Current Affairs Current Affairs - 13 April 2017 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 13 April 2017


General Affairs 

Fine, Prove It: Election Commission Dares Hacking Of Vote Machines (EVMs)
  • After a litany of complaints about Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) being vulnerable to manipulation, the powerful Election Commission has announced that at the start of May, it will hold a hackathon where non-believers can attempt to rig the machines. Before that, the Commission will meet with leaders of all major parties to conduct a demo and illustrate that the machines cannot be reconfigured to suit political parties. Dates for both events have not yet been confirmed. Sources said that hackers will be asked to visit the Commission's office in Delhi over 10 days and try their luck.

    Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, an IIT graduate, has been asking for access to a voting machine, claiming that it will take him 24 hours to prove it can be gamed. His complaint was made after his Aam Aadmi Party defied expectations for a ho-hum performance in Punjab after exit polls predicted that it would either win the state in March or lock the Congress into a tight finish.

    Mr Kejriwal has said that EVMs should not be used in the approaching municipal election in Delhi, which will test his popularity mid-way through his term.

    However, because of his accusation of the Punjab result being inaccurate, he was not invited by the Congress to a front of 13 parties that have formally complained about EVMS being fixed for the recent elections in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, states that chose the BJP with an over-whelming margin. The Congress has conveniently not referred to any misappropriation of EVMs in Punjab, its sole electoral win in recent years.



    Parties like Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress flanked the Congress in a request to the Election Commission and then President Pranab Mukherjee for old-school voting with ballot papers for the next round of elections in states like Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

    The Congress and other parties have referenced some recent media reports which claimed evidence of malfunctioning EVMs. At the end of March, an EVM being used for a demonstration by electoral officers in Bhind in Madhya Pradesh appeared to issue a paper receipt for the BJP, though the button pushed was for a candidate from another party. The Election Commission said an inquiry revealed that the machine was accurate.

    They rallied together against EVMs after a demonstration in Bhind in Madhya Pradesh appeared to show that no matter which button was pressed (each button is placed against a different candidate), the paper or "receipt" that falls into a box (that is sealed) registered the vote for the BJP.  

    The opposition says that by refusing to release funds sought by the Election Commission to buy new voting machines (VVPATs) for the next general election in 2019, the government has exposed its proclivity for malpractice. VVPATs (Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail) are machines that dispense a paper receipt that is visible to the voter before it falls into a sealed box. Not enough of them are used in elections, the opposition said.

Opposition At Prez Doors, Minister Calls Them Rejected And Dejected
  • As parliament's Budget Session came to an end on Wednesday, opposition leaders including Congress president Sonia Gandhi headed to Rashtrapati Bhavan to complain about the "environment of fear and insecurity" in the country and accuse the Centre of harassing opposition Chief Ministers and cobbling up artificial majority in Goa and Manipur.

    The opposition also raised its concerns about the security of electronic voting machines (EVM) with President Pranab Mukherjee. "We drew his attention to the recent critical developments which have seriously undermined governance and institutional integrity... voices of dissent are being muzzled," Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha said, standing against the backdrop of Rashtrapati Bhavan.

    The opposition had a long list of complaints, ranging from what it called were attempts to dent the autonomy of universities and institutions such as the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library to lumpen elements indulging in violence against people transporting cows in Rajasthan's Alwar district.


    The Centre quickly dismissed the charges, calling it a disinformation campaign. "They are rejected (in elections), and dejected," Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu said, describing the allegations levelled at the presidential meeting as "false".

    The opposition called the continued violence and the failure of governance in Jammu & Kashmir a matter of national concern. At 7 per cent, the by-elections for the Srinagar parliamentary constituency held on Sunday had one of the lowest turnouts in recent decades and polls for the second seat, Anantnag, have been deferred to May.

    To the opposition charge that central agencies such as the CBI and Enforcement Directorate were being used to harass Chief Ministers and political parties, Mr Naidu shot back: "What do they want? Should these agencies do nothing? They don't work by political biases".

Girl Child Welfare Next On Yogi Adityanath Government's List
  • In line with its election manifesto, the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh has directed officials to start work on 'Bhagya Lakshmi Yojna' to give Rs. 50,000 on the birth of girl child in poor families.

