♠The Hindu Review♠
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♦ RBI to pay govt. ₹28,000 cr. in interim surplus
- Ending the suspense, the Reserve Bank of India announced on Monday that it would transfer ₹28,000 crore to the Centre as interim surplus for the half-year ended December 2018.
- This will take the Centre’s total receipts from the RBI as surplus transfer in 2018-19 to ₹68,000 crore. The central bank had earlier paid ₹40,000 crore to the government as its final share of surplus for 2017-18. The RBI follows July-June accounting year.
- The interim surplus transferred by the RBI now is crucial to the Centre’s ability to meet the revised fiscal deficit target of 3.4% for this fiscal.
- This is second consecutive year that the central bank has transferred interim surplus to the government.
- Inclusive of the ₹40,000 crore transferred by the central bank as final dividend for 2017-18, the Centre has earned a total of ₹68,000 crore as dividend from the RBI for the 2018-19 fiscal. The accounting year of the RBI runs from July to June.
♦ IOC signs $1.5 billion deal to buy US crude oil
- In the first-ever deal by an Indian company, Indian Oil Corp Monday said it has signed an annual deal worth USD 1.5 billion to import 3 million tonnes of crude oil in the fiscal year beginning April 1.
- This is the first time any Indian refiner has signed an annual contract since the country in 2017 began importing crude oil from the US.
- “IOC has finalised a term contract for import of up to 3 million tonnes of crude oil of US origin grades as a part of its strategy to diversify term crude sources,” the company said in a statement.
- The contract was finalised on February 15.
- The term contract follows IOC signing up to buy crude oil from the US through a term-tender deal in August last year. It had at that time bought about 6 million barrels of US crude oil under single tender for delivery between November 2018 and January 2019.
- “The approximate value of the contract works out to USD 1.5 billion,” the IOC statement said. “This is the first term contract finalised by any Indian PSU oil company for import of US origin crude oil grades.”
♦ Former Tata Steel UK Chief Bimlendra Jha to step in as new MD at Ambuja Cement
- Former Tata Steel UK chief executive Bimlendra Jha has been appointed as the new managing director and CEO at Ambuja Cement as current MD Ajay Kapur gets ready step down from the role after resigning in December. Jha’s appointment will come into effect from March 1, 2019.
- Associated with Tata Steel for nearly three decades, Jha has held multiple leadership roles over the last six years including executive chairman of long products Europe, executive director on the board of Tata Steel Europe and CEO of Tata Steel UK, looking after operations in the UK, Sweden and Canada.
♦ Shri Nitin Gadkari to Launch PCS1X Maritimee-Commerce Portal at the Regional Maritime Safety Conference in Mumbai
- Shri Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways, Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation will launchPCS1x at the Regional Maritime Safety Conference in Mumbai tomorrow. PCS1x is an upgraded version of the e-commerce portalPort Community System(PCS). It has been developed in record time by the Indian Ports Association, based on feedback from stakeholders using PCS.
- PCS has played a vital role in enhancing ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in the maritime sector by facilitating a transparent and paperless system for electronic submission of trade document, resulting in faster turnaround time and dwell time. Digitization in EXIM trade, of which PCS is a part, has played a major role in improving India’s world ranking in ‘Ease of Doing Business’ . In World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index India’s position stood at 100in 2017, registering an improvement of 30 points over 2016. It subsequently rose to 77th rank the following year. This is primarily due the ranking in Trading Across Border parameter which improved to 80 from 146 last year.
♦ ‘International Vision Zero Conference’ to Promote Occupational Safety and Health Inaugurated in Mumbai
- Shri Heeralal Samariya, Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment inaugurated the three days Conference on the VISION ZERO and its relevance to Occupational Safety and Health being held from 18th to 20th, February, 2019 in Mumbai. The Conference has been organized by Directorate General Factory Advice and Labour Institutes (DGFASLI), Ministry of Labour and Employment, German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV), Germany in association with Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and International Social Security Association – Manufacturing, Construction and Mining.
- The concept of ‘Vision Zero’ is fast gaining international acceptance and is expected to leverage the efforts of the Government of India to raise the occupational safety and health standards in the country so as to improve the occupational safety and health situation. The concept of Vision Zero is based on four fundamental principles viz. life is non-negotiable, humans are fallible, tolerable limits are defined by human physical resistance, and people are entitled to safe transport and safe workplaces. The Vision is based on principles of Controlling Risks, Ensuring Safety and Health in Machines, Equipment and Workplaces and Skill Upgradation of Workforce.
♦ Bill to make Sanskrit Himachal Pradesh’s second official language passed
- The Himachal Pradesh Assembly on Saturday passed a Bill to make Sanskrit the second official language of the state.
