September 12, 2014

iNDIAs first multi-sensor moored observatory IndARC

Country’s first multi-sensor moored observatory IndARC was successfully deployed in Kongsfjorden Fjord of the Arctic roughly halfway between North Pole and Norway on July 23.

A team of scientists from the Earth System Science Organisation-National Institute of Ocean Technology (ESSO-NIOT) Chennai and ESSO-National Centre for Antartic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) termed the same as a milestone in India’s scientific endeavours in the Arctic region.

This observatory, designed and developed by ESSO-NIOT and ESSO-NCAOR with ESSO-Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad, was deployed from the Norwegian Polar Institute’s research vessel R.V. Lance. Team led by Dr.Venkatesan deployed the same during its annual cruise to the Kongsfjorden area and the mission was guided by Atmanand — Director of ESSO-NIOT and Rajan – Director of ESSO — NCAOR.
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September 08, 2014

September 1, 2014

  • In a major boost to the Indian scientific community, the Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan), on its maiden tryst with the red planet, has completed 300 days of its journey in space and is just 23 days away from reaching its intended orbit.
  • The DDA (Delhi Development Authority) launched its much-awaited 'Housing Scheme 2014' offering over 25,000 flats across various categories.
  • Government told the Supreme Court that it "wants re-auction of all 218 coal blocks" declared as illegal allocation but sought its indulgence to "exempt" 40 of them which are functional and ready for the end use power plants.
  • From the 1st September 2014, first session with 15 students started at revived Nalanda University in Bihar. This session was started with the classes for the School of Ecology and Environmental Studies and the School of Historical Studies. 

  • After two failed bids, Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) may soon sign a deal with an Indian automotive manufacturing company to procure a total of 1,380 semi-low-floor buses to replace its fleet of standard-floor ones (yellow buses).
  • Supreme Court gave two months extension to Justice Mudgal committee to complete its final probe in the IPL 2013 spot-fixing and betting scandal.
  • Concerned over delay in strategic border projects, Home Minister Rajnath Singh has suggested exemption of environment clearance given to such projects falling within 100 km from International Border or IB, Line of Actual Control or LAC and Line of Control or LOC.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Vivekananda Cultural Centre at the Indian Embassy in Tokyo.
  •  U.S. Post Service (USPS) will issue a postage stamp to honour Legendary Indian actor Akkineni Nageswara Rao, thus Rao will be the first actor from India to get this honour. 
  • UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern over Israel's plan to declare nearly 1,000 acres of land in Bethlehem as "state land," saying such seizure is illegal and counterproductive to pursuing a two-State solution with Palestine.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised public and private investment worth $35 billion in India over the next five years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed his Japan trip as "very successful" and hoped that India's infrastructure will improve and the country will become clean with the help of USD 35 billion promised by Japan over five years, the highest ever amount ever.

  • Indian woman researcher, Veena Sahajwalla, is among the 16 scientists who has been awarded the prestigious Australian Laureate Fellowship for her work in micro-recycling of e-waste. She will get AUD 2.37 million for her research.
  • Renowned historian Bipin Chandra, a Padma Bhushan laureate, breathes his last at 86. Few of his notable books include: ‘The Rise and Growth of Economic Nationalism’, ‘In the Name of Democracy: The JP Movement and the Emergency’, ‘Nationalism and Colonialism in Modern India’ and ‘The Making of Modern India: From Marx to Gandhi’.
  • Mridula Sinha was sworn-in as Governor of Goa.
  • Unveiling a slew of amendments in the implementation of the Basel 3 regulations, the Reserve Bank of India has allowed banks to issue additional Tier 1 capital instruments, the principal amount of which would absorb losses, either through conversion into common shares or a write-down mechanism that allocates the losses to the instruments, either temporarily or permanently.
  • Former Attorney General G E Vahanvati (65) passed away.
  • Manpreet Singh was named the 'Junior Player of the Year' by the Asian Hockey Federation in its Congress held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Jaipur Pink Panthers emerged as champions of inaugural season of STAR Pro-Kabaddi League. Jaipur Pink Panthers is owned by Abhishek Bachchan. 
  • Anita Wlodarczyk from Poland set a world record in women's hammer throw. She set this record at the Internationales Stadionfest (ISTAF) Berlin Athletics meet at Berlin's Olympic stadium in Germany. She broke the record of Betty Heidler of Germany.
  • Carolina Marin of Spain clinched the title of World Badminton Championship. This Championship was held in Copenhagen, Denmark.
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September 05, 2014

