Daily Current Affairs - 19th Dec 2018

Accept vehicle documents, driving licence in electronic format: Centre asks states

  • The Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry has asked states to facilitate acceptance of driving licence and other documents like vehicle registration certificates in electronic format by enforcement agencies.
  • Vehicle owners can also show their documents like driving licence, RCs and insurance certificates through mobile apps like Digilocker and mParivahan app.The move is aimed at doing away with the handling of documents physically by enforcement agencies.

Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel resigns over migration spat

  • Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has resigned amid pressure on his government over his support for the UN global compact on migration. The pressure increased after his biggest coalition partner, the right-wing N-VA party, quit the government over the issue.
  • Belgium
  • Capital: Brussels
  • Currency: Euro

Capgemini names Srinivas Kandula as Chairman, Ashwin Yardi as CEO of India operations

  • French technology major Capgemini has appointed Srinivas Kandula as Chairman of the company in India. Besides, Ashwin Yardi, former India COO, has been named as the CEO of Capgemini India. Kandula served as CEO of Capgemini in India and member of the Group Executive Committee between January 2016 and December 2018.
  • Prior to that, he has worked with IGATE, Power Grid Corporation of India and Sasken Communication Technologies.

Centre drafts child protection policy

  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development has placed the draft national child protection policy on its website and invited comments from stakeholders until January 4. This will be the first policy dedicated to the protection of children, an area that until now was only a part of the broader National Child Policy, 2013.
  • As per the draft, the policy will apply to all institutions, and organisations (including corporate and media houses), government or private sector.
  • The draft policy recommends that all organisations must have a code of conduct based on “zero tolerance of child abuse and exploitation”.
  • Any individual who suspects physical, sexual or emotional abuse must report it to the helpline number 1098, police or a child welfare committee.
  • This move comes in the wake of the Supreme Court order in the Muzaffarpur shelter abuse case.

Classical Singer Arun Bhaduri Passes Away

  • Renowned classical singer Pandit Arun Bhaduri passed away, aged 75 after a prolonged illness. Pandit Bhaduri, considered to be one of the masters of Bengali songs and Bhajans. He had served as a guru (teacher) at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy, and was a top radio and television artiste.

Country's largest cancer hospital comes up in NCR

  • India’s largest cancer hospital — National Cancer Institute (NCI) at Badhsa village has started the trial run of its Outpatient Department. The NCI, which is a project under Delhi AIIMS, will be headed by Dr GK Rath, who is also the chief of Institute Rotary Cancer Hospital at AIIMS.
  • The NCI is being developed at a cost Rs 2,035 crore which will have 710 beds for different facilities like surgical oncology, radiation oncology, medical oncology, anaesthesia, palliative care and nuclear medicine, besides 1,080 hostel rooms for doctors and 800 rooms for attendants of cancer patients
  • The NCI will be the nodal institution for all activities related to cancer in the country and will have linkages with regional cancer centres and other cancer institutes within the country.
  • It will collaborate with cancer institutes in the US, France and the UK. The NCI will employ 3,500 trained individuals and undertake clinical trials of new drugs and vaccines to treat cancer patients and improve survival rates and quality of life of patients.

EU to reduce new car emissions by 37.5 per cent by 2030

  • The European Union (EU) forged ahead with plans to slash carbon dioxide emissions from new cars and vans by 2030. EU member countries and the European Parliament struck the ambitious deal that would help the bloc meet its commitments under the Paris climate accord.
  • The targets will require new cars sold in 2030 to emit 37.5 percent less carbon dioxide on average compared to 2021 levels. Emissions from new vans will have to be 31 percent lower.
  • President of the European Commission: Jean-Claude Juncker
  • President of the European Council: Donald Tusk
  • President of the European Parliament: Antonio Tajani
  • Headquarters: Brussels, Belgium

Former Nepalese PM Tulsi Giri passes away at 93

  • Former Prime Minister of Nepal Tulsi Giri passed away at his residence in Kathmandu. He was 93.
  • Dr. Giri had a long political career. He twice served as the prime minister of Nepal first from 1962 to 1964 and again from 1975 to 1977.

Govt. unearths GST evasions of Rs. 12,766 cr.

