Daily Current Affairs - 04th Apr 2019

4th Session of India-Ukraine working group on Trade and Economic Cooperation held in New Delhi

  • The 4th Meeting of India-Ukraine Working Group on Trade and Economic Cooperation (IU-WGTEC) was held in New Delhi.
  • A protocol was signed at the end of the meeting which deals with review of trade, cooperation in the field of small and medium entrepreneurship, technical regulation, public-private partnership (PPP) and investment, agriculture, facilitating the access of Ukrainian food products to the market of India, energy sector, finance, granting Ukraine market economy status within the framework of anti-dumping investigations, and banking and cooperation in tourism.

ADB cuts its India GDP growth forecast for 2019-20

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has cut its India GDP growth forecast for 2019-20 to 7.2% because of a slower-than-expected pickup in investment demand. Earlier it had estimated 7.6% economic growth in December 2018. It is the first multilateral lending agency to slash India’s growth estimate.
  • Despite this, India will remain the fastest growing major economy, as China is projected to grow at 6.3% in 2019.
  • In February, India’s statistics office revised its earlier growth forecast of 7.2% for 2018-19 to 7%.
  • Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), had earlier projected 7.4% and 7.5% growth, respectively.

Asian Tour Felicitates Hero Chairman Pawan Munjal For Contribution To Golf In Asia

  • Dr Pawan Munjal, Chairman, Hero MotoCorp has been felicitated by the Asian Tour with a Special Achievement Award for his contributions to Asian Golf. Dr Munjal was presented with a special salver by leading Indian golfer Shiv Kapur, representing the players on the Asian Tour.
  • He has been supporting the Hero Indian Open for 14 years, along with the Hero Women's Indian Open, the Hero Challenge series on the European Tour and the Hero World Challenge on the PGA Tour.
  • He also supports several players and the domestic women's Tour.

BSNL gets licence for WiFi on flights

  • State-owned telecom service provider Bharatiya Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has received licence from the Department of Telecommunications to provide Internet and mobile services on flights. BSNL and its satellite partner, Inmarsat, will be able to offer in-flight connectivity to airlines later this year, once the ground infrastructure and associated approvals are in place.
  • The DoT had notified its rules in December allowing airlines flying within and transiting through India to provide Internet and voice services on mobile phones along with an Indian telecom operator or licencee.
  • According to the rules, passengers can make phone calls or use Internet when a flight is at a minimum height of 3,000 m in Indian airspace to avoid interference with terrestrial mobile networks.

Country's exports will cross 331 billion dollar mark in 2018-19: Prabhu

  • India's exports are expected to reach 32.4 billion dollars in March, the highest in any month so far, on account of healthy growth in sectors such as pharmaceuticals. Commerce and Industry minister Suresh Prabhu said that exports would cross 331 billion-dollar-mark in the 2018-19 fiscal year.
  • India has crossed 19 billion-dollar-figure in pharma exports this fiscal.

Filing of nominations for 3rd phase of LS polls ends this evening

  • Filing of nominations for the third phase of Lok Sabha elections will end today. 115 seats spread over 14 States and Union Territories, will go to polls in this phase on the 23rd of April. All parliamentary constituencies of Gujarat, Goa, Kerala, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu will go to polls in this phase.
  • Along with the Lok Sabha polls, 42 seats of Odisha assembly will also go to polls in this phase.

Football: Indian women's register 2-0 win over Indonesia

  • The Indian women's national team has registered a 2-0 win over Indonesia in its opening match of the Olympic Qualifiers Round two in Mandalay, Myanmar. With this win, India went a step closer to making it to the 2020 Tokyo Games. Now India will face Nepal in the second match of the group stage on Saturday.

Group chats: WhatsApp users get more control

  • WhatsApp has introduced a new invite system on its platform that will enable users to decide who can add them to a group. The company has introduced a new privacy setting and an invite system to help users decide who can add them to groups. Currently, users can be added to a group without their consent. However, they can leave the group once they are added.

