Current Affairs

24 January, 2020

International

23rd CEO survey: India 4th best market for global companies looking for growth abroad;US tops

The 23rd edition of the PwC’s Annual Global CEO Survey has launched on the 1st day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. As per the survey based on the confidence of CEOs over worldwide economic growth, India ranked 4th while it was topped by the United States(US). China and Germany ranked 2nd and 3rd respectively. The survey report in detail are as follows:

Only 9% in the global survey favor India for their companies’ growth prospects.

Swiss bank Julius Baer report 2020: Mumbai among cheapest cities in the world for luxury goods, Hong Kong most expensive

According to the 1st ‘Global Wealth and Lifestyle Report 2020, released by Swiss private bank Julius Baer, India’s financial capital Mumbai was ranked last (28th ) in a list of the world’s 28 most expensive cities for luxury living.
Top 5: Hong Kong was the world’s most expensive city in the list followed by Shanghai (China), Tokyo (Japan), New York (US) and Singapore.

Asian region: As per the report. An Asian region home to 5 of the 10 priciest cities globally- after Hong Kong, this included Shanghai, Tokyo, Singapore, and Taipei- and it is the most expensive region for price tags for property, cars, a business class flight, fine dining, a wedding banquet and beauty services.
8 of the 10 most expensive regions to buy a luxury car were in Asia, which the report attributed to high import taxes.

India Opens 1st Mahatma Gandhi Convention Centre in Niger

India’s Minister of External Affairs (MEA) Shri Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Nigerian President Mahamadou Issoufau inaugurated the first convention center in Africa namely “Mahatma Gandhi convention center”(MGICC) established at the state of Niger in Western Africa by India to honor the memory of 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. This is the 1st center established in Africa by India under grant assistance.
Mr.S.Jaishankar was the first Indian-foreign Minister to visit the West-African country during his national trip visit to Niger (West Africa) and Tunisia (North Africa).
About Niger:
Capital- Niamey.
Prime Minister (PM)- Brigi Rafini.
Currency- West African CFA (African Financial Community) Franc.

UNWTO: 1.5 billion international tourist arrivals in 2019; arrivals grew by 4% from 2018

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has released a report titled ‘World Tourism Barometer’. As per the report, the international tourist arrivals in 2019 increased by over 4% (3.8% exact value) in 2019 and reached 1.5 billion, which is 54 million more than 2018, based on the data collected from reports around the world. The report which the 1st in this decade, in detail are as follows:
UNWTO World Tourism Barometer report:

Increase in arrivals: The middle east region (+8%) led growth in arrivals, followed by Asia and the Pacific region (+5%). Europe had a growth of 4% in international tourist arrivals and had 743 million visitors.2019 is the 10th consecutive year of international tourism growth.

Switzerland tops the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2020, India ranks 72nd

The Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2020 (GTCI) report was launched by Institut European d’Administration des Affaires (INSEAD), a partner and sponsor of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Tent in Davos, Switzerland. India has moved up eight places to the 72nd position from the 80th position in GTCI 2019. In the list of 132 countries Switzerland tops the list.

According to the report, the United States (USA) is in the 2nd position followed by Singapore.

EIU’s 12th edition of Democracy Index 2019: India slips 10 ranks to 51st position, Norway tops

According to the 12th edition of the ‘Democracy Index 2019: A year of democratic setbacks and popular protest’, released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), India has slipped 10 ranks to 51st spot with the score of 6.90 in this index, which provides a blueprint for the current state of democracy in 167 nations.
Top & bottom: Norway tops the list with a score of 9.87 while North Korea is at the bottom with 167th place with 1.08 points.

India’s score in the year 2018 was 7.23, which has come down to 6.90, the lowest level in 13 years. As per the report, India’s democracy scores have declined due to a lack of civil liberties, especially the removal of Article 370 from Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) and the enforcement of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019.

Top 3 & Bottom 3 countries in the Index:

Rank Country Score
51st India 6.9
1 Norway 9.87
2 Iceland 9.58
3 Sweden 9.39
165 Central African Republic 1.32
166 Democratic Republic of the Congo 1.13
167 North Korea 1.08

National

Overview of Cabinet Approval with Foreign Countries on Jan 22, 2020

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs(CCEA) chaired by the Prime Minister(PM) Shri Narendra Modi approved the following proposals with the foreign countries on January 22, 2020. The approval in detail are as follows:

The CCEA has approved the proposal of legislative Department in allowing India’s electoral commission to enter into Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with Independent High Authority for Elections of Tunisia (ISIE) and the Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission(PNGEC) for elections for cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration.

