Daily Current Affairs - 29th Jul 2017

Lovepreet Singh wins bronze in Asian Youth & Junior Weightlifting C'ships

  • India’s Lovepreet Singh has won bronze medal in Asian Youth and Junior Weightlifting Championships at Kathmandu. He got third place in 105 kg men junior category. Lovepreet lifted 151 kgs in snatch and 180 kgs in clean and jerk to get the bronze. He lifted total 331 kgs.
  • This is India’s fourth medal in the championships. Earlier Konsam Ormila Devi had won gold in 44 kg women youth category. S. Nirpupama Devi had won bronze in 69 kgs women youth category and Ajay Singh also won bronze medal in 77 kg men junior category.

75% of kharif sowing done so far

  • According to the Union Agriculture Ministry sources, paddy, pulses and other crops are being sown on 75% of the average sowing area so far in the kharif season with coverage of paddy, pulses, cotton and sugarcane higher.

Attachment of Zakir Naik’s assets under way, says NIA

  • Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik has been declared a proclaimed offender and the process to attach his assets has been initiated, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said. It said the order declaring Mr. Naik a proclaimed offender was issued recently by a special court in Mumbai, after which the process of attachment of his assets “under Section 83 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.PC) has been initiated.
  • Mr. Naik is being probed under terror and money laundering charges by the NIA. He fled from India on July 1, 2016 after terrorists in neighbouring Bangladesh claimed that they were inspired by his speeches on waging a jihad’ (holy war). Mr. Naik has already been granted citizenship by Saudi Arabia.

Centre seeks inputs on trade, industrial policies, services

  • The Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has sought inputs from the academia on three topics — Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) review, the proposed revamp of manufacturing and industrial policies and India’s proposal at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on services sector liberalization.
  • The Centre is working on a new manufacturing and industrial policy to increase the contribution of the manufacturing sector in the country’s GDP to 25% by 2020 from the current level of about 16%.
  • It is also working on these new policies to align the current manufacturing policy (of 2011) and the industrial policy (of 2009) with the Fourth Industrial Revolution that includes AI(Artificial Intelligence), robotics and IoT.
  • India’s new manufacturing and industrial policies will bring manufacturing and services closer to ensure an increase in the contribution of services to manufacturing.

Chess: Harikrishna registers his first win

  • P. Harikrishna, playing white, bounced back from three straight draws to outclass local star Noel Studer in the fourth round of the Biel Chess Festival. The win enabled the Indian to retain the joint second position, along with three others, with 2-1/2 points. Etienne Bacrot leads with 3 points.

CSL to forge JV for building inland vessels

  • With its track record of building ships of different classes and purposes, the government owned Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) is now eyeing building inland vessels in a joint venture (JV) with Hooghly Dock and Port Engineers (HDPE) Limited in Kolkata in view of the growth potential of inland navigation in India.
  • The JV Company, which was approved by the government of India in which the Cochin Shipyard will have a 74% stake, will take over from the HDPE -two of its shipbuilding units at Nazirgunge and Salkia on the river Hooghly.
  • The entity will see investments to the tune of Rs. 80 to Rs. 100 crore in a phased manner.

Fast Track to take on Ola, Uber with $50 mn

  • Fast Track Pvt Ltd., which runs cab services, is planning to raise about $50 million from investors by diluting the promoters stake. The money will be deployed for expanding operations and to take on cab aggregators such as Ola and Uber.
  • The company is planning to dilute their stake by 51-60% to meet its ambitious growth.
  • Company president and Managing Director: R.C. Ambigapathy

Indian Army chief visits LoC posts

  • Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat visited posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir and reviewed operational preparedness of the forces posted along the LoC, which has witnessed several instances of ceasefire violations by Pakistani forces in the recent past.
  • Complimenting the troops on their efforts, General Rawat reiterated the need to remain prepared to counter the enemy attacks.
  • There has been an increase in ceasefire violations over the past few months. Pakistan troops violated ceasefire 83 times in June and 79 times in May.

ITC to foray into perishables by adding vegetables, fruits

  • According to ITC chairman Y.C. Deveshwar, their company is planning to enter into fruits, vegetables and other perishables segment. As investments are under way to create climate-controlled infrastructure for an efficient supply-chain.
  • Investments had also been made in farming for aromatic and medicinal plants in line with ITC’s focus on agri-based health and wellness products.
  • The firm had already unveiled frozen prawns under its ‘Master Chef’ brand, which would soon be rolled out nationally.

Kuheli claims gold

  • Kuheli Gangulee pipped former world champion Tejaswini Sawant by 0.4 point to clinch the gold medal in the women’s rifle prone event at the 17th All India Kumar Surendra Singh shooting championship. Chahat Deep Kaur got the bronze, 1.2 point ahead of Anju Moudgil.

L&T Q1 profit rises 46%

  • Larsen & Toubro Ltd (L&T) reported 46% growth in consolidated net profit for the first quarter ending June 30, 2017 owing to its better performance in its infrastructure and financial services businesses. It's consolidated net profit stood at Rs. 893 crore for the first quarter as compared with Rs. 610 crore in the year earlier period. During the period, gross revenue rose 10% to Rs. 23,990 crore. International revenue at Rs. 8,233 crore constituted 34% of the total revenue, the company said.
  • Infrastructure segment achieved revenue of Rs. 10,539 crore, up 16% driven by better project execution in transportation infrastructure, smart world communication and water and effluent treatment businesses.
  • In the coming quarters, the company said, its focus will be on selective order intake, working capital reduction, cost optimization and productivity enhancement through digitalization.

