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Current affairs- July 13, 2016

BSE unveils online system for Sovereign gold bond
BSE has unveiled an online bidding platform for sovereign gold bonds and begun conducting mock bidding sessions on the system. BSE has received Reserve Bank’s approval to start an online bidding platform for sovereign gold bond (SGB) scheme. So far, three tranches of the bonds have been issued amounting to about Rs.1,322 crore.

Flat fee optimal for spectrum use 
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has drilled holes in a formula government uses to calculate annual spectrum charges payable by mobile phone operators and suggested using value generated by use of the airwaves to be included in the basis for computing levies.
  • It has said that formula in practice may have a significant impact on the revenue payable to the government. TRAI has also identified complications in adopting flat spectrum rate recommended it earlier.

Tribunal rejects Beijing’s claims on South China Sea
The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, Netherlands, has ruled that China’s claims of historical rights over South China Sea (SCS) has no legal basis. China has boycotted the hearings at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, saying it does not have jurisdiction to decide on the matter.
The case against China was initiated by the Philippines. The Philippines formally lodged its arbitration case under the United Nations’ 1982 Convention of the Law of the Sea, known as UNCLOS, in January 2013.

India focus on Japanese Market:
India is planning to seek greater market access in the Japanese market for its farm products such as sesame seeds as well as for its services professionals including nurses, during the upcoming joint committee meeting. 
  • The focus on sesame seeds is because Japan is the world’s second largest importer of the item (after China). Following the detection of pesticides and insecticides such as DDT and malathion in some sesame seeds consignments from India over two decades ago, Japan has been reluctant to import the commodity from India.
  • India is the world’s largest sesame seed producer with an annual production of around 7 lakh tonnes. India is also the world’s largest exporter of the item.

IDFC Bank has decided to acquire micro-lender Grama Vidiyal:
In a bid to expand its customer base and gain access to loan portfolios that enjoy priority sector status, IDFC Bank has decided to acquire micro-lender Grama Vidiyal in an all-cash deal
  • IDFC Bank, a former infrastructure financier, converted itself to a bank in October last year. Headquartered in Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu, Grama Vidiyal Micro Finance, which started operations in 1997, has a loan book of about Rs.1,502 crore and 1.2 million customers primarily in its home State, Puducherry and Kerala and in parts of Karnataka and Maharashtra. While the assets of Grama Vidiyal will be transferred to IDFC Bank books, the former will retain its existence as a subsidiary of IDFC Bank, which will act as a business correspondent.

INS Karna:
The Navy’s dedicated base for its Special Operation Forces – MARCOS – INS Karna was recently commissioned in Visakhapatnam. The establishment of the first base for Indian Navy’s elite force with capability to operate in all three dimensions of warfare – air, land and sea – in the home port of the Navy on the Eastern Seaboard marks another milestone in Indian Navy bonding with the city of Visakhapatnam.

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