Overview of Cabinet Approvals on January 22, 2020

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the following proposals on January 22, 2020. The approvals in detail are as follows:

Amendments in acts related to GST, VAT: After the parliament passed a bill to merge two Union territories(UTs) Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli into a single UT, CCEA has now approved the proposed amendments/extension/repeal in the following Acts and Regulations dealing with Goods and Services Tax (GST), Value Added Tax (VAT) and State Excise, and for designation of Daman as Headquarter of UT of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu on January 26, 2020.

Jharkhand’ Jharia is the most polluted Indian city & Lunglei, Mizoram least polluted: Greenpeace India report 2018

The Greenpeace India report for 2018 was released based on the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP), on January 21, 2020. Jharia in Jharkhand which is known for Coal-belching is the most polluted Indian city with 322 µg/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter) of PM10 (Particulate matter) pollutants in 2018, according to the report analysis of 287 cities across the country. Out of 287 cities, 231 cities were severely polluted.

Dhanbad in Jharkhand which is known for its rich coal reserves and industries is the second-most polluted Indian City with 264 un/m3 of PM10 pollutants

Minister of steel launched SAIL SERVICE scheme and Portal for SAIL employees

Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel Shri Dharmendra Pradhan launched a scheme under Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), “SAIL Employee Rendering Voluntarism and Initiatives for Community Engagement (SAIL SERVICE)” to promote and facilitate Voluntary Philanthropist Activities (VPA) by the employees.
About SAIL:
Founded- January 19, 1954
Headquarters- New Delhi
Chairman- Anil Kumar Chaudhary

Prime Minister (PM) Shri Narendra Modi chaired 32nd PRAGATI Meetings 2020

Prime Minister (PM) Shri Narendra Modi chaired 32nd PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation) meeting 2020 and discussed the progress of several projects in New Delhi.
Under PRAGATI, Prime Minister reviewed projects by talking to the officials and the accountable authority, as well as their progress and status.

PM Modi reviews 9 delayed projects of three central ministries, costs Rs 24,000 crores

Economy

Department of Telecommunication approves 100% FDI in Bharti Airtel

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has approved raising of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Bharti Airtel to 100 percent from 49 percent.
About Bharti Airtel:
Founder- Sunil Bharti Mittal
CEO- Gopal Vittal
About Department of Telecommunications:
Founded- 1985
Minister- Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre, Minister of State (independent charge)

Reliance Jio becomes 1st telecom operator to launch UPI payments feature

Telecom operator Reliance Jio of the Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has become the 1st Indian telecom operator to launch UPI (Unified Payments Interface) payments space. So Reliance Jio will now compete with other private UPI payment providers such as Paytm, Google Pay, and PhonePe.
About Reliance Industries Ltd(RIL):
Founded- 8 May 1973.
Founder- Dhirubhai Hirachand Ambani.
Chief Executive Officer(CEO)- Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani.
Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Airtel joins hands with Google cloud to bring G Suite to Indian SMBs

Bharti Airtel Limited (also known as Airtel), an Indian global telecommunications services company, has entered into the partnership with cloud computing services provider Google Cloud, under which Airtel will offer services provided by Google’s G Suite to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in India, which are already clients of Airtel’s information and communications technology (ICT) services.
About Bharti Airtel Ltd:
Founded– 7 July 1995
Headquarters– New Delhi
Chairman– Sunil Bharti Mittal
MD & CEO (India and South Asia)- Gopal Vittal
About Google Cloud:
Launched– April 7, 2008
CEO– Thomas Kurian

Indian oil signs MOU with NPA Ghana for assistance in LPG programme

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) of the Ghana Oil Regulator, for the implementation of Ghana’s National LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas) Promotion Policy. The MoU was signed in New Delhi in the presence of Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoP&NG) & Steel Shri Dharmendra Debendra Pradhan and Micheal Aaron, High Commissioner of Ghana.
Mr.Alhassan Sulemna Tampuli, Chief Executive, NPA, Ghana, and Mr. L.K.S Chauhan, Chief General Manager (LPG), Indian Oil signed MoU.
About Pradhan Mandhiri Ujjawala Yojana:
Pradhan Mandhiri Ujjawala Yojana was launched by Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi on 1 May 2016 to distribute LPG connections to women of BPL (Below Poverty Line) families.
About Indian Oil Corporation (IOC):
HeadQuarters- New Delhi.
Chairman- Sanjiv Singh.
Founded- 30 June 1959.

