BFSI & Economy

  • India’s state-run Corporation Bank has announced that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed certain restrictions on the bank to carry out banking activities as its share of bad loans rose sharply. Corporation Bank’s net non-performing loans crossed 10% and it reported losses of ₹1,035 crore in September quarter.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has proposed that ATMs shouldn’t be replenished with cash after 9 pm in cities, 6 pm in rural areas, and 4 pm in Maoist-affected districts, over attacks on the vans.
  • The government has waived the Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) on all Debit card, UPI, and Aadhaar-based transactions of up to 2,000 for the next two years, starting January 1, 2018. The charges will be reimbursed by the government to the banks.MDR is the rate charged to a merchant by a bank for providing debit and credit card services.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a penalty of ₹5 crore on Syndicate Bank for violating the directions issued on cheque purchase, bill discounting, and Know Your Customer (KYC) norms. Earlier, RBI had penalised Union Bank ₹3 crore for non-compliance of KYC norms.
  • The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) barrred Bharti Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank from conducting Aadhaar-based SIM verification using eKYC process. The action follows allegations of Bharti Airtel using the Aadhaar-eKYC based SIM verification process to open payments bank accounts of its subscribers without their ‘informed consent’.
  • The Centre is going to increase the pension it provides to people from Below Poverty Line (BPL) households from the current ₹200-₹1,000 a month to around ₹1,600
  • Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan today informed the Lok Sabha that about 5,000 crore was spent on the printing of nearly 1,700 crore pieces of new 500 notes post demonetisation. He also said that nearly ₹1,300 crore was spent on the printing of new ₹2,000 notes. Similarly, over ₹520 crore has been spent on the printing of ₹200 notes.
  • Saudi Arabia today announced its largest-ever budget of $261 billion for 2018, higher than its 2017 budget of $250 billion. The country projects that it will earn around $209 billion in revenue in 2018.
  • The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog is planning to set up Methanol Economy Fund worth Rs 4,000-5,000 crore to promote production and use of the clean fuel.
  • India has inked Financing Agreement with World Bank for International Development Association (IDA) Credit of US $125 million (equivalent) for Skills Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement Operation (STRIVE) Project.The objective of project is to improve access to quality and market-driven vocational training and apprenticeships. The closing date for the project is 30th November, 2022.

GK Booklet

International

  • Norway became the world’s first country to shut down national broadcasts of its FM network by completing its transition to digital radio.
  • India is going to host meeting of around 40 World Trade Organisation (WTO) Member Countries in February 2018 to muster support for food security and other issue
  • 20th December) is International Human Solidarity Day.This day is observed to celebrate unity in diversity.
  • France has passed a law banning all exploration and production of oil and natural gas by 2040 within the country and its overseas territories.This law aims to fulfil France’s commitments under the Paris climate agreement to curb global warming. This is world’s first such ban.

Sports

  • Indian shuttler PV Sindhu reached the semi-final of the year-ending Dubai World Superseries Finals by defeating Japan’s Sayaka Sato
  • Chennai is going to host Jallikattu Premier League, an Indian Premier League-styled event for the bull-taming sport of jallikattu, on January 7. Around 500 participants from 17 districts of Tamil Nadu are expected at the event, while bulls belonging to MPs and MLAs will be used.
  • Indian wrestlers Sakshi Malik and Sushil Kumar won Gold medals at the Commonwealth Wrestling Championship.
  • Kerala Kings thrashed Punjabi Legends by 8 wickets at Sharjah to become the first-ever T10 Cricket League champions.
  • Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has received awards for the best player and top scorer in La Liga for the 2016/17 season.

Science and Technology

  • US-based MagLab has successfully tested the world’s strongest superconducting magnet, producing 32 teslas (a unit of magnetic field strength), 33% stronger than the previous record.
  • India ranked 109th out of 122 countries in the Mobile internet speed and 76th out of 133 countries in broadband space in the November 2017 Speedtest Global Index (SGI) released by popular internet speed testing service provider Ookla. Top 5 fastest mobile network countries :Norway (average speed of 62.66Mbps), Netherlands (53.01Mbps), Iceland (52.78Mbps), Singapore (51.50Mbps) Malta (50.46Mbps)
  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has discovered eighth planet circling Kepler-90, a Sun-like star which is 2545 light-years far from Earth.It was dubbed as Kepler-90i.
  • The legwork on India’s first undersea tunnel for Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train corridor has begun in Mumbai. The 508-km-long rail project is expected to complete by August 15, 2022.

National & Business

  • 15th December) is International Tea Day.This day aims to draw global attention of governments and citizens to the impact of the global tea trade on workers, small growers and consumers.
  • 16th December is the 48th anniversary of the 1971 India–Pakistan war.This is the first war after World War-II that the Indian Army won conclusively.
  • The 8th edition of India, Maldives bilateral military exercise EKUVERIN 2017 was held at Belagavi, Karnataka. Aim of EKUVERIN 2017 : To conduct military training between armies of India, Maldives with emphasis on counter insurgency, counter terrorism operations (CICT Ops).
  • 18th December) is Minorities Rights Day.This day is celebrated to protect rights of the minority communities as well as bringing the better understanding among religious minorities in India.
  • The Union Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and Maruti Suzuki India Limited have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support Skill India Mission in automobile industry.
  • The Union government has allocated ₹31 crore for the construction of a Mahabharata-themed museum at Haryana’s Kurukshetra under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme.
  • Padma Shri awardee Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik along with Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and the Human Resource Development Ministry are going to launch the world’s first online certificate course on Sand Art in March 2018.
  • The Rajya Sabha today passed Indian Institutes of Management Bill granting greater autonomy to Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and declaring them institutes of national importance. This bill empowers the existing IIMs to grant degrees, and extends more autonomy to their executive body in the functioning of the institutes, including decisions on the Director’s appointment and pay.
  • The Lok Sabha has passed Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill, 2017 to make it easier for government to acquire immovable property for “national security and defence purpose”.