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Current Events 2 January 2017

 

NEWS

2 JANUARY 2017

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS III: ECONOMY

Loans to be cheaper as SBI slashes rate

2.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT - BIODIVERSITY

Rushikulya rookery welcomes Olive Ridley turtles

3.

GS III : ECONOMY

Petrol, diesel and LPG to cost more

4.

GS II: POLITY-ELECTIONS

Panel to use mobile apps to track Punjab polls

5.

GS II: SOCIAL - REFUGEES

Rs. 5.5 lakh for each PoK refugee

6.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL - ASIA - TURKEY

Turkey launches manhunt after club massacre

7.

GS III: S&T

‘Leap second' syncs Indian time with Earth's spin

 

GS III: ECONOMY

Loans to be cheaper as SBI slashes rate

  • State Bank of India (SBI), the country's largest lender, has reduced its marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR) by a whopping 90 basis points.
  • Among the steepest interest rate cuts in a long time, the move is aimed at boosting loan growth, which has fallen to a multi-decade low.
  • MCLR is the benchmark rate to which all loans are linked. A percentage point equals 100 basis points (bps).
  • According to a statement issued by the SBI, its one-year MCLR would be 8 per cent as compared with 8.9 per cent earlier. Home and auto loans of most banks, including SBI, are linked to their respective one-year MCLRs.
  • Existing loans linked to the MCLR will be impacted when they are re-priced. MCLR has been in effect from April 1, 2016 and had replaced the base rate.
  • New rules announced by the Reserve Bank of India in December 2015 took away from banks the freedom to decide when to revise rates. Rates will have to be decided based on the 'marginal cost of funds'. In other words, banks have to routinely calculate their cost of funds and any change has to be passed on to borrowers by revising their benchmark. This new formula-based benchmark is called the marginal cost of lending rate (MCLR).
  • "The decision is prompted by liquidity," SBI chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya said. "We have a lot of deposits in low-cost accounts. Credit growth is very muted. It is important for us to try and jump-start the credit growth," she said.
  • Another public sector lender Union Bank of India has also reduced its MCLR with the one-year rate coming down by 65 bps to 8.65 per cent.
  • The IDBI Bank had announced reduction in its two-year MCLR by 40 bps to 9.2 per cent, and the 1-year MCLR was reduced by 15 bps to 9.15 per cent.
  • All the banks have made the new MCLR effective January 1.

 

 

 

 

GS III: ENVIRONMENT - BIODIVERSITY

Rushikulya rookery welcomes Olive Ridley turtles

  • Olive Ridley turtles have started sporadic nesting at the Rushikulya rookery coast in Ganjam district of Odisha, while their mating is on in the sea near the rookery.
  • The Rushikulya rookery is a major nesting site of these endangered marine turtles. Experts are however not sure about the reason behind their nesting much ahead of mass nesting time.
  • It is believed that during sporadic nesting the turtles might be testing whether the sand on the beach is soft and loose to enable easy digging to lay eggs as well as other factors.
  • The Forest officials have initiated measures to protect the eggs. The Forest Department has come up with six artificial hatcheries near the Rushikulya rookery. Eggs collected from sporadic nesting points are being incubated in these artificial hatcheries.
  • To prevent any mishaps, the sea near the rookery is being patrolled to check illegal entry of fishing trawlers.
  • Only mother Olive Ridleys come to the sandy coast to lay their eggs. Male turtles never come over to the beach. Males return back after mating season while the females stay back for mass nesting.



 

GS III : ECONOMY

Petrol, diesel and LPG to cost more

  • Petrol price was hiked by Rs. 1.29 a litre and the diesel rate by 97 paise a litre.
  • Also, aviation turbine fuel (ATF) price was hiked by a steep 8.6 per cent and subsidised LPG rate raised by Rs. 2 per cylinder.
  • The increase in petrol and diesel rates is excluding State levies and the actual hike will be higher.
  • This is the third increase in petrol price in one month and the second in case of diesel in one fortnight.
  • "The current level of international product prices of petrol and diesel and Rupee-dollar exchange rate warrant increase in selling price of petrol and diesel, the impact of which is being passed on to the consumers," IOC said in a statement.
  • With an increase of Rs.2 per 14.2-kilogram cylinder, subsidised LPG will now cost Rs.434.71 a bottle against Rs. 432.71 previously. This is the 8th increase in prices since July 2016 when the government decided to go in for small hikes of up to Rs. 2 a bottle every month to cut down its subsidy outgo.

 

 

GS II: POLITY - ELECTIONS

Panel to use mobile apps to track Punjab polls

  • The Election Commission (EC) will introduce a mobile app-based system to monitor the law-and- order situation during the Punjab Assembly elections.
  • Numerous mobile applications, based on the Android platform, have been developed for maintaining law and order, streamlining the functioning of polling officers and monitoring criminals.
  • "These apps have important features that would enable poll officials to feed real-time information and data on polling. Even the complaints received by the EC would be dealt with online."
  • The application will be visible only to the EC and officials designated by it.

