DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS MAY 31 2018

1) World No Tobacco Day: 31 May

  • Every year, on 31 May, World Health Organization and partners mark World No Tobacco Day (WNTD).  The theme of World No Tobacco Day 2018 is “Tobacco and heart disease”. The day highlights the health and other risks associated with tobacco use, and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

2) Indian Botanist Kamaljit Bawa first Indian to receive Linnean Medal for Botany

  • On May 30, 2018, Indian Botanist Mr. Kamaljit Bawa was awarded the Linnean Medal in Botany from Linnean Society of London. He is the first Indian to receive this award. He is the president of Bengaluru based non-profit Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE).
  • ATREE has been ranked 2nd in Asia and 18th globally among the world’s environmental think tanks. Mr. Bawa has constituted an open access peer reviewed magazine called Conservation and Society. The Linnean Medal was first constituted in 1888 and acts as a good recognition in the field of conservation and sustainability.

3) International conference on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) – Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) linkage in Geneva on June 7 and 8 for protection of traditional knowledge

  • On May 30, 2018, India is organizing an International Conference on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) linkage in Geneva on June 7 and 8. To talk with the World Trade Organization (WTO) on issues related to prevention of theft of traditional knowledge of Ayurveda and Naturopathy.
  • The conference will be participated by various nations like Brazil, China, Indonesia, Peru, Philippines and New Zealand. The fields for the issue will be: Ayurveda, Naturopathy and Yoga and traditional knowledge of healing properties of Neem and Turmeric. The CBD is a multi lateral agreement on sustainable development and fair sharing of benefits.
  • it will give global protection to the knowledge and country of origin like India from theft. Trade in Ayush Industry is about $ 1.2 billion. The world trade in herbal products is at $ 120 billionand is piquing to $ 7 trillion by 2050.

4) India releases Rs. 33.10 CrORE to Nepal for 2 road Projects

  • India has released Rs. 33.10 Crore to Nepal for 2 road packages of Birgunj-Thori Road implemented under Postal Highway Projects in Nepal with the grant assistance from Indian Government. On 29th May 2018, Deputy Chief of Mission in the Indian Embassy, Dr. Ajay Kumar gave a Cheque to Secretary, Ministry for Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Nepal, Madhusudan Adhikari in Kathmandu.
  • The funds has been released for 25% of tendered cost (including 10% mobilization advance) of the Postal Highway Projects. The Indian Government has provided 117.63 Crore rupees to the Nepal Government so far, for implementation of 14 packages of the Postal Highway Projects.

5) Digital Health initiative of  India commended and adopted by WHO in the 71st World Health Assembly

  • On May 29, 2018, the 71st World Health Assesmbly the decision making body of World Health Organization (WHO) has adopted India’s Digital Health Initiative. The Assembly was held at Geneva, Switzerland. The resolution will establish a global strategy on digital health and prioritize areas where WHO will work together with its member countries.
  • It is for countries achieving health related SDG (sustainable development goals) and and implementing WHO’s 13th General Program of work. Mainstreaming digital interventions in health like big data and analysis, AI, machine learning etc. India will host a Global Digital Health Summit with the support of WHO later. India will plan to create a digital health platform of electronic health records of 1.3 billion people of the country.

6) Microsoft becomes third most valuable firm globally after Apple and Amazon

  • On May 30, 2018, Microsoft becomes third most valuable firm globally surpassing Alphabet. Microsoft had a market cap of $753 billion. It ranks after Apple and Amazon. Apple’s M-cap is $ 924 billion and Amazon has a m-cap of $783 billion.

7) India’s GDP forecast declined to 7.3% from 7.5%: Moody’s

  • On May 30, 2018, according to Moody’s investor service report India’s GDP forecast has gone down to 7.3% from 7.5% for 2018. This cut is because of higher oil prices. The forecast for 2019 is constant at 7.5%. With higher rural consumption and supported by minimum support price and normal monsoon the economy is moving forward. By addressing the repair in impaired assets of banks and corporates through the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code  the economy will be improving. The GST may weigh down the growth too.

8) The New User Interface of Next Generation e-Ticketing System launched by Ministry of Railways

  • On May 30, 2018, The Minister of Railways Mr. Piyush Goyal launched new User interface of its Next Generation e-Ticketing system. To ensure better User experience and efficient dispatch of services with the help of technology.
  • To view and enquire about train timings, check availability of seats without logging in. New filters for serch based on Class wise, train wise, destination wise, departure /arrival time wise and quota wise for trains. Addition of  ‘My Transaction’  feature to view their booked tickets based on journey date , booking date etc.
  • Addition of ‘Waitlist Prediction’ has been made for ease of the passangers. Facility for the user to find out the availability up to the entire advanced reservation period (presently, 120 days). Cancellations printing of tickets and request for additional SMS. Using the ‘Vikalp’ service passengers can select alternative train. Facilitating seamless navigation in mobiles, Desktops etc. This beta version is requested to be tested by the users and a period of 15 days is being given for any suggestion and feedback.

9) PRAAPTI App and Web portal launched by Minister of State (I/C) for Power, Shri R.K. Singh to bring transparency in electricity payments to Generators by Discoms

  • On May 29, 2018, The Minister of State (I/C) for Power Mr. R. K. Singh launched the PRAAPTI app and web portal. This was done to bring transparency in electricity payments to generators. It is a web portal and an App named PRAAPTI: Payment Ratification And Analysis in Power procurement for bringing Transparency in Invoicing of Generators.
  • This is for transparency in power purchase between Generators and Discoms. It will collect data regarding the payments and invoicing for long term PPAs from the generators and will help the stakeholders in getting monthly wise data that is legitimate against Discoms. it will help consumers to evaluate DIscoms performance in terms of payment. it will help in making assessments for DIscoms against ‘Ease of Making Payments’ to generation companies.

10) ‘The Pankha’ an exhibition cum sale event launched by Union Tribal Affairs Minister, Shri Jual Oram

  • On 29th May 2018, Union Tribal Affairs Minister, Jual Oram launched ‘the PANKHA’ (Hand-fans), an exhibition cum sale event, at Tribes India, New Delhi. The Pankha has been created by TRIFED through its artisans from various parts of India.
  • TRIFED has collaborated with Jatin Das Centre for Arts (JDCA) to offer marketing support to the tribal artisans who are related to this craft. The Pankhas are a range of exotic hand fans. Inspiration for this event has been drawn from Artist Jatin Das and his collection of 10000 handmade Pankhas.
  • The Pankhas are kept on display at Indira Gandhi Naitonal Auditorium (IGNA), New Delhi from 26th May 2018 to 24th June 2018. TRIFED and the J.D.Centre for Arts (JDCA) have tied up to promote the Pankhas throughout India. TRIFED is displaying and marketing the Pankhas through its 97 retail showrooms and e-portals.

11) Ministry of Women and Child Development signs pact with Government of Uttar Pradesh to manage Homes for widows in Varanasi

  • On May 29, 2018Ministry of Women and Child Development signed an MOU with Government of Uttar Pradesh. For management of home of Widows at Sunrakh Bangar, Varanasi.
  • The ministry of Women and Child Development has constructed shelter homes for widows with a maximum capacity of 1000 people in it. The MOU will be valid for a period of 2 years and can be further renewed. The Home shall be run by the Uttar Pradesh government or any institution under the supervision of the state government.
  • The MOU states that the state government will be liable for all the activities of the Home and shall perform periodical probes for security and monitoring for performances of the staff. Widows will be provided their individual Aadhar Cards and medical/ generic facilities.

12) Kerala to Reduce Price of Petrol and Diesel by Rs. 1 from Friday

  • Kerala government has decided to reduce the prices of petrol and diesel by Rs. 1 in Kerala with effect from 1st June 2018. Kerala has become the first state to announce a reduction in fuel prices. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan made the announcement on 30th May 2018. Pinarayi Vijayan said that, this will create a loss of Rs. 509 crore for the Kerala state government. On 30th May 2018, there was a reduction in the prices of petrol and diesel after 16 consecutive days. But the reduction was only one paisa per litre.

13) SBI hikes interest rates of Term Deposits

  • On May 30, 2018, State Bank of India hiked its fixed deposit rates for selected tenures. The range of hike starts from 0.05 (5bps) to 0.25 (25 basis points). The newest interest rate will come into effect from May 28. SBI will offer 6.65 % for 1 to 2 year term deposists from 6.4%.
  • Term deposits with 2-3 years with fetch 6.65% from 6.60% form earlier. For Senior citizens the term deposits of 1-2 years will be fetching 7.15% from 6.9%. FDs of 2-3 years will be getting interest rate of 7.15%. These rates are for the amount less than 1 crore. For bulk amounts of between 1 crore and 10 crore1-2 year deposits will get 7 % and for senior citizens it is 7.5%. The rates are same for amount greater than 10 crore.

14) NMDC, NLC and an Australian firm to develop R&D facility in Tamil Nadu

  • On May 30, 2018, National Mineral Development Corporation and NLC ltd. (formerly knows as Neyveli Lignite Corporation) signed a pact with Environment Clean Technologies Ltd. Of Australia in Canberra. To set up a research and Development facility in Tamil Nadu.
  • This pact would help Australia and India work together in developing low emission iron and steel process through integrated Coldry – Mamtorplant that will be built in India. Developing innovations in iron and steel making and making a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for steel manufacturing unit.
  • The project has two phases: Commencing a R&D phase that has a fund of AUD 35 million by Indian partners and commercial expansion of the for the steel making facility with capacity of 5 lakh tonne per annum. The amount for this fund is: AUD 300 million.

15) Facebook to offer digital literacy programme for women

  • On May 30, 2018, Social Media platform Facebook joined hands with National Commission for Women (NCW) to launch digital literacy programme in collaboration with Cyber Peace Foundation (CPF). This will provide training on responsible and right usage of Internet, social media and email.
  • The training  will be given to 60000 women in universities across major cities in Haryana, Delhi-NCR, Manipur, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. The training will be conducted in local languages. The aim of the programme is to raise awareness and equal participation of women in the digital sphere.

16) FB set to launch WhatsApp Pay with 4 major banks in India

  • On May 30, 2018, Facebook will be launching Whatsapp Pay, a payment service for its whatsapp platform. It will be partnering with HDFC, AXIS, ICICI and SBI banks. A pilot version of Whatsapp Pay has started in February with 1 million users in India. More than 200 million Indians use Whatspp and that is about 60% of US population. The active usage is estimated to be 20 times more than Paytm’s.

17) HDFC Bank’s Aditya Puri figures in Barron’s top 30 global CEO list

  • Aditya Puri, managing director of HDFC has appeared in the top 30 global CEOs list released by Barron’s. Aditya Puri has featured in the top 30 global CEOs list by Barron’s for the fourth consecutive year. He is the only Indian to feature in the list.
  • Other names that have appeared in the list are:
  1. Jeff Bezos of Amazon
  2. Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway
  3. Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase
  4. Larry Page of Alphabet
  5. Reed Hastings of Netflix
  6. Satya Nadella of Microsoft
  7. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook
  • This is the 14th edition of this list. This year, the CEOs have been grouped in three categories in the list:
  1. Visionary Founders
  2. Growth Leaders
  3. Turnaround Experts
  • Aditya Puri has appeared in the “Growth Leaders” category. He is 67 years old. He has been the Managing Director of HDFC Bank since 1994.

18) Yuvraj Singh Awarded ‘Most Inspiring Icon Of The Year For Social Welfare’

  • Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh has been awarded the “most inspiring icon of the year for Social Welfare” award by the Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival (DPIFF). Yuvraj Singh has been awarded for his remarkable contribution in the social welfare field.
  • He runs a foundation named ‘YouWeCan’. The foundation focuses on spreading cancer awareness and educating the kids of cancer survivors. He is currently not a part of the India cricket team. He played for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018.

19) ICICI Bank has appointed M. D. Mallya, former Bank of Baroda boss as an additional independent director of the bank

  • On 29th May 2018, the ICICI Bank board appointed former Bank of Baroda (BoB) chief M. D. Mallya as an additional (independent) directorfor a period of 5 years. M D Mallya’s appointment is subject to the approval of shareholders. His appointment comes a month before the ICICI bank’s chairman M K Sharma completes his term.
  • Before joining BoB, M D Mallya was the chairman of Bank of Maharashtra. He is 65 years old. He joined Corporation Bank in August 1976. He also served as executive director of Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC). He was also the chairman of the Indian Banks Association.

20) Infosys acquires US-based Wongdoody

  • On 30th May 2018, Infosys said that, it has acquired US-based Wongdoody. In April 2018, Infosys said that, it will acquire WongDoody Holding Company for a total consideration of up to $75 million. WongDoody Holding Company is a US-based digital creative and consumer insights agency.
  • It has clients in telecommunications, consumer electronics, healthcare and consumer packaged goods industries. This acquisition, will help Infosys to improve its digital experience services with services like strategy, design and user experience.

21) Rare, isolated neutron star discovered

  • Scientists from NASA have discovered a special kind of neutron star outside the Milky Way galaxy for the first time. Neutron stars are highly dense cores of massive stars that collapse and go through a supernova explosion. The newly found neutron star was discovered through data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile.
  • It is a rare variety having both low magnetic field and no stellar companion. The neutron star is located within the remains of a supernova named 1E 0102.2-7219 (E0102) – in the Small Magellanic Cloud, which is 200,000 light years away from Earth. The observations of E0102 state that the supernova remnant is dominated by a large ring-shaped structure in X-rays. The data collect by NASA states that, it is an isolated neutron star, created in the supernova explosion nearly two millennia ago.

22) Researchers discover hidden mountain ranges, valleys under Antarctica

  • Researchers have found out mountain ranges and three vast, deep sub-glacial valleys hidden under the Antarctica ice. The discovery has been published in the journal Geophysical Research Letter. This is the first finding observed from ice penetrating radar data collected in Antarctica as part of the European Space Agency PolarGAP project.
  • Researchers from Northumbria University, UK, have mapped three huge, sub-glacial valleys in West Antarctica, for the first time. The largest valley is named the Foundation Trough. It is over 350 kilometres long and 35 kilometres wide. The Patuxent Trough is over 300 kilometres long and over 15 kilometres wide. The Offset Rift Basin is 150 kilometres long and 30 kilometres wide.

23) Vikas Gowda, India’s only CWG gold medallist discus thrower, retires

  • On 30th May 2018, the Athletics Federation of India announced the retirement of discus thrower Vikas Gowda. Vikas Gowda has retired from the game after competing at the highest level for over 15 years. He became the first and only Indian male to win Commonwealth Games medals in discus throw.
  • He is 34 years old. He was born in Mysore. His family moved to Maryland, USA when he was 5 years old. He owns the national record of 66.28m (achieved in 2012).  He won silver medal in the 2010 Commonwealth Games and a gold medal in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

24) Ex-Himachal Pradesh governor Urmila Singh passed away

  • On 29th May 2018Urmila Singh, former Himachal Pradesh governor, died after a long term illness at private hospital in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. Urmila Singh was 71 years old. She was made the governor of Himachal Pradesh in 2010. Earlier, she had worked as chairman of the National Scheduled Tribes Commission (NCTC). She had also served as a minister in Madhya Pradesh government. She was associated with the Congress Party.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS MAY 30 2018

1) Virat Kohli as International Cricketer of Year : CEAT Cricket Ratings

  • On May 29, 2018, Virat Kohli named the International Cricketer of the year at CEAT Cricket Ratings. Shikhar Dhawan has been awarded International Batsman of the Year. New Zealand player Trent Boult named International Bowler of the Year. T20 Bowler of the Year award was given to: Rashid Khan from Afghanistan. T20 Batsman of the Year award: Colin Munro of New Zealand. Outstanding Innings of the year award: Harmanpreet Kaur. Domestic Player of the Year award: Mayank Agarwal. U19 Player of the Year award: Shubhman Gill. Popular Choice awardChris Gayle. Lifetime Achievement AwardFarokh Engineer.

2) Alicia Pucheta first woman interim president of Paraguay

  • On May 29, 2018, Alicia Pucheta (68) has been named as the first woman President of Paraguay. She has been named the interim president after the current President Mr. Horacio Cartes steps down and before Mr. Mario Abdo (The newly elected president) starts his tenure for 5 years. She is currently acting as the Vice President of the country. She is a lawyer by profession and is a part of right wing Colorado Party.

3) 2nd edition of SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group Meeting: Beijing on 28 May, 2018

  • On May 28, 2018, The 2nd meeting of SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group Meeting was held in Beijing. The Indian Delegation was headed by Additional Secretary (Multilateral Diplomacy ) Gitesh Sharma. India focused on security challenges on the borders of Afghanistan and offered support to peace made by the President of Afghanistan. India also focused on the socio-economic development of the afghan people and ensured greater connectivity with Afghanistan. Bilateral talks of India with China, Tajikistan, Russia, Afghanistan were also held.

