Daily Current Affairs - 16th Jul 2020

Ashok Lavasa appointed V-P of ADB

  • Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, who was next in line to head the poll panel, was named as the new vice-president of the Philippines-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) - a position he can take only after resigning from his current job.
  • Lavasa, who would have retired as the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) in October 2022, would be the second election commissioner to step down from the poll panel before the completion of his term.
  • His appointment as vice president is on the recommendation of the Government of India.

Bandhan Bank Q1 profit falls 32% at Rs.550 crore

  • Riding on the back of higher provisioning on standard assets, Bandhan Bank posted a 32 per cent drop in net profit at Rs.550 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2020, against Rs.804 crore in the corresponding period last year. In Q1 FY21, the bank has taken accelerated additional provision on standard assets amounting to Rs.750 crore for Covid-19.
  • The gross non-performing assets (GNPA) came down to 1.43 per cent against 1.70 per cent same period last year, while the net NPA decreased to 0.48 per cent when compared to 0.59 per cent last year.

COVID-19 vaccine shows early promise

  • An experimental coronavirus vaccine made by the biotech company Moderna provoked a promising immune response against the virus and appeared safe in the first 45 people who received it, researchers reported in The New England Journal of Medicine.
  • Moderna’s vaccine, which is being co-developed with the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), began safety testing in humans in March. Phase 3 tests will begin on July 27 and will involve 30,000 people.
  • More than 100 vaccines worldwide are being studied for use against COVID-19, and at least eight of these have already progressed to human studies.

Export of coir, coir products for 2019-20 registers an all-time high record

  • The export of coir and coir products from India worth 2,758 crore rupees for 2019-20 has registered an all-time high record. This is around 30 crore rupees higher than that of last year. Over nine lakh 88 thousand MT of coir and related products were exported during the year 2019-20 from the country as against over nine lakh 64 thousand MT exported during the preceding year.
  • The exports of coir pith, tufted mats, coir Geo-textiles, rugs and carpets, coir rope and power-loom mats registered growth both in terms of quantity and value.
  • Exports are made through several ports of India out of which around 99 per cent of the Exports of Coir and Coir Products are made through Tuticorin, Cochin and Chennai Ports. The other main ports of export of coir and coir products are Vishakapattanam, Mumbai and Kolkata.

FIFA releases Qatar World Cup schedule

  • FIFA released the schedule for the first World Cup to be played in November and December, with kickoff times at 00:30 am IST, 3:30 pm IST, 6:30 pm IST and 9:30 pm IST. The 2022 FIFA World Cup will have four games every day in a 12-day group stage and matches later in the tournament that go into extra time will extend past midnight in Qatar.
  • FIFA is looking to stage the draw for the tournament in late March or early April 2022, when 30 of the 32 finalists will be known.

Google to invest Rs 33,737 crore for 7.73% stake in Jio Platforms

  • Reliance Industries said global technology giant Google would invest Rs 33,737 crore for a 7.73 per cent stake in Jio Platforms, the subsidiary which houses its telecom and digital operations. With this investment, Google becomes the second biggest foreign investor in Jio Platforms after Facebook’s Rs 43,574 crore for a 9.99 per cent stake. It also marks the first instances where Wall Street's two FAANG(Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet(Google)) companies have invested in the same venture.

Govt. to allow Invalid Pension to Armed Forces Personnel with less than 10 years of qualifying service

  • The Union government has decided to allow Invalid Pension to Armed Forces Personnel with less than ten years of qualifying service. This pension is granted to the Armed Forces Personnel who is invalided out of service on account of disability which is accepted as Neither Attributable to Nor aggravated (NANA) by Military Service.
  • It will be available to those Armed Forces Personnel who were in service on or after 4th January 2019. Earlier, the minimum period of qualifying service actually rendered and required for invalid pension was ten years or more.

