Daily Current Affairs 20 December 2017

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Daily Current Affairs of 20 December 2017. These are important for the upcoming IBPS Clerk and South Indian Bank Clerk exam 2018.


Current Affairs

Financial and Banking

India signs US$ 125 million worth financing agreement with World Bank

  • India on 19 December 2017 signed a financing agreement worth US$ 125 million with the World Bank for ‘Skills Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement Operation (Strive) Project”.
  • The agreement for the IDA credit was signed by the Government of India with the World Bank in the national capital of the country, New Delhi.
  • While Sameer Kumar Khare, the Joint Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance signed the deal on behalf of the Union Government, Hisham Abdo, the Acting Country Director of World Bank (India) signed on behalf of the World Bank.
  • The main objective of the operation is to improve access to quality and market-driven vocational training and apprenticeships.

The result areas for the project include:

  • Improved Performance of Industrial Training Institutes.
  • Increased Capacities of State Governments to Support Industrial Training Institutes and Apprenticeship Training.
  • Improved Teaching and Learning.
  • Improved and Broadened Apprenticeship Training.

Niti Aayog to set up Methanol Economy Fund

  • Government’s think-tank Niti Aayog is planning to set up a Methanol Economy Fund with a corpus of Rs 4,000-5,000 crore. It aims to promote production and use of the clean fuel through this fund.
  • The Niti Aayog is intended to produce the fuel by converting high ash content coal into methanol and such a plant is likely to be set up by Coal India.
  • Niti Aayog is planning to move a Cabinet note on the methanol economy and soon it will set up production plants.
  • By December end, it is also planning to propose a roadmap to attain its target of increasing the penetration of Methanol as an alternative fuel to petrol and diesel.
  • Methanol Economy Fund will be utilized to promote the use of methanol fuel, which is safer, cheaper, and pollution free.
  • Methanol production plants will be set up using coal and stranded gas assets. In India methanol can be produced at Rs 16-21 per liter. It is expected to be commissioned in the next 3-4 years.

Finvasia gets licence to operate as NBFC

  • Chandigarh-based Finvasia, a fintech company offering zero brokerage, has received the Certificate of Registration (CoR) from RBI to operate as a non-banking financial corporation (NBFC). This extension will allow the company to offer loan-based products to retail and corporates alike.
  • The company plans to develop block chain technology based P2P (peer-to-peer) lending platform.
  • Peer-to-peer lending, also known as P2P lending, is a practice of lending money to individuals or businesses through online services that match lenders with borrowers.
  • Since peer-to-peer lending companies generally operate online, they can run with lower overhead expenses and facilitate funds at much cheaper rate than traditional financial institutions.

RBI puts Bank of India under prompt corrective action

  • After placing a host of mid-sized public sector banks under the ‘prompt corrective action’ (PCA) framework due to their weak balance sheets, the Reserve Bank of India now seems to have turned its gaze on large banks.
  • The Bank of India (BoI), in a stock exchange notice, said the RBI had placed it under the PCA framework, following an on-site inspection under the Risk Based Supervision Model carried out for year ended March 2017, and the report issued thereof.
  • “This (action) is in view of high net NPA, insufficient CET1 Capital and negative ROA for two consequent years. This action will contribute to the overall improvement in risk management, asset quality, profitability, efficiency, etc of the bank,” BoI said.
  • As of March-end 2017, BoI had net non-performing assets (NNPA) of 6.90 per cent; common equity tier (CET) – tier I capital of 7.17 per cent; and return on average assets (RoAA) of -0.24 per cent (in FY17) and -0.94 per cent (in FY16).
  • However, since then, there has been improvement in two of the aforementioned parameters — the NNPA position has improved to 6.47 per cent and CET-I nudged up to 7.21 per cent as of September-end 2017. Information on RoAA was not readily available.
  • According to the RBI’s revised PCA framework, banks with weak balance sheets may be subject to, among other things, resolution processes such as amalgamation, reconstruction, winding up, or mandatory actions such as restriction on management compensation and directors’ fees.
  • Besides taking mandatory actions when they breach key risk thresholds within the indicators relating to areas such as capital, asset quality, profitability, and leverage, weak banks will also be subject to discretionary actions related, among others, to strategy, governance, capital, credit/ market risk, HR, profitability, operations and go through special supervisory interactions.

Work begins on India’s first undersea tunnel for Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train

  • Work has begun on India’s first undersea tunnel through which the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train will pass, according to the National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL) which is overseeing the project.
  • According to Achal Khare, Managing Director, NHSRCL, the body aims to complete the undersea tunnel by August 15, 2022.
  • Khare told reporters that the tunnel will be constructed 25 to 40 metres below the seabed.
  • Engineers from India and Japan have begun to collect data on the seabed this month and the work will be completed next week.
  • A final report is to be submitted by January. According to Khare, the 508-km long bullet train will pass through 21 km under the sea.
  • While seven km of the tunnel is under the Thane creek, 1.8 km will be under the sea. The rest will go under the mangroves marshland on either side of the creek, according to the corporation officials. The tunnel is likely to cost Rs 3500 crore to construct.