4) Azerbaijan inaugurates European gas pipeline

  • On 29th May 2018, Azerbaijan inaugurated a pipeline at Sangachal Terminal, in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev turned on the taps at Sangachal Terminal. The Sangachal Terminal is located nearly 55 kilometres southwest of Azerbaijan’s capital Baku. This pipeline will eventually create the first direct route to transport gas from one of the world’s largest fields to Europe bypassing Russia. The project is worth USD 40-billion. It consists of three linked pipelines that will bring gas from Azerbaijani Shah Deniz 2 field across Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea to southern Italy.

5) India signs Loan Agreement with the World Bank for USD 21.7 Million for Strengthening the Public Financial Management in Rajasthan Project

  • On 29th May 2018, an agreement for IBRD Credit of USD 21.7 Million from World Bank for the Strengthening of Public Financial Management in Rajasthan Project was signed in New Delhi. The agreement was signed by Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary (FB and ADB), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance on behalf of Indian Government and Mr. Hisham Abdo, Acting Country Director, World Bank (India) on behalf of the World Bank.
  • The Implementing Entity Agreement was signed by the Secretary, Finance (Budget) on behalf of Rajasthan Government, and the Acting Country Director (India) on behalf of the World Bank.
  • Project size: is nearly USD 31 million. Out of this USD 21.7 million will be funded by the World Bank. Rest of the amount will be funded-out of the State Budget.
  • Duration of this project: is 5 years. The objective of this project is to contribute to enhanced Budget execution, better accountability and improved efficiency in Revenue Administration in Rajasthan.
  • This Project also involves Strengthening of the Public Financial Management Framework, Strengthening of Expenditure and Revenue Systems, and Project Management and Capacity Building etc.

6) Union Cabinet Minister of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprise (HI & PE), Anant Geete inaugurated the facilities under NATRIP at ICAT Manesar

  • On 29th May 2018, Union Cabinet Minister of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprise (HI & PE), Anant Geete inaugurated the augmented facilities at the National Automotive Testing and RND Infrastructure Project (NATRIP) at the International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) at Manesar in Haryana.
  • The augmented facilities are as follows:
  1. Noise, Vibration & Harshness Lab (NVH)
  2. Passive Safety Lab (PSL)
  3. Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Lab
  4. Tyre Test Lab (TTL)
  •  Already the centre has fully functional facilities like Powertrain lab, Fatigue lab, Vehicle Evaluation lab, Component lab, CAD-CAE lab and Infotronics lab. Since 2006, ICAT has been providing automotive testing and certification services to the industry. NATRIP is the largest and most important initiative in the automotive sector. It involves tie up between the Indian Government, various State Governments and Indian Automotive Industry. It aims to develop advanced testing, validation and R&D infrastructure in India.

7) Main event of 4th International Yoga Day Celebrations in Dehradun, Uttarakhanad

  • On May 29, 2018, Secretary to the Ministry of AYUSH, Shri Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha announced that the main event of the 4th International Yoga Day celebrations will be organized in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. it will be the venue for Mass Yoga Demonstration.The Government of Uttarakhand is making arrangements for the main event.

8) Dr Jitendra Singh announces Rs 28 crore for ‘Brahmaputra Study Centre’ at Gauhati University

  • On 29th May 2018, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh ​said that, the​ Government has approved to set up “Brahmaputra Study Centre” at Gauhati University, Guwahati.
  • Funds of Rs. 28 crore will be offered by the Ministry of DoNER for establishing the ‘Brahmaputra Study Centre’. The Gauhati University will offer land within the campus to develop a separate block for the Brahmaputra Study Centre. This Study Centre will offer research on various aspects of river Brahmaputra in physics, hydrology, waterways, environment, disaster and flood management, hydro-power production etc.
  • This Study Centre will focus on research on the causes and prevention of frequent floods in the river. Some internationally renowned scholars from other parts of the world will also be a part of this centre.

9) Samagra Resource Portal & mobile app developed for use in hi-tech classes in Kerala

  • On 31st May 2018Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate the Samagra Resource Portal and mobile app. More than 40,000 classrooms in Kerala will be made hi-tech by June 2018, through the Samagra Resource Portal and mobile app. The Samagra Resource Portal and mobile app are developed by the Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education.
  • Samagra differs from conventional educational portals. It is designed to make sure that all learning objectives are transacted through lesson plans as specified in the curriculum. Also, it offers digital textbooks, question banks and e-resources. These are available for everyone, even without the need to log in.
  • It has more than 19,000 digital resources in the form of videos, audios, pictures, interactive simulations, etc. Specific training on Samagra has already been provided to 74,000 teachers. Under the IT@School Project of Kerala government, it was planned to digitise 45,000 classrooms in Kerala and make them hi-tech. The first phase will cover classes 8 to 12 and the second phase will cover classes from 1 to 7.

10) Delhi to Nanda Devi East base camp : Joint Indo-Bangladesh Army Trekking Expedition

  • On May 28, 2018, joint Indo-Bangladesh Army Trekking Expedition to Nanda Devi has started from New Delhi. This joint expedition will further strengthen the relatioons of the two concerned countries. The team has a 16-member Indian Armyteam and a 10-member Bangladesh Army team. Mt Nanda Devi east base camp is located 4300 m from the sea level and has a very challenging trekking route.

11) Gujarat govt launches ‘Reuse of Treated Waste Water Policy’

  • On May 29, 2018, the Gujrat government released policy to reuse treated waste  water in Gandhinagar, Gujrat. To reuse and treated waste water and reduce state’s dependency on fresh water resources like Narmada River.
  • The policy is called : ‘Reuse of Treated Waste Water Policy’. Setting up of 161 Sewage treatment Plants (STP) in all major towns in Gujrat for non-drinking purposes. The treated water would be used in industrial units, thermal power plants, gardening, and in the construction sectors. Presently, around 2600 million litres per day(MLD) waste water is being treated by the 52 STPs in  the state.
  • This policy will double the water capacity to around 5000 million litres per day (MLD)in two years. INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Mandatory for Thermal power plants  located within a radius of 50 kms of an STP to use the treated water. This also applies to Industries and industrial parks consuming over 1 lakh litres of water per day. The state would disconnect Fresh water connection given to them after this policy comes to being.

12) Gaj Yatra launched in Garo Hills of Meghalaya

  • On 28th May 2018, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) launched the ‘Gaj Yatra’ from Tura, a town in Garo Hills of Meghalaya. In 2014, villagers in Garo Hills offered a part of their community-owned land to develop village reserve forests for the passage of elephants.
  • To honour this effort the Gaj Yatra has been launched. The Gaj Yatra aims to secure 100 elephant corridors in India. Four of such corridors are in Meghalaya. As a part of the event, an elephant mascot is carried across districts where elephants cross frequently to create awareness among the people.

13) Bihar Cabinet approves Fisheries College at Kishanganj

  • On 29th May 2018, Bihar Cabinet approved the setting up of a Fisheries College at Kishanganj at a cost of Rs 40.31 crore. The cabinet meeting was chaired by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. It approved the creation of academic and administrative posts other than development of infrastructure of the College at a cost of Rs 40.31 crore in 2018-19 financial year.
  • It also approved creation of 88 new posts in Transplant and Nephrology departments of Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) for starting the kidney transplant facility there.

14) BMGI Enters Into A Strategic Partnership With SmartConnect Technologies

  • BMGI, a global management consulting firm, has entered into a strategic partnership with Smart Connect Technologies, which provides Social / Digital Process Transformation through its IP-suite UNFYD®COMPASS across Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, mobility and field service operations.

15) NIC Launches India’s 4th Data Centre In Bhubaneswar

  • Bhubaneswar (capital city of Odisha) becomes the fourth National data centre of National Informatics Centre (NIC) after Delhi, Hyderabad and Pune. The new cloud-enabled National Data Centre aims to offer round-the-clock operations with secure hosting for various e-governance applications of Central and State Governments and has the ability to support 35,000 virtual servers.
  • NIC provides technology support to all governance services and hosts nearly 10,000 websites of the Government. NIC currently has 4,500 people across India in its various operations and will hire 800 professionals in the next one year.

16) DAC Approves Procurement Of Equipment For Defence Forces

  • The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, met in New Delhi and accorded approval for the procurement of equipment for the Defence Forces valued at over Rs. 6900 crore.
  • The DAC approved procurement of Thermal Imaging (TI) Night Sights for the Rocket Launcher (RL) used by the Army and the Air Force under ‘BUY (Indian) IDDM’ category through established Indian Vendors.

17) IFFCO, IPL buy 37 per cent stake in Jordan’s largest mining firm for Rs 900 cr

  • IFFCO (Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative) and Indian Potash Ltd (IPL) have acquired 37% stake in JPMC (Jordan Phosphate Mines Company), Jordan’s largest mining and chemical firm, for Rs 900 crore.
  • The shares were bought from Kamil Holdings, owned by Brunei Investment Agency. It is the largest shareholder in Jordan Phosphate Mines Company (JPMC). IPL has bought 27% stake. IFFCO through its subsidiary Kisan International Trading (KIT) has bought 10% in JPMC.

18) Former SC judge R K Agrawal appointed NCDRC president

  • On 28th May 2018, Justice R K Agrawal was appointed as the president of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC). Justice R K Agrawal retired as Supreme Court judge recently. He will replace Justice D K Jain. D K Jain’s term ends on 31st May 2018. NCDRC was formed in 1988. It was set up to decide on consumers’ complaints.

19) Rajasekharan sworn in as Mizoram Governor

  • On 29th May 2018, Kummanam Rajasekharan was sworn-in as the 18th governor of Mizoram at the Durbar hall of Raj Bhavan, Mizoram. The oath of office to Kummanam Rajasekharan was administered in the presence of Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla. Kummanam Rajasekharan joined Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as an activist in the 1970s. He became the president of Kerala BJP unit in 2015.

20) Defence secretary Sanjay Mitra gets additional charge of DRDO

  • On May 29, 2018, Government of India announced that Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra has been given Additional charge of DRDO. The current DRDO chief is S. Christopher and will retire after the extended one year tenure in 2018. The DRDO chief and Scientific Advisor post was held by one person until 2015 when government bifurcated these two to individual post.

21) Senior journalists Devulapalli as new President and Indrajit as new Secretary-General: IJU

  • On May 29, 2018, Senior Journalists Amar Devulapalli and Sabina Indrajit have been appointed as the President and the Secretary–General of the Indian Journalists Union (IJU). Devulapalli is a Hyderabad based journalist who is the consulting editor of Shakshi daily.
  • Indrajit is a senior journalist in Delhi and works as the Associate Editor of Indian News and Features Agency (INFA). They would be replacing former President Mr. S N Sinha  and former Secretary–General K Sreenivas Reddy.

22) Former Bihar minister Kameshwar Paswan passes away

  • On 28th May 2018former Bihar minister Kameshwar Paswan died after a long term illness in Patna, Bihar. Kameshwar Paswan was 77 years old. He started his political career representing Fatuha Assembly constituency. He was elected from the seat for two times in 1970s. He was a minister between 1977 and 1979. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1990.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS MAY 29 2018

1) Sangeeta Bahl Becomes Oldest Indian Woman To Scale Mount Everest

  • Sangeeta Bahl, a 53-year-old former model, has become the oldest Indian woman to conquer Mount Everest. Bahl, who currently resides in Gurugram, scaled the peak with the help of two Sherpas and was felicitated at the Indian embassy in Kathmandu. She has already conquered six out of the seven highest peaks in the world.

2) Queen Maxima Of Kingdom Of Netherlands On 4-Day Visit To India

  • Queen Maxima of the Kingdom of the Netherlands who is also the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development has arrived in New Delhi on a four day visit to India. During the visit, Queen Maxima will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog Rajiv Kumar and CEO Amitabh Kant.

3) India Launches Its 2nd IT Corridor In China

  • India launched its second IT corridor in China to cash in on the burgeoning Chinese software market. The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) has established one more Sino-Indian Digital Collaborative Opportunities Plaza (SIDCOP) platform in China.
  • Agreements worth about six million US Dollars were signed between Indian service providers and Chinese customers at the launch of the corridor by China’s Guiyang Municipal government and the NASSCOM. In December 2017, the NASSCOM established its first SIDCOP platform in the Chinese port city of Dalian, which is India’s first IT hub in China.

4) BCCI, UN Environment Sign Agreement To Promote ‘Green’ Cricket

  • The BCCI and UN Environment signed an agreement to promote ‘green’ Cricket in India. BCCI acting Secretary Amitabh Choudhary and Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UN Environment, signed a letter of intent in Mumbai.
  • The partnership aims to spread greater awareness about key environmental challenges facing the country, and highlight alternate and more sustainable solutions. The BCCI will endeavor to reduce its environmental impact by greening operations and engaging cricketers and fans in green initiatives.

5) Colombia To Be NATO’s 1st Latin American ‘Global Partner’

  • Colombia would be formally joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The announcement was made by the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. With the move, Colombia will become the first Latin American nation to be a part of the alliance. It would be joining the bloc as a ‘global partner’, which means it will not necessarily have to take part in any joint military action and will be fully accredited in Brussels.

6) Hamburg To Host 2018 Global Wind Summit

  • The first edition of the Global Wind Summit will be held in Hamburg, Germany in September 2018. The four-day event will see speakers from about 100 countries, including India, China, the US, Spain and Denmark. The conference on wind is the largest and most important meeting of the wind industry worldwide. The event combines two conferences, Wind Energy Hamburg and WindEurope.

7) Daniel Ricciardo Wins Monaco Grand Prix 2018

  • Australian Formula One racer Daniel Ricciardo handed Red Bull a victory in their 250th race in the Formula One at Monaco GP. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, last year’s winner at the Monaco GP, finished second while Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was third.

9) Tourism Minister attends the 108th session of UNWTO Executive council in San Sebastian, Spain from 23rd to 25th May 2018

  • On 23rd to 25th May 2018, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism, K. J. Alphons along with a delegation of senior officials attended the 108th session of UNWTO Executive Council, in San Sebastian, Spain K. J. Alphons chaired the ‘Programme and Budget Committee’ meeting of UNWTO. He also met with the Secretary-General of UNWTO, Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili and discussed on creating a Joint Action Plan focused on Tourism Innovation and Digital Transformation and positioning of India on this Action Plan.
  • Discussions were also made to improve the relationship between India and UNWTO. The Indian delegation also took part in the thematic discussions on ‘Tourism and Digital Transformation’. K. J. Alphons also met the Tourism Minister of Spain, Mr. Álvaro Nadal and discussed cooperation in tourism.
  • The discussions were focused on synergy between India’s Iconic Destinations and Spain’s Smart Destinations, Setting up of Centre of Excellence for Tourism Technology, Training programme for Tourism professionals (Central/State employees) Management of Pilgrim Destinations and also management of UNESCO Heritage sites. The UNWTO Executive Council conducts meetings at least two times a year. The next meeting is to be held in Bahrain.

10) India, US, Japan start 22nd Malabar exercise in Guam

  • On May 28, 2018, India, US and Japan will take part in Malabar exercise  in Guam. The exercise will mainly focus on the anti-submarine warfare. From India’s side, its stealth frigate INS Sahyadri, missile corvette INS Kamorta and fleet tanker INS Shakti and a P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft will take part in the exercise.
  • From the US side, a nuclear powered super carrier USS Ronald Reagan of 10000 tonne and F/A 18 fighters and a nuclear attack submarine and P-8A patrol aircraft.
  • From Japan’s side, one of 27000 tonne helicopter carriers, a Soryu class submarine and Kawasaki P-1 maritime aircraft will participate.
  • Australia was earlier considered a part of the exercise but was ruled out due to China’s opposition.

11) Qatar bans goods from UAE, Saudi, Egypt and Bahrain

  • On May 28, 2018Quatar announced that it was banning products from United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt. To protect safety of consumers in the state of Quatar, to stop trafficking of goods. The four states cut all diplomatic relations with Quatar on wake of Doha supporting terror financing.
  • There is no such estimation on the number of products been banned but all products trans-shipped through embargo states and products produced in them were banned. Quatar has developed new shipping routes through places like Oman and have started producing things locally including food.

12) Ibrahima Kassory Fofana Sworn in as Prime Minister of Guinea

  • Ibrahima Kassory Fofana took Charge as the Prime Minister of Guinea. He replaced Mamady Youla who resigned on May 17. Earlier, Ibrahima Kassory Fofana was Minister in Charge of Public Investment and relations with the private Sector.
  • After assuming the Charge, he hadn’t made major Changes in the Cabinet. He handed economy portfolio to Mamadi Camara, Guinea’s ex-ambassador to South Africa, while the defence, foreign affairs and justice ministers remain unchanged.

13) Pakistan appoints former chief justice Nasir Ul Mulk as interim PM

  • On 28th May 2018, Pakistan’s former chief justice Nasir ul Mulk was appointed as the interim prime minister of Pakistan for a period of 2 months, until the general elections that is to be held on 25th July 2018. Nasir ul Mulk is 67 years old. He is expected to take charge as interim prime minister of Pakistan on 1stJune 2018. Earlier, he served as lawyer and judge for several years. In 2014, he became the 22nd Chief Justice of Pakistan.

