Latest Current Affairs – May 02 & 03 2018
1. Sridevi honoured with National Award posthumously
Late actress Sridevi was honoured with the National Award for Best Actress posthumously at the 65th National Film Awards ceremony held in New Delhi. The late actress was awarded the honour for her performance in the 2017 film ‘Mom’. Sridevi’s husband Boney Kapoor and daughters Janhvi and Khushi arrived at the award ceremony to collect the award.
2. Dalmia Group adopts Gandikota Fort along with Red Fort
The Dalmia Bharat Group has adopted Gandikota Fort in Andhra Pradesh, along with the Red Fort in Delhi, for a period of five years under the government’s ‘Adopt A Heritage’ scheme. Under the scheme, the firm will only be responsible for maintaining and revamping the monument and will not undertake any profit-making activities.
3. Union Cabinet approves plan to set up 20 AIIMS across India
The Union Cabinet has approved a plan to set up 20 All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) across the country and upgrade 73 medical colleges. The new AIIMS would address the shortfall of healthcare professionals, transform health education and training, and lead to employment generation.
4. India now among world’s top 5 military spenders
India has surpassed France to become one of the world’s five largest military spenders, according to Swedish arms watchdog SIPRI. India spent $63.9 billion on its military in 2017, an increase of 5.5% compared with 2016, the report stated. The other countries in top five include the US, China, Saudi Arabia, and Russia.
5. Justin Langer replaces Darren Lehmann as Australia coach
Former Australian cricketer Justin Langer has been appointed as Australian cricket team’s head coach for all three formats. Langer replaces Darren Lehmann, who had stepped down after Australia’s tour of South Africa amid the ball-tampering controversy. The 47-year-old, who represented Australia in 105 Tests, will begin his four-year term ahead of limited-overs series against England next month.
6. FIFA proposes staging mini-World Cup every two years
World football governing body FIFA’s president Gianni Infantino has proposed staging a ‘mini-World Cup’ every two years. The tournament, which will be called ‘Final 8’, would feature eight teams and could commence in October or November 2021. The biennial tournament would replace the Confederations Cup, which is currently staged every four years in a year before the World Cup.
7. Scientists produce alcohol from wood for the first time
Japanese scientists have invented a way of producing alcoholic beverages from wood of cherry, cedar, and birch trees. The method involves pulverising wood into a creamy paste and adding yeast and enzymes to start fermentation. Four-kilogram cedar wood produced 3.8 litres of liquid, with a 15% alcohol content. They hope to make their “wood alcohol” commercial within three years.
8. 14 of world’s 20 most polluted cities are in India: WHO
As many as 14 Indian cities are among the 20 most polluted cities in the world in terms of PM2.5 levels, according to World Health Organisation’s latest report on air quality. The data reveals that Kanpur is the most polluted city in the world, while three cities in the United States are the least polluted.
9. India, China to set up hotline between military HQs: Report
The militaries of India and China have reportedly agreed to set up a hotline between their headquarters after an informal summit between Indian PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The hotline would enable the militaries to intensify communication in order to avoid confrontations like the 73-day Doklam standoff at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
10. Supreme Court flags Cauvery Management Board issue
Supreme Court asks Centre to present before it by May 8, steps being taken to constitute Cauvery Management Board; Centre explains delay is due to not receiving cabinet approval. The Supreme Court has asked Karnataka to see how much water can be released to Tamil Nadu and asked it to apprise the court by the 8th of this month. The bench initially asked the Karnataka government to release four TMC of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu by May 8, but later directed the state to apprise it “as to how much water can be released”.
11. PM Modi most popular world leader on Facebook
According to the study “World Leaders on Facebook” released in Geneva by Burson Cohn & Wolfe, over 43 million people follow PM Modi on the social media platform. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is far ahead of other world leaders, including US President Donald Trump, when it comes to popularity on Facebook.
The Prime Minister has been using social media to communicate directly with the people of India and the world on a wide range of issues.
12. India and France conduct final phase of Varuna naval exercise near Reunion Island
The Indian and French navies are conducting the third and last phase of the 2018 Varuna naval exercise, from 1st to 7th of May, in the vicinity of Reunion Island, a French administrative department in the India Ocean. The seven-day exercise sees the sailors simulating different scenarios, including air defense, firing, manoeuvers, asymmetric warfare and embarkation.
13. Cabinet approves financial assistance to sugar mills for clearing cane dues of farmers
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval to provide financial assistance @ of Rs. 5.50 per quintal of cane crushed in sugar season 2017-18 to sugar mills to offset the cost of cane, in order to help sugar mills to clear cane dues of farmers.
- The assistance shall be paid directly to the farmers on behalf of the mills.
- It will be adjusted against the cane price payable due to the farmers against Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) including arrears relating to previous years.
- Subsequent balance if any, shall be credited into the mill’s account.
14. Cabinet approves restructuring of Multi-sectoral Development Programme
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal for renaming and restructuring of Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) as Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK). CCEA has also approved its continuation during the remaining period of the 14th Finance Commission.
- The restructured programme would provide better socio economic infrastructure facilities to the minority communities particularly in the field of education, health & skill development as compared to the present situation, which would further lead to lessening of the gap between the national average and the minority communities with regard to backwardness parameters.
- The area to be covered under PMJVK would be 57% more as compared to the existing MsDP.
- The MsDP covered 196 district of the country whereas PMJVK will cover 308 districts of the country.
15. Cabinet approves Upgradation and Expansion of airport infrastructure at Lucknow, Chennai & Guwahati Airport
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval to for expansion and upgradation of integrated terminals at Chennai, Guwahati & Lucknow Airports, at a cost of Rs.2467 crore, Rs.1383 crore and Rs.1232 crore, respectively.
