Daily Current Affairs - 16th Nov 2019

AIIB approves $500m loan for MUTP 3

  • The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will invest $500 million in three suburban rail infrastructure projects being executed under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project 3 (MUTP 3). The projects are Virar-Dahanu quadrupling, a new rail corridor between Karjat and Panvel, and a series of works to curb trespass deaths in the Mumbai suburban rail corridor.

CBI Sets up 'Specialised Unit' to Tackle Menace of Child Porn at Delhi Headquarters

  • The Central Bureau of Investigation has a set up an online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation (OCSAE) Prevention/Investigation Unit at its headquarter to counter the growing menace of child porn on the Internet.
  • The new "specialised unit" under the special crime investigation wing of the agency will collect intelligence not only on those who are allegedly creating and transmitting such material on the Internet but also those who are browsing and downloading such material
  • The perpetrators will be booked under relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, and the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Chile to vote on new Constitution

  • Chilean political parties have agreed to a referendum on replacing the country’s Pinochet-era constitution, in a deal which could help end nearly a month of sometimes violent political unrest.
  • The current charter, in force since 1980 and enacted by the former military junta of Augusto Pinochet, has been changed numerous times in the years since.
  • The charter does not establish the state's responsibility to provide education and healthcare - two demands made by millions of Chileans who have taken to the streets.
  • Meanwhile, lawmakers in Chile's National Congress agreed early Friday to hold the plebiscite in April 2020. The referendum will ask voters whether the constitution should be replaced and if so, how a new charter should be drafted.
  • The unrest that began on October 18 with protests against a rise in rush-hour metro fares has mushroomed into a broader outcry against the status quo.

Dhaka International Folk Festival Inaugurated

  • The 5th edition of the Dhaka International Folk Festival was inaugurated. More than 200 artistes from 6 countries are be performing in the largest folk festival of Asia. During the three-day festival many popular and renowned artistes from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Russia and other countries will perform in Dhaka.
  • Among the notable ones Chandana Majumdar, Kajol Dewan from Bangladesh, Daler Mehndi from India, Junoon and Hina Nasrullah from Pakistan and Sattuma from Russia will be performing in the three daylong events between November 14-16.

Govt aims to raise MSME sector contribution from 29% to 50%: Gadkari

  • Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) Nitin Gadkari has said that contribution of MSME sector to the country's economy is 29 per cent and the Government aims to increase it to 50 per cent.
  • He said, the country's exports 39 per cent of MSME products at present. Mr Gadkari said, in future, the government wants to take the export target to 60 per cent. He said, at present between 10 and 11 crore jobs are available in the MSME sector.
  • The Minister said, the Centre is working to increase the employment by another five crore in the next five years.

Govt notifies rules under insolvency law for resolution of financial service providers

  • The Union government has notified rules under the insolvency law to deal with the resolution of systemically important financial service providers, excluding banks.
  • The Corporate Affairs Ministry has notified the Insolvency and Bankruptcy (Insolvency and Liquidation Proceedings of Financial Service Providers and Application to Adjudicating Authority) Rules, 2019.
  • It will provide a generic framework for insolvency and liquidation proceedings of systemically important Financial Service Providers, FSPs other than banks.
  • Section 227 of the Code enables the Central Government to notify, in consultation with the financial sector regulators, FSPs or categories of FSPs for the purpose of insolvency and liquidation proceedings.
  • The latest move comes against the backdrop of instances of financial stress faced by certain entities that are into financial services.

Govt to withdraw draft prepared for amendments to IFA

  • The Union Government has decided to withdraw the draft prepared for amendments to the Indian Forest Act, 1927 to remove any misgiving about taking away the right of the tribals and forest dwellers. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said, the government is committed to give more rights to tribals and forest dwellers.
  • The provision in the amendment which invited criticism was the one which allowed forest officials to use arms against people to prevent forest offence.

Govt won't release consumer expenditure survey due to data quality issues

  • The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has said that it will not release the Consumer Expenditure Survey results of 2017-2018 in view of the data quality issues. The Ministry said, it is separately examining the feasibility of conducting the next Consumer Expenditure Survey in 2020-2021 and 2021-22 after incorporating all data quality refinements in the survey process.
  • The National Statistical Office of Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation carried out an all-India survey on household consumption expenditure in the 75th round during the period July 2017 to June 2018.

