14 March 2019 - Daily Current Affairs

14 March 2019 - Daily Current Affairs

1. M R Kumar appointed LIC Chairman

  • The Union government appointed M R Kumar as the Chairman of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC).
  • He will succeed MD Hemant Bhargava who had been named interim chairman after VK Sharma's retirement on 31st December 2018.
  • T C Suseel Kumar and Vipin Anand have been appointed as Managing Directors (MD) of the LIC for five years.
  • Currently, MR Kumar is the Zonal Manager, Delhi at LIC while TC Suseel Kumar is Zonal Manager, Hyderabad.
  • Vipin Anand is Zonal Manager of the Western zone.
Note:
  • LIC's executive board comprises of one chairman and four managing directors.
  • This is the first time an interview for the top position of LIC was conducted by the Banks Board Bureau (BBB), which so far selected top management for public sector banks.
  • Earlier, Top executives for LIC were appointed by a panel of the finance ministry.

 National Affairs 

2. Indian and Pak delegations hold talks on Kartarpur

  • Today, the delegations from India and Pakistan are holding talks at Attari border town in Punjab to finalize the modalities for the Kartarpur Corridor.
  • According to MEA spokesman "Talks begin between India and Pakistan to discuss and finalize the modalities for the Kartarpur Corridor, at Attari, Amritsar, that will facilitate Indian pilgrims to visit the holy shrine of Gurudwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur".
  • The issues like alignments of structures essentially from the engineering point of view would also be discussed.
Note:
  •  The corridor will connect ‘Dera Baba Nanak’ (in Gurdaspur district-India) to the ‘Gurdwara Darbar Sahib’ (in Kartarpur in Narowal district of Pakistan).
  • The Kartarpur Gurudwara (Darbar Sahib Kartarpur) is situated on the banks of river ‘Ravi’, considered to be the first gurdwara ever built.

 Important Days

 3. World Kidney Day being observed today

  • World Kidney Day is observed annually on the second Thursday in March.
  • The theme for this year is ‘Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere’.
  • The day is observed to create awareness on the importance of the kidneys and reducing the frequency and impact of kidney disease.
  • According to the WHO report, 850 million people worldwide are now estimated to have kidney diseases from various causes.
  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD) causes at least 2.4 million deaths per year and is now the 6th fastest growing cause of death.
  • It is a joint initiative of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF).
Note:
  • The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs found in vertebrates.
  • They are located on the left and right in the retroperitoneal space, and in adult, humans are about 11 centimetres in length.

Banking & Economy

4. RBI to inject liquidity via forex swaps

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to inject rupee liquidity into the system through long-term foreign exchange buy/sell swap — a first-of-its-kind instrument used for liquidity management.
  • The RBI would conduct dollar-rupee buy/sell swap auction of $5 billion for a three-year tenor on March 26.
  • This is the first time the central bank is using a foreign exchange auction to augment banking liquidity after generally using bond purchases for the same all these years. RBI has infused more than Rs 2.36 lakh crore through such purchases so far this fiscal.
  • The US dollar amount mobilized through this auction would also reflect in RBI’s foreign exchange reserves for the tenor of the swap while also reflecting in RBI’s forward liabilities,” RBI said.
  • The swap will be a simple buy/sell trade in which banks can place bids to sell their excess dollars to the RBI in and simultaneously agree to buy the same amount at the end of the swap period.
  • This scheme is through an auction and is open to all banks which want to swap their dollars for rupees.
  • Minimum bid size for the auction is set at $25 million and banks will be allowed to submit multiple bids.

5. India ranks 11th in gold holding: World Gold Council

  • India (world’s largest consumer of gold) has the 11th largest gold reserve, with the current holding pegged at 607 tonnes, as per the latest report by the World Gold Council (WGC).
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is included and is third on the list with total gold reserves of 2,814 tonnes.
  • The list is topped by the U.S., which claims of gold reserves of 8,133.5 tonnes, followed by Germany with 3,369.7 tonnes.
  • Italy and France complete the top five list with reserves of a little over 2,400 tonnes each.
  • Meanwhile, among Asian countries, China and Japan have more reserves of the precious metal when compared to India. China – WGC takes into account only ‘Mainland China’ – has reserves of 1,864.3 tonnes, while Japan has gold reserves of 765.2 tonnes

6. HDFC Bank becomes the 3rd company to cross Rs 6 lakh crore m-cap

  • HDFC Bank has become the third listed entity to achieve a market cap of Rs 6 lakh crore after Reliance Industries and TCS.
  • On 13th March 2019, shares of the country’s largest private bank gained 2.6% to hit an all-time high of Rs 2,226.
  • This resulted in the market capitalisation of the bank reaching nearly Rs 6.1 lakh crore for the first time, which makes it more valuable than all the listed public sector banks put together.
Note:
  • Reliance Industries (most valuable company) has a market cap of Rs 8.5 lakh crore while TCS is slightly behind at Rs 7.5 lakh crore.
  • The value of HDFC Bank is 80% more than HDFC — its parent, which promoted the bank 25 years ago.
  • According to analysts, a large part of HDFC’s valuation is derived from its holding of the banks shares.

