Daily Current Affairs - 19th Mar 2018

AAI to raise Rs. 1,500 crore for capex

  • Airports Authority of India (AAI) is looking to raise Rs. 1,500 crore as term loan to fund capital expenditure in the next fiscal, wherein work is to commence on new terminal buildings at various aerodromes. For 2018-19, the capital expenditure is projected to be about Rs. 4,100 crore, compared with Rs. 2,500 crore for the current financial year ending on March 31.
  • Government-owned airports operato has a healthy balance sheet and is going in for borrowings for the first time.
  • AAI chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra

Australian women sweep three-match ODI series against India 3-nil

  • Australia women have swept the three-match ODI series against India women by a three-nil margin. In the final match played at Vadodara , the Australian team beat India by 97 runs. Set to score 333 runs for a win, Indian women were all out for 235 in 44.4 overs.
  • Earlier, batting first, Australia women made 332 for seven in the stipulated 50 overs.

Centre to take spiritual route to spur tourism

  • In a bid to spur domestic travel, the union government plans to promote religious tourism in the country. Plans are also afoot to popularise yoga and Ayurveda among young, as part of efforts to reach out to people across the globe and get “millions of more people to India.”
  • According to our estimates, close to 60% of domestic tourism in India is religious-based. The number of domestic tourist visits in 2017 stood at about 1.8 billion, up about 12% from the over 1.6 billion in the previous year.
  • The government has already approved two projects — Swadesh Darshan Scheme, wherein infrastructure will be built around places of tourist interest under the umbrella of 15 themes such as Buddhist Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit and Heritage Circuit.
  • Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive or PRASAD scheme focuses on the development and beautification of identified pilgrimage destinations.
  • The government has approved allocation of about Rs. 7,000 crore for about 90 projects under the two schemes.
  • Foreign tourist arrivals in 2017 stood at over 10 million, a growth of 15.6% over 8.8 million such arrivals in 2016. This resulted in foreign exchange earnings of $ 27.6 billion last year, a growth of 20.8% over 2016.

China to appoint Yi Gang as new central bank governor

  • China has selected American-trained economist Yi Gang to become the country's new central bank Governor. He is currently deputy to incumbent central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan, who was reviewed by the nearly 3,000 delegates attending the National People's Congress.
  • His appointment to the top post at the People's Bank of China (PBOC) was set to be approved when the legislature reconvenes.
  • Liu Kun, a former vice finance minister, has been nominated to replace Xiao Jie as finance minister.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde warns against trade war

  • The International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has cautioned the United States against putting up barriers to trade and said trade wars leave no winners. Trump's sudden decision earlier this month to impose a 25 per cent tariff on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum has revived fears of a trade war.
  • She also said that the global economy is in good shape, with 3.9 per cent growth projected this year as well as higher levels of investor confidence.
  • IMF: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization of 189 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.
  • Headquarters: Washington, DC, USA

Inaugural Global Recycling Day is Sunday March 18

  • As part of a worldwide effort to promote the importance of recycling on the first-ever Global Recycling Day was observed on this Sunday, March 18. Businesses, communities, policymakers, and individuals are called to increase their commitment to recycling and recognize scrap as an important resource. Recyclable materials are valuable commodities that play a pivotal role in environmental protection, energy conservation, and sustainability.
  • The event aims to encourage policymakers around the world to recognize that scrap is a resource and not waste.
  • Recyclable commodities are considered a "seventh resource," along with the six primary resources that need to be conserved: water, air, coal, oil, natural gas, and minerals.
  • Global Recycling Day is an initiative of the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR). Founded by Ranjit Baxi, president of the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), Global Recycling Day aims to raise awareness about the importance of recycling and encouraging those around the world to view recyclables as a resource, not waste.

India clinch Nidahas Cricket Trophy by defeating Bangladesh

  • India beat Bangladesh by four wickets to win the Nidahas Cricket Trophy final in Colombo. In a nail biting final, the Indian team clinched the T20 Tri-series title with Dinesh Karthik's last-ball six. Earlier put into bat, Bangladesh made 166 for 8 in the stipulated 20 overs.
  • Chasing 167 runs, skipper Rohit Sharma laid the foundation and Dinesh Karthik sealed the win with a scintillating 29 off just eight balls. This is the eighth victory of India against Bangladesh in a T-20 format. Dinesh Karthik was named man of the match for his great knock while Washington Sundar was named the man-of-the-series.

IOC, BPCL eye Centre’s stake in Gas Authority

  • Centre-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd (BPCL) may buy 26% stake each in gas utility GAIL India Ltd., paying the government over Rs. 20,000 crore each to become integrated energy firms. IOC and BPCL had submitted separate proposals to buy the Centre’s 54.89% stake in India’s biggest gas marketing and transportation firm, GAIL.
  • The union government was not looking at an actual merger of oil companies but only transfer of its ownership to a cash-rich PSU.
  • In January, Oil and Natural Gas Corp bought out the government’s 51.11% stake in refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd. for Rs. 36,915 crore.
  • Indian Oil Corp (IOC) , Chairman: Sanjiv Singh
  • Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd (BPCL), Chairman & MD: D.Rajkumar
  • GAIL India, Chairman: B.C.Tripathi

Irani Cup: Ranji Champions Vidarbha Clinch Maiden title

  • Current Ranji Trophy champions Vidarbha have lifted their maiden Irani Trophy. On the final day of the match in Nagpur, they beat Rest of India by virtue of their massive first innings lead. The hosts had posted a total of 800 in their first innings and then bowled out Rest of India for 390 on the final day. The final scores:- Vidarbha - 800 for 7 declared & 79- for no loss. ` Rest of India - 390 all out.

