Financial Awareness at a Glance (30 April – 06 May 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. Subhash Chandra Khuntia is new Chairman of IRDAI

  • Former IAS officer Subhash Chandra Khuntia appointed as the new Chairman of Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI) for three-years.
  • He replaced T.S. Vijayan, who completed his five-year term in February 2018.
  • His appointment was approved by Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).
  • He was a 1981 batch IAS officer of the Karnataka cadre and served as the Chief Secretary to the State government.

Note:

  • IRDAI is an apex statutory body that regulates the insurance industry in India.
  • IRDAI was constituted as per provisions of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999.
  • IRDAI headquarter is in Hyderabad.

2. Ashok Lahiri appointed as a full-time member of the 15th Finance Commission

  • Ashok Lahiri has been appointed as a full-time member of the 15th Finance Commission.
  • He is at present the part-time member of the commission.
  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved Lahiri’s appointment as the full-time member.
  • Ashok Lahiri is a former Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) of India between 2002-2007.
  • The CEA is the ex-officio cadre controlling authority of the Indian Economic Service. The CEA is under the direct charge of the Minister of Finance.

Note:

  • N.K. Singh is the Chairman of 15th Finance Commission.
  • The commission was set up to recommend the devolution of central pool taxes to states as well as a fiscal consolidation roadmap for government finances for five years commencing on 1 April 2020.

3. Sitanshu Ranjan Kar is new DG of PIB

  • Sitanshu Ranjan Kar is appointed as the new Director General (DG) of Press Information Bureau (PIB).
  • He also took over as the 27th Principal Spokesperson of the Government of India.
  • He replaced Frank Noronha.
  • He joined PIB in 2003 and anchored publicity of several key ministries including the Defence Ministry.

Note:

  • The Press Information Bureau (PIB) is the nodal agency of the Government of India to disseminate information to the print and electronic media on government policies, programmes, initiatives and achievements.

4. India is at 11th rank in FDI Confidence Index 2018

  • This year India slipped down three marks at 11th positions in the 2018 FDI Confidence Index.
  • Last year, in 2017, India was at the 8th position in the FDI Confidence Index.
  • For the first time since 2015, India was ranked below top 10 positions in the list.
  • The report said that some policies may have discouraged investors, at least in the short term.
  • The 2017 nationwide goods and services tax (GST), for example, has faced implementation challenges, and the 2016 demonetisation initiative disrupted business activity and weighed on economic growth.
  • During April-December 2017, FDI in India raised by a marginal 0.27 per cent to USD 35.95 billion.
  • China falls to its lowest-ever ranking in the history of the Index.  China is at 5th rank previous year it was on the 3rd spot.
  • Only 7 Asian countries appearing on this year’s Index.
  • Global consultancy firm A T Kearney publishes the report.

Top 3 countries in the index –

  • The United States is at the top spot for the sixth year in a row.
  • Canada moves up three spots to its highest ranking in the history of the Index.
  • Germany tops the list of European countries in the Index for the third consecutive year.

5. India among top five defence spenders in the world

  • According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) report, India is among world’s five biggest military spenders in 2017.
  • Indian government boosted the operational capability of its armed forces in the face of tensions with China and Pakistan.
  • India is in the 5th spot, after the US, China, Saudi Arabia and Russia, and they together accounted for 60% of global military spending.
  • China spends far more on its military than any other power in Asia.

Key points related to India –

  • India spent $63.9 billion on defence in 2017, an increase of 5.5% compared with 2016, when it was in the sixth spot overall.
  • India spending in 2017 was higher than that of France ($57.8 billion), UK ($47.2 billion) and Germany ($44.3 billion).
  • In Union Budget 2018-19, India allocated Rs. 2.95 lakh crore for military spending compared to last year’s budget of R2.74 lakh crore.
  • This year there is increased by 7.81 percent in Defence Budget as compared to previous year.
  • This year, the military budget slipped to just 1.57% of the GDP.
  • The figure includes Rs. 99,563 crore for buying new weapons and systems, up from Rs. 86,488 crore in the previous fiscal.
  • In a report released in March, SIPRI said India was the world’s largest weapons importer in the last five years and that arms exported by the US to India during 2013-17 registered a 557% jump when compared to 2008-12.

6. Singapore is Asia’s best-performing stock market

  • The Singapore Straits Times Index is Asia’s best-performing stock market.
  • This year’s Straits Times Index gain to 6.2 percent in local currency terms and took the top spot from Vietnam’s VN Index, which plunged 2 percent.
  • Two of the markets which climbed to records this year — the Philippines and Indonesia — are now among the worst performers of 2018
  • China stock indexes in Shanghai and Shenzhen are down by more than 6 percent this year.

