Current Affairs Update – 24th Feb, 2015

In Today’s Current Affairs News on:

Banking/Finance

Indian Army and State
Bank of India inked MoU on Defence Salary Package
  • The Indian Army and State Bank of India (SBI) on 23 February
    2015 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Defence Salary Package.
  • The MoU is tailor-made to suit the requirements of serving
    soldiers, pensioners and families. The revised MoU has incorporated a number of
    additional facilities and basic features of the MoU include
  • Number of free/concessional services like free drafts, free
    cheque books, free funds transfers to any bank in India through RTGS / NEFT,
    free ATM cards and others
  • The provision also includes the Nepal Express Remittance
    Scheme which enables instant fund transfers to Nepal for the benefit of the
    Nepali Domicile Gorkha Soldiers serving in the Indian Army.
  • Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) was enhanced and was
    linked to the Savings account instead of the debit card.
  • Exemption percentage of margin money for house and car loans
    was enhanced while the processing charges on the loans were waved off.

SBI experiments with
daily instalment loans

  • In a bid to keep bad loans in check, State Bank of India is
    now trying a new collection model that allows borrowers to pay back on a daily
    instalment basis. SBI has started offering this loan product to cab hailing
    service company Olacabs.
  • This is a departure from the existing loan servicing model
    where borrowers repay by way of equated monthly instalments.
  • Under the tie-up, cab owners associated with Olacabs can
    avail themselves of car loans from SBI on a preferential basis, with faster
    loan turnaround time. Since repayments will be on a daily basis, the loans
    could come a tad cheaper. Each time the driver makes a payment to Olacabs, a
    part of it will automatically go to SBI towards loan servicing, through
    Olacabs’ pre-paid wallet.
  • According to B Sriram, Managing Director & Group
    Executive (National Banking), SBI is increasingly trying to push risk mitigated
    products within the small and medium enterprises segment. Through the daily
    collection cycle, the bank’s officials will be able to keep track of the borrower’s
    financial situation.
  • Any break in the daily collection cycle will serve as an
    early warning signal and the bank can quickly intervene and resolve the matter,
    ensuring that the loan does not become non-performing.

               
IRCTC Ties Up With
Jubilant to Deliver Pizza at Train Seats

  • Now a train passenger can also order and enjoy hot pizza at
    his or her seat while travelling.
  • They can order their pizza either online or through a phone
    call and delivery will be made at 12 selected stations including New Delhi and
    Jaipur to begin with.
  • As part of its endeavour to offer wide variety to passengers
    to choose from and to make available the popular food brands in market under
    its newly launched e-catering services, IRCTC has tied up with Jubilant Food
    Works Ltd, the parent company of Domino’s Pizza, on a trial basis.
  • As per the arrangement, a passenger travelling in a train
    without pantry car will be able to place an order for a pizza of his choice
    either online (www.Ecatering.Irctc.Co.In) or through a phone call which would
    be served at his seat in the train enroute, said a senior IRCTC official.

Happay, Ratnakar Bank
launch debit card with expense mgmt system

  • Happay Card is a product of start-up Happay, founded by
    IITians from Kharagpur, Anshul Rai and Varun Rathi in 2012. It is one of its
    kind, business expense management solution that streamlines an organization’s
    expense workflow from end-to-end (expense reporting to accounting) and gives
    real-time visibility and control over business spending. All purchases done
    from this card are auto-captured on the Happay platform. Employees can snap
    photos of receipts, record cash expenses and submit expense reports in minutes,
    on-the-go without bothering about collecting or forgetting to submit the bills
    on time.
  • Happay has exclusively tied up with Ratnakar Bank for these
    co-branded Happay Business Expense VISA Card. Happay’s Anshul Rai said, “The
    initial results from our pilot customers has been very encouraging and we’re
    pleased to now take this solution to the broader market. We hope to tap more
    SMEs as our solutions are far cheaper than the already present ERP solutions
    used by large corporates.”

