Friday, 24 March 2017

Quick Look on Financial Awareness 1 for SBI PO | Banking

Financial Awareness

1.RBI cancels registration of 22 NBFCs

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cancelled registration of 22 non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) including Amazon Capital and Mascot Commerce.

2. Swavalamban subscribers can switch to APY: PFRDA

  • Subscribers of micro-pension scheme ‘Swavalamban’, which closes on March 31, can switch to the ‘Atal Pension Yojana’ (APY) and retain the government’s co-contribution.
  • Under the scheme, the government contributes Rs 1,000 per year to each NPS account for the first four years.

3. Boost for e-commerce as Centre permits 100 per cent FDI in online market places

  • The government permitted 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) under the automatic route for retail trading, or B2C (business-to-consumer) transactions, in the marketplace model of e-commerce.

4. Gujarat to set up country's first organic farming university

  • In 2016-17 state annual budget; state government has allocated a fund of 10 crore rupees towards the university.  It also took steps like setting up of a cell to implement its new organic farming policy. 

5. ADB, USAID to assist developing Solar parks in India

  • The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Asian Development Banktoday signed a pact for providing Rs 5,681 crore (USD 848 million) to develop solar parks across India, as part of clean energy infrastructure in the country.

6. ONGC to invest $5 billion to develop KG basin deepwater block

  • The ONGC board has approved a $ 5.076-billion field development plan for a portion of its deepwater oil and gas block in the Krishna-Godavari basin on the east coast.

7. Indian-American appointed as President, CEO of Bank of the West

  • Indian-American Nandita Bakshi has been appointed the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bank of the West, a subsidiary unit of French banking giant BNP Paribas.

8. Jeff Bezos top Fortune’s Greatest Leaders List

9. India’s forex reserves reach all time high

  • India’s forex reserves jumped by $2.5 billion to reach a record high at $355.9 billion for the week that ended on March 18, the Reserve Bank of India said on Friday in its weekly statistical report.
  • The previous high stood at $355.4 billion reported on June 27 of last year 

10. New BRICS-supported bank approves first loans

  • A new multilateral lender set up by the BRICS nations has approved its first set of loans valued at 811 million US dollars for renewable energy projects in four of its member countries.
  • According to a statement, the first group of projects approved by the bank’s board are in the area of green and renewable energy.

11. Centre to increase monthly minimum wages to 10,000 rupees for contract labourers

  • Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya has said that the government has decided to bring out an executive order to increase minimum wages to 10,000 rupees per month for contract labourers across the country.

12. Jharkhand Government launches Bhimrao Ambedkar Awas Yojana for widows

  • It was launched by Chief Minister Raghubar Das on the occasion of 125th birth anniversary of Dr. B R Ambedkar.
  • The scheme (Yojana) aims at building 11000 units (houses) for widows in 2016-17 financial year with the budgetary allocation of 80 crore rupees.
  • Under it, beneficiaries would get an amount of 75000 rupees to build a house in hilly terrains districts and 70000 rupees in plains area.

13. India offers to invest $20 billion in oil and other projects in Iran

  •  India has offered to invest up to $20 billion in oil, petrochemicals and fertiliser projects in joint ventures with Iran if Tehran provides land and cheap gas, even as there is no sign yet of an agreement on the long-pending rights to develop Farzad-B gas field in the Persian Gulf discovered by staterun ONGC Videsh.

 14. India to get $250m for renewables from New Development Bank

The New Development Bank, the latest multilateral funding institution in the financial world, has sanctioned a $250 million loan for India to fund its ambitious scheme on new and renewable energy.

15. RBI gave in-principle approval to Airtel payments bank

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has granted the first payments bank license to Airtel M Commerce Services (AMSL) which is a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel.
  • All companies, which received in-principle approval from RBI in August, will have to make their banks operational by March 2017.

16. India world’s largest remittance recipient in 2015: World Bank

  • In its annual report Migration and Development Brief, World Bank said, India retained its top spot in 2015, attracting about 69 billion US dollars in remittances, down from 70 billion in 2014.

