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Current Affairs Today August 27 2018

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Current Affairs Today Aug 27 2018

 INDIAN AFFAIRS

Committee chaired by Secy, Corporate Affairs on review of penal provisions of Company Act 2013 submitted its  final report to Shri Arun Jaitley
On August 27, 2018, the Committee constituted by Government of India in July 2018  to review framework dealing with offences under the Companies Act, 2013  submitted its report to the Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Shri Arun Jaitley.
Objective:
To promote better corporate compliance.
Key Points:
i. This report is presented by the Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Shri Injeti Srinivas, who chaired the committee.
ii. It had a detailed analysis of all penal provisions in categories based on the  nature of offences.
iii. The recommendations are:
To relieve Special Courts from adjudicating routine offences:

  • Re-categorization of 16 out of the 81offences by shifting them from  jurisdiction of special courts to an in-house E-adjudication framework .
  • Remaining to continue under the jurisdiction of special courts ,
  • Status quo recommended in respect of all non-compoundable offences and serious corporate offences,
  • A transparent online platform for E-adjudication and E-publication of orders,

De-clogging the National Company Law Tribunal  NCLT by:

  • Enlarging the jurisdiction of the Regional Director for offences under section 441 of the Companies Act 2013 ,
  • Central Government the power to approve the alteration in the financial year of a company under section 2(41);
  • Conversion of public companies into private companies under section 14 of the Act.

Recommendations related to corporate compliance and corporate governance:

  • Declaration of commencement of business,
  • Maintenance of a registered office,
  • Protection of depositors’ interests,
  • Registration and management of charges,
  • Declaration of significant beneficial ownership, and
  • Independence of independent directors.

The other members of the committee included:
Shri Uday Kotak, Managing Director, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Shri Shardul S Shroff, Executive  Chairman Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co., Shri Ajay Bahl, Founder Managing Partner, AZB & Partners, Shri Amarjit Chopra, Senior Partner, GSA Associate, Shri Sidharth Birla, Former President, FICCI, Ms. Preeti Malhotra, Partner and Executive Director of Smart Group and Shri K V R Murty, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs (Member Secretary of the Committee).

Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister launches online portal for Common Carrier Capacity booking on GAIL’s pipelines, a first of its kind in Indian natural gas sector
On 27th August 2018, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan launched an online portal for enabling easy, efficient and transparent booking of Common carrier capacity for natural gas transmission services under GAIL’s pipelines.

Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister launches online portal for Common Carrier Capacity booking on GAIL’s pipelines, a first of its kind in Indian natural gas sectorOnline portal for Common Carrier Capacity booking on GAIL’s pipelines:
i. The online portal is available at: www.gailonline.com. It is the first of its kind portal in the natural gas sector of India.
ii. This portal offers the facility to register pipeline capacity bookings online to gas consumers. It will serve on first come-first served basis.
iii. This portal will be a first step towards gas trading on hub or exchange traded platform in India. GAIL has been offering third party access to pipelines since 2004.
About GAIL:
♦ Chairman & MD – B.C. Tripathi
♦ Corporate Office – New Delhi

DAC clears procurement proposal worth over Rs 46,000 cr for services for Indian Army and Navy
On August 27, 2018, Defence Acquisition Council, DAC chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman approved approximately 46,000 crore rupees for procurement of services.

DAC clears procurement proposal worth over Rs 46,000 cr for services for Indian Army and Navyi. These include:

  • procurement of 111 Utility Helicopters for the Indian Navy at a cost of over 21,000 crore rupees and
  • other proposals amounting to around 25 thousand crore rupees.

ii. 111 Utility Helicopters is the first project under the Defence Ministry’s Strategic Partnership (SP) Model that would boost ‘Make in India’ programme.

iii. Among the other proposals (worth 25,000 crore) are :

  • 150 Indigenously Designed and Developed Advanced Towed Artillery Gun Systems for the Indian Army at a cost of around 3,365 core rupees.155 mm Advanced Towed Artillery Gun Systems for the Indian Army These have been developed by DRDO.
  • 24 Sikorsky MH-60 Romeo maritime multi-role helicopters to enhance the capability of Navy at sea,
  • 14 Vertically Launched Short Range Missile Systems to boost self-defence capability of ships against Anti-Ship Missiles. Out of them, 10 systems will be indigenously developed.

