Daily Current Affairs - 21st Feb 2019

Acclaimed Hindi Author Namvar Singh Dies At 92

  • Celebrated Hindi author and literary critic Namvar Singh died. He was 92. Considered a living legend of Hindi literature, Mr Singh has authored over a dozen works prominent among them are ''Kavita Ke Naye Pratiman'', '' Chhayavaad'' and ''Dusari Parampara Ki Khoj'' among others.
  • He received the Sahitya Akademi award for literary criticism in the year 1971 for ''Kavita Ke Naye Pratiman.

Centre clears Rs. 48,239 cr. recapitalisation package for PSBs

  • Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar has announced that the Union government has approved the disbursal of a recapitalization package of Rs. 48,239 crore for 12 public sector banks. Four of the non-PCA banks (Punjab National Bank, Union Bank, Andhra Bank and Syndicate Bank) will get a total of Rs. 14,879 crore. The largest share of this, of Rs. 5,908 crore, will go to PNB.
  • The last category of PCA public sector banks looking to meet their regulatory requirements will get a total of Rs. 12,535 crore.
  • These banks are Central Bank, United Bank, UCO Bank, and Indian Overseas Bank.
  • The Centre had infused Rs. 28,615 crore into 7 banks via recapitalisation bonds in December 2018.

Defence Minister invites investments in aerospace

  • In her inaugural remarks at the Aero India 2019, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has invited investors to capitalize on the ecosystem in aerospace and other sectors in India which offered a big market for Defence manufacturing.
  • She referred to a slew of initiatives taken by the government, including permitting 100 per cent Foreign Direct Investment in Defence manufacturing.
  • During the last four years, 150 contracts worth about one lakh 27 thousand 500 crore rupees have been signed with the Indian vendors for procurement of defence equipment for the armed forces.
  • India today is producing Light Combat Aircraft, Light Combat Helicopter, Advanced Light Helicopter and Boeing parts within the country. India has so far exported the advanced light helicopter to Nepal, Maldives and Mauritius and Cheetal helicopter to Afghanistan.

Domestic air traffic growth slows to 9%

  • According to government data, the growth in domestic aviation traffic slowed down further in January and registered a 9% rise as compared to the same month last year. Indian carriers altogether ferried a total of 1.26 crore passengers, marginally higher than 1.14 crore passengers in January 2018.
  • IndiGo captured 42.5% of the market share, while SpiceJet and Air India cornered 13.3% and 12.2% of the pie respectively. Jet Airways was close behind with 11.9% share in its kitty.

FDI falls 7% to $33.49 billion in April-Dec.

  • According to Union Commerce and Industry Ministry data, Foreign direct investment (FDI) into India contracted by 7% to $33.49 billion during April-December in the current fiscal. Foreign fund inflows during April-December 2017-18 stood at $35.94 billion.
  • The key sectors that received the maximum foreign investment in the nine months of this fiscal include services ($5.91 billion), computer software and hardware ($4.75 billion), telecommunications ($2.29 billion), trading ($2.33 billion), chemicals ($6.05 billion), and the automobile industry ($1.81 billion).
  • Singapore was the largest source of FDI with $12.97 billion inflow.

GST Council defers decision on tax on real estate

  • The GST Council deferred a decision on the rationalization of tax rates on real estate till February 24 as some states wanted a physical meeting before a final decision is taken on the issue.
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the report of the Group of Ministers on real estate was considered and a final decision on the issue will be taken after a physical meeting.

International Mother Language Day being celebrated on February 21

  • International Mother Language Day is being celebrated on 21st of February every year with the aim of preserving linguistic diversity and promoting mother tongue-based multilingual education. The theme of this year’s Mother Language Day is ''Indigenous Languages as a factor in development, peace and reconciliation''.
  • The year 2019 is also celebrated as the International Year of Indigenous Languages.
  • According to UN data, a language disappears every two weeks taking with it an entire cultural and intellectual heritage. At least 43 per cent of the estimated 6000 languages spoken in the world are endangered.
  • Only a few hundred languages have genuinely been given a place in education systems and the public domain.

