1. India, China ink border pact; 8 other agreements
i. India and China on Wednesday reached a comprehensive agreement to avoid border tensions and army face-offs along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) by deciding that neither side will use military capability to attack the other side nor tail patrols along the border.
ii. The Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) was on Wednesday signed after extensive talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People.
iii. The deal comes against the backdrop of strain in ties following a series of Chinese intrusions including the prolonged one by People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops in the Depsang valley in Ladakh in April this year.
iv. In all 9 agreements, including the BDCA and one on strengthening cooperation on trans-border rivers, were signed after restricted and delegation-level talks that lasted over two hours as Dr. Singh and Premier Li met for the second time this year for talks which the Indian leader described as "fruitful and productive".
v. India and China also agreed that if their border defence forces come to a "face-to-face" situation in areas where there is no common understanding of the LAC, both sides shall exercise maximum self-restraint, refrain from any provocative actions, not use force or threaten to use force against the other side, treat each other with courtesy and prevent exchange of fire or armed conflict.
vi. Li hailed Dr. Singh's visit to China as a "landmark" event in bilateral relations, which will inject new impetus to ties between the two countries.
2. RBI: Received USD 10.1 billion under forex swap window
i. Reserve Bank on Wednesday said it has received USD 10.1 billion under two schemes which were announced last month to attract foreign funds.
ii. "The Reserve Bank has received till date USD 10.1 billion under the special concessional window for swapping Foreign Currency Non-Resident (Banks) Deposits and Overseas Foreign Currency Borrowings," the central bank said in a statement.
iii. RBI had come out with the special measures to arrest declining value of rupee, which was triggered by widening CAD, that touched a historic high of 4.8 per cent of GDP in 2012-13.
iv. Soon after taking over as RBI Governor on September 4, Raghuram Rajan announced the opening of a swap window facility to encourage banks to lure NRI funds. Under the facility, banks are permitted to swap fresh FCNR(B) dollar funds, mobilised for a minimum tenor of three years, at a fixed rate of 3.5 per cent per annum for the tenor of the deposit.
v. Also, RBI relaxed norms for banks and allowed them to raise capital abroad to the tune of 100 per cent of their Tier I (equity) capital. The rupee had plunged to life-time low of 68.85 against the dollar on August 28 but has recovered substantially. It was trading around 61.58 to a dollar.
vi. As regards the CAD, it is likely to be better than the initial estimate of 3.7 per cent of GDP or USD 70 billion in the current fiscal due to slump in gold imports and improvement in merchandise exports.
3. Moscow hosted the 14th India-Russia Annual Summit
i. Moscow, the Capital of Russia hosted the 14th India-Russia Annual Summit on 21 October 2013. Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh and the President of Russia Vladimir Putin co-chaired the summit.
ii. During the summit both nations discussed priority areas of bilateral cooperation on current international and regional issues. Both nations emphasised their continued commitment to promote and strengthen their special and privileged strategic partnership.
iii. India and Russia signed many bilateral Documents including transfer of Sentenced Persons, in the Field of Energy Efficiency, in the field of Standardization and Conformity Assessment between Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and Federal Agency on Technical Regulation and Metrology, in the Fields of Science and in the area of Biotechnology during the summit.
4. GAIL inks pact for city gas network in Bihar
i. GAIL India Ltd on Wednesday signed an agreement for development of natural gas infrastructure and city gas network in Bihar.
ii. GAIL signed a Gas Cooperation Agreement (GCA) with the Department of Industries, Government of Bihar, the company said in a statement here.
iii. The agreement was signed in the presence of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and GAIL Chairman and Managing Director B.C. Tripathi in Patna.
iv. GAIL is laying a 2,050 kilometre gas pipeline from Haldia in West Bengal to Jagdishpur in Uttar Pradesh, of which about 621 km will pass through 14 districts of Bihar.
v. The mainline will cover four districts of Kaimur, Rohtas, Aurangabad, Gaya while another 10 districts will be covered by spur lines
vi. The company had in the past signed similar agreements with States, such as West Bengal, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
vii. GAIL will explore the possibility of selling CNG to automobile and piped natural gas to households in major towns of Bihar along this pipeline route. It will undertake an assessment of gas demand in the State and study techno-economic feasibility for use of gas in industrial, commercial, transport and residential sectors.
