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Important Current Affairs for CLAT-19th September 2023

SBI Revolutionizes NRI Banking: Digital NRE/NRO Account Setup via YONO

In a groundbreaking move, the State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s largest lender, has launched a cutting-edge digital platform for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to seamlessly open NRE (Non-Residential External) and NRO (Non-Resident Ordinary) savings and current accounts. This innovative service is specifically tailored to “new to bank” (NTB) customers, aiming to simplify and expedite the account opening procedure.

Understanding NRE and NRO Accounts

  1. NRE Account: A Non-Residential External (NRE) account is established in India under the NRI’s name to house their foreign earnings securely.

  2. NRO Account: Conversely, a Non-Resident Ordinary (NRO) account is opened in India in the NRI’s name to manage income earned within the country, such as rent, dividends, pensions, interest, and more.

Seamless, Digitized Account Opening

SBI has harnessed the power of technology to create a seamless and digitized account opening process that guarantees efficiency and precision, effectively serving as a comprehensive solution for NRI banking needs.

Real-Time Application Tracking

For added convenience and transparency, SBI’s NRI customers can monitor the status of their account opening application in real-time, providing them with insights at every step of the process.

Steps to Open an NRI/NRO Account via YONO SBI:

  1. Download YONO SBI App: Begin by downloading the YONO SBI mobile application.

  2. Account Selection: Within the app, choose the option to open either an NRE or NRO account based on your specific requirements.

  3. KYC Submission Options: After successfully completing the initial steps, customers are presented with two options to submit their Know Your Customer (KYC) documents:

    • Option A: Visit an SBI branch of your choice in India to submit your documents in person.

    • Option B: Alternatively, you can opt to attest your KYC documents through a Notary, Indian Embassy, High Commission, SBI Foreign Office, Representative Office, Court Magistrate, or Judge. Subsequently, mail these documents to a centrally designated branch for processing.

2ND EDITION OF INDIAN NAVY’S NAVAL INNOVATION AND INDIGENISATION SEMINAR (SWAVLAMBAN-2023)

The Indian Navy is all set to host the second edition of the Naval Innovation and Indigenisation (NIIO) Seminar, known as ‘Swavlamban 2023,’ scheduled to take place on 4th and 5th October 2023. This event follows the maiden edition of the seminar, which was held in July 2022 and marked a significant milestone in the Navy’s quest for innovation and self-reliance.

‘SPRINT’ Initiative: A Catalyst for Indigenous Technology Adoption

In the inaugural edition of ‘Swavlamban’ in 2022, the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India unveiled the ‘SPRINT’ initiative, which has since become a driving force behind the Indian Navy’s pursuit of indigenous technology adoption. ‘SPRINT’ stands for Supporting Pole-Vaulting in R&D through Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX), NIIO, and Technology Development Acceleration Cell (TDAC). This collaborative effort aims to foster innovation and indigenisation in the defense sector.

75 Challenges for Start-ups and MSMEs

A key highlight of the ‘SPRINT’ initiative is the issuance of 75 challenges to start-ups and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). These challenges serve as a clarion call to harness indigenous innovation for the benefit of the Indian Navy. The overarching goal is to develop at least 75 cutting-edge technologies and products as part of the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav,’ a celebration of India’s 75 years of independence.

Overwhelming Response: 1106 Proposals Received

The ‘SPRINT’ initiative received an overwhelming response from the innovation ecosystem. A total of 1106 proposals poured in from enthusiastic innovators and entrepreneurs across the country. This enthusiastic participation underscores the growing appetite for innovation and indigenisation in the defense sector.

Winners Announced: DISC 7 SPRINT and SPRINT-PRIME Categories

Following a comprehensive evaluation process, 113 winners were declared under the DISC 7 SPRINT category, each receiving grants of up to 1.5 crore rupees. Additionally, 5 winners were announced in the DISC 7 SPRINT-PRIME category, securing grants of up to 10 crore rupees. These winners represent the vanguard of innovation, and their solutions hold great promise for the Indian Navy.

Active Collaboration: Developmental Agreements and Prototypes

The Indian Navy, in collaboration with iDEX and industry partners, has actively engaged in the development of these innovative solutions. More than 100 developmental agreements have been forged, fostering a vibrant ecosystem of collaboration between the defense establishment and the startup and MSME sectors.

