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China hosted 2nd Belt and Road Forum in Beijing
The second edition of Belt and Road Forum (BRF) was held in Beijing, China from April 25th to April 27th, 2019 in which 37 heads-of-state had participated along with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and International Monetary Chief (IMF) Christine Lagarde. The theme of this event was “Belt and Road Cooperation: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future”.
i.The Belt and Road Forum is a part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The idea of BRI was first proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.
♦ Capital: Beijing
♦ Currency: Renminbi
BANKING & FINANCE
SC gave ultimatum to RBI to disclose information under RTI Act
Recently, Supreme Court bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao has directed the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to disclose information related to its annual inspection report of banks under the Right to Information (RTI) Act until and unless they are exempted under law. The bench has also directed the RBI to review its policy to disclose information relating to banks under RTI.
i. The bench was hearing a contempt petition filed by RTI activists Subhash Chandra Agarwal and Girish Mittal against the Reserve Bank of India.
ii. According to the petitioners, they had asked copies of RBI’s inspection reports of ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, and SBI between April 2011 and December 2015 but the central bank rejected to provide this information by stating that it is exempted under section 8(1)(e) of the RTI Act and section 45NB of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.
♦ Headquarter: Mumbai
♦ Governor: Shaktikanta Das
♦ Slogan of RBI: Developing Banking
Canara Bank and its life insurance partner Canara HSBC OBC Life launched ’Webassurance’
On 27th April 2019, Canara Bank and its life insurance partner Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance launched ’Webassurance’ to enable its customers to purchase life insurance in a convenient and hassle-free way.
i. Total Four life insurance products of Canara HSBC OBC Life would be made available to its customers with various facilities like key needs of child future, savings, and investments, retirement planning and protection.
ii. Through this Webassurance, the bank will be able to service the protection needs of its younger and net-savvy customers.
iii. This Life Insurance is jointly owned by Canara Bank (51 percent) and Oriental Bank of Commerce (23 percent) and HSBC Insurance Holdings (26 percent), the Asian insurance arm of HSBC.
About Canara Bank
♦ Headquarters: Bangalore, Karnataka
♦ Chairman: Shri. T.N. Manoharan
♦ Tagline: Together we can
Real-Time Voice Banking Platform Launched named FSS Voice Commerce
On 16th April 2019, Financial Software Services (FSS) has launched FSS Voice Commerce which is a real-time voice banking platform to provide customers with personalized banking interactions.
i. It uses machine-learning language processing techniques for analysis and synthesis of language and speech to deliver the service.
ii. This platform interfaces with any retail banking system to provide real-time information of accounts and balances.
iii. It also enables seamless 24/7 secure access to a broad range of financial banking services such as fund transfers, bill payments, card block and non-financial transactions such as service requests, like ordering for a cheque book, new credit / debit card, loan request, check rate of interest for personal loan, real-time account information etc.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Economist Intelligence Unit set to bring down India’s growth outlook for 2019-20
Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in its report said that in 2019-20 India’s economy will grow below its potential due to a generally weaker global economy and structural challenges such as high unemployment. EIU will make a downward revision to its current forecast of 7.2 percent.
i. Recently, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and RBI have downgraded India’s growth forecast for 2019-20 to 7.2 percent from 7.4 percent.
ii. IMF in its report “World Economic Outlook” downgraded India’s growth forecast for 2019-20 to 7.3 percent.
♦ Headquarter: London, United Kingdom
Fitch Solutions Report: India to install 54.7 GW wind capacity by 2022
According to Fitch Solutions Macro Research report, India is probably going to install 54.7GW of wind capacity by 2022 against the 60 GW target set by the government. This wind capacity installation is a part of India’s ambitious target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by the year 2022 which includes 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10GW from bio-power and 5 GW from small hydro-power.
Central Government hikes customs duty on wheat to 40 percent
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) hiked the basic customs duty (BCD) on wheat to 40% from 30%. The objective is to restrict imports so that domestic prices of wheat do not come under pressure as the country’s wheat production in this season might cross 100 million tonnes. Last year in May, the government hiked the basic customs duty on wheat to 30% from 20%.
About Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC)
♦ Headquarter: Ministry of Finance, North Block, New Delhi
♦ Chairperson: Pranab Kumar Das
Govt. forms committee to examine the introduction of e-invoices under GST
On 28th April 2019, the government of India has formed a 13-member committee having representatives from GST Network (GSTN), central and state governments to examine the electronic tax invoice system of various countries like South Korea, Latin America and suggest a model for India.
i. The introduction of electronic invoices (e-invoices) through the Goods and Services Tax (GST) portal which will help the indirect tax system and keep a check on tax evasion.
ii. For the e-invoices system, the committee will examine and suggest the target taxpayers and the threshold limit.
iii. The committee will look at a centralized system of e-invoices, which will give automatic access to authorities to invoices
iv. It will also discuss whether a system of e-invoices would help in dispensing the requirement of e-way bill or modification of the e-way bill or even combine both the options of e-invoice and e-way bill.
v. The e-invoice system will replace the requirement of the generation of e-way bill for movement of goods. At present, the e-way bill is required for moving goods exceeding Rs. 50,000.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Ex-South Africa all-rounder Jacques Kallis receives Ikhamanga Award 2019
On 25th April 2019, Former South African cricketer, Jacques Kallis has been honoured with the Order of Ikhamanga in the Silver Division for his contribution to cricket and for putting South Africa on the global sporting map by, Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa during the National Orders ceremony at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House in Pretoria, South Africa.
i. The award is given to honour citizens who have made significant contributions to arts, literature, music, journalism, culture and sports.
ii. Presently,Kallis, retired in July 2014, is the head coach of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL 2019) franchise Kolkata Knight Riders.
iii. Hashim Amla received the Silver award in 2018 and Shaun Pollock and Makhaya Ntini were both recognized in 2008.
About Order of Ikhamanga :
♦ Grades : Gold (OIG), for exceptional achievement, Silver (OIS), for excellent achievement, Bronze (OIB), for outstanding achievement.
♦ Eligibility: South African citizens
♦ Instituted: 30 November 2003
About South Africa
♦ President: Cyril Ramaphosa
♦ Capitals: Cape Town, Pretoria, Bloemfontein
♦ Currency: South African rand
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
M S Yadav named as general secretary of newly formed AIFPTIEU
On 27th April 2019, M S Yadav has been elected as general secretary of the newly formed, All India Federation of PTI Employees’ Unions (AIFPTIEU) by the 45 elected council members from different centres of PTI (Press Trust of India) during the two days meeting in Lucknow.
i. In other appointments, Bhuwan Choubey was elected as president, P C Maity was elected as treasurer, Md. Sallimuddin and O J Tomy were elected vice-presidents, M S Hasan and B T Mohan Rao were elected assistant general secretaries.
ii. In addition of this, a 16-member executive body was constituted which comprised Meheruddin, Sunil Gaur, Jagmohan Rawat, Arvind Kumar Singh, Naresh Pal, Rajbir Singh, K K Verma, Kulbhusan Yadav, Salav Rastogi, Sudip Ghosh Choudhury, Gopal Prasad Sav, G N Patnaik, R S Batwal, Mahender Verma, A K Tripathy and Sayeed Latifudfin.
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UN: Humans Put 1 Million Species at Risk of Extinction
According to a draft United Nations report, which is to be published on 6 May 2019 in Agence France-Presse (AFP), up to one million world species are at risk of extinction due to human activity. The 44-page draft report has summarized 1,800-page U.N. assessment of scientific literature on the state of nature. On 29th April 2019, it will vet in a 130 nations meeting in Paris, France.
Key Points in the Report:
i. Causes for mass extinction event: shrinking habitat,land-use change, hunting for food or illicit trade in body parts, climate change, pollution, and alien species such as rats, mosquitoes, and snakes that hitch rides on ships or planes.
ii. Nearly 75% of Land, 40% of the marine ecosystem and 50% of inland waterways have been severely altered.
iii. Almost half of land and marine ecosystems have been profoundly compromised due to unethical interference by the human in the last 50 years.
iv. More than 75 percent of global food crops necessitate animal pollination and More than two billion people rely on wood fuel for energy, four billion rely on natural medicines.
v. Subsidies to fisheries, industrial agriculture, livestock raising, forestry, mining and the production of biofuel or fossil fuel energy boost the intensity and frequency of waste production, inefficiency, and over-consumption.
vi. The report cautioned against climate change solutions that may accidentally harm nature.
