Latest Current Affairs – August 01 & 02 2018
1. Bandhan Bank pips Yes Bank to become 7th most valuable bank
Kolkata-based Bandhan Bank briefly became India’s seventh most valued listed lender, surpassing Yes Bank, which has a nearly seven times larger loan book. Bandhan Bank shares rose to a record, giving the company a market capitalisation of ?84,325.35 crore. Notably, the bank’s stock has gained 88.44% since listing on March 27 this year.
2. RBI hikes repo rate by 25 bps for second time in a row to 6.5%
The RBI’s monetary policy committee in its third bi-monthly monetary policy review of 2018-19 on Wednesday hiked repo rate by 25 bps for the second time in a row to 6.5%. In its June policy meet, the repo rate was hiked by 25 basis points. Repurchase (repo) rate is the rate at which the RBI lends money to commercial banks.
3. World’s largest king penguin colony shrunk 90% in 35 years
The world’s biggest colony of king penguins and the second biggest of all penguins has reduced by 88% over the past 35 years for reasons yet unknown, according to scientists. Indian Ocean’s Pig Island was home to 500,000 breeding pairs and consisted of over two million penguins during the 1982 survey, while the latest satellite survey reported only 60,000 pairs.
4. Catholic Church to seek worldwide abolition of death penalty
The Roman Catholic Church has said that it will seek the worldwide abolition of death penalty, changing the previous Catholic teaching that allowed it in rare cases. The previous teaching supported capital punishment “if it’s the only way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor”. Pope Francis said that death penalty is inadmissible as it attacks human dignity.
5. UAE begins visa amnesty program for illegal foreign workers
The UAE has begun a three-month visa amnesty program which allows illegal foreign workers to legalise their status in the country or return home. Residents overstaying their permits will not be fined if they leave the country voluntarily. The amnesty also grants those seeking employment a six-month visa to find a job.
6. Indian-origin Akshay Venkatesh wins ‘Nobel for mathematics’
New Delhi-born Australian mathematician Akshay Venkatesh has won the prestigious Fields Medal, often dubbed the “Nobel prize for mathematics”. The 36-year-old completed his PhD aged 20, did post-doctoral research at MIT, and is currently a professor at Stanford University. Venkatesh, one of the four winners, has worked on number theory, geometry, topology, automorphic forms, and ergodic theory.
7. US passes bill to waive sanctions on India over Russian arms
The US Senate passed a bill waiving sanctions against India for buying Russian arms. The bill, called the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2019, has now been sent for President Donald Trump’s approval. Earlier, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said India will purchase the Russian S-400 air defence systems despite US sanctions on military transactions with Russia.
8. Kumar Birla, Deveshwar appointed as Air India directors
The government has appointed industrialists Kumar Mangalam Birla and YC Deveshwar as non-official independent directors in Air India. Birla is the chairman of the $44.3 billion Aditya Birla Group, which operates in 35 countries across six continents. Deveshwar is the chairman of Kolkata-based conglomerate ITC, which has a presence in FMCG sector, hotels and IT among others.
9. Kadaknath chicken meat from Jhabua gets GI tag
The famous Kadaknath chicken meat from Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh has now got a Geographical Indication (GI) tag. The tag denotes that the product comes from a particular geographical area, and often enhances its commercial value. The Gramin Vikas Trust of Krishak Bharati Cooperative (KRIBHCO) had sought GI tag for the protein-rich and black coloured meat of Kadaknath variety of chicken, which is mainly reared in Jhabua.
10. Supersonic interceptor missile successfully test-fired
India today successfully test-fired its indigenously developed supersonic interceptor missile, capable of destroying any incoming hostile ballistic missile, from a test range off Odisha coast. The endo-atmospheric missile, capable of intercepting incoming targets at an altitude of 15 to 25 km was launched against multiple simulated targets of 1,500 km class ballistic missile. The interceptor is a 7.5-metre long single stage solid rocket propelled guided missile equipped with a navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro-mechanical activator.
11. NHAI to ink MoU with SBI for Rs 25,000 Crore loan
NHAI will tomorrow ink a pact with State Bank of India (SBI) for a long-term unsecured loan to the tune of Rs 25,000 crore. This is SBI’s highest long-term unsecured loan to any entity and also the largest ever loan sanctioned to NHAI. An MoU in this regard will be signed in the presence of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. The total sanctioned amount is to be disbursed to NHAI within March 31, 2019. NHAI has traditionally relied on borrowing through long term bonds issued to various investors, including LIC, EPFO and other qualified investors, and Tax Free bonds and Masala Bond issued in 2017.
