Current Affairs January 2016 - Vikalp Education

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Current Affairs - 31 January 2016

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General Affairs 

Want To Establish Khadi Gramudyog Network In Villages, Says PM Modi
  • Want To Establish Khadi Gramudyog Network In Villages, Says PM ModiNEW DELHI:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the government wants to create a network of Khadi Gramudyog across villages in the country to provide more job opportunities through the sector.

    In a letter addressed to people associated with Khadi Gramudyog on the 68th death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, PM Modi said: "We want to create a network of Khadi Gramudyog across villages in India, so that people can get employment and families in villages can be empowered."

    PM Modi expressed happiness saying the government's efforts to promote khadi were bearing fruit as various state-owned institutions were using products made from the fabric.

    "I am happy that the government's efforts are bearing fruit and various state-owned institutions are coming forward and using khadi products made by you. These include railways, police department, Indian Navy and Department of Posts, among other institutions.

    "I have been informed that an additional 18 lakh man days will be required to meet the needs of these institutions leading to higher wages of the workers," PM Modi said.

    Pointing out that khadi, which played an important role in the freedom struggle, has become a fashion statement, he said arrangements were being made to ensure that workers in the sector can easily avail benefits of government schemes like Atal Pension Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana.

    PM Modi also lauded the efforts being made to produce khadi using Solar Charkha and Solar Loom, noting that these will double income of the weavers and increase production.

Delhi Sees Hottest January 30 In Last 5 Years
  • Delhi Sees Hottest January 30 In Last 5 YearsNEW DELHI:  The national capital today experienced the hottest January 30 in the last five years with the maximum temperature settling at 27.2 degrees Celsius, five notches above the season's average, the Met office said.

    The weather office referred to the Western Disturbance persisting in the northern parts of India as a reason behind the sudden increase in mercury.

    "As the Western Disturbance approach still persists in northern India at a few kilometres above sea level, it caused sudden winter rain in Himachal Pradesh leading to the rise in temperature," said an official of the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

    The weather office has forecast that mercury would come down after the Western Disturbance passes the northern areas.

    "There would be a clear sky on Sunday in Delhi while shallow to moderate fog may occur in the morning," the IMD official said.

    Sunday's maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to hover around 25 and 11 degrees Celsius, respectively.

    Saturday's minimum temperature settled at 13.2 degrees Celsius, four notches above the season's average, while the maximum humidity was recorded 98 per cent.

    Friday's maximum temperature was recorded 25.4 degrees Celsius, three notches above the average for this time of the season.

3 Terrorists Killed In Encounter In Jammu And Kashmir's Kupwara
  • 3 Terrorists Killed In Encounter In Jammu And Kashmir's KupwaraSRINAGAR:  Three unidentified terrorists were killed in an encounter with security forces in Kupwara district of north Kashmir, a police official said today.

    The gunbattle broke out at Dardpora in Lolab area of Kupwara last night after security forces launched a search operation there, the official said.

    He said while one terrorist was killed in the initial exchange of firing last night, two others were killed this evening.

    The identity and group affiliation of the killed terrorists have not been ascertained yet, the official said, adding three weapons have been recovered from the scene of the encounter.

Bribery Case: Kerala Excise Minister K Babu Withdraws Resignation
  • Bribery Case: Kerala Excise Minister K Babu Withdraws ResignationKOCHI:  Hours after Kerala's ruling Congress-led UDF decided not to accept his resignation in connection with the bar bribery case, Congress leader K Babu today decided to withdraw his resignation as minister from the Oommen Chandy Cabinet.

    Mr Babu, who had tendered his resignation a week ago in the wake of the vigilance court ordering registration of an FIR against him in the bar bribery case, said personally he was not interested in returning to the government but, as an obedient party worker, he was compelled to withdraw his resignation.

    "Though I am not interested in returning to the ministership, I, as an obedient party worker, accept the decision taken by the party leadership and UDF. In such a situation, I am compelled to withdraw my resignation," Mr Babu told reporters at his residence in Thrippunithura near Kochi.

    The chief minister had not forwarded the resignation letter to the Governor.

    Mr Babu, who represents Thrippunithura Assembly Constituency, said it was his personal decision to quit the government following the vigilance court order.

    "That vigilance court order has been stayed by the High Court. After submitting my resignation, I had avoided my official vehicle and an application was given to allot a room in MLA hostel."

    "But UDF leadership decided not to accept my resignation. I spoke to Chief Minister. I am grateful to the leadership of Congress and UDF for reposing their faith in me," Mr Babu, who holds portfolios including Excise, Port and Fisheries, said.

    The UDF meeting attended by senior leaders, including Mr Chandy and other coalition party leaders at Thiruvanathapuram, decided that there was no need for Mr Babu to resign as the High Court had stayed the vigilance court proceedings against him for two months.

    After the vigilance court had ordered registering of FIR against him, Mr Babu had resigned on January 23.

US Warship Sails Near Island Claimed By China In South China Sea
  • US Warship Sails Near Island Claimed By China In South China SeaWASHINGTON:  A US Navy guided-missile destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of an island claimed by China and two other nations in the South China Sea on Saturday, in an operation the Pentagon said aimed to challenge efforts to restrict freedom of navigation.

    China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of world trade is shipped every year. Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan have rival claims.

    Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said no ships from China's military were in the vicinity of the USS Curtis Wilbur when it passed near Triton Island in the Paracel Islands.

    "This operation challenged attempts by the three claimants - China, Taiwan and Vietnam - to restrict navigation rights and freedoms," Davis said, reflecting the U.S. position that the crucial sea lane should be treated as international waters.

    The Navy conducted a similar exercise in October in which the guided-missile destroyer Lassen sailed close to one of China's manmade islands, drawing a rebuke from Beijing.

    Davis said the latest operation sought to challenge policies that require prior permission or notification of transit within territorial seas. He said the United States took no position on competing sovereignty claims to naturally-formed land features in the South China Sea.

