Daily Current Affairs - 03rd Aug 2018

5 MPs conferred Outstanding Parliamentarian award

  • The Indian Parliamentary Group conferred Outstanding Parliamentarian Awards to five members of Parliament for their overall contribution.
  • The five MPs, who were selected for the honour, are former Rajya Sabha Dr Najma Heptulla, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Lok Sabha MPs Dinesh Trivedi Bhartruhari Mahtab and Hukmdev Narayan Yadav.
  • The awardees were selected on the basis of their experience, debating skills, awareness of issues and the depth with which issues were raised.
  • Dr Najma Heptulla, the former Rajya Sabha MP got the award for 2013, Hukmdev Narayan Yadav of the BJP was awarded for the year 2014, Ghulam Nabi Azad for 2015. For 2016, Lok Sabha MP from TMC, Dinesh Trivedi was given the award.
  • For the year 2017, BJD’s Lok Sabha MP Bhartruhari Mahtab was named outstanding parliamentarian.

7 Indian firms in Fortune 500 list

  • Seven Indian companies feature in the US magazine Fortune 500 list of the world's largest firms, with state-run Indian Oil Corp (IOC) remaining the top-ranked Indian company in the 2018 rankings and Reliance Industries (RIL) improved by 55 places to 148, from being the 203rd last year.
  • Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), which did not figure in the 2017 list, returned among the Forbes 500 with a ranking of 197th.
  • American retail giant Walmart tops the latest Fortune listing, while Indian Oil jumped to 137th position, from its 168th rank last year.
  • In a separate category of globally most profitable companies topped by Apple, RIL became the most profitable Indian firm with a rank of 99.
  • The world's 500 largest companies generated $30 trillion in revenues and $1.9 trillion in profits in 2017. Together, this year's Fortune Global 500 companies employ 67.7 million people worldwide and are represented by 33 countries

Advanced Air defence interceptor missile successfully test fired from Abdul Kalam Island

  • The advanced Air defence interceptor missile has been successfully test fired from Abdul Kalam Island. The missile has been built with indigenous technology. It has an explosive-carrying capacity of 1.2 tonnes and can hit the target from a distance of 20 km.
  • The interceptor took off from Abdul Kalam Island in Bhadrak district at 11.25 am and hit the target at a height of 20 kms in the sky.

Badminton World Championships: Saina Nehwal enter quarterfinals

  • Saina Nehwal sailed into the women's singles quarterfinals at the BWF Badminton World Championships in Nanjing, China. Saina beat Ratchanok Inthanon of Thailand 21-16, 21-19 to set up a meeting with Olympic champion, Carolina Marin of Spain.
  • Meanwhile Sindhu eased past Ji Hyun Sung of Korea 21-10, 21-18 in another third round clash. Sindhu will next play Nozomi Okuhara of Japan.

Bandhan Bank pips Yes Bank in market cap to become 7th most valuable bank

  • According to data from BSE, Kolkata-based Bandhan Bank Ltd became the seventh most valued listed lender, beating Yes Bank, which has a nearly seven times larger loan book than the former. Bandhan Bank had a market capitalization of Rs 84,289.56 crore.
  • HDFC Bank Ltd remained the country’s most valuable bank with a market capitalization of Rs 5.70 trillion, followed by State Bank of India and Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd with market capitalization of Rs 2.63 trillion and Rs 2.5 trillion.

Centre launches logo, tagline for 'Graphical Indication' certified products

  • The Union Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu has launched a logo and tagline for Geographical Indications (GI) to increase awareness about intellectual property rights (IPRs) in the country.
  • The logo has tagline “Invaluable Treasures of Incredible India” printed below it. The winning logo was designed by Adri Chatterjee and the winning tagline was coined by Akancha Tripathi.
  • The GI logo will act as a certifying mark that can be used to identify all registered GIs irrespective of the categories.
  • Meanwhile the famous Kadaknath chicken meat from Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh has now got a official Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
  • A GI product is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicraft and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.
  • Darjeeling Tea, Tirupati Laddu, Kangra Paintings, Nagpur Orange and Kashmir Pashmina are among the registered GIs in India.

