Economy Current Affairs

 

Indian Economy Current Affairs, important for Competitive Exams.

Sensex closes above 80,000 for first time, Nifty at 24,302

On July 4, 2024, India’s benchmark Sensex achieved a historic milestone by closing above the 80,000 mark for the first time. The Sensex closed at a new record high of 80,049.67 points, marking a 0.08 percent increase. Similarly, the Nifty 50 index ended at 24,302 points, up 0.06 percent.

The Sensex, also known as the S&P BSE Sensex, is India’s premier stock market index. It represents the performance of the 30 largest and most actively traded companies listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

The NIFTY, officially known as the Nifty 50, is India’s broader stock market index. It comprises 50 of the most actively traded and liquid stocks listed on the National Stock Exchange (NSE)

Q: What does the Sensex represent?

A) The performance of the top 50 companies listed on the NSE.
B) The performance of the top 30 companies listed on the BSE.
C) The performance of the top 100 companies listed on the BSE.
D) The performance of all companies listed on the NSE.

Ans : B) The performance of the top 30 companies listed on the BSE.
The Sensex, also known as the S&P BSE Sensex, is India’s premier stock market index. It represents the performance of the 30 largest and most actively traded companies listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

Q: Which index achieved a historic milestone by closing above 80,000 for the first time in July 2024?

A) Nifty 50
B) Sensex
C) Nifty Pharma
D) Nifty IT

Ans : B) Sensex
On July 4, 2024, India’s benchmark Sensex achieved a historic milestone by closing above the 80,000 mark for the first time.

Japan launches new banknotes with three-dimensional hologram technology

On July 3, 2024, Japan began issuing new 10,000 yen, 5,000 yen, and 1,000 yen banknotes. This redesign is the first since 2004.

The new banknotes feature three-dimensional hologram technology to combat counterfeiting, the first such use on any country’s currency.

Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki stated that the new banknotes incorporate a universal design for the visually impaired and foreigners. The Bank of Japan announced that current banknotes will remain legal tender after the new bills are circulated.

Q: Which country first incorporated three-dimensional hologram technology on its currency to combat counterfeiting?

a) United States
b) Japan
c) Germany
d) Canada

Ans : b) Japan
On July 3, 2024, Japan began issuing new 10,000 yen, 5,000 yen, and 1,000 yen banknotes. The new banknotes feature three-dimensional hologram technology to combat counterfeiting, the first such use on any country’s currency.

53rd GST Council meeting held on June 22, 2024, in New Delhi

The 53rd meeting of the GST Council, presided over by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, took place at Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi on June 22 2024. The next GST Council meeting tentatively scheduled for mid to late August.

Decision’s of 53rd GST Council meeting,:

  • Aadhaar-based authentication: The council decided to implement a phased rollout of Aadhaar-based biometric authentication for registration throughout India. This aims to curb fake invoicing and improve compliance.
  • Tax rate changes:
    • Milk cans: A uniform 12% GST rate was set for milk cans.
    • Platform tickets: Platform tickets for railway travel will now be exempt from GST.
    • Cartons: The GST rate on cartons was reduced from 18% to 12% to provide relief to apple farmers in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Relief for students: Hostel accommodation services with a monthly rent exceeding ₹20,000 will be subject to GST. However, hostels charging up to ₹20,000 per month will be exempt, providing relief for students.

GST Council in India:

Function:

  • Established under the Constitution to oversee the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • Acts as a joint forum between the Central Government (Union Finance Minister) and all Indian states and union territories (represented by their Finance Ministers).

Key Responsibilities:

  • Decides on GST tax rates (currently 5%, 12%, 18%, and 28%).
  • Determines exemptions for certain goods and services.
  • Sets deadlines for filing GST returns and compliance procedures.
  • Recommends changes to GST laws and regulations.
  • Addresses revenue sharing between central and state governments.

Q: Who chairs the meetings of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council?

a) The President of India
b) The Prime Minister of India
c) The Union Finance Minister
d) The Governor of the RBI

Ans : c) The Union Finance Minister
The 53rd meeting of the GST Council, presided over by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, took place at Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi on June 22 2024.

Q. How many tax rate slabs are currently recommended by the GST Council (as of June 2024)?

a) Two
b) Three
c) Four
d) Five

Ans : c) Four
GST tax rates (currently 5%, 12%, 18%, and 28%).

RBI keep Repo Rate unchanged at 6.5%, Ups FY25 GDP forecast to 7.2%

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decided to keep the policy repo rate unchanged at 6.50% for the eighth consecutive time. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) met on 5th, 6th, and 7th June 2024.

