Latest Current Affairs – May 24 2018
1. Airtel Payments Bank appoints ex-ICICI executive as CEO
Airtel Payments Bank has appointed former ICICI Bank senior executive Anubrata Biswas as its MD and CEO. Biswas was the joint general manager and retail business head (South India) for ICICI Bank. His appointment comes five months after the exit of the company’s first CEO Shashi Arora, who had resigned after UIDAI suspended the firm’s e-KYC licence.
2. Trump cancels US-N Korea summit citing ‘tremendous anger’
US President Donald Trump cancelled the talks scheduled for June 12 with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, citing North Korea’s recent “tremendous anger and open hostility”. “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used,” Trump said in a letter to Kim.
3. PM Modi to visit Indonesia, Singapore
PM Narendra Modi will visit Indonesia and Singapore between May 29 and June 2 and hold bilateral talks with leaders of both nations, the Centre announced. The PM will deliver the keynote address in Singapore, in the first instance of an Indian PM being invited to do so. He is also likely to sign key agreements with both the nations.
4. Import duty on wheat hiked to 30% to curb cheaper imports
The government has hiked the import duty on wheat from 20% to 30% to curb cheaper imports and protect domestic growers. The move comes at a time when the domestic production is expected to reach a record 98.61 million tonnes in the 2017-18 crop year. Further, the import duty on walnut shell has also been increased from 30% to 100%.
5. IIT-Kanpur signs ?15-crore deal to make flying cars in India
IIT-Kanpur researchers have signed a ?15-crore MoU with VTOL Aviation India to develop vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) craft prototypes, potentially to be used as flying taxis. AK Ghosh, the Aerospace Engineering head of IIT-Kanpur said the electric craft will be able to take off or land on any terrain. The project may span up to five years, he added.
6. Govt appoints chairpersons for three state-run banks
The government has appointed non-executive chairpersons for three state-run banks based on the suggestions of Banks Board Bureau. Former RBI Director Charan Singh has been appointed at Punjab & Sind Bank. Anjali Bansal, former MD of TPG Private Equity, has been appointed at Dena Bank, while former Corporate Affairs Secretary Tapan Ray will take charge at Central Bank of India.
7. India climbs one spot to 44th in global competitive rankings
India has jumped one spot to 44th this year in global competitive rankings released by Switzerland-based IMD World Competitiveness Center. Meanwhile, China bagged the 13th rank this year as compared to the 18th in 2016. The US dethroned Hong Kong to retake first place on the list, which ranked 63 countries based on 258 indicators.
8. TN pollution board orders Sterlite unit closure amid protest
The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has ordered the closure of the Sterlite Copper plant in Tuticorin amid ongoing protests by locals. Sterlite reportedly failed to comply with certain conditions imposed in the previous renewal of consent order issued to the unit. The power supply to the copper plant was also cut after TNPCB’s order.
9. Palestine joins Chemical Weapons Convention
Palestine has become the 193rd nation to join the Chemical Weapons Convention and the move will take effect on June 16. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is tasked with implementing the convention which is aimed at preventing the manufacture, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons. South Sudan, Egypt and North Korea are not part of the organisation.
10. Netherlands joins Solar Alliance
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who is in India at PM Modi’s invitation held wide-ranging discussions on bilateral and international issues. Both leaders acknowledged the private sector’s role in boosting trade and investment. PM Modi assured investors from the Netherlands that government of India is committed to economic reforms.
The Netherlands has become the 64th signatory member of the International Solar Alliance. Prime Minister Modi said both countries have stood together on many an international forum and the Solar Alliance is a symbol of this strong partnership.
11. HRD Ministry launches Samagra Shiksha scheme
Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar launched Samagra Shiksha scheme for school education. The scheme focuses on improving quality of education, enhancing the Learning outcomes and using technology to empower children and teachers.
The objectives of the scheme include
1. Provision of quality education
2. Enhancing learning outcomes of students
3. Bridging social and gender gaps in school education
and promoting vocationalisation of education
4. Strengthening teacher education institutions like SCERTs and Diets to improve quality of teachers
5. Annual grant of Rs 5,000 to Rs 20,000 per school for strengthening of libraries
12. India at historic best on ‘Ease of doing business’ index
With foreign direct investment on a record high and several major reforms, India’s economy has undergone a significant transformation in the past four years. According to the global ease of doing business report, India jumped up 30 notches into the ‘ease of doing business’ index. India now ranks 100 globally as compared to previous year’s 130.
13. Nima Jangmu Sherpa scales 3 highest mountains in single season
Nima Jangmu Sherpa, a Nepali woman created a world record by scaling three highest mountains in a single climbing season. 28 year old Nima Jangmu has become only woman in the world to climb three highest peaks in Nepal above 8,000 meters in one season within 25 days. She had successfully scaled Mt Everest on May 14 and Mt Lhotse on April 29. She made her historic ascent on Mt Kanchenjunga, third highest peak of the world.
