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Current Affairs - 24 March 2017

General Affairs 

Centre has recognised Naga integration demand in Naga peace accord, claims NSCN(IM)
  • At a time when many in Manipur are apprehensive about the contents of the Naga peace accord between the Centre and NSCN(IM), the rebel group's general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah has claimed that the framework agreement "recognises" their demand for integration of all Naga-inhabited areas in the region.
    According to a statement released by the Government of the People's Republic of Nagalim (GPRN), a parallel administration run by the NSCN(IM) based out of its headquarters in Hebron, the "Framework Agreement" with the Government of India recognises the "legitimate right of the Nagas to integration of all Naga territories".
    Addressing NSCN (IM) cadres during a council meeting on Wednesday, Muivah said the "framework agreement will give the Nagas maximum sovereign power to grow into a developed political people and it will also strengthen the security of India".
    Stating that NSCN was strongly opposed to "domination of one people by the other" Muivah added that the agreement "recognises the unique history, identity, sovereignty and territories of the Nagas".
    The contents of historic Naga Accord has been kept closely guarded by the Centre. The issue also dominated the recently concluded Manipur assembly elections with the state in turmoil over formation of new districts in Naga dominated areas.
    The newly-formed BJP government in the state has been cautious over the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, while campaigning before the elections stating that the Naga Accord contained nothing which was detrimental to the interests of people in Manipur.
    The prime minister made the statement after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi slammed the BJP-led central government for keeping people of Manipur in the dark about the Naga Agreement.
    "The Centre has signed the Naga Peace Accord, but nobody knows about its contents. Why are the people of Manipur being kept in the dark about the contents of the agreement?" Gandhi had said, questioning the PM at an election rally in Imphal.
    This is for the first time that the leadership of the rebel group has spoken out about the contents of the secret accord. The rebel group, which is in peace talks with the Government of India maintains its original demand for a "Greater Nagalim" comprising all contiguous Naga-inhabited areas in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur along with Nagaland.
    The National Socialist Council of Nagaland's (NSCN) Muivah faction is currently holding a ceasefire with the Government of India and has signed the historic peace accord in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August 2015 with the aim of bringing an end to the insurgency.

Sutlej Yamuna Link canal controversy: Haryana delegation to meet Rajnath Singh, INLD plans protest
  • A 15-member all party delegation will meet Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday to push for construction of the unfinished Satluj-Yamuna Link Canal in Punjab. The delegation will be led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.
    His senior cabinet colleagues Ram Bilas Paswan, Capt Abhimanyu and Anil Vij, along with President of BJP Haryana unit Subhash Barala, will also be part of the delegation. The leaders are scheduled to hold informal discussions at Haryana Bhawan ahead of the crucial meeting. But the Indian National Lok Dal has decided not to be part of the delegation.
    Leader of Opposition Abhay Chautala in a press statement said that the BJP has been misleading Opposition as they had assured all parties for a meeting with the Prime Minister on the SYL issue.  
    "The BJP government is not serious about the SYL construction, for the past four months Prime Minister has denied appointment to the Haryana chief minister," said Chautala. INLD will launch indefinite protest at Jantar Mantar from April 6, he added. The Congress party will however be part of the delegation. Apart from former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, party leader in the assembly Kiran Chaudhary and President of the Pradesh Congress committee Ashok Tanwar are likely to be part of the delegation.
    Bhupinder Singh Hooda criticised INLD for neglecting the delegation.
    "INLD is playing dirty politics over the issue, it was in league with the Akali Dal Government in Punjab and staged fake protest to gain popularity," Mr Hooda alleged.

    "Chief Minister Khattar called me and assured that after meeting the Rajnath Singh, the Prime Minister will give time soon to hear the Haryana parties," he added. The 214 kilometer long Satluj Yamuna Link canal has been the bone of contention between Punjab and Haryana for over three decades now. The canal was proposed to share water from Ravi and Beas rivers flowing through Punjab with Haryana. 

