Daily Current Affairs - 06th Jun 2019

10% drop in H-1B visa approvals in 2018: U.S.

  • There was a sharp 10% decline in the approval of H-1B visas by the U.S. in the fiscal year 2018, which experts attributed to the aggressive policies of the Trump administration to clamp down on the use of the work visa programme, which is popular among highly skilled Indian IT professionals.
  • The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approved 3,35,000 H-1B visas, both new and renewable, in the fiscal year 2018 which was 10% less than the 3,73,400 visas approved in the previous fiscal year of 2017.
  • The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

610 political parties won no seat in LS elections

  • According to Election Commission’s data, a total of 610 mostly regional and small political parties across the country failed to win even a single seat in the Lok Sabha election while 530 got nil vote share.
  • A total of 13 parties managed to bag one seat each. The parties which drew a blank in the polls include the Forward Bloc, INLD, JJP, SDF, SJPA.

Australian Open: Sindhu, Sameer Verma, S Praneeth enter 2nd round of Singles event

  • In the Australian Open in Sydney India's top shuttlers P.V Sindhu, Sameer Verma and B.Sai Praneeth progressed to the second round. In Men's Doubles, the pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty progressed to the second round.

By 2025, India to have 88 mn 5G connections

  • Global telecom industry body Global System for Mobile Communications, GSMA, expects India to have 920 million unique mobile subscribers by 2025 that will include 88 million 5G connections. It further said that India alone will generate almost a quarter of the world’s new mobile subscribers over this period.
  • GSMA forecasts that the Indian mobile market will return to revenue growth in the second half of 2019 and continue to grow modestly till 2025 but market revenues will still be below the level of 2016, indicating that market repair will be a slow and challenging process.

FDI in services sector up 37% in 2018-19

  • According to the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the services sector grew 36.5% to $9.15 billion in 2018-19, This sector attracted FDI worth $6.7 billion in 2017-18.
  • As the union government has taken several measures such as fixing timelines for approvals and streamlining procedures to improve ease of doing business in the country and attract foreign investments
  • Raising FDI inflows in the services sector is vital as it contributes over 60% to the gross domestic product.
  • Services sector includes finance, banking, insurance, outsourcing, R&D, courier and analysis.

FPIs pump in record sums of money in April and May

  • In the first two months of the current fiscal, FPIs have invested a net amount of Rs. 29,113 crore in Indian equities, the highest-ever in the last 17 years since data became available. Moreover, this is only the fourth time that net foreign inflows had crossed Rs. 20,000-crore in just two months at the start of a financial year.
  • The previous high in terms of cumulative flows from FPIs in April and May was seen in 2013-14 when such institutional investors poured Rs. 27,583 crore in Indian equities.
  • In 2009-10 and 2014-15 as well, the Indian equity market saw sizeable inflows from FPIs to the tune of Rs. 26,625 crore and Rs. 23,608 crore respectively.

ICC World Cup: India beat South Africa by six wickets

  • India began its campaign with a victory in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. The Men in blue defeated South Africa by 6 wickets in their opening match at Southampton. India achieved the target of 228 runs, with 15 balls to spare.
  • Opener Rohit Sharma hit a blistering unbeaten 122 while Mahendra Singh Dhoni contributed important 34 runs.
  • Earlier, electing to bat first, South Africa were restricted at the score of 227 runs for 9 wickets in stipulated 50 overs as Indian Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal grabbed four wickets.

India, France to hold mega air exercise in July

  • The Indian and French Air Forces will carry out a two-week-long mega air exercise named ‘Garuda’ beginning July 1 in France in a boost to military-to-military ties between the two countries. A fleet of Sukhoi 30 fighter jets of the Indian Air Force will engage in dogfights with France’s Rafale multirole aircraft in simulated scenarios as part of the ‘Garuda’ exercise.

Left-wing opposition bloc wins General Election in Denmark

  • The left-wing opposition bloc in Denmark has won the General Election of the country, leaving behind the ruling liberal Party. Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen conceded defeat after his Liberal party came second with 75 seats in the Parliament as against the 91 seats of the Social Democrats.
  • Denmark
  • Capital: Copenhagen
  • Currency: Danish krone

Navy steams ahead with its plans to go ‘green’

  • The Indian Navy is pressing ahead with its eco-friendly programme, the Indian Navy Environment Conservation Roadmap (INECR) that comprises specific action plans covering the gamut of operations, maintenance, administration, infrastructure and community living.
  • Under the INECR, numerous policies aimed at reduction of energy consumption and environment sustenance have been formulated and disseminated to all ships, as well as shore establishments.

