Current Affairs: March 06, 2018

Current Affairs: March 06, 2018

1. PM Modi to inaugurate new CIC building:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the new premises of Central Information Commission, CIC at Munirkain the national capital.
  • The new building will enable the Commission to function from a single location. Earlier it was working from two hired buildings.
  • New CIC building is a State of the Art-Green Building constructed by National Building Construction Corporation.
  • CIC is the apex appellate body established by the Right to Information Act 2005.
  • Constituency of Narendra Modi: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

2. Bengaluru’s first helitaxi service takes off:

  • App-based taxi service took on a whole new meaning when Bengaluru’s first helitaxi service took off, ferrying passengers from Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) to Electronics City in 15 minutes.
  • The helitaxi, touted to be the first such service in the country, was announced in August 2017 by Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha.
  • The service is being offered by KIA in partnership with Thumby Aviation Pvt Ltd, in an effort to reduce the time taken to travel to the city from the international airport.

3. India-U.S. team test-fires howitzers in Pokhran:

  • A group of officials from India and the United States were at the Pokhran firing range to test-fire M777 ultra-light howitzers in the wake of an accident during its trial in September last year.
  • It is manufactured by BAE Systems’ Global Combat Systems division. It is smaller and lighter. It weighs 4,100 kg and can be easily transported by helicopter at the firing range of 24km.

4. Government constitutes Steering Committee on Fintech related issues:

  • As per the announcement made by the Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Shri ArunJaitley in his Budget Speech 2018-19, a Steering Committee has been constituted under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance.
  • The objective of this committee is to consider various issues relating to development of fintech space in India with a view to make fintech related regulations more flexible and generate enhanced entrepreneurship in an area where India has distinctive comparative strengths vis-vis other emerging economies.
  • The Steering Committee will also focus on how fintech can be leveraged to enhance financial inclusion of MSMEs. The committee will be headed by Economic Affairs Secretary.
  • Constituency of ArunJaitley: Gujarat (Rajya Sabha

5. I&B Minister SmiritiIrani inaugurates FICCI Frame in Mumbai:

  • Union Information and Broadcasting and Textiles Minister Smriti Zubin Iraniinaugurated FICCIFrames 2018, with the theme ‘Creative Future: Coronation of Digital Consumer’, in Mumbai.
  • She said that Digital Technologies have a big role in Enhancing Consumer Experience. She also releases FICCI-EY Media & Entertainment Report 2018.
  • She hope that the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) becomes a deemed-to-be university this year.
  • FICCI – Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry
  • Constituency ofSmriti Zubin Irani:Gujarat, Rajyasabha

6. Week-long International Yoga festival held in Rishikesh:

  • Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawatinaugurated the week-long 29th annual, world-famous International Yoga Festival (IYF) in Rishikesh’sParmarthNiketan.
  • However, The Festival was officially inaugurated by President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu at a ceremony.
  • The International Yoga Festival has been organised by ParmarthNiketan Ashram in association with Union Ministry of AYUSH, Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board and Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Ltd.

7. Myanmar puts off border pact with India:

  • Myanmar has indefinitely deferred signing an agreement with India to streamline the free movement of peoplewithin 16 km along the border.
  • On January 3, the Union Cabinet had approved the agreement between India and Myanmar on land border crossing to enhance economic interaction between people of the two countries.The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been deferred twice in the past seven months.
  • India and Myanmar share a 1,643 km unfenced border along Arunachal Pradesh (520 km), Nagaland (215 km), Manipur (398 km) and Mizoram (510 km)


8. Iraq pips Saudi to become India’s top oil supplier:

  • Iraq has overtaken Saudi Arabia by a wide margin to become India’s top crude oil supplier, meeting more than a fifth of the country’s oil needs in the current financial year.
  • Saudi Arabia traditionally has been India’s top oil source but in the April-January period of 2017-18, Iraq dethroned it, supplying 9 million tonnes (MT) of oil, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.
  • Iran continued to be the third largest supplier selling 18.4 MT during April-January. This is the second year in a row that Iran has occupied the third position.
  • Constituency ofDharmendra Pradhan: Deogarh, Odisha

