Daily Current Affairs - 17th Jan 2019

Bengaluru pipped Hyderabad to top list of worlds most dynamic cities

  • According to the 6th City Momentum Index, released by property consultant JLL, Bengaluru has emerged as the world’s most dynamic city with a robust technology and innovation ecosystem in place.
  • Among other Indian cities, Hyderabad ranked second with Delhi at fourth, Pune at fifth, Chennai at seventh and Kolkata at fifteenth position featuring in top 20 cities.
  • The 2019 edition of the survey was conducted on 131 cities over a period of 3 years.

Budget Session of Parliament to commence on Jan 31

  • The Budget Session of Parliament will commence on the 31st of this month. The session will begin with the address of President Ram Nath Kovind to the joint sitting of both the Houses of Parliament at 11.00 A.M in Central Hall.
  • The Interim Budget will be presented on the 1st of February. The session will conclude on the 13th of next month.

Cabinet gives nod to integrated e-filing project for faster ITR processing

  • The Union Cabinet has approved expenditure sanction of over 4200 crore rupees for Integrated E-filing and Centralized Processing Centre 2.0 Project. This will help in improving tax payers' awareness and education through continuous engagement. It will help in faster processing of returns and issue of refunds to the tax payers' bank account directly.

Chennai’s Gukesh crowned world’s second youngest grand master

  • Tamil Nadu lad D Gukesh has became the second youngest Grand Master in the world and the youngest Indian to achieve the feat at 12 years, seven months and 17 days, erasing the mark set by his state-mate R Praggnanandhaa in June last year.
  • Ukraine’s Sergey Karjakin remains the youngest-ever GM, having achieved the feat at the age of 12 years and seven months in 2002.
  • Gukesh achieved his third and final GM norm at the ongoing 17th Delhi International Open Chess tournament in Delhi. Gukesh becomes India’s 59th Grand Master.

CWG gold medallist Mohammed Ali Qamar becomes youngest India women’s boxing coach

  • Mohammed Ali Qamar, India’s first Commonwealth Games gold medal winner in boxing, has taken over as chief coach for the country’s women pugilists. At 37, he became the youngest to get the top job. He will replace veteran Shiv Singh. Ali Qamar has been an assistant coach in the national camp for more than a year.
  • He won a gold medal in the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games in the light flyweight category.

Federer reaches 3rd round of Australian Open, beats Dan Evans

  • Defending champion Roger Federer has reached the third round of Australian Open for a 20th straight year, beating Britain's Dan Evans 7-6, 7-6, 6-3 in Melbourne.
  • However, India's challenge at the men's doubles event of the Australian Open came crashing down in a single day with three pairs suffering first round defeats.
  • With the Indian team of Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan, lost 1-6, 6-4, 5-7 to the unseeded Spanish pair of Pablo Carreno Busta and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. The pair of Leander Paes and M. Reyes-Varela lost to A. Krajicek and A. Sitak 5-7,6-7.

Government to set up over 460 more Eklavya Model Residential Schools across the country

  • The Union government will soon set up over 460 more Eklavya Model Residential Schools across the country. Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram said, the government is spending about 25 thousand crore rupees on these schools.
  • He said that Tribal students are now performing better in all sectors and these residential schools have expanded into a major education system in the country after Vidyalaya and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas.

Govt. to infuse Rs. 6,000 crore in Exim Bank

  • The union Cabinet has approved an infusion of Rs. 6,000 crore of capital in the Exim Bank of India. The financing will be done through the issuance of recapitalization bonds worth Rs. 6,000 crore by the Centre. The equity will be infused in two tranches of Rs. 4,500 crore in FY 2018-19 and Rs. 1,500 crore in FY 2019-20.
  • The Cabinet also approved an increase in the authorised capital of Exim Bank from Rs. 10,000 crore to Rs. 20,000 crore.
  • This capital infusion would enable the bank to augment its capital adequacy and support Indian exports

Greek PM Tsipras survives confidence vote after Macedonia row

  • Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has survived a confidence vote after a row over a landmark name deal with Macedonia sunk his four-year coalition. A total of 151 lawmakers supported Mr Tsipras' government out of 299 present, including several independent MPs.
  • Mr Tsipras told the press that Parliament has given a vote of confidence to stability and the effort to regain the country's international credibility.
  • Greece
  • Prime Minister:Alexis Tsipras
  • Capital: Athens
  • Currency: Euro

India moves up in global universities ranking with 49 institutions in list, 25 in top 200

  • According to the London-based Times Higher Education (THE), India has improved its showing in the prestigious university rankings of Times Higher Education Emerging Economies with 49 institutions making it to the list, including 25 in the top 200.
  • China remains the most represented nation in the annual 2019 listing, claiming four of the table's top five positions with Tsinghua University topping the chart.
  • Leading India again is the Indian Institute of Science (14th), followed by the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (27th).