14) Cochin International Airport world’s first fully solar energy-powered airport: UNEP

  • On May 28,2018, United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) gave recognition to the Cochin International Airport as world’s first fully solar energy-powered airport. It is the largest and busiest airport of Kerela and was constructed in 1999.
  • The airport has 46,150 solar panel across 45 acres of land in the cargo complex of the airport. It produces 15 MWp solar power. This airport consumes 50000 units of electricity daily and is completely dependent on solar power. It saves 3 lakh tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and runs on green technology. This plant is equivalent to 30 lakh trees. It was the first airport to be built in public private partnership (PPP).

15) Himachal govt launches ‘Prakriti Kheti Khushhaal Kissan Yojana’ to promote organic farming

  • On May 28, 2018, The state Government of Himachal Pradesh will promote Zero Budget Natural Farming System. To promote organic farming and zero budget natural farming in the state. The govt has come up with ‘Prakritik Kheti Khushhaal Kissan Yojana’ for zero budget natural farming. This would increase soil productivity, decrease use of fertilizers and harmful chemicals and increase water infiltration. Presently about 39790 farmers have switched to organic farming.

16) ‘Polythene Hatao, Paryavaran Bachao Campaign’ launched by HP CM

  • On May 27, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur Launched a week long ‘Polythene Hatao,Paryavaran Bachao Campaign’. Polythene Hatao,Paryavaran Bachao Campaign is Started by Environment,Science & technology Department. While addressing the Campaign,Thakur said the Pollution became the alarming factor of the Country and this Campaign is Started with the Objective to reduce the Pollution by prohibiting the use of Polythene & Plastic.

17) RBI allows Rupee Co-op Bank to continue banking services under restriction till August 31, 2018

  • On May 28, 2018, the Central Bank of India, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has instructed the Rupee Co-op Bank of Pune to continue its banking services keeping the limitations in mind. Restriction were first imposed on February 22 , 2103 to August 2013 and that was extended 8 times till May 2018. RBI has further extended the restrictions for further 3 months till August 31 2018.

18) Patanjali ties up with BSNL, launches Swadeshi Samriddhi SIM cards

  • On 27th May 2018, Baba Ramdev, Co-founder of Patanjali, launched Swadeshi Samriddhi SIM cards, in alliance with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). At the beginning, only the employees and office bearers of Patanjali can avail the benefits of the Swadeshi Samriddhi SIM card.
  • After the full-fledged launch, people can avail a 10 % discount on Patanjali products using this card. A user can recharge for Rs 144, and can make unlimited calls all over India, use 2 GB data pack and send 100 SMSs. The card also offers medical and life insurance covers of Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 5 lakh, respectively. The covers can be availed only in case of road accident.

19) IMD partnered with BSNL for sending extreme weather warnings in Delhi

  • On May 28, 2018, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) is joining hands with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) for sending extreme weather warnings. To send extreme weather warnings to the public.
  • Under harsh weather conditions IMD will send alerts to the BSNL and BSNL with the help of its technology will send the alerts to the registered numbers in the Delhiregion. Area specific alerts will be given as well to other telecom circle subscribers belonging to the area. It is in an experimental stage and on successful operation will rope in other weather organizations as well. The government agencies have limits to which they can spread alerts especially for thunderstorms.

20) Tata Trusts’ MOU with government to provide development support in Naxal-hit districts under governments ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ programme

  • On May 28, 2018, 8 Naxal hit districts of Chhattisgarh are to be developed by the government with the help of TATA Trust. To provide technical and human resource assistance to the special development programme launched by the NITI Aayog.
  • This initiative is taken under the ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ programme. Tata Trusts will be conducting surveys and provide technical support for better living standards of these districts.
  • The 8 worst hit districts are :Bijapur, Kanker, Bastar, Rajnandgaon, Dantewada, Kondagaon, Narayanpur, Sukma. Special Central Assistance Scheme of Rs.33 Crore has been set aside for the emergency and public infrastructure. District Mineral Funds and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are available for resources.

21) Sudha Balakrishnan appointed first CFO of Reserve Bank of India

  • Sudha Balakrishnan has been named the first chief financial officer (CFO) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) effective from 15th May 2018. Sudha Balakrishnan was the vice-president of National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL). She is a chartered accountant. She will be the 12th executive director of the RBI. Her appointment will be for a period of 3 years initially. This can be extended, subject to an annual review.

22) Veteran actor, producer Madala Ranga Rao passes away

  • On May 27, Veteran Actor, Producer of Telugu film Madala Ranga Rao Passes away. The 69 year old Actor cum Producer was suffering from heart-related ailments & admitted to hospital. He was popularly known as “Red Star”. He was also a member of the CPI-led Praja Natya Mandali.
  • His famous works are ‘Yuvatharam Kadilindhi’, ‘Yerra Mallelu’, ‘Praja Shakthi’, ‘Swarajyam’, ‘Viplavashankham’ and ‘Mahaprasthanam’. He received the prestigious Golden Nandi award from the then Andhra Pradesh government for his film ‘Yuvatharam Kadilindhi’.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS MAY 27 & 28 2018

1) Real Madrid Lifts Champions Trophy Defeating Liverpool

  • Real Madrid has lifted Champions Trophy defeating Liverpool 3-1 in Kiev, Ukraine. A sensational overhead strike from Real Madrid substitute Gareth Bale and two calamitous errors by Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius gave the Spanish side a third straight Champions League title in an incident-packed final.

2) Japan Win Uber Cup To End 37-Year Drought

  • Japan’s women clinched the Uber Cup, breezing by surprise finalists Thailand 3-0 in Bangkok to end a 37-year wait to regain the title. With a team stacked with top-ranked players in both the singles and doubles, Japan made light work of the hosts, who entered the finals for the first time after stunning China in the semis. It ends an Uber Cup drought for Japan that stretches back to 1981 and is a majorconfidence boost ahead of the Olympics which they will host in two years’ time.

3) Mia Mottley as first woman PM of Barbados , wins by 100% majority

  • On May 27, 2018, The Caribbean Island of Barbados has elected its first woman PM 52 year-old Ms. Mia Mottley. She is the leader of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and won against the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). She won all 30 seats of the House of Assembly and is a lawyer. She replaces DLP candidate and former PM Freundel Stuart.

4) 11th Board of Directors elected by TRIFED

  • On May 25, 2018, The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Ltd. (TRIFED) elected 11th board of directors in the general body meeting held. Shri Ramesh Chand Meena was elected as the Chairperson, Smt. Pratibha Bhrahma was elected as the Vice Chaiman.

5) 4th New element Ruthenium (Ru) has magnetic properties: University of Minnesota

  • On May 27, 2018, a discovery led by researchers at University of Minnesota, US said that a new element has been found with magnetic properties. The name of the chemical element is Ruthenium (Ru). It is the fourth such element to have magnetic properties. So far, Iron (Fe), cobalt (Co) and Nickel (Ni) has these similar properties. They are ferromagnetic at room temperature. These elements can be used for their magnetic properties for better sensors, in the computer memory and logic industry and other devices using magnetic materials. The study has been published in the journal ‘Nature Communications’.

6) PM Modi Launches Survey On NaMo App

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a survey on the NaMo App, asking people to rate the performance of the government at the Centre and MPs and MLAs in their constituencies. He launched the initiative, to mark the completion of four years of the NDA government, which came to power at the Centre in 2014. 

7) 1st phase of Delhi-Meerut expressway inaugurated by PM

  • On May 27, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated 1st phase of Delhi-Meerut expressway. The Delhi-Meerut Expressway aims to provide safe connectivity from Delhi to Meerut to Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
  • The total length of the the project 8 km. Out of this the first 27.74 km swill be a 14-laned while the rest is for a 6-lane expressway. The cost of the project Rs. 4975.17 crore. It is the first 28 km stretch that will be dedicated to bicycle tracks from Delhi and Dasna.
  • The project will consist of construction of 11 flyovers/interchanges, 5 major and 24 minor, 3 ROBs (Rail overbridges), 36 vehicular and 14 pedestrian underpasses. The project would reduce the travel time from Delhi to Meerut to just60 minutes.

8) 15th Finance Commission to visit to Kerela from 28th to 31st May 2018

  • From May 28- 31st, the 15th Finance Commission wiil be visiting Kerela. Kerala is the first state in Southern India to be visited by the Commission. To assess the state of finance of Kerela and progress of the state in the socio-economic sector.
  • The commission was led by Chairman N.k. Singh. Kerela is the 10th largest state that contributes to 4.2% of GDP of the nation. It has the highest per capita income. The state has a booming service sector. Emigratioon and Immigration remittances is huge in kerela.
  • In terms of development indicators like per capita income , poverty ratio, health and education kerela has better points than national average. social sector spending for the senior age group (>60 years) is of some concern as the life expectancy is increased.
  • Kerela’s literacy level is 94% that is highest among all the states. More discussions are to be made on the developments with the CM, finance department, various political parties and the rural and urban local self governments and Panchayati Raj institutions.

9) UAV Rustom-2 drone to be made by HAL and delivered by 2020 to all 3 wings of Armed Forces: DRDO chief

  • On May 27, 2018, the DRDO made the Rustom–II unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) will be delivered by the armed forces by 2020. It has completed its first round test at Chitradurga in Karnataka. It has been made of the use of all the three wings Armed forces viz. Air Force, Indian Army an Indain Navy.
  • It is made for primarily intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations. The medium altitude prototype can fly at 22000 feet and has a 20 hour long flight time endurance. Manufacturing will be done by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Bharat Electronics Limited. It would be delivered by 2020 to the Armed forces.

10) Administrative charges cut to 0.5 pc : EPFO

  • On May 27, 2018, the Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) decided to cut its administrative charges by 0.5%. This would help around 5,00,000 employers to save around Rs. 9 billion annually from the cut. This would come into effect from June 1, 2018.
  • The Charges has been modified from 0.65 to 0.50 % of the wage paid by the employer. Earlier EPFO has cuts its administrative charges from 1.10 to 0.85 in 2015, them to 0.65 in 2017. EPFO has accumulated Rs. 38 billionthrough the charges in the last fiscal.
  • It has a surplus of Rs. 200 billion with an interest income of Rs. 16 billion per annum. The cut in charges won’t effect the EPFO as their subscriber base increases a lot. Presently it has 500 million subscribers and a corpus of Rs. 10 trillion .

11) CSK Defeat SRH To Clinch Record-Equalling Third IPL Title

  • Playing in their seventh Indian Premier League final, Chennai Super Kings has defeated SunRisers Hyderabad to clinch their third Indian Premier League title. With this, Chennai Super Kings equaled Mumbai Indians’ record for winning the most number of Indian Premier League titles (3). Notably, Chennai Super Kings defeated SunRisers Hyderabad in each of their four encounters this season. Player of the Match award goes to Chennai Super Kings’ Shane Watson in IPL Final 2018.

12) Alan Bean : 4th man of Appollo 12 mission to walk on the Moon dead

  • On May 27, 2018, The 4th man to walk on the Moon Mr. Alan Bean died at the age of 86. He was the former test pilot of US Navy. He was sent as an astronaut in 193 mission and flew to space twice and was the fourth person to walk on the Moon on Nov 19 1969. He was in the Apollo 12 mission with Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Charles ‘Pete’ Conrad.

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS MAY 26 2018

1) India among top 3 countries most targeted for phishing: Report

  • India has been listed as one of the top three target countries for Phishing and malware-based attacks as per the RSA Quarterly Fraud Report. The RSA Quarterly Fraud Report for the period from January 1 to March 31, 2018, says that phishing contributed for 48 per cent of total cyber-attacks. The report stated that Canada, the United States, India and Brazil were the countries highly targeted by phishing.
  • Other major phishing-targeted countries are: Brazil (4th), Netherlands (5th), Colombia (6th), Spain (7th), Mexico (8th), Germany (9th) and South Africa (10th). The report says that, in the first quarter, 55 % of transactions originated from the mobile channel and 65 % of fraud transactions used a mobile application or browser.
  • As per the report the top hosting countries list for such attacks had United States in the first place. It is followed by Russia (2nd) and India (3rd). The following countries are also featured in the list: Australia (4th), Canada (5th), France (6th), Luxembourg (7th), Germany (8th), China (9th) and Italy (10th).

2) Nima Jangmu Sherpa scales 3 highest mountains in single season; sets world record

  • On 23rd May 2018, Nima Jangmu Sherpa of Nepal made a world record by scaling three highest mountains in a single climbing season. Nima Jangmu Sherpa made her ascent on Mt Kanchenjunga, which is the third highest peak of the world. She is 28 years old. She has become the only woman in the world to climb three highest peaks in Nepal above 8,000 meters in one seasonwithin 25 days. She had scaled Mt Everest on 14th May and Mt Lhotse on 29th April 2018.

3) PM Of Netherlands Inaugurates Indo-Dutch Ganga Forum

  • In New Delhi, Prime Minister of Netherlands Mark Rutte inaugurated the Indo-Dutch Ganga Forum to take forward an MoU signed between the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, and the Ministry of Infrastructure & Environment of the Netherlands in June 2017.

4) Vice Admiral GS Pabby, AVSM, VSM, Chief of Materiel commissioned IN LCU L54 into the Indian Navy today at Port Blair

  • On 25th May 2018, Vice Admiral GS Pabby, AVSM, VSM, Chief of Materiel commissioned IN LCU L54 into the Indian Navy at Port Blair. IN LCU L54 is the fourth Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Mk-IV class inducted into the Indian Navy.This ship was indigenously designed and built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Kolkata. LCU MK-IV ship is an amphibious ship. Its primary role is transportation and deployment of Main Battle Tanks, Armoured Vehicles, troops and equipment from ship to shore.
  •  These ships are based at the Andaman and Nicobar Command. They can be deployed for beaching operations, search and rescue, disaster relief operations, supply and replenishment and evacuation from distant islands etc. The ship is commanded by Lieutenant Commander Munish Sethi. It has 5 officers, 41 sailors. Also it can carry 160 troops. The ship displaces 830 Tons. It can transport different types of combat equipment like the Main Battle Tank, T72 and other vehicles. It has advanced equipment and advanced systems like Integrated Bridge System (IBS) and Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS).

5) WHO, Russia Launch New Campaign For Football World Cup 2018

  • A new video campaign has been launched targeting football fans on the occasion of the World Cup 2018 to promote healthier and more active lives.  The series of videos have been produced jointly by World Health Organization (WHO), Russia’s Ministry of Health and the 2018 World Cup Russia Local Organising Committee. It is one of many joint activities that will be implemented around the month-long World Cup starting from 14th of June. The campaign consists of 3 videos, each tackling key health risk issues of Tobacco use, excessive salt consumption and physical inactivity.

6) SIDBI To Extend Direct Funding Facility To VLEs In CSCs

  • Common Service Centre (CSC) SPV and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) signed an MoU for providing financial support to CSCs across the country in the presence of Minister of Electronics & IT and Law & Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad. Through the MoU, the SIDBI seeks to extend financial support to the Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) of CSCs, with minimum one year of operation, under the Direct Financing Window of SIDBI. Through the MoU, both CSC SPV and SIDBI seek to work together to bring more citizens under the ambit of financial inclusion.

7) Ministry of Culture organized Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav 2018 in Tehri, Uttarakhand from 25th to 27th May, 2018

  • On May 25,2018, Ministry of Culture organized the 9th edition of Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav 2018 in Tehri, Uttarakhand from 25th to 27th May,2018. Uttarakhand’s Tehri Lake Festival will be a part of the event. IT consists of water sports organized by the Uttarakhand tourism each year. This initiative is under the ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ . To present and promote rich cultural diversity and inter-linkages amongst different states to strengthen National participation.
  • It aims to preserve , popularize and promote the cultural heritage and diversity of all Indian states .  The cultures of other states would be displayed through a food festival. This year the partner state for the festival of Uttarakhand is Karnataka. Special emphasis is given to the performances of the partner state. Performances of arts, folk dances, music, cuisines would be showcased from different states. Special local Tehri folk artists would join as well. The North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC) , Patialahas been given the responsibility to carry the execution of the festival.

8) Steve Smith returns to cricket with Canadian T20 league

  • Steve Smith, the former Australia captain, who was banned due to ball tampering issue, will make a comeback through the inaugural Global T20 Canada event that starts on 28th June 2018. Steve Smith will play in the inaugural Global T20 Canada event. The tournament will see participation from six teams. It is organized by Cricket Canada. Steve Smith was suspended for 12 months in March 2018 as he was involved in the South African ball-tampering scandal. He is permitted to play domestic tournaments outside Australia by Cricket Australia.

9) 13th Inter-State Council Standing Committee under the chairmanship of Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh

  • On 25th May 2018, the Standing Committee of the Inter-State Council (ISC) headed by the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh held a meeting in New Delhi. Discussions were conducted on all 273 recommendations of the Punchhi Commission. This was the 13th meeting of the Standing Committee of the ISC. The meeting focused on volume VI & VII of the Punchhi Commission’s Report. They had 88 recommendations in total.
  •  The recommendations in Volume VI of the Punchhi Commission report are related to: Environment, Natural Resources and Infrastructure. The recommendations in Volume VII are related to: Socio-economic Development, Public Policy and Good Governance. The recommendations finalized in the meeting of the Standing Committee will be placed before the Inter-State Council for decision.

