Current Affairs Update – 17 August, 2017



Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 17 August, 2017. These are very important for the upcoming IBPS PO, IBPS RRB, OICL AO, UIIC Assistant & NICL Assistant Exams.

Banking & Financial
News
Axis Bank launches new home loan product “Shubh Aarambh”

  • Aiming to ramp up its mortgage
    book volumes and expecting better credit behaviour, Axis Bank today launched a
    home loan product that entails waiving off a few EMIs during the course of a
    loan.
  • The third largest private sector
    lender will waive off four equated monthly instalments (EMIs) each at the end
    of the fourth, eighth and the 12th year of a two-year loan.
  • This means that if a borrower
    takes a 20-year loan, the consumer will get 12 of the EMIs waived off, which
    the bank claimed will help save Rs 3.09 lakh on a Rs 30-lakh loan.
  • The waivers will be applicable
    for loans of up to Rs 30 lakh and will be given in the form of reduction in
    loan tenures, it said, adding that the interest rate stays the same at 8.35 per
    cent.
  • When asked if it will impact the
    net interest margin as the total tenure is coming down, executive director
    Rajiv Anand said the bank will benefit from better credit behaviour and
    longevity of a loan as pre-payments will be less.
  • But a single missed EMI will
    disqualify the borrower from getting the benefit, while on the longevity front,
    the incentives can help reduce prepayments, he said.
ICICI Bank signs MoU with Government of Odisha for e-governance
Services

  • ICICI Bank, India’s largest
    private sector bank by consolidated assets, signed a Memorandum of
    Understanding (MoU) with the Department of Electronics & Information
    Technology, Government of Odisha to provide e-governance services to the people
    of the state.
  • This initiative will enable
    anyone including non-ICICI Bank customers to pay their utility bills, including
    electricity, water, withholding tax, etc. directly on the website of the
    Government of Odisha, using an ICICI Bank payment gateway.

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RBI makes Aadhar linkage mandatory for farmers to avail short-term crop
loans in 2017-18

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
    on 16 August 2017 made Aadhar linkage mandatory for farmers who wish to avail
    short-term crop loans in 2017-18.
  • In its, notification RBI has
    said, “To ensure hassle-free benefits to farmers under Interest Subvention
    Scheme, the banks are advised to make Aadhar linkage mandatory for availing
    short-term crop loans in 2017-18.”
  • RBI has clarified that farmers
    can avail of short-term crop loans of up to Rs 3 lakh at the subsidised
    interest rate of 7 per cent that could go down to 4 per cent on prompt
    repayment.
  • An interest subvention of 2 per
    cent per annum will be offered to lending institutions viz. Public Sector Banks
    (PSBs), Private Sector Commercial Banks (in respect of loans given by their
    rural and semi-urban branches only) on the use of their own resources. This
    subvention will be provided on the short-term crop loans up to Rs 3 lakh to
    farmers at an interest rate of 7 per cent per annum during the year 2017-18.
  • The notification says, “This
    interest subvention of 2 per cent will be calculated on the crop loan amount
    from the date of its disbursement/drawal up to the date of actual repayment of
    the crop loan by the farmer or up to the due date of the loan fixed by the
    banks whichever is earlier, subject to a maximum period of one year.”
  • The notification says, an
    additional interest subvention of 3 per cent will be available for those who
    pay their pay dues on time. This also implies that the farmers paying promptly
    as above would get short term crop loans @ 4 per cent per annum during the year
    2017-18.
Union Cabinet approves new Metro Rail Policy

  • The Union Cabinet on 16 August
    2017 approved new Metro Rail Policy focussed on compact urban development, cost
    reduction and multi-modal integration.
  • This new Metro Rail Policy seeks
    to enable realization of growing metro rail targets of a large number of
    cities.
  • The policy enables private
    investments across a range of metro operations making Public-Private
    Partnership (PPP) component mandatory for availing central assistance for new
    metro projects.
  • Private participation either for
    complete provision of metro rail or for some unbundled components will form an
    essential requirement for all metro rail projects seeking central financial
    assistance.
  • It seeks to ensure a catchment
    area of 5 kms on either side of metro stations to provide necessary last mile
    connectivity through feeder services, Non-Motorised Transport infrastructure
    like walking and cycling pathways and introduction of para-transport
    facilities.
  • It mandates evaluation of various
    modes of mass transit like BRTS (Bus Rapid Transit System), Light Rail Transit,
    Tramways, Metro Rail and Regional Rail in terms of demand, capacity, cost and
    ease of implementation to ensure that least cost mass transit mode is selected
    for public transport.
  • It also mandates setting up of
    Urban Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) to prepare Comprehensive Mobility
    Plans for cities for ensuring complete multi-modal integration.
  • It specifies a shift from the
    present ‘Financial Internal Rate of Return of 8 per cent’ to ‘Economic Internal
    Rate of Return of 14 per cent’ for approving metro projects.
  • It mandates Transit Oriented
    Development (TOD) to promote compact and dense urban development along metro
    corridors as TOD reduces travel distances besides enabling efficient land use
    in urban areas.
Union Government releases 4th Advance Estimate of production of major
crops for 2016-17

