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Current Affairs - 14 January 2018

General Affairs 

Pakistan Intruder Shot Dead In Amritsar Sector: BSF
  • A Pakistani intruder was shot dead by the Border Security Force along the Indo-Pak border in Amritsar sector when he crossed over to the Indian territory, an official said on Saturday.

    The Ex-17 battalion of the BSF observed suspicious movement of an intruder at Border Outpost Rear Kakkar about 7:55 pm on Friday.

    The troops warned the intruder however as he kept on moving towards the border fence in aggressive posture the BSF troops then opened fire and killed him, a BSF official said.

    "About 600 Pakistani rupee was recovered from the intruder," he said.

    COMMENTSThe body of the intruder, about 30 years of age, was handed over to Pakistani Rangers in the evening.

    Last year, in September, BSF had foiled an infiltration bid when it shot dead two armed Pakistani intruders along the Indo-Pak border in Ajnala here. In December, a Pakistani intruder was shot dead in Ajnala sector.

Army's 'Meddling' In State Affairs Unacceptable: Jammu And Kashmir Education Minister Syed Altaf Bukhari

  • The Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday hit back at Army chief General Bipin Rawat over his remark that government schools in the state are spreading a "disinformation campaign" which is radicalising the youth, saying the Army's "meddling" in the state's affairs was unacceptable.

    Minister for Education Syed Altaf Bukhari denied reports that the education system of the state was driving students toward radicalisation.

    Mr Rawat, in a press conference held on Friday, said each classroom in government schools in Jammu and Kashmir has a separate map of the state besides that of India which sowed the seeds of thought of some kind of "separate identity" among the children.

    "I do not know what the army chief has said or how he said it, but what I know is that our children are not going towards radicalisation," Minister for Education Syed Altaf Bukhari told reporter.

    "Everyone has his own domain. Those who have no link to education are talking about it. It is not a fair comment and we do not accept it," Mr Bukhari said.

    The minister said the state's students and teachers were "very efficient", and "some have topped the IAS exam."

    Mr Bukhari said while the state's education system may have shortcomings, there was no need for sermons about it from the army, who do not have a link with the education system of the state.

    "This is a state subject. I do not think I will take any sermon from anybody. I have a boss, who is the chief minister (Mehbooba Mufti). If she finds any fault in the education system, we will do (address) it. She is the only one from whom we will take sermon," Mr Bukhari said.

    He said the army to concentrate on his own affairs and also mentioned the army cannot have a control over everything as India is a democratic country.

Bar Association Meets To Discuss Rift Within Judiciary
  • The Supreme Court Bar Association is meeting right now to discuss the way forward after four of the country's most senior judges went public, questioning the conduct of the Chief Justice of India. Sources said the association feels that the judges should not have gone to the media and discussed the issue in full court meeting and sorted them out internally. The association also feels that the Chief Justice of India should have addressed the issues, sources said.

    At an unprecedented press conference yesterday, the judges said they went public after their attempts to alert the Chief Justice to their concerns - including a meeting with him on Friday morning - had failed to make any progress.

    At the press conference, held on the lawns of Justice J Chelameswar, the judges said "things are not in order" with what they described as "the administration of the Supreme Court".  Their concerns, the judges said, include cases of "far-reaching consequences" being allocated without transparency.

    In a letter to the Chief Justice, they had raised concerns about "selective assignment of cases to preferred judges" and the allotment of sensitive cases to junior judges.

     As the "Master of the roster", the Chief Justice decides on the allotment of cases. But the judges said the Master of the Roster is only the "first among equals".

    The Chief Justice has not responded on the issue. Denying the claims of the four judges, sources in the judiciary told that there is no bias and cases are distributed fairly among judges.

    The BJP has insisted that it is an internal matter of the judiciary and attacked the Congress for what it called "politicizing" of the issue. In a two-page statement, the Congress has asked Supreme Court judges to jointly discuss the points flagged by the four judges.

Not In A Position To Release Cauvery Water To Tamil Nadu: Siddaramaiah
  • Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today said the southern state was "not in a position" to release Cauvery water to neighbouring Tamil Nadu, even as he hoped for a "favourable order" on the long-pending dispute next month.

    His remarks come in the wake of a letter written to him by his Tamil Nadu counterpart Edappadi K Palaniswamy demanding the immediate release of 7 tmc feet of water to the state as per the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.

