Daily Current Affairs - 13th Jan 2020

'Pariksha Pe Charcha 2020' to be held on January 20

  • Students, teachers and parents across India are eagerly awaiting for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interaction programme "Pariksha Pe Charcha-2020". This event will be held at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi on January 20. Over two thousand students, parents and teachers will be participating from all over the country.
  • Mr Modi will answer the questions and interact with selected students about how they can beat examination stress.

Australian PM expresses regret over handling of bushfire crisis

  • Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison has expressed regret over his handling of the bushfire crisis ravaging the country. Mr Morrison has faced mounting criticism over his government's response to the bushfires and its climate policy.
  • Since September, bushfires have killed at least 28 people and destroyed thousands of homes. T Mr Morrison conceded there were things that he could have handled on the ground much better.

Corporates to get 2 more years to split posts of MD and Chairman

  • The market regulator SEBI will extend the deadline for listed companies to split the post of chairman and managing director by two years. The deadline was March 31, 2020, but many top corporate houses had sought more time to implement it.
  • A committee led by Uday Kotak had first suggested such a move to SEBI as part of a major overhaul of corporate governance norms for listed companies. The suggestion was that only a non-executive director should be made chairman, which would eventually lead to the splitting of the posts of chairman and MD.
  • The idea is to segregate the roles between the chairman, who presides over the board and deals with broader issues, and the MD, who is mainly in charge of the day-to-day operations.

Djokovic beats Nadal at ATP Cup in Sydney

  • Novak Djokovic overpowered long-time rival Rafael Nadal and led Serbia to victory in the inaugural ATP Cup at Sydeny . The world number two blasted the top-ranked Spaniard off court 6-2, 7-6. The world number 10 Roberto Bautista Agut defeated Serbia's Dusan Lajovic 7-5, 6-1 in the other singles.

Farm loan write-offs touch Rs 4.7 lakh crore in last 10 years

  • According to a report by the State Bank of India (SBI), various states have cumulatively written off a whopping Rs 4.7 lakh crore of farm loans in the past one decade, which is 82 per cent of the industry-level bad loans.
  • In FY19, farm loan non-performing assets (NPAs) jumped to 12.4 per cent or at 1.1 lakh crore of the Rs 8,79,000 crore of total bad loans in the system, up from Rs 48,800 crore or 8.6 per cent of the total NPAs of Rs 5,6,6,620 crore in FY16.
  • Majority of our farmers are indebted because around 70 per cent of the farmland is being cultivated by tenant farmers and not land-owning farmers, and hence is not entitled to getting any benefit, as being not the owner of the land.

Festival of harvest, Lohri being celebrated in North India

  • The festival of harvest, Lohri is being celebrated on January 13 in North India especially in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu and Chandigarh. Lohri marks the end of the long nights of winter and welcomes the longer days of summer, as the Sun begins its journey to the Northern Hemisphere. Lohri is celebrated with a bonfire.
  • The festival is mostly associated with crop harvesting and happiness.

Hong Kong rally seeks international support for movement

  • More than a thousand people attended a rally in Hong Kong to urge people and governments abroad to support the city's pro-democracy movement and oppose China's ruling Communist Party.
  • Representatives of allied activist groups from Canada, Europe and Taiwan led the attendees in the rally.

India finish 2019 as number one shooting nation in world

  • With its sparkling show through 2019, India finished the year as the top shooting nation in the world, leaving behind Olympic heavyweights China and the USA.
  • In terms of overall medals, the tally stood at 21 gold, six silver and three bronze as India topped all the Rifle-Pistol World Cups and Finals in an unforgettable year. While India leads the standings with 30 medals overall, China is second with 11 gold, 15 silver and 18 bronze for a total of 44 podium finishes.
  • The USA is placed third with 15 medals including six gold six silver and three bronze.
  • The number of Olympic quotas, which now stands at a record 15, is not a only refection of the country's rapid rise in the sport over the last one year.

India to acquire 200 fighter jets for Air Force: Defence secretary

  • Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar has said, the union government is in the process of acquiring around 200 aircraft to cope with the depleting aerial inventories of the Indian Air Force. He said that the contract for HAL-manufactured 83 LCA Tejas Mark 1 A advanced fighter jets are in the final stages.
  • Mr Kumar said, apart from these, Expression of Interest has been floated for another 110 aircraft, based on which Request for Proposal will be floated.
  • The Air Force has Sukhoi 30 MKIs, Mirage 2000s, Mig 29s and the ageing Jaguars and Mig 21 Bisons in its inventory of fighter jets at present.

