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Current Affairs - 06 February 2018

General Affairs 

Boeing In Talks With Indian Navy To Sell F/A-18 Fighter Jets
  • Boeing Co. is in talks with the Indian Navy to sell its F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets in a bid to gain a bigger share of the defense market in the South Asian country, the world's biggest arms importer.

    A lot of technical evaluation has yet to take place, Gene Cunningham, Boeing's vice president for defense, space and security, told reporters at the Singapore Airshow. The company is also seeing opportunities for its KC-46 multirole tanker in India and other countries, Cunningham said.

    India's navy last year invited proposals for 57 jets for its aircraft carriers, while its air force is seeking at least 100 planes. Boeing and Saab AB have said both the orders should be combined, which would make it the world's biggest fighter jet order in play.

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who plans to spend $250 billion in the coming years on defense equipment from fighter jets to guns and helmets, wants India and local companies to get a share of the deals it enters into by calling on foreign manufacturers to make products locally. Boeing, Lockheed Martin Corp. and others have said they will produce in India if they win contracts large enough to make investments worthwhile.

    Boeing expects the U.S. to decide on the T-X program in mid-2018, Cunningham said. Boeing and Lockheed are vying for a $16 billion opportunity to build the U.S. Air Force's new training jet, with foreign sales set to provide an additional boost. Rising F-35 production and an aging fleet of trainer aircraft drive plans to build 350 of the T-X jets.

"Army Will Give Proper Reply," Says Rajnath Singh On Pak Firing
  • India has lodged a strong protest with the Pakistani foreign office a day after four soldiers, including a Captain, were killed in shelling by Pakistani troops in Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri district. Home Minister Rajnath Singh also condemned the firing by Pakistan. "Have full faith in the valour of our soldiers, and they shall give proper reply," Mr Singh told reporters today.

    People familiar with the matter told that the four soldiers died after a Pakistani mortar shell struck near the entrance to a bunker, which could not absorb the intensity of the blast.

    The bodies of Captain Kapil Kundu, 22, Rifleman Ramavatar, 28, Rifleman Subham Singh, 22 and Havilder Roshan Lal, 42, will be sent to their hometowns after a tribute in Jammu.

    "We will not forgive Pakistan's actions. It will prove to be Pakistan's foolishness and will cost them dearly," Hansraj Ahir, Minister of State Home Affairs said.

    Pakistan intensified firing at Indian military posts and villages along the Line of Control or LoC in Poonch and Rajouri districts on Sunday morning. A teenage girl and a soldier were also injured in Poonch.

    "Indian Army retaliated strongly and effectively and heavy damage has been inflicted on Pakistani Army posts," said a defence statement.

    There have been 240 incidents of ceasefire violations along the LoC and the International Border in a little over a month this year, which is more than the violations in all of 2015 and 2016 at 152 and 228, respectively. Pakistani forces violated the ceasefire 860 times in 2017. Nine soldiers have died since January.

    "Pakistan Army along the border has been supporting infiltration by terrorists," said Vice Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Sarath Chand.

    The shelling has stopped for now and the forces are keeping a close watch. Over 80 schools in the district are closed and people have been told to stay indoors.

    The Army said that Pakistan troops fired five or six anti-tank guided missiles indiscriminately in the area. The incident took place at an altitude of 3,000 feet in a densely forested part of the LoC in Bhimber Galli in the Rajouri district.


    It was the second time in three days that the Pakistani Army targeted Poonch. They had attacked military and civilian facilities in nearly a dozen areas of the Balakote sector last week.

Airfares To Jump As A Result Of Rising Oil Price: Airline Executives
  • The rise in the oil price is putting the squeeze on airline costs and is likely to lead to a rise in air fares, industry executives said on Monday.

    The oil price, which typically accounts for around 30 percent of an airline's costs, has risen 52 percent since June 2017 to around $68 a barrel.

    International Air Transport Association CEO Alexandre de Juniac said he believed there was a consensus among airlines that an oil price of around $65 to $70 remained "acceptable".

    "It is not so much a competitive differentiator for an airline," he told reporters on the sidelines of a conference ahead of the Singapore Airshow. "It puts pressure on costs and it is more a fare inflation trigger."

    However, airlines said the higher oil price was proving financially damaging because fare increases had so far failed to keep pace with the oil price rise.