Mumbai: Resident doctors' stir enters day 4 as another Sion Hospital physician attacked
  • In a development that's likely to make the ongoing doctors' agitation in Maharashtra worse, a resident doctor at Mumbai's Sion Hospital was attacked last night.
    A pediatrician working in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of the civic-run Sion Hospital was beaten up the family of a child. The child is said to be recuperating.
    A police complaint has been filed against three women, news agency ANI reported. 
    The new attack comes days after a Sion Hospital resident physician was beaten up the relatives of a deceased patient. That attack took place on Saturday last week and sparked the current doctors' protest.
    As many as 4,000 doctors across Maharashtra have gone on mass leave protesting the dangerous working conditions. In a related development, resident doctors in Delhi are planning on going on mass leave today in solidary with their Mumbai counterparts.
    The agitation, which began Sunday night, has particularly affected OPDs at civic hospitals in Mumbai, with patients being forced to line up outside hospitals.
    On Wednesday, the Maharashtra government, while promising it would take immediate steps to post more security personnel at hospitals, warned the doctors to resume work or risk losing six months' worth of salary.
    The Bombay High Court too took a grim view of the situation earlier in the week, saying hospital managements are free to take action against doctors if they do not report back to work.
    The Indian Medical Association via its Maharashtra chapter, on the other hand, has lent support to the residents, vowing to protect any doctor from adverse consequences as a result of going on leave.
    The agitation, meanwhile, has entered its fourth day today, and there is no indication of when the physicians will call off their protest.

52 years after Indo-Pak war, Army veteran seeks benefits, gallantry recorded
  • Almost 52 years after late Param Veer Chakra winner Abdul Hamid destroyed Pakistani Patton tanks in the famous battle of Asal Uttar on his jeep, his "driver" in the epic battle has demanded his contribution and valour in the war to be recognised by the country and the Army.
    Grenadier Mohammed Naseem, 72 has claimed before a military court almost five decades after the battle with Pakistan that he was detailed to drive the rocket launcher-mounted jeep of Hamid and he assisted him with his full ability and exemplary courage.
    "I have also prayed that the outstanding performance and gallantry shown by me in the war should be recorded in his service record with all consequential benefits," Naseem, who lives in Sultanpur district of Uttar Pradesh, told Mail Today.
    Before approaching the Armed Forces Tribunal, the veteran soldier who retired from Army in 1978, had approached the Chief of Army Staff for recognition of his services but his claims and plea were apparently not accepted by the force.
    To support his claim, Naseem had attached a certificate issued to him by a former unit officer but that was not accepted as a proof as it was issued only in 2012, almost 50 years after the war. The military court bench headed by justice DP Singh and Air Marshal Anil Chopra also took a sympathetic view of the plea condoning the huge delay in filing of the petition by Naseem.
    "There appears to be delay, but the fact remains that in case the respondents find applicant's work and conduct and entitlement with regard to gallantry and outstanding performance shown by him in Indo-Pak war, then it shall be life-time achievement for him and he may be benefitted throughout his life," the court said.
    The court said the unit commander of Naseem is still alive and the Army should investigate the claims made by the soldier for recognition of his efforts and valour. "It shall be appropriate to the respondents to hold a fact finding inquiry after recording statements of persons who are surviving at the present and participated in the Indo-Pak war as a member of the unit of late Abdul Hamid and submit a report," the court said in its directions to the Army.
    The legendary battle of Asal Uttar started on September 8 in 1965 when Pakistan's 1 Armoured Division, with some 200 Patton tanks, invaded Punjab and captured the border town of Khemkaran. The Indians flooded the sugarcane fields in border town with water and took position behind the plants.

    Thanks to the flooded fields, the Pakistani tanks were trapped in Mahmudpura and became sitting ducks for the Indian tanks and recoilless guns. It was in one such field that Abdul Hamid along with his driver Mohammed Naseem and two others had taken position in a RCL jeep and turned the area into a graveyard of the Pakistani tanks.

