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Current Affairs English

Daily Current Affairs 19th April, 2024

Daily Current Affairs 19 April 2024 for Banking/Insurance/SSC and other related exams.

NATIONAL NEWS

IntrCity SmartBus launches industry’s first digital luggage tag for stress-free bus travel

IntrCity SmartBus launches industry's first digital luggage tag for stress-free bus travel

  • IntrCity SmartBus, India’s leading inter-city mobility platform, has launched the industry’s first digital luggage tag feature. This pioneering innovation is set to redefine luggage management by streamlining the process, the company said. 
  • With this new feature, over 200,000 passengers traveling on IntrCity SmartBus across more than 630 routes in 16 states can enjoy a seamless and stress-free journey.
  • With the Luggage Tag feature, we aim to communicate accountability and build passenger confidence in bus travel. The Digital Luggage Tagging system reduces the likelihood of luggage getting lost or mishandled, ensuring passengers can travel smoothly without worrying about misplaced belongings. 

IISc launches ‘Longevity India Initiative’ to pioneer ageing research in India

IISc launches ‘Longevity India Initiative’ to pioneer ageing research in India

  • In a large-scale study that aims to tackle ageing-related challenges, extend healthy life expectancy  ‘healthspan’ and promote longevity through innovative research and technology development, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) announced the launch of ‘Longevity India’ initiative.
  • The initiative has also started a largescale clinical study that will involve researchers from multiple IISc departments, clinicians, industry, philanthropists and civil society.
  • The initiative, which has received initial grant funding support from Prashanth Prakash, founding partner, Accel India, brings together a team of experts from academia, industry, and healthcare to address complex challenges related to ageing.

Armed Forces Medical Services collaborates with IIT Kanpur to develop tech for soldiers’ health issues

Armed Forces Medical Services collaborates with IIT Kanpur to develop tech for soldiers' health issues

  • The Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for collaborative research and training with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur. 
  • The MoU was signed by Director General Armed Forces Medical Services Lt Gen Daljit Singh and Officiating Director, IIT Kanpur Prof. S. Ganesh.
  • Under this MoU, AFMS and IIT Kanpur will team up to undertake research and develop new technologies to address health problems faced by soldiers in difficult terrains.


BANKING & FINANCE

RBI asks banks to look at setting up central fund to pay internal ombudsmen

setting up central fund to pay internal ombudsmen

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked lenders to examine the possibility of establishing a central fund to pay the salaries of banks’ internal ombudsman (IO). This move seeks to enhance their independence to further protect customer rights.
  • RBI advises creating a central fund for internal ombudsman salaries to ensure independence and customer rights protection. The Annual Report highlighted a 68% increase in customer complaints. Challenges in implementation include differing compensation structures, as noted by a senior bank executive.

RBI conducts two-day VRRR as liquidity surplus nears Rs 1 trillion

RBI conducts two-day VRRR as liquidity surplus nears Rs 1 trillion

  • The Reserve Bank of India conducted a two-day variable rate reverse repo (VRRR) auction as the liquidity surplus in the banking system neared Rs 1 trillion. 
  • The liquidity in the banking system was in a surplus of Rs 98,920 crore, according to the latest data by the central bank. Consequently, the weighted average overnight money market rates fell to 6.34 per cent  against 6.42 per cent.
  • The weighted average overnight call rate fell below the repo rate to 6.48 per cent, against 6.51 per cent. The repo rate currently stands at 6.50 per cent.

Rbi Eases Rules For Gold Price Risk Hedging In Ifsc

Gold Price Risk Hedging In Ifsc

  • The RBI eased rules to allow resident entities to hedge their exposures to the price risk of gold using OTC derivatives in the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC).
  • Till now, resident entities including banks were limited to hedging their gold price risk solely through derivatives traded on exchanges within the IFSC, which are recognised by the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA).
  • However, the latest directive from the RBI expands the avenues available for hedging, providing these entities with additional flexibility.
  • The directive is issued in the form of ‘Master Direction – Foreign Exchange Management (Hedging of Commodity Price Risk and Freight Risk in Overseas Markets) Directions, 2022’.

EPFO raises auto withdrawal limit under 68J from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1,00,000

EPFO contributions to cross ₹3 l cr in '24-25

  • The Employees’ Provident Funds Organisation (EPFO) has raised the qualifying limit for auto claims, those made under specific conditions  processing under Paragraph 68J. The limit has been increased from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1,00,000. EPFO conveyed the update in a circular issued on April 16, 2024.
  • Paragraph 68-J of the Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme enables members to request advances from the fund under circumstances related to medical treatment. 
  • These circumstances include hospitalisation lasting for one month or more, major surgical operations, and ailments such as tuberculosis, leprosy, paralysis, cancer, mental derangement, or heart ailments.

