Daily Current Affairs - 31st Mar 2018

All Kerala, Mizoram households are open defecation free

  • According to data generated by a government-commissioned survey, Kerala and Mizoram top the list of States, with 100% of households which do not practice open defecation, while Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are at the bottom of the rankings, with less than 44% of such households. The survey’s findings confirmed the government’s data on ODF villages, with 95.6% of the villages declared ODF confirmed.
  • For communities, ODF status is defined by “no visible faeces found in the environment/village; and every household as well as public/community institutions using a safe technology option for disposal of faeces.

Centre introduces Swachh Bharat Summer Internship for college students

  • The Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has introduced a Swachh Bharat Summer Internship (SBSI) for college students to conduct sanitation drives in villages during summer vacation.
  • Under the terms of the internship, candidates would be required to undertake 100 hours of activities including creation of sanitation, infrastructure, system building and behaviour change campaigns in and around nearby villages.
  • The SBSI aims to engage lakhs of educated youths across the country, develop their skills and orientation for the sanitation sector, amplify mass awareness and cement the people's movement (Jan andolan) aspect of Swachh Bharat Mission.

China launches another pair of BeiDou-3 navigation satellites into space

  • China successfully launched a Long March-3B rocket carrying two BeiDou-3 spacecraft for its satellite navigation system. Powered by its first stage and four liquid rocket boosters, the Long March-3B completed a short vertical ascent after liftoff before pitching toward the southeast in order to fly over the island of Hainan, toward South China Sea. The two passengers of the mission, BeiDou-3 M5 and BeiDou-3 M6, are based on a newly-developed dedicated satellite bus.
  • BeiDou-3 M5 and BeiDou-3 M6 represent the third phase of the BDS system and it is the final stage of the establishment of a Chinese space-based navigation architecture.
  • This was the ninth Chinese launch so far in 2018 and the third Long March-3B. The next rocket flight from the Asian country is expected to be on April 21 when it lofts another Long March-3B with the Apstar 6C communications satellite.

Darren Lehmann announces his resignation as head coach of Cricket Australia

  • Darren Lehmann announced his resignation as head coach of Cricket Australia. Lehmann said the fourth Test against South Africa will be his last Test. He was cleared of any wrongdoing by Cricket Australia investigation in the ball-tampering scandal. He admitted that the players made a grave mistake and hoped people will give them a second chance.

Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi re-elected for second term

  • Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been re-elected for a second term with a sweeping majority, garnering nearly 92 percent of the total votes. According to early estimates, more than 23 million Egyptians voted for the 63-year-old Field Marshal in the three-day presidential election.
  • His sole competitor centrist politician and al Ghad party chief Moussa Mostafa Moussa, is estimated to have obtained 3 percent of the vote.
  • Sisi overthrew Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in 2013 following mass protests against his rule. He was elected for a four-year presidential term in 2014.
  • Egypt
  • Capital: Cairo
  • Currency: Egyptian pound

Fino Payments Bank to deploy Android-based mPOS devices across 10,000 banking points

  • Fino Payments Bank plans to deploy multi-utility Android-based mPOS devices across 10,000 banking points throughout the country in a phased manner over the next 12 months. The key feature of the new Android-based mPOS is that it is a single device with in-built finger print scanner, card reader, camera, printer and tablet, in a portable form factor.
  • The move is aimed at eliminating the inconvenience of carrying multiple devices by the representatives leading to improved services to customers. As of now, the correspondents of the bank have to carry multiple devices to facilitate finger print authentication and digital transactions.
  • Fino which was a remittance service provider received authorization from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to operate as a bank in March 2017. It started operations in September last year. The bank has a network of 422 branches and 25,000 access points spread across 14 states
  • India has three other operational payment banks—Airtel Payments Bank, Paytm Payments Bank and Aditya Birla Idea Payments Bank.

First US shale gas reaches India at Dabhol terminal

  • India’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo from America landed at the Dabhol regasification terminal in Maharashtra. This is part of a $32-billion supply deal for 20 years that GAIL signed with the Dominion Energy Cove Point project in Maryland and Cheniere Energy Inc’s Sabine Pass Project in Louisiana. GAIL alone would be procuring around $2 billion worth of LNG per annum from USA from 2018-19. Asian markets account for about 70 per cent of global LNG shipment;
  • India’s trade with America is expected to see large-scale import of LNG and crude oil in the coming years.
  • Total bilateral trade (goods and services) between India and the US increased at a compound annual rate of 11.4 per cent from $20 billion in 2000 to $126.1 billion in 2017.

India's antibiotics usage witnessed maximum rise among LMICs between 2000-2015

  • India witnessed the highest increase in antibiotic consumption among Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) between 2000 and 2015. Indian population likely to face widespread antibiotic failure due to its prolonged use without medical consultation.
  • Doctors have warned that with the prolonged use of antibiotics, many patients have become anti-antibiotic that even the primary diseases have become difficult to treat and transforming into fatal diseases.
  • India, saw the highest increase - 103 percent in antibiotic consumption followed by China and Pakistan between 2000 and 2015.

