Daily Current Affairs - 15th Jun 2017

5% interest subvention for crop loans

  • The Central government will provide interest subvention of 5% per annum to all prompt payee farmers for short-term crop loan up to one year for loan up to Rs. 3 lakh borrowed by them during the year 2017-18. The Union government has allocated Rs. 20,339 crore for this scheme.
  • Those farmers who are unable to repay the short-term crop loans on time will receive an interest subvention of 2%. Under the scheme, the government will also provide an interest subvention of 2% for small and marginal farmers who would have to borrow at 9% for the post-harvest storage of their produce for loans up to 6 months.
  • A 2% subvention will also be provided to banks in the case of farmers affected by natural calamities for the first year on the restructured amount.
  • The objective of the scheme is to make available at ground level, agricultural credit for short-term crop loans at an affordable rate to give a boost to agricultural productivity and production in the country.

AUSINDEX-17: India, Australia to Participate in Joint Maritime Exercise

  • Navies of India and Australia will participate in bilateral maritime exercise AUSINDEX-17 this week with an aim to enhancing interoperability and cooperation between the two forces.
  • Indian naval ships INS Shivalik, a muIti-role stealth frigate, INS Kamorta, an anti-submarine warfare corvette, and INS Jyoti, the fleet replenishment tanker, are a part of this venture and are on a port visit to Freemantle, Australia from June 13 to 17.
  • The exercise is aimed at increasing interoperability and is in consonance with the growing cooperation between the two countries
  • This would be the second edition of the exercise with the maiden one having been conducted at Visakhapatnam in 2015.
  • Indian Navy Chief: Admiral Sunil Lanba

Australia once had giant flying turkeys

  • Palaeontologists have come to the conclusion after an analysis of fossils and bones from around Australia that a giant, flying turkey as tall as a kangaroo once roamed the country.
  • The megapode birds lived during the Pleistocene era, between 1.6 million and 10,000 years ago, alongside other giant Australian animals like diprotodons, marsupial lions and short-faced kangaroos.
  • Scientists after examining five extinct bird species, found one among them was a turkey weighing up to eight kilos and standing taller than a grey kangaroo, which can reach 1.3 metres — four times the size of modern fowl.
  • The newly found birds fall into two categories — “tall turkeys” that had long, slender legs, and “nuggetty chickens” that had short legs and broad bodies.

Century of centuries for Sangakkara

  • Legendary Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara scored the 100th century of his professional career in Surrey’s One-Day Cup quarterfinal win over Yorkshire at Headingley. Sangakkara’s 39th one-day hundred adds to his 61 in first-class matches, 38 of which came in Test matches for Sri Lanka.
  • He will be retiring from first-class cricket at the end of the season.

Grammys switching to online voting, changes top album rule

  • The Grammys Awards are transitioning to online voting and have updated rules for its top category, album of the year. The Recording Academy announced the changes, including its official switch to online voting for its 13,000 members. Voting for the 2018 show will be in the fall.

Haas stuns Federer

  • Roger Federer playing his first match in over two months suffered a 2-6, 7-6(8), 6-4 defeat to Tommy Haas in the second round of the Mercedes Cup grass-court tournament. Haas, a former World No. 2 but now down at 302, after his fourth win in 17 meetings with the Swiss great.

Indian pairs lose in Tennis

  • Leander Paes and Scott Lipsky of the United States were beaten 6-4, 6-4 by second seeds Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Rajeev Ram of the United States in the quarterfinals of the €660,375 ATP Tour event.
  • Purav Raja and Divij Sharan fell to Andre Sa of Brazil and Michael Venus of New Zealand, losing 6-3, 6-4 in the pre-quarterfinal

Indian-origin Leo Varadkar becomes Ireland's youngest PM

  • Leo Varadkar, a 38-year-old Indian-origin doctor, scripted history by becoming Ireland's youngest and the first openly gay Prime Minister of the Catholic-majority country Ireland.
  • Varadkar officially took over from Enda Kenny as Taoiseach, as the Irish prime ministerial title is known, after a parliamentary vote in Dublin confirmed him as the leader by 57 votes to 50, with 47 abstentions.
  • He is the son of an Irish nurse and a doctor from India, won the Fine Gael party leadership earlier this month. Varadkar came out as a gay man in 2015, when Ireland became the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage through popular vote.
  • President: Michael D Higgins
  • Capital: Dublin
  • Currency: Euro

IOC, BPCL and HPCL sign pact to build $40 billion refinery

  • The Centre owned oil firms IOC, BPCL and HPCL signed an agreement to jointly set up the world’s largest refinery and petrochemical complex in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra at a cost of $40 billion.
  • Indian Oil Corp. (IOC) will be the lead partner with 50% stake while Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd.(HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (BPCL) will take 25% stake each.
  • As domestic oil demand is likely to climb to 500 million tonnes by 2040. Against this, India's domestic refining capacity currently is 230-235 million tonnes. There is need to plan capacity addition to not just meet this demand but also of export markets.
  • Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas: Dharmendra Pradhan
  • IOC Chairman: Sanjiv Singh
  • Chairman & Managing Director of BPCL: D. Rajkumar
  • Chairman and Managing Director of HPCL: M.K.Surana

Lendingkart targets to lend Rs. 1,500 cr. to SMEs

  • Fintech start-up company Lendingkart Finance, a low-cost digital platform that lends to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), has targeted to increase disbursements threefold in the current fiscal year. So far it had disbursed working capital loan of Rs. 500 crore to SMEs. This year, the target is to disburse Rs. 1,500 crore to Rs. 1,600 crore.
  • The start-up provided unsecured business loans of Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 10 lakh to two lakh small firms at an interest rate of 16%-24% for a 12-month period.
  • Co-founder and Chief executive officer: Harshvardhan Lunia

Nod for Insolvency Bill for financial entities

  • The Union Cabinet approved the introduction of a new Bill to resolve bankruptcy cases affecting financial sector entities, including banks and insurance companies.
  • The Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill 2017 seeks to decrease the time and costs involved in resolving distressed financial entities and complements the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 for the insolvency resolution of non-financial entities.
  • The Bill will have a provision for the setting up of a Resolution Corporation, and would also see the repealing or amendment of several resolution-related provisions in Acts pertaining to the particular sectors.
  • The passage of the Act will also lead to the repealing of the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation Act, 1961 in order to transfer the deposit insurance powers and responsibilities to the Resolution Corporation.
  • It aims to limit the use of public money to bail out distressed firms during a financial crisis.

