Daily Current Affairs - 07th Dec 2018

Air pollution cause of 1 in 8 deaths in India

  • One in every eight deaths in India is attributable to air pollution which now contributes to more disease burden than smoking.
  • The first comprehensive estimates of deaths, disease burden, and life expectancy reduction associated with air pollution in each state of India by the India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative has been published in The Lancet Planetary Health.
  • Over half of the 12.4 lakh deaths in India attributable to air pollution in 2017 were in persons younger than 70 years.

All New Vehicles to Come With Pre-Fitted High-Security Registration Plates From April 2019

  • According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways , All new vehicles will be sold pre-fitted with High-Security Registration Plates - HSRP from the 1st of April, 2019.
  • The high security registration plate helps in keeping track of the vehicle, and makes it easier to trace a lost or stolen vehicle.

Annual Start-up India Venture Capital Summit 2018 Held In Goa

  • The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Government of Goa, hosted the annual Start-up India Venture Capital Summit in Goa.
  • The theme of the Summit was ‘Mobilizing Global Capital for Innovation in India.’ The event showcased the Indian start-up opportunity for funds from around the world.
  • The key objectives of the Summit were to showcase the India opportunity, increase capital flow for Indian start-ups and further promote ease of doing business.

Armed Forces Flag Day: 07 December

  • Since 1949, 07 December is observed as Armed Forces Flag Day throughout India to honor the martyrs as well as men and women in uniform, who valiantly fight on our borders to safeguard the country’s honor.
  • The ‘Armed forces Flag Day Fund’ (AFFDF) has been constituted by the Government of India for the welfare and rehabilitation of the Ex-Servicemen (ESM) community.

Cabinet approves strategic sale of the Government of India’s existing 52.63% of total paid up equity shareholding in Rural Electrification Corporation

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs,has given its ‘In Principle’approval for strategic sale of the Government of India’s existing 52.63% of total paid up equity shareholding in Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) to Power Finance Corporation (PFC) along with transfer of management control.
  • Both REC and PFC are Central Public Sector Enterprises under the Ministry of Power.

Cabinet clears policy to double agriculture exports

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the Agriculture Export Policy, aimed at increasing India’s exports to $60 billion by 2022 from the current $37 billion.
  • The objectives of the policy are, doubling farmers’ income, to diversify the export basket and destinations, and to boost high-value and value-added exports, with a focus on perishables.

Disbursements under PMAY-U show huge lag, says Crisil

  • According to Crisil Research the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana - Urban (PMAY-U), being implemented by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs under the Housing for All by 2022 mission since June 2015, needs a concerted push to succeed.
  • The government will need another Rs. 1 lakh crore in three years to build one crore houses, as disbursements under PMAY-U show a huge lag.
  • Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu together accounted for 55% of the sanctions.

ESIC allows public to avail medical services at its under-utilized hospitals

  • The Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) has allowed public other than its subscribers to avail medical services at its under-utilized hospitals.
  • The services to the non- insured  persons will be available after levying user charges at a subsidized rate of 10 rupees  for OPD consultation and at 25 per cent  of Central Government Health Services’ package rates for in-patients. 

Exim Bank extends USD 500 mn loan to Tanzania for water projects

  • Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) has extended a credit facility of USD 500 million to Tanzania for water supply projects in the country.
  • Exim Bank signed an agreement in May 2018, with the Tanzania government for making available a Government of India-supported line of credit of USD 500 million for the purpose of financing water supply schemes.
  • Under this agreement, of the total credit by Exim Bank, goods and services of the value of at least 75% of the contract price shall be supplied by the seller from India.

Exporters yet to receive Rs 60-billion input tax credit refunds: FIEO

  • According to the Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO),exporters are yet to receive input tax credit (ITC) refunds worth Rs.60 billion.
  • Technical difficulties and unwillingness of states to pay up their share of the levy have delayed the refund process. The current system of manual submission in certain cases delays the refund process, blocking the capital of exporters.