Niche Technologies in Progress

The ‘SPRINT’ initiative has spurred the development of niche technologies across a wide spectrum. Notable areas of advancement include blue-green lasers for underwater applications, autonomous weaponized swarms, underwater swarm drones, multiple firefighting aids, and the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for various naval applications. Additionally, efforts are underway to create an ultra-endurance small drone tailored for maritime missions.

Swavlamban 2023: Showcasing Indigenous Excellence

The upcoming ‘Swavlamban 2023’ seminar, scheduled for October 4th and 5th in New Delhi, promises to be a platform where these 75 prototypes will take center stage. Attendees can look forward to live demonstrations of several promising technologies, further cementing the commitment of the Indian Navy and its partners to drive innovation, indigenisation, and self-reliance in the defense sector.

SHREYAS Scheme Empowers Thousands: Over 2300 Crore Rupees Allocated for Education of SC and OBC Students Since 2014

The Scheme for Higher Education Youth in Apprenticeship and Skills (SHREYAS scheme), comprising four central sector sub-schemes, has been instrumental in empowering thousands of students from Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) since its inception in 2014. This umbrella scheme encompasses “Top Class Education for SCs,” “Free Coaching Scheme for SCs and OBCs,” “National Overseas Scheme for SCs,” and “National Fellowship for SCs.” This article provides an overview of these sub-schemes, highlighting the allocated budgets, expenditure details, and the number of beneficiaries over the past nine years.

Free Coaching Scheme for SCs and OBCs:

  • Objective: The scheme aims to offer high-quality coaching to economically disadvantaged SC and OBC candidates, enabling them to participate in competitive exams and gain admission to prestigious technical and professional higher education institutions.

  • Income Ceiling: Families with a total annual income of up to 8 lakhs are eligible for this scheme.

  • Allocation: 3500 slots are allocated annually, with a student ratio of 70% SC and 30% OBC. Additionally, 30% of slots are reserved for female candidates.

  • Funding: From 2014-15 to 2022-23, a total of 109.77 crore rupees have been disbursed, benefiting 19,995 beneficiaries.

Top Class Education for SCs:

  • Objective: This scheme promotes quality education among SC students beyond the 12th grade by providing full financial support for their studies.

  • Income Ceiling: The income threshold is set at 8 lakhs per annum for eligible families.

  • Institutes Covered: The scheme covers 266 higher education institutes, including government and private institutions, prestigious IIMs, IITs, NITs, IIITs, AIIMS, NIFTs, NIDs, NLUs, IHMs, CUs, NAAC A++ accredited institutes, and the top 100 institutions ranked by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF).

  • Funding: From 2014-15 to 2022-23, a total of 398.43 crore rupees have been disbursed, benefiting 21,988 beneficiaries.

National Overseas Scheme for SCs:

  • Objective: This scheme provides financial assistance to selected students from SCs, De-notified, Nomadic, Semi-Nomadic Tribes, and other disadvantaged categories for pursuing master’s and Ph.D. level courses abroad.

  • Eligibility: Students with a total family income of less than 8 lakhs per annum, more than 60% marks in the qualifying examination, below 35 years of age, and admission to top 500 QS ranking foreign institutes/universities are eligible.

  • Slots: Presently, 125 slots are allocated under this scheme.

  • Coverage: The scheme covers tuition fees, maintenance and contingency allowances, visa fees, and travel expenses for awardees.

  • Funding: From 2014-15 to 2022-23, a total of 197.14 crore rupees have been disbursed, benefiting 950 beneficiaries.

National Fellowship for SC Students:

  • Objective: This fellowship supports SC students pursuing higher education leading to M.Phil/Ph.D. degrees in Sciences, Humanities, and Social Sciences in Indian Universities/Institutions/Colleges recognized by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

  • Slots: The scheme provides 2000 new slots per year, with 500 for science stream and 1500 for Humanities and Social Sciences.

  • Eligibility: Students must have qualified the National Eligibility Test- Junior Research Fellowship (NET-JRF) of UGC and Junior Research Fellows for the Science stream, qualifying UGC-CSIR Joint Test.

  • Funding: This fellowship assists students in their academic pursuits.

SBI’s Innovative Approach to Prevent Loan Default: Chocolates at Borrowers’ Doorsteps

The State Bank of India (SBI), the largest public sector lender, has devised a unique strategy to tackle potential loan defaults. Recognizing that borrowers planning to default often ignore reminder calls, SBI is taking a proactive approach by personally visiting their homes unannounced and surprising them with a pack of chocolates. This innovative method is aimed at improving loan collections, particularly as SBI’s retail lending has experienced substantial growth.