    "No claimants were notified prior to the transit, which is consistent with our normal process and international law," Davis said.

    The operation followed calls in Congress for the Obama administration to follow up on the October operation.

    This month, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee criticized Obama for delaying further freedom of navigation patrols.

    He said that allowed China to continue to pursue its territorial ambitions in the region, including by landing a plane on a manmade island in the Spratly Islands archipelago.

Business Affairs 

'Make in India' is a marathon, not a sprint: Suresh Prabhu
  • Railways Minister Suresh PrabhuThe Railways Ministry is investing billions of dollars to modernise the sector and give a push to the 'Make in India' initiative, which is a "marathon" and not a "sprint", Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Saturday.
    Prabhu said the government is making right investments to make the manufacturing initiative a success story.
    'Make in India' "is a mission and not a slogan. We are working on it. I always say that if you are doing a marathon run, do not run as a sprinter," he said at the ET Global Business Summit.
    There are lot of comparative advantages in India for the manufacturing sector and the world situation today favours India, he said.
    Talking about modernisation of the railways, he said the ministry has already issued tenders for $7 billion for diesel and electric locomotives.
    Besides, the ministry is planning to invest $20 billion to $25 billion for locomotive and coach building factories in West Bengal.
    He also said that about 85 per cent of the over $16 billion high speed rail network will be made in India and "the ecosystem which will be developed because of (these investments) will be unimaginable". 

FM Arun Jaitley's top 6 quotes today on India's growth
  • Finance Minister Arun JaitleyAddressing the 57th National Cost Convention and the Economic Times Global Business Summit in the capital on Saturday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley spoke extensively on Indian economy, the fall of the rupee and a number of other issues. Here are top 5 quotes from the Finance Minister on various aspects of the economy before he presents the Union Budget for 2016-17 on February 29.
    1. On GDP: "The Indian normal has to be in the 8 or 9 per cent category. It is only at that pace that you can get rid of poverty. Indian economy has to be put on sounder platform, our fundamentals have to be strong enough," Jaitley said.
    2. On subsidy: "Government not against the concept of subsidy per se. We are for rationalisation, not abolition. I am not arguing that all subsidies are good. My point is there can't be an ideological position on such matters. We have to be pragmatic. We have to eliminate bad subsidies, whether or not they are called subsidies," Jaitley said.
    3. Taxation: "India would not pursue foreign companies with new retroactive tax claims. There must not be unfair taxation, unfair assessment brings bad name, not revenue. Only two or three legacy tax issues left, trying to sort out those expeditiously," he said.
    4. Rupee: "Do not agree rupee is in a free-fall mode, rupee has weakened least compared to most other currencies," Jaitley said.
    5. On GST: "It (GST) is the important reform of UPA. If I had to credit the authorship of it, I have to give credit to them (UPA). Now, If the author turns against his own script, what do I make... I have reached out (and) I have spoken to them. I have explained to them and I hope they will see reason... (and) see the rationale behind passing GST. I don't see a reason why they (Congress) should have a rethink on the Bill. If there is a discussion on a particular idea in the Bill, I am willing to discuss with them...certainly, we can't bound future generations to a flawed legislation. The UPA allies like the RJD, the NCP and the JD-U are openly supporting it," Jaitley said.
    6. On low cost of Chinese goods: "If Make in India has to succeed, we actually have to become a low-cost manufacturing hub. And I think there are several global factors which collectively are suiting us. The world has never seen this kind of low price regime. And India as a net buyer benefits from this low price regime... it is extremely important at this junction we fully make use of this global situation. In a world of competition, you actually have to beat your closest competitor. To cut costs, both at micro and larger levels, there are a lot of improvement and changes required in any system," Jaitley said.

5 reasons why you must have a travel insurance cover
  • 5 reasons why you must have a travel insurance coverAway from the hustle and bustle of life, an overseas vacation comes as a welcome break. But, if you do not plan your trip meticulously, it could turn out to be a harrowing experience.
    Besides planning for the itinerary, including travel tickets, accommodation and the required paperwork, insurance is key to ensuring a fun-filled sojourn. According to experts Indian tourists usually do not opt for insurance while traveling overseas, especially for locations where travel insurance is not mandatory, but natural calamities, outbreak of political violence, theft or health emergencies could throw a spanner in the works of all your travel plans, if you do not have travel insurance.
    According to a survey by private general insurance major ICICI Lombard, only 40 per cent of travelers opted for a cover, despite the fact that 90 per cent of those polled were aware of travel insurance. According to Sanjeev Mantri, Executive Director, ICICI Lombard General Insurance, there are a host of travel insurance plans available in India, including covers for medical emergencies, personal liability, loss of passport, loss of baggage, delay or cancellation of a trip, emergency cash advance, political risks and catastrophe evacuation.
    Here are five reasons why you must have a travel insurance cover in place before you head overseas.

