Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Daily Current Affairs of March 28, 29, 30 and 31 2018. These are important for the upcoming SBI Clerk Examination.
Finance and Banking
First cargo of US gas reaches India under GAIL contract
- India received its first LNG cargo from the US under a long-term contract of GAIL (India) Ltd on Friday. A GAIL statement said the cargo was received at Dabhol.
- Adequate investments in natural gas infrastructure including pipeline, LNG import terminal and City Gas Distribution network is also a focus area for the government, he added. GAIL will have a portfolio mix of LNG indexed to Henry Hub and crude oil. GAIL has 5.8 mtpa of US LNG in its portfolio.
- GAIL shall be receiving around 90 cargoes per annum from Sabine Pass and Cove Point LNG terminals.
- The arrival of this LNG vessel comes close on the heels of the formation of Konkan LNG Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of GAIL, which has recently been demerged from RGPPL.
Rivigo ties up with IDFC, YES Bank for truck loans
- Rivigo, a homegrown logistics start-up that owns as well as acts as an aggregator of trucks, is tying up with YES Bank, IDFC and 10 other financial institutions to make cheaper funds available to truck owners and operators on its platform.
- The funds will be available at an interest rate of 1-2 per cent per month, lower than the usual industry standard of 2-3 per cent, said Deepak Garg, Rivigo’s founder and CEO. Instead of waiting for funds from their customers, they can get the money from the banks for a duration of 30-60 days, he explained.
- The start-up aims to disrupt India’s truck market which, according to a 2015 government estimate, comprises over 9 million trucks and is largely unorganised. Over 85 per cent of truck owners own a fleet of five trucks or less.
- Rivigo itself owns 5,000 trucks, and has tied up with 30,000 more truck operators. In total, it has access to 1 lakh trucks of various sizes, with each truck owner or operator on its platform running 2-5 trucks each.
Fino Payments Bank to deploy mPoS devices across 10,000 banking points
- Fino Payments Bank has said it plans to deploy multi-utility Android-based mPoS (mobile point-of-sale) devices across 10,000 banking points in the country in a phased manner.
- The mPoS is a portable device with an in-built fingerprint scanner, card reader, camera, printer and a tablet, the payments bank said.
- The device will gradually replace the combination of devices currently used to facilitate fingerprint authentication and digital transactions.
- Ashish Ahuja, Executive Vice-President and Head – Products, Fino Payments Bank, said in a statement: “In the next 12 months, we will deploy these devices at 10,000 of our retail as well as corporate banking points, including branches, BPCL outlets, franchisee points and partner bank’s BC (Business Correspondent) channel.
India and ADB sign USD 80 million loan agreement to boost employment in Himachal Pradesh
- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Indian Government on March 28, 2018 signed USD 80 million loan agreement to help modernise Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions and improve the skills ecosystem in Himachal Pradesh.
- The loan agreement was signed by Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions) in the Department of Economic Affairs and by Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission.
- While, the project agreement was signed by Basu Sood, Adviser (Planning) in the Planning Department of Himachal Pradesh.
- The project will support the skill initiatives of Himachal Pradesh government and will help the State in stepping up the reform and scale-up its skill development efforts.
- It will fund short-term and long-term training programs in growth areas including automobiles, electronics, pharmaceutical, tourism, financial services and health care to help enhance the skills set of the youth and increase their employability.
Union Ministry of Power ties-up with Skill India to support Saubhagya Scheme
- The Union Ministry of Power on March 27, 2018 tied-up with the Union Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship to train the manpower in six states for speedy implementation of Saubhagya Scheme.
- Saubhagya Scheme is also known as Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana. Around 4 crore households are expected to get electricity connections under the scheme.
- Around 47,000 Distribution Lineman-Multi Skills and 8,500 Technical Helpers will be trained to meet the requirement of power sector.
- The workforce already engaged in implementing this project will be considered first for the skill development programmes.
- The shortfalls, if any, will be met by ITI Electrician trade pass-outs from the local ITIs.
