Financial Awareness at a Glance (11 March – 17 March 2018)

Dear readers,

Today, we are sharing the next part of our Banking and Finance Awareness Series “Financial Awareness at a Glance”. Go through this now to get all the important insights which took place last week in Banking and Finance Sector in India and world. This will immensely help you in upcoming exams.

Financial Awareness at a Glance

1. India ranked at 78th on WEF Energy Transition Index

  • India was ranked at 78th among 114 countries in Energy Transition Index.
  • The World Economic Forum published the index.
  • Top three countries on the index are – Sweden, Norway and Switzerland.
  • According to the report – India is one of the largest consumers of energy (36,000 PJ), and its demand is projected to grow.
  • According to the organisation, India improved its performance score by 5.6 percentage points between 2013 and 2018, mainly with improved energy access, reduced subsidies and reduced import costs.
  • The index ranks countries on how well they are able to balance energy security and access to environmental sustainability and affordability.

2. Pune tops in the urban governance list

  • Pune city was ranked at the top positions in the best quality of governance among Indian 23 cities in 2017.
  • Bengaluru ranked at the bottom of the index.
  • This is the fifth edition of the Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS).
  • The survey was conducted by the Bengaluru-based non-profit organisation, Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy.
  • According to the report – the cities were scored based on the quality of laws, policies, institutions and institutional processes that together help govern them.
  • Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, Bhubaneswar and Surat ranked at second, third, fourth and fifth positions respectively.
  • Delhi and Mumbai figure in the sixth and ninth positions respectively.

3. India ranked 133rd in World Happiness Index 2018

  • In the latest annual World Happiness Index report, India ranked below among its neighbours including Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • India was ranked at 133rd positions among 156 countries in the index.
  • The report is published by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s (SDSN).
  • The top three nations are Finland, Norway and Denmark, and they are among the highest tax paying nations in the world — with tax rates high as 60%.
  • Last year, India was ranked at 122nd positions.
  • Pakistan is ranked 75th, down 58 places from India.
  • Bhutan is 97th and China is 86th.
  • The United States ranked at 18th, Britain was at 19th and the United Arab Emirates at 20th positions.
  • Burundi was ranked at the last positions in the index.

4. Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017 passed in Lok Sabha

  • The Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017 passed in Lok Sabha.
  • The bill aims to empower the government to fix the period of maternity leave and tax-free gratuity amount with an executive order.
  • Under the Payment of Gratuity Act, the government would be able to enhance the ceiling of tax-free gratuity to Rs 20 lakh from existing Rs 10 lakh for an employee.


  • The Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister for Labour and Employment, Mr. Santosh Kumar Gangwar on December 18, 2017.
  • The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 allows for the payment of gratuity to employees in any establishment, factory, mine, oilfield, plantation, port, railways, company, or shop employing 10 or more workers.
  • The maximum maternity leave under the 1961 Act was changed from 12 weeks to 26 weeks by the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017.
  • The Bill removes the reference to 12 weeks in the 1972 Act and empowers the central government to notify the maximum maternity leave.
  • Under the Act, the maximum amount of gratuity payable to an employee cannot exceed Rs 10 lakh. The Bill removes the existing ceiling and states that the ceiling may be notified by the central government.

5. India & France signed 14 agreements

  • The French President had arrived India on 9th March 2018. The aim of the visit was to strengthen the bilateral economic, political, and strategic dimension of engagement

On the sidelines of French President visit India key 14 agreements was signed between the two nations.

  • Agreement on Reduction of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs
  • Agreement on migration and Mobility Partnership
  • Agreement to facilitate mutual recognition of academic qualifications
  • Technical Co-operation in the field of Railways
  • Creation of a permanent Indo-French Railways Forum
  • Provision of reciprocal logistics support between Armed Forces
  • Cooperation in the field of Environment
  • Cooperation in the field of Sustainable Urban Development
  • Exchange and reciprocal protection of classified or protected information
  • Co-operation in the field of Space Research
  • The industrial way forward agreement in Nuclear Field
  • Cooperation in the matter of Hydrography and Maritime Cartography
  • Credit Facility Agreement worth 100 billion Euro for Smart Cities and Solar Energy
  • MoU on Solar Energy

6. First International Solar Alliance Meet held in New Delhi

  • The first International Solar Alliance summit was held in New Delhi.
  • The summit was co-hosted by President Ram Nath Kovind and his French counterpart President Emmanuel Macron.
  • The heads of 23 nations and 10 ministerial representatives participated in the summit.
  • The aim of the summit is to deliberate on a finance mechanism for the promotion of solar energy in member countries, crowd-funding and technology transfer.
  • During the summit, it was pledged to generate 175 gigawatts (GW) of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2022, including 100 GW from solar and 60 GW from the wind.

