Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 20 February 2018

Bank Exam Current Affairs

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 corruption.
  • 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 Commerce.
  • 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 external regulator.
  • 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 New Delhi.
  • 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 South Africa.
  • 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 said.
  • 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 children.
  • 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.

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Khalistan-Trudeau visit

  • 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 Canada.
  • A major breaking point came last April when Mr. Trudeau attended a “Khalsa day” parade organised by one of the more radical gurudwaras in Toronto.
  • 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 years,officials told.
  • 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 week.
  • “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 professionals.

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