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana

National Mission on Financial Inclusion with an ambitious objective of covering all households in the country with banking facilities and having a bank account for each household. This is important for including people left out into the mainstream of the financial system.

The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana lies at the core of development philosophy of Sab Ka Sath Sab Ka Vikas. The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana launched on 28 August, 2014 across the nation. 

With a bank account, every household gains access to banking and credit facilities. This will enable them to come out of the grip of moneylenders, manage to keep away from financial crises caused by emergent needs, and most importantly, benefit from a range of financial products. As a first step, every account holder gets a RuPay debit card with a Rs 1,00,000/- accident cover. As we go along, they will be covered by insurance and pension products.

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July 18, 2014

BRICS - Brazil Russia China South Africa

BRICS is the abbreviation of five countries- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa and it is annually held since 2009, to build better global economies ties among all five nations. 
All five BRICS nations are also the members of G-20 and the sixth summit has also invited Argentina for the first time, to make it the sixth member in its group.

All about previous BRICS Summits 

  1. The first BRIC summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia on 16th June, 2009 with the all five leaders. 
  2. On April 15, 2010, BRIC's second summit, the group expanded with South Africa as the latest country to join and thus BRIC became BRICS on December 24, 2010 at Brasilia, Brazil. 
  3. On April 14, 2011, the third BRICS Summit held. 
  4. On March 29, 2012, fourth BRICS Summit was held for the first time in the national capital New Delhi, India with the former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh as the host leader. 
  5. On March 26, 2013, the host country of the fifth BRICS Summit was Durban, South Africa. 

6th BRICS Summit in Brazil

    • The sixth and the present BRICS Summit took place in Fortaleza (the fifth largest city in Northeastern Brazil) from July 15 to July 17 with the President Dilma Rousseff as the host leader, thus successfully marking the completion of the first BRICS cycle. 
    • Earlier, the 2014 BRICS Summit was to take place in March 2014, but due to China's request, it was postponed to July 2014. 
    • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made his debut at the BRICS Summit 2014 as the previous summits were attended by his predecessor Dr Manmohan Singh. 

    Guest countries at the 6th BRICS Summit 

    1. Argentina - President - Cristina Fernández de Kirchner 
    2. Bolivia - President - Evo Morales 
    3. Chile - President  - Michelle Bachelet 
    4. Colombia - President - Juan Manuel Santos 
    5. Ecuador - President - Rafael Correa 
    6. Guyana - President - Donald Ramotar 
    7. Paraguay  - President - Horacio Cartes 
    8. Peru - President - Ollanta Humala 
    9. Suriname - President - Dési Bouterse 
    10. Uruguay - President - José Mujica 
    11. Venezuela - President - Nicolás Maduro 

    Key issue: 

    The creation of a new development bank has been one of the top priority issues that has been discussed so far in all BRICS summit in an attempt to bypass western-dominated International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Argentina, Egypt, Iran, Nigeria and Syria have also shown keen interest in joining BRICS in the near future.


    The BRIC [Brazil, Russia, India and China] idea was first conceived in 2001 by Goldman Sachs as part of an economic modeling exercise to forecast global economic trends over the next half century; the acronym BRIC was first used in 2001 by Goldman Sachs in their Global Economics Paper No. 66, “The World Needs Better Economic BRICs”.