Emmerson Mnangagwa of ZANU-PF party wins Presidential election in Zimbabwe

  • Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former ally of ousted President Robert Mugabe, has won country's landmark Presidential election. Mnangagwa won 50.8 per cent of votes to 44.3 per cent for opposition leader Nelson Chamisa of MDC party.
  • Mnangagwa needed over 50 per cent of the vote to secure victory without a second-round run-off. Meanwhile the opposition has rejected the results.
  • Zimbabwe
  • President: Emmerson Mnangagwa
  • Capital: Harare
  • Currency:United States Dollar, Pound sterling

Govt approves e-auction of 683 private FM radio channels covering 236 cities

  • The Union government has approved e-auction of 683 private FM radio channels covering 236 cities. These include 175 cities having a population above one lakh and up to 3 lakh besides 10 cities in border areas of Jammu and Kashmir and North Eastern states having a population of up to one lakh.
  • So far India has 476 transmitters at 442 locations which provide FM coverage to urban, semi-urban, rural, hilly, border and Left Wing Extremism affected areas of the country.

Govt. tells CIL to benchmark against global standards

  • Maharatna PSU Coal India Ltd has been asked by its parent ministry to benchmark its activities against international standards in respect of parameters such as quality, grades, cost of production, productivity and environmental issues.
  • It's output rose 14.1% to 177.4 million tonnes between April and July 2018 with evacuation to the power sector increasing by 12.1 %.
  • CIL was targeting to produce 630 million tonnes of coal in 2018-19 and 1,000 million tonnes by 2024-25. It produced 567 million tonnes in 2017-18, accounting for 84 % of India’s total output.
  • Chairman and managing director, CIL: A. K. Jha

Home Ministry asks state govts to ensure proactive registration of FIRs against thefts in train

  • Concerned over a large number of railway passengers often falling prey to thieves, the Union government has asked state governments to ensure proactive registration of FIRs and investigation of such cases.
  • The Home Ministry stated that it is necessary that complaints made by railway passengers for criminal offences are duly registered and investigated by the Government Railway Police in order to recover property and punish culprits.
  • The Ministry asked the states and UT administrations to issue necessary instructions to the GRP of their state.

India's GDP growth to rise to 7.5% this fiscal, says Morgan Stanley

  • According to global financial services major Morgan Stanley, the Indian economy is likely to pick up further in the April-June period and the country is expected to clock GDP growth of 7.5 per cent in 2018. The report further states that the growth recovery will remain robust, supported initially by consumption and exports. The report forecasts Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation to remain slightly above the inflation target of 4 per cent and the current account deficit below 2.5 per cent of GDP.

Ireland beat India 3-1 via shoot-off in quarterfinal of women's Hockey World Cup

  • Ireland beat India 3-1 via shoot-off in the quarterfinal of the women's Hockey World Cup at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London. Reena was the only scorer for India in the shoot-off. Ireland scored through Roisin Upton, Alison Meeke and Chloe Watkins to make their maiden World Cup semi-final.

Lok Sabha passes amendment bill to give OBC commission Constitution status

  • The Lok Sabha has passed an amendment bill to give constitutional status to the OBC Commission. The Constitution (123rd Amendment) bill, passed by the Lower House, grants National Commission on Backward Classes (NCBC) constitutional status, par with National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (NCSC and NCST). All 406 members present in the House voted in favour of it.
  • The Lok Sabha Bill passed the bill superseding the amendments by the Rajya Sabha earlier.
  • Rajya Sabha then has to pass the bill for it become a law.
  • Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot

Nationwide ‘State Energy Efficiency Preparedness Index’ released

  • The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE), released the ‘State Energy Efficiency Preparedness Index’, which assesses state policies and programmes aimed at improving energy efficiency across various sectors. The nationwide Index is a joint effort of the NITI Aayog and BEE.
  • This Index has 63 indicators and examines states’ policies and regulations, financing mechanisms, institutional capacity, adoption of energy efficiency measures and energy savings achieved.
  • States are categorised based on their efforts and achievements towards energy efficiency implementation, as ‘Front Runner’, ‘Achiever’, ‘Contender’ and ‘Aspirant’.
  • The ‘Front Runner’ states in the inaugural edition of the Index are: Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, and Rajasthan based on available data.

