Daily Current Affairs - 09th Mar 2018

Airbus signs up Indian startups to push 'Make In India'

  • Airbus and its subsidiary Navblue on Thursday announced signing contracts with two Indian startups Neewee and Eflight for providing solutions to the European plane maker’s manufacturing programmes that are also in line with the Indian government’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Startup India’ initiatives.
  • Last year, Airbus Bizlab had selected six Indian companies for the second season of its six-month programme in Bengaluru. BizLab offers the selected startups access to Airbus coaches and to business and technical experts, mentors, in various domains.
  • Neewee’s solution, called procuSense, will enhance certainty to manufacturing supply chain and procurement operations at Airbus, using advanced analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence
  • Airbus SE is a European multinational corporation that designs, manufactures, and sells civil and military aeronautical products worldwide
  • Headquarters: Toulouse, France
  • CEO: Tom Enders

Asian Archery: India finish with three gold, two bronze

  • Indian junior archers bagged three gold and two bronze medals to finish their Asia Cup Archery Stage 1 campaign on a high in Bangkok. On the final day, Promila Daimary won second individual gold medal for India as she defeated Natalia Erdynieva of Russia 7-3 in the women's recurve individual.
  • Indian trio of Akash, Gora Ho and Gaurav Lambe defeated Mongolian rivals 27-26 in the tie-breaker to clinch the third gold.
  • In the semifinals, India lost to Vietanam 224-227. India also lost in the compound men's team in the third place playoff and the compound mixed team bronze playoff.

Cabinet approves an MoU between India and Hellenic on Renewable Energy Cooperation

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in the field of Renewable Energy between India and Hellenic(Greece).
  • Both sides aim to establish the basis for a cooperative institutional relationship to encourage and promote technical bilateral cooperation on new and renewable issues on the basis of mutual benefit equality and reciprocity.
  • The MoU envisages establishing a Joint Working Group to review, monitor and discuss matters relation to areas of cooperation.
  • Greece:
  • President: Prokopios Pavlopoulos
  • Capital: Athens
  • Currency: Euro

Centre approves signing of Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement between India and France

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement between India and France. The Agreement represents a major milestone in enhancing people-to -people contacts, fostering mobility of students, academics, researchers and skilled professionals and strengthening cooperation on issues related to irregular migration and human trafficking between the two sides.
  • The Agreement is initially valid for a period of seven years, incorporates provision for automatic renewal and a monitoring mechanism through a Joint Working Group.
  • France:
  • President: Emmanuel Macron
  • Capital: Paris
  • Currency: Euro

Centre to invite initial bids for Air India in a couple of weeks

  • The Civil Aviation Ministry was engaged in the important task of finding buyers for Air India and its subsidiaries as well as for Pawan Hans helicopter. The Ministry expected the expressions of interest to be issued within a couple of weeks.
  • The announcement came in the backdrop of the union government paving the way for a stake sale in the debt-laden airline last year. It had in-principle approved divestment in Air India and the government followed it up by permitting foreign airlines to invest up to 49%, under the approval route, subject to certain conditions.

Direct tax mop up rises 19.5% in Apr.-Feb.

  • Direct tax collections have risen 19.5% to Rs. 7.44 lakh crore in the April-February period of the current fiscal, buoyed by a strong pick up in corporate tax. The growth rate for net corporate tax collections stood at 19.7% while for personal income tax is 18.6%.
  • The net direct tax collection represents 74.3% of the Rs. 10.05 lakh crore target as per the revised estimates given in Union Budget 2018-19.
  • The gross collections, before adjusting for refunds, rose 14.5% to Rs. 8.83 lakh crore during the 11-month period of the current financial year.

Gold Coast Commonwealth Games: Indian Gymnastics squad

  • India managed to enter a seven-member team of gymnasts in the upcoming Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the last minute. Ashish Kumar, Rakesh Patra and Yogeshwar Singh will represent the country in the men’s artistic events, while G. Aruna Reddy(recently won a World Cup bronze medal) Pranati Nayak and Pranati Das will feature in the women's artistic gymnastics. G. Meghana Reddy will compete in rhythmic events.
  • While Dipa Karmakar, who received a lot of attention after finishing fourth in the Rio Olympics, will skip the mega event due to a knee injury.

