Current Affairs of 2-4 May


Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu - Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in as Israeli prime minister on April 30, 2019 following his victory in the April 9, 2019 elections. Netanyahu was among the 120 newly-elected members who were sworn-into Israel’s 21st parliament (Knesset). President Reuven Rivlin tasked Netanyahu to build a government on April 17. Netanyahu faced a tough battle for the premiership against centrist Blue and White faction led by Benny Gantz. Both the parties earned 35 seats each in the vote. However, the collective majority of 65 parliament members of right-wing parties favoured Netanyahu to form the government. This will be Netanyahu’s record fifth term in office thus, becoming Israel's longest-serving prime minister.

CSO Revised Downwards Growth Estimate
CSO Revised GDP Growth
CSO Revised Downwards Growth Estimate - The Central Statistics Office (CSO), which released the national account data for the third quarter, revised downwards the growth estimate for 2018-19 fiscal to 7 per cent from 7.2 per cent. The 7 per cent growth is the lowest in 5 years. The government is faced with a challenge to reverse the slowdown in the agriculture sector and sustain growth of the industry. The Current Account Deficit (CAD) is set to fall in the fourth quarter of FY19, limiting the leakage of growth impulse, it noted. The central government’s fiscal deficit of centre is gliding down to the FRBM target, even as the capital expenditure remains volatile. Even as inflation has inched up in the last few months, it remains much lower and creates a room for monetary easing, the report said. The effects of repo rate cuts are yet to manifest in the investment activity. The rate cuts are still to transmit to the lending rates of banks.

IMF and World Bank
IMF and World Bank
IMF and World Bank - International Monetary Fund (IMF) had reduced the economic growth forecast for India by 20 basis points each from its January estimates to 7.3 per cent for FY20 and 7.5 per cent for the next fiscal. The latest growth forecast for India was lower than its FY20 growth forecast for India and the World Bank’s (7.5 per cent) and the Asian Development Bank’s (7.2 per cent).

Sovereign Internet Bill
Sovereign Internet Bill
Sovereign Internet Bill - President Vladimir Putin on May 1, 2019 signed a new measure into law that will allow Russian authorities to isolate the country's internet from the rest of the world and create a new national network. The ‘sovereign internet’ bill aims to expand government control over the Internet. Russian lawmakers insist the new law is necessary to ensure the security of Russia's online networks, while critics argue that the vaguely worded bill gives new censorship powers to government monitors. The new law aims to protect Russia from foreign online restrictions by creating a "sustainable, secure and fully functioning" local internet. The text of the new law was published on May 1 but it will not come into effect until November 2019.

India is Biggest Recipient of Funds ADB
Asian Development Bank
India is Biggest Recipient of Funds ADB - India was the biggest recipient of funds from Asian Development Bank last year and would continue to get sovereign loans in excess of USD 3 billion in 2019 as well, the bank’s President Takehiko Nakao said. The multilateral funding institution committed USD 3 billion in sovereign loans to India in 2018, the highest level of assistance since sovereign operations began in the country in 1986.

Bajrang Punia
Bajrang Punia
Bajrang Punia - World number one Bajrang Punia on May 2, 2019 won the gold medal after defeating Viktor Rassadin 13-8 in the finals of men's 65kg freestyle in the 2019 Ali Aliyev Wrestling Tournament in Kaspiisk, Russia. Earlier on April 23, Bajrang won gold in the same category, beating Kazakhstan’s Sayatbek Okassov 12-7 in the final of the Asian Wrestling Championships in Xi'an, China. Bajrang will now head to the United States to participate in the “Grapple at the Garden” Beat the Streets fight night event at the Madison Square Garden, New York on May 6, 2019. With this, Punia will become the first Indian wrestler to fight at iconic New York’s Madison Square Garden in the Beat the Streets event. Punia will take on two-time US national champion Yianni Diakomahlis.

A S Kiran Kumar
A S Kiran Kumar
Chevalier de l'Ordre national de la Legion d'Honneur - Former ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar was on May 2, 2019 conferred with France's highest civilian honour, Chevalier de l'Ordre national de la Legion d'Honneur, for his contribution to India-France space cooperation. Kumar was conferred with the prestigious honour by France’s Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler on behalf of the French President. A S Kiran Kumar served as the Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation from 2015 to 2018. He was succeeded by K Sivan. He currently holds the Chair of the ISRO Committee on Earth Observation Satellites.

