Daily Current Affairs 31st March, 2017

RBI to set up separate Enforcement Department

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is to set up a separate Enforcement Department (EFD) proposed to be opened on April 3.

  • The initiative has been proposed to separate those who oversee the possible rule breaches and those who decide on punitive actions. It will hence, enable the enforcement process to operate fairly and based on evidence.
  • Currently for banks, the RBI has two departments, regulation and supervision.
  • Now with the third department of Enforcement, it will look after the issue of any violation by banks and impose penalty or issue warning.

SBI gets Rs 1,400 crore loan from European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has okayed Rs 1,400 crore (EUR 200 million) loan to State Bank of India to fund solar power projects.

  • The long-term loan will support total investment of EUR 650 million in five different large-scale photo-voltaic solar power projects
  • This will contribute to India’s National Solar mission and reduce dependence on fossil fuel power generation.
  • The 20 -year long-term EIB loan will support individual projects. Projects in Tamil Nadu and Telangana are amongst those to be funded under this agreement.

Kotak aims to double customer base with ‘811’ digital banking initiative in 18 months

Kotak Mahindra Bank has announced the launch of 811, a full-service digital banking ecosystem on mobile.

  • 811 offers a completely digital and paperless account opening experience across nearly 700 locations in India. It can be opened anywhere, anytime, within five minutes, using Kotak’s mobile banking app – the top rated banking app (as per Google Play Store) in India.
  • The new digitally operated account will offer a ‘zero balance savings account with zero charges for all digital transactions, where customers can earn up to 6% p.a. on their savings account.

Exim Bank to work with African Development Bank on co-financing of projects

Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank plans to work with African Development Bank (AfDB) on co-financing of projects in Africa.

  • To begin with, both are likely to focus on co-financing of projects in power, agriculture and irrigation over the next 2-3 years.

Karnataka Bank, SBI Card launch co-branded credit card

Karnataka Bank and SBI Card have launched co-branded credit cards for the customers of Karnataka Bank. Through this alliance Karnataka Bank and SBI Card will launch two variants of the co-branded credit card – ‘Karnataka Bank Platinum SBI Card’ and ‘Karnataka Bank SimplySAVE SBI Card’.


Govt. announces interest rate cut on small saving schemes by 0.1 %

The Centre has announced a slash in interest rates for small savings schemes, including Public Provident Fund, by 0.1 percent in effect from April 1.
Interest rates on all nine small savings schemes will be lower by 0.1 percent. Interest rates are reviewed quarterly and the new rates are effective from April 1 to June 30.

  • The PPF investments will now have an annual interest rate of 7.9 percent.
  • However, the government revised rates for various other schemes including a 7.6 percent for the Kisan Vikas Patra scheme, 8.4 percent for the senior citizen’s five-year savings scheme and 8.4 percent for the girl child savings Sukanya Samriddhi Account scheme.
  • Also, the interest on savings deposits has been retained at four percent annually.
  • The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation had earlier lowered the interest on provident fund deposits for the 2016-’17 financial year to 8.65 percent from 8.8 percent.

Malaysian PM on five days visit to India

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak arrived in Chennai beginning a five-day state visit to India.

  • During his stay, Prime Minister Razak will be attending a trade expo organised by the Malaysia-India Business Council Business Forum and 7th Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council Meeting.

Canada-India healthcare summit begins in Delhi

The possibilities of collaboration between India and Canada in making quality medical care available in a cost-effective manner will be explored in the two-day Canada-India Healthcare Summit in New Delhi.

  • A joint initiative by the Canada India Foundation, the Indian government and Apollo Hospitals, the summit will be attended by about 150 delegates from both the countries.

 Rs 2,256 cr project for GST integration approved

The government has approved Rs 2,256 crore outlay for Project Saksham to bolster the information technology network for the new GST regime.

  • Project Saksham is the name given to CBEC’s IT Infrastructure Project, while enable not just the implementation of Goods and Services tax (GST) but also support all existing services in Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax.

President inaugurates Namami Brahmaputra festival in Assam

President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated a five-day Namami Brahmaputra river festival in Guwahati, Assam and suggested that the state government make it a regular event.

  • The festival is a tribute to the Brahmaputra river which is revered as a lifeline for the people of Assam.
  • Assam’s culture, heritage, history, music, food, tourism potential and other aspects would be showcased during the festival which will continue till April 4.

Petroleum Minister opens Shell technology hub in Bengaluru

US oil and gas major Shell’s new technology hub has been opened in Bengaluru by Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan who said that its piloting work on IH2 waste-to-fuel technology would be a game changer both for the global economy as well as for India.

  • The Shell Technology Centre intends to develop IH2 technology that converts solid waste to fuel that will aid in the transition to a low-carbon and more energy efficient future.

India’s first Biogas bus launched in Kolkata

A 55-seat bus powered by biogas, sourced from cow dung, has been launched in Kolkata. The operators claim it is India’s first such bus service.

  • A nominal fare of Re 1 will be charged from each passenger.
  • The bus, to run on the 17.5 km Ultadanga-Garia stretch, will be one of the fleet of 16 buses to be deployed across Kolkata and surrounding areas.
  • The vehicle is powered by a German technology engine.

Vanaja Sarna is CBEC’s new Chairman

Vanaja N. Sarna was appointed as the new chairman of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), following retirement from service of incumbent Najib Shah, an official statement said.

  • Prior to becoming Member of the CBEC, she held the charge of Director General of Vigilance and Chief Vigilance Officer of the Department.

HCL to set up IT, training centres in Andhra Pradesh

Information Technology giant HCL signed a MoU with Andhra Pradesh to set up IT and training centres in Vijayawada and Amaravati.

  • HCL will invest Rs 500 crore in 10 years in the projects.

4 ISRO teams join 36th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has joined the 36th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica (36-ISEA) organised by the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR).

  • It has send four teams-one team each from Space Applications Centre (SAC), National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS) and and Space Physics Laboratory(SPL).

SpaceX launches first recycled rocket

SpaceX blasted off a recycled rocket for the first time, using a booster that had previously flown cargo to the astronauts living at the International Space Station.


Army Releases Book on Rashtriya Rifles

General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) released the book ‘Home of the Brave’ on the history of Indian Army’s Counter Insurgency Force, the Rashtriya Rifles (RR). The book is authored by Mr Nitin A Gokhale, Defence & Security Analyst and Brig S K Chatterji


Tamil Nadu become 1st state to win all BCCI senior trophies

Tamil Nadu have become the first state to win all BCCI senior trophies after winning the Deodhar Trophy. The state, which won the Ranji Trophy in 1987-88, also won the Vijay Hazare Trophy this year, making them five-time winners in the tournament. Tamil Nadu won the Irani Cup in 1988-89 and the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in 2007-08.


SV Sunil named Asian Hockey Player of Year

Indian forward S.V Sunil has been named the Asian Player of the Year 2016 in the senior men’s category by the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF).

  • Meanwhile, dragflicker Harmanpreet Singh has been named the Asian Promising Player of the Year 2016 in the junior men’s category.

 

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