Daily Current Affairs - 29th Aug 2019

25th Senior Women’s National Football Championship to be held in Arunachal Pradesh

  • The 25th Senior Women’s National Football Championship will be held in Arunachal Pradesh for the first time from September 10 to 24 next month.
  • The tournament will be held in the oldest town of the state Pasighat in East Siang District. A total of 30 teams from across the country, representing various States, Union Territories and Indian Railways will participate in the tournament.

Amazon fires at 'tipping point' for health of rainforest: Experts

  • A top global forestry management body, the International Tropical Timber Organisation, said the fires tearing through the Amazon represent a tipping point for the health of the rainforest and urged the world to do more to save the trees.
  • It stated that these fires might affect the integrity of the Amazon as a whole, because if the forest fires spread, the grasslands become more prone to forest fires.
  • As the latest figures show a total of more than 82,000 fires blazing in Brazil. More than half of the fires are in the massive Amazon basin.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth approves PM's plan to suspend parliament

  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth has approved Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan to suspend parliament. Earlier in the day, the British Government proposed the Queen to suspend Parliament just days after it returns from summer recess next week and only weeks before the Brexit deadline.
  • The suspension of Parliament has shortened the span of time for Members of Parliament to block a no-deal Brexit before the current deadline.
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson had vowed that Britain will leave the European Union on 31st of October, with or without a deal.

Centre to look into proposal to establish Sports Academy for Disabled in Meghalaya

  • Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale has said that the Ministry will look into the proposal of setting up of Sports Academy for Disabled worth 350 crore rupees in Meghalaya.
  • He stated that the Meghalaya Government has requested for the construction of Sports Academy for Disabled and has given 50 acres of land for this purpose.

Forex gains, OMOs aid RBI’s record surplus

  • Large scale open market operations (OMO) conducted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and higher earnings from foreign exchange operations helped boost the central bank’s surplus to record levels in 2018-19.
  • The RBI posted a surplus of Rs.1.23 lakh crore in 2018-19 compared to Rs.50,004 crore in 2017-18 and Rs.30,663 crore in 2016-17.
  • The RBI infused massive liquidity by buying back government securities. Market estimates suggest that the additional income during the accounting year was to the tune of ?26,000 crore on larger OMOs.
  • In addition, there was a gain of Rs.21,000 crore due to change in methodology to calculate foreign exchange gains, which was reflected in net income.
  • Earlier the central bank had approved the transfer of Rs.1.76 lakh crore to the government, which includes the surplus of Rs.1.23 lakh crore and excess provisions of Rs.52,637 crore identified as per the revised Economic Capital Framework.

Govt notifies 63 provisions of Motor Vehicles Act; implementation from Sep 1

  • The Union government has notified 63 provisions of the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act 2019 including the ones dealing with enhanced penalties for various traffic offences. The new clauses will come into effect from 1st of next month. The 63 clauses deal with penalties, licences, registration and National Transport Policy among others.
  • The new rules also enhance penalty for drunken driving to imprisonment up to 6 months or fine up to 10 thousand rupees or both for the first offence and imprisonment up to 2 years or fine of 15 thousand rupees or both for the second offence.

Govt permits 100% FDI in coal mining, associated infrastructure

  • The Union Cabinet has relaxed Foreign Direct Investment rule for foreign single-brand retailers and also permitted foreign investment in contract manufacturing and coal mining.
  • Now 100 per cent FDI under automatic route in coal mining and associated infrastructure has been approved.
  • 26 per cent FDI has also been allowed under government route for uploading and streaming of News and Current Affairs through Digital Media.
  • On FDI in single-brand retailing, the Cabinet has expanded the definition of mandatory 30 per cent domestic sourcing norm.
  • It also allowed single-brand retailers to start on-line sales, waiving the previous condition of setting up a mandatory brick-and-mortar store.

Govt to set up 75 new medical colleges in next three years

  • The Union Cabinet has approved setting up of 75 new Medical Colleges by 2021-22. The move will add 15,700 more MBBS seats in the country. These medical colleges will be established in under-served areas having no such colleges with at least 200 bedded district hospitals.
  • Preference will be given to Aspirational districts and district hospitals having 300 beds.

India Launches World’s First Ever Facial Bio-Metric Data Based Seafarer Identity Document

  • India has become the first country in the world to issue Biometric Seafarer Identity Document (BSID), capturing the facial bio-metric data of seafarers. Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, MoS (I/C) Shipping and Chemical & Fertilizers launched the project in New Delhi and handed over the new BSID cards to five Indian seafarers.
  • The new facial biometric technology is a marked improvement over the two finger or iris based bio-metric data, with modern security features. It will make the identification of the SID holder more reliable and efficient, while protecting their dignity and privacy. India had made a presentation on this technology at ILO.
  • The BSID introduces modern security features which will have a biometric chip embedded in it. The security of the BSID card is ensured at various levels and through different methods.

IOCL plans investments of Rs.2 lakh crore

  • Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), India’s largest refiner, plans to invest Rs.2 lakh crore in the next 5-7 years to expand its refining, marketing, petrochemicals and natural gas business.
  • IOCL accounts for about one-third of India’s refining capacity of 250 million metric tonnes per annum (mmtpa) with 11 refineries.
  • The company plans to invest over Rs.20,000 crore in expansion of its petrochemicals project till 2023-24, after spending Rs.25,000 crore in major petrochemicals projects in the Panipat and Paradip refineries.
  • IOCL has spent Rs.28,000 crore in the last fiscal and plans to invest Rs.25,000 crore this fiscal.
  • IOCL, along with HPCL and BPCL, is building the world’s longest — 2,757-km — LPG pipeline from Kandla in Gujarat to Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh.

