Current Affairs Update – 19 May, 2017

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the important Current Affairs update of 19 May, 2017. These are important for the upcoming SBI PO Mains, BOB Manipal, NICL AO Mains and other exams in 2017 July and August.

Current Affairs at a Glance – 19 May, 2017

  1. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
    on Thursday mandated that 25 per cent of the total number of ‘banking outlets’
    opened during a financial year should be located in unbanked rural centres
    .
    The RBI mandated this in its notification — “Rationalisation of Branch Authorisation Policy- Revision of Guidelines
    — issued on Thursday.
  2. YES Bank, India’s fifth largest
    private sector bank, has launched YES
    Khushi – Affordable Home Loans. This
    product has been designed to cater to the housing needs of the common man in
    the EWS / LIG segment, fulfilling probably their biggest dream of owning a
    house.
  3. BSNL, a state-owned telecom operator has signed various agreements
    with Facebook and MobiKwik as it is eyeing to popularise
    the internet and its value added services among its users.
  4. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council on 18 May 2017 fixed the
    GST rates for specific products which may lead to lower prices for a majority of
    products of mass consumption. Moreover, the GST Council also fixed the deadline
    for rolling out the GST on 1 July 2017 to create a single national market. GST Rates of 1211 items were finalised by
    the GST council with 81 per cent of them facing a levy of up to 18 per cent.

    However, GST  Council has still to decide
    on the GST levy on gold, biscuits, packaged and branded cereals, footwear,
    bidis and textiles.
  5. After a 30-year wait for new
    artillery guns since the Bofors scandal, the Indian Army on 18 May 2017
    received the first two M-777 A-2
    (Indian) ultra-light howitzers (ULH) from BAE systems of the US
    .
  6. Anant G. Geete, Union
    Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises Minister, on 18 May 2017 formally
    inaugurated the Test Track Facility at
    Oragadam, Chennai
  7. Simbex17, a bilateral
    naval exercise between India and Republic of Singapore commenced on 18 May 2017
    in the South China Sea.
  8. The Annual Joint Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR)
    Exercise began on 18 May 2017 at Naval Station Karwar. Named as ‘Karavali Karunya’, the exercise is being conducted by Indian Navy’s Western
    Naval Command. It involves both professional exchange and actual disaster
    response mechanisms which is set on a Tsunami disaster scenario.
  9. The President of India, Pranab
    Mukherjee, on 18 May 2017 received the first copy of book ‘Metaphysics, Morals and Politics’ in Kolkata, West Bengal.
  10. Grand Master R R Laxman of Integral Coach Factory on 18 May 2017 won the All
    India Open Rapid FIDE Rating Chess Tournament at the Kshudiram Anushilan
    Kendra, Kolkata, West Bengal.
  11. Britain’s Indian-origin steel
    tycoon Sanjeev Gupta has bagged a top global award for his successful acquisitions
    and his drive to transform the steel industry in the UK, India and beyond.
  12. Pranay Varada,
    14-year-old Indian-American student, on 18 May 2017 won the prestigious
    National Geographic Bee competition 2017. 

Financial and Banking News
RBI issues new branch expansion norms

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
    on Thursday mandated that 25 per cent of the total number of ‘banking outlets’
    opened during a financial year should be located in unbanked rural centres.
  • The RBI mandated this in its
    notification — “Rationalisation of Branch Authorisation Policy- Revision
    of Guidelines” — issued on Thursday.
  • “Domestic scheduled
    commercial banks (other than RRBs) are permitted to open, unless otherwise
    specifically restricted, banking outlets in tier 1 to tier 6 centres without
    having the need to take permission from RBI in each case,” the central
    bank said in the notification.
  • “At least 25 per cent of the
    total number of ‘Banking Outlets’ opened during a financial year should be opened
    in unbanked rural centres.”
Here are the highlights