    BRIC Foreign Ministers at their meeting in New York on 21st September 2010 agreed that South Africa may be invited to join BRIC. Accordingly, South Africa was invited to attend the 3rd BRICS Summit in Sanya on 14 April 2011.

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    April 06, 2014

    Current Affairs Quiz - October 8, 2013

    Current Affairs Quiz – October 8, 2013

    • US duo James Rothman and Randy Schekman and German-born Thomas Suedhof won the Nobel Medicine Prize on October 7, 2013 for their groundbreaking work on how the cell organises its transport system.
    • Turkish capital Ankara.
    • Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
    • Additional Solicitor-General L. Nageswara Rao
    • The Supreme Court on October 7, 2013 suggested that a committee, headed by the former Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mukul Mudgal, be constituted to probe spot-fixing in IPL matches involving BCCI president N. Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunathan Meiyappan.
    • FAO headquarters in Rome.
    • Union Food Minister K.V. Thomas.
    • FAO Director General Jos? Graziano da Silva.
    • The report, titled ‘The State of Food Insecurity in the World’, estimates that 842 million people globally suffered from chronic hunger in 2011-13.
    • Environmental Protection Act, 1986
    • Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Kumari Selja.
    • Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda
    • The UPA II government is at present implementing the Food Security Act which entitles 82 crore people to 5 kg of food grains per person in a month at the rate of Rs.1-3 a kg. The country needs 62 million tonnes of food grains in a year to implement the law. 
    • WTO (World Trade Organization) - Director-General, Roberto Azevedo
    • Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister - Omar Abdullah
    • Prof. Thomas Suedhof won the 2013 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award.
    • Computer programme called Olympia
    • Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff
    • Three of the world’s four largest mining companies are based in Canada.
    • Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Bali, Indonesia.
    • Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya.
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    April 05, 2014

    Budget 2013-2014: The Plans & Budgetary Allocations

    BUDGET 2013-2014
    • Revised Estimates (RE) of the expenditure in 2012-13 is at 96 per cent of the Budget Estimates (BE) due to slowdown and austerity measures.
    • During 2013-14, BE of total expenditure of Rs. 1,665,297 crore and of Plan Expenditure at Rs. 555,322 crore.
    • Plan Expenditure in 2013-14 to grow at 29.4 per cent over Revised Estimates for the current year. ‰
    • All flagship programmes fully and adequately funded and sufficient funds provided to each Ministry or Department consistent with their capacity to spend funds.
    • Budget for 2013-14 to have one overarching goal of creating opportunities for our youth to acquire education and skills that will get them decent jobs or self employment.

    SC, ST, Women and Children

    • Allocations for Scheduled Caste Sub Plan and Tribal Sub Plan increased substantially over the allocations of the current year. Funds allocated to these Sub Plans cannot be diverted. ‰
    • Rs. 97,134 crore allocated for programmes relating to women and Rs. 77,236 crore allocated for programmes relating to children.
    • Ministry of Women and Child Development to design schemes that will address the concerns of women belonging to the most vulnerable groups, including single women and widows. An additional sum of Rs. 200 crore proposed to be provided to the Ministry to begin work.

    Minorities ‰ 

    • An increase of 12 per cent over the BE and 60 per cent over the RE of 2012-13 to Ministry of Minority Affairs. ‰
    • Allocation of Rs. 160 crore to the corpus of Maulana Azad Education Foundation to raise its corpus to Rs. 1,500 crore during 12th Plan period.

    Disabled Persons

    • A sum of Rs. 110 crore to the Department of Disablity Affairs for ADIP scheme in 2013-14 against RE 2012-13 of Rs. 75 crore.

