Current Affairs Update – 11th Feb, 2015

News –

1. ICICI Bank
launched India’s first digital bank, Pockets

  • ICICI Bank on 10 February 2015 launched India’s first
    digital Bank on mobile phone, Pockets. This digital e-wallet can be downloaded
    from Google Playstore.
  • Pockets, the digital e-wallet uses a virtual VISA card that
    enables the users to transact on any website or mobile application in India.

Features of
  • Users can fund it from any bank account across India and
    start transacting immediately. It requires no documentation or branch visit
  • Users can also choose to add a zero balance Savings Account
    to the wallet, which will allow them to earn interest on their idle money
  • The e-wallet of Pockets is India’s most comprehensive wallet
    which can be used to pay on all websites and mobile apps in the country
  • This e-wallet allows users to instantly send/request money
    to/from any e-mail id, mobile number, friends on Facebook and bank account
  • This e-wallet allows a person to pay bills, recharge
    mobiles, book movie tickets order food, send physical & e-gifts, split and
    share expenses with friends by using this e-wallet

2. Federal Bank
launches video conference facility
  • Federal Bank has launched a video conference facility
    ‘VConnect’ that enables customers to interact with the bank’s relationship
    managers face-to-face from any part of the world.
  • VConnect is accessible through the bank’s Web site.
  • The private sector bank, in a statement said, this facility
    opens up one more touch point for Federal Bank’s customers, especially the NRI
    clientele, to directly reach out to the bank executives for availing themselves
    of specialised services on loans, savings, investments and insurance products,
    and also wealth management and advisory services.
  • Although VConnect will initially be available during office
    hours on all working days (10 am to 5.30 pm IST on week days and 10 am to 2 pm
    IST on Saturdays), plans are afoot to extend the service 24 X 7.

3. Mahindra Finance
in talks with IFC for JV for Payment Bank
  • Tech Mahindra today said its sister company Mahindra Finance
    will become equal shareholder if the Reserve Bank clears its payment bank
    licence, and the company is also in talks with the World Bank Group member IFC for
    a partnership in the foray.
  • The payments bank floated by the Mahindras wants to learn
    from the best global experiences, where IFC will be of help with experiences
    from its investee companies from the world over, he said, adding Tech Mahindra
    is also in talks with mobile operators for a tie-up.
  • The Reserve Bank accepted applications from over 40
    companies/individuals last week for payment banks.
  • Most of the big telecom players who possess huge
    distribution networks have entered the fray. Reliance Industries tied up with
    SBI; Airtel with Kotak Bank.

4. Standard chartered
revises FY16 GDP growth forecast to 7.7% from 6.3%

  • The statistical boost to GDP is likely to continue in the
    next financial year as well, as the Indian economy is expected to clock 7.7 per
    cent growth under the new series, higher than 6.3 per cent projected under the
    older series, says a report by Standard Chartered.
  • According to the global financial services major, strong GDP
    prints in 2013-14 and 2014-15 are driven more by “statistical factors” after
    India released a new GDP series on January 30 rather than a pick-up on the
  • The RBI will therefore need to reassess its potential growth
    estimates (6.0-6.5 per cent) in view of the new GDP data and assess any slack
    in the economy.
  • The Reserve Bank on its February 3 policy review left
    interest rate unchanged saying there was no substantial development on
    inflation or fiscal fronts to warrant a fresh reduction.
  • This stance follows a surprise rate cut by RBI on January 15
    to tackle disinflationary pressure.

News –
5. Union Government
approved increase of authorised Share Capital of NMDFC
  • Union Government on 10 February 2015 approved a proposal to
    increase the authorised Share Capital of the National Minorities Development
    and Finance Corporation (NMDFC) to 3000 crore rupees from 1500 crore rupees.
    NMDFC works for welfare of minorities.
  • The decision was taken in a Union Cabinet meet chaired by
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • Apart from this, the Cabinet also gave approval to revise
    the shareholding pattern to 73:26:1 from 65:26:9 among the Centre, States/Union
    Territories and individuals/institutions, respectively. Further, approval was
    also given for restructuring of the NMFDC’s business model.
  • The decision will enlarge the quantum of funds available for
    economic activities, better coverage and enhanced outreach.

6. Star India Pvt Ltd
acquired Telugu television channel Maa Television Network Ltd
  • Star India Pvt. Ltd on 11 February 2015 acquired the Telugu
    television channel network Maa Television Network Ltd (MTNL) including its
    brand, assets and four channels for an undisclosed amount.
  • With this acquisition, Star India will get access to the
    Telegu TV market, the second largest regional market in India in terms of
    revenue potential. The acquisition will come into effect once the policies and
    procedures in the business of Maa TV are aligned with the policies of Star
  • However, the management of Maa Television Network will
    remain with its owners Nimmagadda Prasad, Telugu film personalities
    Chiranjeevi, Akkineni Nagarjuna and Allu Arvind.