UK Parliament attack: India stands with Britain in the fight against terror, says PM Modi
  • Condemning the terror attack in London on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee expressed their condolences for those who lost their lives in the gruesome twin strike.
    President Pranab Mukherjee took to Twitter to express his shock over the UK Parliament attack and asked for collective action by international community to fight terrorism.
    "India stands by UK; terrorism must be met through collective action by international community," President Mukherjee said.
    External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Twitter on Wednesday night stated that she was in constant touch with the Indian High Commission in London and no Indian casualty had been reported so far. The minister advised people to avoid going to Parliament Square.
    While Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing his sympathies for the victims in his tweets this morning promised to stand with the United Kingdom in the fight against terrorism.
    "Deeply saddened by the terror attack in London. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. At this difficult moment, India stands with UK in the fight against terrorism," PM Modi tweeted.
    Prime Minister Modi's counterpart in London, Theresa May condemned the attack as "sick and depraved". "The location of this attack was no accident," she said in a statement outside her 10 Downing Street office.
    The catastrophic chain of events was started by a knife-wielding assailant who tried to storm the British Parliament at 2:30 PM local time.
    The assailant was stopped by a cop who was later stabbed to death. The attacker was shot down.
    The attack came when the British Parliament was in session forcing a lockdown.
    In a parallel terror attempt, a car mowed down at least 5 pedestrians and injured about 40 on the Westminster bridge.
    After Brusells and Nice, another European city has fallen victim to terror. Britain is on its second-highest alert level of "severe" meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely.

Business Affairs 

India's current account deficit widens in Oct-Dec, says RBI
  • India's current account deficit widened to $7.9 billion, or 1.4 percent of gross domestic product, in the October-December quarter from the same period a year earlier, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said in a statement on Thursday.
    That compared with a deficit of $7.1 billion, or 1.4 percent of GDP in the same quarter of 2015, and a deficit of $3.4 billion, or 0.6 percent the GDP in the July-September quarter, according to the RBI data.
    Analysts said the deficit widened because of higher imports, but was still on track to stay relatively muted, at around one percent of GDP for the full year ending March.
    Meanwhile, the balance of payments for October-December notched a deficit of $1.2 billion compared with a surplus of $4.1 billion a year ago, the RBI data showed.

Yes Bank launches up to $750 million share sale
  • Yes Bank Ltd, India's fifth-biggest private sector lender by assets, has launched a share sale to institutions to raise as much as $750 million, according to a deal term sheet seen by Reuters.
    The base size of the sale of new shares is $650 million and the bank has an option to increase it to $750 million, the term sheet showed.
    The shares are being sold in a price range of 1455 rupees to 1500 rupees. The price range reflects a discount of 1.22 percent to 4.19 percent to the stock's Thursday closing price of 1,518.60 rupees on the National Stock Exchange.
    Last September the lender shelved an up to $1 billion share sale a day after launching the deal.
    Bank of America Merrill Lynch, CLSA, IIFL, Motilal Oswal are managing the latest share sale.

Home loan EMIs under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana for middle-income groups: Eligibility, interest, preference to women
  • In his new year's eve address Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) for middle-income groups. And now, the government has come up with the scheme related guidelines.
    This interest subsidy scheme has been named as 'Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme for Middle Income Groups - CLSS(MIG)'.
    According to the Credit Linked Subsidy, which is a part of the PMAY scheme, middle-income groups with incomes in the eligible range will get an interest rate subsidy of 3-4 per cent.
    Initially, the scheme will be implemented for a period of one year.
    Here is all you need to know about Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY):
    • Middle Income Groups (MIG) which fall under the bracket of  annual incomes of above Rs 6 lakhs to Rs 18 lakhs are eligible for interest subsidy on housing loans under the new CLSS(MIG).
    • People whose housing loans have been approved and whose applications are under consideration since January 1,2017 are also eligible for it.
    • In his new year address, Prime Minister Modi had announced interest subsidy of four per cent on housing loans of up to Rs 9 lakhs for people with an annual income of Rs 12 lakh. For those earning Rs 18 lakh per year, they are eligible for three per cent subsidy on housing loans of up to Rs 12 lakh.