10)HRD Ministry Launches Samagra Shiksha Scheme

  • Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar launched ‘Samagra Shiksha scheme’ for school education. The scheme focuses on improving quality of education, enhancing the Learning outcomes and using technology to empower children and teachers.
  • An annual grant of 5,000 to 20,000 rupees will be provided for strengthening libraries in schools. The scheme will be focused on digital education. Samagra Shiksha is a program that unifies learning from the pre-school to class 12 levels and encapsulates elements of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamk Shiksha Abhiyanand teacher education.

11) TCS becomes first company to achieve Rs 7 lakh crore m-cap milestone

  • On May 25, 2018, market valuation of Tata Consultancy Service (TCS) has risen past Rs. 7 lakh crore. It becomes the first company so far to  have achieved this goal.
  • The valuation is measured at Rs. 7,03,309 crore.
  • In  April TCS became the first company to close trading session with over $100 billionmarket value.
  • Following TCS are : Reliance Industries at Rs. 5, 83,908.87 crore, HDFC bank at Rs. 5,19,654.83 crore, HUL at Rs. 3,42,244.47 crore , ITC at Rs. 3,30,919.46 crore.

12) PM Modi lays foundation stone of several developmental projects in Jharkhand

  • On 25 May 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of several projects of the Government of India and Government of Jharkhand, at an event in Sindri, Jharkhand.
    i.The projects are listed below:
    1.Revival of Sindri Fertilizer Project of Hindustan Urvarak and Rasayan Ltd.
    2.Ranchi City Gas Distribution Project by GAIL
    3.All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Deoghar
    4.Development of Deoghar Airport
    5.Patratu Super Thermal Power Project
  •  He witnessed the Exchange of MoUs for Jan Aushadhi Kendras. He paid homage to Bhagwan Birsa Munda. The total cost of the projects, for which foundation stones were laid is Rs. 27,000 crore.

13) Roll out of e-Way Bill system for intra-State movement of goods in the Maharashtra, Manipur and Union Territories (without legislature)

  • On 25th May 2018, the e-Way Bill system for intra-State movement of goods was implemented for:
    Maharashtra, Manipur, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli Daman & Diu and Lakshadweep (without legislature)
  • The e-Way Bill system for inter-State movement of goods was launched on 1st April 2018. By 25th May 2018, 27 States / Union Territories will have implemented the e-Way Bill system for intra-State movement of goods.

14) Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad inaugurated cloud enabled Data Centre at Bhubaneshwar

  • On May 25,2018 , The Union Minister for Electronics & IT and Law & Justice Shri. Ravi Shankar Prasad has inaugurated cloud enabled Data Centre at Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
  • This will provide 24*7 online services for e-Governance applications and its departments .
  • The Data centre and cloud services are being offered by National Informatics Centre (NIC).
  • This would provide on-demand access to Information and Communication Technology  (ICT )Infrastructure

15) CBDT chairman Sushil Chandra gets one-year extension

  • On 25th May 2018, Sushil Chandra was given one-year extension as the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) till May 2019. This is the second extension for Sushil Chandra after becoming the chairman of CBDT on 1st November 2016. In 2017, he was given a one-year extension till 31st May 2018. He is a 1980 batch officer of the Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax cadre).

16) Singchung Bugun Village Community Reserve bags national biodiversity award

  • On 22nd May 2018, Singchung Bugun Village Community Reserve received the first prize for conserving the rare wildlife resources from the National Bio-diversity Authority, at Hyderabad. Singchung Bugun Village Community Reserve is a non-governmental organization. Since 2016, along with Forest Department, it has been protecting and conserving the 17 sq km area Singchung Bugun Village Community Reserve.
  • The Singchung Bugun Village Community Reserve is adjacent to the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in West Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh. The award was sponsored by the National Bio-diversity Authority. The award consisted of a citation, a memento and a cash prize of Rs one lakh.  Indi Glow and Sange Norbu Phiang, the leaders of the organization received the award at the event.

17) Trump awards Medal of Honor to Navy SEAL in Afghan assault

  • On 24th May 2018, United States President Donald Trump awarded a Medal of Honor to retired Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Britt K. Slabinski, at the White House, United States.
  •  Britt K. Slabinski is a former member of the Navy’s SEAL Team Six. He was awarded for leading a rescue mission on a mountaintop in Afghanistan in 2002. He retired from the Navy in 2014 after completing more than 25 years of service.

18) Airtel Payments Bank Appoints Anubrata Biswas As MD And CEO

  • Airtel Payments Bank has appointed Anubrata Biswas as its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. Biswas fills the position, which was lying vacant since end-December, after Shashi Arora quit the post. Prior to joining Airtel Payments Bank, he was the Joint General Manager and Retail Business Head – South India for ICICI Bank.

19) Yes Bank empaneled as ‘Settlement Bank’ by National Stock Exchange 

  • On May 25,2018, India’s Largest stock exchange National Stock Echange (NSE) has given approval to Yes Bank to be empanelled as‘Settlement Bank’ for National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC).Yes Bank is already a ‘Settlement Bank’ for BSE, NCDEX, MCX.
  •  It will provide different services to the member viz. Settlement and Clearing, electronic fund transfer and ‘anywhere’ banking and free of cost fund transfer across all centres of NSE’s members. NSCCL will be coordinating with YES bank accounts for its risk management and settlement operations that it does on behalf of NSE.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS MAY 25 2018

1) Dr. Harsh Vardhan leads Indian delegation in Mission Innovation (MI) Ministerial at Malmo, Sweden

  • On May 24, 2018, India launches  international incubator for clean energy innovators in MI3 at Malmo , Sweden. India announces its plan for hosting MI clean energy materials Workshop in October-November, 2018 at New Delhi. At the Solutions Summit, the MI 2020 Solutions booklet was launched, showcasing over fifty cutting-edge breakthroughs emerging from MI members investments ranging from blockchain technologies to the world’s first commercial passenger electric boat.
  • World Economic Forum White paper on public-private cooperation was also released. India announced setting up of First International Incubator for clean energy in public-private partnership at a total investment of around US $ 5 million in Delhi.

2) Nepal: first country in South-East Asia validated for eliminating trachoma

  • On May 24, 2018, The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Nepal the first country to eliminate Trachoma. Trachoma was the second leading cause of preventable blindness in the Himalayan nation in the 1980s. The disease puts more than 190 million people in 41 countries at the risk of blindness. It is responsible for the blindness or visual impairment of around 1.9 million people worldwide.
  • In 1998, the World Health Assembly had resolved to eliminate trachoma as a public health problem. In 2002, the Government of Nepal had stepped up the efforts to eliminate trachoma with the establishment of a National Trachoma Programme. The prevalence of active (inflammatory) trachoma in the country fell by 40 per cent following the implementation of sustained control activities from 2002 to 2005.
  • The Nepal government, through the ministry of water supply and sanitation, provided incentives to local communities and districts to build and maintain latrines, measures that were crucial to improve sanitation and reduce the disease carrying flies. The national trachoma programme in that country also collaborated with the Ministry of Education to include a module on trachoma in the school curriculum.

3) India moves one notch up to 44th rank in IMD’s competitiveness rankings

  • India has moved up one rank and reached the 44th place in terms of competitiveness, in the annual rankings compiled by International Institute for Management Development (IMD). United States has obtained first rank in the list. It is followed by Hong Kong and Singapore in the second and third place respectively.
  • The Netherlands and Switzerland also have secured a place in the top five positions. India has improved one rank from last year and secured 44th position worldwide. It has been ranked the 12th most competitive economy out of the 14 Asian countries on the list.
  • The other top 10 countries are: Denmark (6th), the UAE (7th), Norway (8th) and Sweden (9th) and Canada (10th). China has secured 13th position. The IMD’s competitiveness rankings are published every year since 1989. This year 63 countries have been ranked. Cyprus and Saudi Arabia have made their first appearance in the list.

4) Palestine joins world’s chemical weapons watchdog: EU

  • Palestine has submitted its instrument of accession to Chemical Weapons Convention to European Union (EU). The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said that, on 17th May 2018 Palestine deposited its instrument of accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention.
  • The Convention will come into force for Palestine on 16th June 2018. The OPCW is an international chemical weapons watchdog. It has been acting as the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention since 1997.

5) US disinvites China from RIMPAC exercise over South China Sea

  • On 23rd May 2018, Pentagon, the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense disinvited China from participating in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise. The RIMPAC is a biennial exercise. It is hosted by the United States. It is expected to begin in June.
  • United Nations has uninvited China due to its militarization of islands in the South China Sea. China, Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei have been fighting over the South China Sea for several years.

6) Pakistan hosted SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure meeting in Islamabad

  • On 23rd May 2018, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation-Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (SCO-RATS) meeting started in Islamabad, Pakistan. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation-Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (SCO-RATS) meeting is a three day meeting.
  • This is the first time Pakistan is hosting the (SCO-RATS) meeting. The main agenda of the meeting is issues related to terrorist threats in the region and how to manage them.
  • Experts from the 8 SCO member states: China, Kazakhstan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistanand representatives of the SCO-Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (SCO-RATS) are taking part in the meeting.

7) 5th India CLMV Business Conclave held at Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 21-22 May 2018

  • On May 21, 2018, The Ministry of Commerce and Industry announced the commencement of the 5th Cambodia, Laos PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam (CLMV) countries conclave held at Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 21-22 May 2018. The two day conclave will consist of sectoral sessions,country sessions and business to business meetings.
  • The conclave focused on agricultureagri-businessfarm equipment, Health care, ICTEducation, SkillingManufacturing, SMEs etc. The conclave was inaugurated by Union minister of Commerce and Industry Shri. Suresh Prabhu and the Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen. The governments and private sector of the five countries would consider using PPP (Public Private Partnership) form and studying goods production under “ Made in I-CLMV ” logo for regional and global markets.

8) Netherlands Becomes 64th Signatory Member Of International Solar Alliance

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who is in India at PM Modi’s invitation held wide-ranging discussions on bilateral and international issues at the Hyderabad House.
  • The Netherlands has become the 64th signatory member of the International Solar Alliance. PM Modi noted that the first Indo-Dutch Centre of Excellence CoE in Vegetables had started in Baramati, Maharashtra. India also welcomed the Netherlands as the Partner Country for the TechSummit in 2019.
  • According to data from 2016-17, the Netherlands was the fifth largest foreign investor in India. Globally, the Netherlands is India’s 28th largest trading partner. Within the European Union, the Netherlands is India’s sixth largest trading partner.

9) India-Nepal Joint Military Exercise SURYA KIRAN To Be Held In Uttarakhand

  • Joint Military Exercise SURYA KIRAN-XIII between India and Nepal will be conducted at Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand. The exercise will comprise of nearly 300 soldiers from both Indian and Nepal Army who would be sharing their experiences gained during the conduct of various counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations in the past. Exercise SURYA KIRAN is a biannual event which is conducted alternatively in Nepal and India. The aim of this exercise is to conduct battalion level joint training with emphasis on counter-terrorism operations in mountainous terrain.

10) Munich Grand Prix: Tejaswini strikes gold

  • On 23rd May 2018, Tejaswini Sawant won gold medal in the 50m rifle prone event in the Grand Prix in Munich. India’s Tejaswini Sawant shot 621.4 and won gold in the 50m rifle prone event. Another Indian Anjum Moudgil scored 0.2 point lesser and won the silver medal. Austria’s Olivia Hofmann finished in the third place. In the men’s 50m rifle prone event, India’s Chain Singh won the silver medal. United States’ Matthew Emmons won the gold medal. Oleh Tsarkov of Ukraine finished in the third place.

11) UNICEF launches data visualisation app

  • On 24th May 2018, the UNICEF released a data visualisation app that offers user-friendly visual representation of complex analytics of the education scenario in the country. The app has been developed with technical inputs from the UNICEF, along with the National Institute of Education Planning and Administration (NIEPA) and the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
  • It makes use of the UDISE (Unified District Information System for Education), the NAS (National Assessment survey) and demographic data. It can be used as a visual tool by policy makers, senior government officials, academia, and researchers to monitor programs in the education sector. Yasmin Ali Haque is the UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) Representative in India.

12) Pradeep Kumar Gupta concurrently accredited as the next Ambassador of India to the lslamic Republic of Mauritania

  • On May 23, 2018, The  Ministry of External Affairs announced the appointment of Pradeep kumar Gupta as the next Ambassador of India to the Islamic Republic of Mauritiana. Shri Pradeep Kumar Gupta, (YOA : 2004), presently Ambassador of lndia to Republic of Mali, has been concurrently accredited as the Ambassador of lndia to the lslamic Republic of Mauritania with residence in Bamako (Mali). He is expected to take up his assignment shortly.

13) Govt appoints non-executive chairpersons at 3 PSBs

  • On May 24, 2018, The Finance Ministry appointed non-executive chairpersons in 3 PSBs. The Banks are: Punjab and Sindh Bank, Dena Bank, Central Bank of India. These appointments have been done on recommendations for the Banks Board Bureau (BBB).
  • The appointments areCharan Singh as chairperson of Punjab and Sindh Bank, Anjali Bansal as Chairperson of Dena Bank and Tapan Ray as chairperson of Central Bank of India. Charan Singh has served at IMF as senior economist and at Reserve Bank of India as director. Anjali Bansal is founder of Spencer Stuart’s India and had worked with McKinsey and Company. Tapan Ray has served as Secretary in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

14) Nari Shakti Puraskar conferred to all six members of INSV Tarini team

  • On 24th May 2018, Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi presented the Nari Shakti Puraskar 2017 to the members of the INSV Tarini team in New Delhi. INSV Tarini team is an all-women team consisting of 6 members: Lt Commander Vartika Joshi, Lt Commander Pratibha Jamwal, Lt Commander Swathi Patarpalli, Lt Aishwarya Bodapatti, Lt SH Vi jaya Devi and Lt Payal Gupta.
  • President Ram Nath Kovind presented the Nari Shakti Puraskars on International Women’s Day (8th March 2018) in Rashtrapati Bhavan. Since the INSV Tarini team was sailing at that time, the award has been presented now. This crew is a part of the Indian Navy’s ‘ Navika Sagar Parikrama ’. The all women team circumnavigated the globe recently.

15) CSIR bags the Clarivate Analytics India Innovation Award 2018 in the Government Research Organizations Category

  • Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) has received the Clarivate Analytics India Innovation Award 2018 in the Government Research Organizations Category. Every year, Clarivate Analytics honours the most innovative companies in India based on patent-related metrics.
  • Clarivate Analytics was formerly the IP & Science division of Thomson Reuters. The factors considered for selection are metrics for both patent volume (patents published) and patent quality (grant success rate, extent of globalization, and citations). As per to the SCImago Institutions Ranking World Report 2017, CSIR was ranked 9th in the world among 1207 government institutions. It scored an overall rank of 75 in the world.

16) India’s first National Sports University in Manipur: Union Cabinet approves ordinance

  • On May 23, 2018, The Union Cabinet approved the ordinance of setting India’s first National Sports University in Imphal, Manipur. The ordinance for this proposal in on the lines of the bill introduced in Lok Sabha in August 2017. The proposed institute will focus on various areas like sports science, sports technology, high performance training. Manipur government has already granted land for the institute. Rs. 100 crore has been allocated for the institute.

17) MobiKwik Launches UPI On Platform, Offers Own VPA Handle

  • Leading digital financial services platform, MobiKwik, announced the launch of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) on its platform via its own Virtual payment address (VPA) handle @ikwik. MobiKwik’s users can, by default, use their mobile number as their own VPA which will be ‘@ikwik’.
  • They will also be able to link multiple bank accounts with just one VPA and users can change primary account as per their requirements. MobiKwik is the first in the industry to offer UPI access to a huge base of three million merchants on its app.

18) Sushant Singh Rajput To Promote 2 Major Initiatives Of NITI Aayog

  • NITI Aayog and Sushant Singh Rajput have decided to collaborate towards promoting two major initiatives of NITI Aayog, promotion of BHIM and the Women Entrepreneurship Platform. Mr Rajput had entered into an agreement with NITI Aayog. The agreement would be signed by Shri Rajput with Ms Anna Roy, Adviser, NITI Aayog in the presence of Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog.

19) Julia Louis-Dreyfus to be awarded Mark Twain prize

  • On May 24, 2018, Actress and Comedian Julia Louis-Dreyfus will be awarded annual Mark Twain award for American Humor from John F. Kennedy Centre of Performing Arts. Mark Twain himself will be presenting this award to her. Julia will be receiving the award on 21 October in a ceremony at Washington. Past winners of the award include Richard Pryor, Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, Lily Tomlin and Eddie Murphy. Bill Cosby was given the award in 2009.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS MAY 24 2018

1) India Ranks 145th In Healthcare Access, Quality, Iceland Tops: Lancet Report

  • India ranks 145th among 195 countries in terms of quality and accessibility of healthcare, according to a Lancet study. In 2016, India’s healthcare access and quality scored at 41.2 (up from 24.7 in 1990). India lags behind China (48), Sri Lanka (71), Bangladesh (133) and Bhutan (134).
  • The top 3 countries with the highest levels of healthcare access and quality in 2016:
    1. Iceland (97.1 points)
    2. Norway (96.6)
    3. The Netherlands (96.1)
  • The countries with the lowest scores:
    1. The Central African Republic (18.6)
    2. Somalia (19.0)
    3. Guinea-Bissau (23.4)
  • The study found that China and India had the widest disparities in healthcare access and quality with 43.5 and 30.8 point differences, respectively.

