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SBI Associate Banks PO & CWE PO Current Affairs -- June 1 to 7, 2011, CURRENT AFFAIRS June 1 , 2011 to June 7, 2011 West Bengal coffers empty – State Finance Minister In his first formal interaction with the Press, the new West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra said here on Tuesday that the previous government had left behind empty coffers, unpaid bills of Rs.3,500 crore and a per capita debt of Rs.21,697 which is the highest in the country. Addressing a press conference at the State Secretariat, he said that to tide over the crisis the government will have to resort to Rs.3,000 crore market borrowings and a drawal of another Rs.500 crore from small savings. Quoting Reserve Bank of India data, he said West Bengal's revenue deficit position in 2010-11 stood at a negative balance of Rs.16,441 crore when neighbouring Bihar was in the surplus. “These are authentic figures and there is no scope of denying them,” he said. ********** Bank credit up 22.5%, deposits rise 16.9% Credit offtake from banks grew by 22.5 per cent to over Rs 40 lakh crore during the one-year period ended May 20, 2011, indicating an upswing in industrial activity. According to the latest RBI data, credit offtake during the period stood at Rs 40.73 lakh crore, as against Rs 33.26 lakh crore in the same period of the previous year. Meanwhile, deposits went up to over Rs 54.68 lakh crore from Rs 46.76 lakh crore as on May 21, 2010. This is a rise of over 16.9 per cent on an annual basis. In the annual monetary policy 2011-12 announced last month, the RBI had said that credit is likely to rise at a faster pace because of the economy's growth momentum. "Sustained growth momentum could... continue to exert pressure on interest rates through high demand for credit," it had said. During 2010-11, bank credit increased by 21.5 per cent, while deposits grew by only 15.5 per cent. In the monetary policy for 2010-11, the RBI had estimated credit growth at 20 per cent, while deposit growth was pegged at 17 per cent. ********* Mrs. Angele Merkel given Nehru Award. What do Angela Merkel, Mother Teresa, Robert Mugabe, Josip Broz Tito, Hosni Mubarak and Martin Luther King have in common? Not much, but they do share the honor of being recipients of the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding. Ms. Merkel, the German Chancellor, is the latest in a long and diverse line of winners that also includes the likes of Nelson Mandela, Indira Gandhi, Yasser Arafat and Aung San Suu Kyi. A jury headed by India’s vice president Shri Mohammad Hamid Ansari decided to give the award for 2009 to Ms. Merkel for her “personal devotion and enormous efforts for sustainable and equitable development, for good governance and understanding and for the creation of a world better positioned to handle the emerging challenges of the 21st century,”  ******** India, Germany differ on UNSC expansion German Chancellor Angela Merkel ended her day-long interaction with the Indian leadership with divergence of views evident on political issues, especially on the pace of expansion of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the bombing of Libya. Of the dozen issues discussed during the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Dr. Merkel, India assured Germany a transparent selection process for a multi-billion dollar tender for fighter aircraft and a stable investment policy. This was in response to the German pitch for the Eurofighter Typhoon and higher foreign investment limit in sectors such as insurance. India also promised to look into intellectual property issues of concern to German companies, including one instance of a messy court case. Both Germany and India, part of the G-4 grouping along with Japan and Brazil, are pushing for their inclusion in an expanded UNSC, but their divergent views came to the fore. ********** China in the forefront in building power projects in PoK Amid a cold war between the federal government of Pakistan (GOP) and the government of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) over the issue of building hydel power projects, China is taking a lead role in their construction in the region. This increasing presence of Chinese companies in PoK comes amid the protest lodged by New Delhi against the “direct involvement” of China in rebuilding the Karakoram highway in Gilgit-Baltistan, the part of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir State and annexed by Pakistan. The highway was severely damaged in the floods last year and the work to rebuild it is going on at fast pace. With a huge potential to generate power mainly from two rivers — Jhelum and Neelum — flowing from Jammu and Kashmir, the GOP has paved the way for the Chinese companies for taking up work for large-scale power generation. Though there has been stiff resistance from PoK government to GOP's “unilateral” decision , but it has not hampered the work by the Chinese. *********** Prakash Chandra is new CBDT chief Prakash Chandra, (1973 batch Indian Revenue Service) on May 31, 2011 took over as Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). He replaces Sudhir Chandra, also a 1973 batch IRS officer. Earlier, Mr. Prakash Chandra was Director General of Income Tax (International Taxation) in Delhi and was also Director General of I-T (Investigation) in Rajasthan.  ********* Pension in stocks: Risk hedged @50% Pension regulator, PFRDA, today(1st June 2011) said that it would like to maintain the 50 per cent limit on investment in equities for the new pension fund (NPS), regardless of the recommendation of the Bajpai committee. "We think that at the current stage of pension market in the country, investing more than 50 per cent in equities is not going to be fair to investors in terms of the risk that has to be taken, and therefore, we tend to retain the cap at 50 per cent," Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) Chairman, Yogesh Agarwal, told reporters on the sidelines of the 26th Skoch Summit here. The Bajpai Committee, headed by former Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Chairman, G N Bajpai, has been entrusted with the task of analysing the fee structure and suggesting changes to the National Pension System (NPS). Initially, the Government launched the New Pension System for Central Government employees for those joining service from January 1, 2004, but it was extended to all citizens from May 1, 2009 Currently, 7 pension fund managers are managing assets of about Rs 9,000-crore. Of this, about Rs 100-crore is contributed by pension schemes for persons other than Government employees. These fund managers include LIC Pension Fund Ltd, SBI Pension Funds Ltd, UTI Retirement Solutions, IDFC Pension Fund Management, ICICI Prudential Pension Funds Management, Kotak Mahindra Pension Fund and Reliance Capital Pension Fund. Even though the NPS is considered an immensely beneficial financial product for unorganised sector employees, especially those who don't manage a steady source of income after retirement, it has received a lukewarm response till now. **************** Briefly Business NEW DELHI: Sunil Mitra has been appointed as the finance secretary with effect from 1st June 2011., replacing Sushama Nath, who superannuated on May 31. Mitra, a 1975-batch IAS officer from the West Bengal cadre, retains the charge of revenue Secretary as well, according to an official statement. Sumit Bose has been appointed as the new expenditure secretary. Toyota recalls 106K Prius cars globally Tokyo: Toyota has recalled 106,000 first-generation Prius hybrid cars globally on June1, 2011 for faulty steering caused by a nut that may come loose. Godrej to buy 51% in African hair care firm Mumbai: 1st Junw 2011--After clinching seven acquisitions last year,( FMCG major Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (GCPL) has acquired 51 per cent stake in Darling Group Holdings that operates in 14 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, for an undisclosed sum. ************** Briefly World Street battles in Yemen, 41 dead SANAA: Republican Guard shelling and pre-dawn street battles between government forces and rival tribal fighters killed at least 41 people in the capital on June 1, 2011. Witnesses said Presidential Guard units shelled headquarters of an army brigade who was about to join forces with the movement to oust Saleh. North Korea rejects South talks offer SEOUL: North Korea on June 1, 2011 said South Korea begged for talks between the two countries’ leaders and offered “envelopes of cash,’’ but that it rejected the proposal. South Korea quickly expressed regret over the North Korean statement, calling it a “unilateral claim that distorted sincerity.’’ McCain in Myanmar to assess reform YANGON: US Sen John McCain began a brief trip to Myanmar June1, 2011. He is here to assess the situation after a new civilian government promising reform took over from a junta several months ago. *********** JUNE3, 2011 'India may top China, Japan in banking' India is expected to rank third in terms of domestic banking by 2035, overtaking China and Japan, a PricewaterhouseCoopers report has said. The report also said China could leapfrog the United States to become the world's largest banking economy by 2023, the China Daily reports. It also predicted that global banking assets could quadruple to around 300 trillion dollars by 2050, with the GDP of the E7 level pegging with the G7 nations of the United States, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Canada within the next two decades. "The E7 doesn't need the G7 for capital, decision making or consumers, so the established economies will have to make a strong case to convince new economy policy makers of the benefits of inviting foreign competition in," PwC's chief economist John Hawksworth said. The report also said E7 growth hinged on state investments in infrastructure, opening markets to fresh competition, reducing bureaucracy and budget deficits and increasing rural education. ************** RBI asks private, foreign banks to set up vigilance systems The Reserve Bank of India on jJUNE 2, 2011 asked private and foreign lenders to put in place a system of internal vigilance machinery and appoint a Chief of Internal Vigilance (CIV) by August to check frauds and malpractices. The directive aims at bringing in private and foreign banks in line with the practices followed by state-owned banks to check frauds. “In an endeavour to align the vigilance function in private sector and foreign banks to that of the public sector banks the existing vigilance functions of a few private sector and foreign banks were mapped with the existing guidelines in the matter and it was observed that the practices vary widely among the banks,” RBI said in a notification. “It has