India will buy U.S. oil and gas, says envoy

  • India’s Ambassador to the U.S. Harsh Vardhan Shringla has stated that India is committed to purchase $5 billion worth of oil and gas from the U.S. annually, and $18 billion worth of defence equipment that are under implementation.He also highlighted growing bilateral trade cooperation between the countries.
  • U.S. export to India has gone up by at least 30%, Mr. Shringla told the American business community in his first major public engagement.

India’s Satyarup becomes world’s youngest mountaineer to climb 7 peaks, 7 volcano summits

  • Mountaineer Satyarup Siddhanta has conquered Antartica's highest point, Mount Sidley. With this feat, he became the first Indian and youngest man to climb the seven highest peaks and volcanic summits across all continents. He achieved this feat at the age of 35 years and 262 days. Australia's Daniel Bull had done it at the age of 36 years 157 days.

ISRO schedules its first launch this year on next week

  • National space agency ISRO has scheduled its first launch this year on Thursday next week. PSLV C-44 will lift off from the spaceport Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, carrying a student satellite called Kalamsat and an imaging satellite known as Microsat-R.
  • One of the specialties of this mission would be the configuration of the rocket which will carry only two strap-on motors by the sides of the first fuel stage at the bottom. This is the first time the launch vehicle is built in this configuration, known as PSLV-DL.

Ivo Karlovic becomes oldest man in over 40 years to win a match at Australian Open

  • Ivo Karlovic became the oldest man to win a match at the Australian Open in over 40 years as he defeated Poland's Hubert Hurkacz, a man 18 years his junior, to reach the second round.
  • World number 73 Karlovic also became the oldest winner at any Grand Slam since a 40-year-old Jimmy Connors beat Jaime Oncins to reach the second round of the 1992 U.S. Open.

Khelo India: Srihari Nataraj bags 7 Gold medals

  • Karnataka swimmer Srihari Nataraj has emerged as the most prolific gold medal winner at the Khelo India Youth Games. He has won 7 Gold medals. With SP Likith, picking five, the Karnataka duo were the most decorated gold medalists of the Games.
  • So far, Maharashtra bagged a total of 177 medals - 64 Gold, 51 Silver and 62 Bronze.
  • Delhi is at the second spot with 121 medals - 47 Gold, 31 Silver and 43 Bronze, while Haryana is placed third with 110 medals - 37 Gold, 35 Silver and 38 Bronze.

Mukesh Ambani in top Global Thinkers list of Foreign Policy

  • Mukesh Ambani has featured in the top Global Thinkers 2019 ranking of the prestigious Foreign Policy publication alongside the likes of Alibaba founder Jack Ma, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and IMF head Christine Lagarde.
  • With a fortune of $ 44.3 billion, Mukesh Ambani displaced Jack Ma in 2018 as Asia’s richest man. Ambani’s fortune comes from his holdings in the oil, gas, and retail sectors, but he’s likely to make his biggest impact on India through his new telecom venture Jio.

Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas Sammelan will focus on connecting new generation of PIOs with India

  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said that Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas Sammelan, beginning on Jan 21 in Varanasi will be focusing on connecting new generation of Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) with their home country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Sammelan.

President Kovind approves elevation of Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari to SC

  • President Ram Nath Kovind has approved the elevation of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari to the Supreme Court of India. The Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India Justice Ranjan Gogoi had recommended their elevation to the apex court
  • Justice Khanna is presently a judge of the Delhi High Court whereas Justice Maheshwari is the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court.

RBI eases norms for external commercial borrowing

  • In a bid to improve ease of doing business, the Reserve Bank of India has decided to liberalize external commercial borrowing (ECB) norms, allowing all companies that are eligible for receiving foreign direct investment, to raise funds through the ECB route. The list of eligible borrowers has been expanded. '
  • All eligible borrowers can now raise ECBs under the automatic route replacing the existing sector-wise limits.
  • The RBI has decided to keep the minimum average maturity period at 3 years for all ECBs, irrespective of the amount of borrowing, except for borrowers specifically permitted to borrow for a shorter period. Earlier, the minimum average maturity period was five years. The ceiling for borrowing remains at $750 million.
  • The RBI had capped funds raised via ECBs at 6.5% of GDP, at current market prices.