2) English Translation Of Polish Novel ‘ Flights ’ Wins Man Booker Prize

  • Polish author Olga Tokarczuk has won the Man Booker International Prize for her novel ‘Flights’. The novel, translated by Jennifer Croft, interweaves narratives of travel with explorations of the human body. It bagged the 67,000 US dollar prize after topping a shortlist of six titles, with Tokarczuk becoming the first Polish writer to win the award. The awards were announced at a ceremony in London. The head judge of the awards was Lisa Appignanesi.

3) AB De Villiers Retires From International Cricket

  • Star South African batsman AB de Villiers has announced his decision to retire from international cricket with immediate effect. In his 14-year career, he played 114 Tests, 228 One-Day Internationals (ODI) and 78 T20 Internationals.
  • Some of the Phenomenal Records of ABD are: The World Record for the fastest ODI 50 (16 balls), 100 (31 balls) and 150 (64 balls), the second highest individual Test score for South Africa (278*), the highest points (935) by a South African on the ICC Test rankings and has claimed the coveted SA Cricketer of the Year award twice (2014 and 2015).

4) Grace-Fo Satellites: Spacex Launches NASA Satellites to Track Earts’s Water Cycle

  • Elon Musk-led SpaceX has successfully launched twin NASA satellites GRACE-FO (Follow-On) that will track Earth’s water Cycle i.e. water movement and icemelt. It was launched onbaord of SpaceX’s preflown Falcon 9 Rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, US.
  • GRACE-FO is joint project between National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ). It is follow-on mission to original GRACE mission, which had mapped Earth’s water and ice by measuring changes in Earth’s gravity field from 2002 to 2017.
  • GRACE-FO will pick up where GRACE left off to continue study of rising sea levels, melting of glaciers and polar ice caps and other changes in distribution of water on Earth. The two GRACE-FO satellites will orbit together at 490 km altitude near-polar orbit, circling Earth every 90 minutes.
  • To measure Earth’s gravity, two satellites will orbit around Earth together, with one trailing behind other at distance of 220 km. The instruments on board of these satellites are so sensitive that they can detect changes with precision of about 1 micrometer (i.e. about one-tenth of a human hair over long distance).
  • These satellites have payload called Laser Ranging Interferometer. It can precisely measure gravity field changes due to change in separation distance between two satellites, revealing information about what kinds of features they are flying over. Earth is not perfect sphere) different features, like mountains and oceans, across its surface, so gravitational pull exerted on these satellites is not consistent. When gravity field changes, separation between two satellites changes slightly.

5) Important Cabinet Approvals – 23rd May 2018

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given the following set of approvals. The important Cabinet Approvals are given as follows-
  • The Cabinet has approved-
    1. MoU between India and Angola for promoting bilateral cooperation in the field of Electronics and Information Technology.
    2. MoU signed between India and France in the field of Renewable Energy.
    3. MoU between India and Denmark on Food Safety Cooperation.
    4. MoU between India and Morocco on India-Morocco cooperation in Renewable Energy.
    5. MoU between India and Turkey on trade in poppy seeds to ensure quick and transparent processing for import of poppy seeds from Turkey.
    6. MoU between India and Singapore on Cooperation in the field of Personnel Management and Public Administration.
    7. Provision of mobile connectivity in Left Wing Extremism Areas.
    8. Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) scheme for the provision of mobile services in Meghalaya under Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan (CTDP) for North Eastern Region.

6) NITI Aayog, ABB India Sign Pact To Benefit India From AI, Robotics

  • NITI Aayog and ABB India have signed a pact to help the country derive the benefits of latest technologies including robotics and artificial intelligence. The Statement of Intent to work together to realise the ambitious make in India vision of the government was signed in the presence of NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.
  • NITI Aayog and ABB will work with government ministries, solicit feedback for areas critical to them and discuss solutions using industrial automation, and digitalization technologies. The initiative also covers the fast-growing segment of electric mobility.

7) Prime Minister Modi Chairs 26th Pragati Interaction

  • Prime Minister had chaired twenty-sixth interaction through PRAGATI. He Reviewed progress of handling and grievance redressal related to post offices and railways. He also reviewed nine infrastructure projects in Railways, Road, Petroleum and Power sectors. The Cabinet under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi also discussed a number of other issues besides financial matters.

8) Smart Cities India 2018 Expo Underway In New Delhi

  • A three-day Smart Cities India 2018 Expo, began in New Delhi. The mega event, consisting five expos is being held with a vision to help develop attractive and safe cities that evoke pride, passion and a sense of belonging among citizens.
  • The five expos are Building India Expo, Solar India Expo, Transport India Expo, Smart Cities India Expo and Water India Expo. Over 300 exhibitors from different countries are participating in the 4th edition of this event.

9) HD Kumaraswamy Took Oath As New Karnataka CM

  • The JD(S)-Congress coalition government head HD Kumaraswamy was sworn in as the New Chief Minister of Karnataka. Governor Vajubhai Vala administered the oath of office and secrecy to Kumaraswamy. Congress Leader G. Parameshwara was sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister. There are 221 elected members in the Legislative Assembly, and the coalition partners have 117 members, including one BSP and two independents.

10) Government Releases Draft Model Agricultural Produce and Livestock Contract Farming ACT-2018

  • The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Famers Welfare has unveiled Model Agriculture Produce and Livestock Contract Farming and Services (Promotion & Facilitation) Act, 2018 to ensure better price to farmers. It is aimed at reducing farmers’ risks by creating assured market for their produce at pre-agreed price, while encouraging investment from agribusiness and food processing industries by enhancing productivity and cost efficiency.
  • Under contract farming, agricultural production (including livestock and poultry) can be carried out based on pre-harvest agreement (contract) between buyers (such as food processing units and exporters), and producers (farmers or farmer organisations). The producer can sell agricultural produce at specific price in future to buyer as per agreement. Under contract farming, producer can reduce risk of fluctuating market price and demand. The buyer can reduce risk of non-availability of quality produce.

11) Finance Ministry Ties Up With 40 Companies Under Mudra Scheme

  • The Union Finance Ministry has tied up with 40 entities including Flipkart, Swiggy, Patanjali and Amul for extending loans to small entrepreneurs under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY). In order to identify people who can be given funds under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY), the ministry has organised an event in Mumbai to extend loan under the scheme. The CEOs of various Banks, senior officials in the rank of MD or CEO from Oil Companies, Railway Board would be part of the event.

12) Minimum Compensation Of Rs1 Crore To Paramilitary Jawan Who Dies In Action

  • Home Minister Rajnath Singh has announced that the family of a paramilitary jawan who dies in action will be given a minimum compensation of one crore rupees. The Home Minister presented gallantry awards to BSF jawans and officers.

13) Election Commission to launch App to help voters to share malpractice proof

  • Election Commission of India (ECI) is launching multi-lingual mobile application called Model Code of Conduct Violation Reporting Appahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The app aims at empowering people across the country to share evidence of malpractice by political parties, their candidates and activists directly with ECI.
  • Through this mobile app, ECI intends to encourage larger public participation in checking corrupt practices in elections and ensure free and fair election process. The app will be launched across the country as part of steps taken by ECI to prevent abuse of money and muscle power.
  • The app allows sharing of photos and short audio and video clips related to electoral malpractices from spot itself. It also records geo-location of reported incidents and the officials concerned will immediately receive the alerts. This will ensure an effective response.
  • The app was made available for first time in Bengaluru (capital of Karnataka) in run-up to recently concluded state assembly elections. It had registered total of 780 downloads and complaints were received from users. Accordingly, officials concerned in all the cases had taken actions.

14) Black Panther: Chhattisgarh to get specialised anti-naxal combat force

  • Chhattisgarh will get specialised anti-Naxal combat force called Black Panther on the lines of the Greyhounds unit of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. It was announced by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh after chairing meeting on Left-Wing Extremism (LWE). Currently, training is being imparted for personnel who will be part of Black Panther elite force.
  • Greyhounds is elite commando force force that specialises in anti-insurgency operations against Naxals and Maoists and also expert in jungle warfare with operational jurisdiction in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. It was raised in 1989 by IPS officer K.S. Vyas to combat left wing extremists in then undivided Andhra Pradesh.  It is described as best anti-insurgency force that specialises in anti-Maoist operations and as experts in jungle warfare, even above CRPF’s CoBRA force which has more men, budget and better arms than Greyhounds.

15) Nidaan: Rajasthan Government Launches Software For Disease Monitoring

  • Rajasthan Government has launched new software called Nidaan for disease monitoring and strengthening tele-medicine services in the government hospitals. The software will help for providing presumptive diagnosis and monitoring of seasonal and non-communicable diseases as well as trends of ailments found in specific areas.
  • Nidaan Softwarre will facilitate online entries for monitoring of as many as 46 diseases and healthcare services available for their treatment in different institutions. It is also expected to help in formulation of specific action plans for control of diseases. It will help in effective policy formulation in health sector as there will be simultaneous monitoring of programmes run under National Health Mission. It will ensure timely prevention of diseases by ensuring monitoring of activities of District Early Intervention Centres and also ensure availability of quality healthcare services.

16) Oumuamua: Alien Asteroid Discovered in solar system

  • Scientists have discovered an asteroid named Oumuamua (or (514107) 2015 BZ509) nestling in Jupiter’s orbit that had migrated from another star system. It makes it first known permanent immigrant to our solar system. It confirms suspicions of scientists’ that asteroids from other stars have arrived in our solar system. The asteroid Oumuamua was actually first discovered in 2014, but after four years of tracking it, scientists were able to determine that it had arrived in our solar system some 4.5 billion years ago – just as Earth was beginning to form.
  • All planets in our solar system travel around Sun. But this asteroid moves in opposite direction, referred to as retrograde orbit and is in same path as Jupiter. This shows that it is from different solar system. If it was native of our solar system, it might have same original direction as all of other planets and asteroids, inherited from cloud of gas and dust that formed them.
  • Asteroid immigration from other star systems occurs because Sun initially formed in tightly-packed star cluster, where every star had its own system of planets and asteroids. The close proximity of stars, aided by gravitational forces of planets, help these systems attract, remove and capture asteroids from one another solar system.

17) DAC Approves Measures to Simplify Defence Procurement Procedure

  • The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has approved various measures to simplify Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP). DAC is Defence Ministry’s highest decision-making body on capital procurement of Indian Armed Forces (Army, Navy and Air Force).
  • These measures will be incorporated in DPP-16, the manual governing defence procurement procedure. The changes include devolution of powers within Ministry of Defence and Service Headquarters, deletion of repetitive processes, concurrent running of acquisition process instead of sequential stage clearance, aligning of various documents with revised financial guidelines, amongst others.

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS MAY 23 2018

1) India receives the 1st cargo of ADNOC crude oil for its Mangalore StrAtegic Petroleum Reserve

  •  On May 22, 2018, India received the 1st cargo of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) crude oil for its Mangalore Strategic Petroleum Reserve. In February 2018, during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to UAE, ISPRL and ADNOC signed an Agreement for storing 5.68 million barrels of crude oil.
  • This is to be stored in the Mangaluru facility of India SPR for emergency and distribution purposes. Apart from this the minister of oil Dharmendra Pradhan flagged off 2 million barrels of oil for India. The centre has built crude oil storage facilities with total capacity of 5.33 Million Tonnes (MT) at three locations under phase I of the ‘SPR programme’ including 1.33 MT at Vishakhapatnam, 1.5 MW at Mangalore and 2.5 MT at Padur.

2) First informal Summit between India and Russia held in the city of Sochi

  • On May 22, 2018, The Prime Minister of India Shri. Narendra Modi met the President of Russia Mr. Vladmir Putin for the first informal summit in the city of Sochi, Russia. Talks of counter terrorism, strategic partnership for global peace and stability, to continue working though the multilateral organizations like UN, SCO, BRICS and G-20.
  • Agreement for strategic economic dialogue between NITI Aaoyg and Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development for better trade and investment. Agreement on the first consignment of LNG under a long-term agreement between Gazprom and GAIL. For better partnership in military, security and nuclear energy fields. Agreement on holding informal summits in future. The Prime Minister of India invited President Putin for the 19th Annual Informal Summit that is  to be held in India in 2018.

3) BRICS Bank plans to launch Americas Regional Office in Brazil

  • On May 22,2018, BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) plans to launch Americas Regional Office in Brazil. It is done to increase the operational capabilities of NDB in Brazil. This will help in identification and preparation of bankable projects in Brazil. Apart from this there is another centre: The African Regional Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.

4) Pakistan among top three sources of money laundering in UK: NCA

  • The United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has placed Pakistan among the top three sources for money laundering in the United Kingdom. Nigeria and Russia are the other two countries in the top 3 sources of money laundering in UK.
  • The NCA report states that the UK is a major destination for foreign corrupt and politically exposed people to launder money. It has identified trade misinvoicing as one of the major mechanisms used for such operations.
  • NCA had produced a report named “ National Strategic Assessment of Serious and Organized Crime 2018 ”. London is also considered the “ Money Laundering Capital of the World ” where corrupt leaders from developing countries use wealth looted from people to buy assets.

5) Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa On 4-Day Visit To Israel

  • Indian Air Force Chief Marshal Birendra Singh Dhanoa left to Israel on a four-day tour of the country. In Israel, the Chief of the Air Staff will be attending a conference on ‘ Air Superiority as a Bridge to Regional Stability ’. The conference is part of the Israel Air Force’s 70th-anniversary celebrations. According to the Ministry of Defence, the conference will enable strategic dialogue between Israel’s highest leadership, innovative thinkers and the invited Air Force Commanders.

6) Adobe acquires Magento for USD 1.68 billion

  • On May 22, 2018, the California based giant software company Adobe announced its acquisition of Magento for USD 1.68 billionMagento was founded in 2008 and had been earlier acquired by eBay in 2011 first and then went private in 2015.
  • it works in B2B and B2C context and will help Adobe to compete with salesforce and provide functionality in e-commerce space. The acquisition will help Adobe to work on consumers in the company’s Experience Cloud. The deal is also seen as a way of Microsoft and Adobe coming closer as they will be able to collaborate better against Salesforce.

7) NYSE Names 1st Woman Chief In Exchange’s 226-Year History

  • The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has promoted Stacey Cunningham to President ,making her the first sole woman head of the 226 year old exchange. The 43-year-old became NYSE’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) in June 2015. With Cunningham’s promotion, America’s leading two stock exchanges will be led by women after Adena Friedman took over as CEO of Nasdaq in January 2017.

8) Mahathir taps prominent Indian-origin politician to become Malaysia’s first Sikh Cabinet minister

  • Gobind Singh Deo, an Indian-origin lawyer and politician in Malaysia has become the first Sikh in Malaysia to be appointed as a Cabinet minister. Gobind Singh Deo is 44 years old. He has been allotted the communications and multimedia portfolio. Another Indian-origin lawmaker M. Kulasegaran from the Democratic Action Party (DAP) has been made the human resource minister in the Cabinet by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

9) Manika, Mirabai sign up with IOS Sports

  • On May 22, 2018, Commonwealth medal winner and Table Tennis Star Manika Batra and weightlifter Mirabai Chanu signed multi year agreement with IOS. IOS will now manage their endorsements, appearances, brand profiling, patents, licensing and digital rights, images, and visibility on social networking sites, the company stated in a media release. It will be managing their brand portfolio and commercial activities in a professional way. With this deal, Manika and Mirabai join the likes of boxing stars MC Mary Kom, Vijender Singh and Saina Nehwal on the IOS roster.

10) Bala Prasath wins Formula Junior Racing Series 2018 Championship

  • On 20th May 2018, Bala Prasath won the Formula Junior Racing Series 2018 Championship in Coimbatore. Bengaluru’s Sohil finished in the second place in the final round. Chennai’s Nirmal Umashankar finished in the third position. Bala Prasath hails from Coimbatore. The Formula Junior Racing Series 2018 Championship is organised by MECO Motorsports. It was introduced in 2016 as a platform to drivers coming out of the winter season to prepare for the National Championships.

11) Workshop On “ Ganga And Its Biodiversity: Developing A Road Map For Habitat And Species Conservation ” Inaugurated By Nitin Gadkari

  • On May 22, 2018, Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari inaugurated a day-long workshop on the theme “ Ganga and its Biodiversity: Developing a Road Map for Habitat and Species Conservation ” on river Ganga in New Delhi. This was organized by by World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
  • He also released a report on “ Status of Conservation of Select Aquatic Species ”. A database of ‘ Ganga Praharis ’, a self-motivated cadre, being created by Wildlife Institute of India (WII) was also launched by the Minister.

