Current affair of 6th September 2019

China adopts facial payments in cashless drive

China has introduced face recognition payments as the country embraces facial payment technology. In the facial payment technology money, cards, wallet or smartphones is needed.

Key highlights:
  1. Using the technology the customers can simply make a purchase by posing in front of point-of-sale (POS) machines equipped with cameras, after linking an image of their face to a digital payment system or bank account.
  2. China's mobile payment is one of the most advanced in the world. People essentially make their shopping by presenting before pointing on scale (POS) machines with cameras connecting to their face to a digital payment system or bank account.
  3. The use of facial monitoring for surveillance, monitoring, tracking, the following of political dissenters, social and data control, ethnic profiling, as for the situation with Uighurs in Xinjiang, and even prescient policing.
  4. China recently launched a Smile-to-Pay system, using a machine roughly the size of an iPad.
  5. China has also introduced Tencent. It is a WeChat app with 600 million users.
RBI makes it Mandatory for Banks to Link Retail Loans with External Benchmarks from October 1

The Reserve Bank of India mandatory for banks to link all new floating-rate loans for housing, auto and MSMEs to an external benchmark like repo from October 1.

Key highlights:
  1. Industry and retail borrowers complaining that banks do not pass on the entire RBI's policy rate (repo rate).The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) observed that due to various reasons, the transmission of policy rate changes to the lending rate of banks under the current marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR) framework hThe banks to link all new floating rate personal or retail loans and floating rate loans to MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) toan external benchmark effective October 1, 2019.
  2. The Reserve Bank already reduced the repo or short-term lending rate by 110 basis points, but the banks have reportedly passed on only up to 40 bps to borrowers.
  3. The external benchmarks to which the banks will be required to link their lending rates, could be repo, 3-month or 6-month treasury bill yield or any other benchmark published by theFinancial Benchmarks India Private Ltd (FBIL).
  4. The banks have also been asked to reset the interest rate under the external benchmark at least once every three months.
India Africa Partnership in a Changing Global Order was held in New Delhi

The India-Africa Partnership in a Changing Global Order on Priorities, Prospects and Challenges National Conference was held in New Delhi. The conference was composed by research organizations, Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS). It was organized by the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA). Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu addressed the conference.

Key highlights:
  1. India confirmed and renewed its goal to achieve $5 trillion economy by 2024-25 as outlined in the economic survey-2019.
  2. The discussion included India's cooperation with Africa in every aspect including Trade, security, capacity building, maritime cooperation, and food security.
  3. India and Africa have a natural partnership for over several centuries. India is engaged with African nations at Bilateral, Regional and Multilateral levels. The bilateral trade between India and Africa is about $60billion in 2017-2018.
IndiGo partners with SonyLIV to provide mobile inflight entertainment

IndiGo announced its partnership with online video streaming service SonyLIV to offer passengers entertainment content at ₹25. The airline is expanding its footprint globally resulting in longer flights for its passengers calling for the need to provide entertainment content onboard. The airline has 50% of its new destinations in 2019 will be international ones.

Key highlights:
  1. The passengers will have to download the app and the video content before they board their flight.
  2. IndiGo will provide a link to its flyers through which they avail the subscription. The flyers will have unlimited access to SonyLIV's premium content catalogue for the next 7 days.
  3. While the government has allowed airlines to provide in-flight internet connectivity as well as voice calls, IndiGo seems to have decided to not go down that route yet.
Standard Chartered Bank launches new DigiSmart credit card

Standard Chartered Bank launched its DigiSmart credit card primarily focused on the ever-growing segment of millennials. The new credit card is available for a nominal monthly fee of only Rs 49. However, this fee will be waived off if the spends of the customer are Rs 5,000 or above in the previous month.

Key highlights:
  1. The new credit card is available for a nominal monthly fee of only Rs 49. However, this fee will be waived off if the spends of the customer are Rs 5,000 or above in the previous month.
  2. The instant discounts and other benefits make this card special. key e-commerce portals, travel, entertainment, fashion, grocery and food delivery can be discounted on various categories of products.Standard Chartered Bank partnered with several companies such as Myntra, Grofers, Yatra, Zomato, Ola and INOX in the initial phase to offer customers with discounts and other benefits.
The 1st Cyber Crime Investigation and Cyber Forensics was held at New Delhi

The first National Conference on Cyber Crime Investigation and Cyber Forensics was held at CBI Headquarters in New Delhi on 4-5 September. The two-day conference was inaugurated by the CBI Director Rishi Kumar Shukla.

