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♦ ISRO starts Human Space Flight center
- Gaganyaan, the great Indian human leap to space by 2022, will soon get cracking under a new Human Space Flight Centre and a dedicated team around five months after it was first unveiled. A team of 800 to 900 people is to be deployed over time to carry it out.
- Indian Space Research Organisation on Friday named Unnikrishnan Nair, who led its Advanced Space Transportation Programme at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, as the man to steer it – as also the director of the new centre. Dr. Nair has already been involved in this work for a few years as director, Human Space Flight Project. ISRO.R.Hutton, who has helmed the PSLV light lift vehicle programme, also from Thiruvananthapuram, is the project director in that set-up.
- K.Sivan, ISRO Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space announced the new set-up soon after forming it. A handful of deputy directors each for the centre and the project have also been picked.
- “Gaganyaan is our highest priority now. We have put in a management structure to realise it. The Human Space Flight Centre [based in Bengaluru] will carry out all activities related to the human programme. Under it will function the Gaganyaan Project.”
- Dr. Sivan explained, “All work related to the mission will formally begin now,” including the schedule, blueprint of various tasks, astronaut selection with the Indian Air Force and systems based on the project report.
♦ Ex-CBI chief Alok Verma resigns from service, says he be deemed superannuated from Friday
- Alok Kumar Verma on Friday resigned from service, a day after he was removed as the CBI Director by the Prime Minister-led high-powered committee.
- Mr. Verma refused to join as Director General of the Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards, as per the orders issued by the government late on Thursday.
- “The undersigned would have already superannuated as on July 31, 2017, and was only serving the government as Director, CBI, till January 31, 2019, as the same was a fixed tenure role. The undersigned is no longer Director, CBI, and has already crossed his superannuation age for DG Dire Services, Civil Defence & Home Guards. Accordingly, the undersigned may be deemed as superannuated with effect from today,” he said in a letter to Secretary, Department of Personnel & Training.
♦ Industrial output growth fell to 17-month low to 0.5% in November
- Industrial output growth dropped to a 17-month low of 0.5% in November last on account of contraction in the manufacturing sector, particularly consumer and capital goods.
- Factory output, as measured in terms of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), had grown by 8.5% in November 2017, as per data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on January 11.
- The previous low was in June 2017, when IIP growth contracted by 0.3%. The growth for October 2018 was revised upwards to 8.4% from 8.1%.
- In the April-November period, industrial output grew 5%, compared to 3.2% in the same period of the previous fiscal.
- The manufacturing sector, which constitutes 77.63% of the index, recorded a contraction of 0.4% in November, against a growth of 10.4% a year ago.
♦ New planet discovered by NASA space probe could be a ‘water world’ but probably doesn’t support life
- NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) spied the mysterious planet right at the beginning of its mission scanning the skies for new planets: the third such discovery in its first three months of operation.
- Known to scientists as HD 21749b, it is a mere 53 light-years from Earth in the southern constellation of the constellation Reticulum.
- It is three times bigger than Earth, which classes it as a Sub-Neptune exoplanet, but it is surprisingly 23 times Earth’s mass.
- HD 21749b takes 36 Earth days to orbit around its star, which is nearly as bright as the Sun.
♠Vocabulary (The Hindu)♠
- CORNUCOPIA (NOUN): (प्रचुरता)Abundance
Synonyms: bounty, fullness
Antonyms: need, lack
Example: I shall come from London Town with a cornucopia of presents.
- FRET (VERB): (चिड़चिड़ाना)Feel uneasy
Synonyms: be upset, be anxious
Antonyms: please, delight
Example: She was always fretting about something or the other.
- ETHEREAL (ADJECTIVE): (कोमल)Extremely delicate
Synonyms: light, sublime
Antonyms: earthly, indelicate
Example : In this ethereal realm are the currents that make possible wireless telegraphy.
- UNLETTERED (ADJECTIVE): (निरक्षर)Uneducated
Synonyms: ignorant, illiterate
Antonyms: educated, literate
Example: Such misconceptions have not been confined to the unlettered masses.
- SPRIGHTLY (ADJECTIVE): (प्रमुदित)Lively
Synonyms: agile, active
Antonyms: spiritless, lethargic
Example: The sprightly old woman walks two miles every day.
- SANCTIMONIOUS (ADJECTIVE): (पाखंडी)Self-righteous
Synonyms: insincere, hypocritical
Antonyms: honest, sincere
Example: His sanctimonious expressions explained his intentions.
