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    Important Current Affairs of 7th May

    NATIONAL:

    INS Vishal: India, UK in talks to replicate Naval Supercarrier.

    • Art aircraft carrier along the lines of Britain's HMS Queen Elizabeth as part of the ongoing 'Make in India' negotations, according to a media report.

    • The talks are under way for the Indian Navy to buy detailed plans for the 65,000-ton British warship to build a so-called "copycat supercarrier" to be named INS Vishal in 2022.

    • "An Indian delegation has already visited Rosyth dockyard in Scotland where HMS Queen Elizabeth was assembled and where a second supercarrier, HMS Prince  .

    NEET chance: HRD Ministry to decide on Karnataka’s request

    • HRD Ministry on Monday assured the Karnataka Government it would soon decide on their request to allow over 500 students from the State, who missed the NEET exam on Sunday due to a train delay.

    • HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar announced that the National Testing Agency will conduct NEET exam again for those students of Karnataka who missed their exam as their train was delayed which has come as a major relief to the candidates.NEET for these students will be conducted on May 20.

    • Nearly 365 students from north Karnataka had missed appearing for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) on May 5, as the train in which they were travelling reached Bengaluru over seven hours late.

    Bombs hurled, booths ‘looted’ in West Bengal

    • A helpless Election Commission of India watched Bengal’s poll percentage drop by notches even as sporadic violence, bombing and booth-capturing marred the fifth phase of elections too with both the Opposition BJP and Left Front and the ruling Trinamool Congress accusing each other of “rampant rigging.

    • Reports of violence and booth jamming came in from Barrackpore where the turncoat TMC strongman and former MLA Arjun Singh was fighting against former Union Minister Dinesh Trivedi.

    • While a suave and composed Trivedi was seen playing cricket with children amid overseeing polling, Singh ran from booth to booth alleging massive rigging by TMC workers. He reportedly exchanged fisticuffs with police officials before complaining that “the police were helping the TMC rig elections. He fell down and injured himself while chasing away ‘outsiders’.

    • Bombs were hurled at Himli Saolapara in Gaighata Assembly segment of Bongaon parliamentary constituency where one TMC supporter received head injuries. Later the CAPF resorted to massive lathi-charge.

    INTERNATIONAL:

    US wants India to eliminate trade barriers for American companies: Ross

    • The US wants India to eliminate trade barriers for American companies and remove restrictions with regard to data localisation to cut the cost of doing business, visiting US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Tuesday.

    • "Our goal is to eliminate barriers to the US companies operating here including data localisation restrictions that actually weaken data security and increase the cost of doing business," he said here.Ross was speaking at the Trade Winds Forum and Trade Mission. He is accompanying a delegation of over 100 American businesses.He also alleged that India imposes very high import duties on goods like automobiles, motorcycles, agri products and alcoholic beverages."

    •  Currently US businesses face significant market access barriers in India. These include both tariff and non-tariff barriers as well as multiple practices and regulations to the disadvantage of foreign companies."India's average applied tariffs rate is 13.8 per cent and that remains the highest of any major world economy, the very highest.

    • It has for example a 60 per cent tariff on auto, while the US has 2.5 per cent. It has 50 per cent tariff on motorcycles and 150 per cent on alcoholic beverages. Just a few extreme examples," he added.

    US deploys carrier strike group to send ‘clear message’ to Iran

    • The US is deploying an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force in the Middle East to send a “clear and unmistakable” message to Iran that any attack on American interests or its allies will be met with “unrelenting force”, National Security Advisor John Bolton has warned.

    • Bolton said on Sunday the decision to deploy the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the US Central Command region in the Middle East was in response to a number of “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” from Iran.

    • The deployment of the strike group and bomber task force comes after US President Donald Trump last month refused to give waivers to countries like India from buying oil from Iran, in an attempt to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero.

    • After coming to power, Trump withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal last year and has imposed stringent sanctions against what he describes as the “authoritarian” Iranian regime

    BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

    Yes Bank shares fall over 5%;  m-cap drops by Rs 2,135 cr

    • Shares of Yes Bank on Monday dropped by over 5 per cent, wiping out Rs 2,135.29 crore from its market valuation, after ratings downgrade.The scrip tumbled 5.30 per cent to close at Rs 166.30 on the BSE.

    • During the day, it tanked 5.75 per cent to Rs 165.50. It was the worst hit among the 30-front-line shares.On the NSE, shares dropped 5 per cent to close at Rs 167.In terms of volume, 43.12 lakh shares of the company were traded on the BSE during the day, while over 4 crore units changed hands on the NSE.The company’s market valuation fell by Rs 2,135.29 crore to Rs 38,515.71 crore on the BSE.

