerning setup of industries in the field of agriculture will be signed. Farmers with extra-ordinary achievements will be awarded the GRAM award.

Corporation Bank has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Army on the defence salary package. Corporation Bank would provide free/ concessional services to the Army under the MoU. The services include free drafts, cheque books, funds transfers to any bank in India through RTGS/ NEFT, free ATM cards, unlimited transactions on all ATMs, including that of other banks. Free personal accident insurance cover of ₹5 lakh and ₹10 lakh up to the age of 70 years; air insurance cover of ₹50 lakh; and term life insurance cover of ₹5 lakh and ₹10 lakh are the other features offered under the MoU. All the facilities, except term life insurance cover, are also extended to the pensioners.

Adani Enterprises Ltd has announced the commissioning of Punjab's largest solar power plant of 100 MW, at an investment of Rs 640 crore.  The plant has been set up by its subsidiary Adani Green Energy Ltd . Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and senior officials were present on the occasion. The plant is situated at Sardargarh & Chughe Kalan, Bhatinda.  The company said it is using top notch technology to set up the entire 100 MW solar plant project, which has started commissioning almost six months ahead of schedule.  The solar plant is not only the largest project in Punjab but will also prove to be the largest tracker-based solar project in the country.  The technology used for setting up this plant includes Poly Crystalline Silicon PV Modules and Horizontal Single Axis Tracker (HSAT).  This plant will be India's biggest HSAT plant at a single location. The plant spreads over approximately 641 acres of land with the evacuation of 132 kV Balluana Substation through Double circuit 132 KV transmission line. The annual energy yield is expected to be approximately 88,000 Mwh/annum.  Adani Group is a leading player in solar power generation in the country. The company has a 40 MW solar plant at Bitta, Gujarat and has recently unveiled a 648 MW solar power project at Ramanathapuram district in Tamil Nadu which is the world's largest solar power plant at a single location.  Moreover the company has also signed a JV with the Rajasthan government to develop the country's largest solar park in the state with 10,000 MW capacity.   

Axis Bank in partnership with Flipkart has launched ‘Buzz Credit Card’. Through this contactless card, the bank will offer benefits like welcome benefit of Rs 1000 worth Flipkart Voucher, exclusive discount of 5 per cent at Flipkart throughout the year and accelerated reward points.  Additionally, the customer is also entitled to get Flipkart vouchers of up to Rs 7000, which will be linked to the purchases made through the card. The credit card will also offer minimum 15 per cent off, at over 5000 plus restaurants across India.  Over the past two years e-commerce has established itself as the fastest growing spend category. We, at Axis Bank, consistently strive to offer value to our customers and tying up with an Industry pioneer like  Flipkart does exactly that for our online savvy customers.  The Axis Bank Buzz credit card is a contactless enabled card designed to ensure a delightful experience for online shoppers with benefits like round the year discounts and accelerated rewards on online spends to name a few names.

State-run UCO Bank will raise Rs 271 crore from Life Insurance Corporation of India in preferential allotment of equity shares at Rs 37.74 apiece.  Uco Bank is one of the many lenders which are placing shares with LIC on preferential basis to bring down government stake and raise public holding. Banks need capital also to meet Basel III stringent capital norm.  The preferential allotment of 7.17 crore equity shares will raise LIC's stake in Uco Bank to 14.5% from 10.38% at present, the bank said in a notice to National Stock Exchange. The bank held an extraordinary general meeting on November 5 where shareholders approved the capital raising plan.  Consequently, the government holding will stand reduced to 76.67% from 80.36%. Public shareholding will increase to 23.33% from 19.64%.  Uco shares closed Monday at Rs 33 on NSE, rose 0.76% from last week’s level.  Listed companies are required have a minimum 25% public holding, according Securities & Exchange Board of India norm. However, regular infusion of government capital in state-run banks raise the government holding beyond the 75% limit. Sebi has mandated the ..  Under Basel III, banks need to keep higher capital to cover credit risk. For instance, Uco's capital adequacy ratio was 10.59% at the end of June under Basel II, but it was a lower 9.9% under Basel III rules. 

China adopted a new Cybersecurity Law, which Human Rights Watch(HRW)  told that a regressive measure that strengthens censorship, surveillance, and other controls over the Internet. The Wall Street Journal announced that the new law is also planned at tightening and centralizing state control over technology equipment, “raising concerns among foreign companies operating in the country.” China’s state-run radio called it a law to prohibit “online activities that are attempts to remove the socialist system, split the nation, undermine national unity, advocate terrorism and extremism“. The government would take measures to ‘monitor, defend and handle cybersecurity risks and threats originating from within the country or overseas sources, protecting key information infrastructure from attack, intrusion, disturbance and damage,’the law reads. China also passed a law that bans film content deemed harmful to the “dignity, honour and interests” of the country. It also encourages the promotion of “socialist core values”. This was initiated by Qin Shi Huang of the Qin dynasty and it was finally completed during the Ming dynasty’s rule in the 17th century.