ICC to join hands with Interpol to fight corruption in sport

  • The International Cricket Council (ICC)has sought closer working relations with the Interpol to widen the scope of its fight against corruption in the sport. The cooperation was discussed during ICC Anti-Corruption Unit General Manager's visit to the Interpol headquarters in Lyon, France.
  • The idea is to ensure that players are better educated about the corruptors and Interpol's vast network would be helpful in this.

Leh, Ladakh get longest suspension Maitri bridge over Indus river in record 40 days

  • The Indian Army has built the longest suspension bridge over Indus river in Leh, Ladakh. In a major boost to connectivity in remote areas in Ladakh, it has built a 260-feet long bridge. The bridge has been renamed as ‘Maitri Bridge’.
  • The bridge was constructed by Combat Engineers of ‘Sahas aur Yogyata’ Regiment of ‘Fire & Fury Corps’ in just 40 days which is a record. In this short span, around 500 tons of bridge equipment and construction material was ferried.

Mick Schumacher makes Ferrari debut

  • Mick Schumacher, son of the seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, has completed 56 laps and was second fastest time in a Ferrari at the official Bahrain test. He was pipped by Red Bull's Max Verstappen. Schumacher was 0.597secs behind Verstappen's fastest time.

Niti Aayog calls for new regulations for bank loans' repayment

  • Niti Aayog's Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant has said that the union government and the Reserve Bank of India will have to bring in a new set of regulations to ensure that borrowers repay their debt in time following the recent Supreme Court order.
  • The apex court had recently struck down the February 12 circular of the RBI on Non-Performing Assets.

Over 1.2 M early deaths in India due to air pollution: Report

  • According to a study called ''State of Global Air Report 2019'', conducted by the Boston-headquartered Health Effects Institute, has found that life expectancy of children born today will be shortened by 20 months on average, growing up in current high levels of air pollution.
  • The situation in South Asia is much worse with the life expectancy shortened by two years and six months.
  • Overall long-term exposure to outdoor and indoor air pollution contributed to nearly 5 million deaths across the world from stroke, diabetes, heart attack, lung cancer, and chronic lung disease in 2017.
  • Air pollution contributed to nearly one in every 10 deaths in 2017, making it a bigger killer than malaria, malnutrition, and road accidents.
  • Out of the 5 million, 3 million deaths are directly attributed to PM2.5, half of which is from India and China together.
  • China and India together were responsible for over half of the total global attributable deaths, with each country facing over 1.2 million deaths from all air pollution in 2017.

Pakistan GDP growth to slump further to 3.9% this year: ADB

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) says, Pakistan's economic growth is set to slump further to 3.9 per cent in the fiscal year 2019 from 5.2 per cent in 2018. Pakistan's economic growth decelerated in the fiscal year 2018 despite revived agriculture. It cited the macroeconomic challenges faced by the cash-strapped country for deceleration.
  • Continued fiscal consolidation in FY2020 will keep growth subdued at 3.6 per cent.

Paytm Money receives SEBI Approval to start Stock Broking

  • Paytm Money, the wholly owned subsidiary of One97 Communications Limited has received approval from the SEBI (Securities & Exchange Board of India) to offer Stock Broking service to its users.
  • It has received approval for its membership from Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) & National Stock Exchange (NSE).
  • It plans to introduce new product & offerings through its app such as investing & trading in equities, derivatives, currency, commodities, ETFs and other exchange traded products.

Private forecaster Skymet predicts ‘below normal’ Monsoon

  • Private weather forecaster Skymet said it expects the coming monsoon rains to be below normal and about 7% short of the 89 cm the country usually gets from June to September. Not only is the monsoon expected to begin sluggishly but rain in July -a key month for agriculture is expected to be nearly 9% short.
  • In terms of geographical risk, Skymet expects that eastern India, along with a major portion of Central India, is likely to be at a higher risk of being rain deficient, especially during the first half of the season.
  • The key culprit was the El Niño — the warming of the central Pacific Ocean that’s frequently associated with drying monsoon rains.
  • Managing Director, Skymet: Jatin Singh

Raymond forays into realty

  • Textile major Raymond Group has decided to foray into the real estate development business by developing its Thane land, and expects revenue to total Rs. 3,500 crore over the next five years.
  • The company has set up a new division called Raymond Realty for its maiden venture into the real estate sector, which will develop 14 acres of land with five acres of central landscaped greens and amenities.