    • The private sector lender had a double whammy Saturday after domestic rating agency ICRA downgraded its long-term ratings along with a negative outlook, citing a spike in its lower-rated advances and falling core capital buffers.The agency downgraded ratings on instruments totalling borrowings over Rs 33,000 crore by the lender, ICRA said.The bank had also reported its maiden loss of over Rs 1,506 crore in the March quarter, driven by a near ten-fold spike in provisions.

    Hughes, Airtel to combine India VSAT biz

    • Telecom operator Bharti Airtel and Hughes Communications India Ltd (HCIL) Tuesday announced they will combine their VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) satellite operations in the country.

    • HCIL is a subsidiary of broadband satellite networks and services provider Hughes Network Systems.Hughes will have majority ownership in the combined entity while Airtel will have a significant shareholding, according to a statement.

    • The statement did not spell out the financial details of the transaction, which is subject to requisite approvals."The combined entity will benefit from enhanced scale, improved operational efficiencies and wider market reach.

    • The combined entity will be well positioned to leverage the demand for secure connectivity in a rapidly growing digital economy," it said.VSAT is used to provide satellite based telecom and internet access to individuals and enterprise users.HCIL is a broadband satellite service operator in India, and offers a range of broadband networking technologies, solutions, and services for businesses and governments.

    Ratan Tata invests in Ola Electric Mobility

    • Ride hailing major Ola Monday said Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, has invested in its EV business — Ola Electric Mobility (OEM).This investment, which is part of OEM’s series A round of funding, is in Tata’s personal capacity, Ola said in a statement.

    • Details of the funding were not disclosed.“His investment in Ola Electric will bring his deep experience and mentorship to the company’s ambitions to make electric mobility viable at scale,” it added.

    • Tata is also an early investor in ANI Technologies, Ola’s parent company. He had invested in ANI Technologies in July 2015.In March this year, OEM had announced raising Rs 400 crore in a funding round led by Tiger Global and Matrix India.    

    SPORTS:

    Federer makes retirement claim ahead of Madrid return

    • The topic of when Federer will finally hang up his racket has followed the Swiss for several years.But the 37-year-old has been able to put off 'Father Time' by continuing to win major trophies and remain in the top 10 in the world.And in a further show that he's not ready to quit, Federer has decided to play during the clay court season for the first time since 2016.

    • Speaking in an interview with Spanish publication Marca ahead of the tournament, Federer was asked if he was surprised that he's still able to compete at such a highlevel at 37.

    • And the 20-time Grand Slam revealed the major factor in his decision to carry on playing."A little, yes," Federer admitted."If you told me ten years ago that this would be happening, I wouldn't have believed it. I could have hoped for a top ten or top 20 place, but not this."If I'd been asked in 2009 if I would be playing in 2019 I'd have said only if I was still competitive."I have made my career and I do not need to play to lose in the second round in any tournament. My goal is to win, as I did at the beginning of the season."If I feel like I can't be the best, it's better for me to stop."I still enjoy the victories in Masters 1000 events or being world No 1, as I did last year in Rotterdam."In a wide-ranging interview, Federer was also asked about the clay court form of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

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    Important Current Affairs 7th April 2019

    SUMMIT:

    ICAT to organize NuGen Mobility Summit in November.

    • The International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) is to organize a NuGen Mobility Summit, 2019, at Manesar, NCR, from 27th to 29th November 2019.  The summit will help in building a platform for bringing together all stakeholders in the automotive industry to understand global advancements in technologies.

    • The summit aims to bring together the automotive OEMs, professionals, researchers, academic experts, vehicle system suppliers, test equipment supplier, quality managers, product planners, component developers, SAE members and students from all over the world.

    • Track demonstrations, drive-touch-feel activity and lab demonstrations on upcoming vehicle technologies like connected mobility, autonomous vehicles, electric mobility, alternate fuels, intelligent transportation system, hydrogen fuel cell, hydrogen IC engine, vehicle dynamics, advanced materials and lightweight, end of life vehicles and recycling are the uniqueness of this event.

    CAMPAIGNS:

    MRM launches campaign to garner Muslim support for strong & stable government.

    • Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), a social and educational reform movement working among the Muslims in India since 2002, undertaking the campaign to create awareness among the Muslim voters to cast their vote for a strong government at the Centre to ensure the all-round development of all the citizens.

    • The MRM had done a similar exercise in 2014 to secure Muslim vote to its maximum all over the country. This time too, the MRM has decided to launch such a campaign especially when the Modi government had done so much for the Muslims of India.