    "The officials have been asked to prepare a detailed plan to implement the scheme as promised in BJP's 'Lok Kalyan Sankalp Patra'. Under the scheme, a development bond of Rs. 50,000 is given on the birth of a girl child in poor families," an official spokesman said here. The direction in this regard was issued by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at a meeting in Lucknow yesterday.

    With the implementation of this scheme, Rs. 3,000 will be given when the girl reaches Class VI, Rs. 5,000 in Class VIII, Rs. 7,000 in Class X, Rs. 8,000 on her reaching Class XII and Rs. 2 lakh when she attains the age of 21.


    The CM also directed to cover widows under the pension scheme and give them Rs. 500 per month, and to increase amount for encouraging remarriage of widows to Rs. 51,000 from existing Rs. 11,000 and Rs. 500 per month from existing Rs. 125 per month given to dowry victims.

    The CM also asked to increase amount given for legal assistance to dowry victims to Rs. 10,000 from existing Rs. 2,500.

IAEA Flags Cyber Threat Concerns For Nuclear Facilities: Government
  • Global nuclear watchdog - International Atomic Energy Agency or IAEA has expressed concern over possible cyber and terrorist threats to nuclear installations worldwide, with the government today saying it was prepared to deal with any such eventuality. Noting that no cyber intrusion has happened so far with respect to nuclear installations, Union Minister Jitendra Singh told the Lok Sabha that nuclear installations in the country are "designed and operated following a defence in-depth philosophy".

    To a query on whether IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and the US-based non-profit group Nuclear Threat Initiative (NIT) have alerted the world community of a possible threat of cyber and terrorist attack on nuclear facilities, the Minister replied in the affirmative.

    During the Question Hour, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office said IAEA has expressed concern in general terms about the possibility of cyber and terrorist threats to nuclear installations globally, without indicating any specific details.

    "Government takes these concerns seriously and remains alert and is prepared to deal with such threats," he said.


    Further, the Minister said the critical infrastructure of Indian nuclear establishment is isolated from the internet and access to such systems was restricted to authorised personnel and closely monitored.


    There are also Computer and Information Security Advisory Group (CISAG) and the Task Force for Instrumentation and Control Security (TAFICS) to look after "cyber/information security of the Department of Atomic Energy units including regular cyber security audit", he added.

    Responding to questions related to monazite reserves in the country, Mr Singh said in the garb of granite mining, there have been instances of monazite being mined. The government has taken "due cognisance" of the instances, he added.

    There is around 12 million tonnes of monazite reserves and about ten per cent of thorium can be extracted from it while "continuous efforts" are going on for exploration, he said.

9 Sailors Of Indian Ship Kidnapped By Somali Pirates Rescued
  • Somali security forces have rescued nine of the 11 crew members who were kidnapped from an Indian cargo dhow and taken ashore by pirates, said Hirsi Yusuf Barre, the mayor of Galkayo town in central Somalia.

    "The hostages were freed without fighting. The security forces overwhelmingly besieged them and the pirates tried to flee, but three of them were captured," Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed, deputy commander of the maritime force in Somalia's Galmudug state said.

    Mr Ahmed said the newly freed crew members were "safe and healthy."

    The forces had rescued the hijacked Indian cargo dhow, Al Kausar, on Monday, but the pirates managed to escape with the crew during an exchange of gunfire, authorities said. The vessel was seized earlier this month.

    The Al Kausar, which was transporting cargo including wheat and sugar from Dubai via Yemen to Somalia's Bossaso port, was the third vessel hijacked in the space of less than a month off the coast of the East African nation.

    The pirates had told Reuters that they would use the crew to bargain for the freedom of pirates jailed in India.


    "We encouraged our friends to run away with the crew if they are attacked so that they can be exchanged for the release of 117 pirates jailed in India," pirate Saiid said.

    Somali pirate attacks peaked with 237 in 2012 but then declined steeply after ship owners improved security measures and international naval forces stepped up patrols.

    But this month has seen a jump in such attacks, with two ships captured and a third rescued by Indian and Chinese forces after the crew radioed for help and locked themselves in a safe room.