  • —RBI has widened the role of bank
    boards, making them responsible for complying with the new guidelines
  • —The RBI removed the restriction
    on tier-I branches, which was earlier linked to the number of branches opened
    in the unbanked areas.
  • —RBI has also changed the
    definition of what constitutes a branch. As against the earlier definition of
    considering all the outlets including extension counters and ATMs as a
    ‘branch’, the new provisions have changed the nomenclature to calling it as a
    ‘banking outlet’.
  • —There will be a ‘banking outlet’
    which will be open for minimum four hours a day and five day a week
  • —There is scope for a part-time
    banking outlet which will be a fixed point service unit but not comply with
    working hours requirement.
  • —The RBI had constituted an
    internal working group before coming out with the draft guidelines
  • —The final guidelines issued on
    Thursday are operational with immediate effect
YES Bank launches affordable home loan YES Khushi for people in EWS/LIG
segments

  • YES Bank, India’s fifth largest
    private sector bank, has launched YES Khushi – Affordable Home Loans. This
    product has been designed to cater to the housing needs of the common man in
    the EWS / LIG segment, fulfilling probably their biggest dream of owning a
    house.
  • YES Khushi Home Loans has
    partnered with more than 500 builders across 35 cities and towns across India.
  • YES Bank is also empanelled with
    the National Housing Bank (NHB) for dispensation of the housing loan subsidy
    under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) scheme to help customers avail this
    subsidy scheme.
  • A sizeable portion of the
    customer base has received the subsidy in the first eight months of operation.
  • A team of more than 300 skilled
    professionals along with more than 150 third party channel partners are
    responsible for sourcing and servicing of customers, ensuring timely service
    delivery, claimed the bank in a press release here.
  • Since the product specially
    caters to the EWS/LIG segment, a dedicated team of underwriters has been set up
    in-house to process loans only for this segment. The customer mix ranges from
    drivers, house helps, kiranawala, peons to courier boys, security guards, the
    hitherto overlooked segment of the society in the lending space.
BSNL inks pact with Facebook, Mobikwick & Disney India

  • BSNL, a state-owned telecom
    operator has signed various agreements with Facebook and MobiKwik as it is
    eyeing to popularise the internet and its value added services among its users.
  • The pacts were signed to
    commemorate the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. Bharat
    Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Facebook, under the signed MoU, will provide
    connectivity for the social network’s ‘Express Wi-Fi Program’.
  • The social media website,
    Facebook through public hotspots offers internet facility in rural parts of the
    country, under the Express Wi-Fi Service, with a partnership with other telecom
    operators.
  • The company along with MobiKwik
    will work together to co-create a BSNL mobile wallet to facilitate payment for
    its services and products, under the MoU.
  • In addition to this, the digital
    payments firm will through its app and website exclusively also enable
    “digital sale” of BSNL sim cards.
  • The telecom operator in its
    filing to the exchange also added that it has inked a third MoU with Disney
    India which will provide its telecom customers premium online gaming services.
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GST Council announces GST Rates of 1211 items

  • The Goods and Services Tax (GST)
    Council on 18 May 2017 fixed the GST rates for specific products which may lead
    to lower prices for a majority of products of mass consumption.
  • Moreover, the GST Council also
    fixed the deadline for rolling out the GST on 1 July 2017 to create a single
    national market.
  • GST Rates of 1211 items were
    finalised by the GST council with 81 per cent of them facing a levy of up to 18
    per cent. However, GST  Council has still
    to decide on the GST levy on gold, biscuits, packaged and branded cereals, footwear,
    bidis and textiles.
GST Rates of various commodities