India and states

India, Myanmar sign MoU for Rakhine State’s development

  • India and Myanmar on Wednesday signed a MoU to develop Rakhine State, from where thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh following a military crackdown.
  • Foreign secretary S Jaishankar and Myanmar’s deputy minister for social welfare, relief and resettlement U Soe Aung signed the Memorandum of Understanding.
  • “This MoU is the first government to government agreement signed by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement of Myanmar with a cooperation partner focussed on socio-economic development and livelihood initiatives in Rakhine State,” the external affairs ministry said.
  • “This is intended to help the government of Myanmar achieve its objective of restoration of normalcy in Rakhine State and enable the return of displaced persons,” a statement said.
  • It stated that the Indian government proposed to take up, among others, a project to build prefabricated housing in Rakhine State, so as to meet the immediate needs of returning people.
  • Jaishankar’s visit is of strategic importance after more than 650,000 Rohingyas fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since violence erupted in Rakhine in August.

Cabinet approves setting up of India’s first rail university in Gujarat

  • The Cabinet today approved a project to set up India’s National Rail and Transport University (NRTU) in Vadodara in Gujarat.
  • A not-for-profit company under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013, will be created by the ministry of railways which shall be the managing company of the proposed university, the ministry said in a statement.
  • The project has been pending for the past three years.
  • The company will provide financial and infrastructural support to the university, and appoint Chancellor and Pro- Chancellor of the university, the statement said.
  • A Board of Management, comprising professionals and academics, shall be independent of the Managing Company with full autonomy to perform its academic and administrative responsibilities, it said.
  • Officers say that the university plans to use latest pedagogy and technology applications such as satellite based tracking, Radio Frequency Identification and Artificial Intelligence to improve on-the-job performance and productivity.

India’s first design university ‘World University of Design’ opens in Haryana

  • India’s first and only design university, World University of Deisgn opens it campus at Sonipat, Haryana.
  • Promoted by Om Parkash Bansal Educational and Social Welfare Trust of Mandi Gobindgarh, Punjab, having more than two decades of presence in higher education, the university is currently located in a sprawling lush green picturesque campus with the state-of-the-art infrastructure and world class facilities.
  • The campus is situated on NH1 in Rajiv Gandhi Education City (NCR), Sonipat, the largest planned integrated city for education in India.
  • The university has international collaborations with foreign universities like UWS University of West Scotland, VFS the Vancouver Film School, and IAAD the Italian University of Design.
  • Many other collaborations are in the pipeline including that with Huddersfield University, UK; Oxford Brookes University, UK; Emily Carr University, Canada.
  • Some of the prominent names in the industry are on the advisory board of the university, AG Krishna Menon, Payal Jain, Peter D’ascoli, Amardeep Behl, Neha Kirpal.
  • WUD offers country’s largest creative course catalogue – 23 specialized UG and PG programs in various design arenas such as design, fashion, communication, visual arts, design and retail management, and architecture.

Haryana government to provide free sanitary napkins to poor women

  • The Haryana government would distribute sanitary napkins free of cost to all women belonging to BPL (Below Poverty Line) category in the State. Earlier, on 1st December, the Haryana government had announced that it would make plans for free supply of sanitary napkins to girls in the schools across the State.
  • The government also said that the State would become malnutrition- free in the coming 3-years.
  • To achieve the goal of malnutrition- free Haryana, nutrition mission will be set up as per the guidelines of the National Nutrition Mission (NNM).
  • The government is implementing various programmes to generate awareness about malnutrition.
  • To make the state malnutrition free in real terms in coming 3-years, the government would establish a separate cell at the state level for monitoring purposes.

Union Government lays foundation stone for 32 projects in Uttarakhand under Namami Gange programme

  • The foundation stone for 32 projects costing about Rs 905 crore was laid down in Uttarakhand on 19 December 2017 under Namami Gange programme in the presence of Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Satyapal Singh and Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat.
  • Two Sewerage Treatment Projects (STP) worth about Rs 12.83 crore were inaugurated in Gangotri and  Badrinath during the event.

