Current Affairs Current Affairs - 19 December 2017 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 19 December 2017

General Affairs 

BJP retains Gujarat just barely, snatches Himachal from Congress
  • The BJP today just managed to hold on to power in Gujarat, edging past the half-way mark to clinch a sixth term in government, but wrested Himachal Pradesh from Congress with a comfortable majority.

    Overcoming initial setbacks in a seesaw battle, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bagged 99 seats, seven more than the magic figure of 92 in a House of 182. Putting up an improved performance, the Congress secured 77 seats while its allies got three more. The NCP, which fought alone, got a lone seat and Independents got two.

    In contrast, Himachal Pradesh lived up to its reputation of changing the ruler every election, as the BJP comfortably beat Congress, winning 44 of the 68 seats that were up for grabs. The Congress won 21 in the hill state where it had previously held 36 seats. Two seats went to Independents and a lone seat was taken by CPI-M.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who put up an aggressive campaign in Gujarat, camping in his home state for days, described the BJP's electoral victory in the state as "historic" as "in this age for a party to keep winning for so long" is unheard of.

    In his victory speech at BJP Headquarters in Delhi, Modi said the support for the party showed that "the nation is ready for reform agenda as every citizen wants India transformed".

    "I bow to the people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh for their affection and trust in the BJP. I assure them that we will leave no stone unturned in furthering the development journey of these states and serve the people tirelessly." In a message to his opponents, he said "let bygones be bygones" in a reference to the coming together of leaders heading caste formations to ally with Congress, to build a new Gujarat.

    After Modi's speech, the Central Parliamentary Board of the BJP met at the party headquarters in Delhi and decided to depute Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and General Secretary Saroj Pandey to Gujarat for holding consultations on choosing the new Chief Minister. For Himachal Pradesh, where the chief ministerial face Prem Kumar Dhumal suffered a defeat, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Rural Development Minister Narendra Tomar are being sent to decide on a new leader.

    While the BJP celebrated all across Gujarat and in Delhi, the 99-seat tally in Gujarat was far less than the 150 seat target set by BJP President Amit Shah and 16 less than what it got in 2012 despite intense campaigning by Modi.

    The Congress, whose campaign was spearheaded by its now President Rahul Gandhi, conceded defeat but took a veiled jibe at the BJP.

    "My Congress brothers and sisters, you have made me very proud. You are different than those you fought because you fought anger with dignity. You have demonstrated... the Congress' greatest strength is its decency and courage," Gandhi tweeted.

    The BJP's overall vote share in the state plunged from 60.11 per cent notched in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls to 49.1 per cent, indicating a sharp erosion in its support base in a state which the party considers its fortress.

    The vote share of the Congress, which joined hands with Patidar leader Hardik Patel, Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and OBC leader Alpesh Thakore, soared from 33.45 per cent of 2014 to 41.4 per cent.

    Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani brushed aside reports of BJP's waning support, saying the winner was always the king. "Jo jeeta wo hi Sikander."

    The Gujarat election campaign was marked by viciousness that pitted PM Modi against Congress leaders, including his predecessor Manmohan Singh. It was the first Assembly election in Gujarat after Modi shifted to New Delhi.

    In Himachal, the BJP was set to form the government although its two top leaders - Chief Ministerial candidate Dhumal and state unit chief Satpal Satti were worsted in the hard-fought contest.

    With Himachal in its kitty now, the BJP has 14 states where it has its chief ministers and rules with coalition partners in five others.

    Congress is now left with power in just four states - Punjab, Karnataka, Meghalaya and Mizoram and union territory of Puducherry.

    Among the top winners in Gujarat, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani from Rajkot West, a seat formerly occupied by Modi, by a margin of over 50,000 votes. His deputy and Finance Minister Nitinbhai Patel won by 7,951 votes in Mahesana.

    The BJP held on in most seats affected by the Patidar agitation, provoking community leader Hardik Patel to complain about faulty Electronic Voting Machines.

    While the BJP dominated over the Congress in South, Central and North Gujarat, the Congress held the upper hand in the sprawling Saurashtra/Kutch region. The BJP also proved its sway over urban centres while the Congress seats came mostly from rural regions.

    Four of the six Congress turncoat legislators in Gujarat who had bagged BJP tickets lost while some of the Congress' prominent state leaders, including Shaktisinh Gohil and Arjun Modhvadia were also humiliated. All Congress Chief Ministerial contenders lost - Shaktisinh Gohil (Mandvi), Arjun Modhwadia (Bokhiria) and Siddharth Patel (Dabhoi).

    But the BJP suffered a setback in Unjha constituency which includes Modi's hometown Vadnagar where he grew up. Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, who contested as an independent with Congress support, won from Vadgam seat defeating BJP's nominee Vijay Chakravarti by 19,696 votes.

    In Himachal, key winners included outgoing Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh. Among those who lost in the hill state was BJP's Chief Ministerial face PK Dhumal and his confidants Ravinder Ravi, Gulab Singh and Randhir Sharma, all outgoing legislators.

