Banking and Financial Awareness – 76

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18 Dec, 2014

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Gandhiji-Currency-Note-India

1) What important recommendation was given by a committee constituted in 2010 to design future currency notes as disclosed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 5 December 2014? – No other national leader’s image should be put on banknotes except Mahatma Gandhi

Explanation: The committee in its report said that it would be improper to put image of other national leader on country’s currency notes as no other personality could better represent the ethos of India than Mahatma Gandhi. On the advice of the Government, the RBI had, in October 2010, constituted a Committee to design future currency notes.

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2) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 5 December 2014 gave what relaxations in norms for White Label ATM (WLA) operators? – They can now accept international cards and also source cash supply from other than banks

Explanation: The RBI provided a breather to WLA operators by allowing them to accept international credit/debit/prepaid cards. The cards issued under card payment network schemes (authorized under the PSS Act 2007) will be allowed for the purpose. The WLA operators have to ensure that they have established technical connectivity with the respective card network operators either directly or through their sponsor banks. In addition, RBI enabled delinking of cash supply from sponsor banks. WLA operators would now be able to tie up with other commercial banks for cash supply at WLAs. Earlier, the cash supply had to be managed only through a sponsor bank which limited the scope of cash management for the operators. During 2012 the RBI had allowed corporates to set up white label ATMs to increase the penetration of ATMs in several areas of the country. These ATMs are being operated by non-banking corporates and organisations and are providing ATM services to customers of all banks.

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3) Which Indian bank has become the first in India to have developed its own economic index on lines of HSBC India Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) and HSBC India Manufacturing PMI?  – State Bank of India (SBI)

Explanation: SBI’s economic index has been named ‘SBI Composite Index’ and will be released in January 2015. It will have both monthly and yearly indices. The short-term report, to be released in the first week of every month, will forecast the state of the economy two months down the line. The annual index will make year-on-year forward predictions. This index has gone through eight years of back-testing (2007-2014) and during this index accurately predicted economic direction 72% of the time. SBI Composite Index will take into account the credit demand and other indicators of economic activity like consumer spending, mining activity, interest rates, inflation, exchange rate and other thematic indices and service and manufacturing activities.

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4) Wholesale price inflation (WPI) in India hit the zero level in November 2014 as stated in data released by the Union Govt. on 15 December 2014. This was mainly on account of a decline in prices of food, fuel and manufactured items. When WPI was lower than this level? – July 2009

Explanation: This is probably the first time when WPI inflation has hit the exact zero level. In July 2009, the WPI-based inflation was (-) 0.3% (negative 0.3%). The inflation rate thus recorded during November 2014 was the lowest in about five-and-a-half years. The WPI-based inflation was at 1.77% in October 2014 and 7.52% in November 2013.

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5) The Supreme Court-backed Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money lead by Justice M.B. Shah recently made what important recommendation pertaining to high value purchases? – Quoting of permanent account number (PAN) in addition to submitting an identity proof such as Aadhaar should me made compulsory for purchases over Rs. 1 lakh

Explanation: The SIT recommended that quoting of PAN and Aadhaar should be made mandatory for purchases over Rs. 1 lakh and should cover purchases made by cash as well as cheque. It further recommended that a central “Know Your Customer” (KYC) database be set up which captures details of PAN, passport number or driving licence number, which are often quoted for transactions. Other important SIT recommendation is that the amount of cash in possession should be capped at Rs 10 or 15 lakh and any amount beyond the threshold should be confiscated.

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6) The Lok Sabha on 9 December 2014 passed the Payments and Settlement Systems (Amendment) Bill. What is the main objective of this bill? – To bring India’s banking payment system in sync with international practices

Explanation: The Bill seeks to improve the payment and settlement systems by increasing transparency and stability of Indian financial market. Amendment to the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 was proposed to update the regulations in line with globally accepted standards. The amendment seeks to protect funds collected from the customers by the payment system providers and to extend the Act to cover trade repository and legal entity identifier issuer. A Legal Entity Identifier is a unique ID associated with a single corporate entity. It was felt that numerous obsolete laws exist in the Indian financial system and they are needed to be rectified.

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7) During December 2014 Union Govt. took an important decision to decrease subsidy load by scrapping the supply of subsidised kerosene through the Public Distribution System (PDS). Under this decision, from now on subsidised kerosene would be supplied to only one category of households. Which category is this? – Households without electricity connection

Explanation: According to information given by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley the Centre is in the process of writing to States asking them to provide subsidised kerosene only to un-electrified households. States which have achieved near 100% electrification will be incentivised to become kerosene-free. In the remaining States, un-electrified households will be given the choice between cash subsidy in lieu of kerosene allocation and upfront subsidy for greener solar lighting systems. This decision comes close on the heels of cuts in the Centre’s social sector spending allocations aimed at aligning plan expenditure with subdued revenue collections. The allocation of kerosene subsidy will now be in accordance with Census 2011 data, which shows that it’s no longer a fuel of choice for cooking but is used for lighting purposes. The Census showed that kerosene has been almost completely replaced by LPG in urban and semi-urban areas and biomass is the cooking fuel of choice in the rural areas. Less than 2% of India’s rural households use kerosene as cooking fuel, according to the Census.

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8) Government of India is kicking off its ambitious divestment programme for the current fiscal year from 5 December 2014 with the sale of a 5% stake in a PSU. Govt. is expected to raise $275 million through this stake sale. Which PSU was this? – Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL)

Explanation: SAIL thus became the first PSU to be divested for meeting the proposed budget deficit target. The government, which owns an 80% stake in SAIL, sold up to 206.5 million shares through an auction on the stock exchanges from 5 December. The floor price for the share auction of SAIL was set at 83 rupees apiece. Union Govt. had planned to raise $9.5 billion from divestments in the fiscal year ending in March 2015. However, it is likely to miss this target due to slow speed of the divestment programme.

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9) Union Govt. on 3 December 2014 constituted a high level committee with the objective of bringing about clarity on tax laws. Who is heading this committee? – Ashok Lahiri (Former Chief Economic Advisor)

Explanation: This committee has been constituted in line with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s announcement during the 2014-15 Budget speech pertaining to bringing about clarity in tax laws in the country. This committee will interact with trade and industry to ascertain where clarity on tax laws is required. Other members of the committee include retired Settlement Commission Member Sidhartha Pradhan and Gautam Ray, retired Director General (Audit) of Customs and Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).

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10) During December 2014, what important decision was taken by the Union Govt. in the area of FDI in construction sector? – The lock-in period for foreign investments in the construction sector has been diluted

Explanation: A note released on 3 December 2014 by DIPP stated, while foreign investment cannot be repatriated before three years following completion of minimum capitalisation, an investor may be allowed to exit earlier by getting approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). This decision has been taken following Union Cabinet’s nod to allow FDI in construction development in October 2014.

Following are the important points associated with above decision:

– The minimum capital requirement for such projects (for joint ventures with Indian partners) has been halved from $10 million to $5 million. For wholly owned subsidiaries of foreign companies, the requirement is $10 million.

– At least 50% of each project must be developed within a period of five years from the date of obtaining all mandatory clearances. The investor would not be allowed to sell under developed plots.

– The minimum area to be developed is 10 hectares of land area for serviced housing plots and 50,000 sq meters of built-up area for construction development projects. For combined projects, any one of the two conditions is sufficient

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  1. Jiggyasa says:

    Keep posting such banking and financial info….

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