12. Veteran screenplay writer Jalees Sherwani dies at 70
Jalees Sherwani, who had penned lyrics for several Salman Khan films like “Dabangg”, “Wanted” and “Tere Naam”, passed away at the age of 70. Sherwani died to due to prolonged illness and breathed his last on route to the hospital after his health deteriorated. Apart from writing dialogues for “Sangam” and “Loafer”, Sherwani also penned lyrics for films like “Partner”, “Hello”, “Garv” and “Hello Brother”.
13. Lok Sabha passes OBC Commission Bill
The Lok Sabha passed the Constitution 123rd Amendment Bill. The Bill seeks to grant constitutional status to the National Commission on Backward Classes. Earlier, the Lok Sabha had passed the bill in April last year and the Rajya Sabha passed it with certain amendments in August last year and returned it to the Lower House. The NCBC was created as a statutory body in 1993. This Bill makes it a constitutional Body.
Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot presented the 123rd Constitution Amendment Bill of 2017 in the house. It provides for constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes. He urged members to support the bill. Members cutting across party lines supported the Bill, and also took the Congress Party to task for delay in adopting the bill. Some members demanded abolishing the creamy layer in OBC reservation.
14. ASEAN Foreign Ministers meet begins in Singapore
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong kicked off the 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting in Singapore. Lee emphasised the need for ASEAN countries to be united to avoid repercussions amid trade tensions between the United States and its long-time trading partners, including China, the EU and Canada.
15. India levies 25% safeguard duty on import of solar cells
With the aim of protecting the domestic solar industry, India imposed a safeguard duty on solar cell imports for a year till July 29, 2019. This imposes safeguard duty accounts to 25% on the imports of solar cells. According to the notification, the safeguard duty will not be imposed on imports from developing countries, except China and Malaysia.
16. Neeraj Chopra won Gold Medal at Savo Games in Finland
Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra won a gold medal in the Savo Games in Lapinlahti, Finland. Neeraj Chopra made a throw of 85.69 meters and won the gold medal. Chao-Tsun Cheng of Chinese Taipei made a throw of 82.52m and won a silver medal. He is the only Asian to have thrown the javelin to a distance of more than 90m.
17. North Korea builds intercontinental ballistic missiles
Washington Post reported that North Korea seems to be building one or two new liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles at a factory at Sanumdong. It also said that the advancement of the missiles is unknown. North Korea has produced the country’s first missiles which are capable of reaching the United States.
18. United States to grant India the STA 1 trading status
US President Donald Trump decided to grant India the STA-1 (Strategic Trade Authorization) status equivalent to American allies for procurement of military weapons. This is a big rebuff to China for blocking India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
The US President has relaxed a key condition set by the Obama Administration that India would be eligible only after it had secured the membership of all four technology control regimes – the NSG, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group.
19. Deepak Parekh reappointed HDFC director
HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh was reappointed as non-executive director on the board of Housing Development Finance Corp. Ltd (HDFC), though 22.64% of the shareholders voted against his continuation. J.J. Irani and Keki Mistry too got reappointment as directors to HDFC’s board with more favourable votes.
20. HDFC awarded best performing bank in CLSS schemes
HDFC has been awarded the best performing primary lending institution in Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) for the EWS (Economically Weaker Section) and LIG (Low Income Group) category. The award was given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. CLSS was introduced in June 2015 under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana ( PMAY) for home loans to customers from the EWS as well as LIG.
21. Gopalkrishna Gandhi to be awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana Award 2018
The advisory committee of the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award has decided to award the Former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, this year, with the Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana Award 2018. He was chosen by the committee for his outstanding contribution for promoting communal harmony, peace and goodwill. The award carries a citation and a cash award of Rs.10 lakh.
The award will be presented on 20th August 2018 on the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
22. Govt launched e Aksharayan Software in 7 Indian languages
E-Aksharayan is free, desktop software for converting scanned printed Indian Language documents into a fully editable text format in Unicode encoding. The software supports editing in seven Indian languages – Hindi, Bangla, Malayalam, Gurmukhi, Tamil, Kannada & Assamese.
23. Red Fort at MMC is to be remodeled into Museum
Red Fort, which is at the east of Madras Medical College (MMC) Chennai, is planned to be remodelled into a museum. The building was constructed in 1897, the red brick structure has been classified as a Grade I heritage building by the Justice E. Padmanabhan Committee on heritage structures. The building is of Indo-Saracenic style.