Pakistan shock England to reach Champion Trophy final

  • Pakistan beat England by eight wickets in the first Champions Trophy semifinal. After England was bowled out for 211 in the 50th over, Pakistan eased to its target with 12.5 overs to spare with contributions coming from Fakhar Zaman's 57 and Azhar Ali's 76. Pakistan will meet India or Bangladesh in the final on Sunday.
  • For England Joe Root top-scored with 46 and Jonny Bairstow managed 43 in an innings without a single six. Pakistani pacer Hasan returned excellent figures of three for 35 in 10 overs.

Prannoy and Srikanth advance in Indonesia Superseries Premier

  • Indian shuttlers K. Srikanth and H.S. Prannoy advanced to the second round of the men’s singles competition at the $1,000,000 Indonesia Superseries Premier.
  • H.S. Prannoy bt Anthony Sinisuka Ginting (Ina) 21-13, 21-18; K. Srikanth bt Wong Wing Ki Vincent (HK) 21-15, 17-21, 21-16; Son Wan Ho (Kor) bt B. Sai Praneeth 21-14, 21-18.

RBI imposes curbs on Central Bank

  • The Reserve Bank of India has put state-run lender, Central Bank of India, under prompt corrective action (PCA) due to a sharp increase in bad loans. The net NPA ratio of the lender was 10.2% as on March end, which breached the second risk threshold of 9%.In April, the banking regulator RBI had revised the PCA framework.
  • The RBI introduces Prompt Corrective Action when the Bank’s financial conditions worsen below certain limits (trigger points) .
  • The limit set are in the form of three conventional financial indicators which are called trigger points– CRAR, Net NPA and Return on Assets .
  • Trigger points implies the RBI imposes corrective action in accordance with the level of trigger points.

SEBI asks commodity bourses to set up investor service fund

  • Stock Exchange Regulator SEBI has asked Commodity exchanges to compulsorily set up investor protection and service funds. The exchanges are required to maintain separate bank accounts for maintaining corpus of the IPF as well as the ISF.
  • Investor Protection Fund: The Investor Protection Fund (IPF) of an exchange should have a maximum of five trustees. Three of the five should be public interest directors and a representative from Sebi-recognised any investor association. The exchange’s compliance officer will be part of the trust.
  • All the penalties levied and collected by the exchange, except for the settlement related penalties (including penalties from delivery default), shall be credited to the IPF. The bourses can fix suitable compensation limits in consultation with the IPF trust.
  • While the amount of compensation available against a single claim of an investor arising out of defaulter by a member broker should be at least ? 1 lakh.
  • The bourses can utilise the income earned on the IPF corpus towards promotion of investor education and awareness programmes, the supervision of utilisation of interest on IPF will be with the trust.
  • Investor Service Fund (ISF): It is aimed at for providing minimum facilities at various investor service centres. At the initial stage, the exchange should contribute at least ?10 lakh towards the fund. Later, the bourse should transfer one per cent of the turnover fees charged from its members on monthly basis towards ISF.

US: Senate approves sanctions against Russia for election meddling

  • In the US, the Republican-led Senate has approved wide-ranging sanctions against Russia for interfering in last year's Presidential elections. The Senators passed the sanctions legislation 97-2, after US intelligence agencies determined that Russia had deliberately interfered.
  • The sanctions target key sectors of Russia's economy and individuals who carried out cyber attacks on behalf of the Russian government.

Verizon completes its $4.48 billion acquisition of Yahoo

  • Verizon Communications closed its $4.48bn (£3.51m) acquisition of Yahoo's core business. The completion of the acquisition marked the end of Yahoo as a stand-alone internet company, a tech pioneer once valued at more than $100bn.
  • Verizon announced plans to buy Yahoo's core internet business last July 2016. After the deal was announced, Yahoo disclosed that it had discovered two data breaches in 2013 and 2014 affecting more than 1 billion user accounts.
  • The two companies then agreed that the final acquisition price would be 350 million dollars less than the original offer of about $4.8 billion.
  • Verizon, the No.1US wireless operator, is combining Yahoo with AOL which it bought two years ago, to form a venture called Oath, led by AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong. Oath's more than 50 brands include HuffPost, TechCrunch and Tumblr.
  • Marissa Mayer, chief executive of the Yahoo company, had resigned.

WPI inflation slows to 2.17%

  • Wholesale inflation slowed sharply in May to 2.17% from 3.85% in April, as food prices eased. The overall primary goods category in the WPI saw a contraction of 1.79% in May compared with a growth of 1.82% in April, with the food articles sub-group contracting 2.27%, compared with a growth of 1.16% in April.
  • The recently-introduced composite food index, combining the food sub-group in the primary articles category and the food sub-group in the manufactured products category, saw inflation slowing to 0.15% in May from 2.9% in April.
  • While both consumers and government will be beneficiary of a decline in food inflation, on the contrary farmer’s income and rural demand growth will be impacted.