7. Eminent economist Ashok Mitra passed away

  • Eminent economist and scholar Ashok Mitra passed away in a private hospital in Kolkata. He was 90.
  • He was the first Finance Minister in the Left Front government in West Bengal from 1977 to 1987 when Jyoti Basu was the chief minister.

Note:

  • He was the Chief Economic Adviser to the government of India from 1970 to 1972 when Indira Gandhi was the prime minister.
  • In the mid-1990s he became a member of the Rajya Sabha and was chairman of the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Industry and Commerce.
  • He worked for the World Bank, taught at the Delhi School of Economics and Indian Institute of Management Calcutta.
  • He had written many books, novels & short stories; some of them include – China-Issues in Development, From the Ramparts, A Prattler’s Tale: Recollections of a Contrary Marxist, The Nowhere Nation, Cuttings Corners, The Protest is Still on.

8. India- South Africa Business Summit held in Johannesburg

  • India, South Africa business summit was held in Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu attended India- South Africa business summit.
  • The Minister highlighted the historical relations between India and these countries and pledged to take the economic partnership forward.
  • During his visit, Prabhu also inaugurated a multi-sectoral exhibition at Johannesburg along with Dr.Rob Davies, Trade and Industry Minister of South Africa and appreciated the large presence of Indian companies at the exhibition.

9. The 9th India-Japan Energy Dialogue held in New Delhi

  • The 9th India Japan Energy Dialogue was held in New Delhi on 1st May 2018.
  • During the conference both the countries agreed to initiate the discussion towards the development of Electric Vehicles (EVs) by collaborating with “Policy dialogue on next generation/Zero emission vehicles”.
  • Both the countries repeated the continued importance of coal-based electricity generation in the energy mix and agreed to promote the cooperation on environmental measures for coal-fired power plants.

10.  The GST collection in April has crossed Rs. 1 lakh crore

  • The GST collection in April has crossed Rs. 1 lakh crore. The figures reflect the increase in the economy and better compliance.
  • While Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection in entire 2017-18 stood Rs 7.41 lakh crore, in March the figure was Rs 89,264 crore.
  • According to the Finance Ministry; the total gross GST revenue collected in April 2018 is Rs 1,03,458 crore of which CGST is Rs 18,652 crore, SGST is Rs 25,704 crore, IGST is Rs 50,548 crore (including Rs 21,246 crore collected on imports) and Cess is Rs 8,554 crore, including Rs 702 crore collected on imports.

11. Uday Kotak is now MD & CEO Of Kotak Mahindra Bank

  • The board of directors of Kotak Mahindra Bank has redesignated Uday Kotak as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer with effect from 1 May 2018.
  • He was earlier executive Vice Chairman and Managing Director.

Note:

  • Kotak Mahindra Bank is an Indian private sector bank headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
  • In February 2003, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) gave the license to Kotak Mahindra Finance Ltd. to carry on banking business.

12. Niti Ayog inks pact with IBM to develop crop yield prediction model using AI

  • Niti Aayog and IBM signed an agreement to develop a crop yield prediction model using artificial intelligence (AI).
  • The objective is to provide real-time advisory to farmers in Aspirational Districts across Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
  • It will work towards the use of technology to provide insights to farmers to improve crop productivity, soil yield and control agricultural inputs with the overarching goal of improving farmers’ incomes.

IBM role – IBM will be using artificial intelligence

  • to provide all the relevant data and platform for developing technological models for improving agricultural output and productivity for various crops and soil types, for the identified districts.

Niti Aayog role –

  • Niti Aayog will facilitate the inclusion of more stakeholders on the ground for effective last mile utilisation and extension using the insights generated through these models.

13. India will be world’s fastest growing economy in coming decade: Harvard

  • According to a Harvard University report, India will be the fastest growing economies in the world in the coming decade and
  • India is projected to grow at 7.9 percent annually, ahead of China and the US.
  • China is projected to grow at 4.9 percent annually to 2026, the US three percent and France 3.5 percent.
  • According to the report, countries such as India and Vietnam have diversified their economies into more complex sectors and is projected to grow fastest in the coming decade
  • India has made inroads in diversifying its export base to include more complex sectors, such as chemicals, vehicles, and certain electronics.
  • The researchers also find India ranks the best on the criteria termed the Complexity Opportunity Index (COI), which measures how easy it is to redeploy existing knowhow to enter new complex products.
  • The top ranking in COI means India has many “unrealised opportunities” to diversify into related, high-value sectors to continue to drive productivity growth and job creation.

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