The State government has sanctioned Rs.1.97 crore for the restoration process of the building. On completion, the building is planned to be remodelled into a museum.
24. Reliance Beats TCS and became India’s Most Valued Company
India’s richest person Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) beat Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to become the most valued company in India.
RIL’s market capitalisation during the day was Rs7.44 trillion as compared to TCS’ Rs7.39 trillion. RIL had recently reported its highest ever quarterly net profit of Rs9,459 crore, for the April-June quarter.
25. UN E-Government Index: India ranked 96th Denmark tops the list
India jumped 22 places to 96th rank in the top 100 of the United Nations E-Government Development Index (EGDI) 2018. Denmark, with an index value of 0.9150, topped the 2018 E-Government Development Survey.
The E-Government survey is released by the United Nations in every two years. The 2018 edition was titled as ‘Gearing E-Government to Support Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies’.
India, which was ranked 118 in 2014, jumped 11 places to be ranked 96 in 2018.
26. Five MPs conferred Outstanding Parliamentarian award
President Ram Nath Kovind granted “Outstanding Parliamentarian” award
♦ for the year 2013 to Dr Najma A. Heptulla (Manipur’s Governor and five time Rajya Sabha member ).
♦ for the year 2014 to Hukumdev Narayan Yadav (Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Lok Sabha member)
♦ for the year 2015 to Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad,
♦ for the year 2016 to Dinesh Trivedi (Trinamool Congress)
♦ for the year 2017 to Bhartruhari Mahatab (Biju Janata Dal [BJD] Member of Parliament [MP] from Odisha’s Cuttack).
The Outstanding Parliamentarian Award was established in 1995.
27. ONGC won top honours at Swachhta Pakwada Awards
Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) received top honours at the Swachhta Pakwada Awards, an oil ministry initiative to honour companies and individuals doing exemplary work in cleanliness.
The award was given away by Oil Secretary M M Kutty to ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Shashi Shanker.
Indian Oil Corp (IOC) bagged the runner-up’s award. The Oil Ministry celebrated Swachhta Pakhwada fortnight from July 1 to 15 with the theme ‘Innovation and Sustainability’.
28. India and USA Military Cooperation Meeting begins In New Delhi
The meeting was co-chaired by Lt Gen Satish Dua, Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC) and Lt Gen Bryan Fenton, Deputy Commander, Indo-Pacific Command.
External Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman would meet their US counterparts in 2 plus 2 meeting in September in New Delhi. The main aim of the meeting is on strengthening defense and strategic ties.
29. Lok Sabha passed the Commercial Bill
The Lok Sabha passed the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2018. It aims at improving the ease of doing business in India.
The Bill will designate some courts as commercial courts. By doing so, the commercial disputes can be resolved swiftly. It will also reduce the monetary jurisdiction of these courts from Rs.1 crore to Rs.3 lakh.
30. India and Germany Sign Pact On Financial And Technical Cooperation
India and Germany have signed an agreement on financial and technical cooperation focusing on sustainable urban development and renewable energy.
The government-to-government Umbrella Agreement on Financial Cooperation and Technical Co-operation 2017 is worth about 5,000 thousand crore rupees.
The agreement under the Indo-German Bilateral Development Cooperation was signed between Joint Secretary in the Finance Ministry, Sameer Kumar Khare, and German Ambassador to India, Martin Ney, in New Delhi.
31. TRAI announced auction of 5G spectrum for Rs.492 crore per MHz
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) announced a mega spectrum auction of 5G services at a pan-India reserve price of about Rs.492 crore per MHz for the first time in India. TRAI has introduced a reduction of 43% in the reserve prices of 700 MHz band spectrum.
In 2016, when TRAI held the spectrum auction there were no takers because of high pricing. Previously, in 2016 the recommended pan-India reserve price for 700 MHz was Rs. 11,500 crore and it has been reduced to Rs.6,538 crore per MHz in 2018. The major participants are Bharti Airtel, Vodafone-Idea and Reliance Jio.
32. Cabinet approved Bill to restore the original provisions of the SC and ST
Cabinet has approved to introduce a Bill to restore the original provisions of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The Supreme Court has ruled out the Bill on 20th March. The Union Cabinet will be introducing the Bill in Parliament during the ongoing session.
The Amendment Bill introduces three new clauses after Section 18 of the original Act. The three clauses are:
1)The preliminary enquiry shall not be required for registration of a First Information Report against any person
2)The arrest of a person accused of having committed an offence under the Act would not require any approval
3)The provisions of Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which deals with anticipatory bail, shall not apply to a case under this Act, in spite of any judgment or order of any Court.