Current Affairs Current Affairs - 27 December 2015 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 27 December 2015

General Affairs 

PM Modi's Lahore Visit A 'Transformative Moment' For Subcontinent: BJP
  • PM Modi's Lahore Visit A 'Transformative Moment' For Subcontinent: BJPNEW DELHI:  Calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surprise visit to Pakistan a "transformative moment" in the subcontinent, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today said it has provided yet another opportunity to write a new chapter in the difficult Indo-Pak relationship and rejected Congress' criticism as "childish".

    The party hailed Prime Minister Modi for his "courage, vision, skill and imagination", saying pursuit of peace in the complex region with its history of fraught ties between the two countries required such courage.

    BJP spokesperson MJ Akbar at a press conference also said that it required "two authors reading from the same page" to write a new chapter while asserting that the peace process between the two neighbours has been revived in an "extraordinary" manner.

    Warm personal relation between Prime Minister Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif is "symptomatic" of the "diplomatic thaw" that has taken place, he said.

    "The party expresses its deep admiration for the Prime Minister for his courage, vision, imagination and skill in creating a transformative moment on the sub-continent.

    "Search of peace does not meant that we have already found it. But the process particularly in a region with as many complex problems as ours, history as ours; the pursuit of peace, always a fragile commodity, requires kind of courage shown in Lahore," Mr Akbar said and also admired Mr Sharif for his leadership.

    "We also extend our congratulations to Pakistan Prime Minister for his vision and leadership in this pursuit of peace," he said.

    Asked about Congress' charge that an industrialist had arranged the meeting in Lahore and that Prime Minister Modi's visit was meant to promote private business interests, he said, "What can be an answer to such childishness.... This is not only absolutely incorrect but also reflects on the brains of people raising such questions."

    "Unfortunately, there are one or two parties which are preferring partisan politics over national interest. Hope they will understand that the Prime Minister's vision is for common good," he said, adding that Prime Minister Modi will visit Pakistan next year for the SAARC Summit "if all goes well".

    He, however, added that all seeds of such a relationship are laid in "silence" and adding that a number of meetings, including the NSA-level talks in Bangkok, Prime Minister Modi's meeting with Mr Sharif in Paris and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's visit to Pakistan helped create a conducive atmosphere.

    Mr Akbar said the depth and extent of positive response to the meeting between the two government heads has been "extremely reassuring" and noted that mainstream political parties in Pakistan and the Left in India had also welcomed it besides the outside world.

    Prime Minister Modi has been a "master" of such transformative moments, he said, recalling his decision to invite all the government heads of SAARC countries for his oath-taking ceremony and noted that subsequent developments indicated the difficulties in the Indo-Pak relation.

    The Lahore meet, he said in a lighter vein, can be called an effective example of climate change except that it wanted to make the subcontinent warmer and not colder.

    Prime Minister Modi has a great vision not only for Indo-Pak ties but for the whole SAARC region, Mr Akbar said, suggesting that he wanted it like the EU, which was a "frozen war zone" 70 years back.

    Quoting his own article, he said SAARC is the larger circle around which the Prime Minister was trying to untangle the "vicious" Indo-Pak circle.

    Asked about what transpired between the talks between the two heads, he said it was not a structured dialogue but an attempt to build atmosphere which was successful.

    To a question about allegations against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, he strongly defended him, saying truth is with him and those attacking him are either "misled" or lying.

Kejriwal Government Scraps 932 Auto Permits, Suspends 3, After Alleged Scam
  • Kejriwal Government Scraps 932 Auto Permits, Suspends 3, After Alleged ScamNEW DELHI:  Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held a meeting of cabinet ministers and senior bureaucrats early on Saturday morning and decided to scrap nearly 1000 autorickshaw permits in Delhi after alleged irregularities in their allotment. The Delhi government also suspended three officials of the transport department, including a senior bureaucrat, in the matter and decided not to issue any more permits for the time being.

