Daily Current Affairs - 25th Feb 2017

Demonetisation Sucked In Cash Like Vacuum Cleaner, - IMF Official

  • India's demonetisation led to huge cash shortages that have "adversely affected" consumption and like a "vacuum cleaner" it sucked in cash and then was slowly replacing the currency, a senior IMF official has said. 
  • Given the shortage of cash in the market, IMF in its report urged the Indian Government to continue to enhance the supply of new banknotes, and if needed consider extending or expanding targeted temporary exemptions, including on use of old banknotes, particularly for rural and remote areas. 
  • IMF said the repercussions from India's currency exchange initiative will likely persist through the first quarter of 2017.
  • Real GDP growth is projected to slow to 6.6 per cent in FY2016/17 and then rebound to 7.2 per cent in FY2017/18, due to temporary disruptions (primarily to private consumption) caused by cash shortages accompanying the currency exchange initiative.

9th BRICS Summit to be held in China’s Xiamen city

  • The ninth BRICS Summit will be held in China’s Xiamen city from September 3-5. 
  • The theme of this year’s event is BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future.
  •  China expects the Xiamen BRICS summit will promote members strengthening solidarity and collaboration, and improving global governance, deepening pragmatic cooperation to achieve mutual benefit, increasing people-to-people exchanges, and enhancing public support, and strengthening institutional mechanism and improving cooperation platform, which are the four objectives.

Boko Haram violence leaves over 7 million facing starvation

  • Over 7 million people are starving in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria as a result of violence by the Boko Haram terror group, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported. 
  •  The number of people affected by severe food insecurity has doubled to more than seven million, compared with 3.4 million in June 2015. FAO called for “swift and decisive” action by the international community to protect the lives of millions of families dependent on agriculture, livestock and fisheries. FAO Head quarters: Rome, Italy

Centre gears up to expand direct transfers to all 536 schemes

  • The Centre is in talks with nodal ministries and implementing agencies to expand the ambit of direct benefit transfer and Aadhaar seeding to all 536 schemes by the end of the year. At present just 84 central schemes are under 17 Ministries are included under DBT.
  •  But, since its launch in 2014, the Centre has been keen to ensure that all schemes which involve cash transfers or subsidy payments should be on board the DBT platform. 
  • Apart from beneficiaries, even workers for ASHA and Anganwadi schemes, Yoga training centres and AIDS control programmes will also receive payments through DBT by electronic fund transfers. The move is expected to help the government to weed out duplicate and ghost beneficiaries, cut down corruption and plug leakages.

Defence Security Corps Celebrates 70th Raising Day

  • Defence Security Corps (DSC), which was raised on 25 February 1947 as ‘Defence Department Constabulary’, celebrated its 70th Raising Day on 25 February 2017. 
  • DSC troops have been providing security to various sensitive defence and civil installations across the length and breadth of the country since 1947.

Dena Bank rolls out RFID-enabled cards to serve valued clients better

  • Dena Bank has introduced RFID-enabled banking cards whereby a branch/relationship manager can identify a valued client entering a branch with the card.Once the client enters the branch, complete information about him/her will pop up on the manager’s desktop.
  •  When the customer holding the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) card completes the transaction and leaves the bank branch, the system will capture his/her exit, indicating that transactions have been completed. 
  • This information will go into an analytics system that allows the bank to evaluate how long a customer waited before being helped and how much time the customer spent in completing the transactions and other details of his transactions. 
  • The RFID card is being introduced in select branches, and Dena Bank JVPD branch (Mumbai) is the first branch to be enabled with RFID technology.

FDI inflows zoom 18% to $46 billion in 2016

  • Foreign direct investment in India grew 18% during 2016 to touch $46 billion, as shown in the data released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. The country attracted FDI of $39.32 billion in 2015.
  •  The main sectors which attracted the highest inflows were services, telecom, trading, computer hardware and software and automobile. Bulk of the FDI came in from Singapore, Mauritius, the Netherlands and Japan

Firms with turnover below `50 crore out of POEM ambit

  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) clarified that rules under Place of Effective Management (POEM), which require firms that are controlled from within the country to pay taxes in India, will not apply to companies with an annual turnover of `50 crore or less. 
  •  The rules will come into effect from the next fiscal. The POEM rules aim to target companies that operate in India but have shell companies outside the country for tax purposes. 
  •  Using a set of criteria such as Active Business Outside India test, the guidelines will help the CBDT identify a resident company, even if it may be a subsidiary of a multinational firm or incorporated outside, and make it liable to pay tax.

