Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Daily Current Affairs of March 15,16,17 and 18 2018. These are important for the upcoming SBI Clerk Examination.
Finance and Banking
RBI issues corrective framework for PSBs
- Amid the multiple scams unearthed recently in the banking sector, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued a Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework to maintain the sound financial health of banks.
- The framework facilitates banks in breach of risk thresholds for identified areas of monitoring, such as capital, asset quality (tracked in terms of the net Non-Performing Assets ratio) and profitability, to take corrective measures in a timely manner, in order to restore their financial health.
- Therefore, the RBI, through this corrective framework, intends to encourage banks to abstain from certain riskier activities, improve operational efficiency and focus on conserving capital to strengthen them, as stated by Minister of State (MoS) for Finance, Shiv Pratap Shukla, in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on Friday.
- However, the minister clarified that the framework is not intended to constrain the performance of normal operations of the banks for the general public.
- Among the PSBs selected by the central bank for the PCA framework include Dena Bank, Central Bank of India, Bank of Maharashtra, UCO Bank, IDBI Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Indian Overseas Bank, Corporation Bank, Bank of India, Allahabad Bank and United Bank of India.
Mahagram, TJS Bank partner to integrate Bharat Bill Payment System
- Mahagram, a rising FinTech company announced its partnership with Thane Janta Sahakari Bank Ltd. (TJS Bank) for integrating the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS).
- This follows the amalgamation of Mahagram’s payment services with the BBPS monitored by the National Payment Corporation (NPCI).
- Mahagram has a digital financial services platform known as “eGramTM” that has brought a payment revolution by delivering an integrated range of services on a robust transaction platform. Aiming at BBPS, Mahagram is trying to resolve difficulties by assisting in a number of services to people’s doorsteps. Like digital payment industry it offers services to help India go cashless.
- For the unversed, the BBPS is a Reserve Bank of India (RBI)-conceptualised system driven by the NPCI, and is a one-stop payment platform for all bills, providing an interoperable and accessible bill payment service to all customers across India with certainty, reliability and safety of transactions.
Indian Industry launches ‘AARC’ recycling initiative
- Leading corporations have joined hands to form the Action Alliance for Recycling Beverage Cartons (AARC) – a first-of-its-kind initiative to further strengthen the end-to-end waste management ecosystem by engaging with all stakeholders across the value chain.
- The alliance aims to increase recycling of used cartons from approximately 30 percent today to 60 percent by 2025. To begin with, 10 industry leaders in the field of juices, dairy, pharma, liquor and packaging have come together to kick start the alliance and many more are expected to join along the way.
Yes Bank launches a digitised trade finance solution
- Private sector lender Yes Bank has launched a robotics based ‘Digital export Import’ payments solution as a part of its Yes Transact Smart Trade product suite.
- The integrated product uses robotics process automation and helps in eliminating the requirement of documents submission for import and export payments.
- This also has inherent features and checks built in to ensure risk management and security. The initiative aims to bring over one lakh trade transactions going entirely digital, across major geographies including China, US, Singapore, Germany and Hong Kong.
- Explaining the process of its working, Kapoor said that the Direct Import Payment Solution allows corporate customers of Yes Bank to share transactional instructions online. The bank in-turn validates this information with the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Import Data Payment and Monitoring System (IDPMS) and processes the transaction.
India, ADB sign $120 million loan to improve rail infrastructure
- The Union Government on March 16, 2018 signed a $120 million loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for completion of works for double-tracking and electrification of railway tracks along high-density corridors to improve operational efficiency of Indian railways.
- The tranche 3 loan is part of the $500 million multi-tranche financing facility for Railway Sector Investment Program approved by the ADB Board in 2011. The loan amount will be used to complete the ongoing works commenced under earlier tranches.
- Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, signed the loan on behalf of the Union Government, while Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission, signed on behalf of ADB.
- The project mainly aims to enhance the efficiency of rail infrastructure through electrification, introduction of modern signalling system and doubling rail tracks on the major routes in the country.
- It will help develop an energy-efficient, safe and reliable railway system that will result in reduced travel time along project rail routes and improved operational and financial efficiency.
NITI Aayog to release SATH-E project roadmaps
- NITI Aayog would be releasing comprehensive roadmaps and detailed timelines for its initiative ‘Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital in Education (SATH-E)’ project in New Delhi on March 17, 2018.
- The roadmaps would be released by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and the Chief Secretaries of Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha after a day-long workshop with the Principal Secretaries of the States, State Project Directors and other experts and representatives operating in the field.
- The comprehensive roadmaps are for the coming two years, from 2018 to 2020.
- The prints lay out detailed interventions that will be taken up by the three participating states- Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha – which aim to become ‘role model states’ in school education.
Jackfruit to be official state fruit of Kerala from March 21
- The largest tree-borne fruit widely known for its distinctive taste and aroma, the jackfruit, is set to be declared as the official fruit of Kerala on March 21.
- State Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar said the core objective of the government was to give a fillip to the production and sale of jackfruit and its value-added products, according to a PTI report.
- The state government will make an official declaration in this regard on March 21, based on a proposal of the Agriculture Department.