The standing deposit facility (SDF) rate remains at 6.25%, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at 6.75%.

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das stated the inflation-growth balance is favorable and monetary policy must stay disinflationary, aiming for a 4% inflation target.

The RBI raised the growth projection to 7.2% from an earlier estimate of 7% for the current financial year.

Q: What is the current policy repo rate (unchanged at 6.50% for the eighth consecutive time) as decided by the Reserve Bank of India on 7 June 2024?

a) 6.25%
b) 6.50%
c) 6.75%
d) 7.00%

Answer: b) 6.50%

RBI approve the transfer of Rs 2.11 Lakh Crore as surplus to the Government

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) approved transferring Rs 2,10,874 crore as surplus to the Central Government for the accounting year 2023-24. This decision was made during the 608th meeting of the Central Board of Directors of the RBI on 22 May 2024 in Mumbai.

  • The Board, chaired by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, decided to increase the Contingent Risk Buffer (CRB) to 6.50% for FY 2023-24.
  • The CRB was previously maintained at 5.50% during 2018-19 to 2021-22 and increased to 6% in 2022-23.
  • The meeting was attended by RBI Deputy Governors Dr. Michael Debabrata Patra, Mr. M. Rajeshwar Rao, Mr. T. Rabi Sankar, Mr. Swaminathan J., and other Central Board Directors.

Q. What amount did the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) approve to transfer as surplus to the Central Government for the accounting year 2023-24?

A. Rs 1.5 Lakh crore
B. Rs 1.85 Lakh crore
C. Rs 2.11 Lakh crore
D. Rs 2.82 Lakh crore

Ans : C. Rs 2.11 Lakh crore

97.76% of Rs 2000 Currency Notes Returned to Banking System : RBI

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has provided an update on the withdrawal of Rs 2000 denomination banknotes from circulation.

  1. As of April 30, 2024, the total value of Rs 2000 banknotes in circulation has significantly decreased from Rs 3.56 lakh crore on May 19, 2023, to Rs 7961 crore.
  2. This decrease indicates that 97.76% of the Rs 2000 banknotes in circulation as of May 19, 2023, have been returned.
  3. The withdrawal process was initially announced through a press release dated May 19, 2023, with periodic updates from the RBI.
  4. Initially, the facility for deposit and/or exchange of Rs 2000 banknotes was available at all bank branches until October 7, 2023.
  5. Subsequently, the exchange facility has been available at the 19 Issue Offices of the Reserve Bank (RBI Issue Offices) since May 19, 2023.
  6. Starting from October 9, 2023, these offices also started accepting Rs 2000 banknotes from individuals/entities for deposit into their bank accounts.
  7. Additionally, members of the public have been able to send Rs 2000 banknotes through India Post from any post office within the country to any RBI Issue Office for credit to their bank accounts.
  8. Despite the withdrawal process, Rs 2000 banknotes continue to be legal tender.

Question: Despite the withdrawal process, what is the status of Rs 2000 banknotes?

a) They are no longer legal tender
b) They can only be used for specific transactions
c) They are still legal tender
d) They can only be exchanged at specific locations

Ans : c) They are still legal tender

Kotak Mahindra Bank to stop issuing new credit cards and online customer immediately : RBI

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has instructed Kotak Mahindra Bank to stop issuing new credit cards immediately. The RBI has also limited the bank’s ability to acquire new customers through online and mobile banking channels.

  1. These actions stem from significant concerns identified during the RBI’s IT examinations of the bank for 2022 and 2023.
  2. Over two consecutive years, the bank has been found deficient in IT risk management and information security governance, violating regulatory guidelines.
  3. Despite corrective action plans issued by the RBI in 2022 and 2023, the bank has been substantially non-compliant.
  4. Existing customers, including credit card holders, will continue to receive services from the bank despite these restrictions.

Question : Which bank has the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) instructed to stop issuing new credit cards and acquiring online customers immediately?

a) HDFC Bank
b) ICICI Bank
c) Kotak Mahindra Bank
d) State Bank of India

Correct answer: c) Kotak Mahindra Bank

IMF forecast India’s GDP growth projection to 6.8% for FY 2024-25

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), on 16 April 2024 raised India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth projection to 6.8 percent for the financial year (FY) 2024-25, up from its previous forecast of 6.5 percent.

  • India’s growth is attributed to strong domestic demand and a rising working-age population.
  • The global growth rate is estimated at 3.2 percent in 2023, projected to continue at the same pace in FY 2024-25 and FY 2025-26.
  • India remains the fastest growing economy globally, surpassing China’s growth projection of 4.6 percent during the same period.

