Daily Current Affairs - 12th Apr 2018

C.S. Ghosh re-appointed as Bandhan CEO

  • Chandra Shekhar Ghosh has been reappointed as managing director and chief executive officer of Bandhan Bank for a period of three years from July 10, 2018. Mr. Ghosh’s reappointment, subject to regulatory clearances, was approved by the bank board at its recent meeting.
  • The private sector bank, which would complete three years this August, was listed on March 27, this year.

Digital transformation to add $154 billion to India’s GDP

  • According to a joint study by Microsoft and IDC, Asia PacificDigital transformation will add an estimated $154 billion to India’s GDP by 2021 and increase the growth rate by 1% every year. As about 4% of India’s GDP was derived from digital products and services created through digital technologies.

First International conference on Water, Environment held in Kathmandu

  • The first international conference on ‘Water, Environment and Climate Change: Knowledge Sharing and Partnership’ was inaugurated in Kathmandu, Nepal. The conference is expected to witness participation from more than 100 international participants from 20 countries across the world including India.
  • The main objective of the conference is to bring together professionals, academicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, government and non government institutions to discuss and deliberate on challenges, opportunities and strategies related to water and environmental issues.

India jumps 13 places in latest annual Index of Economic Freedom

  • India has jumped 13 places in the last one year to 130th spot in the latest annual Index of Economic Freedom released by a top American think-tank the Heritage Foundation. In 2017, India with a score of 52.6 points was ranked at 143 among 180 countries.
  • The report mentioned that Corruption, underdeveloped infrastructure, a restrictive and burdensome regulatory environment, and poor financial and budget management in India continue to undermine overall development.
  • Meanwhile China has jumped one spot with 57.4 points placed at 111 in the 2017, whereas Pakistan is now at 131 position.

India signs MoU with World Expo 2020 Dubai

  • India and World Expo 2020 signed participants contract for India’s pavilion in the prestigious World Expo 2020 held once in 5 years. The contract provides for the setting up of India pavilion at Expo 2020 on an extra large plot (about one acre) in the ‘Opportunity’ segment. The pavilion will be developed in public-private partnership mode.
  • Focus will be given to India’s advances in Space, Pharma, IT, Renewable Energy and Telecom sectors.
  • Leading industries and businesses will work with Central government and State governments to participate in India’s pavilion. A number of state governments, various ministries of central government and major industry associations and businesses have shown interest in partnering and participating in World Expo 2020 which will take place for six months beginning October 2020.
  • Commerce Secretary of India: Rita Teaotia

India to grow 7.3% this financial year: ADB

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has said, India's economic growth is set to rise to 7.3 per cent this fiscal and further to 7.6 percent in the next financial year, on back of GST and banking reforms. Despite the short-term costs, the benefits of reform such as the recently implemented GST will propel India's future growth.
  • The robust foreign direct investment flows attracted by liberalised regulations and the government steps to improve the ease of doing business will further bolster India's growth.
  • Asian Development Bank (ADB) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a regional development bank established on 19 December 1966. It maintains 31 field offices around the world to promote social and economic development in Asia.
  • President: Takehiko Nakao
  • Headquarters: Manila, Philippines

India top recipient of Commonwealth FDI: Report

  • According to a new trade review by the Commonwealth Secretariat, India has emerged as the top recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) from within the Commonwealth and is the second-most lucrative source of investment within the 53-member organisation after the UK.
  • Other findings
  • The report also found that India has moved into the top five providers of intra-Commonwealth services trade, surpassing Canada, and alongside Australia, Singapore and the UK.
  • Between 2005 and 2016, India remained the top recipient of greenfield FDI from the Commonwealth, more than doubling the amount it received over 10 years..
  • Intra-Commonwealth trade is projected to reach USD 700 billion by 2020, driven in large part by India's economic growth.
  • Green-field investments occur when a parent company or government begins a new venture by constructing new facilities in a country outside of where the firm is headquartered.
  • The Commonwealth of Nations (formerly the British Commonwealth), also known as simply the Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states that are mostly former territories of the British Empire.
  • Headquarters: London, UK
  • Head of the Commonwealth Secretariat: Patricia Janet Scotland

India's social sector spending remains woefully below peers: Study

  • According to a study published by the RBI with respect to an analysis of 17 countries in their social sector expenditure as per cent of GDP 2016, India's social sector spending remains woefully below peers, including Latvia and Iceland, in terms of GDP.
  • India's social sector expenditure as per cent of GDP in 2016 was 7.5 per cent whereas it was 29 per cent in Belgium, 15.2 per cent in Iceland, 14.5 in Latvia and 10.4 per cent in Korea, among other countries.

India, Morocco sign pact to promote mineral exploration

  • India has inked a pact with Morocco, under which focus would be laid on evaluation of potential mineral resources and promoting exploration and mining through participation of both public and private sector. The focus of the MoU is on the development of the geological infrastructure for Geoscience Maps and geochemical maps, strengthening geological research and evaluation of the potential of mineral resources.
  • Union Minister of Mines Narendra Singh Tomar
  • Morocco
  • Prime Minister: Saadeddine Othman
  • Capital: Rabat
  • Currency: Moroccan dirham

India, Zambia sign 4 agreements during President Kovind's visit

  • India and Zambia signed four agreements during President Ram Nath Kovind delegation-level visit to Zambia. This is the first visit to the country by an Indian president since 1989.
  • The four agreements include are - on double taxation avoidance; on judicial cooperation; on mutual visa waivers for officials and diplomats; and on the Entrepreneurship Development Institute that India will build in Zambia.
  • Indian companies have invested significantly in Zambia, especially in mining, telecom, energy and manufacturing.
  • Zambia
  • President:Edgar Chagwa Lungu
  • Capital: Luaska
  • Currency: Zambian kwacha

