Current Affairs Current Affairs - 29 September 2017 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 29 September 2017

General Affairs 

PM Modi's $2.5 Billion Free Power Plan Depends On Political Will In States
  • The success of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious plan to electrify all households in India by December 2018 faces a familiar hurdle: the money-losing state power retailers.

    PM Modi earlier this week announced the government will spend 163.2 billion rupees ($2.5 billion) to provide electricity connections to every home in India by the end of next year, ahead of an earlier deadline of March 2019. The bulk of the cost for providing equipment such as power cables and electricity meters to every poor household will be borne by the federal government and partly by the states and the power retailer.

    "The key is not the scheme but the political will to allow for commercial operations of discoms," CLSA analyst Bharat Parekh said in a report on Tuesday, referring to electricity distribution companies. "The key issue is that after electrifying the households, how much power will discoms supply and how will they recover the money."

    Several power retailers are losing money on selling electricity below cost, and turning them around is in the hands of the state governments, which have traditionally used cheap power to shore up popular support and advance their political goals. Convincing states to allow profitable power tariffs will be PM Modi's biggest challenge in fulfilling the pledge that helped him rise to power in New Delhi in 2014. PM Modi is up for re-election in 2019.

    "The onus now lies with the states," according to Debasish Mishra, a partner at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu LLP in Mumbai. "The federal government is paying for connections, but the purpose will be defeated if the states fail to supply reliable power to people. And for that to happen operational autonomy of the distribution companies and timely payment of subsidies is a must."

    Discom Losses

    The announcement follows a 2015 proposal to reform power distribution, which sought to transfer three-quarters of utilities' debt to their respective state governments. The utilities were set targets to bring down losses. As a result, total losses of utilities that signed up for the plan dropped 21.5 percent from a year earlier to 403 billion rupees in the year ended March 31.

    Years of selling electricity below cost has eroded discoms' ability to invest in infrastructure, buy enough power from generators and repay bank debts. Power generation plants operate at just about half their capacity, unable to sell all the power they can produce. The power-for-all plan could "act as a major stimulus for the ailing power sector in India, with demand revival," Deutsche Bank analyst Abhishek Puri said in Sept 26 report.  

    "Our analysis suggests that power demand could potentially grow by 20 percent to 35 percent from current levels in two years, if the government is able to meet its target, as against the tepid 15% cumulative growth in the past five years," Puri said.

    'Actual Supply'

    Monday's announcement also follows an earlier program to invest 760 billion rupees in rural electrification. PM Modi's administration embarked on the plan in 2015, beginning with electrifying more than 18,000 un-electrified villages. About 3,000 villages still remain to be electrified, which means creating the infrastructure to take electricity to villages, making sure at least 10 percent of the households and public buildings there have power connections. Taking electricity to every home is the next phase of the plan.

    Retailers have coped with losses by limiting power supplies to consumers in rural areas, who are heavily subsidized, and selling more expensive electricity to industrial consumers to help fund a part of the losses. Even if all rural households get power, making adequate returns on their investment will be a challenge for retailers given the low-usage pattern.

    "This ambitious scheme needs to be followed up with equal emphasis on actual hours of supply, otherwise there'll be a danger of people not getting the true benefits of electrification, which can reduce their willingness to pay," said Ashwini Chitnis, a researcher at Prayas, a non-profit advocacy group that focuses on energy, health and education. "Poor cost recovery can result in poor maintenance and thus huge investments in network infrastructure can go waste."

After Yashwant Sinha's Attack On Economy, Son Jayant Sinha's Defence
  • A day after senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha's takedown of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's handling of the economy, his son and union minister Jayant Sinha has defended the government's economic policies, stating it is undertaking structural reforms that are "necessary to create a 'New India' and provide good jobs for our billion-strong workforce."

    "The new economy that is being created will be much more transparent, globally cost-competitive, and innovation driven. Importantly, the new economy will also be much more equitable thereby enabling all Indians to lead better lives," Jayant Sinha, who is minister of state for civil aviation, writes on the Edit page of today's Times of India newspaper.

