Current Affairs Daily Digest – March 22 & 23 2018
1. Karnataka declares minority status to Lingayat community
The Karnataka government has declared minority status to the Lingayat community in the state. Recently the state accepted the recommendations of an expert committee and urged the Centre to grant separate religion status to the community. Lingayats, who follow the teachings of 12th-century social reformer Basavanna, constitute around 17% of the state’s population.
2. Putin formally declared winner in Russian presidential polls
Incumbent Russian President Vladimir Putin was formally declared the winner in the recently-concluded presidential elections on Friday, securing nearly 77% of the votes. Election Commission officials denied accusations of forced and multiple voting by voters and claimed that the elections were free and fair. Putin secured his fourth presidential term and will lead the country until 2024.
3. Afghanistan in 2019 WC, Zim miss out for 1st time since 1983
Afghanistan registered a last-over win against Ireland in the World Cup Qualifier to book their place in the 10-team 2019 Cricket World Cup. The 2019 edition will be Afghanistan’s second successive World Cup. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe, who had featured in the last nine editions, missed out on a World Cup place for the first time since 1983.
4. GOI clears plan for IAF base close to Pak border in Gujarat
The Government of India has cleared a plan to set up an Indian Air Force (IAF) base close to Gujarat’s Deesa near India’s border with Pakistan. Reportedly, the PM Narendra Modi-led Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) cleared the plan to extend the runway, build fighter-pens, and administrative facilities, with an initial investment of around ₹1,000 crore.
5. Baidu gets approval to test self-driving vehicles in China
China’s capital city Beijing has given approval to the country’s internet major Baidu to test self-driving cars on the streets. Baidu will be allowed to test its autonomous vehicles on 33 roads spanning around 105 kilometres in Beijing’s less-populated suburbs. This comes days after cab-hailing startup Uber’s self-driving car killed a woman who was crossing a street in the US.
6. UN declares 2017 as ‘costliest year on record’ for climate disasters
Severe climate disasters cost countries about $320 billion in 2017, making it the costliest year on record for climate-related events, the United Nations’ weather agency stated. The report noted Cyclone Mora and Ockhi caused substantial casualties in the Indian subcontinent besides affecting about four crore people. Further, the North Atlantic hurricane season was the costliest ever for the US.
7. Toy retailer Toys”R”Us Founder Charles Lazarus dies at 94
Charles Lazarus, the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of US toy store chain Toys”R”Us, died at the age of 94. This comes one week after Toys”R”Us announced that it would start liquidating its stores in the US. The company had filed for bankruptcy protection in September last year after its debt increased to $5 billion.
8. Broad youngest pacer to reach 400 Test wickets
England’s 31-year-old Stuart Broad became the youngest pacer to reach 400 wickets in Test cricket after dismissing New Zealand’s Tom Latham in the first Test. Broad is the second England bowler, after James Anderson, and the 15th overall to reach the milestone figure. Notably, spinners Muttiah Muralitharan and Harbhajan Singh reached 400 wickets at a younger age.
9. Trump gets 3rd National Security Adviser in 14 months
US President Donald Trump has replaced HR McMaster with John Bolton as the National Security Adviser after McMaster resigned from the position in the latest high-profile departure from the White House. Bolton, who had advocated the use of military force against Iran and North Korea, will become Trump’s third National Security Adviser in 14 months.
10. Elavenil Valarivan wins gold at Junior WC
India’s 18-year-old shooter Elavenil Valarivan set a qualification world record before claiming a gold medal in the 10-metre air rifle women junior event at the ISSF Junior Shooting World Cup in Australia. Valarivan, competing in her second ISSF competition, later partnered up with Zeena Khitta and Shreya Agrawal to claim the team event gold medal.
11. India successfully flight tests supersonic cruise missile BrahMos
India successfully flight tested the supersonic cruise missile, BrahMos from Pokhran test range in Rajasthan. The precision strike weapon with Indian-made seeker flew in its designated trajectory and hit the target with pinpoint accuracy. The air-launched variant of the BrahMos was test fired from a Sukhoi-30 combat jet to enhance the precision strike capability of the air force.
