Daily Current Affairs - 19th Sep 2018

Asia Cup: India beat Hong Kong by 26 runs in their opening match

  • Team India began their Asia Cup title defence with a 26-run win over spirited Hong Kong in their opening group match at Dubai. Put in to bat, India posted 285 for 7 in the stipulated 50 overs riding on opener Shikhar Dhawan's 127, his 14th ODI century, and Ambati Rayadu's 60.
  • In reply, a 174-run opening wicket stand between Nizakat Khan and captain Anshuman Rath gave India a scare, but the Indian team managed to pull off a win at the end after Hong Kong could only make 259 for 8. Dhawan was named the man of the match.

Bank of Baroda, Vijaya shares end in red, Dena rises 20%

  • The Union government’s proposal to merge three public sector banks evoked mixed response from investors, with Bank of Baroda and Vijaya Bank stocks ending in the red, while Dena Bank shares, which hit the upper circuit, ended with a 19.75% gain.
  • Stocks of Bank of Baroda, the largest lender among the three, ended 16% lower at Rs. 113.45, while Vijaya Bank shares closed 5.7% lower at Rs. 56.40. Shares of Dena Bank, the weakest of the three and under prompt corrective action with its gross NPA at 22%, ended at Rs. 19.10.
  • The merged entity will be the third largest bank in the country after State Bank of India and HDFC Bank, will have a market share of about 6.8% by loans.
  • The Government of India’s plan to merge three public sector banks, Bank of Baroda, Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank, will be credit positive as it will provide efficiencies of scale and help improve the quality of corporate governance for the banks

BARC head Kamlesh Nilakanth Vyas made Atomic Energy Commission chief

  • Renowned scientist Kamlesh Nilakanth Vyas, director, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, has been appointed the secretary of Department of Atomic Energy, and chairman of Atomic Energy Commission till May 2021.
  • Vyas has worked for design and analysis of nuclear reactor fuels and was also responsible for design and development of a novel fuel for strategic applications.

China Open Badminton: P V Sindhu, Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy enter pre-quarterfinals

  • P V Sindhu and the duo of Manu Attri and B.Sumeeth Reddy have progressed to the pre-quarterfinals of the women's singles and Men's doubles of China Open at Changzhou. Saina Nehwal bowed out after a narrow loss.
  • Sindhu defeated World No. 39 Saena Kawakami of Japan 21-15, 21-13 in the opening round. Men's doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy defeated Chinese Taipei's Liao Min Chun and Su Ching Heng 13-21 21-13 21-12 to enter the second round.

Flipkart India gets Rs. 3,463 crore from parent

  • The Singapore-based holding firm of online retailer Flipkart has invested Rs. 3,463 crore in its India entity, in a bid to take on rival Amazon. Flipkart Internet Pvt. Ltd received the funds from Singapore-based Flipkart Marketplace Pvt. Ltd. through allotment of 16,78,600 equity shares. In May, Walmart had agreed to pay $16 billion for 77% stake in Flipkart.

Germany launches world's first hydrogen-powered train

  • Germany has rolled out the world’s first hydrogen-powered train, signalling the start of a push to challenge the might of polluting diesel trains with costlier but more eco-friendly technology.
  • Coradia iLint trains, built by French TGV-maker Alstom, began running a 62 mile (100km) route between the towns and cities of Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervoerde and Buxtehude in northern Germany – a stretch normally plied by diesel trains.
  • Hydrogen trains are equipped with fuel cells that produce electricity through a combination of hydrogen and oxygen, a process that leaves steam and water as the only emissions. Excess energy is stored in ion lithium batteries on board the train.
  • Other countries are also looking into hydrogen trains, including Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Italy and Canada. In France, the government has already said it wants the first hydrogen train to be on the rails by 2022.

India First Country in the world to develop document on cooling action plan

  • The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) released draft India Cooling Action Plan on the eve of World Ozone Day (17th September).
  • India is the first country in world to develop India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) document and the draft was prepared by Ozone Cell of MoEFC. It aims to provide sustainable cooling while keeping in mind, at the same time, the need to protect the ozone layer from substances that can deplete it. It provides a 20-year perspective, with projections for cooling needs in 2037-38.
  • ICAP addresses cooling requirement across sectors and lists out actions which can help reduce cooling demand. Its thrust is to look for synergies in actions for securing both environmental and socio-economic benefits. ICAP’s overarching goal is to provide sustainable cooling and thermal comfort for all while securing environmental and socio-economic benefits for the society.

India targets slight increase in 2018-19 foodgrain output

  • The Union Agriculture Ministry has set a foodgrain production target of 285.2 million tonnes for 2018-19, a marginal increase from the previous year’s harvest of 284.8 million tonnes.
  • The 2018-19 targets for rice, at 113 million tonnes, and wheat, at 100 million tonnes, are marginally higher than last year’s harvest. However, the targets for pulses, coarse cereals and maize are slightly lower.
  • Rainfall deficit during the current monsoon season is now at 10%, according to the Indian Meteorological Department.

Indian ride-hailing company Ola takes on Uber in New Zealand

  • Indian ride-hailing company Ola announced its plans to enter New Zealand, deepening its battle with U.S rival Uber. Ola would provide service to passengers to get around Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington. Ola’s entry into New Zealand follows its successful launch in Australia in February and the U.K. in August.
  • Ola now enables smart transportation to over 125 million users in India, Australia and the U.K.

