Daily Current Affairs - 14th Nov 2017

25 lakh students take national school survey

  • The largest-ever survey of learning outcomes among school students covering 25 lakh students was held across India covering all the States of the country.
  • Students of Classes III, V and VIII from government and government-aided schools were tested for their performance in terms of learning outcomes developed by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in Maths, languages, Sciences and Social Sciences.
  • The survey tools used multiple test booklets with 45 questions in Classes III and V related to language and Mathematics, and 60 questions in Class VIII in Mathematics, Language, Sciences and Social Sciences. Students from 1.1 lakh schools across 700 districts in all 36 States/ Union Territories took the test.
  • Union Minister of Human Resource Development (HRD): Prakash Javadekar

37th India International Trade Fair begins in New Delhi

  • 37th India International Trade Fair (IITF) will begin today at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. The 14-day annual event, organised by the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) will be inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind.
  • This year the theme of the fair is "Startup India Standup India''. Vietnam is the Partner Country, while Kyrgyzstan is the Focus Country. Jharkhand is participating as a Partner State in the event.
  • As many as 7,000 participants from 22 countries will show case their products ranging from electronics to textiles.

Alibaba bid BigBasket

  • Chinese e-commerce major Alibaba has sought the approval of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for acquiring a stake in online grocery platform, BigBasket.
  • The proposed combination relates to the acquisition and purchase of shares of Supermarket Grocery Supplies (SGS - the entity that runs BigBasket) by Alibaba Singapore.
  • The news comes four months after the Jack Ma-led company and Paytm Mall initiated discussions with Bengaluru-based Bigbasket for a potential $200 Mn investment.

China Open Badminton Super series Premier to begin today

  • China Open Badminton Super series Premier will begin today in Fuzhou. Newly-crowned national champions Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy will look to enhance their chances of qualifying for the next months Dubai Super Series Finals with a good performance at the China Open.
  • Saina will open her campaign against USA's Beiwen Zhang, while Prannoy will face a qualifier in the opening round.
  • PV Sindhu will begin her journey against Japan's Sayaka Sato, who clinched the Indonesia Open this year.

Equity MFs see inflow of Rs. 2.86 lakh cr.

  • Equity mutual funds registered a staggering inflow of Rs. 2.86 lakh crore in the past 11 months bolstered by the ban on high value currency notes. The sudden spike in bank deposits and consequent decline in interest rates following demonetization on November 8, 2016, led to surge in inflow into equity mutual funds.
  • According to the Association of Mutual Funds in India data, equity funds received an inflow of Rs. 2.86 lakh crore from November 2016 to October 2017.
  • Prior to that, such funds had registered flows of Rs. 1.5 lakh crore between October 2016 and December 2015.

Food prices spur CPI inflation to 3.58%

  • According to official data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, retail inflation accelerated to 3.58% in October on the back of rising food and fuel prices. The food and beverages component of CPI saw a growth of 2.26% in October, the fastest pace since March. This was mainly driven by a sharp uptick in vegetable prices.
  • Within the food segment, vegetable inflation quickened rapidly to 7.47% in October, from 3.92% in September.
  • Core inflation, which excludes food and fuel inflation, eased marginally to 4.55% in October, from 4.60% in the previous month, breaking a three-month quickening streak.
  • Inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 3.28% in September and as low as 1.46% in June.

For first time, Mumbai to host Asian Bankers Association summit

  • For the first time, the nation's financial capital will host the 34th annual conference of the Asian Bankers Association (ABA) this week.
  • The two-day conference will be held in the megapolis from November 16 and will be hosted by State Bank, with the theme of 'Asia's turn to transform'.
  • The event is expected to see the presence of over 160 domestic as well as international bankers and Reserve Bank deputy governor Viral V Acharya will deliver the special opening address on the second day.
  • Founded in 1981, the ABA serves as a forum for advancing the cause of the banking industry and promote regional economic cooperation across the continent.
  • With around 80 members from 25 countries, the association holds conferences on issues of concern to the banking sector, policy advocacy discussions, and training programmes.

Government Launches BharatNet Phase II

  • The union government has launched Phase II of BharatNet project through which it aims to provide high-speed broadband connections to all panchayats by the end of 2019.
  • Major telecom players like Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India have given cheques to the government to hire infrastructure in gram panchayats (GPs) to provide broadband services. BharatNet Phase I is 90 per cent completed and will be fully completed by December 2017.
  • The government is starting the Phase II with an outlay of Rs 34,000 crore.

India to overtake Japan to become third-largest economy by 2028

  • According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch report, India is likely to achieve strong growth over the next decade and will overtake Japan in nominal GDP by 2028, to emerge as the world’s third-largest economy.
  • It has already overtaken Brazil and Russia to emerge as the second-largest BRICS economy after China and is well on track to cross France and Britain to emerge as the world’s fifth-largest economy after Germany by 2019.
  • The Indian economy grows at 10% (in nominal US GDP) in the next decade, well ahead of Japan’s 1.6%. Last year, the economy closed at $2.26 trillion.
  • A rising savings rate should push the investment rate up to 35% of GDP in 2028 from 32.4% in 2017 and 22.1% in the 1980s and the 1990s. This assumes a sustainable current account deficit of 2-2.5% of GDP.