- SULLEN (ADJECTIVE): (उदास)Morose
Synonyms: gloomy, brooding
Antonyms: cheerful, pleasant
Example: The offenders lapsed into a sullen silence.
- CHAOTIC (ADJECTIVE): (अराजकतापूर्ण)Disordered
Synonyms: uncontrolled, lawless s
Antonyms: ordered, organized
Example: My house becomes a chaotic place in the absence of my wife.
- CONTRITE (ADJECTIVE): (पछताया हुआ)Chastened
Synonyms: repentant, sorrowful
Antonyms: indifferent, unapologetic
Example: He was so contrite that he wrote me a letter of apology.
- PRUNE (VERB): (काटना/ छाँटना)Pare down
Synonyms: trim, reduce
Antonyms: include, increase
Example: Economic hard times are forcing the companies to prune their budget.
RC based on The Hindu editorial
Signs of a turnaround: on RBI’s Financial Stability Report
The fog of bad loans shrouding the banking sector appears to be lifting after a long period of sustained stress. The Reserve Bank of India’s Financial Stability Report reveals the first half-yearly decline in the ratio of gross non-performing assets (GNPA) to advances since September 2015. The ratio across all scheduled commercial banks has eased to 10.8% as of end-September 2018, from 11.5% in March, with both public sector and private sector lenders posting drops in the key indicator of bad loans. A stress test for credit risk at banks that models varying levels of macro-economic performance shows that for the baseline assumption, the GNPA ratio would narrow to 10.3% by March 2019. This prompted RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das to prognosticate that the sector “appears to be on course to recovery”. Still, state-owned banks continue to have higher levels of bad loans than their private sector peers and are projected to show slower improvements over the second half of the fiscal. The GNPA ratio for public sector banks (PSBs) is posited to only inch lower to 14.6% by March, from 14.8% in September. One reason is that PSBs have a disproportionately higher share of bad loans from among large borrowers, who accounted for almost 55% of loans advanced by all banks as of September. The GNPA ratio for this category at PSBs was 21.6%, compared with just 7% at private banks.
Interestingly, the RBI’s Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework, which attracted criticism including from a government appointee on the central bank’s board, has significantly helped lower contagion risk to the banking system. A contagion analysis that assumes there would be no sovereign guarantee provided for the 11 PSBs placed under the PCA curbs, in the event of a simultaneous failure, projects that solvency losses due to such failure have more than halved over the four quarters ended September: to ₹34,200 crore (3.1% of total Tier-1 capital) from ₹73,500 crore (6.8% of total Tier-1 capital). Data on banking frauds are also a cause for concern. Close to 95% of the frauds reported in the six months ended September were credit-related, with PSBs again bearing the brunt of mala fide intent on the part of borrowers. The RBI’s report has justifiably spotlighted the urgent need to tighten the oversight framework for financial conglomerates in the wake of the IL&FS meltdown, which continues to ripple across the financial system, including at mutual funds and non-banking financial companies. As Mr. Das said in his foreword, “…the recent developments in NBFCs have underscored the need for greater prudence in risk-taking.” Regulators and policymakers need to work together to insulate the economy from the risks of similar fiascos.
Question 1-what is the GNPA ratio as stated in the RBIs report for PSBs?
Question 2- the reason for current improvement in banking system can be attributed to which of the following factors?
A) PCA by RBI
B) stress test for credit risk
C) prudence in risk-taking
D) None of these
Question3- all except which of the following reasons is not responsible for slow progress of the public sector banks?
A) Public sector banks bear a huge part of banking fraud’s
B) Public sector banks have higher share of bad loans
C) Stress test for credit risk depicts higher GNPA for public sector banks.
D) None of these
Question-4 which of the following options shows that the banking sector appears to be under recovery?
A) state owned banks will show slower progress over the second half of the year.
B) The GNPA declined as compared to the month previous report published in September 2018.
C) A stress test has been conducted for all the banks.
D) Option B and C
Question-5 What according to the passage should be done to improve the current status of banking sector?
A) Regulators and policymakers need to work together to improve the current scenario.
B) Stress test should be conducted on regular basis.
C) Prompt correct of action framework should not be followed.
D) Option A and C
Question 6: Select the word which is most nearly the SAME MEANING as the word printed in bold as used in the passage.
Question 7: Select the word which is most nearly the OPPOSITE MEANING as the word printed in bold as used in the passage.
3- option C
4- option B
5- option A
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