Daily Current Affairs - 28th Apr 2019

$64 bn deals signed at BRI summit: Xi Jinping

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping said $64 billion in deals were signed at a summit on his Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and more nations would join the global infrastructure programme.
  • Xi and 37 world leaders wrapped up a three-day forum in Beijing with pledges to ensure that projects on the new Silk Road are green and financially sustainable.

BCCI recommends four for Arjuna award

  • The BCCI recommended India pacers Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and women’s team player Poonam Yadav for the Arjuna award. The decision was taken during the CoA meeting.

Canara Bank and its life insurance partner Canara HSBC OBC Life launched ’Webassurance’

  • Public sector lender Canara Bank and its life insurance partner Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance on Saturday announced the launch of ’Webassurance’
  • Four life insurance products of Canara HSBC OBC Life would be made available to customers of Canara Bank, covering the key needs of child future, savings and investments, retirement planning and protection.

EIU set to lower India's growth outlook for 2019-20

  • Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in its report said that in 2019-20 India’s economy will grow below its potential due to a generally weaker global economy and structural challenges such as high unemployment. EIU will make a downward revision to its current forecast of 7.2 percent.
  • Both Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) earlier this month cut their 2019-20 growth projection for India to 7.2 per cent from 7.4 per cent earlier, blaming rising risks to global economic growth as well as weakening domestic investment activity.

Environment Ministry forms panel for effective implementation of NCAP

  • The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MOEFCC) notified that a committee will be formed to implement the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) which was launched to handle the major issue of air-pollution in India. Overall guidance would be provided by the committee to implement and review the progress of NCAP for each financial year.
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MOEFCC) announced that the committee will be under the chairmanship of its Secretary, C K Mishra, and will have one chief secretary each from over 20 states and union territories.

Finance Ministry approves EPF interest rate hike to 8.65% for 2018-19

  • The Finance Ministry has approved 8.65 per cent rate of interest on the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) for 2018-19 as decided by the retirement fund body EPFO, benefiting more than 6 crore formal sector workers.
  • The interest rate on EPF was hiked to 8.65 per cent for the last fiscal from 8.55 per cent provided in 2017-18.

Government forms committee to examine introduction of e-invoices under GST

  • The government is exploring introduction of electronic invoices (e-invoices) through Goods and Services Tax (GST) portal, a move which if implemented will help streamline the indirect tax system and ensure better compliance by keeping a check on tax evasion.
  • A 13-member committee having representatives from GST Network (GSTN), central and state governments has been formed to examine the electronic tax invoice system of South Korea, Latin America and other countries and suggest a model for India.

Government raises wheat import duty to 40% to support local farmers

  • The Centre raised wheat import duty by a third to 40 per cent to support local farmers from further price fall and prevent its possible import on the back of a growing demand for animal feed in drought hit states including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
  • The government in its latest estimates has forecast India’s wheat output at 100 million tonnes, the highest ever, as against 99.12 million tonnes forecast by the Ministry of Agriculture's Second Advance Estimate released in February 2019.

HDFC Bank and Max Bupa launch AnytimeHealth machines to distribute health insurance products

  • Max Bupa, one of India's leading standalone health insurance players, and HDFC Bank, one of India's leading private sector banks, announced the launch of 'digital first' propositions for the bank's 40+ million customers, spread across its 5,000+ branches.
  • Max Bupa is committed to provide the best bespoke and comprehensive health insurance solutions and services to HDFC Bank's customers through a slew of digital touch points like AnyTimeHealth (ATH) machines, deep integration with HDFC Bank Net banking and digital seller apps like InstaInsure.

IRDAI set up Suresh Mathur Committee comprising of 13 members to review regulatory framework on micro-insurance

  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has set up a committee to review the regulatory framework on microinsurance and recommend measures to increase the demand for such products.
  • With IRDAI Executive Director Suresh Mathur as the chairman, the 13-member panel has been tasked with suggesting product designs with customer-friendly underwriting, including easy premium payment methods and simple claims settlement procedures.

ISSF World Cup: Abhishek Verma Wins Gold In 10m Air Pistol, Secures Olympic Quota for India

  • Indian shooter Abhishek Verma won the gold medal in the 10m Air Pistol event at the ISSF World Cup being held in Beijing. Abhishek Verma's brilliant performance in the Shooting World Cup Final also secured a fifth Olympic quota for India.

Print readership in India jumps 4.4% to 425 million in two years: Report

  • The Indian Readership Survey (IRS) data released for Q1 of 2019 reveals that the overall readership of newspapers has grown from 407 million readers in 2017 to 425 million readers at the end of the first quarter of 2019. The report was released by the Media Research Users Council (MRUC).
  • While Hindi and regional dailies grew at 3.9 per cent and 5.7 per cent, respectively, English newspapers saw a 10.7 per cent growth.

RBI extends the previous ombudsman scheme to non-deposit taking NBFCs having asset size of Rs.100 crore or higher

  • The Reserve Bank of India extended the coverage of Ombudsman Scheme for Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) 2018 to eligible non-deposit taking NBFCs with asset size of over ?100 crore.
  • The scheme which lays down rules for redressal mechanism in cases of customer complaints was earlier applicable only to deposit-taking NBFCs. 
  • However, the scheme still excludes various NBFC groups such as Infrastructure Finance Companies (NBFC-IFC), Core Investment Company (CIC), Infrastructure Debt Fund-Non-Banking Financial Company (IDF-NBFC) and NBFCs under liquidation.

US imposes sanction on Pak for refusing to take back deportees

  • The US has imposed sanctions on Pakistan after Islamabad refused to take back its citizen deportees and visa over-stayers from America. It warned that it may withhold visas of Pakistanis beginning from its senior officials.
  • Sanctions have been imposed under a US law according to which countries refusing to take back deportees and visa over-stayers will be denied American visas.

YES Bank posts first-ever quarterly loss of Rs 1,507 cr due to bad loans

  • Private lender YES Bank posted its first quarterly loss, of Rs 1,507 crore, during the January-March 2019 period because of a fall in non-interest income and a sharp increase in provisioning for bad loans.
  • The higher provisioning was mainly due to defaults by the Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) group and Jet Airways. It had reported a net profit of Rs 1,179 crore in the fourth quarter of FY18.