Narendra Modi on winning Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh: Results vindicate our development agenda
  • Hailing the victory of the BJP in his home state Gujarat and the hill state of Himachal Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the results of the two Assembly elections vindicate the agenda of development pursued by his party and the government.

    "I bow to the people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh that they chose the path to development," Modi said during his address to the BJP workers in the party's headquarters in New Delhi.

    "The results in Himachal Pradesh show that if you don't do development and are embroiled in all kinds of wrong acts, then after five years, people will not accept you," Modi said.

    "Recent elections results have proven that the country is ready for reform, is looking towards things that perform in a positive way and believes in transformation," he said.

    Calling the Gujarat election results historic, Modi said, "In this day and age, for a party to keep winning for so long is historic."

    "In Gujarat, BJP won all the seats it contested in 1989 Lok Sabha polls. We won most of the seats we contested in 1990. In 1995, in 1998, in 2002, in 2007 and in 2012 we won. We won most seats in Lok Sabha polls too," he said.

    Modi said the BJP has won 12 Assembly elections since he became the Prime Minister in 2014. BJP chief Amit Shah reminded his workers that the BJP now has governments in 19 Indian states, with Chief Ministers in 14.

    Earlier today, Modi said the "impressive victories" in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh showed there was strong support for the "politics of good governance and development".

    "Election results in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh indicate a strong support for politics of good governance and development. I salute the hardworking BJP karyakartas (workers) in these states for their hard work which has led to these impressive victories," Modi tweeted.

    "I bow to the people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh for their affection and trust in BJP. I assure them that we will leave no stone unturned in furthering the development journey of these states and serve the people tirelessly," he added.

PM Modi to launch Delhi Metro Magenta Line section on December 25
  • The Kalkaji Mandir-Botanical Garden line of the Delhi Metro, which will reduce the travel time between Noida and south Delhi, will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25, the DMRC said today.

    The 12.64-km section, which is a part of metro's upcoming Botanical Garden-Janakpuri West (Magenta) Line, was granted safety approval by the Commissioner for Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) last month.

    Metro's new generation trains, which can run without drivers, will run on this section where an advanced Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling technology that will facilitate movement of trains with a frequency of 90 to 100 seconds will also be pressed into service.

    However, for an initial period of two-three years the trains will have drivers.

    Currently, for travelling to areas in south Delhi, commuters from Noida have to change trains, from Blue Line to Violet Line, at Mandi House Metro Station.

    After the new section of the Delhi Metro is opened, commuters will be able to travel directly to Kalkaji Mandir Metro Station, which is on the Violet Line, cutting travel time by about 45 minutes.

    Once the entire corridor from Botanical Garden till Janakpuri West (38.23 km) is opened, commuters from Noida will be able to go to Gurgaon by changing trains at Hauz Khas.

    The Botanical Garden has been developed as the metro's first-ever inter-change station outside the boundaries of Delhi.

Experts jab at 'ineffective' cervical cancer vaccine
  • A contentious vaccine that prevents cervical cancer has received a fresh jab from an expert government panel which has questioned both its efficacy and cost. In fact, one of the members of National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) has accused the government of fudging data to introduce the vaccine against human papilloma virus (HPV) countrywide.

    Gardasil, which is marketed by Merck, and GlaxoSmithKline's Cervarix are the two HPV vaccines available in India. According to Spain-based health institute Institut Catala d'Oncologia (ICO), around1,22,844 cervical cancer cases are diagnosed annually in India. It is the second leading cause of female cancer in India, says ICO.

    The vaccine has so far been introduced in two districts of Punjab and in government schools in Delhi on a pilot basis with no evidence of its efficacy. The vaccine was introduced in Punjab after doctors at PGIMER told the government that it would prevent 99 per cent mortality and quoted international experts as saying that the vaccine is beneficial even if it costs for $100. The vaccine is likely to cost for $14.

    Dr Jacob Puliyel, who is a member of NTAGI, the body tasked with giving clearances for such vaccines, has now called out these doctors, who had quoted health economists from the University of Catalan, Barcelona, as saying the vaccine is effective even if it costs for $100. Based on Indian data and conditions, NTAGI experts have concluded that the vaccine would not be effective if it costs more than $3.30. Their findings have been published in the prestigious British Journal for Cancer.

    The HPV vaccine trial had earlier run into trouble when seven girls died post vaccination in the Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh, a fact highlighted by Parliament's 72nd Standing Committee on Health.

    However, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, former director general of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), countered Dr Puliyel's findings saying the vaccine is being introduced countrywide "at $5 per dose, which is a very good GAVI price". GAVI is a global vaccine alliance bringing together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the poorest countries.

    Dr Puliyel's research paper also points out that there is no evidence that the vaccine actually works. The vaccine is only 10 years old and no trail has been conducted to study its efficacy in India, he says. The only time such a trial was attempted was without taking consent of tribal girls in Andhra Pradesh. Dr Puliyel said that he is bound by the confidentiality clause of NTAGI and his findings have been published in the journal. Manmohan Sharma of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, an NGO that is now planning to move court, too questioned its efficacy. "The vaccine is administered between 9 and 14 years, but cervical cancer strikes women who are above 45. How will we know that it is effective?" he asks.

