Daily Current Affairs - 02nd Jan 2020

22 tableau proposals out of 56 shortlisted for Republic Day

  • A total of twenty-two tableau proposals including 16 from states and six from Central Ministries have been short-listed for participation in this year's Republic Day parade.
  • Ministry of Defence had received a total of 56 tableaux proposals comprising 32 from States and 24 from Ministries in this regard.
  • The tableaux proposals received are evaluated in a series of meetings of the Expert Committee comprising of eminent persons in the field of art, culture, painting, sculpture, music and architecture.

Birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh being celebrated on January 2

  • The birth anniversary of the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh ji is being celebrated on January 2. Born in 1666, Guru Gobind Singh is considered to be one of the most celebrated of all Sikh gurus.

Centre appoints Rohan Shah as Governor on ERIA Board

  • Ministry of Commerce and Industry has appointed Rohan Shah, a practicing counsel at the Supreme Court, as India’s Representative and Governor on the board of Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (“ERIA”).
  • The appointment is for a period of three years. The Board of ERIA meets once in every six months in Jakarta and then in Japan.
  • ERIA, formed by the Governments of the ASEAN countries, is engaged in research and guidance on policy formulation related to economic integration, cross border trade issues and narrowing development gaps in the ASEAN region.

EC launches Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System

  • The Election Commission has launched a Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System to enable applicants to track the status of the applications. The Commission had amended the guidelines for registration last month.
  • Under it, applicants, applying for the party registration from 1st of this month will be able to track the progress of applications and will get the status through SMS and e-mail.
  • An association seeking registration must submit an application to the Commission within a period of 30 days from the date of its formation.

FDI rises 15% during Apr-Sep to $26 billion

  • Foreign direct investment into India grew 15% to $26 billion during the first half of the current financial year, according to government data.
  • Inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) during April-September of 2018-19 stood at $22.66 billion.
  • Sectors, which attracted maximum foreign inflows during April-September 2019-20, include services ($4.45 billion), computer software and hardware ($ 4 billion), telecommunications ($4.28 billion), automobile ($2.13 billion) and trading ($2.14 billion).
  • Singapore continued to be the largest source of FDI in India during the first half of the financial year with $8 billion investments then followed by Mauritius ($6.36 billion), the US ($2.15 billion), the Netherlands ($2.32 billion), and Japan ($1.78 billion).
  • Recently, the government relaxed foreign investment norms in sectors such as brand retail trading, coal mining and contract manufacturing.

Government cuts import duty on crude and refined Palm oil

  • Government has slashed import duty on refined palmolein from 50 per cent to 45 per cent and crude palm oil (CPO) from 40 per cent to 37.5 per cent with immediate effect. The duty cut has been made under the ASEAN agreement and the India-Malaysia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (IMCECA).
  • The domestic palm oil refining industry has opposed the move saying it will hurt them and oilseeds farmers.

GST revenue collection increased by 16% in December 2019; crosses one lakh crore rupee mark

  • The GST revenue collection has crossed one lakh crore rupees in December last year, which is a growth of 16 per cent over the revenue collected in the same month in 2018. The total GST collected during last month was one lakh three thousand and 184 crore rupees.
  • A total of over 81 lakh GSTR 3B returns were filed for the month of November up to 31st December 2019.

India, Pakistan exchange lists of civilian prisoners, fishermen

  • India and Pakistan exchanged the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen of each country lodged in jails through diplomatic channels. India handed over lists of 267 Pakistan civilian prisoners and 99 fishermen to Pakistan who are in India’s custody.
  • Similarly, Pakistan has shared lists of 55 civilian prisoners and 227 fishermen in its custody, who are Indians or believed-to-be Indians.
  • This is in keeping with the provisions of the 2008 Agreement under which such lists are exchanged on 1st January and 1st July every year.

IRDAI fines Maruti, Hero broking firms

  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has imposed a penalty of Rs.3 crore on Maruti Insurance Broking (MIBL) and Rs.2.18 crore on Hero Insurance Broking India (HIBIL) for not complying with the Motor Insurance Service Provider (MISP) guidelines.
  • The IRDAI has asked MIBL to complete the task in six months from the date of order and report compliance.

ISRO to set up second launch port in Thoothukodi district of Tamilnadu for small satellite launch vehicles

  • Indian Space Research Organisation will establish a second launch port in Thoothukodi district in Tamilnadu exclusively to launch small satellite launch vehicles. ISRO Chairman K Sivan has said the set up will come up in 2300 acres.

Mindspace REIT files for IPO

  • Mindspace Business Parks REIT (Mindspace), backed by K Raheja Corp and Blackstone, has filed draft papers with market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) for an initial public offer (IPO).
  • The IPO consists of a fresh issue of Rs 1,000 crore and an offer for sale by some unit-holders. The net proceeds will be used to pay back debt, which stood at Rs 6,900 crore at the end of September 30, 2019.
  • Certain entities of Blackstone Group are also selling their units in the proposed offering of Mindspace. This will be the second REIT listing after Embassy Office Parks in April last year.
  • Mindspace Business Parks REIT owns office spaces across Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai.
  • An REIT is an investment tool that owns and operates rent-yielding real estate assets. It allows individual investors to make investment in this platform and earn income.

