Daily Current Affairs - 30th Mar 2019

Asian Airgun C'ship: Manu Bhaker, Saurabh Chaudhary clinch gold

  • Young pistol shooters Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary have clinched a gold medal each, their second in the competition, as India continued their domination at the 12th Asian Airgun Championships in Taoyuan, Chinese Taipei.
  • Manu won the women's 10 metre Air Pistol while Saurabh bagged a team gold in the men's event.
  • Abhishek Verma also won individual silver in the men's 10-metre Air Pistol.

At 15,256 ft, Tashigang in Himachal Pradesh is world’s highest polling station

  • Tashigang, a small Himachal Pradesh village at an altitude of 15,256 feet, is now the highest polling station in the world. As per the revised electoral rolls, the two villages have 48 voters, of which 30 are men and 18 women.
  • The polling station falls in Buddhist-dominated Lahaul-Spiti, one of the 17 assembly segments that form the Mandi Lok Sabha seat, the second largest constituency in India.

British Parliament rejects Brexit deal for 3rd time

  • British lawmakers have rejected the Brexit deal proposed by embattled Prime Minister Theresa May in Parliament for the third time, throwing the UK's divorce plans with the EU into further chaos. MPs voted in the House of Commons against the terms of Britain's so-called divorce from the European Union (EU) by 344 to 286. As the MPs rejected deal again, May must set out a new plan by April 12.
  • The EU had given May until April 12 to propose a different way forward if her divorce bill does not clear the UK Parliament hurdle.

Centre to borrow Rs. 7.1 lakh crore in FY20, says Garg

  • Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg has announced that gross borrowings of the government during the first half of financial year 2019-20 will stand at Rs. 4.42 lakh crore, which works out to 62.3% of the total target for the entire year. The remaining Rs. 2.68 lakh crore will be the borrowing programme for the second half of FY20.
  • The gross borrowing of Rs. 7.10 lakh crore for the entire year is significantly higher than the Rs. 5.35 lakh crore borrowing programme for financial year 2018-19. In 2018-19, the government borrowed Rs. 2.88 lakh crore in the first half, and Rs. 2.47 lakh crore in the second half.
  • The union government’s receipts stood at Rs. 12.65 lakh crore in the April-February 2019 period, which is 73.2% of the target for the full year. The government’s expenditure in the first 11 months of the financial year stood at Rs. 21.88 lakh crore, which is 89.1% of the target for the full year. It was 90.1% in the same period of the previous year.

Chelsea and Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain retires from international

  • Argentina and Chelsea striker Gonzalo Higuaín has announced his retirement from international football. He scored 31 goals in 75 Argentina appearances, with his last appearance coming in the 2-1 win over Nigeria in last year’s World Cup.

China, US resume trade talks

  • China and the US have resumed trade talks in Beijing, giving another push to their high-stakes negotiations to end their months-long tariff war. The top US and Chinese trade officials have been holding a series of talks to end the tariff war between the world's two largest economies.
  • The talks were kicked off by US President Donald Trump last year who demanded China to reduce the 375 billion dollar trade deficit, protection of intellectual property rights technology transfer and more access to American goods into China's markets.

Climate change impacts accelerating: WMO report

  • The United Nations' weather agency World Meteorological Organization(WMO) stated that last year extreme weather hit 62 million people worldwide and forced two million people to relocate as man-made climate change worsened. The report states that since 1998, about 4.5 billion people around the world have been hurt by extreme weather conditions. Worldwide, disasters affected nearly 62 million people in 2018, mostly in floods.
  • The report further added that Earth is nearly 1 degree Celsius warmer than when the industrial age started and the planet may see temperatures increase 3-5C by the end of the century.
  • Scientists have linked global warming to accelerating sea-level rise, shrinking sea ice, glacier retreat and extreme events like heatwaves.

Former Australia Captain Tim Cahill Ends Playing Career

  • Former Australia captain Tim Cahill has announced his retirement from football at the age of 39. Cahill, who spent 15 seasons in England playing for Millwall and Everton, ended his international career after last year's World Cup in Russia as his country's top scorer with 50 goals.

Govt sets up multi disciplinary terror action group for J&K

  • The Centre has set up a multi-disciplinary terror monitoring group (MDTMG) to ensure synergised and concerted action against terror financing and terror-related activities in Jammu and Kashmir. The MDTMG will have representatives from the Jammu and Kashmir Police, Intelligence Bureau, CBI, NIA, and Income Tax Department.
  • The monitoring group will have to investigate networks of various channels being used to fund terror and terror-related activities and take coordinated action to stop flow of such funds.
  • It will also take action against hardcore sympathisers among government employees, including teachers, who are providing covert or overt support to terror activities.

