Current Affairs of 29 October 2015

1. India to extend $10 bn credit line to Africa over 5 years
India will offer concessional credit of $10 billion over the next five years to Africa, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced.

We will also offer a grant assistance of $600 million. This will include an India-Africa Development Fund of $100 million and an India-Africa Health Fund of $10 million,” Modi said while addressing the plenary session of the Third India-Africa Forum Summit.
The latest grant will be in addition to India’s ongoing credit programme, the Prime Minister said, adding that India has committed $ 7.4 billion in concessional credit and $1.2 billion in grant to Africa since the first India-Africa Summit in 2008.
The Prime Minister expressed the opinion that with two-thirds of India and two-thirds of Africa being under 35 years, and if the future belongs to the youth, then this century is ours to shape and build.

2. China scraps one-child policy
China today scrapped its controversial decades-long one-child policy, allowing all couples in the world’s most populous nation to have two children, in a move that can have huge implications globally.
This is the first time China has done away with its one-child policy in over three long decades. The policy was considered controversial as it forced many abortions and continued to be criticised by rights groups and activists.
China has been assessing the adjustment made to the one-child policy — allowing parents to have two children if either parent is an only child — to decide if further adjustment of birth policies are needed to address change in population growth.
The country gave the limited relaxation to the policy, adopting the policy adjustment at the end of 2013 in a major change on the family planning policy that has been blamed for the country’s looming demographic crisis.
According to United Nations estimates, China will have nearly 440 million people aged over 60 by 2050.
China introduced its family planning policy in the late 1970s to rein in population growth by limiting most urban couples to one child and most rural couples to two, allowing the birth of a second child only if the first child was a girl.
China, also the world’s second largest economy, is the most populous country with a population of over 1.3 billion people.

3. Najib Shah appointed as Chairman of CBEC
Senior IRS officer Najib Shah was  appointed as Chairman of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), apex body on Indirect Taxes. His appointment was approved by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC).
Shah will serve the office till 11 March 2017, when he will attain the age of superannuation that is 60 years. Shah is a 1979 batch officer of Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise). Prior to this appointment, he has been working as Member of the CBEC since May 2015.
He was also the Interim Chairman of the CBEC after retirement of Kaushal Srivastava in June 2015. Shah had also been the Director General of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).

4. Narendra Nayak appointed as Managing Director of BlackBerry India
Narendra Nayak was  appointed as Managing Director of BlackBerry India operations to steer the restructuring efforts of Blackberry. Nayak succeeded Sunil Lalvani, who resigned from company in June 2015.
Nayak will be responsible for driving BlackBerry’s software and services business through all channels in India including direct enterprise customers, network operators, distribution partners. He will also be responsible for managing growing ecosystems like Value-Added Reseller (VAR), systems integrator and reseller partners.

5. Nepal signed MoU with China to ease fuel crisis
Nepal  signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China in order to ease fuel crisis in the country by importing all kinds of fuel. The MoU was signed between Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) and China National United Oil Corporation (PetroChina) in Beijing.
This will be the first time that China is commercially supplying petroleum to Nepal. Moreover, China has also agreed to donate 1.3 million litres of petrol to Nepal earlier. 
With this, the long-held monopoly of India in supplying fuel to Nepal ended. Annually, Nepal used to buy around 1.3 billion dollars of gasoline from the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).

6. World Bank retains India's growth rate at 7.5% this fiscal
The World Bank has maintained its growth forecast for India at 7.5 per cent in 2015-16 and has marginally lowered the projection for 2016-17 to 7.8 per cent in the next fiscal and 7.9 per cent in 2017-18.
The earlier update, released in April had pegged GDP growth at 7.9 per cent next fiscal and at 8 per cent in 2017-18.

7. Govt approves 16 FDI proposals worth ₹4,722 crore
The Government has approved 16 proposals of foreign direct investments (FDI) amounting to ₹4,722 crore which includes ones by HDFC Capital Advisors, Aegon Religare Life Insurance and Sun Pharma Research.
Six proposals, including those of Reliance Globalcom and Sharekhan were deferred, while eight others were rejected.
The proposals that were rejected were from companies including the yet to be incorporated Cipla Health, Apollo Hospitals and DW Animation, Ireland.

8. Paytm Partners Insurance Firms for Cashless Premium Payments
Mobile payments wallet Paytm Thursday said it has partnered major insurance companies to offer online premium payments and is targetting premium payments of Rs. 1,000 crores by the end of the fiscal.
Insurance companies ICICI Prudential Life, Religare Health, Reliance Life and Reliance General have partnered the Alibaba-backed company to assist consumers in paying their insurance premiums online.
Paytm is going live with over 15 companies by the end of next quarter and over 100 million registered users of Paytm can now pay their insurance premiums on-the-go. It also plans to offer consumers deals if they opt for this particular medium to pay their renewal premiums.
With this, Paytm aims to be a one-stop shop for all bill payments and recharges. This is part of the larger expansion agenda of the firm, which recently entered into hotel aggregation.
Paytm, has also been granted the in-principle licence for payments banks from Reserve Bank, is looking to invest about Rs. 1,200 crores in payments banks over the next three years

9. Union Government appoints 5 members committee to review research grants offered by UGC
Union Government has appointed a 5 member committee to review the research grants offered by University Grants Commission (UGC). In this regard, Union Ministry of Human Resources Development (HRD) has issued an official notification. The Review Committee will submit its report to the Ministry by December 2015. The ministry also has directed the UGC not to implement its decision to discontinue the non-NET fellowships and continue all existing fellowships. 
Terms of Reference of the Committee 
To determine the feasibility of enhancing the coverage of All India National Eligibility Test (NET) fellowships based on merit. Establish a transparent system for transfer of fellowship amounts to non-NET fellows every month without the use of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mandated by the Government. Consider eligibility criteria based economic and non-economic conditions for the fellowship. Bring opportunities and benefits of the Non-NET fellowship schemes to more number of Universities including State Universities.

10. P K Gupta elevated as SBI Managing Director
PK Gupta will be elevated as Managing Director of country's largest lender State Bank of India  in place of Corporate Banking head P Pradeep Kumar, who is superannuating this month-end. Gupta, who is of Deputy Managing Director (DMD) rank, is presently Managing Director of the bank's investment banking arm SBI Caps. The appointment of the 1960-born Gupta is for a period of over four years (till March 2020), when he will be superannuating, Vijay Malhotra, according to a notification. Six officials from the bank were interviewed for the post last month and Gupta was the senior-most among them. Others included Varsha Purandare (DMD and Chief Credit Officer), Dinesh Khara (MD, SBI Mutual Fund) and Sunil Srivastava (DMD Corporate Services and New Business). The other three serving MDs at SBI are B Sriram (national banking group), V G Kannan (associates and subsidiaries) and Rajnish Kumar (compliance and risk).

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