Daily Current Affairs - 22nd Jun 2019

Adani Ports to raise up to $1 billion via bonds

  • Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) plans to raise up to $1 billion by issuance of foreign currency denominated bonds. The company is planning to raise up to $1 billion in dollar bonds for capex and refinancing existing loans. The final size, tenor, and pricing will depend upon the investors appetite.
  • Moody’s, Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings have assigned Baa3, ‘BBB-’ and ‘BBB-’ ratings with a stable outlook to the proposed foreign currency denominated bonds issuance by the company.

Deloitte’s Nanavati is RP for RCom

  • The bankruptcy tribunal has approved the appointment of Aneesh Nanavati of Deloitte as the resolution professional (RP) for Reliance Communications and its two subsidiaries — Reliance Telecom and Reliance Infratel.
  • According to RCom’s own admission, financial creditors have made claims worth Rs. 57,382 crore from RCom and its two subsidiaries as of June 16.

Environment Minister asks states to consider inclusion of bamboo and medicinal plants in afforestation activities

  • Environment Forest and Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar has said that his ministry has issued letters to all states to consider the inclusion of bamboo and medicinal plants in the afforestation activities being undertaken on degraded forest land and contiguous areas.
  • The ministry also issued advisories to states to take up plantation of local and indigenous species which would also include Neem, Peepal and Banyan on various occasions like Van Mahotsav and World Environment Day.

FATF warns Pak to complete action plan on terror financing by October 2019

  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has said that Pakistan failed to complete its action plan on terror financing. It strongly urged Pakistan to swiftly complete its action plan by October 2019 or face consequences.
  • Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has become the first Arab country to be granted full membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The Kingdom had obtained observer status in the Group in June 2015.
  • FATF is responsible for issuing international standards, policies and best practices to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation.
  • Headquarters: Paris, France

Former Liverpool and Chelsea striker Fernando Torres announces retirement

  • Former Liverpool and Chelsea striker Fernando Torres has announced his retirement from football. He scored 81 goals across four seasons with Liverpool and won the Champions League, Europa League and FA Cup with Chelsea.
  • He was also part of the 2010 World Cup winner Spain.

GST Council simplifies rules for registration

  • The GST Council has simplified rules for registration and Aadhaar will now be used by businesses for registration under GST. In the earlier system, people had to give various documents and now, several advantages will occur to the business by using Aadhaar.
  • The GST Council had also approved imposing a penalty of up to 10 per cent on entities not passing on benefits of GST rate cuts to consumers.
  • The council has also extended the date for filing annual returns under the Goods and Services Tax regime by two months to 30th of August.

ICC World Cup: Sri Lanka stuns hosts England at Leeds

  • Sri Lanka beat England by 20 runs at Leeds. Chasing the victory target of 233 runs, hosts England were all out for 212 runs. Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga, who took 4 wickets for 43 runs, was declared Man of the Match.
  • Earlier, electing to bat first after winning the toss, Sri Lanka made 232 for the loss of nine wickets in the stipulated 50 overs. Angelo Mathews remained unbeaten on 85.

India expresses concern over rising crude oil prices

  • India has expressed concern over rising crude oil prices following developments in the Strait of Hormuz. Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has sought the active role of Saudi Arabia within Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and OPEC Plus to keep oil prices at reasonable levels.
  • The Strait of Hormuz is a strait between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. It provides the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the open ocean and is one of the world's most strategically important choke points.

India placed on 'Tier 2' in human trafficking report

  • The US has retained India in Tier 2 list of countries in its annual report on human trafficking, arguing that the country does not fully meet the minimum standards for its elimination even as it is making progress.
  • India was placed (i.e., remained) in Tier 2, which comprises countries whose governments do not fully meet the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA)’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.
  • TVPA stands for Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, which is a Congressional legislation that requires an annual report from the State Department on status of human trafficking in countries across the world. There are more than 90 countries in Tier 2.

India, France decide to deepen cooperation in cyber security sector

  • India and France have decided to deepen cooperation in the cyber security sector and jointly work towards curbing the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes and online radicalisation.
  • The third Indo-French cyber dialogue was held in Paris. During this dialogue, both parties shared their threat analysis and presented the latest developments in their respective cyber policies and steps taken for the protection of critical national infrastructure.
  • France and India have reaffirmed their commitment to open, reliable, secure, stable and peaceful cyberspace.