17. Interest rates for NSSF loan to Centre, states cut to 8.8%

  • The government has slashed interest rates on loans from the National Small Savings Fund (NSSF) to 8.8 per cent from 9.5 per cent for FY17.
  • All the funds collected from small savings such as National Small Savings Certificate,Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP), Public Provident Fund (PPF) and Senior Citizens’ Savings Scheme (SCSS) is deposited in the NSSF.

18. Nauru becomes 189th member of IMF, World Bank

The Republic of Nauru, a tiny South Pacific island nation in Pacific Ocean became the 189th member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.

19. Vijay Shekhar Sharma appointed chairman of IAMAI payments banks group

  •  Industry body Internet and Mobile Association of India, has appointed Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, chairman of its the newly formed payments banks group.
  • Vodafone India business head(M-Pesa)Suresh Sethi, will be the vice-chairman of the group.

20. India may expand by 7.7% in fiscal year 2017: Fitch

  • Fitch Ratings expects India to be on the top of the global growth ladder and expanding by 7.7 per cent in the current fiscal.
  • Growth is expected to gradually accelerate to 7.7 per cent in FY17 and 7.9 per cent in FY18,” Fitch Ratings said in its India-Global Economic Outlook (GEO) Forecast.

21. India to notch up to 7.5 pc growth in 2016–17: IMF

  • MF in its latest, World Economic Outlook report said, India’s growth is projected to notch up to 7.5 per cent in 2016-17, overtaking China’s GDP by more than 1 per cent.

22. Postal department to launch payments bank by January 

  • The Department of Post will launch its payments bank by January next year and top management of the new-age venture would be in-place by July.

23. India, Germany sign pact on Ganga Rejuvenation

  • The project duration is three years from 2016 to 2018 and the German contribution in the project will be to the tune of 22.5 crore rupees. 

24. Central govt employees get 6 per cent DA hike from Jan 1

  • Dearness allowance (DA) for central government employees has been hiked to 125 %of basic pay, up by 6 percentage points, with effect from January 1, 2016.
  • The Centre revises DA twice a year on the basis of one year average of retail inflation for industrial workers as per a pre-determined formula.

25. Nita Ambani most powerful businesswoman in Asia: Forbes

  • SBI Chairman and Managing Director Arundhati Bhattacharya has been rankedsecond.

26. RBI cuts repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.5%; Keeps CRR unchanged

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cut down key interest rates repo rate by 25 basispoints to 6.50 per cent from 6.75 per cent in its first bi-monthly monetary policyreview for the 2016-17 fiscal.

27. DCB Bank launches India’s first Aadhaar-based ATM

  • DCB Bank has launched, India’s first of its kind Aadhaar-based Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) in Mumbai. It is a card less and PIN less ATM,customers can transact using hisbiometric details instead of the PIN.

28. Modi launches ‘Stand Up India’ scheme 

  • The scheme is intended to promote entrepreneurship among Scheduled Castes,Schedule Tribes and women will involve loans ranging from Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 1 crore.

29. India ranks 6th in 2015 top-10 manufacturers list: UNIDO report

  • India has been ranked sixth among the world’s Top-Ten largest manufacturing countries in the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) 2015 Yearbook report.

30. Germany’s Development Bank KfW to provide loan assistance to metro system for Nagpur

  • Germany’s Development Bank KfW will provide loan assistance of three thousand and 750 crore rupees for the modern and sustainable metro system for Nagpur city being executed by Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation Limited.

31. Geeta Reddy is new Chairperson of PAC 

  • Congress senior MLA J Geeta Reddy has been appointed as the new Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Telangana.

    1. India's first small finance bank starts operation

  •  Capital Small Finance Bank, India's first small finance bank starts operation on 24th April 2016. It opened 10 new branches in Punjab.
  • It is among the 10 entities that were given the in-principle approval by RBI to set up small finance banks.
Small Bank
Key points –
  • Sarvjit Singh Samra is a Managing Director of Capital Small Finance Bank.
  • The Jalandhar-headquartered bank had been operating as Capital Local Area Bank since January 2000
  • It had been operating with 47 branches in five districts of Punjab.
  • In the current financial year, the bank would consolidate its business in Punjab by adding 29 branches
  • Out of this, 10 were opened on 24th April 2016
  • RBI on September 15, 2015 grants in-principle approval to 10 Small Banks’ applicants. 
  • 8 out of 10 companies are Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) with established track records and significant presence among small borrowers.   