Ashok Leyland, South Indian Bank sign MoU to provide financing to dealers

Ashok Leyland, South Indian Bank sign MoU to provide financing to dealers

  • Commercial vehicle maker Ashok Leyland Ltd said it has partnered with South Indian Bank for financing dealers.
  • The company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide financing to dealers under the bank’s dealer finance programme, Ashok Leyland said in a statement.
  • Under this partnership, the bank will provide competitive dealer finance options to the dealers. 
  • This alliance will offer appropriate inventory financing solutions to our network of dealers. 

Three Indian banks in top 50 banks in Asia-Pacific by assets: S&P Global

Three Indian banks in top 50 banks in Asia-Pacific by assets: S&P Global

  • Indian banks have been among the best-performing lenders among peers in Asia. Three Indian lenders made it to the list of top 50 banks by assets in the Asia-Pacific region in 2023, up from two in 2022. The aggregate assets of the lenders rose sharply by 50.5% y/y to $1.51 trillion in 2023.
  • The State Bank of India is at the 20th position, HDFC Bank at 33 and ICICI Bank at 48th spot.
  • Mainland China-headquartered lenders occupied the top four spots on the list, and six of the top 10. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. remained the biggest bank in the region and in the world at the end of 2023, with Agricultural Bank of China. 
  • Lenders based in Japan and South Korea suffered the biggest declines in the annual ranking. The combined assets of Japanese lenders fell 2.5% y/y in 2023 to $10.53 trillion, and South Korean banks had a 0.9% y/y decline to $2.66 trillion.
  • Five Australian banks appeared Indian banks have been among the best-performing lenders among peers in Asia.

IFSCA sets up committee to transform GIFT City into climate finance hub

IFSCA sets up committee to transform GIFT City into climate finance hub

  • In order to transform GIFT City into a “climate finance hub”, the International Financial Centers Authority (IFSCA) has set up a standing committee that will come up with a framework for launching climate finance products.
  • The committee is expected to submit its report to the government by the end of May 2024.  It could be an Alternate Investment Fund, transition bond, transition insurance, etc.
  • In July 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi while inaugurating India’s first international bullion exchange at GIFT City had hoped that the project would become a hub for climate finance. Banks in GIFT City have already started extending green and sustainable credit.

IRDAI marks 25th anniversary with slew of regulatory reforms

IRDAI marks 25th anniversary with slew of regulatory reforms

  • As the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) enters the Silver Jubilee year on April 19,2024, the regulator is busy creating a smooth ground for a slew of regulatory reforms announced in March that come into effect from the current financial year. This is even as the industry players are also buckling up to play their part.  
  • Following the recommendations of the Malhotra Committee report, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) was constituted in 1999 as an autonomous body to regulate and develop the insurance industry. It was incorporated as a statutory body on April 19, 2000.
  • Later, renamed IRDAI, the regulator opened the IRDA, which opened the market in August 2000 with the invitation for application for registrations. Foreign companies were allowed ownership of up to 26 per cent.

World Bank Plans $1 Billion Line Of Credit To SBI For India’s Clean Energy Drive

World Bank Raises India’s Growth Projection: FY24 GDP at 7.5%

  • The World Bank is planning to provide a USD 1 billion line of credit to the State Bank of India (SBI) to accelerate India’s transition to clean energy, according to sources familiar with the development.
  • The financing aims to support the expansion of battery storage systems and electric mobility initiatives across the country. 
  • The credit line comes at a crucial time as India races to meet its ambitious renewable energy targets while grappling with rising crude oil prices and import dependency on fossil fuels. The funds will be disbursed in tranches to mobilise early investments and attract private capital in these green sectors.


BUSINESS & ECONOMY

USD 6.69 Tn Economy, USD 1.58 Tn Exports: Modi’s Ambitious Vision For 2030

USD 6.69 Tn Economy, USD 1.58 Tn Exports: Modi's Ambitious Vision For 2030

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set his sights on an ambitious economic transformation plan for India by the year 2030.
  • He has directed officials to draft a blueprint aimed at nearly doubling the size of India’s economy to a staggering USD 6.69 trillion in nominal terms from the current level of USD 3.51 trillion.
  • The BJP government’s vision to radically expand the economy and exports over the next six years was revealed in an official document accessed by Reuters.
  • Having recently surpassed the UK to become the world’s fifth-largest economy in 2022, Modi has now vowed to propel India to the third-largest economy globally during his potential third consecutive term in office.