India-Timor Leste sign moU in field of public health

  • India and Timor Leste have signed a memorandum of understanding in the field of public health to extend affordable healthcare to the people of the Southeast Asian nation. India has offered to share its expertise in matching information technology with healthcare through tele-medicine.
  • The MoU was being discussed for more than five years and would open avenues of cooperation between the two countries.
  • East Timor or Timor-Leste
  • President: Francisco Guterres
  • Prime Minister: Mari bin Amude Alkatiri
  • Capital: Dili
  • Currency: United States dollar

New fund for defence enterprises

  • The Indian government is planning to set up a new fund for small and medium defence enterprises. It will be a dedicated Defence and Aerospace SME fund. The fund will be registered with SEBI and minority stake can be taken up by investors.
  • The fund will help channelise investments to the two defence corridors, in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
  • Meanwhile the Adani Group was setting up a new facility to manufacture composite aero structures for Hermes 900, a tactical medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system, in Hyderabad.

New Zealand halts all new offshore oil, gas exploration

  • New Zealand has halted all new offshore oil and gas exploration as part of its efforts to deal with climate change. The government has taken this important step to address climate change and create a clean, green and sustainable future for the country.
  • The oil and gas industry in New Zealand generates about 1.8 billion US dollar a year and employs about 11 thousand people.
  • New Zealand
  • Prime Minister: Jacinda Ardern
  • Capital: Wellington
  • Currency: New Zealand dollar

Office leasing activity rises 25% in Q1: report

  • Office leasing activity across India rose 25% in the first quarter of 2018 to 11 million square feet with Bengaluru accounting for the highest demand for office space, more than the combined share of Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Hyderabad markets.
  • In line with the increasing demand, supply addition more than tripled to touch 9.7 mn sq.ft. during the review period, indicating continued occupier interest for quality office spaces across the country. More than 80% of this new supply was in Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi-NCR.
  • Technology corporations led the office space take-up during the quarter with a 25% share, while banking, financial services and insurance firms garnered a 24% share.
  • The share of e-commerce firms rose to 15%, due to a few large-sized deals by leading global and domestic players.

Rajesh Ranjan appointed Director General of CISF

  • Senior IPS officer Rajesh Ranjan has been appointed as l of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) till November 30, 2020, i.e. the date of his superannuation. Ranjan, a 1984 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of Bihar cadre, is at present Special Director General, Border Security Force (BSF).
  • The CISF is tasked with providing security to various government installations including the country's airports.

Shreyasi Singh claims gold in women’s double trap shooting

  • Shreyasi Singh held her nerve and produced some excellent shooting to win the women’s double trap gold medal in the 21st Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. Shreyasi shot 96 in the finals and beat Australia’s Emma Cox 2 shots to 1 in the shoot-off at Belmont Shooting Centre.
  • The other Indian contender in the field, Varsha Varman, finished fourth with 86.

Tiny DNA unicycle successfully completes test drive

  • Researchers from the University of Bonn in Germany and the University of Michigan in the US have successfully completed the first test drive of a DNA 'unicycle' - a tiny machine made of genetic material that is powered by chemical energy and can perform directed movements. They used structures made of DNA nanorings.
  • One ring fulfills the function of a wheel, the other drives it like an engine with the help of chemical energy. The tiny vehicle measures only about 30 nanometers. The fuel is provided by the protein T7 RNA polymerase.
  • Coupled to the ring that serves as an engine, this enzyme synthesises an RNA strand based on the DNA sequence and uses the chemical energy released during this process for the rotational movement of the DNA ring.

UAE approves issuance of Law on Equal Wages, Salaries for Men & Women

  • In an effort to narrow the gender gap in the United Arab Emirates, the Cabinet has approved the issuance of the Law on Equal Wages and Salaries for Men and Women. The new law will provide women with equal opportunities as partners in the UAE’s development. It will further empower women to lead future national strategies and ambitious projects.
  • The new law comes in line with the government’s objective to ensure the protection of women's rights and support their role in the national development process.
  • Studies have shown that UAE ranks high in the Middle East for 'wage equality for similar work', but it fares far less in global gender rankings.
  • UAE:
  • Capital: Abu Dhabi
  • Currency: United Arab Emirates dirham

Virat Kohli, Mithali Raj named Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year

  • Both captains of men and women’s cricket team, Virat Kohli and Mithali Raj were named among Wisden’s leading cricketers of the year. Kohli was named leading male cricketer for the second successive year who had a spectacular 2017 amassing over 2500 runs at an average of 68.73 in all formats.
  • Mithali Raj, who led India to the final of ‘Women’s World Cup’ and emerged as the all-time leading run-scorer in women’s ODI, was named standout female cricketer of the year.
  • Overall, five cricketers were selected for the reputed ‘Cricketers of the Year Award’ Out of these, three were from England’s Women’s World Cup-winning side(Knight, Sciver and Shrusbole).
  • Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan collected the inaugural leading Twenty20 cricketer in the world prize.

World's largest solar park to come up in Gujarat

  • Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani approved setting up a 5,000 MW capacity solar park at the Dholera Special Investment Region (SIR), which would be the largest such entity in the world after its completion.
  • The proposed solar power generation project would be set up in 11,000 hectares of land with an investment of Rs 25,000 crore,
  • The project will contribute significantly in achieving Prime Minister Narendra Modi's target of producing 175 gigawatt of electricity through renewable energy sources by 2022.