Daily Current Affairs - 15th Aug 2019

Argentina World Cup winner Jose Luis Brown dies at 62

  • Football player Jose Luis Brown, who scored Argentina's opening goal in their win against West Germany in the 1986 World Cup final, has died at 62. Brown played 36 times for Argentina's football team and spent most of his career at Estudiantes, making close to 300 league appearances for the club - based in La Plata near Buenos Aires.

Chandrayaan-2 leaves Earth’s orbit, moving towards moon

  • India’s lunar lander- orbiter craft ‘Chandrayaan-2’ was put in the path of moon, some 3.84 lakh km away,the ISRO said. Its orbit was raised for the sixth and last time on the earth side from ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru.
  • It will travel for the next seven days and get close to moon on August 20, when its orbit will be altered frequently to make it revolve around moon.
  • If successful, the mission will make India the fourth country after Russia, the U.S. and China to pull off a soft landing on the Moon.

Denmark’s Jyske Bank unveiled world’s first negative interest rate home loan

  • Jyske Bank, Denmark’s third largest, has launched the world’s first negative interest rate mortgage – handing out loans to homeowners where the charge is minus 0.5% a year. Negative interest rates effectively mean that a bank pays a borrower to take money off their hands, so they pay back less than they have been loaned.
  • The bank has begun offering borrowers a 10-year deal at -0.5%, while another Danish bank, Nordea, says it will begin offering 20-year fixed-rate deals at 0% and a 30-year mortgage at 0.5%.
  • Under its negative mortgage, Jyske said borrowers will make a monthly repayment as usual – but the amount still outstanding will be reduced each month by more than the borrower has paid.

Donald Trump repeats threat to take U.S. out of WTO

  • U.S. President Donald Trump has stated that the U.S. would leave the World Trade Organization (WTO), the world’s largest multilateral trade forum, if it had to. The President directed the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), asking it to convince the WTO to rethink its classification of developing countries (which can avail of special trade protections).
  • In his speech, Mr. Trump named India and China as examples of countries that had taken advantage of the U.S. through WTO.
  • The list of developing countries in WTO includes that of India, China, Russia, Brazil, South Africa and South Korea.

Govt. asks PSBs to find out reasons for rise in NPAs in last 5 years

  • The Union Finance Ministry has initiated a comprehensive consultative process with public sector banks (PSBs) to find out the reasons for the sharp rise in bad loans in the previous five years, apart from outlining national priorities with which these banks have to align themselves.
  • Touted as a ‘bottom-up consultative process,’ the Finance Ministry will review the performance of these entities in the last five years.
  • Banks have been given a detailed questionnaire in which they have to give their feedback on “the reason for the steep rise in NPAs during 2015-19. How many of these were stressed assets and which were not recognised earlier.
  • The Union government also wants to know the reasons for the decline in credit flow in the last five years.
  • This will be the first comprehensive review of PSBs after Nirmala Sitharaman took charge of the Finance Ministry in May, that will also provide a direction to the PSBs for the next five years.

HDFC Bank’s CSR spend rose 20%

  • HDFC Bank said it had spent Rs.443.8 crore on CSR in 2018-19, a rise of 20% over the previous year. The bank said it had met its CSR spending requirement for the consecutive years 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.
  • The lender said it had impacted over five crore lives through its social initiative ''Parivartan'' as on March 31, 2019. Parivartan is the umbrella of HDFC Bank for all its social initiatives.
  • Violation in CSR norms may attract penalties between Rs.50,000 and Rs.25 lakh, and even jail term of up to three years.

IDBI Bank Q1 net loss widens to Rs 3,800 crore

  • IDBI Bank has posted net loss of Rs 3,800 crore in the quarter ended June 2019. The company had recorded a loss of Rs 2,410 crore in the year-ago period. The net interest income (NII) of the company was down 11.1 percent at Rs 1,458 crore against Rs 1,639 crore.
  • The net NPA was down 26 percent to Rs 10,963 crore versus Rs 14,837 crore and gross NPA was up to Rs 51,657 crore against Rs 50,028 crore.

India wins Physical Disability T20 World Cricket Series 2019 by defeating England by 36 runs

  • India lifted the inaugural T20 Physical Disability World Cricket Series after defeating hosts England by 36 runs in the finals. Opting to bat first, India posted 180 for 7 in their allotted 20 overs in the summit clash which was played at Blackfinch in England.
  • India then returned to restrict England to 144 for 9 to lay claim to the trophy.