therefore been decided to lay down detailed guidelines for private sector and foreign banks on similar lines so that all issues arising out of lapses in the functioning of the private sector and foreign banks especially relating to corruption, malpractices, frauds etc can be addressed uniformly by the banks for timely and appropriate action,” it said. *********** Mayawati announces new Land Acquisition Policy Having had to face a series of farmers' protests and flak from Opposition parties over acquisition of land for development and expressway projects in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Mayawati on Thursday announced that all future land transactions would be clinched directly between the farmers and the private developers by adopting a “consensual approach”. “The role of the government now would be that of a facilitator only, limited to issuing a notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894,” the Chief Minister said announcing the new Land Acquisition Policy of the State. This is the second such policy to be announced by the Mayawati regime in the past nine months; the earlier policy was declared on September 3, 2010. ******* India to test 5,000-km Agni by year-end (2011) After inducting the 3,500-km range Agni III missile capable of reaching targets deep in Asia, India is getting ready to test-fire the 5,000-km Agni V missile by the end of this year. The Agni V, which has been under development for the past three years, will be test-fired after Defence Minister A K Antony instructed the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) to expedite the development project. DRDO Chief VK Saraswat said serial production of Agni III has commenced for the armed forces. “Agni-III is an inducted missile. Its development is complete and it is under production,” he said at an awards function of the research organisation. Saraswat also said that the Agni V, which has been developed by adding a third stage to the Agni III, would be ready for testing in the coming months. “Agni-V missile would be ready for test by the end of this year, probably in December,” he said. ************* Bhajan Lal passes away Veteran politician, non-Jat leader, a former Haryana Chief Minister and sitting Hisar Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) MP Bhajan Lal (80) died on Fjune 3, 2011 in Hisar following a massive heart attack. ******** Government to nationalise cable TV network in Tamil Nadu State The government will nationalise private cable television network operations and revive Arasu Cable TV Corporation in public interest, said Governor Surjit Singh Barnala in his customary address to the Assembly on Fjune 3, 2011. The Arasu Cable TV Corporation formed by the previous government had become defunct and there was an overwhelming demand from the public for its immediate revival for providing cable services at reasonable rates. “This government will revive its activities in public interest and nationalise private cable TV operations in the State without affecting the interest of the last mile local cable operators.” ************ Saint-Gobain plans Rs.1,200-cr investment Saint-Gobain Glass India Ltd (SGGI), a 100 per cent subsidiary of France-headquartered float glass manufacturer, Saint-Gobain, has decided to invest nearly Rs.1,200 crore in various projects over two years. The company is setting up a unit with a capacity of three lakh tonnes annually in Bhiwadi, Rajasthan, with an investment of nearly Rs.1,000 crore in a phased manner. It would be investing Rs.800 crore in the first phase this year. (2011) *************** SBI to launch Operations in Jeddah State Bank of India (SBI) is set to commence operations in Saudi Arabia in the next four to six weeks, a senior bank official has said. Hemant G Contractor, managing director and group executive (international banking) said he has reviewed the set up with the team and they all set to go. Contractor was in Saudi Arabia with a team of top officials to discuss and facilitate all preparatory aspects prior to the launch of the branch in Jeddah. "We will start soon after completion of few regulatory requirements. This is expected in the next few weeks. So we will commence operations by next month," he was quoted by Arab News as saying. **************** IRDA may allow banks to sell products of two insurers A committee set up by the insurance regulator has recommended that banks should be allowed to tie-up with two insurers. “We are in the process of examining the recommendation,” IRDA chairman, J Harinarayan said on the sidelines of the launch of Integrated Grievance Management System (IGMS) — an online grievance portal. Under the current bancassurance model, a bank can sell insurance products of only one company. Banks have off-late been accused by insurance companies of negotiating for better commissions as there is no competition once they tie up. The recommendation, if accepted, will allow a bank to sell products of two insurance companies. Insurance companies have long been demanding that they should be allowed to have multiple tie-ups with banks. ************** Restrictions on export of organic items lifted Aiming to promote organic farming, the government has partially relaxed restrictions on exports of sugar, pulses and edible oils, produced without using chemical fertiliser and pesticides. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has allowed exports of organic cooking oil, sugar and pulses upto 10,000 tonnes each per annum. "Prohibition on export of edible oils is up to September 30, 2011. But, the same will not apply to export of organic edible oils...with a ceiling of 10,000 tonnes per annum," the DGFT said in a notification. The requirement of obtaining Release Order (RO) from the Chief Director (Sugar) would not apply to export of 10,000 tonnes of organic sugar per annum, it added. The DGFT added that the exemption on export of 10,000 tonnes of pulses and lentils would be given every year. ******************** US Drone ‘kills’ 26/11 brain Ilyas Kashmiri Top al-Qaeda militant Ilyas Kashmiri, a key planner behind the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, was killed in a targeted US drone strike in Pakistan’s northwest late last evening, Pakistani media and local residents said. But Pakistani and American officials cautioned that they had not been able to confirm his death. In New Delhi, U K Bansal, Secretary (Internal Security) in the Home Ministry, said, “We are aware of media reports... But we are trying to verify it.” Kashmiri was earlier reported killed in a drone strike in September 2009, but he emerged to give an interview to the slain Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad. A spokesman for Kashmiri’s Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami outfit, however, confirmed the killing and promised revenge. “Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami 313 Brigade confirms the martyrdom of our leader Ilyas Kashmiri in a US drone strike on June 3, 2011 at 11.15 pm,” HuJI spokesman Hanzala said in a hand-written fax message sent to Pakistani media groups. “We will take revenge (for the killing of) our leader from the US. ******************* Top 7 cos added over Rs 21K cr in m-cap The combined market capitalisation (m-cap) of seven of the country's top-10 firms increased by Rs 21,345.28 crore last week, with state-owned companies SBI and NTPC emerging as the best performers. The market cap of the country's biggest lender SBI rose by Rs 4,971.97 crore to Rs 1,46,860.49 crore, while that of power producer NTPC shot-up by Rs 4,576.23 crore to Rs 1,43,800.82 crore. Another major highlight was FMCG major ITC, whose market valuation surged by Rs 3,443.46 crore to Rs 1,49,770.93 crore. State-owned coal behemoth Coal India Ltd (CIL) added Rs 2,242.3 crore to its m-cap which reached Rs 2,47,474.98 crore. IT bellwethers - TCS and Infosys Technologies - together added Rs 3,756.86 crore. TCS m-cap stood at Rs 2,25,694.52 crore, while that of Infosys reached Rs 1,61,534.29 crore. Telecom giant Bharti airtel also saw its valuation advancing by Rs 2,354.46 crore to Rs 1,43,717. ************** 'Online shopping biz to reach Rs 1,500 cr' With better penetration of internet and broadband service, online shopping market is expected to reach Rs 1,500 crore over the next two years, an expert said. "Online shopping industry is growing exponentially...The industry is expected to double at Rs 1,500 crore from the present around Rs 700 crore by 2014," President Rahul Shetty said. Online shopping is the process whereby consumers directly buy goods or services from a seller in real-time, without an intermediary service, over the internet. "We expect rural India will contribute more than 50 per cent of revenue in the next two years. Presently, the Tier-I and Tier-II cities contribute major chunk of revenue to the industry," he said. ******** RBI asks banks to contain bad loans Expressing concern over rising non-performing assets (NPAs), the Reserve Bank today asked lenders to take “corrective” steps to contain bad loans. “NPA is increasing. It is a matter of concern. Banks must initiate corrective measures so that NPA must be contained,” RBI deputy governor KC Chakrabarty said on the sidelines of an event organised by International Management Institute here. He advised banks to “improve” their risk management and absorption capacities. “Banks must improve their risk management capacity. They must improve risk absorption capacity,” he said. NPAs of banks as on March 2011 were estimated at about 3 per cent of their total loans. SBI, the country’s largest bank, posted dismal financial results for the fourth quarter of 2010-11. Its net profit was dipped 99 per cent largely because of a sharp increase in provisioning against the non-performing assets (NPAs). *************** June 6, 2011 France bans words 'Twitter', 'Facebook' on TV, radio The French government has said it will ban the use of the words "Facebook" and "Twitter" on television or radio programs. President Nicolas Sarkozy's colleagues have agreed to uphold a 1992 decree, which stipulates that commercial enterprises should not be promoted on news programs, the Daily Mail reports. Broadcasting anchors would be forbidden to refer to the popular social networking site and the microblogging phenomenon, unless it is relevant to a news item. Christine Kelly, spokesperson for France’s regulator of broadcasting Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA), believes that the government is correct to uphold this law. “Why give preference to Facebook, which is worth billions of dollars, when there are many other social networks that are struggling for recognition?” Kelly said. Bad loans to cross Rs. 1 lakh crore mark Bad loans, or non-performing assets (NPAs) of banks are set to cross the Rs one-lakh crore mark