Current Affairs Current Affairs - 23 January 2017 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 23 January 2017

General Affairs 

Indian Trains To Travel At 200 Kmph With Russia's Help
  • Russian Railways is helping India's national transporter increase the speed of its passenger trains up to 200 km per hour.

    Russian Railways is at present collaborating with Indian Railways on a 575-km stretch between Nagpur and Secunderabad and submitted a preliminary report last week.

    To reach the desired speed limit, Russian Railways has proposed several technical and technological solutions, including reconstruction of railway alignment as well as treating the earth bed where there are speed restrictions.

    Since Indian Railways doesn't have coaches that can move with a speed of 200 km per hour, a new type of passenger cars needs to be approved as well.

    It has, however, expressed concern over "a number of large bridges with speed limits" on this particular stretch and has recommended a detailed survey of all these structures on the basis of which measures for reconstruction/repair will be taken up.

    It has also been pointed out that railroad switches, which enables trains to shift from one track to another, at stations on this stretch are not suitable for a speed of 200 km per hour and a different type of switch has been recommended.

    A digital technological communication network for the entire section, instead of the existing radio communication, was also proposed.

    A high-speed rail network will also require safety measures for pedestrians and motor vehicles at rail crossings. Keeping this in mind, overpasses, anti-collision and anti-ram barriers as well as automatic alarm systems have been suggested.

    A protective fencing along the length of the rail track was mooted in order to prevent accidents with people and animals on the track.

    The Russian Railways also suggested noise shields for tracks near residential areas.

    A protocol for this project was signed between the railway ministries of the two countries in October last year.

    The high-speed project will be jointly financed and the cost will be split equally between the two countries.

    Andhra Pradesh Announces Rs. 5 Lakh For Train Accident Victims
    • The Andhra government on Sunday announced Rs. 5 lakh each for the next of kin of 36 persons who died in the Hirakhand Express derailment in Vizianagram district.

      Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, currently visiting Switzerland, said this will be in addition to Rs. 2 lakh announced by the railways.

      The compensation will be paid under Chandranna Bima, the state insurance scheme.

      Naidu tweeted that he was anguished to learn about the derailment of the Jagadalpur-Bhubaneswar Express. At least 50 persons were injured in the accident.

      "My condolences to the families who lost their loved ones. We are investigating the reason for the accident," he said.

      The Chief Minister said the Director General of Police will hand over the bodies in coordination with Odisha authorities.

    Hirakhand Express Accident: 32 Dead As Train Derails In Andhra Pradesh
    • At least 32 people were killed and 54 were believed to be injured after Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express derailed in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh, officials said today.

      The incident took place around 11 PM yesterday when the train was on its way to Bhubaneswar from Jagdalpur.

      "Seven coaches and the engine of the 18448 Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express derailed near Kuneru station. Besides the engine, the luggage van, two general coaches, two sleeper coaches, one AC three tier coach and an AC two tier coach derailed," Chief PRO of East Coast Railway J P Mishra told PTI.

      Rayagada Sub-collector Muralidhar Swain said to news agency PTI that the number of injured could be around 100. The casualty figure may go up as many people are trapped, he added.

      The injured have been shifted to two hospitals at Parbatipuram and Rayagada.

      A team of doctors has reached the accident site. District administration of both Vijayanagaram and Rayagada are taking active part in rescue operations, said Mr Mishra.

      The train had 22 coaches.

      Services were affected on Rayagada and Vijayanagaram route, with several trains diverted.

      "Total 4 accident relief vans rushed from different places. Priority is treatment, shifting of injured passengers to nearest hospital. @sureshpprabhu personally monitoring situation,directed senior officials to reach site immediately, ensure prompt rescue and relief ops," the railway ministry said in a series of tweets.

      "05 Buses arranged to carry passengers towards Brahmapur, Palasa and Vizianagaram, free of cost".

      "Total accident patients attended to at Rayagada dist hosp =32, Trivial injuries = 13, grievous injuries=4, simple injuries=15," the East Coast Railway tweeted.

    Ranked 'Most Dynamic City', Bengaluru Divided Over Tag
    • IT capital of the country, Bengaluru, has a new tag now - that of being the most dynamic city of the world. The tittle was sent by a ranking list by JLL City Momentum Index, which takes into account the speed of change in a city's economy and commercial real-estate market, beating some of the top cities in the world. However, this decoration has left Bengaluru's opinions divided on whether the ranking reflects the reality or not.

      According to a recent report released by a property consulting firm, real-estate sales in the city have decreased by 45 per cent in the last quarter. Many citizens, as a result, see the ranking as an attempt to inflate the sluggish property market of Bengaluru. Many have also questioned the ranking and argue that the quality of life has depreciated with Bengaluru struggling to handle its increasing population.