12. ‘We Are Sikhs’ campaign wins top US award
‘We Are Sikhs’ campaign, a campaign to create awareness of Sikhism and its followers in the United States and fight prejudice has won the top 2018 PRWeek US award in the category of Public Cause. The campaign was launched last year on the occasion of Baisakhi by the National Sikh Campaign (NSC) and executed by FP1 Strategies. The campaign was awarded for excellence in public relations programming to promote public causes.
13. NITI Aayog, Piramal Foundation sign agreement to transform Aspirational Districts
The NITI Aayog and Piramal Foundation entered into a Statement of Intent (SoI) to work closely with the district collectors and key officers of ‘Aspirational Districts’ to support their transformation in terms of healthcare, education and nutrition. Under the SoI with NITI Aayog, Piramal Foundation will work closely with the district administration, state government and concerned central ministries in improving the identified indicators by strengthening the existing public systems specifically in the health and nutrition and education sectors.
14. Union Government to declare 2018 as National Year of Millets
The Government of India has decided to declare 2018 as ‘National Year of Millets to boost the cultivation of millets like ragi and jowar on a mission mode to achieve nutritional security. The information was shared by Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh.
15. Punjab Govt observes ‘Youth Empowerment Day’
The Punjab Government observed March 23, 2018, the martyrdom day of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh, Shaheed Sukhdev and Shaheed Rajguru as ‘Youth Empowerment Day’. To mark the occasion, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh also launched a state-wide programme to administer the oath to Drug Abuse Prevention Officers (DAPOs). Programmes at the district level were presided by the state ministers.
16. IRCTC to use PoS devices in trains to stop food overcharging
The IRCTC has introduced the use of Point of Sale (PoS) machines in trains to check overcharging by vendors. This comes after complaints from passengers about being overcharged on trains and food vendors refusing to give a bill. The machines are being introduced in a phased manner, beginning with one train and scaling to 26 trains in the next phase.
17. Balesh Sharma named CEO of Vodafone-Idea India merged entity
Vodafone Group and Aditya Birla Group has appointed Balesh Sharma, the current COO of Vodafone India, as the CEO of the merged Idea Cellular and Vodafone India. Kumar Mangalam Birla will be the non-executive Chairman of the merged company. Akshaya Moondra, ldea Cellular’s current CFO, will take over as the CFO of the new entity after the merger.
18. Delhi govt presents its 1st ‘Green budget’ worth ₹53,000cr
Delhi Finance Minister Manish Sisodia has presented the city’s annual budget worth ₹53,000 crore for 2018-19 in the assembly. He said this was the first ‘Green budget’ of the government for effective containment of pollution. The budget has various provisions for development of new forests, reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, and procurement of around 1,000 electric buses.
19. Maldives lifts state of emergency after 45 days
Maldives’ President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has lifted the state of emergency imposed in the country after a period of 45 days. The emergency was imposed after Maldives’ Supreme Court ordered the release of nine jailed opposition MPs including the country’s first democratically-elected President Mohamed Nasheed. The government had termed the order an attempt to overthrow the President.
20. Kerala government declares jackfruit official fruit of state
The Kerala government has declared jackfruit as the official fruit of the state. Announcing the decision in the state Assembly, Agriculture Minister VS Sunil Kumar said that Kerala produces 30 to 60 crore jackfruits every year, and revenue of around ₹30,000 crore could be generated through jackfruit products. The government could build a Kerala jackfruit brand, he added.
21. Cabinet clears scheme for ₹5L health cover to 10cr families
The Union Cabinet has approved the Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission, which aims to provide an annual health cover of ₹5 lakh to 10 crore poor families. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had hailed the programme as the ‘world’s largest health protection scheme’ in his Union Budget speech. The Centre will fund 60% expenditure incurred by the scheme.
22. Cabinet extends term of commission on sub-categorisation of OBCs
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the second and final extension of the term of the Commission constituted to examine the issue of Sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes in the Central List, beyond 27th March 2018 for a period of twelve weeks i.e. upto 20th June, 2018.
The Commission was constituted under article 340 of the Constitution with the approval of President on 2ndOctober, 2017. The Commission, headed by Justice (Retd.) Smt. G.Rohini commenced functioning on 11thOctober, 2017 and has since interacted with all the States/UTs which have subcategorized OBCs and the State Backward Classes Commissions.
