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Daily Current Events by Civils360 January 3, 2018

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SAARC: Read Here

  • India has excluded Pakistan from the list of Saarc member countries with which it will be connecting its state-of-the-art National Knowledge Network for sharing scientific databases and remote access to advanced research facilities.

  • The government has kicked off the process of appointing a telecom company that will connect and extend the NKN to research and education networks in six South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation member states namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
  • NKN is a multi-gigabit pan-India network which facilitates the development of India’s communications infrastructure, stimulates research and creates next-generation applications and services. It enables collaboration among researchers from different educational networks such as TEIN4, GARUDA, CERN and Internet2.

Electoral Bonds: Read Here

  • Union Finance Minister outlined the basic contours of the electoral bonds scheme announced during the 2017 Budget, including their denominations, validity, and eligibility of the purchasers. It would be a bearer instrument in the nature of a promissory note and an interest-free banking instrument.
  • A citizen of India or a body incorporated in India will be eligible to purchase the bond. It can be purchased for any value in multiples of Rs. 1,000, Rs. 10,000, Rs. 10 lakh, and Rs. 1 crore from any of the specified branches of the State Bank of India. Also, the purchaser should have valid KYC norms to purchase the electoral bonds.
  • The bonds are aimed at increasing transparency in political funding and will have a life of 15 days during which they can be used to make donations to registered political parties that have secured not less than 1% of the votes polled in the last election to the Lok Sabha or Assembly.

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FRDI Bill: Read Here

  • The government has made a clarification about the Financial Regulatory and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill and said that depositors will be given preferential treatment in the event of liquidation of a bank, and the controversial bail-in clause will be used only with the prior consent of depositors.
  • The clarification also said the bail-in clause would not be applied to public sector banks and it would be used only when a merger or acquisition is not viable in the case of private sector banks. As per the provisions of the FRDI Bill, the claims of uninsured depositors in the case of liquidation of a bank will be higher than those of the unsecured creditors and government dues.
  • Under the FRDI law, the Resolution Corporation is empowered to increase the deposit insurance amount from the current amount of Rs. 1 lakh. According to the government, there is no risk of public sector banks being required to avail themselves of the bail-in clause because the government stands ready to take care of the capital needs of the public sector banks.

PMI: Read Here

  • According to Nikkei India Purchasing Managers’ Index, manufacturing activity quickened to the fastest pace in five years in December, bolstered by a sharp rise in output and new orders. It registered a value of 54.7 in December, compared with 52.6 in November. A value over 50 indicates an expansion while one below 50 denotes a contraction.
  • The Indian manufacturing sector ended the year on a strong note, with operating conditions improving at the strongest rate in five years. The overall upturn was supported by the sharpest increase in output and new orders since December 2012 and October 2016 respectively. In response to the improved inflows of new business, job creation quickened to the strongest since August 2012.
  • growth was seen across all three monitored categories like in cases of consumer, intermediate and investment level. Higher order book volumes and improved underlying demand conditions reportedly contributed to greater production. However, the sector faces the problem of rising cost inflation as the Goods and Services Tax (GST) continued to lead to greater raw material costs, with input cost inflation accelerating to the sharpest since April.

Railways: Read Here

  • Indian Railways is aiming towards trebling its freight-moving ability to carry three billion tonnes of materials by 2030 in sync with an expected swelling of the Indian economy to touch the $10-trillion mark. The Indian Railways aim to claim 50 percent of market share of India’s freight movement by 2030.
  • The last few decades have seen the Railways ceding its market share in freight transportation to the road sector as it came up with propositions more economical than Railways. Over the years, its share of total freight movement has been near 35 percent.
  • Railways are also working towards standardising the size of all passenger trains to 22 coaches. This will help in maintenance, capacity adjustments and better turnaround time.