    Health and Education

    • Health for all and education to all remains priority. ‰ 
    • Rs. 37,330 crore allocated to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. ‰
    • New National Health Mission will get an allocation of Rs. 21,239 crore.
    • Rs. 4,727 crore for medical education, training and research. ‰
    • Rs. 150 crore provided for National Programme for the Health Care of Elderly.
    • Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy are being mainstreamed. Allocation of Rs. 1,069 crore to Department of AYUSH. ‰
    • Rs. 1,650 crore allocated for six AIIMS-like institutions. ‰
    • Allocation of Rs. 65,867 crore to the Ministry of Human Resource Development, an increase of 17 perent over the RE of the current year.
    • Rs. 27,258 crore provided for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA). ‰
    • An increase of 25.6 per cent over RE of the current year for investments in Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA).
    • Rs. 5,284 crore allocated to Ministries/Departments in 2013-14 for scholarships to students belonging to SC, ST, OBC, Minorities and girl children. ‰
    • Mid Day Meal Scheme (MDM) to be provided Rs. 13,215 crore. ‰
    • Government committed to the creation of Nalanda University as a centre of educational excellence.


    • Rs. 17,700 crore allocated for ICDS in 2013-14 representing an increase of 11.7 per cent over 2012-13. ‰
    • Allocation of Rs. 300 crore in 2013-14 for a multi-sectoral programme aimed at overcoming maternal and child malnutrition. Programme to be implemented in 100 districts during 2013-14 to be scaled to cover 200 districts the year after.

    Drinking Water

    • Rs. 15,260 crore allocated to Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
    • Rs. 1,400 crore provided for setting-up of water purification plants in 2000 arsenic - and 12000 fluoride-affected rural habitations.

    Rural Development ‰

    • Allocation of Rs. 80,194 crore in 2013-14 for Ministry of Rural Development marking an increase of 46% over RE 2012-13.
    • Proposal to carve out PMGSY-II and allocate a portion of the funds to the new programme that will benefit States such as Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan.

    JNNURM ‰

    • Rs. 14,873 crore for JNNURM in BE 13-14 as against RE of Rs. 7,383 crore. Out of this, a significant portion will be used to support the purchase of up to 10,000 buses, especially by the hill States.

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    Financial Inclusion

    Financial inclusion or inclusive financing is the delivery of financial services at affordable costs to sections of disadvantaged and low income segments of society. Unrestrained access to public goods and services is the sine qua non of an open and efficient society. It is argued that as banking services are in the nature of public good; the availability of banking and payment services to the entire population without discrimination is the prime objective of this public policy. The term “financial inclusion” has gained importance since the early 2000s, and is a result of findings about financial exclusion and its direct correlation to poverty. Financial inclusion is now a common objective for many central banks among the developing nations.

    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) set up the Khan Commission in 2004 to look into financial inclusion and the recommendations of the commission were incorporated into the mid-term review of the policy (2005-06). In the report RBI exhorted the banks with a view of achieving greater financial inclusion to make available a basic ‘no-frills' banking account. In India, financial inclusion first featured in 2005, when it was introduced by K C Chakraborthy, the chairman of Indian Bank.

    Mangalam Village became the first village in India where all households were provided banking facilities. Norms were relaxed for people intending to open accounts with annual deposits of less than Rs. 50,000. General credit cards (GCCs) were issued to the poor and the disadvantaged with a view to help them access easy credit. In January 2006, the Reserve Bank permitted commercial banks to make use of the services of non-governmental organizations (NGOs/SHGs), micro- finance institutions, and other civil society organizations as intermediaries for providing financial and banking services. These intermediaries could be used as business facilitators or business correspondents by commercial banks. The bank asked the commercial banks in different regions to start a 100% financial inclusion campaign on a pilot basis. As a result of the campaign states or U.T.s like Pondicherry, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala announced 100% financial inclusion in all their districts. Reserve Bank of India’s vision for 2020 is to open nearly 600 million new customers’ accounts and service them through a variety of channels by leveraging on IT. However, illiteracy and the low income savings and lack of bank branches in rural areas continue to be a roadblock to financial inclusion in many states and there is inadequate legal and financial structure.