ReNew partners with JERA to evaluate joint development of green ammonia project in India

ReNew partners with JERA to evaluate joint development of green ammonia project in India

  • ReNew Energy Global (ReNew) said that it signed an initial agreement with JERA, Japan’s largest power generation company, to jointly evaluate the development of a green ammonia production project in India.
  • Under the agreement, ReNew, through its subsidiary ReNew E-Fuels, and JERA will jointly evaluate development of a green ammonia production project in Paradip, Odisha, the Nasdaq-listed firm said.
  • The project will utilize around 500 megawatt (MW) of high-capacity utilisation factor (CUF) renewable energy to produce green hydrogen, a key feedstock for green ammonia. 


APPOINTMENTS

RBI approves Ajith Kumar’s appointment as Dhanlaxmi Bank chief

RBI approves Ajith Kumar’s appointment as Dhanlaxmi Bank chief

  • The Reserve Bank of India has approved the appointment of Ajith Kumar K.K as the Managing Director & CEO of Dhanlaxmi Bank for three years with effect from the date of taking charge.
  • Presently, Kumar is the Chief Human Resources Officer in Federal Bank in the cadre of President.
  • Kumar has over 36 years of experience with the Federal Bank in various facets of banking including Credit, Human Resources, Business, Branch Banking etc.

Surbhi Goel to be appointed first female CEO of Munich Re India

Surbhi Goel to be appointed first female CEO of Munich Re India

  • Munich Re, a global provider of reinsurance, primary insurance and insurance-related risk solutions has announced the appointment of Surbhi Goel as CEO India Branch effective from October 2024.
  • In this role, Goel will be responsible for Munich Re’s Property and Casualty reinsurance business in India.
  • Goel will succeed Hitesh Kotak, who will take on an expanded role overseeing Japan, India, Korea and South-East Asia with effect from July 1, 2024. In her new role, Goel will report into Kotak.

Deepak Parekh steps down as HDFC Life Insurance’s chairman, Keki Mistry to take leadership role in board

Deepak Parekh steps down as HDFC Life Insurance's chairman, Keki Mistry to take leadership role in board

  • HDFC Life Insurance’s chairman Deepak S Parekh stepped down from his role, the company said. 
  • Following Parekh’s resignation, the company has appointed Keki M Mistry as the new chairman of the board.
  • Mistry has been associated with the company since December 2000 and is currently acting as Non-Executive Director.
  • He is a qualified Chartered Accountant and a fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. Mistry was the Vice Chairman & CEO of Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) Limited.

Vice Admiral Dinesh Kumar Tripathi appointed next Chief of Naval Staff

Vice Admiral Dinesh Kumar Tripathi appointed next Chief of Naval Staff

  • The Union government has appointed Vice Admiral Dinesh Kumar Tripathi, PVSM, AVSM, NM, as the next Chief of the Naval Staff with effect from April 30, 2024. 
  • The present Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral R. Hari Kumar, PVSM, AVSM, VSM retires from service on April 30, 2024.
  • Presently serving as the Vice Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dinesh Kumar Tripathi was commissioned into the Executive Branch of the Indian Navy on July 01, 1985.

Saurabh Garg (IAS) gets additional charge as Secretary MoSPI

Saurabh Garg (IAS) gets additional charge as Secretary MoSPI

  • The Central Govt has assigned additional charge as Secretary of Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) to Saurabh Garg (IAS). 
  • According to an order issued from the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT), Garg has been given additional charge of the post upon completion of tenure of Dr GP Samanta on April 15 and till the appointment of a regular incumbent or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
  • Garg is a 1991-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of Odisha cadre. Presently, he is serving as Secretary of the Department of Social Justice & Empowerment.


AWARDS

Reuters photographer Mohammed Salem’s Gaza image wins 2024 World Press Photo of the Year award

Reuters photographer Mohammed Salem's Gaza image wins 2024 World Press Photo of the Year award

  • Reuters photographer Mohammed Salem won the prestigious 2024 World Press Photo of the Year award for his image of a Palestinian woman cradling the body of her five-year-old niece in the Gaza Strip.
  •  The photograph, taken in Khan Younis just days after Salem’s own child was born, shows 36-year-old Inas Abu Maamar holding five-year-old Saly, who was killed along with her mother and sister when an Israeli missile struck their home.
  • Salem, who is Palestinian, described this photo filed Nov. 2 last year, as a “powerful and sad moment that sums up the broader sense of what was happening in the Gaza Strip.”

Amitabh Bachchan to be honoured with Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar award

Amitabh Bachchan to be honoured with Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar award

  • Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchan will be honoured with the prestigious third Lata Dinanath Mangeshkar award for his remarkable dedication to the nation, its people, and society, the Mangeshkar family announced. 
  • Previous recipients of this esteemed award include Prime Minister Narendra Modi and popular singer Asha Bhosale.

