Quick Gyan | Daily Current Affairs

March 30 – Current Affairs Quick Gyan

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Welcome to the Quick Gyan (QG) Section of D2G. QG is just a glimpse of what happened today all over the world.

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APPOINTMENTS

IDSA announces appointment of Jitendra Jagota as Chairman

Indian Direct Selling Association (IDSA) has announced its new Executive Committee at the General Body Meeting held in New Delhi. Jitendra Jagota, Director Legal and Government Affairs, Avon Beauty Products India Pvt. Ltd has been has become the Chairman of the Association.

  • He succeeds Rajat Banerji, National Head Corporate Affairs, Amway India Enterprises, who congratulated and welcomed the in-coming Chairman.
  • The new executive committee comprises of Vice Chairman, Vivek Katoch, Director Corporate Affairs, Oriflame, Treasurer, Rajat Banerji, National Head Corporate Affairs, Amway India Enterprises and Secretary Rini Sanyal, Head, Worldwide Regulatory, Govt. and Industry Affairs, India, Herbalife, along with Jitendra as the new Chairman.
  • The new executive committee also welcomed Amit Chadha, who has been recently appointed as the Secretary General of the Association; a Non-elected member of the IDSA board.
  • The elected members of the Indian Direct Selling Association will each serve one-year term for financial year 2016-17.

Quick Link – IDSA

BANKING AND FINANCE

RBI tweaks rules for interest rates on loans

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has tweaked its norms on the new method of loan rate calculation by banks asking lenders to use the so-called marginal cost of funds calculation for even fixed rate loans up to three years.

  • The new interest rate calculation which is set to be adopted by banks from April 1, links banks’ loan rates to new deposits and is aimed at ensuring that lending rates are linked directly with RBI interest rate moves.
  • The new norms were released in December and had initially provided for exempting all fixed rate loans. The new norms say only fixed rate loans above three years will be exempt.
  • Banks can also use balances of deposits of up to seven days prior to the new rate setting to calculate the new interest rate a change from considering deposits only as on the previous day.

Quick Link – RBI loan rate calculation

RBI cancelled Certificate of Registration of 22 NBFCs

Reserve Bank said it has canceled registration of 22 non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) including that of Amazan Capital and Mascot Commerce.

  • The RBI said it canceled the certificate of registration of the NBFCs in exercise of the powers conferred on it under Section 45-IA (6) of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.
  • Following the cancellation of registration certificate, these companies cannot transact the business of a non-banking financial institution.
  • NBFCs whose registration have been canceled include Kundan Leasing and Finvest, Raseera Investments, Limtex Impex, Dignity Motors Finance, Akansha Consultancy Services, Bini Commercial Enterprises, Nirankar Investments, and Surin Investments.

Quick Link – 22 NBFCs

RBI, Sri Lanka Central Bank Sign Currency Swap Pact

The Reserve Bank of India said it would allow its Sri Lankan counterpart to draw up to $700 million over a maximum period of three months under a new special currency swap agreement signed by the two central banks.

  • The RBI has previously provided currency swaps to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, including plans to extend a $1.5 billion agreement by one year.
  • Sri Lanka is seeking a loan of $1.5 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to boost foreign exchange reserves and help avert a balance of payments crisis.
  • The country has seen its foreign exchange reserves depleted by the central bank’s defence of its rupee currency, as it struggles with heavy debt piled up under the previous government.

Quick Link – RBI Swap Pact

ADB cuts India’s growth forecast to 7.4% for 2016-17

Global headwinds will pull down India’s growth rate to 7.4 percent in the next fiscal from 7.6 percent this year but more reforms will help the country remain one of the fastest growing economies in the world, the Asian Development Bank said.

  • The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) growth forecast of 7.4 percent for 2016-17 is substantially lower than its earlier projection of 7.8 percent.
  • ADB’s flagship publication Asian Development Outlook (ADO) also projected rise in consumer inflation, mainly on account of the impact of salary hike of government employees and a likely mild pick up in global oil prices.
  • ADB projects India’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow 7.4 percent in FY 2016, slightly below the FY 2015 estimate of 7.6 percent.

Quick Link – ADB to 7.4% 

CBDT signed 11 unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements

The Central Board of Direct Taxes signed 11 unilateral APAs. With this signing, India has entered into 59 bilateral and/or unilateral APAs.

  • The Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) programme was introduced by the Finance Act, 2012 to provide a predictable and non-adversarial tax regime and to reduce litigation in the Indian transfer pricing regime.
  • 50 of these agreements have been signed in the current financial year.
  • The agreements cover a range of international transactions, including corporate guarantees, royalty, software development services, IT enabled services and trading.