    His father's harsh critique was published in the Indian Express yesterday. Yashwant Sinha accused Arun Jaitley for making a "mess" of the economy and blamed it partly on what he called a hurried launch of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's shock move to ban high value currency last year. The BJP veteran, who is a former Finance Minister, has pointed to the slowdown in economic growth and warned that the economy is unlikely to recover by the next national election in 2019. Stressing that the "short-sighted" decisions are being rushed by the central government, Yashwant Sinha today reiterated that there is no denying that the economy has hit a rough spot. "I stand by my analysis," he added.

    Jayant Sinha makes no direct mention of his father's assessment, but says articles that have been written on the challenges that face the economy "draw sweeping conclusions from a narrow set of facts, and quite simply miss the fundamental structural reforms that are transforming the economy."

    Mr Sinha junior argues that "one or two quarters of GDP growth and other macro data are quite inadequate to evaluate the long-term impact of the structural reforms underway."

    He has also praised GST and demonetisation as "game-changing efforts to formalise India's economy," listing a series of initiatives by the government that, he says, "balances a better life for all Indians with the requirements of an advanced, sophisticated 21st century economy." The government, he writes, is "creating a robust new economy that will power long-term growth and job creation for 'New India'." Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram of the Congress, who had yesterday applauded Yashwant Sinha for speaking "truth to power," has criticised Jayant Sinha's article as reading "like a PIB release...he should know administrative changes are not structural reforms."

    Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is yet to comment on the controversy, but other top ministers yesterday defended the government's handling of the economy. "India's record is well known across the world. It is one of the fastest growing economies," said Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said, "Under the decisive leadership of PM Modi, India has become the world's fastest-growing economy for three years in a row," highlighting GST as an "unprecedented reform."

    BJP sources have dismissed Yashwant Sinha's article as motivated by his frustration, and suggested that the 84-year-old leader is seeking to avenge his marginalisation by PM Modi. Mr Sinha and other senior leaders like LK Advani were sidelined in a move seen as punishment for opposing Mr Modi being named their party's presumptive prime minister before the 2014 national election.

No Second Chance For NRIs To Deposit Their Currency: Sushma Swaraj
  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has ruled out any new window of opportunity for NRIs or people of Indian-origin to deposit their high value Indian currency which was declared illegal after the demonetisation policy, a statement said on Tuesday.

    Ms Swaraj made these remarks during her interaction with a delegation of Global Organisation for People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) during her trip to New York last week, a media statement said.

    "Swaraj informed that the government had provided the time window for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) who are Indian citizens to deposit their currencies earlier. However, that window was not open for Diaspora Indians with foreign citizenship and the government would not be able to provide another such chance," the GOPIO statement said.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his demonetisation policy on November 8 last year, banning old currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 denomination.

    According to GOPIO, overseas citizens of India and people of Indian-origin are still holding demonetised currencies as the Reserve Bank of India did not allow them to deposit them.

    "Diaspora Indians have close to Rs. 7,500 crores still lying with them in small amounts. What should the NRIs do with the old currencies?" GOPIO asked.

    During the meeting, GOPIO delegation said that NRIs did not have Aadhaar card for linking with their bank accounts.

    "Swaraj clarified that NRIs won't require Aadhaar card to operate their bank accounts," it said.

    GOPIO suggested that Indians citizen living anywhere in the world have an Aadhaar card similar to all US citizens having a social security number, whether staying in America or outside.

    It complimented Ms Swaraj and the Indian Missions worldwide for their pro-active role in helping Indians living outside India in time of distress, the statement said.

    "However, as more Middle East NRIs are returning home, we need to develop programmes to help resettle them. Ms Swaraj said that there are many programmes for skills development as well as money available from different ministries for starting a business or technology related outfit," the statement added.

    GOPIO has offered to be facilitator between the returned NRIs and the government.

    Consul General of India in New York Sandeep Chakravorty also participated in the meeting.

Maharashtra Hopes To Turn Aircraft Carrier Viraat Into A Museum
  • Maharashtra government will seek to acquire the decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Viraat and convert it into a maritime museum, state tourism minister Jaykumar Rawal said on Wednesday.

    Speaking on the occasion of World Tourism Day, he said the government plans to berth the ship in the Vasai-Virar creek near Mumbai.

    He expressed hope that as Union Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre is from Maharashtra, the state's claim will carry more weight.

