Daily Current Affairs - 21st Dec 2018

All computers now under govt. watch

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued an order authorizing 10 Central agencies to intercept, monitor, and decrypt any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer.
  • According to the order, the subscriber or service provider or any person in charge of the computer resource will be bound to extend all facilities and technical assistance to the agencies and failing to do will invite seven-year imprisonment and fine.
  • The agencies that are entitled for the job are; the Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Bureau of Investigation; National Investigation Agency, Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW), Directorate of Signal Intelligence (For service areas of Jammu & Kashmir, north-east and Assam only) and Commissioner of Police, Delhi.

BWF Rankings: PV Sindhu jumps three spots

  • PV Sindhu has climbed 3 spots to Number 3 in the latest world badminton rankings. She moved up after claiming a 21-19, 21-17 win against Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in last week’s BWF World Tour Finals in Guangzhou, China, for her first title of the year.
  • Sameer Verma, who had reached men's singles semi-finals at this prestigious tournament, also moved up reaching a career-high No. 12.
  • Saina Nehwal remains at the ninth position. Kidambi Srikanth is still eighth while HS Prannoy has moved one place to 20th and Sai Praneeth has risen one rung to 22nd.

Centre says, India on track for ODF by October 2019

  • Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ramesh Chandrappa Jigajinagi said the country is on track for Open Defecation free India by October next year. Over eight crore 97 lakh individual household latrines have been constructed under Swachh Bharat Mission, till 17th of this month.
  • Nigrani Samiti’s have been formed in villages to ensure, people use only toilets and not go for open defecation.

France fines Uber 400000 euros over huge data breach

  • France's data protection agency said that it had fined the US ride-hailing group Uber 400,000 euros over a 2016 data breach that exposed the personal data of some 57 million clients and drivers worldwide.
  • Uber has already paid $148 million to US authorities to avoid a potentially embarrassing court case and vowed to improve its security efforts.
  • Last month, the Netherlands imposed a 600,000-euro fine over the breach and Britain ordered Uber to pay 385,000 pounds.
  • Uber CEO: Dara Khosrowshahi
  • France
  • President: Emmanuel Macron
  • Capital: Paris
  • Currency: Euro

Gadkari lays foundation for several NH projects in Arunachal Pradesh

  • Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari has layed foundation stones for several national highway projects at Roing in Lower Dibang Valley District, road projects worth 28,000 crore are underway in the state. He also inaugurated two bridges over the Lohit and Dibang River.
  • Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh: Pema Khandu

Govt seeks Parliamentary approval for Supplementary Grants Demands

  • The Union Government presented a batch of Supplementary Demands for Grants for the current fiscal in the Lok Sabha. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the demand includes 71 grants and two appropriations.
  • He sought approval of the Parliament to authorize the Government the gross additional expenditure of over 85 lakh, 949 crore rupees.
  • It includes a net cash outgo of over fifteen thousand crore rupees and a gross additional expenditure matched by savings, receipts and recoveries by various departments close to 71 thousand crore rupees.

Govt to infuse Rs 83,000 crore in PSBs in next few months

  • The Union government will infuse 83000 crore in Public Sector Banks in next few months in the current fiscal. The recapitalisation will enhance the lending capacity of state-owned banks and help them come out of the RBI's Prompt Corrective Action, PCA framework.
  • The government also moved proposal in the Parliament for enhanced bank recapitalisation outlay from Rs 65 thousand crore rupees to one lakh six thousand crore rupees in the current financial year to propel economic growth.

Govt to set up panel to look into tax issues faced by startups

  • The Union government has decided to set up an expert committee to look into all the taxation issues being faced by startups and angel investors. The committee of experts from IITs and IIMs will make recommendations on individual cases of recognised startups. The notification of the committee formation will be issued by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) shortly.
  • As several startups have raised concerns on taxation of angel funds under Section 56 of the Income Tax Act, which provides for taxation of funds received by an entity.

Govt. may infuse Rs. 2,345 cr. more in AI

  • The Centre has sought Parliament’s nod for an additional equity infusion of Rs. 2,345 crore for debt-laden Air India (AI) and a separate sum of Rs. 1,300 crore for a special purpose vehicle (SPV) which houses the national carrier’s debt and non-core assets.
  • The SPV, Air India Assets Holding, comprises Rs. 29,000 crore of the Rs. 55,000 crore debt of AI and the airline’s non-core assets such as the ground-handling arm and land. The purpose is to liquidate the assets and pay off the debt parked in the SPV.
  • The government had earlier provided an interim support of Rs. 980 crore as equity by way of supplementary grants in September.

Gujarat emerges as best performing state in start-up ranking 2018

  • Gujarat has emerged as the best performing state in the Startup Ranking 2018. Gujarat, with 100 percentile, has performed better than all other states in all the seven areas including start up policy, incubation support, seeding innovation and scaling innovation.
  • Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha and Rajasthan, with a score of more than 85 percentile, have been adjudged the top performers. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana have been recognised as Leaders.
  • The National Report on States' Startup Ranking was unveiled by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi.

Harsh Vardhan Shringla appointed new Indian Ambassador to US

  • Harsh Vardhan Shringla of 1984 Indian Foreign Service officer batch, has been appointed as the new Ambassador of India to the United States of America. He is presently High Commissioner to Bangladesh.
  • Meanwhile Riva Ganguly Das, who is presently Director General, Indian Council for Cultural Relations will take over as the High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh.