Lucknow Airport: Construction of New Integrated Terminal will have an area of 88,000 sqm along with the existing terminal building with 16292 sqm and will have annual capacity to handle 2.6 million international and 11 million domestic passenger traffic.
Chennai Airport: Total built up area of the proposed terminal building, including the present proposal measuring 197000 sqm shall be 336000 sqm with an annual capacity to handle 35 mppa. The new terminal building incorporates green building features with an aim to achieve GRIHA-4 Star rating.
Guwahati Airport: The New Terminal Building shall have an area of 102500 sqm to handle combined annual capacity (old and new terminals) of 9 mppa.
According to IATA Traffic Study, India, at 7th position as of now, is likely to take 3rd position by 2023-24 by overtaking UK, Japan, Spain & Germany. The current rate of the growth in domestic aviation sector of India is the highest globally.
16. Cabinet approves continuation of Umbrella Scheme ‘Green Revolution — Krishonnati Yojana’ in Agriculture Sector
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for the Umbrella Scheme, “Green Revolution – Krishonnati Yojana” in agriculture sector beyond 12th Five Year Plan for the period from 2017-18 to 2019-20 with the Central Share of Rs. 33,269.976 crore. The Umbrella scheme comprises of 11 Schemes/Missions. These schemes look to develop the agriculture and allied sector in a holistic and scientific manner to increase the income of farmers by enhancing production, productivity and better returns on produce.
The Schemes that are part of the Umbrella Schemes are :
1. Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH)
2. National Food Security Mission (NFSM)
3. National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA)
4. Submission on Agriculture Extension (SMAE)
5. Sub-Mission on Seeds and Planting Material (SMSP)
6. Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation (SMAM)
7. Sub Mission on Plant Protection and Plan Quarantine (SMPPQ)
8. Integrated Scheme on Agriculture Census, Economics and Statistics (ISACES)
9. Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Cooperation (ISAC)
10. Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Marketing (ISAM)
11. National e-Governance Plan (NeGP-A)
17. Cabinet approves accession to the Protocol under WHO Framework Convention
The Union Cabinet has given approval to accede to the Protocol under World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on tobacco control to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products. It will be applicable to both smoking and chewing or smokeless tobacco (SLT) forms as negotiated and adopted under Article 15 of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). India is a party to WHO FCTC.
The protocol lists out offences, enforcement measures such as seizures and disposal of seized products. It calls for international cooperation in information sharing, maintaining confidentiality, training, technical assistance and cooperation in scientific and technical and technological matters.
18. Cabinet approves continuation of Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana upto 2019-20
In a major boost to the expansion of healthcare infrastructure in the country, the Union Cabinet has approved the continuation of Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana(PMSSY) beyond 12thFive Year Plan to 2019-20. The financial outlay for this purpose is Rs 14,832 crore. Under this scheme, new AIIMS are established and Government medical colleges are upgraded.
The PMSSY, a Central Sector Scheme, aims at correcting the imbalances in the availability of affordable tertiary healthcare facilities in different parts of the country in general, and augmenting facilities for quality medical education in the under-served States in particular.
19. Cabinet approves construction and operationalisation of 100 bedded General Hospital at Najafgarh, New Delhi
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for construction and operationalisation of 100 bedded General Hospital at Rural Health Training Centre (RHTC), Najafgarh, New Delhi at an estimated cost of about Rs. 95 Crore. The Project envisages setting up of the 100 bedded hospital in Najafgarh in two years to cater to the local population of 13.65 Lakh spread across 73 villages.
The hospital will include four major clinical services in Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Surgery, including a blood bank, diagnostic services and separate Out Patient Departments (OPD) for General Medicine, Surgery, Dental, ENT, Ophthalmology, audiometry and paediatric care through a staff of more than 30 doctors and 40 nurses, apart from 50 Allied and Healthcare staff.
20. Cabinet approves Restructuring of the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM)
The Union Cabinet has approved the Restructuring of the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) by upgradation, creation and abolition of certain posts of Joint Secretary-level and above. The total cadre strength of Indian Bureau of Mines has been maintained at the existing strength of 1477.
The restructuring would help in enabling the IBM to effectively discharge its function to help reform and transform the regulation of the mineral sector. It will enable the adoption of IT and space technology by the IBM to improve its effectiveness in mineral regulation and development. Further, the posts entail a great deal of decision-making and accountability in the functioning of the organization.
21. Cabinet approves Mutual Recognition Agreement between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants
The Union Cabinet has approved the Mutual Recognition Agreement between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).
The Agreement will:
- Recognition of Indian Accountancy Professionals with local Accountancy qualification in addition to existing ICAI qualification, which will increase their professional avenues in South African markets.
- Foster strong working relations between the two accounting institutes.
- Increase mobility of professionals at either end and would herald a new dimension for small and medium businesses in both countries.
22. Cabinet approves Doubling of Investment Limit for Senior Citizens from Rs. 7.5 lakh to Rs.15 lakh under Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandan Yojana (PMVVY)
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for extending the investment limit from Rs 7.5 lakhs to Rs 15 lakhs as well as extension of time limits for subscription from 4thMay 2018 to 31stMarch, 2020 under the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandan Yojana (PMVVY) as part of Government’s commitment for financial inclusion and social security.
As of March, 2018, a total number of 2.23 lakh senior citizens are being benefited under PMVVY. In the previous scheme of Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana-2014, a total number of 3.11 lakh senior citizens are being benefited.
The scheme provides an assured pension based on a guaranteed rate of return of 8% per annum for ten years, with an option to opt for pension on a monthly / quarterly / half yearly and annual basis.