Current Affairs Update – 20 Feb, 2015


1. Banking/RBI/Budget-2015
2. India
3. World
4. Appointments
5. Obituaries

1. Finance/RBI/Budget-2015

RBI Restricts
Foreigners From Buying Shares in Hathway Cable

  • Foreign shareholding in Hathway Cable & Datacom Ltd has
    reached the prescribed limit and foreign investors would not be allowed to
    purchase further shares in the company, the RBI said today.
  • The foreign shareholding through GDRs/ADRs/FDI/NRI/PIO/
    FIIs/RFPIs in Hathway Cable & Datacom Ltd has reached the prescribed
    threshold limit, RBI said in a notification.
  • As of quarter ended December 2014, FIIs held 33.82 per cent
    shares in Hathway Cable & Datacom.
  • FIIs (Foreign Institutional Investors), NRIs (Non Resident
    Indians) and PIOs (Persons of Indian Origins) can invest in primary and
    secondary capital markets in India through Portfolio Investment Scheme (PIS).

Paytm plans to set up
50,000 outlets to help its customers to load cash on their digital wallet

  • Digital wallet provider Paytm is looking to set up 30,000 to
    50,000 retail outlets where its 2.4 crore customers can load cash on their
    digital wallet.
  • The company is also looking to enrol retailers – mostly
    kirana stores – as merchants for accepting digital payments.
  • To encourage users to hold funds in its prepaid account, the
    company on Thursday said it has linked its wallet to the banking system to
    enable cash withdrawals from it.
  • The other advantage is that once Paytm is linked to their
    bank accounts, customers will find it easier to fund their accounts. As of now,
    customers fund their accounts through credit cards, debit cards and net
    banking. But funding accounts using a card involves a transaction cost paid to
    the card issuer.

Govt Allows Up To 26%
FDI in Insurance Via Automatic Route
  • The government today said up to 26 per cent FDI in insurance
    companies will be allowed through automatic route, as it notified rules to
    increase foreign direct investment ceiling in the sector to 49 per cent.
  • The rules have been prepared based on extensive
    consultations with all the relevant departments and organisations, the Finance
    Ministry said in a statement.
  • According to the rules, foreign equity investment cap of 49
    per cent is applicable to all Indian insurance companies.
  • The companies, the Ministry said, should not allow the
    aggregate holdings by way of total foreign investment in their equity shares by
    foreign investors, including portfolio investors, to exceed 49 cent of their
    paid-up equity capital.

Govt may slice
subsidy bill by $8 bn in Budget 2015-16

  • India may slash its food and fuel subsidy bill by about $8
    billion in next week’s budget, two sources said, but despite the impressive
    headline, the cut is not as radical as free market champions had hoped for in
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first full budget.
  • Most of the 20 per cent cut in the budget for subsidies
    results from lower global oil prices rather than structural changes, with the
    government’s appetite for reform tempered by a heavy local election defeat in
    New Delhi this month.

Predictions for
Budget 2015
  • India seen cutting 2015/16 subsidy bill by one fifth:
  • Fuel subsidy seen down by nearly two-thirds
  • Defeat in Delhi assembly elections weighs on subsidy reforms
  • Govt plans to shift more funds to boost manufacturing
  • Finance Minister to present 2015-16 budget on Feb. 28

Union Government
proposed Oil Subsidy Sharing Formula between Public Sector Oil Companies
  • Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in the first
    week of February 2015 finalised new oil subsidy sharing formula between the
    public sector oil refining companies and oil marketing companies. It finalised
    the new norms after consultations with the Union Finance Ministry and Chief
    Economic Adviser.
  • Under the new formula, the upstream companies or the oil
    refining companies’ contribution towards subsidy sharing would be as follows:
  • No contribution towards subsidy for crude oil price less
    than and equal to 60 dollars per barrel
  • 85 percent contribution towards subsidy for crude oil prices
    exceeding 60 dollars per barrel and less than or equal to 100 dollars per
  • 90 percent contribution towards subsidy for crude oil prices
    exceeding 100 dollars per barrel
  • The new formula is supposed to come into effect starting
    from October 2015

Chief Minister of
Assam advocated Naturonomics for NE states to usher in a robust economy
  • Assam’s Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on 19 February 2015
    advocated for Naturonomics for Assam and other North Eastern (NE) states to
    usher in a robust economy in the region.
  • Naturonomics means using right blend of nature and economics
    for sustainable development in the region. As part of this, the government
    would give adequate impetus on tea, bamboo, food processing and other agro-based
    industries to stimulate the industrial growth of the State.
  • He coined the term while speaking at the inauguration of the
    first-ever Assam International Trade and Industrial Fair at Jorhat.

CCEA approved
continuation of incentive scheme for marketing of raw sugar production
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 19
    February 2015 approved the continuation of the incentive scheme for marketing
    and promotion services of raw sugar production during the current sugar season
    (October-September) of 2014- 15.
  • The approval was granted for raw production of 14 lakh
    metric tonne of sugar.
  • The CCEA also fixed uniform rate of export subsidy at 4000
    rupees per metric tonne for 2014-15 sugar season which is much higher than 3371
    rupees per tonne fixed in 2014 for August-September period.