  • Foodgrains, cereals and milk will
    cost less from 1 July as the GST Council decided to exempt these daily-use
    commodities from the GST levy.
  • Common use products like hair
    oil, soaps and toothpaste will be charged with GST of 18 per cent instead of
    present 22-24 per cent tax incidence.
  • Milk and curd will be exempted
    from taxation when the Goods and Service Tax.
  • ‘Mithai’ or sweets will attract 5
    per cent GST levy.
  • Daily-use items like sugar, tea,
    coffee (barring instant coffee and instant tea) and edible oil will attract the
    lowest tax rate of 5 per cent, almost the same as current incidence. Instant
    tea and coffee are expected to be in a separate bracket.
  • Automobiles will attract 28 per
    cent GST, with luxury vehicles facing an additional cess of 15 per cent.
  • Small petrol cars will face 1per
    cent GST, while diesel-powered small cars will attract 3 per cent GST.
  • In addition, bikes with engine
    capacity of over 350cc, which are seen as luxury goods, will see a new cess of
    3 per cent.
  • For coal, there will be reduction
    of tax from 11.69 per cent to 5 per cent, helping lower the cost of power.
  • Similarly, the burden on those
    buying refrigerators or washing machines will come down from around 31-32 per
    cent to 28 per cent.
News related to India and states
Indian Army gets M777 howitzers 30 years after Bofors scandal

  • After a 30-year wait for new
    artillery guns since the Bofors scandal, the Indian Army on 18 May 2017
    received the first two M-777 A-2 (Indian) ultra-light howitzers (ULH) from BAE
    systems of the US.
  • This is a part of an order for
    145 long-range guns which will be mostly deployed on borders. The M-777 A-2
    (Indian) ultra-light howitzers (ULH) having a maximum range of 30 km were being
    taken to Pokhran firing range in Rajasthan for test firing.
  • After firing tables are ready,
    three more guns will be received in the second stage in September 2018 for
    training. Thereafter, induction will commence from March 2019 onwards at the
    rate of five guns per month till complete consignment is received by mid-2021.
  • While 25 guns will come in a
    fly-away condition, the rest will be assembled in India by the BAE Systems in
    partnership with Mahindra Defence. The 155 mm, 39-calibre guns will fire Indian
    ammunitions.
Anant Geete inaugurates Test Track Facility developed by Global
Automotive Research Centre

  • Anant G. Geete, Union Heavy
    Industries & Public Enterprises Minister, on 18 May 2017 formally
    inaugurated the Test Track Facility at Oragadam, Chennai. 
  • The test track facility is
    developed by Global Automotive Research Centre (GARC). The facility has been
    notified to issue certificates under CMVR 1989.
  • The total cost of Test tracks
    project is Rs. 193.25 crore.
  • The Global Automotive Research
    Centre is a body working under the National Automotive Testing & R&D
    Infra Project (NATRiP).
  • The NATRiP is the largest and one
    of the most significant initiatives of the Government of India in the
    automotive sector. It represents a unique joining of hands between the Government
    of India, a number of State Governments and Indian Automotive Industry to
    create a state of the art Testing, Validation and R&D infrastructure in
    India.
  • The Project aims at creating core
    global competencies in automotive sector in India and facilitate seamless
    integration of Indian Automotive industry with the world as also to position
    India prominently on the global automotive map.
Simbex-17, bilateral naval exercise between India and Republic of
Singapore, begins

  • Simbex-17, a bilateral naval
    exercise between India and Republic of Singapore commenced on 18 May 2017 in
    the South China Sea.
  • Indian naval ships Shivalik,
    Sahyadri, Jyoti and Kamorta and one P8-I Maritime Patrol and Anti-Submarine
    Warfare Aircraft are participating in the excercise. While INS Sahyadri and INS
    Kamorta are at Singapore since 12 May 2017, INS Shivalik and INS Jyoti would be
    joining directly for the sea phase of the exercise. The ships are under the
    command of Rear Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta, YSM, VSM, Flag Officer Commanding
    Eastern Fleet.
  • Simbex is an acronym for
    Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercises.
  • Bilateral cooperation between
    Singapore and India was first formalised when RSN ships began training with the
    Indian Navy in 1994.
Joint HADR Exercise commences at Naval Station Karwar

