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Today Gk Updates – 14th March 2020 Current Affairs
1. Parliament passes Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Bill 2020
- The Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Bill, 2020 was passed by the Parliament on March 13, 2020. The Rajya Sabha approved the bill through voice vote and passed a motion to send it back to the Lok Sabha as it is a money bill. The bill was passed with certain amendments by the lower house of the Parliament on March 4, 2020.
- It was announced during the Union Budget 2020 presentation and received the approval of the Union Cabinet on February 12. The bill seeks to resolve around 4.83 lakh direct tax cases that are currently pending in the various appellate forums of the country including the High Courts and the Supreme Court.
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Nirmala Sitharaman is the current Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs of India. She is a member of the Rajya Sabha, upper house of the Indian Parliament, since 2014. Sitharaman formerly served as the Defence Minister of India, thereby becoming India’s second female defence minister and also the second female finance minister after Indira Gandhi and first full-time female Finance Minister.
2. Govt declares masks and hand sanitizers as essential commodities
- The government has declared face masks and hand sanitizers as essential commodities for the next 100 days. The move is aimed at stepping up efforts to boost supply and prevent hoarding of these items in its fight to check the spread of coronavirus disease.
- The Centre has also invoked the Disaster Management Act to ensure price regulation and availability of surgical and protective masks, hand sanitizer and gloves. Both masks (2ply & 3 ply surgical masks, N95 masks) and hand sanitizers have been brought under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.
- The decision will empower the government and States/Union Territories to regulate the production, quality and distribution of masks and hand sanitizers for smooth sale and also crackdown on hoarding and black-marketing.
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Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the name given to the 2019 novel coronavirus. COVID-19 is the name given to the disease associated with the virus. SARS-CoV-2 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.
3. India’s forex reserves rise 5.69 bn to 487.23 bn
- India’s foreign exchange reserves swelled by 5.69 billion US dollars to reach an all-time high of 487.23 billion dollars in the week ended 6th March 2020.
- An RBI release said, foreign currency assets, a major part of the overall reserves rose by 5.311 billion dollars to 451.135 billion dollars. In the previous week, the reserves had surged by 5.419 billion dollars to 481.540 billion dollars. Gold reserves also increased by 320 million dollars to 31 billion dollars.
- India’s special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund went up by 15 million dollars to 1.447 billion dollars, while the country’s reserve position also increased by 50 million dollars to 3.656 billion dollars.
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The Reserve Bank of India is India’s central bank, which controls the issue and supply of the Indian rupee. RBI is the regulator of entire Banking in India.
Headquarters: Mumbai; Founded: 1 April 1935; Governor: Shaktikanta Das
4. DA for Central government employees and pensioners hiked by 4% from 1st January
- The Union Cabinet has approved a four percent hike in Dearness Allowance (DA) for 48 lakh Central government employees and Dearness Relief to 65 lakh pensioners. With this, the DA has gone up from 17 percent to 21 per cent. It will be effective from 1st of January this year.
- After the Cabinet meeting, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar while briefing media said the Govt will incur 14,595 crore additional expense due to DA hike.
- Cabinet also approved a hike in minimum support price of copra for 2020 season. The MSP for Fair Average Quality (FAQ) of milling Copra has been increased to 9,960 rupees per quintal from 9,521 rupees.
5. State Bank of India to buy shares worth 7,250 crore rupees of cash-strapped Yes Bank
- The State Bank of India said that it will buy shares worth 7,250 crore rupees of the cash-strapped Yes Bank in accordance with the draft reconstruction scheme envisaged by the Reserve Bank of India.
- In a regulatory filing, SBI said, its board has permitted the purchase of the private lender’s shares at a price of 10 rupees per share subject to all regulatory approvals. SBI’s shareholding in Yes Bank will remain within 49 percent of the paid-up capital.
- According to RBI’s reconstruction scheme, the strategic investor was not only supposed to pick up 49 percent stake but assure that the holding will not fall below 26 percent for a minimum period of three years from the date of capital infusion.
- The scheme was announced a day after RBI imposed a moratorium on the Yes Bank, restricting withdrawals to 50,000 rupees till the 3rd of April, while also superseding the bank’s board.
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