    1. LOSS OF PASSPORT AND/OR BAGGAGE:There can be nothing more harrowing than losing one's passport in a foreign country. In case you do not speak the local language, communicating can be a challenge. But a travel insurance can be handy under such circumstances. A call to the emergency number would not only help you get a duplicate passport, but all the related expenses incurred is also taken care of by the insurer. Frequent travelers would know that misplacing or losing one's baggage in transit while taking multiple flights is very common. In some cases, it could take many day to track the baggage and get it back. In such a situation, if you have valid travel insurance, the insurance company would compensate you. If you happen to lose your baggage, the insurer would also pay you a pre-approved sum as stated in the policy immediately to cover for your losses. Here, Mukesh Kumar, Executive Director, HDFC ERGO General Insurance notes that in case of loss of handbag, any form electronic items present in it will not be covered. Watch Out: The deductibles, exclusions and the cap on expenses when it comes to reimbursements.
    2. MEDICAL COVERAGE: You may be in the best of shape, but you never know when you experience a health emergency, including injuries, for which immediate medical attention may be required. You must also know that most medical insurance policies availed in India are useless beyond the borders of the country. Therefore, medical cover is an essential part of your plans, and that's provided as part of the travel cover. Travel insurance plans cover emergency medical and medical assistance as well as related transportation costs. Healthcare expenses in the reasons why you must have a West can be a serious setback if you are not supported by insurance. "In case of any medical emergency on your trip, your insurance plan would cover diagnostic tests, ambulance charges, in- and outpatient treatment, evacuation charges and travel costs to hospital. Most importantly, the plan could give you the facility of cashless hospitalization," says Mantri. Emergency dental treatment is provided as a part of such plans. Watch Out: Read the fine print because pre-existing illnesses are not covered in most travel insurance plans. However, if pre-existing ailments need to be taken care of, then such plans too are available in the market. However, suicide, insanity and injuries arising as a result of adventure sports, are not covered by most plans.
    3. CANCELLATION OR DELAY: Last-minute illness, personal emergency or a death in the family could result in cancelling your overseas trip. This is bound to cause some monetary loss as many bookings are non-refundable. A travel plan that has cancellation coverage will come to your aid at such times through reimbursements of such costs. Rajagopal G., Senior Vice President & Head of Operations & Claims, notes, "Disease, injury or illness must be disabling enough to reasonably cause a trip to be cancelled and supported by medical records. Reimbursement will be for the forfeited, non-refundable prepaid payments made by the insured prior to the illness that caused the cancellation." Cancellation compensation is also applicable when a trip is cancelled due to a terror attack, strikes and weather related events. Other than this, expenses incurred as a result of delays, interruptions or a missed fl ight is reimbursed. The option of emergency cash advances is yet another feature which comes handy when stranded. Watch Out: For most insurers, there is a specified list of events under which cancellation claims are entertained. So be careful of the exclusions before you opt for one.
    4. EMERGENCY EVACUATION: You never know when a natural or man-made calamity is about to strike. Tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic ash clouds, political uprisings and terrorist attacks are all instances where emergency evacuation is a must. If you have an insurance cover, the onus is on the company to evacuate the insured person back to his or her homeland and provide medical help when necessary. Watch Out: Check the assistance provided and the scope of coverage. You may come across a list of places (generally conflict areas) where this facility is not available.
    5. ROUND-THE-CLOCK SUPPORT: This may look like a frivolous point. But when stranded in an unknown location in a foreign land, access to 24x7 emergency helpline comes in handy to get guidance and directions in adverse circumstances. Therefore, it is always advisable to carry a copy of the insurance document while travelling. Rajagopal says, "Helpline team advices on nearest hospital or can help arrange for evacuation."

    First 12 words in interview can win or lose you a job
    • First 12 words in interview can win or lose you a jobForget worrying about the job interview - what you say as you greet your interviewer could be far more important. Researchers found the first 12 words a prospective employee utters could make or break whether they are offered a job.
      It is because the first impression created by small talk on the way to the interview room shapes whether employers view candidates in a positive or negative light.
      Resurgo Trust, a charity which helps disadvantaged young people into work, found recruiters and employers judged people on the quality of their small talk. It said people without privileged backgrounds could struggle to make effective small talk, which put them at a disadvantage.
      Iona Ledwidge, of the charity, said: "Unlocking the secret world of the workplace is not about being posh. It is asking simple questions such as 'How are you?' or 'How was your weekend?'" "It is things like how you greet the receptionist, what you say in the first few minutes or when walking down the corridor.
      It is smoothing over the gaps; a lot is social graces which (some) young people haven't been exposed to. Small talk is part of building confidence and communication skills in the workplace."
      Scott Hutchinson from recruitment consultancy Interim Partners said not everyone knew how to make small talk effectively but that it could give candidates an edge. He added: "People are more governed by feelings rather than reason and small talk shows you can converse."
      "That is why middle and upper class kids get more work; because they are confident. That confidence is bred into them from an early age so they can converse with people, they are almost taught it."

      Road Bill to cross hurdles; get nod in Budget session: Nitin Gadkari
      • Road Bill to cross hurdles; get nod in Budget sessionNot being able to get the Road Safety Bill passed in Parliament so far is the only "black spot" in his ministry, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today, expressing hope that it will cross all hurdles and get cleared in the upcoming Budget session.
        "It pains me that the proposed Road Safety Bill has been the 'only black spot' in the ministry as we have not been able to get it passed despite the same promising widespread reforms. It is on concurrent list and we seek support from states for it," the Road Transport and Highways Minister said at the ET Global Business Summit here.
        "There is are lot of political problems with the subject.
        This is one subject where we could not get success but I am confident that in the next session the bill will be passed. I have talked to many Chief Ministers. We have assured them that we are not taking any powers from states," Gadkari said.
        The new Road Transport and Safety Bill seeks to come down heavily on traffic offenders and proposes steep penalties of up to Rs 3 lakh along with a minimum 7-year imprisonment for death of a child in certain circumstances, besides huge fines for driving violations.
        The minister said the government has already taken a decision to form a Road Safety Authority and the matter is pending before the Cabinet.
        Gadkari said once the law is enacted, it would overhaul the sector bringing in transparency and curbing malpractices.
        Unfortunately, India accounts for about 5 lakh road accidents per annum in which 1.5 lakh people die, he said, adding that the Bill aims to bring down fatalities as well as accidents.
        He said his ministry is committed to contributing at least 2 per cent to the GDP from the sector besides aiming to reduce accidents by more than 50 per cent in the next two years.
        "The Bill has been designed after studying relevant laws of US, UK, Singapore and Japan and would bring transparency in the sector. Presently 30 per cent of the licences in the country are bogus," he added.
        Earlier, allaying States' fear that new Bill will take away their rights, Gadkari has said, "I assure the states that they will not be disturbed. We will not take a single paisa from your revenue and in fact, we want to give support to the states. There are some misconceptions about the proposed Act."
        On road building targets, the minister said it will be raised to 30 km a day, from 18 km at present.
        Also he said that most of the 384 stuck projects have been rolled out and problems in 7 projects of total 21 problematic ones left have been resolved.
        He said contracts worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore have been awarded while work on all major projects including Eastern Peripheral have been started.
        Road and shipping sectors will create 50 lakh jobs, he said.