14. India’s first National Sports University in Manipur: Union Cabinet approves ordinance
The Union Cabinet approved an ordinance to set up the country’s first national sports university in Manipur. The Manipur government has already allocated land for the proposed university. The proposal to set up the national sports university in Manipur was initially announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while Rs. 100 crore funds for it were allocated in the 2014-15 budget.
15. Nepal becomes first country in south-east Asia to eliminate Trachoma: WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) has validated Nepal for having eliminated trachoma as a public health problem – a milestone, as the country becomes the first in WHO’s South-East Asia Region to defeat the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness. In 2002, the Government of Nepal stepped up efforts to eliminate the disease with the establishment of a national trachoma programme.
Approximately 30 000 operations were provided to manage trichiasis, and almost 15 million doses of azithromycin were distributed.
16. Pakistan hosted SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure meeting in Islamabad
Pakistan hosted its first ever Shanghai Cooperation Organisation-Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (SCO-RATS) three day meeting in Islamabad. Issue related to terrorist threats in the region and how to overcome them were discussed.
The three day meeting saw participation of legal advisors from eight SCO member states including China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan as well as representatives of the SCO-RATS executive committee. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation was founded on June 15, 2001 and has a total 8 member states.
Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) is permanent organ of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). It serves to promote cooperation of member states against three evils of terrorism, separatism and extremism. It is headquartered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
17. Cabinet approves USOF scheme for Meghalaya under CTDP
The Union Cabinet has approved the “Universal Service Obligation Fund [USOF]” supported scheme to provide mobile services at 4072 tower locations identified by MHA in inhabited uncovered areas affected by Left Wing Extremism [LWE] of 96 districts in 10 States for Phase-ll project. The total project cost would be Rs.7,330 Crore.
This network would be used by the security personnel deployed in LWE affected areas. Project will also provide the mobile services to help the residents in unconnected inhabited villages which would improve the economic activities in the region. It will give impetus to the e-Governance activities in the backward and LWE affected area with the availability of digital mobile connectivity.
18. Former SC judge CK Prasad appointed as Chairman of Press Council of India
Former Supreme Court judge C K Prasad has been appointed the chairman of the Press Council of India (PCI) for a second term. Prasad headed the media watchdog for three years from November 2014. He had succeeded Justice Markanday Katju.
The Press Council of India is a statutory body with a mandate to act as a watchdog to oversee the conduct of the print media. It was reconstituted for three years in October, 2014 and the term ended in October last year.
19. Cabinet approves MoU between India and Turkey on trade in poppy seeds
The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Turkey on trade in poppy seeds to ensure quick and transparent processing for import of poppy seeds from Turkey. In this way genuineness of import contract can be easily ensured as well as many litigation matter resulting in delay in the import can be avoided.
The MoU will ensure continuous availability of poppy seeds in domestic market of India and ultimately Indian consumers of poppy seeds will be benefited.
20. Cabinet approves MoU between India and Singapore on Cooperation in the field of Personnel Management and Public Administration
The Union Cabinet has approved signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Singapore on Cooperation in the field of Personnel Management and Public Administration. The MoU aims at improving the current system of governance, particularly in the areas of Workforce, Workplace and Jobs, Public Service Delivery, Human Resource Management, Public Sector Reform, Leadership/ Talent Development and E-Governance/Digital Government.
21. Cabinet approves MoU between India and Morocco on India-Morocco cooperation in Renewable Energy
The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Morocco on India-Morocco Cooperation in Renewable Energy. The MoU was signed on 10th April, 2018 in New Delhi.
Both sides aim 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. The MoU will help in strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
22. Cabinet approves MoU between India and Denmark on Food Safety Cooperation
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Denmark regarding cooperation in the areas of food safety. The MoU will help deepen bilateral ties, mutual understanding and trust, eventually strengthening both sides in their capacity building efforts towards food safety. It will further promote understanding of the best practices in the areas of food safety in both countries and in faster resolution of issues related to food safety.
23. Cabinet approves MoU signed between India and France in the field of Renewable Energy
The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval tothe Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and France in the field of Renewable Energy on 10th March, 2018 in New Delhi. Both sides aim to identify research/ demonstration/ pilot project between National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), India and Commissariat aI’EnergieAtomique et aux Energies Alternatives (CEA), France in the mutually identified areas. Based on mutual agreement, both parties would work for implementation & deployment of pilot project in ISA member countries.
24. Cabinet apprised of the MoU between India and Angola
The Union Cabinet has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the between India and Angola for promoting bilateral cooperation in the field of Electronics and Information Technology. The MoU intends to promote closer cooperation in the areas of e-Governance, HRD for IT education, Information Security, Electronics Hardware manufacturing, IT embedded Software industry, Telemedicine etc.