7. SBI launches doorstep banking service for senior citizens over 70 & differently-abled

  • State Bank of India (SBI) has launched doorstep banking service for senior citizens over 70 years of age and differently-abled customers.
  • Eligible customers can avail this service at a nominal fee of Rs. 100 per transaction for financial transactions and ₹60 for non-financial transactions.
  • According to a statement, doorstep banking services are available to KYC- compliant account holders, with a valid mobile number registered with the bank and residing within 5 kilometres radius from their home branch.
  • This service will not be available for accounts operated jointly, minor accounts, and accounts of non-personal nature.
  • Cash pick up and deliver, check pickup, check-book slip, life certificate and form 15 pickup are some of the services that will be provided.

 8. SBI first bank to link savings bank interest to RBI repo rate

  • In a first, State Bank of India (SBI) has decided to link interest rates on the savings bank account to an external benchmark from 1st May 2019.
  • With this SBI becomes the first Indian bank to link both deposit rate and lending rate to an external benchmark.
Key points:
  • SBI said for savings bank account having an average balance of more than Rs 1 lakh, the effective interest rate will be 2.75% less than the repo rate (which is 6.25% currently) from May 1.
  • Assuming that RBI keeps the repo rate unchanged in its next credit policy in April, the interest rate on savings accounts from May 1 will be 3.5% (6.25-2.75%).
  • However, if RBI reduces report rate by another 25 basis points in its next meeting, then SBI savings bank interest rate will come down to 3.25% from May 1.
  • For all cash credit accounts and overdraft accounts above Rs 1 lakh, floor rate will be 2.25% above the repo rate, SBI said. On this floor rate, SBI will charge a risk premium based on the risk profile of the borrower. So from May 1, the base rate for these accounts will be 8.5%.
  • For savings account holders with balances up to Rs 1 lakh and borrowers with cash credit and overdraft limits up to Rs 1 lakh, interest rates will remain fixed.

 9.  Bank of Baroda launches child daycare facility at HQ

  • Bank of Baroda has launched Crèche – Child Daycare facility within its Mumbai Corporate Office premises.
  • The public sector bank said it will bear 60% of costs for each child, the rest to be borne by parent.

 International Affairs

10. India, U.S. agree to build six nuclear power plants in India

  • India and the U.S. have agreed to build six American nuclear power plants in India, in a boost to bilateral civil nuclear energy cooperation.
  • The two countries said this in a joint statement issued at the conclusion of the 9th round of India-U.S. Strategic Security Dialogue, co-chaired by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and Andrea Thompson, the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, on March 13.
  • According to the joint statement, “They committed to strengthening bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation, including the establishment of six U.S. nuclear power plants in India.
  • India and the U.S. signed a historic agreement to cooperate in the civil nuclear energy sector in October 2008.
  • The deal gave a fillip to bilateral ties, which have been on an upswing since.
Note:
  • A major aspect of the deal was the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), that gave a special waiver to India enabling it to sign cooperation agreements with a dozen countries.
  • Post-waiver, India signed civil nuclear cooperation agreements with the U.S., France, Russia, Canada, Argentina, Australia, Sri Lanka, the U.K., Japan, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan and South Korea.

 11. India gets first TIR shipment via Chabahar Port from Afghanistan

  • The first shipment under the United Nations ‘Transports Internationaux Routiers’ (TIR) convention arrived in India from Afghanistan through Iran’s Chabahar Port.
  • The consignments arrived at port of Nhava Sheva, Mumbai and Mundra on 13th March 2019, officials said.
Note:
  • India had joined the TIR Convention (the United Nations Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets) on June 15, 2017.
  • The convention allows goods to be outlined in a TIR carnet and sealed in load compartments.

 Obituaries

 12.  Formula One director Charlie Whiting has died in Australia

  • Formula One race director Charlie Whiting (66-years) has died from a pulmonary embolism three days before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
  • Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the Federation for international auto racing, issued a statement saying Whiting died on March 14 morning in Melbourne.
  • A pulmonary embolism is a blockage in the lung, usually caused by a blood clot.
Note:
  • He began his F1 career in 1977 working at the Hesketh team and the Englishman later moved to Bernie Eccelstone’s Brabham team in the 1980s.
  • He joined the FIA in 1988 and became a race director in 199

 Science & Defence

 13. Indo Oman Joint Exercise Al Nagah III 2019 begins in Oman

  • Indo Oman Joint Exercise Al Nagah III 2019, a joint military exercise between Indian and Royal Army of Oman (RAO), commenced this morning at HQ Jabel Regiment, Nizwa, Oman.
  • Ex Al Nagah 2019 will contribute immensely in developing mutual understanding and respect for each other’s military as also facilitate in tackling the worldwide phenomenon of terrorism.

Sports

14. Special Olympics World Games 2019 to begin today at Abu Dhabi in UAE

  • Special Olympics World Games 2019 begin at Abu Dhabi in UAE this evening.
  • The event has already made history by welcoming a record-breaking 200 nations at the Games.
  • Of the 200 nations, 195 will compete in the Games and five will observe.
  • More than 2,500 women will fly the flag for their nation, with almost half of them performing in athletics competitions. Saudi Arabia will send female athletes for the first time, with 14 women participating.
  • Hosts UAE will field its largest-ever squad of athletes at a World Games, followed by India and the United States.
Note:
  • Held in the West Asia for the first time, 7,500 athletes will take part in 24 Olympic-style sports over seven days.
  • With the highest number of women taking part and the largest number of Unified teammates on board, the World Games will capture the attention of the globe.
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