Daily Current Affairs - 16th Mar 2020

Achanta Sharath Kamal clinches men's singles title of Oman Open

  • Indian paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal wins the ITTF Challenger Plus Oman Open. He beat top-seeded Marcos Freitas of Portugal 4-2 in the final played in Muscat. Earlier, in the semi-final, fourth-seeded Achanta pulled off a stunning seven-set victory against Russia's Kirill Skachkov, 11-13, 11-13, 13-11, 11-9, 13-11, 8-11, 11-7.

Excise duty on Petrol and Diesel increased by 3 rupees a litre

  • The central government has hiked excise duty on petrol and diesel by 3 rupees per litre. However, their effective pricing is likely to observe minimal change due to the sharp fall in international oil prices.

Govt appoints Justice B L Bhat as officiating chairman of NCLAT

  • The Union government has appointed Justice Bansi Lal Bhat as the officiating chairperson of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) as its current Chairperson Justice Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya retired.
  • In a separate notification, the government appointed Justice Anant Bijay Singh as judicial member and Shreesha Merla and Alok Srivastava as technical members of the appellate tribunal.
  • The NCLAT was constituted under Section 410 of the Companies Act, 2013 for hearing appeals against the orders of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). It is also the appellate tribunal for hearing appeals against orders passed by NCLT under the IBC and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India.

HM Amit Shah says Industrial Policy to be announced soon for rapid economic development of J&K

  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah has said that an Industrial Policy will be announced soon for the rapid economic development of Jammu and Kashmir. Saying that Jammu and Kashmir attracted 13,000 Crore rupees for the last 70 years, Mr Shah expressed hope that by 2024 three times more investment will come in the region.
  • He added that a reasonable Economic Development Policy will be drafted soon after widespread consultation.

India's forex reserves rise 5.69 bn to 487.23 bn

  • India's foreign exchange swelled by 5.69 billion US dollars to reach an all-time high of 487.23 billion dollars in the week ended 6th March 2020. Foreign currency assets, a major part of the overall reserves rose by 5.311 billion dollars to 451.135 billion dollars. In the previous week, the reserves had surged by 5.419 billion dollars to 481.540 billion dollars.
  • Gold reserves also increased by 320 million dollars to 31 billion dollars. India's special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund went up by 15 million dollars to 1.447 billion dollars, while the country's reserve position also increased by 50 million dollars to 3.656 billion dollars.

Indian govt temporarily suspends pilgrimage to Kartarpur Sahib due to COVID-19 threat

  • The Indian Government has said it will temporarily suspend the pilgrimage and registration for the Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara in Pakistan from Sunday midnight till further orders in view of the Coronavirus outbreak.
  • The Home Ministry said the government has also suspended the movement of all types of passengers through international border points with Pakistan.

Italy reports record 368 new coronavirus deaths in one day

  • Italy on Sunday reported 368 new deaths from the coronavirus outbreak as the country's death toll hit 1,809 while the number of positive cases rose to 24,747 from 21,157 on Saturday.
  • Governments around the world have stepped up restrictions on the movement of their citizens to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed nearly 5,800 people with over 153,000 infected globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Netanyahu Challenger Gantz Chosen to Form New Government

  • Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz will be given the first opportunity to form a new government after an inconclusive national election this month, the country’s president said, raising questions about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political future.
  • The decision by President Reuven Rivlin was announced by his office after he consulted with leaders of all the parties elected to parliament. He will formally designate Gantz with the task and give him a month to cobble together a governing coalition.

Number of confirmed coronavirus cases in India rises to 107

  • Twenty three fresh cases of COVID 19 have been detected in the country taking the total number of positive cases to 107. Out of the new cases, 17 confirmed cases have been reported from Maharashtra, 3 from Kerala, 2 from Telangana and one from Rajasthan.
  • Out of total confirmed cases so far nine patients were discharged and two persons lost their lives.

Parliamentary panel reports annual post-harvest losses of Rs 61,000 crore in fisheries

  • A parliamentary panel has observed that Fisheries Sector suffers from very high Post-harvest losses. It says that for Marine Fisheries the losses stand at 15,000 crore rupees and combined losses for both Marine and Inland Fisheries, the losses stand at 61 thousand crore rupees
  • The possible causes for Post-harvest losses are faulty handling practices, inordinate delay in packing and transportation, lack of proper cold storage facilities, and lack of technological know-how for harvesting fishes. The Committee also recommended modernising the existing harbours and establish more cold storage facilities and ensure availability of more refrigerated trucks and vans for transportation of fish.

PM Modi calls upon SAARC countries to work together to meet the challenge of Coronavirus

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that SAARC countries must prepare together, act together and succeed together in dealing with the Coronavirus. In his opening remarks at the video conference of all SAARC member countries to chalk out a common strong strategy to fight the virus in the region. Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the creation of a COVID 19 emergency fund based on voluntary contribution from SAARC nations.
  • Mr Modi said India is assembling a Rapid Response Team of doctors and specialists, along with testing kits and other equipment. They will be on stand-by to be placed at SAARC nation's disposal, if required.
  • So far SAARC region has fewer than 150 cases.

Taiwan's Tai Tzu Ying clinches her third women's singles title of All England Championships

  • Taiwan's shuttler Tai Tzu Ying clinched her third women's singles title of the All England Championships at Birmingham in United Kingdom. Ying beat China's Chen Yufei in two straight games 21-19, 21-15 in 44 minutes.
  • Earlier in the men's singles, Denmark's Victor Axelsen outclassed Taiwan's Chou Tien-Chen in two straight games 21-13, 21-14 in the summit clash that lasted for about 46 minutes.

Wholesale inflation eases in Feb on cheaper food articles, vegetables

  • As per the data from the commerce and industry ministry, wholesale price index (WPI)-based inflation softened to 2.26 per cent in February on the back of cheaper foods and vegetables. In January, the WPI inflation stood at 3.1 per cent and in the year-ago same period it was at 2.93 per cent. The WPI inflation for food articles for February 2020 came in at 7.79 per cent as against 11.51 per cent in the previous month.
  • The rate of price rise for onion and potato too came down to 162.30 per cent and 60.73 per cent, respectively as against 293.37 per cent and 87.84 per cent in January 2020.

Yes Bank reports Rs 18,564 crore loss for Q4, 2019

  • YES Bank has reported a staggering Rs 18,654-crore loss for the December quarter due to higher recognition of dead assets on the books, and an erosion of capital buffers to the brink. The gross non-performing assets shot-up to Rs 40,709 crore or 18.87 percent of assets as of December 31, 2019, up from the preceding September quarter's Rs 17,134 crore or 7.39 percent, which forced the bank to set aside Rs 24,765 crore as provisions for the expected reverses and eroded the bottom-line.
  • The bank disclosed that there had been an over Rs 44,000-crore dip in its deposits between September and December to Rs 1,65,000 crore, while there has been a sharp decline in interest earned, suggesting a dip in advances due to the lack of capital.
  • The bank's board was superseded by the government on March 5, and the RBI had appointed former chief financial officer of SBI, Prashant Kumar, as the administrator.