- Total 48 hours of training will be provided to the existing workforce of the contractors, which includes 12 hours orientation and 36 hours Bridge course.
EPFO launches portal for pensioners
- The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) on March 27, 2018 launched a new portal for pensioners, through which EPFO pensioners would be able to the details of pension-related information.
- The portal will assist users with details such as pension payment order number, payment order details, passbook information and other related information such as date of credit of pension and submission of pensioner’s life certificate.
- It will also assist the pensioners to know the status of their life certificate, in case of non-submission/rejection of life certificate of the pensioners.
- It will also provide the users with the details and reason in case of stoppage of pension.
SEBI accepts most of recommendations of Uday Kotak Committee on Corporate Governance
- The Securities and Exchanges Board of India (SEBI) on March 28, 2018 accepted 40 out of 80 recommendations suggested by the Uday Kotak Committee on Corporate Governance.
- One of the major recommendations of the committee was to separate the post of CEO or MD and Chairperson of the listed companies.
- Since this recommendation has been accepted by SEBI, the separation of posts would come into effect from April 1, 2020. Initially, it will be applicable only for the top 500 listed firms in terms of market capitalisation.
Recommendations accepted by SEBI without any modifications
- Reduction in the maximum number of listed entity directorships from 10 to 8 by April 01, 2019 and to 7 by April 1, 2020.
- Expanding the eligibility criteria for independent directors.
- Enhanced role of the Audit Committee, Nomination and Remuneration Committee and Risk Management Committee.
- Disclosure of utilization of funds from preferential issue.
- Disclosures of auditor credentials, audit fee, reasons for resignation of auditors, etc.
- Disclosure of expertise of directors.
- Enhanced disclosure of related party transactions (RPTs) and related parties to be permitted to vote against RPTs.
- Mandatory disclosure of consolidated quarterly results with effect from FY 2019-20.
RBI imposes monetary penalty worth Rs 58.9 crore on ICICI Bank
- In a rare move, The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday imposed monetary penalty worth Rs. 58.9 crore on ICICI Bank, the country’s biggest private bank, for failing to abide by rules on the sale of bonds in the held-to-maturity (HTM) category.
- “The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed through an order dated March 26, 2018, a monetary penalty of Rs. 589 million on ICICI Bank Limited (the bank) for non-compliance with directions issued by RBI on direct sale of securities from its HTM portfolio and specified disclosure in this regard,” RBI mentioned in a release.
- It added that the penalty has been imposed in exercise of powers vested in RBI under the provisions of Section 47A(1)(c) read with Section 46(4)(i) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, taking into account failure of the bank to adhere to the aforesaid directions/guidelines issued by RBI.
IBBI notifies amendments to insolvency code; applicable from Apr 1
- The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) on Wednesday notified the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Insolvency Professionals) (Amendment) Regulations, 2018 (Amendment Regulations), effective April 1.
- According to the amendment regulations, subject to meeting other requirements, an individual shall be eligible for registration as an insolvency professional if he has passed the Limited Insolvency Examination within the last 12 months and has completed a pre-registration educational course from an insolvency professional agency, as may be required by the IBBI.
- Furthermore, the syllabus, format, qualifying marks and frequency of the aforementioned examination shall be published on the website of the IBBI at least three months before the examination.
- As per the amendments, an individual with the required experience of 10/15 years is eligible for registration as an insolvency professional.
- In addition, an individual with little or no experience shall be eligible for registration as an insolvency professional on successfully completing the Graduate Insolvency Programme, as may be approved by the IBBI.
India and States
Railways achieves target of 100% LED lighting at all stations
- Indian Railways on Saturday said it has achieved the target of installing LED lights in all the stations, a year before the deadline.
- As per their statement, it would result in savings of Rs 50 crore per annum.
- According to reports, South Central Railway was first Railway to complete the work, followed by other Zonal Railways.
- The provision of LED lights will also reduce CO2 emission by 60,000 ton.
