Banking Awareness of 19, 20 and 21 March 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 21 Mar 2024 17:29 PM IST
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Topic: World Economy

1. Bank of Japan has ended eight years of negative interest rates.

  • Bank of Japan has increased interest rates for the first time in 17 years.
  • Bank of Japan has done away with the policy that was in place since 2016.
  • Under this policy, 0.1% charge was applied on excess reserves kept by financial institutions with Bank of Japan, which is the central bank of Japan.
  • In the negative interest rates regime, people pay to deposit money in a bank.
  • Negative interest rates are used to encourage people to spend their money instead of putting it in a bank. 
  • Bank of Japan set the overnight call rate as its new policy rate.
  • Bank of Japan raised short-term policy rate from -0.1% to between zero and 0.1%. 
  • Inflation in Japan has exceeded the Bank of Japan’s 2% target for more than a year.
  • Negative rates and yield curve control were introduced by the central bank in 2016.

Topic: Banking System

2. Axis Bank has extended support to the Tata Memorial Centre and National Cancer Grid.

  • It has made contributions of Rs. 100 crores to the advancement of oncology-related research, innovation, and digital health adoption.
  • The bank has started a five-year partnership to transform cancer treatment in India.
  • The partnership involves Axis Bank, Tata Memorial Hospital and the National Cancer Grid.
  • The establishment of the projects such as the National Tumour Biobank, Cancer Teleconsultation Network, and Oncology-specific Electronic Medical Records will be supported by Axis Bank.
  • National Cancer Grid is a large network of more than 300 cancer centres in India.
  • It is coordinated by the Tata Memorial Hospital, which is a constituent unit of the Tata Memorial Centre (TMC).

Topic: Reports and Indices

3. HSBC's flash India Composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) increased to 61.3 in March 2024.

  • In February 2024, it stood at 60.6. India’s business activity expanded at fastest rate in 8 months in March 2024.
  • Quick increase in composite output index was led by the strongest manufacturing output in nearly three and a half years.
  • New orders in March 2024 increased at a faster pace. Manufacturing sector led the growth.
  • The index which tracks factory activity increased to 59.2 from 56.9 in February 2024. It was at its highest since February 2008.
  • The index tracking services activity declined slightly from 60.6 last month to 60.3 in March.
  • Overall exports grew at the fastest pace in seven months.
  • Input costs at services firms increased at the fastest pace in seven months.
  • Prices charged recorded the sharpest rise since July 2017.
  • In March, prices charged by manufacturers increased at the weakest pace in more than a year.

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Topic: RBI

4. A penalty of Rs 1.3 crore has been imposed by RBI on Tamilnad Mercantile Bank.

  • RBI has imposed penalty for non-compliance with directions on ‘Interest Rate on Advances’.
  • The Bank also failed to comply with directions on Central Repository of Information on Large Credits- Revision in Reporting.
  • RBI has also fined DCB Bank with Rs 63.6 lakh for breach of norms on Interest Rate on Advances.
  • Tamilnad Mercantile Bank is a Thoothukudi (Tamil Nadu)-based bank.
  • DCB Bank is a private sector bank. It is headquartered in Mumbai.

Topic: RBI

5. Agency Banks have been directed by RBI to enable government transactions on March 31.

  • It has ordered that Agency Banks keep all of their branches that deal with government business open on Sunday, March 31, 2024.
  • RBI requested that banks provide adequate notice that the aforementioned banking services will be available on March 31, 2024.
  • At its Central Accounts Section in Nagpur, the RBI maintains the Principal Accounts of both the Central and State Governments.
  • It has established a well-organized system for collecting taxes and making payments on behalf of the Indian government.
  • Government transactions are carried out through a network that consists of the RBI's Government Banking Divisions and agency bank branches designated under Section 45 of the RBI Act.
  • The RBI has 33 agency banks. These include 12 public sector banks, 20 private sector banks and one foreign bank (DBS Bank India Ltd).
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Topic: Reports and Indices