RBI to announce this fiscal’s first bi-monthly policy

  • The Reserve Bank of India will today announce its first bi-monthly monetary policy of current financial year. The six-member Monetary Policy Committee headed by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das will meet in Mumbai for the third consecutive day today ahead of the policy announcement.
  • RBI is expected to go in for 25 basis points rate cut to provide thrust to the economic growth.

Roadis, NIIF to invest $2 billion

  • Roadis, a private investor and operator of transport infrastructure worldwide and the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) have jointly set up a platform to invest in road projects in India.
  • The combined platform would invest up to $2 billion of equity targeting toll-operate-transfer models, acquisitions of existing road concessions and investment opportunities in the road sector with an aim to create a large roads platform in the country.
  • With 710 km of highways under ownership and management, Roadis is one of the largest European highway concession managers in India.
  • MD and CEO, NIIF: Sujoy Bose

Shriram City Union Finance to raise upto Rs 750 cr via bonds

  • Deposit-taking non banking financial company (NBFC) Shriram City Union Finance said it plans to raise up to Rs. 750 crore through non-convertible debentures (NCD). These funds will be utilized for various financing, lending, investments, repaying existing liabilities or loans, business operations and capital expenditure, among others.

Sindhu, Kidambi advance to second round of Malaysian Open

  • Top Indian shuttlers P.V.Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth advanced to the second round of the Malaysian Open World Tour Super 750 tournament in Kuala Lumpur. However, Saina Nehwal has lost to Chochuwong Pornpawee of Thailand.
  • HS Prannoy also bowed out after losing 12-21, 21-16, 21-14 to Sitthikom Thammasin of Thailand following a hard-fought battle.

TRAI asks Telcos to submit plan details of segmented offers every month

  • The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has directed operators to submit before it all tariff plans that they offer to select segments of customers at the end of every month. TRAI issued the new direction to telecom operators directing them to submit before it details of rates, terms and conditions of scheme, quantum of service that customers will get, name of the plan and benefits available to the subscriber under the plan in which segment offer has been given.
  • TRAI also directed service providers to share with it the number of subscribers at the end of each month who have availed the segmented offer.

U.S. State Department approves $2.6 billion chopper sale to India

  • The U.S Department of State has approved the sale of 24 MH-60R ‘Romeo’ multi-mission helicopters to India under its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme. The value of the potential sale is $2.6 billion. The principal contractor for the deal will be Lockheed Martin. The Indian government had submitted a Letter of Request for the Romeos last year.
  • The proposed sale will provide India the capability to perform anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare missions along with the ability to perform secondary missions, including vertical replenishment, search and rescue, and communications relay.

Vikram Patel Awarded The Prestigious John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award

  • Vikram Patel, an Indian global mental health expert, has been awarded the prestigious John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award for his global research on raising global profile of mental health problems. He is the first Indian to be awarded this prize.
  • Each year seven Canada Gairdner Awards are presented to honour the world’s most significant biomedical and global health researchers.

Volkswagen Group to merge three Indian arms

  • German automotive major Volkswagen Group said it plans to merge its three Indian subsidiaries — Volkswagen India Private Ltd., Volkswagen Group Sales India Private Ltd. and Skoda Auto India Private Ltd.
  • The proposed merger is aimed at making more efficient use of the existing synergies in developing India which is an important growth market.
  • The group’s brands such as Volkswagen, Skoda, Audi, Porsche and Lamborghini would maintain their individual identities, dealer network and customer experience initiatives.