Home Minister to inaugurate 15-day tribal festival

  • The Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, will inaugurate the 15-day tribal festival - Aadi Mahotsav - in New Delhi. The theme of the event is “A celebration of the spirit of tribal culture, craft, cuisine and commerce”.
  • The aim of “Aadi Mahotsav – National Tribal Festival” is to provide direct market access to the tribal master-craftsmen and women in large metros and state capitals.
  • As many as 26 such festivals are planned to be organised during the current financial year.
  • It will feature exhibition-cum-sale of tribal handicrafts, art, paintings, fabric, jewellery and much more through about 210 stalls.

India fares better than China in global bribery risk matrix

  • India has been placed in a better position than neighbouring China in a global list that measures business bribery risks while, New Zealand has emerged as the country with lowest bribery risk. The index was released by Trace Bribery Risk Matrix
  • With a total risk score of 48, India was ranked 78th in the Global Bribery Risk Index.
  • The report highlights Bangladesh as the highest risk country in terms of bribery in South Asia.
  • Somalia, South Sudan, North Korea, Yemen and Venezuela presented the highest risk of bribe demands. New Zealand, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland presented the lowest bribery risk.
  • The list by TRACE, an anti-bribery standard setting organisation, measures business bribery risk in 200 countries, territories, and autonomous and semi-autonomous regions.

India's exports decline 1.11% to $26.38 billion in October

  • The country's exports dipped by 1.11 per cent to $26.38 billion in October on account of contraction in sectors like petroleum and leather. In September also, exports had contracted by 6.57 per cent to $26 billion.
  • Imports too declined by 16.31 per cent to $37.39 billion, narrowing trade deficit to $11 billion in October. Trade deficit in October last year stood at $18 billion.
  • Oil imports, in October 2019, fell 31.74 per cent to $9.63 billion as compared to the same month last year.
  • Exports during April - October this fiscal dipped by 2.21 per cent to $185.95 billion. Imports were down by 8.37 per cent to $280.67 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $94.72 billion.

Jemimah Rodrigues leads India to T20I series win over West Indies

  • Indian women clinched the series with a seven-wicket win over the West Indies in Third women's T20 International at Providence in Guyana. Indian spinners restricted West Indies to 59 for 9 in the stipulated 20 overs before Jemimah Rodrigues played unbeaten innings of 40 in51 balls to make India win with a loss of three wickets and 20 balls remaining.

Kidambi Srikanth to play his semifinal match in Hong Kong open

  • In the Hong Kong Open badminton tournament, Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth will face Lee Cheuk-Yiu of Hong Kong in the Men's Singles semifinals. Srikanth entered the semifinals of the men's singles event after fifth seed Chen Long of China decided to quit the contest owing to an injury.

No GST on salary, clarifies CBIC

  • Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, CBIC has clarified that salaries are not subject to GST and no GST has been demanded on salaries paid to CEOs or employees. In a statement, CBIC said that the media report in this regard alleging that tax authorities want to impose GST on salaries paid to employees is factually incorrect and misrepresents tax authorities.
  • CBIC emphasized the GST law position which clearly states that the salaried services by an employee to the employer shall be treated neither as a supply of goods nor as a supply of services.
  • So, salaries as such cannot be subject to GST.
  • Generally, the GST charged on the prices or charges by any supplier of goods or services from his consumers does comprise all costs including the cost of raw material, capital goods, input services and employee costs

PCI's journalism award to be presented on National Press Day

  • Press Council of India has announced the names of the winners of National Awards for Excellence in Journalism for the year 2019. National Press Day is celebrated every year on 16 November.
  • Eminent journalist and Chairman of Rajasthan Patrika Gulab Kothari has been selected for Raja Ram Mohan Roy Award for his outstanding contribution in the field of journalism.
  • Besides, Sanjay Saini, Correspondent of Danik Bhaskar and Raj Chengappa, Group Editorial Director of India Today have been selected jointly for the award in the Category of Rural Journalism.
  • Shiva Swaroop Awasthi, Senior Reporter of Dainik Jagran and Sub- Editor of Mathrubhumi Anu Abrahim will be jointly awarded in the category of Developmental Reporting.
  • In the Photojournalism category, PG Unnikrishnan and Akhil KS of Mathrubhumi have been jointly selected.
  • Ruby Sarkar of Deshbandhu and Anuradha Mascarenhas of Indian Express will be jointly awarded in the category Gender-Based Reporting.
  • Saurabh Duggal of Hindustan Times has been selected in the category of Sports Reporting.

