Daily Current Affairs - 14th May 2019

Auto sales plunge 16% across segments to a 10-year low

  • According to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), total sales across all categories of Indian automobile industry fell by nearly 16% to 20.01 lakh units from 23.80 lakh units in April 2018.
  • Domestic wholesale passenger vehicle (PV) sales dipped 17.07%, the steepest fall in nearly eight years, to 2.47 lakh. Within this category, cars sales declined nearly 20% to 1.60 lakh units, while utility vehicle sales fell 6.67% to 73,854 units and van sales were down 30% to 13,408.
  • Sales of commercial vehicles (Cvs) declined almost 6% to 68,680 units. While the medium and heavy commercial vehicle segment fell 13.56% to 24,725 units, sales of light commercial vehicles were down 1.1% to 43,955.
  • Two-wheeler sales plunged 16.36% during the month under review to 16.38 lakh units.
  • The demand was impacted by a weak consumer sentiment due to factors such as political uncertainty, high insurance costs, liquidity crunch and a rise in commodity prices that forced carmakers to increase vehicle prices.

Brexit talks between Conservative govt and opposition resume

  • Brexit talks between Britain's Conservative government and the main opposition Labour Party are resuming with little sign of progress. The two parties remain far apart on terms of the UK's departure from the European Union.
  • Labour Brexit spokesman told that his party would only support a deal if it is put to a referendum vote. However, Prime Minister Theresa May has rejected a new referendum, saying voters made their decision in 2016 when they narrowly opted to leave the EU.

Cannes Film Festival begins today in France

  • Cannes Film Festival, touted as one of the most prestigious international event from the world of cinema, will begin today in France. Information and Broadcasting Secretary Amit Khare, who is leading Indian delegation at Cannes, will inaugurate India Pavilion.
  • This Pavilion will showcase Indian cinema across linguistic, cultural and regional diversity, with the aim of forging international partnerships in distribution, production, filming in India.

CEAT Awards: Virat Kohli bags International batsman and cricketer of the year

  • India captain Virat Kohli bagged the International Cricketer and Batsman of the Year award during the CEAT Cricket Rating (CCR) International awards 2019.
  • Pacer Jasprit Bumrah was adjudged as International Bowler of the Year.
  • Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan was awarded for outstanding bowling.
  • Australian batsman Aaron Finch for his exceptional performance in T20.
  • Yashasvi Jaiswal, who performed exceptionally over the year was awarded Junior Cricketer of the Year, While chinaman Kuldeep Yadav took the home outstanding performance of the year award.
  • Ashutosh Aman was awarded Domestic Cricketer of the Year.
  • Mohinder Amarnath, who played a key role in India's 1983 World Cup triumph, was bestowed with the 'CCR International Lifetime Achievement Award'.

China hits back, imposes tariff hike on U.S. goods worth $60 bn

  • China said that it will raise tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods from June 1, in retaliation to the latest round of U.S. tariff hikes and Washington’s plans to target almost all Chinese imports. This announcement came after the latest round of U.S.-China trade negotiations ended without a deal, and after USA increased tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump had also ordered the start of a process to impose new duties on another $300 billion worth of Chinese items.

Collegium recommends Chief Justices to four Hcs

  • The Supreme Court Collegium has recommended names of four High Court judges for appointment as chief justices of the High Courts of Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Telangana. A three-member Collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, recommended the name of Justice D.N. Patel as the chief justice of the Delhi High Court.
  • The Collegium has also recommended names of Justices A.A. Kureshi, V. Ramasubramanian and R.S. Chauhan for their appointment as chief justices of high courts of Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Telangana respectively.

DNA database coming up for Indian rhino

  • The Union Environment Ministry has embarked on a project to create DNA profiles of all rhinos in the country. This exercise would be useful in curbing poaching and gathering evidence in wildlife crimes involving rhinos.
  • By 2021, the Indian rhino could be the first wild animal species in India to have all its members DNA-sequenced.
  • The project’s members, include the World Wildlife Fund for Nature-India (WWF-India) and the Centre-funded Wildlife Institute of India (WII).
  • There are about 2,600 rhinos in India, with over 90% of the population concentrated in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park.

Exporters to get auto GST refunds

  • Exporters of goods and services as well as suppliers to SEZ units are likely to get GST refunds automatically from June as the revenue department plans to introduce faceless scrutiny of refunds and faster claim settlement. Once implemented, the time period for such refunds will come down to about a fortnight from months at present.
  • Currently, manufacturing exporters and suppliers to SEZs, who want to claim ITC (input tax credit) refund, have to file an application on the common portal and thereafter, manually submit a print out to the jurisdictional officer.