    The officials -- identified as S Roy Biswas, Deputy Commissioner, Manish Puri, Inspector, and Anil Yadav, a clerk -- were placed under suspension immediately after the high-level meeting, at 8 am, news agency Press Trust of India reported.

    Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has said the matter would be handed over to the CBI. "The matter would be handed over to the CBI. This government cannot tolerate corruption at any level," he tweeted. The alleged irregularities have the BJP demanding Transport Minister Gopal Rai's resignation. The Party's Delhi unit will hold a protest outside the Delhi Secretariat on Monday.

    Some autorickshaw drivers had reportedly sent text messages to Mr Kejriwal last evening after he made a call to Mr Rai. Officials said the transport minister had already made preliminary enquiries in the matter and found out two types of irregularities - the permits or Letters of Intent were issued on a pick and choose basis against the rules and that these were being handed over to intermediaries or unauthorised persons instead of the applicants - the official said.

    Mr Rai has said he had ordered an inquiry immediately after he received complaints on December 23. The alleged irregularities have surfaced as the government in Delhi prepares to launch the odd-even formula for cars from January 1 and augment public transport to fill in for the cars taken off the capital's roads. The transport department is the nodal agency for implementing the grand plan. The government has decided to put the process of issuing permits on hold.

'Award Wapsi' Suddenly Stopped After Bihar Elections: Anupam Kher
  • 'Award Wapsi' Suddenly Stopped After Bihar Elections: Anupam KherJAMMU:  Taking a dig at those who cried hoarse over 'intolerance' by returning their awards, actor Anupam Kher today said that it was aimed at Bihar elections and questioned the sudden halt of such a campaign.

    "Somehow I raise my voice about award wapsi. This was for the first time this has happened. I thought it was done in a much planned manner and after the Bihar elections, the season of award wapsi suddenly stopped," he told reporters on the sidelines of a function in Jammu.

    "I always think that with the grace of God I have got many awards. Even though the awards are given by an organisation, they represent the love and encouragement of the common people," he said.

    Mr Kher, who is on a three-day visit to Jammu also inaugurated 'Tawi Kinare' Jammu Literary Festival 2015 .

    Mr Kher said that the biggest intolerance should have been shown against the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits, that remained hidden from the site of the people who returned their awards.

    The 60-year-old actor, who visited the Jagti Township of the Kashmiri Pandit on Friday, said that he would be working on the return and rehabilitation of the community.

    "Yesterday I went to the Jagti camp and met the refugees living there. There are two things which need to be done.

    First how to send them back to their houses which is a major task and the second is about their rehabilitation and to provide them with basic amenities," he said.

    Talking about his experience at the Tawi Kinare, Mr Kher said, "I felt very good after hearing the people, especially the writers".

    The actor also appreciated Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surprise visit to Pakistan on Friday.

    "It is a very big step as we both (India and Pakistan) come from a same background. It was only politics that separated us. People die when they say that we should pay them back in the same coin," he said.

    Talking further about the cause of the Kashmiri Pandit, the National Award winning actor noted that he would like to meet the representatives of the Jammu and Kashmir government to highlight the plight of the Kashmiri Pandit community.

    "My wife (Kiron Kher) being a parliamentarian has raised this topic about Kashmiri Pandits. We need to have a concrete plan and take it to concerned ministries and the government and if possible to the Prime Minister and do the rehabilitation work in much better manner and also plan about their safety when they go back," he said.

Indo-Pak Relations Should Move Beyond VIP Diplomacy: CPI(M)
  • Indo-Pak Relations Should Move Beyond VIP Diplomacy: CPI(M)KOLKATA:  India-Pakistan relations should move beyond "VIP diplomacy" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan Premier Nawaz Sharif and be carried forward to people to people contact, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said today.

    "As far as relations with Pakistan is concerned, the CPI(M) has always maintained that talks should go on. There are two aspects. Initially, the secretary level talks was disrupted by us (India) as it was said that we will discuss only terrorism and no other issue.

