Indian Economy - General awareness questions on current affairs

1)   Which country became the net exporter of electricity during April - February 2017 for the first time?
- Published on 30 Mar 17

a. India
b. Pakistan
c. Afghanistan
d. Nepal
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: India

Explanation:
India has become a net exporter of electricity during the April-February 2017 period this fiscal for the first time.

This is as per the Central Electricity Authority, the designated authority of the government of India for cross border trade of electricity.

This is the first time India has turned from net importer of electricity to net exporter.

According to the statement, during the current year 2016-17 (April-February), India has exported around 5,798 million units to Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

This is 213 million units more than the import of around 5,585 million units from Bhutan.

Export to Nepal and Bangladesh increased 2.5 and 2.8 times respectively in the last three years. Ever since the cross border trade of electricity started in mid-80s, India has been importing power from Bhutan and marginally exporting to Nepal in radial mode at 33 kV and 132 kV from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh respectively.

On an average, Bhutan has been supplying around 5,000-5,500 million units to India.

India had also been exporting around 190 MW power to Nepal over 12 cross border interconnections at 11kV, 33kV and 132 kV level.

The export of power to Nepal further increased by around 145 MW with commissioning of Muzaffarpur (India)– Dhalkhebar (Nepal) 400kV line (being operated at 132 kV) in 2016.

The export of power to Bangladesh from India got further boost with commissioning of the first cross border interconnection between Baharampur in India and Bheramara in Bangladesh at 400kV in September 2013.

It was further augmented by commissioning of second cross border Interconnection between Surjyamaninagar (Tripura) in India and South Comilla in Bangladesh.

At present, around 600 MW power is being exported to Bangladesh.

The export of power to Nepal is expected to increase by around 145 MW shortly over 132 kV Katiya (Bihar) - Kusaha (Nepal) and 132 kV Raxaul (Bihar) - Parwanipur (Nepal).

Bhutan: Know More

  • Capital: Thimphu
  • King: Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck
  • Prime minister: Tshering Tobgay
  • Currencies: Indian rupee, Bhutanese ngultrum
  • Official language: Dzongkha


2)   Which bank is offering “Unnati” credit cards to holders with balance of INR 20 to 25 thousand, without considering credit history?
- Published on 30 Mar 17

a. State Bank of India
b. State Bank of Mysore
c. State Bank of Travancore
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: State Bank of India

Explanation:
State Bank of India on 28th March 2017 announced offering credit cards to account holders with a balance of INR 20,000-25,000.

The card called Unnati will be offered through a network of 20 thousand plus SBI branches.

SBI will not consider the customer's credit history. Card called Unnati will be issued free for first four years.

Lack of credit history will be the challenge in increasing card penetration in the country. Card will facilitate generation of credit history for fresh users which will bring them into the organised financial stream.

To encourage adoption of credit cards and facilitate expansion in the reach of digital payments, the SBI Card Unnati will be offered free, at zero annual fee, for four years.

SBI has close to 30 crore customer accounts, including Jan Dhan Yojana. Post-demonetisation the balance amount in these accounts increased significantly.

Many customers do not have credit history and are not eligible for cards. SBI wants to bring about financial inclusion in terms of credit facility with this new product.

The Bank is also in the process of increasing its stake in SBI Card to 74 per cent.

SBI currently holds 60 per cent stake in SBICPSL and 40 per cent in GECBPMSL.

The balance being held by GE Capital in both the ventures.

The SBI has approval to infuse Rs 1,160 crore in the two JVs - SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt Ltd (SBICPSL) and GE Capital Business Processes Management Services Ltd (GECBPMSL)- through purchase of equity shares from GE Capital.

This is to increase the bank's stake in both the companies to 74 per cent.

The nation's largest lender SBI entered credit card business in 1998 by roping GE Capital India, the consumer finance arm of US-based GE Capital.

SBI Card, having 4.3 million user, said its latest offering 'Unnati' targeted at all SBI customers, including Jan Dhan account holders throughout the country.