    Significance of Financial Inclusion:
         Equitable Growth opportunities even for the lowest strata of society.
         Helps in eradication of Poverty and making the low income families self dependent.
         Penetration of Banking and other financial services at an affordable and easy manner.
         Promotes savings and thrift besides making available loans at affordable rates of interest. This also helps them to get themselves rid off the Money lenders who charges exorbitant interest rates.
         Generates employment opportunities and small businesses.

    Recent Initiatives taken by the Financial Sector for Financial Inclusion:
    i.             No-Frill accounts for Low income group customers;
    ii.            Simplified Know Your Customer (KYC) Guidelines to the target segment;
    iii.           Opened up Credit Counseling Centers
    iv.          Introduction of Kisan Credit Card for agriculture finance

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    Insurance companies in India – Acts and regulations

    Insurance companies in IndiaActs and regulations
    1.    Introduction and History à

    2. Acts and regulations –

    The insurance sector went through a full circle of phases from being unregulated to completely regulated and then currently being partly deregulated. It is governed by a number of acts.

         In the year 1912, the Life Insurance Companies Act and the Provident Fund Act were passed to regulate the insurance business.

         The Insurance Act of 1938 was the first legislation governing all forms of insurance to provide strict state control over insurance business.

         On January 19, 1956, through the Life Insurance Corporation Act, all 245 insurance companies operating then in the country were merged into one entity, the Life Insurance Corporation of India.

         The General Insurance Business Act, 1972 was enacted to nationalise about 100 general insurance companies then and subsequently merging them into four companies. All the companies were amalgamated into National Insurance, New India Assurance, Oriental Insurance and United India Insurance, which were headquartered in each of the four metropolitan cities.

         Until 1999, there were no private insurance companies in India. The government then introduced the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act in 1999, thereby de-regulating the insurance sector and allowing private companies. Furthermore, foreign investment was also allowed and capped at 26% holding in the Indian insurance companies.

         A minimum capital of US$8o million (Rs.400 Crore) is required by legislation to set up an insurance business.

         Insurance is a subject listed in the concurrent list in the Seventh Schedule to the constitution of India where both centre and states can legislate. The insurance sector has gone through a number of phases by allowing private companies to solicit insurance and also allowing foreign direct investment of up to 26%, the insurance sector has been a booming market. However, the largest life-insurance company in India is still owned by the government.

    3.    Insurance companies in India à
    4.    Some life insurance companies à
    5.    Types of life insurance products à
    6.    Non life insurance companies à
    7.Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority à

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    Insurance companies in India – Types of life insurance products

    Insurance companies in India – Types of life insurance products
    1.    Introduction and History à
    2.    Acts and regulations à
    3.    Insurance companies in India à
    4.    Some life insurance companies à

    5.    Types of life insurance products


    Life insurance may be divided into two basic classes: temporary and permanent; or the following sub classes: term, universal, whole life and endowment life insurance.

    Term insurance

    Term assurance provides life insurance coverage for a specified term. The policy does not accumulate cash value. Term is generally considered “pure” insurance, where the premium buys protection in the event of death and nothing else.

    Permanent life insurance

    Permanent life insurance is life insurance that remains active until the policy matures, unless the owner fails to pay the premium when due. The policy cannot be cancelled by the insurer for any reason except fraudulent application, and any such cancellation must occur within a period of time defined by law (usually two years).

    The four basic types of permanent insurance are whole life, universal Iife, limited pay and endowment.

    Accidental death

    Accidental death is a limited life insurance designed to cover the insured Should they pass away due to an accident. Accidents include anything from an injury and upwards, but do not typically cover deaths resulting from health problems or suicide. Because they Only cover accidents, these policies are much less expensive than other life insurance policies.

    Related products
    Riders are modifications to the insurance policy added at the same time the policy is issued. These riders change the basic policy to provide some features desired by the policy owner. A common rider is accidental death. Another common rider is a premium waiver, which waives future premiums if the insured becomes disabled.

