Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 22 September 2017

Bank Exam Current Affairs

Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 22 September 2017

::National::

Durga idols can be immersed on all days- Calcutta HC

  • Observing that the West Bengal government “has failed to come up with any reasonable basis for placing restrictions on the immersion of Durga idols”, the Calcutta High Court allowed the immersion of idols on all days following September 30 (Vijay Dashami).
  • The order by a Division Bench of acting Chief Justice Rakesh Tiwari and Justice Harish Tandon was issued in connection with three public interest litigation pleas.
  • It sets aside curbs on Durga idol immersions placed by the government on account of Muharram after 10 p.m. on September 30 and for the entire day on October 1.
  • “There is not the slightest of doubt in our mind that the State can regulate the procession or the religious ceremonies to be performed but it does not vest them an absolute and/or inchoate power to prohibit the performance of ceremony in the absence of any materials sufficient enough for the formation of such opinion/decision,” the order stated.
  • While observing that the “maintenance of law and order is within the domain of the State,” the division bench pointed out that and the decision to prevent and protect any untoward incident should be founded on the “cogent and convincing material and not merely on one’s perception”.

Government to source about Rs.1750crore

  • The State government will have to source about Rs. 1,750 crore by October 1 to clear the second instalment of the enhanced salary and pension arrears due to about five-lakh employees and 3.5 lakh service pensioners as per the Tenth Pay Commission recommendations.
  • The additional burden comes at a time when a shortfall of about Rs. 500 crore has been recorded in the tax collection under the new Goods and Service Tax (GST) regime.
  • As per official estimates, the State GST (SGST) collection on August 28 has been pegged at Rs. 251 crore and Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) Rs. 451 crore.
  • Against the Rs. 1,232 crore mopped up under the new tax administration, it would have at least touched Rs. 1,600 crore under the Value Added Tax system during festival seasons such as Onam.
  • Concerted efforts to streamline the planning process in local self-government institutions and other sectors had also started yielding the desired results and the fund absorption rate had registered a remarkable increase, compared to the previous years. This would add to the outgo from the treasury in the coming months.
  • When the Pay Revision Commission submitted its recommendations, the previous government had decided to space the disbursal of arrears into four instalments and the onus thus came on the Left Democratic Front government.
  • As per the decision, the first instalment was due on April 1 and it has been cleared. The third and fourth instalments fall on April 1 and October 1, 2018.
  • On clearing the first component, the arrears due to service pensioners were paid in cash and that of employees merged into their PF with interest.
  • But for the strain incurred by the introduction of GST, the current fiscal situation did not leave any room for concern and channels had already been identified for meeting the cash requirements next month.

Two minor rape survivors were allowed to abort foetuses by supreme court

  • The Supreme Court permitted two minor rape survivors to medically terminate their pregnancies on the advice of the medical boards which examined them.
  • The victims, a 13-year-old girl from Delhi and a 17-year-old from Bengaluru, had separately approached the apex court for permission to abort their pregnancies. They had both passed the 20th week of pregnancy, until which the law allows abortion.
  • The 13-year-old was examined by a board of doctors from AIIMS, while the court ordered a medical team from the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute to examine the other victim.
  • Both medical teams had given opinions in favour of medical termination of the pregnancies. The 13-year-old was in her 23rd week of pregnancy and the Bengaluru-based victim in her 24th week.
  • The Bench, comprising Justices Amitava Roy and A.M. Khanwilkar, directed preservation of the terminated foetuses for DNA sampling during the investigation in both the cases.
  • The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971 does not allow abortion if the pregnancy has crossed 20 weeks.
  • Under the 1971 law, an exception to the 20-week cap can be made if a registered medical practitioner certifies to a court that the continued pregnancy is life-threatening for either the mother or the baby. This was meant to be a safeguard against female foeticide.
  • The court had recently denied permission to a 10-year-old rape survivor from Chandigarh to abort her foetus. Shortly after the court’s denial, the girl gave birth. The apex court awarded Rs. 10 lakh compensation to the girl.
  • Senior advocate Indira Jaising who is intervening in the Supreme Court in the issue, had argued that the delay in offering urgent medical help to such abused women and children have led to untold suffering for them.
  • For a 10-year-old, pregnancy is indeed a ‘life-threatening’ situation warranting immediate medical intervention under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971, the senior advocate had argued.
  • Recently, the Centre had written to the States and the Union Territories about the court’s suggestion to appoint permanent medical boards to provide rape survivors urgent access to medical care and to consider their requests for abortion.
  • The recent privacy judgment of a nine-judge Bench of the Supreme Court has observed that the right to reproductive choice of a woman is part of her fundamental right to privacy.