SBI puts Rs. 15,431 cr. of Essar Steel exposure on the block

  • State Bank of India (SBI) has decided to sell Rs. 15,431.44 crore exposure of debt-laden Essar Steel to financial institutions, including asset reconstruction companies. According to the auction notice, the reserve price fixed for the asset sale is Rs. 9,587.64 crore, which is at 38% discount. The sale of the NPA account is to happen through e-auction on January 30.
  • Banks are however getting impatient over the deadlock as they are looking to recover as much they can from the bad loans, as they finalise their books for the financial year.

SBI-led consortium of lenders working on resolution plan, says Jet Airways

  • Jet Airways (India) Ltd., which is currently battling a severe financial crisis, has admitted for the first time that the lenders, led by the State Bank of India (SBI), are working on a comprehensive resolution plan for a turnaround of the airline. It also said that changes in the composition of its the board were also being discussed.

SEBI moots creating commodity indices

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has proposed allowing commodity exchanges to create indices on which futures contracts can be introduced. Such indices can be based on the most liquid contracts traded on the bourses and have to be diversified with the weightage of a single constituent capped at 20%.
  • The maximum weightage for any index constituent in a composite index will be at most 20% and minimum weightage will be at least 1%.
  • Meanwhile, the minimum lot size of a futures contract introduced on such indices has been proposed at Rs. 5 lakh.

States cannot pick police chiefs on their own: SC

  • The Supreme Court of India rejected the pleas made by five States to implement their own local laws for selection and appointment of their State police chiefs. The court said its directions were issued in larger public interest and to protect the police officials from political interference.
  • In July 2018, the Supreme Court restrained State governments from appointing DGPs without first consulting the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). As the State government concerned has to send UPSC the names of the probables three months before the incumbent DGP is to retire.
  • The UPSC will prepare a panel of three officers fit to be DGP and send it back. The UPSC shall choose the people within the zone of consideration who have got a clear two years of service and must give due weightage to merit and seniority.

UK PM Theresa May wins no-confidence vote

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May has won a confidence vote, a day after her government suffered a parliamentary defeat over her Brexit deal with the European Union (EU). Ms.May won by 325 votes to 306 - a majority of 19, averting a general election.
  • Earlier, the British Prime Minister's Brexit deal was overwhelmingly rejected by MPs, triggering a no-confidence motion against her government and leaving the country with no plans for Brexit on 29th March.

US Prez Trump nominates 3 Indian Americans to key administration posts

  • US President Donald Trump has nominated three Indian Americans to key administration positions as per the latest list of senior nominations sent by the White House to the Senate.
  • Rita Baranwal has been nominated for the post of Assistant Secretary ofEnergy (Nuclear Energy), Aditya Bamzai for Member of the Privacy and CivilLiberties Oversight Board and Bimal Patel as the Assistant Secretary ofTreasury.
  • So far, Mr Trump has nominated or appointed more than three dozen Indian Americans in key positions.

WCD shortlists 26 children for National Award this year

  • The Women and Child Development Ministry have shortlisted 26 children for the national award this year for their bravery, social service and exceptional achievement in the fields of innovation, sports and arts. The National Selection Committee, under the Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi, finalized the names of awardees for Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2019.

WHO Goodwill ambassador Yohei Sasakawa to get Gandhi Peace Prize for 2018

  • Gandhi Peace Prize for 2018 will be conferred on Yohei Sasakawa who is Goodwill Ambassador of the World Health Organization for Leprosy Elimination. The award will be given to Mr Sasakawa in recognition of his work towards the eradication of the disease in India and across the world.
  • Ekal Abhiyan Trust has been chosen for the award for the year 2017 while Akshaya Patra Foundation and Sulabh International will share the award for 2016. Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari bagged the award for 2015.
  • Ekal Abhiyan Trust has been selected for their contribution towards providing education to rural and tribal children in remote areas, and for gender and social equality.
  • Akshaya Patra Foundation will receive the prize for providing midday meals to millions of children while Sulabh International for improving the condition of sanitation and emancipation of manual scavengers.
  • Gandhi Peace Prize carries one crore rupees and a citation. The names of awardees were chosen by a jury headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.