32.The selected Applicants are as follows:

(i) Au Financiers (India) Limited,
(ii) Capital Local Area Bank Limited,
(iii) Disha Microfin Private Limited,
(iv) Equitas Holdings P Limited,
(v) ESAF Microfinance and Investments Private Limited,
(vi) Janalakshmi Financial Services Private Limited,
(vii) RGVN (North East) Microfinance Limited,
(viii) Suryoday Micro Finance Private Limited,
(ix) Ujjivan Financial Services Private Limited and
(x) Utkarsh Micro Finance Private Limited.
Major Key points on Small Banks –
  • The small bank shall be registered as a public limited company under the Companies Act, 2013.
  • The minimum paid-up capital requirement for small banks is Rs. 100 crore.
  • The in-principle approval granted by RBI will be valid for a period of 18 months.
  • As per the guidelines, the promoters’ initial minimum contribution will be at least 40 % of the minimum capital, to be locked in for a period of 5 years.
  • Small banks will offer both deposits as well as loan products.
  • They cannot set up subsidiaries to undertake non-banking financial services activities.
  • The maximum loan size and investment limit exposure to single/group borrowers/issuers would be restricted to 15 percent of total capital funds.
  • Loans and advances of up to Rs 25 lakhs, primarily to micro enterprises, should constitute at least 50 percent of the loan portfolio.

33. India overtakes China as top FDI destination in 2015: FDI Intelligence Report

  • India has replaced China as top destination for foreign direct investment by attracting $63 billion worth FDI projects in 2015, says a report.
  • According to FDI Intelligence, a division of The Financial Times Ltd. - "India was the highest ranked country by capital investment in 2015, with $63 billion-worth of FDI projects.
  • There was an 8 per cent increase in project numbers to 697. The boost in FDI has resulted in a whopping increase in job creation from nearly 1 lakh in 2013 to over 2 lakh jobs in 2015.
  • These high-value projects were specifically announced across the coal, oil and natural gas and renewable energy sectors India has replaced China as the top destination for FDI by capital investment following of high-value project announcements.
  • Greenfield FDI inflow in India and China was followed by Indonesia ($38.5 billion), Mexico ($24.3 billion) and Brazil ($17.3 billion).
  • Top FDI State in India - Gujarat was on top which had attracted $12.4 billion. Maharashtra was second attracting $8.3 billion respectively in 2015.

34. PNB becomes top mobiliser under Gold Monetisation Scheme

  •  State-owned Punjab National Bank today said it has become the top mobiliser under Gold Monetisation Scheme, which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2015.
  • The bank has mobilised substantial gold deposit under Short Gold Bank Term Deposit (STGBD) for three years from one of the leading trusts of India – Tirumula Tirupati Devasthanam, Tirpuati (TTD), PNB said in a statement.
  • The bank has mobilised 1,311 kg of gold since the launch of the scheme in November. It would continue to work actively for mobilization of gold deposit under GMS, it added.
  • Under the GMS, banks are authorised to collect gold for up to 15 years to auction them off or lend to jewellers from time to time.
  • Depositors will earn up to 2.50 per cent interest per annum, a rate lower than bank deposits.
GMS operates under three categories,
  • Short-term deposit (for one to three years with a rollout in multiples of one year),
  • Medium term deposit (for five to seven years) and
  • Long term deposit (for 12 to 15 years).

 35. Govt. lowers EPF rate to 8.7% from 8.8% for FY16

  •  The finance ministry has announced an interest rate of 8.7% for the subscribers of employees’ provident fund (EPF) for 2015-16, 10 percentage points lower than the rate prescribed by the EPF Organisation’s Central Board of Trustees (CBT).
  • The CBT, at its meeting held in February 2016, had proposed an interim rate of interest at 8.8% to be credited to the accounts of EPF subscribers for 2015-16. The ministry of finance has, however, ratified an interest rate to 8.7%.
  • This is probably the first time that the finance ministry has not given concurrence to the rate of interest on EPF as decided by CBT, which is headed by the labour minister.

