June 27, 2018

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NATIONAL NEWS

  1. India is the world’s most dangerous country for women due to the high risk of sexual violence and being forced into slave labour, according to a poll of Global Experts, in the Thomson Reuters Foundation survey of about 550 experts.
    • Afghanistan and Syria ranked second and third respectively followed by Somalia and Saudi Arabia.
    • The only Western nation in the top 10 was the United States, which ranked joint third when respondents were asked where women were most at risk of sexual violence, harassment and being coerced into sex.
    • The poll was a repeat of a survey in 2011 that found experts saw Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, India, and Somalia as the most dangerous countries for women.
  1. The Centre has decided to discontinue overtime allowance given to its employees except operational staff, according to an order issued by the Personnel ministry.
  1. A Centralised Appellate Authority is to be set up by Revenue Department to deal with the problem created by contradictory verdicts passed by the Authority of Advance Rulings (AAR) in different states.
    • Under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) law, each state is required to set up an Authority for Advance Rulings (AAR) comprising one member from the central tax department, and the other from the respective state.
    • Therefore, govt. is constituting Centralised AAR.
  1. According to the 2018 Cost of Living Survey by global consulting firm Mercer, Cost of living for expatriates in Mumbai is the highest in the country, and more expensive than its global peers like Melbourne and Frankfurt.
    • Mumbai is ranked at the 55th spot in terms of cost of living globally, higher than cities like Melbourne (58), Frankfurt (68), Buenos Aires (76), Stockholm (89) and Atlanta (95).
    • Hong Kong is ranked as the world’s costliest city to live in for expatriates.
    • The survey is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation strategies for their expatriate employees.
    • Inflation, among the highest in Indian cities surveyed, remained at 5.57% for the surveyed set of expatriate goods, during the survey period. This is especially true for prices of expatriate food items such as, butter, meat and poultry as well premium farm produce which have increased significantly, along with prices of alcohol.
    • Costs of sporting, leisure related activities have also played a role to rising prices, followed in part by transportation costs, which includes taxi fares and cost of registration and road taxes.

 

  1. According to a global survey of over 40,000 adults conducted in 2017 by Pew Research Centre, only one in four Indian adults either own a smartphone or uses the internet occasionally, something that the report considers to be a measure of internet penetration.
    • India also ranked among the very lowest, just above Tanzania, in terms of the percentage of adults owning a smartphone.
    • Of the 22% of households where at least one member accessed internet in India in 2016, more than 80% did it through mobile phones only, according to the ICE 360° survey, a nationally representative sample of 61,000 households conducted by the Independent Not-For-Profit Organisation, People Research on India’s Consumer Economy.
  1. India gifted a Dornier maritime patrol aircraft to Seychelles which will enhance the surveillance capabilities of the island nation.
    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a $100 million line of credit under which Seychelles can purchase military hardware from India.
    • The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) built Do-228 aircraft was formally handed over by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to the President of Seychelles, Danny Faure.
  1. The Haryana government has announced a new policy under which medical students who quit their course midway will have to shell out up to ₹7.5 lakh.
    • Postgraduate students who quit before the completion of their course will also be barred from seeking admission to another institute for the next three years.
    • Undergraduate students pursuing MBBS or BDS will pay ₹5 lakh if they quit the course.
  1. The inaugural meeting of the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) is expected to give directions to the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) on the plan of action for water release by Karnataka to Tamil Nadu during July.
    • The Central Government has formed Cauvery Water Regulation Committee as per the provisions in the Cauvery Management Scheme laid down by the Supreme Court.
    • S Masood Husain is the Chairman of Cauvery Water Regulation Committee.
  1. Indian nationals seeking passport can now apply from anywhere in the country irrespective of where they live, under a new liberalized scheme launched by the External Affairs Ministry.
  2. A study, published in Environmental Science and Technology Letters, has found over 30 micrograms per litre (mcg/l) of the heavy metal in parts of north-western, southern and south-eastern
    • Drinking such water can damage one’s kidneys and the World Health Organization prescribes 30 mcg/l as an upper limit.
    • In Rajasthan and other north-western regions, uranium occurs mostly in alluvial aquifers; while in southern regions such as Telangana, crystalline rocks such as granite seem to be the source.
    • When groundwater is over-extracted from such soils, the uranium is exposed to air, triggering its release.
  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to boost lending tenfold to $40 billion by 2020, and to $100 billion by 2025, in order to speed up infrastructure financing across the region.
  1. China proposed 2+1 talks with India
    • Under the mechanism, China and India can jointly conduct a dialogue with a third regional country.
  1. The Government proposes to set up 3000 Van Dhan Kendras involving 30,000 SHGs across the country under the Van Dhan Scheme of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
    • The Prime Minister launched the Van Dhan Scheme of Ministry of Tribal Affairs and TRIFED on 14th April, 2018.
  1. The Maharashtra government sets up a committee to study issues related to the development of a 1,000-MW floating solar power plant at Ujani dam in Solapur district of 
    • Satish Chavan has been appointed as the head of the committee.
  1. The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) has launched its report titled ‘Women in Prisons’.
    • It aims to build an understanding of the various challenges faced by women in prisons and their resolutions.
    • It is a comprehensive list of 134 recommendations
    • Bail should be granted to those under-trial women who have spent one-third of their maximum possible sentence in detention.
    • A separate accommodation for mothers in post-natal stage to maintain hygiene and protect the infant from contagion, for at least a year after childbirth has been made.
    • Prison authorities should coordinate with local police to ensure released prisoners are not harassed by them due to the attached stigma.
    • Prisoners must also be given the right to vote.
    • A robust grievance redressal system must be made in prisons so that apart from the prisoner herself, her legal adviser or family members should be allowed to make complaints regarding her stay in prison.
  1. A campaign to encourage farmers to voluntarily adopt a new scheme ‘Paani Bachao, Paise Kamao’, for checking depletion of underground water, was launched in Jalandhar, Punjab.
    • Through this scheme, farmers will receive monetary benefit for less use of tube well.
  1. The Godikan panchayat in Haryana has become the first panchayat in India to pass a resolution to marry girls only to families that have a toilet in their house.
  1. The tourism department of the state of Goa announced that it will launch app-based taxi services in the state called: ‘GOAMILES’ in July 2018.
    • It would help in curbing fleecing by the taxi drivers and easy facilitation for the passengers.
    • The key features of the initiative would be modest pricing and convenience to the traveller.