Former FIA VP Hoosein passes away

  • Well-known motorsports administrator and former vice president of Federation Internationale de Automobile (FIA), Nazir Hoosein, passed away.
  • Hoosein was also the head of Motorsport Association of India and a former president of FMSCI (Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India.

Hagawne finishes fourth

  • Nupoor Hagawne finished fourth in junior women air rifle in the International Shooting Competition of Hannover, Germany. After qualifying in the third place with a score of 626.9, Nupoor allowed Johanna Andersson of Sweden to overtake her and reach the second place in the final.

HDFC profit up 26.8% to Rs. 2,862 cr.

  • Mortgage lender HDFC posted a 26.8% rise in its standalone net profit to Rs. 2,862 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2019. The total income during the quarter rose to Rs. 11,586.58 crore against Rs. 9,322.36 crore in the year-earlier period while net interest income grew 19% to Rs. 3,161 crore.
  • HDFC Bank grew its wholesale book by 32% in 2018-19. As a result, the wholesale lending book is now 46% of the total book compared with 43% a year ago.
  • Wholesale banking of HDFC Bank broadly comprises three segments viz. the corporate bank (large corporate), the emerging corporate group (mid-corporate) and business banking (MSME).

India's retail inflation picks up to 2.92% in April

  • According to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation data, retail inflation rose marginally to 2.92 per cent in April this year, mainly due to the rise in food prices. The inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 2.86 per cent in the previous month and 4.58 per cent in April last.
  • The inflation in the food basket was 1.1 per cent last month, up from 0.3 per cent in March this year.
  • CPI-based inflation data is an important indicator of the economy as the Reserve Bank of India mainly factors in it while arriving at its monetary policy.

Indonesian Coast Guard ship arrives in Port Blair

  • Indonesian Coast Guard ship (BAKAMLA) ‘Tanjung Datu’ arrived in Port Blair along with a high-level delegation. The aim of this goodwill visit is to enhance bilateral cooperation between the Coast Guards of two countries. The ship ‘KN Tanjung Datu’ is a Patrol Vessel.
  • During her stay in Port Blair, various professional exchanges including Table Top exercise and Sea Exercise will be conducted for enhancing domain expertise of personnel from both Coast Guards. Indian Coast Guard will also conduct a pollution response demonstration.

Infosys Foundation’s FCRA licence cancelled

  • The Union Home Ministry has cancelled the FCRA licence of Infosys Foundation after a request was made by the not-for-profit initiative of the IT major. The centre stated that the FCRA licence was cancelled at their own request as there was no violation on part of the NGO.
  • The Home Ministry last year served show-cause notice on 1,755 NGOs, including Infosys Foundation, for failing to submit annual income and expenditure statements on foreign funding electronically on the Ministry’s portal.
  • The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) enables an association or an NGO to receive foreign funds, and they have to register under it to receive such funds.

ITC profit rises 18.7% in Q4

  • ITC Ltd. closed the fourth quarter with a 18.7 % rise in its net profit to to Rs. 3481.9 crores on the back of good performance by paperboards and packaging, hotels and FMCG-other segments. ITC’s profit for 2018-19 rose by 11.1% to touch Rs. 12,464.3 crore. It was driven by a robust growth in hotels, FMCG-others (excluding lifestyle retailing) and the paper segment.
  • Mean while, the board of directors of ITC Ltd has appointed Sanjiv Puri, managing director, as also the chairman of with effect from May 13, 2019. Consequently, Mr. Puri's new designation is chairman and managing director. He would thus fill in the void created by the demise of Y. C. Deveshwar.

Lewis Hamilton wins Spanish GP as Mercedes seal fifth consecutive one-two

  • Lewis Hamilton won the Spanish Grand Prix with a dominant, untroubled run at the front of the field. He took the race from his teammate Valtteri Bottas, who had started on pole. Thus Lewis Hamilton has won the Spanish Grand Prix for a third consecutive year.

Mary Kom to make her competitive debut in India Open boxing tournament

  • Mary Kom will make her competitive debut at home in 51kg in the second edition of the India Open boxing tournament, to be held in Guwahati from 20th to 24th of this month.
  • India Open will witness 35 men and 37 women boxers from India vying for glory, even as close to 200 pugilists from 16 boxing powerhouses will participate in the tournament.

