Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 20 February 2018
Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 20 February 2018
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked Kanpur-based firm
Rotomac Global Private Limited and its directors Vikram Kothari, his wife
and son in an alleged Rs. 3,695 crore “wilful” loan default case.
The Enforcement Directorate is also launching a money laundering probe
into fund-diversion charges against the accused.
While the Kotharis are being questioned, officials of the seven public
sector banks that have lent to the firm have also come under the scanner.
The FIR was registered days after alleged fraudulent transactions worth
Rs. 11,500 crore were detected in the Punjab National Bank.
The Rotomac pen case was registered late on Sunday night after the Bank
of Baroda lodged a complaint with the CBI alleging cheating, fraud and
The officials of the CBI raided the Kanpur premises of Mr. Kothari, his
wife Sadhana and son Rahul Kothari. The company’s Delhi office was sealed.
Since 2008-09, Rotomac and other associated companies had taken a loan
of Rs. 2,919 crore from a consortium of banks led by the Bank of India.
The other lenders are Bank of Baroda, Indian Overseas Bank, Union Bank
of India, Allahabad Bank, Bank of Maharashtra and the Oriental Bank of
However, it is alleged that the directors cheated the banks by siphoning
off the funds, in conspiracy with certain bank officials.
The agency also alleged that the company had submitted forged and false
documents to get the credit facilities from banks.
Banking control & Rules: CEA
Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian said that there had been a
breakdown of internal controls and external regulatory systems in public
sector banks, as had been evident in the latest Rs. 11,500-crore Punjab
National Bank fraud.
“The problem has been festering for a long time and it is not just the
PNB alone, there are issues with the Bank of Baroda and State Bank of India,
too. We have to look at how to improve internal controls and consider
whether it has anything to do with the ownership,” he said.
Scams “do not happen in public sector banks alone as most scams
worldwide had happened in what were considered the best of private sector
banks, but here we have the PSBs,” he said, addressing a gathering at a talk
organised by Manthan, a public discourse forum.
Although he spoke mostly on the ‘universal basic income’ (UBI) idea
which he had unveiled in the last year’s Economic Survey, he did not
hesitate to give his take on the raging controversy when a question was
posed to him on the PNB scam.
“It reflects very badly on the auditors and the CAs. Self-regulation, I
think, is equal to self-praise,” he said and questioned the role of the
Mr. Subramanian was sure that the magnitude of bad assets
(non-performing assets) of various banks could easily be 25% to 35% more of
what had been disclosed in public.
“External controls should be reviewed as the banking regulator has not
been up to the job. We need to assess how to go about it, all of them need
to be reviewed,” he said.
At the same time, he said, a lot of progress had been made in recent
years in coming to grips with regard to NPAs, taking up recapitalisation,
the Bankruptcy Act, and so on.
With regard to UBI, the CEA said he was glad that the governments of
Telangana and Karnataka had resolved to take up what he called a ‘quasi’ UBI
of cash entitlements to farmers even though he had propounded a basic income
for all citizens.
TB infections in adolescents can be treated with vaccine
A clinical trial has provided encouraging new evidence that TB vaccines
can prevent sustained infections in high-risk adolescents.
The results will be announced at the 5th Global Forum on TB Vaccines in
In the Phase 2 trial conducted in South Africa, revaccination with the
Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine significantly reduced sustained TB
infections in adolescents.
An experimental vaccine candidate, H4:IC31, also reduced sustained
infections, although not at statistically significant levels.
However, the trend observed for H4:IC31 is the first time a subunit
vaccine has shown any indication of ability to protect against TB infection.
The study was conducted to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of the
vaccine regimens, as well as their ability to prevent initial and sustained
TB infections among healthy adolescents in the Western Cape Province of
According to the World Health Organisation, about one-third of the
world’s population has latent TB infection, which means people have been
infected by TB bacteria but are not (yet) ill with the disease and cannot
transmit the disease.
People infected with TB bacteria have a lifetime risk of falling ill
with TB of 10%. People ill with TB can infect 10-15 other people through
close contact over the course of a year.
Without proper treatment, 45% of HIV-negative people with TB on average
and nearly all HIV-positive people with TB will die.