Irdai sets up single point of contact for regulatory sandbox

  • Insurance regulator Irdai has set up a single point contact for its regulatory sandbox (RS) initiative, wherein financial technology firms can seek permission to experiment with innovative approaches for the growth of the sector.
  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) has already invited applications for the RS from September 15 to October 14, 2019.
  • The RS approach can be used to carve out a safe and conducive environment to experiment with innovative approaches (including Fin-Tech solutions), and where the consequences of failure, if any, can be contained.
  • Irdai said it has nominated Sanjay Verma, DGM (Distn Dev) as the "Single Point of Contact on regulatory sandbox matters".
  • Regulatory sandbox (RS) usually refers to live testing of new products or services in a controlled/test regulatory environment for which regulators may (or may not) permit certain relaxations for the limited purpose of the testing.

ISSF Rifle/Pistol World Cup Highlights: Elavenil bags gold, her first senior WC medal

  • Elavenil Valarivan has became only the third Indian shooter after Apurvi Chandela and Anjali Bhagwat to win the gold medal at the senior ISSF World Cup in the 10m Air Rifle category. The 20-year-old shot gold with 251.7 points, while Seonaid Mcintosh from Great Britain took the silver with 250.6 points.
  • This is Elavenil Valarivan's maiden medal at senior World Cup. The 20-year-old from Tamil Nadu had earlier won gold medals at ISSF Junior World Cup in Sydney and Suhl in 2018.

Italy''s M5S seals deal with PD for new coalition

  • Italy's anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the centre-left Democratic Party clinched a deal to form a new government and stave off elections in the eurozone''s third largest economy.
  • Five Star (M5S) said the coalition would be led by outgoing prime minister Giuseppe Conte, who had resigned following the collapse of the populist government earlier this month.
  • Had the PD and M5S been unable to form a solid majority, the president would likely have called an early election for November.
  • Far-right leader Matteo Salvini, who triggered the crisis on August 8 when he withdrew his League party from the governing coalition with M5S, said the new set-up was fragile and unlikely to last.

Lakshmi Vilas Bank managing director tenders resignation

  • Parathasarathi Mukherjee, the MD and CEO of Lakshmi Vilas Bank Ltd. (LVB), tendered his resignation owing to personal reasons. He has been holding the post of the MD and CEO of the bank since January 25, 2016 and was reappointed for a tenure of two years from January 25, 2019.
  • The bank is in the process of getting approvals from the regulators for a proposed merger of Indiabulls Housing Finance (IBHFL) and its wholly owned subsidiary Indiabulls Commercial Credit with LVB. According to the plan, IBHFL is to hold around 90.5% of the post-merger enhanced equity capital of the merged entity, while shareholders of LVB are to hold around 9.5%

Moody’s downgrades YES Bank; cites meagre capital raising, weak stock price as reasons

  • Global rating agency Moody has downgraded Yes Bank's ratings and said the outlook is negative. The downgrade takes into account the lower-than-expected amount of capital raised by the bank recently and the risk that the substantial decline in the bank’s share price will challenge its ability to raise sufficient capital to maintain the rating at its previous level.
  • Moody’s has now downgraded YES Bank’s long-term foreign-currency issuer rating to Ba3 from Ba1. It has also downgraded the bank’s long-term foreign and local currency bank deposit ratings to Ba3 from Ba1, foreign currency senior unsecured MTN programme rating to (P)Ba3 from (P)Ba1, and the Baseline Credit Assessment (BCA) and the adjusted BCA to b1 from ba2.

Myanmar's navy to join maritime drills with US in Southeast Asia next week

  • Myanmar's navy will join maritime drills with the US in Southeast Asia next week. This exercise, starting in the Gulf of Thailand on 2nd of next month, focuses on crime, piracy and security.
  • These drills does not violate US travel bans against Myanmar's top army brass over the Rohingya crisis.
  • The US State Department said the drills with the 10 nations of the regional bloc provide an opportunity to work with all members of ASEAN on shared maritime security priorities in the region.

PM Modi to launch nation-wide Fit India Movement today

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch a nation-wide Fit India Movement today on the occasion of National Sports Day. This campaign is aimed at encouraging people to inculcate physical activity and sports in their day to day life.
  • Meanwhile, President Ramnath Kovind will give away the national sports awards in New Delhi today. Wrestler Bajrang Punia and para-athlete Deepa Malik will be conferred with Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. Indian all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, footballer Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, hockey player Chinglensana Kangujam, sprinter Mohammed Anas, heptathlete Swapna Barman and shooter Anjum Moudgil are among some prominent names to be given Arjuna award.
  • IPS Officer Aparna Kumar will be honoured with the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award 2018 in the ‘Land adventure’ category.
  • The National Sports Day in India is celebrated on 29 August, on the birth anniversary of hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand.

SC refers all petitions on Article 370 to 5-judge Constitution Bench

  • The Supreme Court of India has referred to a five-judge Bench petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the State of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.
  • A Presidential Order on August 5 blunted Article 370, through which special rights and privileges were accorded to the State people since 1954 in accordance with the Instrument of Accession.
  • The Supreme Court issued a notice to the Centre and others and said that the five-judge Constitution Bench would hear all the petitions related to abrogation of Article 370 in the first week of October.