    Dr Swaminathan said it is not possible to wait for so long to find the vaccine's effectiveness. "According to reports, the vaccine kills 80 per cent of the virus. Therefore, if the vaccine is given, it will be effective," she counters. Dr Swaminathan added that Dr Puliyel's concerns have been addressed by NTAGI's subcommittee on vaccines. However, the committee is yet to submit its findings.

    The logic given by the PGIMER team was that of all girls born in a single year in Punjab, 740 would develop cancer. They said that 99 per cent, or 733 lives, of the girls would be saved if they were vaccinated. The doctors concluded that cancer causes 99 per cent mortality because over 51 per cent of the cases are detected at stage 3 and 4, where mortality is high. But the doctors overlooked the remaining 49 per cent cases, where mortality is between 10 per cent to 20 per cent. According to Health Ministry data, cancer mortality is less than 60 per cent.

    Shockingly, the vaccine is being introduced countrywide overlooking the report of Parliament's Standing Committee on Health, which had come out with some startling findings on the role of ICMR in promoting a clinical trial on humans without their consent. Following the furore, an inquiry committee was set up. But the Standing Committee discovered that one of the doctors of the inquiry committee enjoyed the hospitality of the company conducting the trial.

    The committee also found that the ICMR had actually signed an MoU with a US agency, PATH, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, even before the vaccine was approved for use in India.

    "Since the government did not take any action on these findings, activists approached the Supreme Court. But pharma companies have stalled their move on the ground that the apex court cannot act on a Parliament committee," said Colin Gonsalves, who represents the activists. Dr Swaminathan said, "Since the investigation is going on, no action can be taken on the report or against the doctors concerned."

AAP contested 30 seats in Gujarat, played foil in 2, lost deposit in most
  • The BJP continued its winning streak in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat, winning the state for a sixth straight term by a simple majority and denying Rahul Gandhi his big comeback, days after being crowned as Congress president. The saffron surge also decimated debutant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which had drowned the BJP in Delhi only two years ago.

    Of the 30-odd seats that Arvind Kejriwal's AAP contested in the 182-member Gujarat Assembly election, the party ended up playing an (unwilling) foil in two. In nearly all the remaining seats, the AAP candidates lost their deposits, with some of them even polling votes in two digits.

    The three seats where the AAP made its presence somewhat felt are Chhota Udepur, Wankaner, and Bapunagar. In Chhota Udepur, AAP's Arjunbhai Versingbhai Rathva polled nearly 4500 votes, which was the best performance by any AAP leader in Gujarat, where electoral politics is largely marked by a bipolar contest between the BJP and the Congress.

    Moreover, Rathva's 4500 votes gain significance when one looks at the margin of victory in the Chhota Udepur constituency: the winning Congress candidate, Mohansinh Chhotubhai Rathava, defeated his rival from the BJP, Jashubhai Bhilubhai Rathwa, by merely 1000 votes.

    Similarly, in Wankaner, the AAP's Sherasiya Usmangani Hushen polled close to 3000 votes. The margin of victory in that constituency, again won by the Congress, is less than 3000.

    In the high-profile Unjha Assembly constituency dominated by the Patidars, the AAP's Ramesh Patel ended up at the eighth spot and could manage less than 400 votes. The Congress's Dr Asha Patel won the seat by polling 80927 votes.

    Reports said that though the AAP had decided to contest nearly 30 seats in Gujarat, it had decided to focus on 10 seats where the party was hoping for a victory following an internal survey. Those ten seats, apart from  are Unjha and Chhota Udepur are Palanpur, Rajkot (East), Gondal, Lathi, Kamrej, Karanj, Pardi, and Dhrangadhra.

Business Affairs

Indian manufacturing needs more than import duty hike to bounce back
  • Last Friday, the government decided to hike the import tariffs of a host of electronic goods. The rate for microwave ovens and television sets doubled from 10 per cent to 20 per cent. The rates for mobile phones were hiked from 10 per cent to 15 per cent. Ditto for digital cameras, digital video recorders and a host of other goods.
    Ostensibly, the move was to encourage domestic manufacturing. But any government that thinks that it can encourage domestic manufacturing by raising import duties alone needs to think a bit harder. India has been down that road before and it did not encourage the country to become a manufacturing power. Instead, it led to shoddy, substandard goods way below the quality of international goods, as well as higher prices for consumers.
    A whole host of measures are needed before manufacturing in India can take off. Ability to start a manufacturing set up is one. Being able to acquire land is another. A more flexible labour policy is the third. And better infrastructure and logistics, along with cheaper power, better connectivity to ports, etc are equally important.
    India's manufacturing policy thinking has always been somewhat muddled. The grand Make in India initiative has failed to make much headway so far. One reason for that has been that the government has not yet made up its mind as to whether India needs a manufacturing policy whose primary aim is to create lots of jobs. Or a policy that ensures that India becomes a global manufacturing powerhouse.
    A couple of decades ago or for that matter, even a decade ago, growth in manufacturing went hand in hand with large scale employment generation. Over the past half a dozen years though, rapid advances in technologies such as robotics, digitization, artificial intelligence, automation and others have ensured smarter factories that need fewer, and far more technically adept workers. Even China, which is held up as an example of large factories employing thousands of workers and becoming the manufacturing hub of the globe is now beginning to see a lot of change. Smarter factories and less workers is the way forward for them. In fact, the rapid advances in smart factories is seeing some production return to the US, which had earlier outsourced almost all its manufacturing to take advantage of lower labour cost manufacturing destinations.
    India needs to make up its mind as to which kind of manufacturing it is planning to encourage. If it involves lots of small and medium scale manufacturers who use labour and therefore create jobs, the tariff protection might serve a purpose. But equally, it would mean giving up on becoming a smart manufacturing hub that can export high quality goods to the rest of the world.
    Working to improve the competitiveness of Indian factories by fixing infrastructure, labour and land acquisition problems would work better than increasing tariffs to make imports costlier.