      "Quality of life has fallen. On average, we spend more than two hours in traffic every day. They want to move finance here and wait for it to appreciate. Once the market improves, you take the money and emigrate," argues Leo Saldhana of Environment Support Group.

      But for many, Bengaluru's ability to stay ahead of the curve in adapting to technology and availability of talent has worked in the city's favour.

      "When it comes to temperament, even an uneducated person here is well versed with technology," says financial consultant Ahmed Ibadullah.

      While the real-estate sector admits to infrastructural issues, they mention that that the government has lately been proactive, which has helped.

      "The government is moving along with the industry development here. While in other places, the government places several restrictions," says Suresh Hari, the secretary of a real-estate body CREDAI.

    Indian-Origin Journalist Becomes Chancellor Of UK University
    • An Indian-origin broadcast journalist has been appointed as the new Chancellor of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in north-west England at a special ceremony.

      Ranvir Singh, 39, becomes the third Chancellor of the university in Preston, the city she grew up in and completed a post-graduate Diploma in Broadcast Journalism from in 2000.

      "I am immensely proud to accept the University's offer of becoming its new Chancellor. I am Preston born and bred, I studied for my post-graduate degree in journalism in London and the experience helped to shape me and my career," Singh said in a statement yesterday aftre taking charge.

      "In fact, had this ceremony been on any other day I'd have been covering Donald Trump's inauguration in Washington," Ms Singh said.

      "I am truly honoured to be given this opportunity of helping inspire the next generation of talent coming through. The University has an exciting future and I can't wait to be part of it," she added.

      Ms Singh is a well-known broadcast journalist in the UK, with a regular on ITV channel's news shows. She also presents her own primetime series for ITV, 'Real Stories with Ranvir Singh'.

      In 2013, she received a UCLan Honorary Fellowship for her contribution to broadcasting. She took over as Chancellor from Sir Richard Evans and the ceremony also marked the inauguration of Professor Mike Thomas as the university's fourth Vice-Chancellor.

      David Taylor, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the University Board, said: "Both Ranvir and Mike bring inspiration and vision at a time of increased competition and change within the higher education sector."

      "Ranvir continues to make a huge success of her career in broadcasting and journalism. Importantly she has an affinity with Preston and the University and is someone who cares about our heritage and our future. She is a wonderful communicator with the capacity to inspire and I know she will be a fantastic role model for our students," Mr Taylor said.

      Vice-Chancellor Professor Mike Thomas said: "In the coming years we will continue to develop our role as a civic University, supporting Preston and our county as well as delivering benefits to individuals, organisations and the community as a whole".

      "For these reasons I am delighted to lead the University into the next stage of its development and success," Mr Mike said.

    Business Affairs 

      Mutual Funds Park Rs 2,700 Crore In Stocks So Far In January
      • Mutual funds invested nearly Rs 2,700 crore in equities this month so far on sustained participation by retail investors.

        Besides, fund managers have pumped in Rs 23,861 crore in the debt market during the period under review.

        According to the data released by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), mutual fund managers invested a net sum of Rs 2,670 crore this month (till January 18). 

        Fund managers have been putting in money in the stock market since August last year due to a sharp plunge in equities. They had pumped in over Rs 37,000 crore in stock markets during the period.

        Generally, fund managers step up their buying trend whenever equity markets undergo a sharp correction.

        "Such inflows are possible only when retail investors have participated in large numbers by investing in equity funds, viewing the weakness as opportunity," Head of Mutual Fund Research Vidya Bala said.

        "In other words, retail investors have reposed faith. Traditionally too, domestic investors have been net buyers when FPIs have sold and the same phenomenon is playing out now."

        A mutual fund is an investment vehicle with a pool of funds collected from various investors to buy stocks, bonds, money market instruments and similar assets.

        Note Ban Negative For Jobs, Small Enterprises, Rural Demand: Assocham
        • Demonetisation will leave a negative impact on small and medium enterprises (SMEs), rural consumption and job creation while the large organised sectors stand to benefit in the long term, industry chamber Assocham said on Sunday.

          "Demonetisation of high value currency notes would leave quite a negative impact on small and medium enterprises, rural consumption and job creation in the immediate run while the large and well organised sectors of corporate India stand to benefit in the long term, the latest Assocham-Bizcon Survey pointed out," the industry body said in a release here.

          Noting the stark contrast in survey responses, Assocham said: "While 81.5 per cent of the respondents felt the SMEs have been hit and would still suffer the lingering effect for one more quarter, an equal number said for large enterprises, the impact of the note ban would be positive." 

          The survey unveiled another paradox, in that, while it said the note ban would lead to better outlook in the long run, "over 66 per cent of the responses pointed towards negative on investment, linked to issues like subdued consumer confidence and demand, particularly in rural landscape."