    Other states including Goa and Andhra Pradesh too are in the race to acquire the ship. INS Viraat was decommissioned from the Navy earlier this year.

    In the past, Maharashtra had made a failed bid to acquire aircraft carrier INS Vikrant with a plan to convert it into a museum after it was decommissioned in 1997.

    The minister also said that the government has asked the Customs Department to design 'Quick Response' (QR) code for all the heritage buildings in South Mumbai, instead of the state tourism department doing the job.

    "Tourists can scan the QR code (through mobile phone) and hear (audio clip of) information about the building's history or download it," Mr Rawal said.

    Referring to the theme of this year's Tourism Day -- 'sustainable tourism' - he said the government plans to launch e-vehicles in tourist hotspots such as Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani.

    There is also a plan to make available bicycles for tourists in sanctuaries, hill stations and religious places, he said.

    The Maharashtra government is joining hands with cruise ship company Carnival Cruise to bring cruise liners to the state's coast, he said.

    Mumbai-Cochin-Maldives cruise circuit, which will later cover Sri Lanka too, will be likely inaugurated on November 24, the minister said.

    The government is aiming to get 950 cruise ships to visit the state coast in the next four years, he said.

    The government is also going to start a tourist guide training program at Mumbai, Aurangabad, Sindhudurg and Nagpur, Mr Rawal said.

India, Syria To Share Intelligence For Fighting ISIS' Network
  • India has agreed to support Syria in fighting the ISIS group while the West Asian nation will share intelligence about the terrorist group's networks with India, the Home Ministry said in a statement yesterday.
    Home Minister Rajnath Singh in an hour-long meeting with the grand mufti of the Syrian Republic Ahmad Badr Eddine Mohammad Abid Hassoun in New Delhi assured India's support to Syria in fighting the ISIS, the statement said.

    "The Home Minister welcomed the grand mufti and discussion was held on wide ranging issues including terrorism and security," the statement said.

    Mr Singh raised the issue of several Indians joining the ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the statement said.

    He also said he was confident that bilateral ties between the two nations will improve as top officials visit each other for talks. "The home minister conveyed to the visiting signatory that he hopes peace and stability is restored in Syria soon," an official said.

    The official said the Syrian leader thanked Mr Singh and appreciated the secular credentials of India. "The grand mufti was particularly pleased to note the significance of unity in diversity in India," the Home Ministry said in the statement. 
    During the meeting, the grand mufti spoke about the evil that terrorism is and recalled the killing of his son by terrorists and how he forgave the assassin, an official said.

    In recent months, US-led coalition forces have expelled ISIS fighters from its key Iraq strongholds of Mosul and Tal Afar and they are close to eliminating it in Raqa, Syria.

    This has forced the remnants of the ISIS group down into the middle Euphrates River valley where a last-stand siege is expected.

    Russia sent its Air Force in September 2015 after Syria sought its help in fighting the ISIS. The Russian air campaign was effective as it helped Syrian forces regain ground, and eventually Syrian government forces managed to take control of Aleppo, the second-largest city in Syria after capital Damascus.

