Current Affairs of 23 August 2015

1. R Gandhi committee of RBI recommends conversion of UCBs into regular banks
A Reserve Bank of India (RBI) committee has recommended conversion of 
Urban Cooperative Banks (UCBs) with business size of 20,000 crore rupees or more into regular banks. This recommendation was given by the High Powered Committee on UCBs headed by RBI Deputy Governor R Gandhi in its report. Recommendations 
Conversion of UCBs will not be compulsory for large UCBs and they can continue the way they operate currently in terms of asset size and balance sheet. 
Large UCBs can convert themselves into commercial banks in order to minimise the systemic risk. 
For conversion, smaller UCBs with business size of less than 20,000 crore rupees who are willing to convert to Small Finance Banks can apply to the RBI.
 Licenses for conversion to operate as UCBs will be issued to well-managed and financially sound cooperative credit societies having a minimum track record of 5-years. With the conversion, UCBs will be allowed to grow and proliferate further to meet the objective of financial inclusion.

2. Bandhan Bank commences operations with loan book of Rs 10,500 cr
Bandhan Bank commenced operations today with the simultaneous launch of 501 branches, a loan book of nearly Rs 10,500 crore and savings accounts totaling 1.43 million. 
Within few hours of the formal inaugural of the bank, Bandhan had garnered a deposit of Rs 80 crore, and 60,000 new accounts. Nearly 18 of the bank's new branches will be open seven days a week.
At inception, the bank's capital base is Rs 2,570 crore, against the regulatory requirement of Rs 500 crore.
In addition, the bank is in the process of obtaining additional funding of nearly Rs 482 by multilateral financier International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Singapore government-backed GIC, which will bolster its base to Rs 3,052 crore, translating into a credit risk weighted asset ratio (CRAR) of 44.54% — one of the highest in the industry.
As of now, borrowing from Bandhan might not be cost-effective, as the bank has set a high base rate of nearly 12%, against its cost of funds of nearly 12.5%. Bandhan bank's borrowing from banks at present stands at about Rs 9,000 crore, which it expects to repay in the next two to three years.
The bank is depending on aggressive deposits mobilisation to bring down the cost of funds over the next one year. Over the next few months, Bandhan will go slow in lending and aggressive in taking deposits. Thus, even as the lending rates are high, the bank is offering competitive deposit rates. The savings interest rates have been fixed at 4.25% for deposits below Rs 1 lakh, and 5% for above Rs 1 lakh. For term deposits, the maximum interest rate, between three to five years of maturity, has been fixed at 8.5%, with additional 0.5% for senior citizens.
At present, Bandhan Bank has nearly 24 ATMs across 24 states. By the end of this financial year, the bank plans to have 632 branches and 250 ATMs in 27 states.
Of the 501 new bank branches, a little less than half or 229 branches are in rural areas and 179 in unbanked areas. The bank will have nearly 70% of its branches in rural areas

3. Former Australian Cricketer Arthur Morris passes away
Former Australian Cricketer Arthur Morris passed away. He was aged 93. He was an opener and is regarded as one of Australia’s greatest left-handed batsmen. Morris is best known as member of Don Bradman’s 1948 ‘Invincibles’ team which made an undefeated tour of England. He had played 46 International Test matches in his cricket career spanning between 1946 and 1955. He had scored 3,533 runs in 46 Tests at an average of 46.48. He had retired from international cricket at the age of 33.

4. Eminent Sanskrit Scholar and Indologist NR Varhadpande passed away
Eminent Sanskrit Scholar and Indologist NR Varhadpande passed away on 21 August 2015 in Nagpur following age related issues. He was 94.
Varhadpande was famously known for his book titled Aryan Invasion: A Myth that exposes fallacy of Aryan invasion and is considered as one of the most profound works in changing the course of ancient Indian history. 
An ardent student of Psychology, Varhadpande worked as the Chief Psychologist with the Ministry of Defence and was instrumental in devising various Psychological tests for the armed forces personnel. 

5. A P Shah Committee recommends MAT relief to FIIs
Union Finance Ministry appointed committee chaired by retired SC judge A P Shah has recommended that Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) should not be imposed on FIIs retrospectively for the period preceding 1st April 2015 This recommendation is considered as a big relief to FIIs as government had exempted them from MAT starting April 1, 2015 in the Union Budget for 2015-16 but had not made the clarification retrospective imposition. In its report committee has mention that there is no legal basis for levying 20 per cent MAT on past capital gains of FIIs.

6. Punjabi University won Maulana Abul Kalam Azad trophy 2014
Punjabi University of Patiala has clinched the prestigious sports award Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) trophy for year 2014. The Trophy will be awarded to Univeristy on 29 August 2015 on the occasion of National Sports Day. The university has won this trophy for the total eighth time and fourth time in a consecutive row. Earlier, Punjabi university had won this trophy in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013. The award was announced by the Association of Indian Universities by releasing the names and points of top nine universities in sports in India. In the list Punjabi University has topped with 71,840 points. Guru Nanak Dev University Amritsar was placed at second spot with 65,170 points while Delhi University is placed third with 31,770 points.

7. Golfer Aditi Ashok first Indian to win Ladies British amateur stroke-play Championship
Ace Indian golfer Aditi Ashok won the prestigious Ladies British amateur stroke-play Championship 2015 at Leeds, United Kingdom. With this victory she became first woman and youngest player from India to win this Championship. In her wining game, Aditi shot a four-day total of 11-under 285 (comprising 71, 73, 70, 71) at the par 74 at the Moortown Golf Club, Leeds. The 17-year-old Bengaluru based golfer earlier had won the prestigious St. Rule Trophy in July 2015. She also had finished second in the 2015 European Women’s Amateur Championship. She also had claimed the overall title called ‘The Nicholls Trophy’ and ‘Dinwiddy Trophy’ which are given for the under-18 golfer with lowest score.

8. Delhi Jal Board commissions first hydropower plant
Looking forward to green power generation, the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has commissioned the first-ever hydropower plant in the national capital which will produce 20,000 kWh of electricity per year.
The plant has been commissioned at Chilla area in East Delhi.
This is the first plant in Delhi which will run through hydraulic turbines propelled by treated effluent coming out of a sewerage treatment plant (STP).
The generated electricity will be utilised at STP itself and the plant will produce 20,000 kWh of electricity per year.

9. Google to promote digital literacy in Haryana
Search engine giant Google has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the government of Haryana to promote digital literacy in the state.
Google will undertake a digital literacy drive covering internet safety in government schools, and also conduct a similar exercise for government officials.
The MoU in this regard was signed in Silicon Valley in the presence of visiting Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar who is leading a high-level delegation on a tour to the US and Canada to attract investments to his state.
The Haryana government signed another MoU with Applied Materials, a leading material engineering solutions global in providing to shore up solar skill training and expand the use of solar energy in the state.

10. World's largest solar power station to come up in Madhya Pradesh 
Madhya Pradesh will house world's largest 750 Mega Watts(MW) solar power station in Rewa district .
The project - Rewa Ultra Mega Solar - is a joint venture of Solar Energy Corporation of India and MP Urja Vikas Nigam, where in both parties have 50 per cent stake .
At present, world's largest solar power project - Ivanpah Solar Power Facility of 392 MW - is at Mojave deserts in California, United States .

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