          "At a holistic level, a large number of respondents felt that the impact could be seen in sales volume declining in the last quarter of the current financial year. Same holds good for the order book position with investment graph not showing much of an uptick for the January-March quarter." 

          Attributing the easing of prices in vegetables and other crops to incidents of distress sale due to cash scarcity, 92 per cent of the Bizcon Survey respondents said demonetisation would have a positive impact on inflation.

          "When the economy is in a state of flux, it is quite a challenge to get the real picture on the ground. Even though our survey does point towards some level of stress, the jury is still out and it would be quite a while before one can say with complete certainty whether or not the currency jerk was good or bad for the economy," Assocham Secretary General D.S. Rawat said.

          "For the present, the impact is seen on certain sectors, while others escaped," he added.

          On the sectoral impact of demonetisation, the survey said agriculture, cement, fertilizers, automobile, textiles, real estate and retail will have negative impact while power, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, IT and electronics, and infrastructure will see a positive impact.

        OPEC, Non-OPEC Producers Meet To Discuss Compliance With Oil Cut Deal
        • A committee of OPEC and non-OPEC countries responsible for monitoring compliance with a global agreement to reduce oil output is set to meet for the first time in Vienna on Sunday.

          The committee is expected to discuss how to best monitor compliance with the deal reached late last year as well as what level of compliance would be acceptable, Kuwaiti oil minister Essam Al-Marzouq said in Vienna on Saturday.

          Kuwait chairs the five-member committee which also includes Algeria, Venezuela, Russia and Oman. 

          Asked about compliance with the deal so far, Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih said it had been "very good".

          Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak on Sunday also said he was satisfied with the level of compliance shown.

          The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers on Dec. 10 reached their first deal since 2001 to curtail oil output jointly by nearly 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) and ease a global glut after more than two years of low prices.

          Russia has cut its oil output by around 100,000 bpd, Novak told Russia's TASS news agency.

          Falih said last week that 1.5 million bpd in crude production had already been taken out of the market.

          20 Projects To Cut Costs, Improve Efficiency: Tata Motors
          • In its bid to cut costs and improve efficiency, Tata Motors has initiated around 20 projects covering the entire gamut of the company's businesses, including factories and sales network.

            The homegrown auto major is also planning to launch at least two new products, including a compact sedan and SUV, during the next fiscal as it aims to post sales better than the industry.

            "Product is a very obvious thing which everyone sees but it is just the tip of an iceberg. There is lot of activity happening below iceberg. We are completely refurbishing our network in terms of processes, people, training which have started giving results," Tata Motors President, Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, Mayank Pareek told PTI in an interview. 

            Besides new product development, the company has initiated various internal processes focussed on cost saving, improving efficiency and quality.

            "We have identified around 20 big projects in the company. These are called impact projects, which means improvement through action. We have actually pulled out senior people from various teams to work full time on these projects," Pareek said.

            Senior management is driving these projects which began in September 2016, covering the whole gamut of Tata Motor's business.

            "Senior people like me are owners of these projects... these are literally transformational projects...these 20 projects are on cost and efficiency -- which is globally competitive," Pareek said.

            When asked if the company has set any target in terms of cost saving through these projects, Pareek said "it will be very significant not one per cent kind of stuff" without sharing exact figures.

            Commenting on sales outlook for the next fiscal, Pareek said the company aims to grow better than the industry which is expected to grow in double digits.

            "In this fiscal the industry will grow around 8-9 per cent...if we take calender year then it grew by 8 per cent last year...I expect the industry to grow in double digits next fiscal and coming to Tata Motors we will do better than that (industry)," Pareek said.

            The Mumbai-based company is present in only 59 per cent of the passenger vehicle market in the country and there is immense scope for growth, he added.

            "We are not there for example in many segments. We are not there in compact SUV, we are not there in hot hatches...going forward we will be launching new products. We will launch a compact sedan, a compact SUV and all these will add up to our volumes," Pareek said.
            Also the company has refurbished its sales network and recharged its service potential, he added.

            "With all these initiatives, we will outperform the market for sure," he said.

            When asked about new product launches, he added: "Two products at least during the fiscal."

          Gold Imports Shrink 32% To $17.7 Billion In April-December 2016
          • Gold imports witnessed a fall of about 32 per cent to $17.7 billion in April-December of the current fiscal, which is expected to keep a lid on the current account deficit.

            Total imports of the precious metal in the corresponding period of 2015-16 stood at $26.4 billion.

            According to industry experts, softening prices of the precious metal in the domestic and world markets could be the reason for the same. Cash crunch in the system due to demonetisation also impacted the inbound shipments. 

            The gold imports dipped by 48.49 per cent to $1.96 billion in December, according to the commerce ministry data.

            Inward shipment had witnessed fall during February-September this year. It recorded a positive growth in October and November.