Key highlights:
  1. The conference aimed at creating a platform where the investigators, forensic experts, academia and lawyers can discuss challenges related to cybercrime and ways to find solutions.
  2. It also aimed to create capacity building and to create a pool of competent investigators, digital forensic analysts, prosecutors and judicial officers who are digitally aware.
  3. The platform will also share good practices to learn from experiences of various State police and Law Enforcement Agencies.
  4. The conference included lectures and presentations on various topics of law enforcement.
India ranks 9th among the top 10 individual nations in gold reserves

The World Gold Council (WGC) released the 2019 list of gold reserves. The country who topped the list was the United States(US). They have gold reserves of 8,133.5 tonnes, followed by Germany (3,366.8 tonnes) at second place. India entered the top 10 list this year ranking at 10th spot surpassing the Netherlands (612.5 tonnes) it ranked 9th position in terms of individual countries with 618.2 tonnes, as the International Monetary Fund(IMF) ranks third (2,451.8 tonnes) in the gold reserve list.

Key highlights:
  1. India’s gold reserve grown from 357.8 tonnes in the first quarter of 2000 to 618.2 tonnes at present. India’s neighbouring country Pakistan 45th position (64.6 tonnes) in 2019 list.
Reliance Jio launches wired broadband starting at 699

Mukesh Ambani's Jio announced the launch of its fiber-based broadband service, offering minimum internet speed of 100 Mbps for ₹699 a month, a rate 35-45 per second.

Key highlights:
  1. Jio Fiber will offer free voice calling anywhere in the country, unlimited data and video conferencing.
  2. The annual subscribers will get 4K set top box, for streaming TV channels, free while a 4K television set would be complementary with plans with higher payouts such as 'Gold'.
  3. The company announced complementary high definition set-top box and an advanced modem Jio Home Gateway, zero-latency gaming and device security of up to five devices in all the plans priced between ₹699 to ₹8,499 per month.
  4. The Device Security, Home Networking, VR Experience, Video Content services, provided by RCITPL (a platform service company) and TV Video Calling & Conferencing, subscribers need to purchase compatible devices.
PNB approved its merger with OBC and United Bank of India

Punjab National Bank's (PNB) board has decided to give its in-principle approval for the merger with the Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India. The move is a part of the announcement of a major bank merger by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Key highlights:
  1. The directors of the Bank approved to commence the amalgamation process. The board also approved a capital infusion of up to Rs.18,000 crore from the government for preferential allotment of equity shares of the bank at a price determined in terms of SEBI (ICDR) Regulations. After the merger, PNB will be the country's second-largest PSB with Rs.18 lakh crore business. It will also be the second-largest branch network in India.
  2. Earlier, the government announced that the four major bank mergers. The merger of 10 public sector banks to be merged into four was announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
  3. After the merger, there will now be 12 public sector banks after the latest round of consolidation of PSU banks.
Anupama Swain won bronze in World Martial Arts Mastership Jiu Jitsu 2019

Anupama Swain won a bronze medal in the recently concluded World Martial Arts Mastership Jiu-Jitsu 2019. The event was held in Chungju, South Korea.

Key highlights:
  1. She qualified for 2022 Asian Games. She is the only Indian to participate in the championship.
  2. Jiu-Jitsu is a form of martial art and combat sport and it puts the entire focus on grappling with particular emphasis on ground fighting.
Forty new Vande Bharat Express trains by 2022

India will have 40 new Vande Bharata Express trains by 2022. Indian Railways finalized the timeline for manufacturing them again and started a tendering process for the purpose.

Key highlights:
  1. The production was stopped over allegations of favoritism and lack of transparency, earlier this year.
  2. The railway board has now started the tendering process for resuming manufacturing after railway minister Piyush Goyal’s intervention.
  3. Two rakes of Vande Bharat Express are currently available for operations and one of them runs between Delhi and Varanasi.
  4. A tender will be out by October for the propulsion system of the trains.
Gujarat govt signs sister state MoU with American state Delaware

Gujarat Government and the Delaware State of America signed MoU in Gandhinagar when a delegation of Delaware State of America called on Gujarat Chief Minister Delaware’s Vijay Rupani. The MoU was signed by Gujarat Chief Minister and Delaware’s Secretary of state.

