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Current Affairs - 10 March 2016

General Affairs 

Bullet Train Will Be In Self-Financing Mode, Says Suresh Prabhu
  • Bullet Train Will Be In Self-Financing Mode, Says Suresh PrabhuNEW DELHI:  Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today said the Mumbai-Ahemdabad bullet train being built with Japanese assistance will be more or less in the self-financing mode and will significantly help the public transporter in upgrading technology.

    "This (Bullet Train project) is a stand-alone project. This project is more or less on the self-financing mode. The Japanese Government has decided to give us almost the entire most at an interest rate of 0.1 per cent to be repayable in 50 years and for the first 15 years we do not have to service it.

    "So, if you ask a banker he will tell you that it is not only free but it is more than that," Mr Prabhu said while replying to the Railway Budget in the Lok Sabha.

    Referring to Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge's comment he said "Kharge Saab has very rightly said that this bullet train has been announced to run between Mumbai and Ahmedabad because the Prime Minister can come to Ahmedabad and I can go to meet him. I must compliment the previous Government for being so visionary.

    "When they started talking to Japan about this project, Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister, they knew that very soon Modi is going to be the Prime Minister and Suresh Prabhu is going to be the Railway Minister. I really must thank my friends in the opposition for being so forthright..."

    On why so much money is being spent on bullet train, Mr Prabhu said "First of all, 85 per cent of this will be manufactured in India. The entire technology of knowing about it and the spin off benefit of this will be felt all across the railway network."

    Moreover, he said the Railways will not confine its partnership with Japan on one project and will seek its assistance in improving the safety standards of national transporter.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, requested his Japanese counterpart "not to confine this partnership to one project and help us develop the railway network and increase the safety standards of Indian railways... because the Japanese standards are the highest and the best in the world. Japan almost has a Zero accident rate."

    Mr Prabhu said RDSO and Japanese research organisation have already signed an agreement for research and improving safety standards.

Rahul Gandhi Slams BJP Over Poll Qualification Norms In Haryana, Rajasthan
  • Rahul Gandhi Slams BJP Over Poll Qualification Norms In Haryana, Rajasthan
    NEW DELHI:  Signalling a fresh confrontation, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today mounted a fresh attack on the government over making educational qualifications mandatory for contesting panchayat polls in BJP-ruled Haryana and Rajasthan, accusing BJP and RSS of taking away the right from the poor, Dalits and adivasis.

    "Proud that opposition came together against BJP's attempt to exclude more than 50% of India's electorate from the right to contest elections," Mr Gandhi said on Twitter.

    The Congress vice president said, "By making edu qualifications mandatory for contesting Panchayat polls, BJP & RSS want to take this right away from the poor, dalits & adivasis".

    His reaction came close on the heels of government facing an embarrassment in the Rajya Sabha, which passed the Motion of Thanks to the President's Address only after an amendment moved by Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad was included following a division in which 94 voted for the amendment and 61 against.

    The amendment regretted that the address did not commit support to rights of all citizens to contest Panchayat elections in the backdrop of a law in Rajasthan and Haryana that made matriculation certificate a criteria for contesting the polls.

    "The right to contest elections is a basic right of every citizen of India. Our founding fathers fought against the British for this right.

    "They want to take this right away from all those who have been denied access, exploited & suppressed," Mr Gandhi said in a series of tweets.

No Environment Clearances Required For Temporary Events: Government
  • No Environment Clearances Required For Temporary Events: Government
    NEW DELHI:  With the National Green Tribunal clearing the decks for a three-day cultural extravaganza of Art of Living Foundation on the flood plains of Yamuna river, the Centre today said such temporary programmes or structures "do not" require environment clearances.

    "NGT has given permission to them. We had already clarified to NGT that these kinds of programmes and temporary structures do not require environmental clearances under the environmental law and environment notification," Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadedar told news agency PTI.

    Amid a raging row over environmental degradation, the green body today cleared the decks for the cultural event scheduled to begin from March 11, but imposed a fine of Rs. 5 crore on Art of Living as environmental compensation.

    After posing tough questions, the tribunal also slapped fine of Rs. five lakh on Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and Rs. 1 lakh on Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) for not discharging statutory functions.

    The tribunal's order came on the pleas by NGOs and environmentalists who had sought cancellation of the festival, saying it would seriously endanger the fragile ecosystem on the riverbed.

    More than 35 lakh people are expected to arrive at the 'World Cultural Festival'.