Kevin Pietersen Announces Retirement From All Forms of Cricket

  • Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen brought the curtain down on his playing career.
  • Pietersen was part of England's 2005 Ashes-winning side and helped them win the 2010 World T20 title.
  • Pietersen played 104 tests for England after making his debut against Australia at Lord's in 2005. He scored 8,181 runs at an average of 47.28 and struck 23 centuries and 35 fifties.
  • Pietersen also played 136 one-day internationals scoring almost 4,500 runs with nine centuries and 25 fifties as well as 37 Twenty20 internationals.

Li Keqiang gets second term as China’s Prime Minister

  • Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang has been elected for a second term in office . Mr. Li was elected as Prime Minister by members of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s Parliament. He received 2,964 votes in favour and two against. He will steer some of the major structural reforms being marshalled by President Xi Jinping.
  • The lawmakers also approved the appointment of Xu Qiliang and Zhang Youxia as vice chairmen of the apex Central Military Commission (CMC), which imparts strategic direction to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
  • China:
  • President: Xi Jinping
  • Capital:Beijing
  • Currency: Renminbi (Yuan)

Only 16% of initial GST returns filed for July-Dec matched with final returns

  • According to the revenue department, only 16% of the summary sales returns under GST matching with the final returns. The revenue department has started to analyse major gaps with a view to check any possible tax evasion.
  • GST returns data between July and December showed, 34% of businesses paid Rs. 8.16 lakh crore to the exchequer by filing GSTR-3B, whereas an analysis of their GSTR-1 data showed that their tax liability should have been Rs. 8.50 lakh crore.

Purva Barve wins Women’s Singles U-19 title at Israel Junior 2018

  • India's Purva Barve has won the Women’s Singles (Under-19) title at the Israel Junior 2018 held in Rishon LeZion, Israel. The defending champion won the battle against the top-ranked Russian Anastasiia Pustinskaia in three sets 21-19, 19-21, 21-13. The title is her first in 2018 and third overall.
  • Earlier she won the Israel Junior 2017, Italian Junior International 2017 apart from a bronze at the Russian Junior White Nights 2017.

Putin cruises to landslide election win

  • Vladimir Putin cruised to victory in Russia's presidential election, giving him another six years in power. He won the election with more than 75% of the vote according to preliminary results of central election commission data, but the opposition cried foul.
  • Mr. Putin has ruled Russia for almost two decades.
  • Putin is well ahead of his nearest competitor Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin at 13.2 percent.
  • About 107 million Russians were eligible to cast ballots and the central election commission said turnout was 60% three hours before polls closed in Moscow.
  • Russia:
  • Prime Minister: Dmitry Medvedev
  • Capital: Moscow
  • Currency: Russian ruble

Sri Lanka revokes state of emergency

  • Sri Lankan President has lifted the island-wide state of emergency that he imposed on March 6 to contain spiralling anti-Muslim violence in the central highlands. Earlier in March, Sinhalese groups carried out a series of targeted attacks against the Muslim-owned mosques, shops and homes in Kandy located in the Central Province.
  • Following the violent episodes, the government banned social media networks, including Facebook, WhatsApp and Viber that authorities said contributed to an escalation in tensions.
  • The country has witnessed a rise in anti-Muslim attacks since 2012, with hard-line Sinhala Buddhist groups turning increasingly antagonistic towards minority Muslims, who make up about 10% of Sri Lanka’s population.
  • Sri Lanka:
  • President: Maithripala Yapa Sirisena
  • Prime Minister: Ranil Wickremesinghe
  • Capital: Colombo
  • Currency:Sri Lankan rupee

TRAI to rejig portability process

  • The process of network port-out is set to become faster and simpler for mobile subscribers as Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is planning to initiate a review of the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) mechanism.
  • By the month end, TRAI will issue a consultation paper that will look at reducing the time taken to switch from one network to another under MNP, and also seek to simplify the entire process. The move to revamp the present mechanism for MNP comes after TRAI has cut the MNP charges by almost 79% to a maximum of Rs. 4.
  • TRAI Chairman R.S. Sharma

WTO ministerial meeting: 50 nations to take up global trade issues

  • The Indian government said that 50 nations will engage in free and frank discussions on global trade here this week to explore the options for resolving various issues and re-invigorating the WTO. Representatives from 50 countries will be gathering in New Delhi on 19-20 March for an informal World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial meeting. It will look at issues both at the negotiating table and also in other areas.