♦ Chief of Army Staff: General Bipin Rawat.
♦ Chief of Naval Staff: Admiral Sunil Lanba.
♦ Chief of Air Staff: Air Chief Marshall Birender Singh Dhanoa.

Bombardier Q400 turbopropIndia’s first biofuel flight from Dehradun to Delhi operated by Spice Jet took off
On August 27, 2018, SpiceJet would fly India’s first biofuel-powered flight from Dehradun to Delhi on its Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft from Dehradun’s Jolly Grant airport.

Bombardier Q400 turboprop: India's first biofuel flight from Dehradun to Delhi operated by Spice Jet took offi. It has used a blend of the aviation turbine fuel and biofuel to power the flight.
ii.  The flight had 20 people, including officials from aviation regulator DGCA and SpiceJet and was around 25 minutes.
iii. It would encourage sustainable and alternative fuels for the transportation & aviation sector under National Biofuels Policy.
iv. With this test, India will be among the first developing nations to adopt the sustainable alternative jet fuel.
About the Biofuel:
i. The fuel has been developed by Indian Institute of Petroleum, based in the capital of Uttarakhand.Anil Sinha Principal Scientist at IIP,headed the 20-member team that developed the biojet fuel.
ii. It‘s a mix of the oil extracted from the seeds of Jatropha plant.
iii. Five hundred farmer families in Chhattisgarh are involved in the production of the partially-refined biofuel.
iv. It was made partially from renewable resources such as agricultural residues, non-edible oils and bio-degradable industrial and municipal wastes.
Background:
i. Fuel is the biggest cost item for an airline, accounting for as much as one-third of the total cost of operations.
ii. The government will make an environment friendly aviation action plan till 2035.
iii. Billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic was the first airline to have used biofuel to fly London-Amsterdam ten years ago.

Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) opens its first regional centre near Chilika Lake
On August 27, 2018, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) opened its first regional centre in Chilika.

Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) opens its first regional centre near Chilika Lakei. The regional branch was inaugurated in the premises of the Wetland Research and Training Centre (WRTC) of the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) at Chandrapur in Chilika.
ii. The branch would be engaged in the following activities:

  • Identifying the air route of the foreign birds flocking the Chilika lake during winter,
  • Sample collection,
  • Training related to bird census,
  • Publishing bird migration atlas books,
  • Examining various diseases among the birds and
  • To review the condition of the Nalabana bird sanctuary along with counting the birds.

iii. These activities would be carried out with the CDA and the Forest Department.
Background:
♦ BNHS has been promoting conservation of nature in India since its establishment in 1883.
♦ The Chilika Lake hosts one million birds with 97 species of intercontinental migratory birds.
BNHS:
♦ Director: Deepak Apte.
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

8th India – Kenya Joint Trade Committee meeting held in Nairobi, Kenya from August 22-25, 2018
From August 22-25, 2018, the 8th meeting of India-Kenya Joint Trade Committee was held in Nairobi, Kenya.

8th India - Kenya Joint Trade Committee meeting held in Nairobi, Kenya from August 22-25, 2018i. The meeting was co-chaired by :
Indian side: Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Mr.Suresh Prabhu and,
Kenya’s Side: Cabinet Secretary (Minister) for Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, Government of Kenya Mr. Peter Munya.
ii. The discussions during the meetings covered:

  • India’s role in Kenya’s Big Four Agenda– food security, affordable housing, universal healthcare and manufacturing, expansion and diversification of bilateral trade,
  • Kenya’s readiness to join the International Solar Alliance,
  • implementation of Lines of Credit of over US$ 220 million, by Government of Indiain power transmission, SMEs development, revival of the Rivatex factory and agricultural mechanization,
  • implementation of decisions taken during the high level exchanges,
  • cooperation in health,
  • blue economy,
  • agro-processing sectors and
  • WTO related issues; and training & capacity building programmes offered by India.