            The contraction in the imports helped in narrowing the trade deficit to about $76.54 billion in April-December period as against $100 billion in the same period previous year.

            India is one of the largest gold importers in the world, and the imports mainly take care of demand from the jewellery industry.

            For the full year of 2015-16, CAD stood at $22.1 billion, or 1.1 per cent of GDP, as against $26.8 billion, or 1.3 per cent, in 2014-15.

            In volume terms, the country's total official gold imports declined to 60 tonnes in April-July of this fiscal, much lower than 250 tonnes in the year-ago period. India imported 650 tonnes of gold in 2015-16.

            The imports remained stable at around 100 tonnes in November despite fall in sales of jewellery due to the cash crunch following demonetisation.

            According to experts, the rural demand is affected due to the currency shortage after restriction on withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes announced on November 8.

          General Awareness

          Banking Related Acts

              1. Negotiable Instrument Act–1881
              2. The Bankers’Books Evidence Act–1891
              3. The ReserveBank of India Act–1934
              4. The Industrial Finance Corporation of India Act–1948
              5. The Banking Companies (Legal Practitioner Clients’ Accounts) Act–1949
              6. The Industrial Disputes (Banking and Insurance Companies) Act–1949
              7. The Banking Regulation(Companies) Rules–1949
              8. The Banking Regulation Act–1949
              9. The State Financial Corporations Act–1951
              10. The Reserve Bank of India (Amendment and Misc. Provisions) Act–1953
              11. The Industrial Disputes (Banking Companies) Decision Act–1955
              12. The State Bank of India Act–1955
              13. The State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks) Act-1959
              14. The Subsidiary Banks General Regulation–1959
              15. The Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation Act–1961(DICGC)
              16. The Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Act–1970
              17. The Regional Rural Banks Act–1976
              18. The Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Act–1980
              19. The Export-Import Bank of India Act–1981
              20. The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Act–1981
              21. Chit Fund Act–1982
              22. Sick Industrial Companies (Special Provisions)Act–1985
              23. The National Housing Bank Act–1987
              24. SIDBI Act–1989
              25. The Special Court (trial of Offences relating to Transactions in Securities) Act–1992
              26. The Industrial Finance Corporation (Transfer of Undertakings and Repeal) Act–1993
              27. Industrial Reconstruction Bank (Transfer of Undertaking & Appeal) Act–1997
              28. The Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act–(SARFASI-2002)
              29. Industrial Development Bank (Transfer of Undertaking & Repeal) Act–2003
              30. Credit Information Companies (Rules & Regulation) Act–2005
              31. The Industrial Finance Corporation of India Act–1948
              32. The Banking Companies (Legal Practitioner Clients’ Accounts) Act–1949
              33. The Industrial Disputes (Banking and Insurance Companies) Act–1949
              34. The State Financial Corporations Act–1951
              35. The Reserve Bank of India (Amendment and Misc. Provisions) Act–1953
              36. The Industrial Disputes (Banking Companies) Decision Act–1955
              37. The State Bank of India Act–1955
              38. The State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks) Act-1959
              39. The Subsidiary Banks General Regulation–1959
              40. The Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation Act–1961
              41. The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Act–1981
              42. Chit Fund Act–1982
              43. Shipping Development Fund Committee (Abolition)Act–1985
              44. Sick Industrial Companies (Special Provisions)Act–1985
              45. The National Housing Bank Act–1987
              46. The Special Court (trial of Offences relating to Transactions in Securities) Act–1992
              47. The Industrial Finance Corporation (Transfer of Undertakings and Repeal) Act–1993
              48. Industrial Reconstruction Bank (Transfer of Undertaking & Appeal) Act–1997
              49. SIDBI General Regulations, 1990
              50. Banking Regulation (Companies) Rules 1949
              51. The Nationalised Banks (Management and Misc. Provisions)Scheme,1970
              52. NABARD General Regulations 1982
              53. Banking Companies (Period of Preservation of Records) Rules, 1985
              54. Banking Companies (Regulation)Rules,1985
              55. NABARD Bonds Regulations — 1988
              56. The Banking Ombudsman Scheme, 2006
              57. Factoring Act Rules, 2011
              58. SARFAESI (Central registry) Rules,2011
              59. Banker’s Books Evidence Act, 1891
              60. Banking Regulation Act, 1949
              61. Banking Companies (Legal Practitioners’ Clients’ Account) Act, 1949
              62. Banking Regulation (Companies) Rules, 1949
              63. Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertaking) Act, 1969
              64. Debts Recovery Appellate Tribunal (Procedure) Rules,1994
              65. Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 1976
              66. Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999
              67. Indian Partnership Act, 1932
              68. Indian Stamp Act, 1899
              69. Indian Trusts Act, 1882
              70. Limitation Act, 1963
              71. Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act,1993
              72. Reserve Bank of India Act — 1934

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