SBI: Know More

  • Founded: 2 June 1806, Bank of Calcutta/ 27 January 1921, Imperial Bank of India/ 1 July 1955, State Bank of India/ 2 June 1956, nationalization
  • Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
  • Area served: Worldwide
  • Chairperson: Arundhati Bhattacharya
  • Products: Consumer banking, corporate banking, finance and insurance, investment banking, mortgage loans, private banking, private equity, savings, securities, asset management, wealth management, credit cards.


3)   Which fair was inaugurated in Motihari Bihar to promote cashless transactions?
- Published on 29 Mar 17

a. Digidhan
b. DigiFair
c. DigiCash
d. DigiMobi
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Digidhan

Explanation:
Promotion of Digidhan and cashless transactions are part of the mission to bring digital transactions to the fore.

Keeping this in mind, a Digidhan Fair was held in Motihari, Bihar.

The fair involved banks, Common Service Centres (CSC), private digital payment service providers etc. informing the consumers as well as traders about the new technology.

Government has taken several initiatives to promote cashless transactions. Keeping cashless transaction and increasing population of educated youth under consideration, the government has launched Bheem App, which is quite popular.

So far 1.25 crore people have been linked to the App and a transaction of Rs. 361 crore has been made.

More than 100 crore phones are there in India and out of them 30-40 crore is smartphones.

There are about 50 crore internet users.

If used properly, credit cards won’t be required.

Banks have devised UPI cards under which if the mobile app is downloaded, people can do the transaction through any bank on the basis of their phone numbers.

2.15 crore railway tickets are booked out of which 1.30 crore tickets are booked online. He informed that there is 144 crore bank accounts by and large, out of them 117 are the savings account.

A total number of Jandhan account is 28.02 crore.

So far 40 crore bank accounts are linked to Aadhaar Cards.

Total number of Aadhaar cards is 113 crore and there is 20.13 crore POS machines in the country and by the end of this month 10 lakh new machines will be added.

Apart from this, there is 5.7 crore e-wallet users and 110.6 crore credit/debit cards.

So far 21.9 crore consumers have got Rupay cards and its usage has increased up to 40% in the recent time.

Steps to Curb Black Money: Know More

  • Special Investigation Team (SIT) was constituted.
  • A law was made to tackle undeclared foreign assets and deposits.
  • India revised the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with Mauritius and Cyprus
  • A treaty was signed with Switzerland to obtain information about the bank accounts of Indians in HSBC bank.
  • Cashless and digital payments have to be promoted
  • Benami Transaction act will be modified.
  • Income declaration scheme 2016


4)   Which of the following is the apex policy making body for indirect taxes?
- Published on 27 Mar 17

a. CBEC
b. CBAC
c. CBUC
d. CBIC
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: CBIC

Explanation:
Apex policy making body for indirect taxes, CBEC is now to be known as Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customers in the run up to the GST regime from July 1.

CBEC is being renamed as the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customers after getting legislative approval.

CBIC will supervise the work of all field formations and directorates and assist the government in policy making in relation to GST, continuing central excise levy and custom functions.

The existing formations of central excise and service tax under the CBEC have been re-organised to implement and enforce the provisions of the proposed GST Laws, it added.

The renamed Directorate General of Goods & Service Tax Intelligence is also being strengthened and expanded to become an important wing of the government in its fight against tax evasion and black money.

The existing training establishment, to be renamed as National Academy of Customs, Indirect Taxes and Narcotics will have an all-India presence.

This will enable capacity building to the employees of the indirect tax administration of the Centre as well as of the State Governments and to members of Trade and Industry.

GST: Know More

  • Indirect tax reform GST is expected to curb tax evasion.
  • It will make commodities cheaper and add up to 2 per cent to India’s GDP growth.
  • GST will subsume excise, service tax, VAT and other local levies.

    CBIC

  • The CBIC will have 21 zones.
  • It will have 101 GST Tax payer Services Commissionerates comprising 15 sub-Commissionerates,
  • 768 Divisions, 3,969 Ranges, 49 Audit Commissionerates and 50 Appeals Commissionerates are also included .


5)   What is the criteria for an Insolvency Professional according to IBBI?
- Published on 23 Mar 17

a. The IP must not engage in any employment
b. IP cannot play two roles - profession and employment - at once
c. Both a and b
d. Neither of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Both a and b

Explanation:
The first order issued by the recently-established Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) is expected to influence many firms, including well-known consultancies that are eyeing the huge market for stressed assets and debt resolution.