32 projects in Uttarakhand under Namami Gange programme

  • 20 projects worth Rs 871.74 crore pertain to sewage treatment and infrastructure in different parts of Uttarakhand.
  • Six projects are in Haridwar that includes construction of Sewerage Treatment Projects in Jagjeetpur and Sarai under PPP based Hybrid Annuity model. The total cost of projects in Haridwar is Rs 414.20 crore.
  • There are projects related to sewage treatment in Uttarkashi, Muni-ki-Reti, Kirti Nagar, Srinagar, Rudra Prayag, Badrinath, Joshimath, Chamoli, Nand Prayag and Karn Prayag.
  • Ghat development works in Tehri Garhwal, Rudra Prayag and Chamoli.
  • Interception and diversion (I&D) work of Rs 85.14 crore and Sewage treatment work of Rs 244.91 crore in Jagjeetpur.
  • I & D work of Rs 31.46 crore sewage treatment work of Rs 52.64 crore in Sarai.
  • Sewerage Treatment Projects at Tapovan (Rs 2.1 crore), Swarga Ashram (Rs 4.5 crore) and Uttarkashi (Rs 10.03 crore)
  • I & D and Sewerage Treatment Projects in Rishikesh (Rs 158 crore), Muni Ki Reti (Rs 80.45 crore), Kirti Nagar (Rs 4.2 crore), Srinagar (Rs 22.5 crore), Rudra Prayag (Rs 13.1 crore), Badrinath (Rs 18.23 crore), Joshimath (Rs 48.42 crore), Chamoli (Rs 61.8 crore) and Nand Prayag (Rs 6.4 crore).
  • Sewerage Treatment Project rehabilitation work in Srinagar for Rs 15.4 crore.
  • Ghat work in Tehri Garhwal (Rs 6 crore), Chamoli (Rs 24 crore) and Rudra Prayag (Rs 4.77 crore).
  • Once all these 32 projects get accomplished, the sewage water of all priority towns in Uttarakhand including Haridwar and Rishikesh will not go untreated into Ganga.

India, Sri Lanka complete 2nd phase of joint oceanographic survey

  • The Indian Navy in collaboration with the Sri Lankan navy successfully completed the second phase of the joint oceanographic survey conducted off the South Western Coast of Sri Lanka.
  • The survey was initiated on 26 October 2017 with the arrival of the Indian Naval Ship Sutlej in Sri Lanka.
  • The survey charts were handed over by the Indian side to the Commander of the Sri Lankan Navy on 19 December 2017. The survey extended to a depth contour of 200 m from the coastline, ranging from Colombo to Galle.
  • The main aim behind launching the joint oceanographic survey was to update all the navigational charts, covering the southern Sri Lankan waters with the latest hydrographic data.
  • It also aims to bolster cooperation between the two countries in the field of hydrography.
  • The exercise also provides an opportunity for both the naval sides to learn from each other and to build on the already existing high level of compatibility between them.


Justice Umesh Dattatraya Salvi appointed acting Chairperson of National Green Tribunal

  • Justice Umesh Dattatraya Salvi took charge as the acting Chairperson of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) today, following the retirement of Justice Swatanter Kumar.
  • Justice Salvi will continue in office until the date a new chairperson is appointed or the date of his superannuation, whichever is earlier, according to a government notification.
  • He will retire on February 13, 2018.
  • Justice Salvi was enrolled as an advocate in 1977. He was appointed City Civil and Additional Sessions Judge, Mumbai in August 1993.
  • Elevated as judge at the Bombay High Court on February 10, 2009, Justice Salvi was appointed a Judicial Member of the NGT on February 14, 2013.


Virat Kohli replaces Shah Rukh Khan as most valuable celebrity brand: Report

  • Star cricketer Virat Kohli has replaced Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan as Indias top-ranking celebrity brand, according to a report by a valuation advisor.
  • In the 2017 report titled ‘Rise of the Millennials: India’s Most Valuable Celebrity Brands’, Duff & Phelps said that Kohli topped the list with brand value of $144 million, followed by actors Shah Rukh ($106 million), Deepika Padukone ($93 million), Akshay Kumar ($47 million) and Ranveer Singh ($42 million).
  • Duff & Phelps, a global valuation and corporate finance advisor, published the third edition of its annual study of celebrity brand values in India.
  • “For the first time since we began publishing our rankings, Shah Rukh Khan has slipped from the top ranking and been replaced by Virat Kohli. Kohli is now the first choice of brands to engage and attract consumers, fueled by his extraordinary on-field performances and off-field charisma,” Varun Gupta, Duff & Phelps Managing Director and Region Leader — India, Japan and Southeast Asia, said in a statement.
  • “In addition to Kohli, other young celebrities such as actress Alia Bhatt, actor Varun Dhawan and badminton champion P.V. Sindhu have either risen in the rankings or entered our top 15 list, backed by note-worthy performances in their respective fields and strong endorsement signings over the last year,” Gupta added.


International Human Solidarity Day 2017 observed across the world

  • The International Human Solidarity Day was observed across the world on 20 December 2017.
  • In the Millennium Declaration, solidarity is identified as one of the fundamental values of international relations in the 21st Century, wherein those who either suffer or benefit least deserve help from those who benefit most.
  • The Day aims to raise public awareness of the importance of solidarity and encourages debate on the ways to promote solidarity for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals including poverty eradication.

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