Daily Current Affairs - 29th Mar 2018

93% rural households with access to toilets using them: Survey

  • According to a government-sponsored National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey, over 93 per cent households in villages who have access to toilets are using them and about 77% homes in rural areas have got toilets. It has also re-confirmed the Open Defecation Free (ODF) status of about 96% of villages which were previously declared and verified as ODF by various districts and states.
  • The survey was conducted between mid-November 2017 and mid-March 2018 and covered 92,040 households in 6,136 villages across India.
  • NARSS conducted by an independent verification agency under the World Bank support project to the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G).

CBDT extends PAN-Aadhaar linking deadline to June 30

  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes has extended the deadline for linking the permanent account number and Aadhaar to June 30. The latest order by the CBDT has come in the backdrop of the Supreme Court’s direction earlier this month to extend the March 31 deadline for linking Aadhaar with various other services. This is the fourth extension given by the government for individuals to link their Permanent Account Number with their biometric ID (Aadhaar).
  • The union government has now made quoting of Aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax returns as well as obtaining a new PAN
  • The apex court ordered an extension of the deadline till the five-judge Constitution bench delivers its judgment on petitions challenging the validity of the biometric scheme and the enabling law.
  • As per updated data till March 5, over 16.65 crore PANs, out of the total about 33 crore, have been linked with Aadhaar.

China restarts river data sharing with India

  • China pledged to continue sharing of data on Brahmaputra and Sutlej waters with India, marking another confidence-building step post-Doklam. The decision was taken during the 11th meeting of the India-China Expert Level Mechanism on Trans-border Rivers in Hangzhou on March 26. Both sides agreed to continue with such cooperation on humanitarian grounds and on the basis of bilateral relations.

CWG 2018: Indian contingent arrives in Gold Coast

  • About 200 members of the Indian contingent and officials participating in the Commonwealth Games beginning next week reached Gold Coast, Australia. The contingent members comprising athletics, boxing, basketball, hockey, lawn bowling and shooting reported at the Games Village as they reached in batches.

India is now the world’s third-largest electricity producer

  • According to a report by the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), India has become the 3rd largest electricity producer in the world. Its electricity production grew 34% over seven years to 2017 and now generates around 1,160.1 billion units of electricity in financial year 2017, up 4.72% from the previous year. India is behind only China which produced 6,015 terrawatt hours and the US (4,327 TWh), and is ahead of Russia, Japan, Germany, and Canada.
  • Multiple drivers like industrial expansion and rising per capita income are leading to growth in power demand is set to continue in the coming years.
  • Over the last five years, India put up 99.21 GW of additional capacity. Of this, 91.73 GW came from thermal sources, 5.48 GW from hydro, and 2 GW from nuclear sources.
  • India plans to have around 60 GW of wind capacity and around 100 GW of solar by 2022. The government aims to quadruple its nuclear capacity to 20 GW by 2020
  • Over the last five years, renewable energy has been the fastest-growing segment, but still contributes only around 14% to the total power capacity in India.

Indu Bhushan appointed CEO of 'Ayushman Bharat' mission

  • Indu Bhushan has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Centre's ambitious Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission (ABNHPM) for a period of two year.
  • The Union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved the launch of the Ayushman Bharat mission. 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 section.
  • Bhushan, currently the Director General of East Asia Department, Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Manila, Philippines. Bhushan was Director General of the Strategy and Policy Department, which leads the preparation and coordination of ADB's corporate strategy and policies, resource mobilization and allocation, and results management,

ISRO to launch communication satellite GSAT-6A from Sriharikota

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch communication satellite GSAT-6A from Sriharikota. Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) will be carrying the payload that will lift off from the second launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre. This will be the 12th flight of GSLV and the sixth one with the Indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage.
  • GSAT-6A is a high power S-band communication satellite based on the I-2K satellite bus. The mission life of the spacecraft is about 10 years.
  • The satellite will also provide a platform for developing technologies such as demonstration of the 6-metre S-Band Unfurlable Antenna, hand-held ground terminals and network management techniques that could be useful in satellite-based mobile communication applications.

ISSF Junior World Cup: Muskan Bhanwala wins gold

  • Indian shooter Muskan clinched the gold medal in women's 25m pistol event at the ISSF Junior World Cup in Sydney. Muskan bested China's Qin Sihang and Thailand's Kanyakorn Hirunphoem. The team gold was won by Muskan, Manu Bhaker and Devanshi Rana. Muskan's medal was India's fourth individual gold in the prestigious tournament.
  • India thus upstaged China with 22 medals, including nine gold. India have also five silver and eight bronze medals.

Lt Gen Harpal Singh takes Charge as Director General Border Roads

  • Lt Gen Harpal Singh, an alumni of National Defence Academy, has been appointed Director General Border Roads. He was commissioned into the Corps of Engineers on 1982. He later commanded a Border Roads Task Force in Jammu and Kashmir valley.
  • During his 34 years of distinguished career, the General Officer has held several prestigious assignments.