Other award winners:

  • Master Deenanath Mangeshkar award: Music director AR Rahman and veteran Marathi actor Ashok Saraf for music; Padmini Kolhapure for films; singer Roopkumar Rathod for Indian music; actor Atul Parchure for Marathi theatre; and retired teacher and author Manjiri Phadke for literature. 
  • Special award – Actor, producer, and director Randeep Hooda for his contributions to cinema.
  • Mohan Wagh Award for best drama – Marathi play Galib 

Singapore’s Changi dethroned as world’s best airport, Qatar takes the crown

Singapore's Changi dethroned as world's best airport, Qatar takes the crown

  • Doha’s Hamad International Airport (HIA) has been crowned the world’s best airport at the annual Skytrax Awards, dethroning the 12-time champion, Singapore Changi Airport. The airport also clinched the title of ‘world’s best airport shopping’ for the second time in a row and ‘best airport in the Middle East’ for the tenth consecutive year. 
  • Following closely behind Singapore’s Changi Airport, Seoul Incheon Airport secured third place, with Tokyo’s Haneda and Narita airports rounding out the top five.
  • Among the New Zealand airports, Auckland was the sole representative in the top 100 ranking, climbing to 45th place from 51st. It also claimed the fifth spot in the category for Best Airports catering to 5 to 10 million passengers.
  • Delhi International Airport retained 36th rank in the list and clinched the title of ‘best airport in India and South Asia once again. Meanwhile, its GMR parent, Hyderabad International Airport, was named ‘best airport staff service in India and South Asia’ and rose to 61th place from being the 65th best airport in 2023. 
  • Bangalore International Airport also excelled, winning the award for ‘best regional airport in India and South Asia’ and leaping 10 ranks to 59 from 69 last year. Additionally, JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity was awarded as the ‘best airport hotel in India and South Asia’.


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 

Indigenous Technology Cruise Missile successfully flight-tested by DRDO off the Odisha coast

Indigenous Technology Cruise Missile successfully flight-tested by DRDO off the Odisha coast

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted a successful flight-test of Indigenous Technology Cruise Missile (ITCM) from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur off the coast of Odisha
  • During the test, all subsystems performed as per expectation. The missile performance was monitored by several Range Sensors like Radar, Electro Optical Tracking System (EOTS) and Telemetry deployed by ITR at different locations to ensure complete coverage of the flight path. The flight of the missile was also monitored from the Su-30-Mk-I aircraft of the Indian Air Force.
  • The missile followed the desired path using way point navigation and demonstrated very low altitude sea-skimming flight. This successful flight test has also established the reliable performance of the indigenous propulsion system developed by Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE), Bengaluru.


ENVIRONMENT

With 954 hectares, MP leads in tree plantation under ‘green credit’ plan

With 954 hectares, MP leads in tree plantation under ‘green credit’ plan

  • Madhya Pradesh has taken lead in implementing the Centre’s Green Credit Programme (GCP) which got over 500 land parcels spanning 4,980 hectares across 10 states approved for tree plantation in the past two months. 
  • These states, along with three others, have together identified more than 10,000 hectares of land for the programme.
  • Madhya Pradesh has, so far, reported the highest 954 hectares of approved degraded forest land for plantation/greening exercises followed by Telangana (845 hectares), Chhattisgarh (713 hectares), Gujarat (595 hectares) and Assam (454 hectares).
  • Other five states where such land parcels have been approved by the administrator – Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) – are Bihar, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Odisha.


BOOKS & AUTHORS 

“Just a Mercenary?”: Duvvuri Subbarao’s Memoir released

Just a Mercenary?”: Duvvuri Subbarao’s Memoir released

  • Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Duvvuri Subbarao’s memoir titled “Just a Mercenary?: Notes from My Life and Career” has been released recently. 
  • Subbarao’s memoir offers a candid and insightful exploration of the challenges he faced, the lessons he learned, and the profound impact his experiences had on shaping his perspective on the complex relationship between the government and the central bank.
  • In his memoir, Subbarao reflects on the harsh challenges that emerging economies like India faced in an unequal world, where the reverberations of a crisis thousands of miles away could have such a profound impact on the country’s financial landscape.

India — the Road to Renaissance: A Vision and an Agenda’ book by Bhimeswara Chall

India — the Road to Renaissance: A Vision and an Agenda’ book by Bhimeswara Chall

  • The book titled ‘India — the Road to Renaissance: A Vision and an Agenda’ written by Bhimeswara Chall has been released recently at the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) campus in Hyderabad. 
  • In the author’s own words, this book is a “passionate plea for a new, resurgent India” – a call to action for all those who refuse to accept the status quo and demand a brighter future for the country. 
  • Challa’s work delves deep into the pressing issues that often get overshadowed by the noise of electoral politics, challenging readers to confront the real challenges that could shape India’s trajectory as a nation.


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