Current Affairs Current Affairs - 29 April 2018 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 29 April 2018

General Affairs 

PM Modi-Xi's 'chai pe charcha' on Wuhan lake
  • After resuming the Day 2 of their 'informal talks' with a walk along the East Lake here today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping enjoyed a boat ride.

    On the second and last day of the informal summit, the two leaders were seen riding on a house boat and chatting over tea - a 'chai pe charcha' moment.

    The East Lake, a large freshwater lake in Wuhan city, is the largest urban lake in China. It is one of the most popular tourist sites in the country, with over a million visiting the lake annually.

    This will be followed by a private lunch hosted by the Chinese President in honour of Prime Minister Modi.

    Prime Minister Modi is on a two-day visit to China to participate in an unprecedented 'informal' summit with President Xi, which is expected to reset the bilateral ties between the two Asian giants, which took a hit post the two-month-long Doklam standoff last year.

India, China likely to go for joint economic project with Afghanistan: Sources
  • In what can be considered a big jolt for Pakistan, India and China are likely to go in for a joint economic project with Afghanistan.

    According to sources, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to work together on an economic project in Afghanistan to show that both nations can also cooperate and unite together in a third country should the need arise.

    It is now well known that New Delhi and Beijing are keen to put the developments that took place in 2017 behind them and seek common ground wherever possible.

    Prior to the Wuhan summit, Beijing had invited Indian officials who deal with Afghanistan and had reportedly proposed both sides getting involved in a joint development project.

    This development suggests that China is unwilling to have its options cramped by Pakistan's reservations about India's role in Afghanistan.

    Several web site-related reports have said that both India and China have their respective reasons for forging a broad-based regional approach towards stabilizing Afghanistan.

    India has pledged over USD two billion on a wide array of reconstruction projects that range from building roads and dams to constructing the building of the Afghan parliament and a slew of grassroots projects.

    New Delhi has significant economic and strategic involvement in Afghanistan. From an economic perspective, India sees Afghanistan as a bridge to Central Asia and a potential hub of regional prosperity. From a strategic an security perspective, Kabul is important for India to help neutralize the impact of terrorist networks, suspected to be supported by Pakistan, and operating from there as well as Afghanistan.

    China is also keen to quell the dominance of the Taliban-allied militant networks. India has been advocating a regional approach and the continued international assistance as it fears a Taliban takeover will lead to the installation of a hostile regime in Kabul which will be remote-controlled by Pakistan's ISI-military establishment. This regional approach is now finding more support.

    Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping are due to conclude their unprecedented informal summit in a short while from now; seen as an effort on the part of India and China to rebuild trust and improve bilateral ties that were hit by last year's Dokalam standoff.

    Briefing the media on the Wuhan summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said "India and China have agreed on specific guidance to implement confidence building and better understanding."

    Both leaders also talked about the importance of a balanced and sustainable trade ties between India, China. They discussed at length over how to promote culture and greater people-to-people connect between two nations.

    Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi walked together along the banks of the picturesque East Lake and followed it up with a boat ride.

    This two day "informal summit" between India and China focused on terrorism, climate change and developing a mutually beneficial relationship between both countries.

President Xi fond of Indian films: Gokhale
  • Foreign Secretary Vijay K. Gokhale on Saturday said that Chinese President Xi Jinping is fond of Indian films and has seen a number of Indian films, including Bollywood and regional.

    The foreign secretary further said that in a bid to cooperate in promoting Indian films in China, more Indian films should come to China and vice-versa.

    Briefing media here, Gokhale said, "The proposals forwarded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi included moving ahead to find ways to collaborate in terms of entertainment including films. It would be a good idea to expand this. More Indian films should come to China and vice-versa."

    Terming India and China as engines of economic growth, he added, "Both countries are focussing on the importance of building an open, multipolar, pluralist and a participatory global economic order. The development of India and China can contribute to the elimination of poverty and inequality."

    The two sides also agreed to expand their cooperation in global healthcare, disaster risks and reduction and mitigation and ushering in digital empowerment.