Key highlights:
  1. This is the first sister-state MoU signed by Gujarat with any state of America. The cooperation in the field of services and investment opportunities in GIFT IFSC discussed during the meeting.
  2. The sectors like Biotechnology University, bio sciences, financial services, animal husbandry and dairy, port services are the fields related to which the cooperation. The American delegation invited Gujarat Chief Minister to visit Delaware State.
Russia to conduct 2019 Exercise TSENTR

Exercise TSENTR 2019 is a component of the annual exercises part of the Russian Armed Forces like an annual coaching cycle. Exercise TSENTR 2019 is conducted by the Central military commission of Russia. This year the exercise is planned to be held between 9-23 September at Donguz coaching ranges in Russia.

Key highlights:
  1. TSENTR 2019 aims to evolve drills and give practice to the participating armies in the fight against the scourge of international terrorism. It also aims to ensure military security in the strategic Central Asian region.
  2. The exercise will also focus on evaluating the preparedness of the level of the troop, the acquisition of the required skills and raising the level of interoperability and demonstrate the readiness of the participating armies.
  3. It aims to embody counter-terror operations, repellant airstrikes, intelligence operation operations, and defensive measures.
Chandrayaan-2 final descent to begin Saturday night

Chandrayaan-2’s lander Vikram closest to the Moon, about 35 km above the lunar surface. It is the most challenging manoeuvre to date the 15-minute power descent.

Key highlights:
  1. The rugged lunar surface, continuously scanning for the targeted site near the south pole of the Moon as loaded on board by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) until it’s sure that it has found the designated site for landing.
  2. The main aim is to overcome the communication delay, scientists have ensured that there is no ground control from the earth during the 15-minute exercise. It begins at 1.40 am on Saturday.
  3. The enough simulations and testing have been done, but there is still a lot of uncertainty involved.
  4. Even if there is a small miscalculation in sensor characterization, the whole exercise gets jeopardized. Even if there is a small rock or boulder on the landing site.
Five institutes are awarded IoE

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) on the guidance of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and master board of trusty has awarded the Institutions of Eminence (IoE) title 5 institutes. The 5 institutes are IIT-Madras, Banaras Hindu University, IIT-Kharagpur, University of Delhi and the University of Hyderabad.

Key highlights:
  1. The award aims to indicates the commitment of the institution towards Institutions of Eminence.
  2. The awarded Universities will be required to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Human Resource Development as it had laid out its plan to achieve the objective of becoming a world-class institution.
  3. The public institutions on the list will then be eligible for a government grant of Rs.1,000 crore.
Author Kiran Nagarkar passed away on 5 September

The Novelist Kiran Nagarkar passed away in hospital at the age of 77. He suffered from a massive brain hemorrhage. He was one of India’s greatest writers.

Key highlights:
  1. Nagarkar was born in Mumbai in 1942. He worked in journalism, advertising and education. He published his novel Saat Sakkam Trechalis in Marathi in 1974 at the age of thirty-two.
  2. He worked as a screenplay, journalist, a book author, and within the advertising trade.
  3. Nagarkar was distinguished with the HN Apte Award for the most effective first novel. He won Sahitya Akademi Award for his epic novel Cuckold, which he wrote in 1997, in 2001 and the Dalmia Award for communicative harmony through literature. He received a philanthropist grant award of a scholarship by the town of Munich.
India to offer USD 1 billion for the development of Vladivostok

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a $1 billion line of credit for the development of Vladivostok, the resource-rich Far East region of Russia. He made the announcement at the 5th Eastern Economic Forum at Vladivostok during his visit to Russia.

Key highlights:
  1. PM Modi unveiled the Act Far East policy in the presence of Russian President Putin at Vladivostok.
  2. The policy aims to boost India’s engagement with Russia’s Far East region. India has actively engaged East Asia as part of its Act East policy.
  3. To take a stake in Russian oil and gas fields, the Indian firms have invested over $7 billion so far. India ventured into Russia when its flagship overseas firm ONGC Videsh in 2001 acquired a 20% stake in Sakhalin-1 oil and gas field in Far East Russia.
  4. In 2017, Rosneft, the Russian oil firm, bought Essar Oil, which operates in Vadinar oil refinery in Gujarat and some 5,500 petrol pumps, for USD 12.9 billion.

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