Daily Current Affairs - 18th Jun 2018

22 selected for ED posts in PSBs

  • The Banks Board Bureau (BBB) has selected twenty-two candidates for 19 posts of executive directors which will be falling vacant, or are already vacant, in public sector banks (PSBs), in the current fiscal.
  • These recommendations are based on interactions held by the Banks Board Bureau with eligible candidates from PSBs towards appointment against vacancies in PSBs for the period 2018-19.
  • About 40 general managers were interviewed from various public sector banks for the selection of executive directors.
  • The Banks Board Bureau is expected to interview the candidates for the chief executive officers posts in public sector banks this month.

Almost 1 mn people ‘testing’ WhatsApp payments service in India

  • Almost one million people in India are “testing” WhatsApp’s payments service, and the firm is working with the Centre, NPCI and multiple banks to further expand the feature to more users. WhatsApp payment service, which rivals the likes of Paytm, has been in beta testing over the last few months. The Facebook-owned firm has not announced a roll-out date yet.

Centre to study impact of its ads

  • The Information and Broadcasting Ministry plans to conduct an independent study to gauge the impact of government advertisements on people, a move aimed at drawing up a strategy for the judicious use of money for publicity.
  • The study would help the government understand which medium to use for publicising a particular scheme for better impact.
  • The initiative comes ahead of the Lok Sabha election in 2019 for which the government is expected to reach out to the people and highlight the works done by it in the past four years.
  • The Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) is the nodal agency of the government for advertising on behalf of various Ministries, departments, public sector firms and autonomous organisations it funds. The advertisements are carried on various platforms, including print and visual media.
  • The DAVP spent about Rs. 1,286 crore in 2016-17 on advertisements on government policies, schemes, projects and events through various media.

Dhanush artillery gun clears final trials

  • The indigenously upgraded artillery gun Dhanush has successfully completed final user trials and is ready for induction into the Army.
  • The first phase of trials were conducted between July and September 2016 at the Pokhran and Babina ranges and the second phase was conducted between October and December 2016 at the Siachen base camp with three guns. A total of 1,520 rounds have been fired in all the three phases.
  • As of now, the gun has over 80% indigenous content. The imported systems include the power pack, parts of the electronic suite, and some seals and bearings.
  • Dhanush is an upgraded version of the Swedish Bofors gun procured by India in the mid- 1980s.

Federer wins 98th ATP title in Stuttgart

  • Roger Federer claimed his 98th ATP title and re-established his unrivalled superiority on grass with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) victory over Milos Raonic in the Stuttgart Cup final. He beat his Canadian opponent for the 11th time in 14 meetings while winning a first Stuttgart title.
  • With this vistory he will regain the world number one ranking and is playing next week as top seed in Halle.

India has trade deficit with 10 Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) members

  • India had trade deficit with as many as 10 member countries, including China, South Korea and Australia, of the RCEP grouping of 16 nations which have been negotiating a mega trade pact since November 2012.
  • India's trade deficit -- the difference between imports and exports -- with seven countries (Indonesia, Thailand, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand) of RCEP has in fact increased in 2017-18 as compared to the previous fiscal.
  • The trade gap with China, Korea, Indonesia and Australia has increased to USD 63.12 billion; USD 11.96 billion; USD 12.47 billion and USD 10.16 billion in 2017-18. It was USD 51.11 billion, USD 8.34 billion, USD 9.94 billion and USD 8.19 billion respectively in the previous financial year.
  • The trade gap has dipped with the remaining three nations - Lao, Brunei, Malaysia -- in 2017-18.
  • India does not have free trade agreement with two of its biggest trading partners - the US and China - but the country has highest positive balance of trade with the US, while it has highest deficit with China.
  • India already has a free trade pact with Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Japan and South Korea. It is also negotiating a similar agreement with Australia and New Zealand but has no such plans for China.
  • The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) bloc comprises 10 Asean group members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam) and their six FTA partners - India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

India welcomes Afghanistan's decision to announce extension of ceasefire with Taliban

  • India has welcomed the decision of Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani to announce extension of ceasefire in their country.
  • Indian External Affairs Ministry expressed hope that this gesture will be reciprocated by armed groups and their supporters with complete cessation of terrorist violence.
  • The ministry said that India continuously supports all efforts that can bring relief to the long suffering of people of Afghanistan, pave the way for a truely Afghan led, Afghan owned and Afghan controlled peace and reconciliation process in an atmosphere free from terror and violence.

Indian women's hockey team suffered 1-4 defeat against Spain

  • The Indian women's hockey team has suffered a 1-4 defeat against hosts Spain in the fourth game of the five-match series. India's lone goal came through Udita in the 22nd minute. India now trail 1-2 in the series.
  • While Spain beat India 3-0 in the opener, the second game between the two sides finished with a 1-1 draw. India bounced back with a 3-2 win in the third match.

IRDAI panel to vet insurance marketing firm norms

  • Insurance regulator IRDAI has formed a committee to review regulations governing the Insurance Marketing Firms (IMF). The said committee would revisit IRDAI (Registration of Insurance Marketing Firms) Regulations, 2015 and suggest issue of guidelines in areas on which existing norms were silent.
  • It would also make recommendations to further strengthen the distribution channel by taking up products which fall under the jurisdiction of other financial sector regulators.
  • Insurance Marketing Firms (IMF) firms serve as a distribution channel for insurers, are governed by regulations announced about three years ago.