  • According to the Finance Ministry, the union government has detected 3,196 cases of Goods and Services Tax evasion amounting to Rs. 12,766.85 crore in this financial year up to November 2018. Of this, an amount of Rs. 7,909.96 crore has been recovered between April and November 2018.
  • The Union government has taken several steps to detect evasion, including an e-waybills system, systematic analysis of data, and setting up of the Directorate General (Analytics and Risk Management).

IDFC Bank, Capital First complete merger

  • Private sector lender IDFC Bank has completed the merger process with non-banking financial company Capital First following all the requisite approvals, the bank informed the exchanges. Following the merger, the board of the bank, which has been renamed to IDFC First Bank, has been reconstituted with the appointment of Capital First founder and chairman V. Vaidyanathan as the managing director and chief executive officer of the merged entity,

India and South Korea to review progress of their special strategic partnership in 9th India-ROK Joint Commission meeting

  • India and South Korea will review the progress of their special strategic partnership in the 9th India-ROK Joint Commission meeting in New Delhi. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Affairs Minister of South Korea will co-chair the meeting.
  • Both nations will review the progress in multifaceted cooperation under the Special Strategic Partnership between the two countries. It includes follow-up action on decisions taken during the visit of South Korean President Moon Jae-in to India in July this year.
  • India and South Korea have set a target to increase bilateral trade to 50 billion dollars by 2030 from 20 billion in 2017-18.

India lose second test against Australia at Perth by 146 runs

  • Australia defeated India by 146 runs in the second Test at Perth. It has now levelled the four-match series 1-1. The hosts bundled out India for 140 runs in 56 overs in their second innings on the fifth and final day.
  • Australia had scored 326 runs in their first innings, and 243 runs in their second innings to post a 287-run target for India.

India ranks 108th in WEF gender gap index 2018

  • India has been ranked 108th in World Economic Forum (WEF) gender gap index, same as 2017, while recording improvement in wage equality for similar work and fully closing its tertiary education gender gap for the first time.
  • The global list was topped by Iceland having closed more than 85.8 per cent of its overall gender gap. Iceland holds the top spot in the index for the 10th consecutive year. Followed by Nordic countries Norway (2nd, 83.5 per cent), Sweden (3rd, 82.2 per cent), and Finland (4th, 82.1 per cent).
  • Other countries in the top-10 include Nicaragua (5th, 80.9 per cent), Rwanda (6th, 80.4 per cent), New Zealand (7th, 80.1 per cent), the Philippines (8th, 79.9 per cent), Ireland (9th, 79.6 per cent) and Namibia (10th, 78.9 per cent).
  • Founder and executive chairman of the WEF: Klaus Schwab

Indian economy projected to be fastest growing major economy during current and next fiscal year

  • The Union government has said the share of the Indian economy in the world increased from 2.6 percent in 2014 to 3.2 percent in 2017 as per the World Development Indicators database. The average growth of the Indian economy during 2014-15 to 2017-18 was 7.3 per cent, which is the fastest among the major economies in the world.
  • Indian economy is projected to be the fastest growing major economy in 2018-19 and 2019-20.
  • As per the estimates available from Central Statistics Office, the per capita income of the country increased from 86,647 rupees in 2014-15 to 112,835 rupees in 2017-18, recording a 30.2 percent growth from 2014-15 to 2017-18.

India’s Kaiga nuclear power plant creates world record for continuous operation

  • A 220 Megawatt (Mw) unit of India’s indigenously-developed Kaiga atomic power station in Karnataka has created a world record for continuous operation. The unit registered 941 days of continuous operation, surpassing the earlier world record of 940 days held by Heysham-Unit 2 of the United Kingdom.
  • Kaiga Atomic Power Station (KAPS) is operated by state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).

IPL 2019 auction takes place in Jaipur

  • IPL 2019 auction took place in Jaipur. Varun Chakravarthy of Tamil Nadu and Jaydev Unadkat were bought for a whopping 8.4 crore rupees each. While Rajasthan Royals bought Unadkat, Chakravarthy joins Kings Eleven Punjab.
  • England's Sam Curran was bought by Kings Eleven for 7.2 crores. Axar Patel, Mohit Sharma and Shivam Dube were bought for 5 crores each. Bengal cricketer, Prayas Ray Barman became the youngest millionaire at the tender age of 15. Royal Challengers Bangalore roped in the youngster for 1.5 Crore rupees.