Vision document on Nutrition- Rajasthan
The NNM, approved by the Union Cabinet, will be implemented in 24 of the
33 districts in Rajasthan.
A multi-sectoral State consultation, “Nourishing Rajasthan-2022”, here
on Monday threw light on the strategies for addressing the issue of
undernutrition and stunting.
National Technical Board on Nutrition's member M.K. Bhan said the
policies should be brought in sync with the changing needs of the society,
while a lot more needed to be done on the quality front.
“Women and children belonging to vulnerable sections need a direct
intervention, for which new strategies should be adopted under the NNM,” he
Rajasthan Chief Secretary N.C. Goel said the NNM framework would come
handy for State officials to ensure proper development of human capital,
which was earlier considered a burden.
He laid emphasis on convergence among various departments, while
affirming that the NNM's guidelines would enable the functionaries to
formulate plans of action.
More than 10 crore people in the country are expected to benefit from
the NNM, which has set the target to reduce stunting from 38.4% as per the
National Family Health Survey-4 to 25% by 2022.
It will cover 235 districts in 2018-19 and the remaining districts in
the next two years.
UNICEF-Rajasthan chief Isabelle Bardem said the UN body would extend
help and render assistance at all levels to make NNM a success.
The 24 districts in the State have been selected on the basis of their
previous track record and a number of indicators as well as empirical
evidence which depicts a high degree of malnutrition among women and
The nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions will be
made in Rajasthan in the realms of women and child development, health, food
and public distribution, sanitation, drinking water, rural development,
livelihoods, education and agriculture.
State Women and Child Development Secretary Roli Singh said some of the
key system-level barriers in the State were lack of knowledge among the
frontline health workers, poor use of communication and counselling aids and
limited efforts for complementary feeding to newborn babies.
Former diplomats say the seeds for the current tensions have been sown
since Mr. Trudeau came to power in 2015, receiving widespread support from
some of the most extreme Khalistani political groups.
Has repeatedly failed to take into account the sensitivities in India
over the past when Sikh terror groups received support from elements in
A major breaking point came last April when Mr. Trudeau attended a
“Khalsa day” parade organised by one of the more radical gurudwaras in
At the time, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) made it clear that
India’s protest had been taken up with the Canadian government.
Among other disturbing issues was the felicitation at the parade of a
politician responsible for a resolution in the Ontario assembly that accused
India of “genocide” during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, a vote that India had
also protested strongly.
In addition, floats at the parade depicted Sikh militant leaders Jarnail
Singh Bhindranwale, Amreek Singh and former General Shahbeg Singh — who were
killed in the siege of the Golden Temple and Operation Bluestar in June 1984
— as heroes.
Issues over the growth of Sikh extremist groups, especially those
seeking a “referendum 2020” for the worldwide Sikh diaspora to vote on an
“Independent Khalistan”, have been raised several times in the past few
It,including when former Defence Minister Arun Jaitley met with Canadian
Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan.
Mr. Modi is understood to have spoken to Mr. Trudeau on the issue when
the leaders met at the G-20 summit in Hamburg in July 2017, and in Manila on
the sidelines of the East Asia summit.
To add to the tensions, 16 Canadian gurudwaras announced a “ban” last
month on the entry of Indian elected officials, consular officials, RSS and
Shiv Sena members.
The Trudeau government took no action in response to the decision. When
asked, officials cited “freedom of expression” issues.
Another sore point on the current visit has been Mr. Trudeau’s
insistence on including Ministers in his cabinet accused of sympathising
with the Khalistan movement — Mr. Sajjan and Navdeep Singh Bains — on his
visit to Amritsar.
Last year, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had refused to meet these
ministers calling them “Khalistanis”.
DMIC attracts 4 nations
The Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), a mega infrastructure
project with an estimated investment of $100 billion, has attracted interest
from companies based out of Canada, the U.S., Singapore and Taiwan.
Representatives of Canadian Commercial Corporation, GIC Singapore,
Taiwanese securities industry major Yuanta Securities, as well as executives
of some American firms, held talks separately with officials of the DMIC
Development Corporation, according to official sources.