    "Now it has been agreed to talk on everything, including J&K. So this suddenly dropping by in Pakistan is good. But the talks should sustain," Mr Yechury told reporters in Kolkata.

    His comments come in the backdrop of a surprise visit by PM Modi to Pakistan when he flew into Lahore last afternoon, his first touchdown in that country, to meet Mr Sharif.

    The announcement on the visit came from PM Modi himself yesterday morning in a tweet as he prepared to wind up his brief visit to Afghanistan.

    "What is happening right now is VIP diplomacy. We cannot have Ghulam Ali singing in India. We cannot have Pakistani cricket team playing in India. We cannot have our families which have been separated by partition meet each other. This VIP-level diplomacy should not end here and it should carried forward to people to people contact," Mr Yechury said.

    CPI(M) yesterday had welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surprise visit to Lahore and called for "consistent and regular" dialogue with Pakistan for lasting peace between the two neighbours.

Delhi University Professor Saibaba With Alleged Naxal Links Surrenders
  • Delhi University Professor Saibaba With Alleged Naxal Links SurrendersNAGPUR:  Suspended Delhi University Professor GN Saibaba, accused of having links with Maoists, has surrendered before the Central Jail authorities in Nagpur as per the directive of the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court.

    Professor Saibaba, who was on bail till December 31, gave himself up to jail authorities last night, prison sources said today.

    On December 23, the bench had rejected his regular bail application and directed him to surrender within 48 hours.

    Justice Arun Choudhary had declined the request to grant more time to Professor Saibaba to surrender and directed the police to arrest him if he failed to turn up within two days.

    The high court cited a medical report which clearly stated that proper medical aid was extended to Professor Saibaba by doctors when he was lodged in the Nagpur prison.

    Lawyers of the wheelchair-bound Professor had pleaded for extension of bail on health grounds.

    He was arrested in May 2014 by Gadchiroli Police of Maharashtra for alleged active links with Naxals.

    Pournima Upadhyay, an activist, had written a letter to the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court which was treated as PIL and thereafter temporary bail was granted to Professor Saibaba for three months on health grounds by the Principal Bench based in Mumbai.

Business Affairs 

Bullet train projects: A $51 bn gold mine in making
  • The proposed Rs 98,000-crore Mumbai- Ahmedabad bullet project along with the diamond quadrilateral project that seeks to build 6,000 km of high-speed rail network, can create a whopping $51 billion business opportunity for the MSME sector, says a report.
    If the government makes 30 per cent mandatory sourcing from Micro Small and Medium Enterprises for these projects, it can create a $51 billion window of opportunities for the sector, according to the report by domestic agency Smera Ratings.
    A whopping $168 billion will be spent over the next 10 years, if the projects go as planned, it said, adding that they can change the face of MSMEs in terms of technology absorption and innovation, apart from creating a large channel of funding opportunities for them.
    Collectively 28 per cent MSMEs in the special purpose machineries, fabricated metals and printing among other sectors will gain from these mega projects, provided the government makes it mandatory to source 30 per cent of inputs from them through an offset clause. If so, this can unleash nearly $51 billion for the sector.
    Citing the MSME ministry's assessment, the report said that such an offset clause will see over 24 per cent of the fabricated metal producers gaining, while for non-metallic producers (12.5 per cent), special purpose machinery makers (12.1 per cent), textile companies (8.9 per cent) and close to 8 per cent structural metal producers gaining.
    This will be achievable provided the projects involves manufacturing MSMEs in the project,which can create immense value for the sector in terms of aiding the gross capital formation (GCF), an important indicator of the extra value created over existing fixed assets, says the report, adding currently, the GCF for the MSME segment is only $52 billion.
    These projects can help MSMEs gain an additional 3.7 per cent of their annual manufacturing GCF due to the cheap additional debt made available through the projects.
    In terms of fund needs, the bullet train network can potentially add 1.5 per cent to MSMEs' debt shortfall over the next 10 years, the report said, adding despite this there will still be an additional debt gap of $19 billion for them.
    While many analysts have questioned the viability of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, the report estimated that at $1,600 per capita income, the country is better placed than Japan which rolled out its first Shinkansen (bullet train) in 1964 between Tokyo and Osaka, when its per capita income was only $1,346.
    Japan has agreed to fund $12 billion to the project at 1 per cent interest for a 30-year tenor.

