Current Affairs, News & Facts of 16 Mar 2016

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  • Credit interest rate on saving accounts every quarter

     

    Credit interest rate on saving accounts every quarterThe Reserve Bank of India has asked banks to pay interest on savings accounts on a quarterly basis or a shorter duration. This move  by RBI will benefit crores of savings account holders as they will earn slightly better returns on their savings bank (SB) deposits. The new regulation would benefit the SB depositors to the tune of Rs. 500 crore or more from the next financial year.

    Loan vs deposit

    Currently interest is credited in savings bank accounts on a half-yearly basis while for loans taken from the banks, the interest is computed at monthly i.e, if a borrower defers payment of interest by two months, the banks charge two months’ interest on the delayed interest. The interest application frequencies on deposit accounts (quarterly or shorter intervals) are different from those for loan accounts (monthly intervals) which is to the benefit of the banks and no way benifital for the depositors.

    Key facts

     (1) Interest rate on savings bank accounts is calculated on a daily basis since April 1, 2010. The public sector banks offer 4 per cent interest on savings deposits, private players offer as much as 6 per cent.

    (2) In 2011, RBI decided to give freedom to commercial banks to fix savings bank deposit rates, but keep a uniform rate on deposits of up to Rs. 1 lakh. On higher amounts, banks are allowed to offer differential rates to depositors.

    (3) Earlier, banks used to give interest of 3.5 per cent on savings accounts on the basis of the least deposit in an account between the 10th and the last day of each month.

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  • P&G stops sale of ‘Vicks Action 500 Extra’ after government ban

     

    P&G stops sale of ‘Vicks Action 500 Extra’ after government banFMCG firm Procter and Gamble (P&G) has stopped manufacturing of its popular brand ‘Vicks Action 500 Extra’ with immediate effect after the government banned (FDC) drugs — paracetamol, phenylephrine & caffeine — with immediate effect.

    In a gazette notification on March 10, the government banned 344 FDC drugs, including commonly-used cough syrups like Phensedyl, Corex and Benadryl, following which pharma majors Pfizer and Abbott stopped sale of their popular cough syrup brands, Corex and Phensedyl, respectively. Vicks Action 500 Extra has the same FDC and is covered under the government's notification. 

    It should be noted that Vicks Action 500 Extra has been a popular choice among consumers for congestion, bodyache and headache due to cold for over three decades.

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  • MoU Signed Between M/O Tourism and Ecotourism Society of India

     

    MoU Signed Between M/O Tourism and Ecotourism Society of IndiaMinistry of Tourism has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ecotourism Society of India (ESOI) for the development of Responsible and Sustainable tourism. 

    Couple of years ago the Ministry of Tourism and the Ecotourism Society of India formulated & published the STCI (Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India) and carried it to the grass root level through series of advocacy workshops. 

    Through this MOU, it is expected that sustainable tourism and Responsible Tourism will take the forefront and achieve the commitments of the Ministry’s action plan.

    Under the MoU :

     1. ESOI will prepare a 10-year Road Map for advocacy and certification under the Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India. The Road Map will be based on regional workshops held with relevant stakeholders across the country.

    2. ESOI, through stakeholder consultations will formulate criteria and classification guidelines for certification for the accommodation and tour/travel operators within the STCI guidelines and later develop standards for Destinations as per the internationally accepted Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria.

    Ecotourism Society of India (ESOI)

    The Ecotourism Society of India (ESOI) was established in 2008 at the behest of the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) as a non-profit organization to promote environmentally responsible and sustainable practices in the tourism industry across the country. 

    This national body was formed by a group of eminent professionals from the tourism industry, Government, Parliament and environmentalists & Conservationists.

    ESOI works closely with both Central and State Government bodies as well as relevant institutions and individuals to facilitate and support synergy of policies, initiatives and activities relating to responsible travel.

    MOT recognizes ESOI as their partner in helping develop policy guidelines, code of conduct and ethical practices for Sustainable Tourism, to position India as a Global ecotourism destination.

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  • 15 March: World Consumer Rights Day 

     

    15 March: World Consumer Rights Day Every year 15th March is observed as World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) for celebration and solidarity within the international consumer movement.

    Participants observe the day by promoting the basic rights of all consumers, demanding that those rights are respected and protected, and protesting about the market abuses and social injustices which undermine them.

    In India, 24th December is observed as National Consumer Day. On this day in 1986, Consumer Protection Act, 1986 had received the assent of the President.

    2016 Theme : The theme for this year is "Antibiotics off the menu". The theme campaigns with Members around the world to stop the sale of meat raised with the use of antibiotics important to human medicine.

    Antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world and we are heading towards post-antibiotic era, in which important medicines stop working and common infections and minor injuries can be enough to kill us.

    World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) : On March 15, 1962 US President John F. Kennedy gave a  historic speech on consumer rights which led to the creation of the Consumer Bill of Rights. He was the first world leader to do so. Consumer rights activist Anwar Fazal later proposed the observance of a "World Consumer Rights Day" and the day was celebrated for the first time on 15 March 1983,  since then it is celebrated every year.

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  • ICICI Bank launched NFC-based mobile payment solution Touch & Pay

     

    ICICI Bank launched NFC-based mobile payment solution Touch & PayCountry's largest private sector lender ICICI Bank has launched a smartphone-based application which will allow users to make payments by just waving their smartphones at a near field communication (NFC)-enabled merchant terminal. 

    It will provide improved convenience of 'Touch & Pay' as customers are no longer required to carry physical card or cash to pay in stores. The service will soon be made available for over 35 million debit and credit card holders.

    Other lenders, including the countrys largest lender State Bank of India, have launched NFC-based cards. At present there are 40,000 merchant locations accepting NFC-based payments and it is expected that the number will go up to 1 lakh in up to four months.As per RBI regulations governing NFC-based payments, people can pay up to a maximum of Rs 2,000 for a single transaction.

    The customer will have to download the banks Pockets application on his mobile phone and then select the Touch and Pay icon from the menu. 90 per cent of ICICI active mobile banking customers use such phones that run on the Android operating system, on which the technology has been rolled out initially.

    Virtual card

    1. ICICI Bank will be using the Host Card Emulation (HCE) technology to create 'virtual' cards for 'physical' credit or debit cards (Visa/MasterCard) of the Bank, as selected by the customer. While the virtual card bears a different card number, the credit limit and expiry date remains same as the original physical card. 

    2. The virtual card resides in the Bank’s secure cloud server. Using the virtual cards, an ICICI Bank customer can initiate electronic payments from NFC enabled smartphones by just waving his/her phone near a contactless merchant terminal. 

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  • Rajya Sabha passes Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016

     

    Rajya Sabha passes Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016The Rajya Sabha has passed the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016  which envisages to amend 91-year-old Sikh Gurdwaras Act,1925 to exclude Sehajdhari Sikhs from voting in elections to Sikh religious bodies.

    Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 : The Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 was a piece of legislation in British India, which legally defined Sikh identity and brought Sikh gurdwaras (houses of worship) under the control of an elected body of orthodox Sikhs.

    The Bill proposes to remove the exception given to Sahajdhari Sikhs in 1944 to vote in the elections to select the members of the Board and the Committees constituted under the Act. Since 1949, Sehajdhari Sikhs are continuously exercising their voting rights in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections.

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  • Haryana New Secretariat Building gets first Earthquake Warning System in country

     

    Haryana New Secretariat Building gets first Earthquake Warning System in countryHaryana’s new secretariat building in Chandigarh has become the only building in the country to have an early earthquake warning and security system (onsite). The  system Installed and demonstrated by a team from Terra Techcom Private Limited, New Delhi, and Secretary Electronics GmbH, Germany, who have collaborated with India for the project.

    Earthquake Warning System

     (1) The system is already being used in 26 countries around the world and it can give us crucial seconds so that we can evacuate in event of an earthquake. The system works on the principle of detection of primary and secondary seismic waves of an earthquake. 

    (2) The primary waves are fastest kind of seismic wave and the first sign of earthquake but they do not cause any damage they are soon followed by secondary waves that  have the potential to cause damage, which is known to us as an earthquake. 

    (3) The system detects intensity of the primary waves and gives out warning alarm only when the intensity of the secondary waves is high enough to potentially cause damage.

    (4) In case of Earthquake it gets activated automatically and takes step for security and safety of people and infrastructure by shutting off elevators, electricity, gas supply, water supply, opens emergency gates and warns people of an earthquake by signalling an alarm.

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  • UN suspends Maria Sharapova as Goodwill Ambassador after doping allegations

     

     UN suspends Maria Sharapova as Goodwill Ambassador after doping allegationsThe United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has suspended Maria Sharapova as a goodwill ambassador a week after she was tested positive  for the banned substance meldonium at 2016 Australian Open.  Maria Sharapova had UNDP as it's goodwill ambassador in February 2007.

    New York based UNDP has suspended Sharapova, until the outcome of the investigation into her case is known. However in a statement UNDP has mentioned that they are grateful to Maria Sharapova for her support to their work, especially around the Chernobyl nuclear disaster recovery. 

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