Daily Current Affairs - 23rd Jan 2018

Axis Bank net rises 25% on lower base

  • Private sector lender Axis Bank reported a 25% year-on-year growth in net profit to Rs. 726.4 crore in the quarter ended December 31, mainly due to a lower base and reduced provisions for bad loans. While the bank reported 9% growth in net interest income to Rs. 4,732 crore, non-interest income fell 24% to Rs. 2,593 crore as trading gains declined to about Rs. 200 crore from Rs. 1,595 crore.
  • It reported a bad loan provision of Rs. 2,811 crore as compared with Rs. 3,796.
  • The gross NPA ratio of the bank at the end of December was 5.28% compared with 5.9% in the previous quarter and 5.22% a year earlier.

Bad loans to rise to Rs. 9.5 lakh cr. by March

  • India’s banking sector will be saddled with gross non-performing assets (GNPAs) worth a staggering Rs. 9.5 lakh crore by March-end, rising from Rs. 8 lakh crore a year earlier. The banks are expected to make higher provisioning over and above the provisions made for stressed assets, they may sell the assets at lower discounts, thus increasing the capital requirement.
  • The high level of stressed assets in the banking system, however, provide enormous opportunity for asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) which are important stakeholders in the NPA resolution process.
  • The growth of ARCs is expected to fall to around 12% by June 2019, the AUM [assets under management] are expected to reach Rs. 1 lakh crore, and that is fairly sizable.

Canadian pension fund to buy stake in ReNew Power

  • Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) has agreed to acquire the Asian Development Bank’s 6.3% stake in Indian based ReNew Power Ventures Pvt. Ltd. for $144 million. Once completed, the ADB will make a handsome return on its $50 million equity investment made in ReNew Power in 2014.
  • ReNew Power has about 2,500 MW of commissioned wind and solar energy assets, with another 1,000 MW under construction or development. On September 30, 2017, CPPIB’s investments in India amounted to C$6.1 billion.
  • ReNew Power competes with Tata Power Renewable Energy.
  • Founder, Chairman and CEO, ReNew Power: Sumant Sinha

Commerce Minister urges better India-ASEAN connect

  • Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu called for greater trade and investment engagement between India and the ten-member ASEAN bloc, especially in agriculture as well as minerals and ocean resources, and suggested the creation of India-ASEAN regional value chains in these segments.
  • He also pitched for easier movement of professionals and skilled workers between India and ASEAN countries to boost services trade as well as investment. The Minister also sought an improvement in India-ASEAN physical connectivity through better infrastructure.
  • He further said that India would work closely with ASEAN nations to successfully conclude negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a proposed mega-Free Trade Agreement between ASEAN and six of its FTA partner nations.

India To Have Automated Ocean Pollution System From April

  • India is all set to have its own automated ocean pollution observation system this year which will help keep a tab on ocean pollution levels apart from offering insights on how the marine system is changing. The new ocean data acquisition system, called automated moorings, will do away with the present practice of collecting water samples from sea and studying their pollution levels thereafter. The system will become functional by April this year and the cost of the project is estimated to be at Rs. 100 crore.
  • Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • Director of INCOIS: SSC Shenoi; Location: Hyderabad, Telangana

India to see healthy M&A activity, says EY

  • According to EY’s 17th Global Capital Confidence Barometer (India), Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in India are expected to continue this year, driven by domestic consolidation, market share expansion and entry into new markets.
  • It reported that companies were embracing the ongoing digital evolution and adopting an inorganic route to growth amid a supportive economy and easing credit availability.
  • The Centre’s focus on reforms, along with resilient capital markets and a favourable credit environment, will stimulate investments and encourage firms to actively plan their acquisition strategy.
  • Indian executives remain positive on M&A prospects with 55% expecting their firms to actively pursue M&A in the next 12 months.