LPG subsidy sans users' consent: Allowance of Rs 168 crore deposited to Airtel payments bank accounts
  • Following the allegations of Bharti Airtel using the Aadhaar-eKYC based SIM verification process to open payments bank accounts of its subscribers without their 'informed consent', it has come to the light that over Rs 167.7 crore LPG subsidy of around 37.21 lakh consumers has been deposited in Airtel Payments Bank accounts till November-end. PTI quoted a senior government official saying on Monday that all this was done without the "informed consent" of the Airtel users. Of the total amount of Rs 167.72 crore, Rs 88.18 crore of subsidy was transferred of 17.32 lakh consumers enrolled with Indian Oil Corp (IOC).
    The revelation comes after the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Saturday temporarily barred Bharti Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank from conducting Aadhaar-based SIM verification of mobile customers using eKYC process, as well as e-KYC of payments bank clients. The official said that as of end of November, a total of Rs 167.77 crore of subsidy was transferred to accounts in Airtel Payment Bank. The number of consumers whose subsidy amounts were going to these accounts is 37.21 lakh.
    In order to check diversions, the government pays subsidy equivalent to buying 12 LPG cylinders of 14.2-kg each in a year, directly into the bank accounts of beneficiaries. Unlike in the past, LPG now is only available at market price. Beneficiaries get subsidy for one cylinder in advance and are replenished the moment they use it up to buying LPG refill. Of the Rs 167.72 crore, Rs 88.18 crore of subsidy was transferred of 17.32 lakh consumers enrolled with Indian Oil Corp (IOC).
    Just over Rs 40 crore subsidy belonged to 10.06 lakh consumers enrolled with Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) and Rs 39.46 crore to 9.8 lakh consumers of Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL). The official asserted that entirely all of the 37.21 lakh payment bank accounts were activated without the explicit or informed consent of the consumers. The UIDAI, in an interim order late last week, suspended the eKYC licence key of both Airtel Payments Bank and Airtel, which India's largest telecom operator with 285 million subscribers.
    UIDAI also took strong objection to allegations that such payments bank accounts are being linked to receive LPG subsidy. This essentially means Airtel would not be able to, in the interim, carry out 'electronic-verification' or link mobile SIMs of its customers with their 12-digit biometric national ID Aadhaar though the efficient and paperless eKYC (or electronic Know Your Customer) process of UIDAI.
    The company has said no bank account was opened without the customers' consent, and that additional safeguards have been introduced, reported Financial Express. A company spokesperson said they were engaging with the authority and were hopeful of an early resolution. "We are also undertaking to complete the said actions on priority and have commenced thorough checks of our process flows. Being compliant to all guidelines is paramount to us. In the interim, any inconvenience to our customers in regretted," said the Airtel spokesperson.

Employees using insolvency law to recover unpaid salaries
  • Arvind Gawda, a resident of Pune, has taken his employer Zeel Global Projects Private Limited  to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and started a bankruptcy proceeding against it for non-payment of salary amounting to Rs 1.5 lakh. The NCLT has admitted the case as Zeel Gobal Projects has admitted to non-payment of salary due to its 'inability to make the payment on account of paucity of funds'.
    The new bankruptcy law is proving to be a 'recovery' tool for many operational creditors including the employees, who are taking companies to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to recover their unpaid salaries. There are close to 10 cases out of 450 corporate bankruptcy cases filed so far have been filed by employees or groups of employers. The cases have been filed for recovery of unpaid salary of as low as Rs 1.5 lakh. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code allows a creditor to start insolvency proceeding against a corporate debtor for a default as low as Rs 1 lakh. The low threshold for starting insolvency procedures has allowed some employees to drag their employers to NCLT to recover their unpaid salaries.
    In one case, Nitin Gupta, an employee of Applied Electro Magnetics Pvt Ltd, a Delhi-based company, started insolvency proceeding against the company, for non-payment of full salary. The complainant has said in its insolvency application that he joined the company in 2008, but the company has not been paying the full salary from start and now it owes him Rs 46.77 lakh. Nitin Gupta has also sought an 18 per cent annual interest on the dues. Applied Electro Magnetics has admitted to non-payment of salary to the complainant, but it disputes the amount due as claimed by the complainant. It has admitted to a due of Rs 28.84 lakh.
    In another case, a group of employees have started insolvency proceeding against Phadnis Properties, a Pune-based real estate and infrastructure company. The employees have said in their application that the company owes them a total amount of around Rs 73 lakh in unpaid salaries.
    Under the insolvency law, employees can use the law to recover unpaid salary dues by starting insolvency proceeding against the employer. The employees are kept in the category of operational creditors.