Introduction of manual checks in IGST refunds aimed to prevent unscrupulous exporters from defrauding exchequer: CBIC

  • The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) said that introduction of manual checks in IGST refunds is aimed at preventing unscrupulous exporters from defrauding the exchequer.
  • The CBIC has recently instructed its Customs and GST formations to verify the correct availment of input tax credit by few exporters who are perceived as risky on the basis of pre-defined risk parameters.
  • Only around five thousand risky exporters have been identified so far as against about one lakh 42 thousand total exporters.
  • The Centre has assured all genuine exporters that they would continue to get their Integrated Goods and Service Tax (IGST) refunds in a timely manner in a fully automated environment.

IRDAI okays standalone own-damage policy

  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has allowed insurers, with effect from September 1, to issue standalone annual own damage (OD) cover for cars and two-wheelers, both new and old.
  • Policyholders now have the option to renew the OD component of a bundled cover falling due on or after September 1, 2019, with the same insurer or different insurer, on an annual basis.
  • Consequently, the issuance of bundled policies for cars and two-wheelers will not be compulsory.

No Brexit renegotiation: EU leaders to next British PM

  • The European Union's top leaders made a Brexit warning to whoever wins the battle to become the next British Prime minister, saying the existing divorce deal could not be changed.
  • Hot favourite in Britain's Prime Ministerial post, Boris Johnson will face Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt in a run-off vote to decide who takes on the tricky task of piloting the country's departure from the European Union.
  • Both say they want to renegotiate the deal that outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May struck with Brussels after two years of painful negotiation, a deal which British lawmakers have rejected three times.

Only one in four received PM-KISAN money

  • Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told the Rajya Sabha that only one in four of the intended beneficiaries have received income support from the PM-KISAN scheme so far.
  • With a long verification process delaying payments, the Centre has now announced that farmers will get benefits retrospectively from the time their names are uploaded in the database, rather than from the time their details are verified.
  • The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme, announced in the 2019-20 interim budget of the previous government, provides an annual sum of Rs. 6000 to land-owning farmers in three instalments of Rs. 2,000 each. The new government has extended the scheme to larger farmers, raising the total number of beneficiaries to 14.5 crore families.

Operation Bandar, code name of Balakot strike

  • The air strike by the Indian Air Force (IAF) on a terrorist training camp in Balakot, Pakistan, was code-named ‘Operation Bandar’ but was known to very few. There was no particular reason in the choice of the name.
  • To maintain secrecy till the mission was executed, the Mirages took off directly from their home base in Gwalior at the time of the mission crossing Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir to the target area and back.

Over 5000 Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana Kendras are functional: Govt

  • Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister D V Sadananda Gowda has said that 50322 Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana Kendras are functional in the country. Out of these, 144 kendras are run by persons belonging to SC/ST community.
  • The Minister said, 39 PMBJP kendras have been opened in North-East and Naxal-affected areas in the financial year 2018-19.
  • Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana Kendra is a campaign launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Government of India, to provide quality medicines at affordable prices to the masses through special kendras known as Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendra.

Pankaj Advani clinches men's Asian Snooker Championship

  • Pankaj Advani has clinched the 35th men's Asian Snooker Championship in Doha to complete a career grand slam in cue sports. Advani defeated Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon 6-3 in the final to become the only one to win the Asian and World championships in all formats.
  • He conquered the ACBS Asian Snooker events - 6-red (short format) and 15-red (long format) - along with the IBSF World Championships in both formats too.

PM Modi to attend 14th G20 Summit in Osaka on June 28 and 29

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the 14th G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan on 28th and 29th of this month. Former Union Minister Suresh Prabhu will be India's sherpa at the summit.
  • India is likely to raise issues of terrorism, energy security and climate change financing, and call for stricter international laws on economic fugitives.
  • More than 20 countries will be participating in the G20 Summit.
  • The theme of the summit is "Human-centred future society".
  • India has participated in all the G20 Summits held so far. India will host the G20 summit in 2022 for the first time.

Pranati Nayak wins bronze at Asian Artistic Gymnastic Championship

  • India's Pranati Nayak has clinched a bronze medal in vault event at the Senior Asian Artistic Championships in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. She had qualified for vault finals with a sixth place, came up with a score of 13.384 to claim the bronze medal. She had scored 13.400 and 13.367 in the first and second vault.
  • China's Yu Linmin and Japan's Ayaka Sakaguchi won the gold and silver medal at the event.

Rajya Sabha rejects Parliament (Enhancement of Productivity) Bill 2017

  • The Rajya Sabha has rejected the Parliament (Enhancement of Productivity) Bill 2017 with voice votes. It was a private member bill which was introduced in the House by Akali Dal MP, Naresh Gujral in August, 2018.
  • The Bill was aimed at providing for the establishment of an effective system to prevent and address the decline in the productivity of Parliament due to disruptions of sittings.