Hitachi announced to
acquire Finmeccanica Rail Businesses for 2 billion US dollar

  • Hitachi Limited on 23 February 2015 announced to acquire
    Finmeccanica Rail Businesses for 2 billion US dollar.
  • An Italy based company Finmeccanica has agreed to sold its
    rail car unit AnsaldoBreda and Ansaldo STS to the vast Japanese
    conglomerate.  It holds a roughly 40
    percent stake in Ansaldo STS.
  • Under the deal, Hitachi plans to first acquire all shares
    held by Finmeccanica in the two companies and then make a tender offer to turn
    the Milan Stock Exchange-listed Ansaldo STS into a wholly owned subsidiary as
    well.

Oil ministry suspends
ONGC technical director Shashi Shankar
  • The oil ministry has suspended ONGC director (technical)
    Shashi Shankar over allegations of irregularities.
  • The ministry on Tuesday wrote to Oil and Natural Gas
    Corporation that a disciplinary proceeding against Shankar is being
    contemplated.

India

Indo-Nepal joint
military exercise Surya Kiran VIII started in Nepal
  • The Eighth India-Nepal Battalion level Combined Military
    Training named Exercise Surya Kiran-VIII, commenced on 23 February 2015 at
    Integrated Army Training Centre, Saljhandi, Nepal. The exercise will end on 8
    March 2015.
  • The two week long exercise started with unfurling of the
    National Flags of the two countries. The Nepalese Contingent was represented by
    a Battalion from an Infantry Division of Nepalese Army while Indian side was
    represented by an equivalent strength from a Mountain Brigade.
  • Objective of Exercise Surya Kiran-VIII include
  • To carry out Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorist
    Operations in mountainous and jungle terrain
  • To practice facets of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster
    Relief including actions to be taken during pandemic, epidemic and various
    other humanitarian assistance situations

3rd Tortoise Festival
organised at Hajong Lake in Assam
  • 3rd Tortoise Festival was organised at Hajong Lake in Dima
    Hasao district of Assam on 21 February 2015. The festival was organised to
    create awareness among people on the endangered tortoise species by Environment
    and Forest Department of Dima Hasao.
  • The day-long festival saw various activities like
    discussions, presentation and others aimed at protection of the species.

Sports

Union Ministry of
Youth Affairs revised the National Sports Awards Schemes
  • The Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports on 23
    February 2015 revised the National Sports Awards Schemes. The ministry revamped
    the Schemes of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Arjuna Award, Dhyan Chand Award
    and Dronacharya Awards.

Amendments made in
Arjuna Award scheme
  • Selection Committee for Arjuna Award will now be headed by
    the Retired Judge of Supreme Court/High Court.
  • A sportsperson of eminence or sports administrator or a
    sports expert belonging to Para sports will be a member in Selection Committee
    for Arjuna Awards.
  • Not more than one sportsperson of eminence or a coach from a
    particular sports discipline shall be a member of the Selection Committee to
    avoid any bias in favour of a particular discipline.
  • Nomination agencies are expected to send nominations of most
    deserving sportspersons and coaches irrespective of whether
    sportspersons/coaches have applied to them for awards.

Chris Gayle became
first cricketer to score Double Century in Cricket World Cup

  • Chris Gayle, the Cricketer of West Indies on 24 February
    2015 became the first person to make double century in any Cricket World Cup.
    He struck 202 off 138 balls in a match against Zimbabwe in World Cup 2015.
  • The match was played at Canberra’s Manuka Oval and by the
    end of match Gayle scored 215 off 147 balls.
  • This is the fastest double century in any ODIs, the previous
    record was held by Virender Sehwag of India who scored a double century off 140
    balls. Sehwag scored a double century in a match played against West Indies at
    Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore in December 2011.
  • Apart from this, Gayle is the first cricketer outside India
    to smash a double-century in ODIs.