LIC gains Rs. 6,100 cr. from its equity investments

  • The government owned insurance giant Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) netted a profit of Rs. 6,100 crore from its equity investments for the April-June period, a 145% jump over the same period of the previous year. LIC has invested about Rs. 15,000 crore in the current financial year and it is expecting to post double-digit growth in new business premium in the current financial year.
  • LIC is the largest domestic financial institution in the equity market with exposure across sectors. It holds significant stakes including LIC Housing Finance (40.3%), TCM (23.7%), Simplex Realty (22.9%), Corporation Bank (18.9%), ITC (16.2%), L&T (15.7%), Nalco (14.5%), NTPC (12.1%), Tata Power (12.3%) and Tata Steel (11.9%).
  • LIC is also among the largest shareholders in the banking segment with large stakes in Bank of India, Allahabad Bank, Central Bank of India, Axis Bank, IDBI Bank, Canara Bank, Punjab National Bank and Dena Bank among others.
  • Chairman: V.K. Sharma

Lok Sabha passes Bill for more autonomy to IIMs

  • The Lok Sabha has passed a Bill to grant Indian Institutes of Management the power to grant degrees instead of postgraduate diplomas. It also allows students to acquire Ph.D degrees from the IIMs. The fellowships of IIMs were not regarded by many as Ph.Ds that there were less students for Ph.Ds to become Fellows. People used to go to foreign countries and do research.
  • The Bill confers on the 20 IIMs the status of institutions of national importance and also grants them greater functional autonomy by restricting the role of the government in them.
  • At present, the Central government has a role in the functioning of the IIMs, including the appointment of the chairpersons to the Boards of the IIMs, their directors and fixing the pay of the directors.
  • As per the IIM Bill, 2017, a Board of Governors will appoint the director of each IIM. A search-cum-selection-committee will recommend the names. And the director will be eligible for variable pay determined by the Board.
  • Human Resource Development Minister: Prakash Javadekar

Most private hospitals evade tax: CAG

  • A performance audit of India’s private hospitals has revealed that a majority of the institutions is evading tax. The report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) pointed out that data on non-filers of income tax was available only in three states — West Bengal, Assam and Gujarat.
  • The auditors found that Delhi, Kerala, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu had no process of identifying hospitals that were evading tax.
  • The private sector accounts for 80% of out patient care and 60% of in patient care in the country.
  • According to data from the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), the health sector attracted Foreign Direct Investment of Rs. 23, 169.91 crore between April 2000 and September 2016.
  • Yet, the report states that most private hospitals and practitioners did not submit valid Permanent Account Numbers (PAN).
  • In West Bengal, out of 19,822 registered practitioners, PAN registration of only 4,849 cases could be traced.

Pakistan PM resigns after Panama Papers verdict

  • In a landmark verdict in the Panama Papers Case, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from holding public office for life over money laundering, concealment of wealth and establishing offshore assets and companies.
  • Nawaz Sharif has recommended his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif's name to be his replacement as the Prime Minister. Shehbaz Sharif is currently the Chief Minister of Punjab province.
  • Still no name has been announced for the interim Prime Minister, who will fill the 45-day vacuum until Shehbaz Sharif is elected to a National Assembly seat. Two names have surfaced for the interim Prime Minister, Khawaja Asif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Scientists set sail to unlock secrets of lost continent

  • Scientists are attempting to unlock the secrets of the lost continent of Zealandia, setting sail to investigate the huge underwater landmass east of Australia that has never been properly studied. Drill ship Joides Resolution will recover sediments and rocks lying deep beneath the seabed.
  • The recovered clues will be studied onboard, allowing scientists to address issues such as oceanographic history, extreme climates, sub-seafloor life, plate tectonics and earthquake-generating zones.
  • Zealandia, which is mostly submerged beneath the South Pacific, was once part of the Gondwana super-continent but broke away some 75 million years ago.
  • Covering five million square kilometres, it extends from south of New Zealand northward to New Caledonia and west to the Kenn Plateau off Australia’s east.

US Senate rejects Obamacare repeal

  • The US Senate effort to pass a repeal of Obamacare failed dramatically by a 51-49 vote. The failure of efforts to repeal Obamacare meant that Donald Trump is likely to start the next six months of his presidency without any major legislative victories.
  • The Senate voted 51 to 49 against the repeal legislation, secretly drafted by the Republican leadership without public hearings or any debate within or with Democratic senators.
  • The Republican push to dismantle Obamacare involves provisions that aim to cut down or eliminate state support for medical care for the aged and the financially weaker sections.
  • Republicans sought to end the ‘mandates’ or the provision that makes it mandatory for all to buy insurance.

Venezuela protesters block Caracas streets

  • In Venezuela, protesters took over streets in Caracas responding to an Opposition call for nationwide protests. Four months of protests against President Nicolas Maduro have, so far, claimed 113 lives.
  • Mr Maduro's government has imposed a new ban on protests ahead of Sunday's vote to choose a Constituent Assembly to rewrite Venezuela's constitution.
  • Meanwhile, Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos says his country will not recognize the result of Sunday's vote. He said the constituent assembly lacks legitimacy and therefore, his county cannot accept the result.
  • The United Nations has expressed concern about the risk of further violence in Venezuela.