Daily GK Updates: 7th August 2014

1.   
18th BASIC Ministerial Meeting begin from today 
i. Environment Ministers of BASIC countries will meet
in New Delhi to discuss important issues relating to current United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations.

ii. The
18th BASIC Ministerial Meeting will be held on August 7-8, 2014 at New Delhi. 
iii. The two-day 18th BASIC Ministerial Meeting, to be held from
tomorrow, will provide an important opportunity to BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China)
to enhance coordination on important issues under consideration in Climate
Change negotiations and arrive at a common position
iv. Issues related to
Warsaw COP, Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP), the Green Climate Fund
(GCF), the Standing Committee on Finance, the Technology Executive Committee
(TEC) and the Climate Technology Center and Network (CTCN) were discussed
during the meeting. 
Note:
i. The 17th BASIC
Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change was held in
Hanzghou, China in October last year. 
ii. India hosted the 14th BASIC Ministerial Meeting on
Climate Change on in February 2013 at Chennai which was attended by representatives
from Brazil, South Africa, India and China.
2.    Norms tightened for
asset reconstruction companies
i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has tightened norms for  asset
reconstruction  companies to improve discipline and bring about
transparency in the sale and purchase of bad loans.
ii. Now, asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) will have to pay upfront 15
per cent of the bid value
of non-performing loans, against five per cent
earlier.
iii. Also, those planning to buy bad loans will get more time (at least two
weeks) to carry out due diligence before bidding for stressed assets. So far,
banks have enjoyed complete discretion in deciding the timeframe for due
diligence.
iv. RBI said ARCs would get up to six months to plan recoveries from the
non-performing assets acquired. Currently, ARCs get about a year for this.
v. On the valuation of securities receipts, RBI said the initial valuation
of these receipts should be carried out within six months of acquiring the
asset, instead of the current one year.
vi. ARCs will have to mandatorily disclose the basis of valuations in case
the acquisition value of assets is more than the book value. They will also
have to disclose the details of the assets disposed of at substantial discount
during a year and the reasons for this.
3.    Mizoram Governor Kamla Beniwal removed
i. Pranab Mukherjee, the
President of India removed Kamla Beniwal the Governor of Mizoram on 6 August
2014. She was removed two months before her tenure was supposed to end. 


ii. The
President directed that Beniwal shall cease to hold the office and gave
additional charge of the office to Vinod Kumar Duggal, Governor of Manipur.
iii. Duggal will
discharge the functions of the Governor of Mizoram in addition to his own
duties, until some regular arrangement for the office of Governor of Mizoram is
made.
4.    Aditya Vardhan Agarwal, new Vice-President of Indian Chamber of Commerce
i. Aditya Vardhan Agarwal, Director,
Emami Group, has been nominated and appointed as the Vice-President of the
Indian Chamber of Commerce.
ii. He is the Honorary Consul of the
Republic of Ethiopia in Kolkata. Earlier, he served as an Executive Committee
Member of Assocham and as a Director of the West Bengal Industrial Development
Corporation.
5.    Union Cabinet approved the Juvenile Justice Bill, 2014
to amend the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000
i. The Union cabinet on
6 August 2014 approved the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children)
Bill, 2014 to amend the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act, 2000. The Union government
plans to introduce the bill in the Monsoon session of Parliament. 
Age of a Juvenile in the JJ Bill, 2014



i. The bill will treat minors above the age of
16 as adults
, who are accused of heinous crimes like rape and murder. The
JJ Act, 2000 treats any person below the age of 18 as juvenile.


ii. The bill empowered
the Juvenile Justice Board to decide whether a minor would be tried in a
regular court or sent to a correctional centre. 



iii. The bill provides
that if a minor is sent to regular court, he would not be sentenced to life or
death if found guilty. Currently, the maximum punishment under the Juvenile
Justice Act is three years confinement at correctional homes.
The Provision for Children in conflict zones and Corporal
punishment in the JJ Bill, 2014




i. The Bill
proposes up to seven year rigorous
imprisonment
, 5 lakh rupees fine or both for militant groups who recruit
child soldiers or use children for any purpose. 


ii. The Bill widens the
definition of corporal punishment by including physical and verbal abuse.



iii. It proposes
stringent punishment for those who subject “a child to corporal punishment
causing hurt and emotional distress for the child”. 



iv. Offenders could face
jail term between six months on first conviction. Depending on the gravity of
physical injury and mental trauma of the child, the offender could be punished
with three to five years in jail and up to 1 lakh rupees fine.
v. If the offender is an
employee of an institution dealing with children, he can be dismissed from
service for repeat offence. Even the management of such institution can be
sentenced to up to three year jail and 1 lakh rupees fine for non-compliance or
non-cooperation in any probe. 