Textile industry saw an increase in FDI

  • The textile industry in the country is growing exponentially with the foreign direct investment having tripled in the last three years.
  • Though FDI had touched 618.95 million U.S. dollars in 2016-17, there is still a huge potential for further growth, Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said.
  • Inaugurating the sixth edition of the international textile and apparel fair, “Vastra-2017”, at Sitapura industrial area here, Ms. Irani said concerted efforts were being made for creating employment opportunities in the textile sector.
  • The textile sector employs the second largest workforce in the country, with 4.5 crore people directly getting livelihood from it and 2 crore people being indirectly employed.
  • The Union Minister praised the Rajasthan government's efforts to create a garment hub in the State. She said the Jaipur Designers Festival being held in “Vastra-2017” for the first time would provide the younger generation with an exposure to the world of fashion and designing.

Public-private partnership (PPP) for affordable housing

  • People purchasing a low-end house from a private developer will be eligible for financial help under the ‘Housing For All’ policy of the Narendra Modi government, Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri announced.
  • Unveiling the new public-private partnership (PPP) for affordable housing, Mr. Puri said that it will help in meeting the housing requirements for all targets
  • “This policy seeks to assign risks among the government, developers, and financial institutions, to those who can manage them the best, besides leveraging under-utilised and unutilised private and public lands towards meeting the Housing for All target by 2022,” he said.
  • Pradhan MantriAwas Yojana (PMAY) or Housing For All has been moving at a rather sluggish pace. The government was to construct 12 lakh houses under PMAY by 2017-18, but only 1.49 lakh houses have been constructed till last year.
  • The Centre now seeks to construct 26 lakh houses in 2018-19, 26 lakh in 2019-20, 30 lakh in 2020-21 and 29.80 lakh in the 2021-22 period.
  • Eligible buyers can get Central assistance of about Rs. 2.50 lakh per house as interest subsidy on bank loans. And if they do not avail any loan, they can get upto Rs. 1.50 lakh.
  • The policy gives eight PPP options for developers to invest in. “Out of these eight, we are talking, six models will utilise government lands,” Mr. Puri said. It is now time for private developers to seize the investment opportunities, he added.

::INTERNATIONAL::

Pakistan was slammed over terror funding by Sushma Swaraj

  • In a veiled attack on Pakistan, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said militants continue to find shelter in countries using terrorism as an “instrument of state policy”.
  • The Minister called on her counterparts from BRICS to condemn efforts to sponsor the menace. The statement comes ahead of Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s address at the UN General Assembly.
  • “The horror of terrorism continues to haunt global peace and security. Terror groups draw sustenance from support systems in South Asia,” Ms. Swaraj said at the BRICS Ministerial Meetingon the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
  • “Terrorists continue to find support and shelter in countries which use terrorism as an instrument of state policy,” the minister said.
  • She did not name any country but the reference was clearly to Pakistan. Ms. Swaraj also called for terrorists’ funding, their weapons supply, training and political support to be systematically cut off.
  • She also called for early conclusion of the CCIT while urging all the BRICS countries —— Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to condemn efforts, including by states, to use religion to justify, sustain and sponsor terrorism against other countries.
  • The Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) was proposed by India in 1996 to enhance prosecution and extradition of terrorists.
  • In her speech, Swaraj suggested an alliance between International Solar Alliance and New Development Bank. “I hope we can work together to give this ambitious agenda practical shape in coming months,” Swaraj added.
  • Meanwhile, India has announced it will take up 116 “high impact community developmental projects” in 31 provinces of Afghanistan, weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump sought New Delhi’s help in the economic development of the country.
  • The decision was taken during a meeting between Ms. Swaraj and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani here. “India and Afghanistan agreed to take up 116 high impact community development projects ,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson told.
  • “Over and above these high impact projects, India has also offered assistance for six new projects under granting aid assistance from India. One of them is low-cost housing for returning Afghan refugees, road connectivity, national Park and economic development,” he said.