    "Last year, we estimated that our fuel costs rose 20 percent compared to 2016 which had a impact on our profit," said Li Zongling, the president of China's Okay Airways. He estimated that earnings fell by around 5 percent due to the higher oil price.

    Vietnam Airlines JSC , which is also unhedged, said fuel surcharges were now being applied in a move that would push up fares but could gradually lead to lower demand from passengers.

    "Especially for passengers travelling for tourist purposes when they see it (fares) past a certain level they say no," Vietnam Airlines CEO Duong Tri Thanh said.

    The carrier had budgeted for an average jet fuel price of $75 a barrel this year but it has already gone past $80, he said. Jet fuel is more expensive than a standard barrel of oil due to refining costs.

    Other airlines in the Asia Pacific region have put in place hedging programmes to help insulate the financial impact of an oil price rise.

    Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd , which hedges a substantial amount of its fuel requirements, expects its fuel bill will rise by A$200 million ($158.82 million) this year.

    The airline, however, has forecast it will report record-level first-half earnings of up to A$950 million as it adds more fuel-efficient jets and cuts costs elsewhere in its business.

    "Despite fuel prices being higher than last year, we are digesting fuel very well at the moment," Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.

    Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair said earlier that it expects higher oil prices to push up short-haulairfares in Europe, but not until 2019.

"Nobody Knows Repackaging Better Than BJP Government": Ghulam Nabi Azad
  • Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad today accused the BJP-led government of repackaging schemes started by the UPA government and passing them off as its own. Speaking in Rajya Sabha, Mr Azad named several schemes, including the government's flagship "Beti Bachao Beti Padhao" initiative which, he said were instances of repackaging.

    "In politics, there is a need for at least some honesty... Nobody knows repackaging better than the BJP government," Mr Azad said.

    The Congress has repeatedly claimed that the BJP-led government has been on a repackaging binge. Last year, its senior leader Shashi Tharoor had claimed that the government has renamed 19 of the 23 schemes launched by the Congress government. Presenting a list, Mr Tharoor had tweeted: "Why we in @INCIndia insist this is a name-changing government, not a game-changing one!"

    Today, Mr Azad cited some of the better known examples, saying the National Child Programme, started by the UPA government in 2008, had been relaunched as the Beti Bachaao programme.

    Moreover, Mr Azad said, the scheme for the girl child has not been given the financial support it needs.

    From 161 districts of the country, the scheme is now operating across 600 districts. But the corresponding budget allocation has not kept pace. From the earlier Rs. 200 crore, it should have gone up to Rs. 800 crore to meet the present commitments. Instead, only Rs. 80 crore has been allocated to the scheme in the budget, said Mr Azad.

    Besides, the Jan Awshadi Scheme has become the Prime Minister's Jan Awshadi Scheme, Mr Azad said. He also accused the government of said when the UPA government was in power, 24 crore bank accounts were opened, but since the BJP came to power, only 7 crore accounts were opened, Mr Azad further said.

    On the fourth day of the ongoing budget session, the government came under attack in the upper house. While Lok Sabha was adjourned following tributes to BJP lawmaker Hukum Singh, who died last week, Rajya Sabha witnessed protests by the Samajwadi Party and AAP and had to be adjourned for a while.

    The opposition has decided to corner the government on various issues in the budget session, including unemployment, economic situation, undermining of Constitutional institutions and violence against caste and communities.  Last week, the leaders of 17 opposition parties - including the CPM, which voted to rule out siding with the Congress - met Sonia Gandhi in Delhi to talk strategy for the budget session.

In Debut Parliament Speech, Amit Shah's Sharp Rebuttal To Pakoda Jibes
  • BJP chief Amit Shah ripped into the Congress for its criticism of the government's economic policies as he made his debut speech in parliament today. As the first speaker in a discussion in the Rajya Sabha, Mr Shah spoke for over an hour, telling those from the opposition who interrupted his speech, "well, you will have to listen to me for the next six years."

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in the Rajya Sabha and sat next to Mr Shah as the BJP chief listed at length the government's achievements and what he called its "historic work" in its almost four years in power, contrasting that with the Congress's governments, which he said had suffered from "acute policy paralysis." Mr Shah, who was elected to the Rajya Sabha a few months ago, was initiating the discussion in the house on the motion of thanks on the President's address to parliament.