 36. Mahindra & Mahindra becomes first Indian company to join EP100 campaign

  • Automobile giant Mahindra & Mahindra has become the first Indian company to join a global energy campaign led by an international non-profit group that will work with the world's most influential businesses in setting commitments to double their energy productivity.
  • By signing up to 'EP100' campaign led by 'The Climate Group', the world's largest manufacturer of tractors has committed to doubling their energy productivity by 2030, a core requirement for any business signing on to the campaign.
About EP100 energy productivity campaign -
  • The campaign is a brainchild of the “Climate Group”, an international non-profit organization.
  • It helps businesses, state, regional, finance and civil society leaders from all over the world to increase their energy productivity and thereby lessen their carbon footprints.

37. Goldman Sachs launches online-only bank for the masses

  • Goldman Sachs has officially launched an online bank aimed at households and small businesses as it expands from its Wall Street base and aims for the masses.
  • The online-only GS Bank permits consumers to open an account for as little as USD 1, a big shift for a financial powerhouse that has built itself around serving billionaires and giant companies undertaking mega-mergers.
  • The move comes on the heels of Goldman’s acquisition of GE Capital’s online deposit platform, after which it assumed about USD 16 billion of deposits from some 145,000 customers.
  • Goldman is offering savers a relatively robust interest rate of 1.05 per cent, much higher than the 0.01 per cent now available at JPMorgan Chase and other retail banks.
  • Goldman Sachs is also offering a five-year certificate of deposit at 2.0 per cent, also much higher than the going rates at other large banks.

38. Govt. hikes minimum wage for contract workers to Rs 10,000

labour money
  • The minimum wage for contract workers has been increased to Rs 10,000 per month, Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya said on Monday.
  • The minister of state for labour and employment informed Lok Sabha that the wage hike has been implemented based on a Supreme Court verdict.
  • "Recently, we have increased minimum wage to Rs 10,000 at the national level taking into consideration the Consumer Price Index and Dearness Allowance. This was based on the verdict of the Supreme Court.

39. India, France launch $1 trillion potential solar programme for developing countries

India & France
  • India and France have launched a programme with $1 trillion potential to help developing countries harness fully their solar resources for a clean energy future to meet the “biggest challenge humanity has ever faced”.
  • Power Minister Piyush Goyal and French Environment Minister Segolene Royal announced the solar finance programme that aims to lower the cost of finance and facilitate the flow of more than $1 trillion investment to members of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
  • A second programme they launched at the ISA meeting held during the signing ceremonies for the Paris Climate Change Agreement here aims to make available solar technology for farmers.
  • The meeting was attended by representatives of over 25 countries including the US, Brazil, Bangladesh and Nigeria.
  • The ISA, which was launched at the Paris Climate Change Summit last year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande, seeks to empower solar-rich countries located between the tropic of Cancer and the tropic of Capricorn, many of which have at least 300 days of sunshine, and share common challenges and opportunities.
  • During Hollande’s visit to India in January, the two leaders laid the foundation stone for the ISA headquarters in Gurgaon.

40. India ratifies WTO agreement to boost global economic integration

  • India has ratified the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which could further “its integration into the global economy” by boosting trade through efficient movement of goods.
  • India’s Permanent Representative to the WTO, Anjali Prasad, formally presented the instrument of acceptance ratifying the agreement to WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo on Friday in Geneva.
  • India is the 76th WTO member to accept the TFA, which will enter into force once two-thirds of WTO 162 members formally accepted the Agreement.
  • The TFA was agreed upon at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali in 2013.
  • The agreement aims at - expediting the movement and clearance of goods, including goods in transit and establishing effective cooperation between customs and other authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues.
  • The implementation of the TFA has the potential to increase global merchandise exports by up to $1 trillion per year, according to the WTO’s 2015 flagship World Trade Report.

41. RBL becomes first private sector bank to open dedicated branch for startups

  • The RBL Bank (formerly Ratnakar Bank) became the first private sector bank in India to open dedicated branch for startups.
  • The dedicated branch was inaugurated at Koramangala, Bengaluru by Nandan Nilekani, noted entrepreneur and former chairman of UIDAI.
  • The first exclusive bank branch for start-ups will offer a bouquet of banking products to service the end-to-end needs of the emerging entrepreneurial eco-system.
  • The branch will assist entrepreneurs in setting up new enterprises or companies.
  • It will offer them host of banking products including, foreign exchange services, remittances and cash management. The Branch will also provide a range of value added services including legal and tax formalities, registration etc. through its affiliates and partners.