    "We do not have water. How can we supply to them? It is not possible to release water to Tamil Nadu," the Karnataka chief minister said in response to the letter.

    "We expect a favourable order," he said on the hearing of the Cauvery water dispute next month.

    Last week, the Supreme Court had indicated that it would deliver within a month its verdict on the decades-old water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, saying enough confusion had been created on it for over two decades.

    A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud had said that any forum could touch the matter relating to the Cauvery basin only after it gave the verdict in four weeks.

    On the Mahadayi river dispute, Mr Siddarmaiah said a meeting would be called to resolve the matter at the earliest. The affected states will also be invited, he said.

    The dispute over the sharing of water of the Mahadayi or Mandovi river between the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa is over 30 years old.

Sushma Swaraj Meets Sri Lankan Finance Minister
  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today met Sri Lankan Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera and discussed issues of development cooperation between the two countries.

    "EAM @SushmaSwaraj met with Mr Mangala Samaraweera, Finance Minister of Sri Lanka. Leaders discussed bilateral issues of developmental cooperation," MEA spokesperson Raveesh

    Sri Lanka is one of the major recipients of development credit given by India, with total commitment of around USD 2.63 billion, including USD 458 million as grants.

    Under a line of credit of USD 167.4 million, the tsunami-damaged Colombo-Matara rail link has been repaired and upgraded.

    Another line of credit of USD 800 million for track laying and supply of rolling stock to support construction of railway lines in northern Sri Lanka is already operational.

    In October 2014, the Pallai-Jaffna reconstructed railway track and signal system was inaugurated thereby reconnecting Jaffna to Colombo by rail.

Business Affairs

Government To Resume Minting Coins, But At A Slower Rate
  • The government has gone back on its decision to halt production of coins entirely and has asked all the four mints in the country to restart production, albeit at a slower pace, industry sources said today. 

    The government has directed the state-run Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL), which runs the four government mints in Kolkata, Mumbai, Noida and Hyderabad, to work on single shift, instead of the usual two, and keep minting coins of different denominations. 

    "We have started minting of coins from yesterday. We have been asked to produce coins of all denominations," Bijan Dey, Vice-President, Calcutta Mint Employees Association, told Press Trust of India.

    The official said that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had given an indent of 7,712 million coin pieces to the government mints for 2017-18 of which 5,900 million units have already been produced.

    The mints are expected to meet the target in the remaining two-and-a-half months of the current fiscal.
    The RBI picks up the coins and banknotes from the mints for distribution in the market.

    The government had halted coin production from January 9 owing to a glut in the market and lack of storage space. In an order dated January 9, it had asked SPMCIL to stop production of circulation coins with immediate effect and urged the mints to follow normal working hours "without any
    overtime for staff" for printing of banknotes only.

    The government directive did not go down well with the mint workers who had started agitating because the order would have affected their pay.

    The official said representations were made to the Centre following which the government decided to restart production of coins.

    Earlier, RBI sources had said that the calibration of coin production needs to take place from time to time based on an assessment of the coins in circulation and storage space. Production was stopped since there was no space with banks or the Reserve Bank of India to store the coins.

    The SPMCIL notice, a copy of which is available with the PTI, had also said that as on January 8 this year, there was an inventory of 2,528 million pieces of circulation coins lying in the government mints which were not picked up by the RBI.

Bitcoin Price Rises To $14,300. Five Things To Know About The Cryptocurrency
  • On Saturday, bitcoin price rises past $14,300 on Saturday on BitStamp. The cryptocurrency's market value jumps from $226 billion to $243 billion in a day. However, on Thursday, the digital currency was trading even higher at $251 billion when the bitcoin price hit a high of $15,000. Bitcoin is ahead of ethereum widely. At the price of one bitcoin, one can buy as many as 10.6 ethereum coins. Likewise, at the price of one bitcoin, one can buy as many as 6,969 ripple coins since a ripple trades at the rate of $2.08 on Saturday. In India, a bitcoin can be bought for Rs. 10.43 lakh on unocoin, a bitcoin exchange.

    Five things to know about bitcoin price
    1. Bitcoin price trades at $14,370 on the Luxembourg-based cryptocurrency exchange BitStamp, while the average price of major exchanges worldwide is $14,499, 2.5% higher than the previous session's closing.