    Residents of the Somali coastline say piracy has resumed after local authorities issued permits for foreign fishing vessels to fish in Somali waters. They say the foreign vessels have cut nets belonging to locals and run down small boats.

Business Affairs 

You need not submit Aadhaar card to comply with FATCA
  • The Income-Tax Department has asked financial institutions to obtain self-certification for all accounts opened between July 1, 2014, and August 31, 2015. This initiative aims to comply with the Foreign Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), a deal that India has signed with the US for automatic exchange of financial information between the two nations about tax evaders.
    Under self-certification, an investor has to provide declaration relating to the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)/Common Reporting Standard (CRS). It does not require one to submit the Aadhaar card in order to comply with FATCA requirements.

    Meenakshi J. Goswami, Commissioner of Income Tax (media and technical policy) and Central Board of Direct Taxes' official spokesperson, says, "Customers are not required to submit their Aadhaar cards to comply with FATCA. A bank may want KYC details only if it is found to be a reportable account."

    Rajiv Shastri, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Peerless Mutual Fund, says, "The circular issued by the Income-Tax Department has asked investors to comply with the FATCA guidelines, which involve obtaining self-certifications. KYC falls under the financial intelligence unit (FIU) and these are two different subjects."

    According to the notification, account holders need to submit the self-certification document by April 30. If they fail to submit the details, the circular issued by the Income-Tax Department states that "The account holders may be informed that, in case self-certifications are not provided till April 30, 2017, the accounts would be blocked, which would mean that the financial institution would prohibit the account holder from effecting any transaction with respect to such accounts."
    It, however, clarified that the transactions by the account holder in such blocked accounts may be permitted once the self-certification is obtained and due diligence completed.
    The inter-governmental agreement with the US for implementation of FATCA came into force on August 31, 2015. Under the arrangement, the financial institutions need to obtain self-certifications and carry out due diligence in respect of all individual and entity accounts opened from July 1, 2014, to August 31, 2015.

    The initial deadline was August 31, 2016, for meeting the FATCA requirements; otherwise they were required to close the accounts. Later, the deadline was extended and the financial institutions were advised to continue to work on completing the required due diligence, including obtaining self-certifications.

GST coming July 1 despite calls for delay, says Revenue Secretary
  • India will launch the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as planned on July 1 to boost economic growth and state revenues, a finance ministry official said on Wednesday, despite calls from some businesses for a delay.
    The central and state governments were ready to roll out the GST, said Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia, adding that firms should not count on a postponement of a tax more than a decade in the making.
    India's most ambitious tax reform since independence would transform its $2 trillion economy and market of 1.3 billion people into a single economic zone with common indirect taxes - something that neither the European Union nor the United States can boast.
    And, although the GST is designed to be revenue neutral, Adhia expects it to improve compliance by businesses as well as draw their owners into the income tax net, thus boosting overall tax revenues.
    "The entire parallel economy will vanish," Adhia told Reuters in an interview.
    "The benefit of avoiding tax which was accruing to the entrepreneur or to the trader - that will now come to the government. That is why we expect revenue buoyancy to go up."
    CHECKPOSTS TO GO
    Tax checkpoints at state borders would be dismantled, Adhia said, adding that a GST panel was in talks with other departments to remove other posts that could hinder the movement of goods. This would "take some time".
    Work is also complete on setting up the GST Network, an IT system that will match invoices, making it possible for companies to claim input credits that will soften the impact of initially high GST rates.
    There will be four tax 'slabs' - 5, 12, 18 and 28 percent - with rates on individual items broadly in line with levies that now apply. Parliament passed laws to implement the GST in the session now ending.
    "Our fundamental aim is to keep the rate closer to the existing one," said Adhia, one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's most trusted bureaucrats.
    Other countries that have launched GSTs have faced a dip in growth and revenues due to initial teething troubles, but Adhia was confident that indirect revenues would exceed a target of 9-10 percent in the fiscal year to March 2018.
    With company owners using their personal tax numbers to comply with the GST, Adhia expects income tax dodgers to have to come clean. Only around 3 percent of people in India pay income tax.
    "It will become harder for people to stay informal," he said. "They will have to come into the tax net, and that in turn will give us some benefit in direct taxes also."
    Looking further out, expected revenue buoyancy would leave room to lower GST rates and simplify the tax structure.
    "The 18 percent or 28 percent rates certainly need a relook, but right now we can't afford it," said Adhia. "Once our revenues are more steady, there is a reason for consumers also to benefit from GST. And that they will."