Indo-German collaboration in vocational education and training

  • The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce (IGCC) in the area of vocational education and training.
  • According to the MoU, students who complete specific training courses here in India will get a certificate that is recognised in India and facilitates its recognition in Germany and they will be able to apply for jobs in companies in India and much more easily for jobs in Germany.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had mooted the idea in May last year.

Infosys told to pay Rs. 12.17 cr. to ex-CFO

  • An arbitral tribunal has ordered Infosys to pay former chief financial officer Rajiv Bansal a severance amount of Rs. 12.17 crore with interest, as it rejected the company’s counterclaim for a refund of previously paid severance amount of Rs. 5.2 crore and damages. As per the award, Infosys is required to pay Mr. Bansal the outstanding severance amount of Rs. 12.17 crore with interest

ISRO to tap small cities for innovations

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched a space technology incubation centre in Tripura capital Agartala. It is the first of six such centres planned nationally to build capacity in new locations.
  • The centres will bring out prototypes and innovations for ISRO in electronics, propulsion and others.
  • The space agency’s new Capacity Building Programme directorate will invest Rs. 2 crore in incubation facilities in Jalandhar, Bhubaneswar, Tiruchi, Nagpur and Indore.
  • The Indian space market offers big opportunity to industry as it is estimated to grow to $1.6 billion by 2023.
  • ISRO Chairman K. Sivan

New Akash missiles get green light

  • The Indian Army, which is inducting the indigenously developed Akash short-range surface-to-air missile (SRSAM) system, will get an upgraded variant. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) gave its procedural approval to the variant.
  • The upgraded version will include the seeker technology and possess a 360-degree coverage, and will be of compact configuration.
  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) developed Akash as part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme initiated in 1984. It is made by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).
  • Akash has a range of 25 km and can engage multiple targets at a time in all-weather conditions. It has a large operational envelope, from 30 metre to a maximum of 20 km. Each regiment consists of six launchers, each having three missiles.

PayU Receives Nod From RBI To Operate Its Own NBFC

  • South Africa-based conglomerate Nasper's fintech company PayU has received approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to operate its own non-bank financial company (NBFC), which is subject to certain pending RBI compliance.
  • With this new license, the company is laying the foundation for its long-term credit business, wherein it estimates that its consumer business revenues will be 40-50% within next three to four years.
  • Recently, Indian ecommerce company Flipkart also applied for an NBFC licence to focus on consumer lending, while Gurugram-based P2P lending startup Faircent had received its non-banking financial companies (NBFC)-Peer-to-Peer (P2P) certification from the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) in May 2018.
  • Some of the major players in the NBFC space are Power Finance Corporation Limited, Bajaj Finance Limited, Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Limited, Muthoot Finance Ltd among many others.
  • PayU India was founded in 2011 by Nitin Gupta and Shailaz Nag. It has two business verticals - PayUBiz & PayUmoney.
  • Managing Director of PayU India Jitendra Gupta

RCom to hang up on telecom business

  • Reliance Group will exit the telecommunications business all together and will instead focus on real estate assets development, valued at Rs. 25,000 crore, chairman Anil Ambani said. He further added that the first priority for RCom is to resolve its debt worth over Rs. 40,000 crore.
  • RCom received the approval of the group of 38 lenders, including Chinese banks, to sell airwaves, mobile, towers and optic fibre to Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio, a move that will reduce company’s debt by Rs. 25,000 crore.

SEBI cuts expense ratio for MF schemes

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) lowered the total expense ratio (TER) for open-ended equity schemes, thereby making it less expensive for investors to invest in mutual funds.
  • The regulator has capped the maximum expense ratio at 1.05% for open-ended equity schemes with assets under management (AUM) in excess of Rs. 50,000 crore. Currently, schemes with AUM in excess of Rs. 300 crore charge 1.75% as total expense ratio.
  • SEBI has laid down a range of 1.05% to 2.25% to be charged as expense ratio depending on the AUM of the scheme. Earlier the range was 1.75% to 2.5%.
  • The regulator is of the view that the lower expense ratio would lead to investors saving Rs. 1,300 crore to Rs. 1,500 crore in commissions.
  • SEBI has lowered TER based on the recommendations of the H.R. Khan Committee on Know-Your-Client requirements for foreign portfolio investors (FPIs).
  • SEBI Chairman Ajay Tyagi

South Korean President Moon Jae-in holds talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

  • South Korean President Moon Jae-in is holding talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang. Moon Jae-in will seek to reboot stalled denuclearisation talks between North Korea and the United States. The summit will offer an important opportunity in further accelerating the development of inter-Korean relations.

Wrestler Sajan Bhanwal enters the Final of Junior World Championship in Slovakia

  • India's Sajan Bhanwal has advanced to the finals of 77 kg Greco-Roman event in the Junior World Wrestling Championship at Trnava, Slovakia. He defeated Dmytro Gardubei from Ukraine in the semifinals to enter the summit clash. He will now take on Russia's Islam Opiev in the gold medal match.
  • Two other Indians -- Vijay and Sagar had also entered the semifinals in the 55kg and 63kg categories respectively.