- Total revenue of Rs 15,000 crore is expected through sale of jackfruit and its allied products through the branding of the fruit.
- With the awarding of the ‘state fruit’ status, the demand for jackfruits and allied products are expected to go up and more people would foray into the cultivation of jackfruit trees, known as ‘plavu’ in local language, the minister said.
India’s first cloned Assamese buffalo born
- The Central Institute for Research on Buffaloes (CIRB) on March 16, 2018 claimed that a cloned Assamese buffalo male calf was born for the first time in India.
- A team of researchers used unique methods and produced the clone calf ‘Sach-Gaurav’ on December 22, 2017 through a normal delivery. The CIRB cloning team was led by PS Yadav.
- ‘Sach-Gaurav’ is the second cloned male produced by CIRB after Hisar-Gaurav, born on December 11, 2015. Hisar-Gaurav was producing quality semen from the age of 22 months and ten females of the institute’s herd were pregnant with its frozen semen.
Pranab Mukherjee Foundation launched to help improve quality of life of people
- Pranab Mukherjee Foundation was launched on March 15, 2018 to initiate, support and execute projects aimed at improving the quality of life of people.
- The foundation was launched at a function at the official residence of former President where Pranab Mukherjee and Tata Group head Ratan Tata jointly inaugurated the foundation.
- The foundation will also undertake research and consultancy projects to strengthen India’s Constitution.
- The foundation will work to find the “lasting solutions” to the challenges being faced by communities in India.
LaQshya program to benefit every pregnant woman delivering in Public Health Institutions
- Considering that there is a need to improve the quality of care in Labour rooms especially on the day of birth for maternal and neonatal survival, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in December 2017 launched ‘LaQshya’ Initiative- ‘Labour Room Quality Improvement Initiative’
- It is expected to improve the quality of care provided to the pregnant mother in the Labour Room and Maternity Operation Theatres with an aim to prevent undesirable adverse outcomes associated with childbirth.
- It will be implemented in government Medical Colleges (MCs) besides District Hospitals (DHs), and high delivery load Sub- District Hospitals (SDHs) and Community Health Centres (CHCs).
Environment Ministry approves Neutrino Observatory Project
- The Ministry of Environment and Forests gave environmental clearance to India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) project to be established in Bodi West hills in Tamil Nadu.
- It was clarified that there will be no impact of blasting on any habitation in the vicinity due to INO project.
- It was informed also that there was no scope for radioactivity and leaching of water.
NCRB launches ‘Citizen Services’ mobile app
- The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) launched a mobile app called ‘Citizen Services’ on March 11, 2018, on the occasion of its 33rd Inception Day.
- The application has been developed in-house by the NCRB. It will offer various essential police related services to the citizens.
- The application comprises a bouquet of 9 police related services for the citizen.
- It can be used by the citizens for various services such as registering police complaint and checking its status, viewing FIR detail, sending SOS, locating police stations and getting access to emergency contact list and police stations telephone directory.
- The application will also enable a complainant to download FIR, except in cases of those categorized as ‘sensitive’.
- The services aim to provide a smooth interface between the citizens and the police.
HRD Ministry to set up ‘Innovation Cell’
- The Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar has announced the setting up of an ‘Innovation Cell’ in the Ministry of Human and Resource Development (HRD) to boost new ideas about promoting innovation in the country.
- The announcement was made by the Minister after a high-level review meeting on March 14, 2018, which mainly focused upon the need for such a cell after India moved up six ranks in the Global Innovation Index.
- The main objective behind setting up of the cell is to advance research in order to strengthen innovation efforts, leading to the creation of a new India.
Haryana to make drunk driving causing death non-bailable offence
- The Haryana Government is planning to make drunk driving that leads to death a non-bailable offence in order to take a tougher stand against road accidents caused by inebriated drivers.
- Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ram Bilas Sharma said the government was considering making drunk driving, resulting into the death of the victim, a non-bailable offence to keep a check on the increasing number of road accidents.
- He was replying to a calling attention motion during the ongoing budget session of the assembly here.
- In 2017, around 14,668 criminal cases were registered in the state against people indulging in illicit liquor trade.
- Further, around 2,247 criminal cases were registered against narcotic drug criminals during this period.
India, Madagascar sign umbrella agreement in defence sector
- India and Madagascar have signed an umbrella agreement in the field of defence.
- Under the agreement, both the countries will explore various ways of co-operation in the field of defence.
- An amended air service agreement was also signed to support efforts towards improving connectivity between the two countries.
- The two countries will have co-sharing agreement with Air Seychelles through Air India and Air Madagascar.
Haj Subsidy to be discontinue from Financial Year 2018-19
- The Union Government has decided to discontinue the Haj subsidy from the year 2018-19.
- The amount of Haj subsidy provided by the Government of India reflects in the budget of Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), which is the nodal Ministry responsible for making air travel arrangements for Haj pilgrims identified by the Haj Committee of India (HCoI).
- Budgetary provision of Rs 200 crore for the Haj subsidy has been made in the Budget Estimates for 2017-18.
