Current Affairs Daily Digest – March 14 & 15 2018


1. Haryana approves death penalty for raping kids aged below 12

The Haryana Assembly has unanimously passed a bill which provides for death penalty to those found guilty of raping girls aged 12 years or less. After Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, Haryana has become the third state where the assembly has approved the provision of capital punishment for such sexual offenders.

The Criminal Law (Haryana Amendment) Bill, 2018, moved by the state’s Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ram Bilas Sharma, was passed on the last day of the budget session. The bill was passed unanimously with INLD and Congress members also lending their support.

2. World Consumer Rights Day – March 15

The consumer movement marks 15th March with World Consumer Rights Day every year, as a means of raising global awareness about consumer rights and needs. Celebrating the day is a chance to demand that the rights of all consumers are respected and protected, and to protest against market abuses and social injustices which undermine those rights.

Consumers International has announced that the theme for World Consumer Rights Day 2018 is ‘Making digital marketplaces fairer‘.

3. India’s growth will touch 7.3% next fiscal: Fitch

Rating agency Fitch has projected India’s economic growth to rise to 7.3% next fiscal and further to 7.5% in 2019-20. The agency said the disruptions related to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout in July 2017 have gradually diminished. It added the currency in circulation recovered to its pre-demonetisation level in mid-2017 and is now increasing steadily.

4. India’s GST rate second highest in the world: World Bank

Rating agency Fitch has projected India’s economic growth to rise to 7.3% next fiscal and further to 7.5% in 2019-20. The agency said the disruptions related to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout in July 2017 have gradually diminished. It added the currency in circulation recovered to its pre-demonetisation level in mid-2017 and is now increasing steadily.

5. Three Indian cities named among world’s 10 cheapest cities

Bengaluru has been named as the 5th cheapest city in the world in Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2018 Cost of Living Index. While Chennai has been ranked as the 8th cheapest location, New Delhi was listed on the 10th spot. The survey mentioned that within Asia, the best value for money has traditionally been particularly offered by Indian and Pakistani cities.

6. Finland named world’s happiest country, India ranks 133rd

Finland has been named the happiest country, according to the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s 2018 World Happiness Report. Finland was followed by Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland, while India came in at 133rd, down from 122nd place last year. The report ranked 156 countries on the basis of GDP per capita, life expectancy, social freedom, and absence of corruption.

7. HDFC Bank blocks use of its cards for cryptocurrency trading

Private sector lender HDFC Bank has barred the use of its credit, debit and prepaid cards to buy or trade in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. This comes after multiple warnings by the RBI and the government regarding the potential economic, legal and security-related risks associated with cryptocurrencies. Earlier, Citibank India also banned the use of its cards for buying cryptocurrencies.

8. Arunachal tribals to get land ownership rights for 1st time

Arunachal Pradesh Assembly has passed Arunachal Pradesh Land Settlement and Records Amendment Bill, 2018, which will allow the state’s tribal people to have ownership rights over their land for the first time. The bill caters to indigenous people, including communities and clans possessing land possession certificates. It will also allow them to use their land as collateral for loans.

9. Lok Sabha passes Finance Bill amid protests by Opposition

The Lok Sabha has passed the Finance Bill and Appropriation Bill with a voice vote amid protests by the Opposition. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan used the guillotine method to get the Finance Bill passed, whereby a fixed time is allotted for discussion for each ministry. Once the prescribed time is over, all the outstanding demands are put to voice vote.

10. Yatra launches new ad campaign with brand ambassador Ranbir Kapoor

Online travel portal Yatra has launched a new campaign featuring its brand ambassador, Bollywood superstar, Ranbir Kapoor. Aimed at highlighting its eCash loyalty program, and the unique feature of protecting customers from a drop in airfare post making a booking, these ads present two unique customer friendly features in an entertaining manner using evergreen Bollywood movie songs with tailored lyrics.

11. Actor Narendra Jha passes away after cardiac arrest

Actor Narendra Jha, known for appearing in films like ‘Raees’ and ‘Haider’, passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest on Wednesday morning. Jha, who was 55-years-old at the time of his demise, also appeared on television shows like ‘Shanti’ and ‘Itihaas’. He also worked in Prabhas starrer upcoming film ‘Saaho’.