    The BJP chief attacked the Congress over its chief Rahul Gandhi's mockery of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as the "Gabbar Singh Tax" and also former finance minister P Chidambaram's recent comment on jobs. "Chidambaram compared pakoda-selling with begging. Those selling pakodas are self-employed. Can you compare them with beggars?" he said, pointing out that a "chaiwala's (tea-seller's) son has become the Prime Minister today."

    While campaigning for the Gujarat assembly polls, Rahul Gandhi had borrowed from the BJP's toolkit by expanding GST, the acronym for the national sales tax, into "Gabbar Singh Tax", christening it after one of India's biggest fictional villains. (File)

    Mr Chidambaram had made a dig at PM Modi, who said in a TV interview that a person selling pakodas is employed, rejecting criticism that his government has failed to create jobs.

    "Yes, there is unemployment problem in this country. I am not denying it. But if there is employment even after you (Congress) have ruled the country for 55 years, then I want to ask who is responsible for it? We have been working for only six years, seven years, eight years, we got an opportunity to run this country for eight years. Such a scary problem (unemployment) didn't happen in just eight years," said Mr Shah.

    On Rahul Gandhi dubbing GST as the "Gabbar Singh Tax," Amit Shah said, "Is this (GST) dacoity? How much do those who have named this as Gabbar Singh Tax understand," and also asserting, "GST is the biggest reform and it was possible under the strong leadership of PM Narendra Modi."

    He appealed to all parties to assist the government in making the implementation of the new national tax a success, stating, "there are lots of other places to do politics."

Business Affairs

How LTCG tax affects mutual fund investors
  • Given that Dalal Street has been bleeding ever since Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced long-term capital gains (LTCG) tax in his Budget speech four days ago, you'd expect investors to turn their backs on shares and equity-oriented mutual funds. The ongoing sell-off in equity markets - benchmark stock indices Sensex and Nifty today dropped up to 1.6 per cent in morning trade, continuing their decline for a third session on heavy profit booking by investors-only lends credence to that thought, right?

    Wrong. To begin with, as Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia pointed out in a post-budget meet organised by CII today, the MSCI ACWI (All Country World Index) of equity markets went down by 3.4% in the past week and that was bound to have a ripple effect on Indian stock market. "It is not LTCG tax effect... Why should anybody do a distressed sell now? Because we have grandfathered, there is no hurry to sell," he added.

    He is talking about the clause that Jaitley mentioned when reintroducing the LTCG tax on equity investments at 10% on profits in excess of Rs 1 lakh, if the assets are held for a minimum period of twelve months from the date of acquisition and if the Securities Transaction Tax (STT) is paid at the time of transfer. The grandfathered clause basically means that any gains from shares or equity mutual funds made till January 31, 2018 will be exempt from the proposed tax.

    Moreover, as Pravin Rawal, Director of the Central Board of Direct Taxes, pointed out in his recently-released FAQ, the proposed tax will be levied only upon transfer of the long-term capital asset on or after April 1, 2018. In other words, if you sell all your shares or equity mutual fund units held for over a year on or before the last day of this fiscal, you can still claim tax exemption on long-term capital gains.

    This explains why Rajat Jain, chief investment officer, Principal PNB AMC, is so confident that while LTCG tax will have a short-term sentimental impact, investors will adjust to this new tax regime "keeping in mind that equity investments have yielded good returns over the long-term". Also, as Adhia significantly pointed out today, the 10 per cent tax on LTCG is a "subsidised rate" as such gains on sale of unlisted scrips and immovable property are taxed at 20 per cent.

    So how does one calculate long-term capital gains?

    You just need to deduct the cost of acquisition from the full value of consideration on transfer of the long-term capital asset-or the selling price in layman's lingo. It is important to note that the benefit of inflation indexation of the cost of acquisition won't be available for computing long-term capital gains under the new tax regime.

    The cost of acquisition will generally be the actual cost i.e. buying price of the asset. However, if the actual cost is less than its fair market value-the highest price of such share or unit quoted on a recognized stock exchange-as on January 31, 2018, the latter will be deemed to be the cost of acquisition. Further, if the full value of consideration on transfer is less than the fair market value, then such full value of consideration or the actual cost, whichever is higher, will be deemed to be the cost of acquisition. To illustrate this point, the CBDT has helpfully drawn up multiple scenarios:

    Scenario 1: Let's say an equity share is acquired on January 1, 2017 at Rs 100. Its fair market value is Rs 200 on January 31, 2018 and it is sold on April 1, 2018 at Rs 250. As the actual cost of acquisition is less than the fair market value, the latter (Rs 200) will be taken as the cost of acquisition and the long-term capital gain will be Rs 50 [selling price minus cost of acquisition].

