Current Affairs 2017 – May

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World’s First Philosophical Novel on God Unveiled

IAS officer Haulianlal Guite has recently published a philosophical novel for God titled “Confessions of a dying mind: the blind faith of atheism“. The book was unveiled by Union Minister Kiren Rijiju at august gathering of Civil Services Officers’ Institute in New Delhi. The book is touted as “the world’s first philosophical novel for God“. Haulianlal Guite is hailed as the first civil servant to write on Philosophy after John Stuart Mill’s work titled “On Liberty” published in 1858.

The book explores interesting arguments against atheism. It also explores the nature of science, religion, evidence and love in light of latest findings of modern science and the solid theories in philosophy. The unveiled book is the first part of the three volumes. The book is published by a UK based Bloomsbury Publishing.

Haulianlal Guite hails from Churachandpur district of Manipur. He cleared the 2010 Civil Services Examination with an All India Rank of 33.

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PM Inaugurates African Development Bank’s 52nd Annual General Meeting

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the 52nd Annual General Meeting of the African Development Bank in Gandhinagar. The AGM will be held in from May 22-26. This is the first time that India is hosting the annual meetings of the AfDB and its sister institutions, including of finance ministers of member countries, who comprise the AfDB board of governors. India had joined the African Development Bank (AfDB) in 1983.
The Annual Meetings are the Bank’s largest annual event and offers a unique forum for representatives of government, business, civil society, think-tanks, academia and the media to debate key issues on Africa’s development. The event will see the participation of 4500 delegates including finance ministers and central bank governors belonging to AfDB’s 54 member countries and 26 non-member countries. The event is expected to deepen India’s ties with African continent.

Background

India is the fifth largest investor in Africa. Indo-African trade had doubled to reach USD 72 billion in the five year time period that ended in 2014-15. In 2015-16, it felled sharply to USD 56 billion. However, the presence of Indian private sector in Africa is noteworthy and amounts to USD 35 billion made in the sectors like automobile, drugs and pharmaceuticals, textiles, IT services, water treatment, petroleum refining etc. As opposed to China, India is more oriented to improve local capacities in China. For instance, India’s EXIM Bank has helped incubate similar institutions in five African countries.
Africa is also important to India as it is a crucial player in the India-fostered International Solar Alliance (ISA). More than a dozen out of ISA’s 24 members belong to Africa.

Paytm Launches Payments Bank

Paytm has rolled out its Payments Bank operations by launching its first physical branch in Noida. With this launch, there are three payments bank operational in the country, the other two being Airtel Payments Bank Ltd and India Post Payments Bank Ltd. The Paytm Payments Bank will be the first bank in the country to offer cashbacks on deposits.

Significance

As a Payments Bank, Paytm will be able to accept deposits upto Rs 1 lakh per customer in wallet and savings/current accounts. Further it can also offer other services like Debit Cards, Online Banking and Mobile Banking. It will not be allowed to lend to customers. However, it will be able to offer financial products like loans, insurance, mutual funds, pension funds etc by partnering with other financial institutions and banks.

Other Salient Features

Interest Rate 

Paytm Payments Bank will offer 4% interest on savings account in line with the interest rates of all leading commercial banks including State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and ICICI Bank Ltd, which also offers 4% interest rate on savings account deposits.

Cash withdrawal charges

Customers will be given five free transactions in non-metro cities and three free transactions in metro cities. After the exhaustion of free limits, customers will be charged Rs 20 for each subsequent cash transactions.

Debit Cards

The customers will be offered a Rupay debit card at an annual subscription cost of Rs 100 plus delivery charges. The bank will also provide a cheque book at a cost of Rs 100.

Online fund transfer

Paytm Payments Bank will provide services such as Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT) free of cost to its customers.

Background

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had given in principle approval to Paytm Payments Bank Ltd, an entity majority owned by One97 Communications earlier this year. In 2015, RBI had awarded ‘in-principle’ approval to Vijay Shekhar Sharma to set up a Payments Bank along with 10 others with an objective of deepening financial inclusion. The Paytm Payments Bank aims to plans to roll out operations in 31 branches and 3,000 customer service points in the first year.

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