In its March 2 order, IBBI rejected an application for registration as an Insolvency Professional (IP) by an individual who works with one of the so-called Big Four consultancy firms.

It held that “... an IP must not ‘engage in any employment’, repeat ‘any employment’.

It envisages that a person must not play two roles — profession and employment - simultaneously,” according to the order.

IBBI is not going to grant registration to individuals in such a scenario and so entities that want to be registered will have to form a separate subsidiary with dedicated resources related to insolvency and bankruptcy work.

The law does allow insolvency professional entities or IPEs wherein the majority of partners are registered IPs.”

This segment is going to be extremely large in the future. There is around ?6.6 lakh crore worth of recognised NPAs in the banking sector as of today.

Legal experts say that the first order from IBBI has set a tone on how it is going to interpret the provisions of its regulations and is in line with the views of other regulators.

IBBI: Know More

  • IBBI seeks to consolidate and amend laws relating to reorganisation as well as insolvency resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms and individuals in a time-bound manner.
  • It has been set up by the code to regulate professionals, information utilities (IUs) and agencies engaged in the resolution of insolvencies of companies.
  • It has chairman and 10 members.
  • Current chairman is M S Sahoo.
  • There four government-nominated members.


6)   Which firms will have to deduct tax collected at source up to 1 percent while making a payment?
- Published on 20 Mar 17

a. E-commerce
b. M-commerce
c. MSME
d. Financial
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: E-commerce

Explanation:
eCommerce firms like Snapdeal and Amazon will have to deduct 1 percent tax collected at source while making payments to suppliers under the GST regime which is expected to come in from July 1.

Model Goods and Services Tax law, finalised by the GST Council, provides 1 percent TCS to be deducted by e-commerce operators.

Model law provides electronic commerce operators who are not agents should collect one percent TCS as notified on the recommendation of the Council of net value of taxable supplies made by other suppliers where the consideration with respect to the supplies should be collected by the operator.

Experts have expressed concern that a similar amount will be levied on inter-state movement of goods taking TCS deduction to 2 percent.

"We have included the word 'up to' in the final model GST law. This would mean that TCS would not exceed 1 per cent of the sale proceeds.

Industry has been expressing concern over the TCS provisions saying it would mean a lock-in of capital and also dissuades companies from selling through online aggregators.

E-commerce companies will also have to file returns on the TCS deductions, but in case of return of goods by the consumer, these companies will not have to deduct TCS as there is no actual sale.

The model law had defined 'electronic commerce' as supply of goods or services, including digital products, over electronic network.

'Electronic commerce operator' would mean those persons who own, operate or manage digital or electronic facility or platform for electronic commerce.


7)   Which coal ministry outfit has been tasked with grading and notifying Coal India Ltd mines?
- Published on 20 Mar 17

a. Coal Controller's Organisation
b. Coal Controller's Association
c. Coal Controller's Agency
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Coal Controller's Organisation

Explanation:
Coal Controller's Organisation, a coal ministry outfit has been tasked with grading and notifying the mines of Coal India Ltd from April 2017.

This makes a significant change of internal grading by Coal India.

This could lead to a change in existing grades as per the mines. Grading until now was done by coal producing subsidiaries of CIL and vetted by the CCO.

This change has been triggered by a fresh thrust on quality following recurring complaints on coal quality and grade mismatch by coal consumers in power and non-power sectors.

CIL has geared up to produce coal as per demand, but quality remains an issue.

In between coal seams, the presence of layers of stone and extraneous materials have led to variation in grades.


8)   Indian exports soared by 17% in Feb 2017, led by _______.
- Published on 16 Mar 17

a. Petroleum, engineering and chemicals
b. Manufacturing, services and IT
c. All of the above
d. Neither of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Petroleum, engineering and chemicals

Explanation:
Noting positive growth for 6 months in a row, Indian exports soared 17.48 percent to USD 24.5 billion in Feb 2017 led by petroleum, engineering and chemicals.

But trade deficit also widened to USD 8.89 bn as imports grew.

Exports during Feb 2017 showed a double digit positive growth for the first time.