    Scenario 2: If an equity share is acquired on January 1, 2017 at Rs 100 and its fair market value is Rs 200 on January 31, 2018 but it is sold on April 1, 2018 at Rs 150. In this case, the fair market value is not only higher than the actual cost of acquisition but it is also higher than the sale value. Accordingly the sale value of Rs 150 will be taken as the cost of acquisition, too, and the long-term capital gain will be NIL (Rs 150 minus Rs 150).

    Scenario 3: Assume an equity share is acquired on January 1, 2017 at Rs 100 but its fair market value is lower at Rs 50 on January 31, 2018 and it is then sold on April 1, 2018 at Rs 150. In this case, since the actual cost of acquisition is higher than the fair market value, this will be the value used for calculating long-term capital gains. Hence, the taxable amount in this example is Rs 50 [selling price minus cost of acquisition].

    The bottomline is that while the proposed LTCG tax in addition to the securities transaction tax (STT) is a double whammy for investors-especially since the STT was introduced back in 2004-05 in lieu of the LTCG-it does not entirely take the shine off markets. Currently no other investment option promises higher returns than equity.

    Of course, Jaitley's move could see people rushing into Ulips to avoid the tax. "We believe against the given backdrop, life insurance products, particularly Ulips (unit-linked insurance plans) could appear relatively attractive from a medium- to long-term perspective," said Morgan Stanley. The investment bank's weekend note explained that taxation of insurance products is governed by Section 10d (of Income Tax Act), where the income is tax-free in the hand of the investor at the time of withdrawal, adding that "We await the Budget fine-print for further clarity, but if the above details are accurate, it should benefit private players like ICICI Prudential Life and HDFC Life".

    But before you join the herd, keep in mind that Value Research, the most widely used source for opinion and data on Indian mutual funds, gives them a big thumbs down saying "Neither do they provide adequate insurance, nor a good investment solution".

Tata Motors posts over 11-fold rise in Q3 net profit at Rs 1,215 crore
  • Tata Motors on Monday posted over 11-fold increase in quarterly profit on the back of brisk sales recorded by its Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) business. The auto major reported net profit of Rs 1,215 crore for the December quarter.

    The company had reported loss of Rs 1,052.13 crore in the year-ago period and a net loss of Rs 295.30 crore in September quarter, the company said in an exchange filing.

    Group revenue rose 16.1 per cent to Rs 74,156 crore in the reporting quarter, the company said in an exchange filing.

    N Chandrasekaran, Chairman Tata Group said, "We have delivered a satisfying quarter of profitable growth. Jaguar Land Rover, despite tough market conditions continued its volume growth trajectory with strong response to its new product range. In a market that is facing significant disruptions, Jaguar Land Rover will invest for growth while continuing its journey of sustainable profitable growth."

    "In the domestic business, the 'Turnaround Strategy' is delivering results. Our focus on market share gain coupled with operational improvements is working well, with both commercial and passenger vehicles business delivering improved results," Chandrasekaran said.

    On a standalone basis, Tata Motors India returned to the black with a net profit of Rs 183.65 crore on a revenue of Rs 16,102 crore, up 59 per cent.

    Its cash-cow the British marquee JLR numbers printed lower with a pretax profit of 192 million pounds, down from 255 million pounds a year ago, which had included an USD 85 million insurance recovery.

    JLR revenue jumped 4.3 per cent to 6.3 billion pounds. Retail sales rose 3.5 per cent to 154,447 units year-on-year.

    "JLR profitability was impacted by the run-out of the 17 model year Range Rover and Range Rover Sport and higher depreciation and amortisation resulting from continued investment to drive profitable growth," the company said.

    JLR operating profit margin expansion of 160 basis points at 10.9 per cent.

    On a standalone basis, Tata Motors' passenger and commercial vehicle business grew strongly. Revenue grew by 57.8 per cent year-on-year to Rs 16,101.6 crore, driven by strong volume growth.

    Standalone volume rose 29 per cent from 1,32,000 units, with commercial vehicle volumes showing an increase of 34.4 per cent and passenger vehicles 17.5 per cent.