12) “ Historic Moment “ as First Commercial Flight lands in Arunachal Pradesh

  • On May 22, 2018, a 42 seater aircraft of Alliance Air lands at Pasighat from Guwahati in Arunachal Pradesh. It carried Chief Minister Pema Khandu and 24 other passengers with it.  Arunachal Pradesh has some 120 helipads and 10 advanced landing grounds operational for defence and civil operations.
  • This flight is a part of the UDAN (Ude Desh ke Aam Nagarik) scheme. Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu became its first passenger. The flight will operate three times a week. It will connect Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh and the Gopinath Bordoi Airport in Guwahati, Assam.
  • The flight was a 1.5 hr long flight from Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi Airport in Guwahati. The Pasighat airport is on an Advance Landing Ground (ALG) which is meant to support operations of small and military aircrafts. This would provide better connectivity and commercial and economical growth in the region. Another airport at Tezu in Lohit districtwill start its operations soon.

13) Chetak Corps’ engaged in exercise ‘Gandiv Vijay’ in Rajasthan

  • On May 22, 2018, The South-Western command Chetak Corps are engaged in intense training exercise called ‘Gandiv Vijay’ in Rajasthan. began on March and will end in May 23 2018. It is a multi-mode exercise from dispersed locations to the time and place of decision in a terrain of operational responsibility of the formation. This was carried out in the Mahajan field firing ranges close to Suratgarh.

14) 18,000 tanks rejuvenated in Telangana, says Minister under its Mission Kakatiya programme

  • On May 22, 2018, Telangana Irrigation Minister T Harish Rao said that, the Telangana government has completed rejuvenation of 18,000 tanks in Telangana under its Mission Kakatiya programme. T Harish Rao made this announcement at a convention on ‘Rejuvenation of Krishna river’ organised by the Telangana Water Resources Development Corporation (TWRDC).  He said that, ground water level in Telangana has increased with the rejuvenation of tanks.

15) Vice President Venkaiah Naidu lays foundation stone for NIDM’s Southern Campus in Andhra Pradesh

  • On 22nd May 2018, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu laid the foundation stone of the Southern Campus of National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) at Kondapavuluru Village, Gannavaram Mandal, Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh.
  • NIDM is a Government institute under Ministry of Home Affairs. In line with the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act 2014, it has set up a Southern Campus in Andhra Pradesh. At present, an interim setup of NIDM Southern Campus is functioning in Andhra Pradesh Human Resource Development Institute (APHRDI) Campus at Bapatla, Guntur.
  • Andhra Pradesh government has allotted 10 acres of land to NIDM for setting up of its permanent Southern Campus at Kondapavuluru Village. The Central Government has approved setting up of the South Campus at a cost of Rs. 36.76 crores.
  • NIDM’s Southern Campus will focus on ground level issues, district and local planning, last mile connectivity and mainstreaming disaster management into Sustainable Development Goals through training and capacity building programmes. The Campus will support capacity building of various stakeholders. The programs will be designed with main focus on the disasters, mainly in southern states.

16) Bank of Baroda locates major operations at GIFT City

  • On May 22, 2018, Bank of Baroda locates major operations at GIFT city. The bank will now offer its services including retail loan processing, deposit account openingin this Shared Service Centre (SSC). It will have a staff strength of 200. The bank will become one of the largest employers in the Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar region. The bank had taken 20,000 sq. ft of office space in GIFT City, making it the first Indian bank to move several key operations to the smart city.

17) BoB, CDSL sign agreement

  • On May 22, 2018, Bank Of Baroda has signed agreement with CDSL Commodity Repository (CCRL). This agreement is for pledge financeunder the repository ecosystem for registered / accredited warehouses. The new ecosystem will boost confidence among bankers and other stakeholders like depositors and warehouse service providers.
  • This will also provide various features to its stakeholders such as seamless transfer of ownership of commodity by the depositors, splitting of warehouse receipt by the depositors, real time and ease of access of information by the banks that will help them reduce their TAT in processing the loans and marking the pledge on the commodity. BOB becomes the first public sector bank to become the repository participant.

18) MCX launches India’s first copper options

  • On May 22, 2018, Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX) launches India’s first copper options. The contracts are available for trading with one MCX copper futures contract (1MT) as the bottom-line. In order to encourage active participation in the market the exchange is not levying any transaction fees on all the commodity options contracts till September 30, 2018.
  • Copper ranks as the third-most-consumed industrial metal in the world, after iron and aluminium. Copper ore production in India stood at 3,846 thousand tonnes in 2016-17. India’s consumption demand for refined copper stood at 820 thousand tonnes in the FY16.

19) Business & economy India to achieve 9 percent growth rate by 2022: Niti Ayog VC

  • On May 22, 2018 , The Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog Rajiv Kumar said that the Indian economy and business will grow to a 9% growth rate by 2022. This was possible because of the reforms like GSTand demonetization and the Insolvency and Bankrupty Code (IBC).
  • Also encouraging electric vehicles will aid in the improvement as petrol prices are growing to a USD 80 per barrel. The NITI Aayog is working on projects to demonstrate that farmers income can be doubled by 2022. Indian economy grew by 6.6% in 2017-18 and is expected to grow by 7.5% in 2018-19 fiscal.

20) ONGC operations in Nagayalanka from today

  • On May 22, 2018, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) will begin its operations in Nagayalanka block in Krishna District. This will be inaugurated by ONGC CMD Mr. Shashi Shankerin the site near the Bhavadevarapalli Village.
  • This Early production System (EPS)will cost Rs. 6804 crore. For environmental protection an amount of Rs. 340 crore has been spent. The ONGC initially targeted developing of three wells and one EPS, whose handling capacity is drilling of 379 cum/per day of crude oil and 0.145 Million Standard cubic feet of gas per day.
  • In March 2015, the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change issued the ‘ Terms of Reference ’ to the ONGC to set up 31 wells in the Krishna district. The three wells are in Nangegedda and Bhavadevarapalli in the mandal.

21) Partners Group to buy stake in GlobalLogic from Apax Funds

  • On 21st May 2018, Partners Group agreed to buy ownership stake in GlobalLogic from Funds advised by Apax Partners. The deal size was not revealed by the companies. After acquisition, Partners Group will become an equal shareholder with existing investor, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB). GlobalLogic is a digital product engineering services company. It enables clients to develop digital products that improve customer engagement, and create new revenue streams.

22) MSLTA annual award winners

  • On 22nd May 2018, the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) annual awards were presented in Mumbai. 
  • Some of the MSLTA annual award winners for their performances in 2017-2018 are:
    1. Asian junior Champion Mihika Yadav
    2. India’s No 5 Men’s player Arjun Kadhe
    3. India’s  No 4 women’s player Rutuja Bhosale
    4. National Sub junior Champion Rutuja Chaphalkar
    5. India’s No 1 junior Siddhant Banthia
  • The top 3 players in each age group in Maharashtra were awarded scholarships worth Rs.11 lakhs and funds for international training. Dr. Vijay Thete of Nashik, Mr. Rajesh Dave of Yewatmal and Mr. Deepak Somaiya of Amravati were presented special awards for Development and Promotion of Tennis. Also, coaches Kedar Shah for producing National Champions and Aditya Madkekar and Shrinivas Rao Kola for National Runner-up from Maharashtra were given special awards.
  • The Maharashtra  Men’s and Women’s team that bagged the All India interstate Championships at Bhilai were presented Cash awards of Rs 51000 per player. Maharashtra players Kritika Chhabra and Tejasvi Kate and coach Himanshu Gosavi were honored for their Bronze winning performance at the Asian School Games at Solo, Indonesia. Appreciation Awards were given to clubs hosting international events in Maharashtra.

23) Pravin Agrawal appointed BHEL director

  • On May 22, 2018, BHEL said that it has appointed Pravin L Agrawal as part-time official director on its board. Pravin Agrawal is an Indian Forest Service officer. Currently he is joint secretary in the Department of Heavy Industry (DHI), Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises. He is 49 years old. BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd.) is a State-run power equipment making company.

24) Solar system’s first interstellar immigrant discovered

  • On May 22, 2018, scientists have discovered the first intersteller immigrant. An Asteroid named (514107) 2015 BZ509 has a different origin other than our solar system because the object moves in a direction opposite to that of all the objects in our solar system. This is the second asteroid that is causing stir after the ‘Oumuamua’ asteroid. The discovery could shed light on a range of mysteries about how our solar system, planets and perhaps even life itself were formed. Dr. Fathi Namouni is the lead in this study group.

25) Scientists have identified a drug that could prevent the brain damage caused by exposure to cosmic radiation

  • Scientists have found out a drug named “PLX5622” that could prevent the brain damage caused by exposure to cosmic radiation. Study regarding this was published in the journal Scientific Reports. Researchers have found that the drug prevents memory impairment in mice exposed to simulated space radiation. Human beings travelling beyond the Earth’s protective magnetic fields will be exposed to cosmic radiation nearly 1000 times higher than that on Earth. The “PLX5622” has shown positive result on mice. Through this drug it would be possible to make advancements in deep space exploration.

26) Kane named England’s World Cup captain (football)

  • On 22nd May 2018, Harry Kane was announced as England’s captain at the World Cup in Russia. Harry Kane is 24 years old. He has scored 12 goals in 23 international appearances. He first captained England in the last summer’s 2-2 World Cup qualifier in Scotland.

27) Noted industrialist Bansidhar Panda passes away

  • On 22nd May 2018, Bansidhar Panda, industrialist and founder of Indian Metal and Ferro Alloys (IMFA) Ltd died at his home in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Bansidhar Panda was 87 years old. He founded Indian Metal and Ferro Alloys (IMFA) in 1961. He was a major contributor in instituting Sarala Award for literature and Ekalabya Puruskar for sports.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS MAY 22 2018

1) 26th BASIC Ministerial meeting of Environment Ministers in Durban

  • On 20th May 2018, the 26th BASIC Ministerial meeting of Environment Ministers was held in Durban, South Africa. Brazil, South Africa, India and China are termed as the BASIC countries. Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Dr Harsh Vardhan participated in the meeting on behalf of India.
  • The meeting was chaired by South Africa’s Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa. The meeting was attended by environment ministers of BASIC countries and Michal Kurtyka of Poland, who will be the next president of Conference of Parties (COP-24).
  • In a joint statement, the ministers said that, the countries are committed to work together with other parties to ensure full, effective and sustained implementation of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement.

2) Emergency Summit of OIC held in Istanbul to discuss Israel-Palestine violence

  • On May 21, 2018, an emergency summit of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was held in Istanbul, Turkey. This meeting was headed by the President of Turkey Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It is the second largest inter-governmental organizationafter the UN.
  •  It is an organization of the muslim majority countries but India is not a part of it. It was founded in 1969 and is headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It has 57 member states among them 47 Muslim majority nations. It has permanent delegation to United Nations and European Union. Official languages spoken are Arabic, English and French.

3) 71st World Health Assembly Held In Geneva, Switzerland

  • The 71st World Health Assembly was held in Geneva, Switzerland. The Indian Delegation was led by Union Health Minister of India, Mr J P Nadda at World Health Assembly. The Event was held under the theme “Health for All: Commit To Universal Health Coverage”.  Mr Nadda also inaugurated ‘Walk the Talk’ event and gave a call ‘Health for all, Yoga for all’.

4) Venezuela’s President Maduro Wins Re-Election

  • Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro was reelected for a second six-year term in presidential elections, according to the National Electoral Council (CNE). Some 14,638 voting centers have been set up nationwide for Venezuela’s more than 20.5 million eligible voters, who are also voting for state legislators. Mr Nicolas had replaced Hugo Chavez after his death from cancer in 2013.

5) World Bank extends $300 mn credit to scale up energy efficiency program

  • On May 21, 2018, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD ) an arm of World Bank has extended $300 mn loan to EESL to scale up energy efficiency program. This is a combination of two loans: $220 million (Rs. 1496 crore) and $80million (Rs. 544 crore) for the India Energy Efficiency Scale up Program.
  • It will help scale up the deployment of energy saving measures in residential and public sectorsstrengthen EESL’s institutional capacity, and enhance its access to commercial financing.
  • The Aim is to avoid lifetime greenhouse emissions of 170 million tonnesof CO2 and 10 GW of additional generation capacity. This would be over 50 percent of the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency target of 19.6 GW indicated in India’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Accord.
  • This will include creating sustainable markets for LED lights, energy efficient ceiling fans, facilitating well-structured and scalable investments in public street lighting, developing sustainable business models ,super-efficient air conditioning, agricultural water pumping systems and strengthening the institutional capacity of EESL.
  • The Program aims to help increase private sector participation in energy efficiency, including through private sector energy service companies. EESL will deploy 219 million LED bulbs and tube lights, 5.8 million ceiling fans, and 7.2 million street lights, which will be supplied by private sectormanufacturers and suppliers. Under “Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA)” EESL has deployed 30 crore LED buls till now.

6) Lionel Messi wins European Golden Shoe for the fifth time

  • On May 21,2018 Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has won the European Golden Shoe for a fifth time. He won the award with 34 goals, for a total of 68 points during the 2017-2018 season. Four-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo finished ninth in the rankings after scoring 26 goals for Real Madrid in La Liga.

7) China launches Queqiao satellite to explore dark side of Moon

  • On 21st May 2018, China launched Queqiao satellite to explore dark side of Moon. The relay satellite Queqiao has been designed to set a communication link between earth and a planned lunar probe that will explore the dark side of the moon.
  • Queqiao was launched on a Long March-4C rocket from Xichang launch center, China. Queqiao is also known as Magpie Bridge. It will settle in an orbit nearly 455,000 km (282,555 miles) from earth. It will be the world’s first communication satellite operating there.

8) Nadal beats Zverev to win Italian Open, reclaim No.1 ranking

  • On 20th May 2018, Rafael Nadal won the Italian Open in Rome, Italy. Rafael Nadal defeated Alexander Zverev 6-1 1-6 6-3 in the final of the Italian Open. This is Rafael Nadal’s eighth Italian Open title. Through this victory Rafael Nadal will regain his No. 1 ranking from Roger Federer.

9) South Korea defeat India to lift 5th Women’s Asian Champions Trophy

  • On 21st May 2018, South Korea won the 5th Women’s Asian Champions Trophy, at the Sunrise Stadium, Donghae City, South Korea. Indian Women’s Hockey Team was defeated by host South Korea 0-1 in the Final of the 5th Women’s Asian Champions Trophy. India was the Defending Champion. South Korea has won the title for the third time. India finished runners-up for the second time.

10) 400 Million-Year-Old Marine Animal Fossil Found In China

  • Scientists of Chinese Academy of Sciences have discovered a fossilised body piece of an extinct class of marine animal named Cystoidea or cystoids at Guizhou province, China. The fossil dates back to 400 million years back. It was found out in Tongzi County. The cystoids are echinoderms or marine invertebrates. They lived in the Pleozoic era, the Ordovician and Silurian periods. They are said to have featured an egg-shaped body. They became extinct during the Devonian period.

11) 4,000-Year-Old Human Cremation Site Discovered

  • Scientists have discovered a 4,000 year old human cremation site along with pottery from the 12th or 13th century. Catherine Frieman from Australian National University (ANU) excavated an ancient barrow near the town Looe in South East Cornwall. Other items like Cornish Bronze Age pottery, flint tools and high-quality hammer stones were also found. A round house from 500 BC was also excavated. The analysis of soil, pollen, flint and other samples is in progress.

12) India successfully test fires supersonic BrahMos missile off Odisha coast

  • On May 21, 2018, India successfully test fired the Indo-Russian joint venture BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from Launch pad 3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR)at Chandipur, Odisha.
  • Objective: To validate its ‘life extension’ technologies developed for the first time in India by DRDO and team of BrahMos.
  • BrahMos variants can be launched from land, air, sea and under water. Currently the Army is equipped with three regiments of Block111 version of BrahMos missile. The air launch version and the submarine launch version of the missile system are in progress. The last land-based trial was conducted from the same base on March 11, 2017 successfully.

13) India’s Q4 GDP Growth Likely At 7.4%: ICRA Report

  • India’s GDP for January-March 2017-18 has been expected at 7.4 per cent by rating agency ICRA. ICRA expects GDP growth in January-March 2017-18 at 7.4 % due to good rabi crop harvest and corporate earnings. It was 7.2 per cent in the third quarter. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) will release the GDP estimate for the fourth quarter (Q4) of fiscal 2017-18 and provisional annual estimates for the year 2017-18 on 31st May 2018.

14) INSV Tarini, with its all-women crew, returning to Goa after circumnavigating the globe

  • On 21st May 2018, the all-women crew of the Indian Navy on board INSV Tarini returned from expedition “Navika Sagar Parikrama” and landed at Mandovi in Goa. This is the first ever Indian female crew to navigate the world. The circumnavigation was done in 254 days.
  • The circumnavigation was started on 10th September 2017. The all-woman crew was led by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi. Other crew members are: Lt-Commanders Pratibha Jamwal and Swati P, and Lieutenants Aishwarya Boddapati, S Vijaya Devi and Payal Gupta.