IPL-11 from April 7

  • The IPL governing council has stated that the 11th Indian Premier League will be held from April 7 to May 27. Mumbai will host the opening match and the final of the tournament. The IPL governing council also decided to shift the start of the matches, which were scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. and 4 p.m. earlier.
  • IPL chairman: Rajeev Shukla

New Zealand crush Pakistan, take 1-0 lead

  • New Zealand secured a seven-wicket win over Pakistan to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. After bowling out Pakistan for 105, Colin Munro was the star with an unbeaten 49 as the hosts recovered following Ruman Raees’ two early wickets.
  • Tim Southee was the pick of the bowlers with 3/13 and he was well supported up by Seth Rance who chipped in with 3/26.

NIIF, DP World to invest $3 bn in India's port and logistics

  • Dubai’s DP World and the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), a fund-managing entity of the Government of India have set up an investment platform to invest in ports, terminals, transportation and logistics businesses in India.The platform will invest up to $3 billion to acquire assets and develop projects in the sector.
  • The investment platform will also look at opportunities beyond sea ports such as river ports and transportation, freight corridors, port-led special economic zones, inland container terminals, and logistics infrastructure including cold storage.
  • CEO, NIIF: Sujoy Bose
  • Group chairman and CEO, DP World: Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem

Novak Djokovic out of the Australian Open

  • Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic was sent tumbling out of the Australian Open by Korean giant-killer Hyeon Chung. Novak was defeated with a score line of 7-6(4), 7-5, 7-6(3).
  • Meanwhile Swiss defending champion Roger Federer roared into the quarterfinals winning over Marton Fucsovics 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-2 to make the last eight for an incredible 14th time.
  • World No. 1 Simona Halep eased into the last eight, beating unseeded Naomi Osaka of Japan 6-3, 6-2.

Now, an app to report roadkill

  • ‘Roadkills’, a mobile-based application was launched on January 21 by the Wildlife Conservation Trust, will help citizens to report such wildlife deaths by uploading geo-tagged photographs to a public forum. This can also be used to identify crucial road or rail stretches that urgently require mitigation measures.
  • ‘Roadkills’, an easy-to-use android app, accesses location information from phones and permits users to upload photographs of a dead wild animal on a road or railway line. With the resulting geo-tagged photographs, users can also include what taxon the animal belongs to (bird, mammal, reptile or amphibian), the species’ name (if known) and the area where the roadkill was seen.
  • The information from all records reported from across India with this citizen science initiative will be compiled as a database, which can soon be viewed on a map on the campaign’s website (www.roadkills.in)
  • The information generated from the application can help identify crucial sections of roads or railway lines where animal deaths are high to pinpoint regions that require urgent mitigation measures
  • The Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT), a wildlife NGO has developed the app.

Paisabazaar.com becomes India’s first major platform to offer direct mutual funds to consumers

  • Paisabazaar.com, India’s No. 1 Marketplace for Loans and Cards has launched direct mutual funds, becoming India’s first major platform to offer direct plans to retail customers.
  • Unlike in a regular plan where a part of investment is paid to the broker as commission by the mutual fund company, a direct mutual fund doesn’t involve any type of commission and provides higher returns to the consumers and hence, is a much superior investment option.
  • This is the first time a major financial services organization is offering direct plans to retail customers on its platform.
  • CEO and co-founder Policybazaar.com Yashish Dahiya.

Raipur organises India's first 'Kachra Mahotsav

  • The Raipur Municipal Corporation in Chhattisgarh has organised the city’s first garbage festival. The aim of the festival is to increase awareness, use the waste generated in the city creatively and to showcase multiple techniques for reusing things that are labelled as garbage.
  • The three-day festival will be filled with workshops, talks, performances and also some interesting installations.

Republicans, Democrats reach deal to end US government shutdown

  • The opposition Democrats in US have reached an agreement with the Republicans to have a debate on immigration so as to end the ongoing federal government shutdown which lasted for three days. Lawmakers in the Senate and the House of Representatives were rushing through procedural legislative motions to fund the spending bill of federal government by a little over two weeks.

