Daily Current Affairs - 12th Jan 2019

Adityanath govt cuts urea prices by 10%

  • In a major boost to the farm sector the Yogi Adityanath government has cut the urea prices by more than 10 per cent in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The state urea prices were higher compared to other states, owing to the policy of slapping additional Value Added Tax (VAT) on natural gas. Acceding to the long-pending farmers’ demand to bring urea prices at par with other states, the Adityanath government has decided to pare the prices.
  • The move was aimed at supplementing the wider roadmap of doubling farmers' income by 2022.

EAM Sushma meets Nepalese counterpart

  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met her Nepalese counterpart Pradeep Kumar Gyawali in New Delhi.
  • They reviewed recent developments in bilateral ties across diverse sectors, including in the areas of agriculture, railways and inland waterways as well as the pace of implementation of ongoing development and connectivity projects.
  • They reiterated their commitment to maintain the new momentum and to further strengthen the traditionally close and friendly ties between the two countries.

Government launched Web- Wonder Women campaign

  • The government launched Web-Wonder Women Campaign to celebrate the exceptional achievements of women who have influenced and impacted society through social media.
  • The Campaign aims to recognize the fortitude of Indian women stalwarts from across the globe who have used the power of social media to run positive campaigns to steer a change in society.

India allows Iran’s Bank Pasargad to open branch in Mumbai

  • Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has announced that India has allowed an Iranian bank, Pasargad Bank, to open a branch in Mumbai. The move is aimed at circumventing US trade and investment sanctions as India builds a strategic port in the West Asian country.
  • Iran’s Pasargad Bank has received the necessary clearances to open its branch in Mumbai. Alongside, India’s UCO Bank will open a branch in Iran.

ISRO announces Human Space Flight Centre in Bengaluru

  • In a step closer to making India's maiden human mission to Space a reality, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has announced the setting up of Human Space Flight Centre in Bengaluru with Unnikrishnan Nair as its head.
  • The space agency has tied up with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and L&T among other firms to manufacture the industry-made PSLV launch vehicles.

January 12: National Youth Day

  • National Youth Day is celebrated in India on 12 January on the birthday of Swami Vivekananda. In 1984 the Government of India declared this day as the National Youth Day and since 1985 the event is celebrated in India every year.
  • Swami Vivekananda was born as Narendranath Dutta on 12 January 1863 and died on 4 July 1902. He was one of most prominent figures of India who introduced Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the “Western” World.

Kerala HC cancels remission of 209 prisoners

  • The premature release of 209 prisoners from the Kerala jails by the State government in 2011 was cancelled by the Kerala High Court.
  • Passing the order, Justice Jayasankaran Nambiar said the State government cannot arbitrarily release the prisoners from the jail before the completion of the term of imprisonment.
  • The then government facilitated the release of the prisoners based on the finding that the jails of the State were overcrowded and it was difficult for the State to provide the minimum level of facilities required for the prisoners.

Khelo India: Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh on winning spree of medals

  • On the third day of the spectacular sports event, Khelo India host Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh are in the quest of increasing their Medal tally.
  • In Khelo India Youth Games Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh are on the winning spree of medals. In weightlifting, girls under 17 in 55 kg category, Shrishti from Uttar Pradesh won gold medal, Anai Wangsu from Arunachal Pradesh won silver and Bibari Boro from Assam won bronze.
  • In girls Under 21 category S. Bindyarani from Manipur bagged gold medal, Gauri Pandey from Uttar Pradesh won silver and Saloni Singh from Uttar Pradesh won bronze.

Maduro sworn in as Venezuela President for 2nd term

  • Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for a second term as Venezuela’s President amid the economic and humanitarian crisis faced by the Latin American country. Maduro was re-elected last year.
  • The US, EU and 13 other countries have stated that they would not recognize Maduro’s Presidency.

Malala pens new book on Refugee Girls Titled, “We Are Displaced”

  • Nobel Peace Prize winner and Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai pens a new book, titled ‘We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World,’ charting her experiences traveling the world and visiting refugee camps.

National clean air programme launched

  • The Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan has launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). The programme aims to tackle the challenge of increasing pollution in the cities and towns.
  • It is a five-year action plan with a tentative target of 20-30% reduction in concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 by 2024, with 2017 as the base year.

NHAI Collaborates with Oil Marketing Companies for Issuance of FASTags

  • To ensure easier availability of FASTags, Indian Highways Management Company Ltd. (IHMCL), a company promoted by NHAI, has signed MoUs with state-run Oil Marketing Companies (IOCL, BPC, and HPC). It will ensure availability of FASTags at petroleum outlets across India. In the first phase, the tags will be available across 50 Fuel Station in Delhi NCR, which will subsequently be expanded to outlets across India.
  • IHMCL has been mandated to implement the National Electronic Toll Collection Program (NETC) in the country. The company launched the program under the brand name “FASTag” in April 2016.

NIC Command and Control Centre Inaugurated

  • The Minister for Electronics and IT (MeitY) Ravi Shankar Prasad inaugurated the National Informatics Centre (NIC)’s Command and Control Centre (CCC) and its Centre for Excellence in Artificial Intelligence.
  • The Command and Control Centre is set up as a specialized facility with a nationwide view of ICT infrastructure for effective monitoring and management of the performance & availability of all these critical services. The Command and Control Centre will increase the agility of NIC’s nationwide ICT infrastructure.

Su Tseng-chang appointed as Taiwan PM

  • Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has appointed Su Tseng-chang as Prime Minister, during a Cabinet reshuffle following the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's heavy losses in local elections.
  • Su is a former premier appointed in 2006 by then-President Chen Shui-bian and was a chairman of Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party for two terms.

West Bengal exits Ayushman Bharat scheme

  • The government of West Bengal has decided to exit from the Centre’s ambitious Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana.
  • Pradhan Mantri – Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) is a scheme of the government under Ayushman Bharat. The scheme aims to reduce the financial burden on poor and vulnerable groups arising out of catastrophic hospital episodes and ensure their access to quality health services was conceived.
  • Under the scheme about 10.74 crore poor, will have health benefit cover of Rs. 500,000 per family per year at free of cost. The health benefit cover includes more than 1,350 medical packages covering surgery, medical and daycare treatments, cost of medicines and diagnostics.

‘National Consultation on Child Protection’ held in New Delhi

  • The First ‘National Consultation on Child Protection’ for 2019 was held at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi under the Chairmanship of the Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • The meeting was organized to follow up on the exercise of monitoring of the Child Care Institutions (CCIs) by States/UTs, to deliberate upon various aspects of child protection and to take stock of the efforts made by States/UTs regarding improvements in the Child Care Institutions.