Topic: Infrastructure and Energy
1. Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved $250 million loan to strengthen and modernize India’s logistics infrastructure.
- The loan approved by ADB will finance the first subprogram of the ‘Strengthening Multimodal and Integrated Logistics Ecosystem (SMILE)’.
- This will rationalize India’s high cost of logistics. India recently launched National Logistics Policy in September 2022.
- In order to support multimodal logistics, the subprogram promotes reforms that eliminate cumbersome processes that businesses face to obtain approvals for cargo clearance.
- SMILE program is a programmatic policy-based loan to support the government carry out wide ranging reforms in the logistics sector in India.
- Asian Development Bank (ADB):
- It is a regional development bank established in 1966.
- Members: 68 countries
- Headquarters: Mandaluyong, Philippines
- Current President: Masatsugu Asakawa
Topic: Indian Economy/Financial Market
2. Multi-State Co-operative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2022 introduced in Lok Sabha.
- As part of the bill, centre has proposed concurrent audit of multi-state cooperative societies (MSCS).
- As per the proposal, MSCS with a turnover or deposits above an amount to be specified will be subject to concurrent audit.
- Concurrent audit mean that financial transactions are examined systematically for accuracy, authenticity, compliance with procedures and guidelines.
- Indian banking system is currently subjected to concurrent audit only in cases which involve deposits above a specified amount.
- MSCS were brought under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, in 2018.
- Apart from proposing ‘concurrent audit’, the bill seeks to reform the composition of the board of MSCS.
- It also proposes setting up of a Cooperative Election Authority to bring electoral reforms in the cooperative sector.
- It also proposes setting up of the ‘Cooperative Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Development Fund’.
3. A currency swap agreement has been signed by RBI with the Maldives Monetary Authority.
- Under the SAARC Currency Swap Framework, the Reserve Bank of India has signed a currency swap agreement with the Maldives Monetary Authority.
- The agreement allows the Maldivian Monetary Authority to withdraw from RBI in installments up to a maximum of $200 million.
- The agreement will provide swap support as a backstop line of funding for short-term foreign exchange liquidity requirements.
- RBI had signed a similar agreement to provide a $400 million currency swap facility to Sri Lanka in 2020.
- On 15 November 2012, the SAARC Currency Swap Framework came into force.
4. ITC Ltd’s food factory has been awarded AWS Platinum certification.
- The food factory in Malur, Karnataka has been awarded the certification for its water management interventions.
- The food factory has integrated watershed development programmes.
- ITC targets 40% reduction in water consumption by 2030.
- ITC targets to win AWS certification for eight of its sites by 2024.
- Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Platinum-Level certification is considered as the global benchmark for water stewardship.
- ITC Limited is an Indian conglomerate company. It is headquartered in Kolkata. Sanjiv Puri is its Chairman & MD.
Topic: Indian Economy/Financial Market
5. Government has allowed IT/ITES units in SEZs to permit 100% of their workforce to work from home till December 31, 2023.
- Centre has amended the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) rules for this purpose.
- However, unit owners must intimate the same to the Development Commissioner of the zones.
- They must continue to operate from the premises as per their letter of approval.
- The new rules would also be applicable to employees in SEZ units who are temporarily incapacitated, are travelling or are working offsite.
- As per the notification, the unit does not need to submit the list of employees allowed to do work from home.
- However, a list of employees permitted to do work from home or from any place outside need to be maintained in the unit.
- In July 2022, Commerce & Industry Ministry has extended work from home for certain categories of employees for a one year period, but up to a maximum of 50% of total employees.
Topic: Reports and Indices
6. India to almost double its renewable power capacity over 2022–2027: IEA report.
- International Energy Agency (IEA) said this in its latest report, Renewables 2022.
- IEA further said that the solar photovoltaic (PV) will account for 75% of this growth, followed by onshore wind with 15%, and hydropower providing almost all the rest.
- India is expected to add 145 GW of renewable energy (RE) capacity in the next five years.
- Utility-scale plants contracted through competitive auctions will dominate renewable capacity deployment.
- However, distributed PV will be increasingly important due to growing consumer awareness and continued policy support.
- As per report of Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the share of renewable energy in the India’s total generation mix is expected to increase 22.1% during FY22 to 40.9% during FY30.
Topic: Regulatory Bodies/Financial Institutions
7. IRDAI has notified increased limits for corporate agents (banks) and insurance marketing firms (IMFs).
- Corporate agents (banks) can now enter into tie up with as many as nine life insurers, nine general insurers and nine health insurers.
- Insurance marketing firms (IMFs) can now have distribution tie up with maximum of six life insurers, six general insurers and six health insurers.
- Corporate agents and IMFs were earlier permitted to tie up with only 3 and 2 insurers, respectively, in each segment.
- IRDAI move to open the bancassurance channel will give customers wider choice and access to insurance plans.
- It will provide smaller organisations an opportunity to partner with big banks.
- According to Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI), IMF's operational scope has been increased to include the entire state in which they are registered.
- IRDAI’s move to open the bancassurance channel for insurers is part of its effort to achieve the long-term goal of ‘insurance for all’ by 2047.
Topic: Indian Economy/Financial Market
8. India remained the net importer of steel for the second consecutive month in November.
- Imports in November this fiscal stood at 600,000 tonnes. Exports for November stood at 338,000 tonnes.
- Imports were 262,000 tonnes more than the exports of finished steel.
- Non-alloyed and alloyed and stainless steel offerings are included in finished steel.
- India has remained net importer of finished steel for the third month for this fiscal. It remained net importer in July 2022 and October 2022.
- In October, imports stood at 5,93,000 tonnes. On a month-on-month basis, imports saw an increase of over 1%.
- However, India remained a net exporter of steel for the eight-month period (April - November).
- In November, non-alloyed steel imports saw 113% increase.
- Alloyed and stainless steel imports witnessed a 64% increase y-o-y during November.
Topic: Awards and Prizes
9. Bank of Baroda has won EAG Laureate Award for the Best AML/CFT Financial Analysis.
- Bank of Baroda has won the award in the International Olympiad on Financial Security held at Sochi, Russia.
- Bank of Baroda is the first bank in India to win EAG Laureate Award for the Best AML/CFT (Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism) Financial Analysis.
- The Eurasian group on combating money laundering and financing of terrorism (EAG) is a FATF-style regional body.
- It comprises 9 countries. They are Belarus, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
- EAG is an associate member of the FATF.
- Bank of Baroda:
- It is headquartered in Vadodara, Gujarat.
- Its chairman is Hasmukh Adhia. Sanjiv Chadha is its MD & CEO.
- Its tagline is India’s International Bank.
10. Arun Kumar Singh appointed as Chairman of ONGC.
- On 7 December, Arun Kumar Singh has been appointed as the chairman and managing director of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).
- Singh is the former Chairman and Managing Director of BPCL.
- This is the first time that a retired officer has been appointed as the head of a Maharatna PSU.
- The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to appoint Arun Kumar Singh as the Chairman of ONGC for three years.
- The post of regular CMD of ONGC was lying vacant since April 2021.
- Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC):
- It was formed in 1956. It is headquartered in New Delhi.
- It comes under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. Hindustan Petroleum Corporation is a subsidiary of ONGC.