Daily Current Affairs, 14th February 2018 - VISION

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Daily Current Affairs, 14th February 2018

1)  Government Of India Makes Amendments In Small Savings Act
•In order to remove existing ambiguities due to multiple Acts and rules for Small Saving Schemes, the Government of India has proposed merger of Government Savings Certificates Act, 1959 and Public Provident Fund Act, 1968 with the Government Savings Banks Act, 1873. With a single act, relevant provisions of the Government Savings Certificates (NSC) Act, 1959 and the Public Provident Fund Act, 1968 would stand subsumed in the new amended Act without compromising on any of the functional provision of the existing Act.

•All existing protections have been retained while consolidating PPF Act under the proposed Government Savings Promotion Act. No existing benefits to depositors are proposed to be taken away through this process. The main objective in proposing a common Act is to make implementation easier for the depositors as they need not go through different rules and Acts for understanding the provision of various small saving schemes, and also to introduce certain flexibilities for the investors.

•Apart from ensuring existing benefits, certain new benefits to the depositors have been proposed under the bill. These are:
1. As per PPF Act, the PPF account can’t be closed prematurely before completion of five financial years. If the depositor wants to close PPF account before five years in exigencies, he can’t close the account. 
2. Investment in Small Savings Schemes can be made by Guardian on behalf of minor(s) under the provisions made in the proposed bill Guardian may also be given associated rights and responsibilities.
3. There was no clear provision earlier regarding deposit by minors in the existing Acts. The provision has been made now to promote the culture of savings among children.
4. There were no clear provisions in all the three Acts for the operation of accounts in the name of physically infirm and differently abled persons. Provisions in this regard have now been made.
5. In the existing Acts, there is no provision for the nomination with regard to the account opened in the name of the minor. Further, existing Acts say that if account holder dies and there is no nomination and amount is more than prescribed limit, the amount shall be paid to legal heirs.

•The above provisions which are proposed to be incorporated in the amended Act will add to the flexibility in the operation of the Account under Small Savings Schemes.

2)  West Bengal Becomes First State To Opt Out Of ‘Modicare’
•Claiming that the Bengal government had already enrolled 50 lakh people under its own Swasthya Sathi programme, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced the decision to opt out of Centre’s ‘Modicare’ scheme.

•This makes West Bengal the first state to withdraw from the ambitious programme. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced the NHPS on February 1, making it the biggest global plan to provide quality health cover to a population larger than the combined citizenry of the US, UK, Germany and France.

3)  Radio Umang: India's 1st Online Radio Station Launched
•India's 1st Online Radio Station 'Radio Umang' was launched recently in India. Listeners can tune in to this online radio station through web streaming or download the app.

•With 24 hours programming, it has found listeners in Hindi speaking regions of India and in over 60 countries worldwide.

4)  India-Russia Agriculture Business Summit Held In New Delhi
•India-Russia Agriculture Business Summit 2018 was held in New Delhi. The two countries discussed trade relations in the agricultural sector. The summit was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.

•Gajender Singh Shekhawat, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Sergey Beletskiy, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Agriculture, Russia addressed the India-Russia Agriculture Business Summit.

5)  Chandrashekhara Kambara Elected New President Of Sahitya Akademi
•Kannada litterateur Chandrashekar Kambar has been elected as president of the Sahitya Akademi in the election held for the post. He has replaced Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari. Hindi poet Madhav Koushik has been elected as vice-president.

•This is the second time election was held in the history of Sahitya Akademi, after Ananthamurthy’s election to the post. Prof. Kambar has served as the member of the Akademi executive board for over 10 years and was vice-president for 2013-18.

6)  RBI Relaxes Priority Sector Lending Rule For Banks
•Reserve Bank of India has made banks' priority sector norms lenient by saying that all loans to micro small and medium enterprises (MSME) will henceforth qualify as priority sector lending. This was a long time demand from banks. 

•Till date, loans up to Rs 10 crore per MSME borrower was considered for priority sector calculation. The sub-target for bank lending to the micro enterprises has been 7.50 percent of adjusted net bank credit or credit equivalent amount of off-balance sheet exposure, whichever is higher. Foreign banks will also have to follow 8% sub-target for lending to the small and marginal farmers.