Ranil presented an interim report on drafting of a new Constitution

  • Sri Lankan Prime Minister RanilWickremesinghepresented an interim report on the drafting of a new Constitution, underscoring that all parties had agreed to an “indivisible state”.
  • Addressing the Constitutional Assembly, Mr. Wickremesinghe said that the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) had taken the unprecedented position that they would agree with the contents of the interim report, if the country’s two main parties — SLFP and UNP — accepted it.
  • The interim report follows an exercise undertaken by an all-party steering committee that Mr. Wickremesinghe chairs. Since March 2016, it has met as many as 74 times, discussing various aspects of the likely Constitution.
  • While all parties have in principle agreed to an “indivisible state”, they are yet to concur on some other aspects, such as devolution of police powers to the Provinces. Political parties, including the TNA, have annexed their observations to the interim report.
  • Despite the perceived delay, many consider it a significant step in the process of drafting Sri Lanka’s new Constitution.
  • Observing that no Constitution in Sri Lanka has thus far been framed on the basis of consensus amongst its different people and the two main parties, he said the current exercise was the first such opportunity.
  • While public debate is expected to commence based on the interim report, a parliamentary debate is “very likely” to begin by the end of October, JayampathyWickramaratne, a government MP who co-chairs a committee overseeing the exercise.
  • Following such a debate, the government has said it would table the draft Constitution in Parliament and, if it is passed by a two-thirds majority, hold a country-wide referendum.

::ECONOMY::

Strategy to revive investment

  • The Centre will ‘very soon’ disclose its strategy to revive moribund private investment, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. Mr. Jaitley has held several discussions with top officials and ministers on tackling the slowdown in the economy.
  • The Finance Minister, who is expected to brief Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon on the options available for revitalising the economy’s growth momentum, conceded that ‘there is a problem’ of private investment.
  • “The government is seized of the issue and very soon, you will hear from us. From day one, this is a proactive government,” Mr. Jaitley said addressing the India Investor Summit 2017 organised by J.P.Morgan in the capital.
  • Stressing that the impact of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on inflation had been contained so far, Mr. Jaitley said among the sectors currently excluded from GST, real estate could be brought under the new indirect tax regime ‘most easily’.
  • The Minister’s comment suggests that the inclusion of other products currently outside GST’s purview, such as petroleum and alcohol, would take more time.
  • Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had recently said his Ministry had proposed bringing petroleum products under the purview of GST in ‘consumer interest’ to ensure a uniform tax mechanism, instead of the current dispensation where States levy a value-added tax (VAT) and the Centre levies excise.
  • Claiming that corruption had become ‘a thing of the past’ in the Union government, Mr. Jaitley said the same was happening in States as well. “The government has taken quick decisions, whether it is implementing GST or targeting subsidies.”
  • The Minister said the government ‘never had any reservations about privatisation’ and had an ambitious target for disinvestment this year. The ministerial group on ailing national carrier Air India’s sale had held a meeting on Thursday, Mr. Jaitley informed investors.
  • “In last few years, market was quite volatile at times, so the government has to wait for the right time for the disinvestment,” he said.
  • Mr. Jaitley said while he was ‘personally in favour of’ a Universal Basic Income, the only reservation he had about implementing such a programme was ‘the level of political maturity’ in India.

$5 bnworth Exhibition cum convention convention centre project

  • The Union Cabinet will soon take up the proposal for a “$5 billion-worth world-class and state-of-the-art” Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre (ECC) in the national capital — billed as the largest such facility in Asia when completed by 2021.
  • By this month-end, the Cabinet will consider for discussion a “note on approval of the project and formation of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to implement the same.
  • Part of the $100 billion Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project, it would be developed on Public-Private Partnership model using viability gap funding of the Centre, if required.
  • The SPV will be given the rights to activities, including sub-leasing of land parcels, sub-contracting project components, granting long term concessions to private developers as well as fixing lease rentals.
  • The project became necessary as “India lacked an integrated world class facility that can meet the requirements of global ECC operators in terms of space, project facilities and transportation linkages,” the Centre had said.
  • Though the size of the global Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions (MICE) market is about $280 billion and that of Asian MICE market about $60 billion, India did not benefit due to lack of world class ECCs, it said.

Rupee weakened amid fiscal stimulus speculation

  • The rupee weakened by more than 50 paise, or 0.8%, against the dollar amid growing speculation that the Centre was considering a fiscal stimulus package to rekindle economic growth a move that could widen the fiscal deficit and possibly risk fanning inflation.
  • The rupee ended at a two-and-a-half month low, at 64.81 a dollar. The yield on the 10-year benchmark government bond rose 10 basis points to 6.68%, its highest close since May 24.
  • The Federal Reserve’s decision on Wednesday to start unwinding its balance sheet starting October and signals that it would raise U.S. interest rates one more time this year also lifted the dollar globally.
  • “There was some speculation that government is considering stimulus package, for which the fiscal deficit could miss its target,” said Anindya Banerjee, currency analyst at Kotak Securities. “Rupee weakened against all major global currencies,” he added.
  • Currency dealers said a fiscal stimulus could result in the government likely missing this year’s fiscal deficit target of 3.2% of GDP.

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