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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Daily Current Affairs, 21st February 2018

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1)  Government Sets Up The “NITI Forum For Northeast”
•The Union Government has issued order setting up the ‘Niti Forum for North-East’. The forum will be co-chaired by the Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog Mr Rajiv Kumar and Minister of State (I/C), Ministry of Development of Northeastern Region (DoNER), Dr Jitendra Singh. The forum will have its Secretariat in the Ministry of DoNER.

•The NITI Forum for Northeast is tasked to identify various constraints on the way of accelerated, inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the North East Region of the country and to recommend suitable interventions for addressing identified constraints.

2)  World Congress On Information Technology And Nasscom India Leadership Forum Held Concurrently In Hyderabad
•Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 22nd edition of the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) in Hyderabad through a video conference. The WCIT is held for the first time in India.

•The 26th edition of Nasscom India Leadership Forum (ILF) was also held in the same venue later on. Nasscom is the host of the of WCIT. Telangana is the state partner for both the events.

3)  Haryana Government Launched 4 Subsidized Food Canteens Under 'Antyodaya Aahaar Yojna'
•Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar launched 4 food canteens at Faridabad, Gurugram, Hisar, and Yamunanagar via video-conferencing from Chandigarh.

•These have been set up under the ‘Antyodaya Aahaar Yojana’ to provide healthy, nutritious and hygienic food at only Rs 10 per meal to all poor and needy. 

4)  Jaipur's Gandhinagar Railway Station Becomes Fully Women Operated Station
•The Gandhi Nagar railway station in Jaipur, Rajasthan became railway station to be fully-managed by women. Gandhi Nagar is important railway station in Jaipur situated on the Jaipur-Delhi rail route. The station has footfall of more than 7,000 passengers every day.

•There are 40 women staff at the station besides women personnel of the railway protection force have been deployed at the station.

5)  NITI Aayog Budget Allocation Increased By More Than 20%
•According to the Minister of State (IC) for Planning Shri Rao Inderjit Singh, allocations for the Ministry of Planning, which is embodied by the NITI Aayog, have increased by more than 20% over last year i.e. to Rs 339.65 crore in 2018-19 from Rs 279.79 crore in 2017-18.

•Further, the budget envisages a defined role for NITI Aayog in critical areas of artificial intelligence and agriculture policy, apart from reiterating a shared vision for national development in line with NITI Aayog’s Three Year Action Agenda, the Seven Year Strategy and the 15 Year Vision Document.

6)  Maharashtra Government To Launch Asmita Yojana To Provide Cheap Sanitary Pads
•Maharashtra government will roll out 'Asmita Yojana' on the International Women’s Day (March 8, 2018) to provide cheap (subsidised) sanitary pads to school girls and women.

•Under the scheme, schoolgirls studying in Zilla Parishad schools will get sanitary napkin packet at Rs 5 while rural women can avail it at subsidised rate of Rs.24 and Rs.29.

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The HINDU Notes – 21st February 2018

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📰 India remains in the best position to help us: Mohamed Nasheed

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Daily Current Affairs, 20th February 2018

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1)  India To Host World Environment Day 2018
•The government of India and the UN jointly announced that India will host the global World Environment Day celebrations on 5 June 2018.

•World Environment Day is celebrated globally on June 5. The theme for World Environment 2018 is “Beat Plastic Pollution”.

2)  Union Cabinet Approves Creation Of National Urban Housing Fund
•The Union Cabinet has given approval for creation of National Urban Housing Fund (NUHF) for Rs.60,000 crores. This fund will be situated in Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

•NUHF will facilitate raising requisite funds in next four years so that flow of Central Assistance under different verticals i.e. Beneficiary Linked Construction (BLC), Affordable Housing in Partnership(AHP), In-Situ Slum Redevelopment (ISSR) and Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS).

