Current Affairs – February 24, 2018

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First sale of electoral bonds from March 1

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The first sale of electoral bonds will start from March 1, 2018, for a period of 10 days at four main branches of State Bank of India in Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi, the Finance Ministry said in a statement. These bonds will have a life of 15 days, and a citizen of India or an entity incorporated or established in the country can purchase them. The sale of electoral bonds comes ahead of elections in a number of states through the year. Elections in Tripura were held on February 18. Nagaland and Meghalaya will go for polls on February 27. Karnataka is likely to go to the polls in April-May followed by elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Mizoram later in the year.
On January 2, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said in Lok Sabha that electoral bonds can be bought for any value, in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh or Rs 1 crore. These bonds can be bought after fulfilling all the existing Know Your Customer (KYC) norms and making payments from a bank account. It will not carry the name of the payee.

44th Khajuraho dance festival begins

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The week-long Khajuraho dance festival began at the UNESCO world heritage site on 20, February in a glittering ceremony. Governor of Madhya Pradesh Anandiben Patel inaugurated the 44th edition of the festival by lighting the traditional lamp. The performance by Raja-Radha Reddy – Kuchipudi dancing couple – enthralled the audience even as the former was also conferred with the National Kalidas award. This was followed by Kathak performance by Arushi Nishank from Dehradun and Bharatnatyam by Lakshmi Vishwanathan.
The world-famous dance festival will continue till February 26. The Dance Festival from February 20-26 at the temple town in Chhatarpur district – being organized by the culture department of the Madhya Pradesh government – will showcase classical dances, including Kathak, Odissi, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali and Mohiniattam to name a few. This year, the Art Mart (which is part of the festival) would showcase paintings of international artists from Germany, France, and China.

Paytm sets up Life and General Insurance units

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Paytm parent company One 97 communications have created two new entities to cater to insurance, months after getting a corporate agency license from Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India. The two new entities, named Paytm Life Insurance Corporation Ltd and Paytm General Insurance Corporation Ltd, were incorporated on February 21, as per filings with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Both entities have a share capital Rs 1,000,000 each, with Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma and One 97 Communications holding majority shares.
The IRDAI had granted a corporate agency license to One 97 Communications in September last year. Paytm had applied for a composite license with the IRDA to sell products of both life and general insurers. These are the latest entities created by One 97 Communications. Last year, it set up Paytm Financial Services to offer financial products and Paytm Money for wealth management.

Under YH Malegam’s chairmanship: RBI sets up panel to monitor bad loans, rising cases of frauds, audits

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Stung by the Rs 11,400 crore fraud in Punjab National Bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has constituted an expert committee under the chairmanship of Y H Malegam, a former member of the Central Board of Directors of RBI, to look into the entire gamut of issues relating to classification of bad loans, rising incidents of frauds and effectiveness of audits. The RBI also said it had confidentially cautioned and alerted banks of such possible misuse, at least on three occasions since August 2016, advising them to implement the safeguards and about the potential malicious use of the SWIFT infrastructure.
The committee will look into the reasons for high divergence observed in asset classification and provisioning by banks vis-à-vis the RBI’s supervisory assessment, and the steps needed to prevent it, factors leading to an increased incidence of frauds in banks and the measures (including IT interventions) needed to curb and prevent it and the role and effectiveness of various types of audits conducted in banks in mitigating the incidence of such divergence and frauds, the RBI said.

Indian Navy successfully test fires nuclear-capable ballistic missile ‘Dhanush’ from sea

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Continuing its user training exercise, the Indian armed forces successfully test fired nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile Dhanush in full operational configuration from a naval warship positioned in the Bay of Bengal. The trial was conducted at about 10.52 am by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the Navy from an undisclosed location nearly 45 km from the Paradip coast. This was the third test of a Prithvi variant of missile this month and second in the last three days.
Recently the SFC of Indian Army had successfully conducted first night trial of Prithvi-II ballistic missile from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) off Odisha coast. Dhanush, the indigenously developed naval version of the ‘Prithvi’ short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) has a striking range up to 350 km and can neutralize both land-based and sea-based targets. It can carry a single warhead, conventional or nuclear up to 500 kg.

Assam to celebrate ‘Rhino day’ on September 22

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In a bid to keep the world famous one-horned rhinoceros of Assam under the global spotlight, Assam Government has decided to celebrate September 22 as ‘Rhino Day’. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal while mooting the idea at the 10th meeting of State Board for Wild Life held in Janata Bhawan, maintained that a day exclusively dedicated to the approximately 2500 rhino population in the state would be a tribute to the rhinoceros which are the ‘pride of Assam’.
He also said that a State Rhino Project in line with National Rhino Project would also be launched in the state for the protection and conservation of rhinos. He also asked the state Board for Wildlife to raise a quick response team to rush to the area of incidents like animal deaths caused un-naturally.

RBI launches Ombudsman scheme for NBFC clients

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced an ombudsman scheme for customers of non-banking finance companies to redress complaints against deficiency in services concerning deposits and loans among others. To begin with, the scheme will be operationalized for all deposit-accepting NBFCs and based on the experience gained, the scheme would be extended to include the remaining identified categories of NBFCs.
Certain NBFCs like infrastructure finance companies, core investment companies, infrastructure debt fund and NBFCs under liquidation are excluded from the ambit of the ombudsman scheme. The scheme will be initially introduced at the four metro cities, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi for handling complaints from the respective zones, so as to cover the entire country.

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