NPPA move to trigger debate on business model of Indian private healthcare
  • Last week, apex medicine price regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) did a service to Indian healthcare sector. It brought to the public domain, the retail price and trade margin details of all the medicines and consumables that were billed by a leading pan-Indian hospital chain while treating a dengue patient in one of its hospitals in Gurugram. The trade margin was in the range of 5-914 per cent for 80 odd medicines and 12-1737 per cent for consumables.

    NPPA sought this information from the hospital after it took note of media reports that suggested overcharging by the hospital. The issue was emotive as even after spending Rs 16 lakh on treatment, the patient couldn't survive the illness. NPPA's attempt was to clear the air by seeking all the billing details from the hospital to see if there is a case for investigation on the overcharging complaint.

    Technically, the hospital may not have overcharged, if it has not billed over and above the printed MRP (maximum retail price). However, the significance of the data submitted by the hospital, and analyzed by NPPA is not in proving whether the hospital has "over charged" or not. It lays bare the systemic issues and the prevailing pricing patterns in Indian healthcare system.
    As NPPA analysis shows, even in the case of scheduled formulations, or medicines that are sold according to government prescribed price limits, the trade margin can be as high as 343 per cent. In the case of medicines which are not under price control, it has gone up to 914 per cent.The unit procurement price of consumables like syringes, disposibles, infusion sets etc, and its MRP can vary as high as 1737 per cent.

    Whether it's healthy to have such huge variations between procurement price and retail price is a matter of debate. The agency could have carried out the overcharging probe even if it had not made the information shared by the hospital public. It chose to do otherwise, terming it as a move to ensure absolute transparency and accountability in governance. This affirmative action, will now trigger a larger debate on the business model of private hospitals, and whether there is a need to keep an eye on the trade margins.

    Patient welfare groups and civil society organizations have a legitimate right to highlight the trade margins. The healthcare industry also has valid reasons to suggest that they need to recover their cost, if not make profits, somehow or other. The government's role should be to ensure affordable treatment to the patients - both in public and private healthcare institutions - without turning healthcare industry unviable. The price list will open up the debate.

    Sensex closes 137 points higher, Nifty at 10,388 after BJP nears victory in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh assembly elections
    • The Sensex and Nifty closed higher in Monday's trade after Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP looked set to win key polls in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.
      While the Sensex closed 138 points or 0.41 percent higher at 33,601, the Nifty was up 0.54 percent or 55.50 points at 10,388 level.
      On Nifty, 35 stocks advanced while 14 declined. M&M (2.71%), SBI (1.97 percent) and Sun Pharma (2.06 percent) were the top Sensex gainers in Monday's trade.
      YES Bank (1.23%), Coal India (1.11%) and Infosys (0.79 percent) were the top losers on Sensex.
      Earlier in the day, the Sensex and Nifty suffered a BJP defeat scare during early counting in election results but managed to recover lost ground after PM Narendra Modi-led ruling party made a comeback against Congress in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat election results. 
      The Sensex tumbled more than 700 points in the first 15 minutes of trade, hitting an intra day low of 32,595 but later recovered more than 1000 points to trade at 33,658, up 183 points from today's opening level of 33,364. The index hit an intra day low of 32,595 level after early trends showed Congress gaining ground in Gujarat.
      In contrast to the exit polls where BJP was seen forming a majority government in Gujarat, Congress was winning at 82 seats against 96 seats falling on side of Prime Minister Narendra Modi led-BJP in  Gujarat. But later the tally showed of 182 assembly seats in Gujarat,  BJP was leading on 99 seats with Congress falling behind at 80 seats.
      In Himachal Pradesh, of 68 Assembly seats, BJP was leading on 43 seats against 21 falling in Congress' favour.
      Here are the key highlights, which affected the market today.
      4:00 pm: While 150 stocks hit their 52-week highs on BSE, 88 fell to their 52 week lows.
      3:45 pm: Auto and metal  stocks led the recovery on BSE with their respective indexes rising 309 points and 254 points,  respectively.
      3: 30 pm: All 17 BSE sectoral indexes except realty and energy closed in the green.   
      2: 30 pm: Maruti Suzuki (Rs 560 cr), ICICI Bank (Rs 203 cr), Bharti Airtel (Rs 170 crore) post top turnover on BSE.
      2:15 pm: Market breadth was positive with 1445 stocks closing higher against 1202 ending lower on BSE.
      1:45 PM: Maruti Suzuki (Rs 560.41 cr), ICICI Bank (Rs 203.39 crore) and Bharti Airtel (Rs 170.57 crore) were top contributors in terms of turnover on the BSE. 
      1:30 pm: Mergers and acquisitions during the year till December 7, declined by 12% to $55.93 billion from $63.48 billion in 2016. The number of deals also fell to 1,375 from 1,381 a year ago.
      1:00 pm: Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) have exhausted 99% of their investment limit of Rs 1.9 lakh crore in central government bonds, but when it comes to state government bonds, the share is less than 17% of the permissible limit of Rs.30,000 crore, as of December 14.
      12:45 pm: Sensex adds over 300 points in afternoon trade. 