ONGC’s net rises 58%

  • State-owned ONGC reported its highest quarterly net profit in more than four and a half years on sharp rise in prices for the oil and gas it produced. Net profit of Rs. 6,143.88 crore in the first quarter of the 2018-19 fiscal was 58.1% higher than Rs. 3,884.73 crore in the year earlier period.
  • ONGC realised $71.48 for every barrel of crude oil it produced in the April-June quarter of the current fiscal, up 47.6% over $48.42 a barrel in the year earlier period. For natural gas, it got $3.06 per million British thermal unit as compared to $2.48 per mmBtu.
  • ONGC, Chairman: Shashi Shanker

Platelets kill up to 60% of malaria parasites: Study

  • According to a study, platelets found in the blood are the first line of defence in patients with malaria, killing up to 60 per cent of the malarial parasites circulating in the bloodstream.
  • These platelets bind to and kill parasites in patients infected with each of the major malaria parasite species- Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae and P. knowlesi.
  • The process of killing the parasites is triggered by a toxic platelet peptide called PF4. PF4-based peptides could be potential candidates for malaria treatment in the future.

Revamp district courts, directs SC

  • The Supreme Court of India wants district courts across the country to have separate washrooms for transgenders, ‘court managers’ with an MBA degree, Braille and colour-coded signage, crowd management arrangements, crèche facility and even a front desk for litigants. The order came on a petition filed way back in 1989 by the All India Judges Association for better facilities to help do their job.
  • The court ordered the State Chief Secretaries to constitute a committee of which the Secretary of the Department of Law should be a member to formulate the development plan for courts.

RJio, SBI ally for digital services

  • RIL’s telecom subsidiary Reliance Jio and country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) are entering into a partnership to extend next generation digital banking and payments services to customers.
  • SBI YONO’s digital banking features and solutions will be enabled through the MyJio platform for a seamless, integrated and superior customer experience.
  • MyJio, one of India’s largest over-the-top (OTT) mobile applications, will now extend the financial services capabilities of SBI and Jio Payments Bank.

Sushma Swaraj reaches Kazakhstan to boost strategic partnership

  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj reached Kazakhstan's capital Astana on the first leg of her 3-nation trip to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan as part of India's efforts to boost strategic partnership with the resource-rich Central Asian nations.
  • Both countries have a close strategic partnership and Kazakhstan is India's largest trade and investment partner in Central Asia.
  • She will hold a bilateral meeting with her Kazakhstani counterpart. She will also call on the country's leadership and interact with the Indian community.
  • Kazakhstan
  • President: Nursultan Nazarbayev
  • Prime Minister: Bakhytzhan Sagintayev
  • Capital: Astana
  • Currency: Kazakhstani tenge

US Congress passes bill to slash Pak's defence aid to USD 150 million

  • The US Congress has passed a defence spending bill capping its security-related aid to Pakistan at 150 Million dollars, significantly below the level of more than one billion US dollars per year. The Senate passed the conference report on National Defense Authorisation Act-2019 (NDAA-19), by 87 to 10 votes.
  • The US has also voiced its disapproval of growing Chinese involvement in Pakistan, adding to tensions in bilateral ties.
  • It had also cautioned the IMF against a possible fresh bailout for Pakistan's new government to pay off Chinese lenders who have invested in the strategic China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

US Congress paves way for waivers to India from sanctions over Russia

  • The US Congress has passed a defence spending bill that seeks to amend an existing law to provide waivers to America's strategic partners like India from punitive sanctions which are aimed at those doing business with Russia's defence industry.
  • The Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) waiver is intended at preventing US sanctions on countries like India.
  • The proposed modified waiver requires presidential certifications designed to protect US alliances, military operations and sensitive technology.
  • India is planning to buy five S-400 Triumf air defence systems from Russia for around 4.5 US billion dollars.