30 Sep, 2013
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1) State Bank of India (SBI) recently tightened its eligibility conditions for its four-wheeler loan scheme with a view to minimising possible defaults. From now on persons with an annual income of Rs. 6 lakh or more will get SBI’s car loans. What was SBI’s eligibility condition for availing car loan till now? – An annual income of Rs. 2.5 lakh or more (For SBI account holders, the limit has been raised to Rs 4.5 lakh per annum. The rationale for increase in the eligibility criteria is to revise the gross income limit upwards in view of moderation in the economy)
2) The Forward Markets Commission (FMC), chief regulator of forwards and futures commodity markets in India, will, henceforth, be overseen by the Ministry of Finance. FMC was under which ministry/department till now? – Department of Consumer Affairs under the Ministry of Food (This decision was taken at the highest level, and notified in the wake of alleged scam in National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL). The decision has been approved by President Pranab Mukherjee)
3) Which private sector bank during September, 2013 launched ‘Branch on Wheels’, an initiative to offer basic banking services in remote areas which have so far been devoid of banking facilities? – ICICI Bank (‘Branch on Wheels’ is a mobile branch of the bank, which will offer basic banking products and services such as savings accounts, loans, cash deposit/withdrawal, account balance enquiries, statement printing and funds transfer/DD/PO collection, among others. It will also have an ATM. Bank’s first Branch on Wheels was launched in Kolhapur, Maharashtra and it will cover four unbanked villages)
4) Newly appointed RBI Governor on 4 September, 2013 announced constitution of a committee to take a close look at rising NPAs and suggest steps to improve the recovery of bad debts. Who has been appointed as the head of this committee? – K C Chakrabarty, Deputy Governor of the RBI
5) BRICS nations on 5 September, 2013 gave further impetus to the proposed formation of a $100-billion Currency Reserve Fund (CRF) by announcing individual contributions to the fund. What is the agreed individual contribution of the 5 BRICS countries to this fund? – China $41 billion, Brazil, India and Russia – $18 billion each and South Africa – $5 billion (The fund would eventually allow the five nations to access the fund to deal with short-term volatility in their capital flows, which might negatively impact their currencies. The idea of such a fund found traction in the last BRICS summit in Durban, South Africa, earlier this year)
6) What were the main highlights of the Economic Outlook 2013-14 released by Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) Chairman C. Rangarajan on 13 September, 2013?
- GDP growth for 2013-14 lowered to 5.3%, from 6.4% in April, 2013
- Current Account Deficit (CAD) highlighted as main concern, estimated to come down to $70 billion or 3.8% of GDP
- Agriculture growth pegged at 4.8%
- Industrial growth pegged at 2.7%
- Services growth to decelerate to 6.6%, from 7.1 % in 2012-13
- Trade deficit projected at $185 billion
- Gold imports seen at $38 billion
- Net capital inflows to come down to $61.4 billion from $89.4 billion
7) President Pranab Mukherjee during September, 2013 gave his approval to the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill (PFRDA), 2011. The bill seeks to establish, develop and regulate pension funds to protect the interests of subscribers to schemes of pension funds and assures minimum returns to subscribers. This bill seeks to grant statutory status to which entity to empower it to regulate National Pension Scheme (NPS)? – Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority – PFRDA (The bill would also provide subscribers a wide choice to invest their funds for assured returns, like opting for government bonds as well as in other funds depending on their capacity to take risk)
8) Raghuram Govind Rajan took over as the 23th Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 4 September, 2013. On this day itself he came out with a slew of measures, including more trade settlement in rupees to rescue the battered financial markets and hinted at a shift in focus from inflation control, pursued by his predecessor D. Subbarao, to boosting growth. He announced setting up of an outside panel of experts to screen applications for new bank licenses. Who was appointed as the head of this expert panel? – Bimal Jalan, Former Governor of the RBI
9) Which company came to news for raising a bond issue of $49 billion on 11 September, 2013, which is the largest corporate bond deal in the world till date? – Verizon (Verizon is an American telecommunications and broadband company. The sale dwarfs the previous record, Apple’s sale of $17 billion in bonds in April. Proceeds from the sale will help Verizon buy the rest of its U.S. wireless business from partner Vodafone. On September 2, 2013, it was announced that Verizon would buy the remaining stake that Vodafone owns in their join venture Verizon Wireless for $130 billion. This deal is the third largest in corporate history)
10) What is the name given to Google’s next version of Android-based operating system (Android 4.4) for smartphones and tabs? – KitKat (Android 4.4 KitKat was announced as the name for company’s upcoming new Android-based operating system for mobile devices. This name is in keeping with Google’s penchant for giving tasty names to its software for powering mobile devices. The list of Android software names over the years includes Cupcake, Donut, Froyo, Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Jelly Bean. KitKat is a chocolate-covered wafer created by British-based Rowntree’s, now produced worldwide by Nestle. Google claims that Android software powers more than a billion smartphones or tablets worldwide)
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