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Current Affairs Today August 19 2018

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Current Affairs Today August 19 2018

 INDIAN AFFAIRS

PFRDA set up panel for advice on cyber safety to protect subscribers
On August 19, 2018, Pension fund regulator, Pension Fund and Regulatory Development Authority (PFRDA), set a standing committee to suggest steps to deal with cyber security challenges.
Objective:
To protect the interest of subscribers.
Key Points:
About the Committee:

  • The focus area of the committee is on ‘Information Systems and Technology and Cyber Security’.
  • It would suggest ways to integrate the technology of PFRDA with the best in industry to protect the subscribers.
  • It would advise on development of Management Information Systems (MIS), supervisory and regulatory platforms.
  • It might meet as often as may be considered necessary but not less than once in six months.

About PFRDA:
♦ PFRDA is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament to promote old age income security.
♦ It develops, promotes and regulates the pension industry under National Pension System and also administers the Atal Pension Yojna.

BANKING & FINANCE

All India Financial Inclusion Survey (NAFIS) released by NABARD
On August 19, 2018, All India Financial Inclusion Survey (NAFIS) by NABARD was released.

All India Financial Inclusion Survey (NAFIS) released by NABARDi. According to the survey:

  • More than 88 per cent of rural households have bank accounts.
  • Only about 24 per cent of the 88% of rural households use ATM services at least once in three months,
  • 7.4 per cent of these households use debit or credit card,
  • 7.5 per cent use cheque to make a payment at least once in three months,
  • The annual income of farmers increased 37.4 per cent to Rs 1,07,172 between 2012-13 and 2015-16,
  • The average monthly income of India’s rural households was Rs 8,059 in 2015-16 and  Rs 6,646 in 2012-13.
  • Among states, Punjab, Haryana and Kerala are the top three having average monthly income of Rs 23,133, Rs 18,496 and Rs 16,927, respectively
  • Uttar Pradesh is at the bottom at Rs 6,668 per month.
  • After all expenditure a family retains:

State Amount/Month
Andhra Pradesh 95
Bihar 262
Uttar Pradesh 315

  • The survey found 48 per cent of rural families are agricultural households.

About the survey:
The Nabard survey was conducted in 2016 in 245 districts of 29 states covering 40,327 households. The survey had considered 2015-16 as the reference year and all data are pertained to that year.
NABARD:
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.
♦ Chairman: Dr. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala.
♦ Founded: 12th July 1982.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

India’s CAD is expected to widen to 2.8 pc of GDP in FY19: Nomura
On August 19, 2018, according to a report by Nomura, India’s current account deficit (CAD) is expected to widen to 2.8 per cent of the GDP in FY19 from 1.9 per cent of GDP, in 2017-18 fiscal.
i. Reasons for this are:
rising oil prices, depreciating rupee and outflow of portfolio investments.
ii. Further, balance of payment (BOP) (current account + net FDI) is negative and portfolio flows are also said to remain negative.
iii. Earlier, CAD jumped to USD 48.7 billion, or 1.9 per cent of GDP, in 2017-18 fiscal. This was higher than USD 14.4 billion, or 0.6 per cent, CAD in 2016-17 fiscal.
iv. But due to trade shortfall the gap between exports and imports is rising. It was USD 18 billion, the most in more than five years in July 2018.
v. As India’s exports rose by 14.32 per cent to USD 25.77 billion in July, while imports during the month were valued at USD 43.79 billion.
Other Announcements:
Moody’s have predicted the CAD to be 2.5% of the GDP of FY19.
CAD:
It is the difference between the inflow and outflow of foreign exchange.
Other Facts:
i. The depreciating rupee will help in the exports sector as imports will be costlier but also since the oil prices are also high, this would add on to the current account deficit. The high prices would lead to higher inflation and as more imports seep in the things requiring the imported materials would be expensive.
ii. Also defence imports would be expensive as well.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

General Dalbir Singh Suhag awarded US ‘Legion of Merit’ 2018
On August 19, 2018, the United States government awarded the Legion of Merit (Degree of Commander) to General Dalbir Singh Suhag (Retired) chief of the Army staff, Indian Army.
This was earlier announced by the US Government in March 2016.

General Dalbir Singh Suhag awarded US ‘Legion of Merit’ 2018i. It was presented to him on August 17, 2018, at Pentagon, Washington DC.
ii. This was presented to him for the following reasons:

  • for  the meritorious service given by him during the period August 2014 to April 2016 as Chief of Army Staff.
  • His contributions to expand the India-US Army to Army bilateral engagements.
  • Humanitarian assistance during Nepal’s earthquake in 2015.

iii. Gn Dalbir singh retired on December 31, 2016.
iv. Its the second time that an Indian military officer has been awarded this award. Earlier, General Rajendrasinghji Jadeja was awarded this in 1946.
About Legion of Merit:
The Legion of Merit is awarded in four degrees; Degree of Chief Commander; Degree of Commander; Degree of Officer; and Degree of Legionnaire.