9. Citi launches treasury bills-linked home loans:

  • US lender Citi has launched India’s first market benchmark rate-linked lending product. The bank has introduced a home loan product that will be linked to the rate of treasury bills, which is used by government for its short-term borrowings (3-month).
  • The T-Bill-linked home loan is based on the 3-month T-Bill rates published on the 12th of each month by Financial Benchmarks India Pvt Ltd (FBIL) and is available to all new and existing home loan customers. FBIL is recognised by the RBI as an independent Benchmark administrator.
  • The interest rate resets of the T-Bill linked home loan are on March 1June 1September 1 and December 1.
  • Even as the product will allow pricing of home loans using an external and independent benchmark, linking the product to T-bills is likely to help the foreign lender to take advantage of hardening interest rate cycle.
  • FBIL – Financial Benchmarks India Pvt Ltd


10. RBI lifts per-borrower loan cap for MSMEs:

  • Reserve Bank of India has decided to do away with per borrower loan limits to Micro/ Small and Medium Enterprises (Services) for classification under priority sector lending.
  • Previously, Loan limit to Micro/ Small and Medium Enterprises (Services) up to Rs 5 crore and Rs 10 crore, respectively, was considered priority sector lending (PSL). Now the limits have been removed by RBI.
  • So, all bank loans to MSMEs that are involved in services as specified in terms of investment in equipment under the MSMED Act, 2006, will be considered priority sector lending without any credit limit.
  • Note: Priority Sector lending usually includes lending to segments such as agriculture; micro, small and medium enterprises; export credit; education; housing; social infrastructure; and renewable energy.
  • MSMED Act, 2006 – (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development) Act, 2006


11. Marshall Islands becomes 1st country to launch own cryptocurrency as legal tender:

  • The Marshall Islands will issue its own cryptocurrency that will be circulated as legal tender along with the S. dollar, according to one of the remote Pacific republic’s top officials.
  • The new currency will be called SOV and its legal tender status has been approved by the country’s parliament, said David Paul, minister-in-assistance to the president of the Marshall Islands.
  • SOV functions on “Yakwe framework”.This system mandates users to identify themselves on the blockchain. This will eliminate the anonymity problem that affected bitcoin.
  • The nuclear-ravaged nation has partnered with Israeli company Neema to issue 24 million units of the Sovereign (SOV) digital currency. It will cap the number to prevent inflation.

 Note:Venezuela last month became the first country to launch its own cryptocurrency when it launched the virtual Petro, backed by crude oil reserves.


12. HDFC, Happay partner to help firms manage T&E expenses:

  • Happay, a business expense management solution providerin collaboration with HDFC bank, introduced anew prepaid card-linked Travel and Entertainment (T&E) expense management solution to enable Indian enterprises to efficiently manage their business travel expenditure.
  • Through Happay-HDFC Bank prepaid cards and Happay mobile app, employees of the companies will be able to seek trip advances, get trip itineraries pre-approved by management, do trip bookings and even file trip expenses
  • The launch follows a report published by Forrester Research, an American market research company, which statedthat Indian business travel is on the rise and T&E expense still remains the second most difficult operating expense to control in an organisation. 

13. RBI to conduct additional repo operations to provide liquidity support to banks:

  • The Reserve Bank of India said it will conduct additional variable rate repo operations for longer tenors up to 31 days every Tuesday this month(March 2018) forRs 25,000 crore each to provide additional liquidity support to banks.
  • It means is that the central bank is ready to provide liquidity aggregating Rs 1 lakh crore to the banking system in the current month (March 2018).
  • A repo operation entails provision of liquidity by the Reserve Bank of India to banks to overcome temporary liquidity mismatches. This move comes in the backdrop of a gradualtightening of liquidity in the banking system

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