Daily Current Affairs Digest: April 14, 2017
[no_toc]Daily Current Affairs digest for April 14, 2017 with important short notes on current events and newspaper summary.
Cashless Payments get a big boost
- PM Modi launches Aadhaar pay system which will allow cash transfers with help of biometrics and without phones.
- PM launched the BHIM-Aadhaar platform putting in place a key milestone in digital payments.
- This will enable real time bank to bank transfer without using phone at no additional cost.
- 30 banks in the country have already adopted BHIM-Aadhaar known as Aadhaar Pay.
PPP Approval Panel to be phased out
- The Central government has proposed to dismantle the finance ministry committee which gives approval to PPP projects to speed up the procedural delays and fostering ease of doing business.
- NITI Aayog may be given charge of these projects.
- The move follows the planned dismantling of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board.
- As per the current rules, PPP projects above 1000-Cores are sent to PPPAC and then to the Cabinet for approval. PPPAC was created in 2006 under the Department of Economic Affairs in the Finance Ministry. It is comprised of the secretaries of economic affairs, expenditure and legal affairs along with the department sponsoring the project and the NITI Aayog CEO.
India to discuss Afghanistan strike during US NSA visit
- US National Security Advisor HR McMaster is slated to visit New Delhi.
- India will raise the issue of use of ‘mother of all bombs’ by US against the IS caves in Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Indian side will also try to understand US future plans on Afghanistan.
- India strongly maintains that Taliban should be checked for peace in Afghanistan.
BRICS envoys meet in Vishakhapatnam
- Special envoys of five BRICS member states who are specialised in West Asian Affairs met at Vizag to discuss the volatile situation in Syria and the US air strikes.
- The concerns were raised on the spread of IS beyond the current strongholds of West Asia and North Africa.
- BRICS condemned the use of chemical weapons but reiterated their complete commitment for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and the growing need for a peaceful solution based on Resolution 2254 of UNSC and stood by three rounds of talks in Astana.
12 Major ports post Record Profit
- 12 major ports in India have posted record profit of Rs. 5,000 Crores in 2016-17 by working on the turnaround time by the shipping industry and also addition of non-core commodities to freight.
- Goa’s Mormugao port registered 60% growth which the highest recorded by any port in the country.
- The ports also saw an apparent increase in traffic which reached a record level of 647 million in 2017. Among various commodities, iron-ore saw a growth of 163%.
Centre alerts on upcoming water shortage
- The Central government has asked some states to take up water conservation projects and give priority to drinking water.
- Also, states have been advised to control water consumption and promote the use of drip and sprinkler irrigation.
- Maharashtra, Telangana, Bihar, UP, Haryana, MP, HP, Uttarakhand and Chattisgarh have been recognised as the most vulnerable states. Most of them fall in arid and semi-arid zones, have on spatial rains and low water storage in reservoirs and thereby a decline in water table.
NBFCs to be hit by farm loan waivers
- Many valuations of the Non-Banking Financial Corporations have come under strain expected farm loan waivers have led to delay in recovery of advances even in states leading in mechanised ploughing.
- After UP loan waiver, many similar voices are also being heard from Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu together which account for a third of tractor loans given by firms like M&M finance, Magma Fincorp, Sundaram Finance, Cholamandalam and Shriram
Banks bypass PM’s a million more PoS Target
- Banks have long surpassed the PM’s 10 lakh additional machines after demonetisation till March end.
- SBI, Axis bank and HDFC Bank have installed more than 7 lakhs PoS terminals.
- RBI data suggests that the number of PoS terminals have gone up from 17.6 lakhs to 22.2 lakhs by March end.
- NABARD is also contemplating setting up of 25,000 terminals across 12, 500 villages.
VISA and MasterCard worried about growing Homegrown Apps
- VISA and MasterCard persuade the government to ensure they don’t lose in the digital payments push by the government. Latter is being taken care of by the UPI Unified Payment Interface , BHIM or Bharat Interface for Money and also Aadhaar Pay.
- The companies are bringing forth avenues like QR codes and Contactless payments to stay relevant in the cashless economy.
- The companies have genuine worries about losing the market share to Aadhaar Enabled Payment System. Latter will allow authentication of payments through fingerprint readers.
China indulges in War-mongering over North Korea crisis
- Chinese have warned that the war clouds will thicken over the Korean peninsula if the nation defies the US sanctions and stark warnings to carry out the sixth nuclear test or more missiles.
- Chinese reiterated the need to prevent an irreversible outcome.
- US is conducting the biggest-ever joint military exercise with South Korea. Pyongyang has launched another ballistic missile and will soon also conduct a nuke test.
Record harvest of cereals globally: UN-FAO
- The world has harvested the largest cereal crop in history in 2016-17 to a total of 2.6 billion metric tonnes as per UN-Food and Agriculture Organisation.
- India is also headed for a record production of cereals in the same year which as per advance government estimates is about 250 million tonnes.
- This is contrast to situation in Africa and Yemen where over 20 million people are facing starvation. 795 million people go to bed hungry every night of which 20 million are from India.
Ganga patrol team planned to check pollution
- The Central government is planning a Ganga Patrol team comprising IPS officers, Army personnel, paramilitary forces and also state police officers to raise Ganga Volunteer Force.
- It will be tasked to prevent pollution and desecration of the Holy river.
- The central force will patrol the entire stretch of the Ganga (2,525km) spread in five states namely Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal which are on the main stem of the river.