42. Government does u-turn on EPF, agrees to 8.8 percent interest rate

  •  Bowing to persistent pressure from trade unions and political parties, the government on Friday increased the interest rate on employees provident fund (EPF) deposits to 8.8 percent from 8.70 percent announced earlier for 2015-16.
(i) The provident fund rate was 8.75 percent in 2014-15 and the Central Board of Trustees (CBT) had recommended to make it 8.8 percent for this fiscal. However, the finance ministry had rejected the recommendation and had approved only 8.70 percent interest, citing lower earnings.
(ii) Trade unions had threatened to intensify their agitation from September if the government did not comply with the demand of higher EPF interest rates.
(iii) As the government decided to agree to 8.8 percent interest rate, Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU) president A.K. Padmanabhan said this is the third time the BJP-led central government is backtracking on its decision faced with strong opposition.

43. Maharashtra is the biggest contributor to income tax collections in India

  •  Maharashtra is the biggest contributor to the Indian government's income tax collections. The state contributed Rs. 2,77,720.11 crore, or about 40 percent, of the total Rs. 6,95,788.85 crore in income tax collections, in financial year 2014-15. 
  • For the first time, the country's income tax department has released the income tax data on 29th April 2016. 
  • There are 10 categories of income tax assesses in India – individuals, corporates, trusts, local authorities, government, partnership firms, Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), body of individuals, association of persons and artificial juridical person.
(i) The number of individual Indians paying income tax decreased by 3.70 lakh between financial years 2012-13 and 2013-14. In 2013-14 (assessment year 2014-15), 4.87 crore individuals paid taxes, down from 4.90 crore in the previous year.
(ii) In all, 7.14 lakh companies paid corporate tax in financial year 2013-14, marginally up from 7.03 lakh companies in the preceding year.
(iii) Overall, the number of income tax payees declined to 5.17 crore (provisional) in financial year 2013-14 (assessment year 2014-15) from 5.21 crore in the previous financial year.
(iv) According to the provisional direct tax collection data, the government collected Rs.7,42,295 crore in 2015-16.

 44. India to maintain 7.6% GDP growth in 2016: UNESCAP

  • According to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), India's economy is expected to grow by 7.6 per cent in 2016-17.
  • Indian economy may expand by 7.8% in 2017-18.
  • With rural demand continuing to be weak after two years of back-to-back droughts, urban demand is expected to do the heavy lifting.
  • Urban consumption is expected to get a boost with the government accepting the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations

45. Ind-Ra lowers GDP growth forecast to 7.7% from 7.9%

  • Ratings firm Ind-Ra today revised downwards to 7.7 per cent India’s GDP growth forecast for the current financial year, from 7.9 per cent earlier, due to weak industrial growth.
  • “Despite favourable prospects for agriculture due to an above normal monsoon, industrial recovery is proving to be a drag on the FY17 growth prospect,” India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra).
  • The report expects inflation based on the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), which has been in the negative zone for 17 months, to turn positive in early 2016-17 and be beneficial for both government and corporates.

46. MGNREGA scheme: 3 N-E states on top, two at bottom

  • Three northeastern states lead the table in providing rural jobs while another two are at the very bottom of the table, in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme.
  • Tripura retained its top position for the seventh consecutive year in providing jobs under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) – a staggering 94.46 person days per household – in just ended fiscal 2015-16 against the national average of 48.51 days. (One hundred days makes for a perfect 10.)
  • According to a performance report of the union rural development ministry, Mizoram and Sikkim were second and third by providing 68.55 and 66.97 days of jobs in the fiscal.
  • In sharp contrast, two other northeastern states – Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur – were at the very bottom among India’s 29 states by providing only 27.47 and 15.65 days of jobs.
  • “The recent UNDP Global Human Development Report refers to the MGNREGA as one of the milestones in social protection measures in the world, comparable cohort schemes – Rural Employment for Public Assets in Bangladesh, Jefes De Hogar in Argentina and the limited Karnali employment programme in Nepal,” the ministry’s report said.