Noida to Agra Expressway put on the block: Report
  • Noida to Agra Expressway put on the block: ReportJaypee Group has started talks to sell its entire stake in the 165-km Yamuna Expressway project to pare its debt, two people with knowledge of the development told business newspaper Mint.
    The Jaypee Group, comprising Jaiprakash Power Ventures, Jaiprakash Associates, and Jaypee Infratech, has about Rs 60,000-crore debt.
    The group is in talks with infrastructure-focused funds IDFC Alternatives and I Squared Capital to sell the six-lane toll-based project in UP that connects Noida with Agra along the Yamuna river, they told Mint, requesting anonymity.
    The deal is likely to be complex one due to the land parcels attached to the expressway. The group may have to carve out the roads portion to sell it, on of them said.
    "I am not aware of any such thing," said Sameer Gaur, joint managing director, Jaypee Infratech, which houses the integrated project. The Jaypee Group declined to comment. I Squared and IDFC Alternatives also declined to comment

Asian shares at 2-1/2-week high, crude oil rebounds
  • Asian shares at 2-1/2-week high, crude oil reboundsAsian shares climbed to 2-1/2-week highs on Thursday, heartened by gains on Wall Street and a recovery in crude oil prices in thin trading ahead of the Christmas holiday.
    MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.7 per cent after US stocks posted their third straight session of gains.
    Now that this month's US Federal Reserve interest rate hike is out of the way, investors were left to ponder how much tightening the Fed has in store for 2016, as well as the impact of the hike on the rest of the world.
    Australian shares jumped 1.3 per cent in a shortened Christmas Eve session, while Korea's KOSPI was up 0.3 per cent.
    "The mood is dependent on moving oil and commodity prices following the Fed meeting," said Bae Sung-young, a stock analyst at Hyundai Securities.
    US crude futures added 0.6 per cent at $37.71 a barrel while Brent crude futures rose 0.6 per cent to $37.58. Both had added more than a dollar a barrel on Wednesday in thin trading, a day after Brent had touched its lowest level since July 2004.
    Japan's Nikkei rose 0.3 per cent, after Japanese markets were closed on Wednesday for the Emperor's birthday.
    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet approved on Thursday a record fiscal 2016 budget that counts on higher growth and tax revenue to achieve Abe's aim of reviving the economy and reining in public debt.
    Minutes of the Bank of Japan's November rate review released earlier in the session showed that many policymakers complained of slow wage and capital expenditure growth, but were optimistic that companies will start to boost spending once emerging economies improve.
    "Even though the BOJ keeps the door open to further embark on the easing cycle, the recent comments from Governor Haruhiko Kuroda suggest the bar remains high for the committee to further expand its asset-purchase program as the central bank head remains confident in achieving the 2 per cent inflation goal over the policy horizon," David Song, currency analyst at DailyFX, wrote in a note.
    US data released overnight provided no real directional clues, as new orders for US manufactured capital goods fell last month while personal income rose, and consumer sentiment hit a five-month high in December.
    The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six rival currencies, edged down 0.2 per cent to 98.134, below its two-week high of 99.294 set on Thursday last week after the US Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade.
    The dollar slipped about 0.3 per cent against the yen to 120.62 yen, down from its Friday high of 123.49.
    The euro added about 0.2 per cent to $1.0937.
    Spot gold rose 0.4 per cent to $1,074.45 an ounce after languishing for two straight sessions of losses. Gold prices are still down more than 9 per cent for the year, weighed by positioning that took place ahead of the Fed's widely-anticipated rate hike.