Q: What is India’s revised GDP growth projection for the financial year 2024-25, according to the IMF forecast April 20204?

a) 6.5 percent
b) 6.8 percent
c) 7.0 percent
d) 6.2 percent

Ans : b) 6.8 percent

World’s largest power plant : Adani Green Energy Limited renewable energy plant in Khavda, Gujarat

Adani Green Energy Limited is developing a 30 GW renewable energy plant in Khavda, Gujarat, spanning an area of 538 sq km, making it the world’s largest power plant.

  1. The project area in Khavda is five times the size of Paris and almost as large as Mumbai.
  2. The first energy flow from the project to the national grid occurred on February 14, 2024, with an initial capacity of 551 MW solar.
  3. Adani Green Energy Limited plans to invest approximately Rs 1.5 lakh crore in the project.
  4. The Khavda project will generate both solar and wind energy, with 2,000 MW of solar energy already operationalized in March 2024.
  5. The company aims to reach 6 GW of power production by March 2025 and plans to expand by a minimum of 5 GW every year thereafter.
  6. Adani Green Energy Limited aims to produce 45,000 MW of renewable energy by 2030.
  7. The project site in Khavda is equipped with waterless cleaning robots to address dust accumulation on panels and conserve water in the arid Kutch region.
  8. India is expected to avoid about 58 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually with this project.
  9. Adani Green’s renewable energy portfolio spans 12 states, with major production in Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Q: Where is the world’s largest power plant being developed by Adani Green Energy Limited?

a) Khavda, Gujarat
b) Jaipur, Rajasthan
c) Mumbai, Maharashtra
d) Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Correct answer: a) Khavda, Gujarat

Income Tax Returns (ITRs) for Assessment Year 2024-25 from April 1, 2024

CBDT allows taxpayers to file Income Tax Returns (ITRs) for Assessment Year 2024-25 from April 1, 2024, onwards.

  1. Commonly used ITR forms such as ITR-1, ITR-2, and ITR-4 are available on the e-filing portal from April 1.
  2. Companies can file their ITRs using ITR-6.
  3. Around 23 thousand ITRs for Assessment Year 2024-25 have already been filed.
  4. The facility to file ITRs 3, 5, and 7 will be made available soon.
  5. This initiative marks the first time in recent years that taxpayers can file their returns on the first day of the new financial year.

Q: When can taxpayers file their Income Tax Returns (ITRs) for Assessment Year 2024-25 according to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT)?

a) From January 1, 2024
b) From April 1, 2024
c) From July 1, 2024
d) From October 1, 2024

Ans : b) From April 1, 2024

Deposit cash through Cash Deposit Machines using Unified Payments Interface (UPI)

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will soon enable cash deposits through Cash Deposit Machines using Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

UPI, previously mainly used for money withdrawal or transfer, will now facilitate cash deposits, enhancing customer convenience and efficiency in currency handling at banks.

RBI is proposing to permit the use of third-party UPI apps for making UPI payments from Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPI) wallets, further boosting digital payment adoption for small-value transactions.

Q: What new functionality will the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) enable through Cash Deposit Machines (CDMs) using Unified Payments Interface (UPI)?

a) Money withdrawal
b) Money transfer
c) Cash deposits
d) Currency exchange

Ans : c) Cash deposits

RBI Keeps Repo Rates Unchanged at 6.5 Percent for Seventh Consecutive Time

The Reserve Bank of India’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) maintained the key repo rate at 6.5 per cent for the seventh consecutive meeting on April 5, 2024.

  1. The focus was on controlling retail inflation, which has remained above the 4 per cent target.
  2. The repo rate is the rate at which banks borrow funds from the RBI to address short-term liquidity gaps.
  3. The majority decision was 5:1 to keep the interest rate unchanged, with the Standing Deposit Facility rate at 6.25 per cent and the Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate and Bank Rate at 6.75 per cent.
  4. The MPC retained the stance of ‘withdrawal of accommodation’ with a majority of five votes.
  5. The MPC consists of six members, including three from RBI, including Governor Shaktikanta Das, and three appointed by the central government.
  6. The three-day review meeting of the MPC, which began on April 2, concluded on April 5, 2024.

Q: What decision did the Reserve Bank of India’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) make regarding the repo rate on April 5, 2024?

a) Increased it
b) Decreased it
c) Maintained it
d) Abolished it

Ans : c) Maintained it

Q: What is the repo rate?

a) The rate at which banks lend funds to the RBI
b) The rate at which RBI borrows funds from banks
c) The rate at which banks borrow funds from the RBI
d) The rate at which RBI lends funds to the government

Ans : c) The rate at which banks borrow funds from the RBI

Unified Payments Interface (UPI) Transactions Surge in India

In the second half of 2023, India witnessed a remarkable surge in Unified Payments Interface (UPI) transactions.