    Joint life insurance is either a term or permanent policy insuring two or more persons with the proceeds payable on either the first or second death.
    Survivorship life is a whole life policy insuring two lives with the proceeds payable on the second (later) death.
    Single premium whole life is a policy with only one premium which is payable at the time the policy matures.
    Modified whole life is a whole life policy featuring smaller premiums for a specified period of time, after which the premiums increase for the remainder of the policy.

    Group life insurance

    Group life insurance is term insurance covering a group of people, usually employees of a company or members of a union or association. Individual proof of insurability is not normally a consideration in the underwriting but the size, turnover and financial strength of the group.

    Senior and preneed products

    Insurance companies have in recent years developed products to offer to niche markets, most notably targeting the senior market to address needs of an ageing population. Many companies offer policies tailored to the needs of senior applicants. These are often low to moderate face value whole life insurance policies.

    Preneed (or prepaid) insurance policies are whole life policies that, although available at any age, are usually offered to older applicants. This type of insurance is designed specifically to cover funeral expenses when the insured person dies.

    6.    Non life insurance companies à
    7.    Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority à

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    Banking Awareness

    Banking Awareness

    From which country India’s imports are highest for the financial year 2012-13?

    What is India’s top exported commodity for the FY 2012-13?

    What is the total agriculture lending target stipulated for domestic schedule commercial banks for the FY 2012-13?

    Who is the chairman and managing director of EXIM bank of India?

    Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd., who owns the popular AMUL brand, has its origins in?

    Which of the following is not acquired by a Tata group company?

    a.            Tetley by Tata Tea
    b.            Jaguar land rover by Tata motors
    c.            Corus by Tata steel
    d.            Polaris by Tata consultancy
    e.            None of these

    Share price multiplied by number of shares outstanding is called?

    Non plan expenditure of union budget is provided for?
    a.            Salaries
    b.            Pensions
    c.            Interest payments
    d.            Subsidies on food and fertilizers
    e.            All the above

    Who is the last prime minister to have presented budget in Indian parliament in his/her capacity as prime minister or minister of finance?

    India’s first white labeled ATM launched by Tata’s?

    When the company decides to allot more shares than number of shares proposed in public issue, then, which option should the company use with regard to its Initial Public Offer (IPO)?

    Securities bought by a central bank to increase money supply in the economy, is called? Recent news about tapering of this by USA federal reserve is causing worries in India.

    What is ‘Selling of an equity share without owning that’ is called in stock market parlance?

    RBI has instructed all the banks to issue CTS – 2010 complaint cheque books with uniform features to all its customers. What does CTS stands for?

    A project developed by a constructor and sold to the buyer in a ready to use condition is called?

    Expand CIBIL.

    Credit information pertaining to an individual’s payments pertaining to loans and credit cards is maintained by?

    The prime minister’s economic advisory panel has downgraded India’s expected GDP growth for the year 2013 – 14 from 6.4% to?

    Current Statutory Liquidity Ratio in India is?

    A public sector bank is a bank in which government of India holds a stake of?

    Placement, layering, integration are the stages in the process of?

    ‘Golden Revolution’ refers to development of which products in India?

    Who is the last Indian to win Nobel prize in economics?

    Expand ASBA.

    ASBA is used while applying for?

    Expand ECB.

    ECBs are loan taken from Indian companies from?

    What percent of ECBs should be used only for new projects by the borrower Indian company?

    Capital inflows into India can be increased by?

    ECBs should not be used for investing in?

    The scheme of the government of India to safe guard the interests of the farmers is?

    Aviation joint venture of Tata’s and Singapore airlines is?

    At present, what is the rate of interest paid on current accounts in our country?

    Savings bank accounts are treated as a part of?

    Hindalco industries Ltd. is a subsidiary of?

    Government of India recently increased import duty on old jewelry and gold bullion. What is the aim of this measure?

    a.            To reduce Current Account Deficit by restriction gold jewelry imports.
    b.            To reduce fiscal deficit
    c.            To protect the interests of small domestic artisans who make jewelry
    d.            Both a and b
    e.            Both a and c
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