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Evening News Digest: 24 September 2018

PM launches Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJAY) from Ranchi in Jharkhand on 23 Sept.
  • Ayushman Bharat - PMJAY
    • Under this scheme, 10 crore families will be provided health assurance worth over Rs. 5 lakh.
    • The scheme will provide cashless and paperless access to services for the beneficiary at the point of service. 
    • A health card would be provided to the beneficiaries for availing of the benefits. 
    • 13000 hospitals have become a part of the scheme.
    • The services will include 1350 procedures covering pre and post hospitalization, diagnostics and medicines. 
      Under the scheme, the beneficiaries will be able to move across borders and access services across the country through the provider network seamlessly. 
    • In addition to the insurance plan, under Ayushman Bharat, the government also aims to open 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres by 2022, which would be equipped to treat diseases including blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. 

PM Modi to inaugurate Sikkim's first airport Pakyong tomorrow

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first ever airport of Sikkim at Pakyong on 24 Sept, which will improve connectivity in the area
  • Pakyong Airport
    • The airport is spread over 201 acres and is located on top of a hill about two km from Pakyong village at 4,500 feet above sea level. 
    • The Pakyong airport is located around 60 km from the Indo-China border.
    • The first commercial flight from Pakyong would begin from October 4.
    • SpiceJet will operate 78-seater Bombardier Q400 flights to and fro Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati everyday under the Civil Aviation Ministry's Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme, that aims at enhancing regional connectivity.
    • Initially the airport would only cater to domestic flights, but later it will also provide international flight services connecting Sikkim with other countries like Paro in Bhutan, Kathmandu in Nepal and Dhaka in Bangladesh.

Renowned filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi passes away at 64

  • Renowned filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi died at the age of 64 in Mumbai.
  • Lajmi, a director, producer and screenwriter, was known for working on real subjects.
  • Her films often had a woman at the centre.
  • Some of her popular films include Rudaali, Daman, Darmiyaan.

Nepal to be world's first country to double its tiger population

  • Nepal is set to become the first country to double its tiger population as part of the World Wildlife Foundation's (WWF) "Tx2" programme which aims to double the number of tigers all over the world.
  • Nepal's tiger population rose to 235 from 121 in 2009.
  • With four years remaining before the 2022 deadline, Nepal  looks set to achieve its goal.
  • Declining Population:
    • According to WWF, only 3200 tigers are left in India.
    • Numerous factors, including poaching and habitat loss, led to the decline in numbers.
    • Of the 13 countries with tiger ranges, India has the most - 2226 as of 2016.
    • Russia and Indonesia had 433 and 371, respectively.
  • India: Home of Tigers
    • India is home to 70 percent of tigers in the world.
    • In 2006, there were 1,411 tigers which increased to 1,706 in 2010 and 2,226 in 2014.
    • The total number of wild tigers has risen to 3,890 in 2016 according to World Wildlife Fund and Global Tiger Forum.

US proposed rules to limit green cards for immigrants on benefits

  • US president Donald Trump proposed a rule that would make it harder to obtain visas or green cards for immigrants already in the U.S. legally, if they have ever been dependent on certain public benefits, like Medicaid, food stamps or public housing.
  • Why this rule?
    • Originally, the rule known as "public charge" began in the 1800s as a way for the U.S. to deny entry to immigrants who were likely to become a drain on the economy.
    • The move could force millions of poor immigrants who rely on public assistance for food and shelter to make a difficult choice between accepting financial help and seeking a green card to live and work legally in the United States.
  • Impact on India
    • The legislation could have a major impact on Indians, mostly from the tech industry working in the US.
    • As of April, there were 6,32,219 Indian immigrants and their spouses and minor children waiting for green cards.
    • People have 60 day-time to comment on the proposed rule, which will mainly impact legal immigrants as illegal immigrants are not eligible for any government benefits.

India conducts successful interceptor missile test at night

  • India on 24 Sept conducted first night trial of its indigenously developed Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system in salvo mode from a defence facility off Odisha coast.
  • It is a made in India anti-ballistic missile named as Prithvi Defence Vehicle.
  • It destroyed another ballistic missile with accuracy.
  • With the anti-ballistic missile system, India has entered an exclusive club of four nations which have a robust BMD system.
  • The other three countries are US, Russia and Israel.

Govt begins work to consolidate regional rural banks

  • The Central government has initiated consolidation of regional rural banks (RRB) along with the public sector lenders and intends to bring down their number to 36 from the existing 56.
  • Recently government announced its decision to merge Bank of Baroda, Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank to create another global size bank.
  • RRB
    • RRBs were formed under the RRB Act, 1976, with an objective to provide credit and other facilities to small farmers, agricultural labourers and artisans in rural areas.
    • Currently, the Centre holds 50 per cent in RRBs, while 35 per cent and 15 per cent are with the concerned sponsor banks and state governments, respectively.
    • In order to improve the financial health of RRBs, the government initiated consolidation of RRBs in a phased manner in 2005.
    • The number of RRBs came down to 133 in 2006 from 196 at the end of March 2005.
    • It further came down to 105 and subsequently to 82 at the end of March 2012.
    • Further consolidation brought down number of such banks to 56.
  • Impact on RRBs:
    • It will usher in better scale-efficiency, higher productivity, and robust financial health of such banks, improved financial inclusion and greater credit flow to rural areas.
    • Besides, the move will enable RRBs to minimise their overhead expenses, optimise the use of technology, enhance the capital base and area of operation, the official added.

J Packirisamy is the new CEO & MD of Andhra Bank

  • J Packirisamy has assumed charge as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Andhra Bank.
  • He has been elevated from deputy managing director, mid corporate group, State Bank of India (SBI).

RBI announces norms for co-origination of priority sector loans by banks, NBFCs

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released the guidelines on co-orgination of loans by banks and non-deposit taking non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) in the priority sector, following its announcement in the August credit policy.
  • The move is aimed at leveraging the reach of NBFCs to help banks meet their priority sector lending targets, leveraging the reach of NBFCs.
  • Priority sector lending includes loans to sectors such as agriculture, micro enterprises, social infrastructure, education and renewable energy.
  • RBI Guidelines:
    • BFCs will take minimum 20% of the credit risk by way of direct exposure, with the balance being taken by banks.
    • Both the lenders must have the flexibility to price their part of the loan exposure depending on the risk appetite, according to the guidelines.
    • A single blended interest rate will be offered to the borrower in case of fixed rate loans, while a weighted average of the benchmark interest rates in proportion to the respective loan contribution will be offered in the case of floating rates loans.
    • The bank and NBFC shall open an escrow type common account for pooling of respective loans contributions for disbursement and loan repayments from borrowers,
    • In cases of grievance redressal, the NBFC has to explain to the borrower the difference between products offered through the co-origination model as compared to its own products.

Owners-Drivers to get an accidental insurance cover of Rs 15 Lakhs

  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI) has raised the minimum insurance cover for owner-driver to Rs 15 lakh for a premium of Rs 750 per annum. 
  • Currently, the capital sum insured (CSI) under this section for motorised two-wheelers and private cars/commercial vehicles is Rs 1 lakh and Rs 2 lakh, respectively.
  • The regulator directed all general insurers to provide a minimum CSl of Rs 15 lakh under Compulsory Personal Accident (CPA) cover for owner-driver under ‘Liability Only’ to all classes of vehicles at the premium rate of Rs 750 per annum for annual policy.


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