Daily Current Affairs - 18th Jan 2018

Bank of Baroda partners with Invoicemart as TReDS partner

  • Public lender Bank of Baroda has joined hands with digital invoice marketplayer Invoicemart to enable digital invoices for Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs). The collaboration will assist the buyers and sellers registered under the marketplace to access funding from the bank.
  • The bank has announced shifting of its focus on supply chain financing, to offer loans to MSMEs linked with large corporate.
  • Invoicemart is a joint venture between Axis Bank and mjunction services ltd.
  • Trade Receivables Discounting System (TReDS) is an online platform set up to help MSMEs to decode working capital without the trouble of applying for loans.
  • CEO & MD, Invoicemart: Kalyan Basu
  • Bank of Baroda CEO and MD of Bank of Baroda: P. S. Jayakumar
  • Headquarters: Vadodara, Gujarat

Bengal Global Business Summit: Adani to double investment in Bengal, may enter agri-logistics

  • The Adani Group is planning to get into agri-logistics and will double their investment to Rs. 1,500 crore by 2023 in West Bengal. The company had already doubled its edible oil refining capacity at Haldia and was now boosting the packaging facilities.
  • West Bengal closed its fourth global business summit by signing MoUs worth Rs. 2.19 lakh crore. The 110 MoUs already signed pertained to manufacturing and infrastructure (Rs. 1.56 lakh crore), MSME and textiles ( Rs. 52,952 crore), hospitality and tourism (Rs. 1,483 crore), IT & ITes (Rs. 1,146 crore), animal resource development, food processing fisheries and agri-business (Rs. 1,518 crores) and health, education and skill development (Rs. 6,015 crore).As these proposals were expected to create 20 lakh jobs.
  • Director of Adani Enterprises and managing director of Adani Wilmar: Pranav Adani

Blind Cricket World Cup: India to take on Pakistan in title clash

  • Defending champions India will take on arch rivals Pakistan in the title clash of the Blind Cricket World Cup. The match will be played on Saturday at Sharjah.
  • In the semi-final a dominant India beat Bangladesh by seven wickets. Bangladesh had won the toss and elected to bat. They scored 256 all out in 38.5 overs.
  • Man of the Match Ganeshbhai Muhudkar's century steered India home comfortably. He scored 112 in just 69 balls.
  • In the other semi-final, Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka.

Brazil legend Ronaldinho retires from football

  • Brazilian World Cup winner Ronaldinho has retired from football, although he has not played a game since 2015. Ronaldinho was part of the triumphant Brazil 2002 World Cup squad, won the Champions League in 2006 with Barcelona and won the Balon d'Or in 2005.
  • Ronaldinho started his career with Gremio in Brazil before moving to Paris St-Germain in 2001. After five years at Barcelona and two La Liga titles, he also had a spell at AC Milan where he won the Serie A title in 2010-11.

Brexit: British lawmakers approve EU withdrawal Bill

  • The bill paving the way for Britain to leave the European Union (EU) passed a crucial stage with the support of 324 MPs, and opposition by 295 Mps in the House of Commons.
  • The bill now heads to the House of Lords where it will undergo even more scrutiny and challenges from pro-EU unelected peers.
  • The Brexit Withdrawal bill will repeal the 1972 European Communities Act which originally took Britain into what was then called the EEC in 1973.
  • The bill, if passed will also end the power of the European Court of Justice in Britain.
  • British Prime Minister: Theresa May
  • Britain usually refers to the United Kingdom, made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Centre to auction 55 oil blocks

  • The Central government will put on auction 55 exploration blocks in the first bid round in eight years that will offer a record area for prospecting of oil and gas. This will be the first auction under the new Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) that allows firms to carve out blocks of their choice to bring about 2.8 million square kilometre of unexplored area under exploration.
  • HELP brought in an open acreage licensing policy that allowed firms to put in an expression of interest for prospecting of oil and gas in any area that is not under production or exploration licence.

Centre trims additional borrowing to Rs. 20,000 cr.

  • The Union government has upon reviewing its finances decided it needs to borrow only an additional Rs. 20,000 crore in the remaining months of this financial year, less than half the Rs. 50,000 crore it had estimated in December.
  • The government had on December 27, 2017, said that it would raise additional market borrowing of Rs. 50,000 crore through dated government securities in the current financial year 2017-18. The Centre has reassessed additional borrowing requirements taking note of revenue receipts and expenditure pattern.
  • Economic Affairs Secretary: Subhash Garg

Chinese President Xi joins Mao and Deng as lingxiu

  • The Communist Party of China (CPC) has named President Xi Jinping as the lingxiu-- a status that has been given only to iconic leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. The word lingxiu means “leader” with a positive political connotation and refers to highly revered state leaders. It is often bestowed to a leader who enjoys the highest prestige, who is the most capable and who is widely recognised by the entire Party.
  • China:
  • Capital: Beijing
  • Currency: Renminbi or Yuan

CIPAM-DIPP launches IP competition for college, university students

  • The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM), Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), in collaboration with ASSOCHAM and ERICSSON India, has launched one of its kind Intellectual Property (IP) Competition ‘IPrism’ for college and university students.
  • This competition invites students to submit films on piracy & counterfeiting under two categories of 30 and 60 seconds. Another category in the competition is for a mobile gaming app on IP.
  • The competition aims to foster a culture of innovation and creativity in the younger generation.
  • The National IPR Policy was adopted on 12th May, 2016 to create a vibrant IP ecosystem in the country.
  • CIPAM, a professional body under DIPP, has been actively involved in many activities including a nation-wide IPR awareness campaign.

Direct tax collections jump 18.7% this fiscal

  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has stated that direct tax collections during the first nine-and-a-half months of the current fiscal have risen by 18.7% to Rs. 6.89 lakh crore. The collections till January 15, 2018, represent over 70% of the Rs. 9.8 lakh crore revenue target from direct taxes.
  • Gross collections (before adjusting for refunds) have increased by 13.5% to Rs. 8.11 lakh crore during April 2017 to January 15, 2018. Refunds amounting to Rs. 1.22 lakh crore have been issued during this period.
  • The growth rate of total gross collections has improved from 10% in Q1, to 10.3% in Q2, to 12.6% in Q3 and to 13.5% as on January 15, 2018.
  • CBDT Chairman: Sushil Chandra

FMCG major HUL net rises 28% to Rs. 1,326 cr.

  • FMCG major Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (HUL) posted a robust 28% growth in net profit for the third quarter ended December 31 to Rs. 1,326 crore, driven by volume growth.
  • Total income rose 4% to Rs. 8,742 crore as the home care segment recorded double-digit volume growth across categories, while personal care, food and refreshments registered broad-based growth.
  • HUL Chairman: Harish Manwani
  • HUL CEO and MD: Sanjiv Mehta

Google to make AI accessible to every firm

  • Internet search engine giant Google has unveiled Cloud AutoML to help those with limited expertise build custom models. Cloud AutoML’, which would help businesses with limited machine learning expertise start building their own high-quality custom models using advanced techniques provided by the Internet giant.
  • Google’s first ‘Cloud AutoML’ release will be ‘Cloud AutoML Vision,’ a service that makes it faster and easier to create custom machine learning models for image recognition. Its drag-and-drop interface lets enterprises upload images, train and manage models, and then deploy those trained models directly on Google Cloud.
  • The new platform would help less-skilled engineers build powerful AI systems they previously only thought of. The applications range from automating product attributes like patterns and necklines styles for clothing companies to helping various organisations conserve the world’s wildlife by analysing and tagging millions of images of various animal species.
  • Alphabet Inc. was created through a corporate restructuring of Google on October 2, 2015 and became the parent company of Google and several former Google subsidiaries.
  • Alphabet Executive Chairman: Eric Emerson Schmidt
  • Alphabet CEO: Larry Page
  • Alphabet President: Sergey Brin
  • Google:
  • Google Founders: Larry Page, Sergey Brin
  • Google CEO: Sundar Pichai
  • Headquarters: California , USA

Hike takes on WhatsApp with ‘Total’

  • Indian messaging service company Hike has unveiled ‘Total, a product that would allow users to access services such as messaging, news and cricket score, and even make digital payments without a data connection. ‘Total’ has a single login via the phone number for services like messaging, horoscope, recharge and rail information. These services can be accessed even without data, using a proprietary technology developed in-house based on the USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data).
  • Hike, backed by China’s Internet giant Tencent and Japan’s SoftBank.
  • USSD is a communications protocol used by GSM cellular phones to interact with the mobile network operator’s computers
  • Founder and CEO of Hike: Kavin Bharti Mittal (the son of Sunil Bharti Mittal, Airtel)

Hockey: India thrash Japan 6-0

  • Indian men's hockey team thrashed Japan 6-0 in its opening match of the double-leg Four Nations Invitational Tournament in New Zealand. Rupinder, Vivek, Dilpreet Singh and Harmanpreet Singh scored in India's win.
  • India will take on Belgium in their second match tomorrow.

India attends its first SCO military cooperation meeting

  • India, for the first time, took part in a meeting of the international military cooperation departments of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) since joining the bloc last year. India and Pakistan were admitted last year into the grouping in which China plays an influential role.
  • Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) comprises of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.
  • Secretary General: Rashid Alimov
  • Headquarters: Beijing, China

India mulls ‘mini meet’ of 40 WTO members

  • India is considering holding a mini-ministerial meeting of about 40 World Trade Organization (WTO) members to discuss ways to increase global trade. According to Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, organising a mini-ministerial in India would be possible sometime in March, wherein the meeting includes the likes of U.S., Africa and Latin America, about 30-40 of them, and try to find solutions how together can actually create new big trade volumes in the world.