  • The Department of Agriculture,
    Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, on 16 August 2017 released the 4th advance
    estimates of production of major crops for 2016-17.
  • The assessment of production of
    different crops is based on the feedback received from States and validated
    with information available from other sources.
Key highlights of the 4th Advance Estimates

  • The total food grain production
    in the country is estimated at 275.68 million tonnes, which is higher by 10.64
    million tonnes (4.01%) than the previous record production of food grain
    achieved during 2013-14.
  • The current year’s production is
    also higher by 18.67 million tonnes than the previous five years’ (2011-12 to
    2015-16) average production of food grains.
  • Total production of rice is
    estimated at record 110.15 million tonnes, which is a new record.  This year’s rice production is higher by 3.50
    million tonnes (3.28%) than previous record production of 106.65 million tonnes
    achieved during 2013-14. Production of rice increased significantly by 5.74
    million tonnes (5.50%) than the production of 104.41 million tonnes during
    2015-16.  
  • Total production of wheat is
    estimated at 98.38 million tonnes, which is also a record. This year’s wheat
    production is higher by 2.64% than the previous record production of 95.85
    million tonnes achieved during 2013-14. The current year’s production is higher
    by 6.10 million tonnes (6.61%) as compared to wheat production of 92.29 million
    tonnes achieved during 2015-16.
  • Total production of coarse
    cereals is estimated at a new record level of 44.19 million tonnes, which is
    higher than the average production by 2.85 million tonnes (6.88%).
  • As a result of significant
    increase in the area coverage and productivity of all major pulses, total
    production of pulses during 2016-17 is estimated at 22.95 million tonnes, which
    is higher by 3.70 million tonnes (19.22%) than the previous record production
    of 19.25 million tonnes achieved during 2013-14. 
  • With an increase of 6.85 million
    tonnes (27.11%) over the previous year, total oilseeds production in the
    country is estimated at 32.10 million tonnes.
  • Total production of sugarcane is
    estimated at 306.72 million tonnes, which is lower by 41.73 million tonnes
    (-11.98%) than the last year’s production of 348.45 million tonnes.
  • Higher productivity of cotton
    resulted into higher production of 33.09 million bales (of 170 kg each), i.e.
    an increase of 10.29%, as compared to 30.01 million bales during 2015-16.
  • Total production of jute and
    mesta is estimated at 10.60 million bales (of 180 kg each) is marginally higher
    (0.73%) than their production of 10.52 million bales during the last year.
Union Cabinet approves completion of North Koel Reservoir Project

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime
    Minister Narendra Modi on 16 August 2017 approved the proposal to complete the
    North Koel Reservoir Project in Jharkhand and Bihar at an estimated expenditure
    of Rs 1622.27 crore to be incurred during three financial years.
  • The Cabinet also approved storage
    of water in dam restricted at lower level to protect Betla National Park and
    Palamau Tiger Reserve.
  • The project is situated on North
    Koel river which is a tributary of Sone river that joins the river Ganga. 
  • North Koel Reservoir is located
    in the most backward tribal areas in Palamau and Garhwa districts of Jharkhand.
  • The construction of the project
    originally began in the year 1972 and continued till 1993 when it was stopped
    by the Bihar’s Forest Department. Since then, the work on dam is at a
    standstill.
  • The major components of project
    are: 67.86 m high and 343.33 m long concrete dam called Mandal dam; 819.6 m
    long barrage at Mohammadganj, 96 km downstream of the dam and two canals
    originating from left and right banks of Mohammadganj Barrage.
  • With the new lowered elevation
    level (EL) of 341 metre, the Mandal dam will now have storage of 190 MCM. 
News related to India & states
LED bulbs, tubelights, fans to go on sale at petrol pumps across India

