Daily Current Affairs - 29th Feb 2020

Core sector output up 2.2% in January on higher coal, refinery, electricity production

  • According to data released by the Ministry of Commerce, the output of eight core industries grew 2.2 per cent in January compared with the same month last year. The higher output came on the back of more coal, refinery output and electricity production during the period under review.
  • Electricity production witnessed a trend reversal and grew by 2.8 per cent against the sustained contraction seen in the previous 5 months. It was also higher than the 0.8 per cent growth in January 2019.
  • Coal production was at a 10-month high and increased by 8 per cent in January compared with the 2 per cent growth seen in January last year.
  • Natural gas and crude oil production reported a decline. Refinery output on the other hand grew 1.9 per cent in January, against 2.6 per cent contraction seen in the comparable month last year.
  • The eight core industries comprise 40.27 per cent of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). The eight core industries are coal, refinery products, steel, cement, electricity, natural gas, crude oil and fertilisers.

Dubai to host Asia Cricket Cup

  • The next Asia Cup will be held in Dubai and both India and Pakistan will participate in the biennial tournament, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly said. The event will be held later this year.
  • Pakistan was scheduled to host the Asia Cup this year but amidst tensions between the two countries and security concerns in Pakistan, the BCCI said the Indian team will not travel there.

Fiscal deficit touches 128.5% of Budget Estimate in January-end

  • India’s fiscal deficit touched 128.5 per cent of the whole-year Budget target in January-end, the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) said. The deficit during the same period during 2018-19 was 121.5 per cent of that year’s Revised Budget Estimate (RE).
  • In actual terms, the fiscal deficit or gap between the expenditure and revenue stood at RS.9,85,472 crore. The government had targeted to restrict the fiscal deficit at RS.7,66,846 crore during the year ending March 31, 2020.

India GDP grew 4.7 per cent in Q3

  • The Indian economy grew 4.7 per cent in the third quarter ended December 31, 2019, the National Statistics Office said. The first quarter GDP growth for this fiscal has been revised upwards to 5.6 per cent, from the 5.1 per cent estimated earlier. The second quarter GDP growth for the current fiscal has also been revised upwards to 5.1 per cent from 4.5 per cent announced earlier.
  • GDP growth for the December quarter is the lowest since the March quarter of FY13, when it stood at 4.3%. With significant revisions for the earlier quarters, growth in the nine-month period is 5.1%, which makes achieving 5% growth for the year easier.

India pulls out of shooting world cup in Cyprus citing Novel Corona virus threat

  • India has pulled out of next month's shooting World Cup in Cyprus, citing the Novel Corona virus threat there. The shotgun world cup, recognized by the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), is scheduled to be held in Nicosia from 4th to 13th of March.

Indian coast guard off shore patrol vessel ICGS Varad commissioned

  • The Indian Coast Guard's Offshore Patrol Vessel ICGS Varad has been commissioned. It was inducted into service by Union Shipping Minister Mansukh Mandaviya at a function held in the Chennai Port, in presence of Director General of the Coast Guard, K. Natarajan.
  • The ship Varad will be based at Paradip in Odisha, under the operational control of the Coast Guard North Eastern Region. The 98 meter long vessel has been designed and built by the L&T. The ship is fitted with modern navigation and communication equipment, sensors and machinery. It is equipped with 30 mm and 12.7 mm guns.
  • The ship Varad can carry a twin engine helicopter and four high speed boats for swift boarding operations, search and rescue, law enforcement and maritime patrol. The ship is also capable of carrying pollution response equipment for oil spill response at sea.

IndusInd Bank names Sumant Kathpalia as MD & CEO

  • IndusInd Bank has appointed Sumant Kathpalia as the MD & CEO for three years, effective March 24, 2020. Kathpalia,who currently heads the bank’s Consumer Banking business, will take charge after the retirement of Romesh Sobti, the current MD & CEO.

Maharashtra Assembly passes law making Marathi language compulsory for all schools

  • The Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government has made Marathi compulsory in schools affiliated with all boards with a fine of Rs 1 lakh for institutions that fail to comply with the directive. The Maharashtra Assembly unanimously approved a bill making Marathi a compulsory subject in all schools of the state.

NITI Aayog selects J&K for first pilot project among all States and UTs on Sustainable Developmental Goals

  • NITI Aayog has selected the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir for the first pilot project on Sustained Developmental Goals during which the J&K administration would get a chance to work with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Parliament will not hold special session on March 2 to decide next PM: Malaysian King

  • Malaysia's Parliament will not hold a special session on Monday to decide the next prime minister, the country's monarch announced, a day after interim Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said the legislative body would do so.
  • Malaysia's king Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah struck down a power play by Mahathir Mohamad aimed at seizing momentum in a political crisis, capping a week of turmoil that has left the country effectively leaderless.