RIL becomes India’s first firm to cross Rs. 6-lakh crore in market cap

  • Reliance Industries (RIL) become the first Indian company to cross the Rs. 6-lakh crore mark in market capitalization as its shares touched a 52-week high of Rs. 974.5 following the announcement of robust Q3 profits. RIL shares rose 4.5% to Rs. 971.2 valuing the company at Rs. 6,15,150 crore.
  • RIL is owned 40% by its chairman Mukesh Ambani, making him the richest Indian with personal wealth of $40.7 billion and the 20th richest globally.
  • Energy projects of RIL are driving upside surprises, telecom monetisation is accelerating, and capex intensity continues to fall. Oil sector in a sweet spot, leveraging counter cyclical downstream investments, and consolidation in telecom set the stage for surprises in 2018.
  • India’s largest software exporter, Tata Consultancy Services follows RIL with market capitalisation of Rs. 5,95,946 crore.
  • HDFC Bank become the first bank to cross market capitalisation of Rs. 5 lakh crore. Its shares rose marginally to Rs. 1,963.8 on Monday before touching its 52-week high of Rs. 1,986, valuing the bank at Rs. 5,08,648 crore.
  • The market cap of BSE listed firms stood at Rs. 1,55,48,572 crore at close of trade on Monday as the Sensex gained 286 points to close at a record high of 35,798.

Shuttler Siddharth Singh wins Swedish Open Junior title

  • Young Indian shuttler Siddharth Pratap Singh won his maiden international title, bagging the Swedish Open Junior International Series with a straight-game victory over Denmark's Mads Christophersen in the finals in Uppsala in Sweden.
  • Siddharth defeated Christophersen 21-15, 21-11 in a 33-minute match to claim the men's singles title.
  • Sweden:
  • Prime Minister: Stefan Lofven
  • Capital: Stockholm
  • Currency: Swedish krona

WEF annual meet begins in Davos

  • The annual World Economic Forum, WEF, meet began in Davos, Switzerland. WEF Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab declared the summit open.
  • Over 3,000 world leaders from business, politics, art, academia and civil society will attend the 48th World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting over the next five days in the small ski resort town where the Indian presence will be the largest ever with over 130 participants. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to pitch India as a growth engine for the global economy.
  • This year summit's theme 'Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World'

WEF ranks India at 62nd place on Inclusive Development Index

  • The World Economic Forum placed India at the 62nd place among emerging economies on an Inclusive Development Index, much below China’s 26th position and Pakistan’s 47th. India was ranked 60th among 79 developing economies last year.
  • Norway remains the world’s most inclusive advanced economy, while Lithuania again tops the list of emerging economies.
  • Among advanced economies, Norway is followed by Ireland, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Denmark in the top five. The top-five most inclusive emerging economies are Lithuania, Hungary, Azerbaijan, Latvia and Poland.
  • The index takes into account the living standards, environmental sustainability and protection of future generations from further indebtedness.
  • The 2018 index, which measures progress of 103 economies on three individual pillars — growth and development; inclusion; and inter-generational equity — has been divided into two parts. The first part covers 29 advanced economies and the second 74 emerging economies.

World Bank signs US$300m loan for Nepal quake reconstruction

  • The World Bank has approved a US$300 million loan for Nepal as the impoverished nation struggles to raise money to rebuild almost three years after an earthquake killed thousands and flattened homes. The deal also includes US$80 million for a livestock project and another US$60 million credit for vocational training.
  • Only one in ten of those homes has been rebuilt as the third anniversary of the disaster looms and Nepal faces a US$1.2 billion shortfall in reconstruction funds. The government has faced mounting criticism over the slow pace of reconstruction.
  • Nearly 9,000 people died when a 7.8-magnitude quake struck in April 2015, destroying more than half a million homes.
  • International donors pledged US$4.1 billion for reconstruction after the quake - the strongest to hit Nepal in 80 years - and the World Bank approved a US$200 million loan at the time.
  • Nepal:
  • Prime Minister: Sher Bahadur Deuba
  • President: Bidhya Devi Bhandari
  • Capital: Kathmandu
  • Currency: Nepalese rupee