MS Dhoni picked captain of ESPNCricinfo's ODI and T20 teams of past decade

  • Former India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was picked as captain of ESPN Cricinfo's ODI and Twenty20 teams of the decade, while Virat Kohli was named the leader in Tests.
  • Kuldeep Yadav, and Yuzvendra Chahal, were the only other Indians to make the Test XI, which also featured England's Alastair Cook and New Zealand's Kane Williamson.
  • Rohit Sharma with 7991 runs was also named in the ODI XI. Jasprit Bumrah found a place, alongside Kohli and Dhoni in the T20 XI, dominated by Caribbean players.
  • Former skipper Mithali Raj and fast bowler Jhulan Goswami were named in the same women's team picked for both the ODIs and T20s. Australia's inspirational cricketer, Meg Lanning was named the captain of the side.

Netanyahu says he'll seek immunity from corruption charges

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he would ask parliament for immunity from corruption charges, likely delaying any trial until after March elections, when he hopes to have a majority coalition that will shield him from prosecution.
  • Netanyahu was indicted in November on charges of accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust. After failing to assemble a governing majority following back-to-back elections last year, he will get a third shot at remaining in office in March.

Palau is first country to ban 'reef toxic' sun cream

  • The Pacific nation of Palau has become the first country to ban sun cream that is harmful to corals and sea life. Sun cream that includes common ingredients, including oxybenzone, is not allowed to be worn or sold in the country.
  • A lagoon in Palau's Rock Islands is a Unesco World Heritage site. The country has a population of around 20,000 dotted across hundreds of islands.
  • Palau is renowned for its marine life and is regarded as one of the world's best diving destination.
  • Palau's President Tommy Remengesau

Park Hotels files draft papers for Rs.1,000 crore initial public offering

  • Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels Ltd, which operates luxury boutique hotels under ‘The Park’ brand, has filed its draft red herring prospectus for a Rs.1,000-crore initial public offering (IPO). The initial share sale comprises a fresh offer of Rs.400 crore, which will be used to repay debt and for general corporate purposes, while the remaining shares worth Rs.600 crore will be sold by its existing investors and promoters.
  • Investment banks ICICI Securities, Axis Capital and JM Financial are managing the share sale.

PM Boris Johnson vows to take UK out of European Union within this month

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed that the first item on his agenda in 2020 is to fulfil the will of the electorate and to conclude the UK's divorce deal with the European Union within this month. In his new year message, Johnson said he hoped the country would move forward united after it leaves the 28-member bloc on January 31st.
  • Legislation to ratify the withdrawal agreement with the European Union easily cleared its first hurdle before Christmas when MPs backed it by a majority of 124.
  • The PM said remaining stages of the bill are expected to be completed quickly in January in time, to get Brexit done before the end of this month.

PM to felicitate states with Krishi Karman Awards for good agriculture production

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take part in the Krishi award function in Tumkuru Junior College grounds. He will hand over Krishi Karman Award to 21 states that have recorded good agriculture production in various categories during the previous crop seasons.
  • He will also inaugurate the 107th National Science Congress in the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bengaluru.

RBI launches mobile app for visually challenged to identify denomination of currency notes

  • Reserve Bank of India, RBI has launched a mobile app, MANI, Mobile Aided Note Identifier, to help visually challenged people to identify denomination of currency notes. The app, which is available both on Android and iOS operating systems.
  • RBI said that the visually challenged can identify the denomination of a note by using the application, which can also work offline once it is installed. Through the downloaded app, users can scan the notes using the camera. The audio output will give the result in Hindi and English.

Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen defends anti-infiltration law aimed at China

  • China has been relentless in its attempts to influence and infiltrate Taiwan's politics and society but the island's new ban on political interference should have no effect on normal exchanges between the sides, Taiwan's president said in her New Year's address.
  • The Anti-Subversion Law obtained a third and final approval in Taiwan's legislature. It aims to prevent illegal campaign contributions, staging of political events, spread of misinformation and other acts by foreigners that could affect Taiwan's elections or government work.

TRAI amends new regulatory framework for cable & broadcasting services

  • Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, TRAI has made amendments to the new regulatory framework for cable and broadcasting services with a view to protect the consumer interests. Under it, cable TV users will be able to access more channels at lower subion price.
  • The Authority has also capped at 160 rupees the amount consumers will have to pay monthly for all free to air channels.
  • TRAI said, the homes where more than one TV connection is working in the name of one person, it will charge maximum 40 per cent of declared NCF for second and additional TV connections.

UIDAI opens 28 new Aadhaar Seva Kendras

  • The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has opened 28 Aadhaar Seva Kendras as part of its plan to open 114 stand-alone Aadhaar Enrolments and Update Centres across the country. These are in addition to about 38 thousand Aadhaar enrolment centres run by Banks, Post Offices and State Governments.
  • These Aadhaar Seva Kendras which are open on all days of the week, have a capacity to handle up to one thousand enrollments and requests per day.
  • UIDAI plans to set up 114 Aadhaar Seva Kendras in 53 cities across the country

Umaro Cissoko Embalo wins Guinea-Bissau presidential election

  • Guinea-Bissau opposition leader Umaro Cissoko Embalo, a former prime minister, has won the presidential election with 53.55 percent of votes. His rival Domingos Simoes Pereira, head of the country's ruling PAIGC party, took 46.45 percent in Sunday's runoff.
  • Outgoing Jose Mario Vaz came to power in 2014 on hopes of stabilizing a country notorious for coups and assassinations since gaining independence from Portugal in 1974.