Air India rolls out advance fare scheme starting at Rs 2,865 for economy class
  • Air India rolls out advance fare scheme for economy classSeeking to make flying affordable to the common man, national carrier Air India has rolled out an advance purchase scheme for the economy class, matching the fare with that of a 2AC train ticket price, including on key domestic destinations like Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
    The 90-day advance purchase fares (all-inclusive) starts at as low as Rs 2,865, sources said.
    These advance purchase fares have already been put in the system for sale on various routes operated by Air India, they said.
    As per the new scheme, a ticket price on Delhi-Mumbai route would cost Rs 2,865 while on Delhi-Bhubaneshwar the same would cost as low as Rs 3,470. Incidentally, the 2AC train ticket prices in these two sectors respectively are Rs 2,865 and Rs 3,325.
    "We have brought our economy class fares on key domestic routes at the level of 2AC train fares. The idea behind rolling out such low fares is to make the flying affordable for a common man," a source said.
    These fares are also in line with the government's plan to make air travel affordable for all in the draft national civil aviation policy, they said.
    The scheme targets all segment of travellers, youth, students and vacationers, among others, they said.
    Similarly, an all inclusive Delhi-Kolkata fare would be Rs 2,885, which is also at the level of the 2AC train fare on this route.
    Under the scheme, the national carrier has pegged its fare for a Delhi-Bangalore air travel at Rs 4,015, which are also at the level of 2AC train fare for travel between the two cities.
    In an effort to boost air connectivity, the civil aviation ministry has sought to put flying within the reach of the common man by capping air fares at about Rs 2,500 per flying hour under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS).
    It has also proposed to provide an upfront subsidy to airline operating on regional and remote routes as part of the draft civil aviation policy.
    Besides, the policy has also proposed to develop no-frills airports at over 400 unused airstrips across the country at an estimated cost of around Rs 50 crore each for supporting flights to the unconnected destinations under the RCS.
    The suggested measures are expected to boost domestic air traffic to 300 million by 2022 from 70 million currently, as per the draft policy.
    The move is likely to trigger a fare war as other domestic carriers may follow suit.

Fortune favours IOC with top ranking again
  • Fortune favours IOC with top ranking againState-run Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) retained top ranking in 2015 for the sixth consecutive year in the list of global business magazine Fortune 500's Indian firms, with a whopping $68.5 billion revenue.
    The Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries also held on its second ranking, with $57.96 billion revenue
    Two other state-run oil marketing firms (Bharat Petroleum & Hindustan Petroleum), three Tata group firms (Tata Motors, Tata Steel & TCS), state-run ONGC, State Bank of India (SBI) and Hindalco Industries figure among 10 Indian firms in the Fortune 500's global list of 1,000 companies.
    "The ranking is based on each firm's revenue, net operating income, profits, assets, net-worth and dividend," the magazine said here on Thursday.
    With $40.5 billion, Tata Motors climbed the ranking list to third from fifth last year, followed by SBI at fourth with $38.98 billion, up from sixth in 2014.
    Bharat Petroleum, however, slipped to sixth rank from third as its revenue declined to $36.4 billion, while Hindustan Petroleum was ranked sixth with $32.33 billion, ONGC at seventh with $25 billion, Tata Steel at eighth with $21.5 billion, Hindalco at ninth with $16.2 billion and TCS at 10 with $14.9 billion.
    "Total revenues of Indian firms grew 2.7 per cent while their profits slipped 5.9 per cent over last year.
    "Though overall scene does not seem promising, individual firms are sailing against the tide to deliver value to their customers and shareholders," the statement noted.
    Other Indian firms figuring in the global list are Idea Cellular (47th rank), Asian Paints (85), TVS Motor Company (125), Godrej Consumer Products (157), Kwality (195), Aegis Logistics (271), Srei Infrastructure Finance (303), Transport Corporation of India (397) and Persistent Systems (447) across verticals.