- It has been decided to allocate bulk of the additional funding for educational empowerment of Minority communities.
Book signed by Tagore auctioned for USD 700
- The hardcover copy of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘The King of the Dark Chamber’ – the English translation of his famous Bengali play ‘Raja’ – has been sold for USD 700 at an auction in the United States.
- Signed on the introductory page in fountain pen by Tagore, the Bolpur edition of the book was published by the Macmillan Company in 1916.
- The play revolves around a mysterious, unseen, omniscient king, who is both benevolent and efficient.
- His reluctance towards being seen causes most of the drama in the story, rattling his beautiful wife and the kings of nearby kingdoms.
Qatar donates $50 million to UN Relief agency for Palestinians
- Qatar on March 15, 2017 announced a $50 million donation to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
- The decision to make the donation came through during an extraordinary ministerial meeting of the UNRWA, which was held in Rome, Italy in the presence of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
- The Gulf nation also announced that it has continued to finance projects implemented by the UNRWA, especially in the education and health sectors.
US challenges India’s export subsidy programmes at WTO
- The US Trade Representative (USTR) challenged Indian export subsidy schemes at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by claiming that these programmes will harm American workers through creating an “uneven” playing field.
- The USTR consulted the WTO in this matter. These consultations are the first step in the WTO dispute settlement process. If they do not reach to a jointly agreed solution through discussion, the US may left with only option to request the WTO dispute settlement panel to review the matter.
- As per the USTR, financial benefits given to Indian exporters through at least half a dozen Indian programmes allow them to trade their goods more cheaply to the detriment of American workers and manufacturers.
- They pegged these subsidies benefits at $7 Billion.
- The USTR said that India has provided exemption from certain duties, taxes, and fees which benefits numerous Indian exporters, including producers of steel products, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, information technology products, textiles, and apparel through these programmes.
Oklahoma to become first US State to use Nitrogen Gas for executions
- Oklahoma on March 14, 2018 announced its plans to use Nitrogen Gas for executions. Oklahoma will be the first US State to use Nitrogen Gas for executions once it resumes using the death penalty.
- The announcement was made by Attorney General Mike Hunter and Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh.
- Nitrogen is an odourless and tasteless gas that makes up about 78 per cent of the air that humans breathe. However, it causes death when inhaled without any oxygen.
WHO-SEARO Member Countries adopt ‘Delhi End TB Summit Statement of Action’
- The Member Countries of World Health Organization – Regional Office for South-East Asia (WHO – SEARO), participating in the Delhi End TB Summit, on March 14, 2018 signed and adopted the ‘Delhi End TB Summit Statement of Action’ at the end of the Summit to end Tuberculosis (TB).
- India launched the ‘TB free India Campaign’ to eradicate TB from India by 2025, five years ahead of the global target to End TB by 2030. It also extended its support to member countries of WHO SEARO region in meeting their respective goals of becoming TB- free.
- The campaign was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 13, 2018 during the global Delhi End TB Summit at New Delhi.
- The Delhi End TB Summit Statement of Action classifies the roles and responsibilities of the WHO SEARO region member countries to make their countries free of TB.
- It lauds the efforts of the member countries directed at tackling the burden of tuberculosis.
World Consumer Rights Day 2018 observed globally
- The World Consumer Rights Day was observed across the world on March 15, 2018 with an aim to promote basic rights of consumers and to ensure that these rights are respected and protected.
- The theme of 2018 World Consumer Rights Day is ‘Making Digital Marketplaces Fairer’.
- E-commerce has transformed the way people shop. It gives more choices to consumers than ever. However, the evolution of digital marketplaces has also raised global concerns regarding consumer protection and his rights.
- This year, the Day calls for access to secure internet for all. The Day also encourages action against scams and fraud and better consumer protection online.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang re-appointed to 5-year term
- The China’s legislature on Sunday re-appointed Premier Li Keqiang to a second five-year term in the ongoing session of the 13th National People’s Congress.
- According to media sources, the legislature also approved the appointment of a director for a new anti-corruption agency.
- National People’s Congress 2,964 delegates voted to approve Li’s appointment.
- This comes a day after Xi Jinping was re-elected as the country’s president and also the chairman of Central Military Commission of the People’s Republic of China on Saturday, making way for his second term in the office.
Nepal’s Chief Justice removed
- Nepal’s controversial Chief Justice Gopal Prasad Parajuli was removed by the Judicial Council on March 14, 2018 amid a raging dispute over his multiple birth certificates.
- Parajuli was sacked minutes before he was preparing to administer oath to President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, a day after she was re-elected to the post.
- The Council removed him stated that as per the available certificates, he should have retired from the post on August 5, 2017.
- Parajuli completed 65 years on that day and as per Nepali law, civil servants should take retirement after reaching 65 years, the Council said.
Slovakia’s PM Robert Fico resigns
- Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico officially resigned, less than three weeks after the murder of an investigative reporter Kuciak and his fiancee Kusnirova.
- Fico ran the Slovak government for 10 years.
- Following the resignation, Deputy Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, a member of the outgoing premier’s Smer-SD party, was asked to form a new government.