PM Modi calls for early opening of NDB's regional office in India

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for an early opening of New Development Bank's regional office in India. Addressing the Dialogue with BRICS Business Council and New Development Bank (NDB) in Brasilia, Mr Modi, this will give a boost to projects in our priority areas.
  • The Prime Minister offered full backing to the multilateral finance institution in promoting global growth.
  • According to the BRICS joint statement, the five countries look forward to the opening of the two remaining NDB Regional Offices in Russia and India in 2020.

Polling underway in Sri Lanka to elect a new President

  • In Sri Lanka, polling is underway to elect a new President. A total of 35 candidates are in the fray. A round 1.6 crore people are eligible to exercise their franchise and over 12 thousand polling stations have been set up all over the country.
  • A candidate needs to poll over 50 per cent of valid votes to be declared winner, else the second preference votes must be counted.
  • The main contest is between former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajpaksa and Minister Sajith Premadasa.
  • This is the first time in the country’s history that neither of sitting President nor Prime minister is contesting the elections.

RCom posts Rs 30,142 cr loss in Jul-Sept quarter

  • Debt-ridden Reliance Communications has posted a consolidated loss of Rs 30,142 crore for July September 2019 due to provisioning for liabilities after the Supreme Court ruling on statutory dues. The company, which is going through insolvency process, had made a profit of Rs 1,141 crore in the corresponding three months a year ago.
  • RCom's total liability includes Rs 23,327 crore licence fee and Rs 4.987 crore spectrum usage charges.
  • During July-September 2019, the company set aside Rs 28,314 crore on account of provisioning following the Supreme Court order on calculation of annual adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of telecom companies.
  • Total liability on telecom operators after the SC ruling is estimated to be around Rs 1.6 lakh crore, of which Rs 1.33 lakh crore due has to be paid by the companies that are operational.

Roger Federer outclasses Novak Djokovic to reach ATP Finals in London

  • Swiss Roger Federer beat Novak Djokovic of Serbia to reach the semi-finals at ATP World Tour Finals in London. He defeated second seed Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 in 73 minutes. Now, Tsitsipas will face Roger Federer in the other semi-final.

SC holds former Ranbaxy promoters Malvinder, Shivinder guilty of contempt of court

  • The Supreme Court of India held former Ranbaxy promoters Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh guilty of contempt of court for violating its order asking them not to divest their shares in Fortis Healthcare Limited.
  • The apex court had earlier asked the Singh brothers to give it a plan as to how they would honour the arbitral award of 3,500 crore rupees granted by a Singapore tribunal against them and in favour of Japanese drug manufacturer Daiichi Sankyo.
  • A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta said that they had violated its earlier order by which the sale of their controlling stakes in Fortis Group to Malayasian firm IHH Healthcare was put on hold.

Supreme Court paves way for ArcelorMittal's takeover of Essar Steel in Rs.42,000 crore deal

  • ArcelorMittal won the approval from India’s top court to complete its $5.8 billion purchase of a bankrupt steel mill Essar Steel, clearing the way for tycoon Lakshmi Mittal to enter the world’s second-biggest market for the metal.
  • The Supreme Court of India has allowed Arcelor to pay creditors for Essar Steel India Ltd. and scrapped a bankruptcy appellate tribunal’s order that had given secured and unsecured lenders equal right over the sale proceeds.
  • The world’s largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, and its partner Nippon Steel Corp. had offered to pay Rs.42,000 crore ($5.8 billion) in cash to creditors and pump another Rs.8,000 crore in the mill last year.

UNGA draft resolution on Rohingyas passed, Myanmar urged to repeal 1982 citizenship law

  • The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has recently passed a draft resolution asking Myanmar to demonstrate genuine political goodwill to ensure the safe and sustainable return of the Rohingyas.
  • The draft resolution named 'Situation of human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar' was placed in the UNGA by the United Arab Emirates and Finland on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and European Union (EU).
  • It was passed by a majority of 140 votes. Nine countries including China, Myanmar, Russian Federation and Zimbabwe voted against the resolution while 32 countries abstained.
  • The resolution calls upon Myanmar to review the controversial 1982 citizenship law which effectively denied citizenship to lakhs of Rohingyas living in Myanmar.
  • The resolution asks Myanmar to show clear political will for the safe, dignified, voluntary and sustainable return and reintegration of Rohingyas for the return of Rohingya refugees.