Current Affairs Today – March 29 2018
1. Madhya Pradesh wins GI tag for black chicken
Madhya Pradesh has been awarded the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Kadaknath chicken, a black-coloured variety bred in the state’s Jhabua district. MP filed the GI application in 2012 and Chhattisgarh filed its claim last year. While MP had set up the first poultry farm for rearing the variety in 1978, Chhattisgarh’s annual production of Kadaknath chicken exceeds MP’s production.
2. ISRO successfully launches communications satellite GSAT-6A
ISRO has successfully launched communications satellite GSAT-6A from Sriharikota. The 2,140-kg satellite, with a planned mission life of 10 years, would provide mobile communication to India through multi-beam coverage facility. The launch marks the 12th flight of the 415-tonne Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle GSLV-F08 and sixth flight with an indigenous cryogenic upper stage.
3. Govt seeks details from FB regarding data breach by April 7
The Indian government has given Facebook till April 7 to respond to a letter seeking details of the data breach by Cambridge Analytica. This comes after the Election Commission of India announced it will continue its partnership with Facebook. Earlier, the IT Ministry issued a notice to Facebook, asking whether personal data of users was exploited to influence Indian elections.
4. RBI imposes ₹59 crore penalty on ICICI Bank
The RBI has penalised India’s third-largest lender ICICI Bank with ₹58.9 crore for failing to comply with held-to-maturity (HTM) guidelines. The penalty is for non-compliance with directions issued on direct sale of securities from its HTM portfolio and specified disclosure in this regard. This is the highest penalty imposed by the RBI on a bank for a single incident.
5. Rosemary DiCarlo becomes first female UN Political chief
The United Nations has appointed American diplomat Rosemary DiCarlo as the world body’s new Political Affairs chief, the first woman to hold the position. DiCarlo had earlier served as the Director for UN Affairs at the National Security Council in Washington. She had also acted as the Deputy US Ambassador to the UN from 2010 to 2014.
6. Williamson replaces Warner as captain of SunRisers Hyderabad
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson has been named the captain of IPL franchise SunRisers Hyderabad, replacing Australian cricketer David Warner. The ex-Australian vice-captain had stepped down as SRH’s captain before being banned from IPL over the ball-tampering scandal. Further, Cricket Australia handed Warner a one-year ban from playing in international and domestic cricket.
7. NASA to launch new planet-hunting satellite in April
NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is undergoing final preparations in Florida for its launch scheduled on April 16. TESS is seen as a successor to the Kepler Space Telescope which has discovered over 2,500 exoplanets and is currently running out of fuel. With a gravitational assist from the Moon, TESS will settle into a 13.7-day orbit around Earth.
8. Cabinet nod to integrated scheme on school education
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved an integrated scheme on school education by including the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, and Teacher Education from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2020. The scheme aims to support the states in universalising access to school education from pre-nursery to Class 12 across the country.
9. Government to sell 76% stake in debt-ridden Air India
The government said it will sell 76% stake in state-run Air India and 100% stake in international subsidiary Air India Express. The government has set the minimum net worth criteria for companies or consortiums bidding for Air India at ₹5,000 crore. Professional services firm Ernst & Young LLP India will be the sole transaction advisor for the disinvestment.
10. Cabinet approves enhancing the coverage of Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for enhancing the scope of Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY). The Government of India will now contribute the Employer’s full admissible contribution for the first three years from the date of registration of the new employee for all the sectors including existing beneficiaries for their remaining period of three years.
The informal sector workers would get social safety net and there would be more job creation. Till now, the scheme has produced quite encouraging results and have added about 31 Lakhs beneficiaries to the formal employment involving an expenditure of more than Rs. 500 crore.
11. Cabinet approves continuation, strengthening and establishment of Krishi Vigyan Kendras till 2019-20
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of the Department of Agricultural Research and Education for continuation / strengthening, upto 2019-20, of 669 KrishiVigyanKendras(KVKs) established till 31.03.2017, 11 Agricultural Technology Application Research Institutes (ATARIs), support to the Directorates of Extension Education (DEEs) of Agricultural Universities (AUs) and all special programmes associated with the Scheme and establishment of 76 spill over KVKs as already approved in the 12th Plan.
12. Cabinet approves continuation of Nutrient Based Subsidy and City Compost Scheme till 2019-20
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of the Department of Fertilizers for continuation of Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS)and City Compost Scheme beyond 12th Five Year plan till 2019-20. The total expenditure for continuation of both the schemes till 2019-20 will be Rs. 61,972 crore.
The expenditure for the scheme will be on actual basis since national roll out of DBT entails 100% payment of subsidy to fertilizer companies on sale of fertilizers to farmers at subsidized rates.
13. Cabinet approves Export of all edible oils in bulk (except mustard oil)
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of Ministry of Commerce & Industry for removal of prohibition on export of all varieties of edible oils except mustard oil. Mustard oil will continue to be exported only in consumer packs upto 5 Kgs and with a minimum export price of US $ 900 per tonne.
Removing of restrictions on export of all edible oils is likely to provide additional marketing avenues for edible oils and oilseeds and will benefit the farmers by way of better realisation for oilseeds.
14. Permanent Indus Commission meet begins in Delhi
The two-day meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) between India and Pakistan began in New Delhi on March 29, 2018. The commission is expected to discuss various issues under the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT). The Indian delegation for the annual meeting comprises India’s Indus Water Commissioner P K Saxena, a representative of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and technical experts. Pakistan’s six-member delegation for the commission’s 114th meeting is being led by Syed Muhammad Mehar Ali Shah.