    EMI and interest on the loan 

    • The tenure of loan has been specified maximum to be of 20 years or whatever preferred by the beneficiary, whichever is lower.
    • The total interest subsidy accruing on these loan amounts will be paid to the beneficiaries up front in one go which would reduce the burden of EMI on the user.
    • Sriram Kalyanaraman, MD and CEO of National Housing Bank informed that interest subsidy of four per cent under CLSS(MIG) will bring down EMIs of beneficiaries by Rs 2,062 per month on a housing loan of Rs 9 lakh and interest subsidy of three per cent would lower the EMI by Rs 2,019 on a loan of Rs 12 lakh, taking normal housing loan interest rate as 8.65 per cent.
    • The total interest subsidy to be paid under MIG group for loan up to Rs 9 lakh is Rs 2.35 lakh and on a loan of Rs 12 lakh, it comes to Rs 2.30 lakh per beneficiary.
    • The scheme defines the beneficiary family as the one with a wife, husband and unmarried daughters and sons. For acquisition/construction of a new house including repurchase, the scheme has made even unmarried and earning young adults eligible for taking the benefit of the said scheme.  

    Preference to women: 

    • Under the guidelines, preference is to be given to women. Widows, single working-women, persons belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, backward classes, differently abled and transgender people will be given preference.

    Small Finance Banks and Non-Banking Finance Company, Micro Finance Institutions also have been recognized to function as Primary Lending Institutions to widen the scope of implementation of CLSS(MIG).

    On Wednesday, 70 lending institutions including 45 housing finance companies, 15 scheduled banks, regional rural and cooperative banks signed MoUs with National Housing Bank for implementation of the scheme for the middle class in urban areas.

    Parliamentary panel to summon Urjit Patel again on April 20
    • A Parliamentary panel has decided to summon Reserve Bank Governor Urjit Patel again to explain how much of the junked currency has been deposited in banks post note ban and the progress made in remonetisation.
      The meeting of the Standing Committees on Finance, headed by former cabinet minister M Veerappa Moily, has been tentatively scheduled for April 20, sources privy to the development said.
      Besides Patel, Economic Affairs Secretary Sashikanta Das and Financial Services Secretary Anjuly Chib Duggal are also being asked to appear before the Committee.
      The panel, which had last met on the issue of "Demonetisation of Indian Currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000" on January 18, is ascertaining the availability of the RBI and finance ministry officials on April 20.
      This possibly may be the last oral evidence meeting of the committee before it finalises its report, sources said, adding that another meeting may have to be called if Patel does not appear on April 20.
      The panel wants to know from the RBI Governor as well as the finance ministry officials the number of junked currency that was deposited in bank accounts post November 8, 2016 decision to demonetise higher denomination notes.
      Also, it wants a brief on the process of remonetisation and by when is the entire progress of replacing the junked notes, which constituted 86 per cent of the total currency in circulation, will be replaced.
      At the last meeting, Patel had not disclosed the number of banned notes that had been deposited in banks and had only stated that 9.2 lakh crore of new currency notes had been introduced. A total of Rs 15.44 lakh crore, representing about 86 per cent of all currency, was declared void on November 8 last year.
      Sources said MPs may also like to question RBI and finance ministry officials on the rules being changed virtually on a daily basis on deposit of the junked currency.
      At the last meeting, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had saved Patel from some tough questioning by his fellow party MPs.
      He asked the embattled RBI Governor not to respond to a query by Digvijaya Singh on why banking restrictions were not being lifted as this would result in a run on banks.
      The 31-member Standing Committee on Finance also comprises of Nishikant Dubey and Kirit Somaiya of BJP, Naresh Agarwal of SP, Dinesh Trivedi of TMC and Satish Chandra Misra of BSP.
      RBI in a written note to the panel had stated that on November 7, 2016 the government "advised" it to scrap 500 and 1,000-rupee notes; a day later, the RBI Board cleared the move. Hours after that, Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a televised address in which he made the shock announcement.