5. Canara Bank signs MoU with CII for credit access to MSMEs
i.Canara Bank today said it has signed a MoU with industry body CII to facilitate cheaper credit access to micro, small and medium enterprises.
ii. Under the MoU, Canara Bank shall extend a concessional credit of 50 basis points on the applicable card rate of interest to MSME units which are members of CII.
iii. Besides, rebate of 50 per cent in the processing or upfront fee will also be given to the unit owners, Canara Bank Executive Director P S Rawat told reporters here.
iv. The MoU was signed by R Madhusudan General Manager (MSME wing) on behalf of Canara Bank and Raman Saluja, Chairman Regional Committee on MSMEs, CII (Northern region).
v. Stating that the bank would focus on lending to MSME sector, Rawat said Canara bank is targeting over 24 per cent growth in advances to micro, small and medium enterprises with lending of Rs 50,000 crore in 2013-14 as against financing of Rs 37,000 crore in last fiscal.
vi. MSMEs have a very high demand for finance, a large part of which is not met, particularly to finance their growth.
vii. There is a total financial requirement of Rs 32.50 lakh crore in MSME sector comprising Rs 26 lakh crore of debt demand,” said the report.
6. HDFC Bank launches overseas bond sale
i. The country’s second largest private sector lender HDFC Bank today hit the foreign bond market with benchmark US dollar issue as part of the bank’s $2-billion medium-term bond sale programme.
ii. Accessing of the overseas bond market by domestic companies and financial institutions had almost dried up completely since May and the HDFC Bank’s programme indicates revival of this cheap source of funds.
iii. Confirming the development, HDFC Bank’s treasurer Ashish Parthasarathy told PTI that the bank has not set a quantum of the money it is planning to raise.
iv. The shares of HDFC Bank, which missed for the first time over 30 per cent rise in net profit in the September quarter with a 27 per cent jump in net income, command the highest premium amongst the global banking stocks.
7. Bank Internasional Indonesia re-enters India after 5 years
i. Bank Internasional Indonesia (BII) marked its re-entry into India after five years by opening a branch in Mumbai. The bank was operational in India from 1996 to 2008.
ii. In 2008, BII was bought over by Malaysia-based Maybank, which holds 88 per cent in BII. The foreign bank’s India operations became inactive after 2008.
iii. Rahardja Alimhamzah, Managing Director, BII, said: “India is too big a market to miss…growing presence of investment and trade opportunities between Asean countries will be a sound long-term investment for us.”
iv. Starting with a capital base of $28 billion and 18 employees, the foreign bank’s single Mumbai branch will focus on the corporate and commercial banking segment and will actively participate in buyers credit (BC) and external commercial borrowing (ECB) arrangements for Indian customers.
8. India Post Released Postage Stamp on the Golden Jubilee of Bhakra Dam
i. India Post on 22 October 2013 released a commemorative postage stamp on the Golden Jubilee of Bhakra Dam.
ii. A two-inch stamp marking the 50th anniversary of Bhakra Dam was released in Nangal by Union minister of water resources Harish Rawat. The dam was dedicated to the nation by the then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru on 22nd October in 1963.
iii. India Post earlier issued a commemorative postage stamp on Bhakra Dam on 15th Dec 1988 on its silver jubilee. Bhakra dam is the first structure in India which will have two commemorative postal stamps in its name.
9. SBI to get Rs 2000 cr as part of Rs 14K cr banks fund infusion
i. The Finance Ministry on Wednesday decided to pump in Rs 2,000 crore in State Bank of India and Rs 1,800 crore each in IDBI Bank and Central Bank of India as part of the Rs 14,000 crore capital infusion plan for the current fiscal.
ii. "SBI is getting Rs 2,000 crore. Bigger banks are getting more," Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Takru said.
iii. Besides the capital support from the government, public sector banks have the headroom to raise Rs 10,000 crore from the market though rights issue, Qualified Institutional Placement (QIP) or follow-on public offer without diluting existing government stake.
iv. "Other than this, banks board could take decisions on how they want to raise additional equity. They have there options, they have rights issue, they have QIP option they have FPO option.
v. The second round of capital infusion may come in the fourth quarter of the current fiscal depending upon banks' requirements.
vi. It could be Rs 1,500 crore, Rs 1,600 crore and Rs 1,700 crore." The SBI board would take a call on the QIP route. SBI board is meeting on October 30, he added.
