Daily Current Affairs - 13th Apr 2018

AIIB decides to invest $140M to improve Rural Connectivity in India

  • Approximately 1.5 Million rural residents in State of Madhya Pradesh are going to directly benefit from improved livelihoods, education and mobility with the USD $ 140-Million loan approved by the Board of Directors of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
  • The Project, co-financed with the World Bank, aims to improve the rural road connectivity and management for residents of about 5,640 villages who use the rural roads for daily activities.

Award for Siddharth Varadarajan

  • Siddharth Varadarajan, the founding editor ofThe Wire, will receive the Shorenstein Journalism Award for 2017.
  • The award is given annually by Stanford University’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and alternates between recipients from the West and Asia.

Boeing signs deal with HAL, Mahindra

  • Boeing India has signed an agreement with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), and Mahindra Defence Systems (MDS) at the Defence Expo 2018 to manufacture Super Hornet fighter aircraft in India.
  • The companies will manufacture F/A-18 Super Hornet for India’s armed forces. The memorandum for the ‘Make in India’ fighter jets was signed by Boeing India president Pratyush Kumar, HAL Chairman and MD T. Suvarna Raju, and MDS chairman S.P. Shukla.

Cabinet delegates powers to oil, finance ministers to award oil blocks

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has delegated powers to Finance and Petroleum Ministers to award oil and gas exploration blocks to successful bidders under Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP). Under HELP, exploration blocks are to be awarded twice in a year and currently awarding of blocks requires the CCEA’s approval. Delegation of these powers will expedite decision making process on awarding blocks and further enhance ease of doing business in petroleum and natural gas sector.
  • Under HELP, Empowered Committee of Secretaries (ECS) considers Bid Evaluation Criteria (BEC), conducts negotiations with bidders wherever necessary and makes recommendations to CCEA on award of blocks. Then CCEA approves award of blocks.

Caribbean diplomats raise immigration issue with U.K.

  • High Commissioners from across Caribbean Commonwealth nations have joined together to call on Britain to speedily tackle an increasingly tough immigration regime which has resulted in many elderly Caribbean-born men and women, who have lived in the U.K. for decades, facing penalties and even threatened with deportation.
  • Approximately 5,55,000 West Indians migrated to Britain between 1948 and 1973, alongside migrants from other parts of the Commonwealth, responding to Britain’s call for migrant labour to meet labor shortages.

Centre rejigs Banks Board Bureau

  • The finance ministry has reconstituted the Banks Board Bureau (BBB) and appointed Bhanu Pratap Sharma as the new chairman. Mr. Sharma was the former chairman of the Recruitment and Assessment centre of DRDO and former principal secretary (Finance), in the Bihar government. He replaces Vinod Rai, former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), who was appointed as BBB’s first chairman in April 2016.
  • Some of the other new members are Vedika Bhandarkar, former vice-chairman and MD (Investment Banking and Global Markets) of Credit Suisse India, P. Pradeep Kumar, former MD of State Bank of India, and Pradip Shah, former managing director, Crisil.

Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Indian wrestlers bagged 2 Gold, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze medal

  • In the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Indian wrestlers bagged 2 Gold, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze medal on the opening day of their competitions.
  • The Gold medals were won by veteran Olympian Sushil Kumar in the 74 kg category and Rahul Aware in 57 kgs. While Sushil brushed aside South African Johannes Botha, 10-0, Rahul defeated Steven Takahashi of Canada, 15-7.
  • In the Women's 53 kg category, Babita Kumari claimed the Silver after she lost to Canada's Diana Weicker, 2-5 in the Final.
  • Kiran clinched the Bronze in the 76 kg division following a stunning 10-0 win over Katouskia Pariadhaven of Mauritius.
  • Before India's medal rush in Wrestling, Shooter Tejaswini Sawant bagged a Silver medal in the Women's 50-metre Rifle Prone event.
  • India is currently third in the medals tally, with 14 Gold, 6 Silver and 9 Bronze. Australia continues to be at the top, with England second.

Government invites proposal for India’s first offshore wind project

  • The National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) under Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued Expression of Interest (EoI) for first offshore wind energy project of India. The global EoI is for prospective offshore wind energy developers for developing 1000 MW (1 GW) offshore wind energy project in Gulf of Khambat, off the coast of Gujarat.
  • The proposed area first offshore wind energy project is located 23-40 km seaward side from Pipavav port in Gujarat.

IIT-Delhi installs India’s first 5G lab

  • The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Delhi has installed Massive Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output (MIMO) lab on campus for standardization, R&D and manufacturing of 5G equipment. It will be the first of its kind 5G lab in the country and has been set-up at Bharti School of Telecommunication Technology and Management.
  • The lab will serve as 5G base station prototype that will be used to test and verify algorithms and also develop complete 5G base station.