47. Indian Railways to harness 1000 MW solar power by 2020

  • Indian Railways proposes to harness 1000 Mega Watt (MW) solar and 150 MW wind energy by 2020.
  • A total of about 50 MW renewable energy capacity has been installed till date, including approximately 11 MW solar power and 37 MW wind power.
  • “In addition, installation of 6.5 MW is in progress and for about 50 MW solar capacities, request for qualification (RFQ) has been issued by zonal railways,” he added.
  • For harnessing renewable energy sources for its requirements, Sinha said the mechanism put in place include signing of memorandum of understanding between Railways and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), finalisation of model bid documents for rooftop solar power plants with the financial support of MNRE.
  • Based on these model bid documents, zonal railways have floated tender documents for installation of solar rooftop plants at railway premises.
  • Such renewable energy plants are being put up in Railways in an economical manner to reduce the cost of energy with viable gap funding from Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

48. India on 5th place in fake goods trade; China on top

  • India is the fifth biggest exporter of fake goods globally, while China is on the top with a huge 63 per cent share in the estimated half-a-trillion dollar worldwide imports of counterfeit and pirated goods.
  • China is followed by Turkey, Singapore, Thailand and India among the top-five countries from where most fake goods originate, as per a new study by the OECD (Organisation Economic Cooperation and Development) and the European Union's Intellectual Property Office.
  • China-made products accounted for 63.2 per cent of total seizures of fake imported goods globally, while the second- ranked Turkey's share was just 3.3 per cent.
  • The same for Singapore, Thailand and India stood at 1.9 per cent, 1.6 per cent and 1.2 per cent, respectively.
  • Among the countries hit hardest by the global trade in fake foods, the US comes on the top and is followed by Italy, France, Switzerland and Japan in the top-five.
  • The report, which analysed nearly half a million customs seizures around the world over 2011-13, further said that its findings contradict the image that counterfeiters only hurt big companies and luxury goods manufacturers.
  • Fake products crop up in everything from handbags and perfumes to machine parts and chemicals, while footwear is the most-copied item though trademarks are infringed even on strawberries and bananas.

49. Ujjivan to open 100 new branches to meet licence norms

  •  Micro-lender Ujjivan Financial Services, which has launched a Rs 885-crore IPO, will open 100 odd bank branches to meet the regulatory norm for a small bank licence. The bank would be launched by April 2017.
  • We need to have 25 per cent of bank branches in unbanked areas. Currently, we have none. Due to operational factors our existing branches are mostly next to PSU bank braches. We propose to set up about 100 new branches in unbanked locations," Ujjivan MD and CEO Samit Ghosh told.
  •  "According to regulatory requirement, the foreign holding in the small bank has to be less than 49 per cent. IPO is the first step towards transformation to a small bank.
  • Foreign shareholding has come down to 77 per cent following a pre-IPO placement. The IPO will help reduce further to 44-45 per cent,"
  • Ujjivan has about 11.15 per cent marketshare of the NBFC-MFI business in the country with some 470 odd existing branches spread across 24 states.

50. NABARD partners with Germany for food security initiative

Nabard (1)
  • The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has entered into collaboration with German Government for a special programme on ‘Soil Protection and Rehabilitation for Food Security‘.
  • The programme is part of the German government’s recently introduced special initiative ‘One World, No Hunger’ initiative.
  • As part of the collaboration NABARD is anchoring two programmes viz. Soil conservation and rehabilitation of degraded land programme in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
  • Innovation of watershed development and climate change adaptation programmes in five states Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
  • Germany’s ‘One World, No Hunger’ addresses areas such as food and nutrition security, protection and sustainable use of natural resources in rural areas, promotion of innovation and promotion of responsible land use and access to land.
  • India is the only country in Asia chosen for this initiative.