Business Affairs

Banks lose Rs 3,800 crore after card payments push: SBI Research
  • The government's digital payments push, mainly online card payments through PoS machines, may leave already capital starved banks bleed by a whopping Rs 3,800 crore annually, warns a report. After the note-ban last November, the Narendra Modi government has pushed banks into deploying millions of points-of-sale (PoS) machines to encourage online payments.
    Since then, banks have more than doubled their PoS terminals. The number of PoS terminals post-demonetisation has increased from 13.8 lakh in March 2016 to 28.4 lakh as of July 2017. On an average banks are installing 5,000 PoS per day.
    This has resulted in increase in debit plus credit cards transactions at PoS from Rs 51,900 crore in October 2016 to Rs 68,500 crore in July 2017, with peak reaching in December 2016 to Rs 89,200 crore.
    "We estimate that for OFF-US transactions, the aggregate annual loss for card transactions at PoS terminals around is Rs 4,700 crore. However, the net revenue gain per annum from ON-US transactions at PoS would be around Rs 900 crore only.
    "Therefore, the total annual loss to the banking industry is around Rs 3,800 crore," SBI Research said in a report today.
    The payment card industry is based on a four-party model - the issuing bank, acquiring bank, merchant and the customer.
    The transactions at PoS are termed as ON-US transactions if the issuing bank and acquiring bank are the same bank. If the issuing bank and acquiring bank are different entities, then it is known as OFF-US transactions.
    The acquiring bank bears the entire cost to create the infrastructure for PoS terminals, clearing and settlement, merchant training, terminal maintenance, and supply of consumables among others.
    The issuing bank involves the cost of issuing the cards and also manages other risks relate to card holders like failed transactions and frauds.
    Acquiring bank receives revenues only in the form of MDR (merchant discount rate) and monthly rental. The MDR on debit cards has been at 1 per cent, while there is no fixed MDR on credit card transactions.
    "The overall loss of around Rs 3,800 crore per year is quite substantial and hence the sustainability of the card business depends on a number of factors like, MDR, low card usage, poor telecom infrastructure, lack of incentives to merchants to accept cards and insufficient awareness about the costs associated with use of cash," the report said.
    A better telecom infrastructure is needed to drive the digital payments agenda successfully, it said, adding this can be achieved by ensuring dedicated spectrum for financial transactions alone, as there is insufficient quantum of spectrum for the infrastructure to take the additional load.
    The report said the current humongous PoS infrastructure that banks have developed have to be supported wholeheartedly.
    "Though government has proposed various measures to incentivize PoS infrastructure and banks are installing PoS terminals, in the long-run, the business would be viable, only if the transactions at PoS surpass ATM transactions, an enviable task indeed," the report concluded.

Exporters urge Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to announce stimulus, steps to end GST woes
  • Exporters today met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, their second meeting with the government in less than two weeks, to press for stimulus and resolution of GST related problems to boost sluggish shipments that are one reason for slowing economy.
    Expeditious refund of duties, deferment of filing of GST returns for six months and expansion of the ambit of the composition scheme were some of the issues which were raised by industry and exporters during the meeting here today.
    Exporters want resolution of problems arising from implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
    The Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) also said that power there should not be any tax burden on export sales and for imparting competitiveness, taxes may be refunded through duty drawback.
    "In absence of clear refund timelines, the new duty drawback rates notified on September 21 have added to the woes of exporting and thus effecting their order book position. It is suggested that the transition period of drawback may be extended beyond September 30 2017 till December 31," FIEO President Ganesh Gupta said.
    "The minister gave a sympathetic hearing to our concerns and assured all possible help. He has taken all our points positively".
    The FIEO also pressed for exemption from GST for merchant exporters, immediate start of the refund process with exporters facing liquidity issues and allowing export benefit scrips for payment of IGST and CGST.
    "Small exporters are particularly hit with GST as they have to borrow money to pay GST. Availability and the cost of credit is adversely impacting them," he said.
    The industry representatives also brought up compliance matters on which the finance minister invited suggestions to improve the GST implementation.
    Traders, particularly SMEs, are facing issues in filing returns, which is increasing their compliance burden.
    Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council Chairman Praveenshankar Pandya said the sector is faced with a huge problem as exports are declining.
    They also demanded exemption from Integrated GST (IGST) on procurement of precious metals from nominated agencies for the purpose of manufacturing and export of jewellery.
    "Small businesses are getting impacted more. Some have cut their productions also. We have raised the issue of compliance," Pandya said adding "We got a positive response from the minister. They would tabulate our demands and put before the GST Council".
    Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) Council Member Satwinder Singh said concerns related to reverse charge mechanism and refund were raised in the meeting.
    In a statement, CII has asked for special initiatives for promoting exports, including by addressing teething troubles for exporters under the GST regime.
    "All import duties including IGST should be allowed to be debited under Advance Authorisation. Advance receipts for exports should be exempted from payment of IGST," it said.
    Assocham said that filing of GST return has become nightmare for the taxpayers.
    "Therefore at least for six months filing of GST return should be deferred. Composition Scheme should be applicable for small service providers (turnover upto Rs 50 lakh)," it said.
    Representatives from KPMG, CII, Ficci, Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, Laghu Udyog Bharati, GST service providers, ICSI, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and Amazon were present.
    In their meeting with finance ministry officials on September 19,
    exporters asked the government to fast-track the refund process and avoid further deterioration in their liquidity situation.