  1. Volume Growth: UPI payments volume in H2 2023 soared by 56% year-on-year (YoY), reaching 65.77 billion transactions—a substantial increase from the previous year’s 42.09 billion transactions.
  2. Transaction Value: The value of these UPI transactions surged by 44%, climbing from Rs 69.36 lakh crore to an impressive Rs 99.68 lakh crore.
  3. Person-to-Merchant Transactions: The growth of UPI payments was largely driven by person-to-merchant transactions. During this period, these transactions witnessed a 77% increase in volume and a 62% increase in value.
  4. Point of Sale Terminals: The number of point of sale (POS) terminals, used by merchants to receive payments, expanded by 26%, reaching 8.56 million. Private banks played a significant role, accounting for 73% of the market share in this segment.
  5. Dominant PlayersPhonePeGoogle Pay, and Paytm continued to dominate the UPI market both in terms of value and volume. In December 2023, these three platforms accounted for 95.4% of all transactions, emphasizing their stronghold in the digital payments landscape.
  6. Average Ticket Size: Interestingly, the average ticket size within UPI payments decreased by 8% YoY. This indicates a higher penetration of UPI for small and micro everyday payments, typically made to merchants. Categories such as groceries, eateries, telecom services, pharmacies, and utilities topped the list, reflecting their high volume but relatively low value.
  7. Debit and Credit Cards: While UPI surged, the issuance of debit and credit cards experienced modest growth. Credit card issuance jumped from 13% in June 2023 to 21% in December 2023, while debit cards grew by only 2%

Q: What does UPI stand for?

A) Unified Payment Interface
B) Unified Payments Integration
C) United Payment Interface
D) Ultrafast Payment Integration

Answer: A) Unified Payment Interface

Q: Which type of transactions drove the growth of UPI payments in Second half of 2023?

A) Person-to-person transactions
B) Person-to-merchant transactions
C) International transactions
D) Bank-to-bank transactions

Answer: B) Person-to-merchant transactions

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) enters its 90th year on 1st April 2024.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) commenced its operations on 1st of April in 1935 and organizing a ceremony to mark the 90th years on 1st April 2024.

  1. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) holds a pivotal position as the central bank of India, established based on recommendations from the Hilton Young Commission.
  2. The RBI Act of 1934 provided the statutory foundation for the bank’s functioning, with operations commencing on April 1, 1935.
  3. At its inception, the RBI was entrusted with critical functions including regulating the issue of banknotes, maintaining reserves, and operating the credit and currency system.
  4. Initially, the RBI inherited responsibilities from the Controller of Currency and took over the management of government accounts and public debt from the Imperial Bank of India.
  5. The RBI established branches and banking offices in major cities across India.
  6. In its early days, the RBI focused on development, particularly in the agricultural sector, pioneering the use of finance for development purposes.
  7. The RBI played a significant role in setting up various institutions such as the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation of India, the Unit Trust of India, the Industrial Development Bank of India, and the National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development.
  8. Over time, the RBI’s role evolved to include overseeing monetary policy, bank supervision, regulation, and developing financial markets.
  9. The RBI remains a cornerstone of India’s financial resilience and progress from its inception to the present day.

Q: When did the Reserve Bank of India commence its operations?

a) April 1, 1935
b) April 1, 1947
c) January 26, 1950
d) August 15, 1947

Ans : a) April 1, 1935

Q: From which institution did the Reserve Bank of India take over the management of government accounts and public debt?

a) Imperial Bank of India
b) Bank of England
c) State Bank of India
d) Punjab National Bank

Ans : a) Imperial Bank of India

Q: Which commission’s recommendations led to the establishment of the Reserve Bank of India?

a) Simon Commission
b) Butler Commission
c) Hilton Young Commission
d) Hunter Commission

Ans : c) Hilton Young Commission

Q: Where is the headquarters of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) located?

a) New Delhi
b) Mumbai
c) Kolkata
d) Chennai

Ans : b) Mumbai

Paytm Payments Bank Ceased Services from March 15, 2024

Paytm Payments Bank halted services such as accepting deposits and processing credit transactions from March 15 as per the directive from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

  1. The RBI issued a directive on January 31 for Paytm Payments Bank to cease accepting deposits or top-ups in various instruments, citing concerns about non-compliance with regulations and supervisory issues.
  2. The RBI’s decision to shut down Paytm Payments Bank stemmed from concerns over non-compliance issues, including improper identification during account openings, potential involvement in illicit activities like money laundering, and an unusual number of dormant accounts.

