Daily Current Affairs - 24th Sep 2019

17 UAE companies confirm investments in India's infrastructure sector: Piyush Goyal

  • Union Minister for Railways and Commerce Piyush Goyal has said that seventeen companies from United Arab Emirates have confirmed their investments in India's infrastructure sector in the last 12 months. He gave this information in an interaction with the Emirates News Agency during his recent visit to the UAE.
  • Since the 6th Meeting of the UAE-India High-Level Joint Task Force on Investments that was held in Mumbai in October 2018, the Indian Government has been assisting over 200 UAE-based businesses to obtain licenses and approvals.
  • Mr Goyal said, this was made possible through the fast-track mechanism and procedures put in place by the government. The Minister emphasized that the UAE has committed investments worth 75 billion US Dollars in India's infrastructure sector.

About 500 terrorists trying to infiltrate into India: Army Chief

  • Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat has said, terror modules at Balakot in Pakistan, which were destroyed by the Indian Air Force, are known to have been reactivated. He said Indian Defence Forces are always ready to face any hostile situation.
  • General Rawat said, Pakistan is violating the ceasefire agreement to push terrorists into India.

Ayushman Bharat scheme completes one year of its launch

  • Ayushman Bharat - the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana has completed one year of its launch today and the day is being celebrated as Ayushman Bharat Diwas across the country.
  • PM Modi launched the scheme on 23 September 2018 from Ranchi in Jharkhand
  • The scheme, which is the world's largest health care programme, provides a health cover of five lakh rupees annually to vulnerable families and aims at benefiting more than ten crore poor families all over the country. In the last one year, more than 46 lakh beneficiaries have availed cashless treatment under the scheme.
  • This has resulted in saving of over 12 thousand crore rupees to the beneficiary families. Currently, 32 States and Union Territories are implementing the scheme and more than 10 crore beneficiary cards have been issued.
  • Over eighteen thousand hospitals are providing services across the country, out of which more than 50 per cent are private hospitals.
  • Chief Executive Officer of Ayushman Bharat Indu Bhushan

Bangladesh hold India to a goalless draw in SAFF U-18 football

  • India were held to a goalless draw by Bangladesh in their opening match of the SAFF Under-18 Championship at Kathmandu. India will play Sri Lanka in their last group stage match of the Championship on Wednesday.
  • Top two teams from the group will qualify for the semi-finals slated for Friday.

Biofuel planes may fly 10 cr. passengers by 2030

  • India has committed to fly 10 crore passengers on biofuel-propelled planes by 2030, SpiceJet’s chairman and managing director, Ajay Singh said at UN’s SDG Climate Summit in New York.
  • Last year, SpiceJet operated its first-ever flight propelled by a blend of jatropha seeds and aviation turbine fuel for a technological demonstration.

Centre increases pension to families of deceased govt employees who served less than 7 years

  • The Centre has notified amendments to grant enhanced pension to families of government employees dying after serving less than seven years. The amended pension rules will apply to families of all government employees, including those of Central Armed Police Forces personnel.
  • The families of government servants who died before completion of service of seven years within 10 years before October 1, 2019, will also be eligible for family pension at enhanced rates.
  • The amendment mandates that families of government employees who passed away before completing seven years of service will receive 50 per cent of last pay drawn for 10 years as pension. Earlier, For those, who had served less than seven years were eligible to receive 30 per cent of the last pay drawn.

Country's steel production increased from 22 million tonnes in 1990 to nearly 140 million tonnes now: Dharmendra Pradhan

  • Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas and Steel Dharmendra Pradhan has said that the country's steel production has increased from 22 million tonnes in 1990 to nearly 140 million tonnes now. Mr Pradhan expressed hope that in the next two to three years, India will stand as an exporter for the long term in the steel sector.

