12 Aug, 2013
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1) All public sector banks have been asked to set up ATMs in all branches to enable customers in rural pockets to do banking round-the-clock. What is the deadline for setting-up branch-ATMs for these banks? – March 2014 (Finance Minister P. Chidambaram reiterated this while inaugurating the 5,999th branch of Punjab National Bank in Tirupattur, Tamil Nadu on 28 July, 2013)
2) Who was chosen as the head of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on 22 July, 2013? – Abdul Rahim Rather, Jammu & Kashmir Finance Minister (The post of Chairman of the Finance Ministry’s committee on Goods and Services Tax (GST) has been lying vacant since 17 June 2013 when Bihar Finance Minister Sushil Kumar Modi resigned following the JD(U)—BJP split in the state. Rather, who is also a senior National Conference leader, was chosen to head the panel at a meeting of state Finance Ministers held at New Delhi)
3) What was the GDP projection for 2013-14 as announced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 30 July, 2013 while delivering the first quarter review of its Annual Policy for 2013-14? – 5.5%, which is lower than RBI’s previous projection of 5.7% (Weighed down by a weak rupee, the RBI chose to keep all key interest rates unchanged and asked the government to take urgent steps to rein in the high current account deficit. This was the last quarter review for RBI Governor D. Subbarao, who is slated to retire days before the next mid-quarter review on 18 September 2013. RBI’s second quarter policy review will be made on 29 October 2013)
4) The Securities Law Amendment Ordnance, 2013, which was promulgated by President Pranab Mukherjee on 18 July, 2013, provides more powers to India’s market regulator SEBI to crackdown ponzi schemes running in the country. Under the promulgated ordnance, what is the prescribed corpus size of pooled public-funds, over which SEBI gets power to carry out its crackdown for non-compliance? – Rs. 100 crore or more (The ordnance provides SEBI the powers to regulate any pooling of funds under an investment contract involving a corpus of 100 crore rupees or more and attach assets in case of non-compliance. The ordinance was promulgated by the President following the powers granted to him by Clause 1 of Article 123 of Constitution)
5) Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla on 23 July, 2013 resigned from the board of directors of the RBI in view of conflict of interest over the issue of fresh bank licenses, as one of the companies of his group has applied to RBI for banking license. Which company is this? – Aditya Birla Nuvo, which is one of the 26 companies who have applied for banking license
6) Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma during July 2013 announced major liberalization in the upper limits of foreign direct investment (FDI) in sectors such as defence, telecom, insurance, retail, etc. What were the major announcements made in FDI limits?
- New clause of raising FDI in Defence sector, under which FDI in state-of-the-art segment of defence manufacturing can be raised from 26% through approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). However, for the rest of the defence sector FDI upper-limit remains at 26%
- In single-brand retail FDI upto 49% will be through automatic route, while approval of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) will be required for FDI above 49%
- In multi-brand retail also FDI upto 49% made through direct route
- 49% FDI in insurance sector approved through automatic route (Present limit for FDI through automatic route was 26%)
- FDI limit through automatic route in power exchange sector set at 49%
- 100% FDI in telecom sector cleared by the union govt.
- The condition of divestment to Indian partner in tea sector cancelled and now stakes can be divested to third-parties also
- FDI cap in asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) through automatic route set at 49% while FDI above it (till 100%) will be through FIPB approval
7) Planning Commission on 23 July 2013 released a report on the trends in poverty in India. The report dealt comprehensively on impact on poverty reduction due to measures taken by the governments, especially the present UPA Govt. What were the main highlights of this report?
- Average decline in the poverty ratio between 2005 and 2012 was 2.18% per year as compared to 0.74% per year during 1993-2005
- The absolute number of people below the poverty line declined from 407.1 million in 2004-05 to 269.3 million by 2011-12
- Poverty in the country stood at 21.9% in 2011-12 as compared to 37.2% in 2004-05
- In 2011-12 poverty in rural areas stood at 25.7% while it was 13.7% in urban areas
- Highest poverty rate of 39.93% was recorded in Chhattisgarh (2011-12)
- Lowest poverty rate of 5.09% was recorded in Goa (2011-12)
(This report drew its conclusions on the Suresh Tendulkar poverty line formula. Under this formula, the Planning Commission drew the national poverty line at Rs. 816 per capita per month in rural areas and Rs. 1,000 per capita per month in urban areas)
8) What is the name given to 5-Kg LPG cylinder scheme, which was given approval by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas on 24 July, 2013? – Free Trade LPG Scheme (Under the Free Trade LPG Scheme, Company Owned Retail Outlets (COCO) of oil marketing companies will sell 5-kg LPG cylinders at Non-domestic (commercial) prices. Pilot project of this scheme will be launched in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore. The prospective customer at the time of first sale would only be required to give a copy of Voter I-Card, Driving license, Pan Card, Aadhaar Card, Bank Pass book, Employees ID, Passport, Student ID or any other such document that can act as a proof of identity. This scheme has been made especially for those citizens who are always on the move due to their professional requirements)
9) What is the name of the book written by Jean Dreze and Indian Nobel winning economist Amratya Sen, which has created a lot of controversy of-late about what should be the ideal model of governance? – “An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradictions” (The book created controversy with economists like Jagdish Bhagwati expressing their displeasure about economic policies advocated by Amartya Sen in this book)
10) What is the name given to a newly announced scheme under which a free mobile handset will be provided to one member of every rural household who has completed 100 days of work under MGNREGA? – Bharat Mobile Scheme (Under this scheme the handset will be provided preferably to a woman member of family. A brief of this proposed scheme was made by the union govt. on 30 July, 2013. The provided handset will be non-transferable as it will later also be used in customized transfer of benefits under the direct transfer scheme of the central govt.)
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