Ind-Ra predicts India’s GDP to grow at 5.5% for FY21

India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra), the Indian subsidiary of Fitch Group, has estimated the Indian economy to grow at a 5.5% rate in fiscal year-FY 21 (2020-21), which is slightly higher than the 5% GDP(Gross Domestic Product) growth rate estimate for FY20 (2019-20).
About India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra):
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra.
It is a 100% owned subsidiary of the Fitch Group.
MD & CEO– Rohit Karan Sawhney(Since 2017)
Principal Economist & Director Public Finance– Sunil Kumar Sinha

Bajaj Finserv partners with Apollo Hospitals to launch health EMI cards to patients

The Apollo Hospitals Group in collaboration with Bajaj Finserv has launched digitized “Health EMI Card” which will be provided to patients and will be offered a credit limit of Rs.4 Lakhs. Nearly 600 procedures for patients will be covered. This partnership between Apollo and Bajaj Finserv has been done to enable EMI (Equated monthly installments) financing for healthcare.
About Bajaj Finserv:
Founder- Rahul Bajaj.
Headquarters- Pune, Maharashtra.
Managing Director(MD)- Sanjiv Bajaj.
Chairman- Rahul Bajaj, Nanoo Gobindram Pamnani.

ICICI Lombard gets IRDAI approval to pilot 5 projects under Regulatory Sandbox

ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company Limited,one of the leading private sector general insurance companies in India,has received Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI) approval for 5 innovative applications and programs in its health and motor portfolio under the Sandbox Project. This is the largest approval by IRDAI in terms of numbers given to a company under the project.
About Regulatory Sandbox (RS):
It refers to live testing of new products/services in a secure &controlled regulatory environment, where the regulators can allow certain regulatory relaxations for the limited purpose of the testing. It also permits the innovators, regulators, financial providers, and the customers to carry out field tests so that they can verify the benefits and risks of new emerging financial innovations and their implications.
About IRDAI:
Founded– 1999
Headquarters– Hyderabad
Chairman– Dr. Subhash C. Khuntia
About ICICI Lombard:
Founded– 2001
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD&CEO– Bhargav Dasgupta
It is a joint venture between ICICI (Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India) Bank & Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited- a financial services company based in Toronto, Canada.

Exim Bank extends $35.80 mn LoC to Suriname for rural electrification

The Export-Import Bank of India (EXIM Bank) has extended $35.80 million (nearly Rs 250 crore) million Line of Credit (LoC) to South American country Suriname to fund its rural electrification program through solar Diesel Generator (DG) hybrid Photo-Voltaic(PV) systems in Suriname’s 50 remote villages.
About EXIM bank:
Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Founded- 1 January 1982.
Managing Director- David Rasquinha.
Act- Export-Import Bank of India Act, 1981.
About Suriname:
Capital- Paramaribo.
Currency- Surinamese dollar.

Sports

President Kovind conferred 2020 Rashtriya Bal Puraskar awards in New Delhi

The President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind conferred the 2020 annual Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar to 49 children in the age group of 5-18 in New Delhi. The award is given to children having exceptional achievements in various fields such as innovation, scholastic achievements, social service, arts and culture, sports and bravery.

Gujarat secures top spot the SKOCH State of Governance 2019 ranking

According to the ‘SKOCH State of Governance 2019’ report, Gujarat gained the top spot on the back of better performance in Health, Education, Power and e-Governance segments.
Gujarat, which was ranked 5th in 2018 replaces 2018 leader West Bengal.