 

 

GS II: SOCIAL - REFUGEES

Rs. 5.5 lakh for each PoK refugee

  • The Centre will deposit Rs. 2,000 crore into the bank accounts of 36,000 Hindu refugees from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), a senior Home Ministry official said. These refugees migrated to Jammu and Kashmir in 1947, 1965 and 1971.
  • "Each PoK refugee would get Rs. 5.5 lakh in his or her bank account, and the Centre will bear the cost," the official said.
  • The compensation package for the Hindu refugees was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016, and it got the clearance from the Union Cabinet in December 2016.
  • Currently, violent protests have erupted in the Valley against domicile certificates being issued by the State government to 19,000 west Pakistan refugees, mostly Hindus, who came to India after Partition, but are yet to be given any voting rights or financial package.
  • The west Pakistan refugees have been demanding a similar package, but the previous Omar Abdullah government had vehemently opposed the move.
  • The Mehbooba Mufti government has agreed to sanction Rs. 1.2 crore in the Rs. 2,000-crore package as the amount pledged by the Centre fell short by a few hundred rupees per person.
  • "Since the PM has announced a package of Rs. 2,000 crore, we asked the State government to chip in as the benefit for each family was a little less than the Rs.5 lakh," said an official.



GS II: INTERNATIONAL - ASIA - TURKEY

Turkey launches manhunt after club massacre

  • Thirty-nine people, including many foreigners, were killed when a gunman went on a rampage at an exclusive nightclub in Istanbul where revellers were celebrating the New Year.
  • The shooting spree at the waterside Reina nightclub was unleashed when 2017 in Turkey was just 75 minutes old, after a year of unprecedented bloodshed that saw hundreds of people die in strikes blamed on Kurdish militants and jihadists and a bloody failed coup.
  • The attacker had escaped and was now the target of a major manhunt.
  • Turkey in 2016 saw more attacks than any other year in the history of the country.
  • In December 2016, 44 people were killed in a double bombing in Istanbul after a football match hosted by top side Besiktas, an attack claimed by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), seen as a radical offshoot of the outlawed PKK rebel group.
  • Also, in December 2016, an off-duty policeman assassinated Russia's Ambassador to Turkey in an Ankara art gallery.
  • In June 2016, 47 people were killed in a triple suicide bombing and gun attack at Istanbul's Ataturk airport, with authorities blaming IS.
  • Turkey is still reeling from a failed July 2016 coup blamed by the government on the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen that has been followed by a relentless purge of his alleged supporters from state institutions.
  • The United States and France voiced outrage at the attack and said they stood alongside their NATO ally in its fight against terror.
  • The bloodbath came as the Turkish Army wages a four-month incursion in Syria to oust IS jihadists and Kurdish militants from the border area, suffering increasing casualties.

 

Gulen movement:

  • It is an Islamic transnational religious and social movement led by Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen, who has lived in the United States since 1999.
  • The movement has attracted supporters and critics in Turkey, Central Asia, and other parts of the world.
  • It is active in education with private schools and universities in over 180 countries as well as many American charter schools operated by followers.
  • Despite its teachings that are considered conservative even in Turkey, some have praised the movement as a pacifist, modern-oriented version of Islam, and as an alternative to more extreme schools of Islam such as Salafism.
  • The Gulen movement is a former ally of the Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP). When the AKP came to power in 2002 the two formed, despite their differences, a tactical alliance against military tutelage and the secular elite.
  • It was through this alliance that the AKP had accomplished an unprecedented feat in Turkish republican history by securing national electoral victories sufficient to form three consecutive majority governments in 2002, 2007, and 2011.
  • The Gulen movement gained influence on the Turkish police force and the judiciary during its alliance with conservative President Erdogan, which saw hundreds of Gulen supporters appointed to positions within the Turkish government.
  • Once the old establishment was defeated around 2010 to 2011 disagreements emerged between the AKP and the Gulen movement.
  • Since 11 December 2015 the Gulen movement is classified as a terrorist organization in Turkey.
  • After the failed coup attempt in 2016, the government of Turkey blamed the group for the coup and authorities have arrested thousands of soldiers and judges.
  • Over ten thousand education staff were suspended and the licenses of over 20,000 teachers working at private institutions were revoked for alleged affiliation to Gulen.
  • Fethullah Gulen strongly condemned the coup, and rejected claims of his involvement.


 

 

 

 

GS III: S&T

‘Leap second' syncs Indian time with Earth's spin

  • A ‘leap second' was added to the Indian clock at 5:29.59 hours to synchronise with the Earth's rotational clock.
  • As the atomic clock at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research struck 23:59:59 on 31 Decemebr 2016, it was programmed to add an extra second to 2017 to compensate for a slowdown in the Earth's rotation.
  • "The Earth and rotation around its own axis is not regular, as sometimes it speeds up and sometimes it slows down due to various factors, including earthquakes and moon's gravitational forces. As a result, astronomical time (UT1) gradually falls out of sync with atomic time (Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)), and, as and when the difference between UTC and UT1 approaches 0.9 seconds, a leap second is added to UTC through atomic clocks worldwide," D. K. Aswal, Director of NPL, said.
  • Adding a second barely has an impact on the daily life, but it does matter in the fields of satellite navigation, astronomy and communication.


 

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