Cabinet gives nod for listing of 11 CPSEs on stock exchanges
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval on Wednesday for listing of the 11 CPSEs (Central Public Sector Enterprises) on stock exchanges.
    The 11 CPSEs include: Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), IRCON International Limited, Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) Ltd., Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) Ltd.,RITES Ltd., Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) Ltd., Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDSL), North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) Ltd.,MSTC Ltd.,Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd. (MIDHANI).
    Listing of CPSEs will be through public offer of shares upto 25 per cent of Government of India's shareholding, which may include offer of fresh shares for raising of resources from market, read a Finance Ministry statement.
    However, actual disinvestment in respect of each CPSE alongwith the mode of raising resources has been delegated for decision on a case to case basis to the Alternative Mechanism, which is chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
    The CCEA has also approved reservation of shares for the eligible employees of 11 CPSEs in accordance with the extant provisions of SEBI Regulations.

    With a view to ensure wider participation by small investors in the CPSEs' disinvestment program, a price discount upto 5 per cent on the issue price has also been approved for the retail investors and eligible employees of 11 CPSEs participating in this offer.
    Following are the ways in which the decision to list 11 CPSEs on stock exchanges will have advantages for the stakeholders:

    • Post-listing, value of a CPSE has the potential to be unlocked in multiples of book value of its equity with respective increase in their market capitalization. Once the book value of 11 CPSEs is discovered through the listing process, it will facilitate raising of resources by these companies at comparable cost and hence, achieve higher growth through their expansion/diversification. This will also be reflected in the performance at the sectoral level and overall economic growth.
    • Listing of CPSEs will also promote 'people's ownership' by encouraging public participation in CPSEs. Reservation of shares not exceeding 5 per cent of the       post-issue capital for the eligible employees of 11 CPSEs, with the further decision to allocate shares to retail investors and employees of CPSEs at a price discount will ensure wider participation of small investors in the CPSEs' disinvestment program.
    • Listing of profitable CPSEs on the stock exchanges also triggers multilayered oversight mechanism, which not only enhances shareholders' value but also promotes corporate governance norms in such companies. As per the listing requirements of SEBI/ Company Law/Stock Exchanges, CPSEs are required to comply with a number of mandatory disclosure requirements.
    • With general public becoming the shareholder in the company through the listing route, the management is open to public scrutiny and thus become more accountable to its shareholders, as per the extant disclosure norms and compliance for listed CPSEs.

    The move comes after Arun Jaitley had mentioned to do the same in his Budget speech in February.
    While presenting the Union Budget of 2017-18, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said, "Listing of Public Sector enterprises will foster public accountability and unlock the true value of these companies. The Government will put in place a revised mechanism and procedure to ensure time-bound listing of identified CPSEs on stock exchanges".