    On the informal summit, Gokhale said, "This is a new way of communication that the leaders are trying. President Xi hasn't hosted any foreign leader outside capital Beijing. The two leaders said the informal meeting was candid and helped in boosting strategic ties."

    Both leaders also talked about the importance of balanced and sustainable trade ties between India and China. They discussed at length over how to promote culture and greater people-to-people connect between two nations.

Vande Mataram row: Rahul's mind is too power-centric, says Smriti Irani
  • Commenting on Congress President Rahul Gandhi's alleged disrespect towards the National song, Vande Mataram, Union Minister Smriti Irani, on Saturday, said that his mind is too power-centric.

    "His mind is too power-centric, perhaps his understanding on the glorious history of the nation and service towards the nation is a little poor, that is why he was seen disrespecting Vande Mataram," Irani said.

    "Someone who does not understand our martyr's sacrifices, who is unaware of the history of Rani Chenamma, how can we expect from someone like that to take mere two minutes out of his busy schedule to pay homage to the motherland," she added.

    Earlier, Irani also attended the Karunad Mahila Jagruti Samvaad, in Karnataka's Belgaum, where she said that Karnataka was heading towards change that would contribute towards a new India, where there was no place for North-South divide and caste divisions so people like Congressmen could not benefit from it politically.

2655 candidates to contest Karnataka polls
  • Karnataka goes to polls in about a fortnight and will see 2655 candidates, including 219 women in the poll fray for securing one of the 224 seats up for grabs after the final withdrawal of nominations.

    Polling takes place on May 12 and results will be declared on May 15.

    Data provided by the Chief Electoral Office in Karnataka has indicated that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will contest all 224 seats, while the Congress will contest 222 seats. The H.D. Devegowda-led Janata Dal-Secular will contest 201 seats.

    Mulbagal constituency in Kolar district will field the highest number of 39 candidates, while Challakere in Chitradurga district will field the least at four.

    A comparative study between the elections being held on May 12 and the one held in 2013 makes for an interesting read.

    According to the data provided, in 2013 3693 candidates filed their nominations for contesting the polls. This year, 3509 have filed their nominations. That is 183 less than 2013. In terms of withdrawals and or rejections, in 2013, 744 candidates' nominations were withdrawn or rejected, while in 2018, 854 nominations have been withdrawn or rejected. That shows that 110 more withdrawals and or rejections have taken place before the 2018 polls.

    In 2018, 2436 males will be contesting the elections as compared to 2788 in 2013, a difference of 352 less. This year, 219 women are in the poll fray as opposed to 170 in 2013, a difference of 49.

    In 2013, 2948 in total entered the electoral fray as compared to 2655 in 2018, a difference of283 less.

    There are 800 registered candidates from unrecognized political parties contesting the polls this year, compared to 832 in 2013, a difference of 32.

    In 2018, 1155 independent candidates are contesting the state polls as compared to 1223 in 2013, that is, 68 less.

Business Affairs

AAI inks performance MoU with Civil Aviation Ministry
  • The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has signed its Annual Performance Contract (APC) for the year 2018-19 with Ministry of Civil Aviation.

    The MoU was signed on April 27 between Secretary (Civil Aviation) R.N. Choubey and Dr. Guruprasad Mohapatra, Chairman, AAI.

    On this occasion, senior officials from the Ministry and Board Members of AAI were also present.

    The MoU specifies various parameters and targets to be performed by AAI during the year. The parameters and targets include all the major areas of AAI i.e. finance, capacity utilization, research and development, project implementation, HR and cargo etc.

    The AAI has undertaken an ambitious target of Rs. 4,100 crores towards capital expenditure on airport infrastructure development during 2018-19.

    The AAI has also signed target to utilize 94% of its total passenger capacity at its airports. Also, to improve the quality of services, AAI has undertaken to carry out Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Survey at its top 20 airports by an International agency i.e. Airports Council International. AAI has also agreed to carry out HR audit at its airports in order to strengthen its Human Resource.

Koinex launches crypto-to-crypto trading
  • Koinex, a digital assets exchange, commenced crypto-crypto trading at zero cost on their web and mobile platforms with the launch of 15 pairs of tokens which will be available for trading right from the start.