Humpy and Harika advance

  • Koneru Humpy and Dronavalli Harika entered the quarterfinals of the fourth Grand Prix leg of the FIDE Chess.com Women's Speed Chess. World No. 2 Humpy beat Russia's Olga Girya 7-6, while Harika defeated Tatev Abrahamyan of the United States 6-5.
  • The is the final Grand Prix leg of the tournament. The two women who score the highest points in the entire series will play a super final on July 20.

IDBI Bank plans to raise Rs.11,000 crore capital

  • IDBI Bank will seek shareholders’ approval to a Resolution that seeks to enable it to offer, issue and allot equity shares aggregating up to Rs.11,000 crore (inclusive of premium amount) at its Annual General Meeting on August 17. The issue proceeds will enable the Bank to strengthen its Capital Adequacy Requirements as specified by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) from time to time.
  • It will raise these resources by way of public issue, rights issue, issue on private placement basis, Qualified Institutions Placement (QIP), Employee Stock Purchase Scheme (ESPS), Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP), etc.

India’s population to peak in 2048 at 1.6 bn, to decline to 1.09 bn in 2100: The Lancet

  • India’s population is forecasted to peak in 2048 at around 1.6 billion, up from 1.38 billion in 2017, which will be followed by a 32 per cent decline to around 1.09 billion in 2100, according to an analysis set to be published online in The Lancet.
  • According to the study, India in 2100 will be the world’s most populous country. It has predicted dramatic declines in working-age populations in countries such as India and China, which will hamper economic growth and lead to shifts in global powers.
  • According to the study, the number of working age adults aged 20-64 in India is projected to fall from around 762 million in 2017 to around 578 million in 2100. However, India has been forecasted to have the largest working age population in the world by 2100.

Indigenous vaccine for pneumonia gets nod

  • The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved the first fully indigenously developed conjugate vaccine for pneumonia developed by the Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd, Pune. The vaccine is administered in an intramuscular manner. With the help of Special Expert Committee (SEC) for vaccines, the drug regulator reviewed the phase I, II and III clinical trial data submitted by Serum Institute of India and then granted the market approval for Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Conjugate Vaccine.
  • The ministry said the vaccine will be used for active immunisatiuon against invasive disease and pneumonia caused by ‘Streptococcus pneumonia’ among infants.

Maldives to reopen its borders for international travel

  • Maldives is reopening its borders for international travel with health and safety protocols in place, to protect tourists and residents from COVID. Government has prepared safety measures to be enforced at ports and guest facilities including mandatory testing for airport arrivals. Maldives is heavily dependent on tourism for its economic activities which was suspended in wake of COVID.
  • The total number of COVID cases surpassed 2,800 with 39 cases reported yesterday including 27 Maldivians, seven Bangladeshi nationals and five Indian nationals.

Myanmar extends COVID-19 restrictions till July 31

  • The government of Myanmar has extended the restrictions imposed in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic in the country till July 31.The restrictions include limitations on social gatherings, enforcing social distancing and limiting the number of passengers in the public transport services and restaurants among others. Restrictions on the issue of visa has already been extended to July 31 earlier. Myanmar has also banned all international flights till July 31.
  • The number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in Myanmar has reached 337. Six deaths have been reported so far

PM presents new Mantra of 'skill, reskill and upskill' for youth to remain relevant in changing business environment

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has addressed a virtual conclave on World Youth Skills Day organised by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed on the vital role of skilled migrant workers in changing the local economy.
  • The Prime Minister presented a new mantra for the youth to skill, reskill and upskill in order to remain relevant in the rapidly changing business environment and market conditions

PSBs to purchase NBFC Bonds/CPs worth Rs 14,667 cr under extended PCGS: FM Nirmala Sitharaman

  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that the Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme, PCGS was revamped under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Package to support the liability side of Non Banking Financial Companies, NBFCs. It provides a 20 per cent portfolio guarantee to Public Sector Banks for the purchase of Bonds or Commercial Papers rated AA and below which are issued by NBFCs.
  • Ms Sitharaman said, as of 10th July, under the extended PCGS, Public Sector Banks have approved the purchase Bonds or Commercial Papers issued by 67 NBFCs amounting to 14 thousand 6 hundred 67 crore rupees. Of these 6 thousand 8 hundred 45 crore rupees is for Bonds or Commercial Papers rated below AA, providing liquidity support to NBFCs with lower rated Bonds or Commercial Papers.