23. Cabinet approves the MoU on Cooperation between India and Iran in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between India and Iran in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine. The MoU will enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the areas of Traditional Systems of Medicine. This will be of immense importance to both countries considering their shared cultural heritage.
The Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India having the mandate to promote, propagate and globalize the Traditional Systems of Medicine including Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa-Rigpa and Homoeopathy, has taken effective steps by entering into MoU with China, Malaysia, Trinidad & Tobago, Hungary, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mauritius and Mongolia for cooperation in Traditional Medicine. Another MoU is proposed to be signed with Sri Lanka.
24. Parivara and Talawara: Cabinet approves inclusion of communities ST list in Karnataka
The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has, in principle, approved the inclusion of the communities, namely, ‘Parivara and Talawara’ as synonym of “Nayaka’ at SI. No. 38 in the list of STs of Karnataka. This will fulfil the long term demand of ‘Parivara’ and Talawara’ communities for granting Scheduled Tribes status in the State of Karnataka. The persons belonging to “Parivara’ and Talawara’ communities will be eligible to get the Scheduled Tribe certificate from the State of Karnataka and will also be eligible for all benefits meant for the Scheduled Tribes in the State.
25. Cabinet approves amendments in Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for moving official amendments in the “Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016”. The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 proposes to regulate surrogacy in India by establishing National Surrogacy Board at the central level and, State Surrogacy Boards and Appropriate Authorities in the States and Union Territories.
The proposed legislation ensures effective regulation of surrogacy, prohibit commercial surrogacy and allow altruistic surrogacy to the needy Indian infertile couples.
26. Cabinet approves opening of 18 new missions in Africa by 2021
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approvedthe opening of 18 new Indian Missions in Africa over a four year period from 2018-2021. The decision will enhance India’s diplomatic outreach in the African continent and allow India to engage with Indian diaspora in African countries. Opening of new Missions is also a step towards implementing the vision of enhanced co-operation and engagement with Africa.
27. Cabinet approves North-East Industrial Development Scheme (NEIDS) 2017
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the North East Industrial Development Scheme (NEIDS), 2017 with financial outlay of Rs.3000 crores upto March, 2020. Government will provide necessary allocations for remaining period of scheme after assessment before March 2020. NEIDS is a combination of the incentives covered under the earlier two schemes with a much larger outlay.
28. Cabinet approves continuation of National Health Mission (NHM)
In a major boost to health infrastructure the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the continuation of the National Health Mission – with effect from 1st April 2017 to 31st March 2020 with a budgetary support of Rs. 85,217 crore as Central Share over this period.
The Cabinet has also approved continuation of the Prime Minister’s Development Package for Jammu & Kashmir 2015 – “Stepping up of support under creation of Infrastructure in District Hospitals, Sub-district Hospitals and Primary Health Centers over 5 years” – with effect from 1st April 2017 to 31st March 2020 with a budgetary support of Rs. 625.20 crores as total centrally-funded scheme.
29. Cabinet approves Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the launch of a new Centrally Sponsored Ayushman Bharat -National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) having central sector component under Ayushman Bharat Mission anchored in the MoHFW. The scheme has the benefit cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family per year. The target beneficiaries of the proposed scheme will be more than 10 crore families belonging to poor and vulnerable population based on SECC database. AB-NHPM will subsume the on-going centrally sponsored schemes -Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS).
30. Cabinet apprised of an MoU between India and Guyana on cooperation in Renewable Energy
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in Renewable Energy between India and Guyana.
The aim is to establish the basis for a cooperative institutional relationship to encourage and promote technical bilateral cooperation on new and renewable energy issues on the basis of mutual benefit, equality and reciprocity. The MoU envisages establishing a Joint Working Committee to review, monitor and discuss matters relation to areas of cooperation. The MoU aims for exchange of expertise and networking of information.
31. Cabinet approves revision of the Agreement between India and Qatar
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for revision of the Agreement between India and Qatar for the avoidance of double taxation and for the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.
The revised DTAA updates the provisions for exchange of information to latest standard, includes Limitation of Benefits provision to prevent treaty shopping and aligns other provisions with India’s recent treaties. The revised DTAA meets the minimum standards on treaty abuse under Action 6 and Mutual Agreement Procedure under Action 14 of G-20 OECD Base Erosion & Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project, in which India participated on an equal footing.