    Tata Motors shares rose over 3.12 per cent at Rs 396.05 on the BSE against a m 0.88 per cent correction in the benchmark at 34,757.16 points.

Bitcoin 'biggest bubble in human history', says economist who predicted 2008 global meltdown
  • American economist Nouriel Roubini has called Bitcoin the 'biggest bubble in human history'. Roubini said this in an interview to Bloomberg where he was asked to describe the Bitcoin crisis. Roubini, who teaches at New York University's Stern School of Business, is known for predicting the 2008 US housing bubble. After touching a record high of $19,000 in December 2017, Bitcoin has crashed to $8000 this week amid fear of global regulatory clampdown.

    Explaining the recent Bitcoin crisis, Roubini said: "This (Bitcoin) is mother of all bubbles and it is also the biggest bubble in human history if you compare it to Mississippi bubble, tech bubble, and Tulip mania." Bitcoin has crashed over 60 per cent compared to the peak of mid-December. It crashed 30 per cent last week and 10 per cent today (Saturday). It is on the way down to zero. The fundamental value of Bitocoin is zero," Roubini said.  

    In a tweet put out on Sunday, Roubini hinted at the manipulation in Bitcoin's value by traders.  He said: "Bitcoin price heading south over the weekend towards a $7K handle (now down over 10% in last 24 hours to $8.2K). Will the wash traders react on Monday as they did on Friday and manipulate again the price upwards?" Roubini isn't the only economist to call Bitcoin a bubble.

    A series of top economists and business investors including Warren Buffett have already termed it a bubble. Last year in October, Buffett said that Bitcoin was a 'real bubble'. "You can't value bitcoin because it's not a value-producing asset. It's a mirage basically," he reportedly said. His statement had come at a time when the cryptocurrency had started gaining momentum.  This year in January, Buffett again said that it was certain cryptocurrencies would come to a bad end.

    A day after Roubini's biggest bubble statement,  Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman called Bitcoin enthusiasts crazy. In a tweet, he said: "I am surely not the only person experiencing a fair bit of cryptofreude - pleasure in watching the Bitcoin etc bubble deflate. Bitcoin cultists tend, after all, to be nasty as well as crazy; not all of them, but surely above the average 1." He also said that "We're now in the late stage of a bubble, where things get cruel."

    Meanwhile, Reuters today reported that Lloyds Banking Group has said that it would soon ban its credit card customers from buying Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.  "Across Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, Halifax and MBNA, we do not accept credit card transactions involving the purchase of cryptocurrencies," a company spokeswoman told Reuters.

    In India, the government and the Central bank have issued multiple warnings against the cryptocurrencies. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech on February 1 reiterated that, "The government does not consider crypto-currencies legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate use of these crypto-assets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system."

Govt to bar cryptocurrencies from payments system: finance ministry official
  • India is planning steps to ensure cryptocurrencies are illegal within its payments system, while at the same time appointing a regulator to oversee unregulated exchanges that trade in "crypto assets," a finance ministry official said on Monday.

    A panel set by the government to look into issues relating to cryptocurrencies is expected to submit its report in the current fiscal year, ending on March 31, S.C. Garg, Economic Affairs Secretary, told CNBC TV18 news channel.

    "The government will take steps to make it illegal as a payment system," he said at a post-budget event telecast by the news channel, adding the trading of "crypto assets" at the unregulated exchanges would be regulated.

    "We hope now within this financial year the committee will finalize its recommendations ... certainly there will be a regulator," Garg, who is heading the panel, said.

    The government does not consider cryptocurrencies legal tender and will take all measures to eliminate use of crypto assets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of payment system, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told parliament while presenting his annual budget last week.

    The Indian government has issued repeated warnings against digital currency investments, saying these were like "Ponzi schemes" that offer unusually high returns to early investors.

    But it has not so far imposed curbs on an industry estimated to be adding 200,000 users in India every month.

    Ajeet Khurana, president of Block Chain and Cryptocurrency Committee, an industry body, said the decision to regulate crypto exchanges was good news.

    Nishith Desai, head at Zebpay, India's largest bitcoin exchange, said the exchanges would cooperate with the government in framing the regulations.

Sensex closes 309 points lower on LTCG effect amid lower Asian markets
  • The Sensex and Nifty came under selling pressure on Monday as Dalal Street gauged the impact of LTCG tax on equities amid lower Asian markets.