    2. The bitcoin prices have been under a lot of pressure for past few days since they trade in the tight range of $14,000 to $15,000 per coin.

    3. The bitcoin prices had jumped to $17,000 on January 5 on the media reports that paypal co-founder Peter Thiel's Founders Fund had made massive bets on bitcoins in the previous year.

    4. Bitcoin's market cap had hit a high of $293 billion on January 6 and $294 billion on January 7, though it had peaked to $326 on December 17 when bitcoin was trading past $19,600 on BitStamp.

    5. Bitcoin's market cap and that of ethereum (second most popular cryptocurrency) are narrowing. Bitcoin has a market cap of $243 billion while that of ethereum is $132 billion.

India's Forex Reserves Zoom To Record High Of $411.124 Billion
  • Continuing rising trends, country's foreign exchange reserves surged by $1.758 billion to mount a new record high of $ 411.124 billion in the week to January 5, the Reserve Bank said on Saturday. In the previous week, foreign exchange reserves had jumped by $4.444 billion to reach a fresh peak of $409.366 billion. The reserves had crossed the $400-billion mark for the first time in the week to September 8, 2017 but had since been fluctuating.
    The spike in reserves was due to a rise in foreign currency assets, a major component of the overall reserves. In the reporting week, foreign currency assets rose by $2.045 billion to $387.149 billion.

    Expressed in the US dollar terms, the foreign currency assets include the effect

    of appreciation or depreciation of the non-US currencies such as the euro, the pound and the yen held in the reserves. After remaining steady for the past few weeks, gold reserves declined marginally by $294.4 million to $20.421 billion, the central bank said. The special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund rose by $3.2 million to $1.514 billion. The country's reserve position with the Fund also rose by $4.2 million to $2.039 billion, the RBI said.

IDFC Bank To Acquire Capital First In $1.5 Billion Deal
  • IDFC Bank, one of India's two newest banks, will acquire non-bank financial firm Capital First Ltd in a share swap deal valued at about $1.5 billion as it looks to boost its retail lending activities. According to terms of the deal announced on Saturday, shareholders in Capital First will receive 139 shares of the bank for every 10 shares held. The deal is conditional on central bank and other regulatory approvals.
    The deal values Capital First - owned more than a third by private equity firm Warburg Pincus - at Rs. 938.25 a share based on the two companies' Friday closing price and giving the company a market value of Rs. 9,278 crore ($1.46 billion), Reuters calculations showed.

    That is a premium to Capital First's Friday closing price of Rs. 837.50, or equal to a market capitalisation of about Rs. 8,300 crore, according to Thomson Reuters data.

    The deal is "pursuant to IDFC Bank's stated strategy of 'retailising' its business to complete their transformation from a dedicated infrastructure financier to a well-diversified universal bank," the two sides said in a joint statement.

    Capital First's founder and chairman V. Vaidyanathan will become chief executive of the combined entity, the statement said.

    IDFC Bank - which was spun off from infrastructure financier IDFC Ltd in 2015 - is currently heavily reliant on wholesale lending.

    At a time when a surge in bad loans and weak economic growth have crimped lending to big industries, banks and financial institutions are growing the less-riskier retail loans faster.

    Capital First, which also counts Singapore state investor GIC among its major investors, will bring in a loan book of almost 230 billion rupees as of Sept. 30, three million customers and a distribution network spanning 228 locations across the country.

    IDFC Bank and its parent IDFC Ltd last year announced talks to acquire some of Shriram Group's financial services businesses but the deal fell through due to disagreement on a share swap ratio.

Global Cues Lift Gold Prices To 7-Week Highs
  • Rising for the third straight day, gold prices jumped by Rs. 100 to trade at a seven-week high of Rs. 30,750 per 10 grams at the bullion market on Saturday amid a firm trend overseas and local buying push. Silver too gained Rs. 100 to Rs. 39,900 per kg, backed by increased offtake by industrial units and coin makers.

    Apart from positive global cues, buoyed by a slump in the dollar, sustained buying by local jewellers at the domestic spot market kept gold prices elevated, bullion traders said.

    Globally, gold rose 1.17 per cent to $1,337.40 an ounce and silver spurted 1.44 pr cent to $17.21 an ounce in New York in Friday's trade.