    INTERNATIONAL:

    Pakistan opened a route for flights out of India.

    • Pakistan has opened one route for west-bound flights from India more than a month after it shut its airspace for all civilian flights following the Indian Air Force’s strikes at Balakot. A decision on opening a passage for flights overflying Pakistan and entering India is yet to be taken.

    • The route that has been opened passes from near Mumbai and enters southern Pakistan. This is only one of the 11 exit and entry points between India and Pakistan. Since the ban by Pakistan on the use of its airspace, several flights within Asia, between Asia and West Asia or Europe or the U.S. were forced to take a longer route, entailing an increase in flight duration and sometimes a halt for refuelling.

    • This led to an increase in operational costs, forcing many airlines to cancel flights or hike fares.

    SPORTS:

    Virat Kohli becomes all-time leading IPL scorer during 49-ball 84.

    • Virat Kohli hit his 35th fifty in the Indian Premier League as Royal Challengers Bangalore sought to bounce back following four successive defeats this season.

    • Up against Kolkata Knight Riders, Kohli came out all guns blazing and became the 2nd fastest after Chris Gayle to reach 8000 T20 runs. RCB have struggled in the 2019 IPL and Virat Kohli had failed to lead from the front in the first four matches.

    •  However, back in Bengaluru, Kohli hit top gear against a top bowling attack and blazed away to a 49-ball 84. This was Kohli's first fifty of the season. Virat Kohli had smashed 973 runs and 4 hundred as RCB came from nowhere to storm into the final against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

    DAYS:

    World Health Day observed on 7th April.

    • World Health Assembly decided to celebrate 7 April of each year as the World Health Day, with effect from 1950.

    •  World Health Day is one of eight official global health campaigns marked by WHO, along with World Tuberculosis Day, World Immunization Week, World Malaria Day, World No Tobacco Day, World AIDS Day, World Blood Donor Day, and World Hepatitis Day. The theme of World Health Day 2019 is Universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere.

    NATIONAL:

    Micromax Co-founder unveils Indias first AI-enabled e-motorcycle brand.

    • Rahul Sharma, cofounder of Indian phone maker Micromax, has forayed into the electric vehicle space. He has started a new enterprise called Revolt Intellicorp Pvt. Ltd, with plans to launch an artificial intelligence (AI) based motorcycle. He has invested between INR 400 Cr - INR 500 Cr in this new venture. The proposed AI-enabled motorcycle will have a range of 156.8 km and a top speed of 85km/hr. The commercial launch of the motorcycle is scheduled in June this year.

    BSNL announced a slew of tariff plans for Ugadi.

    • Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) announced a slew of tariff plans as part of its Ugadi offering in Hyderabad.

    • It also announced three new pre-paid plans to meet the demand of consumers who want voice-focussed plans rather than data-heavy ones. 

    • BSNL has seen its rise in market share from 10.8% to 11.58%. Its consumers are using 8 TB data everyday and 42,600 existing users have shifted to 4G SIM showing the quality of our network and service.

    •  Incidentally, BSNL Telangana Circle’s 4G roll-out plan has eluded Hyderabad so far.

    Government sells Rs 1,150 crore worth 'enemy shares' in Wipro.

    • A total of 44.4 million shares, which were held by the Custodian of Enemy Property for India, were sold at Rs 259 apiece on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

    •  The buyers were state-owned Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), New India Assurance and General Insurance Corporation.

    • LIC alone picked up shares worth Rs 1,000 crore. Enemy shares are called so as they were originally held by people who migrated to Pakistan or China and are not Indian citizens any longer.

    AWARDS AND HONOURS:

    Dr. Sohini Sastri honoured with D. Litt by National American University.

    • Indian Astrologer Dr Sohini Sastri has been honoured with 'D. Litt in Astrology' by National American University, USA.

    •  Dr Sohini Sastri is one of the most trusted names in Astrology and is known for her services over the years. She is also a receipt of 'Champions of Change Award' which was given to her by Honourable Vice-President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu at Vigyan Bhawan, Delhi recently.

    • Other prominent personalities who were also awarded Doctorates at the same event includes Bollywood singer Mohit Chauhan and choreographer Terence Lewis.

    BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

    Karnataka Bank signed MoU with Bharti AXA for Insurance Products.

    • Karnataka Bank has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Bharti AXA Life Insurance Company to distribute the latter’s life insurance products. This is the third similar tie-up by the Bank after with PNB Metlife India Insurance Company Ltd and LIC, both of whom continue to provide insurance solutions to the customers of Karnataka Bank.

