Daily Current Affairs 20th February 2018

National News

1. India to Host World Environment Day 2018

i. The government of India and the UN jointly announced that India will host the global World Environment Day celebrations on 5 June 2018

.

ii. World Environment Day is celebrated globally on June 5. The theme for World Environment 2018 is “Beat Plastic Pollution”.
Static/Current Takeaways Important for Syndicate Bank PO 2018 Exam-
  • World Environment Day is a UN Environment-led global event, the single largest celebration of our environment each year and is celebrated by thousands of communities worldwide.

2. PM Flags Off Palace Queen Hamsafar Express in Karnataka

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the Palace Queen Humsafar Express between Mysuru and Udaipur in Mysuru Railway Station.

ii. The train between Mysuru and Udaipur will act as a backbone of tourism, an employment generating industry. He also dedicated to the nation, the electrified Mysuru-Bengaluru Railway Line and announced two more infrastructure projects for the region.

Static/Current Takeaways Important for Syndicate Bank PO 2018 Exam-

  • Karnataka CM- Siddaramaiah, Governor- Vajubhai Vala.
  • The Union Minister of Railways of India is Piyush Goyal.

3. Aga Khan’s 11-Day Visit to India Begins

i. Spiritual leader Aga Khan is on the 11-day visit to India. Sunder Nursery, a 90-acre park near Humayun’s Tomb in New Delhi, will be inaugurated by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu in the presence of the Aga Khan.
ii. During his previous visit in 2015, the Aga Khan was conferred Padma Vibhushan for his contributions to social development in India.
Static/Current Takeaways Important for Syndicate Bank PO 2018 Exam-
  • Aga Khan became Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims on 11 July 1957 at the age of 20.
  • He is the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims.


4. Important Cabinet Approvals- 20th February 2018

i. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given the following set of approvals. The important Cabinet Approvals are given as follows-
ii. The Cabinet has approved-
(a) Proposal for Mahanadi Water Disputes – Constitution of a Tribunal under Inter-State River Disputes Act, 1956 – request from State of Odisha.
(b) India-Morocco Cooperation Agreement in  Railway Sector. The Cooperation Agreement will enable technical cooperation in the following areas:-

  • Training and staff development;
  • Expert missions, exchange of experience and personnel; and
  • Mutual technical assistance, including exchanging of experts.

(c) Agreement between India and Israel on Film Co-production
(d) New Bill to ban Unregulated Deposit Schemes and Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
(e) Silkyara Bend-Barkot Tunnel in Uttarakhand as part of ‘Chardham Mahamarg Pariyojana’.


 
5. Cabinet Approves New Bill to ban Unregulated Deposit Schemes and Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill
i. In a major policy initiative to protect the savings of the investors, the Union Cabinet has given its approval to introduce the following bills in the Parliament:-
1. The Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018
The bill is aimed at tackling the menace of illicit deposit-taking activities in the country. Companies/ institutions running such schemes exploit existing regulatory gaps and lack of strict administrative measures to dupe poor and gullible people of their hard-earned savings.
2. The Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018
The Union Cabinet has given its approval to introduce the Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018 in Parliament. In order to facilitate orderly growth of the Chit Funds sector and remove bottlenecks being faced by the Chit Funds industry, thereby enabling greater financial access of people to other financial products, the following amendments to the Chit Funds Act, 1982 have been proposed:
i. Use of the words “Fraternity Fund” for chit business under Sections 2(b) and 11(1) of the Chit Funds Act, 1982, to signify its inherent nature, and distinguish its working from “Prize Chits” which are banned under a separate legislation;
ii. Increasing the ceiling of foreman’s commission from a maximum of 5% to 7%, as the rate has remained static since the commencement of the Act while overheads and other costs have increased manifold;
iii. Allowing the foreman a right to lien for the dues from subscribers, so that set-off is allowed by the Chit company for subscribers who have already drawn funds, so as to discourage default by them; and
iv. Amending Section 85 (b) of the Chit Funds Act, 1982 to remove the ceiling of one hundred rupees set in 1982 at the time of framing the Chit Funds Act, which has lost its relevance.


6. India Successfully Test-Fires Agni-II Missile
i. India successfully test-fired Agni II medium-range nuclear-capable missile from APJ Abdul Kalam island off the Odisha coast. The Strategic Forces Command (SFC) fired Agni-II from a mobile launcher at launch complex 4 of the Integrated Test Range.
ii. Agni-II, which has a length of 20 metres, weighs 17 tonnes and can carry a payload of 1000 kgs over a distance of 2000 kms. It is a part of the Agni series of missiles developed by the DRDO.
Static/Current Takeaways Important for Syndicate Bank PO 2018 Exam-

  • DRDO- Defence Research and Development Organisation.
  • DRDO Chairman- S Christopher, Headquarters- New Delhi.


International News

7. UK, India Launched Joint Research Projects on Clean Water & Energy
i. The UK- India Joint research projects on Water Quality Research and Energy Demand Reduction in Built Environment were launched in New Delhi.
ii. The Water Quality Research programme has eight projects and Energy Demand Reduction in Built Environment programme has four projects, with a total joint investment of up to 15 million British Pound.

8. Singapore to Impose Carbon Tax From 2019
 
i. Singapore will impose a ‘carbon tax’ from 2019 to cut its greenhouse gas emissions and make companies more competitive as global agreements on climate change take effect.

ii. Finance minister Heng Swee Keat stated that the tax would be levied on all facilities producing 25,000 tonnes or more of greenhouse gas emissions a year.

Static/Current Takeaways Important for Syndicate Bank PO 2018 Exam-
  • Singapore ranks 26th out of 142 countries in terms of emissions per capita based on the latest International Energy Agency data.


Banking/Business/Economy News

9. Union Cabinet Approves Creation of National Urban Housing Fund
i. The Union Cabinet has given approval for creation of National Urban Housing Fund (NUHF) for Rs.60,000 crores. This fund will be situated in Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
ii. NUHF will facilitate raising requisite funds in next four years so that flow of Central Assistance under different verticals i.e. Beneficiary Linked Construction (BLC), Affordable Housing in Partnership(AHP), In-Situ Slum Redevelopment (ISSR) and Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS).

10. Fitch Places PNB on ‘Rating Watch Negative’ With Downgrade Possibility

i. Fitch placed Punjab National Bank on Rating Watch Negative (RWN), reflecting a possibility of downgrade following the USD 1.77 billion fraud. The fraud is the biggest ever in the banking history.

ii. The Viability Rating measures credit worthiness of a financial institution and reflects the likelihood of the entity to fail, as per Fitch.

Static/Current Takeaways Important for Syndicate Bank PO 2018 Exam-
  • PNB is also likely to get an additional Rs5,400 crore from the government by end-March 2018 under the government’s recapitalisation agenda.
  • PNB Chairman- Sunil Mehta, Headquarters- New Delhi.
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