2. India
Bihar Chief Minister
Jitan Ram Manjhi resigned

  • Chief Minister (CM) of Bihar Jitan Ram Manjhi resigned on 20
    February 2015 and recommended the dissolution of the Bihar Assembly. He
    resigned before the trust vote.
  • Governor of Bihar KN Tripathi accepted his resignation. 
  • He was elected by the Janata Dal (United) Party as the 23rd
    Chief Minister of Bihar following Nitish Kumar’s resignation. Nitish Kumar had
    resigned from the post of CM after his party’s poor show in Lok Sabha Elections

Modi’s suit goes
under the hammer for Rs. 4.31 crore

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monogrammed bandhgala suit
    that had kicked up a political storm was on Friday sold for Rs 4.31 crore at an
    auction that saw a scramble among the bidders on the final day for the
    two-piece ensemble.
  • The pin—striped navy blue suit that Modi wore for his Summit
    meeting with US President Barack Obama on January 25, went to Surat—based
    diamond trader Lalji Patel and his son after intense bidding in the dying
    moments of the auction.

Zen Technologies,
Rockwell Collins to collaborate in military flight simulation
  • Zen Technologies and Rockwell Collins have announced their
    decision to collaborate in military flight simulation by unveiling a next
    generation rotary wing simulator at Aero India 2015.
  • The two companies have recently signed a memorandum of
    understanding (MoU) to combine their strengths in simulation and training to
    offer advanced and high fidelity aviation solutions.
  • The strategic alliance between Zen Technologies and Rockwell
    Collins will produce solutions while also ensuring cost benefits for customers
    across the region since the alliance’s capabilities are indigenised, including
    in software, electronics and visuals.

Justice KS
Radhakrishnan panel on road safety submitted its report to the Supreme Court
  • Supreme Court (SC) appointed panel on road safety headed by
    Justice (retd) KS Radhakrishnan submitted its report before the apex court in
    the third week of February 2015.
  • In its report, the panel has recommended for ban on sale of
    alcohol on highways, both National and State highways, to curb the menace of
    road accident.
  • The panel said that except Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and
    Nagaland none of other states have framed a road safety policy so far.

Prime Minister
Narendra Modi launched Soil Health Card Scheme
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 19 February 2015 launched
    the nationwide Soil Health Card Scheme in Suratgarh town of Sriganganagar
    district, Rajasthan. The nationwide scheme will help farmers to scientifically
    analyse the soil of farms in the country.
  • The scheme aims at helping farmers in improving productivity
    by appropriate use of nutrients or fertilisers.
  • Under the plan, 14 crore Soil Health Cards will be issued to
    farmer of the country in a span of 3 years. Around 3 crore farmers will be
    covered under the project in financial year 2014-15.

Feature of the
Soil Health Card
  • It would contain all basic information and crop-wise
    recommendations of nutrients or fertilizers required for farms of different
    soil types.
  • It will carry crop-wise recommendation of fertilizers
    required for farm lands and other inputs to increase the productivity of
    individual farmer.

3. World
India and the US held
first-ever bilateral dialogue on United Nations
  • India and the US on 19 February 2015 held their first-ever
    bilateral dialogue on the United Nations (UN) and other multilateral issues in
  • The dialogue was held in the spirit of the Delhi Declaration
    of Friendship which was released during the visit of US President Barack Obama
    to India in January 2015.
  • Besides discussing the UN issue, the dialogue between the
    two countries also focused on international peace and security, peacekeeping
    operations, counter-piracy, the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the UN Human
    Rights Council, and other matters of mutual interest.

Two tropical cyclones
Marcia and Lam hit Australia
  • Two tropical cyclones Marcia and Lam hit Australia on 20
    February 2015. This is the first time that two cyclones have hit Australia at
    one time.
  • Tropical cyclone Marcia is a category five storm and it made
    the landfall at central Queensland and left a trail of destruction over Yeppoon
    and Rockhampton.
  • On the other hand Cyclone Lam is a category four storm which
    made landfall in the Northern Territory.
  • Earlier, in 1977 and 1986 also two cyclones had crossed
    Australia at once but they were not as severe as tropical cyclones Marcia and

4. Appointments

Tapan Misra takes
over as ISRO’s Space Applications Centre director

  • Tapan Misra, Scientist and Deputy Director, Microwave Remote
    Sensing Area of ISRO’s Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad, has assumed
    the office of the Director, SAC.
  • Tapan Misra graduated in Electronics and Telecommunication
    Engineering from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, in 1984. He was awarded the
    prestigious Sir JC Bose National Talent Search (JBNSTS) Scholarship in 1981.
  • He began his career at SAC as digital hardware engineer
    responsible for the development of Quick Look Display System of X-band Side
    Looking Airborne Radar in the year 1984.

5. Obituaries

Legendary Urdu Poet Dr.
Kalim Ahmed Ajiz died

  • Legendary Urdu poet Dr. Kalim Ahmed Ajiz died on 15 February
    2015 in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand. He was 90.
  • At the time of death, Ajiz was serving as the Chairman of
    the Urdu Advisory Committee, Government of Bihar. He was a retired professor of
    Patna University.

Books For 2015 Banking/Insurance Exams