    Solar tenders, auctions slowing down in India: Report
    • While solar installations in India have picked up speed, tenders and auctions have been slowing down over the past couple of quarters, according to a Mercom Capital report. About 1.9 GW of solar power was tendered in Q1 2017 (1 GW of this was a retender) compared to 3.4 GW in Q4 last year. There was 1.3 GW of solar projects auctioned in Q1 2017 compared to 255 MW in Q4 2016. The slowdown in activity has been disconcerting to developers and manufacturers who have been gearing up for more activity based on India's solar installation goal of 100 GW by 2022.
      As per the target set by the government, India needs to instal 18 GW of solar power every year till 2022. If the government wants to meet its solar installation goals, the pace of tenders and auctions must pick up quickly. Companies, who have invested hundreds of millions to expand to meet the demand and build projects, are anxiously waiting for the activity to pick up. 
      According to the report, "Some of the reasons for decline in tender and auction activity include poor financial condition of distribution companies (DISCOMs), transmission issues, weaker power demand and increases in captive generation by commercial and industrial companies. DISCOMs that are continuing to struggle financially are not taking on new generation that is more expensive than coal, which is leading to curtailment of solar and wind projects as well as payment delays to developers."
      The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling against India's domestic content requirement (DCR) has resulted in continuous cancellations and postponements of planned DCR tenders.
      "In some states, weak power demand is removing the urgency to speed up the pace of solar tenders and auctions. Increases in captive generation by industrial customers have compounded the situation since they are requiring less power generation from DISCOMs," the report adds.
      The recent record low bid of Rs 3.30 (approximately $0.494)/kWh at the REWA solar park auction is playing a big role in the slowdown of auction activity as government agencies and states are stalling to renegotiate PPAs that are more expensive than the bids received at REWA.
      For DISCOMs, coal is still the cheapest option available.  According to Mercom's December Solar Quarterly Report, DISCOMs have resorted to sporadic curtailment from some solar projects in Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu because cheaper power is available on the power exchanges. Even when there is demand, several states have complained that the DISCOMs are resorting to power cuts instead of buying power on the exchanges to save on costs.
      Several other developers told Mercom that as of now Bihar, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Maharashtra are the problem states. According to Mercom's Solar Project Tracker, tendering activity has declined in these states with most of the old tenders being continually extended.
      "We hope this is a short-term issue which, once resolved, will see tariffs get down to realistic levels and there will be a big spurt in activity. However, if some of these pressing issues are not resolved quickly, growth will stall," said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group. "There needs to be a policy mechanism put in place to avoid the stop and start in tender activity every time there is an outlier in terms of a low bid. However, if states revise their tenders to include all of the positive aspects of the REWA tender, it can be a win-win for all," he added.

    Sensex ends 200 points higher, Nifty settles above 9,200; Adani Ports fall 4.85%
    • The Indian benchmark indices started off the day on a tepid note but rallied over 200 points in midday trade to end today's trading session at 29,788.35, 212.61 points higher.
      The NSE Nifty Index reclaimed its 9,200-mark by late morning trade to end the day at 9,237.00, up 55.55 points.
      The biggest laggard in today's trade was Adani Ports that plunged nearly 5 per cent in trade on the BSE after the Supreme Court on Tuesday set aside an order by the Appellate Tribunal For Electricity allowing compensatory tariff to Tata Power Ltd and Adani Power Ltd, sending down shares of both companies.
      Shares of Tata Power fell nearly 2 per cent on the BSE.
      The biggest movers on the bourses were ITC which logged over 3 per cent in trade on the BSE and NSE.
      Among other gainers were Bank of Baroda and ICICI Bank on the 50-share index and Power Grid and Larsen and Toubro on the BSE Sensex.
      Infosys is due to release its earnings report on Thursday.
      In other news, tech major HP today said it has elevated Rajiv Srivastava to the newly created regional position of chief operating officer and head of sales strategy and operations for its Asia Pacific (APAC) and Japan operations.
      India Ratings, the domestic subsidiary of Fitch Ratings, appointed Rohit Sawhney as the chief executive.
      The Reserve Bank of India today fixed the reference rate of the rupee at 64.5438 against the US dollar and 68.3067 for the euro.
      Passenger vehicle sales in India crossed the three million milestone for the first time in 2016-17, with the segment witnessing a growth of 9.23 per cent.
      For the fiscal ended March 2017, domestic passenger vehicles (PV) sales were at 30,46,727 units as against 27,89,208 in the previous year, according to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