NABARD announces Rs.700-cr venture capital fund for agri, rural startups

  • The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has announced a Rs 700-crore venture capital fund for equity investments in agriculture and rural-focused startups. This fund has been launched by Nabventures, a subsidiary of the NABARD, and has proposed a corpus of Rs 500 crore with an option to retain over-subscriptions of Rs 200 crore, called as the greenshoe option.
  • NABARD has given an anchor commitment for the fund, which will be investing across startups engaged in agriculture, food and rural development space.
  • NABARD is now 100 per cent owned by the government, which has been focusing on startups through a slew of measures.
  • NABARD chairman Harsh Kumar Bhanwala

OIC strongly contemns sabotaging of commercial ships near UAE waters

  • The General Secretariat of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has strongly condemned the sabotage of commercial vessels near the territorial waters of the UAE in the Gulf of Oman. The OIC said that this sabotage action threatens the security and safety of international maritime traffic, calling on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities to ensure maritime traffic and safety, and to ensure the stability of the security of the region.
  • The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is an international organization founded in 1969, consisting of 57 member states, with a collective population of over 1.8 billion as of 2015 with 53 countries being Muslim-majority countries.
  • Headquarters: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Pakistan needs decisive policies to stabilise economic environment: IMF

  • The International Monetary Fund- IMF has warned that Pakistan is facing a challenging economic environment and decisive policies and reforms are needed to stabilise the economy. IMF reached a deal with the cash-strapped government of Prime Minister Imran Khan on a USD 6 billion bailout to ward off a financial crisis.
  • Pakistan is facing an economic crisis with short supplies of foreign currency reserves and stagnating growth. In February, its central bank had the only USD 8 billion left in foreign reserves.

Sweden to seek Assange's extradition

  • Sweden reopened an investigation into a rape allegation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and will seek to extradite him from Britain, a potential setback to the U.S. efforts to put him on trial over a huge release of secret documents.
  • Sweden
  • Prime Minister: Stefan Lofven
  • Capital: Stockholm
  • Currency: Swedish krona

Tata Motors global wholesale down 22 pc in April

  • Tata Motors reported a 22% decline in group global wholesales, including that of Jaguar Land Rover, to 79,923 units in April 2019. Global wholesales of all commercial vehicles and Tata Daewoo range in April were at 31,726 units, a decline of 20% year-on-year.
  • Global wholesales of passenger vehicles fell 23% to 48,197 units.

Thailand: 11 Political parties announce support to Palang Pracharath for PM

  • Eleven small political parties in Thailand have announced support to the military-backed candidate to form the next government. This announcement came seven weeks after the country's first general election post five years of army rule.
  • The military-backed Palang Pracharath party won 115 seats in the 500-member House of Representatives, while its rival, the Pheu Thai party associated with self-exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, won 136.
  • Palang Pracharath is seen as a proxy for the military, which seized power in a 2014 coup. Coup leader Prayuth Chan-Ocha has been the current prime minister in the military government.

US Navy Chief holds discussion with Indian Naval Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba

  • Admiral John Michael Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations, US Navy held discussions with Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff, India. Mr Richardson also interacted with Defence Secretary, Vice Chief of the Army Staff, Chief of the Air Staff and the National Security Council Secretariat.
  • He intends to further consolidate bilateral naval relations between India and USA and also to explore new avenues for naval cooperation.
  • Indian Navy and US Navy interact regularly at bilateral and multilateral forums after being accorded as Major Defence Partner status by USA in 2016.

US President to meet his Chinese counterpart amid escalating trade war

  • US President Donald Trump has said that he will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit at Osaka in Japan next month amid latest escalation in trade tensions between the two countries. Trump expressed hope that his meeting with Xi will be very fruitful.

Vodafone Idea Q4 loss down to Rs. 4,881.9 crore

  • Vodafone Idea Limited has reported a loss of Rs. 4,881.9 crore in the fourth quarter as compared to Rs. 5,033 crore in the preceding quarter on account of improving synergies due to merger of Vodafone India with Idea Cellular in August 2018.
  • The telco’s average revenue per user(ARPU) improved by 16.3% on quarter to Rs. 104 per customer per month compared to ARPU of Rs. 89 in the earlier quarter.
  • Vodafone Idea Limited , formed after merger of Vodafone India with Idea Cellular in August 2018, had reported a loss of Rs. 5,006.5 crore in the September 2018 quarter and loss of Rs. 5,033 crore in the December 2018 quarter.

Young Scientist Programme 'Yuvika2019' inaugurated

  • The Young Scientist Programme ‘Yuvika2019’ was inaugurated by Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan. The two-week residential summer vacation programme spread over four ISRO centres in Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Ahmedabad and Shillong are attended by 110 students. This programme will help in inculcating scientific temper in the students. The participants will be visiting the spaceport of India, Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Shriharikota during this programme.