Vijay Mallya Case: Court To Hear Final Arguments On April 24
  • Vijay Mallya Case: Court To Hear Final Arguments On April 24
    NEW DELHI:  A Delhi court today fixed April 24 for hearing the final arguments in a case against liquor baron Vijay Mallya for allegedly evading summons issued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with alleged violation of foreign exchange rules.

    The matter came up for hearing before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Sumit Dass, who posted it for next month.

    The ED had alleged that Mr Mallya had violated the provisions of Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) in arranging funds to advertise his company's liquor products abroad.

    The ED had claimed that Mr Mallya was summoned on four occasions for questioning in connection with a contract signed in December 1995 with London-based firm Benetton Formula Ltd for promotion of the Kingfisher brand abroad.

    When Mr Mallya failed to appear before ED in response to the summons, a complaint was filed on March 8, 2000 before a court in New Delhi and later on charge was framed against him under section 56 of FERA.

    According to ED, Mr Mallya had allegedly paid 200,000 dollars to the British firm for displaying Kingfisher logo in Formula One World Championships in London and some European countries in 1996, 1997 and 1998.

    The agency had claimed that the money was allegedly paid without prior approval from RBI in violation of FERA norms.

Part Of Total Solar Eclipse Seen In India
  • Part Of Total Solar Eclipse Seen In IndiaKOLKATA:  Only a part of the total solar eclipse was visible from India this morning with experts saying Kanyakumari and Andaman and Nicobar islands got the most spectacular view of the cosmic event.

    "In India partial eclipse was seen from the eastern half of the country. The maximum obscuration was around 66 per cent in Kanyakumari. It was a little higher in the Andaman and Nicobar islands," Dr Debiprosad Duari, Director of M P Birla Planetarium, Kolkata, told PTI.

    He said there were reports from places in Tripura, Assam and North Bengal that a cloud cover obstructed the view of skygazers.

    In most of the places in India, the eclipse started either before sunrise or around sunrise.

    The total solar eclipse was visible from within a narrow region, which extends from the Indian Ocean through the east Asian countries like Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi passing through some islands belonging to Australia and ending at the middle of the Pacific Ocean, far away from any country.

    For Kolkata, the eclipse was in progress when the sun rose at 5:51 am and at around 6:06 am the maximum partial eclipse of around 18 per cent was visible, Dr Duari said.

Business Affairs 

    Sensex stages a late rally to end 135-point up; Nifty at 7,531; Maruti Suzuki top gainer
    • In a late rally, the S&P BSE Sensex extended gains for the sixth straight session to end 135 points higher in trade on Wednesday, while broader CNX Nifty ended above its key 7,530-mark. 
      The headline indices staged a late rally tracking gains in European markets and a rebound in oil prices. 
      The 30-share index ended the day at 24,793, up 134.73 points, while broad-based 50-share index quoted 7,531, up 46.50 points at close.
      Market breadth turned positive with 20 of the 30 Sensex components ending the day in green.
      Maruti Suzuki was the best performing stock on Sensex and gained 4 per cent on the BSE.
      Global benchmark Brent crude rose above $40 a barrel on Wednesday, driven by anticipation that the world's largest exporters could agree this month to freeze production and help erode the largest global build in unwanted crude in years.
      Meanwhile, in a report released on Tuesday, Credit Suisse turned "underweight" on India from "overweight," citing a deteriorating external position, "unjustifiable" premiums, and downward earnings revisions.
      Analysts said the developments were sobering for a market that is still seen as outperforming other emerging markets and which surged 7 per cent in the last four days through Friday after the government stuck to its fiscal deficit target for the next fiscal year.
      Bucking the trend, Japan's Nikkei ended the day down 0.8 per cent, its lowest close in a week.
      Chinese shares also lost ground, with the Shanghai Composite index and the CSI 300 both sliding about 2.4 per cent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.4 per cent.

      Credit Suisse turns bearish on India in 'profoundly contrarian' call

      • Credit Suisse turns bearish on India in 'profoundly contrarian' callTaking a contrarian call, the global rating agency Credit Suisse downgraded domestic markets to "underweight" from "overweight", while it upgraded Brazil to "overweight".
        The agency itself termed it a "profoundly contrarian" call.
        "India will experience "modest deterioration" in external position," said Credit Suisse adding valuations are at "unjustifiable" premiums, while earnings revisions are most negative across emerging markets.
        "By contrast, Brazil's external devaluation is largely complete, internal devaluation is well developed and valuations vs emerging markets finally appearing attractive," said rating agency.
        Brokerage firm HSBC rated India "underweight" in May last year.
        Foreign investors have turned into buyers this month with $990.76 million worth of net purchases, are still net sellers of $1.88 billion for the year.