India fifth-most deadliest place to be a journalist, Afghanistan worst: Reporters without Borders (RSF)

  • According to a report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), India has emerged among the world’s top five deadliest countries for journalists alongside the United States, which has entered the list for the first time.
  • With a total of 80 killed so far. Of these, 63 were professional journalists, 348 others were detained, 60 were held hostage, and 3 are missing.
  • The report stated that 15 journalists were killed in Afghanistan in 2018, making the nation the deadliest place to report from. A total of 11 journalists were killed in Syria, 9 in Mexico, 8 in Yemen, and 6 each in India and the United States.
  • The report mentioned that as many as six journalists have been murdered this year in India and many others were the targets of murder attempts, physical attacks, and threats.
  • Additionally, the journalists witnessed hate campaigns against them, including incitement to murder, which has become a common thing across social media.

India, China hold first People-to-People Exchanges meeting

  • External Affair Minister Sushma and her Chinese counterpart will co-chair the first-ever meeting of India-China High-Level Mechanism on Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges in New Delhi.
  • India and China had decided to set up people to people mechanism during the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in China.

Indian aviation sector retains highest safety audit standard in 2018

  • Indian aviation sector maintained the highest safety audit rating in 2018 from global auditors, International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). India has been, provisionally, given 74 percent marks by ICAO and has maintained Category 1 (highest category) under International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) by FAA in 2018.
  • The rate of accident per million departures in India stood at 0.9 till November 2018 against world average of 1.9. Similarly, cases of mishaps related to operations of aircrafts fell to 4.71 incidents per 10,000 departures in 2018 (Nov) against 6.56 incidents per 10,000 departures in 2017.

Lok Sabha passes Consumer Protection Bill

  • Lok Sabha passed the Consumer Protection Bill, 2018 that seeks to replace the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The Bill enforces consumer rights and provides a mechanism for redressal of complaints regarding deficiencies in goods and services. It also seeks to establish Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions at District, State and National levels.
  • The district Commissions are authorized to look into complaints involving claims worth one crore rupees, which was 20 lakh rupees earlier.
  • The State Commissions’ limit is to be increased from one crore rupees to 15 crore rupees. Complaints over and above that limit would be handled by the National Commission.
  • The Bill also seeks to impose stringent punishment for food adulterations.

RBI caps outstanding ECBs at 6.5% of GDP

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced a cap for funds raised via external commercial borrowing (ECB) at 6.5% of the country’s GDP. Based on GDP figures for March 31, 2018, the soft limit works out to $160 billion,’ The outstanding stock of ECB as on September 30, 2018 was $126.29 billion.
  • ECBs refer to commercial loans in the form of bank loans, secularized instruments (floating rate notes and fixed rate bonds, non-convertible, optionally convertible or partially convertible preference shares), buyers’ credit, suppliers’ credit availed of from non-resident lenders with a minimum average maturity of 3 years.

Start-up Swiggy gets $1 bn fresh funds

  • Food delivery start-up Swiggy had raised $1 billion in a funding round led by existing investor Naspers, a South African conglomerate. The round, the single largest in India’s food technology sector to date, would help Swiggy bring more quality food brands closer to consumers and address gaps in supply through delivery-only kitchens.
  • The funding would help it to compete with rivals such as Zomato, Uber Eats and Ola-owned Foodpanda. Zomato had raised a total of $653.8 million in 11 rounds.
  • According to RedSeer Consulting, the online food ordering and delivery market is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of more than 45% to reach $11 billion in gross merchandise value [GMV] by 2023.
  • CEO, Swiggy: Sriharsha Majety

Tata Motors ties up with Zoomcar to deploy Tigor EVs in Pune

  • Tata Motors has joined hands with self-drive rental car firm Zoomcar to offer the electric version of its compact sedan Tigor in Pune city as part of the shared mobility plans. Under the partnership, Zoomcar expects to deploy 500 electric vehicles in over 20 cities with Tata Motors in the next one year

Trade talks with US planned for January: China

  • China's Commerce Ministry has confirmed that Beijing and Washington intended to conduct trade negotiations in January. The two countries would hold meetings and arrange phone talks to implement the agreements reached by the two countries leaders.
  • Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina where they agreed to call a truce in their escalating trade war.

UN General Assembly adopts global framework on International migration

  • The UN General Assembly has adopted the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, the first-ever negotiated global framework on a common approach to international migration in all its dimensions.
  • Though non-legally binding, the Compact is the outcome of a long negotiation process and provides a strong platform for cooperation on migration, drawing on best practices and international law.
  • It is meant to address issues that concern the world's 258 million people on the move and countries of origin, transit and destination.
  • The compact was adopted by the UN General Assembly with 152 votes in favour in Marrakesh, Morocco, on December 10.
  • India has voted in favour of the resolution while, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Poland, and US voted against it.

US Defence Secretary resigns, cites differences with Trump

  • US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has resigned from his post citing policy differences with President Donald Trump. The news of General Mattis' departure comes a day after Mr Trump announced all US troops would be withdrawn from Syria. Defending his decision.

WV Raman appointed India women's team coach

  • Former India opener, W. V. Raman has been appointed the new coach of the Indian women's cricket team. The selection of Raman was based on recommendations of the ad-hoc committee comprising Mr Kapil Dev, Mr Anshuman Gaekwad and Ms Shantha Rangaswamy. He was among 28 candidates to bag the high-profile job.
  • Raman is a vastly-experienced coach having been in charge of Tamil Nadu and India Under-19 teams in the past. Raman has represented India in 11 Tests and 27 ODIs.