Quick Link – CBDT with APAs

INDIAN AFFAIRS

SC approved guidelines of GOI to protect Good Samaritans

The Supreme Court has approved the Union government’s guidelines to protect Good Samaritans from any kind of harassment for helping road accident victims. Also, they (good Samaritans) will be exempted from any criminal and civil liability.

  • As per the guidelines framed by the Centre, those saving lives of road accident victims need not fear harassment by anyone including police.
  • The ‘Good Samaritans’ guidelines will be implemented in all states and union territories. The Centre’s guidelines will soon be published in the media for mass awareness.
  • On October 30, 2014, the apex court had asked the government to find ways for strong guidelines to protect those helping the victims of road accidents.

Quick Link – Good Samaritans

Manohar Parrikar flags off India’s first indigenous Sonar Dome

India’s first indigenous composites sonar dome, a ship’s underwater eyes and ears, was today flagged off by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar from here to be delivered to Mazgaon docks in Mumbai.

  • Designed and produced by a Defence and Research Development Organisation (DRDO) lab in Pune, the sonar dome is a first of its kind in the country and has been manufactured by a composites manufacturing company.
  • This is a huge contribution by Indian Industry to the ‘Make in India’ movement as said by Defence Ministry.
  • Only a couple of companies worldwide have the capability of realising such structures.

Quick Link – India’s first indigenous Sonar Dome

Government Exam scores to be used in private sector hiring

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at an event in New Delhi said that India will allow private companies to hire new employees based on their performance in government job examinations.

  • The initiative will help private sector cut cost on the recruitment process and focus on creating a better work ecosystem.
  • A host of examinations in the country, such as the Common Aptitude Test (CAT), Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and Common Entrance Test (CET), have already set a benchmark of standards to select students.
  • Similarly, the public sector banking examinations have been at the forefront of hiring new recruits.
  • The government and public sector undertakings conduct a number of recruitment examinations in the country.
  • The scores in these examinations are retained by the government. However, Modi proposed that hereafter the results will be made available to all employers with the consent of the candidate.

Quick Link – GOI to Private sector hiring

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Myanmar lifts emergency in Rakhine after four years

Myanmar’s outgoing President Thein Sein has lifted the state of emergency in the state of Rakhine. The order was imposed in June 2012 as violence flared between Buddhist and Muslim communities.

  • Dozens of people died and about 140,000 people, mainly from the Muslim Rohingya ethnic minority, were forced to flee their homes in the western state.
  • Most of them have been unable to return, forced to live in refugee camps and denied basic rights.
  • It comes as Thein Sein ends his five-year term as president.
  • In 2012, the rape and murder of a Buddhist woman sparked violence. More than 200 people died.
  • Most of the Rohingya that were driven out because of the tensions now live in camps for internally displaced people with limited access to food, healthcare and education.

Quick Link – Rakhine after four years

Islam as state religion of Bangladesh

Bangladesh’s top court has rejected a 28-year-old petition to remove Islam as official religion of the country. While the South Asian nation’s Islamists rejoice, analysts say the move is a setback for secular forces. Islam was introduced as state religion in the Bangladeshi constitution in 1988, almost two decades after the South Asian nation got independence from Pakistan following a liberation war. The inclusion of Islam was against the core principles of the country’s independence fighters. The move prompted a group of 15 prominent citizens to file a petition in the courts.

  • The controversy surrounding the state religion has divided the Bangladeshi people for a long time. While the country’s secular people want to get rid of the state religion, Islamists support it unequivocally.
  • Taslima Nasreen, a prominent Bangladeshi writer, believes states shouldn’t have any official religion.
  • Several thousand Muslims rallied in Bangladeshi capital to denounce the petition seeking to remove Islam as the country’s official state religion.
  • More than 90 percent of Bangladesh’s 160 million people are Muslim, and Hindus and Buddhists are the main religious minorities.

Quick Link – Islam state religion of Bangladesh

Myanmar’s Hiten Kyaw sworn in as president

Htin Kyaw has been sworn in as Myanmar’s new president after more than five decades of military rule in the country.

  • Myanmar has been under military or military-dominated rule since a coup in 1962, and the elections in November which brought the new government to power were the first openly contested polls since 1990.
  • Two vice-presidents, one of them a military nominee, are also due to take the oath of office, the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar reported.
  • Htin Kyaw takes over from former general Thein Sein, who has led the country since 2011.
  • Under Thein Sein, the government set in motion reforms which have opened up the once-isolated country to the outside world, including to foreign investment.

Quick Link – Hiten Kyaw as president

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Modi reaches Brussels for India-EU Summit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Brussels on the first leg of his three-nation tour to Belgium, the US and Saudi Arabia. During the course of the visit Modi will attend the India-EU summit and the global nuclear security summit in the US.

