General Awareness Updates January 2015

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    General Awareness Updates (January 2015)

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    Government splits Chairman and MD posts in PSBs

    As part of plans to reform the banking sector, the government announced splitting the post of Chairman and Managing Director into two for the public sector banks. The government has also appointed managing director and chief executive officers (MD & CEO) for four public sector banks. While R. Koteeswaran has been appointed as MD & CEO of Indian Overseas Bank; Animesh Chauhan will head Oriental Bank of Commerce. Both Mr. Koteeswaran and Mr. Chauhan presently are Executive Directors at Bank of India. Besides, Kishore Kumar Sansi, presently serving as the Executive Director, Punjab and Sind Bank, has been appointed as MD and CEO of Vijaya Bank, and P. Srinivas, who is an Executive Director at Bank of Baroda, will move to United Bank of India as the MD & CEO. The appointments, based on the recommendations of the Appointments Board chaired by the Reserve Bank of India Governor, are for a period of three years or till the date of superannuation, whichever is earlier, according to an official release.

    Fortum commissions 10 MW solar plant in MP

    Fortum Finnsurya Energy completed its 10 MW solar power project in Madhya Pradesh, making it the first project to be connected to the grid under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission Phase II initiative. The solar power plant spreads over about 70 acres in Kapeli, Ujjain and was expected to be formally inaugurated in early 2015.

    Norms for foreign VCs in core investment firms

    Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has notified new norms that will allow Foreign Venture Capital Investors (FVCIs) in Core Investment Companies (CICs) for infrastructure sector to help attract overseas funds in this space. The move would remove any hindrance for investment in the infrastructure sector through the FVCI route and to boost the infrastructure sector in the country. According to the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17), India requires Rs.65 lakh crore investments in infrastructure.

    Govt approves 8 FDI proposals worth Rs. 35 crore

    Government has cleared eight foreign investment proposals worth about Rs.34.77 crore including that of CSC Computer Sciences International Operations and Life Positive Private Ltd. Based on the recommendations of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB)...government has approved eight proposals of Foreign Direct Investment amounting to Rs.34.77 crore approximately.

    RBI eases KYC norms for NBFCs Amending rules for non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) with regard to their Know-Your-Customer (KYC) exercise, the Reserve Bank of India relaxed the time limit during which such due diligence is required. The rules have been eased due to practical difficulties and constraints in getting KYC documents at frequent intervals. Full KYC exercise will be required to be done at least every two years for high risk individuals and entities, at least every 10 years for low risk and at least every 8 years for medium risk individuals and entities, taking into account whether and when client due diligence measures have previously been undertaken and the adequacy of data obtained. However, it added that physical presence of clients may not be insisted at such periodic updations.

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    Economist Arvind Panagariya appointed Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog

    Economist Arvind Panagariya has been appointed as the Vice Chairman of National Institution for Transforming India, NITI Aayog. Another economist, Bibek Debroy and former Defence Secretary V K Saraswat have been appointed as full-time members. The appointments were made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is Chairman of the Aayog. Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Suresh Prabhu and Radha Mohan Singh will be the ex-officio members. Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Thawar Chand Gehlot and Smriti Irani will be the special invitees in the body. On January 1, 2015, the government had replaced the nearly 64-year old Planning Commission with NITI. It will serve as the Think Tank of the Government. The NITI Aayog will provide the Centre and the States with relevant strategic and technical advice across key elements of policy.

    Cabinet clears 2G auction

    The Union Cabinet has approved the largest ever telecom spectrum auction that is targeted to fetch at least Rs.64,840 crore from the sale in February 2015. The government will sell 380.75 megahertz of second generation (2G) spectrum in three bands the premium 800 MHz, 900 MHz and 1800 MHz. Spectrum in 2100 MHz may also be put on auction simultaneously after Defence Ministry vacates it.

    Over 40 Indians in Forbes annual list of global prodigies

    Over 40 Indians and people of Indian-origin, including technology wizards, inventors and policymakers, have been named by Forbes in its annual list of "young game changers, movers and makers" under the age of 30 from around the globe. The fourth annual compilation by Forbes includes 600 millennials in 20 fields, including consumer technology, retail, entertainment, science, finance, media, social entrepreneurs, law and policy and enterprise technology. The list includes big names like Harry Potter actress and UN Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, actor Zac Efron, basketball player James Harden and NBA star Chris Paul.

    India will catch up with China's growth rate in 2016-17

    The World Bank has said that India will catch up with China's growth at 7 per cent in the year 2016-17. The World Bank's forecast came as it released the 'Global Outlook: Disappointments, Divergences, and Expectations Global Economic Prospects' in Washington. World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President Kaushik Basu told that India's economy has recovered in the wake of the economic reform measures taken by the new Indian government, falling oil prices and lower interest rates, due to which it will catch up with China's growth. He said, China's growth will remain high, but will begin to taper very gently, reaching 6.9 per cent in 2017.

    United Bank first to cut base rate, others to follow

    United Bank of India has been the first off the block to revise its Base Rate the benchmark rate for all floating rate loans following Reserve Bank of India's 25 basis point repo rate cut. Most public sector banks which have their Base Rates at 10.25% and above are expected to now cut rates to remain competitive in the market. Announcing the rate cut, P Srinivas, chairman, United Bank of India said that the bank has chosen to cut rates because it is holding surplus funds. The base rate of public sector banks ranges from 10 to 10.4% with a median rate of 10.25%. For private banks the Base Rate ranges from 10.00 to 11.50% while for foreign banks it is from 7.5% to 15.5% with a median level of 9.75%.

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    General Awareness Updates (January 2015)

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    RBI allows banks to act as Insurance brokers to increase insurance penetration

    Seeking to increase insurance penetration in the country, the Reserve Bank of India has allowed banks to act as brokers for insurers, set up their own subsidiaries and also undertake referral services for multiple companies. In the guidelines for entry of banks into insurance business, RBI said that the banks may undertake insurance agency or broking business departmentally and or through subsidiary. The banks have also been allowed to set up subsidiaries and joint venture companies for undertaking insurance business with risk participation. They can also act as corporate agents without seeking prior approval from the RBI. However, they will have to comply with IRDA guidelines. There are 52 insurance companies operating in India; of which 24 are in the life insurance business and 28 are in general insurance business. In addition, GIC is the sole national reinsurer.

    RBI asks banks not to transfer funds without govt's permission from Greenpeace, 9 others

    Concerned over violation of norms by banks, the Reserve Bank of India has asked them not to transfer overseas funds without government's permission from 10 specified donor agencies, including Greenpeace International. The RBI said that a couple of instances of some banks crediting fund flow from one of the foreign donor agencies without obtaining prior permission of the Ministry of Home Affairs have been noticed, which is a matter of serious concern. The apex bank asked them to ensure meticulous compliance to the directions issued by the Government.

    SEBI warns public against illicit money pooling schemes

    Making public a list of 63 companies running illegal money pooling schemes, market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has cautioned investors and general public against dealing with such entities and advised them not be lured by promises of high returns. The latest list released by Sebi is an expansion to the previous one in December, 2014, wherein it had named 51 entities. The warning to investors comes after Sebi observed that certain entities were mobilising money through illegal investment schemes even after the regulator had directed them not to raise any further money and not to launch any new schemes, among others. Accordingly, listing out 63 entities, Sebi has issued a caution to the investors and general public not to invest in illegal schemes offered by such companies that claim to offer much higher returns than banks and other registered entities. The list of entities banned by Sebi from raising funds include names like Saradha Realty India, Rose Valley Real Estate & Constructions, Sai Prasad Properties,