Madhavpur Ghed Mela ended in Porbandar

  • The famous Madhavpur Ghed Mela ended in Porbandar district of Gujarat with the grand wedding procession of Lord Krishna and Rukmini. The fair was jointly organised by Union Culture Ministry and Gujarat government under Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat programme. The five-day national level festival was organized highlighting cultural linkages between Gujarat and Arunachal Pradesh.

Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated across country

  • Mahavir Jayanti, the birth anniversary of 24th and last Jain Tirthankar Bhagwan Mahavir is being celebrated across the country on 29th March. Mahavir Jayanti is considered to be one of the most auspicious events for Jain people and holds a lot of importance in their religious life.
  • Devotees of Lord Mahavir and his followers celebrate this festival by chanting prayers, offering Prasad and participating in chariot processions.

Ministry of Power joins hands with Skill India to support electrification scheme ‘Saubhagya’

  • The Union Ministry of Power partnered with the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship to train the manpower in six states for speedy implementation of its SAUBHAGYA scheme.
  • The scheme is undertaken as a special project under the government’s Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) and launched in Six States - Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh. Around 47,000 Distribution Lineman-Multi Skills and Technical Helpers will be trained in these six focus states to give fillip to rural electrification.
  • SAUBHAGYA (Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojna) aims to achieve universal household electrification in all parts of the country in a time bound manner. Around 4 crore households are expected to get electricity connections under the scheme.

NASA to launch GRACE-FO mission to observe Earth's frozen regions

  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) stated that it will be launching of two new satellite missions and conduct an array of field research in 2018 to enhance the understanding of Earth's ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice, snow cover and permafrost.
  • The mission called the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission will be launched by NASA along with the German Research Centre for Geosciences. The missions will also make other key observations such as, the GRACE-FO will measure groundwater reserves and deep ocean currents and ICESat-2 will measure sea ice thickness and vegetation height.
  • The changes in the cryosphere, which often occur in the remote regions, have shown impact on people all around the world like sea level rise affects coastlines globally and melting of snowpack affects billions of people who rely on the water. As the diminishing sea ice that covers the Arctic Ocean plays a significant role in Earth's climate and weather patterns.
  • The cryosphere is the frozen water part of the Earth system.

NITI Aayog launches baseline ranking for 115 aspirational districts

  • Government policy think tank NITI Aayog has launched the baseline ranking for 115 aspirational districts. The baseline ranking stands on 49 indicators across five sectors that include health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion and skill development, and basic infrastructure.
  • This will be followed by delta ranking of these districts from May 2018 based on their incremental progress. The dashboard developed for real-time data collection and monitoring will be open for public viewing from April 1
  • Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the 'Transformation of Aspirational Districts' programme in January to quickly and effectively transform some of the most underdeveloped districts of the country.

NITI Aayog partners with SAP to promote science, engineering and mathematics in schools

  • NITI Aayog has now partnered with SAP to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics in 100 secondary schools in 2018. The partnership is under government's flagship programme Atal Innovation Mission which will be spread across states of Delhi/NCR, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
  • The programme aims to enable students to learn advanced technology topics relevant to digital transformation and the internet of things e.g. design thinking methodology, introduction to programming languages and experiential science learning. NITI Aayog has earlier partnered Intel and IBM for the projects.
  • NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), a flagship programme of the Government of India to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Pradosh Kumar Rath to be new chairman cum managing director of RINL

  • Pradosh Kumar Rath has been shortlisted as the new chairman cum managing director of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL). Rath, who is currently Director (Operations) at RINL, emerged as the top choice of the Public Enterprises Selection Board. He is likely to have a three-year tenure at the helm of affiars at RINL, which operates the Vizag Steel Plant.
  • Rath's appointment to the post is subject to clearance by the Central Vigilance Commission and the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet
  • Public Enterprises Selection Board(PESB) selects candidates for senior positions at public sector unit.
  • Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd, also known as Vizag Steel, is a Public steel producer, Based in Visakhapatnam,

RBS India facilitates setting-up of WomenInTech Forum

  • The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) India in association with prominent technology corporates, Academia and government participation has setup an exclusive 'By Invite Only' platform 'Women In Tech' with the agenda of working towards encouraging more women to take up careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) as a key career choice.
  • RBS India has facilitated the setting-up of the industry forum - 'WomenInTech' to help accelerate the national agenda of Beti Bachao, Beti Padao and further work in alignment with the UN's focus area this year.
  • The forum will address the need for policy making collectively as an industry to ensure that workplaces prod more girls to take up careers in STEM on one end; and on the other hand are conducive for working women to aspire for senior level roles.
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • CEO: Ross Maxwell McEwan
  • Headquarters: Edinburgh, UK

SBI hikes interest rates on fixed deposits above two years

  • State Bank of India has increased the interest rates on fixed deposits by 10-25 basis points for tenures ranging between two and 10 years. The new rates range between 6.6 per cent and 6.75 per cent. For fixed deposits below Rs 1 crore and with two-three years tenure the interest rate was fixed at 6.60% from the existing 6.50%. For term deposits between 3 years and 5 years, customers will get 6.70% interest, against 6.50% earlier. For term deposits that is long-term, 5 to 10 years, the interest rate has been raised to 6.75% from 6.50%
  • SBI owns more than one-fifth of India's banking assets.
  • Maenwhile, SBI Card has partnered with IMA to launch 'Doctor's SBI Card' which among other things offers professional indemnity insurance cover of Rs 10 lakh to protect doctors against professional risks and liabilities.