Changes After Shutdown:

  • Deposits into Paytm Payments Bank accounts are no longer possible, but customers can still withdraw or transfer funds.
  • Salary credits, direct benefit transfers, and subsidies are no longer available in Paytm Payments Bank accounts, but refunds, cashbacks, and sweep-ins from partner banks are still permitted.
  • The top-up facility and wallet transfers are disabled, although payments can still be made if there is a balance in accounts.
  • Recharge or top-up of funds in NCMC cards issued by Paytm bank are no longer supported.
  • Transfer of funds into Paytm Payments Bank accounts via UPI or IMPS ceased after March 15.

Q: What directive did the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issue to Paytm Payments Bank on January 31?

a) To enhance their customer service offerings
b) To halt accepting deposits or top-ups in various instruments
c) To expand their branch network
d) To increase their interest rates on savings accounts

Ans : b) To halt accepting deposits or top-ups in various instruments

Q: Why did the RBI order the shutdown of Paytm Payments Bank?

a) Due to concerns about their stock trading operations
b) Due to concerns over non-compliance issues and supervisory concerns
c) Due to their outstanding customer service
d) Due to their high-interest rates on loans

Ans : b) Due to concerns over non-compliance issues and supervisory concerns

RBI to Launch Interoperable Payment System for Internet Banking in 2024

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to launch interoperable payment system for internet banking in 2024.

  • System will be implemented by NPCI Bharat BillPay and aims to facilitate quicker settlement of funds for merchants.
  • This addresses delays and settlement risks for merchants using payment aggregators for internet banking transactions.
  • India accounts for nearly 46% of global digital transactions and UPI is the leading payment system with close to 80% share.
  • UPI transactions have grown significantly and new user registrations are increasing.
  • RBI emphasizes trust in digital payments is built on transparency, ease of use, and security and promotes awareness programs.

Q. Which organization will be responsible for implementing the new interoperable payment system?

a) Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
b) National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)
c) NPCI Bharat BillPay Limited (Correct)
d) Payment Aggregators (PAs)

Ans : b) National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)

National Urban Co-operative Finance and Development Corporation Limited (NUCFDC) launched to Empower Urban Cooperative Banking Sector

Amit Shah launched the National Urban Co-operative Finance and Development Corporation Limited (NUCFDC) in New Delhi on March 2, 2024.

  1. The NUCFDC serves as the umbrella organization for Urban Cooperative Banks (UCBs).
  2. The initiative aligns with the goal of ‘Sahakar se Samriddhi’ to foster self-reliance in India.
  3. The aim is to modernize and strengthen the Urban Cooperative Banking Sector.
  4. NUCFDC has received a Certificate of Registration from the Reserve Bank of India to function as a Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC).
  5. It will also operate as a Self-Regulatory Organization for the sector.
  6. NUCFDC will provide specialized functions and services to cooperative banks, facilitate communication between banks and regulators, and address challenges faced by UCBs.

Q: What does NUCFDC stand for?

a) National Urban Cooperative Finance and Development Corporation
b) National Union of Cooperative Financial Development Corporations
c) National Unified Cooperative Finance and Development Corporation
d) None of the above

Ans : a) National Urban Cooperative Finance and Development Corporation

Q: What is the primary goal of the NUCFDC?

a) To regulate rural cooperative banks
b) To strengthen the agricultural sector
c) To modernize and strengthen the Urban Cooperative Banking Sector
d) To promote digital payments in urban areas

Ans : c) To modernize and strengthen the Urban Cooperative Banking Sector

Government Raises Sugarcane Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) by Eight Percent; Prime Minister Commends Decision as Historic

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasizes the importance of development efforts for future generations during an address in Mehsana.
  • Projects worth over Rs 13,000 crore are inaugurated and initiated, focusing on infrastructure development.
  • Mr. Modi highlights the significance of road and railway projects as pathways to a developed India.
  • The “Modi Guarantee” initiative aims to uplift the lives of marginalized communities through development efforts.
  • The government emphasizes heritage conservation alongside development activities.
  • Inaugurated projects include Bharat Net Phase-II – Gujarat Fibre Grid Network Limited, benefiting over 8,000 gram panchayats with high-speed internet.
  • Rail line doubling, gauge conversion, and new broad-gauge lines in Mahesana and Banaskantha districts are among the railway projects launched.
  • Multiple road projects in Kheda, Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, and Mahesana are initiated.
  • Foundation stones are laid for various projects, including road projects in Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Banaskantha, and Mahesana, as well as the Runway of Air Force Station, Deesa, and Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC)’s new building at GIFT city.