  • The Annual Joint Humanitarian
    Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Exercise began on 18 May 2017 at Naval
    Station Karwar.
  • Named as ‘Karavali Karunya’, the
    exercise is being conducted by Indian Navy’s Western Naval Command. It involves
    both professional exchange and actual disaster response mechanisms which is set
    on a Tsunami disaster scenario.
  • Kravali Karunya means ‘assistance
    to the coast of Karnataka’. It will see the armed forces, central government
    agencies and state government departments working together to provide relief in
    a post-tsunami scenario.
  • Two first-hand accounts of actual
    Tsunami relief operations of 2004 were presented by Rear Admiral Suraj Berry
    and Colonel Vikram Sharma, who brought out the real scenario of 2004 Tsunami
    Hit areas in Sri Lanka and Andaman and Nicobar Islands respectively.
  • The proceedings of the day also
    included setting up of Internally Displaced People camp and static display. The
    Camp at Rabindranath Tagore Beach will be open to public.
Books & Authors
President Pranab Mukherjee receives first copy of book ‘Metaphysics,
Morals and Politics’

  • The President of India, Pranab
    Mukherjee, on 18 May 2017 received the first copy of book ‘Metaphysics, Morals
    and Politics’ in Kolkata, West Bengal.
  • The book is authored by Professor
    Amal Kumar Mukhopadhyay.
  •  In 1961, Prof Mukhopadhyay joined as a
    research scholar at the London School of Economics and began his Ph.D. research
    on Thomas Hill Green, the 19th century English idealist political philosopher.
  • In 1965, he was awarded Ph.D.
    degree by London University. His thesis was published in a book titled ‘The
    Ethics of Obedience’.
  • Later, he decided to bring out
    his original thesis contradicting and elaborating some of his earlier
    arguments. Now, the book has come with a new title ‘Metaphysics, Morals and
    Politics’.
Sports News
R R Laxman wins All India Open Rapid FIDE Rating Chess Meet

  • Grand Master R R Laxman of
    Integral Coach Factory on 18 May 2017 won the All India Open Rapid FIDE Rating
    Chess Tournament at the Kshudiram Anushilan Kendra, Kolkata, West Bengal.
  • Laxman finished on top in the
    tournament with 9.5 points.
  • FIDE Master Mitrabha Guha racked
    up 8.5 points to finish second in the 10-round tournament while untitled Srijit
    Paul finished third ahead of Grand Master Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury with a better
    tie-break score.
  • International Master Somak Palit
    scored 7.5 points to secure the fifth place while another International Master
    Prantik Roy was placed eighth in the tournament.
Awards & Honors
Indian-origin steel tycoon Sanjeev Gupta bags prestigious ‘CEO of the
Year’ award in UK

  • Britain’s Indian-origin steel
    tycoon Sanjeev Gupta has bagged a top global award for his successful
    acquisitions and his drive to transform the steel industry in the UK, India and
    beyond.
  • Gupta, the executive chairman of
    the Liberty House Group who has been behind a series of acquisitions in the
    British steel industry of former Tata Steel and Caparo assets, received the
    title “CEO of the Year” at the prestigious Platts Global Metals
    Awards in London last night.
  • He was chosen from a shortlist of
    10 top metal industry executives, including Indian CEOs Sajjan Jindal of JSW
    Steel and Prakash Kumar Singh of the Steel Authority of India.

Indian-American student Pranay Varada wins 2017 National Geographic Bee
Competition
  • Pranay Varada, 14-year-old
    Indian-American student, on 18 May 2017 won the prestigious National Geographic
    Bee competition 2017. As National Geographic Bee champion, he gets USD 50000 in
    scholarship and other prizes.
  • He was declared the winner as he
    won the first tie breaker question when he correctly identified the Kunlun
    Mountains as the 1200 mile range that separates the Taklimakan Desert from the
    Tibetan Plateau.
  • Veda Bhattaram another
    Indian-American from New Jersey finished third at the finals, while Thomas
    Wright from Wisconsin was declared the runner up.

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