      General Awareness

      31 countries signed MCAA to boost transparency in international tax matters

        • An agreement between 31 countries has signed namedMultilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA)to increase the transparency in functioning of multinational enterprises (MNEs) by giving permission to automatic exchange of Country-by-Country reports by tax administrators.
          31 countries signed MCAA
          Key Highlights about agreement
          • The agreement plays an important landmark for implementation of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD/G20 BEPS Project and an extraordinary increase in cross-border cooperation on tax matters.
          • It will help in implementation new reliable and fast transfer pricing reporting standards developed under Action 13 of the BEPS Action Plan.
          • This agreement will enhance the transparency of multinational enterprises with easy exchange of information between the tax administrators and its operations and give a clear idea on the key indicators of the multinational businesses.
          • While keeping the confidentiality of the structure and the operation of the MNEs the agreement will ensure that the tax administrations will understand their way easily.
          • According to the OECD/G20 BEPS project 15 key actions are set out to reform the international tax framework.
          • OECD/G20 BEPS (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) project is more significant for the developing countries because they are deeply dependent on corporate income tax especially from MNEs.
          • It also helps to cover the information about the entities or MNEs which are engaged with business in particular authority and activities and such information will be collected from the native country of the MNE group.
          • Sectary General of OECD– Angel Gurria

      Saturday, January 30, 2016

      Current Affairs - 30 January 2016

      by , in

      General Affairs 

      Home Ministry Issues Avalanche Warning For Jammu And Kashmir
      • Home Ministry Issues Avalanche Warning For Jammu And KashmirNEW DELHI:  An avalanche warning for Jammu and Kashmir has been issued by the Centre and people in several districts of the state have been asked not to venture out tonight and tomorrow.

        The avalanche warning has been issued for 24 hours beginning 1700 hours of January 29 to 1700 hours of January 30, a Home Ministry spokesperson said.

        Medium danger avalanche warning exists for Chokibal-Tangdhar, Keran sector, Gurez sector, Naugam-Kaiyan and Machhal sector.

        The avalanche warning has also been issued for Kupwara, Baramulla and Bandipur districts and Dras sector in Ladakh district.

        People have been advised not to venture out in avalanche-prone areas during the period.

      PDP Toughens Stand In Jammu And Kashmir, Wants Concrete Assurances From BJP
      • PDP Toughens Stand In Jammu And Kashmir, Wants Concrete Assurances From BJP
        SRINAGAR:  PDP, which is keeping everyone guessing over the government formation, today toughened its position, saying the ally BJP should hand out concrete assurances for implementation of the coalition's common agenda since it is in power at the Centre.

        PDP particularly flagged issues like relations with Pakistan, revocation of the controversial AFSPA and return of power projects to Jammu and Kashmir from the Centre which are part of the 'Agenda of Alliance'.

        "For us, the 'Agenda of Alliance' is the sacred document that we should be going by. But there have to be some assurances on it," a senior PDP leader said.

        "It does not serve any purpose if we cannot implement this document that was reached between two parties -- one headed by the Prime Minister who has a massive mandate at national level and the other by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as leader of the single largest party of the state," the PDP leader added.

        Referring to the relations with Pakistan which is a part of the Agenda of Alliance, he said while efforts are underway to improve the ties, it is not clear how this goal can be achieved without involving Jammu and Kashmir in the process.

        "The dialogue with Pakistan is part of the Agenda of Alliance in whatever words it might be," he said.

        "Then there are other issues like revocation of AFSPA and return of power projects in the agenda. This all is for the benefit of the people of the state," the PDP leader said.

        With the BJP maintaining a studied silence on the issue, the hardening of stance by PDP indicates that the state could be heading for a longer period of Governor's Rule which was imposed on January 8 following the demise of then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

        Meanwhile, Governor NN Vohra has started assuming full powers of governance. Yesterday, he decided to set the ball rolling for holding elections to local bodies by discussing the matter with political parties.

      Former President APJ Abdul Kalam's Black Stone Statue Unveiled In Odisha
      • Former President APJ Abdul Kalam's Black Stone Statue Unveiled In OdishaBALASORE:  A black stone statue of former president APJ Abdul Kalam was unveiled at Chandipur on sea beach near the Integrated Test Range (ITR), considered as his 'theatre of action', 15 km from Balasore today.

        "I feel proud to unveil the statue of Bharat Ratna APJ Abdul Kalam who dedicated his life for nation building," Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patanaik said while unveiling the eight feet high statue of the former president.

        Speaking on the occasion, state's Tourism Minister Ashok Chandra Panda said the government is keen to develop a tourist circuit comprising Chandipur, Dagara and Talasari coastal beaches under Balasore district. Initial fund has already been allocated for the purpose, he said.

        Dr Kalam had a long association with Balasore district.

        Under his guidance and leadership the present Integrated Test Range, a unit of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), was developed to a full-fledged test range.

        In 2012, while addressing school students as former president at the golden jubilee celebration of a high school in Balasore district on January 7, Dr Kalam had recalled his long association with Balasore and Chandipur.

        He had then said, "I spent nearly a decade in Chandipur (ITR) during my service tenure in DRDO in the missile development programme. Chandipur is a beautiful place, the atmosphere is calm and serene. We have a beautiful lake in the ITR and hundreds of birds visiting the lake make it more beautiful."