in the current fiscal as the weakened asset quality of the banking sector is likely to spill over to the year 2011-12. After the 25 per cent rise in gross NPAs of bank to Rs 77,048 crore in 2009-10, bad loans of banks shot up by another 20.97 per cent in 2010-11, impacting the earnings of many banks and showing an overall rise of 77.75 per cent in the last three years. Of this, State Bank of India alone accounts for over one-fourth of the NPAs as the largest bank reported bad debts of Rs 25,326 crore in 2010-11. “The current fiscal will be slightly better for banks as most banks including SBI had made higher provisioning to clean up their balance sheets. The impact of this measure will be witnessed in the coming quarters. If they tighten up the recovery process, whatever they had provided will add to the profits,” said the former chief of a nationalised bank. ************** Expect summons from I-T dept for non-PAN transactions Individuals who enter into Rs 25 lakh-plus transactions but do not quote their permanent account numbers (PAN) could henceforth be issued summons and even penalised by the income tax department. The move is being taken after failed attempts to track such individuals due to non-availability of PAN. Revenue officials in the finance ministry told The Indian Express that the Central Information Branch (CIB) — the information collecting wing of the I-T department — will be empowered to issue notices to such individuals. It will also have powers to attach the property of those not responding to the summons. According to department officials, non-PAN data sourced by the CIB from Annual Information Returns (AIR) transactions of filers, including banks, indicates that individuals spending big moneys “are obviously the ones with unaccounted income”. *********** Coaching SA is a massive honour, says Kirsten Set to be appointed as South African cricket team’s coach on Monday, Gary Kirsten said it would be a masssive honour after representing the national team with distinction for a decade. “I would love to coach the South African team — it’s my people. It will be a natural progression,” Kirsten said. “I’d consider it a massive honour,” the former left-handed, who guided India to a World Cup triumph in the sub-continent two months ago, added. ************* ‘Namaste Telangana' launched Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) president K. Chandrasekhar Rao has said that there was a compelling reason for the emergence of ‘Namaste Telangana', new Telugu daily, as news relating to Telangana was blacked out by contemporary newspapers. Speaking after the launch of the daily here on June 6, 2011, Mr. Rao said there were no people-oriented newspapers in the State. Among the newspapers which met this need, there was no content about Telangana. He alleged that media managements from coastal districts were not allowing the history of Telangana to be focussed in journalism. ********** Steve Jobs returns to stage on iCloud Apple Inc CEO Steve Jobs strode back into the spotlight on Monday to unveil the iCloud, a music-streaming service that the company hopes will power its next stage of growth and popularise web-based consumer services. A still thin-looking Jobs walked out to a standing ovation from the more than 5,000 Apple faithful at its Worldwide Developers’ Conference in downtown San Francisco’s Moscone Center, making opening comments for just a few minutes before ceding the stage to marketing chief Phil Schiller. ********** Forced to sell stake to Maxis: ex-Aircel owner Stepping up its ongoing investigation into the 2G spectrum allocation scam, the Central Bureau of Investigation on June 6, 2011 recorded a statement by former Aircel owner C. Sivasankaran that could pave the way for filing a new First Information Report (FIR). Highly placed sources in the CBI indicated that a meeting of CBI officials and Mr. Sivasankaran was held at an “undisclosed location'' in the capital but that later he came to the CBI headquarters where certain clarifications were sought and his statement was recorded. The sources said the agency officials recorded the statement of Mr. Sivasankaran which pertained to the period when Dayanidhi Maran held the Telecom portfolio. The CBI registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) in January, on the directions of the Supreme Court, to look into the 2001-2007 period and ascertain if there were any violations of telecom policy; if ulterior motives were involved in grant of licences during that period; and if any criminality was involved. ********** NAGPUR: Public sector banks in India seem to have got leaner in last two decades of the post-liberalization era, though their scope of work has increased manifold. From 1991 to 2010, customers handled by these banks have gone up by 650%, but the number of bankers has only come down during the period. This has left the unions annoyed, and claiming that staffers have been left overburdened in the current scenario. A strike call has been given on August 5 by United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) on this issue. According to data gathered by the unions, in 1991, the number of customers availing banking service was 8.6 crore, which has grown to 58 crore in 2010. This makes for a 650% hike. The number of branches has also grown by 141%, to 65,000 in 2010 as against 46,000 in 1991.


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