President of India Inaugurates Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of ECGC  The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Limited (ECGC) today (November 9, 2016) in New Delhi. The President said that a robust, vibrant and well-functioning ECGC can be an enabler for putting the country back on a high export growth path. It is necessary that all stakeholders in the ECGC provide the necessary leadership and direction for it to move forward. ECGC Limited : The ECGC Limited is a company wholly owned by the Government of India based in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It provides export credit insurance support to Indian exporters and is controlled by the Ministry of Commerce. Government of India had initially set up Export Risks Insurance Corporation (ERIC) in July 1957. It was transformed into Export Credit and Guarantee Corporation Limited (ECGC) in 1964 and to Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India in 1983.

Scientists have detected the presence of water on Psyche, the largest metallic asteroid in our solar system.  It was detected based on the new observations from the NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) in Hawaii. The telescope observations show evidence of water or hydroxyl on its surface. The source of these hydroxyl or water molecules on Psyche remains a mystery. Researchers believe that Water-rich minerals detected on Psyche may have been delivered by carbonaceous asteroids that may had impacted it in the distant past.  Based on the previous observations of Psyche, it was believed that the asteroid did not have water-rich minerals on its surface. Psyche Asteroid  : Psyche is made of almost pure nickel-iron metal and is about 300 kilometres across.  It is located in the asteroid belt. It is considered as the remnant core of a budding planet that was mostly destroyed by impacts billions of years ago.   NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF): It is a 3-meter telescope optimized for use in infrared astronomy. It is located at the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has extended the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in three districts of Arunachal Pradesh. These districts are Tirap, Changlang and Longding. They have been “disturbed area” under Section 3 of the AFSPA. The Naga underground factions including National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah)/ NSCN-IM and NSCN (Khaplang)/NSCN-K continue to indulge in extortion, area domination, recruitment of locals and inter-factional rivalry in these districts. The NSCN-IM had entered into a ceasefire agreement with India in 1997 after decades of violence. It is the largest group representing the Nagas.  It is demanding a “Greater Nagalim” or a contiguous land for Nagas, across the north-eastern states of Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Mizoram.  The NSCN-K (now banned ground) had unilaterally abrogated the ceasefire in March 2015 but NSCN-IM continues to be in a ceasefire pact with the Union Government. Earlier in August 2015, the Union Government had signed a ‘framework agreement’ with NSCN-IM to find a final solution to the six-decade-old Naga issue. The Parliament had enacted AFSPA in 1958 to confer special powers upon the armed forces in disturbed areas declared under the Act.  It provides army officers and jawans legal immunity for their actions in disturbed areas. Under this act, a member of the Indian armed forces cannot be prosecuted or tried in any criminal or civil court for any act committed by him or her while performing duty in a disturbed area.  Moreover, no court or quasi-judicial body can question the government’s decision to declare any area disturbed. Presently, the AFSPA is in force in Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Nagaland, Manipur (except Imphal municipal area), Arunachal Pradesh (in above 3 districts plus a 20-km belt bordering Assam) and Meghalaya ( along 20-km area bordering Assam). It is necessary for a part of State to be handed over to the armed forces is for the Governor or the Central Government to notify it to be in a “disturbed and dangerous” condition. Even a non-commissioned officer of the armed forces is free, on the mere suspicion of violation of the law or commission of an offence, to fire upon or otherwise use force, even to the causing of death, against any person.  He can also without any warrant, arrest any person and enter and search any premises. No prosecution of anyone indulging in excesses purporting to act under AFSPA is possible except with the previous sanction of the Government.  

The Union Cabinet has approved India-Japan Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for advancement of academic research in the field of Earth Sciences.  The MoU will be signed between Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences. The prime objective of the MoU is for the advancement of academic research in the field of Earth Sciences for the benefit of the peace and human welfare.  It will help to enhance needed exposure and hands-on experience to Indian scientists in the field of atmospheric and climate research, ocean technology observation and hazard mitigation.  The cooperation between both countries under this MoU will be pursued primarily through joint survey, exchange of scientific visits, cruise and R&D activities, joint scientific seminars, workshops and meetings or exchange of information and data.

The Union Tourism Ministry is all set to name Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the mascot of its ‘Incredible India’ campaign. The position was lying vacant since Aamir Khan’s ouster as the campaign’s brand ambassador in January 2016 for his remarks on Indian intolerance. Names of Bollywood superstars, Amitabh Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra were doing rounds as likely contenders of the role.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a strong standing and his success story has been widely popular among people in India as well as abroad.  He has visited a host of countries after his appointment.  Tourism inflow from countries visited by the Prime Minister post his appointment like the US, Germany, Fiji, Brazil, UK, Myanmar and Australia has witnessed a significant jump. The ministry plans to release a video footage of Modi speaking on tourism in India and abroad. The footage will be taken from the speeches delivered by the Prime Minister on tourism during the last two and a half years.It will also include sections from radio and audio releases and videos where Modi has spoken on nation’s uniqueness and diversity. It is expected to get released within 45-50 days, coinciding with the peak tourist season.  Conceptualised in 2002 by V Sunit and Amitabh Kant, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, it is the first marketing initiative of its kind. Its main objective is to create a distinctive identity for the country.  The campaign successfully established India as a high-end tourist destination, generating a 16% increase in tourist traffic in the first year itself.

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