India to import Iranian crude oil using rupee payment mechanism

  • India has signed an agreement with Iran to pay for crude oil it imports from Iran in rupees. Indian refiners will make rupee payments in a UCO Bank account of the National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC).
  • Half of these funds would be earmarked for settling payments for exports of Indian goods to Iran.
  • The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed following the US letting India and seven other nations to keep buying Iranian oil despite sanctions were reimposed.

India's media consumption growth 9 times that of US, says BCG report

  • India’s media consumption has been growing at a compound annual rate (CAGR) of 9 per cent over the past six years. The report, from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), highlights significant changes in the media and entertainment (M&E) sector.
  • The report points to multimodal growth across all major media, unlike any of the other key markets. At 4.6 hours of consumption per capita per day, India is behind China (6.4 hours) and US (11.8 hours).

Indian Coast Guard conducts Exercise ‘Clean Sea-2018’ at sea off Port Blair

  • The Indian Coast Guard has conducted the Regional Level Marine Oil Pollution Response Exercise titled ‘Clean Sea - 2018’ at sea off Port Blair.
  • The objective of the exercise was to ascertain preparedness of IGC, resource agencies and other stakeholders in responding to major oil spill in line with provisions of National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan (NOS-DCP).

Italy Wins Admiral’s Cup Sailing Regatta 2018

  • Team Italy won the Admiral’s Cup 2018. The ninth edition of ‘Admirals Cup’ Sailing Regatta (2018) concluded with a glittering closing ceremony at Ettikulam Beach at Indian Naval Academy (INA), Ezhimala.
  • Team Singapore was the Runners-Up and Team USA came third. The host country team (Indian Naval Academy) finished fourth in the overall position of Admiral’s Cup 2018.

Kolkata- Patna Becomes India’s Second Container Cargo Sector On Inland Waterways

  • Kolkata - Patna is India’s new Inland Water Transport (IWT) origin-destination pair for containerized cargo movement on the National Waterway-1.
  • After the success of container cargo being shipped from Kolkata to Varanasi earlier this year, Patna will be witness to a new landmark in India’s IWT sector with 16 TEUs of container cargo (equivalent to 16 truckloads) belonging to food giants PepsiCo India and Emami Agrotech Ltd from Kolkata reaching the city’s Gaighat IWT terminal on river Ganga next week.

Luxembourg To Become First Country To Make Public Transport Free

  • Luxembourg is set to become the first country in the world to make all its public transport free. From the start of 2020, all tickets will be abolished, saving on the collection of fares and the policing of ticket purchases.
  • Luxembourg City, the capital of Luxembourg, suffers from some of the worst traffic congestion in the world.

Nasheed to lead Maldives delegation at climate summit

  • Former President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed, widely regarded as a climate champion, will lead Male’s official delegation at the UN climate change conference in Poland.
  • Mr. Nasheed’s participation signals a potential shift in the Maldives’s policy. “At the COP 15 summit in Copenhagen in 2009, the Maldives unilaterally announced a commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 100% over 10 years.

Preeti Saran Elected To UN’s Socio-Economic Cultural Panel

  • Former senior Indian diplomat Preeti Saran has been elected unopposed to an Asia Pacific seat on the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) of the UN.
  • Saran was elected to the CESCR for a four-year term beginning on the 1st of January 2019.
  • CESCR was set up in 1985 by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to monitor on its behalf the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which has been ratified by 169 countries.

U.K. suspends fast-track visa scheme for wealthy investors

  • British Home Office temporarily suspended a fast-track visa scheme for wealthy investors.
  • The British government suspended the Tier-1 (Investor) visa,referred to as a "golden visa" which enables its holders to gain a swift route to settlement in the U.K., until new safeguarding rules are brought in in 2019.
  • The scheme,is open to those who invest at least £2 million in U.K. government, shares or businesses, offers a faster route to settlement in the country.