India successfully launches GSAT-6A Communication Satellite
- India on March 29, 2018 successfully launched the GSAT-6A communication satellite using its heavy rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F08).
- Soon after separation from GSLV, the two solar arrays of GSAT-6A were automatically deployed in quick succession and the Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan, Karnataka assumed control of the satellite.
- GSAT-6A is a communication satellite built by ISRO to provide mobile communication services through multi beam coverage. For this purpose, the satellite is equipped with S and C band transponders and has a mission life of about ten years.
Telangana assembly passes Telangana Panchayat Raj Bill, 2018
- The Telangana Legislative Assembly on March 29, 2018 passed the Telangana Panchayat Raj Bill, 2018.
- The bill is comprehensive and envisages making villages self-reliant, clean and green.
- The state’s Chief Minister, K Chandrasekhar Rao stated that the villages should have facilities like garbage dump yards, crematorium and burial grounds.
- The devolution of funds to the Gram Panchayats, municipalities and municipal corporations would be initiated by the state with the start of the new financial year.
- There would be 12,751 Gram Panchayats after the passage of the bill. The government would conduct elections to Gram Panchayats within the stipulated time.
Bombay HC directs immediate stoppage of ore transportation in Goa
- The Goa bench of Bombay High Court passed an interim order on March 29, 2018, directing immediate suspension of transportation of minerals from the 88 mining leases in Goa whose operations were stopped by the Supreme Court last month.
- The Goa government has allowed transportation of excavated ore from these mines, which is challenged by the NGO Goa Foundation before the high court.
- The ruling was passed by a bench of judges comprising Justices Prithviraj Chavan and N M Jamdar. The bench also asked the Advocate General to file a reply within two weeks.
- On February 7, the Supreme Court set aside the second renewal of 88 mining leases in the state, holding the process illegal.
- Hence, the High Court stated that allowing even the transportation of ore (excavated before the SC order came into effect) will be in breach of the judgement of the apex court.
Gauhati HC to set up fast-track courts for early disposal of rape and murder cases
- The Gauhati High Court would be setting up exclusive fast-track courts in all districts of Assam for the day-to-day trial of cases related to rape and murder of women and children in the state.
- The decision was taken after Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court proposing the same.
- The Chief Minister had written the letter on March 26, after the shocking March 22 rape and murder of a minor at Batadrawa in Nagaon district of the state.
- In response, an administrative committee of the High Court has resolved to work out modalities and submit a report in the same regard.
Tripura to set up crime branch of state police
- The Tripura government has decided to set up a well-equipped crime branch under the state police to deal with unlawful activities in the state such as drug and narcotics peddling. The decision was taken during the state’s cabinet meeting.
- Speaking on the same, the state’s Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath stated that the new wing will be modeled after Delhi Police’s crime branch. He said that the state cabinet has cleared a proposal to form a well-equipped police wing to arrest criminals in the state and restore the rule of the land.
Assam launches toll-free helpline for women
- The state government of Assam on March 29, 2018 launched a women’s helpline to tackle the recent surge in crime in the state.
- The toll-free helpline, 181-Sakhi, was launched by the state’s Chief Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal at a programme held in Janata Bhawan. The service is presently being launched for one shift and will be open from 9 am to 5 pm. It will soon be made available for 24 hours.
- The service has been integrated with women police stations, state commission for women, family counseling centres, NGOs, legal service centres, shelter homes, medical and legal experts.
Goa government revives controversial Regional Plan 2021
- The state government of Goa revived the Goa Regional Plan 2021 on March 29, 2018, nearly six years after it was put on hold due to protests.
- Announcing the decision, Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai said the developmental activities would be allowed case-wise after following a proper procedure on the lands notified as settlement, commercial, institutional and industrial zones.
- The plan was put on hold by the then chief minister Digambar Kamat of Congress on June 4, 2012 amid protests by the opposition which feared that the plan would unleash unbridled construction activity damaging the fragile ecology of the coastal state.