New auto policy may be finalised in three months

  • The new National Auto Policy, which may seek emission-linked taxation on automobiles and a technology- agnostic green mobility roadmap, is likely to be finalised in the next three months. Discussions with various stakeholders have been on for the past six months to frame the new policy, which envisages having a single nodal regulatory body for the automobile industry. A draft cabinet note on the policy is being prepared and will be circulated shortly among departments concerned.
  • There has also been a discussion on strengthening the FAME India (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric & Hybrid Vehicles) scheme further for the faster adoption of eco-friendly automobile technologies.

New health scheme flawed: IMA

  • The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has demanded a review of the Centre’s ambitious National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), saying it has conceptual deficits and operational flaws. The doctors’ body said the rates quoted by the government for various procedures were abysmal and impractical and most do not cover even 30% of the costs.
  • The association said the money allotted for the Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Scheme (AB-NHPS) would have better served the country if every district hospital was strengthened with an infrastructure of Rs. 2 crore each.
  • The IMA has demanded that the costing be transparent and in the public domain.
  • Twenty States have so far signed MoUs with the Union Health Ministry to implement the government’s ambitious health protection mission, aiming to provide a cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family.
  • IMA national president Ravi Wankhedkar

Panel identifies 6,000 Mhz spectrum for 5G services

  • The 5G committee of the Telecom Ministry has said that about 6,000 Mhz of spectrum can be made available without delay for the next generation mobile service. The panel has spotted spectrum for 5G service across 11 bands of which four bands — premium 700 Mhz band, 3.5 gigahertz (Ghz), 24 Ghz and 28 Ghz band can be made immediately available for the service.
  • The panel estimates that 5,250 megahertz of spectrum can be made available for 5G services in higher frequency bands
  • The Department of Telecom (DoT) is taking a strong initiative to make spectrum available for the new service.
  • As much as 2,354.55 megahertz (MHz) of frequencies valued at about Rs. 5.63 lakh crore were put up for grabs in country’s largest-ever auction held in 2016. At present, mobile phone signals in the country are transmitted in 800 Mhz to 2,600 Mhz band.

SAARC fund to launch 80 social enterprise programme in all 8 member nations

  • Bhutan-based SAARC Development Fund will soon be launching a social enterprise development programme (SEDP) to fund 80 entities annually across the 8-member states including India
  • SDF would create access to financial services which can in-turn boost job creation, raise income, reduce vulnerability and increase investments in human capital in -- Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (SAARC members).
  • The programme will be implemented in all the SAARC member states with the objective of identifying and building social enterprises by using a mix of grants and concessional returnable capital.
  • The programme intends to fund around 80 enterprises across the 8 SAARC member states annually,
  • SDF was established by the Heads of the eight SAARC member states in April 2010 and its Governing Council comprises finance ministers of these eight countries.
  • SDF CEO Sunil Motiwal.

SEBI set to alter norms for buy-back

  • Markets regulator SEBI plans to revise regulations for share buy-backs wherein more clarity would be provided on various aspects, including on the requirement to make public announcements . has carried out a review of the current buy-back norms in order to simplify the language, remove inconsistencies and update references to the new Companies Act.
  • The definition of buy-back period and clarity on the requirement to make public announcement for buyback offer after declaration of postal ballot results would be provided in the amended regulations.

SEBI shares info on 14,720 entities involved in non-genuine trades

  • Capital markets regulator SEBI has shared its findings of about 14,720 entities, that indulged in non-genuine trades through illiquid stock options, with the Income Tax Department and the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. This data sharing is SEBI's continuous fforts to crack down on illegal trading activities
  • The violations came into light when SEBI was probing 59 entities in a case related to alleged trading irregularities in stock options segment of the BSE.

Sri Lankan Test Cricket captain Chandimal charged with ball-tampering

  • Sri Lankan Test Cricket captain Dinesh Chandimal has been charged with ball-tampering by the International Cricket Council (ICC) during a series in the West Indies. Chandimal was charged for breaching Level 2.2.9 of the ICC Code of Conduct which relates to changing the condition of the ball.
  • Umpires had raised concerns about the condition of the ball towards the end of day two of the second test match under progress.
  • Sri Lanka Cricket board later released a statement denying any wrongdoing by its players.

Tennis: Prarthana-Luksika pair triumphs

  • Prarthana Thombare of India and Luksika Kumkhum of Thailand clinched the title, shocking top seeds Naomi Broady of Great Britain and Asia Mukhammad of the United States in the $100,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament. It was her first doubles crown of the season, and the 21st of her career.
  • It was the biggest title for Prarthana who had won the bronze with Sania Mirza in the Asian Games in Incheon in 2014.

World Cup: Switzerland hold Brazil to 1-1 draw; Mexico beat Germany 1-0

  • Switzerland held the five-time world champions Brazil to a One-One draw in a Group E match. Philippe Coutinho gave Brazil a perfect start by scoring a stunning goal in the 20th minute. Steven Zuber scored the equaliser for Switzerland in the 50th minute.
  • Mexico beat defending champion Germany 1-0 in a group F match . Hirving Lozano's brilliant goal at the 35th minute gave Mexico a 1-0 lead at half-time break. In another Group E match, Serbia defeated Costa Rica by 1-0.