    MOUS:

    BIS signed MoU with IIT-D on standardisation and conformity assessment.

    • The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has signed MoU with the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D) to collaborate in the field of standardisation and conformity assessment. The MoU was signed by IIT Delhi Director Professor V Ramgopal Rao and Director General of BIS Surina Rajan.  According to the MoU, IIT Delhi will provide infrastructure support for research and development projects of relevance to standardisation and BIS will provide financial support to IIT Delhi for projects.

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    Important Current Affairs 27th December 2018

    National

    Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to have separate HCs
    •    Following a Supreme Court order to the Centre to notify the bifurcation of the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana High Courts by January 1, President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday ordered the separation of the “common” Hyderabad High Court into the two separate High Courts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
    •    Both will function separately from January 1, 2019.
    •    The principal seat of the Andhra Pradesh High Court is Amaravati, the capital of the State. The High Court in Hyderabad will function separately as the High Court of the State of Telangana.
    •    Sixteen HC judges, including Justice Ramesh Ranganathan, who is now the Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court, shall become judges of the Andhra Pradesh High Court from January 1.
    •    The new Telangana High Court will have a strength of 10 judges.
    •    The Presidential notification quoted Article 214 of the Constitution which provides that there shall be a High Court for each State.


    Boogibeel Bridge – India’s Longest Rail-Road Bridge
    •    Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated India's longest rail-road bridge in Assam as part of efforts to boost defence along the border with China.
    •    The bridge, near the city of Dibrugarh, will enable the military to speed up the dispatch of forces to neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh, which borders China.
    •    With the opening of the bridge, the rail journey from Dibrugarh to the Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar has been cut by 750 km. The bridge has been designed to bear the weight of India's heaviest 60 tonne battle tanks and so that fighter jets can land on it. 
    •    Construction of the Bogibeel bridge was agreed by the government as part of a 1985 agreement to end years of deadly agitation by Assamese nationalist groups.
    •    India opened its longest bridge, the 9.1 kilometre Dhola-Sadiya bridge, in 2017 to connect Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, also to boost tactical defences.
    •    The 4.9 kilometre long Bogibeel bridge over the Brahmaputra river has taken nearly two decades and $800 million or Rs. 5,600 crore to complete.


    Aadhaar Not Mandatory for School Admissions : UIDAI
    •    Aadhaar issuing body UIDAI has asserted that schools cannot make the 12-digit biometric identifier a pre-condition for student admission and warned that doing so will be against the recent order of the Supreme Court.
    •    In the verdict which upheld the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, SC had emphasised that Aadhaar would not be mandatory for school admissions, for examinations conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Examination, National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for medical entrance and the University Grants Commission.


    Coast Guard Deploys Faster Vessels in Sir Creek 
    •    The hovercraft operate at high speeds between 30-40 knots (around 50-60 kilometres) per hour and can be highly useful in hot pursuit of any suspicious boat or individuals in the waters around there. 
    •    Since the hovercraft can operate on both sea and shores, it would be easy for the troops deployed there to catch any rogue elements there
    •    The Coast Guard chief also interacted closely with the fishermen community based around the new facility and sought to integrate them with the Coast Guard to enhance its eyes and ears in the sea for keeping an eye on any suspicious activity.
    •    Traditionally, the Sir Creek area in the Kutch district of Gujarat has been used by the infiltrators from Pakistan to enter the Indian Territory. 
    •    The Creek has been a contentious issue between India and Pakistan and the 1965 war with Pakistan also saw action here.


    Draft IT Rules out for Public Feedback 
    •    The Union Ministry for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) announced Monday that it will hold public consultations on the draft Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2018, which are meant to replace the rules notified in 2011.
    •    The Ministry said in a statement that the “consultation process is underway”, which started with inter-ministerial consultations, followed by discussions with major social media platforms like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo and WhatsApp, and associations representing intermediaries. 
    •    It said the government “intends to consult all stakeholders” and that MeitY “has commenced public consultation” for which submissions must be sent by January 15, 2019.
    •    Social media platforms are required to end the complete encryption system and remove any “unlawful content” for the sake of the country’s security.
    •    The draft rules define intermediary as any platform that has more than 50 lakh users in India or is in the list of intermediary as notified by the government. Social media platforms such as Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram and others fall under the definition of intermediary.
    •    Whenever the government issues an order, within “72 hours of communication”, information or assistance concerning “security or cybersecurity” must be provided.
     