- The order, however, prohibits development in eco-sensitive areas like low-lying paddy field, water bodies, khazan land, flood-prone areas, lands having slopes with over 25 per cent inclination, and forest lands, including private forests.
Mahavir Jayanti celebrated across India
- Mahavir Jayanti, the birth anniversary of 24th and last Jain Tirthankar Bhagwan Mahavir was celebrated across India on March 29, 2018.
- The day is considered to be one of the most auspicious events for Jain people and holds a lot of importance in their religious life.
- Devotees of Lord Mahavir and his followers celebrate this festival by chanting prayers, offering prasad and participating in chariot processions.
- Lord Mahavir, through his teachings of non-violence and compassion, showed an enlightened path for happiness and progress of humanity.
Permanent Indus Commission meet begins in Delhi
- The two-day meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) between India and Pakistan began in New Delhi on March 29, 2018.
- The commission is expected to discuss various issues under the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT).
- The Indian delegation for the annual meeting comprises India’s Indus Water Commissioner P K Saxena, a representative of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and technical experts.
- Pakistan’s six-member delegation for the commission’s 114th meeting is being led by Syed Muhammad Mehar Ali Shah.
Assam CM directs swift filing of charge-sheet in crimes against women and children
- Assam Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal on March 29, 2018 directed all superintendents of police to ensure swift and correct filing of charge-sheet in all crimes against women and children so that justice can be given to the victims.
- The Chief Minister said that no criminals should be able to get away taking advantage of the loopholes in the law.
- He also directed the Deputy Commissioners and SPs to conduct intensive awareness campaigns so that people are made aware to prevent heinous crimes taking place against children and women in the state.
Union Cabinet approves official amendments to National Medical Commission Bill
- The Union Cabinet on March 28, 2017 approved the official amendments to the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill.
- Earlier, the Lok Sabha referred the NMC Bill to the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee (DRPSC) for proposing amendments to it.
- The Standing Committee suggested few amendments in its report that was tabled in the parliament on March 20, 2018.
- The final MBBS Examination will now be held as a common exam across the country and will serve as an exit test called the National Exit Test (NEXT):
- Hence, the students would not have to appear in a separate exam after MBBS to get license to practice. The National Exit Test would also serve as the screening test for doctors with foreign medical qualifications in order to practice in India.
CCEA approves formulation of new Integrated Scheme for School Education
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 28, 2018 approved the proposal of Department of School Education and Literacy to formulate a new Integrated Scheme on School Education.
- The scheme would be formulated by subsuming Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE). It would be valid from April 1, 2018 until March 31, 2020.
- The Cabinet has approved an estimated allocation of Rs 75,000 crore over the period, which is a 20% increase over the current allocations.
- The scheme envisions to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education from nursery to senior secondary stage in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goal for Education.
- Its main emphasis is on improving quality of school education by focusing on the two T’s – Teacher and Technology.
Odisha govt., Vedanta sign MoU to set up medical college
- A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Odisha government and the Vedanta group for setting up of a medical college and hospital at Bhangabari in Bhawanipatna on Tuesday.
- The much-needed project will give a fillip to health services in the western Odisha district that comes under the backward KBK region. Vedanta Foundation will invest Rs. 100 crore for the hospital infrastructure as part of CSR activities of its alumina refinery at Lanjigarh.
- The MoU, which was signed in the presence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, is yet another initiative of the ruling BJD’s focus on Kalahandi district.
NASA to launch first-ever mission to study Mars’ deep interior
- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on March 30, 2018 announced to send its first-ever mission to Mars to study its deep interior and find traces of how it was formed.
- Scheduled to be launched on May 5, 2018, NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) will be the first-ever mission dedicated to study the heart of Mars.
- It also will be the first NASA mission, after the Apollo Moon Landings, to place a seismometer on the soil of another planet. The seismometer is a device that measures quakes.
US issues work permits to spouses of H-1B visa holders, 90 percent of whom are Indians
- The United States of America on March 29, 2018 issued employment authorisation documents or work permits to spouses of more than 71,000 H-1B visa holders, among whom 90 per cent were reported to be Indians.