3)  India Successfully Test-Fires Agni-II Missile
•India successfully test-fired Agni II medium-range nuclear-capable missile from APJ Abdul Kalam island off the Odisha coast. The Strategic Forces Command (SFC) fired Agni-II from a mobile launcher at launch complex 4 of the Integrated Test Range.

•Agni-II, which has a length of 20 metres, weighs 17 tonnes and can carry a payload of 1000 kgs over a distance of 2000 kms. It is a part of the Agni series of missiles developed by the DRDO.

4)  PM Flags Off Palace Queen Hamsafar Express In Karnataka
•Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the Palace Queen Humsafar Express between Mysuru and Udaipur in Mysuru Railway Station. Both the Mysuru Palace and Udaipur palace are iconic tourist attractions and this special train will create a new tourist circuit connecting North India and the South.

•The train between Mysuru and Udaipur will act as a backbone of tourism, an employment generating industry. He also dedicated to the nation, the electrified Mysuru-Bengaluru Railway Line and announced two more infrastructure projects for the region.

5)  Cabinet Approves New Bill To Ban Unregulated Deposit Schemes And Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill
•In a major policy initiative to protect the savings of the investors, the Union Cabinet has given its approval to introduce the following bills in the Parliament:-

1. Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018 in parliament &
2. Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018.

1. The Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018

•The bill is aimed at tackling the menace of illicit deposit-taking activities in the country. Companies/ institutions running such schemes exploit existing regulatory gaps and lack of strict administrative measures to dupe poor and gullible people of their hard-earned savings.

2. The Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018

•The Union Cabinet has given its approval to introduce the Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018 in Parliament. In order to facilitate orderly growth of the Chit Funds sector and remove bottlenecks being faced by the Chit Funds industry, thereby enabling greater financial access of people to other financial products, the following amendments to the Chit Funds Act, 1982 have been proposed:

i. Use of the words "Fraternity Fund" for chit business under Sections 2(b) and 11(1) of the Chit Funds Act, 1982, to signify its inherent nature, and distinguish its working from "Prize Chits" which are banned under a separate legislation;
ii. Increasing the ceiling of foreman's commission from a maximum of 5% to 7%, as the rate has remained static since the commencement of the Act while overheads and other costs have increased manifold;
iii. Allowing the foreman a right to lien for the dues from subscribers, so that set-off is allowed by the Chit company for subscribers who have already drawn funds, so as to discourage default by them; and
iv. Amending Section 85 (b) of the Chit Funds Act, 1982 to remove the ceiling of one hundred rupees set in 1982 at the time of framing the Chit Funds Act, which has lost its relevance.

6)  Aga Khan’s 11-Day Visit To India Begins
•Spiritual leader Aga Khan is on the 11-day visit to India. Sunder Nursery, a 90-acre park near Humayun’s Tomb in New Delhi, will be inaugurated by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu in the presence of the Aga Khan.

•In addition to these engagements, he will be visiting the cities of Ahmadabad, Hyderabad and Mumbai, where Aga Khan Development Network is involved in various development projects. During his previous visit in 2015, the Aga Khan was conferred Padma Vibhushan for his contributions to social development in India.

7)  UK, India Launched Joint Research Projects On Clean Water & Energy
•The UK- India Joint research projects on Water Quality Research and Energy Demand Reduction in Built Environment were launched in New Delhi.

•The Water Quality Research programme has eight projects and Energy Demand Reduction in Built Environment programme has four projects, with a total joint investment of up to 15 million British Pound.

8)  Singapore To Impose Carbon Tax From 2019
•Singapore will impose a 'carbon tax' from 2019 to cut its greenhouse gas emissions and make companies more competitive as global agreements on climate change take effect.

•Finance minister Heng Swee Keat stated that the tax would be levied on all facilities producing 25,000 tonnes or more of greenhouse gas emissions a year. The tax, to be applied to all sectors, will be Sg$5.0 ($3.8) per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions from 2019 to 2023.

