August 3, 2018

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NATIONAL NEWS

  1. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the first extension of Concessional Financing Scheme (CFS) to support Indian Entities bidding for strategically important infrastructure projects abroad.
    • Under the CFS, the Govt. of India has been supporting Indian Entities bidding for strategically important infrastructure projects abroad since 2015-16.
    • Since the objectives of the Scheme continue to be relevant, it is proposed to extend the Scheme for another five years from 2018 to 2023.
    • This scheme would offer concessional finance to any foreign Govt. or foreign Govt. owned or controlled entity, if any Indian entity, succeeds in getting contract for the execution of a project.
    • It is presently being operated through the Export-Import Bank of India.
    • Government of India (GoI) provides counter guarantee and interest equalization support of 2% to the EXIM Bank.

IES Amount (In INR crore) ; Total – 625.63 Cr

Year

42.25

(2018-19)

65.00

(2019-20)

188.50

(2021-22)

208.00

(2022-23)

 

  1. Govt. has approved to change the name of ‘International Centre for Drinking Water Quality’ to ‘National Centre for Drinking Water, Sanitation and Quality’.

 

  1. Union Minister of Railways, Coal, Finance & Corporate Affairs, Piyush Goyal has approved a new policy for promotion of Railway Sportspersons.
    • As per this new policy, in addition to the sportspersons who won a position or medal in Olympics, all the sportspersons and coaches who have been awarded with Padma Shri will also be promoted as officers.
    • Sportspersons, who have made two appearances in Olympics, won a medal in Asian Games or Common Wealth Games, will be promoted as officers.

 

  1. If the GST Council clears the proposal, then Small businesses, with annual sales of as much as ₹1.5 crore, may not need to pay Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST), or may get a refund of the same.
    • Under the Indirect Tax System that prevailed before GST, the central government taxed goods at the factory gate (called excise duty), while the states levied Value-Added Tax (VAT).
    • GST replaced both, with a central GST that goes to the central government and a state GST that goes to state coffers.
    • Businesses with revenue of up to ₹1.5 crore did not have to pay excise duty under the previous regime, and a waiver or exemption on CGST now will restore the relief that was available to them earlier.
    • The State GST (SGST) that these entities pay will, however, remain as they were not exempt from VAT either. 

 

  1. Food ordering and delivery platform Swiggy has acquired Mumbai-based Scootsy, an intra-city delivery service provider in an all-cash deal.
    • The value of the transaction was not disclosed.
    • The acquisition will enable Scootsy’s expansion across Mumbai and also support its foray into four to five major Indian cities in the coming months.

 

  1. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has given a two-week deadline to online food delivery companies to delist unlicensed restaurants.
    • The regulator has also decided to conduct audit of online platforms of food aggregators to check if they are complying with food safety and hygiene norms.
    • In a review meeting, the regulator found that more than 30-40% of food businesses listed on the online platforms do not possess a valid licence despite the companies being told to comply with the norms by July-end.

 

  1. The Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal admitted Provogue (India) Ltd for insolvency resolution on making it the fourth company from the textile and garment sector to attempt loan resolution in bankruptcy courts.
    • Reid & Taylor India Ltd, Mandhana Industries and Alok Industries Ltd are already in various stages of insolvency resolution.
    • Provogue’s promotersNikhil and Akhil Chaturvedi— lost control of the company in 2016 after a group of lenders led by Andhra Bank acquired 51% in the company, exchanging debt for equity.

 

  1. The government is considering relaxation of norms for distribution and supply of the Oxytocin in the wake of strong resistance by drug firms and doctors all over the country.
    • The Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) took up the matter at a meeting on 25 July and has proposed an amendment in the notification issued on 27 April.
    • The notification will allow those licensed under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, and Rules 1945 for sale or distribution of drugs to continue to sell the oxytocin formulation to ensure it is for human use.
    • It is controversial because it is used widely in the dairy industry, agriculture and horticulture.
    • The misuse of this growth booster is reported among trafficked children and injected to accelerate puberty among girls.

 

  1. Monthly transactions through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) fell in July, the first decline since its inception in August 2016, according to National Payments Corp. of India (NPCI) data.
    • The number of UPI transactions fell 4.5% to 235.65 million in July from 246.37 million in the previous month.
    • The value of transactions conducted through the UPI platform, however, rose to a new peak.
    • Transactions amounting to ₹45,846 crore were carried out during July as compared to ₹40,834 crore in the preceding month.
    • PhonePe, a payments app which works on the UPI platform claims to have contributed to around 40% of the UPI transactions recorded in July, surpassing Paytm and BHIM.
    • PhonePe also crossed the 100 million transaction mark in July, becoming the fastest Indian digital payments company to achieve this feat, the company claimed.
    • UPI is a payments system launched by the NPCI, the umbrella organisation for all retail payments in the country, which facilitates instant fund transfer between two bank accounts on a mobile platform, without requiring any detail of the beneficiary’s bank account.