IFCI plans to sell stakes in four associates firms

  • State-owned IFCI plans to sell stakes in four associates units, including Tourism Finance Corporation of India, as part of strategy to focus on its core business of term lending. The Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI) board has already approved divesting the entire 45.5 per cent stake in associate firm Hardicon as per its plan to exit from non-core business activities. 
  •  Other four associates of the country's oldest financial institution are Tourism Finance Corporation of India (TFCI), Himachal Consultancy Organization (HIMCON), North India Technical Consultancy Organization (NITCON) and KITCO (formerly Kerala Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation).

India building a supercomputer juggernaut

  • India is likely to unveil its most powerful supercomputer. If its processors operate at the full capacity of 10 petaflops (1 followed by 15 zeroes of floating point operations per second), a clock speed a million times faster than the fastest consumer laptops, it could earn a place among the world’s top 10 fastest supercomputers.
  •  The as-yet-unnamed machine will be jointly hosted at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune and the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting at Noida in Uttar Pradesh. 
  • The processing speed of supercomputers is only one of the factors that determine its worth, with power usage and arrangement of processors, being other key metrics that determine the worth of a system.

India, ADB ink pact for industrial corridor

  • India and Asian Development Bank have signed a $375 million pact for loans and grants to develop 800-km Visakhapatnam-Chennai Industrial Corridor. It is the first phase of a planned 2,500-km East Coast Economic Corridor.
  •  ADB had last September approved $631 million in loans and grants for the corridor. The ADB said that it approved loans comprising a $500 million multitranche facility.

Rs. 7,500-crore road network to boost North-East economy

  • The Centre is planning Rs. 7,500-crore-worth road-widening projects in Meghalaya, Manipur and Mizoram to improve connectivity with Bangladesh and Myanmar. 
  • According to Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, four national highway upgradation projects — Aizawl-Tuipang ( Rs. 6,000 crore) in Mizoram; Tura-Dalu ( Rs. 360 crore) and Dalu-Dudani ( Rs. 1,100 crore) in Meghalaya; and Imphal-Moreh in Manipur — will shortly be taken up for Cabinet approval. 
  • The trade volume should increase, as and when India completes the 1,360-km Trilateral Highway from Tamu to Thailand. Plans are underway to open a second route through Zokhawthar-Rih (Myanmar) border near Champhai on the eastern periphery of Mizoram, which will connect the Trilateral Highway 120 km away at Kalemyo.

Vivek Chaand Sehgal is EY Entrepreneur of 2016

  • Vivek Chaand Sehgal, chairman of Motherson Sumi Systems Limited (MSSL), the flagship company of Samvardhana Motherson Group (SMG), has been chosen as the ‘EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2016.
  •  Nandan Nilekani gets the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the Unique Identification Authority of India – the Aadhaar initiative, which is a pioneering citizen identification programme. 
  •  R. Dinesh, managing director, TVS Logistics Services, gets the award in the services category. The EOY is a global business award programme, now in its 18th year in India.

Wind tariffs at a low of Rs. 3.46 per unit

  • Wind power tariffs closed at Rs. 3.46 per kWh in India's first-ever auction for wind energy projects as the country aims to tap renewable energy to overcome its power shortages. The bid was called by government-owned Solar Energy Corporation of India for 1 GW of wind capacity. 
  • Mytrah Energy, Green Infra, Inox and Ostro Energy each won the rights to set up 250 MW of wind capacity in a location of their choice and to sell the energy generated to state-run Power Trading Corporation.
  •  The two states under consideration for these projects are Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.

‘Bad bank’ will speed up resolution of stressed assets - Fitch

  • The creation of a ‘bad bank’ could accelerate the resolution of stressed assets in India’s banking sector, said Fitch Ratings. 
  • However, the move may face significant logistical difficulties and would simultaneously require a credible bank recapitalization programme to address the capital shortfalls at State-owned banks. 
  • The agency believes that the government will eventually be required to provide more than the $10.4 billion that it has earmarked for capital injections by financial year ending 2019 — be it directly to State-owned banks or indirectly through a bad bank. 
  • A bad bank that purchases stressed assets and takes them to resolution was featured in the government’s latest Economic Survey. Fitch said the most likely form of a bad bank would be that of a centralized asset-restructuring company (ARC).