Daily Current Affairs 23rd November, 2016
- Portugal Prime Minister Antonio Costa to be Chief Guest of 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
António Costa (54), the Indian origin Prime Minister of Portugal will be the chief guest at the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention.
- The PBD Convention is scheduled to be held from January 7 to 9, 2017 in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
Sebi officials to chair IOSCO panels
- Two officials of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), Parmod Kumar Nagpal and Amarjeet Singh are elected as chairpersons of two committees set up by IOSCO (International Organisation of Securities Commissions) announced by IOSCO’s Asia-Pacific Regional Committee chairman by Mr. Ashley Ian Alder.
- Nagpal would chair the Committee on Issuer Accounting, Audit and Disclosure while Singh would be the chairperson of the Assessment Committee (AC).
Airtel Payments Bank starts pilot services in Rajasthan
- Airtel Payments Bank Ltd (Airtel Bank), a subsidiary of the country’s largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel, has rolled out a pilot of its banking services in Rajasthan.
- Customers in towns and villages across Rajasthan will now be able to open bank accounts at Airtel retail outlets, which will also act as Airtel banking points and offer a range of basic, convenient banking services.
About Payment banks
- They can’t offer loans but can raise deposits of upto Rs. 1 lakh, and pay interest on these balances just like a savings bank account does.
- They can enable transfers and remittances through a mobile phone.
- They can offer services such as automatic payments of bills, and purchases in cashless, chequeless transactions through a phone.
- They can issue debit cards and ATM cards usable on ATM networks of all banks.
- They can transfer money directly to bank accounts at nearly no cost being a part of the gateway that connects banks.
- They can provide forex cards to travellers, usable again as a debit or ATM card all over India.
- They can offer forex services at charges lower than banks.
- They can also offer card acceptance mechanisms to third parties such as the ‘Apple Pay.’
India, Switzerland sign Joint Declaration for implementing AEOI
- India and Switzerland have signed a Joint Declaration for implementation of Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) in respect of accounts of Indians held abroad.
- Under the pact, both countries will start collecting data in accordance with the global standards in 2018 and exchange it from 2019 onwards.
- It is considered as a big step towards fighting black money stashed by Indians overseas.
- The pact is based on the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (MCAA)also known as Common Reporting Standards (CRS) on AEOI.
China agrees to import rice from 17 mills in India
- China has agreed to import rice, non-basmati and basmati varieties from 17 registered mills in India.
- These mills are in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
- It is considered as a major breakthrough in India’s efforts to ensure market access for Indian products (especially rice) in China as it is the world’s largest rice importer.
- This will help in covering the trade deficit that India has with China.
Centre plans crop insurance scheme for small tea growers
- The Centre is planning to roll out a crop insurance scheme for small tea growers.
- Initially, a pilot will be run in three regions in Assam, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu for one crop-cycle spread over two years commencing 2016-17.
- The Tea Board would be the nodal agency for the scheme and the cost will be shared between the Centre, the state governments and the growers in the ratio of 75:15:10.
- However, the growers would have to pick up the state government’s tab in case the government declines to contribute its share.
- The scheme aims to protect growers from anticipated losses in revenue caused by drop in international/domestic prices, yield loss due to adverse weather or pest attacks or any other reason beyond human control.
‘India’s wealth rises, as does disparity’
- According to a report on Global Wealth by Credit Suisse, the total quantum of wealth is rising in India but so is the disparity between those who have wealth and those deprived of it.
Highlights of the Report
- The uneven growth has left 96 per cent of the adult population in India at the base of the wealth pyramid.
- Wealth in India is dominated by property and other real estate that make up 86 per cent of its estimated household assets, according to the global financial services major.
- The study said that wealth in India in local currency terms increased 5.1 per cent in 2016 but due to adverse currency exchange movements, India’s household wealth fell by 0.8 per cent to $3 trillion in dollar terms.
- The annual growth of wealth per adult in rupees has averaged 6 per cent between 2000 and 2016.
SCIENCE AND TECH
Agni-I missile test-fired
- The strategic missile, Agni-I, was recently test-fired from the Wheeler Island, off Damra village on the Odisha coast.
About Agni I
- Agni-I is a 12 tonne, 15 metre long, 700kmrange missile.
- It has a specialised navigation system called Ring Laser Gyro- INS to ensure high degree of accuracy to hit the target.
- It is a single stage missile that is powered by solid propellants and can carry a nuclear warhead of 1000kg.
- Agni-I can be fired from both road and rail mobile launchers at short notice.
Indian journalist gets International Press Freedom Award
- Indian Journalist Malini Subramaniam has been conferred with the International Press Freedom Award for her reporting from Chhattisgarh’s Naxal-infested Bastar area.
- She is one of the four journalists felicitated for their commitment to a free press.
- Subramaniam, a contributor to ‘Scroll’, has reported on abuses by security forces, sexual violence, jailing of minors and other issues in the region.
Zydus Cadila CMD Pankaj Patel taking over from Harshavardhan Neotia, becomes new FICCI president
- Pankaj R Patel, chairman & managing director of Cadila Healthcare Ltd (Zydus Cadila) has been elected as the new President of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) for the year 2017.
Veteran Carnatic Music exponent M Balamuralikrishna passes away at the age of 86
- He was considered as doyen of classical music. During his long musical career he had excelled as a prominent Carnatic vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, playback singer, composer and actor.