15) UJALA scheme: EESL distributes over 30 crore LED bulbs across the country

  • On May 21, 2018, State run EESL (Energy Efficiency Services Limited) has announced that it has distributed over 30 crore LED bulbs across the country under government’s UJALA scheme. The distribution of  LED bulbs has helped  in saving energy of over 38,952 KWh annually amounting to Rs. 15,581 crore.
  • The UJALA scheme was launched by the Prime Minister of India in January 2015 with an aim to distribute energy efficient LED lightbulbs and reduce carbon emission by 33 to 35 percent within 2030.
  • India’s share in the global LED market has increased to 12 per cent from a mere 0.1 per cent, with the penetration of LED in the domestic market rising to 10 per centfrom 0.4 per cent. The annual LED domestic production increased from 30 lakh bulbs to over 6 crore bulbs, simultaneously creating 60,000 jobs. With this scheme EESL has avoided more than 7500 MW generation of extra electricity resulting in drop of price of LED bulbs.

16) PM Narendra Modi inuagrates Kishanganga Hydroelectric project in J&K

  • On May 21, 2018, the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated Kishanganga Hydroelectric project in Jammu & Kashmir. He also laid the foundation to the Pakal Dam.
  • About Kishanganga Hydro Electric Project: It is located in the Bandipora District of Jammu & Kashmir. The capacity of this project is 330 MW. The annual generation of the project is 1712.96 MU. The cost of the project is Rs. 5882 crore. The Project was handed over to NHPC for execution by the State Government after an MoU was signed between J&K Govt. and Ministry of Power, Govt of India in July 2000.
  • Objective of Kishanganga Electric Project: It will provide 13% of free power to the state of J&K. It will create employment of 1850 people during construction phase and 750 people during operation phase. It will create better infrastructure and connectivity in the region.
  • About Pakal Dul Hydro Power Project: It is the largest project and the firststorage project of Jammu & Kashmir. The capacity of this project is 1000 MW. This project is funded by both the Government of India and the Government of J&K. The cost of the project is Rs 8112.12 Crore. It will create 650 MU  and time of implementation is 66 omnths from the start of the project.
  • Objective of the Pakal Dul: It shall improve the water availability during the lean season. It will employ a total of 8000 people directly/indirectly. It will give the Govt of J&K 12% of the free power after 10 years of commissioning. Additional 1% will go towards Local Area Development Fund (LADF). The improved connectivity of roads due to this project will be beneficial to local population also.

17) CRPF raises ‘Bastariya Battalion’ to combat Naxals activities

  • On 21st May 2018, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) commissioned the Bastariya Battalion in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh. In order to improve combat capabilities in Naxal affected Bastar district the CRPF decided to include local representation in a special unit.
  • The special unit was numbered as 241 and named as ‘Bastariya Battalion’. All the candidates have been selected from 4 highly Naxal affected districts of Chhattisgarh: Bijapur, Dantewada, Narayanpur and Sukma. The Bastariya Battalion consists of 739 local tribal youths. In this battalion, representation of 33 % female candidates is maintained as per policy of the government.
  • Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh attended the passing out parade of recruits which consisted of 198 women combatants, at the CRPF training centre at Ambikapur.

18) Haryana Government will launch the ‘Chatra Parivahan Suraksha Yojana’ 

  • On 19th May 2018Haryana Chief Minister Mr Manohar Lal Khattar said that, ‘Chatra Parivahan Suraksha Yojana’, developed for the safety of girl students will be launched in Haryana. Manohar Lal Khattar said that the state has set up women help desks for the safety of women. He said that, women representation in police force has been increased from 6 % to 9 %.

19) IIT Kanpur sets up India’s first advisory centre for energy

  • On May 21, 2018, IIT-Kanpur has set up India’s first advisory Centre for Energy Regulation (CER) with the help of government of United Kingdom. With an aim to provide independent advisory on policy and regulatory matters in the power and energy sector.
  •  It has been an initiative of the Department of Industrial and Management Engineering of IIT–Kanpur. The activities of CER are funded by the Department of International Development (DfId), Government of United Kingdom (UK).
  • The activities includes research and development regarding issues like growth of Indian Economy, energy efficiency, energy demand etc. It’s main focus is around the policy and regulatory changes in the power and energy sector.

20) UPID to launch mobile app for weavers to market products

  • On May 21, 2018, The Uttar Pradesh Institute of Design(UPID) will launch a mobile app during a two-day event in Varanasi. To help weavers in the state to market their products and come up with new design ideas. This will enhance their confidence and demand thereby increasing sales and exports.
  • The mobile app will be called UPID app. It will provide better market linkages and new designs that will help the demand of art grow and notification will be sent via email. The app will send alerts of any upcoming Shilpa Mela (craft fairs) in the state. Information regarding the 11 registered products of the Varanasi division will be available

21) BNPM gets green nod to increase bank note paper production

  • On May 21, 2018, the government’s Bank Note Paper Mill India (BNPM) received environment clearance (EC) from Environment Ministry to increase production of bank note paper from 12,000 tonnes per annum (TPA) to 16,000 TPA at its Mysuru unit in Karnataka.
  • This environment clearance (EC) is subject to compliance of certain conditions like developing greenbelt in 33 % of the project area. BNPM is a joint venture between Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran (BRBNMPL) and Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India (SPMCIL).

22) Asha Bhosle honoured with West Bengal’s highest civilian award Banga Bibhusan

  • On May 21, 2018, singer Asha Bhosle was awarded the Banga Bibhushan by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at an event in Kolkata. Writer Samaresh Majumdar, Bengali superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee and Justice (retd) Shyamal Kumar Sen were also awarded the Banga Bibhusan.
  • Footballer Subrata Bhattacharya was presented the Banga Bhushan. Banga Bibhushan is the highest civilian award of West Bengal. Banga Bibhushan and Banga Bhushan were instituted by Mamata Banerjee in 2011, to honour the services of popular personalities in various fields.

23) IDBI Bank Appoints Two Independent Directors On Its Board

  • On May 21, 2018, IDBI bank approves the appointment of two new independent directors on its board after the seats became vacant following the resignation of the former directors of the board. Mr. Samaresh Parida and Mr. N Jambunathan were appointed to the board.
  • Mr. Parida was a former consultant and Mr.Jambunathan was the former Deputy Managing Director of SBI. The former Directors who resigned were: Mr. Ninad Karpe and Mr. S Ravi. They are alleged to have had a connection in a Rs.600 crore NPA case filed by CBI.

24) Telugu Writer Yaddanapudi Sulochana Rani dies aged 78

  • Popular Telugu novelist Yaddanapudi Sulochana Rani, 78 passed away in California,U.S due to heart stroke. She belongs to Kaza village in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh. Some of her most popular works include Aagamana, Aathmeeyulu, Abhijata, Secretary, Jeevana Tarangalu and Kalala Kougili. Many of her literary works have been adapted to film and TV screenplays. Director Trivikram Srinivas’ A… Aa is based on Sulochana Rani’s novel Meena.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS MAY 20 & 21 2018

1) India sixth wealthiest country with total wealth of USD 8,230 bn

  • According to AfrAsia Bank Global Wealth Migration Review 2018, India is the sixth wealthiest country in the world with a total wealth of $8,230 billion. In the context of this report, “Total wealth” refers to the private wealth (assets viz. property, cash, equities, business interests, less any liabilities) held by all the individuals living in a particular country. India emerged as the “Best Performing Wealth Markets” registering 25% growth in total wealth for the year 2017.

2) Visit of Indian Naval Ships to Danang, Vietnam

  • Three Indian Naval Ships Sahyadri, Shakti and Kamorta under the command of Rear Admiral Dinesh Kumar Tripathi shall be making a port call at Tien Sa Port, Danang, Vietnam from 21st to 25th May, 2018. This port call is part of ongoing operational deployment of the Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet ships to South East Asia and North West Pacific region.
  • Objective of this visit is to enhance maritime cooperation between Indian and Vietnamese Navies, strengthen bonds of friendship between the two countries and contribute to security and stability in the region and the world at large. During the course of this visit, personnel of both the navies will engage in professional interaction. Both the navies would also be undertaking a joint exercise.
  • It is to be noted that Indian Navy has had extensive interactions with Vietnam People’s Navy, particularly in the field of training, maintenance and logistics support aimed at capacity building and repairs. Most recent visit by Indian Ships to Vietnam was in September 2017, wherein ships INS Satpura and INS Kadmatt visited Hai Phong port.

3) Russian President Vladimir Putin reshuffles cabinet, keeps key figures in place

  • On 18th May 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin reshuffled his Cabinet. He replaced some longtime members, yet maintained the important figures. Important Cabinet figures like Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov are unchanged. Also, Anton Siluanov was promoted to the post of first deputy prime minister.
  • Economics Minister Maxim Oreshkin, Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov and Energy Minister Alexander Novak have also retained their positions. Igor Shuvalov who was first deputy prime minister earlier, is not in the new Cabinet. Also, Arkady Dvorkovich, who was a deputy prime minister has left. Dmitry Rogozin, who was a deputy prime minister in charge of military and space industries, has also left.
  • Dmitry Rogozin is succeeded by Yuri Borisov. Sergei Prikhodko, who was a deputy prime minister, has also left. Dmitry Patrushev has been made agriculture minister. Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky has retained his position.

4) Russia unveils world’s first floating nuclear power station

  • On 19th May, Russia unveiled the world’s first floating nuclear power station at a ceremony in the port of the city of Murmansk where it will be loaded with nuclear fuel before heading to eastern Siberia. It will be primarily used to power oil rigs & supply electricity and heat to the most remote regions, supporting also growth and sustainable development.
  • This is called Akademik Lomonosovwas built by Rosatom in Saint Petersburg. It is a 144 by 30 metre (472 by 98 foot) ship holds two reactors with two 35 megawatt nuclear reactors. It is a 21,000-tonne barge that will produce enough electricity to power a town of 200,000 residents, far more than the 5,000 live in Pevek, Russia. The floating reactors can save 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

5) MoS Defence Subhash Bhamre on 3 day visit to Nauru

  • On 16th to 18th May 2018, Minister of State for Defence Dr. Subhash Bhamre was on a three-day official visit to Republic of Nauru. Subhash Bhamre participated in the 50th anniversary celebrations of Nauru’s Constitution Day on 17th May 2018 as the Chief Guest.
  • This is his first visit to Nauru. He had a meeting with Nauru President Mr Baron Divavesi Waqa. Discussions were held on bilateral relationship and projects related to Climate Change, Renewable Energy, Health, Education, Capacity Building, Infrastructure etc.
  • Subhash Bhamre presented a copy of the Indian Constitution to President Mr Baron Divavesi Waqa along with compliments of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Nauru will host the 49th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in September 2018. Subhash Bhamre said that India will provide 22 Mahindra SUVs and two Tata buses worth $ 706,000 to Nauru for this meeting on their request. Subhash Bhamre visited Nauru’s Rehabilitation Corporation, Nauru Port Authority and Nauru Police Force Headquarters.

6) WHO holds emergency meeting to discuss risk of Ebola spreading from Congo

  • On 18th May 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) held an emergency meeting to discuss on the outbreak of Ebola in Congo. WHO has declared the risk to the public in Congo “very high” and the regional risk “high.” It has said that, no international travel restrictions have been placed. This outbreak tests the new experimental Ebola vaccine.
  • Over 4,000 doses of vaccine have arrived in Congo. Only one Ebola death has been confirmed so far. On 17th May 2018, Congo’s health ministry said that, the total number of Ebola cases is 45 so far. There is no specific treatment for Ebola so far. Symptoms are: fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and at external bleeding.

7) Workshop on Challenges and Opportunities of Arbitration in SAARC region

  • On 19th May 2018, a workshop on challenges and opportunities of arbitration in SAARC region was held in New Delhi. Workshop on Challenges and Opportunities of Arbitration in SAARC region was conducted in collaboration with FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry), ICA (Indian Council of Arbitration) and SAARC Arbitration Council.
  • The workshop aims to focus on the role SARCO (SAARC Arbitration Council) in the SAARC region. Discussions on judicial role in the arbitration of the SAARC region was the main focus.

8) Simona Halep retains top spot in WTA rankings

  • On 19th MayTennis Star Simona Halep of Romania retains her Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) ranking at the number one spot. She retained her spot after qualifying for the semi finals of the Rome Masters where she will face Maria Sharapova from Russia. She leads the second position by 425 points.
  • The WTA top 5 ranking are as follows:
  1. Simona Halep
  2. Caroline Wozniacki
  3. Garbine Muguruza
  4. Elina Svitolina
  5. Karolína Pliskova

9) A Chinese based pace startup, OneSpace launched its OS-X rocket

  • On 19th May, a Chinese based space startup named OneSpace launched its OS-X rocket. This was a 30 feet long satellite named “Chongqing Liangjiang star” was launched from an undisclosed location form north western part of China. It is the first private Chinese farm to launch a commercial rocket. The company further plans to launch another series called M-seriesof micro satellites that are cheaper to build.
  • It is the first private firm of China founded in 2015 will build 20 of the OS-X rockets, which would  place a 100-kilo (220-pound) payload into an orbit 800 kilometres from the Earth’s surface.

10) NASA spots Pac-Man shaped crater on Mars

  • On 19th May, National Aeronautics Space Association(NASA) spotted a Pac-Man shaped crater on Mars. Pac-Man is a video game character from the 80s. NASA and Hirise team of University of Arizona spotted this unusually shaped crater on Mars Using Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The image shows the impact crater with a crescent-shapedbarchan sand dune inside.

11) CSTT adopts AYUSH word for scientific and technical purposes

  • Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology (CSTT) has adopted the acronym “AYUSH” as a word, both in the English and Hindi languages, for scientific and technical purposes. CSTT took this decision based on a proposal of the Ministry of AYUSH.
  • ”AYUSH” is an acronym for five traditional systems of medicine — Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy. Following adoption by CSTT, the word “AYUSH” will now refer to traditional and non-conventional systems of healthcare and healing, which includes Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy etc.

12) Shivangi Pathak Becomes Youngest Indian Woman To Scale Mount Everest

  • India’s Shivangi Pathak has become youngest women of the country to scale Mt Everest from Nepal side. According to the Managing Director of Seven Summit Treks, Mingma Sherpa, 16 year old Shivangi successfully stood atop world’s highest mountain. Born in Hisar of Haryana Shivangi climbed Mt Everest to spread the message that women could overcome any obstacle to achieve their goals.

13) PM to visit Jammu and Kashmir on May 19, 2018

  • On 19th May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Jammu and Kashmir. He attended the closing ceremony of the birth anniversary of 19thKushok Bakula Rinpoche in Leh and marked the commencement of the all weather connectivity tunnel between Srinagar, kargil and Leh called Zojila Tunnel.
  • For the construction, operation and maintenance of this tunnel between Baltaland Minamarg, on the Srinagar Leh section of NH-1A,  a total cost of Rs 6800 crore was allotted. This will cut the journey time  from the present three and a half hours, to just fifteen minutes.
  • He dedicated the 330 MW Kishanganga Hydropower Station to the Nationand  lay the Foundation Stone of the Srinagar Ring Road. The Prime Minister will also laid the Foundation Stone of the Pakul Dul Power Project, Jammu Ring Roadand  inaugurated  the Tarakote Marg and Material Ropeway of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board. The Tarakote Marg will facilitate pilgrims visiting the shrine. The Prime Minister will also attend the Convocation of the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology, Jammu.

14) NITI Aayog’s Three Day Venture Capital Symposium 2018 begins

  • On 18th to 20th May 2018, the Venture Capital Symposium 2018 is held in New Delhi. Venture Capital Symposium 2018 is organized by NITI Aayog. Vision India Foundation is the Knowledge Partner for the event.
  • It aims to enhance the economic relationships between France and India and to support the Start-up India programme. During the symposium, French investors interact with 100 early to mid-stage Indian start-ups. The Symposium is attended by Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India and Shri Yves Jego, Vice-President of French Parliament etc.
  • Several investors from France like Safran Ventures, Eren Group, Luxury Tech, Fahsion Capital, Educlever, Olymp Capital, Affectio Familiae, Brands and beyond, Galileo Partners, Winevestworld, TNP, Claranova etc. are taking part in the symposium.
  • Four investor groups namely Eren Group, Claranova, Olymp Capital and TNP  have made announcements that they will set up offices in India and they will invest in sectors like energy, aerospace, blockchain and Internet of Things.

15) BS Yeddyurappa resigns as Karnataka Chief Minister

  • On 19th May 2018, BS Yeddyurappa resigned, 55 hours after taking oath as the Karnataka Chief Minister. In the Karnataka state assembly elections held on 12th May 2018, BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) had won 104 seats and emerged as the single largest party.
  • Congress had won 78 seats and formed a post-poll alliance with the JDS (Janata Dal (Secular)) and claimed to form government in Karnataka. But Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala let BJP, which emerged as the single largest party, to form government and BS Yeddyurappa was sworn in as Karnataka Chief Minister on 17th May 2018.
  • This decision was challenged by the Congress-JDS alliance in the Supreme Court. On 18th May 2018, the Supreme Court ordered a floor test in the Karnataka Assembly on 19th May 2018, cutting off the 15-day time given by Governor Vajubhai Vala to Mr. Yeddyurappa to prove his majority. On 19th May 2018, BS Yeddyurappa resigned ahead of the floor test. His resignation will lead to the formation of a government led by JD(S) State chief H.D. Kumaraswamy, with the support of Congress.