    "Our platform is built with the agility and technical brilliance to adapt to any market requirement. We were deliberating on the possible new offerings on Koinex and many of our traders expressed interest for a crypto-to-crypto trading corridor. Our thoughts matched and we expedited the platform integration and today are set to offer our entire crypto-pair bouquet for seamless trading, and many more such surprises are in the pipeline to enthrall our users," said Rahul Raj, Co-Founder, and CEO of Koinex.

    Among the 15 pairs of tokens launched, the tokens available in the Bitcoin market will be Ethereum (ETH/BTC), Litecoin (LTC/BTC), TRON (TRX/BTC), Ripple (XRP/BTC), OmiseGo (OMG/BTC), Bitcoin cash (BCH/BTC), EOS (EOS/BTC), Nucleus Vision (NCASH/BTC), and Request (REQ/BTC). While the tokens available in the Ethereum market will be TRON (TRX/ETH), Ripple (XRP/ETH), OmiseGo (OMG/ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH/ETH), EOS (EOS/ETH), and Nucleus Vision (NCASH/ETH).

    The crypto-market has been in disarray since the start of the year due to the ambiguous stand on crypto-assets by the regulators and things further took a downward spiral with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) directive reprimanding banks from partnering with crypto-entities. In these uncertain times, it is imperative for exchanges to utilise the current timeframe to meticulously strategise their way forward in the domestic market.

Reliance registers 17.3% hike in quarterly net profit
  • Reliance Industries announced record net profit for the fourth quarter, clocked at Rs. 9,435 crores, primarily backed by favourable outcomes in the refining and petrochemical business.

    The company, who announced results of the fourth quarter and fiscal, reported a 17.3 percent hike in profit from last year's figure of Rs 8,046 crore, primarily backed by an increase in the start-up of petrochemicals projects and realisations for refining and petrochemical products.

    Apart from that, the conglomerate reported a 21.8 percent increase in revenue to Rs. 90,894 crore, while exports rose 32.5 percent to Rs. 51,295 crore in the fourth quarter of the fiscal ended March 31, 2018, backed by higher volumes and product prices in the refining and petrochemical business.

    Furthermore, Reliance-owned Network18 Media and Investments Limited reported consolidated revenue of Rs. 825 crores as against Rs. 388 crores in the corresponding period of the previous year, led by the impact of subsidiary TV18 acquiring control of entertainment JV Viacom18, partly offset by HomeShop18 ceasing to be a subsidiary due to its share-swap acquisition of ShopCJ during the quarter.

    "FY 2017-18 was a landmark year for Reliance, where we established several records on both operating and financial parameters. Reliance has become the first Indian company to record PBDIT of over USD 10 billion with each of our key businesses - refining, petrochemicals, retail and digital services achieving record earnings performance. Substantial synergies, productivity gains and production growth in our energy and materials business have allowed us to perform at very competitive levels despite the uptrend in oil prices through the year," said Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director, Mukesh Ambani.

    Meanwhile, the company's telecom network, Jio, reported a net profit of Rs. 723 crore, backed by sustained growth in subscriber base to 186.6 million and strong customer traction on digital offerings.

    Furthermore, the standalone revenue from operations for Jio was Rs. 7,128 crore, thus seeing a 3.6 percent quarterly hike, and standalone net profit of Rs. 510 crore.

    The company revealed that total wireless data traffic during the quarter was 506 crore GB, while total voice traffic during the quarter was 37,218 crore minutes.

Paytm introduces 'Tap Card' offline payments solution
  • One97 Communications Limited, the owner of digital payment major, Paytm, announced the launch of its offline payments solution - the Paytm Tap Card, in line with the company's vision to provide seamless payments solutions for non-internet customers.

    This card uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to enable safe and convenient digital payments, completely offline at Paytm-issued, NFC PoS terminals, in under a second. To make payments, users can add money from their Paytm account by scanning the QR code on the Tap Card and by authenticating it at any of the add value machines (AVM).

