Current Affairs Update – 28th May, 2015

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RBI issues draft
guidelines on mobility cards for cashless travel

  • RBI has issued draft guidelines on mobility cards that will
    allow you to travel without cash in metros, buses and taxis carrying prepaid
    cards with value up to Rs. 2,000.
  • In a bid to boost prepaid payment instruments (PPIs) for
    commuting, RBI has introduced a new category of prepaid payment instruments
    that will be issued by the mass transit operators (such as metro or road
  • With a minimum validity of six months from the issue date,
    the PPI- MTS will be reloadable with a balance limit of Rs. 2,000. No cash-out
    or refund will be permitted from these PPI, the central bank said. At present,
    for other PPIs the RBI has permitted to issue cards with balance of up to Rs. 1
  • The issuer of the PPI may decide upon the desired level of
    KYC, if any, for such PPIs and will ensure on-boarding of merchants whose
    activities are allied to or are carried on within the premises of the transit
    system only.
  • In addition, funds transfer under Domestic Money Transfer
    (DMT) will also not be applicable to these PPIs. All other extant guidelines
    for escrow arrangement, customer grievance redressal mechanism, agent /
    merchant due diligence, reporting and MIS requirements, etc. would be
    applicable, the draft circular said.

LIC raises stake in
Canara Bank and Bank of Baroda
  • Country’s largest insurer Life Insurance Corporation (LIC)
    has raised stake in state-owned Canara Bank by about 7.7 per cent through
    preferential allotment of shares.
  • It has also increased its stake in another public sector
    lender Bank of Baroda (BoB) by buying 4.7 crore shares from the open market.
    With the acquisition, the LIC’s stake in BoB increased by 2.1 per cent to 11.4
    per cent.
  • LIC acquired the stake for a consideration of about Rs 750 crore
    as per the current price.
  • These shares were acquired over a period between January 16
    and May 25, 2015 from the open market, BoB said in a Bombay Stock Exchange
    (BSE) filing.

AFSPA Withdrawn From
Tripura After 18 Years

  • The Tripura government on May 27, 2015 decide to lift Armed
    Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) from the state, where the controversial law
    was in effect for the last 18 years to curb insurgency.
  • Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, who is also the Home Minister
    of the state said this decision was taken in the meeting of the council of
    ministers during the day.
  • This Act was imposed in the state on February 16, 1997
    following spurt of violence by the ultras.

More detailed at:
India Ranks 44 in IMD
Global Competitiveness Report 2015
  • India remains at 44th rank in the annual global
    competitiveness report by a Switzerland-based business school International
    Institute for Management Development (IMD) which cited problems like high
    corporate taxes and existence of a parallel economy for the low ranking.
  • The US continues to top the ranking due to its strong
    business efficiency and financial sector, its innovation drive and the effectiveness
    of its infrastructure.
  • The top 10 ranks include Hong Kong (2) and Singapore (3)
    move up overtaking Switzerland(4), Canada (5), Norway (7), Denmark (8), Sweden
    (9) and Germany (10). Luxembourg moved to (6) from 11th place last year.

India is home to 194
million hungry people: UN

  • India is home to 194.6 million undernourished people, the
    highest in the world, according to the annual report by the Food and
    Agriculture Organization of the United Nations released on Thursday. 
  • This translates into over 15 per cent of the India’s
    population, exceeding China in both absolute numbers and proportion of
    malnourished people in the country’s population.
  • There has however been a significant reduction in the
    proportion of undernourished people in India — by 36 per cent — from 1990-92.
  • In India, the extended food distribution programme has
    contributed to a positive outcome, the FAO says.
  • Around the world, 795 million people — or around one in nine
    — are undernourished. Asia and the Pacific account for almost 62 per cent of
    this section. Yet, the trends are positive, with a decrease in the prevalence
    of people with undernourishment — from 18.6 pc in 1990-92 to 10.9 percent in
    2014-16 worldwide.
  • Southern Asia, which has historically had the highest number
    of underweight children below five years of age, also happens to be a region
    that has made big strides in reducing malnutrition among children.

S Christopher
Appointed As DRDO Head
  • Eminent scientist S Christopher was today appointed as
    Director General of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
    for a two-year term.
  • The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has approved
    appointment of Christopher as Secretary, Department of Defence Research and
    Development-cum-Director General, DRDO for a period of two years from the date
    of taking over the charge, an order issued by Department of Personnel and
    Training said.
  • Christopher is presently Distinguished Scientist and
    Programme Director (airborne early warning and control system) and Director,
    Centre for Air-Borne Systems in the DRDO.
  • Another scientist G S Reddy was appointed as the Scientificc
    Adviser to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for a two-year term. Reddy is
    Distinguished Scientist and Director, Research Centre Imarat, and Programme
    Director of Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) in the DRDO.
  • The Department of Defence Research and Development (DoDRD)
    has remained under additional charge of Defence Secretary, after Avinash
    Chander’s contract was curtailed by the government.

Singapore Appoints S
Chandra Das As Envoy to Sri Lanka

  • Singapore has appointed an Indian- origin businessman S
    Chandra Das as its non-Resident High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, the Foreign Ministry
    announced today.
  • S Chandra Das served as Singapore’s Ambassador to the
    Republic of Turkey, resident in Singapore, from 2006 to 2015.
  • He had also previously served as Singapore’s Trade
    Representative from 1970 to 1972 in the USSR, the former Soviet Union.
  • Das was a Member of Parliament from 1980 to 1996
    and is currently the Managing Director of NUR Investment & Trading private
    limited of Singapore as well as a director of a number of other companies.

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