About ISA

  • The International Solar Alliance (ISA) was launched jointly by India and France following the Paris Declaration at the UN Climate Change Conference on November 30, 2015.
  • The International Solar Alliance was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then French President Francois Hollande.
  • There are 121 prospective member countries and territories of ISA, out of which close to 90 countries have signed the ISA Framework Agreement.
  • The ISA is the first international body that will have a secretariat in India.
  • Its headquarter is located at National Solar Energy Institute (NSEI) at Gwalpahari, Gurugram in Haryana.

7. First, ever Indo-French Knowledge Summit held in New Delhi

  • The Knowledge Summit is the First Franco-Indian Summit for university, scientific and technologic cooperation.
  • The objective of the Knowledge Summit is to design a roadmap of Franco-Indian cooperation for the next five years, in collaboration with companies.
  • The summit was organized by the French Embassy in India and co-hosted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.
  • According to the HRD Minister Shri Prakash Javadekar – The Government will soon launch its Study in India Programme to encourage more foreign students to take up education in India.
  • At present, there are 47000 foreign students learning in India and by 2022 we will have at least 100,000 students learning in India.
  • During the summit, a record number of MoUs (around 15) were unveiled between universities and research institutions on joint initiatives and partnerships

8. The largest solar power plant inaugurated in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron inaugurated the 75 MW solar power plant in Mirzapur.
  • It is the largest solar power plant in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The solar power plant has been built in the with French solar power firm ENGIE SOLAR at Dadar Kalan village in Mirzapur.
  • The plant will generate 15.6 crore units of electricity annually, about 1.30 crore units per month.
  • The electricity generated by the project will be supplied by ENGIE at the rate of Rs.4.43 per unit for a period of 25 years.
  • Currently, 75 mega-watt electricity is being generated. India is generating 20 GW of energy from solar power with an aim to scale this up to 100 GW by 2022.
  • India has set up an ambitious target of setting up of 1 lakh MW solar power plants in the country by 2022.
  • The current Union Minister of State is R.K. Singh.

9. India attracts $209 billion FDI in 2014-2017: Govt

  • According to the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry C R Chaudhary, Foreign direct investment has increased “steadily” in the country with total capital inflows reaching USD 208.99 billion during April 2014 to December 2017 period.
  • The main sectors that received maximum FDI include services, computer software and hardware, telecommunications, construction, trading and automobile.

10. Now passport mandatory for bank loans of Rs. 50 crore & above

  • In the wake of recent frauds, the government has made providing passport details mandatory for taking loans of 50 crore rupees and above.
  • The main aim of this decision is to ensure a swift action in case of fraud and prevent fraudsters from fleeing the country.
  • Now for all existing loans of over 50 crore rupees, banks have been asked to collect passport details of borrowers within 45 days.

11. West Bengal tops in rural job scheme

  • West Bengal has become the best performing State both in terms of allotting jobs and utilising funds under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
  • The statistics were provided in Rajya Sabha by the Minister of State for Rural Development Ram Kripal Yadav.
  • In 2017-18 West Bengal generated more than 28.21 crore work days under the scheme and spent more than ₹7,335.31 crore for it.
  • Tamil Nadu occupied the second spot with 22.17 crore work days and spent ₹5,981.75 crore.
  • Andhra Pradesh was third with 18.16 crore work days, and funds worth ₹5054.17 crore.

12. ICICI Bank launch ‘InstaOD’ first online overdraft facility for MSMEs customer

  • ICICI Bank has launched ‘InstaOD’ which is the country’s first online and instant overdraft facility for MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) customers.
  • ‘InstaOD’ is a fully digital and completely paperless procedure.
  • MSMEs customers can avail overdraft facility up to Rs 15 lakh for a year anytime, anywhere using the bank’s Internet and mobile banking app.

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