  • The Energy Efficiency Services
    Limited on 16 August 2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with three
    state-owned oil marketing companies for the distribution of energy-efficient
    appliances through petrol pumps across India.
  • The energy-efficient appliances
    include LED bulbs, tubelights and ceiling fans and they would be sold under the
    flagship Unnat Jeevan by Affordable LEDs and Appliances for All (UJALA) scheme.
  • Speaking on the occasion,
    Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, the three oil marketing companies
    have over 53 thousand petrol pumps and the products will be available across
    the country in the next 6 months.
  • The three oil marketing companies
    are Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited and
    Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited.
  • The distribution of the energy
    efficient appliances will be conducted in a phased manner across the country.
    In the first phase, the distribution will start from Uttar Pradesh and
    Maharashtra.
  • The consumer would now be able to
    purchase high-quality 9W LED bulbs at Rs 70, 20W LED tubelight at Rs 220 and 5
    star rated ceiling fans at the rate of Rs 1200.
  • Currently over 25 Cr LED bulbs,
    30 lakh LED tubelights and more than 11 lakh energy efficient fans have been
    distributed under the Ujala scheme.
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Union Cabinet approves creation of non-lapsable Madhyamik and Uchchtar
Shiksha Kosh

  • The Union Cabinet on 16 August
    2017 approved the creation of a single non-lapsable corpus fund Madhyamik and
    Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh (MUSK) for secondary and higher education.
  • Under Madhyamik and Uchchtar
    Shiksha Kosh, all proceeds of Secondary and Higher Education Cess will be
    credited.
  • The funds arising from the MUSK
    will be utilized for schemes in the education sector which would be available
    for the benefit of students of secondary and higher education.
  • Union Ministry of Human Resource
    Development will be responsible for the administration and maintenance of the
    funds.
  • Accruals from the Cess would be
    utilized in the ongoing schemes of Secondary and Higher Education.
  • The expenditure on ongoing
    schemes of the Department of School Education & Literacy and Department of
    Higher Education will be initially incurred from the gross budgetary support
    (GBS) and the expenditure will be financed from the MUSK after the GBS is
    exhausted.
  • MUSK will be maintained as a
    Reserve Fund in the non-interest bearing section of the Public Accounts of
    India.
  • For Secondary Education, accruals
    from the Cess will be utilized in the secondary education for Rashtriya
    Madhyamik Shlksha Abhiyan Scheme, National Means-Cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme
    and National Scheme for Incentives to Girls for Secondary Education.
India has 27312 elephants: All-India Elephant Population Estimation

  • The Union Ministry of
    Environment, Forests and Climate Change on 12 August 2017 released preliminary
    results from the first-ever synchronised All-India Elephant Population
    Estimation.
  • As per the estimation, the
    population of Asian elephant in India stands at 27312.
  • The estimate is derived from the
    sighting-based direct count method alone. However, the estimate will be
    confirmed with estimates from the indirect dung-count method in three months.
  • According to the report,
    Karnataka has the highest number of elephants (6049), followed by Assam (5719)
    and Kerala (3054).
  • The numbers are lower than from
    the last census estimate in 2012. However, the experts say that parallels
    cannot be drawn, because in the 2012 count, various states used different
    methodologies and the effort was not synchronised across the country. As per
    them, errors and duplication could have led to overestimation.
  • As per the estimation, a number
    of indices, including birth rate, indicate that the elephant population is
    increasing.
India’s first Partition Museum opens after 70 years of Independence

  • A new museum on the Partition of
    the Indian subcontinent was inaugurated in the third week of August 2017 after
    70 years of bloodstained tragedy that had split British India into India and
    Pakistan in 1947.
  • In the past 70 years since India
    and Pakistan were created, there has never been a venue focused on the
    memorabilia of those who survived the partition until now. This is the first
    time that a venue is created to mark India’s independence and to focus on the
    stories of survivors of the chaotic and bloody history of India.
  • In August 2017, India and
    Pakistan celebrated their seven decades of their independence.
  • The museum is located in the
    red-brick Town Hall building in the North Indian border city of Amritsar.
  • It exhibits photographs,
    newspaper clippings and donated personal items that depict India’s struggle for
    freedom from colonial rule.
  • It also portrays that how India’s
    Independence in 1947 was one of the most violent episodes where communal clashes
    left hundreds of thousands of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs dead and displaced
    another 15 million from their ancestral homes.
Sports News
Real Madrid beats Barcelona to win 2017 Spanish Super Cup

  • Real Madrid on 16 August 2017
    defeated Barcelona 2-0 in the second leg of the 2017 Spanish Super Cup to seal
    the win.
  • Real Madrid achieved the feat
    without Cristiano Ronaldo, who was slapped with a five-game ban for pushing the
    referee after he was sent-off in the first leg.
  • Real Madrid is a professional
    football club based in Madrid, Spain.
  • The football club was founded on
    6 March 1902 as Madrid Football Club.
  • The word Real is Spanish for
    Royal and was bestowed to the club by King Alfonso XIII in 1920 together with
    the royal crown in the emblem.
  • The club was estimated to be
    worth USD 3.65 billion in 2015.
  • Real Madrid is one of three
    founding members of La Liga that have never been relegated from the top
    division, along with Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona.

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