Daily Current Affairs - 14th Sep 2017

SBI Life IPO to raise Rs. 8,400 cr

  • SBI Life Insurance, a joint venture between State Bank of India and BNP Paribas Cardif will hit the capital markets with an initial public offering on September 20 to raise about Rs. 8,400 crore. This could be the largest IPO in seven years and it will list on the exchanges on October 3.
  • The price band has been fixed between Rs. 685 and Rs. 700 per share. The issue closes on September 22. Some of the lead managers are JM Financial, Axis Capital, Citigroup Global Markets and ICICI Securities.
  • SBI, which holds 70.1% stake in the company, will sell 8% while BNP will offload 4%. BNP has 26% stake in the company now

All 1.55 lakh post offices to offer payments bank service

  • India Post Payments Bank is planning to provide its financial services through all of 1.55 lakh post offices and 3 lakh employees by the end of 2018 -- which will create India's second-largest payments bank in terms of reach.
  • India Post will have bank footprint in every district by March 2018. The bank will use Aadhaar as payment address of an individual, indicating that the postal bank may bring the transaction charge close to one paisa.
  • Payments banks can accept deposits of up to one lakh rupees per account from individuals and small businesses. These banks cannot issue loans and credit cards. It can also issue services like ATM cards, debit cards, net-banking and mobile-banking.
  • India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) Chief Executive Officer: AP Singh

All set for NIRF ranking exercise next year

  • The Union government has set the ball rolling for a more comprehensive ranking of higher educational institutions in the next round of the National Institutional Ranking Framework in 2018.
  • The idea is instead of institutions choosing to take part in the exercise, they are being auto-registered through a large online database — the All-India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) portal — of institutions available with the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  • The institutions, however, have to provide details like patents, publications, research projects and campus placements that are not available on the portal.
  • With this, the number of institutions that will figure in the NIRF exercise is expected to jump three-fold to at least 10,000

Amnesty International wants pellet guns banned in Kashmir

  • The Amnesty Internationa has asked the Indian government to immediately prohibit pellet shotguns in the Kashmir Valley. In a report released, the human rights organisation highlighted the cases of 88 people whose eyesight was damaged by metal pellets fired from pump-action shotguns used by the Jammu & Kashmir Police and the Central Reserve Police Force [CRPF] between 2014 and 2017.
  • Amnesty claimed that pellet victims faced serious physical and mental health issues, including symptoms of psychological trauma.

BPCL eyes GAIL, Oil India for merger

  • Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), India’s second largest state-owned oil marketer is planning a merger with GAIL (India), India’s largest gas distributor, and Oil India, the country’s second largest explorer, to create an integrated energy giant after the Centre approved the merger of rival Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (HPCL) with ONGC.
  • BPCL, which got Maharatna status recently, has written to the petroleum ministry about its ambitious plan and is waiting to hear back from the government.
  • BPCL plans to invest Rs. 1.08 lakh crore over the next five years, of which Rs. 45,000 is aimed at investments in petrochemicals alone to get better margins.
  • While BPCL’s market capitalisation was Rs. 1,08,538 crore, GAIL and Oil India had market capitalisation of Rs. 34,456 crore and Rs. 24,483 crore respectively.
  • BPCL Chairman: D. Rajkumar

Centre directs over 1200 NGOs to validate their bank accounts

  • The Union Home Ministry has directed over 1200 NGOs across the country to validate their bank accounts in which they receive foreign contribution. As number of such NGO's have not validated their foreign contribution designated accounts which are causing problems for the banks to comply with the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) provisions.
  • All NGOs registered under the FCRA should receive foreign donations in a single designated bank account.
  • The Centre has already cancelled registration of more than ten thousand NGOs in the last three years for alleged non-filing of annual returns as mandated in the FCRA.

Ericsson files insolvency cases in NCLT against RCom, subsidaries

  • Ericsson India Private Limited (Ericsson) has filed an insolvency case against Reliance Communications Ltd. in the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to recover dues totalling Rs. 1,155 crore. Ericsson has done this as a last resort in order to resolve an issue regarding debt that Reliance owes to Ericsson for services provided under a contract.
  • Ericsson, an unsecured operational creditor, has been trying to retrieve its dues from the debt-laden Reliance Communications and its subsidiaries.