Govt looks to borrow Rs 2 lakh cr in second half of FY18 to meet fiscal deficit target
  • The government plans to borrow Rs 2.08 lakh crore from the market in the second half of 2017-18, a top official said today, reiterating its commitment to meet the fiscal deficit target of 3.2 per cent of GDP.
    To finance the fiscal deficit for the current financial year, the Budget has pegged gross borrowing at Rs 5.8 lakh crore and net borrowing at Rs 4.25 lakh crore.
    The government borrowed Rs 3.72 lakh crore in the first half and has pegged gross borrowings at Rs 2.08 lakh crore in the remaining six months of the financial year-ending March 31, Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg told reporters after a meeting to decide the borrowing calender.
    The net borrowings in the October-March period of the year has been pegged at Rs 1.92 lakh crore.
    Amid talks of stimulus package to boost sagging economic growth, Garg said deficit targets are set in the Budget and the finance ministry will stick to them as of now.
    He further said that the assessment of additional borrowing requirement, if any, would be made in December.
    He added however that there seems to be no need for additional borrowing.
    Garg also informed that Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) capital expenditure of more than Rs 3.75 lakh crore is moving as per the plan.
    He also said that public sector bodies like NHAI would be making an additional spending of RS 25,000 crore.
    Earlier in the day, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had reviewed capital expenditure with important CPSEs.
    Answering questions on lower dividend paid to the government by the Reserve Bank of India, Garg said discussions are on with the central bank for additional transfers.
    In the wake of expenditure incurred towards demonetisation, RBI had halved its dividend payout to the government to Rs 30,659 crore for the year ended June 2017.

    Piyush Goyal to flag off 100 new train services for Mumbai local; clarifies General Electric's Bihar factory on schedule
    • Indian Railways will be addding 100 local train services on its Mumbai suburban network of Western Railway and Central Railway zones. Railways Minister Piyush Goyal will be inaugurate these services tomorrow.
      With these additional trains, the total number of services on Mumbai local rain network acorss, Western Railway and Central Railway together, will increase to 3083 suburban services. Out of these 100 new services, 32 will be introduced on Western Railway while remaining 68 train services will be introduced on Central Railway portion of Mumbai local.
      From October 1, seventeen new trains services will be begin running along 'up' route on Western Railways, whereas fifteen others will ply the 'down' direction.
      Meanwhile, 14 suburban services will run on 'harbour line' on Central Railways from October 2, whereas 14 others will be introduced on 'trans-harbour line' on the same day. Sixteen suburban services on 'main line' will be introduced later from November 1, 2017. Lastly, twenty four suburban train services on 'harbour' and 'trans-harbour lines' will be started from January 31 next year.
      These 100 additional train services will benefit 77 lakh commuters travversing Mumbai local train network by resolving congestion and providing faster commute.
      The General Electronics Affair
      Meanwhile, Railway Minister Goyal also cleared the air on Indian Railways' deal with General Electric to manufacture diesel locomotives in Bihar, stating that work in this direction is going as planned. The GE deal was signed in 2015 under the 'Make in India' initiative when Suresh Prabhu headed the railway ministry. According to a report in The Economic Times, the government is looking to reach an accord with General Electric over the diesel locomotive project as Indian Railways faces a potential penalty of Rs 1,300 crore if it terminates the contract.
      Goyal's statement came after several reports claimed that government might be thinking differently about the contract as Piyush Goyal is planning to fully electrify railway network after being named the new Railway Minister.
      "The Marhowrah project is on track. I have had fruitful discussions with the South Asia and India head of GE," Goyal said at a press conference on Thursday.
      General Electric had cautioned the any change in the $2.6 billion contract would jeopardise foreign investments that might have come in future. "An alteration of this contract will have serious impact on job creation and skills development, and cause the government to incur substantial costs," it said. "This will also undermine government's signature 'Make in India' initiative."
      Other annoucements
      Apart for this, Railways Ministry also announced several measures for bettering passenger safety on and off trains, boosting profits by monetising assets, improvising human resources, finishing electrification of railway networks in another 4 to 5 years and more.