12. Amazon launches its first-ever debit card in Mexico

E-commerce major Amazon has launched its first-ever debit card called ‘Amazon Rechargeable’ in Mexico. Customers who do not have a credit or debit card will be able to convert cash into a payment method in an easy way through Amazon’s debit card, the company said. Last year, Amazon launched cash payments service in the country.

13. Chennai has fastest fixed broadband speed in India: Report

Among Indian cities, Chennai has the fastest fixed broadband speed at over 32.67 Mbps, which is 57.7% faster than India’s average speed, according to broadband speed tester Ookla. Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam and Delhi also scored above the country’s average speed of 20.72 Mbps. Among states, Karnataka topped the list with 28.46 Mbps, followed by Tamil Nadu with 27.94 Mbps.

14. Renowned scientist Stephen Hawking passes away aged 76

Renowned British theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking has passed away at the age of 76. He was paralysed with motor neurone disease at 21 and doctors expected him to live for only two more years. Hawking was known for his theory on black holes, the boundless universe, and authoring ‘A Brief History of Time’.

15. Aadhaar must for new bank account, tatkal passport: UIDAI

The UIDAI said the requirement of Aadhaar for opening new bank accounts or applying for Tatkal passports will continue, while the deadline for linking it to existing bank accounts and PAN has been extended by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has also extended the March 31 deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to avail various services and welfare schemes run by the government till its constitution bench delivered its verdict on the validity of the 12-digit biometric number and its enabling law.

16. India re-enters Top 100 in FIFA rankings

Indian football team re-enters the top-100 of the FIFA world rankings and is now placed 99th in the latest chart released by FIFA. It has 339 points now and shares the 99th spot with Libya. The Indian team broke into the top 100 thrice last year, with the highest rank being 96. It’s best record has been the 94th spot which it bagged in February 1996.

Among Asian countries, the Indian team is now at 13th spot above the likes of Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Bahrain and North Korea. World champions Germany remain on the top of the overall chart, followed by Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, France and Chile.

17. India offers Madagascar USD 80 million LoC for agriculture & mechanisation

India has offered Madagascar 80 million US dollars Line of Credit for agriculture and mechanization. President Ram Nath Kovind, who is in Madagascar said, India is keen to bring in expertise, and replicate infrastructure success stories in other African countries through India’s LOC financing.

India and Madagascar have signed an umbrella agreement in the field of defence. Under the agreement, both the countries will explore various ways of co-operation in the field of defence. An amended air service agreement was also signed to support efforts towards improving connectivity between the two countries. Both the countries will have co-sharing agreement with Air Seychelles through Air India and Air Madagascar.

18. Oklahoma to become first US state to use nitrogen gas for executions

Oklahoma plans to start using nitrogen gas for executions. This would be the first such method of capital punishment in the United States. The state is turning to nitrogen after it and other states became unable to acquire drugs required for lethal injections because of opposition from manufacturers to their products being used for capital punishment. Nitrogen is an odorless and tasteless gas that makes up about 78 per cent of the air humans breathe but causes death when inhaled without any oxygen.

19. Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurates Asia-Pacific Regional Conference of IACP

Home Minister Rajnath Singh has inaugurated the two-day Asia-Pacific Regional Conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, IACP in New Delhi. The theme of the conference is “Challenges to Policing in 2020 – How is Cyber Space shaping our approach to Cybercrime and Terrorism, how do we perform within it and take advantage of it”.

The IACP is the world’s largest organization of Police and law enforcement executives that is highly regarded for its role in identifying and responding to changing needs of the law enforcement community.

20. Rahul is Wisden India Almanack’s Cricketer of the Year

KL Rahul is the ‘Cricketer of the Year’ in the sixth edition of Wisden India Almanack. The Almanack pays a tribute to India’s women cricketers, with a wonderful cover picture of celebration at the World Cup.

Virat Kohli has emerged as the most successful Indian and international cricketer, but this year the focus shifts to matches in England and Australia.

Priyank Panchal, Hasan Ali and Tamim Iqbal are the other Cricketers of the Year.

21. Adhiban wins chess title in Reykjavik

India’s Baskaran Adhiban clinched the title in the 33rd Reykjavik Open with an impressive performance that saw him win five of the nine games. Adhiban, who was in top form in the tournament, drew his final round against Mustafa Yilmaz to finish with 7.5 points. Adhiban became only the second Indian after Abhijeet Gupta (in 2016) to win the prestigious Reykjavik Open.