        Reforms in India will be slow, tedious: Morgan Stanley
        • Big-bang reforms will not be the operating template for India and the process will be a 'slow and tedious one', says a Morgan Stanley report.
          The global financial services firm said the recently announced Budget for 2016-17 has proved once again that major reform initiatives will not be the operating template for the country.
          "Reforms in India will be a slow and tedious process, requiring the buy-in of the opposition and the bureaucracy," it said.
          Since the beginning of this year, Indian markets have seen heavy volatility largely owing to high fluctuations in global markets led by the Shanghai Composite and domestic events such as the Union Budget, it said.
          The Indian equity markets have seen extreme weakness due to various negative factors, including global economic slowdown fears, falling crude prices, worries related to Chinese economy and muted quarterly earnings.
          Experts said domestic woes, including ballooning NPAs reported by banks and weak quarterly numbers in various other sectors, also added to the market weakness recently. Meanwhile, the index slumped to its lowest level in 21 months, when the Sensex crashed 807 points to drop below the 23,000-mark on February 11, this year.
          "Moreover, what was evident once again this year, is that while India may be in a relatively better position based on external macro indicators compared to 2013, the correlations with global markets always rise disproportionately during periods of heightened uncertainty in other parts of the world," the report added. 

          Gold slips as euro dips ahead of likely ECB easing
          • Gold falls Rs 158 in futures trade as weak global cues hurt
            Gold edged lower on Wednesday, slipping with the euro as expectations that the European Central Bank is almost certain to ease policy this week weighed on the single currency.
            Spot gold was down 0.6 per cent at $1,253.46 an ounce by 0128 GMT. Gold touched $1,279.60 last week, its strongest since February 3, 2015.
             US gold for April delivery eased 0.7 per cent to $1,253.70 an ounce.
            Investors expect the European Central Bank to cut its deposit rate by at least 10 basis points and expand its asset-buying programme at its meeting on Thursday.
            Gold had been supported by fairly low expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise US interest rates at its March 15-16 policy meeting. The Fed lifted rates for the first time in nearly a decade in December amid signs of strength in the US economy.
             The strength is particularly evident in the US labor market after a robust, forecast-beating 242,000 increase in nonfarm payrolls in February. Gold has stood its ground despite Friday's jobs data as many traders rule out the possibility of a near-term hike in US interest rates.
            Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, dropped to 25.4 million ounces on Tuesday, but not far below 18-month highs reached last week. 

            RBI may cut rates by 25 bps before next policy meet: BofA-ML

            • RBI may cut rates by 25 bps before next policy meet: BofA-ML
              The Reserve Bank of India is expected to go for a 25 basis points rate cut on or before its scheduled policy review meet on April 5, says a Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA-ML) report.
              "RBI needed to inject about $30 billion in FY17 to fund 5.5 per cent growth (in the old GDP series)," BofA-ML said in a research report adding that "on balance, we expect Governor Rajan to cut rates by 25 bps by April 5".
              According to the global financial services major, the RBI is expected to buy another Rs 20,000 crore by way of open market operations (OMO) this month to boost liquidity.
              "We expect RBI governor Rajan to OMO/buyback another Rs 20,000 crore in March, atop the Rs 1,08,500 crore since December, inclusive of the Rs 15,000 crore OMO announced for March 10," BofA-ML said in a research report.
              On March 4, the Reserve Bank said it will buy government securities via open market operations on March 10 to infuse liquidity of Rs 15,000 crore into the system.
              RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan on February 2 left the key interest rate unchanged citing inflation risks and growth concerns, while pegging further easing of monetary policy to the government's Budget proposals.
              OMOs are market operations conducted by RBI by way of sale/purchase of government securities to/from the market with an objective to adjust the rupee liquidity conditions in the market on a durable basis. If there is excess liquidity, RBI resorts to sale of securities and sucks out the rupee liquidity. Similarly, when the liquidity conditions are tight, the RBI buys securities from the market, thereby releasing liquidity into the market. 

