Business & Finance - General awareness questions on current affairs

1)   Switzerland has ratified automatic exchange of financial information with how many countries?
- Published on 19 Jun 17

a. 40
b. 41
c. 42
d. 43
Answer  Explanation 


Switzerland has ratified automatic exchange of financial account information with India and 40 other countries.

This will facilitate Switzerland to share information about suspected black money with India and other 40 nations.

According to the Swiss Federal Council, the implementation of the exchange sharing agreement has been planned for 2018 and hence the first set of data is likely to be exchanged in 2019.

The Swiss Federal Council is a top governing body of Switzerland. The exact date of automatic information exchange would be notified by the Swiss Federal Council soon as there were no procedural delays for the implementation.

However, the Swiss banks have started seeking new safeguards so as to protect the details of their clients against misuse that could expose them to crimes such as kidnapping or blackmail.

So, the Swiss Council had stated that they will prepare a situation report before the first exchange of data.

As per the process, it will be ascertained whether the states and territories concerned have put in place a standard, especially those concerning confidentiality and data security.

It will be assessed whether the democratic processes in these states and territories are robust or not and whether corruption is high or not etc.

Switzerland has long been perceived as one of the safest havens for black money stashed abroad by Indians.

The participation of Switzerland which is the world’s largest home for overseas wealth in the information sharing agreement would be a major boost in ending tax avoidance.

As a step towards fighting black money stashed abroad, ‘Joint Declaration‘ for implementation of Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) was signed between India and Switzerland on November 2016.

Switzerland agreed for the introduction of the AEOI (Automatic Exchange of information) on tax matters under the guidance of G20, OECD and other global organisations.

AEOI: Know More

  • AEOI, based on Common Reporting Standards, when implemented fully would put in place a system wherein bulk taxpayer information will be sent periodically from the source country of income to the country of residence of taxpayer.
  • It would enable India to get access to information virtually from almost all the countries in the world including offshore financial centres.
  • Switzerland has said the AEOI will be implemented based on the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) on the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (AEOI).
  • The MCAA is based on the international standard for the exchange of information developed by the OECD.
  • India joined the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information on 3rd June, 2015.
  • According to the OECD, MCAA is a multilateral framework agreement that provides a standardised and efficient mechanism to facilitate the automatic exchange of information and avoids the need for the conclusion of several bilateral agreements.
  • Black money is that amount of money which is liable for taxation, but on which tax is not paid or evaded. It is usually received in cash from underground economic activity and, as such, is not taxed.

2)   Who has acquired Yahoo's core business?
- Published on 15 Jun 17

a. Verizon
b. AT&T
c. Reliance
d. Google
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Verizon

Telecom giant Verizon has acquired Yahoo’s core business for $4.48bn (£3.51m), thus ending Yahoo’s two-decade long run as an independent company.

Verizon is the No.1 wireless operator in the US. Salient Highlights Verizon will combine Yahoo with AOL which was bought by it two years ago to establish a venture called Oath.

The Oath is a division in Verizon’s Media and Telematics organisation. Oath owns more than 50 brands such as HuffPost, TechCrunch and Tumblr.

With the acquisition, Yahoo’s chief executive Marissa Mayer has resigned.

Verizon has not indicated how it proposes to use the Yahoo brand which is used by millions of people worldwide.

But it has stated that it will keep the names Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Mail and more.

Yahoo’s acquisition brings to an end a long decline of its market value which peaked at $125 billion in 2000.

The remainder of Yahoo which is not acquired by Verizon will change its name to Altaba Inc. It will become a holding company with 15.5% stakes in Chinese Internet giant Alibaba and a 35.5% holding in Yahoo Japan Corp.

It will begin trading under the ticker symbol “AABA.” Thomas McInerney, a Yahoo board member will be made as Altaba’s chief executive officer.

3)   SEBI has asked commodity derivatives exchanges to set up what type of funds?
- Published on 14 Jun 17

a. Investor Protection Fund
b. Investor Service Funds
c. Investor Social Funds
d. Only a and b
e. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Only a and b

SEBI has come up with comprehensive guidelines asking the Commodity derivatives exchanges to compulsorily set up investor protection and service funds.

The commodity exchanges should maintain separate bank accounts for maintaining the corpus of the IPF and the ISF.

The Investor Service Fund (ISF) is aimed at providing minimum facilities at various investor service centres. At the initial stage, the commodity exchange has to contribute at least Rs 10 lakh towards ISF.

Subsequently, the commodity exchanges are required to transfer 1% of the turnover fees charged from its members on monthly basis towards the ISF.

The Investor Protection Fund (IPF) of a Commodity Exchange should have a maximum of five trustees.

Out of these, three trustees should be public interest directors and a representative from Sebi-recognised investor association.

In addition, the commodity exchange’s compliance officer should be made part of the trust.

The IPF will comprise of all penalties levied and collected by the commodity exchanges except for the settlement related penalties.

