Daily Current Affairs (English) - 14.06.2018
Trump & Kim Sign Agreement On Denuclearization
- US has decided to provide security guarantees to North Korea, in exchange of Pyongyang’s firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
- This is according to the joint document which was signed by US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
- Both nations commit to establishing new relations in accordance with the desire of the people.
- Trump said the denuclearization process would be starting “very quickly;” the two developed “a very special bond;” and he “absolutely” would invite Kim to the White House.
- Kim ignored reporters’ shouted questions whether he would make that momentous journey, but Trump later said Kim had accepted the invitation.
- Kim declared the “world will see a major change” and he and Trump “decided to leave the past behind.” Trump and Kim shook hands and exchanged farewells without interpreters as the summit ended.
‘Curb cash donation to parties to Rs. 2,000 a person annually’
A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court to direct the government to take appropriate steps to restrict cash donations to political parties and candidates to Rs. 2,000 a person annually.
- The petition, filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, has asked the court to direct the Election Commission of India to “de-register political parties which do not contest elections or which accept donation in cash of more than Rs. 2,000 per person a year; or accept total donation of either more than Rs. 10 crore or more than 10% of total donation in cash, whichever is less, by using its plenary constitutional power.”
- It said candidates and political parties have devised ingenious ways to disguise the illegitimate sources and expenditure of money by holding community feasts, organising birthday parties and weddings, giving costly gifts, or even “topping-up mobile phones.”
- “Money is sometimes transferred through cash packets slipped in newspapers, through rural moneylenders and pawnbrokers or by organising ‘fake aartis’,” the petition said.
Scientists seek to find mass of ghost particle
- Researchers in Germany with Karlsruhe Tritium Neutrino experiment have started collecting data to determine the mass of the universe’s lightest particle- neutrino.
- Those are sometimes called “ghost particles” because they’re so difficult to detect.
- KATRIN measures the neutrino mass in a model-independent way via ultrahigh precision measurements of the kinematics of electrons from beta-decay.
Retail inflation increases to 4.87% in May, industrial growth rises 4.9% in April
- Retail inflation inched up to 4.87% in May on increase in prices of certain items in the food basket, as per the government data released on 12th June. Based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the inflation was at 4.58% in the preceding month April.
- In May last year, it was 2.18%. According to the data of the Central Statistics Office (CSO), food inflation rose to 3.10% last month, as against 2.8% in April.
- Meanwhile, the government released separate data for Industrial output which showed that the industrial growth expanded by 4.9% in April this year, spurred by higher growth in manufacturing and mining sectors.
- The industrial growth, measured on the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), was 3.2% in April last year.
Murali became 2nd fastest Indian in 10,000 m
- Young long-distance runner Gavit Murali Kumar bagged a gold in men’s 10,000 m race at the Gouden Spike meeting in Leiden, Netherlands.
- He became the second fastest Indian in this event.
- The 21-year-old Kumar, a bright talent from Gujarat, clocked a personal best of 28 minutes 43.34 seconds, the best by an Indian in the ongoing season.
RBI blames PNB board for fraud
Blaming the board of directors of the Punjab National Bank for the embezzlement of over Rs. 13,000 crore by jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, the Reserve Bank of India, in a written reply to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, said all “three lines of defence” built in the banking system failed in this case.
- RBI Governor Urjit Patel deposed in front of the panel, headed by Congress leader Veerappa Moily.
- The central bank said all financial institutions were adequately warned about dealing with Letters of Undertaking (LoUs), the primary tool of embezzlement by Nirav Modi.
- The RBI said it was the primary responsibility of the PNB board to understand the risks in issue of LoUs without collateral and to manage them through controls.
- It said each bank should have three lines of defence: first, the officer sanctioning the loan; second, at the managerial level; and third, the internal audit.
- The RBI told the panel that its supervisory process does not constitute an audit of banks.
- “With the number of commercial bank branches being more than 1,16,000 in the country it would be impossible to cover each and every branch under the RBI’s supervisory process,” the central bank said.
- It also accused PNB of submitting a factually incorrect compliance report with regard to LoUs.
- The RBI complained that it does not have regulatory powers over public sector banks (PSBs) which have the greater share of non-performing assets.
