Daily Current Affairs - 29th May 2019

Ban ROs where dissolved solids in water below 500 mg/litre, NGT tells govt

  • The National Green Tribunal, NGT, has directed the union government to ban water purifiers where total dissolved solids (TDS) in water are below 500 mg per litre. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel passed the order after perusing a report of a committee formed by it, and gave the directions to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).
  • The tribunal also directed the government to sensitise public about the ill effects of demineralised water and asked the government to make it mandatory to recover more than 60 per cent water wherever RO is permitted across the country.
  • The Tribunal was hearing a plea filed by an NGO seeking conservation of potable water by preventing its wastage on account of unnecessary use of Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems.
  • Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a water treatment process that removes contaminants from water by using pressure to force molecules through a semipermeable membrane.

BIMSTEC leaders confirm participation in Modi's swearing-in ceremony as PM

  • Leaders of all BIMSTEC countries have confirmed their participation in the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as the country's Prime Minister for the second term on Thursday.
  • President Ram Nath Kovind will administer the Oath of Office and Secrecy to Mr Modi and other members of Union Council of Ministers at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan at 7 PM tomorrow.
  • Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation of seven nations of South Asia and South East Asia.
  • The BIMSTEC member states include Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand , Nepal and Bhutan.

BJP leader Pema Khandu to be sworn in as Arunachal Pradesh chief minister

  • Bharatiya Janata Party leader Pema Khandu will take oath as the chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh for the second term after his party won 41 seats in the 60-member Assembly in the recently concluded elections. The term of the outgoing assembly ends on June 1. The oath will be administered by Governor Dr. BD Mishra.

EC teams to appraise poll operations

  • The Election Commission (EC) constituted eight working groups to thoroughly appraise specific areas, based on its experience during the conduct of the Lok Sabha polls. Among the issues to be examined are timely action in cases of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) violations and the legal aspects of enforcement of the code.
  • The groups, which have to submit their recommendations to the EC, would be headed by senior Deputy Election Commissioners, Deputy Election Commissioners and Director-Generals.
  • The EC is set to hold a meeting with CEOs of all the States and Union Territories in this regard on June 3.

First all-women IAF crew fly Mi-17 V5 helicopter

  • Three women Indian Air Force officers were part of the country's first all-women crew to fly a medium-lift helicopter. The ‘All women crew’ flew the helicopter for a Battle Inoculation Training mission taking off and landing from restricted areas at a forward airbase in South Western Air Command.

French Open: Rohan Bopanna, Marius Copil enter 2nd round of men's Doubles

  • In French Open Tennis, India's Rohan Bopanna and his Romanian partner Marius Copil advanced to the second round of men's Doubles in Paris. Indian-Romanian pair knocked out sixth-seeded South African-Kiwi pair of Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus 6-3, 7-6.

Hindi version of Digital Dilemma launched by Oscar academy President John Bailey

  • President of Oscar Academy, John Bailey has e-launched the Hindi translation of an Academy Publication, "Digital Dilemma. Mr Bailey said that the translation of the Academy publication into Hindi is important in order to reach out to film fraternity in India.
  • National Film Archive of India had signed an MoU with the Academy to translate the publication into Hindi so that it can benefit various stakeholders in the country.

Hockey India announces 18-member Squad for FIH Men's Series Finals

  • Hockey India announced the much-awaited 18-member national Hockey Squad for the FIH Men's Series Finals commencing in Bhubaneswar on the 6th of next month. It will be led by Manpreet Singh.
  • India have been grouped in Pool A along with Russia, Poland and Uzbekistan while Japan, Mexico, USA and South Africa are grouped in Pool B.

Iran ready to talk to Gulf countries amid tension with US

  • Iran's foreign ministry stated that it is ready to engage in a dialogue with the Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to address the issue of escalating tensions with the United States in the Arabian Gulf.
  • Tensions have risen recently between Iran, on one side, along with the US and its Gulf allies, on the other.
  • Iran
  • President: Hassan Rouhani
  • Capital: Tehran
  • Currency: Iranian rial

Lakshmi Vilas Bank Q4 net loss narrows to Rs 264cr

  • Private lender Lakshmi Vilas Bank reported a lower net loss of Rs 264.43 crore for the quarter ending March 2019 compared to Rs 622.25 crore in the year-ago period due to a decline in provisioning for bad loans.
  • Total income of the lender fell to Rs 739.73 crore during the January-March quarter of 2018-19 from Rs 740.91 crore in the same quarter of the preceding fiscal.
  • The asset quality of the bank worsened as the gross non-performing assets (NPAs) hit 15.30 per cent of gross loans at the end March 2019, as against 9.98 per cent by March 2018. Net NPAs or bad loans too shot up to 7.49 per cent from 5.66 per cent.

Maldives ex-leader Nasheed elected as new Speaker

  • Former President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed has been elected as the new speaker of Majlis or Parliament. Mr. Nasheed received the support of 67 MPs in 87 member parliament during a secret ballot held last night during first sitting of the new parliament. His rival and former speaker Qasim Ibrahim received 17 votes.
  • Maldives
  • President: Ibrahim Mohamed Solih
  • Capital: Male
  • Currency: Maldivian rufiyaa

NSIC signs MOU with Ministry of MSME for the Year 2018-19

  • The National Small Industries Corporation Limited, NSIC has signed an MoU with Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises for the year 2019-20. This MoU envisages provision of enhanced services by NSIC under its marketing, financial, technology and other support services schemes for MSMEs in the country.