Growth rate highest since liberalisation: CEA

  • Chief Economic Adviser Krishnamurthy Subramanian has stated that the average growth rate of 7.5% achieved in the last five years is the highest for any government since liberalisation, despite global headwinds.
  • Mr. Subramanian asserted that the growth rate was high notwithstanding all the controversy surrounding the GDP data.

In Q3, current account deficit narrows to 2.5%

  • According to latest data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India’s current account deficit (CAD) for the third quarter narrowed to 2.5% of the GDP compared with 2.9% in the preceding quarter. In absolute terms, CAD was $16.9 billion in Q3 compared with $19.1 billion in the second quarter.
  • Net foreign direct investment at $7.5 billion in Q3 of 2018-19, increased from $4.3 billion in Q3 of 2017-18. In Q3 of 2018-19, there was a balance-of-payment deficit of $4.3 billion.

India thrash Poland 10-0 at Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

  • India thrashed Poland 10-0 in their final league match of Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament at Ipoh in Malaysia. Five-time Champion India continued its unbeaten streak in the tournament, collecting 13 points from five league matches with the help of four wins and a draw.
  • India will play against South Korea in the Summit clash.

No change in interest rate on small savings

  • The Union government has left unchanged the interest rates on small savings schemes for the first quarter of the financial year 2019-20.
  • The Public Provident Fund and the National Savings Certificate will continue to yield an interest rate of 8%.
  • The Kisan Vikas Patra will have an interest rate of 7.7%.
  • The interest rate for the five-year Senior Citizens Savings Scheme will remain at 8.7%, and that on on savings deposits will remain at 4%.
  • The Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana accounts will continue to offer an 8.5% interest rate.
  • Term deposits of 1-5 years will yield an interest rate in the range of 7-7.8%.

Now, a blockchain-enabled marketplace app for coffee

  • With a view to enabling growers find better price for their produce, the Coffee Board has launched Coffee Blockchain, a marketplace app, developed in coordination with Eka Software Solutions. The blockchain-enabled marketplace was aimed at reducing growers’ dependency on intermediaries, bring in trust and efficiency in the chain, help farmers with market access, and ensure traceability.
  • The pilot project has about 20 participants, including 14 coffee growers, and will run for four-to-six months.
  • Chairman of the Coffee Board: Srivatsa Krishna

PFC is now the second largest govt-owned financial firm after SBI

  • After acquiring a majority stake in REC Ltd (formerly Rural Electrification Corporation Limited), government owned Power Finance Corporation (PFC) has become India’s second largest Govt-owned Financial Firm after State Bank of India (SBI), based on market capitalization.
  • PFC has bought the 52.63% controlling stake in REC through Rs 14,500 crore deal with Union government.
  • PFC chairman and managing director Rajeev Sharma.

PM Oli calls upon investors to invest in Nepal

  • Nepal's Prime Minister K.P.Sharma Oli has called upon investors across the globe to invest in Nepal.
  • He further stated that hydropower could be a prime investment option but there is a huge potential in many other areas also including agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, infrastructure, information technologies, mines and minerals.
  • Over 600 investors and delegates from 40 countries including India are participating in the two day event. 77 projects worth 31.93 billion US dollar in various sectors will be showcased and 12 Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) will be signed during the summit.

PNB to part-sell stake in housing arm for Rs. 1,851 cr.

  • State-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) would partially sell its stake in PNB Housing Finance to global private equity firm General Atlantic Group and alternative investment firm Varde Partners for Rs. 1,851.6 crore.
  • The bank has a target to fetch up to Rs. 8,600 crore this fiscal, which is ending on March 31, 2019, by selling stake in non-core assets.

Qatar and France sign World Cup 2022 security deal

  • Qatar and France have signed a World Cup security agreement signed in Doha following a meeting between the country’s respective prime ministers.
  • The agreement aims to build a strategic partnership for the preparation of the World Cup in 2022 and the management of the security of the event.

Srikanth, Parupalli reach men's singles semis of India Open

  • Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap have reached the men's singles semifinals of the India Open tournament. In the quarterfinals, Srikanth defeated Sai Praneeth 21-23, 21-11, 21-19. Kashyap upset Tzu Wei Wang of Taiwan 21-16, 21-11.
  • In women's singles quarterfinals, P.V. Sindhu faces Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark.

US-led coalition: 1,257 civilians killed in anti-IS strikes

  • The US-led coalition says more than 1,250 civilians were killed in 34,038 airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria during a more than four-year period. This report comes just days after the U.S.-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces defeated the IS in the last area it held in Syria in the village of Baghouz near the Iraqi border.