        Dr Kalam had last visited the ITR campus to inaugurate an international seminar on range technology held on November 28, 2006.

      Rajnath Singh Says Government Is Capable Of Tackling ISIS Threat
      • Rajnath Singh Says Government Is Capable Of Tackling ISIS Threat
        GREATER NOIDA:  Amidst the growing attempts by ISIS to lure youths into its fold, Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said the security agencies were capable of dealing with any threat posed by the terror group.

        "We have the capacity to meet any threat. We will face it," he told reporters on the sidelines of a function in Greater Noida.

        The home minister's comments came when asked about the ISIS threat in the country.

        Last week, 14 youths were arrested by the NIA and other security agencies after they allegedly formed a module on the pattern of dreaded ISIS to carry out strikes at vital installations.

        The simultaneous raids were carried out in five states of Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh where the suspects were arrested. They were part of a group named 'Janood-ul-Khalifa-e-Hind' (Army of Caliph of India), a terror group which has almost similar ideologies that of ISIS.

        According to Indian intelligence agencies, a total of 23 Indians have so far joined the ISIS of which six were reportedly killed in different incidents in Iraq-Syria.

        Among the 23 are two absconding members of the banned Indian Mujahideen who had gone from their hideouts in Pakistan.

        The dead were identified as Athif Vaseem Mohammad (Adilabad, Telangana), Mohammad Umar Subhan (Bangalore, Karnataka), Maulana Abdul Kadir Sultan Armar (Bhatkal, Karnataka), Saheem Farooque Tanki (Thane, Maharashtra), Faiz Masood (Bangalore, Karnataka) and Mohammad Sajid alias Bada Sajid (Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh).

        Around 150 Indians are under surveillance for their alleged online links with ISIS.

        As many as 30 other Indians, who were radicalised by ISIS elements, were prevented from travelling to the conflict zone in the Middle-East.

        Among those who are currently fighting for ISIS include two youths from Kalyan in the outskirts of Mumbai, an Australia-based Kashmiri, one youth from Telangana, one from Karnataka, one Oman-based Indian and another Singapore-based Indian.

        On September 15, 2015, the UAE deported four Indians suspected to have links with ISIS.

        The UAE had also sent back in September last year a 37-year-old woman Afsha Jabeen alias Nicky Joseph who was allegedly involving in recruiting youths for ISIS.

        In January 2015, Salman Mohiuddin of Hyderabad was arrested when he was preparing to board a flight to Dubai on way to Syria via Turkey.

        There have been reports that some elements, who support the ISIS, have posted messages in regional languages, including Hindi and Tamil.

      Digvijaya Singh Disagrees With President On Temple Opening Site Issue
      • Digvijaya Singh Disagrees With President On Temple Opening Site IssueHYDERABAD:  The decision to open the Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya was not made by late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi but based on a court order, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said in Hyderabad today, disagreeing with President Pranab Mukherjee's "error of judgement" statement in his memoir.

        "Opening of the gate was not done by Rajiv Gandhi. It was a decision of the court. Laying the foundation stone (shilanyas at a temple site) may be an error of judgement (by Rajiv Gandhi). Decision to open the gate was not that of Mr Rajiv Gandhi's," he told PTI in Hyderabad in an interview.

        Mr Mukherjee has said in his memoir that the opening of the site was an "error of judgement" by Rajiv Gandhi and the demolition of Babri Masjid an act of "absolute perfidy" that destroyed India's image.

        Mr Singh, a former Madhya Pradesh chief minister, however, agreed that the demolition was the then Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao's "biggest failure".

        "I totally agree with it", he said.

        "The opening of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple site on February 1, 1986 was perhaps another error of judgement. People felt these actions could have been avoided," the President said in the book titled "The Turbulent Years: 1980-96", released by Vice President Hamid Ansari yesterday.

        "The demolition of Babri Masjid was an act of absolute perfidy...It was the senseless, wanton destruction of a religious structure, purely to serve political ends. It deeply wounded the sentiments of the Muslim community in India and abroad. It destroyed India's image as a tolerant, pluralistic nation," the President says.

        Asked as to when Rahul Gandhi would become Congress president, Mr Singh said, "This is a million dollar question that's being asked for quite some time. Hopefully it should happen this year".

        On whether he personally wants to see Mr Gandhi at the helm early, he said: "Whatever this...I would say this kind of situation of indecisiveness should not be there".

        As for whether the Congress would aggressively take up the issues of Arunachal Pradesh and the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula in the coming Budget Session of Parliament, Mr Singh said, "yes" and added that the party's core group would decide on the strategy to be adopted in Parliament.

        "The way they (NDA government) have gone about in Arunachal's clearly biased way of functioning," Mr Singh said.

        "The Governor mentioning that one cow slaughter is an issue is absolutely ridiculous. We have challenged it in the Supreme Court (challenging the promulgation of President's Rule). We will fight it out".

        On Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula's suicide, Mr Singh said it "reflects the bias of BJP because BJP and RSS are basically upper caste domination group which believes in the theory of 'Manu'. I think this reflected their attitude in this case."

        Mr Singh, who was in Hyderabad to campaign for Congress candidates in the February two elections to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), noted that the party did not win a single Assembly or Lok Sabha seat in Hyderabad in the last general elections in 2014.

        "So, we are working on it. We have put up as many candidates as possible. And also in the earlier GHMC election, Congress and MIM were together. This time, we are confronting them (MIM) in the Old City. These are the things. So, I am quite hopeful," he said on the party's prospects.

      Business Affairs 

      How to play the Indian financial markets
      • How to play the Indian financial markets
        Financial markets in 2016 have remained volatile and choppy over concerns of a global economic slowdown. China, clearly, is the biggest worry for global markets. More so because the country is consistently devaluing its currency to make exports competitive. In this uncertain environment, here is how you should play the different asset classes over the next few months.