      3.07 PM:
      Sensex soars to 222 points reaching its highest level of 29,804. 
      1.24 PM:
      State-owned power major Bhel announced that it has bagged an order from Indian Railways for installing 2 MW roof-top solar photo voltaic systems at Diesel Locomotive Modernisation Works (DMW) in Patiala.
      "Bhel has bagged one more order of 2 MW roof top SPV systems at Diesel Locomotive Modernisation Works (DMW), Patiala," the company said in a statement.
      It envisages design, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of grid connected roof top solar photo voltaic power plant with all electrical and associated equipment including civil works, Bhel said.
      Bhel stock was trading at Rs 176.10, up 0.77 per cent, on BSE.
      12.41 PM:
      The shareholders of Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd have agreed and approved the conglomerate's plan to merge with Grasim Industries Ltd that would create a $9 billion revenue earning entity. 
      83 per cent of Aditya Birla Nuvo's minority shareholder votes were cast in favour of a merger with Grasim, reported Livemint, while Grasim's minority shareholders had already voted their consent.
      Shares of Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd were 0.07 per cent down and Grasim was 0.06 per cent lower on Tuesday's trade on the BSE.
      12.10 PM:
      German luxury car maker Mercedes Benz reported its best ever quarterly sales in India at 3,650 units, albeit just a marginal increase from the year-ago period.
      The sales growth in January-March period this calendar year has been driven by the E-Class sedan and SUV portfolio led by GLC, Mercedes Benz India said.
      "After the lost opportunities in 2016, we are seeing growth momentum returning. What we saw in the first quarter of this year is as per our expectations," Mercedes-Benz India Managing Director & CEO Roland Folger told PTI.
      So far, Mercedes Benz has launched four different new products, including the hot selling long wheel base E-Class.
      In the first quarter of 2017, E-Class sedan has re-emerged as the highest selling model for Mercedes-Benz, the firm said.
      Launched on February 28, the model had sold 500 units within six days.
      12.02 PM:
      Shares of Adani Ports dipped 2.66 per cent on the BSE.
      11.57 AM:
      Shares of ITC gains 2.23 per cent on the BSE after the company announced that it is planning on expanding its juice portfolio to 20 per cent of market share in five years.
      Apart from adding new flavours and focusing on local fruits, the company is expanding its sales network to meet the target.
      The Kolkata-based firm also plans to expand retail points of its luxury chocolate brand Fabelle and take it outside its hotel premises, where it is only available currently. "We are going to add 2 to 3 percent market share every year and in next five years. It should be around 18 to 20 per cent in the next five years," ITC Foods Division Divisional Chief Executive Hemant Malik told PTI.
      10.25 AM:
      Indian rupee
      The cup of woes for the rupee seems to be brimming over as it weakened 13 paise more to 64.69 against the dollar in early session today as US rate hike fears come back to haunt participants.
      Fed officials' highly hawkish comments mainly soured forex market sentiment.
      Dealers said dollar flexing muscles overseas and its increased demand from importers put the squeeze on the rupee.
      They said, however, a higher opening in the domestic stock market limited the rupee losses.
      Yesterday, the rupee had retreated after a three-session winning run and lost 28 paise to end at 64.56 against the dollar with simmering geopolitical tensions taking the centre-stage at the global level.
      10.23 AM:
      The BSE Sensex reversed its tepid start of the day to trade at 29,693.66, suring 117.92 points.
      The Nifty50 was ruling at 9,206.95, 25.50 points higher.
      Sectoral indices such as IT, oil and gas, capital goods and technology were in the lead, giving the sentiment a lift.
      Optimistic buying in blue-chip stocks ahead of industrial production (IIP) data for February and retail inflation for March tomorrow kept stocks on course.
      Asian markets were muted over weak global cues.
      In the Asian region, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.76 per cent and Japan's Nikkei fell 0.48 per cent while Shanghai Composite shed 0.36 per cent in early trade today.
      The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.01 per cent higher yesterday.
      9.22 AM:
      The Indian benchmark indices opened flat on the green with a positive bias.
      The S&P BSE Sensex was trading at 29,604.09, up 28.35 points while the Nifty50 was trading at 9,183.45, 2.00 points higher.
      Infosys gained 1.11 per cent on the BSE after closing as the top loser on the bourse yesterday.
      The company is expected to release their earning results on Thursday.
      State Bank of India, Sun Pharma and ONGC were other gainers on the BSE.
      BPCL and Infosys added over 1 per cent to the NSE Nifty Index in morning trade. 

