Daily Current Affairs - 06th Mar 2019

96.5% of households in rural India have access to toilet: NARSS

  • The National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey, NARSS 2018-19 has found that 96.5 per cent of the households in rural India have access to a toilet.
  • The survey also re-confirmed the Open Defecation Free (ODF) status of over 90 per cent of villages which were previously declared and verified as ODF by various districts and States.
  • Under Swachh Bharat Mission, over nine crore toilets have been built across rural India.

Balbirnie ton guides Ireland to victory

  • Andy Balbirnie smashed a brilliant unbeaten 145 (8x4, 8x6) to give Ireland a win over Afghanistan and tied the ODI series 1-1, with two matches to play. Batting first Afghanistan scored 256 for eight with Najibullah Zadran scoring an unbeaten 104.

Bilateral joint exercise between India, Oman to begin from Mar 12

  • The third edition of the bilateral joint exercise between India and Oman, ''Al Nagah 2019'' will begin from 12th of this month at Jabel Al Akhdar Mountains in Oman. In this exercise, both the armies will exchange expertise and experience in tactics, weapon handling and firing.
  • India-Oman bilateral security ties have continued to develop since the beginning of India-Oman Joint Military Cooperation meetings in 2006.
  • Oman
  • Sultan: Qaboos bin Said Al Said
  • Capital: Muscat
  • Currency: Omani rial

Centre introduces scheme to provide financial assistance for transport, marketing of agriculture products to boost export

  • The Union government has introduced a scheme for providing financial assistance for transport and marketing of agriculture products with a view to boosting export of farm commodities to certain countries in Europe and North America.
  • Under the Transport and Marketing Assistance scheme, the Centre would reimburse a certain portion of freight charges and provide assistance for marketing of agricultural produce.
  • This scheme would be applicable for a period as specified from time to time. Presently, it would be available for exports effected from March 1 this year to March 2020.

China slashes its GDP target to 6-6.5% amid slowdown, trade war

  • China has slashed its official GDP target to 6 to 6.5 per cent this year as the world's second largest economy is struggling with the ongoing trade war with the US and a continued economic slowdown.
  • Last year, the economy, which is largely dependent on exports, slowed down to 6.6 per cent, the lowest in about three decades.

Fifteen of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are in India

  • According to an analysis of air quality in several cities around the world by IQAir Group, fifteen of the top 20 most polluted cities in the world are located in India.
  • Gurugram, in Haryana, topped the list with an average annual particulate matter (PM 2.5) quality of 135 micrograms/cubic metre, in 2018. The other cities in India that made the list of 20 were Delhi, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Bhiwadi, Noida, Patna, Lucknow, Jodhpur, Muzaffarpur, Varanasi, Moradabad, Agra, Gaya and Jind.
  • Delhi was ranked 11th most noxious city behind Lahore, Pakistan (10th) and Hotan, China (8th).
  • Bangladesh emerged as the most polluted country followed by Pakistan and India respectively. Iceland emerged as the one with the cleanest air.
  • This ranking is based on ground-based sensors located in 3,000 cities from 73 countries.

Govt fixes sugar sale quota for March

  • The Union government has fixed sugar sale quota of 24.5 lakh tonne for the month of March. The Centre has allocated sugar quota for sale to each of the 524 mills in the country.
  • The Ministry said mills are now allowed to sell sugar at a minimum selling price of 31 rupees per kg. The rate was increased recently from 29 rupees per kg to help mills realize maximum revenue and clear cane price arrears of farmers.

Higher capital adequacy for HFCs mooted

  • To improve solvency of housing finance companies, the housing regulator, National Housing Bank (NHB), has proposed to increase capital adequacy ratio to 15% in a phased manner. These proposed norms are being issued in the wake of liquidity problems being faced by housing finance companies (HFCs) after Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services crisis.
  • As per the road map outlined by the National Housing Bank, HFCs have to increase minimum capital adequacy ratio (CAR) to 13% by March 31 next year, 14% by March 31, 2021 and 15% by March 31, 2022.

ICICI among 7 banks fined for SWIFT violation

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has slapped penalties on seven more commercial banks for not adhering to regulatory directions relating to global messaging platform SWIFT. Private sector lenders ICICI Bank and Yes Bank have been slapped with a penalty of Rs. 1 crore each, while four public sector lenders, Canara Bank, Syndicate Bank, Allahabad Bank and Bank of Maharashtra, face a penalty of Rs. 2 crore each. Bank of Baroda faces a penalty of Rs. 4 crore.
  • Over the last few days, RBI has fined 11 banks for delayed implementation of SWIFT-related operational controls.
  • SWIFT (The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) provides a network that enables financial institutions worldwide to send and receive information about financial transactions in a secure, standardized and reliable environment.