      Bhushan Steel stock closes 7.48% higher on buzz of acquisition by Vedanta
      • The Bhushan Steel stock on Thursday rose up to 10 per cent on buzz that Vedanta also joined the race to buy the debt-laden firm, reported  CNBC TV 18 citing sources.
        Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Steel is also said to be in talks with lenders to buy Bhushan Steel, which has debt of around Rs 30,000 to Rs 33,000 crore.
        Lenders of Bhushan Steel include Punjab National Bank and State Bank of India among others. Vedanta is looking to enter the steel sector with the possible acquisition of Bhushan Steel.
        The announcement of special interim dividend by Hindustan Zinc will benefit Vedanta's financials as it holds majority stake in the former.
        Lenders are likely to start a competitive bidding process for selling Bhushan Steel, the report said.
        The net loss for the third quarter of FY'17 widened to Rs 734 crore against net loss of Rs 693.6 crore in Q3FY16. The widening of loss was led by increase in finance costs by 20% to Rs 1,377.8 crore.
        At 1456 hours, the stock was up 9.28 percent to Rs 58 level. The stock is down 336 per cent in the last five years. The stock closed 7.48 percent higher at Rs 56.75 level on the BSE. 
        It rose almost 52 percent during the last one year.
        Bhushan Steel is engaged in the steel business. Its plants are located at Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh; Raigad, Maharashtra, and Dhenkanal, Orissa. Its subsidiaries include Bhushan Steel Madhya Bharat Ltd. and Bhushan Steel (Australia) PTY, among others.

      General Awareness

      Banks, their taglines and Headquarters

      BankTag LineEstablished on Headquarter
      Allahabad BankA Tradition of Trust24 April, 1865 Kolkata
      Andhra BankWhere India Banks20 November, 1923 Hyderabad
      Bank of BarodaIndia's International Bank1908 Vadodara
      Bank of IndiaRelationship beyond banking7 September, 1906 Mumbai
      Bhartiya Mahila BankEmpowering Women2013 New Delhi
      Bank of MaharashtraOne Family one bank1936 Pune
      Canara BankTogether We canJuly 1906  Bangalore
      Central Bank of India"Central To you Since 1911"1911 Mumbai
      Corporation BankA Premier Public Sector Bank1906 Mangalore
      Dena BankTrusted Family Bank26 May, 1938 Mumbai
      ECGC BankYou focus on exports.30 July, 1957 Mumbai
      IDBI BankWe cover the risksBanking For All, 01 July, 1964 Mumbai
      Indian Bank"Aao Sochein Bada"Your Own Bank 1907 Chennai
      Indian Overseas BankGood people to grow with10 February, 1937 Chennai
      Punjab National BankThe name you can bank upon19 May, 1894 New Delhi
      Punjab & Sind BankWhere service is a way of life1908 New Delhi
      Oriental Bank of CommerceWhere every individual is committed19 February, 1943 Gurgaon
      UCO BankHonours Your Trust06 January, 1943 Kolkata
      Union Bank of IndiaGood People to Bank with11 November, 1919 Mumbai
      United Bank of IndiaThe Bank the begins with "U"1950 Kolkata
      Vijaya BankA Friend you can bank on1931 Bangalore
      SBIWith you all the way, Pure Banking Nothing Else, The (Imperial Bank India) 1 July, The Banker to Every Indian 1955 (SBI)27 January, 1921 Mumbai
      Axis BankBadhti ka naam Zindagi1990 (as UTI Bank) Mumbai
      ICICI BankHum Ha Na, Khyal Apka1994 Mumbai
      HDFC BankWe understand your world indeed1994 Mumbai
      Yes BankExperience our Expertise2004 Mumbai
      Kotak Mahindra BankLets make money simple1985 Mumbai
      IndusInd BankWe make you feel richerApril 1994 Mumbai
      Federal BankYou perfect banking partner1945 Kochi, Kerala
      Jammu & Kashmir BankServing to empowerOct 1, 1938 Sri Nagar, J & K
      South Indian BankExperience next generation banking1929 Thrissur City, Kerala
      Karur Vysya BankSmart way to bank1916 Karur, Tamil Nadu
      Bandhan BankAapka Bhala, Sabki Bhalai2014 Kolkata, West Bengal
      IDFC BankBanking Hatke2014 Mumbai

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