      General Awareness

      GENERAL AWARENESS PRACTICE QUESTIONS FOR ALL BANK EXAMS

      • 1. Who won the India Open women's singles badminton title at the Siri Fort Stadium in New Delhi on April 2, 2017?
        1) Carolina Marin
        2) Saina Nehwal
        3) Sung Ji Hyun
        4) P.V. Sindhu
        5) Minatsu Mitani

        2. Najib Razak visited India in April 2017. He is the Prime Minister of?
        1) Indonesia
        2) Malaysia
        3) Oman
        4) Iran
        5) Iraq

        3. Who won the prestigious 2017 Abel Prize?
        1) John Nash
        2) Louis Nirenberg
        3) Yves Meyer
        4) Andrew Wiles
        5) None of these

        4. Who assumed office as the President of Bulgaria on January 22, 2017?
        1) Iliana Iotova
        2) Boyko Borisov
        3) Tsetska Tsacheva
        4) Rumen Radev
        5) Rosen Plevneliev

        5. Kristalina Georgieva assumed office as the Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank on January 2, 2017. She belongs to?
        1) Georgia
        2) Czech Republic
        3) Slovakia
        4) Slovenia
        5) Bulgaria

        6. In which of the following countries a married couple has occupied the two highest seats of power,
        the President and the Vice President?
        1) Costa Rica
        2) Brazil
        3) Nicaragua
        4) Panama
        5) Honduras

        7. The COP 22 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held in November 2016 in?
        1) Paris, France
        2) Lima, Peru
        3) Doha, Qatar
        4) Marrakech, Morocco
        5) Sydney, Australia

        8. Which of the following countries has withdrawn from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in November 2016?
        1) USA
        2) Canada
        3) Spain
        4) Russia
        5) China

        9. Which of the following is the largest-ever warship to be built in India?
        1) INS Kolkata
        2) INS Kochi
        3) INS Chennai
        4) INS Viraat
        5) INS Vikramaditya

        10. At which of the following rates do the banks borrow funds from the Reserve Bank of India?
        1) Base rate
        2) Repo rate
        3) Exchange rate
        4) Reverse repo rate
        5) None of these

        11. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) on November 3, 2016 in?
        1) New Delhi
        2) Panaji
        3) Hyderabad
        4) Mumbai
        5) Chennai

        12. Narinder Batra is the first Indian to be elected the President of?
        1) IOC
        2) FIH
        3) FIDE
        4) FIFA
        5) IAAF

        13. Who became the first person from China to be elected as the President of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) in November 2016?
        1) Jin Liqun
        2) Li Keqiang
        3) Meng Hongwei
        4) Lin Dan
        5) None of these

        14. Tata Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award for 2016 was conferred on which of the following authors?
        1) Chetan Bhagat
        2) Kiran Desai
        3) Anitha Desai
        4) Amitav Ghosh
        5) None of these

        15. Who was appointed a brand ambassador for Swachh Rail Mission of Indian Railways in November 2016?
        1) Bindeshwar Pathak
        2) Amitabh Bachchan
        3) Sachin Tendulkar
        4) Kunwar Bai
        5) Vidya Balan

        16. The Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award is given every two years by?
        1) Canada
        2) Norway
        3) Denmark
        4) Germany
        5) France

        17. Which of the following organizations gives Sakharov Prize for Human Rights annually?
        1) World Bank
        2) European Parliament
        3) Asian Development Bank
        4) World Economic Forum
        5) None of these

        18. Leonard Cohen passed away on November 7, 2016. He was a singer, songwriter, poet, novelist and painter from?
        1) USA
        2) France
        3) Mexico
        4) Canada
        5) None of these

        19. Mangat Ram Sharma passed away in November 2016. He was the former Deputy Chief Minister of?
        1) Uttarakhand
        2) Uttar Pradesh
        3) Jammu & Kashmir
        4) Odisha
        5) Himachal Pradesh

        20. Shashikala Kakodkar passed away on October 28, 2016. She was the first woman Chief Minister of?
        1) Maharashtra
        2) Goa
        3) Gujarat
        4) Rajasthan
        5) Odisha

        21. Who was elected the President of Lebanon on October 31, 2016?
        1) Tamman Salam
        2) Michel Aoun
        3) Amine Gemayel
        4) Elias Hrawi
        5) Selim Hoss

        22. Igor Dodon became the President of which of the following countries on December 23, 2016?
        1) Ukraine
        2) Moldova
        3) Romania
        4) Latvia
        5) Lithuania