India's longest elevated flyway inaugurated in Ghaziabad

  • Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath inaugurated India's longest six-lane single-pier pillar elevated road in Ghaziabad. The road is the longest flyway in India to be built on single-pier pillars. The six-lane road has been constructed by the Ghaziabad Development Administration (GDA) with an estimated budget of Rs 1,147.60 crore.
  • The 10.3 kilometre-long elevated road has been built to allow non-stop, direct movement of vehicles to travel from Raj Nagar Extension to UP gate on NH-24 and vice-versa.

Long term capital gains tax to come into effect from April 1

  • The reintroduction of tax on long term capital gains (LTCG) exceeding Rs 1 lakh from sale of shares, will kick in from April 1, the beginning of 2018-19 financial year. In the 2018-19 Budget, after a gap of 14 years, reintroduced 10 per cent tax on LTCG exceeding Rs 1 lakh from sale of shares. Currently, 15 per cent tax is levied on capital gains made on share sale within a year of purchase.
  • However, it is nil for shares sold after a year of purchase. In July 2004, the government had abolished LTCG tax on shares and replaced it with the securities transaction tax (STT) - a same-day tax credit system that continues.
  • Other tax proposals like reduced corporate tax of 25 per cent on businesses on a turnover of up to Rs 250 crore and a standard deduction of Rs 40,000 in lieu of transport allowance and medical reimbursement, will come into effect from Sunday.

Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of tribal habitations in the country with the safe drinking water

  • Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of 55770 fully covered tribal habitations with the safe drinking water in the country followed by Odisha 52427 and Jharkhand 53476 numbers of habitations.. There are 365050 Scheduled Tribe (ST) dominated habitations in the country, out of which 301858 (82.69%) habitations are fully covered with provision of safe drinking water supply and 53090 (14.54%) habitations are partially covered.

Madhya Pradesh’s Kadaknath chicken gets Geographical Indication tag

  • Chennai-based GI Registry has accepted the application of Gramik Vikas Trust, Jhabua, for the Geographical Indications (GI) tag for Kadaknath, a chicken breed whose black meat is in demand. The protein-rich meat of Kadaknath, chicks and eggs are sold at a much higher rate than other varieties of chicken. The breed is native to Jhabua, Alirajpur and parts of Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh.

Mergers and acquisitions reach record high globally

  • According to Thomson Reuters data, Global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) had their strongest start ever in the first quarter of 2018, totalling $1.2 trillion in value. While the value of M&A deals increased 67% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2018, the number of deals dropped by 10% to 10,338. M&A volumes doubled in Europe in the first quarter, while the U.S. was up 67% and Asia was up 11%.
  • This can be attributed to U.S. tax reform and faster economic growth in Europe unleashed many companies’ deal making instincts.
  • Strong equity and debt markets and swelling cash coffers also helped boost the confidence of chief executives, convincing them that now is as good a time as ever to pursue trans formative mergers.

MP raises retirement age for govt staff to 62 years

  • Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today announced raising the retirement age of state government employees to 62 years from the current 60 years. There are about five lakh regular government employees in the state.

NASA to send first mission to study 'heart' of Mars

  • US space agency NASA is all set to send the first-ever mission dedicated to exploring the deep interior of Mars. It will launch on 5th of May, a stationary lander - InSight, which will be first NASA mission since the Apollo moon landings to place a seismometer, a device that measures quakes, on the soil of another planet.
  • InSight or the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport mission, carries a suite of sensitive instruments to gather data.

Orleans Masters World Super 100 tournament: Kashyap, Sameer in last eight

  • Indian shuttlers P. Kashyap and Sameer Verma entered the quarterfinals of the Orleans Masters World Super 100 tournament with straight game wins in the men’s singles competition. Fifth seed Kashyap defeated Ireland’s Joshua Magee 21-11, 21-14, while top seed Sameer beat local hope Thomas Rouxel 21-16, 21-15.
  • In the women’s singles, Mugdha Agrey lost 21-11, 21-9 to Gregoria Mariska Tunjung of Indonesia.

PM Narendra Modi tops list of most powerful Indians: Indian Express

  • According to Indian Express Survey, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah retained the prime positions in the power list becoming the No. 1 and No. 2 for two years running. The third position is captured by Dipak Misra, chief justice of India. Sonia Gandhi of the Congress remains as influential as before while she is ranked fifth in the list. Mamta Banerjee, chief minister West Bengal, holds the sixth position being the most popular mass leader in West Bengal.
  • Cricketer Virat Kohli has been ranked number 20. Amir Khan, Salman Khan and Shahrukh khan have been placed consecutively at 80, 81 and 82 number in the list.

SEBI eases norms for angel funds to aid startups

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has eased some rules for angel funds, a move that is likely to encourage startup funding. It has doubled the maximum investment amount in venture capital undertakings by an angel fund to Rs 10 crore. It also reduced the requirement of a minimum corpus of an angel fund to Rs 5 crore from Rs 10 crore, and increased the maximum period for accepting funds from angel investors from three years to five years.
  • Under the revised rules, instead of filing scheme memorandum, angel funds can submit term sheet within ten days of launching the plan. The change in norms were based on recommendations by a group of angel networks, consultants and start-ups.

US President Trump says US troops would withdraw from Syria very soon

  • President Donald Trump has said, that the US troops would withdraw from Syria very soon. He further added that the US was using all its resources to defeat Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq and drive them out of the captured territory. He regretted that the US has wasted 7 trillion dollars in wars in West Asia and as a result, the US has little money for its infrastructure.