Weekly Current Affairs: 22nd to 29th April 2019

Weekly Current Affairs: 22nd to 29th April 2019

National News:

  • To educate a generation of students on the "usefulness" of Genomics, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has been undertaken an indigenous genetic mapping effort.
    • Under the Project, nearly 1,000 rural youth from the length and breadth of India will have their genomes sequenced by the CSIR.
    • Genome sequencing refers to figuring out the order of the DNA nucleotides, or bases, in a genome.
  • The Haj quota for India has been Increased from one lakh seventy five-thousand to Two Lakh. This Order is issued by Saudi Arabia.
    • The GST on Haj pilgrimage has been reduced from 18 per cent to 5 per cent this year, which will ensure that about Rs 113 crore will be saved by pilgrims during the 2019 Haj.
  • Election Commission of India has launched a mobile app named “Voter Turnout” for the voters to see the realtime availability of voter turnout during the election season in the country.
  • NITI Aayog has agreed to the proposal of the Dental Council of India which had sought to allow dentists to practice as general physicians after a bridge course.
    • A bridge course of 3 years post Bachelor of Dental Science (BDS).
    • The admission would be either through a common entrance exam or through cumulative marks secured in the BDS course, or even a combination.
    • The syllabus curriculum, scheme of examination, method of evaluation, degrees and registration all these criteria will be the same as recommended for MBBS.

International News

  • The Mountain Agung in the Indonesia has erupted again, spewing volcanic ash into the sky to a height of 2km.
  • In Guizhou of China, a union of five tea-growing and consuming countries Asian Tea Alliance was Launched.
  • The ban on import of Milk and milk products from China is extended by Government. 
    • The ban was first imposed in September 2008 and extended subsequently from time to time due to the Melamine a toxic Chemical used for making plastics and fertilisers.
  • A special commemorative stamp is released by Indonesia on the theme of Ramayana to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of its diplomatic ties with India.
    • The stamp is designed by renowned Indonesian sculptor Padmashri Bapak Nyoman Nuarta.
    • The stamp features a scene from Ramayana in which Jataayu valiantly fought to save Goddess Seeta.
  • World's First Floating NPP Akademik Lomonosov has Successfully Tested by Russia.
    • Akademik Lomonosov was built at a shipyard in St. Petersburg since 2008 and was last summer towed around Scandinavia to Murmansk where the uranium fuel elements were loaded into the two reactors and testing now has been going on for nearly a year.
  • Etihad to become the first airline in the Gulf region to operate a flight EY484 without any single-use plastics on board, in a bid to raise awareness about pollution on Earth Day (April 22).
    • As a result of planning the Earth Day flight EY484, Etihad additionally committed to remove up to 20% of the single-use plastic items on board by June 1.
  • An Announcement was made by UN's International Labour Organization (ILO) that Qatar will officially abolish its Exit Visa system for all foreign workers by the end of 2019.
    • Amnesty International (human rights group) report accused that Qatar, which will be hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup was failing to implement reforms and stop widespread labour abuse.

Banking

  • A new product - 'Cyber Defence Insurance' is launched by SBI General Insurance to protect businesses from financial and reputational losses due to cyber attacks.
    • This offers protection against the growing threat of cyber breaches like hacking attacks, identity theft, disclosure of sensitive information and business interruption.
  • RBI Divests its entire stake in the National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD) and National Housing Bank for Rs 20 crore and Rs 1,450 crore respectively.
    • The decision to divest its entire stake was taken based on the recommendations of the second Narasimham Committee.
    • The Government now holds a 100 per cent stake in both NHB and NABARD.
    • The RBI in 2010 divested 71.5% of 72.5% of its shares in NABARD and the remaining were divested in February 2019.
    • Similarly, RBI which held 100% in NHB, divested its stake on 19 March 2019.
  • Banks and Institutions are asked by RBI to disclose the non-performing assets (NPA) stemming from their exposure to troubled infrastructure conglomerate Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited (IL&FS) and its group entities in their upcoming results announcements.
    • An account becomes non-performing if repayment is due for more than 90 days.
    • Banks have to set aside capital as provisions for NPAs.
  • Minimum subscription requirement, as well as defined trading lots for REITs and InvITs, are Reduced by SEBI.
    • SEBI has come out with its guidelines titled "Guidelines for Determination of Allotment and Trading Lot Size for Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs)"
  • HDFC got the Approval from RBI for acquiring 9.9 per cent stake in Bandhan Bank following the Gruh Finance deal. 
    • Gruh Finance, the affordable housing finance arm of HDFC Ltd, was taken over by Bandhan Bank in a share-swap deal in January. 
  • Merger of private sector lender IndusInd Bank with Bharat Financial Inclusion (BFIL), a microfinance company is Approved by National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). 
  • 'Green Car Loan' is launched by SBI to encourage customers to buy electric vehicles (EVs) in the country. 
    • The interest rates on the loan will be 20 basis points (0.2 per cent) lower than SBI's existing auto loans.

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