Current Affairs Update 15th December 2015


SBI prepares plan to transform into full-scale digital bank

SBI plans to go digital current affairs

  • SBI is readying a plan to bring its 44.7 crore customers on mobile banking and digital wallet platforms as part of the 2020 digital transformation strategy at the country’s largest lender.
  • The strategy involves digitising all
    processes, implementing green banking and upgrading the legacy network to offer speedy services to customers of the state-run bank which has an annual IT budget of Rs 3,000 crore.
  • “Digitisation will help customers carry out banking using self-service available on omnichannels at any time of their busy day,” said SBI’s chief technology officer Shiv Bhasin. The bank will be approaching customers using inferences drawn from their profile and transactional behaviour to offer products and services, he said.
  • The bank plans to declutter its branch network which currently stands at over 16,415 and enhance financial inclusion in an effective manner via its digitisation plan. SBI is also working towards simplifying financial narrative, overhauling existing network and provide banking via omnichannels and devices, said Bhasin.
  • SBI, which launched mobile wallet application SBI Buddy in August, will soon become the first bank in the country to launch a mobile wallet for feature phone users. The bank has about 350,000 customers on its buddy platform. It is also planning to provide digital green debit card personal identification number or PIN to customers over SBI Quick app. Currently, the bank dispatches PIN to its customers via courier or post.
  • SBI also plans to spend over Rs 200 crore to upgrade its network to improve its customer service. It plans to convert all its network circuits to 2 mbps from the current 64 kbps to eliminate network outage in the remotest areas. The bank will tie up with Airtel, Vodafone, Tata Docomo and Sify to provide alternate connectivity. Currently, BSNL is SBI’s main network service provider.

India’s coal imports may see first drop in five years on output jump

Coal projects current affairs

  • India’s annual coal imports are set to fall for the first time in five years as domestic output surges under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push to expand domestic mining and eventually stop thermal coal imports by 2017.
  • Shipments into the world’s third-largest coal importer nearly halved in November versus a year ago and should decline this month, leading to an overall annual decline, Coal Secretary Anil Swarup told Reuters on Monday.
  •  Record production from state-owned producer Coal India has driven the turnaround. The company’s April to November output rose 9 percent to 321.4 million tonnes, as it opens a mine a month to double output to 1 billion tonnes this decade.
  • Prime Minister Modi has made boosting the coal mining sector a key program of his government in order to provide electricity to all 1.2 billion people in the country. Toward that, the government has fast-tracked environmental clearances, making land purchase easier.
  • Swarup said it was difficult to predict a figure but imports could fall to 170 million tonnes or less this fiscal year ending March 31, from about 212 million tonnes last fiscal year.
  • That would be the first fall since 2010/11 and the second since 2002/03. India measures imports by a fiscal year starting on April 1.
Andhra Pradesh achieved 11.77% growth rate in H1: N Chandrababu Naidu
AP CM current affairs
  • Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu today said the state has achieved 11.77 per cent growth rate in the first half of this fiscal against the target of 10.62 per cent.
  • “Andhra Pradesh has surpassed by 4 per cent the national growth rate of 7.2 per cent by achieving a growth rate of 11.77 per cent in the first half (H1 – April to September) of this fiscal,” Naidu said after inaugurating the two-day long District Collectors conference here.
  • He said particularly the agricultural allied sector – fisheries and animal husbandry has achieved growth rate of 47.10 per cent followed by service sector 8.05 per cent and industry 6.25 per cent.
  • Naidu, however, said that primary agriculture could not achieve the expected growth due the drought conditions in the state.
  • Naidu directed the collectors to utilise funds from Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Act ( MGNREGA) and other schemes for water harvesting.

13,204 MW of green power capacity added in 12th Plan till October

current affairs power

  • A power generation capacity of 13,204 MW from non-conventional or clean sources like solar and wind has been added during the 12th Plan (2012-17) till October-end, Parliament was informed today.”
  • As against a capacity addition target of 1,18,537 MW (including 88,537 MW conventional and 30,000 MW renewable) during the 12th Plan (2016-17), about 70,480 MW has been achieved from conventional sources till December 7, 2015 and about 13,204 MW from renewable sources till October 31, 2015,” Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha today.
  • India has set a very ambitious target of adding 175 GW of power generation capacity from renewable energy sources by 2022.
  • The minister said, “(There is plan for) construction of 1,07,440 circuit kilometres (ckm) transmission lines and setting up of 2,82,740 megavolt ampere (MVA) transformation capacity during the 12th Plan. As against this, 76,490 ckm of transmission lines and 2,19,730 MVA of transformation capacity have been achieved till November, 2015.”
  • The 12th Five-Year Plan began on April 1, 2012 and will end on March 31, 2017.
  • The power projects under construction that are likely to be ready by 2019-end total around 86,363 MW capacity, comprising 72,326 MW from thermal, 9,737 MW from hydro and 4,300 MW from nuclear sources, the Minister added.
  • The energy shortage has come down from 8.5 per cent in 2011-12 to 2.4 per cent in 2015-16 (up to October 2015), the lowest ever.
  • Furthermore, the peak shortage is down from 10.6 per cent in 2011-12 to 3.2 per cent during 2015-16 (up to October 2015), which also is an all-time low, the minister added.
Coast Guard DIG B K Loshali sacked

IG sacked curent affairs

  • Coast Guard DIG B K Loshali has been sacked following a Board of Inquiry over his comments that contradicted the government’s stand on the sinking of a Pakistan fishing boat last year.
  • “He was dismissed from services after the Board of Inquiry found him guilty of all the charges on Saturday. The inquiry was conducted by a panel of senior DIG (Deputy Inspector General) rank officers for over three months,” said a senior Coast Guard official.
  • While the government has claimed that the Pakistani boat had been set on fire by its crew, Loshali told an audience of Coast Guard and Larsen & Toubro officials on February 15 that he had ordered to blow off the boat, which was a major embarrassment for the government as well as the Coast Guard.