    In the national capital, gold of 99.9 per cent and 99.5 per cent purity advanced by Rs. 100 each to Rs. 30,750 and Rs. 30,600 per 10 grams, respectively --  levels last seen on November 18. The precious metal had gained Rs. 175 in last two days.

    Sovereign, however, remained flat at Rs. 24,700 per piece of eight grams.

    In similar fashion, silver ready strengthened by Rs. 100 to Rs. 39,900 per kg and weekly-based delivery rose Rs. 40 to Rs. 39,120 per kg.

    COMMENTSSilver coins too spurted by Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 74,000 for buying and Rs. 75,000 for selling of 100 pieces.

General Awareness

  • 1. Who received the Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration for 2015-16 on October 31,
    1) Bezwada Wilson
    2) A.R. Rahman
    3) T.M. Krishna
    4) Gulzar
    5) Shyam Benegal

    2. What is India's rank in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business index 2018?
    1) 130
    2) 100
    3) 101
    4) 131
    5) 123

    3. Paolo Gentiloni visited India in October 2017. He is the Prime Minister of which of the following countries?
    1) France
    2) Portugal
    3) Italy
    4) Spain
    5) Netherlands

    4. Where are the headquarters of the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) located?
    1) Copenhagen, Denmark
    2) Oslo, Norway
    3) Stockholm, Sweden
    4) Helsinki, Finland
    5) Riga, Latvia

    5. The proposed Gorakhpur Nuclear Power Plant will be built in which of the following States?
    1) Uttar Pradesh
    2) Rajasthan
    3) Haryana
    4) Jharkhand
    5) Uttarakhand

    6. World Day for International Justice is celebrated every year on:
    1) July 17
    2) August 17
    3) September 17
    4) October 17
    5) November 17

    7. Who is the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest from China side?
    1) Anshu Jamsenpa
    2) Anita Kundu
    3) Arunima Sinha
    4) Santosh Yadav
    5) Premlata Agarwal

    8. Which private sector bank was previously a microfinance institution?
    1) IDFC Bank
    2) Yes bank
    3) Axis Bank
    4) Bandhan Bank
    5) IndusInd Bank

    9. In which Indian State is the City Union Bank headquartered?
    1) Karnataka
    2) Kerala
    3) Tamil Nadu
    4) Andhra Pradesh
    5) Maharashtra

    10. The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is held annually in which of the following countries?
    1) Czech Republic
    2) Bulgaria
    3) France
    4) Poland
    5) Austria

    11. Which city hosted the India- ASEAN Youth Summit in August 2017?
    1) Bhopal
    2) New Delhi
    3) Hyderabad
    4) Mumbai
    5) Jaipur

    12. Who is the Chairman of the committee constituted to prepare a blueprint for doubling farmers'
    income by 2022?
    1) Ramesh Chand
    2) Ashok Dalwai
    3) Bibek Debroy
    4) M.S. Swaminathan
    5) None of these

    13. Prasoon Joshi is the present Chairperson of which of the following?
    1) FTII
    2) NSD
    3) CBFC
    4) IIMC
    5) SRFTI

    14. Who was appointed as Executive Director in World Bank in August 2017?
    1) Soumya Swaminathan
    2) Ruchira Kamboj
    3) Meira Shankar
    4) S. Aparna
    5) Eenam Gambhir

    15. Which of the following statements about the 2017 Global Retirement Index (GRI) is not correct?
    1) GRI is published by French asset management company Natixis Global
    2) It ranked 43 countries
    3) India is ranked 43rd
    4) Norway topped the list
    5) Eight of the top ten countries are located in Asia

    16. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Amendment) Bill, 2017 will allow
    Union Government to increase capital of NABARD from Rs.5,000 crore to?
    1) Rs. 10,000 crore
    2) Rs. 20,000 crore
    3) Rs. 25,000 crore
    4) Rs. 30,000 crore
    5) None of these

    17. Who was appointed as Chairman and Managing Director of Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) in August 2017?
    1) Ashwani Lohani
    2) Mohammad Mustafa
    3) E. Sankara Rao
    4) Santosh Sharma
    5) None of these

    18. Which State declared Dailong village as a Biodiversity Heritage Site recently?
    1) Mizoram
    2) Meghalaya
    3) Manipur
    4) Tripura
    5) Assam