Madhya Pradesh to have 3 awards after former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Shivraj Chouhan
On August 19, 2018, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan announced that the state government will name three awards after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
About the 3 awards:
i. One award will be for poets (as former PM was also a poet).
ii. The second award will be for the outstanding contribution in the field of journalism.
iii. And the third award would be for good work in administration.
Other announcements:
The Central and all the state governments have decided to observe a seven-day mourning to honour the veteran politician.
About Atal Bihari Vajpayee:
He was India’s 10th prime minister and led the National Democratic Alliance government from 1998 to 2004.
Madhya Pradesh:
♦ Capital: Bhopal.
♦ Governor: Anandiben Patel.
♦ National Parks: Madhav National Park, Kanha National Park, Bandhavgarh National Park, panna National Park.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Former RBI Dy. Gov. SS Mundra appointed Independent Director of Indiabulls Housing Finance
On August 19, 2018, board of Indiabulls Housing Finance has appointed Subhash Sheoratan Mundra as the Independent Director for a period of three years, effective August 18.
i. He is presently on the Board of the Bombay Stock Exchange and DSP Blackrock Investment Managers and is also on the Governing Council of several financial research and academic institutes.
ii. He is a former Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) till July 2017.
iii .He has earlier served as the Chairman of Bank of Baroda , Executive Director at Union Bank of India.
iv. He was the Vice-Chairman on the OECD’s International Network on Financial Education.
v. He also headed several committees set up by the central bank and was the nominated member on the G20 Forum’s Financial Stability Board.
vi. Apart from this, he was on the Board of the Clearing Corporation of India , Central Depository Services (India), IndiaFirst Life Insurance Company and National Payments Corporation of India, amongst others.
Indiabulls Housing Finance:
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi.
♦ Founded : 2005.
♦ It is India’s second largest housing finance company and is regulated by the National Housing Bank.

Australian bowler Mitchell Johnson announced retirement from all forms of cricket
On August 19, 2018, 36-year-old Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson retire from all forms of cricket.

Australian bowler Mitchell Johnsoni.He retired from international cricket during the Test series against  New Zealand in Perth in November 2015.
ii.He retired from Big Bash League team the Perth Scorchers last month.And now he retired from all forms of cricket
Other Facts about Johnson:
i.Johnson made his first Class Debut with the State in 2001 before getting his start in the Test team in 2007.
ii.His best Haul was 8-61 against South Africa,at the WACA(Western Australian Cricket Association)in 2008.
iii.He also claimed 239 Wickets in 153 one day international and 38 wickets in 30 T20 internationals for Australia.
iv.In IPL(Indian Premier League) he played in 3 Teams,Mumbai Indians(2013,2017),Kings XI Punjab(2014,2016),Kolkata Knight Riders(2018).

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

Walmart completes acquisition of 77% stake in Flipkart for $16 bn
On August 19, 2018, Walmart and Flipkart announced the completion of the $16-billion deal.
i. Walmart now holds 77 per cent stake in the Indian firm.
ii. According to the deal:

  • Flipkart’s CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy will continue to run the company,
  • Co-founder Binny Bansal,apart from representatives from Tencentand Tiger Global, will continue with their seats as well,
  • Walmart will appoint five members to the eight-member board of Flipkartout of which 2 will be independent directors,
  • Initially, Steuart WaltonJudith McKenna and Dirk Van den Berghe, regional CEO of Walmart Canada and Asia, will join the Flipkart board.
  • Softbank and other investors had exited
  • Former CEO and co founder Sachin Bansal resigned.Softbank,reported it was making a 60 per cent return on its $2.5 billion investment in the Indian firm.He was co-founder and former chief executive of Flipkart who led the company for almost eight years, is also out and is estimated to have earned a little over $1 billion through the transaction.
  • $16 billion investment includes a $2 billion of new equity funding to help accelerate the growth of the Flipkart business.

iii. It was the largest of its kind globally and was announced in May 2018.
Flipkart:
Headquarters: Bengaluru.
Walmart:
Headquarters: Bentonville, Arkansas, United States.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

World’s most wear-resistant metal alloy created by US Scientists; 100 times more durable than steel
On August 19, 2018, a platinum-gold alloy has been engineered by US scientists from Sandia National Laboratories, that may be the most wear-resistant metal in the world.
i. It is the first alloy in the same class as diamond and sapphire, and has been 100 times more durability than high-strength steel.
ii. With platinum-gold coating, the electronics of all sizes and across many industries can be made more cost-effective, long-lasting and dependable.
iii. It has also been claimed that a set of tires made from the alloy would have to skid around Earth’s equator 500 times before wearing out.
SAIL:
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi.
♦ CEO: Prakash Kumar Singh.
♦ Founded: 1954.

ENVIRONMENT

99 million-year-old beetle trapped in amber discovered in Myanmar.
On August 19, 2018, Scientists discovered a two-millimeter-long beetle trapped in amber that dates back to 99 million year.
To explore the beetle’s family tree, researchers also conducted an extensive phylogenetic analysis.
i. The study published in the journal Current Biology.
ii. It reveals that an ancient boganiid beetle preserved in Burmese amber has been found along with grains of cycad pollen.
iii. It was named Cretoparacucujus cycadophilus : Greek word Kykas (meaning cycad ) and philia (meaning friendly love or affection).
iv. The beetle also shows special adaptations, including mandibular patches, for the transport of cycad pollen.
v. This gives a definitive fossil evidence of the relationship between cycads and insects.
vi. It would further help in better understanding the relationship between ancient flowering plants and pollinators.
vii. It indicates a probable ancient origin of beetle pollination of cycads at least in the Early Jurassic.
About Cycad:
Cycads are a group of unusual evergreen gymnosperms, may have been the first insect-pollinated plants.

IMPORTANT DAYS

15th World Humanitarian Day 2018 observed globally
August 19th is annually observed as World Humanitarian Day 2018.

15th World Humanitarian Day 2018 observed globallyi. It is observed to pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives for humanitarian services.
ii. The Campaign for the 2018 World Humanitarian Day is : #NotATarget.
iii. The day was designated by the UN General Assembly to commemorate the 19 August 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq.

World Photography Day
August 19 is celebrated as World photography day.
i. It is celebrated in order to inspire photographers to share their work and to celebrate the art of photography.The inventor of the first practical process of photography is Louis Daguerre.
ii. The birth of this day dates back to 1839 in France, but it came in to force in 2009.