Current Affairs – June, 2014

Latest Current Affairs June, 2014 with Current Affairs, news summary on current events of National and International importance of June, 2014 for Banking, SSC, CLAT, UPSC, State PCS, IBPS, Railways and other Competitive Examinations.

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India becomes permanent member of Washington Accord

A long wait for India ended when the country became a permanent member of the Washington Accord, an esteemed international treaty on engineering studies and mobility of engineers across signatory countries including the US, the UK and Australia. Permanent membership reflects on the country’s stature in the technical education space. Until now, India has been just a provisional member since 2007.

The meeting of the International Engineering Alliance of WA member nations met in Wellington, New Zealand and gave India the signatory status to join the select group of nations who are permanent signatories to the Washington Accord (WA). This will ensure highest quality assurance standards to be implemented in our technical and engineering programmes and provide global mobility to our engineering graduates​. It will significantly enhance their employment opportunities around the world.

The Washington Accord:

It is an international accreditation treaty for professional engineering academic degrees, between the bodies responsible for accreditation in its signatory nations. Initially when the Washington Accord came into force in 1989, only 6 developed countries were its members.

As of 2014, the signatories are: Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong China, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The accord acknowledges that there is significant uniformity of programs accredited by those signatories. Every signatory countries recognizes the graduates of accredited programs by every other signatory countries as having met the academic requirements for entry to the practice of engineering. Recognition of accredited programs is not retroactive but takes effect only from the date of admission of the country to signatory status.

The treaty covers undergraduate engineering degrees under Outcome-based education approach. The accord doesn’t take into account engineering technology and postgraduate programs, although some engineering technology programs are covered under the Sydney Accord and the Dublin Accord. Only qualifications granted after the signatory country or region became part of the Washington Accord are recognized. The pact is not directly responsible for the licensing or registration of Professional Engineers and Chartered Engineers, but it does cover the academic prerequisites that are part of the licensing processes in countries party to the accord.

RBI mulling over Payment bank as recommended by Nachiket Mor Panel

The Reserve Bank of India will soon come up with India’s first payments bank, which will offer deposit and payment services but not provide loans. 

This idea is in line with the recommendations made by the Nachiket Mor committee. The central bank sees huge potential for financial inclusion with focus on remittances by involving payment system product.

As per the RBI, while full-service banks require an entry capital of Rs.500 crore, payments banks can start operations with a capital of just Rs.50 crore since all their money will be invested in safe government securities.

They will be required to comply with all RBI guidelines for commercial banks.

According to the recommendations of Nachiket Mor committee:

  • Permission should be given to existing banks to create subsidiaries to operate payments banks.
  • Payments banks may be created by converting prepaid payment issuers (PPIs). These companies provide cards that customers can use to make payments with the money stored in them. There are 27 PPIs in the country, including Itz Cash Card Ltd, Oxigen Services (India) Pvt. Ltd and Airtel M Commerce Services Ltd.

Entry of payments banks made easier:

In order to expedite the process, the RBI will soon start its differentiated banking licence regime, where the central bank issues licences to new banks to undertake specific banking operations.The apex bank will also issue licences on a continuous basis to qualified aspirants instead of opening the licensing window after long intervals.The payments bank route is important for India Post, which failed to secure a banking licence. RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said that India Post could begin as a payments bank. All these efforts are being made to promote financial inclusion in India, where more than half of the adult population still does not have access to banking services.

The RBI first introduced a 3-year financial inclusion programme in April 2010 to promote financial inclusion that witnessed banks opening outlets in 200,000 villages. Subsequently, it launched the phase II of the programme for 2013-2016.