RISAT 2BR1 Satellite
RISAT 2BR1 Satellite
RISAT 2BR1 Satellite - India is planning to launch its latest radar imaging satellite RISAT 2BR1 towards the end of May 2019 on one of the variants of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket. The satellite, RISAT 2BR1, is expected to be launched aboard one of the reusable PSLV rockets on May 22. The rocket that would carry the radar imaging satellite is designated as PSLV-C46 as per ISRO's numbering system. It would take off from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh

Cyclonic Fani
Cyclonic Fani
Cyclonic Fani - Cyclonic Storm ‘Fani’ reached Odisha Coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali around Puri on May 03, 2019. The name of the Cyclone 'Fani', pronounced as 'Foni' was suggested by Bangladesh. It means 'Snake' or 'hood of snake'. The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has devised a mechanism where countries submit a list of names from time to time. Names of cyclones are chosen from this pool.

Climate Change Emergency
Climate Change Emergency
Climate Change Emergency - The UK parliament became the first national legislative body in the world to declare a climate change emergency. It also calls for the government to work towards carbon neutrality before 2050 and for ministers to draft proposals within the next 6 months to restore the country's environment and create a "zero waste economy."

Generalized System of Preference Programme
Generalized System of Preference
Generalized System of Preference Programme - The U.S. should not terminate the GSP programme with India after the expiry of the 60-day notice period on 3 May, a group of 25 influential American lawmakers urged the U.S. Trade Representative, warning that companies seeking to expand their exports to India could be hit. The Generalized System of Preference (GSP) is the largest and oldest U.S. trade preference programme designed to promote economic development by allowing duty-free entry for thousands of products from designated beneficiary countries. On March 4, President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. intended to terminate India’s designations as a beneficiary developing country under the GSP programme. The 60-day notice period ends on May 3.

SC and ST Amendment Act of 2018
SC and ST Amendment Act of 2018
SC and ST Amendment Act of 2018 - The Supreme Court reserved for judgment a batch of petitions challenging the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act of 2018 which nullified a controversial March 20 Supreme Court judgment diluting the stringent provisions of the Dalit protection law. The 2018 Act nullified the March 20 judgment which allowed anticipatory bail to those booked for committing atrocities against the SCs and the STs. The original 1989 Act bars anticipatory bail.  The government reacted by filing a review petition and subsequently amended the 1989 Act back to its original form. Several petitions were filed last year challenging the amendments. The Supreme Court however had refused to stay the implementation of the amendments.

Iraq Is Top Crude Oil Supplier To India
Iraq Is Top Crude Oil Supplier To India
Iraq Is Top Crude Oil Supplier To India - Iraq has, for the second year in a row, become India’s top crude oil supplier, meeting more than a fifth of the country’s oil needs in 2018-19 fiscal year. According to data sourced from the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, Iraq sold 46.61 million tonnes (mt) of crude oil to India during April 2018 and March 2019, 2% more than 45.74 mt it had supplied in 2017-18 fiscal. India provisionally imported 207.3 mt of crude oil in 2018-19, down from 220.4 mt in the previous financial year. Saudi Arabia has traditionally been India’s top oil source, but it was for the first time dethroned by Iraq in 2017-18 fiscal year. While India stopped importing crude oil from Iran following reimposition of economic sanctions this month by the U.S., the Persian Gulf nation was the third largest crude oil supplier to India.

India’s Zero Casualty Approach
India’s Zero Casualty Approach
India’s Zero Casualty Approach - The UN agency for disaster reduction has commended the Indian Meteorological Department’s “almost pinpoint accuracy” of early warnings that helped authorities conduct a well-targeted evacuation plan and minimise the loss of life as extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani made landfall near the coastal city of Puri. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has classified Fani as an “extremely severe cyclonic storm”. “India’s zero casualty approach to managing extreme weather events is a major contribution to the implementation of the #SendaiFramework and the reduction of loss of life from such events,” Mami Mizutori, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Disaster Risk Reduction, and head of the Geneva-based UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), said. Mizutori was referring to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda. It is a 15-year, voluntary, non-binding agreement which recognises that the state has the primary role to reduce disaster risk but that responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders including the local government, the private sector and other stakeholders.

RBI Imposed Penalty on PPI
RBI Imposed Penalty on PPI
RBI Imposed Penalty on PPI - In exercise of powers vested under Section 30 of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, the Reserve Bank of India has imposed monetary penalty on five PPI Issuers for non-compliance of regulatory guidelines. A penalty of Rs 3.05 crore has been imposed on Vodafone m-pesa and Rs 1 crore each on Mobile Payments, PhonePe, Private and GI Technology. Also, a penalty of Rs 5 lakh has been imposed on Y-Cash Software Solutions. In another statement, the RBI said it has imposed penalty of Rs 29,66,959 and Rs 10,11,653 on Western Union Financial Services Inc, USA, and MoneyGram Payment Systems Inc, USA, respectively, for non-compliance of regulatory guidelines. Penalty on Western Union and MoneyGram has been imposed by the RBI under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, for compounding of the contravention.