- The process of authorising work permits to the spouses of H-1B visa holders was initiated by the previous US administration led by Barack Obama in 2015.
- The spouses or dependents of H-1B visa holders gain entry into the United States on H-4 visas.
- They were not authorised to work in the country prior to 2015.
- According to a report by Migration Policy Institute, as of June 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had granted 71,287 initial (versus renewal) employment authorisation documents to the H-4 spouses.
North & South Korea agree to hold historic leaders summit on April 27th
- North and South Korea have agreed to hold a historic summit of their leaders on April 27, 2018. The agreement came at a ministerial-level inter-Korean meeting held on March 29 in Panmunjom, North Korean.
- According to a joint news statement issued after the meeting, the officials from both the nations agreed that South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet at a South Korean facility in Panmunjom.
- The officials also agreed to hold working-level talks next Wednesday in Panmunjom to discuss matters such as protocol and security for the summit.
Shekhar Kapur to head central panel for 65th National Film Awards
- Veteran director Shekhar Kapur was on March 28, 2018 appointed as the chairman of the central panel of the 65th National Film Awards.
The central panel comprises a chairperson and 10 other members, including five regional chairpersons who head the respective regional panels.
- Imtiaz Hussain: The film writer known for his works in films like Astitva (2000) and Parinda (1989) will be the regional chairperson of South I panel.
- Mehboob: The lyricist, who penned the lyrics for the Hindi (dubbed) version of 1995 Tamil romantic drama Bombay, was appointed as the regional chairperson of South II panel.
- Gautami Tadimalla: The actor, who is known for her work in Tamil films, will be the regional chairman of the North panel.
- Rahul Rawail: The director is known for films like Love Story (1981), Betaab (1983), Arjun (1985) and Jo Bole So Nihaal(2005), was appointed as the regional chairperson of the Western panel.
- Sheshadri: The director, who is a known name in the Kannada cinema, will be the regional chairperson of the Eastern panel.
NITI Aayog releases baseline ranking of Aspirational Districts
- The NITI Aayog on March 28, 2018 launched the baseline ranking for 101 aspirational districts based on 49 indicators across several sectors including health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion, skill development and basic infrastructure.
- The ranking was released by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, who stated that a few more districts will be added to the list taking the total to around 115. Speaking on the same, Amitabh Kant said that the initiative is aimed at creating competition at the state, district and even the block level.
- “People will know which districts are performing well and which are lagging behind. So there will be pressure from district-level officials to the MLAs, MPs and the Chief Minister to improve the performance of those districts creating a healthy competition among them,” he added.
- Kant further said that unless these backward districts, chosen as aspirational districts improve, India cannot progress at high growth rates.
- The ‘Champions of Change’ dashboard was created by NITI Aayog in partnership with the Government of Andhra Pradesh for monitoring the real-time progress of the districts.
- The dashboard will be open for public viewing from April 1.
- The dashboard will facilitate district collectors of all the aspirational districts to input the latest available data of their respective districts.
Williamson replaces Warner as Sunrisers captain
- New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson on March 29, 2018 replaced disgraced former Australian Vice-Captain David Warner as the captain of IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad.
- The decision was announced a day after the Australian was barred from the IPL for his role in the ball-tampering controversy in South Africa.
- Warner, declared the chief plotter of the infamous incident, apologised for his role in the scandal. He was the captain of SunRisers last season.
Cricket Australia bans Steve Smith, David Warner for a year
- The latest Australian ball-tampering scandal has incited heavy punishment with Cricket Australia slapping a one-year international ban on Australian skipper Steve Smith and Vice-captain David Warner on March 28, 2018.
- The official statement from Cricket Australia read that Smith and Warner have been suspended from all international and domestic cricket, while opening batsman Cameron Bancroft has been banned for a duration of nine months.
- All three players will, however, be permitted to play club cricket to maintain links with the cricket community.
- World Theatre Day observed on 27 March 2018.