ED moves court to declare Zakir Naik as fugitive economic offender

  • Enforcement Directorate has filed an application in Mumbai’s special court to declare controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik as a fugitive economic offender. Naik is facing money laundering charges to the tune of 193 crore rupees. ED’s plea is likely to come up for hearing on 30th of September.
  • The radical television preacher left India in 2016 and subsequently moved to Malaysia, where he was granted permanent residency. He is also facing charges under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for inciting extremism through hate.

Emmy Awards: ‘Game of Thrones’ ends run with outstanding drama series

  • Game of Thrones and Fleabag won big at the 2019 Emmy Awards. Game of Thrones won the award for Outstanding Drama Series for its eighth and final season at 71st Prime Time Emmy Awards. HBO's epic fantasy drama dominated the Emmy Awards nominations with 32 nods including best drama series.
  • Apart from the top honour, Peter Dinklage won best supporting actor for the record fourth time for the series.
  • Fleabag, meanwhile, won four awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Writing and Outstanding Director
  • Actor Billy Porter took home the trophy of best actor in drama for his role in 'Pose', becoming the first openly gay, black man, to win the prize.
  • Jodie Comer scored her maiden Emmy for 'Killing Eve'.
  • Actor-writer Bill Hader has won second consecutive best lead actor in a comedy series Emmy for his performance in HBO's "Barry".

Govt launches ‘UMMID’ initiative to tackle inherited genetic diseases of newborn babies

  • Science and Technology and Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has launched ‘UMMID’ initiative to tackle inherited genetic diseases of newborn babies. He said congenital and hereditary genetic diseases are becoming a significant health burden and there is a need for adequate and effective genetic testing and counselling services.
  • Dr Vardhan further emphasized on the use of cutting edge scientific technology and molecular medicine for extending Universal Health Coverage for all.
  • The Minister also inaugurated NIDAN (National Inherited Diseases Administration) Kendras. The new initiative aims at creating awareness about genetic disorders amongst clinicians and establish molecular diagnostics in hospitals so that the benefits of developments in medical genetics could reach patients.

HM Amit Shah says 2021 Census will be a digital exercise

  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah has said that the process of a Pen-Paper Census will be transformed to a digital census in the upcoming census exercise by using the latest technology. Mr Shah said, the nationwide exercise will be carried out in major Indian languages and at a cost of 12 thousand crore rupees.
  • He said, in this process, people will be able to upload the details of self and family on the newly developed mobile app themselves.

ICICI Bank to open 450 new branches

  • Private sector lender ICICI Bank is planning to open 450 branches this financial year, of which 320 branches have already been added, the bank said in a statement. The bank has made 320 branches operational for customers and in the process, it has crossed the milestone of having 5,000 branches.

India’s Q2 export-import trade growth slips to 1% from 9%

  • India’s containerised trade growth in Q2 2019 slowed to 1% from 9% over the same period last year, according to Maersk India Trade Report.
  • This was due to a host of international factors such as slowing trade growth, and growing trade tensions, coupled with domestic factors like rural consumer distress, tightening liquidity and a slowdown in key manufacturing sectors.
  • As per the report, west India delivered the highest growth with imports growing at 4% and exports at 11%. north India delivered 1% growth in imports and a decline of 9% in exports.
  • South India registered 1% import growth and 2% export growth while east India recorded 2% growth in imports and a decline of 1% in exports.

International Day of Sign Languages being observed on September 23

  • International Day of Sign Languages is being observed on September 23 every year. The objective of this day is to raise awareness of the importance of sign language in the full realization of the human rights of people who are deaf.
  • Sign languages are fully-fledged natural languages, structurally distinct from the spoken languages.
  • The theme of the day is Sign Language Rights for All.

Israeli election rivals meet as deadlock still looms

  • Israel's president Reuven Rivlin has summoned the leaders of the country's two largest political parties hoping to break a political deadlock that threatens to push the nation into months of limbo and potentially force a third election in less than a year.
  • The Israeli president is responsible for choosing a candidate for prime minister after national elections. That task is usually a formality, given to the leader who has the best chance of forming a stable majority coalition in the 120-seat parliament.