♦ Headquarters: Paris, France
♦ Founder: Charles-Louis Havas
♦ Founded: 1835, Paris, France
♦ CEO: Fabrice Fries
Former Ethiopian president Negasso Gidada passed away aged 75
On 27th April 2019, Former Ethiopian president Negasso Gidada Solon passed away at the age of 75 in Germany for an unspecified illness.
i. He was born on 8th September 1943 in Dembidolo, Ethiopian Empire.
ii. He was the president between 1995 and 2001 and was the first head of state after Ethiopia adopted a new constitution transforming country into a federal state.
iii. In 2015, He was elected to parliament as an independent but then joined the opposition three years later.
iv. Also in 2017, he was rehabilitated by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and was appointed an advisor.
World Day for Safety and Health at Work observed on 28th April
On 28th April 2019, an International Campaign, the World Day for Safety and Health at Work (WDSHW) was observed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) to promote safe work, and awareness about work-related accidents and diseases. This UN International day provides support to the national efforts for the improvement of national Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) systems and programmes in line with relevant international labour standards. This year, it was observed with a theme “Safety and Health and the Future of Work”.
i. Initiated in 2003, the day enhances the occupational safety and health, and looks to the future for continuing these efforts through major changes such as technology, demographics, sustainable development including climate change and changes in work organization.
♦ Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
♦ Head: Guy Ryder
♦ Founder: Paris Peace Conference, 1919
♦ Formation: 29 October 1919
HUDCO Celebrates its 49th Foundation Day On April 25
On 25th April 2019, the Housing and Urban Development Corporation Limited (HUDCO) has been celebrated its 49th Foundation Day.
i. Dr. M. Ravi Kanth (CMD, HUDCO) has inaugurated the 49th Foundation Day celebrations of HUDCO at HUDCO Bhawan, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.
ii. The HUDCO Design Awards for innovative design solutions for disaster resistant housing, conservation of heritage, green buildings and landscape planning & design were also presented on the occasion.
♦ Founded On : 25 April 1970
♦ Owned by : Union Government
♦ Head office : New Delhi
Ace paddler Sharath Kamal wins sportsperson of year award 2019
On 27th April 2019, Sharath Kamal, Ace table tennis player was titled Sportsperson of the Year Award 2019 at the annual awards and scholarships function organised by the Tamil Nadu Sports Journalists’ Association (TNSJA) and the India Cements in Chennai. Stephen Fleming, CSK (Chennai Super Kings) coach, Mike Hussey, and CSK CEO K S Viswanathan were present in the function.
i. Ten up-and-coming sportspersons were also given scholarships to the tune of Rs 3 lakh.
ii. TNSJA Lifetime Achievement awardees: Vijay Amritraj (Indian tennis player), V V Kumar ( former India leg-spinner), R Gnanasekaran(Asian Games gold medallist (200m).
iii. Coach of the year: R B RAMESH (chess coach)
iv. India Cements -TNSJA Team of the year 2018-19: Tamil Nadu Women’s Football team.
v. India Cements -TNSJA Young Achiever of the year 2018-19 : P M Tabitha( athlete)
vi. India Cements -TNSJA Young Achiever of the year 2018-19: D.Gukesh (world’s second youngest Grand Master).
About Tamil Nadu:
♦ Governor : Banwarilal Purohit
♦ Chief Minister : Edappadi K Palaniswami
♦ Deputy Chief Minister : O Panneerselvam
♦ Festivals: Pongal,Puthandu,Natyanjali Dance Festival,Thaipusam,Mahamaham Festival
♦ Dance forms: Bharatanatyam, Chakkai attam,Devaraattam,Kolattam,Kai Silambu Attam
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