Daily Current Affairs - 30th Aug 2018

ADB to provide US $375 million loan for Madhya Pradesh Irrigation Efficiency Improvement Project

  • Union Government has signed $375 million loan agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) for Madhya Pradesh Irrigation Efficiency Improvement Project. The project will contribute to double farming incomes in Madhya Pradesh by expanding irrigation networks and system efficiency.
  • It will develop 125,000 hectares of new, highly efficient and climate resilient irrigation networks. It will also improve water use efficiency in more than 400 villages and benefit over 800,000 people in the state.
  • ADB is a regional development bank based out of Asia. It was established in December 1966. It is headquartered at Ortigas Centre in Manila, Philippines.

August 29th: National Sports Day

  • The National Sports Day in India is celebrated on 29 August each year. This day marks the birthday of Major Dhyan Chand Singh, the hockey player who won gold medals in Olympics for India in the years 1928, 1932 and 1936. He scored over 400 goals in his career, from 1926 to 1948.
  • Every year on this day, the President of India confers National sports and adventure awards including Arjuna and Khel Ratna to celebrate the achievements of exceptional athletes in the country. However, this year, the date has been postponed to September 25, 2018 in the wake of ongoing Asian Games 2018.

Cabinet approves signing of MoU between India and Bulgaria in the field of tourism

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Bulgaria for strengthening cooperation in the field of Tourism.
  • India and Bulgaria had previously signed an Agreement on cooperation in the field of tourism on 26.05.1994. Bulgaria is a potential tourism markets for India (India received approximately 5288 tourists from Bulgaria in 2017). The signing of Memorandum of Understanding with Bulgaria will be instrumental in increasing arrival from this important source market.

Centre issues an advisory to protect children from the suicidal online game MOMO challenge

  • The Centre has issued an advisory to protect children from the suicidal online game, MOMO challenge. In its advisory, Information and Technology Ministry has outlined the signs and symptoms that the child can show if they are under the influence of the game.
  • The sign includes becoming withdrawn from friends and family, loss of interest in activities and wound marks on any part of the body of the child.
  • The advisory said that parents should monitor their children's online and social media activity to ensure they are not engaging with the game. The advisory added that parents should take reports from child counsellor present in the school at regular intervals.

First SAARC Agri Cooperative Business Forum begins in Kathmandu

  • The First South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Agri Cooperative Business Forum began in Kathmandu. The theme of three-day Forum is the 'Organizing and Strengthening Family Farmers’ Cooperatives to attain the Sustainable-Development-Goals-1 and 2 in South Asia'.
  • It is being co-organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Asian Farmers’ Association with the support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
  • The Forum brings together representatives both from the government and non-governmental entities from the Member States of SAARC as well as from regional and international organizations.

French Environment Minister resigns over sluggish progress on climate goals

  • French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot resigned over sluggish progress on climate goals and nuclear energy policy, dealing a major blow to President Emmanuel Macron’s already tarnished green credentials.
  • Hulot was among the first ministerial appointments Macron made after his landslide election win in May last year. But the centrist President has watered down a series of campaign pledges on the environment, including a commitment to cut the share of nuclear power in French electricity to 50 percent by 2025 and boost renewable energy.

Google launches Project Navlekha

  • Understanding the importance of regional languages in India, search giant Google has announced a new program that will empower offline newspapers and magazines in India to bring their content online.
  • Announced during the fourth edition of 'Google for India' event, the Project Navlekha claims to bring offline content online in just a few clicks.
  • Google is using its expertise in artificial intelligence for Project Navlekha, using which, it will quickly render any PDF with Indian language content into editable text, overcoming issues that usually occur when you try to copy text in Indian languages from a PDF.

Government asks States to ban e-cigarettes

  • Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued advisory to all states and Union Territories to not allow manufacture, sale and advertisement of e-cigarettes and other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). It also has issued warning that use e-cigarettes and other ENDS devices pose great health risk to public at large, especially to children and pregnant women.
  • Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Mizoram, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar already have prohibited manufacture, import, sale and distribution of e-cigarettes and ENDS.
  • ENDS are not approved as NRTs (nicotine-replacement therapies) under Drugs and Cosmetics Act and rules made thereunder.

Government constitute 21-member Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council

  • Union Government has constituted new 21-member advisory panel on science, technology and innovation called Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC). It will be headed by Principal Scientific Advisor to government K Vijay Raghavan. It will replace earlier Scientific Advisory Committee to Prime Minister and to Cabinet.
  • The council will advise PM on science, technology, as well as innovation. It will also coordinate implementation of PMs scientific vision.