It’s business as usual, says Thomas Cook India CMD

  • Thomas Cook India said it would not be impacted by the collapse of the 178-year-old British tour operator Thomas Cook as it is an entirely different entity since August 2012, when it was acquired by Canada-based Fairfax Financial Holdings.
  • Post transfer of its entire stake in Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. to Fairfax, Thomas Cook U.K. ceased to be the promoter of Thomas Cook (India) from August 2012 and since then, Thomas Cook U.K. has had no financial or business stake in Thomas Cook (India) Limited,
  • CMD, Thomas Cook (India): Madhavan Menon

PM calls for comprehensive approach to avert climate crisis

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for comprehensive approach to avert climate crisis. Speaking at the United Nations Climate Change Summit in New York, he said India is spending 50 billion dollar in the next 5 years for judicious use of water.
  • In a brief address, Mr. Modi informed the world leaders that India has banned the use of single use plastic and urged global community to do the same. He furher said that India has made significant progress in renewable energy options in keeping with its commitments.
  • He stated that India’s renewable energy target will be increased to 450 GW and reiterated India’s commitment to the creation of 175 GW renewable energy capacity by 2022 under the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • Mr. Modi also said India planned to considerably increase the proportion of the biofuel blend in petrol and diesel. He said India had plans to make the transport sector green through the use of electrical vehicles.
  • He also announced two international initiatives. First, a platform with Sweden and other countries, for governments and the private sector to work together to develop low carbon pathways for industry.
  • Second, a Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. This initiative was approved by the Union Cabinet last month and Rs.480 crore has been allocated for technical assistance and projects.

Russia gives formal support to Paris climate agreement

  • Russian Prime minister Dmitry Medvedev has gave formal support to the Paris climate agreement and ordered Russian laws to be adapted to its obligation. The document signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that Russia is formally adopting the 2015 Paris agreement and will now allocate financial resources to developing countries for prevention and adaptation to climate change.
  • The news comes just hours ahead of a new major UN climate summit, aimed to reinvigorate the faltering Paris accord as mankind is releasing more greenhouse gases than ever into the atmosphere.

UK launches biggest peacetime operation after Thomas Cook collapse

  • The first batch of 1,50,000 British tourists is being flown back home from destinations including Bulgaria, Cuba, Turkey and the United States after travel firm Thomas Cook collapsed. The United Kingdom's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is co-ordinating the repatriation, the biggest in peacetime, after the tour operator ceased trading with immediate effect.
  • The corporate bankruptcy left some 6,00,000 tourists stranded worldwide. Thomas Cook, whose roots go back to 1841, went bust after last-ditch talks to raise fresh funding failed.

Veteran cricketer Madhav Apte passes away

  • Veteran cricketer Madhav Apte passed away in Mumbai after suffering a cardiac arrest. He was 86. The former India and Mumbai opener has made his Test debut against Pakistan at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai in November 1952 and played his last test against West Indies at Kingston in April 1953.
  • He was the first Indian opener to aggregate over 400 runs in a Test series. He played along with several legendary cricketers, including Vinoo Mankad, Polly Umrigar, Vijay Hazare and Rusi Modi.

World’s first camel hospital at Dubai set to expand its facilities

  • World’s first camel hospital at Dubai is set to expand its facilities by an additional 50 per cent in response to the increase in demand for its services. The camel hospital, built at an estimated cost of 40 million Dirhams, opened its doors in 2017 to meet the demand in the UAE for an advanced medical facility dedicated to treating camels.
  • Since its inception, the hospital has attracted the interest of not only local owners but also camel breeders from across the world.
  • Camels are an integral part of the United Arab Emirate’s heritage. Historically, camels, known as the ‘Ship of the Desert’ were a source of transport as well as food and milk in the region.