Payments banks: With India Post getting RBI nod, India’s biggest bank for poor is in the making
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Daily GK Update - 20th August 2015

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Daily GK Update - 20th August 2015

Payments banks: With India Post getting RBI nod, India’s biggest bank for poor is in the making
i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has chosen just 11 out of 41 applicants to set up payments banks in the country. Payments banks are institutions that will offer most of the banking services except loans and credit card products to retail customers. Customers can deposit money up to Rs 1 lakh in these banks, transfer money, make payments and buy financial products such as insurance and mutual funds.

ii. The 11 names include India’s postal department, two telecom players (Airtel and Vodafone), three large corporate houses (Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), Aditya Birla Nuvo and Tech Mahindra), two financial services firms (Fino Paytech and Cholamandalam), two individual entrepreneurs (Dilip Sahnghvi and Vijay Sharma) and National Securities Depository Ltd, a surprise winner.
iii. The names that are absent in the list are equally notable. These include Kishore Biyani of Big Bazaar, George Muthoot of Muthoot Financial Services, prepaid payment instrument issuers (PPIs) such as Oxigen and Itz cash and few other mobile payment services such as My mobile payments, Pay Point and One MobiKwik Systems.
iv. The postal department, which failed to get into the list of full service banks when the RBI gave permits to IDFC and Bandhan in April 2014, has been trying for long to get into the banking business. The department has begun to set up ATMs and connect its offices through core banking solution network. The post expects to connect about 25,000 branches under CBS in next one year.
v. Since payments banks do not require huge amount of capital (the initial capital requirement set by the RBI for these banks is Rs 100 crore as against Rs 500 crore for full-service banks), India Post will not have to struggle much to seek the capital assistance from the finance ministry, which, in the past, had opposed India Post’s plan to become a full-service banks citing higher capital requirement and lack of experience in offering credit. But, this time, capital shouldn’t be an issue.

Ashwani Lohani, a tourism veteran, to steer Air India as CMD
i. Ashwani Lohani has been featured in the Limca Book of Records in 2007 for holding four different engineering degrees. With his appointment as the chairman and managing director of Air India succeeding Rohit Nandan, he may well get to create some new records in the aviation industry.
ii. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet on Thursday announced Lohani's name and is it widely expected that outgoing CMD Nandan will remain for another month till he gets a posting as a secretary to the government of India. So Lohani will perhaps join only next month.
iii. With the appointment of Lohani, the government has made it clear that it still cannot come around to tasking an aviation professional with the job of turning around an ailing airline. Lohani has enough experience in the tourism industry and in the railways but remains a career bureaucrat, much like the outgoing Nandan.
iv. Nandan was at the helm for three-and-a-half years and is credited with getting Air India to post an operational profit for the first time after the erstwhile Air India and Indian Airlines merged in 2007. Also, Air India finally entered prestigious airline grouping Star Alliance during Nandan's tenure after several botched attempts earlier.
v. Ashwani Lohani belongs to the Indian Railways Services Mechanical Engineering 1980 batch and is presently working as the chief administrative officer of the Indian Railway Organization for Alternate Fuels, a subordinate organization of the Railway Board.

Government approves pact between India and Seychelles to curb black money
i. With an intention of curbing black money generation the government approved signing and ratification of the Tax information exchange agreements between India and Seychelles. According to the agreement both the nations will exchange information with each other regarding taxes so as to curb tax evasion and avoidance by its citizens.

ii. As per the agreement the information provided by each nation will be treated as confidential and may be disclosed only to persons or concern authorities (Judiciary) who in relation to taxes covered under the agreement.
iii. Due to this agreement the competent authorities of both the countries will get relevant information for administration and enforcement of the domestic laws of two countries concerning taxes.
iv. The Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Asset) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 was passed by the parliament in May 2015. It makes people mandatory to disclose their foreign income and assets and pay 30 per cent of it as tax and if fail to pay in given time limit then extra 90 per cent is levied.
v. India and United States have signed inter-governmental agreement to implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) under which both the nations exchange a wide range of financial information among themselves automatically and periodically. In June 2015, India has joined the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (AEOI) which includes Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Indonesia and New Zealand.

Bharat Stage IV (BS-IV) compliant vehicles though out the country from 1 April 2017: Ministry of Road Transport & Highways
i. In order to reduce air pollution due to vehicles the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways issued a notification to introduce Bharat Stage IV (BS-IV) compliant four wheeler vehicles though out the country from 1 April 2017. As per the notification from 1 April 2017 all newly manufactured four-wheeled vehicle that are complaint with the BS-IV standards will be allowed to registered and move on roads.

ii. From 1 April, 2010 vehicles in few cities of NCR, Mumbai, Kolkatta, Chennai, Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad including Secunderabad, Kanpur, Pune, Surat, Agra, Lucknow and Sholapur were already running with BS IV complaint engine. More 50 cities were added till 1 April 2015.
iii. Bharat stage emission standards also known as “Bharat Stage” are emission standards instituted by the Government of India in accordance with European regulation standard ‘Euro norms’ to regulate the output of air pollutants that vehicles emits.
iv. India adopted “Barat stage” in accordance with ‘Euro norms’ from year 2000 and stage wise introduced Bharat Stage compatible fuel and ungraded and modified vehicles throughout the country. Each stage specifies a certain limit on the pollutants released, Higher the Bharat Stage goes lesser it emits pollutants.
v. The BS-IV complaint vehicles release less pollutants {Carbon Mono-oxide (CO), Hydrocarbon (HC), Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) and Sulphur (SOx)} i.e. 0.025 Respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) as compared to its preceding Bharat Stage complaint vehicles.