 

  1. India has decided to defer by 45 days the tit-for-tat retaliatory tariffs against 29 American products worth $235 million which were supposed to come into effect on August 4, 2018 to counter a US move to unilaterally raise import duties on Indian steel and aluminium products.
    • The move comes at a time when the US elevated India’s status by placing it in the Strategic Trade Authorization (STA) Tier 1 list—comparable to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) allies—that eases export of high-tech defence items to it without individual licenses.
    • India and the US will also hold the much delayed first “2+2” dialogue among their foreign and defence ministers on 6 September .

 

  1. U.S. passed a Defence Spending Bill that sought to amend a law threatening secondary sanctions against American strategic partners, such as India, who conduct “significant” business with Russia.
    • The move, which is being seen as a major relief to India, paves the way for it to purchase the Russian S-400 Triumf.
    • It is regarded as one of the world’s most advanced air defence missile systems and has the ability to simultaneously track several incoming objects, including fighter aircraft, missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles, in a radius of a few hundred kilometres, and launch appropriate air defence systems to neutralize them.
    • The National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA), 2019, has been passed in the House of Representatives and is now awaiting US President Donald Trump’s signature.
    • The NDAA amended sections in the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), passed by the US Congress exactly a year ago on 2 August 2017.
    • CAATSA, if implemented, had the potential to adversely affect India’s defence purchases from its traditional partner, Russia.
    • Under the provisions of NDAA 2019, India can buy Russian equipment provided it fulfils certain conditions, which, most American and Indian officials say, New Delhi adheres to, including a reduction of fresh orders placed with Russia.

 

  1. The Lok Sabha has passed the 123rd Constitutional Amendment Bill providing for a National Commission for Backward Classes as a constitutional body.
    • The bill provides for the grant of constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) on par with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.

 

  1. The Supreme Court allowed the Delhi government to purchase 500 standard-floor buses taking into consideration the dire need of more buses in the Capital’s public transport system.

 

  1. Alarmed over the fast-shrinking Dal Lake, Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra approached Navy chief Sunil Lanba seeking help to save the water body, a major tourist attraction of the State.
    • The water quality of the lake had deteriorated due to intense pollution caused by untreated sewage and solid waste released into the water body.
    • The size of the Dal Lake had come down from 22 sq.km. to about 10 sq.km.
    • The Governor has appointed the Dredging Corporation as the nodal consulting agency to formulate a plan for dredging parts of the land masses in the interiors of the lake. 
    • Dal Lake is the second largest lake of Jammu and Kashmir after Wular Lake.
    • The circulation and inflows into the lake has diminished leading to the extensive growth of hyacinth.
    • The depth of the lake had come down at many places and its total capacity had gone down to 40%.  
    • The possibility of installing holding tanks and bio-digesters to make sure that houseboats do not discharge sewage will also be examined.
    • Comprehensive Bathymetric survey (measuring depth and mapping underwater features) of the Dal-Nageen water body has been asked to establish a benchmark database for deciding on the extent of dredging that needs to be carried out.

 

  1. The Ramco Cements Ltd. is planning to move the Supreme Court against the July 25 order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) dismissing the appeal made by it and others in the case related to alleged cartelisation.
    • On July 25, the NCLAT had dismissed the cement manufacturers’ plea challenging the order of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) imposing a penalty of ₹6,700 crore for alleged cartelisation.
    • During August 2016, CCI had slapped ₹6,700 crore penalty on 11 cement firms, including UltraTech, ACC, Ambuja, Ramco, JK Cement and the Cement Manufacturers’ Association (CMA).
    • Cartelisationmeans a group of industry participants coming together to fix pricing of products and services. This can work against the interest of consumers.

 

  1. Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted successful tested supersonic endo-atmospheric interceptor missile developed under Ballistic Missile Interceptor Advanced Air Defence (AAD) System from Abdul Kalam Island (earlier known as Wheeler Island) Odisha.

 

  1. 141st birth anniversary of freedom fighter and designer (architect) of Indian National Flag  Pingali Venkayya was observed on August 2, 2018.
    • He was born on August 2, 1876 in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh and died in 1963.
    • India’s National Flag (tricolor or तिरंगा) is based on Swaraj flag of Indian National Congress designed by Pingali Venkayya. It was adopted during by Constituent Assembly on the 22 July 1947, a few days before India’s independence from the British.