    Sentiment was dampened with traders and investors continuing their panic selling as the Sensex fell 546 points intra day to 34,520 level in early trade. But value buying in stocks led the recovery in markets which helped limit losses.

    While the Sensex closed 309 points lower at 34,757, the Nifty fell 94 points to 10,666 level.

    1,084 stocks closed higher compared with 1,687 stocks falling on BSE. 205 stocks were unchanged.

    "Markets were trading at rich valuations for the last couple of months and thus have corrected post Budget. Market correction is likely to reduce the excesses that were happening where risk aversion was difficult to find," said Arun Thukral, MD & CEO, Axis Securities.

    HDFC (4.06%), L&T (3.65%) and Kotak Bank (2.66%) were the top Sensex losers.

    Among 19 sectoral indices, BSE bankex (333 points) and capital goods (528 points) were the top losers.

    "Disappointments include budget provisions and lack of buying on small- and mid-caps, even at lower levels. Expect RBI to maintain the rates and its cautious tone during the policy meet this week," said Deepak Jasani, head of retail research at HDFC Securities.

    Sensex fell 839 points on Friday a day after FM Arun Jaitley reintroduced Long Term Capital Gains (LTCG) tax for equity transactions in Union Budget 2018-19. Traders and investors unwinded long positions in equities ahead of the April 1, 2018 cut off date when LTCG tax of 10% on equities will be charged. The upward revision to the fiscal deficit target to 3.3 percent from 3 percent for 2018-2019 also dampened sentiment on February 2.

    The indices extended losses on Monday on the impact of tax on the investments of traders and investors.

    "Investors were disappointed with LTCG coming in over and above STT. However, Budget is aimed at spurring demand from rural India and masses going forward to take care of India growth story. Execution and implementation will be the key ahead," said Anita Gandhi, Whole Time Director, Arihant Capital Markets.

    On the other hand, Bharti Airtel was the top Sensex gainer rising 4.20% or 17 points at 439.50 after the firm said Singapore-based telecom operator Singapore Telecommunications Limited or Singtel will invest Rs 2,649 crore in the company, increasing its stake in the Bharti Airtel promoter to 48.9 per cent. The investment comes at a time when telecom sector has witnessed an unprecedented consolidation following the tariff war after the entry of Reliance Jio.

    Global stocks

    Asian shares were mostly lower Monday, extending global stock losses after Wall Street's big sell off on deepening investor anxiety over rising bond yields and disappointing quarterly earnings.

    Asian markets closed lower with  Hang Seng falling 1.09% or 356 points, Nikkei down 2.55% or 592 points and Taiwan T Sec 50 Index losing 1.62% or 179 points.

    Shanghai SE composite index was the only exception, rising 0.73% or 25.42  points to 3,487.50 level.

    Market jitters spread after the US stock market had its worst day in two years on Friday, fueled by worries about inflation and rising Treasury yields. After an impressive 2017, US and many global stock markets had a strong start to the year, raising concerns they were overdue for a correction.

    The S&P 500 fell 2.1 percent to close at 2,762.13 on Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 2.5 percent to 25,520.96 and the Nasdaq slid 2 percent to 7,240.95.

General Awareness

Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
Pelican festival

  • Context: ‘Pelican Bird Festival-2018’ was recently organized at Kolleru lake. It was jointly organised by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Authority (APTA) and Krishna district administration.

    Background:

    Thousands of pelicans, painted storks and other birds will visit the lake during winter season, roost, breed and fly with their off springs. Recently, officials identified that Atapaka is one of the largest pelicanry in the world.

    About Kolleru lake:

    Kolleru lake is one of the largest fresh water lakes in the country. It is located between Krishna and Godavari delta. It was declared as a wildlife sanctury in 1999. It is a Ramsar site and is also listed as an Important Bird Area.

    The lake is known to amateur birdwatchers and professional ornithologists as a Pelicanery — a location were the Grey Pelicans, a large magnificent bird, nest and breed. Grey pelicans had vanished from the lake in 1973 for nearly 35 years and returned to it to nest again in December 2006.

    Facts for Prelims:

    The Grey Pelican also called the Spot Billed Pelican is listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act and in the Red Data Book. It is also considered a “globally threatened species” under the “vulnerable” category.

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