Current Affairs Daily Digest – April 4 2019
1. Reliance Jio acquires chatbot making startup Haptik for Rs230 crore
Telecom giant Reliance Jio has acquired an 87% stake in Mumbai-based Haptik “to build India’s largest AI assistant company across chat, voice and vernacular languages”. In the rs700-crore deal, rs 230 crore will go for business transfer and ₹470 crore will go towards expansion. Haptik Co-founders Aakrit Vaish and Swapan Rajdev and employees will have a minority stake in Reliance Jio.
2. Ex-actress Mayoori now Google India Industry Head – agency business
Former actress Mayoori Kango, who made her Bollywood debut with 1995 film ‘Naseem’ and acted in films like ‘Papa Kahte Hain’, ‘Betaabi’ among others, has joined Google India as its industry head – agency business. Mayoori, who chose films over joining IIT Kanpur, left acting in the 2000s. Before Google, she was working as the Managing Director at Performics.
3. Ultimate Kho-Kho: India’s First IPL-Style Professional Kho-Kho League Launched
The Kho-Kho Federation of India (KKFI) launched an ambitious franchise-based league for the sport named Ultimate Kho-Kho. The KKFI, in collaboration with Dabur India Ltd, will conduct the 21-day IPL-style league, which will see eight franchise teams playing a total of 60 matches in a double round-robin format.
Indian Olympic Association Secretary General and former KKFI president Rajeev Mehta is the chairman of the league.
4. Vikram Patel awarded the prestigious John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award
The Gairdner Foundation announced the 2019 Canada Gairdner Award laureates, recognising Goa and Boston-based Vikram Patel, Ph.D., F. Med.Sci., for his research career raising the global profile of mental health problems.
Prof Patel has been awarded 2019 John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award for his world-leading research in global mental health, generating knowledge on the burden and determinants of mental health problems in low-and-middle-income countries and pioneering approaches for the prevention and treatment of mental health in low-resource settings.
Each year seven Canada Gairdner Awards are presented to honour the world’s most significant biomedical and global health researchers. The John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award recognizes a contribution to health in the developing world. Laureates receive a $100,000 cash honorarium and will be formally presented with their awards on October 24, 2019, at the annual Canada Gairdner Awards Gala in Toronto.
5. Vipin Anand takes over as MD of LIC
Vipin Anand has taken charge as Managing Director of LIC of India. Prior to this, he was in charge of LIC’s Western Zone, headquartered at Mumbai. During his service of more than 35 years with the organisation, Anand has handled several assignments in various capacities and departments, including information technology, marketing, personnel and industrial relations, corporate communications, and international operations across different locations in India.
He was instrumental in setting up LIC’s operations in Singapore and Bangladesh.
6. Chicago makes history electing Lori Lightfoot as first black woman
Chicago has created history by electing an African-American woman as its mayor for the first time. Lori Lightfoot, a 56-year-old former federal prosecutor and practicing lawyer who has never before held elected office, won the city’s mayoral race by a huge margin. She will also be Chicago’s first openly gay mayor.
Lightfoot will take over office from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who previously served as chief of staff under former President Barack Obama
7. Pawan Munjal felicitated by Asian Tour for contribution to golf in Asia
Dr Pawan Munjal, Chairman, Hero MotoCorp – the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters – was felicitated by the Asian Tour with a Special Achievement Award for his contributions to Asian Golf.
“Dr Pawan Munjal is not only a fine golfer himself, but he has also done wonders for Indian and Asian Golf. He has been supporting the Hero Indian Open for 14 years, along with the Hero Women’s Indian Open, the Hero Challenge series on the European Tour and the Hero World Challenge on the PGA Tour. He also supports several players and the domestic women’s Tour.
8. RBI cuts repo rate by 25 basis points
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cut its repo rate under liquidity adjustment facility (LAF), or the rate at which it lends to banks, by 25 basis points to 6%, with immediate effect. This is the second consecutive rate cut from RBI under new Governor Shaktikanta Das, after a rate cut in February.
The RBI announced its first bi-monthly policy statement of the current financial year. Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF stands adjusted to 5.75 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 6.25 per cent.
The six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) led by RBI Governor also decided to maintain the neutral monetary policy stance.
These decisions are in consonance with the objective of achieving the medium-term target for consumer price index (CPI) inflation of 4 per cent within a band of plus or minus 2 per cent while supporting growth.
9. Over 1.2 M early deaths in India due to air pollution: Report
A global report has found that life expectancy of children born today will be shortened by 20 months on average, growing up in current high levels of air . According to a study, conducted by the Boston-headquartered Health Effects Institute, the situation in South Asia is much worse with the life expectancy shortened by two years and six months.
The institutes’s State of Global Air Report 2019, released , said that overall long-term exposure to outdoor and indoor air pollution contributed to nearly 5 million deaths across the world from stroke, diabetes, heart attack, lung cancer, and chronic lung disease in 2017.
