Daily Current Affairs - 20th Jul 2017

Banks may need to forgo Rs. 2.4 lakh crore: Crisil

  • Ratings agency Crisil said that banks may have to take a haircut of 60%, worth Rs. 2.4 lakh crore, to settle 50 large stressed assets with debt of Rs. 4 lakh crore.
  • These 50 companies are from the metals (30% of total debt), construction (25%) and power (15%) sectors, and account for half of the Rs. 8 lakh crore non-performing assets (NPAs) in the banking system as on March 31, 2017. The agency also estimated banks have provisioned for about 40% of this exposure.
  • The government recently promulgated an ordinance empowering the RBI to issue directives for faster and optimum resolution of stressed assets to make them viable.

BharatNet deadline pushed to March 2019

  • The Union Cabinet approved the second phase of the BharatNet project that forms the backbone for the government’s Digital India initiative. The project seeks to bring high speed broadband to all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats (GPs) through optical fibre.
  • However, the deadline for the delay-marred project had been pushed to March 2019. The second phase aims at covering the remaining 1.50 lakh GPS
  • It had been able to lay optical fibre in nearly one-lakh GPs, however, only about 22,000 GPs have been provided Internet connectivity due to equipment procurement issues.

Boxing: Akhil, Jitender’s rivals revealed

  • Former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Akhil Kumar will take on Ty Gilchrist of Australia, while Jitender Kumar will meet Thailand’s Thanet Likhitkamporn in their professional boxing debuts in Mumbai.
  • The two Olympians will be part of ‘Battleground Asia’ that will see Vijender Singh in action against Chinese boxer Zulpiker Maimaitiali.

Despacito is declared most streamed song ever

  • Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi’s Despacito, whose reggaeton beat has swept the globe, was named the most streamed song of all time. Its original and remixed versions had reached 4.6 billion streams across platforms including YouTube and Spotify.
  • Despacito went viral soon after its release in January and found an even wider audience in April. The song dethroned another track with Bieber, the Canadian’s 2015 song Sorry, which has 4.38 billion plays

Extra privileges for foreigners on Indian trains

  • The Indian Railways has made train travel easy for foreign nationals and NRIs by offering confirmed accommodation in upper classes of all trains one year in advance.
  • Besides the Foreign Tourists Quota (FTQ) of eight berths each in First and Second Class AC coaches, these passengers would also be entitled to avail confirmed berths on demand from the general quota earmarked for Indian nationals. For Indian nationals, booking of tickets is permitted four months in advance (120 days) on a first-come-first-served basis.

Health Ministry, NITI Aayog moot privatization of select services in district hospitals

  • The Union Health Ministry and the NITI Aayog have developed a framework to let private hospitals run select services within district hospitals, on a 30-year lease.
  • The document prepared in consultation with the World Bank, the government will be allowing a single private partner or a single consortium of private partners to bid for space in district level hospitals, especially in tier 2 & 3 cities.
  • Under this Public Private Partnership (PPP), care for only three non-communicable diseases like cardiac disease, pulmonary disease, and cancer care will be provided.
  • A model contract drawn up by NITI Aayog was sent out to State governments by Amitabh Kant, Chief Executive Officer of NITI Aayog, giving the states a two-week window to furnish responses.

ICC Women's World Cup: India to take on Australia

  • In the ICC Women's World Cup cricket, India will take on six-time champions Australia in the second semi-final in Derby. A win will ensure India's entry into the final clash at the Lord's only for the second time in the history of the tournament.
  • India played the final of the World Cup only once in 2005 edition in South Africa, where they lost to Australia.

IIITs now Institutes of National Importance

  • The Lok Sabha passed a Bill to declare the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIIT) established under the public-private partnership (PPP) route as Institutes of National Importance (INIs). During the discussion before the passage of the Bill, Minister of Human Resource Development (MoHRD) Prakash Javadekar said that fees were not the only source of revenue for these institutions, and they would raise funds also from research grants and projects.
  • He also cautioned against resistance to the PPP model, saying much investment was required to make education competitive for increasing employability.

