Current Affairs – March 07, 2018

The government sets up Subhash Chandra Garg Committee to regulate fintech sector

The Centre has set up a steering committee to go into various issues relating to Financial Technology (Fintech) space in India. The committee will be headed by Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs. The move is a follow up to the announcement made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech of 2018-19.
The committee will consider means of using data with GSTN and data residing with information utilities such as credit information companies (CICs) and others in open domain with a view to developing applications for financing of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). It will also develop regulatory interventions e.g., regulatory sandbox model, that will enhance the role of Fintech in sectors identified for focused interventions. The ideas are to facilitate ease of doing business in the Fintech sector.

Conrad Sangma was sworn in as Meghalaya Chief Minister

Conrad Sangma, son of former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma and chief of National People’s Party, was on 6th March sworn in as the 12th Chief Minister of Meghalaya. The 40-year-old was administered the oath by Governor Ganga Prasad at the lawns of the sprawling Raj Bhawan here along with 11 ministers from alliance partners United Democratic Party, BJP, People’s Democratic Front and Hill State People’s Democratic Party.
The National People’s Party-led five-party coalition has been named the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA). All the parties had come together to deny the Congress, which had emerged as the single largest party with 21 seats in the 60-member house, a shot at power. In a shot in the arm for the alliance, the lone NCP MLA Saleng Sangma and an Independent member extended support to the MDA, taking the tally to 36.

Animal Welfare Board of India headquarters shifted from Chennai to Haryana

The headquarters of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has been shifted from Chennai to Haryana’s Ballabgarh for “better coordination” between the environment ministry and the board, the Rajya Sabha was informed. Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Mahesh Sharma said this in a written reply to a question.
“Rule 3 of the Animal Welfare Board (Administrative) Rules, 1962 reads as — ‘The Headquarter of the Board hall be at New Delhi or at such other place as the central government, may, after consultation with the Board direct’,” he said. After consultation with the board, the headquarters of the AWBI has been shifted to Haryana for “better coordination between the ministry and the AWBI for carrying out the animal welfare activities,” the minister said.

India’s first heli taxi service takes off in Bengaluru

In a first-of-its-kind service, India’s much-awaited app-based heli taxi trip took off in Bengaluru on 6th March. The maiden trip of the heli taxi was between a Bengaluru airport and Electronic City. Kochi-based Thumby Aviation Private Limited launched the helicopter taxi service, connecting a couple of locations from Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru. As per Thumby Aviation chairman and managing director Captain KNG Nair, the one-way trip will fly people approximately in 15 minutes from KIAL to Electronic City and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited airport.
The service is being priced at Rs 4,130 per seat including GST. The service includes pick up from airport terminal to the helipad and allowed to carry 15kg luggage but would be charged extra for more luggage. Six passengers can be ferried on each trip. The company has developed its own app named ‘Heli Taxii’ where people can book their flights.

Bandhan Bank gets SEBI nod for Rs 2,500-cr IPO

Private sector lender Bandhan Bank has received markets regulator SEBI’s go-ahead to raise an estimated amount of over Rs 2,500 crore through an initial share sale. The Kolkata-based bank had filed draft papers with SEBI on January 1 and obtained “observations” from the regulator on February 28, as per the latest update with the markets watchdog. Sebi’s “observations” are very important for any company to launch public issues like initial public offer (IPO) and rights issue.
The issue, which is touted as the biggest banking sector IPO till date, is expected to raise over Rs 2,500 crore, merchant banking sources said. The equity shares are proposed to be listed on BSE and NSE. Bandhan Bank is the first instance in India when a micro-finance entity transforming into a universal bank. In April 2014, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had granted the banking license to Bandhan Financial Services as well as IDFC
Founded: 2001
Founder & CEO: Chandra Shekhar Ghosh
Tagline: Aapka Bhala, Sabki Bhalai

OVL signs pact for developing the Susangerd oilfield in Iran

ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), has signed a pact with Iran’s IDRO Oil to jointly bid for a USD 1 billion contract for development of Susangerd oilfield in southern Iran. The onland Susangerd field in the Khuzestan province is one of the newest finds, which Iran hopes will produce around 30,000 barrels per day of oil in two development phases.
OVL signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate with IDRO Oil, which is a subsidiary of state-run Iranian Development and Renovation Organisation, in developing Susangerd field, official sources said. IDRO Oil had last month signed a similar pact with Russia’s Zarubezhneft to jointly bid for a contract to develop the Susangerd field.

Paytm unveils ‘Paytm for Business’ mobile app for TN

Mobile wallet company Paytm has come out with a business application aimed at serving merchants in Tamil Nadu who can track payments, navigate past collections and can also make settlements instantly. The ‘Paytm for Business’ app, available on Android Play Store, for merchants and business partners who accept Paytm at their offline stores in the state.
The new mobile application allows Paytm’s three lakh strong merchant base in Tamil Nadu to make payments instantly, navigate past collections and track settlements made to their bank accounts. Paytm for Business is an app for all merchants to start accepting payments digitally and instantly view their transactions without the need to wait for a confirmation SMS or e-mail.

Washington becomes 1st state to approve net-neutrality rules

Setting up a likely legal fight with the Trump administration, Washington has become the first state to enact its own net-neutrality requirements after U.S. regulators repealed Obama-era rules designed to keep the internet an even playing field. “We know that when D.C. fails to act, Washington state has to do so,” Gov. Jay Inslee said before signing the bipartisan measure that banned internet providers from blocking content or interfering with online traffic.
The new law also requires internet providers to disclose information about their management practices, performance, and commercial terms. Violations would be enforceable under the state’s Consumer Protection Act. While several states introduced similar measures this year seeking to protect net neutrality, so far only Oregon and Washington have passed legislation. But Oregon’s measure wouldn’t put any new requirements on internet providers.

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