Shekhar Kapur to head the jury for 65th National Film Awards

  • Veteran director Shekhar Kapur has been appointed chairman of the central panel of the 65th National Film Awards. The central panel comprises a chairperson and 10 other members, including five regional chairpersons who head the respective regional panels.
  • Mr Kapur is known for his work in Hindi cinema and International cinema.
  • Film writer Imtiaz Hussain will be the regional chairperson of South 1- panel. Mehboob has been appointed as the regional chairperson of South -2 panel. Film actress Gautami Tadimalla is the regional chairman of the North panel, while Director Rahul Rawail has been appointed as the regional
  • chairperson of the Western panel.
  • Director P Sheshadri is the regional chairperson of Eastern panel. The other members of the panel include Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Tripurari Sharma, Rumi Jaffery, Ranjit Das and Rajesh Mapuskar.

Smart India Hackathon 2018 Grand Finale to be held on 30th & 31st March across country

  • The Smart India Hackathon 2018 Grand Finale will be held on 30th and 31st this month across the country at 28 centres as the finale will go on for 36 hours at a stretch. According to officials, it is the World’s largest Nation-Building Digital Initiative of the HRD Ministry which conceptualized to harness the creativity and energy of bright young students for the development of India.
  • One lakh engineering and management students have registered for the world's largest Hackathon. The first edition of this event held last year recorded nearly 40 thousand participants. This year, hardware hackathon has also been introduced.

Smith,Warner banned for 1 year, out of IPL

  • Steve Smith and David Warner were slapped with a one-year international ban and ousted from this year's IPL, while Cameron Bancroft was suspended for nine months as Cricket Australia took stringent actions on errant trio for its role in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa. The three players were also banned from Australia's domestic cricket. All three players will, however, be permitted to play club cricket to maintain links with the cricket community.
  • Smith and Warner were also barred from this year's IPL. Smith was supposed to captain Rajasthan Royals and Warner was to lead Sunrisers Hyderabad.
  • The lengthy bans on the trio effectively rule them out of the November-December series against India.

T20 Tri-series: Australia women thrash England by 8 wickets

  • Australia beat England by 8 wickets in a tri-series T20 Women cricket match at Mumbai.put in to bat Australia bundled out England for 96 in 17.4 overs. Australia chased the required target in 11.3 overs with the loss of two wickets.
  • The two visiting teams had already booked a place in the final to be played on Saturday after India were knocked out following three losses.

Two Indian activists shortlisted for Commonwealth Youth Awards

  • Two Indian activists Mirnalini Dayal and Yogesh Kumar have been named among 20 finalists from across 53 member-countries for the Commonwealth Youth Awards 2018 for their work in the field of gender equality. Indian finalists were singled out for their work in the field of achieving United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal No. 5(gender equality).
  • Mirnalini Dayal has been recognised for her work as a campaign leader for 'Health Over Stigma' for her efforts to challenge the stigma associated with accessing sexual health services and create a safe haven for women to seek out reproductive health facilities in India.
  • Yogesh Kumar as the founder of social enterprise 'Even Cargo' which promotes gender equality through the employment of women couriers.
  • The awards recognise outstanding young people aged 15 to 29 whose innovative projects and programmes have had a significant impact on their communities

Virat Kohli wax statue to be unveiled at Madame Tussauds Delhi

  • Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli’s figure will be unveiled at Madame Tussauds Delhi, soon. The iconic Kohli will join cricketers Kapil Dev and Sachin Tendulkar, and footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, who have also been featured in the popular sports zone.
  • Madame Tussauds Delhi is an attraction known for the portrayal of the famous names in the world of glamour, sports, history and politics under one roof.
  • Madame Tussauds has been making wax figures for over 150 years and has attractions in cities like London, New York, Orlando, Amsterdam, Berlin, Vienna, Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore, Sydney.

Win Myint elected new Myanmar president

  • yanmar's parliament has elected Win Myint as the country's next president, a week after the resignation of his predecessor Htin Kyaw. He resigned as president last week, amid growing health concerns. But the new president role will be essentially ceremonial, with Ms Suu Kyi acting as de facto president.
  • Win Myint, a close aide of Aung San Suu Kyi, has been a speaker in the lower house since 2012 and was widely tipped for the top job.
  • The other two vice-presidents were Myint Swe, who served as acting president after Htin Kyaw stepped down, and Henry Van Thio.
  • Myanmar
  • Capital: Naypyidaw
  • Currency:Burmese kyat