Government announces launch of ‘SUVIDHA’ biodegradable Sanitary Napkin – under the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP)

  • The Union government announced the launch of ‘Suvidha’, the 100% Oxo-biodegradable Sanitary Napkin, under the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP). The affordable sanitary napkin will be available for Rs. 2.50 per padat over 3200 Janaushadhi Kendrasacross India and would ensure ‘Swachhta, Swasthya and Suvidha’for the underprivileged Women of India.
  • SUVIDHA napkins would be physically available at all Janaushadhi Kendras in the country by May 28, 2018 – World Menstrual Hygiene Day.
  • According to the National Family Health Survey 2015-16, about 58 percent of women aged between 15 to 24 years use locally prepared napkins, sanitary napkins and tampons. Further, about 78 percent women in urban areas use hygienic methods of protection during menstrual period; only 48 percent women in rural areas have access to clean sanitary napkins.
  • Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs, Shri Ananthkumar

India B beat Karnataka to lift Deodhar Trophy

  • India B beat Karnataka by six wickets in the Deodhar Trophy final at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium. Chasing 279/8, India B got off to a flying start as openers Ruturaj Gaikwad (58) and Abhimanyu Easwaran (69) forged an 84-run partnershi.
  • Hanuma Vihari (21), skipper Shreyas Iyer (61) and Manoj Tiwary (59) also contributed for the cause and India B chased down the target in 48.2 overs.

India beat Bangladesh by 6 wickets in Twenty-20 Tri-Series match

  • India beat Bangladesh to a six-wicket victory in the Twenty20 Tri-Series match in Colombo. Put in to bat, Bangladesh failed to get much momentum in their innings due to the loss of wickets at regular intervals and only posted a modest 139 for eight in their 20 overs.
  • Opener Shikhar Dhawan struck his second successive fifty in the match.

India calls for international backing for Afghan peace efforts with Taliban

  • India has expressed its support for the Afghanistan government's offer to the Taliban to participate in a peace process without preconditions and called for international backing for the efforts.
  • India's Permanent Representative to UN told Security Council last night that these efforts will protect the rights of all Afghans, including women, children. He described the Afghan government's new call for peace as a concrete approach to the Taliban to join the mainstream. He also called for a robust response to violence from the armed groups.
  • Earlier, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani offered a wide-ranging peace package to the Taliban at an international conference in Kabul.
  • Meanwhile Afghanistan also slammed Pakistan over terrorism and urged the international community to continue pressuring Islamabad.
  • India's Permanent Representative to UN: Syed Akbaruddin

Indian Firms have Rs. 1.8 lakh cr. cash trapped in the books

  • According to an EY report titled ‘Working Capital Management, Indian companies has the potential to release Rs. 1.8 lakh crore of cash trapped in corporate balance sheets. The working capital situation has worsened mainly on account of increase in inventory levels, which resulted in an increase in cash conversion cycle to 44 days in FY17.
  • The cash conversion cycle for larger firms (top one-third by revenue) is significantly lower than for smaller companies (bottom one-third by revenue).
  • Sectors such as oil and gas, and metals and mining showed a significant increase in the cash conversion cycle days with a corresponding increase in short-term debt, signifying increased funding needs. Sectors like EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction), pharmaceuticals and chemicals recorded the longest cash conversion cycles in terms of days.
  • There has been a significant increase in stressed assets, which has led to a decline in fresh lending. Lending from banks to Indian corporations declined by 5.2 per cent in FY17 against a growth of 2.8 per cent in FY16.

Mumbai is now the 16th most expensive city

  • According to a report by global real estate consultant Knight Frank, Mumbai ranked 16th among the world’s costliest cities for the year 2018, down from the 15th spot in the previous year. The rise in Indian financial capital’s ranking on this count is supported by the rapid wealth creation in the country.
  • The rankings are based on affordability of prime residential properties in a particular city.