Italy fail to qualify for FIFA World Cup

  • Italy has failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup for the first time since 1958. The four-time champions failed to make the cut after they lost the World Cup Qualifying European play-off against Sweden, 0-1. With the win, Sweden has reached the World Cup for the first time since 2006.
  • Italy has now joined the Netherlands, US, Chile, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Cameroon in the list of big nations that have failed to qualify to tournament which will be held in Russia in June next year.

Marc Marquez wins fourth MotoGP world title in five years in Valencia

  • Marc Marquez won his fourth MotoGP world title in five years on Sunday after Andrea Dovizioso crashed during the season-concluding Valencia Grand Prix. Márquez only needed to finish in 11th place or better to seal the title. Starting from pole, the Spaniard steered his Honda to a third-place finish behind the race winner Dani Pedrosa.
  • Dovizioso was the sole rider who could challenge Márquez. His only hope of tipping Márquez for the title was to win the race and see Márquez finish 12th or worse.

NMDC net rises 9.54% to Rs. 844.3 crore

  • NMDC Ltd. reported a 9.54% rise in standalone net profit to Rs. 844.30 crore for the quarter ended September. Total income of the public sector miner increased 25.76% to Rs. 2,531.2 crore. Its core business of iron ore with a 40.36% rise in revenue to Rs. 2,395.26 crore helped buoy up growth.
  • Chairman: N.Baijendra Kumar

Rafael Nadal presented ATP world No.1 award

  • Tennis player Rafael Nadal was presented the ATP World No. 1 award on court at the ATP World Tour Finals. The 31-year-old Spaniard, who replaced Andy Murray of Britain at No.1 on August 21, has guaranteed the year-end top ranking for a fourth time following 2008, 2010 and 2013.
  • Nadal has enjoyed a stellar season, capturing six titles, including two Grand Slam in the French Open and US Open and two ATP Masters 1000s
  • He is the oldest player to finish year-end No. 1 in the ATP world rankings history.

SC terms Delhi smog life-threatening

  • The Supreme Court sought the response of the Centre and the governments of Punjab, Delhi and Haryana on measures taken to counter the smog and pollution choking the national capital and surrounding areas.
  • The Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said long-term preventive measures should be taken to end this life-threatening situation caused by stubble burning and dust from construction activities.

Scientists Created a New Organic Material That Generates Electricity When Stressed

  • Scientists have created a thin, flexible, rubbery material that generates electricity when stretched and compressed, giving it applications ranging from pacemakers to clothing.
  • It could potentially be used as a sensor, integrated into clothing or even implanted in the human body, for instance, to power a pacemaker.
  • The new material developed by researchers from Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) is a thin, organic, flexible film that generates electricity if stretched and compressed.
  • It's because of the piezoelectric effect, the specially designed rubber is able to convert mechanical movements into electrical charges. The trick behind the generated current is the internal polarisation which changes when the rubber film is mechanically stressed.

United Bank sinks into red with Rs. 344 cr. loss

  • United Bank of India (UBI) ended the second quarter with a Rs. 344.8 crore loss against a Rs. 43.5 crore net profit a year earlier. Its second half losses thus stood at Rs. 556.3 crore against the Rs. 81.89 crore net profit a year earlier.
  • The bank’s net non-performing assets (NNPA) increased to Rs. 7,279.6 crore in this period against Rs. 7,185.2 crore NNPA in the second quarter of fiscal 2017. Provisioning for NPA was Rs. 876.2 crore against Rs. 469.4 crores a year earlier. The bank’s capital adequacy ratio stood at 10.7 %.
  • As per Reserve Bank of India directions, for initiating insolvency process, UBI is required to make additional provision of Rs. 436.1 crore in respect of seven accounts covered under provisions of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code over three quarters beginning from that ended September 2017.
  • The Central government holds 86.8% stake in United Bank.
  • United Bank of India (UBI) CEO: Pawan kumar Bajaj
  • Headquarters: Kolkata

Vodafone, Idea to sell tower units for $1.2 bn

  • Idea Cellular and Vodafone India have separately agreed to sell their respective standalone tower businesses in India to ATC Telecom Infrastructure Private Limited (ATC TIPL), owned by American Tower Corporation, for an aggregate enterprise value of Rs. 7,850 crore ($1.2 billion).
  • Both companies jointly own about 20,000 towers with tenancy ratio of 1.65 as of June 30, 2017.
  • Vodafone will get about Rs. 3,850 crore while Idea Cellular will get its share of Rs. 4,000 crore from the transaction — both after adjustments for debt and cash.
  • Idea will sell its entire stake in its tower unit Idea Cellular Infrastructure Services Limited (ICISL), while Vodafone India will sell a business undertaking that owns its towers to ATC TIPL.

World Diabetes Day being observed on November 14

  • World Diabetes Day is observed every year on November 14. The day initiated by International Diabetes Federation aims to promote better diabetes management amongst people across the globe who are or have been suffering from the condition.
  • Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by high blood sugar either because of the inability of the body to produce enough insulin or the inability to respond to the insulin so produced.
  • World Diabetes Day was first observed in 1991 by International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to create awareness in the world about increasing threat posed by diabetes.
  • World Health Organization stated that around 350 million people in the world suffer diabetes whereas it was the direct cause of some 1.5 million deaths in 2012.
  • It is projected that diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death by 2030.