SBI’s Expanding Retail Loan Book:

SBI’s retail loan book has witnessed remarkable growth, surging by over 16.46 percent to reach Rs 12,04,279 crore in the June 2023 quarter from Rs 10,34,111 crore in the previous year.

Leveraging Fintech and Artificial Intelligence:

To enhance its loan recovery efforts, SBI has partnered with fintech companies that utilize artificial intelligence (AI) technology. These fintech platforms play a dual role: one focuses on negotiating with borrowers, while the other assesses a borrower’s likelihood of default.

Personalized Visits with Chocolates:

In the case of borrowers who are identified as likely to default, representatives from the partnering fintech visit their homes with a pack of chocolates in hand. This personal visit serves as a reminder of upcoming monthly installments, and the unexpected nature of the visit aims to catch the borrower’s attention effectively.

Positive Outcomes of the Chocolates-and-Visit Approach:

SBI reports that this unconventional approach has yielded impressive results so far, significantly improving the success rate in recovering overdue loan payments.

Future Expansion of Fintech Partnerships:

While SBI has not disclosed the names of these fintech partners, the initiative is currently in the pilot phase, having been implemented just 15 days ago. The bank intends to formally announce the program if it continues to prove successful. Additionally, SBI is in discussions with other fintech firms to enhance its loan collection efficiency and anticipates partnering with at least half of them by the end of the year.

Diverse Retail Loan Portfolio:

SBI’s extensive retail loan portfolio includes personal loans, auto loans, home loans, and education loans. With a home loan book exceeding Rs 6.3 lakh crore as of June, SBI stands as the largest mortgage lender in the country.

Government Banking Reforms:

The Ministry of Finance has praised the significant improvements in the performance of public sector banks (PSBs) as a result of banking reforms undertaken by the central government. These reforms have addressed issues such as credit discipline, responsible lending practices, improved governance, and the adoption of technology.

Improved PSB Performance Metrics:

As a direct outcome of these reforms, the Ministry of Finance highlights several positive metrics for PSBs, including a significant decline in the Gross Non-Performing Asset (NPA) ratio from 14.6 percent in March 2018 to 5.53 percent in December 2022. Furthermore, the capital adequacy ratio of PSBs has improved, and all PSBs are operating profitably.

Coastal Security Drill ‘Operation Sajag’ Conducted By Indian Coast Guard Along The West Coast

Operation Sajag,’ a comprehensive drill was conducted by the Indian Coast Guard along the west coast on September 18, 2023. It is a significant event in the realm of coastal security. This operation involves all stakeholders in the coastal security construct and plays a pivotal role in revalidating the coastal security mechanism while enhancing awareness among fishermen operating at sea.

A Unified Effort

During ‘Operation Sajag,’ an extensive checking and verification process was initiated, targeting the documents and crew passes of all fishing boats, barges, and crafts at sea. The sheer scale of this operation is evident from the participation of 118 ships, including vessels from Customs, Marine Police, Ports, and the Indian Navy. This unified effort demonstrates the commitment of various agencies to ensure the safety and security of India’s coastal regions.

Enhancing Coastal Security Measures

To fortify the coastal security construct, several measures have been incorporated, addressing various facets of the issue:

Biometric Cards for Fishermen: One significant step is the issuance of biometric cards for fishermen. These cards help in the identification and tracking of fishermen, ensuring that only authorized individuals engage in fishing activities.

Color Coding for Fishing Boats: Fishing boats are now color-coded based on their respective states. This measure aids in quick identification and verification, reducing the risk of unauthorized vessels operating in Indian waters.

Manning of Fish Landing Centers: Fish landing centers are now manned to monitor and regulate the activities of fishing vessels. This increased presence ensures that all activities are conducted lawfully.

Access Control at Entry/Exit Points: Entry and exit checkpoints have been fortified with access control mechanisms. This prevents unauthorized vessels from entering or leaving Indian waters unnoticed.

Coastal Mapping: Accurate coastal mapping has been implemented, facilitating better surveillance and monitoring of coastal areas.

Designated Marine Band Frequency: Specific marine band frequencies have been allocated for security agencies, enabling secure communication and coordination among them.

Training Initiatives: The Indian Coast Guard has taken the initiative to train marine police personnel. This training ensures that these officers are well-equipped to handle various security situations in coastal regions.

Biometric Card Readers for Security Agencies

In an effort to streamline the identification process, biometric card readers have been issued to security agencies. This technology allows for quick and efficient verification of fishermen, further enhancing the security apparatus.

