17-19 November 2017 Current Affairs

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19 Nov, 2017

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1) India’s sovereign rating has been upgraded by global rating agency Moody’s Investors Services (from Baa3 to Baa2) for the first time in how many years on 17 November 2017? – 13 years

Explanation: After 13 years, global rating agency Moody’s upgraded India’s sovereign ratings to Baa2 from Baa3 on 17 November 2017 and gave credit to Narendra Modi government for its wide-ranging economic and institutional reforms.

It was in 2004 when Moody’s had last upgraded India’s sovereign rating. The upgrade from Baa3 to Baa2 is a one-level shift from the lowest investment-grade ranking and puts India in line with countries like the Philippines and Italy.

Moody’s has also raised India’s long-term foreign-currency bond ceiling to Baa1 from Baa2, and the long-term foreign-currency bank deposit ceiling to Baa2 from Baa3. The short-term foreign-currency bond ceiling remains unchanged at P-2, and the short-term foreign-currency bank deposit ceiling has been raised to P-2 from P-3. The long-term local currency deposit and bond ceilings remain unchanged at A1.

The rating agency, however, warned that India’s rating could be downgraded if its fiscal metrics and the outlook for general government fiscal consolidation deteriorates materially.

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2) What is the name of the Indian beauty who won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant held in Sanya (China) on 18 November 2017, sixteen years after Priyanka Chopra won the title? – Manushi Chillar

Explanation: Haryana’s Manushi Chillar won the 2017 Miss World title on 18 November 2017 competing against 117 contestants from various countries at a glittering event held at Sanya City Arena in China. Miss World 2016 winner Puerto Rico’s Stephanie Del Valle gave away the coveted crown to the winner.

Manushi, born to doctor parents, studied in St. Thomas School in New Delhi and Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women in Sonepat.

She thus became the first Miss World from India, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000. Mexican beauty Andrea Meza was adjudged First Runner Up while Stephanie Hill of England was adjudged Second Runner Up. Miss Kenya and Miss France also made it to the top 5. It is also worth mentioning that with this title India has tied-up with Venezuela in most number of Miss World titles (six).

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3) What is the name of the second exchange traded fund (ETF) established by the Government of India after CPSE ETF comprising of 22 blue-chip public sector entities that was offered for investment during November 2017? – Bharat 22 ETF

Explanation: Bharat-22 is the name of the new exchange-traded fund (ETF) established by the Union Government that comprises of 22 blue-chip public sector units, state-owned banks and some holdings in SUUTI. It has a diversified portfolio of six sectors, including energy, FMCG, finance, basic material and industrial and utilities.

This ETF was offered for investment from 15 November to 17 November 2017. The government of India has appointed ICICI Prudential AMC to create, launch and manage Bharat 22 ETF. The fund has been set up as one of the vehicles to achieve Govt. of India’s disinvestment target.

Shares of nine PSUs, including Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (5.3% stake), Coal India Ltd (3.3%), and Indian Oil (4.4%), and four state-owned banks including State Bank of India (8.6%), will comprise the ETF. Besides, SUUTI holdings in Axis Bank (7.7%), ITC (15.2%) and Larsen and Toubro (17.1%) will also be part of the fund.

Other entities in Bharat-22 are BPCL, Nalco, Bharat Electronics Limited, Engineers India, NBCC, NTPC, Indian Bank, Bank of Baroda, NHPC, SJVNL, GAIL, PGCIL, REC, PFC and NLC India.

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4) RBI Governor Urjit Patel was appointed to the advisory board of which international banking entity on 16 November 2017? – Financial Stability Institute (FSI)

Explanation: RBI Governor Urjit Patel was on 16 November 2017 appointed to the Financial Stability Institute Advisory Board or the Bank of International Settlement (BIS), a global financial organisation owned by major central banks from across the world.

Jaime Caruana, General Manager of the BIS, will be Chair of the new FSI Advisory Board (until 30 November 2017 after which he will be replaced by Agustín Carstens, incoming General Manager of the BIS). Members would include Patel, as also William Dudley, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, central bank governors in Brazil, South Africa, Japan, among other top bankers from across the world.

The FSI was jointly created in 1998 by the BIS and the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. Among other mandates, the FSI seeks to promote cross-sectoral and cross-border supervisory contacts and cooperation.

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5) The Union Cabinet on 16 November 2017 approved the setting up of a National Anti-Profiteering Authority, a body with the mandate to ensure that the reduction in tax rates under the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime gets passed on to consumers by way of lower prices. What is the important power to be vested with this authority? – The power to cancel registration of any entity or business if it fails to pass on the benefit of lower taxes under the GST regime to consumers

Explanation: The National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAPA), the establishment of which was approved by the Union Cabinet on 16 November 2017, will be a body with an overarching mandate to ensure that the reduction in tax rates under the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime gets passed on to consumers by way of lower prices.

The authority will have the power to cancel registration of any entity or business if it fails to pass on the benefit of lower taxes under the GST regime to consumers, and empowers consumers to approach it in case of any complaint.

The move comes in the backdrop of the GST Council’s announcement earlier in November 2017 of a cut in the rates of over 200 items, as well as a cut in the GST rate for all restaurants, barring those in starred hotels, to 5%.

It is worth mentioning that although establishments like big restaurants were claiming about 6-7% of the GST rate as input tax credit (ITC) on overheads such as rent, they were not transferring the benefits to consumers by way of lower prices.

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