Current Affairs India - 3 May 2014

1. Bandhan Financial Services plans to open nearly 600 branches which is more than what Yes Bank has currently. Bandhan will operate in the rural belt and in the unbanked areas of the country, unlike the YES Banks or Kotak Mahindra Banks which are essentially urban entities. It aims to begin banking operation sometime in April or May next year.

The Reserve Bank of India has earlier given in-principal approval to Bandhan and IDFC Ltd for setting up banks last month and given a timeframe of 18-month time to open bank.

2. Ravinder Dahiya, an Indian scientist in Britain, has been granted a prestigious fellowship worth 1,068,000 pounds by a top British agency which funds research in engineering and the physical sciences. Ravinder Dahiya, a senior lecturer at the University of Glasgow's electronic and nano scale engineering division, is among the eight leading academics from 10 British universities to be endowed with 'Engineering Fellowships for Growth' by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) aimed at maintaining Britain's research leadership in three areas identified as Great British Technologies, advanced materials, robotic and autonomous systems, and synthetic biology.

Dahiya has been awarded the fellowship to pursue research in robotics stream for the next five years.

3. Carrefour, France based the world-s second largest retailer, has started to work on an exit plan after talks to sell its five wholesale stores to Bharti Group failed and the company sees very little chance of the government allowing foreign chains to set up multi-brand outlets in the country. The company has five stores in India (Delhi, Jaipur, Bangalore, Meerut and Agra) which it will close.

The 76-billion-euro retail chain is the first foreign retailer to plan an exit after the government failed to convince states to open up the multi-brand segment to overseas players. With the BJP and several regional parties announcing their opposition to FDI in retail, overseas players are left with limited options.
BJP has announced in its manifesto that it will not allow FDI in multi-brand retail.

4. The top seeded Indo-Zimbabwean pair, Sania Mirza and Cara Black won their first title of the season after defeating Czech-Russian pair Eva Hrdinova and Valeria Solovyeva by 6-4, 6-3 in the final of the WTA Portugal Open today. Before this, Sania and Cara had ended runners-up at Indian Wells in March and at Stuttgart event, last week.

5. Indian cueist Kamal Chawla settled for a bronze medal after losing his semi-final match to Chuan Leong Thor of Malaysia in the Asian Snooker Championship held at Al Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates. The Indian somehow managed to win two frames in the best of 11 semi-final but that was not enough for him to advance further. This is Chawla's first medal in Asian Championships.