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July 6, 2018

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NATIONAL NEWS

  1. The Indian Ocean Research Vessel (ORV), Sagar Nidhi, will set out from Chennai as part of an Indo-US expedition seeking to find answers to the vagaries of the Bay of Bengal-fed south-west monsoon, which accounts for 70% of India’s annual rainfall.
    • Sagar Nidhi will sail through the Bay of Bengal for a month collecting data on ocean conditions at different depths and locations and study the underlying principles of interaction of the uppermost layer of the ocean with the atmosphere.
    • The project seeks to cast light on the complex mechanics of the monsoon.
    • The biggest challenge is the unpredictability of the weather phenomenon, including, crucially, why there are breaks in the June-September rainy season.
  1. There’s been a 186% spurt in Indians looking for employment in robotics, with Maharashtra offering most of the jobs in the sector, according to a new study by the job site, Indeed.
    • Maharashtra is followed by Karnataka and Telangana.
    • The reason: While Maharashtra is home to large technology centres such as Pune and Mumbai, Karnataka has India’s own Silicon Valley, Bengaluru, and Telangana will soon have a technology hub in Hyderabad.
    • The number of people looking for jobs in robotics soared 186% between May 2015 and May 2018.
    • Surgery is one area where robotics is making a breakthrough, with the sector expected to grow at a much higher rate of 20% between 2017 and 2025 compared to the global rate of 12%.
    • Construction is another sector that is seeing an increasing reliance on robots because of government initiatives such as Make in India and Digital India.
  1. Gujarat Gas Ltd (GGL), India’s largest city gas distribution (CGD) company, is looking to pick up the entire 50% stake of GAIL Gas in Vadodara Gas Ltd (VGL).
    • The deal size is expected to be about ₹200-250 crore for an enterprise valuation of about ₹500 crore of VGL.
  1. The legal global market in cannabis is currently worth $7.7 billion, and is expected to hit $31.4 billion by 2021, the Brightfield Group, a US-based cannabis market research firm estimates.

 

  1. India is likely to face greater scrutiny at the World Trade Organization (WTO) after the centre hiked the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for paddy by 13%.
    • While India has maintained that its food subsidy for paddy is below 6%, against the permissible 10%, till 2015-16, and has notified WTO, the US has raised doubts about India’s calculations.
    • WTO rules cap government procurement for subsidized food programmes by developing countries at 10% of the total value of Agricultural Production based on the 1986-88 prices, and are always reported in dollar terms.

 

  1. Union Minister of Coal, Railways, Finance & Corporate Affairs, Shri Piyush Goyallaunched the Coal Mine Surveillance & Management System (CMSMS) and Mobile Application ‘Khan Prahari’.
    • Objective – to curb illegal mining.
    • The ‘Coal Mine Surveillance & Management System (CMSMS) aims to report, monitor and take suitable action on unauthorised coal mining activities
    • Khan Prahari is a tool for reporting any activity taking place related to illegal coal mining like rat hole mining, pilferage etc.

 

  1. IRCTC said that, the National Security Guard (NSG)will be the first central paramilitary force to opt for e-ticketing instead of the railway warrant as per a MoU signed with the IRCTC.
    • With this system the NSG personnel don’t have to carry railway warrants.
  1. The UP Governmentannounced a new Defence Manufacturing policy named ‘UP Defence Aerospace Unit and Employment Generating Policy, 2018’.

 

  1. Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamypresented the Congress-JD(S) coalition government’s first budget, announcing farm loan waiver worth Rs 34,000 crore.

 

  1. China, UAE, Cyprusand Mauritius, along with 21 other countries have been named as “High-Risk Jurisdictions” by global banks acting as custodians for foreign funds.
    • Participation in Indian markets will get more difficult for these foreign institutions.
    • Currently, the KYC requirements of FPIs are based on the category they fall under Category I and II, FPIs, who are considered low-risk investors, need to provide minimum documentation
    • While Category III FPIs who are unregulated entities are subject to additional disclosures. 

 

  1. The Law Commission of India submitted a report to the government, saying that since it is impossible to stop illegal gambling, the only viable option left is to “regulate” gambling in sports.
    • The commission, headed by former Supreme Court judge, Justice B.S. Chauhan, recommended “cashless” gambling in sports as a means to increase revenue and deal a blow to unlawful gambling.
    • For that the revenue from gambling should be taxable under laws like the Income Tax Act and the Goods and Services Tax Act.
    • Such activities, if properly regulated would ensure transparency in the market, as also strike at the underworld’s control over the illegal and unregulated gambling industry.