Peter Mutharika sworn in as Malawi's president

  • Incumbent Malawian President Peter Mutharika has been declared the winner of the tightly contested presidential election while the opposition political parties claimed there were irregularities in the election.
  • Mutharika won with 38.57 percent of the votes against his closest rival Lazarus Chakwera, who gained 35.41 percent of the votes.
  • The elections were also tight in the parliamentary race with the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) winning 62 seats in the 193-seat parliament while the main opposition party got 55 seats, with independents also getting 55 seats.
  • Malawi
  • President Peter Mutharika
  • Capital: Lilongwe
  • Currency: Malawian kwacha

Plastic waste dumped in Malaysia will be returned to UK, US and others

  • Malaysia will return 450 tonnes of contaminated plastic waste to the countries that shipped it, in a refusal to become a dumping ground for the world's trash. The plastic was shipped from the US, the UK, Australia, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, the Netherlands and Singapore.
  • Last year, China banned plastic waste imports as part of an initiative to clean up its environment. This move caused a ripple effect through global supply chains, as middlemen sought new destinations for their trash, including Malaysia.
  • A recent Greenpeace report found that during the first seven months of 2018, plastic waste exported from the US to Malaysia more than doubled compared to the previous year.

PNB posts Q4 loss of Rs 4,750 crore

  • Punjab National Bank (PNB) slipped into the red, incurring net losses of ?4,750 crore in the January-March quarter, after posting a net profit of ?247 crore in the preceding quarter.
  • PNB could not garner profit in the quarter ended March as recovery from stressed assets of ?5,000-6,000 crore were stuck in insolvency courts.
  • PNB’s provisions declined 41.3% year-on-year to ?7,611 crore in January-March. Gross non-performing assets (NPAs) in the quarter fell to 15.5% from 18.38% year-on-year, while net NPAs declined to 6.56% from 11.24%.
  • Managing Director of PNB : Sunil Mehta

RBI extends RTGS timings from 4:30 pm to 6 pm

  • To facilitate high-value fund transfers, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced an extension of timings for customer transactions through Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) by one and half hours from 4:30 PM to 06 PM. RBI said that new timing will be effective from 1st June.
  • The RTGS is an online fund transfer system, supported by the RBI, which enables money transaction on a real-time basis. The minimum amount for the transaction under this system is Rs 2 lakh. There is no upper limit on the value of funds that can be transferred via the RTGS system.

Scientists give the thumbs-up for Anthropocene epoch

  • A 34-member panel of the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) voted 29-4 in favour of designating a new geological epoch called-the Anthropocene. This vote signals the end of the Holocene Epoch, which began 11,700 years ago.
  • This panel plans to submit a formal proposal for the new epoch by 2021 to the International Commission on Stratigraphy, which oversees the official geologic time chart.
  • The term ‘Anthropocene’ was coined in 2000 by Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer to denote the present geological time interval in which human activity has profoundly altered many conditions and processes on Earth.

SEBI paper on regulatory sandbox for fintech testing

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has released a discussion paper on a framework for a ‘regulatory sandbox,’ wherein companies dealing with financial technologies can test new technologies and products in a live market environment.
  • In the discussion paper, the capital markets regulator said that the regulatory sandbox would be defined as a live, testing environment where new products, processes, services and business models could be deployed on a limited set of eligible customers for a specified period of time, with certain relaxations in the regulations and guidelines.
  • According to the SEBI, the sandbox is intended to serve as a testing ground for new business models and technologies that benefit the investors, Indian markets and the Indian economy at large.
  • Meanwhile, to be eligible to be tested in the sandbox, a solution need to show that it directly benefits the investors and poses no risks to the financial markets among other parameters.

Sri Lanka signs tripartite agreement with India and Japan

  • Sri Lanka has signed a tripartite agreement with India and Japan for development of eastern terminal of Colombo port. This joint initiative is estimated to cost between $500 million and $700 million. As per the agreement. Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA) will hold 51 per cent majority stake in the port development while Japan and India will have combined stake of 49 per cent.
  • This deal is part of Memorandum of economic cooperation signed between India and Sri Lanka in 2017. This deal is very significant to India as over 70% of India’s transhipment business is handled at Colombo ports.
  • Sri Lanka
  • President: Maithripala Sirisena
  • Prime Minister: Ranil Wickremesinghe
  • Capitals: Colombo, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte
  • Currency: Sri Lankan rupee

Sun Pharma Q4 profit declines 53% to Rs 635.9 crore

  • Sun Pharmaceutical Industries reported a 53 percent year-on-year (YoY) drop in net profit to Rs 635.9 crore in the fourth quarter primarily due to a one-time charge of Rs 1,085 crore related to the change in distribution for India business. It had a net profit of Rs 1,342 crore in the same quarter last year.
  • For the full year ended March 2019, income from operations grew 10 percent YoY to Rs. 28,686 crores and net profit rose 9.3 percent to Rs 2665 crore. The earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) stood at 21 percent.
  • Managing Director of Sun Pharma: Dilip Shanghvi

The World Health Organization officially recognizes workplace ‘burnout’ as an occupational phenomenon

  • The World Health Organisation has for the first time recognised "burn-out" in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which is widely used as a benchmark for diagnosis and health insurers.
  • The agency previously defined burnout as a “state of vital exhaustion,” but this is the first time it’s being directly linked in its classification of diseases as a work hazard.
  • Burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.