iii. The joint trade meeting took place against the backdrop of India’s exports to Kenya dropping to USD 1.97 billion in 2017-18 from from USD 4.11 billion in 2014-15.India’s imports from Kenya too slowed down from USD 117.42 million to USD 72.57 million during the same period.The last meeting of Joint Trade Committee was held in New Delhi in February 2015.
Other announcements/ news:
i. A meeting of India-Kenya Joint Business Council was held on the side-lines of the Joint Trade Committee meeting.
ii. Emphasis on research and design in products specific to Kenyan needs was discussed.
iii. Indian businesses were told to carry out a market study to identify priority areas for bilateral cooperation.
Background:
India is one of Kenya’s largest trade partners and the second largest foreign investor in Kenya. Indians are the third-largest group of tourists to Kenya.
Kenya:
♦ Capital: Nairobi.
♦ Currency: Kenyan Shilling.
♦ President: Uhuru Kenyatta.

2-day G20 Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting held in Salta, Argentina from August 23-24, 2018
From August 23-24, 2018, the G20 Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting was held at Salta’s Fine Arts Museum, and  Salta Convention Centre in Salta, Argentina.
i. It was chaired by Andrés Ibarra, Argentine Minister of Modernization, and Lino Barañao, Argentine Minister of Science, Technology and Innovative Production.
ii. It is a part of Sherpa Track for the 2018 G20 Leader’s Summit, which is to be hosted by Argentina at the end of 2018.
iii. The theme for the 2018 meeting was : ‘Building consensus for fair and sustainable development’ .
iv. The agenda of the meeting was on 3 issues: the future of work, infrastructure for development, and a sustainable food future.
v. The meeting consisted of 30 heads of delegation from the G20 countries.
vi. Participants also discussed on:

  • Digital government, digital inclusion,
  • Digitalization of SMEs and entrepreneurship,
  • Consumer protection in digital environments,
  • The adoption of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of things in sectors like manufacturing and agriculture, and
  • To bridging all forms of digital divide with special attention to digital gender divide.

vii. The G20 countries agreed on the G20 common goal of promoting universal and affordable access to the internet by all people by 2025.
viii. They agreed on proposals to reduce digital gender divide including building capacity to improve data collection, addressing cyber violence andcontinuing sharing policies and actions through initiatives such as #eskills4girls and EQUALS.
Background:
The G20 is made up of 19 countries and the European Union. The 19 countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

BANKING & FINANCE

Punjab National Bank tops in digital transaction: Department of Financial Services
On August 27, 2018, according to a report of Department of Financial ServicesPunjab National Bank has been rated as number one state-owned bank in terms of digital transactions.
i. The bank is rated as ‘Good’ by the government with a score of 71 which is the highest category of performance.
ii. In Digital performance, it ranked sixth overall amongst all banks.
About Punjab National Bank:
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi.
♦ Founded: 1894.
♦ The bank is expecting Rs 6,500 crore from the sale of its 33% stake in PNB Housing Finance.
♦ In the first half of the financial year the bank hopes to recover about Rs 22,000 crore of bad loans.

Current account deficit to hit 2.8% of GDP in FY19: SBI report Ecowrap
On August 27, 2018, according to a report named Ecowrap published by SBI, the current account deficit of the country will rise to 2.8% of the GDP in the current financial year.
i. This is due to rise in oil prices and moderate growth in exports.
ii. The merchandise trade imbalance is also expected to rise to USD 188 billion in FY19, compared with USD 160 billion in FY18.
iii. In July , the trade deficit jumped to USD 18 billion.
iv. The CAD is still expected to be majorly financed by non-debt creating (FDI and FPI) capital inflows having around 44 per cent of the total capital flows.
v. This is expected to turn the country’s overall balance of payment into deficit mode after six years, leading to forex reserves depletion of USD 16 billion (0.6 per cent of GDP) in FY19.

vi. Also, the trend of the manufacturing goods imports remains the same and within manufacturing, imports of electronic goods have declined on annual basis so far in 2018.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

DBS named world’s best bank for its digital innovation: Global Finance magazine
On August 27, 2018, Global Finance magazine named DBS Bank as the world’s best bank for digital innovation while still maintaining stable operations for its customers.

DBS named world's best bank for its digital innovation: Global Finance magazinei. It is the first Asian bank to receive the accolade.
ii. It was given to  ING Bank in 2017.
Other banks that received accolades include:

  • Best Corporate Bank: Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.
  • Best Derivatives Bank: France’s Societe Generale.

About Achievements of DBS Bank:
i. In 2016, finance magazine Euromoney named DBS the world’s best digital bank.
ii. It also received the Asia’s best bank title.
iii. In 2014, Ms Tan Su Shan, DBS’ group head of consumer banking and wealth management, was recognised as the world’s best leader in private banking at the PWM/The Banker Global Private Banking Awards.
About Digital innovation by DBS Bank:
i. DBS started its digital transformation in 2014.
ii. Recently, it has launched POSB Smart Buddy, a savings and payments programme where children use smartwatches issued by the bank.
DBS Bank:
Headquarters: Singapore.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Indiabulls Ventures appoints former NPCI MD Abhaya Prasad Hota as Independent Director
On 25th August 2018, Indiabulls Ventures appointed Abhaya Prasad Hota, as an independent director on the board for a period of 3 years.
Abhaya Prasad Hota – Independent Director of Indiabulls Ventures:
i. Abhaya Prasad Hota is a former managing director at the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). He was involved in designing the operating payments eco-system.
ii. He had worked with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for 27 years. He had played a major role in launching payment systems like MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition), RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement), NEFT (National Electronic Funds Transfer), IMPS (Immediate Payment Service) and Aadhaar based system with UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India).
iii. He is a consultant to the World Bank, SWIFT India Domestic Services (Trade Digitisation Project) and Bombay Stock Exchange.
iv. He is on the board of PNB Metlife Insurance, Federal Bank, IDBI Intech and Motilal Oswal Asset Management Company.
About Indiabulls Ventures:
♦ Purpose – offers securities and derivative broking services
♦ CEO – Divyesh Shah

Goldman Sachs appoints ex-RBI research head Prachi Mishra as MD and chief India economist
On 27th August 2018, Goldman Sachs appointed Prachi Mishra as the managing director and chief India economist.

Goldman Sachs appoints ex-RBI research head Prachi Mishra as MD and chief India economistPrachi Mishra – MD and chief India economist of Goldman Sachs:
i. Prachi Mishra will be based in Mumbai. Earlier, she was the deputy division chief of the western hemisphere department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
ii. She was the head of the strategic research unit at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) from February 2016 to May 2017. She was also a specialist adviser at the RBI between November 2014 and February 2016.
iii. She was the first lateral recruit at the RBI. She also worked as a senior economist at IMF and the Finance Ministry of India.
iv. Goldman Sachs has been serving Indian clients since 1990s. It set up an onshore presence in India in December 2006. It is also an active investor in India.
About Goldman Sachs:
♦ Type – global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that offers financial services to corporations, financial institutions, governments and individuals
♦ Founded – 1869
♦ Headquarters – New York

Prashant Agrawal appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Namibia
On 21st August 2018, Prashant Agrawal was appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Namibia.
Prashant Agrawal – High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Namibia:
i. Prashant Agrawal is an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) Officer of the 1998 batch. At present he is Joint Secretary at Headquarters.
ii. He has been appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Namibia. He will take up this assignment soon.
About Namibia:
♦ Capital – Windhoek
♦ Currency – Namibian dollar (NAD), South African rand (ZAR)
♦ Official language – English
♦ President – Hage Geingob
♦ Prime Minister – Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila

Sandeep Kumar appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Ireland
On 20th August 2018, Sandeep Kumar was appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Ireland.
Sandeep Kumar – Ambassador of India to Ireland:
i. Sandeep Kumar is an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) Officer of the 1985 batch. Currently, he is the Ambassador of India to Croatia.
ii. He has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Ireland. He will take up this assignment soon.
About Republic of Ireland:
♦ Capital – Dublin
♦ Currency – Euro (EUR)
♦ President – Michael D. Higgins
♦ Official languages – Irish, English