51. SIDBI signs MoU with Saarc Development Fund

  • Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and Saarc Development Fund (SDF) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for mutual cooperation and collaboration.
  • The MoU was signed by SIDBI Deputy Managing Director A K Kapur and SDF CEO Sunil Motiwal.
  • The MoU envisages SDF and SIDBI to work together in co-funding of projects in Indian MSMEs on risk sharing basis in identified sectors, development of suitable financial products for SME financing for MSMEs of other Saarc states.
  • Technology transfer and making available software to MFIs regarding loan tracking systems in other SAARC states. Capacity development of SDF, SIDBI and SME funding institutions in SAARC countries.
  • SIDBI is an independent financial institution aimed to aid the growth and development of micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs).

52. India to clock 7.4 pct GDP growth this fiscal: Standard Chartered

  • The Indian economy is expected to clock a GDP growth of 7.4 per cent this fiscal largely driven by the lagged impact of a good monsoon and increased consumer spending, supported by pay commission awards, a Standard Chartered report says.
  • The expectations of a growth recovery are contingent on consumption revival, especially rural demand as investment-led recovery will likely be gradual amid rising external woes, the global financial services major said.
  • According to the global brokerage firm, the recovery in rural consumption due to better monsoons is likely to support the consumption momentum generated by higher pay for public-sector employees.
 53. ICICI Bank signs MoU with New Development Bank