Finance Ministry releases timelines for submission of budget proposals

  • The Finance Ministry has released timelines for submission of proposals by different ministries and departments towards preparation of the first post-GST Budget, scheduled to be presented in February.
  • As per the circular for the Budget 2018-19, the pre-budget meetings of ministries and departments will start from October 9.
  • The circular said that all data will need to be submitted on the Union Budget Information System platform.
  • The basis of the final budgetary allocations will be the ceilings indicated in the Medium-term Expenditure Framework statement.
  • As per the timeline, estimates of capital receipts have to submitted to the budget division by October 16 and for revenue receipts by November 15.

Income limit raised for creamy layer

  • The ‘creamy layer’ ceiling for OBC reservation has been raised to Rs. 8 lakh per year from Rs. 6 lakh for determining the creamy layer among the Other Backward Classes. The order was issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).
  • In 1993, the limit was kept at Rs. 1 lakh. It was raised thrice — to Rs. 2.5 lakh in 2004, Rs. 4.5 lakh in 2008 and Rs. 6 lakh in 2013.
  • These measures are part of the government’s efforts to ensure greater social justice and inclusion for members of the Other Backward Classes.

India needs data safety reforms: UN

  • According to United Nations’ Resident Coordinator, India needs regulatory reforms to protect people against fraud and misuse of data by unscrupulous elements. Current protocols for encrypted data transfer, from money to medical records, to be shared between many companies, people and institutions have raised questions on how this data will be stored and accessed.
  • These concerns warrant regulatory reforms that protect against fraud and misuse, especially for those with low digital literacy.

Indo-Russian war games in October

  • India and Russia have begun discussions to work out the modalities for their first tri-service military exercise to be held in October. It will also be India’s first bilateral military exercise with any country involving all three services. The exercise dubbed as “Indra” is scheduled from October 19 to 29.
  • In April, the two countries decided to upgrade Indra from an individual service exercise into an integrated tri-service. The aim of the exercise is to carry out joint exercises for suppression of international terrorist activities under the United Nations mandate. The Army will send about 350 soldiers from the infantry, artillery and armoured streams.

Jeevan-Divij in quarterfinals

  • Third seeds Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Divij Sharan made to the doubles quarterfinals of the $75,000 Challenger tennis tournament. They beat Uladzimir Ignatik of Belarus and Aldin Setkic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in straight sets to set up a quarterfinal against Robin Kern and Marc Sieber of Germany.
  • Karman Kaur Thandi sailed into the second round of the $25,000 ITF women’s event in the US.

Korea Super Series: Kashyap, Praneeth, Sameer to play 2nd round matches in men's singles

  • At the Korea Super Series badminton tournament, Parupalli Kashyap, Sai Praneeth and Sameer Verma will play their second round matches in the men's singles. Meanwhile, World Silver medalist Sindhu will face Nitachaon Jindapol of Thailand in the second round.
  • In the Men's Double, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy will also play their the second round today.

Made in India phones poised to touch 50 crore mark by 2019-20

  • Made in India phones have seen significant growth, with the number of such devices poised to touch the 50 crore mark by 2019-20. India produced 6 crore mobile phones in 2014 and 17.5 crore in 2016-17. Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju lauded the role played by the electronics sector in empowering the country.

The Hindu wins best news website award

  • The gold award in the Best Innovation to Engage Youth Audiences category went to Youngworldclub.com, The Hindu Group’s learning portal for children. The evaluation was based on effectiveness in engaging youth audiences, especially children and teenagers.
  • The awards, presented by WAN-IFRA and Google, recognize publishers who have adopted digital media and mobile strategies as part of their total product offering to meet the major changes in how people consume news today.
  • WAN-IFRA’s Digital Media Awards are presented in every region and the winners from each region compete for the World Digital Media Awards.

Union Government takes up highway projects worth Rs 34,100 cr to decongest Delhi

  • The Centre has said that it has taken up highway projects worth Rs. 34,100 crore to decongest the national capital. Chairing a high-level meeting on 'Projects on Decongestion of Delhi, Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said a comprehensive exercise for decongesting arterial road network of national highways connecting NCT Delhi is on.

WADA clears 95 Russian athletes

  • The World Anti-Doping Agency is set to clear 95 Russian athletes who were investigated over involvement in the country’s alleged mammoth doping programme. Outside reports said the agency found it could not gather enough evidence against 95 of the 96 Russian athletes it has been probing.