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft catches its first image of its target Bennu asteroid
NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer), an asteroid sampling spacecraft, caught its first image of asteroid Bennu, last week after a 2-year journey.
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft catches its first glimpse of Bennu asteroid:
i. OSIRIS-Rex has started its final approach towards its target asteroid Bennu. The mission’s asteroid operations started on 17thAugust.
ii. OSIRIS-Rex’s PolyCam camera secured the image from a distance of 1.4 million miles (2.2 million km).
iii. OSIRIS-REx is the first mission of NASA to visit a near-Earth asteroid. It will survey the surface, collect a sample and deliver it to Earth.
iv. It has travelled nearly 1.1 billion miles (1.8 billion km) since it was launched on 8th September 2016. It will arrive at Bennu on 3rd December 2018.
v. It will spend the next few months learning about Bennu’s size, shape, surface features, and surroundings.
vi. OSIRIS-REx will use its science instruments to collect information about Bennu and prepare for arrival.
vii. Its science payload are: the OCAMS camera suite (PolyCam, MapCam, and SamCam), the OTES thermal spectrometer, the OVIRS visible and infrared spectrometer, the OLA laser altimeter, and the REXIS x-ray spectrometer.
viii. Bennu has low gravity, which will be a challenge for the mission. Bennu’s diameter is nearly 0.3 miles (500 meters). It will be the smallest object that any spacecraft has orbited.
ix. After collecting sample OSIRIS-REx will return to Earth. It will eject the Sample Return Capsule for landing in the Utah desert in September 2023.
About NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex:
♦ Overall mission management, systems engineering and safety and mission assurance provided by – NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
♦ Principal investigator – Dante Lauretta
♦ Science team lead and the mission’s science observation planning and data processing – University of Arizona
♦ Spacecraft built and flight operations provided by – Lockheed Martin Space in Denver
♦ Responsible for navigating OSIRIS-REx – Goddard and KinetX Aerospace
♦ OSIRIS-REx is the 3rd mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program
♦ NASA’s New Frontiers Program is managed by – NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama

SPORTS

North Korea to host 2019 Asian youth weightlifting championships from Oct 27, 2019
On August 27, 2018, North Korea announced that it would be the host for the 2019 Asian Youth and Junior Weightlifting Championships that will commence from October 27, 2019.
i. The Asian Weightlifting Federation and North Korea’s Sports Minister Kim Il Guk signed an agreement for the championship to be held in capital Pyongyang.
ii. Earlier in September 2013, the Asian Cup and Interclub Junior and Senior Weightlifting Championship was held in North Korea.
Background:
After the UN Security Council barring North Korea over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, it lost the right to hold the 2018 Junior World Weightlifting Championships.
The Youth Junior World Judo Championships were also pulled off.
North Korea:
♦ Capital: Pyongyang.
♦ Currency: North Korean won.
♦ Supreme Leader: Kim Jong-un.

Pakistan’s Mohammed Irfan bowls 23 Dot Balls, sets record for Most Economical Spell in T20 history
On August 27, 2018, Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Irfan set the world record for the most economical four-over bowling figures in the history of T2cricket.
i. This feat was achieved while playing for Barbados Tridents in the Caribbean Premier League 2018.
ii. He bowled  23 dot balls in a row, picking two wickets in the process.
iii. This record was previously shared by South Africa’s Chris Morris and Sri Lanka’s Chanaka Welegedara

OBITUARY

Neil Simon, Broadway’s master of comedy, dies at 91
On 26th August 2018, Neil Simon, a playwright and Broadway’s master of comedy, died following complications from pneumonia in Manhattan, United States.

Neil Simon, Broadway's master of comedy, dies at 91i. Neil Simon was 91 years old. He was a playwright and had also written for movies.
ii. He had received: 4 Tony Awards, the Pulitzer Prize, the Kennedy Center honors (1995), 4 Writers Guild of America Awards, an American Comedy Awards Lifetime Achievement honor, Mark Twain Prize for American Humor (2006).
iii. In 1983, a Broadway theater was named after him as the Neil Simon Theatre.
iv. Some of his important works are: Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple, Plaza Suite, The Prisoner of Second Avenue, The Sunshine Boys etc.

John McCain, US senator and former presidential candidate, dies at 81
ON 25th August 2018, US senator John McCain passed away after fighting glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer, in United States.

John McCain, US senator and former presidential candidate, dies at 81i. He was 81 years old. He was a 6-term Republican senator and presidential nominee. He had spent more than 30 years in the Senate. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1983.
ii. He was one of the most influential US politicians of his generation. Before entering politics in 1980s, he served as a pilot in the US Navy. He was held as a prisoner of war camp for 6 years during the Vietnam War.