News related to India –
7. HADR Exercise
conducted by Indian Navy in the Lakshadweep Islands
  • Indian Navy on 9 February 2015 conducted a large scale
    Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise in the Lakshadweep
    Islands (Karavati, Aggatti, Kalpeni and Androth).
  • The HADR exercise was designed to validate Indian Navy’s
    readiness and capability to handle major cyclone striking the Lakshdweep
    Islands and disrupting essential services, causing widespread destruction of
    property, loss of life and dislocation of personnel.
  • The exercise saw participation of more than 20 Indian Naval
    Ships from the Western and Eastern Fleet along with various aircraft of the
    Indian Navy. The exercise was conducted in an area of about 8000 square miles
    in the Indian Ocean.

News –
8. USA & UK shuts
Yemen embassy

  • The British government says it has closed its embassy in
    Yemen and evacuated all its diplomatic staff amid turmoil there following
    Shiite rebels seizing power in the Arab world’s poorest country.
  • In a statement today, UK Minister for the Middle East Tobias
    Ellwood said all embassy staff in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, left early this
    morning. The statement also calls for all British nationals to “leave
  • The UK decision comes after the US Embassy there closed and
    America evacuated its staff.
  • Yemen has been in crisis for months, with Shiite Houthi
    rebels besieging the capital and then taking control.
  • Yesterday, U.S. officials said the embassy closure would not
    affect counterterrorism operations against al-Qaida’s Yemen branch, which
    America views as the world’s most dangerous branch of the terror group.

Books and Authors –
9. Fragile Frontiers:
The Secret History of Mumbai Terror Attacks written by SK Rath
  • The book Fragile Frontiers: The Secret History of Mumbai
    Terror Attacks was written by SK Rath. The book was published by Routledge,
    London and simultaneously published in India and the United States in August
  • The book is about terrorism in South Asia, centering on the
    2008 Mumbai attacks.
  • This book is a hitherto neglected, intriguing and analytical
    description of terrorism in South Asia, centering on the diabolic Mumbai
    Attacks conspiracy of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence; the duplicitous
    terror policy of the United States; and the lackadaisically self-inflicted
    capitulation of the Indian State.

News –
10. Union Ministry of
Youth Affairs & Sports revised Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar Scheme
  • The Union Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports on 11
    February 2015 revised the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar Scheme.

In the revised
scheme, the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar will be given in four categories,
and they
  1. Identification and nurturing of budding/young talent
  2. Encouragement of sports through Corporate Social
    Responsibility (CSR)
  3. Employment of sportspersons and sports welfare measures
  4. Sports for Development

This revised scheme has prescribed the eligibility criteria
of all the four categories.
11. National Games
mascot in Limca Book of Records

  • National Games mascot Ammu, the Great Hornbill, has
    immortalised itself by finding a mention in the Limca Book of Records.
  • The mascot found a place in the record books owing to a
    play, Kalikkunna Kuttikalkkayi Bharatham Kathirikkunnu (India Awaits Children
    Who Play) in which Ammu is featured.
  • According to the Limca Book’s 2015 Special Literature
    Edition, it is a play about a mascot which had been staged in most number of

and Honors –
12. Dr. Ambedkar
National Merit Awards conferred by Thaawar Chand Gehlot

  • The Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment,
    Thaawar Chand Gehlot on 11 February 2015 distributed the Dr. Ambedkar National
    Merit Awards. The awards were given away to 84 Students belonging to Scheduled
    Castes and Scheduled Tribes category.
  • The awards were given to Meritorious Students of Secondary
    and Sr. Secondary School 2014 conducted by State/Central Education
    Boards/Councils under Dr. Ambedkar National Merit Awards.

13. Veteran
journalist Diptosh Majumdar died
  • Senior journalist Diptosh Majumdar died on 8 February 2015
    after suffering from acute myelocytic leukemia (AML) at a private hospital in
    Delhi. He was 55.
  • Born in 1958, Majumdar began his career as a city reporter
    at The Statesman, Kolkata. He had over 26 years of experience in journalism
    during which he covered news related to environment, government, administration
    and elections throughout the country.
  • Majumdar had worked as national affairs editor with CNN-IBN
    news channel and was part of the core team that launched the channel in 2005.

and Career –
14. Syndicate Bank to
hire 5,000 people during FY16
  • Syndicate Bank will hire about 5,000 people in financial
    year 2015-16 to meet its growth plans. This will include 2,900 officers and
    2100 clerical cadre staff, said T.K.Srivastava, Executive Director, Syndicate
  • “We have already placed an indent with the Institute of
    Banking and Personnel Selection to hire about 5,000 during next financial
    year,” Srivastava said announcing the Bank’s December quarter results. The
    Bank currently has about 29,000 employees managing a total of 3463 branches as
    of December, 2014. About 800 employees are expected to retire by end-March.
  • Syndicate Bank has seen its business per employee increase
    to Rs. 14.52 crore at the end of December quarter as against Rs. 12.81 crore in
    the corresponding period last year, a growth of 13.3 per cent. However, the net
    profit per employee on an annualised basis stood at Rs. 4.37 lakh as against
    Rs. 5.95 lakh in December quarter last year.