NCLT admits Aircel’s bankruptcy petition

  • National Company Law Tribunal has admitted Aircel’s bankruptcy petition and directed that directors, promoters and chairman and managing director of the company should not leave the country without permission till further orders.
  • Aircel, along with Dishnet Wireless and Aircel Cellular, had filed for bankruptcy in the NCLT Mumbai bench after it failed to reach an agreement with lenders. It owes Rs. 15,000 crore to lenders and Rs. 35,000 crore to operational creditors.
  • The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) is a quasi-judicial body in India that adjudicates issues relating to companies in India. The NCLT was established under the Companies Act 2013 and was constituted on 1 June 2016.

PNB may be given a year to provision against fraud

  • The Reserve Bank may provide four quarters to Punjab National Bank (PNB) for making provisions against fraud of Rs. 12,646 crore allegedly masterminded by diamantaire Nirav Modi. The bank has written a letter to the regulator seeking its opinion on making provisions for the fraud.
  • There is a directive by the RBI on provisioning to be made in the case of loan fraud, the bank is taking pre-emptive action to deal with the extraordinary situation.

RBI fined Equitas for selling products without its nod

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a penalty of Rs. 10 lakh on Equitas Small Finance Bank for distributing mutual fund, insurance, wealth management products and portfolio management services without taking prior regulatory approval of the RBI
  • Managing director, Equitas SFB said the bank had now taken approval from the Reserve Bank to sell such products.
  • Equitas Small Finance Bank
  • Managing Director: P.N. Vasudevan
  • Headquarters:Chennai

Union govt. to set up Arbitration Council

  • The Union government will set up an Arbitration Council that will grade institutions that offer alternative dispute resolution mechanism for commercial disputes. As India is attracting foreign investments, the union government felt that it was essential to provide for a reliable platform that included arbitration and resolution of commercial disputes in a time-bound manner.
  • The Union Cabinet approved the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018. The bill seeks to establish an independent body to make arbitration process user-friendly, cost-effective and ensure speedy disposal and neutrality of arbitrators.
  • The amendment provides for creation of the Arbitration Council of India (ACI) which will grade arbitral institution and accredit arbitrators by laying down norms and take all such steps as may be necessary to promote and encourage arbitration, conciliation, mediation and other Alternate Disputes Resolution mechanism.
  • Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad

US, Israeli military launch month-long joint military drill

  • The United States and Israeli military officials have launched a month-long joint military drill named "Juniper Cobra 2018" that simulates a missile attack on Israel. The biennial drill is jointly held by the Israeli military and the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM).
  • As part of the exercise, some 2,500 U.S. troops routinely based in Europe were deployed in Israel as well as about 2,000 Israeli Aerial Defense troops, logistics units, medical forces and other Israel Defense Forces (IDF) units. It is the ninth Cobra exercise that has taken place.
  • The exercise simulates a scenario in which Israel is being attacked on several fronts, including by precision-guided ballistic missiles from Iran.
  • The simulations include testing of the anti-ballistic missile system Arrow, Iron Dome anti-rocket system and the medium-range interceptor Patriot missile system.

WHO launches plan for cheaper TB drugs

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) invited pharmaceutical companies around the world to submit Expression of Interest (EoI) to manufacture affordable versions of newer medicines Bedaquiline and Delaminid for treatment of drug resistant tuberculosis. As the aim was to replicate the success of addressing the HIV epidemic.
  • Under WHO norms, drugs submitted upon such requests and complying with its standards are included in a list for procurement by the UN and other organisations.
  • India has nearly 1.3 lakh DR-TB patients, the most in the world, but the Health Ministry gets only 10,000 doses of Bedaquiline and 400 doses of Delaminid.
  • Competition among Indian drug producers had then brought down the price of HIV medicines by 99% from $15,000 per patient per year to less than a dollar a day.
  • WHO:
  • Director general of the World Health Organization: Tedros Adhanom
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland