Current Affairs India - 1 April 2014

1. The Election Commission has given its approval to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for "in-principle" grant of licences for setting up new banks. Earlier RBI wanted to issue new bank licenses in March but it was not possible as the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) came into force on 5th March when Election Commission announced the schedule of the upcoming General Election.

Now with this -in-principle- approval, RBI now can go ahead and issue new Bank licenses for which it has received more than  20 applications from different organizations including Reliance Capital, India Post, IFCI etc.

2. The search panel headed by RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan is believed to be shortlisted S S Mundra as the new RBI Deputy Governor in place of K C Chakrabarty who had decided to leave before completing his full term. S S Mundra is now the chief of Bank of Baroda and he has been heading Bank of Baroda since January last year.

3. US ambassador to India Nancy Powell has resigned and will return to the United States, as per an embassy statement published yesterday. This move came after a diplomatic row related to Indian Diplomat Devyani Khobragade that strained relations between these two nations.

4. The Asian Development Bank has lowered India-s growth projection for the next financial year 2014-15 to 5.5% from its earlier estimate of 5.7%. It has also projected GDP growth at 4.9% for the current financial year 2013-14, as per its Asian Development Index, 2014 published yesterday.

5. India-s manufacturing sector growth slowed in March as the HSBC compiled Purchasing Manager Index (PMI), an important parameter to judge the performance of the sector, dropped marginally to 51.3 in March from 52.5 in February. Any reading higher than 50 indicates growth for the same sector.

6. Noel Naval Tata, brother-in-law of Tata Sons Chairman Cyrus Mistry, has taken over as the chairman of retail firm Trent. He will succeed FK Kavarana who retired from the Tata group companies this month. Noel Tata was vice chairman of the company and played the most important role in getting UK retail giant Tesco in India as a Joint venture partner.

7. Mining giant Vedanta Resources group firm Sesa Sterlite has appointed non-executive chairman Anil Agarwal as its new chairman emeritus with an additional role of chief mentor. His brother Navin Agarwal will be the new chairman of the board.

At the same time, Tom Albanese, a former head of multinational mining company Rio Tinto, will be new CEO of the company and a member of the board. He will replace MS Mehta who retired on March 31.