LIC makes open offer to acquire 26% stake in IDBI Bank

  • State-owned IDBI Bank has received the final letter from Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) for an open offer to acquire additional 26% in the lender. This open offer has been made at a price of Rs. 61.73 a share, which is in connection with LIC’s acquisition of 51% controlling stake in the IDBI Bank.

Madhavi Divan appointed as Additional Solicitor General

  • The Union government has cleared the name of advocate Madhavi Goradia Divan as an Additional Solicitor General for India with effect from the date of assumption of charge of the post till 30.06.2020 or until further orders. She will be the third woman law officer to be appointed by the NDA government.
  • Prior to her, the NDA government had appointed senior woman advocates Pinky Anand and Maninder Acharya as ASGs.

New Zealand to phase out plastic shopping bags

  • In New Zealand, regulations for mandatory phase-out of single-use plastic shopping bags will take effect from July 1, 2019. With this decree, shoppers will no longer be able to buy single use plastic bags from mid-next year. These regulations are an important first step to tackle New Zealand's wider waste problem.
  • The ban will include light-weight supermarket bags, heavier boutique-style shopping bags and the emergency bags.
  • New Zealand has recently become a signatory to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, a global pledge to address the root causes of plastic pollution.
  • New Zealand
  • Prime Minister: Jacinda Ardern
  • Capital: Wellington
  • Currency: New Zealand dollar

Ola to invest $100 mn in Vogo

  • Vogo, a scooter sharing start-up, said it had formed a strategic partnership with ride-hailing company Ola. Ola will boost Vogo’s supply by investing in 1,00,000 scooters on the Vogo platform, worth $100 million.
  • Vogo’s offerings will also be available for Ola’s customer base of over 150 million, directly from the Ola app.
  • Vogo, a point-to-point dockless scooter sharing company, is currently present in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. It has served over 20 million km on its platform.
  • Co-founder and CEO, Ola: Bhavish Aggarwal

RBI scales up liquidity infusion

  • The Reserve Bank of India has decided to scale up the amount of liquidity infusion by Rs. 10,000 crore to Rs. 50,000 crore this month, after a review of the evolving liquidity conditions. It had earlier announced to infuse liquidity amounting to Rs. 40,000 crore through the purchase of government securities under Open Market Operations (OMOs) during December.

Russia has enough missiles without violating treaty

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has rejected the US claim that his country developed a new cruise missile in violation of a key nuclear treaty. He said that Russia has no need for such a land-based weapon because it already has similar missiles on its ships and aircraft.
  • US warned this month it would suspend its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 60 days if Russia did not return to full compliance.
  • The US claims the 9M729 cruise missile breaches the INF, which bans all land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometres.

Syndicate Bank to raise up to Rs. 1,000 cr.

  • Syndicate Bank is looking to raise Rs. 500 crore to Rs. 1,000 crore by the end of the last quarter this financial year through either a rights issue or tier-one bond issue. The bank proposes to raise Rs. 400 crore to Rs. 500 crore under the employee share purchase scheme.
  • The bank’s net agriculture NPAs is 6%. The total NPA recovery target for the bank for the whole year is Rs. 3,000 crore.
  • Managing director and chief executive officer: Mrutyunjay Mahapatra

U.S. military to have a ‘Space Command’

  • US President Donald Trump has ordered the creation of "Space Command," a new organizational structure within the Pentagon that will have overall control of military space operations.
  • SpaceCom, as it will come to be known, will be the Pentagon's 11th combatant command.
  • The proposed Space Command would integrate space capabilities across all branches of the military and develop the space doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures that will enable war fighters to defend USA in this new era.

Union government wants to bring most items under 18 pc or lower GST slabs

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the Union government is working on further simplification of Goods and Services Tax, GST. Mr Modi said that his government wants to ensure that 99 per cent items are brought under 18 percent or lower GST slabs.
  • Before the implementation of the GST, registered enterprises only numbered 65 lakh, which has now risen by 55 lakh.

Vijay Mallya to face bankruptcy proceedings in UK High Court next year

  • Liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya will face bankruptcy proceedings in the UK High Court next year. A consortium of Indian banks in their attempt to recoup unpaid debt worth over one billion pounds has filed the case.
  • TLT LLP, a UK-based law firm which had won a landmark case for the 13 banks led by State Bank of India earlier this year, confirmed that their bankruptcy petition against Mallya has been transferred to the insolvency list in London's High Court of Justice.