    19. In which State is Almatti Dam located?
    1) Telangana
    2) Andhra Pradesh
    3) Tamil Nadu
    4) Karnataka
    5) None of these

    20. In a "banking outlet" services are provided for a minimum of how many hours per day for at least five days a week?
    1) 2 hours
    2) 4 hours
    3) 5 hours
    4) 6 hours
    5) None of these

    21. Who is the author of the recently released book "India 2017 Yearbook"?
    1) Rajiv Mehrishi
    2) Amitabh Kant
    3) Bibek Debroy
    4) V.K. Saraswat
    5) None of these

    22. In which State are the Bhimbetka rock shelters located?
    1) Maharashtra
    2) Madhya Pradesh
    3) Punjab
    4) Haryana
    5) Rajasthan

    23. Where is the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex situated?
    1) Mumbai
    2) Nagpur
    3) Pune
    4) Nanded
    5) Nashik

    24. Which of the following regulates credit rating agencies in India?
    1) RBI
    2) SEBI
    3) IRDA
    4) PFRDA
    5) None of these

    25. In which State is Ghatampur Thermal Power Station located?
    1) Bihar
    2) Chhattisgarh
    3) West Bengal
    4) Madhya Pradesh
    5) Uttar Pradesh

    26. Abu Dhabi is the capital of which of the following countries?
    1) Qatar
    2) Saudi Arabia
    3) UAE
    4) Jordan
    5) Lebanon

    27. Y-20 is a large military transport aircraft developed by which of the following countries?
    1) Russia
    2) USA
    3) Japan
    4) China
    5) North Korea

    28. The Reserve Bank of India published report of the Household Finance Committee in August
    2017. The Committee was chaired by:
    1) Bimal Jalan
    2) Tarun Ramadorai
    3) Raghuram Rajan
    4) Nachiket Mor
    5) None of these

    29. The Bandodkar Gold Trophy is associated with which of the following sports?
    1) Kabaddi
    2) Cricket
    3) Football
    4) Hockey
    5) Wrestling

    30. Who is the first Indian to scale Mount Everest six times?
    1) N. Jagoi
    2) Rahul Jarngal
    3) Loveraj Singh
    4) Yogender Garbiyal
    5) None of these

    31. The Capital Small Finance Bank (CSFB) is India's first Small Finance Bank. It is headquartered in:
    1) Jalandhar
    2) Jaipur
    3) Jaisalmer
    4) Bangalore
    5) Mangalore

    32. Which of the following is the capital city of Spain?
    1) Barcelona
    2) Bratislava
    3) Stockholm
    4) Madrid
    5) Lisbon

    33. The India Aspiration Fund (IAF) would invest in venture capital funds for meeting the equity requirement of:
    1) Agriculture
    2) Housing
    3) MSME start-ups
    4) IT sector
    5) None of these

    34. Which bank has executed India's first transaction on block chain technology?
    1) Yes Bank
    2) Axis Bank
    3) HDFC Bank
    4) ICICI Bank
    5) None of these

    35. Where are the headquarters of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization?
    1) Shanghai
    2) Hong Kong
    3) Beijing
    4) Singapore
    5) None of these

    36. In which State is Mathikettan Shola National Park located?
    1) Tamil Nadu
    2) Karnataka
    3) Odisha
    4) Kerala
    5) None of these

    37. Which city hosted the IAAF World Under-18 Championships in Athletics in July 2017?
    1) Nairobi, Kenya
    2) Lille, France
    3) Donetsk, Ukraine
    4) Cali, Colombia
    5) Marrakech, Morocco

    38. Vijender Singh of India won the unified WBO Asia Pacific and Oriental Super Middleweight
    title in Mumbai by defeating Zulpikar Maimaitiali of:
    1) Pakistan
    2) China
    3) Kazakhstan
    4) Tajikistan
    5) Malaysia

    39. Who won the men's singles title in Rogers Cup tennis played in Montreal, Canada in August 2017?
    1) Alexander Zverev
    2) Roger Federer
    3) Dominic Thiem
    4) Kei Nishikori
    5) Rafael Nadal

    40. Who clinched the women's singles title in Rogers Cup tennis played in Toronto, Canada in August 2017?
    1) Simona Halep
    2) Elina Svitolina
    3) Angelique Kerber
    4) Johanna Konta
    5) Petra Kvitova

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