Current Affairs India - 22 May 2014

1. Former IB chief Rajiv Mathur took over as the new Chief Information Commissioner in the Central Information Commission today. He was administered the oath of office by President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan. 

His name was recommended by a three-member selection panel headed by outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He succeeds Sushma Singh, who demitted office yesterday. He will have a tenure till August 23, when he attains 65 years of age. According to rules, CIC is appointed either for a maximum of five-year term or till 65 years of age, whichever is earlier.

2. The Reserve Bank of India directed banks to make all new ATMs installed from July 1, 2014 as -talking ATMs- with Braille keypads. Also banks should lay down a roadmap for converting all existing ATMs as talking ATMs with Braille keypads. This will also be reviewed from time to time by the Customer Service Committee of the Board.

Apart from that, The RBI has also directed banks to provide magnifying glasses in all bank branches for the use of persons with low vision. The branches should display at a prominent place notice about the availability of magnifying glasses and other facilities available for persons with disabilities.

3. India-s first all women bank, Bharatiya Mahila Bank, has been included in the second schedule to the RBI Act. RBI issued a notification issued in Mumbai yesterday indicating the inclusion of the BMB in the second schedule.

With the inclusion of BMB, total number of scheduled commercial banks in India now stands at 90. Post inclusion in the second schedule or commercial bank category, it will become eligible for loans from RBI on bank rate and also acquires membership of clearing houses.

4. Foreign direct investment into India grew by 8% year-on-year to USD 24.3 billion in 2013-14, compared to USD 22.4 billion witnessed in previous financial year 2012-13. Foreign investment inflows more than doubled to USD 3.53 billion in March this year from USD 1.52 in the same month last year.

The highest FDI came in services (USD 2.22 billion), followed by automobiles (USD 1.51 billion), telecommunications ($1.3 billion), pharmaceuticals USD 1.27 billion) and construction development (USD 1.22 billion) in 2013-14. Singapore led the FDI inflows into India with USD 5.98 billion, followed by Mauritius (USD 4.85 billion), the UK (USD 3.21 billion) and the Netherlands (USD 2.27 billion).