 

  1. FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO), the women’s wing of Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has launched WOW (Wellness of Women) mobile application aimed at creating awareness on preventive healthcare for women across the country.
    • WOW app is backed by Chennai-based Apollo Hospitals Group that offers access to renowned doctors and provides health tips. It provides easy to use platform that allows users to talk to doctors through video conferencing or connect with them via voice or email.

 

  1. Andhra Pradesh Government has approved Mukhyamantri Yuva Nestam, an unemployment allowance scheme to provide Rs 1000 per month unemployed youth in state.

 

 

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  1. Apple became the first US-based company with a market value of $1 trillion, four decades after the late Steve Jobs co-founded the firm in his parents’ garage in Silicon Valley.

 

  1. Google is planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China that will blacklist websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest was leaked.
    • It is a search app tailored and censored for China.
    • The initiative is code-named Dragonfly and is one of several options the company is pursuing for returning to China.
    • But, Sundar Pichai, Chief Executive Officer since 2015, has made no secret of his desire to take the search giant back to mainland China.

 

 

BANKING AND ECONOMY

  1. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has barred Fino Payments Bank from adding new customers after it observed anomalies regarding deposits in the existing accounts.

 

  1. Bandhan Bank surpassed YES Bank’s market capitalisation (m-cap) and became the sixth most valuable private sector bank and seventh most valued listed lender.
    • Bandhan Bank with a market capitalisation (m-cap) of Rs 840 billion surpassed YES Bank with m-cap of Rs 838 billion.

 

  1. Morgan Stanley has predicted, India’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 7.5 % in this financial year 2018 – 2019.
    • Morgan Stanley said that, India’s GDP is expected to grow by 7.5 % in this financial year 2018-19 as against 6.7 % in 2017-18.
    • Morgan Stanley’s report forecasts Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation to remain above the inflation target of 4 % and the current account deficit below 2.5 % of GDP.

 

  1. National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)is getting an unsecured loan of Rs 25,000 crore from State Bank of India (SBI) for 10 years with 3 years of moratorium on repayments.
    • This is the largest amount of loan that has been sanctioned to NHAI in one shot. Also, this is the largest long term unsecured loan sanctioned by SBI at a time to any entity.

 

  1. Reliance Jio and State Bank of India (SBI), have tied up with to provide a platform offering digital banking, commerce, and financial services to customers.
    • RIL and SBI already have a 70:30 joint venture, the Jio Payments Bank.
    • With regard to the current tie up, services would be provided through Yono (You Only Need One), a digital banking app launched by the SBI.
    • Yono’s digital banking features and solutions will be enabled through the MyJio app for customers.

 

APPOINTMENTS

  1. IFL Mutual Fund appointed Anup Maheshwari as the joint Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and chief investment officer (CIO) with effect from the middle of August 2018.
  2. Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) announced the appointment of Ravi Kant Chopra as Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
    • PC. Vaish will be the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and G.R. Saxena the Chief Operations Officer (COO).

 

 

IMPORTANT DAYS

  1. Every Year July 28th is celebrated as Nature Conservation Day.
    • It is observed to create awareness about the exploitation and to protect natural resources.
    • India has taken a few steps towards conserving nature such as:
    • Shift to renewable energy: Aim to achieve 175 GW of power by 2022.
    • Schemes such as: Nagar Van Udyan Scheme, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Project Tiger, Mangroves for the Future, The National Wetlands Conservation Programme.

 

  1. An awareness programme to mark the commencement of ‘World Breastfeeding Week’, observed across the world from August 1 – 7.
    • To intensify the efforts further for promotion of breastfeeding, the Health Ministry has initiated a nationwide programme called “MAA-Mother’s Absolute Affection’’ to bring undiluted focus on promotion of breastfeeding and provision of services towards supporting breastfeeding, along with ongoing efforts of routine health systems.


 

AWARDS

  1. On August 2, 2018, 7Indian companies have been listed in Fortune’s 500 list 2018 of world biggest corporations.
    • IOC is the highest ranked company from India followed by RIL which jumped 55 places.
    • IOC ranked 137th in 2018 with a significant jump from 168th position from 2017.
    • RILis the top private sector company in India. It ranked 148th in 2018 from 203rd from 2017.
    • ONGCranked 197th in 2018 which not even featured in 2017.
    • SBIgot 216th rank 1 place higher than 217th in 2017.
    • Tata Motorsranked 232nd from 247th from 2017.
    • BPCL ranked 314th in 2018 from 360th in 2017.
    • Rajesh Exports ranked 405th in 2018 from 295th in 2017.
    • The top in the list of Fortune 500 list are:

Rank

Company

1

Walmart

2

State Grid

3

Sinopec Group (China)

4

China National Petroleum (China)

5

Royal Dutch Shell

 

 

SPORTS

  1. Jehan Daruvala won the FIA Formula 3 European Championship in Belgium.