Canadian Commercial Corporation is a Canada government corporation that
aims to boost Canadian trade by helping exporters from that country access
government procurement markets in other nations via government-to-government
contracting, while GIC Singapore is the Singapore government’s sovereign
wealth fund with assets of around $360 billion.
The DMIC Development Corporation is a special purpose company
incorporated for the development of the DMIC project.
The focus areas included defence as well as Maintenance, Repair and
Overhaul (MRO). Discussions also revolved around proposals to set up units
to manufacture aerospace and defence equipment in DMIC smart cities.
It is learnt that Singapore-based water companies are keen on
participating in the DMIC project and one such firm had even held
discussions on taking up a feasibility study regarding water supply in the
Manesar-Bawal Investment Region (MBIR).
The first phase of the DMIC Project will cover five Investment Regions
and three Industrial Areas.
As per the government, the Investment Regions include the Ahmedabad–Dholera
Special IR in Gujarat, Dadri-Noida-Ghaziabad IR in Uttar Pradesh, MBIR in
Haryana Khushkhera-Bhiwadi-Neemrana IR in Rajasthan and Pitampur-Dhar-Mhow
IR in Madhya Pradesh.
The IAs include Shendra-Bidkin IA in Maharashtra, Dighi Port IA in
Maharashtra and Jodhpur-Pali-Marwar IA in Rajasthan.
South Korean industrial conglomerate Hyosung Corporation is reportedly
set to invest about Rs. 3,400 crore to establish a textile manufacturing
facility in the Shendra-Bidkin IA.
Meanwhile, talks are on to develop the Ahmedabad–Dholera Special IR into
an MRO hub for aerospace and defence firms.
FCCI on Privatisation of PSB
Industry body FICCI has called for privatisation of public sector banks
(PSBs), saying that the recapitalisation efforts by the government have had
little effect on improving their health.
“Given the continuous pressure on the government finances on account of
the weak performance of the banks, the government should consider
privatisation of PSBs,” FICCI president Rashesh Shah said in a statement.
This would reduce the drain on the exchequer and the money saved could
be used for developmental schemes and programmes of the government.”
“A dynamic banking sector is the need of the hour and we should examine
if there is at all a case for public sector domination in the banking
sector,” he added.
“FICCI firmly believes that the recapitalisation of PSBs alone is not a
permanent solution and will not be effective unless the inherent issues
related to governance, productivity, risk management, talent, customer
service, etc. are resolved.”
Mr. Shah’s statement follows the government announcement last October of
a Rs. 2.11 lakh crore recapitalisation plan for PSBs, of which Rs. 88,000
crore is scheduled for this financial year.
Of this, Rs. 80,000 crore is to come through bonds and a little more
than Rs. 8,000 crore through budgetary support this financial year.
BBB uncertain future
The Banks Board Bureau (BBB) is facing an uncertain future with the
tenure of its members coming to an end on March 31, 2018.
“The term of all the members will come to end on 31 March. The
government is yet to communicate if the terms will be extended or a new
board will be formed,” said a person familiar with the development.
The BBB was set up under the government’s Indradanush programme to
reform public sector banks. It started operations in April 2016.
The BBB was conceived by the PJ Nayak committee and was seen as a step
taken towards reforming the boards of public sector banks.
The committee, in its report, had recommended that the government should
distance itself from the appointment process of top management and board
members of PSBs — a function that could be performed by the BBB.
However, in practise it never happened. While the BBB was involved in
shortlisting and interviewing candidates — the final appointment was always
made by the government.
There were instances of delays in appointment by the government despite
the BBB recommending it.
The issue of governance and role of the board in public sector banks
came to the fore again after the Rs. 11,500 crore PNB scam broke out last
“As part of its mandate, and guided by a spirit of collaboration, the
bureau is engaging with various stakeholders.
The objective of such engagement being to help prepare the banks in the
public sector universe to take on the competition…
The bureau is also engaging with the public sector banks (PSBs) to help
build capacity to attract, retain and nurture both talent and technology —
the two key differentiators of business competencies in the days to come,”
the BBB said on its website, referring to its task.
Headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai, BBB has
representatives from government and RBI apart from independent banking