vi. Those ragging
students within or outside an institution can be sentenced to up to three years
in jail and fined up to 1 lakh rupee. Anybody found to abet or propagate
ragging can land in jail, too. 
Note: If the Bill is passed
in Parliament, India will join 40 other countries where corporal punishment is
a penal offence. 
6.    Arijit Basu is new MD & CEO of SBI
Life Insurance
i. Arijit Basu has taken over as Managing Director and CEO
of SBI Life Insurance, from Atanu Sen, who retired on July 31, 2014, said the
company in a release issued on Wednesday.
ii. A graduate in Economics and MA in History, Basu started
his career with State Bank of India in 1983 as a Probationary Officer.
iii. He has over three decades of
experience in the banking sector.
7.   
Padho
Pardesh scheme for minority community
i. Minority Affairs Minister Najma
Heptullah has said the government has launched a scheme titled, Padho Pardesh,
for providing interest subsidy on educational loans for overseas studies for
students belonging to the notified minority communities like Muslims,
Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis.
ii. She said the objective of the
scheme is to award interest subsidy to meritorious students belonging to
economically weaker sections of the notified minority communities so as to
provide opportunities for higher education abroad and enhance their
employability.
iii. The Minister said under the
scheme, 100 per cent interest subsidy will be provided on the interest payable
on the education loan availed for the period of moratorium, which includes the
course period plus one year or six months after getting the job, whichever is
earlier.
8.    Vladimir Putin signed decree baning imports of
agricultural products from West
i. Russian
President Vladimir Putin on 6 August 2014 signed a decree that bans imports of
agricultural products from all countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia
over the crisis in Ukraine. Major sanctions were made by the US and EU. 

ii. Putin
by targeting the western food exports aims to ensure the safety of Russia and
this move threatens to upset trade worth tens of billions of dollars. 

iii. Ban
on the food imports, should continue for up to one year. The decree that
immediately came into force asked the government to draw up a detailed list of
products that would be banned.
iv. The decree stating
ban on imports of agricultural products would have a heavy impact on Russia, as
it hugely depends on imported foodstuffs of which making are from West. 
Background

The Western Nations
like the US and European Union (EU) has imposed several sanctions on Russia
after alleging that Russia is supporting the rebels of Ukraine. They imposed
asset freezes and loan bans on a score of individuals and companies.
9.   
8 injured in blast at NTPC plant
i. Eight persons, including two engineers, sustained
burn injuries in a blast on Wednesday evening in a pipeline at one of the units
of an NTPC plant in Korba district of Chhattisgarh, police said
.
ii. The incident
occurred at around 9 P.M. at Unit No.7 of the National Thermal Power
Corporation (NTPC) plant when labourers and engineers were at work there, a
senior police official told reporters.
10. 
Chandra Shekhar
Ghosh, CMD of Bandhan
won ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award
i. Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, CMD of Bandhan,
has received the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award from the All India Management
Association (AIMA).
ii. Among the other awardees of the year
were M G George Muthoot, Chairman, Muthoot Group (Emerging Business Leader of
the Year), N Chandrasekaren, CEO & Managing Director, TCS (Indian MNC of
the Year), Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Film Producer, Director of Bhaag, Milkha
Bhaag (Director of the Year) and S. S. Badrinath, Founder and Chairman,
Emeritus of Sankara Nethralaya (Outstanding Institution Builder).
iii. The AIMA Managing India Awards 2014
were given away at a function in the Capital by Union Home Affairs Minister
Rajnath Singh on Wednesday.
iv. Every year, AIMA celebrates the
achievements of outstanding companies, entrepreneurs and managers, who have
made salutary contribution to nation building.
11.  SEBI gets powers to clamp down on fraudulent deposit
schemes
i. The Securities Laws (amendment) Bill, 2014, which was
approved unanimously by the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, allows SEBI to issue
disgorgement orders.
ii. SEBI, in its little over two decades of existence, has
issued disgorgement orders only on two occasions; once, in 2006, during the IPO
irregularities issue, and for the second time in the Satyam Computer scandal.
iii.
The money collected will now be parked in SEBI’s
Investor Protection and Education Fund.
iv. This fund should not be confused with the Investor
Education and Protection Fund that has been set up under the company law,
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley clarified during a parliamentary discussion on
the Bill.
v. “They are two separate funds. The IEPF under SEBI will
have disgorged monies from the regulator’s directions. The other investor
protection fund maintained under the company law is mainly unclaimed
dividends,” Jaitley said.
vi. Over the last one year — since the promulgation of an
ordinance to initiate action against illegal deposit-taking schemes — the IEPF
under SEBI has garnered a corpus of
30 crore.
vii. “This move to explicitly empower SEBI
to issue disgorgement orders is a big thing and augurs well for investor
protection. So far, SEBI saw it only as an implicit power. Now that it will be
explicit, SEBI will, in all its actions, first look at the possibility of
disgorgement from the offenders,” MS Sahoo, Secretary, Institute of Company
Secretaries of India, said.