Current Affairs Daily Digest – March 01 & 02 2018

Latest Current Affairs – March 01 & March 02 2018

1. No transaction fees on booking rail tickets with debit cards

The Indian Railways has announced that Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) charges won’t be levied on passengers for booking railway tickets through debit cards. These transactions include those made at the railway ticketing counters as well as through IRCTC ticketing website. However, the exemption has been granted only on the bookings made for an amount of up to ₹1 lakh.

2. Cabinet approves new accounting body, to limit ICAI’s powers

The Union Cabinet has approved draft rules to set up National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA), an independent regulator to oversee auditing and accounting standards. NFRA’s jurisdiction will extend to listed and large unlisted public companies. The existing self-regulatory body, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), will continue to govern audits of smaller companies.

3. Govt clears bill to seize assets of defaulters fleeing India

The Union Cabinet has cleared a bill allowing authorities to confiscate all assets of economic defaulters who flee the country, even if they aren’t convicted. It provides for selling the assets to recover the defaulters’ dues. Announced in Budget 2017, the bill was reportedly hastened after PNB scam accused Nirav Modi fled the country and refused to cooperate with investigations.

4. Maharashtra govt ties up with Wikipedia to promote Marathi

In a first, the Maharashtra government has announced a collaboration with online encyclopedia Wikipedia to promote Marathi globally and increase its online usage. The move is aimed at providing Marathi-speaking people a single platform to interact and help reach Maharashtrians who have settled abroad. They will be encouraged to write about their profession in their native language.

5. Warren Buffett ahead of Bill Gates in Hurun Rich List 2018

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett has ranked ahead of Microsoft Co-founder Bill Gates on Hurun Global Rich List 2018. Buffett retained the second spot with a 31% increase in his wealth and became the second person ever to break through the $100-billion barrier. For the first time in five years, Bill Gates is not world’s richest person on the list.

6. India ranks third on Hurun rich list with 131 billionaires

India replaced Germany to reclaim the third spot on the Hurun Global Rich List 2018 with 131 billionaires. India added 31 new billionaires over the last year while the combined wealth of the Indian billionaires increased by 49% to $454 billion. The Hurun report added that there are a total of 170 Indian-origin billionaires globally.

7. Amazon launches music streaming service in India

E-commerce giant Amazon has launched ads-free music streaming service called Amazon Music in India as part of Amazon’s Prime subscription. Users can access the service via apps on Android, iOS, macOS, as well as the web browser. The music service, which supports 12 Indian languages, will compete with Tencent-backed rival Gaana and Apple’s music service.

8. World’s largest solar park inaugurated in Karnataka

The Karnataka government has inaugurated the first phase of a 2,000 megawatts (MW) solar park in the drought-prone Pavagada region of Tumkur district, about 180km from Bengaluru. The first phase of the Rs16,500 crore park called “Shakti Sthala” will generate 600MW, while the balance 1,400MW is expected to be commissioned by the end of this year, the government said in a statement.

The solar project, touted as the largest in the world, is spread over 13,000 acres and five villages. It is part of the “Karnataka Solar Policy 2014-2021” which aims to decrease dependence on traditional power sources and move to environmentally friendly ones to meet the growing power needs of the state.

9. 12 agreements signed between India and Jordan

After the talks, India and Jordan inked 12 Agreements and MoUs. These include agreement on Defence Co-operation, Visa waiver of Diplomatic & Official Passport holders, Cultural Exchange Programme, Manpower Co-operation agreement, Co-operation in field of Health and Medicine.

Setting up of Next Generation Centre of Excellence. MoU for long term supply of Rock Phosphate and Fertilizer/NPK, Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement. Twining Agreement between Agra and Petra, Cooperation between IIMC and Jordan Media Institute. Prasar Bharati and Jordan Television. MoU between University of Jordan and ICCR for setting up of Hindi Chair.

10. Union Cabinet clears proposal to hike salaries of MPs

The Union Cabinet has cleared the proposal for hiking the salaries of Members of Parliament (MPs). Their constituency allowance will be increased from ₹45,000 to ₹70,000, office expense allowance from ₹45,000 to ₹60,000, and the one-time furniture allowance from ₹75,000 to ₹1 lakh. While presenting the Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced such a salary revision every five years.

11. Anti-Tank Guided Missile Nag tested successfully

The Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) Nag was successfully flight-tested in desert conditions against two tank targets at different ranges and timings, Defence Ministry officials said. As the developmental trials of the missile have been completed, it is now ready for induction in the Army, the officials added. It is the third-generation fire-and-forget ATGM developed by the DRDO.

12. Israeli PM Netanyahu named in ₹1,800-crore bribery case

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has been named as the beneficiary of a PR scheme worth “up to a billion shekels”. Netanyahu allegedly benefitted from a deal struck between his former media adviser Nir Hefetz and communications giant Bezeq for positive coverage in return for ₹1,800 crore as bribe. The Israeli PM is already being investigated for two instances of corruption.

13. Union Cabinet approves Action Plan for Champion Sectors in Services

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of the Department of Commerce to give focused attention to 12 identified Champion Services Sectors for promoting their development, and realizing their potential. These include Information Technology & Information Technology enabled Services (IT & ITeS), Tourism and Hospitality Services, Medical Value Travel, Transport and Logistics Services, Accounting and Finance Services, Audio Visual Services, Legal Services, Communication Services, Construction and Related Engineering Services, Environmental Services, Financial Services and Education Services.

14. Core sector grows at 6.7% in January 2018

Growth in the country’s core sector accelerated to 6.7% in January, 2018 from 3.4% a year ago thanks to a huge jump in the output of cement and petroleum refinery, and a robust performance by the electricity sector. The growth in eight core sectors, which comprise 40.27% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), was 4.2% in December and 7.4% in November, 2017.

15. Moon to get 4G network soon!

The first 4G network on Moon is being planned by telecom company Vodafone to support a mission by PT Scientists in 2019 and it has appointed Nokia as its technology partner. Berlin-based company, PT Scientists is working with Vodafone Germany and Audi to achieve the first privately-funded Moon landing. Mission to the Moon is due to launch in 2019 from Cape Canaveral on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, Vodafone said in a statement. Vodafone’s network expertise will be used to set up the Moon’s first 4G network, connecting two Audi lunar quattro rovers to a base station in the Autonomous Landing and Navigation Module (ALINA).