Imports were up 21.76% to USD 33.38b leaving a trade deficit of USD 8.89b as against USD 6.57 bn in Feb 2016.

During the April-Feb period of the current fiscal, exports have expanded by 2.52 percent to USD 245.4 bn.

Imports dipped 3.67 percent to USD 340.7 bn.

Trade deficit during the 11 month period stood at USD 95.28 bn as against USD 114.3 bn in the same period of the previous fiscal.

Oil imports rose by 60% to USD 7.68bn in Feb. Non-oil imports rose by 13.65% to USD 25.7 bn.

Gold imports too jumped manifold to USD 3.48 bn in February as against USD 1.4 bn in the same month last fiscal.

Trade Deficit: Know More

  • Trade deficit is an economic measure of a negative balance of trade.
  • In this, a country's imports exceeds its exports.
  • A trade deficit represents an outflow of domestic currency to foreign markets.


9)   India's retail inflation grew to what percent in February?
- Published on 15 Mar 17

a. 3.65
b. 3.64
c. 3.63
d. 3.62
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 3.65

Explanation:
India's retail inflation rate grew by 3.65 percent in February, up from January's 3.17 percent.

This mirrors flat demand as companies and households hit by note-ban induced cash crunch raised spending on goods and services.

In February 2016, consumer price index inflation grew 5.18 percent, indicating a more expansionary economy a year back.

Retail inflation information, measured by CPI, is the broadest metric to measure cost of living in India.

The recent price data released by CSO represents a pick up in pace of remonetisation, led by food price increase.

Consumer food price inflation is a metric to measure changes in monthly kitchen costs. It grew 2.01 percent as against 0.53 percent in January and 5.30 percent in February 2016.

Fruit prices have risen 8.33 percent in February, up from 5.81 percent in January. The price of prepared meals and snacks saw a negligible change at 5.45 percent growth in February and 5.54 percent in January.

The scrapping of high value notes led to less spending, decreasing the demand for perishable products, when the sudden currency recall exercise commenced.

Prices of veggies and pulses remained tepid. The growth in CPI for vegetables contracted to -8.29 percent in February from 0.70 percent in 2016.

Index for fuel and light witnessed a small growth at 3.90 percent in February from 3.42 percent in January.

Housing inflation remained almost flat and grew at 4.90 percent in February, compared with 5.02 percent in January.


10)   Country's industrial production grew by what percent Y-O-Y in Jan 2017?
- Published on 14 Mar 17

a. 2.4
b. 2.5
c. 2.7
d. 2.9
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 2.7

Explanation:
India's industrial production grew 2.7 percent Y-O-Y in Jan 2017 despite demonetisation, according to CSO.

Growth was due to the base effect as output had shrunk 1.59% in Jan 2016

Performance was better than 0.38 percent contraction in Dec 2016 but lagged the 5.65 percent growth posted in Nov 2016.

Manufacturing sector accounted for 75% of the total IIP grew 2.3% in January from -2.94 in January 2016 and -1.97% in Dec 2016, but slower than Nov's 5.47 percent pace.

Mining sector recorded a 5.3% growth in January, compared with 1.54% in January 2016 and 5.24% in December 2016.

Electricity production registered a 3.9% growth in January, lower than 6.56% in January 2016 and 6.28% in December 2016.

Capital goods output - a crucial pointer to investment demand in the economy - rose 10.7% from a low base of a contraction of (-) 21.55% in January 2016 as well as from (-) 3.01% in December 2016.

Consumer goods output contracted (-) 1% in January indicating weak consumer demand.

Consumer durables output grew 2.9%.

Only nine out of the 22 industry groups in the manufacturing sector have shown positive growth in the month of January 2017 as compared with the corresponding month of the previous year.

'Electrical machinery & apparatus’ recorded the highest positive growth of 42.4%, followed by 21.8% growth in ‘radio, TV & communication equipment’ and 12.4% in ‘basic metals’.

‘Office, accounting and computing machinery’ registered the highest negative growth of -16%, followed by -14.8% in ‘food products & beverages’ and -13.4% in ‘Other transport equipment’.

Though retail inflation was below the target of 5%, IIP growth for April-January 2016-17 over the corresponding period of the previous year stood at 0.6%.


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