Ranchi Rays crowned
Champions of Hero Hockey India League 2015
  • Ranchi Rays on 23 February 2015 crowned champions of Hero
    Hockey India League 2015 (HHIL) by defeating Jaypee Punjab Warriors.
  • The HHIL 2015 was held at the Major Dhyan Chand National
    Stadium, New Delhi from 22 January 2015 to 22 February 2015. The Grand Finale
    was witnessed by the eminent personalities. This is the third season of the
    professional field hockey tournament, Hockey India League.
  • The city franchise earlier called Ranchi Rhinos had also
    grabbed the inaugural title in 2013. Despite the overhaul in stakeholders, the
    team has almost maintained the same squad as earlier. India Cricket Captain
    Mahendra Singh Dhoni co-owns the franchise with Sahara Group.

Rohit Sharma Joins
PETA Call to Get Cats and Dogs Sterilised
  • Indian cricketer Rohit Sharma has joined the People for
    Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to support sterilisation of homeless cats
    and dogs.
  • Sharma will star in a new PETA campaign that shows him and a
    small dog peering into the camera next to the caption “Bat for Animals!
    Sterilise Cats and Dogs”.
  • The campaign image was shot by ace photographer Gaurav Sawn
    and Sharma’s make-up and hair were done by Neha Kamra.
  • Sharma discussed his thoughts on the campaign in an
    exclusive PETA interview.

India Set to Host AFC
Awards for the First Time
  • India is set to host the star-studded Asian Football
    Confederation (AFC) Awards function for the first time in November, according
    to the president of the national body of the game.
  • All India Football Federation chief Praful Patel today told
    at a press conference here that the annual gala event is expected to be held
    during the second season of the Indian Super League (ISL).
  • Last year, the Awards Night was held in Manila and former
    India captain Bhaichung Bhutia was presented with the AFC Hall of Fame Award by
    incumbent FIFA chief Joseph Blatter.
  • Patel said that MoU with the JFA will enable India to seek
    help from Japan on technical matters, exchange visits by youth teams of the two
    countries.

Obituaries

Rana Bhagwandas, the
first Hindu Chief Justice of Pakistan died

  • Rana Bhagwandas, the former acting Chief Justice of Supreme
    Court of Pakistan died on 23 February 2015 in Karachi, Pakistan. He was 72.
  • Bhagwandas was the first Hindu and second non-Muslim to head
    the Supreme Court of Pakistan. First non-Muslim Chief Justice was Alvin Robert
    Cornelius (a Christian).

Pioneer of mobile
theatre in Assam Adya Sharma passed away
  • Adya Sharma, a cultural icon and pioneer of mobile theatre
    in Assam, passed away on 23 February 2015 in Nalbari town, Assam following a
    brief illness. He was 86.
  • Adya Sharma was famously known for bringing innovation in
    the technical aspects of mobile theatre which made it more attractive and
    capable of staging more complex themes.
  •  
  • He was awarded Bishnu Prasad Rabha Award by Assam Government
    and Pranab Barua Award for his contributions to the cultural world. Moreover,
    the Assam government had honoured him with artiste’s pension.
  • He was the founder of Ranghar, an organisation dedicated to
    promote painting in Nalbari. He was also a well known painter and sculpture
    artist in Assam.

Maria Golovnina,
Reuters bureau chief for Afghanistan and Pakistan, found dead
  • Maria Golovnina, Reuters bureau chief for Afghanistan and
    Pakistan on 23 February 2015 found dead in Islamabad. She was 34.
  • She was found collapsed and unconscious in the bureau and
    was rushed to hospital, but medical teams were unable to save her.
  • However, the cause of Golovnina’s death could not be
    determined immediately and the authorities have launched an investigation to
    ascertain the facts of the case.

Veteran Tamil
director RC Sakthi passed away
  • Popular Tamil director R.C. Sakthi passed away on 23
    February 2015 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu following a brief illness. He was 76.
    Sakthi is survived by two daughters and a son.
  • He was mentor of the famous actor Kamal Haasan and had
    launched him as lead role in his Tamil directorial debut Unarchigal in 1972.

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