General Awareness

List of Indian Banks & Private Banks and their Heads

    • Central Bank
      RBI (Governor) – Raghuram Rajan 
      RBI (Dy. Governor) – H. R. Khan, Urjit R. Patel, R. Gandhi & S.S. Mundra 

      Nationalized Banks 
      Allahabad Bank  (Chairman and MD) – Rakesh Sethi 
      Andhra Bank (MD and CEO) – Suresh N. Patel 
      Bank of Baroda (MD and CEO) – P.S. Jayakumar 
      Bank of India (MD and CEO) – Melwyn Rego 
      Bank of Maharashtra (Chairman and MD) – Sushil Muhnot 
      Bhartiya Mahila Bank (Chairman and MD) – 
      Canara Bank (MD and CEO) – Rakesh Sharma 
      Central Bank of India (Chairman and MD) – Rajiv Rishi 
      Corporation Bank (Chairman and MD) – S.R. Bansal 
      Dena Bank (Chairman and MD) – Ashwani Kumar 
      IDBI (MD and CEO) – K.P. Kharat 
      Indian Bank (Chairman and MD) – M.K. Jain 
      Indian Overseas Bank (MD and CEO) –  R. Koteeswaran 
      Oriental Bank of Commerce (MD and CEO) –  Animesh Chauhan 
      Punjab National Bank (MD and CEO) –   Usha Ananthasubramanian 
      Punjab and Sind Bank (Chairman and MD) – J.B. Singh 
      Syndicate Bank (MD and CEO) –  Arun Srivastava 
      UCO Bank (Chairman and MD) –   Ravi Kishan Takkar 
      Union Bank of India (Chairman and MD) – Aurn Tiwari 
      United Bank of India (MD and CEO) –   P. Srinivas 
      Vijaya Bank (MD and CEO) –  Kishore Kumar Sansi 

      State Bank Group 
      State Bank of India (Chairman) – Arundhati Bhattacharya 
      State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (MD) – Jyoti Ghosh 
      State Bank of Hyderabad (MD) – Santanu Mukherjee 
      State Bank of Mysore (MD) – Sharad Sharma 
      State Bank of Patiala (MD) – S.A. Ramesh Rangan 
      State Bank of Travancore (MD) – Jeevan Das Narayan 

      Private Bank 

      Axis Bank (MD and CEO) – Shikha Sharma 
      Catholic Syrian Bank (MD and CEO) – Anand Krishnamurthy 
      City Union Bank (MD and CEO) – N. Kamakodi 
      Development Credit Bank (MD and CEO) – Murali M. Natrajan 
      Dhanalakshmi Bank (MD and CEO) – P.G. Jayakumar 
      Federal Bank (MD and CEO) – Shyam Shrinivasan 
      HDFC Bank (MD) – Aditya Puri 
      ICICI Bank (MD and CEO) – Chanda D. Kochhar 
      Indusind Bank (MD) – Romesh Sobti 
      J and K Bank (Chairman and CEO) Mushtaq Ahmad 
      Karnataka Bank (MD and CEO) – P. Jayarama Bhat 
      Karur Vyasa Bank (MD and CEO) – K. Venkataraman 
      Kotak Mahindra Bank (MD) – Uday S. Kotak 
      Lakshmi Vilas Bank (MD and CEO) – 
      Nainital Bank (Chairman and CEO) – S.K. Gupta 
      Ratnakar Bank (MD and CEO) – Vishwavir Ahuja 
      South Indian Bank (MD and CEO) – V.G. Mathew 
      Tamil Nad Mercantile Bank (MD and CEO) – K.B. Nagendra Murthy 
      Yes Bank (MD and CEO) – Rana Kapoor

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