Community Interaction and Island Security

The coastal security construct now includes community interaction programs and initiatives for island security. These efforts involve local communities in the safeguarding of their coastal areas, creating a sense of shared responsibility.

Continuous Improvement

‘Operation Sajag’ is not a one-time event. It is conducted on a monthly basis to consistently verify the implementation of various coastal security measures. This ongoing commitment to testing and refining the security mechanisms ensures that they remain effective and up-to-date. The drill also serves as a platform for the identification of important lessons and the highlighting of trends in coastal security.

S&P Global Upgrades India’s FY24 Growth Forecast to 6.6%

S&P Global Market Intelligence has reevaluated India’s economic growth prospects for the fiscal year 2024 (FY24). This upward revision is attributed to robust economic performance in the April-June quarter. Notably, the revised projection stands at 6.6%, a significant improvement from the 5.9% estimate put forth by the analytics firm in August.

Inflation on the Rise

While the revised growth forecast is promising, S&P Global Market Intelligence also presents a concerning prediction regarding inflation. The analytics firm anticipates a sharp increase in inflation, with the rate surging to 6% in 2023. This projection marks a noteworthy climb from the 5.1% inflation rate estimated in August. Of particular note, this level of inflation is approaching the upper boundary of the Reserve Bank of India’s target range.

Divergence with RBI’s Outlook

S&P Global’s outlook contrasts with that of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). While both entities have their perspectives on the Indian economy, S&P Global holds a more optimistic stance concerning economic growth. In contrast, they maintain a more pessimistic viewpoint when it comes to inflation.

Impact on Exports

Furthermore, S&P Global Market Intelligence points to an additional factor that could influence India’s economic landscape. They anticipate that the deceleration of global economic growth will exert pressure on India’s exports. This insight underscores the interconnectedness of the global economy and its implications for India’s economic prospects.

Union Minister Of Civil Aviation Inaugurates ‘Udaan Bhawan’ At Delhi’s Safdarjung Airport

Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M. Scindia inaugurated ‘Udaan Bhawan,’ a state-of-the-art integrated office complex nestled within the confines of Delhi’s Safdarjung Airport. Udaan Bhawan promises to play a pivotal role in facilitating enhanced coordination and efficiency among various regulatory authorities operating under the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA).

Udaan Bhawan: The New Hub for Aviation Oversight

The newly inaugurated Udaan Bhawan is poised to become the nerve center of aviation oversight in India. This modern facility will house several key regulatory bodies, including the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB), Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA), and the Airports Authority of India (AAI). By co-locating these vital entities, Udaan Bhawan aims to foster seamless collaboration and streamline administrative processes within the civil aviation sector.

Udaan Bhawan: Modern Amenities and Impressive Infrastructure of Udaan Bhawan

Udaan Bhawan is thoughtfully equipped with contemporary amenities, including modern conference rooms, an advanced AV system, robust IT infrastructure, an efficient parking management system, a serene Yoga room, a convenient creche facility, and electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, among others. This newly integrated office complex comprises G+3 levels constructed above ground and an additional 03 basement levels, boasting the capacity to accommodate 1270 officials. The total constructed area of the building spans 71257 square meters, and the entire project has been successfully completed at a total cost of Rs. 374.98 Crore.

Eco-Friendly Features of Udaan Bhawan: A GRIHA-5 Rated Sustainability Showcase

With a prestigious GRIHA-5 rating, this building embraces a plethora of sustainability features that align with eco-friendly principles. Its design prioritizes the utilization of natural daylight to the fullest extent, incorporates efficient LED fixtures, utilizes a glazed curtain-wall assembly, and implements a double-skin Façade System to minimize heat gain. Additionally, it highlights the recycling of wastewater and effective wastewater management as notable environmentally friendly aspects.

Pilot E-Wallet Facility Launched

In tandem with the inauguration of Udaan Bhawan, a groundbreaking initiative took flight— the pilot e-wallet facility. This digital marvel promises to revolutionize the way regulatory fees and approvals are processed in the aviation industry. Designed to simplify financial transactions and enhance user convenience, the e-wallet will be instrumental in the utilization of the Bharatkosh portal, a one-stop platform for government financial transactions.

The e-wallet will serve as a prepaid account, allowing registered users to preload funds for regulatory fees. Initially, the facility will support NEFT/RTGS mode for adding funds, ensuring a secure and hassle-free experience. Additionally, users will have the capability to generate instant receipts and challans, further expediting administrative procedures.



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