        23. Which former cricketer was named the "Stroke Ambassador for India"?
        1) Kapil Dev
        2) Dilip Vengsarkar
        3) Sunil Gavaskar
        4) Mohinder Amarnath
        5) K. Srikanth

        24. The 10th World Stroke Congress (WSC) was held in October 2016 in?
        1) Bangalore
         2) Mumbai
        3) New Delhi
        4) Hyderabad
        5) Kolkata

        25. Who was elected the new President of the World Squash Federation (WSF) in November 2016?
        1) Jacques Fontaine
        2) Pablo Serna
        3) Gar Holohan
        4) Sarah Fitz-Gerald
        5) None of these

        26. World Squash Federation (WSF) has its headquarters in?
        1) Hastings, England
        2) Glasgow, Scotland
        3) Zurich, Switzerland
        4) Frankfurt, Germany
        5) Incheon, South Korea

        27. Identify the mismatched pair. BOOK AUTHOR
        1) Democrats Ramachandra Guha and Dissenters
        2) Second-Hand Svetlana Alexievich Time
        3) Selection Day Amitav Ghosh
        4) One Indian Girl Chetan Bhagat
        5) Satanic Verses Salman Rushdie

        28. The joint military exercise between India and Nepal is called?
        1) Konkan
        2) Varuna
        3) Garuda
        4) Surya Kiran
        5) Indradhanush

        29. SIMBEX is a maritime bilateral exercise conducted by India and?
        1) South Africa
        2) South Korea
        3) Singapore
        4) Sudan
        5) Slovakia

        30. Which country won the Fed Cup women's tennis tournament in November 2016?
        1) Czech Republic
        2) France
        3) USA
        4) Croatia
        5) Germany

        31. Who won the WTA Elite Singles Trophy in Zhuhai, China in November 2016?
        1) Petra Kvitova
        2) Elina Svitolina
        3) Venus Williams
        4) Serena Williams
        5) Dominika Cibulkova

        32. Federico Delbonis is a professional tennis player from?
        1) Spain
        2) Argentina
        3) Chile
        4) Portugal
        5) Germany

        33. India defeated which of the following countries to win the women's Asian Champions Trophy
        hockey tournament in Singapore in November 2016?
        1) Pakistan
        2) South Korea
        3) China
        4) Japan
        5) Indonesia

        34. Who won the China Open badminton super series tournament on November 20, 2016?
        1) Sun Yu
        2) Saina Nehwal
        3) Tai Tzu Ying
        4) P.V. Sindhu
        5) None of these

        35. Who was elected New Zealand Cricket's first female President in November 2016?
        1) Ingrid Cronin-Knight
        2) Karen Plummer
        3) Suzie Bates
        4) Sarah Illingworth
        5) Debbie Hockley

        36. Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is released by the?
        1) FICCI
        2) CII
        3) CSO
        4) ASSOCHAM
        5) RBI

        37. What does the letter 'M' denote in the banking term MCLR?
        1) Multiple
        2) Marginal
        3) Medium
        4) Minimum
        5) Maximum

        38. The 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) was held in November 2016 in?
        1) Telangana
        2) Andhra Pradesh
        3) Maharashtra
        4) Goa
        5) Karnataka

        39. Im Kwon-Taek was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 47th IFFI. He is a filmmaker from?
        1) Vietnam
        2) Philippines
        3) South Korea
        4) Japan
        5) China

        40. Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed free trade agreement between ASEAN members and other?
        1) Three countries
        2) Four countries
        3) Five countries
        4) Six countries
        5) None of these

        ANSWERS:
        1) 4 2) 2 3) 3 4) 4 5) 5 6) 3 7) 4 8) 4 9) 3 10) 2
        11) 1 12) 2 13) 3 14) 4 15) 1 16) 3 17) 2 18) 4 19) 3 20) 2
        21) 2 22) 2 23) 3 24) 4 25) 1 26) 1 27) 3 28) 4 29) 3 30) 1
        31) 1 32) 2 33) 3 34) 4 35) 5 36) 3 37) 2 38) 4 39) 3 40) 4

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