    Paytm Tap Card is a solution that also addresses any network-related concerns at the consumers' or merchants' end. In the endeavour to ease out payments, Paytm is partnering with events, educational institutes and corporates in the first phase to enable quick digital payments using this card. The customer has to simply tap the card at a merchant terminal to pay, offering them a mode of payment through Paytm even while they are not carrying their phones.

    "We are aggressively pushing digital payments to users from every walk of life. There are a large number of people who at times do not have access to the Internet or they have a limited daily budget so they shy away from using online payments. For them, we offer the Paytm Tap Card to enable seamless offline payments. For ensuring a wider acceptance, we are also reaching out to the merchants and are actively enabling them with NFC PoS terminals to accept payments without Tap Card. This is a true testimony of our commitment to understanding the needs of our users and creating innovative solutions around it," said Kiran Vasireddy, COO of Paytm.

IndiGrid Q4FY18 revenue up 16.8 pct to 1,480 Million
  • IndiGrid, India's first power sector InvIT, announced its results for the quarter and first year ended 31 March 2018.

    - Q4FY18 revenue stood at Rs 1,480 million, an increase in 16.8 percent compared to Q3FY18

    - Q4FY18 EBITDA stood at Rs 1,326 million, an increase in 13 percent compared to Q3FY18

    - Consolidated revenue stood at Rs 4,476 million with EBITDA at Rs 4,155 million for FY18

    - IndiGrid announces distribution of Rs 3.00 per unit in Q4 FY18

    - FY19 distribution guidance increased to Rs 12.00 per unit.

    - Completed first set of three acquisitions ahead of schedule and signed India's first third party acquisition of transmission asset

    Commenting on the first year financial results, Pratik Agarwal, Chief Executive Officer, IndiGrid, said, "We have delivered yet another strong quarterly performance and beaten our distribution guidance. Simultaneously, we have grown our portfolio significantly and demonstrated our ability to achieve the targeted 12 percent portfolio IRR in the near term. In line with its growth strategy, IndiGrid is already considering the next set of asset acquisitions from both the sponsor and third parties. The projected growth in electricity demand over the next decade will require massive power transmission infrastructure which bodes very well for IndiGrid".

    The Board of Sterlite Investment Managers Limited acting as the Investment Manager of IndiGrid approved a distribution of Rs 3.00 per unit for Q4 FY18 payable entirely as interest to unit holders.

    For the 10 months of FY18, this has resulted in total distribution of Rs 9.56 per unit beating the guidance of Rs 9.20 per unit, leading to a total distribution of Rs 2,702 million to its unit holders in the first year of operations.

    The growth in India's electricity demand along with the growth in renewable capacity to 275 GW by 2027 will require significant investment in transmission lines for evacuation of power.

    The opening up of the intra-state transmission network to tariff based competitive bidding will further add to heightened activity in this sector.

    With IndiGrid's focus on owning power transmission assets and the track record of Sterlite Power Grid Ventures Limited ("Sponsor"), it is well positioned to pursue this huge opportunity.

    General Awareness

    Defence Acquisition Council (DAC)
    • Context: In a boost to indigenisation and in realisation of India’s growing technological prowess, the DAC has approved procurement of Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO’s) designed and developed NAG Missile System (NAMIS) at the cost of Rs 524 crore.

      About NAG missile and the system:

      The NAG missile is a third generation anti-tank guided missile, which has top attack capabilities that can effectively engage and destroy all known enemy tanks during day and night.
      The system includes a third generation Anti-Tank Guided Missile, the NAG, along with the Missile Carrier Vehicle (NAMICA).

      Defence Acquisition Council (DAC):

      What is it? To counter corruption and speed up decision- making in military procurement, the government of India in 2001 decided to set up an integrated DAC. It is headed by the Defence Minister.

      Objective: The objective of the DAC is to ensure expeditious procurement of the approved requirements of the Armed Forces, in terms of capabilities sought, and time frame prescribed, by optimally utilizing the allocated budgetary resources.

      Functions: The DAC is responsible to give policy guidelines to acquisitions, based on long-term procurement plans. It also clears all acquisitions, which includes both imported and those produced indigenously or under a foreign license.

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