 

 

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  1. China will reduce tariffs on soybean imported from India, South Korea, Bangladesh, Laos, and Sri Lanka from the current three percent to zero from 1 July.

 

 

BANKING AND ECONOMY

  1. ICICI Bank –
    • The whistle-blower, an ICICI Bank employee, filed complaints on 20 and 22 March alleging the bank deliberately did not set aside funds to cover 31 defaulting loan accounts between fiscal 2008 and March 2016.
    • The person said the bank inflated profits, mainly by underreporting the quantum of bad loans to these firms, delaying impairment for more than four years in some cases.
    • ICICI Bank said 29 loan accounts were classified as NPAs between the year ended 31 March 2012 and 31 March 2017, and the remaining two by 31 December 2017.
    • The RBI began a second probe into ICICI Bank’s affairs within days of receiving the whistle-blower’s complaints in March.
    • RBI began its probe into at least 26 of 31 loan accounts.
    • Sebi is set to begin adjudication proceedings against ICICI Bank and CEO Kochhar for non-disclosure of information in the Videocon case.
  1. As per the Financial Stability Report of RBI, Gross Non-Performing Asset (NPA) ratio of banks will rise to 12.2% by March 2019 from 11.6% at the end of the previous fiscal, if economic conditions remains the same.
    • In a scenario of severe stress, this ratio may rise to as high as 13.3% by March.
    • For public sector banks, this ratio may jump to 17.3% by March.
    • The gross NPA ratio of state-run banks under PCA will worsen to 22.3% by March, with six banks likely to experience capital shortfall under the baseline scenario.
    • The banks under PCA framework include IDBI Bank Ltd, UCO Bank, Central Bank of India, Bank of India and Indian Overseas Bank.
    • In other words, the capital position of these banks is expected to weaken even further and money from the government will go into filling the big hole in capital rather than be used for growth.
    • The PCA scheme of RBI puts various restrictions on activities generating income but there is hardly any reduction on the expenses side. With operating expenses remaining largely the same and income falling every quarter, it is very difficult for these banks’ financial performance to improve.

 

  1. SEBI is considering to allow mutual funds to participate in the segment while also actively considering allowing derivatives on commodity indices.
    • A separate committee is set up for physical settlement for commodity derivative contracts.
    • Physical settlement refers to the system where the contract on the day of expiry is settled through the delivery of the underlying commodity instead of the current practice of cash. This assumes significance as currently only about 1-2% of the total turnover of certain commodities is settled by way of physical delivery.

 

APPOINTMENTS

  1. Yousaf Saleem became the first blind judge in Pakistan after taking oath of civil judge.
    • Brahmananda Sharma of India became the Rajasthan’s First visually impaired judge.

 

IMPORTANT DAYS

  1. Micro -, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day – June 27
    • The day was first observed in the year
    • This day is observed to raise public awareness of their contribution to sustainable development.

 

AWARDS

  1. World Food Prize 2018 will be awarded to Lawrence Haddad and Dr. David Nabarro.
    • Lawrence Haddad is a British economist and food policy researcher.
    • David Nabarro has worked with the World Health Organization and United Nations on health and hunger issues.

 

SPORTS

  1. The Indian domination in air events continued as Hriday Hazarika and Saurabh Chaudhary won the junior men’s air rifle and air pistol gold medals respectively in the Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany.

 

 

MISCELLANEOUS

  1. The Mesoamerican Reef, an underwater wonder world whose survival was considered to be at risk for years, may now be removed from UNESCO’s list of threatened World Heritage Sites.
  • Second in size only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Caribbean reef was named to the prestigious World Heritage List in 1996, but placed on endangered status in 2009.