      Sensex falls 447 points, Nifty closes below 10,000 level over North Korea hydrogen bomb scare
      • The Sensex and Nifty tumbled on Friday following nervousness in global markets as investors turned cautious following new US sanctions targeting North Korea which threatened to test a nuclear weapon in the Pacific.
        North Korea's foreign minister reportedly warned Thursday Pyongyang could test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean in response to US President Donald Trump's threats of military action.
        The Sensex closed 447 points or 1.38 percent lower to 31,922  level. The Nifty was down 1.56 percent or 157.50 points at 9964.40 level.
        IPCA Laboratories (8.78 percent), IndiaBulls Real Estate (8.23 percent) and Jindal Steel (8.17 percent) were the top losers on the BSE.
        On the 30-stock Sensex, Tata Steel (4.70 percent), L&T (3.49 percent) and Reliance (2.83 percent) were the top losers.
        Market breadth was negative with 519 stocks closing higher against 519 falling on the BSE.
        Meanwhile, the rupee fell below the 65 mark for the first time in over five-and-a-half months on Friday on concern that fiscal deficit will widen after the government said it was considering measures to boost growth.
        The Indian currency closed 54 paise lower to 64.81 per dollar on Thursday.
        The first-quarter GDP growth slipped to a three-year low of 5.7 per cent this fiscal year. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said the government is considering additional measures to bolster the economy.
        Global markets
        Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.4 percent to 20,273.26 and South Korea's Kospi lost 0.7 percent to 2,389.83. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.8 percent to 27,877.19 and the Shanghai Composite fell 0.5 percent to 3,341.72. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.4 percent to 5,675.70. Taiwan's benchmark fell and Southeast Asian indexes were mostly lower.
        Major US benchmarks ended lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 0.3 percent to 2,500.60. The Dow Jones industrials fell 0.2 percent to 22,359.23. The Nasdaq composite lost 0.5 percent to 6,422.69.

      General Awareness


      • 1. Which among the following Yoga Institutes has been selected as the first recipient of the Prime Minister's Award for outstanding contribution to promotion and development of Yoga in June 2017?
        a) Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute
        b) Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram
        c) Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers and Ashrams, Kerala and Tamil Nadu
        d) Yoga Institute, Mumbai

        2. Who is the current Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) of India?
        a) T.M. Bhasin
        b) K.V. Chowdary
        c) Rajiv
        d) K. Santhanam

        3. Who has been has renominated as its serving candidate at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) by India in June 2017?
        a) Justice Jasti Chelameswar
        b) Justice Ranjan Gogoi
        c) Justice Dalveer Bhandari
        d) Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose

        4. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $ 275 million loan on 19th June, 2017 for improving urban services in 64 small towns in the State of which of the following?
        a) Andhra Pradesh
        b) Haryana
        c) Uttar Pradesh
        d) Madhya Pradesh

        5. Which among the following countries plans to host a summit for start-ups from SAARC nations in 2018?
        a) India
        b) Nepal
        c) Sri Lanka
        d) Bangladesh

        6. According to Fitch Ratings, India's GDP growth will steadily rise from 7.4% to ........ in 2018-19.
        a) 8.2%
        b) 7.5%
        c) 7.8%
        d) 8.0%

        7. Which among the following countries became the 71st country to ratify the United Nations TIR (Transports Internationaux Routiers) Convention, a move that will help boost trade through smoother movement of goods across territories?
        a) Japan
        b) Russia
        c) Germany
        d) India

        8. Indian Navy's first indigenously built Floating Dock (FDN-2), developed by Larsen & Toubro Ltd. (L&T), and was launched at:
        a) L&T's Shipyard in Kattupalli
        b) Hindustan Shipyard Limited, Visakhapatnam
        c) Mazagon Dock Limited, Mumbai
        d) Goa Shipyard Limited in Goa

        9. The BIO International Convention 2017 was held in:
        a) Dhaka
        b) San Diego
        c) Tokyo
        d) Jakarta

        10. Who is the current CEO of International Cricket Council's (ICC)?
        a) Zaheer Abbas
        b) Shashank Manohar
        c) David Richardson
        d) Narayanaswami Srinivasan