 

  1. Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) – The Bharatiya Janata Party government in Rajasthan is lobbying hard for the Centre’s approval for the ambitious ERCP.
    • It is a proposed budget of 37,000 crore as a river interlinking project, which will transfer excess waters from the Chambal river basin to 13 districts in the State facing water scarcity.
    • The project, which would link Parvati, Kalisindh and Chambal rivers, would benefit 40% of the State’s population with the supply of drinking and irrigation waters.
    • The Eastern Rajasthan Canal, as an intra-basin water transfer scheme, will ensure availability of water in Jhalawar, Baran, Kota, Bundi, Sawai Madhopur, Ajmer, Tonk, Jaipur, Dausa, Karauli, Alwar, Bharatpur and Dholpur districts till 2051.

 

  1. Cities like Gwalior, Bhopal and Jabalpur will also issue Municipal Bonds just like Indore.
    • Incidentally, it was the first such municipal bond listing on the National Stock
    • The issue size was ₹100 crore, with an additional green-shoe option of ₹70 crore.

 

  1. Railways have now said that they will accept soft copies of Aadhar and driving licence provided they are in your DigiLocker, a digital storage service operated by the government that enables Indian citizens to store certain official documents on the cloud.
    • It has, however, clarified that the documents uploaded by the passenger himself that is the documents in the ‘uploaded documents’ section will not be considered as a valid proof of identity.
    • If a passenger shows Aadhaar or driving licence from the ‘issued documents’ section by logging into his DigiLocker account, the same should be considered as valid proof of identity.

 

  1. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has told WhatsApp to take remedial measures to prevent proliferation of these fake and at times motivated/sensational
    • WhatsApp is the Facebook-owned encrypted messaging platform.

 

  1. All 97 people who contracted rabies in 2017 died, making it the deadliest communicable disease last year in India.
    • However, swine flu infected and killed the most number of people in absolute numbers.

 

  1. The ongoing negotiations between India and the U.S. on multiple trade tussles is likely to involve bringing down the duty on high-end Harley-Davidson motorcycles to zero.

 

  1. Archaeologists in Peru have uncovered an extensive Incan burial site inside an adobe pyramid in a Coastal Desert Valley far from the Andean heart of the empire.
    • Two dozen cave-like tombs with human remains and pottery from the Incan culture have been unearthed so far at the Tucume Archaeological Site.

 

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  1. US President Donald Trump is preparing to slap tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods, the first shot in a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.
    • If China’s exports drop 10%, Taiwan, Malaysia and South Korea would suffer a larger blow to growth than China.
    • $20 bn of the $34 bn in goods to be hit with US tariffs are produced by foreign firms, including from the US.

 

 

BANKING AND ECONOMY

  1. With a view to fast track NPA (Non-Performing Asset) resolution, bankers finalized the Inter-Creditor Agreement (ICA) framework.
    • Inter-creditor agreement is a framework under which consortium of lenders would take up NPA cases.
    • The framework will authorise the lead bank to implement a resolution plan in 180 days and the leader would then prepare a resolution plan including empanelling turnaround specialists and other industry experts for operation turnaround of the assets within RBI’s stipulated time-frame of 180 days.

 

  1. SBI Card, the country’s second largest credit card issuer, announced the launch of ELA’ (Electronic Live Assistant), a virtual assistant for customer support and services.
    • It is designed to enhance customer experience by providing relevant and instant responses to customer queries.
  1. ICICI Bank announced that its mortgage loan portfolio crossed the Rs 1.5-trillion milestone, making it the largest private player in the segment.

APPOINTMENTS

  1. Bandhan Bank, the newest private sector lender has received Reserve Bank of India (RBI) approval for the re-appointment of current Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, for three years.
  2. United India Insurance Company announced the appointment of K B Vijay Srinivas as its Director and General Manager.
  3. Journalist Rajat Sharma was elected the President of Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA).

 

 

SPORTS

  1. Major General VD Dogra became the first serving Indian Army officer and the only General in the world to have completed ‘Ironman’ competition held in Austria.

 

 

MISCELLANEOUS

  1. Scientific studies have shown an epidemiological shift in dengue viruses, which means changes in the virus’s geographical incidence and distribution, and have indicated that climate change might be a reason for increase in dengue cases.
    • The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the main vector that transmits viruses causing dengue and chikungunya.
    • Malaria is spread by anopheles mosquitoes.
    • The study stated that India’s mean temperature rose by more than 0.5 degree Celsius between 1960 and 2009 due to several environmental factors, including climate change.
    • The researchers studied the temperatures in different seasons and found that an increase in temperature led to a shorter incubation period for the dengue virus.

 

  1. The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has approved to include 4 species: Northern River Terrapin (riverine turtle), Red Panda, Clouded Leopard and Arabian Sea Humpback Whale in the recovery programme for critically endangered species.