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The HINDU Notes – 20th February 2018

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📰 Old friends: on India-Iran bilateral ties

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Daily Current Affairs, 19th February 2018

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1)  National Conference On “Agriculture 2022- Doubling Farmers’ Income”
•The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare has organized a National Conference under the title of “Agriculture 2022 – Doubling Farmers’ Income” in New Delhi.

•The main aim of the conference is to build a consensus around appropriate recommendations that will help in shaping and sharpening the vision of the Government on Doubling Farmers’ Income by 2022 into actionable points.

2)  World Congress On Information Technology Begins In Hyderabad
•The prestigious World Congress on Information Technology 2018 has begun in Hyderabad. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the inaugural session of the three-day IT summit through a video link. The World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) is organising Congress while the National Alliance of Software and Services Companies (NASSC) and the Telangana state Government are jointly hosting the event.

•Over two-thousand delegates including heads of IT majors, visionaries, Government leaders and academia from 30 countries are taking part in the Congress being held for the first time in India. 

3)  Health Minister Addresses Global Digital Health Partnership Summit In Australia
•Mr. J P Nadda, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare has addressed the Global Digital Health Partnership Summit, at Canberra, Australia.

•The Union Health Minister spoke on the topic: Making Digital Health Services a Priority in Healthcare Reform. He stated that India is committed to reforms in health service delivery using ICT under Digital India Program of Government of India.

4)  India's 2nd Mission To Moon Chandrayaan-2 To Be Launched In April 2018
•According to the Union Minister of State of the Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to launch Chandrayan-2 Mission around April 2018. Chandrayaan-2 is the country's second mission to the moon.

•Chandraayan-2 is a challenging mission as for the first time we will carry an orbiter, a lander and a rover to the moon. Chairman of Isro K Sivan stated that the total cost of the Chandrayaan 2 mission will be about Rs 8 billion. The window for launch is open till October 2018.

5)  Assam Worst In MMR, Spent Just 13.58% Of NHM Fund In 2017-18
•Assam is at the bottom of the list with regard to maternal mortality rate (MMR) with a figure of 300 against the national average of 167, while the fund spending under National Health Mission (NHM) is just 13.58% for 2017-18.

•MMR is the annual number of female deaths per 1,00,000 live births from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy or its management. The Centre had allocated Rs 1,056.25 crore for Assam under National Health Mission (NHM) for 2017-18.

6)  LS Speaker Sumitra Mahajan Inaugurated 6th India Region CPA Conference
•Lok Sabha Speaker, Sumitra Mahajan inaugurated the 6th India region Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference at Patna in Bihar. The conference focused on the objectives and role of the Parliamentary Association body.

•The conference hold discussions mainly on two topics viz. 'Parliament's role in the development agenda' and 'Legislature and Judiciary - Two important Pillars of Democracy'. The Speaker stressed upon the need to strengthen the legislature, executive and the judiciary in order to make democracy strong.

7)  8th Edition Of Theatre Olympics Inaugurated In Delhi
•Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the 8th edition of the Theatre Olympics at Lal Quila in New Delhi. The event has been organised by National School of Drama under the aegis of Ministry of Culture.

•The theme of the festival is - "Flag of Friendship". 51-day long nationwide theatre extravaganza will feature Indian and international theatre groups, eminent theatre personalities along with their performances. 30 countries are participating from across the globe.

8)  Roger Federer Wins Rotterdam Open For 97th Career Title
•Roger Federer (Switzerland) celebrated his return to the top of the world rankings by winning the Rotterdam Open, in the Netherlands. It was his 97th career title. The 36-year-old, the oldest No.1 in history, defeated Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) in the final.

•Federer is three years older than American Andre Agassi was when previously holding the record for oldest No.1 back in 2003. This was his third title in Rotterdam following successes in 2005 and 2012. France doubles pair P. H. Herbert and N. Mahut won the Men's Doubles Title.

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