SBI gets nod to raise Rs.25,000 crore

  • State Bank of India will raise Rs 25,000 crore in capital through additional tier-1 (AT1) and tier-II bonds from markets in FY21. This capital is expected to strengthen the bank's capacity to growth business and create buffers to withstand shocks. The lender will raise AT1 and Tier-2 capital by way of issuance of Basel III compliant debt instruments in dollar and domestic currency this financial year.
  • SBI’s the Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) stood at 13.06 per cent as on March 31, 2020, with Tier-I at 11 per cent. The bank holds capital above the regulatory requirements.

Shripad Naik inaugurates Conference on Aerospace and Defence Manufacturing Technologies

  • Union Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik has inaugurated the Fifth Edition of the Conference on Aerospace and Defence Manufacturing Technologies in New Delhi. The theme of the conference was Empowering India with ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Mission’. The webinar was jointly organized by Tamil Nadu Technology Development and Promotion Centre, Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers and the Confederation of Indian Industry.
  • DAC delegates powers for progressing urgent Capital Acquisition Cases upto Rs 300 crore to Armed Forces
  • Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has delegated the powers for progressing urgent Capital Acquisition Cases upto Rs 300 crore to the Armed Forces to meet their emergent operational requirements. This will shrink the procurement timelines and ensure placement of orders within six months and commencement of deliveries within one year.

Stars assemble for Legends of Chess

  • Former World champions Viswanathan Anand and now-retired Vladimir Kramni, alongwith Boris Gelfand, Vassily Ivanchuk, Peter Leko and Peter Svidler are part of a fascinating field in the $150,000 chess24 Legends of Chess beginning on July 21.

Tata's Chandrasekaran, Lockheed's Taiclet to receive USIBC Global Leadership Award

  • Tata group Chairman N Chandrasekaran and Lockheed Martin CEO Jim Taiclet will receive the USIBC Global Leadership Award this year, business advocacy group USIBC said. Every year, the USIBC Global Leadership Awards are conferred upon executives in recognition of outstanding leadership and for promoting Indo-US trade and business.
  • The earlier receivers of this award include Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Adena Friedman of NASDAQ, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and Sun Pharmaceuticals Founder and Managing Director Dilip Shanghvi.

Trump ends HK’s special trade status, backs sanctions

  • U.S. President Donald Trump has stripped Hong Kong of preferential trade treatment and authorised sanctions on banks over China’s clampdown in the financial hub, infuriating Beijing that vowed to retaliate.
  • US President Donald Trump has issued an executive order which ended trade preferences with Hong Kong. He also signed a law that imposes sanctions on Chinese officials, businesses and banks that help China restrict Hong Kong's autonomy.
  • Under the Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, the US treated Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous part of China with its own legal and economic system, differently than the Chinese mainland in trade, commerce and other areas.

WHO guidelines of conducting 140 tests per day per million population already met by 22 States and UTs of country

  • World Health Organisation-WHO in its Guidance Note on 'Public Health Criteria to Adjust Public Health and Social Measures in the Context of COVID-19' has advised comprehensive surveillance for suspected cases. WHO has advised that a country needs 140 tests per day per million population.
  • The Union Health Ministry has said that 22 States and Union Territories in the country are already conducting 140 and more tests per day per million and are being regularly advised to increase the testing capacity to match the WHO advised levels of testing.
  • The Ministry said, one of the factors strongly aiding the increasing numbers of COVID-19 tests in the country is the steadily growing network of labs for testing of COVID-19. With 865 labs in the government sector and 358 private labs, the total number of testing labs in the country has now gone up to 1,223.