        1) Go long on the dollar

        With the dollar expected to strengthen further on Chinese devaluation and rising interest rates in the US, Indian rupee will depreciate further. It will touch new lows this year. The previous low was Rs 68.80 in 2013. It would be best to go long on the US dollar against the Indian rupee. Selling from FIIs in Indian equity will also put pressure on the rupee.
         2) Invest in Gold
        The yellow metal has bottomed out and from here the probability of climbing higher is more than sliding down. The weakness in oil, volatility in other asset class and a global slowdown will ensure that gold shines this year.
        3) Avoid debt
        Interest rates in India are not expected to witness a sharp fall. If US keeps on raising rates every three months as the markets expect, it would mean that debt will not see huge returns in 2016. Other concerns include outflow from FIIs in debt paper and rising food inflation, putting further pressure on debt investments.
        It would be a good strategy, however, to lock-in a part of your portfolio in tax free bonds.
        4) Equities: Tread with caution
        The second half of 2016 will be good for equities as corporate performance will start showing signs of improvement. One reason would be the base effect coming into play. With the sharp fall seen in the market valuation, buying at 7500 Nifty level makes more sense than buying at 9000. However, only invest a sum that you can afford to lock in for three to five years without worrying about volatility.

      FM Arun Jaitley can let deficit slip, go for growth: Poll
      • FM Jaitley can let deficit slip, go for growth: PollFinance Minister Arun Jaitley would get away with letting his borrowing targets slip when he presents his annual budget next month, according to the overwhelming majority of economists in a Reuters poll.
        Half the 30 economists surveyed also said the most pressing priority for Jaitley's third budget was to invest in infrastructure - endorsing the pro-growth course he set a year ago.
        That was more than the combined share of votes in favour of consolidating the Budget or overhauling the tax system, two issues that have dominated the headlines in India but carry less weight with the financial community.
        The findings raise questions over whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be well advised to force the pace on austerity at a time of weakening nominal growth, soft revenues and slumping export demand.
        "We'll take a longer route to consolidation; otherwise the economy would be negatively affected," said Rishi Shah, an economist at Deloitte who took part in the poll and forecast upward revisions in the deficit.
        A poll conducted before last year's Budget also highlighted growth as the top priority, while a slim majority saw the government meeting high hopes for economic reforms.
        Jaitley, under fire for what some critics call his lacklustre stewardship of the country's $2 trillion economy, should keep his job for at least another year, according to 18 of 27 respondents to a question about his future.
        Only one-third expect this to be the last budget for the 63-year-old finance minister, the government's chief policy spokesman and point person for dealing with foreign investors.
        Jaitley has so far failed to win cross-party support for a ground-breaking Goods and Services Tax that would transform India into a common market for the first time.
        Senior sources in the government and BJP have said Jaitley may move to the defence department after this Budget, with power and coal minister Piyush Goyal one contender to take over at finance.


        Contrary to advice from Modi's top economic adviser, Arvind Panagariya, that the government should avoid "tinkering" with the fiscal deficit, analysts expect the shortfall to be revised up from the trajectory set a year ago.
        The consensus view was for the 2016/17 fiscal deficit to be raised to 3.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) from a previous goal of 3.5 per cent. Gross borrowing is predicted at Rs 6.49 trillion ($95.2 billion).
        In the following year, the deficit would be revised up to 3.5 per cent from 3 per cent, the poll showed.
        Twenty-six of 29 respondents said markets and ratings agencies would accept some slippage in the deficit to allow the government to invest in growth and jobs. But there's not much wiggle room, with India's shortfall on the high side compared to emerging markets like China and Russia.
        "A typical solution to weak growth and comfortable inflation would be a loose fiscal policy and a tight monetary policy," said Abhishek Upadhyay at ICICI Securities. "The trouble in India is that you don't have the fiscal space."
        Although India is growing in real terms by over 7 per cent - having overtaken China to become the world's most dynamic economy - it is creating too few jobs for a workforce growing by a million people every month.
        While most economists expect Jaitley to stay, those ready to countenance the idea he might be replaced would prefer a technocrat to fill the role. They outnumbered those backing a professional politician by about two to one.
        A narrow majority said Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan would make a suitable finance minister, outnumbering sceptics by 14 to 11.
        Unconfirmed speculation has ebbed and flowed on financial markets that Rajan, whose term expires this autumn, might be in line for a move to the finance ministry.

      Govt revises down 2014-15 GDP growth to 7.2% y/y
      • India revises down 2014/15 GDP growth to 7.2 pct y/yThe government on Friday revised down its annual economic growth for the fiscal year that ended in March 2015 to 7.2 percent from 7.3 percent reported earlier.
        The central statistics office also lowered growth for the fiscal year to end-March 2014 to 6.6 percent from 6.9 percent earlier.

      All about GDP methodology and why Raghuram Rajan questioned it
      • All about GDP methodology and why Raghuram Rajan questioned itCalculating gross domestic product (GDP) data of any country is a complex process. Ever wondered how many resources it takes to derive the single number? Before we satiate your curiosity, let's understand why GDP methodology is hogging headlines.  
        In an event at RBI-promoted Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, RBI governor Raghuram Rajan said there are problems with the way we count GDP, which is why we need to be careful sometimes just talking about growth.
        This has raised questions over whether the governor has doubts about the new methodology which we use to arrive at GDP numbers.
        For clarification, Business Today online spoke to Sunil Kumar Sinha of India Ratings and Research, who feels that Rajan did not raise questions on methodology, but called for a need to read GDP numbers in a wider context.
        "I believe, RBI Governor is not questioning the CSO's new methodology to calculate GDP. What he is saying is that GDP needs to be understood in wider context, particularly whether GDP growth is leading to jobless growth or job creating growth," said Sinha.

