10-11 February 2017 Current Affairs

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11 Feb, 2017

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1) Who was appointed as the 9th chairman of capital market regulator SEBI by the Union Government on 10 February 2017? – Ajay Tyagi

Explanation: The Union Government on 10 February 2017 appointed Ajay Tyagi as the ninth chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) approved his appointment for a period not exceeding five years, or till the age of 65 years or until further orders, whichever is the earliest.

Tyagi is currently the Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs in the Finance Ministry. He will replace U K Sinha, who will step down on 18 February 2017.

He is an Indian Administrative Officer (IAS) from the 1984 batch, Himachal Pradesh cadre. However, his only experience with capital markets has been his current appointment as Additional Secretary, a post he has held since October 2014.

Tyagi will be the first chairman to get an initial five-year term since at least 2002. SEBI’s previous four chairmen were all appointed on an initial term of three years. Sinha, too, was appointed for a three-year term. However, his tenure was extended by two years in 2014, because of adverse market conditions and another year in 2015.

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2) The Union Cabinet on 8 February 2017 gave its clearance to the ‘Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan’ (PMGDISHA). What is the prime objective of the mission? – To make 6 crore rural households digitally literate by March 2019

Explanation: The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 8 February 2017 approved ‘Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan’ (PMGDISHA) to make 6 crore rural households digitally literate.

The outlay for this project is Rs. 2,351.38 crore to usher in digital literacy in rural India by March 2019. The announcement for this mission was made in the Union Budget of 2016-17.

PMGDISHA is expected to be one of the largest digital literacy programmes in the world. Under the scheme, 25 lakh candidates will be trained in the year 2016-17, 2.75 crore in the 2017-18 and 3 crore in 2018-19.

To ensure equitable geographical reach, each of the 250,000 Gram Panchayats would be expected to register an average of 200-300 candidates. Digitally literate persons would be able to operate computers/digital access devices (like tablets, smart phones, etc.), send and receive emails, browse internet, access Government Services, search for information, undertaking cashless transactions, etc.

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3) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept repo rate steady at 6.25% in its 6th Bi-Monthly monetary policy review on 8 February 2017. Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the remained unchanged at 5.75%. From which date all cash withdrawal limits will be removed, as announced by the RBI? – 13 March 2017

Explanation: While reviewing the monetary policy, the RBI also raised cash withdrawal limits for savings accounts from the existing Rs. 24,000 to Rs. 50,000 per week from 28 February 2017. On the other hand all cash limits will be removed from 13 March 2017. The central bank had already removed all withdrawal limits from current accounts from 1 February 2017.

On the monetary policy front the RBI almost shocked the markets as post long stint of shrinking economy and then demonetisation, industry was expecting at least 25 basis point reduction in repo rate.

For the first half of the next financial year, the RBI has now projected inflation to be in the range of 4% to 4.5%, and in the range of 4.5% to 5% in the second half (of 2017-18).

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4) Japanese researchers have successfully gone past 5G data speeds to reach speeds that are 10 times faster than 5G. What is the name given to this blazing speed technique, which is undergoing trials right now? – Terahertz (THz) Data Transmission

Explanation: A research group of from Hiroshima University has developed a transmitter that achieves 105 gigabits per second throughput between 290 GHz to 315 GHz frequency range. This speed is almost 10 times the speed achieved for the 5G data speed.

Where 4G LTE speeds peak out at 50 Mbps in most parts of the world, including in India, 5G data speeds have easily reached over 3 Gbps to 50 Gbps in trials conducted around the world before it launches globally in 2020.

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5) India’s wheat imports rose above which level, which is the biggest in over a decade, as was disclosed in the data released during February 2016 by Thomson Reuters? – 5 million tonnes

Explanation: According to the data released by Thomson Reuters, India has bought more than five million tonnes of wheat since mid-2016. This is India’s biggest annual purchase in a decade. It is worth mentioning that India is the world’s second largest consumer of wheat.

The country began importing wheat around the middle of last year (2016) after two years of dry weather and unseasonal rains hit production.

India bought 6.7 million tonnes of wheat in 2006-07, which is the largest import since then till date. The country has bought wheat mainly from Ukraine and Australia.

The country is slowing down imports ahead of the harvest in April and purchases in the months ahead will depend on production this year.

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6) Tata Group firm Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL) will bring which two of its hotel brands under the ‘Taj’ brand as announced by the company on 9 February 2017? – ‘Vivanta’ and ‘Gateway’

Explanation: Under this new initiative, the company is upgrading all the 53 premium hotels of ‘Vivanta’ and ‘Gateway’ in India and abroad, and migrating them into Taj brand. Both these brands have ‘existed for almost a decade. While Gateway was launched in 2008, Vivanta was introduced in 2010.

These hotels will now be divided into four sub-categories – Taj Hotels, Palaces, Resorts and Safaris depending upon the location and nature of the properties.

IHCL’s strategy to upgrade and leverage on the Taj brand comes as at a time when the company is seeing growing threats from major international hotels in India in the recent past. After the merger between Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and Marriott International in September, Taj Hotels is no longer the largest hotel chain in India in terms of the number of rooms.

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7) Which US bank during Jan-Feb 2017 opened three employee-less completely automated branches, where customers can use ATMs and have video conferences with employees at other branches? – Bank of America

Explanation: Bank of America Corp has opened three completely automated branches over the past month (January-February 2017). This development is being seen as another step towards reducing its overall branch count to cut costs even as it opens new branches in select markets.

New branches are typically smaller, employ more technology, and are aimed at selling mortgages, credit cards and auto loans rather than simple transactions such as cashing cheques.

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8) Indian captain Virat Kohli make his name into history books once again as he scored his fourth Test double-century of the season on 10 February 2017 against Bangladesh. Whose record of scoring three double-centuries in a season he broke? – Sir Don Bradman (Australia) and Rahul Dravid (India)

Explanation: Virat Kohli broke cricket legend Sir Don Bradman and Rahul Dravid’s record of scoring 3 double-centuries in a season as he scored his fourth century of the season on 10 February 2017 against Bangladesh in the one-off Test match being played as Hyderabad. He thus became the first batsman to score double hundreds in four successive Test series.

Kohli’s double tons came in the series against the West Indies (200) in July 2016, New Zealand (211) in October 2016, England (235) in December 2016 and now Bangladesh (204). India declared the innings on 687 for 6.

In the process Kohli also broke the record for most runs by a batsman in a home Test season, surpassing former team-mate Virender Sehwag’s mark of 1105 runs in 2004-05.

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