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♦ Sumitra Mahajan suspends 24 AIADMK members from Lok Sabha
- Twenty four AIADMK members were suspended by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on January 2 for the next five consecutive sittings for protesting and creating ruckus continuously in the House over the Cauvery issue.
- Soon after the House reconvened after adjournment at 5 p.m. in the evening, AIADMK members trooped into the Well with placards and some flinging torn pieces of papers towards the table where Lok Sabha secretariat officials sit during proceedings.
- The Speaker then suspended 24 members of AIADMK under rule 374 (A) that allows the Lok Sabha Speaker to suspend members in the event of grave disorder occasioned by a member coming into the Well of the House or abusing the rules of the House, among other things.
- The members suspended included K. Ashok Kumar, R.K. Bharathi Mohan, M. Chandrakasi, Jayakumar Jayavardhan, K. Parasuraman, Dr. K. Kamraj, P. Kumar, M. Vasanti, C. Mahendran, K. Margatham and P. Nagarajan.
- The AIADMK has 37 members in Lok Sabha.
♦ Union Cabinet clears merger of Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with Bank of Baroda
- With the merger, Bank of Baroda will become the country’s third-largest bank after State Bank of India and ICICI Bank.
- The Union government on January 2 approved the merger of Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with Bank of Baroda (BoB).
- With the merger, BoB will become the country’s third-largest bank after State Bank of India and ICICI Bank.
- “There will be no impact on the service conditions of the employees and there will be no retrenchment following the merger,” Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters about the decisions taken by the Union Cabinet.
- The merger had been designed to make BoB as merged entity, a globally competitive lender, Mr. Prasad said.
♦ 123 crore Aadhaar cards issued to people: Govt. tells Rajya Sabha
- 71 crore cards were issued to children below five, 29.02 crore cards to people between 5 and 18 years
- Nearly 123 crore Aadhaar cards have been issued to people, Union Minister Hansraj Ahir said in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
- Replying to a written question, Mr. Ahir said as per the 2011 census, the population of India is 121,08,54,977.
- The UIDAI has issued a total of 122.90 crore Aadhaar cards as on November 30, 2018, he said, adding that 6.71 crore cards were issued to children below five years of age and 29.02 crore cards were given to people in the age-group of 5 to 18 years.
- Ahir said the number of children born within last one year of the 2011 census is 2,08,98,228.
- According to latest data available of the Sample Registration System (SRS), birth rate for 2016 is 20.4 and death rate is 6.4, he said.
- The SRS is carried out on a continuous basis in randomly selected villages and urban blocks throughout the country.
♦ Govt introduces amendment Bill in Lok Sabha to make linking of Aadhaar voluntary
- Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asserts that the proposed amendment is in compliance with the Supreme Court judgement.
- The government on Wednesday, January 2, 2018, introduced an amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha to provide legal backing for voluntary seeding of biometric Aadhaar ID with mobile numbers and bank accounts after the Supreme Court barred the mandatory use of the 12-digit unique identifier by private firms.
- “We should not forget that Aadhaar has led to saving of ₹90,000 crore” through Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT). Multilateral organisations such as the World Bank and the IMF have hailed Aadhaar as a unique innovation of India.
- Objections were raised on the Bill by Shashi Tharoor (Congress), Saugata Roy (Trinamool Congress) and N.K. Premachandran (RSP). Mr. Roy said the proposed amendments infringed the Supreme Court judgment on Aadhaar matter.
- “The Bill must be withdrawn and revised,” he added.
- Premachandran alleged that the Bill infringed the right of privacy.
- The Minister said these objections were “misplaced” and “we are not violating the Supreme Court” judgement.
- The Bill to amend the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 and another Bill to amend the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and the Prevention of Money laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 were introduced in the Lok Sabha amid ruckus by members of the AIADMK and the TDP over various issues.
♦ Bhubaneswar is the venue of the 42nd Indian Social Science Congress (ISSC)
- The 42nd Indian Social Science Congress (ISSC-2018) was inaugurated by Manipur governor Dr Najma Heptulla at KIIT University campus in Bhubaneswar, Odisha on December 27.
- The theme of the Congress was ‘Human Future in Digital Era’. The ISSC is the annual meet of social scientists organised by Indian Social Science Academy (ISSA).
- It is a multidisciplinary national forum, which promotes integration of Science of Nature-Humans-Society through intra, inter and multi disciplinary appraisal of current research and theory.
♦ ESAF Small Finance Bank (SFB) has recently got RBI nod to operate as a scheduled bank
- As per 2nd schedule of the RBI Act of 1934, the ESAF Small Finance Bank (SFB) Ltd has got approval from Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to operate as a scheduled bank.
- This makes ESAF the fifth scheduled bank from Kerala after Federal Bank, South Indian Bank, Catholic Syrian Bank, and Dhanlaxmi Bank. Being a scheduled bank, ESAF can step up resource mobilisation through the issue of certificate of deposits and inter-bank borrowings at competitive rates of interest.
- The bank can also seek funds from trusts, associations, religious institutions and mutual funds. It will also enable the bank to avail higher refinance facility. It will also assume more responsibility for the implementation of government schemes and Aadhaar enrolment services.
- ESAF has a presence in urban, semi-urban, rural and unbanked rural areas with a network of 432 banking outlets across 13 States. The headquarters of ESAF is located at Thrissur, Kerala.
♠Vocabulary (The Hindu)♣
- candidacy (noun) उम्मीदवारी – candidate-ship.
- inequality (noun) असमानता – bigotry, partiality, discrimination.
- front and centre (phrase) सामने और केंद्र – prominently, conspicuously, mainly/importantly (to attract attention).
- excesses (noun) ज्यादतियों – very bad, wrong, violent behaviour.
- muscle (noun) मांसपेशी – strength, power.
- primary (noun) प्राथमिक – (in the US) an election in which members of the same political party run against each other for the chance to be in a larger and more important election, especially presidential election.
- bully (noun) धमकाने – persecutor, oppressor, intimidator.
- epithet (noun) उपाधि – nickname, byname, label/tag.
- smear (verb) धब्बा – spread, apply.
- antecedent (noun) पूर्ववर्ती – ancestor, forefather, predecessor.
Signs of a turnaround: on RBI’s Financial Stability Report
Regulatory vigil should not ease after the half-yearly decline in banks’ gross NPA ratio
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.
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