Daily Current Affairs - 23rd Sep 2020

Borrowing by States increase 45% this fiscal

  • From April 7 to September 22 in this financial year, 27 States and 2 Union Territories have cumulatively raised Rs.3.26 lakh crore via market borrowings, which is a 45% increase from the borrowings in the corresponding period of 2019-20. Having faced a sharp decline in revenues, State governments have been increasingly resorting to market borrowings.
  • Barring the seven States of Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Manipur, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand, the borrowings of all the other States have seen a notable increase from year ago, CARE said. Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Rajasthan have been the top 5 borrowing States, accounting for 54% of total borrowings by States so far.

Covid Vaccine Must Have At Least 50% Efficacy For Wide Use: Drug Authority

  • The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has issued a new set of guidelines, focusing on safety, immunogenicity and efficacy parameters for pharma giants who are developing COVID-19 vaccines.
  • The DCGI has said that a COVID-19 vaccine candidate should have at least 50 per cent of efficacy in the Phase-III clinical trial for it to be widely deployed and adequate data informing the potential risk of vaccine-associated Enhanced Respiratory Disease (ERD) needs to be generated.
  • The document has highlighted that the use of COVID-19 preventive vaccines in pregnancy and in women of childbearing potential is an important consideration for vaccination programs.

Dixit named PMC Bank administrator

  • The Reserve Bank of India has appointed former Union Bank of India executive A K Dixit as the new administrator of PMC Bank, replacing J.B. Bhoria, who stepped down on September 22 due to health reasons. A year after the RBI superseded the board of crisis-hit Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank, the RBI-appointed administrator is yet to succeed in finding a resolution plan for the bank. Citing reasons behind sluggish turnaround, the regulator said massive losses and steep erosion in deposits pose challenges to revival.
  • On 24 September last year, RBI put severe curbs on PMC Bank, including on cash withdrawals, amid a probe into accounting lapses.The directive is valid till December 22 this year as of now.

Former Mali Defense Minister Bah Ndaw named interim president

  • Former Mali defense minister and retired colonel Bah Ndaw has been named the president of the country's new transition government. He will be in power for 18 months before holding elections and returning Mali to civilian rule.
  • Colonel Assimi Goita, the leader of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) which overthrew Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, was appointed vice president.
  • Mali’s military rulers have come under intense pressure from leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to return power to civilians following the August 18 coup that overthrew Keita.

IL&FS case: SEBI raises penalty to Rs 1 cr each on ICRA, CARE

  • Markets regulator SEBI enhanced the penalty amount to Rs 1 crore each on rating agencies ICRA and CARE in connection with lapses on their parts while assigning credit rating to non-convertible debentures of IL&FS. The crisis at diversified IL&FS, whose board was superseded by the government, came to light in September 2018 and since then, the company as well as related entities have come under the regulatory lens.
  • In two separate orders , Sebi said that the lapses on the side of ICRA and CARE while rating the securities of IL&FS and its subsidiary IL&FS Financial Services (IFIN) have resulted in real and severe financial loss to investors.

IPL Cricket: Rajasthan Royals beat Chennai Super Kings by 16 runs

  • Rajasthan Royals beat Chennai Super Kings by 16 runs at Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Chasing a target of 217, Chennai Super Kings made 200 for the loss of six wickets. For Rajasthan Royals, Sanju Samson scored 74 in 32 balls and Captain Steven Smith made 69 off 47 balls. For Chennai Super Kings, Faf du Plessis scored 72 in 37 balls.

LS passes J&K Official Languages Bill

  • The Lok Sabha passed the J&K Official Languages Bill, 2020 that seeks to include Kashmiri, Dogri and Hindi as the official languages in the newly-created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier, only English and Urdu were the official languages in the former State. Introducing the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill, 2020, Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said it was a demand of the people of Jammu and Kashmir that the language they speak should be the official language.
  • The minister pointed out that 53.26 per cent of the population of Jammu and Kashmir speaks Kashmiri language. Reddy said 26.64 per cent of the population of the UT speaks Dogri while Urdu, which is currently its official language, is spoken only by 0.16 per cent population. Nearly 2.36 per cent population in the UT speaks Hindi.

NBFC-MFI disbursals plunge 96%

  • Loan disbursements by non-banking financial companies-microfinance institutions (NBFC-MFIs) declined 96% to Rs.570 crore in the first quarter of the current financial year, according to a report by Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN).
  • It had stood at Rs.15,865 crore in the corresponding quarter of the previous year. The data pertains to NBFC-MFI members of MFIN, an industry association of the microfinance sector. It has 56 NBFC-MFIs and 35 associates including banks, small finance banks (SFBs) and NBFCs as its members.