- The Himachal Pradesh Official Language Bill, 2019 (Amendment) was introduced by Irrigation and Public Health Minister Mahender Singh Thakur in the absence of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur during the ongoing budget session and was passed without any discussion.
♦ Football: Sunil Chhetri was awarded the first-ever ‘Football Ratna’
- Talismanic Indian striker Sunil Chhetri was awarded the first-ever ‘Football Ratna’ by Football Delhi, the State Association governing the sport in Delhi. Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran, President, Delhi Football presented the honour a function at the majestic Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
- Chhetri, who was recently named as the 6th Indian Footballer in the elite Padma Shri list, said: “I am honoured by the kind gesture of Football Delhi for recognizing me with the Football Ratna award.”
♠Vocabulary (The Hindu)♠
- JUNTA (NOUN): (समिति)council
Synonyms: faction, cabal
Antonyms: single, individual
Example: After the dictator died the country was taken over by a junta of former officials.
- LAY DOWN (VERB): (आदेश देना)command
Synonyms: impose, order
Antonyms: implore, request
Example: She laid down as if she were my boss.
- PREMISE (NOUN): (उपधारणा)presumption
Synonyms: proposition, supposition
Antonyms: denial, rejection
Example: The woman completed her workday even though there was a presumption that she was to be fired.
- UNPALATABLE (ADJECTIVE): (बेस्वाद)not tasting good
Synonyms: distasteful, unsavoury
Antonyms: delicious, savoury
Example: What an unpalatable dish! Siya exclaimed.
- AFTERMATH (NOUN): (परिणाम) impact
Synonyms: outcome, consequences
Antonyms: source, origin
Example: Although the aftermath was daunting, nothing could compare to the moment that the tornado struck the building.
- ABSOLUTE (ADJECTIVE): (अपरिमित)without limit
Synonyms: infinite, unlimited
Antonyms: bounded, limited
Example: Your idea has really an absolute influence.
- PREPONDERATE (VERB): (प्रभुत्वरखना)dominate
Synonyms: dictate, overrule
Antonyms: follow, lose
Example: Do not even think of preponderating me.
- DILUTE (VERB): (मिलावटकरना)adulterate
Synonyms: make thinner, water down
Antonyms: make thicker, concentrate
Example: To obtain the effect you want, firstly dilute the paint with a little bit of oil.
Close Test Based on The Hindu Editorial
Strange emergency: Donald Trump’s plan to build the Mexico border wall
Declaring a state of national emergency is hardly a trivial decision. While the U.S. has done so in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks and similar exigencies, President Donald Trump has ……(1)…. for this measure in the context of what he has described as “an invasion of drugs and criminals” from across the border with Mexico. The move has further polarised Washington and put the strident immigration debate front and centre again. The context for the emergency is the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history, for 35 days, that resulted in the shuttering of nine government agencies and the …….(2)…… of 800,000 government workers. The primary cause was Mr. Trump’s refusal to sign off on Congressional appropriations bills unless lawmakers agreed to hand over $5.7 billion to fund his plan to construct a border wall with Mexico. As the cost to the U.S. economy of the shutdown soared close to $11 billion by late-January, Mr. Trump backed down on his demand, yet warned that unless Congress yielded on the border wall funding, “I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the U.S. to address this emergency.” Now he appears to have made good on that statement, probably on the basis that during national emergencies U.S. law permits the diversion of funds from military or disaster relief budgets to tackle the “crisis” at hand.
This begs the question of how real the emergency is and why the White House is …….(3)…… its considerable political capital to this one policy issue. Mr. Trump frequently …….(4)……. to the migration crisis that he believes has engulfed the southern border. It is true that more than 2,000 people were turned away or arrested at the border each day during November 2018, numbers that U.S. immigration hawks have seized upon to press the argument for a wall. Yet this figure has decreased considerably over the past decade, and border crossings by undocumented migrants are at an all-time low, down from 1.3 million in 2001 to about 40,000 in 2018. If this is then a purely political move that panders to Mr. Trump’s conservative voter base, it may stand on wobbly legal foundations. Already, the first few lawsuits challenging the emergency declaration are working their way through the courts. Further, Democrats, who now control the House of Representatives, may under their constitutional powers vote to ……..(5)……. the emergency. This would put the Republican-controlled Senate on the back foot by requiring it to clarify its position on the status quo, by either supporting or defeating such a resolution. While Mr. Trump’s supporters are doubtless celebrating their Commander-in-Chief’s chutzpah for this move, the truth is that it will only take the U.S. further away from the ideal of peaceful coexistence within a pluralistic democracy.
C) Long off
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