Daily Current Affairs - 17th Jan 2018

1.2 lakh fewer deaths in under-5 category in 2016

  • According to figures from the Sample Registration Survey (SRS), India posted its sharpest year-on-year decline in the under-5 infant mortality rate (u5). The u5, at 39 deaths per 1,000 live births, recorded a 5-point decline from the 2015 figure of 43. Nearly 1,20,000 fewer deaths in 2016 as compared to 2015.
  • At the national level, the u5 varies from 43 in rural areas to 25 in urban areas and ranges from 11 in Kerala to 55 in Madhya Pradesh.
  • Except Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, all the bigger States/Union Territories have higher u-5 mortality rates among girls than boys.
  • More girls seem to be dying than boys, the death rate of girls being 12 against 10 for boys. Also, the death rate is 12 in rural areas against 10 in urban areas.
  • The IMR refers to death in infants who were yet to turn one, as it refers number of deaths per 1,000 live births (IMR).

5,000 children killed or hurt in Yemen war: UNICEF

  • According to the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, the war in Yemen has killed or injured more than 5,000 children and left another 400,000 severely malnourished and fighting for their lives. On an average of five children were killed every day since March 2015. Over three million children were born into the war adding they had been scarred by years of violence, displacement, disease, poverty, undernutrition and a lack of access to basic services. Nearly two million Yemeni children were out of school.
  • The UN agency said more than 11 million children or nearly every child in Yemen was now in need of humanitarian assistance.
  • UNICEF: The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund was created by the United Nations General Assembly on the 11th of December 1946, to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries that had been devastated by war.
  • Executive Director: Henrietta H Fore
  • Headquarters: New York City, USA

BBIN pact: India, Bangladesh, Nepal okay vehicle movement procedure

  • Bangladesh, India and Nepal have given nod to operating procedures for movement of passenger vehicles in the sub-region under Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) motor vehicles agreement. The participating countries have also agreed to conduct more trial runs for cargo vehicles under the agreement during a high-level meeting of officials of the three countries.
  • For seamless flow of passenger and cargo traffic in the region, BBIN motor vehicles agreement (MVA) was signed by the transport ministers of the BBIN countries in Thimphu, Bhutan on 15 June 2015. However, Bhutan could not ratify it later.

Centre signs pact with CII for logistics

  • The Logistics Division of the Commerce Ministry has signed an agreement with industry body CII to address challenges facing the country’s logistics sector and help take measures to bring down costs. The Ministry said it aimed to establish a Logistics Working Group with a co-chairperson from the CII Institute of Logistics, a centre of excellence working on logistics and supply chain management.
  • Logistics costs in India, at 13-14% of GDP, are higher than those in developed countries.

Centre to finalise Online degree in non-tech courses

  • The Centre would soon finalise regulations enabling universities with high National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) scores to offer degree, certificate and diploma courses for non-technical subjects in online mode. The UGC will approve the new course structure. There will be online lectures, tutorials and also a weekly online discussion forum where professors will answer queries of the enrolled candidates. There will be an online examination in six months or one year. They will be granted certificates if they pass
  • Only institutions with a NAAC grade of A plus and A plus plus –a NAAC score of 3.26 or above on a scale of 4 – would be permitted to start these courses, which would essentially be open and distance learning in online mode.

Centre to seek comments on farm export policy draft

  • The Union Commerce Ministry will soon put out a draft Agricultural Export Policy for comments from the public. The proposed policy, which aims to boost shipments of farm items by identifying niche products and new markets, also has a focus on value addition and reduction of wastage through pre-and post-harvest interventions. The proposed agricultural export policy will also help develop agricultural clusters.
  • Exports from the agricultural segment rose 18% to $21 billion in April-October 2017-18 period as against just 5% in 2016-17.
  • Union Commerce Minister: Suresh Prabhu

Centre to strike off names of 1 lakh twenty thousand more companies from official records as part of fight against black money

  • The Union government has decided to strike off the names of 1 lakh 20,000 more companies from the official records for various non-compliances as part of its fight against black money. Nearly 2 lakhs 20,000 companies have already been deregistered and around 3 lakh directors associated with these entities have been disqualified.

DAC clears procurement of assault rifles & carbines to meet immediate requirement

  • Defence Acquisition Council chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has cleared procurement of 72,400 assault rifles and 93,895 carbines on a fast-track basis for Rs 3,547 crore to enable the defence forces to meet their immediate requirement for the troops deployed on the borders. The fast-track process of the defence procurement procedure (DPP) is to ensure expeditious procurement of urgent requirements of the regular and special forces
  • The council also simplified Make-2 procedure for development and manufacturing of defence equipment through domestic industry.
  • The revised procedure will now allow Ministry of Defence to accept suo moto proposals from the industry and allow start-ups to develop equipment for armed forces.