NSE, SGX pact to boost Nifty liquidity

  • The National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Singapore Exchange (SGX) have entered into a formal agreement to cement the key terms for operationalising the NSE IFSC-SGX Connect which will bring together international and Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) participants to create a bigger liquidity pool for Nifty products in GIFT City.
  • The two exchanges have recently received further regulatory clarifications from the relevant authorities on the implementation of the Connect, since receiving consent from their respective statutory regulators on the proposed Connect model last year.

On 75th anniversary of UN, Secy General Antonio Guterres appeals for peace

  • United Nations marked its 75th anniversary, with an appeal from Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to preserve the longest period in modern history without a military confrontation between the world’s most powerful nations. Addressing the UN General Assembly ceremony, marking the world body's anniversary, Mr.Guterres said, the Corona virus pandemic has laid bare the world’s fragilities.
  • The special UNGA event to mark the 75th anniversary of the UN kick-starts the high-level General Assembly session. For the week-long General Debate, Heads of State and Government and Ministers will deliver their speeches through pre-recorded video statements, a first in the 75-year history of the world organization.

Original 9, Hewitt, Raymond among nominees for tennis Hall of Fame

  • The 'Original 9' group, whose efforts ultimately led to the creation of the Women's Tennis Association WTA, headlined the list of nominees up for induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The 'Original 9', who took a stand against a disparity in prize money and playing opportunities for women in professional tennis, were nominated in the Contributor Category.
  • The 'Original 9' includes Americans Peaches Bartkowicz, Rosie Casals, Julie Heldman, Billie Jean King, Kristy Pigeon, Nancy Richey, Valerie Ziegenfuss, and Australians Judy Tegart Dalton and Kerry Melville Reid.
  • Former players Lleyton Hewitt, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Lisa Raymond, Jonas Bjorkman and Sergi Bruguera were nominated in the Player Category, while late coach Dennis Van der Meer was listed in the Contributor Category.

SEBI mulls stress tests, swing pricing for MFs

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is contemplating policy measures such as stress-testing, minimum asset allocation in liquid assets, and a swing pricing like mechanism to address liquidity issues in debt mutual funds (MFs), said Chairman Ajay Tyagi. Addressing the 25th AGM of AMFI , Mr. Tyagi said one of the areas for improvement was to enhance the liquidity of the portfolio of open-ended debt MF schemes.
  • He said SEBI was facilitating the setting up of an expert committee to frame a stress testing methodology, encompassing liquidity, credit and market risks, for all open-ended debt oriented mutual fund schemes.

Shapoorji Pallonji Group agrees to exit Tata Sons, calls for separation

  • In an attempt to end the long-standing and bitter dispute with the Tata group, the SP group, owned by the billionaire Mistry family, told the Supreme Court (SC) that it would exit Tata Sons, provided an early, fair, and equitable solution was reached. In a statement, the Mistry family said a separation from the Tata group was necessary due to the potential impact the ongoing litigation could have on livelihoods and the economy. The Mistry family owns 18.37 per cent in Tata Sons and is its largest minority shareholder.
  • The statement came within hours of the Tata group informing the SC that it was ready to buy out the SP group’s stake. The Tata group did not mention any valuation or timeline for this.

TRAI recommends body to monitor net neutrality

  • The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has recommended the creation of a multi-stakeholder body (MSB) to ensure that Internet access providers adhere to the provisions of net neutrality. The MSB, which could include telecom service providers, Internet service providers, content providers, researchers, academic and technical community, civil society organisations, and the government, should be set up as a non-profit entity. The role of the MSB shall be to provide advice and support to DoT in the monitoring and enforcement of net neutrality principles,TRAI said

US imposes range of sanctions and restrictions on Iran

  • United States imposed a range of sanctions and restrictions on Iranian and Iranian-linked officials and entities after an effort over the weekend to reimpose UN sanctions on Tehran was largely rejected. US President Donald Trump said, he is imposing sanctions on Iranians for violating a UN arms embargo and demanded enforcement by US allies.
  • The Trump Administration said, it was imposing sanctions on 27 individuals and entities under a UN resolution including Iran's Defence Ministry, and its Atomic Energy Organization.

US Prez Trump asks UN to hold Beijing responsible for consequences of COVID-19 pandemic

  • US President Donald Trump has lashed out against China demanding that the UN should hold Beijing responsible for the consequences of unleashing the plague of COVID-19 on the world. Speaking at the General Assembly's high-level meeting in a pre-recorded address, he said, the Chinese government and the World Health Organization falsely declared that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission. Later, they falsely said people without symptoms would not spread the disease. He accused Beijing of allowing the coronavirus to spread.