The exchanges will have the freedom to fix suitable compensation limits in consultation with the IPF trust.

The exchanges can make use of the IPF corpus for investor education and other awareness programmes.

The trust will be responsible for the supervision of utilisation of interest on IPF. SEBI is the statutory regulator for the securities market in India established in 1988.

It was given statutory powers through the SEBI Act, 1992. SEBI’s headquarters is in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

SEBI’s mandate is to protect the interests of investors in securities, promote the development of securities market and to regulate the securities market.

SEBI Functions: Know More

  • Regulating stock exchanges and other securities markets;
  • Registering and regulating the working of intermediaries who are associated with securities markets in any manner;
  • Registering and regulating the working of venture capital funds and collective investment schemes including mutual funds; promoting and regulating self-regulatory organizations and prohibiting fraudulent and unfair trade practices relating to securities markets.

4)   RBI kept repo rates ____ in second bi-monthly monetary policy review.
- Published on 08 Jun 17

a. Higher
b. Lower
c. Unchanged
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Unchanged

The Reserve Bank of India has kept repo rate unchanged at 6.25% in its second bi-monthly monetary policy review.

Reverse Repo rate has been kept unchanged at 6%.

The RBI has cut the Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) by 50 basis points to 20%. RBI has projected the headline inflation in the range of 2.0-3.5% in the first half of 2017-18 and 3.5-4.5% in the second half.

According to the central bank, the implementation of GST is not expected to have material impact on overall inflation. It has observed that the 7th Pay Commission allowances, geo political, financial risk pose upside risk to inflation.

RBI has reduced the growth projection for the current fiscal to 7.3% from 7.4%. The monetary policy decision has been taken by the six-member monetary policy committee (MPC).

The RBI has also revised its target for gross value added (GVA) by 10 basis points to 7.3%.

Statutory Liquidity Ratio/SLR: Know More

  • SLR is the portion of bank deposits that have to be invested in government bonds.
  • Components of SLR include cash in hand, gold owned by the bank, balance with RBI, Net balance in current account & Investment in Government securities.
  • SLR has to be maintained at the close of business on every day.

5)   Which Indian PSU bank will develop 100 digital villages in India?
- Published on 08 Jun 17

a. SBI
b. PNB
c. Vijaya Bank
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Vijaya Bank

Vijaya Bank is going to develop 100 digital villages spread across various states of the country.

The step is being undertaken by the bank as a part of its initiative to promote digital banking among the rural population.

Vijaya Bank is the only public sector financial institution to develop digital villages with a focus on rural areas and it has already developed five villages including the one in Guntur district.

The project of 100 digital villages will be inaugurated within a month.

The digital villages will comprise services such as internet, Wi-Fi connectivity, mobile payment facilities, ATM cards and online banking among others.

The bank would also be running a door-to-door campaign to educate the villagers. It will also open bank accounts to all the eligible villagers including children and encourage them to make transactions digitally.

The bank’s digital villages project was developed even before the announcement of demonetisation.

Already, the bank has developed 5 villages into Digital Villages. Out of the 100, Andhra Pradesh will be getting 10 digital villages.

Vijaya Bank: Know More

  • Vijaya Bank is a public sector bank with its corporate office in Bangalore.
  • As on March 31 2017, the business worth of the bank is estimated to be ?229833 Cr. The bank has around 1900 branches across the country.
  • It boasts of about 13 lakh mobile banking users and 8 lakh Internet banking users. It is the first public sector bank to take up such initiative.
  • The bank is further working on financing the metro project of the city.

6)   IT department has announced tax payers can link Aadhaar with PAN using?
- Published on 02 Jun 17

a. SMS based facility
b. IT dept e-filing website
c. Any of the above
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Any of the above

The Income Tax (IT) Department on 31 May 2017 announced that taxpayers can now link their Aadhaar Card number with their Permanent Account Number (PAN) by using an SMS-based facility.

The two numbers can be linked by sending an SMS to either 567678 or 56161. Moreover, people can also use the I-T Department’s e-filing website to link the two numbers.

Aadhaar can also be linked into PAN database by quoting Aadhaar in PAN application form for new PAN allotment or by quoting Aadhaar in change request form used for reprint of PAN card.

After verification from the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India), the linking will be confirmed.

In case of any minor mismatch in Aadhaar name provided by the applicant, Aadhaar OTP (one-time password) will be required.

The OTP will be sent to the mobile number registered in the Aadhaar database. The linking of Aadhaar number and PAN is a means to seamlessly avail income tax facilities online.

The I-T Department earlier this month launched an e-filing website to link Aadhaar number with PAN, a mandatory procedure for filing I-T returns now.

The e-filing website added a link on its homepage where people must enter their PAN numbers, Aadhaar numbers and names.

The Union Government, under the Finance Act, 2017, made it mandatory for taxpayers to quote Aadhaar number or the enrolment number of Aadhaar application form for filing I-T returns.