De Grandhomme leads NZ to win over Pakistan

  • Colin de Grandhomme blasted New Zealand to a five-wicket win over Pakistan in the fourth ODI. De Grandhomme bludgeoned the Pakistan attack with an unbeaten 74 off 40 balls to reinvigorate New Zealand's run chase as the hosts were struggling to reach a 263-run target.
  • New Zealand up 4-0 in the five-match series and sets a new record for the Black Caps of 11 consecutive international victories.

Haj subsidy ends, funds to go into minority education

  • In keeping with Supreme Court orders, the NDA government will no longer provide subsidy to Haj pilgrims and has pledged that funds saved will be used for the education of minorities, particularly girl children. There will be no subsidy for Haj from this year.
  • BJP has argued that the subsidy, essentially for air travel, is a demonstrative sop for Muslims and a diversion of funds that might be better utilised.
  • Supreme Court ruled in May 2012 that the subsidy be eliminated in 10 years ie 2022. While subsidies have been dismantled, a record number of 1.75 lakh Muslims will go on the Haj pilgrimage this year.
  • Minority affairs minister: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

ICC U19 World Cup: India defeat Papua New Guinea by 10 wickets

  • Three-time champion India stormed into the ICC U-19 World Cup quarterfinals after registering a thumping 10-wicket win over Papua New Guinea in a low-scoring Group ‘B’ match. India achieved the victory target of 65 runs in just 8 overs. Prithvi Shaw made 57 runs, while Manjot Kalra contributed 9 to win the match.
  • Earlier put in to bat, Papua New Guinea were all out for 64 runs in only 21.5 overs. Anukul Roy was the wrecker-in-chief as he ran through the opposition, returning with impressive figures of 6.5-2-14-5.

Israel’s Watergen, Tata Projects ally to offer water solutions

  • Watergen, an Israeli drinking water solutions firm, and Hyderabad-based Tata Projects have agreed to an MoU that seeks to address India’s drinking water challenge and envisages domestic manufacture of Watergen units. This will help solve India’s drinking water challenge by providing safe, clean and cost-efficient drinking water
  • Watergen offers a low-cost, energy efficient, clean and safe drinking water from the air. Its large scale atmospheric water generators can produce up to 6,000 litres of water from air every day. The medium scale AWG unit produces up to 600 litres.

RIL plans to invest Rs. 5,000 crore more in West Bengal

  • Reliance Industries announced a fresh investment of Rs. 5,000 crores, in addition to the group’s investments about Rs. 15,000 crores made in the State since January 2015. The new initiatives announced by the company include developing digital tools (such as the cloud-based POS solution) for small retailers, making West Bengal the group’s innovation and technology hub for customer devices like set top boxes and mobiles as well as for connecting hospitals and schools through ugh the optical fibre network.

Rohingya refugees to return in 2 years

  • Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed to repatriate 650,000 Rohingya refugees, who fled Myanmar’s crisis-hit Rakhine province, in two years, according to an agreement signed between the two countries.
  • Both the countries held the first meeting of a joint working group on the issue in Naypyidaw where the deal was signed. Under the deal, Bangladesh would establish five transit camps from which returnees would be received initially in two reception centres on the Myanmar side.
  • Myanmar would consider resettling the displaced people staying at the zero line on a priority basis and reiterated its commitment to the stop outflow of its residents to Bangladesh.

Tata Trusts set up healthcare impact lab

  • Tata Trusts have opened a healthcare impact lab in IIT Delhi, with a U.S.-based international non-governmental organisation, PATH, to focus on building affordable medical devices for use by grass-roots health workers. The lab will work on areas such as nutrition, child health, paternal health and communicable diseases. The lab will bring in global expertise on research in the healthcare domain.

TCS signs deal worth over 690 mn dollars with M&G

  • India's largest IT services firm, Tata Consultancy Services has signed a deal worth over 690 million dollars with M&G Prudential, savings and investments business of Prudential plc. in the UK and Europe.
  • Chairman of TCS:Natarajan Chandrasekaran
  • CEO and MD of TCS: Rajesh Gopinathan

U.S. deported 460 Indians in 2017

  • According to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), there is an increase of about 30 per cent in deportation of Indians from the United States was recorded in 2017 as compared to the previous year. In 2017, 460 Indians were deported as compared to 353 in 2016.
  • As many as 128,765 Mexicans were deported in 2017, making up the most number of deportations from any country. However, that was a decrease from 2016, when 149,821 people from Mexico were deported.
  • A significant increase was recorded in deportations against Haitians. From 310 in 2016, the number increased to 5,578 in 2017. In total, deportations decreased to 226,119 in 2017 from 240,255 in 2016.

US withholds more than half of 125 million from UN agency in Palestinian aid

  • The United States is withholding more than half of the 125 million dollars initial aid it planned to give to the United Nations relief agency for the Palestinians. The money given will be used by the agency on providing health care, education and social services to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Earlier, the US President Donald Trump had cautioned that it could cut aid if Palestinians rejected peace efforts with Israel.
  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sharply attacked Mr Trump's Middle East peace efforts, saying he would not accept any peace plan from the US after it recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital last year.