            General Awareness

            BANKING AWARENESS PRACTICE QUESTIONS FOR ALL BANK EXAMS

              • 1. What is the minimum capital requirement for New Banks in the Private Sector?
                a) Rs. 200 crore
                b) Rs. 300 crore
                c) Rs. 500 crore
                d) Rs. 600 crore
                e) None of these

                2. Many times we read a term "ECB" in financial newspapers. What is the full form of ECB?
                a) Essential Commercial Borrowing
                b) Essential Credit and Borrowing
                c) External Credit and Business
                d) External Commercial Borrowing
                e) None of the above

                3. Which among the following banks has launched "Dhanchayat" an educational film to raise awareness on the dangers of borrowing money from unorganised sources?
                a) Axis 
                b) ICICI
                c) HDFC 
                d) SBI
                e) YES

                4. What is the maximum monthly pension for the subscribers under Atal Pension Yojana?
                a) Rs 2000 
                b) Rs 3000
                c) Rs 4000 
                d) Rs 5000
                e) None of these

                5. If a company which is not a non - banking financial company wants to collect public deposits, it is governed by ___ Act:
                a) RBI Act 1934
                b) Banking companies Act
                c) Companies Act 1956
                d) Central Government
                e) None of the above

                6. Which among the following has launched a Smart Humsafar Plan, a unique plan which offers multiple benefits of savings and insurance cover for husband and wife under a single policy?
                a) ICICI Prudential
                b) SBI Life 
                c) NIACL
                d) LIC 
                e) HDFC ERGO

                7. Which country launched world first Facial recognition ATM?
                a) China 
                b) Japan
                c) US 
                d) Canada
                e) Brazil

                8. Which type of machine is used by Business Correspondents?
                a) Micro ATMs 
                b) POS
                c) Biometric Card Reader
                d) Solar empowered
                e) Water resistant

                9. Which among the following bank has tied up with Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba to provide easier trade finance to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country?
                a) HDFC Bank
                b) SBI Bank
                c) Canara Bank
                d) ICICI Bank 
                e) Axis Bank

                10. In India, conventionally, bonds are issued by institutions in ____ sector while debentures by corporate in ____ sector.
                a) private, public
                b) public, private
                c) either a or b
                d) cooperative, NBFC
                e) None of the above

                11. What is the name of the platform launched by State Bank of India (SBI) that enables customers to book their foreign exchange transactions online?
                a) SBI eforex
                b) SBI emoney
                c) SBI eonline
                d) SBI eshare
                e) SBI ebuddy

                12. In CDR, "R" stands for ____.
                a) Ratio 
                b) Receipt
                c) Regulation 
                d) Restructuring
                e) Reserve

                13. Which of the following is not a function of General Insurance?
                a) Cattle Insurance
                b) Crop Insurance
                c) Marine Insurance
                d) Fire Insurance
                e) None of the above

                14. The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is the world's oldest international financial organization established on 17 May 1930. The mission of the BIS is to serve central banks in their pursuit of monetary and financial stability, to foster international cooperation
                in those areas and to act as a bank for central banks. The head office of BIS is located in ___.
                a) Hong Kong 
                b) Switzerland
                c)China 
                d) Mexico
                e) Australia

                15. National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) is a fund created by the Government of India for enhancing infrastructure financing in the country. To be operational by the year end, the headquarter of NIIF will be located in ____.
                a) Mumbai 
                b) New Delhi
                c) Bengaluru 
                d) Chennai
                e) Kolkata

                16. Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) are international foreign exchange reserve assets issued by
                a) World Bank 
                b) WTO
                c) ADB 
                d) IMF
                e) None of these

                17. Which of the following types of accounts are known as "Demat Accounts"?
                a) Zero Balance Accounts
                b) Accounts which are opened to facilitate repayment of a loan taken from the bank. No other business can be conducted from there
                c) Accounts in which shares of various companies are traded in electronic form
                d) Accounts which are operated through internet banking facility
                e) None of the above

                18. According to the Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) which among the following states in India has highest per cent of Urban BPL households?
                a) Bihar 
                b) Uttar Pradesh
                c) Manipur 
                d) Jharkhand
                e) Sikkim

                19. Payment of a cheque may be countermanded by the ___
                a) Payee 
                b) Drawer
                c) True owner 
                d) Drawee
                e) None of these

                20. Union Government has decided to set up a Bank Board Bureau (BBB) to monitor key performance indicators of two dozen public sector banks (PSBs). BBB will start functioning from ___.
                a) 31st December 2015
                b) 1st January 2016
                c) 31st March 2016
                d) 1st April 2016
                e) 1st June 2016

                21. Identify the well known person related to Banking field in India from the following?
                a) Mrs. Meira Kumar
                b) Mrs. Kiran Shaw
                c) Mr. Arun Jaitley
                d) Dr. D Subbarao
                e) All of the above