      12: 30 pm: The RBI says that "the slowing in growth could be over". It added that "structural changes that come with temporary disruptions can be growth-and-efficiency-augmenting in the medium to long term" and introduction of GST could impart a permanent upward push to growth through better tax compliance.
      12:00 pm: The markets will remain range bound as there are no further triggers," said Kunj Bansal, executive director & CIO - equity, Centrum Wealth Management Ltd.
      11:45 am: India's exports to China rise by 53% yoy to $1.24 billion and imports from China into India increase by 13.6% yoy in October 2017. Still India's trade deficit with China rose to $3.86 billion as China's exports base ($5.09 billion) to India is much larger.
      11:30 am: Foreign investors invested over $30 billion (more than Rs 2 lakh crore) in the Indian capital markets in 2017. They invested in equities got over $8 billion (Rs 55,000 crore) in 2017, the highest in three years after Rs 20,500 crore in 2016 and Rs 17,800 crore in 2015. However, they invested Rs 1.5 lakh crore ($23 billion) in debt instruments after a net outflow of about Rs 43,600 crore in 2016.
      11: 15 am: Forex reserves declined by $1.04 billion to $400.9 billion during the week ended 8 December 2017
      11: 35 am: M&M, Ashok Leyland, Motherson Sumi and Maruti were the top gainers on the BSE auto index.
      11:32 am: "This election in Gujarat is like a barometer gauge," said Christopher Wong, an FX strategist with Malayan Banking. "Fears of an upset election dissipated as Modi was set for a win"
      11:30 am: PNB, SBI and Bank of Baroda were the top gainers on the BSE Bankex.
      11:25 AM: "The verdict of Himachal and Gujarat state election will be the key trigger for the market this week. The cues from winter session (of Parliament) will also be closely followed. "Any deviation from exit polls could negatively impact the market sentiment in the near to medium term. Post election results, market will also look towards global cues and US tax reforms," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
      11:10 AM: Rupee trims early losses, consolidates to 64.10 per dollar.
      10:40 AM: Sensex adds over 250 points, Nifty trades at 10,422 with 39 components in the green.
      10:16 am: Sensex trading 136 points higher at 33,599, Nifty rises 54 points to 10,388 level. 
      10:10 AM: Market would initially rejoice the victory when results are finally out by Monday but soon correction would resume. Only for a week the market will be active after which year end holiday mood will grip the whole world. The Parliament session will have some fireworks which the market will be watching. "The mood of the market will remain buoyant and stock specific movement will dominate the week but in general the wait and watch phase will continue," opined Jimeet Modi, CEO, Samco Securities.
      10:07 AM: Market breadth is positive with 1,266 stocks rising against 791 falling on the BSE. 98 stocks are unchanged.
      10:04 am: Adani Ports (1.95%), M&M (1.64%)  and L&T (1.36%) are top  Sensex gainers.
      9:51 am: Adani Port jumps over 1 percent.
      9: 33 am: Adani Enterprises slumps over 9 percent in morning trade.
      9:30 am: BSE metals, PSU, bankex, IPO indices decline steeply at 9.22 a.m. with a loss of over 2 percent each
      9: 25 am: Rupee drops sharply in early session, trades at 64.62 per dollar against the last close of 64.04. 
      9:20 am: In Asia, markets rose as investors expected that a plan to reduce corporate taxes in US would be passed soon.European markets closed lower as leaders agreed to start the second phase of brexit talks and on US developments.
      Also H&M came out with below expected sales growth.US markets closed at record high as expectations of Republicans passing the tax bill increased. The lawmakers are expected to vote on this bill next week. The new proposed tax plan is expected to cut the corporate tax rate to 21% from 35%.