India, Japan Coastguards conduct joint search and rescue exercise

  • A joint Search and Rescue exercise named SAREX-18 was conducted in the Bay of Bengal off Chennai between Indian and Japan Coast Guards. A total of nine Indian Ships and eight aircraft participated in the exercise.
  • Ships and aircraft of the Indian Coast Guard and its Japanese counterpart conducted a joint naval drill off the coast. During the exercise, rescue demonstrations by ships and aircraft will showcase the country’s search and rescue capabilities and its commitment to safety of life in distress at sea.
  • The Indian Coast Guard’s ICG Sarang, Sagar, Shaurya, Vaibhav, Anagh, Rani Abbakka, Abheek, C-431, C-432 and three Dornier and Chetak helicopters took part in the exercise in the Bay of Bengal.

Maharashtra puts govt. data in the public realm

  • Maharashtra has unveiled a public cloud policy, a first by any State, virtually mandating its departments to shift their data storage onto the cloud, which intends to make them available for free to the general public. The objective is to accelerate e-governance, and open an area for private sector investments, taking new technologies to all the departments.
  • The Maharashtra government produces 1.25 lakh documents every day. Most of them are being stored at 75 centralised data centres, resulting in a high maintenance cost.
  • A four-member committee under the secretary of the information technology department has been formed by the CM to oversee the implementation of the policy.

Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Badminton: Praneeth and Ashwini-Sikki advance

  • Sai Praneeth and the women’s doubles combination of Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy advanced to the pre-quarterfinals of the $120,000 Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament. Praneeth got the better of Thailand’s Kantaphon Wangcharoen 21-13, 21-13 in a 44-minute contest.
  • Ashwini and Sikki took only 25 minutes to ease past Germany’s Johanna Goliszewski and Lara Kaepplein 21-15, 21-12.

Mindtree net profit rises 37.2%

  • Information technology services and outsourcing company Mindtree’s net profit rose 37.2% in the third quarter ended December on the back of growth in the digital and hospitality businesses. Net profit increased to Rs. 1.42 billion in Q3 of 2017-18, from Rs. 1.03 billion in the December 2016 quarter.
  • More than 40% of revenue came in from the digital business. Digital business grew 7.1% quarter-on-quarter and 24.2% year-on-year. Travel and hospitality sector shot up by 9.3% while retail, consumer packed goods and manufacturing grew 5.8%.
  • The board has recommended an interim dividend of 20% (Rs. 2 per equity share of par value of Rs. 10 each).
  • CEO & managing director, Mindtree: Rostow Ravanan

PFRDA relaxes withdrawal norms under NPS

  • The Pension Fund Regulatory Development Authority (PFRDA) has relaxed the norms for partial withdrawal under NPS (National Pension Scheme). NPS subscribers who have contributed for three years can now withdraw up to 25 per cent of the corpus subject to conditions. Earlier, NPS subscribers were allowed to withdraw from the corpus only after completion of 10 years.
  • Subscribers are allowed to withdraw only a maximum of three times during the entire tenure of subscription under NPS.
  • Such withdrawals, however, will be allowed only for higher education of his/her child including legally a adopted child, marriage of his/her child including a legally adopted child.
  • Withdrawals can also be made for the purchase or construction of a residential house or flat in his or her own name or in a joint name with his or her legally wedded spouse.
  • NPS subscribers can withdraw money for treatment of specified illnesses for himself, legally wedded spouse, including a legally adopted child and dependent parents.
  • Chairman of PFRDA: Hemant G Contractor

South Africa wins 2nd cricket test against India by 135 runs

  • South Africa have won the Second Cricket Test against India by 135 runs and with that, also clinched three-match series with unassailable 2-0 lead. On the fifth day, chasing a target of 287 runs for a win, the Indians were allout for only 151 in their second innings.
  • South African debutant pace bowler Lungi Ngidi took six wickets for a mere 39 runs in 12.2 overs and was declared man of the match.
  • The defeat ended a Nine-Series unbeaten run for Virat Kohli's world No.1 side.

Zimbabwe stuns Sri Lanka

  • Fast bowler Tendai Chatara claimed four wickets to help Zimbabwe edg Zimbabwe edge Sri Lanka by 12 runs in the second match of the tri-nation tournament. Chasing 291 for victory, Sri Lanka was bowled out for 278 in 48.1 overs despite a fighting 37-ball 64 by Thisara Perera. Opener Kusal Perera top-scored with 80.
  • Zimbabwe batsmen Hamilton Masakadza (73) and Sikandar Raza (81 not out) took the side to 290 for six after the team was asked to bat first.