The report said that out of the 5 million, 3 million deaths are directly attributed to PM2.5, half of which is from India and China together. The analysis found that China and India together were responsible for over half of the total global attributable deaths, with each country facing over 1.2 million deaths from all air pollution in 2017.
10. 45th Postal Pension Adalat to be held in Mumbai on July 25, 2019
The Chief Postmaster General, Maharashtra Circle, Mumbai will be holding the 45th Postal Pension Adalat for pensioners / family pensioners of Postal Department , 25-07-2019 at the Office of the Chief Postmaster General, Maharashtra Circle.
Grievances regarding pension benefits pertaining to those who retired / died while in service in the Department of Posts, of Maharashtra and Goa, which have not been settled within three months, will be entertained in the Postal Pension Adalat.
11. Rajasthan Royals launch online coaching community
Rajasthan Royals have launched their new coaching community on the Hive Learning platform. Through this community the Royals coaches and players will deliver the latest techniques, best practices and guidance to all those who aspire to join the cricket fraternity.
The RR Coaching Community will feature lessons and videos to learn from, as well as insights provided by the experienced members of the Rajasthan Royals team, including their head coach Paddy Upton, head of cricket Zubin Bharucha and the director of the UK-based Rajasthan Royals Academy – Sid Lahiri.
12. RBI to set up task force on corporate loans’ secondary market
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said it would set up a task force to study the international best practices and develop a “thriving” secondary market for corporate loans.
In its statement of developmental and regulatory policies released by the RBI after its first monetary policy meet of financial year 2019-2020, the apex bank said the task force would submit its report by the end of August, 2019.
The RBI statement has brought out an 11-point agenda of regulatory policies. In the 11-point statement, RBI also said that it would constitute a committee to assess the state of housing finance securitisation markets in India. This committee too would come out with its report by August-end.
The RBI also decided that the non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) which do not take deposits in the category of “Investment and Credit Companies” (ICCs) will be made eligible to apply for grant of Authorised Dealer Category II licence, enabling these NBFCs to carry out forex transactions.
13. Huawei names Bi Yunfeng new CEO of India R&D centre
Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei announced the appointment of Bi Yunfeng as the new Chief Executive Officer of the company’s R&D centre here.
The Bengaluru centre is Huawei’s largest overseas R&D centre, focused on developing software for end-to-end telecom, IT and Cloud solutions, consumer devices, as well as providing professional services for global operators.
In his new role, Bi, who joined Huawei in 2001 as an engineer, will be responsible for leading the R&D centre’s growth and competitiveness in new business areas.
14. Government meets fiscal deficit of 3.4% in 2018-19
The Finance Ministry is believed to have met the revised fiscal deficit target of 3.4 per cent in the last fiscal 2018-19 largely by cutting expenditure, withdrawals from small savings accounts to meet the food subsidy and higher GST collections.
The direct taxe collections fell short by Rs 50,000 crore. The GST collections, however, touched Rs 1.06 lakh crore in March and the gross GST revenues overshot the target of Rs 11.47 lakh crore, which also partly helped adjust for the shortfall on the direct taxes front.
15. Sana Dua to be brand ambassador for elections in J&K
Lawyer-turned-fashion model Sana Dua will be the brand ambassador for the Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir. The first runner-up of Femina Miss India 2017 contest, she had also participated in Miss United Continents 2017, and ended up among the top ten.
16. UAE confers prestigious Zayed Medal on Narendra Modi
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) honoured Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the prestigious Zayed Medal for giving a “big boost’ to bilateral strategic ties between the two countries.
The award comes in appreciation of Mr. Modi’s role in consolidating the long-standing friendship and joint strategic cooperation between the two countries.
17. Indian football team rises two places to 101 in FIFA rankings
The Indian men’s football team gained two places to rise to 101 in the FIFA rankings issued on Thursday. With 1219 total ranking points, the Indian team lies 18th among the Asian countries. The team did not play any international match after the last rankings.
Iran continued to top the Asian rankings at 21, followed by Japan (26), South Korea (37), Australia (41) and Qatar (55). Belgium holds on to the top spot while England is on the rise, snatching fourth place from World Cup finalists Croatia. The top three positions are unchanged with World Cup winners France in the second spot and Brazil in third place.
18. IIM Kozhikode launches new doctoral programme in Management
Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode has launched a new doctoral programme, PhD in Management (Practice Track), for working executives with at least eight years of experience, claimed to be the first of its kind in India. In this programme, the executives can work towards a doctoral degree while remaining in their jobs.
Prof Debashis Chatterjee, Director of IIM Kozhikode, said “This is the first time in India that we are defining a PhD in the form of a Practice Track. “The entire programme can be completed in 3-5 years and successful PhDs can expect to make meaningful contributions to industry best practices or even seek a shift in career to teaching and research.”