6. New Delhi has been ranked the most polluted capital city in the world for the fourth year in a row since 2018.

  • Delhi's PM2.5 levels increased from 89.1 micrograms per cubic meter in 2022 to 92.7 micrograms per cubic meter in 2023, according to the Air Quality Report 2023.
  • Begusarai, in Bihar, is now the most polluted metropolitan area in the world.
  • Its average PM2.5 concentration was 118.9 micrograms per cubic metre. It had not found place in 2022 rankings.
  • India's air quality was the third worst in the world, behind Bangladesh and Pakistan.
  • India’s average annual PM2.5 concentration was 54.4 micrograms per cubic meter.
  • According to the report, for over one billion people, PM2.5 concentrations in India are higher than the World Health Organization’s annual guideline limit of 5 micrograms per cubic metre.
  • In 2022, India was the 8th most polluted country. Its average PM2.5 concentration was 53.3 micrograms per cubic metre.
  • Over 66% of India’s cities reported annual PM2.5 averages of more than 35 micrograms per cubic metre.
  • India is home to the world's top four most polluted cities in terms of air quality. Delhi comes in third place, behind Begusarai and Guwahati.
  • Air Quality Report 2023 is a report of Swiss organisation IQAir.
  • For 6th annual Air Quality Report, data of 134 countries regions and territories was analysed. This number was 131 in case of Air Quality Report 2022.

Topic: Regulatory Bodies/Financial Institutions

7. SEBI has approved the launch of the beta version of T+0 Settlement on an Optional Basis.

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has approved the launch of the beta version of the T+0 settlement on an optional basis from March 28.
  • T+0 settlement means that the transaction of funds and securities will be settled on the day of the trade.
  • The beta version of the optional T+0 settlement has been approved for a limited set of 25 stocks, and with a limited set of brokers.
  • SEBI will review progress at the end of three and six months before deciding on a further course of action.
  • The main aim of the trial is to increase liquidity in the market.
  • A T+0 settlement would help free up brokers' funds within the system, which will reduce the overall cost of doing business.
  • At present, if any individual sells shares the amount is credited to the trading account instantly. On the exchange side, this fund gets credited to the broker only after settlement on T+1.
  • India will be only the second country after China to operate on a short settlement cycle.

Topic: Indian Economy/Financial Market

8. India's foreign exchange reserves reached a two-year high of $636.1 billion.

  • According to the latest Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data released on March 15, India's foreign exchange reserves increased by $10.47 billion to $636.1 billion in the week ended March 8.
  • This is the biggest jump after the week ending July 14, 2023.
  • Earlier, foreign exchange reserves had increased by $6.55 billion to $625.63 billion in the week ending March 1, 2024.
  • Foreign currency assets (FCA) increased by $8.12 billion to $562.35 billion, according to the weekly statistical supplement released by the RBI.
  • Gold reserves rose by $2.3 billion to $50.72 billion, while SDRs rose by $31 million to $18.21 billion.
  • The reserve position at the IMF increased by $19 million to $4.82 billion.
  • Generally, RBI intervenes in the market from time to time through liquidity management including the sale of dollars to prevent a sharp fall in the rupee.

Topic: Taxation

9. India's net direct tax collection has grown 19.88% to more than Rs 18.90 lakh crore till March 17.

  • As per the Income tax department data, the net direct tax collection stood at Rs 18,90,259 crore (as of March 17).
  • This includes Corporation Tax of Rs 9,14,469 crore (net of refund) and Personal Income Tax, including Securities Transaction Tax (STT) at Rs 9,72,224 crore (net of refund).
  • In the current fiscal till March 17, refunds amounting to nearly Rs 3.37 lakh crore have been released.
  • Before deducting refunds, the gross amount of direct tax collected was Rs 22.27 lakh crore.
  • The government estimated that it would get Rs 19.45 lakh crore in revenue for the entire fiscal year in its updated estimates for direct tax collection.
  • From the budget estimate of Rs 18.20 lakh crore for the current fiscal year, the direct tax revenues prediction for FY24 was increased to Rs 19.45 lakh crore by Finance Minister in budget speech on 1 February.
  • As of March 15, gross direct tax receipts before refunds were Rs 22.25 lakh crore, 13.5% more than during the same period the previous year.

Topic: Summits/Conferences/Meetings

10. Startup Mahakumbh started on 18 March 2024 in New Delhi.

  • It is one of the largest events that showcase India’s startup ecosystem.
  • It continued till 20th of March 2024 at Bharat Mandapam.
  • It had pavilions on AI, B2B, agritech, deeptech, climate tech, fintech, gaming, esports, incubators and accelerators.
  • The aim of this event was to connect startups with venture capitalists, investors and likely corporate partners.
  • This event was attended by over 2000 startups, 30000 future entrepreneurs, and 50000 business visitors and over 500 incubators and delegations from ten countries. 
  • Bharat Innovates was the central theme of the event.
  • It was led by combined efforts of ASSOCHAM, nasscom, Bootstrap Incubation & Advisory Foundation, TiE and Indian Venture and Alternate Capital Association (IVCA).
  • DPIIT Secretary Rajesh Kumar Singh said India has third largest startup ecosystem.


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