PM to launch 10,000 Farmer Producer Organizations

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch 10 thousand Farmer Producer Organizations, FPOs all over the country from Chitrakoot in Uttar Pradesh. These FPOs will help in collectivization of small, marginal and landless farmers to give them strength to deal with issues like lack of access to technology, quality seed, fertilizers and pesticides including requisite finances.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also lay the foundation stone for the Bundelkhand Expressway at Chitrakoot. The Uttar Pradesh Government is constructing the Expressway which will pass through the districts of Chitrakoot, Banda, Hamirpur and Jalaun.
  • It will link the Bundelkhand area to the national capital Delhi through Agra-Lucknow expressway and Yamuna expressway and play a vital role in the development of Bundelkhand region.

President gives nod for delimitation in NE States

  • President Ram Nath Kovind gave his nod for resuming delimitation exercise in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, and Nagaland. A Delimitation Commission was set up under the Delimitation Act, 2002 to readjust the division of each state and union territory into territorial constituencies for the purpose of Lok Sabha and state assembly elections on the basis of census figures of 2001.

Ruling party retains absolute majority in Cameroon's parliament

  • President Paul Biya's party has retained an absolute majority in Cameroon's parliament. Biya's Cameroon People's Democratic Movement has won 139 out of 167 declared seats on moderate turnout of almost 46 per cent.
  • Biya, who has ruled for 37 years, has ruled out demands by moderates for restoring Cameroon’s federal structure. More than 3,000 people have died and at least 700,000 have fled their homes in the 29-month-old unrest.

Sandhu, Madappa only Indians to make cut in New Zealand Open

  • Sandhu, Madappa only Indians to make cut in New Zealand Open India's Ajeetesh Sandhu and Viraj Madappa played solid rounds of 68 each on different courses to make the halfway cut at the New Zealand Open golf tournament at Queenstown. Sandhu and Madappa were the only two out of six Indians to get into weekend rounds.
  • The other Indians Shiv Kapur 71-74, Khalin Joshi 71-79, Aman Raj 74-72 and Chiragh Kumar 74-74 missed the cut, which fell at even-par.

Sensex sinks 1,448 points as coronavirus scare grows

  • Nearly Rs.5.5-lakh-crore in market-cap in investor wealth was wiped out on the BSE on Friday as the fear of the coronavirus spreading and causing wide-spread supply chain disruptions spooked the market and the Sensex crashed 1,448.37 points, or 3.64 per cent, to 38,297.29, its second-worst fall since August 2015.
  • NSE Nifty index fell 414.10 points, or 3.56 per cent, to 11,219.20. The BSE market-cap was down to Rs.146.87-lakh crore.
  • In the US, the S&P 500 plunged 2.5 per cent at open on Friday. The Nasdaq 100 sank 2.3 per cent. In Europe, too, stock markets were down more than 3 per cent on Friday.

Sri Lankan govt not to sign MCC with US

  • Sri Lankan Government has decided not to sign the Millennium Challenge Cooperation (MCC) with the US Government. The decision is based on the recommendations of the Expert Committee and the agreement will not be signed in its present form.
  • The MCC agreement is to provide a grant of 480 million US dollars to Sri Lanka for development of transport and land deeds based on certain conditions.

Tasnim, Treesa enter into third round at Dutch Junior International badminton tournament

  • India's Tasnim Mir and Treesa Jolly notched up convincing victories to enter women singles third round at the Dutch Junior International badminton tournament at Haarlem, Netherlands.
  • Later in the mixed double category, Indian pair of Edwin joy and Shruti Mishra also registered a victory against French pair of Theo Vaur and Anouk Nambot.

This summer is likely to be hotter than normal, says IMD forecast

  • This summer is likely to be hotter than usual in most parts of northwest, west, central, and south India, according to the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD’s) forecast. In the remaining meteorological subdivisions, the average temperature is expected to be near normal in the summer months (March to May).
  • Regarding monsoons, El Niño (a climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean with a global impact on weather patterns) is expected to be neutral in the March-May period, which precedes the rains.

Union Bank sells stake in NSE for Rs 104 crore

  • Union Bank of India has sold 0.21 per cent stake in NSE for a cash consideration of over Rs 104 crore. The stake equivalent to 10,21,250 equity shares has been sold at Rs 1,020 per equity share.

US to sign agreement with Taliban: Prez Trump

  • US President Donald Trump has announced that the United States will sign an agreement with the Taliban as part of its efforts to bring lasting peace in war-torn Afghanistan. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will witness the signing of an agreement with representatives of the Taliban, while Secretary of Defense Mark Esper will issue a joint declaration with the government of Afghanistan.
  • The signing would conclude years-long negotiations between the US and the Taliban. But there’s still a lot to do before most of America’s 12,000 service members can leave Afghanistan.