ISRO chairman K.Sivan conferred with A.P.J. Abdul Kalam award

  • In recognition of his stellar work in promotion of science and technology, Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman K Sivan was awarded the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Award by the Tamil Nadu government.
  • Mr Sivan's leadership led to the historical achievement of most successful GSLV flight with indigenous cryogenic stage. Under his tutelage, ISRO successfully launched Chandrayan 2, the second mission to the moon on July 22 and he was the chief architect of SITARA, a 6D trajectory simulation software.
  • The Kalam award is to honour those who work for promoting scientific growth, humanities and students' welfare and the awardees should hail from Tamil Nadu. The award carries 8 gm gold medal, Rs. five lakh in cash and a citation.
  • The first Kalam award was presented by Jayalalithaa in 2015 to ISRO scientist N Valarmathi and it is given on Independence Day every year.

July trade deficit narrows to $13.43 bn

  • According to union government data, India’s trade deficit narrowed to $13.43 billion in July 2019, from $15.28 billion in the previous month.
  • India’s exports grew by 2.25% to $26.33 billion in July while imports, however, slipped by 10.43% to $39.76 billion, narrowing trade deficit to $13.43 billion in July. The deficit was $18.63 billion in July last year.
  • Export sectors that recorded positive growth in the last month include chemical, iron and pharmaceuticals. Shipments of gems and jewellery, engineering goods, petroleum products recorded negative growth.
  • Oil imports declined 22.15% to $9.6 billion, and non-oil slipped by 5.92% to $30.16 billion.
  • Trade deficit is the difference between imports and exports.

Rajasthan gets award at World Education Summit

  • Rajasthan has bagged the “best innovation and initiative leadership award” for its achievements in higher education in the World Education Summit-2019 held in New Delhi.
  • The State was awarded for promoting higher education with the emphasis on inculcating ethical values among the students and developing their skills to face competitive exams.

RBI asks banks not to count failed transactions, balance enquiry as ‘free ATM transactions’

  • The Reserve Bank of India has asked banks not to count failed transactions at ATMs due to technical reasons as part of “free ATM transactions” permitted every month. Besides, use of ATMs for balance enquiry and fund transfers too should be not part of the free transactions facility given to a customer. Banks provide certain number of free transactions at ATMs to their customers and beyond that impose charges.
  • Further, non-cash withdrawal transactions (such as balance enquiry, cheque book request, payment of taxes, funds transfer), which constitute ‘on-us’ transactions (when a card is used at an ATM of the bank which has issued the card) shall also not be part of the number of free ATM transactions.

To aid mining, Environment Ministry will provide ‘temporary’ forest clearances

  • The Union Environment Ministry plans to provide “temporary” forest clearances to prospective bidders for mines whose leases are set to expire in March 2020. The bulk of such mines are located in Odisha and Karnataka.
  • This relaxation was necessary because of a change in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, which was amended in 2015. The key change is that, unlike in previous years when mining leases were extended every 20 years, new leases would be issued for 50 years and they would be made available via an auction.
  • Most of the mines up for renewal are in Odisha. The State has seen delays of over a year in conducting auctions for a sliver of blocks due to expire after 50 years in March 2020. These mines account for 50%-55% of Odisha’s production.

Uttarakhand gets full member status in the BCCI by CoA

  • The Committee of Administrators (CoA) has handed the Cricket Association of Uttarakhand (CAU) full BCCI membership. The decision brought an end to a longstanding dispute over which body from the state would be part of Indian cricket’s mainstream.
  • It was a four-way fight in Uttarakhand, with Uttarakhand Cricket Association (UKCA), United Cricket Association (UTCA), Uttaranchal Cricket Association (UCA) and CAU vying for BCCI affiliation.

VG Somani appointed as new DCGI of CDSCO

  • The Union government has appointed VG Somani as Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). DCGI heads the Indian drug regulatory body the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), whose functions include ensuring the quality of drugs and cosmetics sold in the country, approval of new drugs and regulating clinical trials.
  • Somani is currently Joint Drugs Controller of India.

Wing Commander Abhinandan to be awarded Vir Chakra

  • Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was caught by Pakistan after his MiG-21 Bison fighter jet went down across the Line of Control (LoC) on February 27 and was returned three days later, has been awarded Vir Chakra (VrC), the country’s third-highest gallantry award.
  • Kirti Chakra, the second-highest peacetime gallantry award was posthumously awarded to Sapper Prakash Jadhav for his role in counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir.

Wrestler Deepak Punia wins gold, becomes first Indian junior world champion

  • Wrestler Deepak Punia has became India’s first junior World Champion in 18 years after he claimed a gold medal at the Junior Worlds with a win over Russia’s Alik Shebzukhov at Tallinn, Estonia. The score was tied 2-2 at the end of the 86kg men’s freestyle bout but the Indian was declared champion because he had scored the last point.
  • Punia will also represent India at the upcoming World Championship in Kazakhatan.
  • In the 92kg, Vicky Chahar edged out Mongloia’s Batmagnai Eenkhtuvshin 4-3 to claim a bronze.
  • The last Indians to emerge gold medallists at the junior world championship were Ramesh Kumar (69 kg) and Palwinder Singh Cheema (130 kg) who stood atop the podium in 2001.