Mahatma Gandhi Scholarships awarded to 150 Sri Lankan students

  • Sri Lanka's 150 students from all 25 districts were awarded the prestigious Mahatma Gandhi scholarships for study in India. This is the twelfth year in continuum that India has provided Mahatma Gandhi scholarships to bright students across Sri Lanka.
  • India has recently launched a new Portal titled “Study in India” and more than 25000 seats are earmarked in Indian Institutions for foreign students.

New Zealand win ODI series 3-0 against Bangladesh

  • New Zealand has clinched the three-match ODI series against Bangladesh 3-0. New Zealand won the final match by 88 runs. Chasing New Zealand's imposing target of 331, Bangladesh were all out for 242. Southee took a six-wicket haul during the match.

NPA recovery to touch Rs. 1.8 lakh crore in FY19

  • With two major cases at the final stage of resolution, the Union Finance Ministry expects bad loan recoveries to touch Rs. 1.8 lakh crore in the current fiscal. So far, banks have recovered Rs. 1 lakh crore under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).
  • The recovery is expected to touch Rs. 1.8 lakh crore by March 2019, with some of the resolutions at the final stage.
  • According to estimates, the IBC has helped address stressed assets worth Rs. 3 lakh crore directly or indirectly since the new law came into force in December 2016.

Operation Digital Board launched to provide better digital education

  • The Union government has launched Operation Digital Board on the lines of Operation Blackboard to provide better digital education in schools. Under the initiative, seven lakh classrooms of 9th, 10th and 11th standards and two lakh classrooms of colleges and Universities will be equipped with digital boards in the next three years.
  • Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar

Rajyavardhan Rathore to inaugurate ISSF Shooting World Cup

  • Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore will inaugurate the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) World Cup in New Delhi. Various events in the world cup will start from February 23rd and end on the 27th.
  • India is fielding a 23-member squad with 11 shooters in the non-competition Minimum Qualification Score category.
  • This ISSF World Cup is crucial for Indian shooting as it has 16 quotas up for grabs for Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification.

Saudi Arabia to invest 100 billion dollars in India

  • Saudi Arabia will invest 100 billion dollars in India in range of areas including energy, refining, petrochemicals, infrastructure, agriculture and manufacturing. Both countries expressed satisfaction at the positive trend in the bilateral ties and stressed on the need to tap the untapped potential in trade particularly in Non-Oil trade.
  • Both leaders called upon all countries to renounce the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy.
  • Meanwhile, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman has ordered the release of 850 Indian prisoners lodged in his country's jails on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's request.
  • He also announced the increase in quota for Indian Haj pilgrims to 200,000.
  • The two sides also agreed to hold the inaugural joint naval exercises at the earliest and agreed to further expand bilateral exercises in other domains.

SC holds Anil Ambani guilty of contempt

  • The Supreme Court of India has held Reliance Communications (RCom) chairman Anil Ambani guilty of contempt of court for wilfully violating its order and not paying its dues of 550 crore rupees to Telecom equipment maker Ericsson.
  • The court said the RCom chairman and others will have to avoid the contempt by paying 453 crore rupees to Ericsson in 4 weeks.
  • The Supreme Court has specified that any unconditional apology given by Reliance needs to be rejected as they have breached the undertaking and order.

Suresh Prabhu launches Swayatt on GeM to promote MSMEs, women and young entrepreneurs

  • Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu launched Swayatt, an initiative to promote MSMEs, women and young entrepreneurs through e-transactions on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM).
  • This will bring together the key stakeholders within the Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem to Government e-Marketplace the national procurement portal.

Trump signs order to establish US space force

  • US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to establish its Space Force as a new armed service within the Department of Air Force. This Space Force will include both combat and its support functions to enable prompt and sustained offensive and defensive space operations in all domains.
  • This force will be organized, trained, and equipped to meet and protect the US national interests in the space, consistent with international laws.

Vijaya, Dena merger with BoB effective from April 1

  • Bank of Baroda said the merger of Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with itself would be effective from April 1 as per the scheme of amalgamation approved by the government. Besides, the board of the bank fixed March 11, 2019, as record date for issuing and allotting equity shares of the Bank of Baroda to the shareholders of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank.