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President Ram Nath Kovind visit to Chile
President Shri Ram Nath Kovind, reached Santiago, Chile in the evening of 30th March, 2019. This was the final leg of his visit to three nations – Croatia, Bolivia and Chile.
- Ram Nath Kovind addressed India-Chile Business Forum
- India and Chile agreed to strengthen global response to defeat terrorism
- Ram Nath Kovind visited Pablo Neruda Museum
- Ram Nath Kovind reviewed Guard of Honour………………………………………..Click here to read more
113 mn people of 53 countries faced severe hunger in 2018, as per Global Report on Food Crises 2019
In accordance with the annual 2019 Global Report on Food Crises, around 113 million people across 53 countries faced severe huger in 2018. In comparison to the figures of 2017, the number is reduced from 124 million but it requires urgent humanitarian assistance.
i. The report prepared by 15 leading global and regional organizations was led by UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). It was released by Food Security Information Network (FSIN).
ii. The report examined 53 countries that are vulnerable to food crises and provided the causes of severe food insecurity for 27 countries which were mainly persistent conflict and adverse weather events.
iii. The two-thirds of the total number of people facing acute food insecurity are in 8 countries viz. Yemen, Congo, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Syria, Sudan, South Sudan and Northern Nigeria.
iv. The report mentioned the short-term forecast of food insecurity in the year 2019 also, stating the above mentioned countries, will remain among the world’s most severe food crises.
Related Points :
♦ Establishment : 1961
♦ Headquarters : Rome, Italy
♦ Head: David Beasley
♦ Parent organization: United Nations General Assembly
BANKING & FINANCE
RBI sets WMA Limit for Government at Rs 75000 crore for the first half of the FY 2019-20
- The Reserve Bank of India has set the limits for Ways and Means Advances (WMA) to Rs. 75000 crore for the first half of the financial year 2019-20 (April 2019 to September 2019).
- As and when the government of India utilises 75% of the WMA limit, the central bank would activate fresh floatation of market loans.
- The rate of interest issued on the Ways and Means Advances (WMA) will be Repo Rate while the overdraft will exceed the Repo Rate by flat 2%. The WMA needs to be vacated after 90 days.
- What is Ways and Means advances (WMA)?
Ways and Means advances, guided under Section 17(5) of the RBI Act, 1934 are temporary loan facilities or overdrafts that are extended to the government (both central and the state) by the central bank of India………………………………………Click here to Read more
First Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement for 2019-20-RBI cuts repo rate by 25 basis points
On 6th April 2019, Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s six-member monetary policy committee chaired by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das released its 1st Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy for 2019-20.
i. RBI has reduced 0.25 basis points in the Policy Rates under liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) with immediate effect.The Change in Policy rates are as follows:
|Policy Rates||1st Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy 2019-2020(Apr-2019)||6th Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy(Feb 2019)|
|Repo Rate||6.00 %||6.25%|
|Reverse Repo Rate||5.75 %||6.00%|
|Marginal Standing Facility Rate||6.25 %||6.50%|
|Bank Rate||6.25 %||6.50%|
|Reserve Ratios||1st Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy 2019-2020(Apr 2019)||6th Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy(Feb 2019)|
|Cash Reserve Ratio(CRR)||4%||4%|
|Statutory Liquidity Ratio(SLR)||19.25%||19.25%|
ii. RBI projected the GDP growth forecast of India for the current fiscal to 7.2% from the earlier estimate of 7.4 per cent.
iii. RBI has estimated the retail inflation forecast between 3.2% and 3.4% for the H1FY20.
iv. The objective of the amendment is to achieve the medium-term target for the inflation of the CPI (Consumer Price Index) by 4% (within a band of ‘+2’ or ‘-2’ i.e. 2% and 6%). The expectation for the CPI inflation for first half of FY 20 is between 2.9% and 3% while for the second half, it is estimated from 3.5% to 3.8%. For the last quarter of FY19 (January to March) CPI inflation revised at 2.4%.
v. The Monetary Policy Committee points out the grave fact that domestic economy is facing a decline and the output gap remains negative. To improve upon this, the domestic growth impulses should be strengthened by encouraging private investments.
vi. The inflation path in the 2019-20 is shaped by multitude of factors. They are as follows:
– The low food inflation during January-February will have an impact on the near-term inflation overview.
– A reduction in the fuel group inflation during February will have a bearing.
– The CPI inflation including food and fuel in February was lower than approximated, which again impacts the near-term inflation outlook.
– The price of international crude oil has surged by around 10% since the last policy.
About Reserve Bank of India:
♦ Governor-Shaktikanta Das
RBI makes NPA divergence rule easier for banks
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has altered the bad loan divergence rule for banks which aims at improving transparency in asset classification and preventing under-reporting of bad loans.
i. The RBI brought leniency in its rule on 1st April, 2019 by asking banks to disclose bad loan divergences in their financial statements.
- Condition: Additional provisioning if divergence exceeds 10% of profit prior to provision and contingencies.
ii. Earlier banks were able to make suitable disclosures only when:
- Mandated provisioning by the RBI exceeded 15% of the net profits after taxfor the reference period.
- RBI thus improved upon the additional provisioning requirements.
iii. As per RBI, disclosures have to be made:
- Condition: Additional gross NPAs if material divergence exceeds 15% of the reported gross NPAs for the reference period.
Fitch kept India’s rating unchanged at BBB- with Stable outlook
On 4th April 2019, Fitch Rating affirms India’s sovereign rating at the lowest investment grade of BBB-with a stable outlook. The growth rate of India forecasted by Fitch is 6.8% in financial year 2019-20 and 7.1% in FY 2020-21.
i. According to Fitch, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) regulations has been eased and there is reduction in red tape but still there are some difficulties in doing business in India due to which India’s rating is not upgraded.
ii. Since 2006, this is the 13th year in a row that India is getting “BBB” ranking from Fitch. On August 1, 2006, Fitch had upgraded the India’s rating from “BB+” to “BBB”.
About Fitch Rating
♦ Fitch Ratings is a subsidiary of Hearst Corporation.
♦ Headquarters: New York, USA
♦ CEO: Paul Taylor
♦ President: Ian Linnell
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
US has consented the sale of 24 “MH-60R Seahawk” helicopters to India for $2.6 bn
At an estimated cost of $2.6 billion, the United States has approved the sale of 24 multi-mission Lockheed Martin-built MH-60 “Romeo'”Seahawk helicopters to India. These choppers designed for targeting ships, hunting submarines and conducting search-and-rescue operations at sea, would replenish the age-old fleet of British-made Sea King helicopters, used by India.
i. This particular sale proposal would help in strengthening the US-India strategic relationship by aiding the foreign policy and the national security of the US.
ii. The sale approval by the US will not only provide India’s defence forces the ability to carry out anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare missions but also the capability to perform secondary missions. The secondary missions is inclusive of vertical replenishment.
iii. The choppers are currently deployed with the US navy and are reviewed as the world’s most capable maritime helicopter constructed to operate from aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers and frigates.
v. The whooping cost of $2.6 billion includes other supporting equipment and ammunition, namely, 10 Hellfire missiles, 30 MK 54 torpedoes and 38 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System rockets.
vi.The main contractor of the deal is Lockheed Martin’s “Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems”.
vii. Defence trade between India and the US has risen extravagantly in the last 10 years and is estimated to reach $18 billion in 2019.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
UAE honours PM Modi with the highest civilian honour, Zayed Medal
On the 3rd of April, 2019, UAE honoured PM Narendra Modi with its highest civilian award, the Zayed Medal for boosting the bilateral ties between both of the nations.
Eligibility to acquire this award :-
i.United Arab Emirates’s highest civilian decoration, the Order of Zayed, awarded to those who contribute to international leadership in strengthening relations with the country.
ii.Past recipients of this award were Russian president Vladimir Putin, former US president George W Bush, French leader Nicolas Sarkozy and German politician Angela Merkel.
i.The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan visited India on 24-26 of January, 2017 as the chief guest for Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited UAE on February 10-11, 2018.
ii.India-UAE’s commercial relations are broadly based on energy cooperation, investments made by UAE in India, business and investments made by Indian expatriates in the UAE.
Country– UAE (United Arab Emirates)
Capital– Abu Dhabi
Currency– AED (the United Arab Emirates Dirhams)
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Vipin Anand has been appointed as the new Managing Director of LIC
Vipin Anand has assumed the charge of Managing Director of the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). In March 2019, he was appointed by Centre as the LIC MD. He will succeed interim chairman, Hemant Bhargava.
i. In the tenure of more than 35 years, he served as the head of LIC’s western zone, comprising of 23 divisions. He has also headed LIC’s east-central zone headquartered at Patna.
Related Points LIC:
♦ Establishment – 1956
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai
♦ Tagline – Zindagi ke Saath bhi, zindagi ke baad bhi.
Vinod Dasari was appointed as Royal Enfield CEO
Vinod K. Dasari has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Royal Enfield and also became an executive director in the board of Eicher Motors, parent organization of Royal Enfield.
i. Vinod K. Dasari will replace Siddhartha Lal for CEO post. But Mr. Siddhartha Lal will continue as MD of Eicher Motors Ltd.
ii. Priorly, he was serving as the MD and CEO at Ashok Leyland since 2011.
Rakesh became next High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Cameroon
Shri Rakesh Malhotra, currently serving as Consul General, Consulate General of India, Melbourne has been appointed as the High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Cameroon.
♦ Capital : Yaounde
♦ Currency : Central African CFA franc (XAF)
♦ President: Paul Biya
♦ Prime Minister: Joseph Ngute
Former Bollywood Actress, Mayoori kango has appointed the Industry Head of Google India
Ex-Bollywood actress and Managing Director of Performics (A Performance Marketing Agency), Mayoori Kango has been appointed as the Industry head of Google India. She will lead Google engagement with Publicis (Parent Company of Performics) and DAN.
i. Mayoori Kango started her career at the age of 15 and featured in Saeed Akhtar Mirza’s National Award winning film, Naseem. Her other movies includes “Papa Kehte Hai (1996)”, Betaabi (1997), Hogi Pyaar ki Jeet (1999) and Badal (2000).
ii. She quit her acting career and moved to USA after her marriage with NRI Aditya Dhillon.
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
Chatbot Making Startup Haptik was acquired by Reliance Jio Digital for Rs.700 Crore
Reliance Jio Digital, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries has acquired a chatbot making startup firm Haptik for Rs.700 Crore.
i. In this Rs.700 Crore deal, Rs.230 Crore will be used for business transaction and Rs.470 Crore will be used for business expansion.
ii. After this acquisition, Reliance Jio Digital now hold 87% stake in Haptik, while Existing investor Times Internet which held 70% stake will exit the company.
iii. Haptik Co-founders Aakrit Vaish and Swapan Rajdev will have a minority stake of 13% in Haptik.
♦ CEO: Mukesh Ambani
♦ Founder: Dhirubhai Ambani
♦ Founded: 8 May 1973, Maharashtra
♦ Haptik is the 6th company to be acquired by Reliance Industries in the last 2 months.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
CCMB scientists discovered a new enzyme “Murein EndopeptidiaseK” to break the bacteria cell wall
The Center for Cell and Molecular Biology (CCMB) scientists have discovered a new enzyme called “Murein EndopeptidiaseK” while studying the cell growth in bacteria. This new discovery has paved the way for a new drug treatment that prevents anti-bacterial resistance by existing antibiotics.
I. It would act on the protein of cell wall in Escherichia coli (E. coli), a bacterium found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms.
ii. Pavan Kumar Chodisetti, research student and his mentor Dr. Manjula Reddy were the backbone of this discovery. The finding has been published in the latest issue of Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, USA.
Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology:
♦ Director: Rakesh K. Mishra
♦ Location : Hyderabad, Telangana, India
♦ CCMB has been selected as a Centre of Excellence by UNESCO Global Network for Molecular and Cell Biology.
Messaging app WhatsApp unveiled ‘Checkpoint Tipline’ to check authenticity of news
In order to check the authenticity of information during Lok Sabha Election, Messaging app WhatsApp unveiled a platform named “Checkpoint Tipline”, which can review the content in the form of pictures, video links or text. This tipline is unveiled by an India-based media skilling start-up, Proto.
Usage of the platform:
i. Subscribers in India can submit misinformation or rumours they receive to the Checkpoint Tipline on WhatsApp (+91-9643-000-888).
ii. After sharing the information, the app will check with the checkpoints and inform the user whether the submitted information is fake or not using the key terms – true, false, misleading, disputed or out of scope and include any other related information that is available.
iii.The platform can review the text in English as well as in four regional languages viz-Hindi, Telugu, Bengali and Malayalam can also be reviewed.
iv. This newly launched platform will form a database of rumours to study misinformation during elections for the research project Checkpoint , technically assisted by WhatsApp.
International Mine Awareness Day – 4th April
United Nations’ International Mine Awareness Day is observed on 4th April every year to raise awareness about landmines and the actions that need to be taken towards their eradication. The Theme for International Mine Awareness Day 2019 is “United nations promotes SDGs –Safe Ground –Safe Home” (SDG –Sustainable Development Goals).
i. A multimedia exhibition was organized by the United Nations Mine Service (UNMS) at the United Nations headquarters in New York to raise awareness about threats caused by mines.
ii. On 8th December 2005, United Nations General assembly declared that International Mines awareness Day will be observed on 4th April every year.
About United Nations
♦ Headquarters: New York, USA
♦ Secretary General: Antonio Guterres