The government also made Aadhaar Card mandatory for applying for PAN with effect from July 2017.

7)   ADB has signed a loan with which PSU bank(s) for financing solar rooftop systems and commercial buildings throughout India?
- Published on 02 Jun 17

a. SBI
b. IOB
d. All the above
e. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: None of the above

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Punjab National Bank (PNB) on 30th May signed a $100 million loan - to be guaranteed by the Government of India - that will finance large solar rooftop systems on industrial and commercial buildings throughout India.

The PNB will use the ADB funds to make further loans to various developers and end users to install rooftop solar systems.

This is the first tranche loan of the $500 million multi tranche finance facility Solar Rooftop Investment Program (SRIP) approved by ADB in 2016.

The financing includes $330 million from ADB’s ordinary capital resources and $170 million from the multi donor Clean Technology Fund (CTF) administered by ADB.

The first tranche loan of $100 million would be financed entirely from the CTF.

With a sharp drop in the price of solar panels, India has a huge potential to expand its use of solar rooftop technologies.

The program will contribute to the government’s plans to increase solar power generation capacity, and also help India meet the carbon emission reduction target in line with its commitment at the recent global climate change agreement.

India’s solar rooftop market is expanding fast with an estimated total capacity potential of 124GW.

The project is aligned with the goal set by Government of India to increase the country’s solar rooftop capacity by 40 GW by 2022, and would also contribute to Government’s efforts to promote solar energy solutions as affordable and sustainable energy sources.

The entire Solar Rooftop Investment Program will cost $1 billion, inclusive of ADB $500 million funding, and the projects financed under the program will install solar rooftop system of around 1 GW capacity.

This will contribute to the climate change goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 11 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent over the typical 25-year lifetime of rooftop solar systems.

8)   CBDT has signed two unilateral APAs for which purpose?
- Published on 25 May 17

a. Chip design and development of embedded software sector
b. IT sector growth
c. Both of the above
d. Neither of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Both of the above

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on 22 May 2017 signed two Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APA) with Indian taxpayers.

Among these two agreements, one also has a Rollback Provision.

The two APAs signed pertain to chip design and development of embedded software and Information technology sectors of the economy.

With the signing of these two APAs, the number of APAs signed in Financial Year 2017-18 is now four.

The progress of the APA Scheme is directly proportional to the Union Government’s commitment to foster a non-adversarial tax regime.

The APA Scheme was introduced in the Income-tax Act, 1961 in 2012 and the Rollback Provisions were introduced in 2014.

The scheme aims to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and setting the prices of international transactions in advance for the maximum of five future years.

Further, the taxpayer has the option to roll-back the APA for four preceding years, as a result of which, total nine years of tax certainty is provided.

Since its inception, the APA scheme has showcased a lot of interest from taxpayers that has resulted in filing of over 700 applications in about five years.

9)   HDFC Life has announced an insurance email bot called SPOK. What are its capabilities?
- Published on 25 May 17

a. Reads customer queries within milliseconds
b. Responds to customer queries
c. Records customer history and buying preferences
d. Only a and b
e. All the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Only a and b

HDFC Life today announced the launch of an artificial intelligence-based application that can automatically read, understand, categorise, prioritise and respond to customer emails sent to the private insurer.

SPOK, an insurance email bot, can read customer queries within milliseconds and respond to them, it said.

This automation initiative will enable the company to respond to user queries faster, more efficiently and consistently.

The deployment of SPOK will improve customer experience, while providing the support staff with the bandwidth to focus on customer satisfaction.

HDFC Life has embarked on this initiative in collaboration with Senseforth, a startup that offers a wide range of enterprise bots built on its artificial intelligence (AI) platform.

The email Bot is built on cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing technologies.

10)   Israel Aerospace Industries has closed a deal to supply air and missile defence systems to which nation in May 2017?
- Published on 25 May 17

a. India
b. Palestine
c. US
d. UK
Answer  Explanation 


State-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) on 21st May has closed another major deal worth $630 million with India to supply advanced long range air and missile defence systems for four ships of the Indian Navy.

The deal, a major boost to the ‘Make in India’ campaign, will be jointly executed with the Indian government’s Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), and comes close on the heels of Israel’s largest defence contract ever worth $2 billion to supply the Indian Army and Navy with missile defence systems.

IAI said the $630-million contract is for supplying Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM) systems.

LRSAM: Know More

  • The LRSAM is a joint development by IAI and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation.
  • It comprises several key state-of-the-art elements, advanced phased-array radar, command-and-control system, launchers and missiles with advanced radio-frequency (RF) seekers.
  • The system provides the ultimate protection against a variety of aerial, naval and air borne threats. It is currently operational with the Indian Air Force, Indian Navy and Israel Defence Forces.
  • The Indian Army is also likely to deploy it soon.
  • The LRSAM was last week successfully tested in India as part of operational interception trial aboard Indian Navy ship demonstrating again the system’s operational capabilities in a representative scenario with genuine target.

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