Indian squad announced for ICC Women's T-20 World Cup

  • Harman Preet Kaur-led India squad was announced in Mumbai for the ICC Women's T20 World Cup in Australia, starting on 21st February. Bengal's rookie bats woman Richa Ghosh was the only new face in a 15-member team.
  • 15-year-old Haryana schoolgirl Shafali Verma will also be playing her first global meet following some good performances at the international level in her first season.

Jasprit Bumrah to receive Polly Umrigar Award

  • The BCCI has announced that India's pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah will receive the prestigious Polly Umrigar Award for his super performance in international cricket in the 2018-19 season
  • He picked up a five-wicket haul in South Africa, England, Australia and the West Indies becoming the first and only Asian bowler to achieve the feat.
  • Former India captains Krishnamachari Srikkanth and Anjum Chopra will be presented with the Col CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award and the BCCI Lifetime Achievement Award for women.

Kaziranga has one of the highest numbers of wetland birds

  • Kaziranga National Park recorded 96 species of wetland birds — one of the highest for wildlife reserves in India, according to the second wetland bird count conducted on January 9-10. A total of 19,225 birds belonging to 96 species under 80 families was reported which is significantly higher than that of 2018.
  • Kaziranga is home of the world's famous one-horned rhinos.
  • Kaziranga is in the State of Assam and covers 42,996 ha. It is the single largest undisturbed and representative area in the Brahmaputra Valley floodplain.

Libyan Rivals to Sign Truce In Moscow January 13

  • A ceasefire to end nearly a decade of fighting in Libya is expected to be signed in Moscow on January 13. A truce had gone into effect a day earlier between forces loyal to eastern Libyan strongman Haftar and the GNA government in Tripoli.
  • Libya has been torn by violence since longtime ruler Muammar Qaddafi was deposed and killed in 2011. The country has two rival administrations, the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and Haftar's in the city of Tobruk.

PM Modi launches projects worth 600 crore rupees on 150th year celebrations of Kolkata Port Trust

  • The Kolkata Port has been renamed as Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Port. Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi announced this in Kolkata on the occasion of 150th year’s celebrations of the Kolkata Port Trust.
  • Mr. Modi launched several Port led development projects worth Rs 600 cr rupees to mark the day.
  • These projects include upgraded Ship repair facility at Netaji Subhash Dry Dock, upgraded railway infrastructure of Kolkata dock system of the Kolkata Port for smooth cargo movement and river front development scheme.

Seeking cooperation from private sector for beautification and expansion of railways, says Piyush Goyal

  • Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has said that his Ministry will seek cooperation from the private sector for the beautification and expansion of railways in the country.
  • Mr. Goyal said that for improvement of railway facilities, the Ministry is planning to achieve the target of investment of 50 lakh crore for the next 12 years.

Seven of top-10 companies add Rs 32,020 cr in m-cap

  • The combined market valuation of seven of the top-10 domestic firms rose by Rs 32,020.12 crore last week, with HDFC Bank and RIL emerging as the biggest gainers. TCS, HDFC, HUL, ICICI Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank were the other bluechip companies which witnessed a rally in their market capitalisation (m-cap) for the week ended Friday, while Infosys, SBI and ITC suffered losses.
  • HDFC Bank added Rs 8,270.31 crore to its m-cap to reach Rs 7,02,812.11 crore. The valuation of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) jumped Rs 6,624.47 crore to Rs 9,81,118.53 crore, and that of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) climbed Rs 5,412.03 crore to Rs 4,22,950.16 crore.
  • The market cap of Kotak Mahindra Bank rose by Rs 5,092.83 crore to Rs 3,21,856.51 crore and that of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) went up by Rs 5,046.96 crore to Rs 8,30,721.69 crore.
  • In the ranking of top-10 firms, RIL remained at the top, followed by TCS, HDFC Bank, HDFC, HUL, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Infosys, SBI and ITC.

World Future Energy Summit to begin in Abu Dhabi

  • The World Future Energy Summit will begin in Abu Dhabi on January 13. Around 33,500 participants from 170 countries and 800 specialist exhibitors are expected to attend the four-day annual event.
  • The theme for this year's summit is "Rethinking Global Consumption, Production, and Investment." World Future Energy Summit is the Middle East’s largest future energy and sustainability event.
  • Also held alongside the World Future Energy Summit are the Climate Innovations Exchange, ‘CLIX’ for short and the Future Sustainability Summit.
  • The event will showcase 42 of the world’s most disruptive innovations, selected from 1,402 global submissions from 128 countries, related to the future of energy, food, agriculture and sustainability in space.