    International

    Mount Etna Volcano Triggers 4.8-Magnitude Quake in Sicily
    •    Italy’s Mount Etna volcano erupted on 24th December 2018 resulting in more than 130 earthquakes of up to 4.3 in magnitude. 
    •    The volcanic lava and ash spewed from a new fracture near its south-eastern crater for the first time in a decade and was visible for miles.
    •    Mount Etna is Europe’s highest and most active volcano outside the Caucasus. Mount Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, Italy. The last major eruption was in 1992.


    Tsunami Triggered by Mount Krakatau Volcano
    •    Indonesia on Thursday raised the alert level for the erupting Anak Krakatau volcano to the second-highest, and ordered all flights to steer clear, days after it triggered a tsunami that killed at least 430 people.
    •    A crater collapse on the volcanic island at high tide on Saturday sent waves up to 5 metres (16 feet) high smashing into the coast on the Sunda Strait, between the islands of Java and Bali.
    •    The volcano has been rumbling on and off since July but has been particularly active since Sunday, spewing lava and rocks, and sending huge clouds of ash up to 3,000 metres into heavily overcast skies.
     

    Awards

    Rafi Award Conferred to Late Music Composer Laxmikant and Singer Usha Timothy
    •    The Mohammed Rafi Award, instituted by an NGO headed by Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar, was Monday bestowed upon late music composer Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar and playback singer Usha Timothy.
    •    Kudalkar, of the Laxmikant-Pyarelal duo, was given the Mohammed Rafi Lifetime Achievement Award consisting of Rs 1 lakh and a trophy. The award was received by his daughter.
    •    Timothy was honoured with the Mohammed Rafi Award and Rs 51,000 at a programme held in suburban Bandra Monday evening.
    •    The awards, instituted by the NGO Spandan Arts, were handed over by Shelar.
     

    Economy and Polity

    Centre Tightens Norms for e-Commerce Companies for Sale of Products
    •    Tightening norms for e-commerce firms having foreign investment, the government on Wednesday barred online marketplaces like Flipkart and Amazon from selling products of companies where they hold stakes and banned exclusive marketing arrangements that could influence product price.
    •    The revised norms are aimed at protecting the interest of domestic players, who have to face tough competition from e-retailers having deep pockets from foreign investors.
    •    The policy would be effective from February 2019.
    •    The policy says a vendor will not be permitted to sell more than 25% of its products on an online platform of a single e-marketplace firm.

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    India - Cyprus DTAA to be revised

    Union Cabinet on 24 August 2016 approved the signing of an agreement and the protocol between the India and Cyprus for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income.
    •    The approval will help India in its fight against tax evasion, round tripping and base erosion/profit shifting.
    •    The approval will replace the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) that was signed between the two nations on 13 June 1994. 
    •    It will align the applicable provisions with the consistent policy followed by India and the revised international standards.
    •    It will also prevent the abuse of beneficial provisions of the DTAA that can distort financial and real investment flows and create challenges in respect of tax collection.
    •    It provides for source based taxation of capital gains on transfer of shares, instead of residence based taxation as provided in the existing DTAA.
    •    The proposed DTAA also enables source based taxation of capital gains from transfer of shares of any company the property of which consists directly or indirectly principally of immovable property situated in a Contracting State.
    •    It includes a provision for Assistance in Collection of Taxes.
    •    It also provides for a revised provision for Exchange of Information that would enable the use of information exchanged for other purposes, with the permission of the Competent Authority of the country providing the information.
    •    It expands the scope of the Permanent Establishments (PE) that enables source based taxation of business income.
     

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    RBI has issued guidelines called Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets (S4A).

    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 13 June 2016 issued the guidelines on the Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets.
    The guidelines were issued with an aim to further strengthen the lenders’ ability to deal with stressed assets and to put real assets back on track.
    •    RBI formulated the Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets (S4A) as an optional framework for the resolution of large stressed accounts. 
    •    The S4A envisages determination of the sustainable debt level for a stressed borrower.
    •    It also envisages bifurcation of the outstanding debt into sustainable debt and equity/quasi-equity instruments which are expected to provide upside to the lenders when the borrower turns around.
    •    In order to make sure that that the entire exercise is carried out in a transparent and prudent manner, S4A envisages that the resolution plan will be prepared by credible professional agencies.
    •    An Overseeing Committee, set up by the Indian Banks Association, comprising of eminent experts will independently review the processes involved in preparation of the resolution plan for reasonableness and adherence to the provisions of these guidelines.
    •    The scheme is applicable to those projects that have started commercial operations and have outstanding loan of over 500 crore rupees.
    Resolution of large borrowal accounts which are facing severe financial difficulties may require coordinated deep financial restructuring which often involves a substantial write-down of debt and/or making large provisions. 

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