    General Awareness

    CURRENT AFFAIRS PRACTICE QUESTIONS FOR ALL COMPETITIVE EXAMS

    • 1. Which among the following Yoga Institutes has been selected as the first recipient of the Prime Minister's Award for outstanding contribution to promotion and development of Yoga in June 2017?
      a) Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute
      b) Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram
      c) Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers and Ashrams, Kerala and Tamil Nadu
      d) Yoga Institute, Mumbai

      2. Who is the current Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) of India?
      a) T.M. Bhasin
      b) K.V. Chowdary
      c) Rajiv
      d) K. Santhanam

      3. Who has been has renominated as its serving candidate at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) by India in June 2017?
      a) Justice Jasti Chelameswar
      b) Justice Ranjan Gogoi
      c) Justice Dalveer Bhandari
      d) Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose

      4. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $ 275 million loan on 19th June, 2017 for improving urban services in 64 small towns in the State of which of the following?
      a) Andhra Pradesh
      b) Haryana
      c) Uttar Pradesh
      d) Madhya Pradesh

      5. Which among the following countries plans to host a summit for start-ups from SAARC nations in 2018?
      a) India
      b) Nepal
      c) Sri Lanka
      d) Bangladesh

      6. According to Fitch Ratings, India's GDP growth will steadily rise from 7.4% to ........ in 2018-19.
      a) 8.2%
      b) 7.5%
      c) 7.8%
      d) 8.0%

      7. Which among the following countries became the 71st country to ratify the United Nations TIR (Transports Internationaux Routiers) Convention, a move that will help boost trade through smoother movement of goods across territories?
      a) Japan
      b) Russia
      c) Germany
      d) India

      8. Indian Navy's first indigenously built Floating Dock (FDN-2), developed by Larsen & Toubro Ltd. (L&T), and was launched at:
      a) L&T's Shipyard in Kattupalli
      b) Hindustan Shipyard Limited, Visakhapatnam
      c) Mazagon Dock Limited, Mumbai
      d) Goa Shipyard Limited in Goa

      9. The BIO International Convention 2017 was held in:
      a) Dhaka
      b) San Diego
      c) Tokyo
      d) Jakarta

      10. Who is the current CEO of International Cricket Council's (ICC)?
      a) Zaheer Abbas
      b) Shashank Manohar
      c) David Richardson
      d) Narayanaswami Srinivasan

      11. Who earned the dubious distinction of being the first sitting high court judge to be awarded a jail term by the Supreme Court?
      a) Mr. Jasti Chelameswar
      b) Mr. Ranjan Gogoi
      c) Mr. CS Karnan
      d) Mr. Pinaki Chandra Ghose

      12. International Yoga Day is celebrated every year on:
      a) June 21
      b) May 21
      c) June 19
      d) July 21

      13. The 5th International Forum for Technological Development TECHNOPROM- 2017 was held in:
      a) Russia
      b) USA
      c) France
      d) Japan

      14. The oldest yoga trainer or teacher in the world is .....
      a) Elena Brower
      b) Seane Corn
      c) Tao Porchon-Lynch
      d) Amma Nanammal

      15. Who among the following is appointed as the U.S. Ambassador to India?
      a) Tim Wirth
      b) Kenneth Juster
      c) Frank E. Loy
      d) Paula Dobriansky

      16. Who among the following was appointed as Crown Prince of the Saudi Arabia?
      a) Mohammed Rehman
      b) Mohammed Sultan
      c) Mohammed Bin Salman
      d) Mohammed Ali Khan

      17. Which among the following Municipal Corporations has become the first local body in the country to issue municipal bonds?
      a) Hyderabad Municipal Corporation
      b) Mumbai Municipal Corporation
      c) New Delhi Municipal Corporation
      d) Pune Municipal Corporation

      18. Name the Uber Technologies Inc Chief Executive Officer, who has resigned under mounting pressure from investors over his leadership in June 2017.
      a) Bob Igor
      b) Elon Musk
      c) James Dimon
      d) Travis Kalanick

      19. SEBI has decided to levy a 'Regulatory Fee' of ........... on each subscriber of offshore derivative instrument (ODI), which will have to be collected by the registered foreign portfolio investor (FPI) that issues the ODIs.
      a) $2,000
      b) $1500
      c) $2500
      d) $1,000

      20. Under the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G), rural ........... and rural ......... have declared themselves as the 4th and 5th Open Defecation Free (ODF) States of India.
      a) Andhra Pradesh, Odisha
      b) Bihar, Sikkim
      c) Uttarakhand, Haryana
      d) Karnataka, Punjab

      21. Who has been selected unanimously as the Opposition candidate for the presidential election to be held in July 2017?
      a) Mayawati
      b) Meira Kumar
      c) Sushilkumar Shinde
      d) Sharad Power

      22. Who has been taken oath as the Bihar Governor in June 2017?
      a) Vijay Kumar Choudhary
      b) Keshri Nath Tripathi
      c) Rajendra Menon
      d) Shankar Sharma

      23. Who is the current Prime Minister of Sweden?
      a) Fredrik Reinfeldt
      b) Stefan Lofven
      c) Goran Persson
      d) Ingvar Carlsson

      24. Which among the following countries has cleared the sale of 22 unmanned Guardian drones to India in June 2017?
      a) France
      b) Russia
      c) USA
      d) Germany

      25. India signed Loan Agreement for co-financing of part funding through World Bank for USD 240 million and USD 160 Million from AIIB for 24X7 Power for All in:
      a) Andhra Pradesh Project
      b) Madhya Pradesh Project
      c) Uttar Pradesh Project
      d) Himachal Pradesh Project