The projects undertaken by the states, have performed the best in terms of rankings across 22 different parameters have been listed as STARS.
Top 3 Star states include:

Rank State Name Project
1 Gujarat 104 projects
2 Maharashtra 50 projects
3 West Bengal 20 projects

Overview of 3rd khelo india youth games 2020 held in Guwahati,Assam

The 3rd edition of Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG) 2020 was held at Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Indoor Stadium in Guwahati, Assam with the participation of over 10,000 students. Vijay the Tiger and Jaya the Blackbuck were the mascots of the tournament.
Maharashtra clinched Khelo India Youth Games 2020 champions trophy with a collection of 256 medals (78 gold, 77 silver, and 101 bronze).
Organized by Ministry for Youth Affairs and Sports & conducted in partnership with the School Games Federation of India (SGFI), Indian Olympic Association (IOA), and Assam State government, it was held from January 9-22, 2020.
Top 3:

Rank State Gold Medal Silver Medal Bronze Medal Medal Tally
1 Maharashtra 78 77 101 256
2 Haryana 68 60 72 200
3 Delhi 39 36 47 122

Ministry of Sports de-recognised the Rowing Federation of India for violating the Sports Code of 2011

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MOYAS) has de-recognized the Rowing Federation of India (RFI) because of violating the Sports Code of 2011 during the RFI election which was held on December 6, 2019, in Hyderabad in Telangana.
About the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports:
Founded- 1982
Headquarters- New Delhi
Minister- Kiren Rijiju

Miscellaneous

Indian Army to induct Artillery gun ‘Sharang’ by March 31, 2020

The Indian Army (IA) has announced to induct 1st batch of 18 indigenously upgraded ‘Sharang’ artillery guns by March 31, 2020. The announcement was made by the Programme Coordinator of Sharang Brigadier Jayant Kar.

POLNET 2.0 was inaugurated by the Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs (MHA) Nityanand Rai inaugurated revamped police communication services POLNET 2.0. It is armed with robust multi-media facility. POLNET 2.0 is a captive satellite-based network which provides video, audio and data connectivity across the country, especially in times of disasters when regular communication either gets jammed or crashes.
About Ministry of Home Affairs:
Founded- January 15, 1947
Headquarters- New Delhi
Minister- Amitabh Anilchandra Shah

Adani group’s NBFC Adani Capital acquired Essel Finance’s MSME loan business

The Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) of the Adani group, Adani Capital Pvt. Ltd has acquired Essel Finance’s MSME (Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) loan business. The business has a loan book of Rs 145 crore approximately. As on December 31, 2019, the overall lending book of Adani capital and the housing finance business was ₹1,100 crore where the contributed ₹150 crores.
About Essel Group:
Essel Finance is promoted by the Essel Group.
Founded- 1926.
Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Chairman- Dr. Subash Chandra.
Managing Director (Essel finance)- Amitabh Chaturvedi.
About Adani Capital:
Founded- 20 July 1988.
Chairman- Gautam Adani.
Chief Executive Officer(CEO)- Gaurav Gupta.
Headquarters- Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Katerina Sakellaropoulou becomes Greece’s first woman president

Independent candidate Katerina Sakellaropoulou(63 years), became the1st Woman President of Greece elected by Greece’s Parliament for a period of 5 years. She will be officially sworn in as Greece’s 13th President in April 2020. She will succeed Prokopis Pavlopoulos, the current president.
About Katerina Sakellaropoulou:
i. Katerina is the Council of State (Supreme Administrative Court of Greece) studied law in Athens(Greece) and completed her postgraduate studies at the Sorbonne in Paris, France.
ii. She was born on 30 May 1956 in Thessaloniki, Greece and the daughter of Supreme Court Judge.
iii. She is an expert in constitutional and environmental law and defender of human rights.
About Greece:
Capital- Athens.
Currency- Euro.

SoftBank appoints Manoj Kohli as India head

SoftBank Group has appointed Manoj Kohli as its India’s head. He has served as the Chairman of SB(SoftBank) energy, the Japanese telecom, and investment renewable energy business.
Manoj Kohli will be responsible for SoftBank Vision Fund, its portfolio companies and look after government relations and public policy efforts. Kohli succeeds Sumer Juneja as the Softbank India head.
About SoftBank:
Founded- 3 September 1981.
Headquarters- Tokyo, Japan.
Founder and CEO(Chief Executive Officer)- Masayoshi Son.

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