23-26 September 2017 Current Affairs

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26 Sep, 2017

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1) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25 September 2017 launched a scheme to provide ‘last mile electricity connectivity to all rural and urban households’. What is the name of this scheme? – ‘Saubhagya – Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana’

Explanation: ‘Saubhagya’ is the name given to an ambitious new flagship scheme of the Union Government that aims at providing last mile electricity connectivity to all rural and urban households. The full name of this Rs. 16,320 crore scheme is ‘Saubhagya – Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana’ and was launched on 25 September 2017.

The scheme targets to complete electrification by March 2019. States that reach the target by December 2018 would get additional funds.

Under the scheme, the Union government would provide 60% funds for the programme amounting to Rs. 12,320 crore. For special category states, the Centre’s contribution would be 85%. State governments and their utilities would provide 10% funds. In the case of special category states, it would be 5%. The remaining 30% expenditure would be met through loans.

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2) With the economy hitting a rough patch in recent months, the erstwhile Economic Advisory Council (EAC) to the Prime Minister was revived by the Union Government on 25 September 2017. Who is the heading this newly constituted council? – Bibek Debroy

Explanation:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25 September 2017 decided to reconstitute the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) to the Prime Minister in view of clear emerging signs that the Indian economy is losing growth momentum.

Niti Aayog member Bibek Debroy has been picked as the Chairman of the 5-member Council, which will also include Aayog’s principal advisor and former finance secretary Ratan Watal as its member-secretary. Economist Surjit Bhalla, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) director Rathin Roy and Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research professor Ashima Goyal are other members of the council.

The formation of the Council at this time suggests it could play a critical role in reviving the economy’s growth momentum that has slumped over the past few quarters, with the first quarter of this financial year clocking just 5.7% growth, down from 7.9% a year ago.

The EAC to the PM had been rendered defunct after the previous UPA government demitted office in May 2014.

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3) What is the new minimum average monthly balance (MAB) requirement for SBI’s savings account holders as was revised by the bank on 25 September 2017? – Rs. 3,000

Explanation: The country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) on 25 September 2017 lowered the minimum average monthly balance (MAB) requirement in a savings account to Rs. 3,000 from Rs. 5,000. The bank also revised downwards penalties for not maintaining such a balance.

The revised MAB requirement and charges will become applicable from October 2017. Now, the penalties at semi-urban and rural branches range from Rs. 20 to Rs 40 and at urban and metro branches from Rs. 30 to Rs. 50, the bank said. Earlier, in the metros, the bank was charging Rs. 100 plus GST if the balance fell below 75% of the MAB of Rs 5,000. If the shortfall was 50% or less, the penalty charge was Rs. 50 plus GST.

In April 2017, SBI had re-introduced MAB and charges for non-maintenance of balance after a gap of five years. In metropolitan areas the minimum balance requirement was Rs. 5,000. For urban and semi-urban branches, it was fixed at Rs. 3,000 and Rs. 2,000, respectively, and for rural branches it was Rs. 1,000.

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4) What is the name of the first indigenous Scorpene-class submarine that was handed over to the Indian Navy for its commissioning on 21 September 2017? – INS Kalavari

Explanation: INS Kalavari is the first of the six Scorpene-class submarines that was on 21 September 2017 handed over to the Indian Navy for its commissioning. This submarine has been built indigenously under a venture called ‘Project 75’, at Mumbai’s Mazagon Docks. Under this project, the Indian Navy was authorised to build six submarines in collaboration with French firm DCNS at a cost of around Rs. 350 crore.

Kalvari can carry 18 torpedoes and travel 1,020km underwater. The 66-metre submarine can dive up to a depth of 300 metres to elude enemy detection. It is designed to operate in all theatres of war, including the tropics.

Construction of this first submarine had started on 23 May 2009 and the project ended way behind schedule.

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5) Which banking entity on 22 September 2017 launched India’s first bond index series for overseas investors at the London Stock Exchange (LSE)? – State Bank of India (SBI)

Explanation: State Bank of India (SBI) on 22 September 2017 launched ‘FTSE SBI Bond Index Series’ – India’s first bond index series for overseas investors at the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

This bond series is positioned as a first-of-its-kind transparent benchmark for investors in international markets to analyse India’s government bond market.

The launch follows the November 2015 visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the UK when a letter of intent was signed between SBI and FTSE to jointly develop the new index tracking Indian fixed income securities.

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