India defeat Australia by 8 runs in Nagpur ODI

  • Indian Skipper Virat Kohli's 40th ODI ton and pacer Vijay Shankar heroics in the 50th over spell helped India to register an eight run victory against Australia in the second ODI at Nagpur. Sent to bat, the hosts bowled out for 250 in the 49th over. India now lead the five-match series 2-0.

India signs loan agreement with World Bank Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project

  • India has signed a loan agreement with the World Bank for 96 Million US dollars for additional financing of Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project. The World Bank has been supporting the State Government since 2014 to restore housing and rural connectivity and to build the resilience of communities.
  • The Project has completed more than two thousand permanent houses and 23 public buildings and restored over one thousand 300 kilometers of roads and 16 bridges so far.

Iran keeping to nuclear deal, says Head of UN nuclear agency

  • The head of the UN nuclear watchdog Yukiya Amano has said that Iran is complying with the 2015 deal with major world powers aimed at preventing the country from building nuclear weapons. He said that Iran is implementing its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action referencing the official name of the 2015 deal.
  • US has unilaterally withdrew from the deal last year and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran. but other signatories - Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China - are trying to keep alive the deal, which offered Iran economic incentives.

Japan's Arata Isozaki wins Pritzker Architecture Prize

  • Arata Isozaki, a prominent Japanese architect renowned for his versatility and transnational approach to design, has won his field's highest accolade, the Pritzker Architecture Prize. His career spanned six decades with more than 100 buildings around the world.
  • He will receive his coveted award, which consists of $100,000 and a bronze medallion, in May at the Palace of Versailles in France.
  • He is the 46th person and eighth Japanese architect to receive the Pritzker Prize. Previous winners include Frank Gehry, Oscar Niemyer and Zaha Hadid.
  • Pritzker Prize: Founded in 1979 by the late Jay A Pritzker and his wife, Cindy, the Pritzker Architecture Prize honours a living architect or architects whose work combines talent, vision and commitment and who has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity.

Mukesh Ambani is 13th richest in world: Forbes

  • Richest Indian Mukesh Ambani jumped six positions to rank 13th on Forbes World's Billionaire list released which was again topped by Jeff Bezos. Ambani's wealth soared from $40.1 billion in 2018 when he was placed 19th richest in the world, to $50 billion to be rank at 13th in 2019.
  • Amazon founder Bezos remains the world's richest person, ahead of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, as his riches swelled by $19 billion in one year and is now worth $131 billion.

Over six billion people regularly inhaling air so polluted that it puts their life at risk: UN expert

  • UN expert on environment and human rights David Boyd has said that over six billion people, one-third of them being children, are regularly inhaling polluted air which puts their life, health and well-being at risk.
  • He said, air pollution is a silent killer that is responsible for the premature death of seven million people each year, including 600,000 children.

Pakistan Places Hafiz Saeed-Led Jamaat-ud-Dawa In List Of Banned Organisations

  • Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa and its wing Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation have been formally placed in the list of banned organisations by Pakistan.
  • The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people. It had been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the United States in June 2014.

Trade unions issue charter of demands

  • Higher minimum wages and pensions, abolition of contract labour, and the need for active policies to check unemployment were among the top items of a joint charter of demands adopted by the National Convention of Workers. This charter will be sent to political parties with a demand to include it in their poll manifestos for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections

Two Nobel Prizes for literature will be awarded this year: Swedish Academy

  • The Swedish Academy has said that two Nobel Prizes for literature will be awarded this year. This decision comes after a sex scandal causing the suspension of the award last year. The Academy said that Nobel Prize in Literature will awarded this autumn for both 2018 and 2019.
  • The much-awaited award had to be postponed last year for the first time since 1949.

Vedanta appoints Ajay Kapur as CEO of aluminium, power business

  • Vedanta said it has appointed Ajay Kapur as the CEO of its aluminium and power business. He joins Vedanta from Ambuja Cements where he was the MD and CEO for its India business. Mr. Kapur brings with him an experience of 31 years across business verticals.

Women officers inducted in Short Service Commission of Indian Army to be given Permanent Commission

  • Women officers will be granted Permanent Commission in the Indian Army in all the ten branches where they are inducted for Short Service Commission (SSC).
  • Now, the Permanent Commission will be granted in Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation, Army Air Defence, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers, Army Service Corps, Army Ordnance Corps and Intelligence to women officers besides the existing two streams of Judge Advocate General and Army Education Corps.

World Bank to provide 250 Million dollar for NRETP to boost Rural incomes in India

  • The World Bank will provide a $250-million loan for the National Rural Economic Transformation Project (NRETP) to help women in rural households develop viable enterprises for farm and non-farm products. An agreement in this regard was signed between the World Bank and the Government of India.
  • The NRLP, which is currently being implemented across 13 states, 162 districts and 575 blocks, has so far mobilised more than 8.8 million women from poor rural households into 7.5 lakh self-help groups (SHGs).