Daily Current Affairs - 29th Apr 2018

Centre to move amendment to make POCSO Act gender-neutral

  • The Centre will amend the POCSO Act to provide death sentence for rape of boys under the age of 12, after the ordinance promulgated by President Ram Nath Kovind provided the same punishment for rape of girls in this age bracket.
  • Sections 4,5 and 6 of the POCSO Act would now be amended to not only provide for death penalty for rape of boys under the age of 12 but also bring jail terms for sexual offences committed against boys under the age of 16 on par with those for girls in the same age category.
  • The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012 was formulated in order to effectively address sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children.

Delhi govt to set up Rogi Kalyan Samiti

  • To provide support to the health institutions in the national capital, the Delhi government will set up ‘Rogi Kalyan Samitis’ in each Assembly constituency and ‘Jan Swasthaya Samitis’ in state-run dispensaries, poly clinics and mohalla clinics.
  • ‘Assembly Rogi Kalyan Samitis’ will be advisory in nature which will assist health facilities, develop and customise strategies among others, while ‘Jan Swasthaya Samitis’ will be set up as its sub-committee.
  • ‘Assembly Rogi Kalyan Samitis’ and ‘Jan Swasthaya Samitis’ will be provided Rs 3 lakh per annum as grant in aid.

Fitch retains India rating at ‘BBB-’ with stable outlook

  • Global credit rating agency Fitch affirmed India’s sovereign rating at ‘BBB-’ with ‘stable’ outlook, saying that the country’s medium-term growth potential is strong. ‘BBB-’ rating indicates lowest investment grade.
  • It projected India’s growth at 7.3 per cent in current the fiscal and further to 7.5 per cent in 2019-20.
  • Fitch has kept rating unchanged at ‘BBB-’, the lowest investment grade, with stable outlook. The rating was assigned to the country 11 years ago. Fitch had last upgraded the rating from ‘BB+’ to ‘BBB-’ with stable outlook on August 1, 2006.

Former PM Manmohan Singh launches economist Rao's book

  • Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh released a book titled ‘My Journey from Marxism-Leninism to Nehruvian Socialism’ by former Planning Commission and Finance Commission member C H Hanumantha Rao.
  • Mr Rao is one of the most creative thinkers, social activist, and distinguished economist in India.

Govt to soon acquire RBI’s stake in National Housing Bank

  • The government Is all set to acquire the stake of Reserve Bank of India in Housing finance regulator National Hosing Bank(NHB).
  • The Finance Bill 2018 has amended the National Housing Bank Act, 1987, for transferring RBI’s stake in the NHB to the government.
  • RBI currently holds 100 per cent stake in the NHB.

HDFC Bank launches interactive humanoid IRA 2.0 in Bengaluru

  • HDFC Bank has announced the launch of IRA 2.0, its interactive humanoid. In its new avatar, IRA will enhance user experience for customers visiting the Koramangala branch in Bengaluru.
  • IRA will interact with customers, answer bank-related queries, frequently asked questions, and guide them inside the branch with voice-based navigation.
  • HDFC Bank also launched its virtual assistant ‘EVA’ on Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
  • IRA 2.0 has been developed by HDFC Bank in collaboration with its technology partners Invento Makerspaces and Senseforth Technologies.

India bags a bronze medal in Archery World Cup

  • India ended its campaign with a bronze medal in the compound mixed pair event at stage one of the Archery World Cup.
  • In the hunt for three bronze medals, India could only succeed in the mixed pair event when Abhishek Verma and V. Jyothi Surekha combined to prevail over the Turkish team of Yesim Bostan and Demir Elmaagacli.
  • India, however, lost both its matches in the men’s and women’s compound team events.

International- Special 301 Report: USTR again places India Priority Watch List

  • The Office of United States (US) Trade Representative (USTR) has once again placed India on ‘Priority Watch List’ in its annual Special 301 Report on the state of intellectual property protection. In 2018 Special 301 Report, the USTR has placed 12 countries on its Priority Watch List.
  • Special 301 Report identifies US trading partners that do not adequately or effectively protect and enforce IP rights or deny market access to its innovators and creators that rely on protection of their IP rights.
  • Other countries on list are Algeria, Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Indonesia, Kuwait, Russia, Ukraine, and Venezuela.

National: Tejas carries out successful test firing of BVR missile

  • Indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas has successfully fired an air-to-air beyond visual (BVR) range missile, demonstrating its overall capability as an effective combat jet, and inched closer to receive final operational clearance.
  • The test firing of the missile from a Tejas jet was carried off the Goa coast and it met all operational requirements. The successful launch of the BVR missile will expedite issuance of the Final Operational Clearance to the aircraft developed by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).

No Australian presence in naval drills

<ul>

<li>In a setback for the India-U.S.-Australia-Japan “Quad” in the Indo-Pacific, the government has decided to go ahead with this year’s ‘Malabar’ naval exercises trilaterally without including the Australian Navy.</li>

<li>22nd edition would be held off Guam between June 7 and 15. India, U.S. and Japan are participating in it. India sending a stealth frigate, a corvette and a tanker, which will be supported by the Long-Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft Boeing P-8I.</li>

Pankaj Roy, Gaekwad get Lifetime Award

  • Pankaj Roy, who held Test cricket’s world record opening partnership of 413 with Vinoo Mankad for a little over 51 years, was conferred the Col. C.K. Nayudu Life Time Achievement Award (posthumous).
  • The awards committee chose the following cricketers for the C.K. Nayudu Life Time Achievement Award — Pankaj Roy (2016-17), Aunshuman Gaekwad (2017-18), Diana Edulji (2016-17) and Sudha Shah (2017-18).
  • The awards committee also chose Naren Tamhane and Abbas Ali Baig (2016-17) and Budhi Kunderan (2017-18) for the Special Award.

Russia, Turkey, Iran hold talks on Syria

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hosted his Iranian and Turkey counterparts for talks on Syria in the wake of an alleged chemical attack that has exposed differences between the three powers.
  • The three nations have been attempting to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict at talks that started last year in Astana, Kazakhstan, in competition with the U.S. and UN-backed Geneva initiative.

Sports: Tennis player Ankita Raina included in TOPS

  • Tennis player Anikta Raina, who has displayed good form this season both in the Fed Cup and the professional circuit, was included in the government's Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).
  • She also became only the third Indian to breach the top-200 mark in women's singles, jumping 15 places to reach 197. Before Sania, Nirupama Vaidyanathan had made it to the top-200.
  • Target Olympic Podium Scheme is to identify and support potential medal prospects for 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games. Under the scheme the selected athletes are provided financial assistance for their customized training at Institutes.

Tourism Minister inaugurates Indian Culinary Institute, Noida

  • The Indian Culinary Institute (ICI), Noida was inaugurated by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism, Shri K. J. Alphons.
  • The institute will further government’s commitment of creating skilled manpower in the field of hospitality.
  • It will also help in promoting the research and development in Culinary arts.
  • Economy/Banking

Vistara joins global airlines’ body IATA ahead of international operations

  • Tata-SIA JV airline Vistara has joined global airlines’ body IATA, ahead of international operations by the second half of this year.
  • So far, only two Indian carriers Air India and Jet Airways were part of the International Air Transport Association. The membership will enable Vistara to collaborate with other international member airlines for codeshare and interline agreements and provide a seamless travel through an extended global network to the passengers to and from India, the airline said in a release.