  • On his daylong visit to Brussels, Modi will hold a bilateral summit with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and then attend the 13th India-European Union (EU) Summit.
  • On March 31, the prime minister will leave for Washington to attend the two-day Fourth Nuclear Security Summit to be hosted by US President Barack Obama.
  • On April 2 and 3, he will be visiting Saudi Arabia at the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for a two-day visit with a focus on boosting energy and security cooperation. .
  • Prime Minister Modi will also visit the Masmak Fortress, ‘L&T Workers’ Residential Complex and TCS All Women IT & ITES Center in Riyadh.

Quick Link – India-European Union (EU) Summit

Jaitley launches ‘Make in India’ conference in Sydney

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley launched ‘Make in India’ conference in Sydney and asked Australian businesses to be the part of India’s growth story.

  • The Minister pinpointed that with People in agri sector moving out, there was a need to achieve the target of manufacturing sector to occupy the 25 per cent of India’s GDP.
  • India has to invest in its infrastructure in a bid to prepare a base for an economy of this huge size, he said.
  • The conference was launched in the presence of Australia’s Special Envoy for trade Andrew Robb, Indian High Commissioner Navdeep Suri, CII Director-General Chandrajit Banerjee, CII President Sumit Mazumder and NEW Parliament Secretary for Major Events and Tourism Jonathan O’Dea.
  • The Minister further assured the investors that tax system in India was also being gradually brought to global standards.

Quick Link – Make in India

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

China launched 22nd BeiDou navigation satellite

China has launched a satellite to support its global navigation and positioning network. The satellite, launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southwestern province of Sichuan, was taken into orbit by a Long March-3A carrier rocket.

  • It is the 22nd satellite in the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), which is being developed as an alternative to US GPS.
  • It was the 225th launch of the Long March carrier rocket.
  • The satellite, after entering its designed work orbit and finishing in-orbit testing, will join others already in orbit and improve the stability of the system, preparing for BDS to offer global coverage.

Quick Link – Xichang Satellite Launch Center

India ranks third in financial Trojan infections

India ranks third among countries with high number of financial Trojan infections, where cybercriminals defraud customers of online banking services.

  • Study was conducted by Symantec.
  • The report said India has consistently moved up the rankings for countries with the most number of financial Trojan infections over the last three years (No 7 in 2013; No 5 in 2014; and No 3 in 2015).
  • Using financial Trojans to defraud customers of online banking services is still a popular method among cybercriminals looking to make a profit, it added.
  • For its research, it extracted configuration files from 656 active malware samples.

Quick Link – Financial Trojan infections

Nasa to send fungi to ISS in quest of new drugs

For the first time, fungi will be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) in search for novel medicines to be used both in space and on Earth, scientists, including one of Indian-origin.

  • Certain types of fungi produce very important molecules called secondary metabolites that are not essential for their growth or reproduction but can be used to make beneficial pharmaceuticals.
  • Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) and Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in US said they will be the first team in the world to launch fungi to the ISS.
  • The extensive genetic analysis of this fungus shown that it could potentially produce 40 different types of drugs.
  • Researchers will send specimens of Aspergillus nidulans to the ISS aboard the SpaceX CRS-8 mission on 8 April.

Quick Link – ISS in quest of new drugs

OBITUARY

Former USC President Steven Sample dies at 75

Steven Browning Sample, who was president of the University of Southern California for 19 years during which the school rose to international prominence, died at age of 75. Sample’s death was announced by USC, which did not indicate where the Pasadena resident died or the cause of his death. He was USC’s 10th president from 1991 to 2010.

  • Before joining USC, Sample was president of the State University of New York at Buffalo from 1982 to 1991.
  • Under Sample’s leadership, USC saw its national college ranking soar. The Time/Princeton Review College Guide named it college of the year for 2000.
  • The university said during Sample’s presidency, the number of endowed chairs and professorships rose from 152 to 403. Faculty member George Olah won the school’s first Nobel Prize in 1994 for his work in chemistry.

Quick Link – Steven Sample Passes away

Oscar winning actress Patty Duke dies at 69

US actress Patty Duke, who won an Oscar for playing Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker in 1963, has died aged 69. As well as a best supporting actress Oscar, Duke won an Emmy in 1980 for playing Helen Keller’s teacher in a TV movie version.

  • Duke also starred in The Patty Duke Show in the 1960s in which she took the roles of “identical” teenage cousins.
  • She was the mother of actor Sean Astin, who played the hobbit Sam in the Lord of the Rings trilogy of films.
  • Her representative, Mitchell Stubbs, said she died early on Tuesday of sepsis from a ruptured intestine.
  • She underwent a heart bypass in 2004.
  • Duke was a child star, making her first TV appearance at the age of 12.

Quick Link – Patty Duke Passed away


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