How many gram panchayats are expected to benefit from the Bharat Net Phase-II – Gujarat Fibre Grid Network Limited project?
a) Near 5,000
b) Near 6,000
c) Near 7,000
d) Over 8,000

  • Correct answer: d) Over 8,000

Government allows 100% FDI in space sector

The Centre has approved an amendment in the Foreign Direct Investment, FDI policy, allowing 100% foreign investment in the space sector.  

The liberalized entry routes under the amended policy are aimed to attract potential investors to invest in Indian companies in space.

FDI up to 100% under the Automatic route will be allowed for the manufacturing of components and systems or sub-systems for satellites, ground segments, and user segments.

Q: What recent change has been approved by the Centre regarding Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in space sector?

a) Increased restrictions on FDI in space sector
b) 100% foreign investment allowed in the space sector
c) Limiting FDI to 50% in space sector
d) Complete ban on foreign investment space sector

Answer: b) 100% foreign investment allowed in the space sector

RBI extended the deadline for Paytm Payments Bank services to March 15, 2024

RBI extended the deadline for Paytm Payments Bank services to March 15, 2024, from the initial date of February 29.

  1. The decision was made considering larger public interest, including the interests of merchants, as stated in a press release by the apex bank.
  2. Customers are allowed to make deposits, credit transactions, prepaid services, wallets, FASTags, and National Common Mobility Cards until March 15, 2024.
  3. After March 15, 2024, no further deposits, credit transactions, or top-ups will be allowed in any customer accounts, according to the RBI.
  4. Earlier, the RBI had prohibited the Paytm subsidiary from accepting additional deposits or accounts starting from February 29.
  5. The RBI imposed business restrictions on Paytm Payments Bank Ltd, operated by One97 Communications, exercising its powers under Section 35A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.

Q: Who is the company operating Paytm Payments Bank?

  • a) Paytm
  • b) One97 Communications
  • c) Reserve Bank of India
  • d) National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)

Ans : b) One97 Communications

RBI retains repo rate at 6.5 percent for sixth consecutive time

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has maintained the repo rate at 6.5 percent for the sixth consecutive time.
  • The decision was made by a 5:1 majority vote of the six-member monetary policy committee (MPC) due to retail inflation persisting above the 4 percent target.
  • The repo rate is the interest rate at which banks borrow funds from the RBI to address short-term liquidity gaps.
  • Other key interest rates include the Standing Deposit Facility rate at 6.25 percent, Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate at 6.75 percent, and the Bank Rate at 6.75 percent.
  • RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das projected retail inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) at 5.4 percent for the current fiscal year and 4.5 percent for the next financial year.

Q: What is the primary purpose of the repo rate?

A) To regulate the money supply in the market and combat price inflation.
B) To determine the operating bank rates.
C) To enhance the availability of funds for banks.
D) To stimulate consumer demand.

Answer: A) To regulate the money supply in the market and combat price inflation

Interim budget for FY 2024-25 : Main Points

Finance Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman presented the interim budget for FY 2024-25 on February 1, 2024 in Parliament. Since it’s an interim budget, it focuses on essential expenditures until the regular budget is presented after general elections. Here are some key points:

Fiscal Consolidation:

  • Fiscal deficit target: 5.1% of GDP, aimed at reaching 4.5% by FY 25-26.
  • Revenue receipts: Estimated at ₹30.03 lakh crore, reflecting economic growth.
  • Total expenditure: Projected to be ₹47.66 lakh crore, a 6.1% increase.

Capital Expenditure:

  • Increased by 11.1% to ₹11.11 lakh crore, prioritizing infrastructure development.
  • Represents 3.4% of GDP and 23.31% of total expenditure.
  • Continuation of the 50-year interest-free loan scheme for states with a total outlay of ₹1.3 lakh crore.

Social Welfare:

  • Expansion of Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme to cover ASHA workers.
  • Launch of housing schemes for middle class, slum dwellers, and rural population.
  • Increase in coverage of “Lakhpati Didi” skill development program to 3 crore women.
  • Cervical cancer vaccination for girls aged 9-14 years.

Other Key Initiatives:

  • 1 crore households to receive free solar power.
  • Focus on promoting electric vehicles and e-buses.
  • No changes in income tax slabs or rates.