                22. A fixed deposit receipt is kept with the bank for its safety, is known as ___?
                a) Safe custody
                b) Safe deposit
                c) Locker
                d) Valid safe deposit
                e) None of the above

                23. Reserve Bank will issue ___bank notes with 3 additional features to aid the visually impaired in identification.
                a) Rs. 500 and Rs 1,000
                b) Rs. 100 and Rs. 500
                c) Rs. 50 and Rs. 100
                d) Rs. 10 and Rs. 100
                e) None of these

                24. Simply click a card launched by SBI special for ____.
                a) Cash Transfer
                b) Online Shopping
                c) Pay Utility Bills
                d) For Home Loans
                e) None of these

                25. Banking Companies are prohibited under Sec 8 of banking Regulation Act to sell and purchase securities. Yet Banks are selling securities (of the customer) which are under pledge as permitted by:
                a) Indian Contract Act
                b) SARFAESI Act
                c) Government Notification
                d) Banking Regulation Act
                e) None of these

                26. Hypothecation is:
                a) Atransaction of conditional sale
                b) A legal transaction whereby goods may be made available as security for a debt
                c) Transfer of ownership by the borrower to the lender
                d) Either a or b
                e) None of the above

                27. Mortgage is a:
                a) Security on movable property for a loan
                b) Security on immovable property for a loan
                c) Concession on immovable property
                d) Facility on immovable property
                e) Security on loan sanctioned against fixed deposits

                28. What is the minimum amount to be invested under Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme?
                a) Rs. 500 
                b) Rs. 1000
                c) Rs. 1500 
                d) No ceiling
                e) Rs. 100

                29. The Main activity of the Financial Intelligence Unit India (FIUIND) is to control:
                a) Tax Evasion
                b) Money Laundering
                c) Terrorism
                d) Avoiding NPAs
                e) Avoiding frauds in ATMs

                30. The SARFAESI Act 2002 empowers Banks / Financial Institutions to recover their non-performing assets (bad loans) without the intervention of the Court. In "SARFAESI" second "S" stands for ____.
                a) Securitisation
                b) Security 
                c) Statutory
                d) Share 
                e) Saving

                31. The main function of an Asset Management Company is to:
                a) hold the securities of various schemes
                b) manage the funds by making investments in various types of securities
                c) hold its property for the benefit of the unit holders
                d) act on behalf of SEBI
                e) All the above

                32. Global Rating Agency Fitch has downgraded Viability Rating (VR) by one notch to 'bb' of which among the following banks?
                a) Bank of Baroda
                b) State Bank of India
                c) Punjab National Bank
                d) Canara Bank
                e) IDBI Bank

                33. The Banking Codes and Standards Board of India was registered on 18th February, 2006 under which of the following RBI Act?
                a) Banking Regulation Act
                b) The Societies Registration Act, 1860
                c) Cooperative Societies Act
                d) None of the above
                e) All the above

                34. As per the Banking Ombudsman Scheme, any person can file a complaint before the Banking Ombudsman, if the satisfied reply is not received from the bank within a period of ____.
                a) one month 
                b) three months
                c) two months 
                d) six months
                e) None

                35. CIBIL as a credit bureau caters to:
                a) Consumer segments
                b) Commercial segments
                c) Both commercial and consumer segments
                d) Nationalized Banks only
                e) Private Banks only

                36. Infusion of liquidity, by RBI, is done through _____ from / to banks under a _____ transaction.
                a) borrowing, repo
                b) borrowing, reverse repo
                c) lending, repo
                d) lending, reverse repo
                e) None of the above

                37. Some banks are financing big projects like construction of roads, bridges etc. Financing such projects means banks are helping exactly in:
                a) Infrastructural Development
                b) Project Management
                c) Developing core sector Industry
                d) Financial Inclusion
                e) All of the above

                38. A rate of exchange established between any two currencies on the basis of the respective quotation of each currency in terms of a third currency is known as:
                a) Cross rate 
                b) Merchant rate
                c) Wash rate 
                d) Composite rate
                e) None of the above

                ANSWERS:
                1) c; 2) d; 3) c; 4) d; 5) c; 6) b; 7) a; 8) c; 9) d; 10) b;
                11) a; 12) d; 13) e; 14) b; 15) a; 16) d; 17) c; 18) c; 19) b; 20) d;
                21) d; 22) a; 23) a; 24) b; 25) d; 26) b; 27) b; 28) b; 29) b; 30) b;
                31) b; 32) c; 33) b; 34) a; 35) c; 36) c; 37) a; 38) a.

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