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Important Current Affairs of 17th April

NATIONAL:

Centre sets up an Indo Pacific division.

• The Ministry of External Affairs has set up an Indo-Pacific division in the foreign office. The Indo-pacific division is intended to give a coherent architecture to theIndo-Pacific policy. The policy was articulated by PM Narendra Modi at the Shangri-La Dialogue in 2018. In India, the policy will be run by the MEA.

About Indo-Pacific Wing:

• The Indo-Pacific Wing is currently headed by joint secretary Vikram Doraiswami

• The Indo-Pacific Wing will integrate the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), ASEAN region and the Quad

• The Indo-Pacific Wing is expected to give thrust to the Indo-Pacific centred policymaking

• The US has recently renamed its Pacific Command to the Indo-Pacific Command as it seeks to give teeth to its Indo-Pacific policy

• In its Indo-Pacific diplomacy, India has repeatedly placed ASEAN at the centre of its policy.

India turns to net steel importer in Fiscal year 2018-2019.

• India became a net importer of steel in the fiscal year 2018-2019 that ended on 31 March for the first time in 3 years, as the 25% import duty on steel products imposed by the US diverted supplementary supplies to India.

• India’s steel imports increased by 4.7% to 7.84 million tonnes in 2018-19 from 7.48 million tonnes a year earlier.

• Exports fell by 34% to 6.36 million tonnes from 9.62 million tonnes over.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

PSEs gets 12 months to monetise non-core assets.

• The Union Cabinet announced that the Public Sector companies will have 12 months to monetise (convert something into or express in the form of currency ) non-core assets identified by a ministerial panel headed by the finance minister. On failing, the finance ministry may restrict budgetary allocations to the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs).

The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) issued guidelines for monetisation of non-core assets of CPSEs and immovable enemy properties.

The New guidelines:

• According to the guidelines, an inter-ministerial group (IMG) chaired by the secretary of DIPAM will identify the non-core assets of the CPSEs on its own, and also on the basis of recommendations of the Niti Aayog.

• Once the panel, comprising the finance minister, road transport minister and the minister of the administrative ministry concerned, approves the assets for monetisation, it should be completed within 12 months from the date of approval

• This will be the target to be achieved by the CPSEs as part of the memorandum of understanding with the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE)

• The Department of Expenditure and Department of Economic Affairs may consider any proposal from the CPSE/administrative ministry for budgetary support only after looking at the achievement of asset monetisation target by the CPSE

• Performance of contract management will be considered before sanctioning any government budgetary support.

ADB committed highest-ever USD 3 billion in sovereign loans to India.

• Asian Development Bank (ADB) committed a total of USD 3.88 billion, including sovereign loans and co-financing to India during the year ended December 2018.

• This is the highest level of assistance since sovereign operations began in the country in 1986.

• Private sector operations reached USD 3.14 billion, a 37 per cent increase from 2017, which is 14.5 per cent of ADB's overall commitment.

RBI puts into circulation Rs 50 banknotes signed by Governor Shaktikanta Das.

• Reserve Bank of India put into circulation 50 rupees denomination banknotes signed by its Governor Shaktikanta Das.

• RBI in Mumbai approved the design of these notes is similar in all respects to 50 banknotes in Mahatma Gandhi new series.

UN owes India USD 38 million for peacekeeping operations.

• United Nations (UN) owes India USD 38 million, the highest it has to pay to any country, for the peacekeeping operations as of March 2019.

• In a report on improving the financial situation of the world body, as of March 31, 2019, the total amount payable to troop- and police-contributing countries with respect to active peacekeeping missions was USD 265 million.

• Of this, the UN owes USD 38 million to India, followed by Rwanda (USD 31 million), Pakistan (USD 28 million), Bangladesh (USD 25 million) and Nepal (USD 23 million).

The arrears to troop- and police-contributing (TCCs/PCCs) countries could increase to USD 588 million by June 2019 “in the worst-case scenario”.

• World body’s cash balance in negative:

UN had a positive cash balance of USD 412 million at the end of 2010 but finished 2018 with a negative cash balance of USD 323 million - a decrease of USD 735 million in an eight-year period.

• Regular budget assessments are issued at beginning of each year and member states are required to pay their contributions in full within 30 days.

• In 2017 and 2018, 73 member states had paid their contributions in full by the end of the first quarter, compared with 62 in 2016 and 67 in 2015. So far, 74 member states have paid in full in 2019

• US is responsible for 22 per cent of the USD 5.4 billion regular budget for 2018 and 2019 and more than 28 per cent of the USD 6.7 billion peacekeeping budget for the year to June 30.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Rajesh Yaduvanshi is appointed as Executive Director of Punjab National Bank.

• Punjab National Bank (PNB) appointed Rajesh Kumar Yaduvanshi as the Executive Director of the bank.

• Rajesh Kumar Yaduvanshi joined PNB as a management trainee in 1985.

He is equipped with an experience of 34 years in the banking career and is a certified associate member of Indian Institute of Bankers.

• In the past, he had worked with Dena Bank in the capacity of the Executive Director.

• He holds a doctorate in science from Indian Agricultural Research Institute, (IARI) New Delhi.

DAYS:

World Haemophilia Day observed on April 17.

• World Haemophilia Day was started in 1989 by the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) which chose to bring the community together on April 17 in honour of WFH founder Frank Schnabel’s birthday.

April 17, 2019, marks the 30th World Hemophilia Day.

AWARDS:

Fincare Small Finance Bank won the Celent Model Bank 2019 Award.

• Fincare Small Finance Bank (SFB)honoured with the prestigious Celent Model Bank 2019 Award in Financial Inclusion category, for ‘Redesigning Lending to Reach Small Businesses’.

• The award recognizes LAP (Loans against Property) D.Lite, which is a tab-based solution designed and developed in-house by Fincare SFB for instant underwriting of loans against property targeted at micro and small enterprises.

• The Award was announced on its 12th anniversary in 2019 and was organized by Celent in New York.

LAP D.Lite is one of the 22 initiatives from all over the world to receive this award, which featured 140 nominations from 80 institutions from 30 countries.

• The other banks to receive the award in other categories were Bank of America, CIBC, Fidor Bank, HSBC, Rabobank, and Santander.

The award is for best practices of technology usage in different areas critical to success in banking.