India hosts 16th International Energy Forum (IEF) Ministerial Meeting

  • India, world’s third-largest energy consumer after US and China hosted 16th International Energy Forum (IEF) Ministerial Meeting from 10-12th April 2018 in New Delhi. It was formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is second time India hosting IEF Ministerial meeting. It had earlier hosted 5th IEF Ministerial in 1996 at Goa.
  • The theme of 2018 IEF Ministerial Meeting was “The Future of Global Energy Security: Transition, Technology, Trade and Investment”. It was attended by Petroleum Ministers from 42 countries and was co-hosted by China and South Korea.

Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth became World Number one

  • Ace Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth became World Number one in men’s singles category after Badminton World Federation updated its weekly rankings. He overtook World Champion Viktor Axelsen at the top of rankings with 76,895 points. Srikanth has now become the first Indian male shuttler to achieve the feat in modern ranking system. He joins Saina Nehwal to become only the second Indian to achieve the feat.

Industrial production grows 7.1% in February

  • According to data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), factory output measured in terms of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) had grown 7.1% in February 2017. It was mainly driven by robust performance of manufacturing sector coupled with higher offtake of capital goods and consumer durables. The IIP recorded growth of 8.54% in November 2017, 7.1% in December 2017 and 7.4% in January 2018. During April-February period, IIP has slowed to 4.3% from 4.7% compared to same period 2017-18 fiscal.
  • The IIP is composite indicator that measures short-term changes in volume of production of basket of industrial products during given period with respect to chosen base period. It is compiled and published monthly by Central Statistics office (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

ISRO launched the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite Sysem-1I

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation launched the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System-1I, from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
  • The satellite has been successfully placed in the designated orbit. IRNSS-1I is expected to replace IRNSS-1A, the first of the seven navigation satellites, that was rendered ineffective after its three rubidium atomic clocks failed. The seven satellites are part of the NavIC navigation satellite constellation.

NHAI signs agreement for its First International Project

  • The National Highways Authority of India has signed an agreement for the upgradation of Yagyi – Kalewa section of highway in Myanmar to two lanes with earthen shoulder. The aim is to provide seamless vehicular movement for enhancing trade, business, health, education and tourism among India, Myanmar and Thailand.
  • The project has been funded by Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and would be executed on EPC mode at a cost of Rs.1177 crores. The project will have 3 new major bridges and 2 new minor bridges. The project would be completed in three years.

RBI tightens reporting norms of outward remittances to improve monitoring

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has tightened reporting norms for the Liberalized Remittance Scheme (LRS) under which individual can transfer up to US $2,50,000 abroad in a year. The purpose of tightening of norms is to improve monitoring and also to ensure compliance with LRS limits.
  • Currently, the LRS transactions are permitted by banks based on declaration made by remitter. The monitoring of adherence to limit is confined to obtaining such declaration without independent verification, in absence of reliable source of information.
  • Now under tightened reporting norms, daily reporting system by Authorized Dealer (AD) banks of transactions undertaken by individuals under LRS has been placed, which will be accessible to all the other ADs. It will be mandatory for banks to upload daily transaction-wise information undertaken by them under LRS.

Shri Jayant Sinha to head a 13 member Task Force for fast-tracking Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology

  • The Government has decided to constitute a Task Force under the chairmanship of Shri Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation for fast-tracking the roll-out of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology. The Task Force will develop a roadmap with implementable recommendations for Central as well as State Governments, Industry and Research Institutions.
  • The Task Force will consist of representatives from the Government, PSUs, industry and sectoral experts and submit report within 6 months of its constitution. The Headquarters of the Task Force will be at Ministry of Civil Aviation, New Delhi.

WHO directives call for support for breastfeeding

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) issued a new 10-step guidance to increase support for breastfeeding in health facilities that provide maternity and newborn services, which provide the immediate health system platform to help mothers initiate breastfeeding within the first hour and breastfeed exclusively for six months. Breastfeeding all babies for the first 2 years would save the lives of more than 8,20,000 children under age 5 annually, noted a release issued by the WHO.
  • WHO Director General ------------ Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
  • UNICEF Executive Director---------Henrietta H. Fore

Xi makes surprise visit to fleet in South China Sea

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed the “urgent” need to build a powerful navy during a surprise visit to observe naval exercises in the disputed South China Sea.
  • The region has become a potential flashpoint, with the U.S. saying China’s activities in the area pose a threat to freedom of navigation in the strategically vital waterway, where Beijing has built an archipelago of artificial islands capable of hosting military equipment.