        11. Who earned the dubious distinction of being the first sitting high court judge to be awarded a jail term by the Supreme Court?
        a) Mr. Jasti Chelameswar
        b) Mr. Ranjan Gogoi
        c) Mr. CS Karnan
        d) Mr. Pinaki Chandra Ghose

        12. International Yoga Day is celebrated every year on:
        a) June 21
        b) May 21
        c) June 19
        d) July 21

        13. The 5th International Forum for Technological Development TECHNOPROM- 2017 was held in:
        a) Russia
        b) USA
        c) France
        d) Japan

        14. The oldest yoga trainer or teacher in the world is .....
        a) Elena Brower
        b) Seane Corn
        c) Tao Porchon-Lynch
        d) Amma Nanammal

        15. Who among the following is appointed as the U.S. Ambassador to India?
        a) Tim Wirth
        b) Kenneth Juster
        c) Frank E. Loy
        d) Paula Dobriansky

        16. Who among the following was appointed as Crown Prince of the Saudi Arabia?
        a) Mohammed Rehman
        b) Mohammed Sultan
        c) Mohammed Bin Salman
        d) Mohammed Ali Khan

        17. Which among the following Municipal Corporations has become the first local body in the country to issue municipal bonds?
        a) Hyderabad Municipal Corporation
        b) Mumbai Municipal Corporation
        c) New Delhi Municipal Corporation
        d) Pune Municipal Corporation

        18. Name the Uber Technologies Inc Chief Executive Officer, who has resigned under mounting pressure from investors over his leadership in June 2017.
        a) Bob Igor
        b) Elon Musk
        c) James Dimon
        d) Travis Kalanick

        19. SEBI has decided to levy a 'Regulatory Fee' of ........... on each subscriber of offshore derivative instrument (ODI), which will have to be collected by the registered foreign portfolio investor (FPI) that issues the ODIs.
        a) $2,000
        b) $1500
        c) $2500
        d) $1,000

        20. Under the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G), rural ........... and rural ......... have declared themselves as the 4th and 5th Open Defecation Free (ODF) States of India.
        a) Andhra Pradesh, Odisha
        b) Bihar, Sikkim
        c) Uttarakhand, Haryana
        d) Karnataka, Punjab

        21. Who has been selected unanimously as the Opposition candidate for the presidential election to be held in July 2017?
        a) Mayawati
        b) Meira Kumar
        c) Sushilkumar Shinde
        d) Sharad Power

        22. Who has been taken oath as the Bihar Governor in June 2017?
        a) Vijay Kumar Choudhary
        b) Keshri Nath Tripathi
        c) Rajendra Menon
        d) Shankar Sharma

        23. Who is the current Prime Minister of Sweden?
        a) Fredrik Reinfeldt
        b) Stefan Lofven
        c) Goran Persson
        d) Ingvar Carlsson

        24. Which among the following countries has cleared the sale of 22 unmanned Guardian drones to India in June 2017?
        a) France
        b) Russia
        c) USA
        d) Germany

        25. India signed Loan Agreement for co-financing of part funding through World Bank for USD 240 million and USD 160 Million from AIIB for 24X7 Power for All in:
        a) Andhra Pradesh Project
        b) Madhya Pradesh Project
        c) Uttar Pradesh Project
        d) Himachal Pradesh Project

        26. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has expanded its Oversight Committee - formed to advice banks on which of the following issues?
        a) Stressed asset resolution
        b) Interest rates
        c) Unaccounted money deposited in the bank accounts
        d) All of the above

        27. RBI has asked banks to resolve .......... high value cases of bad loans within six months or face the prospect of being directed to go in for the new insolvency resolution mechanism as part of the strategy to rein in unacceptable level of non-performing assets (NPAs).
        a) 25
        b) 55
        c) 35
        d) 45

        28. The Central government has placed an order for 37 lakh doses of a rotavirus vaccine that promises to beat heat issues and requires no refrigeration. Rotavirus, is the leading cause of which of the following diseases?
        a) Small Pox
        b) Diarrhoea
        c) Dengue
        d) Polio

        29. The Ministry of External affairs celebrated the completion of 50 years of the Passport Act 1967 as the 5th Passport Seva Divas on -
        a) 24th May
        b) 24th June
        c) 24th March
        d) 24th April