India hit by 34 ransomware attacks

  • A total of 34 incidents of infections from the two global ransomware attacks, WannaCry and Petya, were reported to the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) by organisations and individuals. Remedial measures to contain the damage and prevent such incidents have been advised by CERT-In.
  • WannaCry and Petya infected thousands of computers worldwide in May and June, respectively. The attackers in both cases had sought about $300 in bitcoin as ransom.
  • Ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects a computer and restricts users’ access to affected files by encrypting them until a ransom is paid to unlock it.

Indian team shines at robotics meet

  • A group of seven Indian students has bagged two awards at the first global robotics Olympiad where 157 countries participated. The Indian team was led by 15-year-old Rahesh, the youngest member of the group.
  • The students won gold in the Zhang Heng Engineering Design Award category and bronze in the Global Challenge category at the event organised by FIRST Global in Washington. The Afghan team won the Rajaa Cherkaoui El Moursli award for courageous achievement.
  • Mexico City would host the competition next year.

Manpreet Kaur tests positive

  • The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) has informed the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) that Asian champion woman shot putter Manpreet Kaur has been tested positive for a banned substance. She reportedly tested positive for dimethylbutylamine, a banned stimulant, in the Federation Cup.
  • The substance is a derivative of methylhexaneamine.
  • If she is held guilty for the banned substance, then medals won by her after the positive result would stand forfeited.

ONGC gets nod to buy out Centre’s stake in HPCL

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the sale of the government’s 51.11% stake in oil refiner HPCL to India’s largest oil producer ONGC for a potential sum in the range of Rs. 26,000 crore to Rs. 30,000 crore. ONGC buying HPCL will help the government meet as much as 40% of its target for raising Rs. 72,500 crore in the current fiscal through stake sale.
  • Pre-merger, HPCL is likely to take over Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. to bring all the refining assets of ONGC under one unit. ONGC currently owns 71.63% of MRPL, while HPCL has 16.96%.

Panel for bigger Indian role in Afghanistan

  • The U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Forces has said that India has a critical role to play in breaking the stalemate in Afghanistan, calling for enhancing trilateral cooperation between Afghanistan, India and the U.S.
  • In a report accompanying the National Defense Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2018, the committee also called for enhancing the overall defence cooperation between the U.S. and India.
  • India has a strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan, but its military component remains limited.
  • The committee believes that the United States needs to recommit to the fight in Afghanistan and that India, as a major defence partner of the United States and a contributor to regional security, has a critical role to play in this effort.

Rouhani threatens response to U.S. curbs

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said it would respond appropriately to new U.S. sanctions but said they remained committed to its nuclear deal with world powers. His comments came a day after the U.S. and Iran traded tit-for-tat sanctions over the Islamic republic’s ballistic missile programme.
  • The US State Department slapped sanctions on 18 individuals and entities in Iran, hours after the US admitted Tehran was sticking to the 2015 agreement.

T.R. Zeliang sworn in as Nagaland CM

  • T.R. Zeliang was appointed as Nagaland CM shortly after Mr. Liezietsu and his supporters failed to turn up in the Assembly to face the floor test, following which the House was adjourned sine die.
  • Mr. Zeliang was administered the oath of office and secrecy by the Governor at a function in the Raj Bhavan in the presence of Speaker.
  • T.R. Zeliang told that he would prove his majority on July 21. The Governor has directed him to go for the floor test by July 22.

US Open Grand Prix: Prannoy, Sameer Verma & Parupalli Kashyap advance to 2nd round

  • Indian shuttlers HS Prannoy, Sameer Verma and Parupalli Kashyap advanced to the second round among others in the US Open Grand Prix.
  • Prannoy routed Luka Wraber of Denmark in straight games 21-12, 21-16 to open his campaign.
  • P. Kashyap unsettled the top seed and defending champion Lee Hyun Il of South Korea 21-16, 10-21, 21-19 in the opening round.
  • Fifth seed Sameer Verma beat Vietnamese Hoang Nam Nguyen 21-5, 21-10 to advance in the next round.
  • In women's round, Saina Nehwal pulled out of the tournament, Rituparna Das and Ruthvika Shivani reached the second round.

World’s first child hand transplant a success

  • The first child in the world to undergo a double hand transplant is now able to write, feed and dress himself, doctors have said, declaring the ground-breaking operation a success after 18 months.
  • The report in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health provides the first official medical update on 10-year old Zion Harvey, who underwent surgery to replace both hands in July 2015.
  • Eighteen months after the surgery, the child is more independent and able to complete day-to-day activities.