  •  ICICI Bank became the first financial institution in the country to tie up with the BRICS Grouping-promoted New Development Bank (NDB) for a partnership in bond issuances, co-financing, treasury management and human resources.
  • The MoU was signed by BDB’s first President and ICICI Bank veteran KV Kamath and ICICI Bank Chief Chanda Kochhar in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Key Points
  •  The MoU will help NDB in exploring rupee-denominated bonds in the domestic and international markets. It will make both the lenders collaborate to fund development projects in India.
  • They will also leverage a mutually beneficial partnership in other areas such as treasury risk management, human resource development and account and cash management services.
  • The MoU will help NDB to leverage the deep market access and insight of ICICI Bank in the India’s financial markets.
 About New Development Bank
  •  NDB is a multilateral development bank promoted by BRICS nations viz. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  • It is outcome of 6th BRICS Summit being held in Fortaleza, Brazil.
  • It is headquartered in Shanghai, China.
  • It will have a regional office in Johannesburg, South Africa. NDB began its operations in July 2015 with an initial capital of 100 billion dollars.
  • The goal of the bank is to fund infrastructure projects in emerging economies for sustainable development. In the NDB, each participant country has been assigned one vote, and none of the countries have veto power.
54. KV Thomas renominated PAC chief
KV Thomas
  •  Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has re-nominated senior Congress leader KV Thomas as Chairman of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for a third term of one year.
  • The senior leader, representing the Ernakulam Lok Sabha constituency, was first nominated in August 2014 as Chairman of the PAC, one of the most important finance committees in the Parliament. He was re-nominated for another term last year.
About PAC - 
  • The Committee on Public Accounts is constituted by Parliament each year for examination of accounts showing the appropriation of sums granted by Parliament for expenditure of Government of India, the annual Finance Accounts of Government of India.
  • The PAC, constituted every year comprises 22 members15 from Lok Sabha and 7 from the Rajya Sabha.
  • The Chairman is appointed by the Speaker from amongst its members of Lok Sabha.
  • The Speaker, for the first time, appointed a member of the Opposition as the Chairman of the Committee for 1967-68.
55. IMF retains India growth forecast at 7.5% for 2016, 2017
  •  In its latest Regional Economic Outlook for Asia and the Pacific, IMF has retained its growth forecast for India this year at 7.5 per cent.
  • India remains on a strong recovery path, with GDP growth reaching 7.3 per cent in 2015, the Fund said adding that India's growth is projected to strengthen to 7.5 per cent in 2016 and 2017.
  • According to IMF, growth in Asia and the Pacific is expected to remain strong at 5.3 per cent this year and next.
  • However, China and Japan, the two largest economies in Asia, continue to face challenges.
  • China's growth is forecast to moderate from 6.9 per cent in 2015 to 6.5 per cent this year and 6.2 per cent in 2017, while Japan's growth is expected to continue at 0.5 per cent in 2016, before dropping to -0.1 per cent in the next year.
56. SBI rolls out mVisa
SBI mvisa
  •  State Bank of India (SBI) had announced the launch of mVisa, a mobile-based payment solution.
Key points -
  • The service will enable SBI customers to make payments from their smart phones, by scanning the unique merchant QR (Quick Response) code image at merchant outlets, thereby eliminating the need to swipe the physical card at a point-of-sale (PoS) machine.
  • SBI customers can download the latest version of SBI Anywhere application, from ‘Google Play Store’ and need to register for mVisa payments.
57. Bengaluru tops online learning in India: Coursera
  •  According to online learning site Coursera, India is the third largest online learning market globally after the US and China.
  • In India, hi-tech city Bengaluru tops with the maximum number of registered learners in the country.
  • Out of Coursera's 18 million registered learners, 1.3 million are from India with top registered learners hailing from Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad.
  • The most active online learners in India are entrepreneurial, young professionals in their 20s and 30s who are laser focused on gaining the technical skills that are sought after by India's top employers,".
  • The analysis has revealed that 21 per cent of learners access their course material on their mobile phones and the proportion of male learners are 76 per cent while female learners comprise 24 per cent.
58. NASSCOM, Facebook ink MoU to engage with India's entrepreneurs
  •  NASSCOM has signed an MoU with Facebook to build a product design initiative to engage the country's young entrepreneurs into becoming problem solvers and solution builders.
Key Points
  • The initiative will engage the country’s young entrepreneurs into becoming problem solvers and solution builders.
  • It will be country-wide initiative and shall offer focused programmes to build awareness in product design and mentorship.
  • Under it, Nasscom Product Council through its flagship programme will support over 500 product start-ups on product design.
  • This is for the second time that NASSCOM and Facebook have partnered to promote entrepreneurship and startup initiatives in India.
  • Earlier in 2015, they have partnered for its initiative called Leaders Building for the Next Billion.
59. Government releases Rs 9,367 crore under MGNREGA to drought-hit states
  •  The Centre has released Rs 9,367 crore to drought-hit states under MGNREGA in 2016-17.
  • The government has also relaxed norms under MGNREGA to provide additional employment of 50 days per household over and above the 100 days in areas affected by natural calamities during 2015-16, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.
  • Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Haryana and Rajasthan are reeling under drought.
 60. Federal Bank ties up with Transfast Remittance
Federal Bank
  •  Federal Bank has entered into a tie up with Transfast Remittance LLC for facilitating online inward remittance to India in rupees for NRI customers in the US.
  • Transfast is a leading omni-channel provider of cross-border payment solutions to consumers around the world.
  • With this tie-up, the US-based NRI customers can transfer money instantly to their NRI account in India from their US bank account even by using debit/credit card.
  • Customers can send money to India by creating an account on or by downloading Transfast App in iOS/android mobiles.
 61. Lok Sabha passes the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Bill 2016
  •  The Lok Sabha had passed the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Bill 2016. The bill is being seen as a transformational legislation that will help in improving India’s ranking in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ index.
  • The Bill is based on the recommendations of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2015 chaired by Bhupender Yadav.
Highlights of the Bill
(i) Insolvency resolution: The Code creates time-bound processes for insolvency resolution of companies and individuals.  These processes will be completed within 180 days. If insolvency cannot be resolved, the assets of the borrowers may be sold to repay creditors.
(ii) Insolvency Professionals: The resolution processes will be conducted by licensed Insolvency Professionals (IPs). This IPs will be members of Insolvency Professional Agencies (IPAs). IPAs will also furnish performance bonds equal to the assets of a company under insolvency resolution.
(iii) Information Utilities: Information utilities (IUs) will be established to collect, collate and disseminate financial information to facilitate insolvency resolution..
62. India received $40.82 billion FDI till December in FY16
  •  According to the Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows stood at $40.82 billion till December in the fiscal 2015-16.
  • For 2014-15, FDI inflows were $44.29 billion, up 23 per cent as compared to the previous fiscal.
  • In 2013-14, FDI inflows were up 5 per cent at $36.05 billion. However, inflows dropped by 26 per cent in 2012-13 to $34.30 billion, after having grown by 34 per cent in 2011-12 to $46.56 billion.
  • But in 2010-11, the FDI inflows were down 8 per cent to $34.85 billion.
  • FDI data is compiled by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
  • "Accordingly, different categories of institutional investors can now invest in private sector banks up to the sectoral limit of 74 per cent.