        30. 'City Liveability Index' for measuring the quality of life in 116 major cities was launched by .....
        a) NITI Aayog
        b) Ministry of Urban Development
        c) Central Pollution Control Board of India
        d) Both a and c

        31. Central government announced another list of 30 cities for development as smart cities taking the total cities picked up so far to 90 under Smart City Mission launched on:
        a) July 25, 2016
        b) June 25, 2014
        c) June 25, 2015
        d) April 25, 2015

        32. Child victims of cyber crimes can now lodge their complaints at National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)'s POCSO e-box. Which of the following is/ are the cyber crime/ cyber crimes included in complaints?
        a) Cyber bullying
        b) Cyber stalking
        c) Child pornography
        d) All of the above

        33. How many Arab States or Countries boycotting Qatar over alleged support for terrorism?
        a) 6
        b) 4
        c) 8
        d) 7

        34. Tata Power, has offered to sell a majority 51% stake in its debt-laden 4,000 megawatt (MW) Mundra Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) for just Rs.1. This Mundra Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) is located in:
        a) Rajasthan
        b) Haryana
        c) Punjab
        d) Gujarat

        35. Who among the following is/ are the recipients of this year Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy?
        a) Mei Hing Chak
        b) Julian Robertson
        c) Azim Premji
        d) All of the above

        36. According to a U.N. 'The World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision' report, India to have bigger population than China by...
        a) 2050
        b) 2030
        c) 2024
        d) 2075

        37. SRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLVC38 successfully launched the 712 kg ........ Series Satellite along with 30 co-passenger satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota.
        a) Cartosat-1
        b) Cartosat-2
        c) Cartosat-3
        d) Cartosat-4

        38. Which among the following country/ countries cricket team has/ have been granted Test status by the International Cricket Council in June 2017?
        a) Afghanistan
        b) Ireland
        c) UAE
        d) Both a and b

        39. New 'Incredible India 2.0 campaign' will be launched by which of the following ministries of Government of India?
        a) Ministry of External Affairs
        b) Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
        c) Ministry of Tourism
        d) Ministry of Science and Technology

        40. Name the minister in the Madhya Pradesh, who was disqualified by the Election Commission from membership of any State legislature and contesting polls for the next three years for filing wrong accounts of election  expenditure.
        a) Gopal Bhargava
        b) Dr. Gaurishankar Shejwar
        c) Narottam Mishra
        d) Jayant Mallayya

        41. The Government has granted in-principle approval for a greenfield airport at:
        a) Jewar in Uttar Pradesh
        b) Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh
        c) Mangalore in Karnataka
        d) Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh

        42. India and Portugal have signed 11 bilateral agreements recently, who is the current Prime Minister of Portugal?
        a) Jorge Sampaio
        b) Antonio Costa
        c) Pedro Passos Coelho
        d) Jose Socrates

        43. The annual plenary meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group 2017 was held in:
        a) Berne
        b) Beijing
        c) Rome
        d) Moscow

        44. Who has become first turbaned Sikh woman Supreme Court judge of Canada in June 2017?
        a) Gulab Kaur
        b) Parbinderkaur Shergill
        c) Bibi Bhag Bhari
        d) Sahib Kaur

        45. Which space agency is launching a new Colorado High-resolution Echelle Stellar Spectrograph (Chess) sounding rocket on 27 June to study the vast interstellar clouds to understand more about the earliest stages of star formation?
        a) Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
        b) Russian Federal Space Agency
        c) National Aeronautics and Space Administration
        d) Indian Space Research Organisation

        1-a, 2-b, 3-c, 4-d, 5-a, 6-b, 7-d, 8-a, 9-b, 10-c
        11-c, 12-a, 13-a, 14-c, 15-b, 16-c, 17-d, 18-d, 19-d, 20-c
        21-b, 22-b, 23-b, 24-c, 25-a, 26-a, 27-b, 28-b, 29-b, 30-b
        31-c, 32-d, 33-b, 34-d, 35-d, 36-c, 37-b, 38-d, 39-c, 40-c
        41-a, 42-b, 43-a, 44-b, 45-c

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