HRD Ministry launches 3rd edition of Smart India Hackathon-2019

  • The third edition of World’s Biggest Open Innovation Model - Smart India Hackathon 2019 was launched by the Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Shri Prakash Javadekar in New Delhi.
  • It is a product development competition, where problems are posed to students to come up with innovative solutions.
  • In SIH-2019 over 1 Lakh+ students from around 3000 institutions will have the opportunity to work on challenges faced within the Public Sector Organizations and the Union Ministries. And for the 1st time, it will also include problem statements from industry as well as NGOs.

India's economic growth rate to grow at 7.4 % in current financial year: RBI

  • The Reserve Bank expects India's economic growth rate to grow at 7.4 per cent in the current financial year on pick up in industrial activity and good monsoon.
  • RBI releasing its annual report in Mumbai said due to the evolving economic conditions, real GDP growth for 2018-19 is expected to increase to 7.4 per cent from 6.7 percent in the previous year.

ISRO to outsource production of PSLV and SSLV to private Industries

  • The Indian Space Research Organization, ISRO will outsource the production of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and Small Satellite Launch Vehicles to private Industries.
  • The Indian Space agency Chairman K Sivan informed media persons in Bengaluru that private industries will play a major role in capacity building.
  • To boost ISRO’s partnership with the industry the sixth edition of biennial Space Expo will be held in Bengaluru from September 6 to 8th.

Odisha Inks MoU For Malaria-Free State

  • Odisha government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an America-based agency ‘Malaria No More’ and another Indian agency ‘Malaria Elimination Trust’ in a bid to make the state malaria-free.
  • As per reports, while 395004 people were hit with malaria in Odisha in 2014, 89 lost their lives. Similarly, in 2015, 436792 were afflicted while 80 lives were claimed, 449697 were affected and 77 died in 2016. This apart, in 2017, 352140 were affected by malaria and 24 died.

RBI says transfer of surplus to govt rose by 63.08% to Rs 50,000 cr during financial year ended June 30, 2018

  • The Reserve Bank of India in Mumbai said that transfer of surplus to the government rose by 63.08 per cent to Rs 50,000 crore during the financial year ended June 30, 2018.The last year 2016-17 the transfer of surplus to the Govt was Rs 30,659 crore.
  • The Report released by RBI said that the rise in increase on the asset side was due to rise in foreign investments, loans and advances by 11.25 per cent from 33.04 trillion as on June 30,2107.
  • Domestic assets constituted 23.18 per cent, while the foreign currency assets and gold constituted 76.82 per cent of the total assets as on June 30, 2018, compared with 24.32 per cent and 75.68 per cent, respectively, as on June 30, 2017.

Ruchi Ghanashyam Appointed India's Next High Commissioner To UK

  • Senior diplomat Ruchi Ghanashyam has been appointed as India's next High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.
  • She succeeds YK Sinha who had assumed the charge as the Indian High Commissioner in the UK in December 2016.
  • Ms Ghanashyam, a 1982-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, is currently Secretary at the headquarters in Delhi and is expected to take up the assignment shortly.
  • Her appointment comes at a crucial time when the UK is in the process of coming out of the European Union.

Swapna Barman becomes first Indian heptathlete to win gold in Asian Games

  • Swapna Barman became the first Indian heptathlete to win a gold while Arpinder Singh ended a 48-year long wait for triple jump victory after Dutee Chand blazed the track for her second silver at the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia.
  • Arpinder jumped 16.77m in his third attempt to win the men's triple jump gold. India's last Asian Games gold medal in men's triple jump had come in 1970 from Mohinder Singh Gill.
  • India is currently 9th in the medals tally with 11 Gold, 20 Silver and 23 Bronze.

World No 1 Simona Halep crashes out of US Open

  • World No. 1 Simona Halep’s US Open campaign lasted an hour and 15 minutes as she became the first women’s top seed in the Open era to lose in the first round of this championship.
  • She fell to 44th ranked Kaia Kanepi, in the tournament’s first match in a newly renovated Louis Armstrong Stadium.
  • Only four other women have done so since tennis’s Open era began in 1968: Another Romanian, Virginia Ruzici, lost as the top seed at the 1979 Australian Open; Steffi Graf lost at Wimbledon in 1994; Martina Hingis lost at Wimbledon in 1999 and 2001; and Angelique Kerber lost in 2017 at the French Open.