        "So far as CSO's new methodology to calculate GDP is concerned, in my view it is a an improvement over the previous method and also in line with the methodology adopted globally to calculate GDP. As a result, the new GDP Growth of India is now comparable to the GDP growth of other countries. Earlier this was not the case," added Sinha.
        In the quarter ended 30 September of financial year 2015-16, the GDP growth accelerated to 7.4 per cent against 7 per cent in the first quarter (April-June). December quarter GDP figure is yet to come.
        To recall, PM Modi government had changed GDP calculation method last year which had had the remarkable effect of lifting growth to 6.9 per cent for 2013-14 instead of 4.7 per cent as estimated earlier.
        Following are the two changes that were made:
        1. Change in base year: The government changed the base year for estimating GDP from 2004-05 to 2011-12. This, however, is done routinely after every five years or so to keep the numbers contemporary and incorporate the changing structure of the economy.
        2. Shift from factor-cost-based method to market-cost-based method: India's GDP is now measured by using gross value added (GVA) at market price, rather than factor cost. Simply put, The new formula takes into account market prices paid by consumers. It is calculated by adding GDP at factor price and indirect taxes (minus subsidies). Earlier, domestic GDP was calculated at factor or basic cost, which took into account prices of products received by producers.
        What Raghuram Rajan said:
        Raising doubts over the new GDP growth rate methodology, RBI Governor said there is a need for better computation of numbers so as to avoid overlaps and capture the net gains to the economy.
        "There are problems with the way we count GDP which is why we need to be careful sometimes just talking about growth," Rajan told the students of the RBI-promoted Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research.
        In his convocation address, citing the example of two mothers who babysit each other's kids, he said there is a rise in economic activity as each pays the other, but the net effect on the economy is questionable.
        "We have to be a little careful about how we count GDP because sometimes we get growth because of people moving into different areas. It is important that when they move into newer areas, they are doing something which is adding value.
        We do lose some, we gain some and what is the net, let us be careful about how we count that," he said.
        The academic-turned-central banker further said that there are many suggestions from various quarters on the ways to calculate GDP in a better way and we should take those seriously.

        YES Bank Q3 net profit rises 25%, beats estimates
        • YES Bank Q3 net profit rises 25%, beats estimatesYES Bank, country's fifth-biggest private sector lender by assets, reported a better-than-expected 25 percent increase in quarterly profit, and said it expected full-year credit costs to be at the lower end of its guidance range.
          The bank 's total income rose to Rs 4,122.12 crore in the quarter under review, up 17.49 per cent from Rs 3,508.47 crore in the corresponding quarter a year ago," it said in a BSE filing.
          Its gross non-performing assets (NPAs) stood at 0.66 per cent as against 0.42 per cent recorded in the same quarter in the previous fiscal.
          Net NPAs stood at 0.22 per cent in the quarter under review as against 0.1 per cent a year ago.
          Due to sharp increase in NPAs, the lender's provisioning for bad loans grew by over two-fold to Rs 147.94 crore as compared to Rs 69.86 crore set up the bank in the same period of the previous fiscal.
          The bank said it saw credit costs at maximum 50 basis points for the fiscal year ending March, compared with its previous guidance of 50-70 basis points.
          Net profit rose to Rs 676 crore ($100 million) for its fiscal third-quarter to December 31, beating analysts' estimate of Rs 628 crore on average.
          Commenting on the results, the bank's Managing Director and CEO Rana Kapoor said: "YES Bank has delivered yet another consistent quarter of sustained financial performance driven by steady increase in net interest income on the back of an improving retail franchise, improvements in NIM, RoA, RoE and overall preservation of asset quality."
          "The bank continues to show resilience on all asset quality parameters with an improving outlook going forward with credit costs for FY 2015-16 being contained within 50 bps (previous credit cost guidance of 50-70 bps)," he added.
          The interest earned rose to Rs 3,376.05 crore during the October-December period of 2015-16, up 13.60 per cent from Rs 2,971.66 crore a year ago. Its Net interest margin (NIM) expanded to 3.4 per cent as against 3.2 per cent in the year ago period.
          YES Bank's shares were trading 4.58 per cent higher at Rs 704.40 apiece during morning session on the BSE.

        General Awareness


          • 1. Which Bank has opened its first branch in South Korea (Seoul) on 13th Jan, 2016 ?
            a) ICICI
            b) Punjab National Bank
            c) Corporation Bank
            d) State Bank of India
            e) Indian Overseas Bank

            2. The purpose of SARFAESI Act 2002 is:
            a) Recovery of dues in Education Loans only
            b) Recovery term loans sanctioned for construction of infrastructure projects
            c) Court permission is must before recovery of overudes in NPAs
            d) Recovery of dues classified as non-performing assets without intervention of court
            e) None of the above

            3. A banknote, of which a portion is missing or which is composed of more than two pieces is called ?
            a) Soiled Note
            b) Cut Note
            c) Duplicate Note
            d) Bad Note
            e) Mutilated banknote

            4. Consumption loan under priority sector can be granted to..
            a) Rural artisans
            b) Small/Marginal farmers
            c) Landless labourers
            d) All
            e) None

            5. Which of the following is a borrowing facility/loan advance __?
            a) Term finance
            b) Performance guarantee
            c) Bill received under letter of credit
            d) All the above
            e) None of the above

            6. Collateral securities can be ___?
            a) Tangible
            b) Intangible in the shape of personal guarantee of a third party
            c) Security given to get credit facilities/loan
            d) All of the above
            e) None of the above

            7. A charge where there is neither the transfer of ownership nor the possession is called ______?
            a) Hypothecation
            b) Lien
            c) Pledge
            d) Mortgage
            e) None of the above

            8. As per the directives of Reserve bank of India, 'Notice deposit' shall mean:
            a) The deposit withdrawable at the will of the depositor
            b) The deposit repayable only after the bank gives notice to the depositor
            c) Term deposit for specific period but with drawable on giving at least one complete banking day’s notice
            d) None of the above
            e) All of the above