      26. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has expanded its Oversight Committee - formed to advice banks on which of the following issues?
      a) Stressed asset resolution
      b) Interest rates
      c) Unaccounted money deposited in the bank accounts
      d) All of the above

      27. RBI has asked banks to resolve .......... high value cases of bad loans within six months or face the prospect of being directed to go in for the new insolvency resolution mechanism as part of the strategy to rein in unacceptable level of non-performing assets (NPAs).
      a) 25
      b) 55
      c) 35
      d) 45

      28. The Central government has placed an order for 37 lakh doses of a rotavirus vaccine that promises to beat heat issues and requires no refrigeration. Rotavirus, is the leading cause of which of the following diseases?
      a) Small Pox
      b) Diarrhoea
      c) Dengue
      d) Polio

      29. The Ministry of External affairs celebrated the completion of 50 years of the Passport Act 1967 as the 5th Passport Seva Divas on -
      a) 24th May
      b) 24th June
      c) 24th March
      d) 24th April

      30. 'City Liveability Index' for measuring the quality of life in 116 major cities was launched by .....
      a) NITI Aayog
      b) Ministry of Urban Development
      c) Central Pollution Control Board of India
      d) Both a and c

      31. Central government announced another list of 30 cities for development as smart cities taking the total cities picked up so far to 90 under Smart City Mission launched on:
      a) July 25, 2016
      b) June 25, 2014
      c) June 25, 2015
      d) April 25, 2015

      32. Child victims of cyber crimes can now lodge their complaints at National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)'s POCSO e-box. Which of the following is/ are the cyber crime/ cyber crimes included in complaints?
      a) Cyber bullying
      b) Cyber stalking
      c) Child pornography
      d) All of the above

      33. How many Arab States or Countries boycotting Qatar over alleged support for terrorism?
      a) 6
      b) 4
      c) 8
      d) 7

      34. Tata Power, has offered to sell a majority 51% stake in its debt-laden 4,000 megawatt (MW) Mundra Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) for just Rs.1. This Mundra Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) is located in:
      a) Rajasthan
      b) Haryana
      c) Punjab
      d) Gujarat

      35. Who among the following is/ are the recipients of this year Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy?
      a) Mei Hing Chak
      b) Julian Robertson
      c) Azim Premji
      d) All of the above

      36. According to a U.N. 'The World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision' report, India to have bigger population than China by...
      a) 2050
      b) 2030
      c) 2024
      d) 2075

      37. SRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLVC38 successfully launched the 712 kg ........ Series Satellite along with 30 co-passenger satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota.
      a) Cartosat-1
      b) Cartosat-2
      c) Cartosat-3
      d) Cartosat-4

      38. Which among the following country/ countries cricket team has/ have been granted Test status by the International Cricket Council in June 2017?
      a) Afghanistan
      b) Ireland
      c) UAE
      d) Both a and b

      39. New 'Incredible India 2.0 campaign' will be launched by which of the following ministries of Government of India?
      a) Ministry of External Affairs
      b) Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
      c) Ministry of Tourism
      d) Ministry of Science and Technology

      40. Name the minister in the Madhya Pradesh, who was disqualified by the Election Commission from membership of any State legislature and contesting polls for the next three years for filing wrong accounts of election  expenditure.
      a) Gopal Bhargava
      b) Dr. Gaurishankar Shejwar
      c) Narottam Mishra
      d) Jayant Mallayya

      41. The Government has granted in-principle approval for a greenfield airport at:
      a) Jewar in Uttar Pradesh
      b) Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh
      c) Mangalore in Karnataka
      d) Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh

      42. India and Portugal have signed 11 bilateral agreements recently, who is the current Prime Minister of Portugal?
      a) Jorge Sampaio
      b) Antonio Costa
      c) Pedro Passos Coelho
      d) Jose Socrates

      43. The annual plenary meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group 2017 was held in:
      a) Berne
      b) Beijing
      c) Rome
      d) Moscow

      44. Who has become first turbaned Sikh woman Supreme Court judge of Canada in June 2017?
      a) Gulab Kaur
      b) Parbinderkaur Shergill
      c) Bibi Bhag Bhari
      d) Sahib Kaur

      45. Which space agency is launching a new Colorado High-resolution Echelle Stellar Spectrograph (Chess) sounding rocket on 27 June to study the vast interstellar clouds to understand more about the earliest stages of star formation?
      a) Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
      b) Russian Federal Space Agency
      c) National Aeronautics and Space Administration
      d) Indian Space Research Organisation


      ANSWERS: 
      1-a, 2-b, 3-c, 4-d, 5-a, 6-b, 7-d, 8-a, 9-b, 10-c
      11-c, 12-a, 13-a, 14-c, 15-b, 16-c, 17-d, 18-d, 19-d, 20-c
      21-b, 22-b, 23-b, 24-c, 25-a, 26-a, 27-b, 28-b, 29-b, 30-b
      31-c, 32-d, 33-b, 34-d, 35-d, 36-c, 37-b, 38-d, 39-c, 40-c
      41-a, 42-b, 43-a, 44-b, 45-c

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