- As on December 31 last year PSBs had NPAs worth Rs. 7,77,280 crore while the private sector banks had NPAs worth Rs. 1,07,796 crore.
India bagged 3 Medals At Boxing Tournament
- Indian boxers bagged one Gold and two Silver medals at the Umakhanov Memorial Tournament in the Russian city of Kaspiysk.
- Saweety Boora won the coveted yellow metal in the Women’s 75 kg category after beating Anna Anfinogenova (Russia) in the Final.
- In the Men’s section, Brijesh Yadav in the 81 kg division and Virender Kumar in 91 kgs lost their Final bouts to settle for Silver medals.
ISRO offers lithium-ion cell tech transfer to ‘qualified’ industries
The drive for indigenously made lithium ion batteries on a large scale has got a push with the Indian Space Research Organisation offering its production technology to Indian industry. An RFQ (request for quotation) issued invites multiple qualified companies or start-ups to use its power storage technology to produce a range of Li ion cells for many purposes, mainly EVs or electric vehicles.
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) today floated a request for qualification (RFQ) for technology-transfer of the lithium-ion cell to Indian industries.
- ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) has offered to transfer the in-house developed Li-ion cell technology to competent industries on a ‘non-exclusive’ basis to establish Li-ion cell production facilities in the country.
- Li-ion cells find wide applications in electronic gadgets, telecommunication, industrial applications as well as in aerospace.
- This initiative is expected to enable Zero Emission Policy of India and accelerate the development of indigenous electric vehicle industry, ISRO said in a statement said.
- ISRO’s rocket sciences node Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre will transfer its in-house technology non-exclusively to each qualified production agency for a one-time fee of Rs. 1 crore, according to the document.
- The Li ion cell production initiative is part of the government’s plan to achieve 100% EVs in the country by 2030.
- Li ion battery is much in demand for use in handy consumer electronics goods too. Currently the batteries are imported mostly from China, South Korea and Taiwan.
- To drive the Indian EV dream of the coming decades, national think tank NITI Aayog has also earlier called for setting up local production.
Kannada’s elephant ambassadors
- In a twist in the saga of human-animal conflict, animals captured in one part of the country are helping protect forests in other areas.
- Dudhwa National Park, Uttar Pradesh, which had just 13 elephants to patrol the vast terai, recently imported 10 from Karnataka.
- Three more elephants will join a proposed elephant camp in Jharkhand’s Palamu Tiger Reserve.
- Uttarakhand, among the first to import elephants — nine have been working in Corbett Tiger Reserve since 2016 — wants 16 more: six for Rajaji Tiger Reserve and 10 for Nandhaur Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Karnataka, which has the largest elephant population in the country, captures and confines elephants in conflict with humans. Called Kumki elephants, they are tamed and trained in forest camps, and are now in demand in other States, for patrolling duties in forest reserves.
Two frog species discovered
- In a significant discovery, two species of frogs have been recorded in the Indian peninsular — Fejervarya kalinaga from the Eastern Ghats and Fejervarya krishnan from the Western Ghats.
- The Eastern Ghats species of Fejervarya kalinga attains significance since it is endemic to moist high altitude forest of the region.
- These new species are habitat specialists.
RBI : Low recoveries of NPAs
While public sector banks have claimed a Rs. 1,50,960-crore reduction in their non-performing asset (NPA) levels over 2017-18, about 55% of this was due to write-offs and only 27% was actual recoveries, according to data provided by RBI Governor Urjit Patel to the parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance.
- For private sector banks, about 40.2% of the reduction in their NPA levels was due to write-offs. Actual recoveries accounted for 34.2% of the reduction, while upgrades accounted for 24.1% of the reductions.
- Gross NPAs with public sector banks stood at Rs. 7,77,280 crore at the end of December 2017, up from Rs. 5,39,968 crore as on March 31, 2016.
- For private sector banks, gross NPA levels grew to Rs. 1,07,796 crore by December 31, 2017 from Rs. 55,853 crore as on March 31, 2016.
- The data also showed that bank frauds increased in both number and value over the last three years.
- While 4,693 frauds of more than Rs. 1 lakh were reported in 2015-16, this increased to 5,904 in 2017-18, an increase of about 26%.
- Over the same period, the value of these frauds increased from Rs. 18,698.8 crore to Rs. 32,361.27 crore.