Nirmala to attend G-20 meeting in Japan

  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will attend the meeting of G-20 Finance Ministers and central bank governors in Japan on June 8 and 9. This will be Ms. Sitharaman’s first overseas visit as Finance Minister.
  • Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das is also likely to attend the meeting.
  • This meeting is likely to focus on risks and challenges being faced by the global economy, investment in infrastructure, and international taxation.
  • The G20 (or Group of Twenty) is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union.

Non-life PSU firms may get Rs. 4,000 crore

  • The Union government is likely to announce an infusion of about Rs. 4,000 crore in three public sector general insurance companies to shore up their capital. This capital infusion will help them improve their financial health to an extent that the proposed merger of the general insurance firms could take place.
  • The Department of Financial Services will seek about Rs. 4,000 crore in the Budget for fund infusion in these insurance companies —National Insurance Company, Oriental Insurance Company and United India Insurance Company.

Panel to focus on employment

  • The Union government has set up a 10-member Cabinet Committee on Employment and Skill Development with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as its chairman.
  • The panel on employment is one of two Cabinet committees set up to spur economic growth and rackle unemployment.
  • In addition to the Prime Minister, the committee includes Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Minister of Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar, Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister Skill and Entrepreneurship Mahendra Nath Pandey and Ministers of State Santosh Kumar Gangwar (Labour) and Hardeep Singh Puri (Housing and Urban Affairs).
  • Employment data for 2017-18, released on May 31 after the Lok Sabha elections, said India’s unemployment rate rose to 6.1% in the period, the highest in 45 years.

Peru Prez wins confidence vote

  • Peru's President Martin Vizcarra has won a confidence vote in the country’s Congress, reviving debate over his flagging effort to pass anti-corruption measures.President Vizcarra won the confidence vote by 77 votes to 44 with three abstentions.
  • Vizcarra had threatened to dissolve parliament and force new elections unless lawmakers backed his anti-graft proposals.
  • Peru
  • President: Martin Vizcarra
  • Capital: Lima
  • Currency: Sol

Q1 sees plunge in M&A deal value, says EY

  • According to the consulting firm EY, India reported a dip in M&A (mergers and acquisitions) activities during the first quarter of fiscal 2019. This quarter has seen 242 deals with value aggregating to $9.9 billion, against 260 deals valued at $21.6 billion during the corresponding quarter a year ago.
  • Deal-makers paused a little in the first quarter of 2019 due to a subdued global M&A market. Besides, the uncertainty around general elections results also appear to have added to the sub-par performance.

Russia launches first Arctic train service

  • The first tourist train traveling through Russia's Arctic region and on to Norway, set off from St. Petersburg station with 91 passengers aboard for the inaugural trial journey.
  • The train, named as 'Zarengold', with two restaurant cars will travel from Saint Petersburg. The whole trip will take 11 days and allow passengers to discover areas difficult to access by other means.

Solar installations down 49 pc in Jan-Mar 2019: Report

  • According to Mercom India Research’s ‘Q1 2019 India Solar Market Update’ report,
  • solar installations in India during January-March period of this year stood at 1,737 megawatt (MW), registering a year-on-year decline of 49%, mainly owing to difficulty faced by installers in getting the required approvals due to general elections. The installations were at 3,377 MW during the same period last year.

Sunil Chhetri becomes most capped India player

  • Sunil Chhetri became the most capped India player by surpassing Bhaichung Bhutia's 107 international matches. In his milestone match of the King's Cup football tournament in Buriram, Thailand, he scored the lone goal for his side in the 31st minute from a spot kick for his 69th goal.

Veteran actor Dinyar Contractor passes away

  • Veteran actor and theatre legend Dinyar Contractor, who appeared in films such as Baadshah and Khiladi, passed away. He was 79. The actor was best known for his comic roles. He was awarded the Padma Shri earlier this year.