Q: What is the fiscal deficit target set in the interim budget for FY 2024-25?

a. 3.5% of GDP
b. 4.5% of GDP
c. 5.1% of GDP
d. 6.0% of GDP

Ans : c. 5.1% of GDP

Q: What is the status of income tax slabs or rates in the interim budget 2024-2025?

a. Increased rates
b. Decreased rates
c. No changes
d. Abolished

Ans : c. No changes

RBI imposes restrictions on Paytm Payments Bank

  • RBI imposes restrictions on Paytm Payments Bank from March 2024.
  • Action taken due to concerns about regulatory norm breaches and persistent non-compliance.
  • Paytm Payments Bank prohibited from accepting deposits, credit transactions, or top-ups after February 29, 2024.
  • Interest, cashback, and refunds allowed, but unrestricted withdrawal and utilization of balances permitted.
  • No provision of banking services, BBPOU, and UPI facilities after February 29, 2024, except for fund transfers, utilization, or withdrawal.
  • Nodal accounts of parent companies to be terminated by February 29, 2024.
  • Settlement of pipeline transactions and nodal accounts related to transactions initiated before February 29, 2024, must be completed by March 15, 2024.

Q: Which payment bank faced restrictions from RBI for “Breach of regulatory norms and non-compliance”?

a. Airtel Payments Bank
b. Fino Payments Bank
c. Paytm Payments Bank
d. Jio Payments Bank

Answer: c. Paytm Payments Bank

Halwa ceremony for the Interim Union Budget 2024, took place at North Block

The Halwa ceremony, marking the final stage of the Budget preparation process for the Interim Union Budget 2024, took place at North Block on 24th January 2024.

  1. The Finance Ministry performs the customary Halwa ceremony every year before the lock-in process of Budget preparation begins.
  2. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Finance Dr. Bhagwat Kisanrao Karad, and other senior officials were present during the ceremony.
  3. As part of the ceremony, Ms. Sitharaman took a round of the Budget Press, reviewed preparations, and extended her best wishes to the officials involved.
  4. Similar to the previous three full Union Budgets, the Interim Union Budget 2024 will be delivered in a paperless form.
  5. The Budget documents will be accessible on the Union Budget Mobile App after the completion of the Budget Speech by the Union Finance Minister in Parliament on the 1st of February.

Q: Halwa ceremony is associated with which of the following events?

a. Independence Day celebrations
b. Budget preparation process
c. National Women’s Day
d. Republic Day Celebration

Ans : b. Budget preparation process

Around 25 crore people have lifted themselves out of poverty in the last nine years : NITI Aayog

  1. According to NITI Aayog, nearly 25 crore people in India have lifted themselves out of poverty in the last nine years.
  2. The discussion paper released by NITI Aayog on 16 January 2024, focuses on Multidimensional Poverty in India from 2005 to 2006, analyzing the decline in poverty rates across various dimensions.
  3. The poverty rate has decreased from over 29 percent to around 11 percent in the mentioned nine-year period.
  4. Uttar Pradesh has witnessed the most significant reduction in poverty among Indian states, with nearly 6 crore people escaping poverty in the last nine years.
  5. Other states showing notable declines in poverty include Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan.
  6. NITI Aayog predicts that India will achieve single-digit poverty rates this year, marking a substantial accomplishment given that over 50 percent of the population was in poverty around 2005.
  7. The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of halving multidimensional poverty by 2030 is expected to be achieved by India much sooner than the set deadline.
  8. NITI Aayog CEO, B.V.R. Subrahmanyam, emphasized that reducing absolute poverty by half in 8 to 9 years is a remarkable achievement that will showcase India’s progress towards its SDG goals to the world.

Q: What is the reported decline in poverty rate in India over the last nine years according to NITI Aayog?

a) 27 percent to around 9 percent
b) 25 percent to around 17 percent
c) 29 percent to around 11 percent
d) 20 percent to around 15 percent

Answer: 29 percent to around 11 percent

Q: Who currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NITI Aayog in India?

a) Narendra Modi
b) Amitabh Kant
c) Arvind Panagariya
d) B.V.R. Subrahmanyam

Answer: d) B.V.R. Subrahmanyam

ONGC starts oil production from its Cluster-2 project in Krishna Godavari basin in Bay of Bengal

  1. The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has initiated oil production from its Cluster-2 project in the Krishna Godavari basin in the Bay of Bengal.
  2. The project is situated in the KG-DWN-98/2 block, characterized as a complex and challenging block.
  3. Initial production is expected to be 45 thousand barrels per day and over 10 million standard cubic metres per day of gas.
  4. The project, located offshore the Godavari river delta, is positioned 35 kilometres off the coast of Andhra Pradesh.
  5. Water depths in the project area range from 300 to 3,200 metres.
  6. The discoveries in the KG-DWN-98/2 block are divided into three clusters, with Cluster-2 being the first to be put into production.
  7. The anticipated impact of the project includes adding 7 percent to the current national oil production and 7 percent to national natural gas production.