10. India's FY'14 GDP growth to be 4.9 pc: Report
i. India Ratings & Research (Ind-Ra) expects India's GDP growth to remain sluggish at 4.9 per cent in the current financial year, due to a mix of domestic and external factors.
ii. According to India Ratings, the country's agricultural growth came to the rescue as without it, growth rate for this financial year would have been much lower.
iii. Indian economy, which has been witnessing a growth slowdown since FY'12, is expected to grow at 4.9 per cent in the current financial year, well below its potential and last 10 years trend growth rate of 7.9 per cent, India Ratings said.
iv. the GDP growth during FY'14 would have been even lower," it said and added that it expects the agricultural sector to grow at 4.5 per cent in this fiscal as against 1.8 per cent in 2012-13.
v. However, industry remains a drag for the economic growth. According to India Ratings, industrial growth in FY'14 is likely to be 2.2 per cent, lower than 3.1 per cent recorded in FY'13.
vi. India Ratings expects the sector's growth to slow down to 6.3 per cent y-o-y in FY'14 from 6.6 per cent y-o-y in FY'13.
vii. As the largest sector of the economy, it has been quite resilient in the past. Even during the year of global financial crisis (FY'09), when the overall GDP growth of India fell down to 6.7 per cent, it grew at 10 per cent," it said.
11. Lawrence R Klein, Nobel Prize Winning Economist Died
i. Lawrence R Klein, Nobel Prize winning economist died on 20 October 2013 in Gladwyne, near Philadelphia.
ii. He was 93 years old. He was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on 14 September 1920.
iii. He studied at the University of California, Berkeley and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
iv. Then he joined the Penn faculty in 1958. He developed the statistical models there known as the Wharton Models which got him his Nobel Prize in 1980 in Economics.
v. In 1946, Klein correctly predicted that restricted demand for consumer goods coupled with the purchasing power of returning soldiers would protect against a depression. Klein also predicted correctly that the end of the Korean War would result in a mild recession.
vi. Klein is survived by his wife Sonia, son Jonathan Klein and daughters Hannah, Rebecca, and Rachel.
12. Aung Suu Kyi Received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought
i. Aung Suu Kyi on 23 October 2013 received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought at Strasbourg, France. She was chosen by the European Parliament in 1990.
ii. The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought announced by the European Parliament in 1990 when she was under house arrest.
13. Spacecraft PSLV-C 25 scheduled for launch on Nov 5
i. The India’s first spacecraft PSLV-C 25 is scheduled for launch on November 5th from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
ii. The take off is scheduled at 14.36 HRS. The ISRO Director for Publicity D P Karnik has said that the integration of the spacecraft with the launcher has been completed and the fuelling of the launch vehicle will begin soon.
iii. The main objective of the Mars mission is to demonstrate interplanetary launch capabilities of ISRO.
iv. The five scientific instruments on the spacecraft will also look for presence of methane, giving indication to the presence of life and take pictures of the red planet and study Martian environment. This will be for the first time that ISRO will send a spacecraft out of the sphere of influence of the earth.
14. Singer Noel Harrison died, Aged 79
i. Singer Noel Harrison has died at his home in Devon, aged 79 on 22 October 2013.
ii. He was best known for recording the hit song The Windmills Of Your Mind on The Thomas Crown Affair soundtrack.
iii. He was the son of the actor Rex Harrison. It won best song at the 1968 Oscars and was later covered by artists including Dusty Springfield. Harrison was born in London on 29 January 1934. His father’s name was Rex Harrison and his mother was Collette Thomas.
iv. Noel Harrison spent most of his life in America, as an actor and performer.
v. However he moved back to the UK in the last decade to live in South Devon. He starred in the TV series The Girl from UNCLE and had chart hits with A Young Girl and Suzanne, by Leonard Cohen while he was living in US.