Best Bank Note For 2018
Best Bank Note For 2018
Best Bank Note For 2018 - Canadian $10 bill has been adjudged as the best bank note for 2018 by the International Bank Note Society (IBNS). Bank of Canada’s note, featuring civil rights activist Viola Desmond, beat 15 other banknotes from countries such as Switzerland, Norway and Russia. The IBNS Banknote of the Year award is an initiative to recognise an exceptional banknote issued every year. Globally renowned social justice icon Viola Desmond has been featured on the note, on whose back the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba has been printed. The Nova Scotia businesswoman, in the year 1946, became a symbol of resistance in Canada’s early civil rights movement after she refused to make exit from the whites-only area of a movie theatre.

London: Top Choice for Indian Investors
London: Top Choice for Indian Investors
London: Top Choice for Indian Investors - London emerged as the top choice for Indian investors ahead of other cities such as Dubai and Singapore, with investments by Indian companies in the British capital reaching an all-time high last year, according to a new analysis. The UK emerged as the top most country to attract Indian FDI with 52 projects, ahead of the US (51) and the UAE (32), in 2018, said London & Partners (L&P), the Mayor of London’s promotional agency. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from India into London increased by 255 per cent from 2017 to 2018. And, investment into the UK from India grew by over 100 per cent compared with the previous year, with London accounting for over 60 per cent of all Indian investment into the UK in 2018.

Food Ministry Fixed Reserve Price Of Wheat
Reserve Price Of Wheat
Food Ministry Fixed Reserve Price Of Wheat - The food ministry has fixed the reserve price of wheat under open market sale from official stock at `2,080/quintal, much higher than MSP, during the procurement period April-June and announced `55/quintal increase in each of the subsequent quarters. This is seen as a move to force private traders to buy from the mandis now instead of entirely depending on the government sale in off season as the bulging stocks put pressure on the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to cut purchase. The reserve price of wheat is `240 more than its minimum support price of `1,840/quintal. If traders know that they will have to pay such high price later, they may be tempted to buy at MSP and keep the grains with them, officials said. The reserve price is valid for Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana. 

Ministerial Meeting of Asia Cooperation Dialogue
Asia Cooperation Dialogue
Ministerial Meeting of Asia Cooperation Dialogue - The 16th Ministerial Meeting of Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) was held in Doha, Qatar. Gen. (Dr) V.K. Singh (Retd), Minister of State for External Affairs led the Indian delegation. The theme of the meeting was "Partners in Progress”.

Huawei Technologies
Huawei Technologies
Huawei Technologies - Huawei Technologies Co overtook Apple Inc to claim the No. 2 spot in smartphones making in the first quarter, moving a step closer to its avowed ambition of displacing Samsung at the top of the market. Huawei’s been steadily gaining on Apple and Samsung Electronics Co. with an increasingly high-end line-up of devices.

Green Number Plates Is Mandatory
Green Number Plates Is Mandatory
Green Number Plates Is Mandatory - The Central government has asked the state transport departments to make it mandatory for all EVs to use the green number plates, irrespective of the year in which they were bought. The new mandate is supposed to help provide preferential treatment to the vehicles with no carbon emissions, like parking, free entry in congested areas as well as a concessional toll on highways.

'Maharashtra Day' and 'Gujarat Day'
'Maharashtra Day' and 'Gujarat Day'
'Maharashtra Day' and 'Gujarat Day'- May 1 is celebrated as 'Maharashtra Day' and 'Gujarat Day'. In 1960, the Bombay Reorganization Act was passed by India's Parliament to divide the multilingual state of Bombay into Gujarat and Maharashtra. The legislation came into effect on May 1, 1960.

World Press Freedom Day
World Press Freedom Day
World Press Freedom Day - The 26th celebration of World Press Freedom Day is jointly organized by UNESCO, the African Union Commission and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The main event has taken place in Addis Ababa, on May 03, 2019 at the African Union Headquarters. This year's theme is - “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation” World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO's General Conference. Since then, 3 May, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day.

Apurvi Chandela
Apurvi Chandela
Apurvi Chandela - India’s Apurvi Chandela on May 1, 2019 became world number 1 in women’s 10m air rifle event, according to the latest rankings released by the International Shooting Sport Federation. Hailing from Jaipur, the shooting ace is among the five Indian shooters to have already secured 2020 Olympics quotas for the country. 

MRF Tyres ICC Test and ODI Team Rankings
MRF Tyres ICC Cricket Rankings
MRF Tyres ICC Test and ODI Team Rankings - The International Cricket Council (ICC) on May 2, 2019 released the updated MRF Tyres ICC Test Team and ICC ODI Team Rankings. As per the updated rankings, India and England retained their top spots in Test and ODI rankings, respectively.