Hindustan Unilever Sun Pharma Industries and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) among the world’s top 100 innovative Companies: Forbes
i. Three Indian companies Hindustan Unilever Sun Pharma Industries and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and have been named among the world’s 100 most innovative companies by Forbes.

ii. Hindustan Unilever the FMCG has been ranked 41 on the list whereas TCS stood at number 64 and Sun Pharma at 71 in the Forbes list of ‘The World’s Most Innovative Companies’. Key findings
iii. California-Based Tesla Motors has topped the list whose market capitalization is of $25.5 billion. Tesla Motors has also won the Apple’s creative crown., Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and ARM Holdings and among the top five companies on the list.
iv. TCS, India’s largest IT Company with a market cap of $80.3 billion has appeared on the list for the eighth time. Sun Pharma, India’s largest drug company with a market cap $39 billion appears on the list for the fourth straight time.
v. Forbes has ranked these companies based on their innovation premium this is the difference between their market capitalisation and a net present value of cash flows from existing businesses. Forbes included only those industries that are known to invest in innovation and has seven years of public financial data and $10 billion in market cap.

Historian Babasaheb Purandare conferred with Maharashtra Bhushan Award 2015
i. Eminent Historian writer Babasaheb Purandare has been conferred with Maharashtra Bhushan Award 2015. He was bestowed this award in literature category by Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao in presence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at a function held in Raj Bhava, Mumbai.
ii. Babasaheb Purandare was born as Balwant Moreshwar Purandare on 29 July, 1922. He is famously entitled as Shiv Shahir i.e. ‘Shivaji’s poet’. He is being credited with writing the first historical work on 16th century Great Maratha king Chattrapati Shivaji. He is best known for his book Raja Shiv Chhatrapati and popular play Janata Raja.
iii. His book Raja Shiv Chhatrapati has more than 16 editions and widely read across the state. It is estimated that over 5 lakh copies of this book have been sold. Janata Raja play has been performed more than 850 times in last three decades after it was first staged in 1985. It has been staged in all over Maharashtra, Delhi, Bhopal, Agra and United States.
iv. Maharashtra Bhushan Award is a highest civilian award of Maharashtra state presented annually by the state government.

US launches biggest NATO airborne drills since Cold War in Europe
i. The US military has launched the largest NATO airborne drills dubbed as Swift Response 15 since the end of the Cold War to enhance security and stability in the European region. Swift Response 15 will be month long simultaneous multinational airborne operations drill in which around 5,000 soldiers from 11 NATO member states will participate.

ii. 11 NATO member courtiers participating are: Bulgaria, Germany, France, Greece, Portugal, Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Britain Spain, and United States. These airborne drills aim to help high-readiness NATO forces in order to act as one single force and to demonstrate its alliance’s capacity to operate and rapidly deploy forces in support to maintaining a strong and secure Europe.
iii. In these drills allied warplanes led by US will drop more than one thousand paratroopers and warfare equipment to Hohenfels training area in Germany. Similar air drop drill will also take place the same day at the Novo Selo training area in Bulgaria.

Anupam Kher Unlocks Another Achievement, Named Advocate For UN's Gender Equality Campaign
i. Critically acclaimed Bollywood actor Anupam Kher has another achievement to his credit now. Kher has been named an advocate for the United Nations’ campaign on gender equality, and is collaboration with the UN will call on men and boys to stand up against inequalities against women and girls, further helping in ending the discrimination and violence against them.
ii. N Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri declared and honored Anupam Kher as an advocate for the “HeForShe” Champion at a ceremony that was held last evening. Kher was honored to be named the HeForShe advocate and he has promised full support for the UN's effort.
iii. Lakhsmi Puri revealed that UN Women were highly keen on working with Kher because of his past records and achievements. Apart from being a renowned actor, filmmaker, motivational speaker and philanthropist, there wouldn't have been any person more apt to play a role challenging gender stereotypes, harmful practices, discriminatory social norms and traditions that further enhance gender inequality and violence against women.
iv. Kher has worked in over 100 plays and nearly 450 films, clearly proving how huge his contribution has been. Apart from being an actor, Kher was also involved in philanthropy and established The Anupam Kher Foundation to spread education among less privileged children and to provide palliative care to people with life-limiting diseases. He was also awarded the Dalai Lama Award for his work with underprivileged children.

Australian government appoints Adam Gilchrist ambassador to India - for education
i. In a move set to further strengthen education ties with India, the Australian government on Thursday appointed former cricketer Adam Gilchrist as nation's inaugural ambassador to the region on education.
ii. The announcment was made by the Minister for Education and Training Christopher Pyne prior to attending the Annual Ministerial Dialogue and third Australia-India Education Council meeting in New Delhi on August 24.
iii. Adam will play an important part in supporting the growth in the strong bilateral education relationship between Australia and India, to help ensure that Australia continues to be seen as a high quality provider of education.
iv. The Indian people recognise Adam as one of cricket's greats, and the values he espouses both on and off the field excellence and integrity are precisely those with which Australia aligns its reputation for high-quality education, training and research, Pyne added.