Q: Where is the KG-DWN-98/2 block located, where the ONGC starts oil production from Cluster-2 project in January 2024 ?

a) Arabian Sea
b) Bay of Bengal
c) Indian Ocean
d) Andaman Sea

Answer: b) Bay of Bengal

Govt constitutes 16th Finance Commission with Dr Arvind Panagariya as its Chairman

The Sixteenth Finance Commission has been constituted by the Centre.

  1. Dr. Arvind Panagariya, former NITI Aayog Vice Chairman and current Columbia University Professor, will serve as the Chairman of the 16th Finance Commission.
  2. Ritvik Ranjanam Pandey, an IAS officer, will be the secretary of the Commission.
  3. The Commission’s recommendations will include matters related to the distribution of net proceeds of taxes between the Union and the States, and measures to augment the Consolidated Fund of a State to support Panchayats and Municipalities.
  4. The Commission may review current financing arrangements for Disaster Management initiatives, particularly funds under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, and make appropriate recommendations.
  5. The Finance Commission has been tasked with making its report available by October 31, 2025, covering a five-year period starting from April 1, 2026.

Q: Who has been appointed as the Chairman of the Sixteenth Finance Commission?

a) Dr. Arvind Panagariya
b) Ritvik Ranjanam Pandey
c) Nirmala Sitharaman
d) Dr Subramanyam Swami

Answer: a) Dr. Arvind Panagariya

Q: What is the role of Ritvik Ranjanam Pandey in the Sixteenth Finance Commission?

a) Chairman
b) Secretary
c) Financial Advisor
d) Member

Correct Answer: b) Secretary

Govt increases rate of interest on 2 small savings schemes for January-March 2024

The Central government has increased the rate of interest on two small savings schemes for January-March 2024 quarter by up to 20 basis points.

  • The rate of interest on the Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme has been raised by 20 basis points to 8.2 percent from 8 percent.
  • Interest on the three-year time deposit has been increased by 10 basis points to 7.1 percent from 7.0 percent.
  • All other small savings schemes will continue to offer the same rate of interest as they did in October-December quarter.

Q: What is the increased interest rate on the Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme for the January-March 2024 quarter?

a. 7.8 percent
b. 8.0 percent
c. 8.1 percent
d. 8.2 percent

Ans : d. 8.2 percent

Reversal of liquidity facilities under both SDF and MSF is available with effect from 30th December: RBI

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announces the availability of reversal of liquidity facilities under Standing Deposit Facility (SDF) and Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) on an overnight basis, including Sundays and holidays, effective from December 30.
  • Reversal under SDF and MSF is allowed only on the next working day in Mumbai.
  • RBI Governor Shaktikant Das had previously announced the SDF and MSF reversal facility to remain open on all days for deploying and using tools to manage liquidity in case of elevated inflation.
  • The SDF/MSF bids triggered under the Automated Sweep-In and Sweep-Out (ASISO) facility will reverse on the next calendar day.
  • Manual bids placed through the e-Kuber portal allow eligible entities to choose the tenor at the time of placing the bid.
  • Access to SDF/MSF will be available on all days, including Sundays and holidays.
  • RBI is using the Standing Deposit Facility (SDF) as an additional tool to absorb liquidity and control inflation.
  • The use of SDF enables RBI to take deposits from commercial banks without compensating them with government securities.

Q: Why RBIis using the Standing Deposit Facility (SDF) ?

  • A. To encourage commercial banks to invest in government securities
  • B. To absorb liquidity and control inflation
  • C. To compensate commercial banks with government securities
  • D. To facilitate faster fund transfers between banks.

Ans : B. To absorb liquidity and control inflation

CBDT notified Income Tax Return (ITR) forms 1 and 4, for the assessment year 2024-25

  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has notified Income Tax Return (ITR) forms 1 and 4 for the assessment year 2024-25.
  • These forms are for filing income tax returns related to earnings from April 1, 2023, to March 31, 2024.
  • Typically, ITR forms are notified in March or early April, but this year they were notified in December to facilitate early filing.
  • Forms 1 and 4 are meant for individuals and entities with annual total income of up to 50 lakh rupees.

Q: What is the period of the Financial Year in India?

A) April 1 to March 31
B) January 1 to December 31
C) July 1 to June 30
D) October 1 to September 30

Answer: A) April 1 to March 31

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