            9. Regional Rural Banks have been permitted to pay ½% additional interest on ____?
            a) All deposits accounts except current deposits
            b) All deposits accounts including current deposits
            c) Saving account and time deposits of less than three years
            d) All deposit accounts except Recurring Deposit Scheme
            e) None of the above

            10. Name the 9 digit numeric code that uniquely identifies a bank branch participating in electronic clearing scheme?
            a) MICR
            b) ECS
            c) NEFT
            d) IFSC
            e) INFINET

            11. What is the full form of the CORE word in Core Banking Solutions?
            a) Core Online Real-time Exchange
            b) Centralized Online Real-time Exchange
            c) Central Online Real-time Exchange
            d) Centralized Online Retail Exchange
            e) None of the above

            12. Which Bank scores a first, mortgage portfolio crossing Rs 1 lakh crore ?
            a) State Bank of India
            b) HDFC
            c) CORPORATION BANK
            d) ICICI
            e) Punjab National Bank

            13. A part of the issued capital of the Regional Rural Banks is subscribed as under___?
            a) Fifty per cent by Central Government
            b) Fifty per cent by State Government
            c) Thirty per cent by sponsoring bank
            d) All the above
            e) None of the above

            14. Which amongst the following is not term deposits issued by commercial banks?
            a) Current account
            b) Fixed deposit
            c) Recurring deposit
            d) Reinvestment deposit
            e) All the above

            15. What is the main purpose of Open market o perations?
            a) A fiscal device which assists Government borrowing
            b) A monetary measure to regulate quantity of money in circulation and the cash reserves of the commercial banks
            c) A measure to counteract extreme trends in business
            d) A measure to influence the balance of payments position
            e) None of the above

            16. What is the full form of MSME?
            a) Mini, Small and Medium Enterprises
            b) Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
            c) Mini scale Marketing Enterprises
            d) Medium Scale Marketing Enterprises
            e) None of the above

            17. A customer is required to maintain adequate balances in his/her accounts in order to use his ____ card in the merchant establishments?
            a) Smart Card
            b) Credit Card
            c) Add-on Credit card
            d) Debit Card
            e) None of the above

            18. Which of the following are the latest guidelines issued by the RBI in respect of opening new branches in villages?
            a) To open more brick and mortar branches in villages where there are no banking facilities and population is more than 5,000.
            b) Banks to submit a roadmap on how many branches they will be opening by 31 March 2017.
            c) The roadmap by end of January 2016.
            d) BCBF Model to be discontinued
            e) Only a, b, c

            19. Name the financial instrument which is/are issued for short term (up to one year) borrowing by RBI on behalf of the Government of India?
            a) Treasury Bills
            b) Commercial Paper
            c) Certificate of Deposit
            d) Non-convertible Debenture
            e) Only b & c

            20. KYC (Know Your Customer) norms were implemented in the Indian banking system in 2002 as per the directive of ?
            a) SEBI
            b) RBI
            c) IBA
            d) IRDA
            e) None of these

            21. Often, we read in the newspapers that several Indian companies are taking the FCCB route to raise capital. What does the term FCCB stand for?
            a) Foreign Currency Convertible Bond
            b) Foreign Convertible Credit Bond
            c) Financial Consortium and Credit Bureau
            d) Future Credit and Currency Bureau
            e) None of these

            22. Account Holder of Which of the following accounts with a bank will be issued with ATM cards?
            a) Saving bank account
            b) Current accounts
            c) Term deposits
            d) Loan or cash credit accounts
            e) Either a or b

            23. A commercial paper is
            a) A paper issued by Reserve Bank of India an trade and commerce
            b) An unsecured money market instrument issued in the form of promissory note
            c) A document issued by IDBI for seeking refinance facility from Reserve Bank India
            d) All of the above
            e) None of the above

            24. Which of the following would fall under the category of retail banking?
            a) Home Loans
            b) Credit Cards
            c) Personal Loans
            d) Car Loans
            e) All of these

            25. Who decides how much quantity of the coins to be minted?
            a) Reserve Bank of India
            b) Central Government
            c) Finance Ministry
            d) Both RBI and Central Government decide
            e) None of the above

            26. What are the components of Foreign Exchange Reserves?
            a) Foreign currency assets
            b) Gold
            c) Special Drawing Rights
            d) Reserve Position in the IMF
            e) All the above

            27. The chairman of Regional Rural Bank is appointed by _____?
            a) State Government
            b) Reserve Bank of India
            c) Central Government
            d) Sponsoring bank in consultation with NABARD
            e) None of the above

            28. To control inflationary situation in the economy, RBI can increase one or more of these monetary tool?
            a) CRR-SLR-Bank Rate
            b) SLR-CRR-Base Rate
            c) CRR-SLR-Repo Rate
            d) CRR-SLR-Reverse Repo Rate
            e) CRR-SLR-BPLR

            29. Who can open various types of non-resident accounts?
            a) Persons of Indian Nationality or person of Indian origin residing outside India
            b) Persons of foreign nationality or origin residing outside India
            c) Firms, companies and other organization resident outside India
            d) a, b and c
            e) None

            30. ATMs which are set up, owned and operated by non-banks are called as?
            a) White Label ATMs
            b) Green Label ATMs
            c) Brown Label ATMs
            d) Red Label ATMs
            e) None of the above

            31. What is the name of the asset which has remained NPA for a period exceeding 12 months?
            a) Sub-standard
            b) Doubtful asset
            c) Loss asset
            d) Critical Asset
            e) None of the above

            1) d; 2) d; 3) e; 4) d; 5) a; 6) d; 7) a; 8) c; 9) c; 10) a;
            11) b; 12) d; 13) a; 14) a; 15) b; 16) b; 17) d; 18) e; 19) a; 20) b;
            21) a; 22) e; 23) b; 24) e; 25) b; 26) e; 27) d; 28) a; 29) d; 30) a; 31) b.

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