16) Shri Nitin Gadkari meets Indonesian Minister of Maritime Affairs to promote bilateral cooperation in maritime & infrastructure sector

  • The meeting was aimed to enhance bilateral relations between India & Republic of Indonesia. Bilateral cooperation in the maritime sector between India & Republic of Indonesia was discussed. River rejuvenation, wastewater treatment, generating revenue streams from waste, enhancing shipping linkages between the two countries, developing ports and airports, training on light house technology and development of navigational aids were discussed.
  • Development of a cruise tourism circuit between Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Indonesia was discussed. Cooperation for developing alternative fuels like natural gas and methanol for ships was also discussed. Both the ministers were interested in signing a MOU between Indian Maritime University & Indonesian institutes for maritime studies.
  • It was decided to arrange for exchange of information and contact between technical teams of India and Indonesia. It was decided that technical teams from Indonesia will visit India to have a look on Ganga rejuvenation, development of National Waterways and training in the maritime sector. Senior officials of Department of Maritime Affairs, Indonesia, Chairman of Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), the Ambassador of Indonesia to New Delhi, officials from the Ministry of Shipping etc. also took part in the meeting.

17) Dr Harsh Vardhan’s ‘Green Good Deeds’ gets global recognition

  • On 19th May 2018, “Green Good Deeds”, the societal movement initiated by Environment, Forest & Climate Change Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan to safeguard environment and promote good living received acceptance from the global community. At the ongoing 4th BRICS Environment Ministerial in Durban, South Africa, Dr Harsh Vardan insisted the BRICS nations help in development of a social movement to safeguard the environment.
  • The BRICS Ministerial on Environment agreed to include “Green Good Deeds” in its official agenda in the next Ministerial in Brazil and another meeting in Russia. The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change has created a list of more than 500 Green Good Deeds.
  • These small deeds to be performed by individuals or organisations to participate in environmental protection has been put up in a mobile application named “Dr Harsh Vardhan App”. Dr Harsh Vardhan had launched the campaign in January 2018.

18) Nitish flags off Beej Vahan Vikas Vahan Rath for every district

  • On May 19, 2018, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar flagged off the ‘Krishi Mahabhiyan-cum-Beej Vikas Vahan Rath’ to create awareness among farmers about government schemes for them during Kharif season. Mr. Nitish Kumar flagged off two Raths for each district at a function in Patna on the occasion of ‘Kharif Mahabhiyan-cum-Mahotsav 2018’.
  • Of the two raths, one is ‘Kharif Mahabhiyan-cum-Mahotsav Rath’ that would travel to blocks, gram panchayats and villages to tell the farmers about the schemes being run during kharif season. The other Rath is ‘Beej (Seed)Vahan Vikas Rath’ which would have Kharif seeds and pesticides for the treatment of kharif crop.

19) India’s Next Generation Defence Aircraft To Be Build In Tamil Nadu

  • On 20th May, The proposal for India’s Next–Gen Defence aircraft has been announced by The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA). They announced that India’s fifth generation aircraft could even replace the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas.
  • The next gen aircraft is called Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) is for the first time being built by inviting private players. The is also the firsttime that any defence project is being built outside Bangaluru. It will be built in Sulur, Coimbatore district, Tamil Nadu. The private players will be required to manufacture, assemble and equip two fighter aircraft, develop design, manufacture and transport them to the Flight Test Facility.

20) Government earns Rs 1,400 crore as revenue from e-tourist visa

  • On 20th May, Government of India’s e-Visa scheme has fetched Rs. 1400 crore as revenue. This scheme was launched in 2014. In 2017 , 19 lakh tourists have availed this facility and 25 lakh more touristsare expected to join in on 2018. This scheme is under the Ministry of Home Affairs and has  improved the efficiency and transparency of various services being provided to foreign nationals.
  • This scheme can be used for medical services , business purposes also apart from tourism. Under the e-visa scheme, an applicant, when an online application is submitted, receives an e-mail authorising him or her to travel to India after it has been approved. The tourist can travel with a print-out of this authorization. This has 4slabs zero, $25, $50, $75 for fixed repisotory and depends on nationality. So far this scheme covers 163 nations worldwide.

21) Parcel Cargo Express Train (PCET) begins operation, connecting Northeast to the West Coast

  • On 19th May, The Northeast Frontier Railway flagged off its first Parcel Cargo Express Train(PCET) that will be connecting the northeast to the west coast. It is an initiative taken by the North East Frontier Railway to provide connectivity to the north east region and encourage local industries of the region.
  • The route of this Parcel Cargo Express Train lease is: New Guwahati in Assam to Kalyan in Maharashtra with stoppages at New Jalpaiguri, Kalumna Goods Shed. This would enable the farmers to market their products like tea, jute, betal nuts, pineapple, horticulture productsetc in the Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune markets. This would also give job opportunities to the local youth including unskilled workers. A single PCET can carry an equivalent of 52 no of trucks which will aid in less carbon emission as per Sustainable goals.

22) Tripura sins MoU with Spicejet Merchandise to boost pineapple export

  • On 19th May, state-run Tripura Horticulture Corporation Limited (THCL) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Spicejet Merchandise Pvt Ltd to boost pineappe export. To provide pineapples to the majority of the country and help the farmers profit ratio.
  • The ‘Queen’ variety of pineapples is considered as the pride of Tripura and approximately, more than 1 lakh metric of ‘Queen’ and ‘Kue’ pineapple is produced in Tripura annually. This MOU was done to export the fruit not only to the rest of the country but also to the middle-east.
  • Pineapple is one of the major fruit crops in terms of area and as per the statistics, the productivity of pineapple per hectare is 18.73 tonnes, which is higher than the national average of 15.80 tonnes. To avoid farmers to switch to rubber production from pineapple due to low profits.

23) Children Theatre Workshop by IGNCA from 21st May to 21st June

  • On 21st May to 21st June 2018, a children’s theatre and personality development workshop is held in North Delhi. The children’s theatre and personality development workshop is organized by Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) along with Udaan – the Centre of Theatre Art and Child Development.
  • In this workshop, children will be trained on fundamental skills and theatrical skills. This workshop will be held at Mother Divine Public School and Mount Abu Public School of Rohini in North Delhi.
  • Children aged between 6yrs – 14yrs can take part in this workshop. Two plays will be put up at the end of the worshop with participation from all the trained children. Children will be offered certificate at the end of the workshop.

24) Tripura reserves 10% police posts for women

  • On 20th May, The Tripura Government announced that 10% of all police force will be reserved for women in a meeting chaired by the Chief Minister of Tripura Mr. Biplab Kumar Deb. This was done to encourage women to participate and deal more efficiently with crimes related to them.
  • This decision was taken with close observation to Supreme Court’s decision with the Nirbhaya gang rape case of 2012 and will be subjected to increase in future if necessary. In the state at present out of 26,000 police personnel there are 1,200 women.
  • Seven all-women police stations across the state, including two in Agartala has been set up. Apart from this a PRAYAAS committee in every police station consisting of former policemen, veterans and politicians has been formed to deal with policing.

25) Reserve Bank of India slaps 5 cr. fine on South Indian Bank

  • On 20th May, The central bank Reserve Bank of India slapped a penalty of Rs. 5 crore ($50 million) on South Indian Bank. This penalty was levied due to non- compliance of Income Recognition and Asset Classification(IRAC) norms, Know-Your-Customer (KYC) norms and treasury function and also for deficiencies in its compliance function and compliance culture.
  • This penalty has been imposed in exercise of powers vested in RBI under the provisions of Section 47A(1)(c)with Section 46(4)(i) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.

26) Bhushan Steel Acquisition By Tata Steel

  • On 20th May , Tata Steel has acquired Bhushan Steel for an amount of Rs.35000 crore and settling two-thirds of the loan of the company. Tata steel also appointed three members  to the board of Bhushan Steel namely Rajeev Singhal, Dibyendu Dutta, Anand Sen.
  • Bhushan Steel owes Rs. 56,079cr to the banks among which the shares are: State Bank of India (Rs. 12872 cr), Punjab National Bank (Rs. 4904 cr) and ICICI bank (Rs. 2449 cr).
  • Bamnipal Steel, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Steel, will get a 72.65% stake in Bhushan Steel, while lenders will own 12.27% in it and the balance will be held by existing shareholders. Existing DirectorsBrij Bhushan Shinghal and Neeraj Shinghal will resign.

27) Cyclone Sagar: IMD issues advisory to 5 states, 1 union territory

  • On 17th May 2018, the India Meteorological Department issued an advisory to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and the Lakshadweep archipelago on cyclonic storm ‘Sagar’. “Sagar” is centered over the Gulf of Aden, nearly 390 km east-northeast of Yemen’s Aden city and 560 km west-northwest of Socotra Islands.
  • It is expected to get intense in the next 12 hours and to move west-southwestwards later. Fishermen have been advised not to enter Gulf of Aden and nearby areas of west central and southwest Arabian Sea in the next 48 hours.
  • Very strong winds with speed of 70-80 kilometers per hour even rising to 90 kmph are expected in the Gulf of Aden and nearby west central and southwest Arabian Sea in the next 24 hours. They would decrease gradually after that.

28) NMDC, NLC to ink pact with Aussie ECT for USD 26 mn R&D project

  • NMDC (National Mineral Development Corporation) Limited and NLC India Limited (formerly Neyveli Lignite Corporation) may invest over USD 26 million for setting up an research & development (R&D) facility for developing innovative technologies in iron and steel making.
  • NMDC’s and NLC’s investment for this purpose will be through a joint R&D agreement with an Australian company named Environmental Clean Technologies Limited (ECT).
  • ECT is an expert in commercialising leading-edge coal and iron-making technologies. The agreement envisages creation of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV)upon completion of the R&D phase, in which ECT will hold 49 per cent stake while NLC and NMDC will hold 25.5 per cent stake each. As per an official statement from ECT, NLC and NMDC will sign the Master Project Agreement (MPA) with ECT to establish world’s first Australian-designed Coldry and Matmor plant in Tamil Nadu.

29) Aadhaar, PAN mandatory for customs broker licence: Tax Dept

  • According to the Customs Brokers Licensing Regulations, 2018, notified by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), unique identity number Aadhaar and PAN is mandatory for persons seeking a customs broker licence. Customs broker is a person licensed to act as an agent on behalf of importer/exporter for transaction of business relating to entry or departure of conveyances or goods at any customs station.
  • Every year, in April, Directorate General of Performance Management, invites applications for conducting examination and subsequent grant of licence to act as customs broker. This licence is issued with a validity for 10 years. A customs broker is obliged to verify identity of the client and functioning at the declared address by using authentic documents and reliable information.

30) 71st Annual Cannes Film Festival Was Held From 8 To 19 May 2018

  • The 71st annual Canned Film Festival was held from 8th to 19th May 2018 in Cannes, France.  Australian Actress Cate Blanchett acted as the president of the jury (for In competition Awards). The official festival poster of the Cannes Film Festival features Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina from Jean-Luc Godard’s 1965 film Pierrot le Fou.
  • Asghar Farhadi’s psychological thriller Everybody Knows, starring Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz and Ricardo Darín, opened the festival. It was the second Spanish –language film to open Cannes after Bad Education in 2016.
  • The Closing Film was The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. The event was hosted by Eduoard BaerDanish film director Lars von Trier returned to Cannes with his film The House That Jack Built, after he was declared “persona non grata” at the 2011 festival. There were 21 films for ‘in competition’ category and 18 films for ‘Un certain Award’ category.

31) Prajnesh Gunneswaran won the prestigious T.K. Ramanathan award for the year 2017-18

  • On 20th May, Tennis player Prajnesh Gunneswaran won the prestigious T.K. Ramanathan award for the year 2017-2018 at the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association (TNTA) annual day function at the SDAT tennis stadiumHe received a cash prize of Rs. 30,000.
  • Cash prizes were given to the winners and the runners-up of the Chennai City inter-club tennis leagues — the Sanmar-TNTA league, the Sanmar-TNTA 45+ and 60+ Veterans’ league, and the UCAL-TNTA mixed doubles championship. Representing India in the Davis Cup: V.M. Sandeep (Rs. 5000)Ramkumar Ramanathan (Rs. 7,500)N. Sriram Balaji (Rs. 7,500) and Prajnesh Gunneswaran (Rs. 7,500).

32) Amit Khare to be new I&B Secretary

  • On 18th May 2018, Amit Khare was appointed secretary to the information and broadcasting ministry. Amit Khare is a 1985-batch IAS officer. Currently, he is serving in Jharkhand, his cadre state. He will take charge as secretary to the information and broadcasting ministry from incumbent N K Sinha, who will superannuate on 31st May 2018.

33) Justice C K Prasad likely to get second term as PCI chief

  • On 19th May, Justice C K Prasad is likely to become the chief of Press Council of India for the second time. A committee of three members headed by Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu has given their approval for his appointment for a second term. He has been the chief of PCI for three yearsfrom November 2014. He has earlier replaced Justice Markaday Katju.

34) Harish Manwani appointed as independent director of Tata Sons

  • On 19th MayNon-executive Chairman Of TATASons Mr . Harish Manwani  has been appointed as an independent director to the firm. He was earlier the Global Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Unileverand also the Global Executive Advisor of BlackStone Private Equity. He also serves on the board of Qualcomm, Gilead Sciences, Nielsen Holdings, Whirlpool, Economic Development Board (EDB) of Singapore and is the Chairman of the Executive Board of the Indian School of Business.

35) Rajinder Singh named Hockey India president

  • On 19th May, Rajinder Singh was named Hockey India’s president. Prior to this he was the Senior Vice President of Hockey India. He will replace Mariamma Koshywho resigned recently. He was earlier the Treasurer of HIand currently serves as the Treasurer of Hockey Jammu & Kashmir.

36) Muzaffarnagar’s last freedom fighter passes away at 95

  • On 19th May, The lone freedom fighter of Muzaffarnagar district Mr. Raghubir Singh passed away at the age of 95 at Noida. He was a part of Subhas Chandra Bose’ Azad Hind Fauj. He died due to brief illness.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS MAY 19 2018

1) Visit of M J Akbar to Austria and the Slovak Republic

  • Minister of State for External Affairs, M.J. Akbar was on an official visit to Austria and Slovak Republic from 15th to 17th May, 2018. On May 15, 2018, Mr. Akbar had a meeting with Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs of Austria, Ms. Karin Kneissl, where in entire gamut of India-Austria bilateral relations were discussed.
  • In Austria, Mr. Akbar also had a meeting with President of STRATEG (Society for Political & Strategic Studies), Lt. General Christian Segur Cabanac. STRATEG is a leading think tank of Austria.
  • On 16th and 17th May, 2018, Mr. Akbar visited the Slovak Republic to participate at the GLOBSEC 2018 Bratislava Forum. This visit coincided with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of independent Slovak Republic and also marked the 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic ties between India and the Slovak Republic.
  • During the course of this visit, Mr. Akbar also met top leaders of Slovak Republic including Mr. Miroslav Lajčák Minister of Foreign and European Affairs. In Slovak Republic, Mr. Akbar also visited the 7th International Defence Exhibition Bratislava (IDEB) 2018, an important exhibition of defence and security technologies in Central Europe.

2) Indian economy projected to grow 7.6 pc in 2018-19: UN

  • As per UN World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) as of mid 2018, India’s economy is projected to grow 7.6 per cent in fiscal year 2018-19. Clocking 7.6 per cent growth, India will retain the tag of fastest growing economy in the world.
  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in 2018-19 will come on back of robust private consumption, supportive fiscal stance and benefits from past reforms. However, sustained recovery in private investment has been identified as a crucial challenge.
  • As per the report, economic growth in China is likely to moderate to 6.5 per cent in 2018 as compared to 6.9 per cent in 2017. Owing to strong growth in developed countries and broadly favourable investment conditions, world economic growth is projected to reach 3.2 per cent both in 2018 and 2019.

3) US Senate confirms Gina Haspel as first female CIA director

  • On 17th May, The President of United States Mr.Donald Trump nominated 61 year old Gina Haspel as the first female CIA director. She won by a 54-45 vote. She has been working for the CIA for the past 33 years under the Directorate of Operations. She will be replacing former director Mike Pompeo. She also won the Intelligence Medal of Merit, the Presidential Rank Award among others.

4) NASA satellites reveal freshwater decline in India

  • Scientists of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in the United States, have founded that, India is one of the places where overuse of water resources has led to a serious decline in freshwater availability. The scientists used data on human activities to map locations where freshwater is changing throughout the world.
  • This is a first-of-its-kind study that used an array of NASA satellite observations of Earth. The study was published in the journal Nature. It revealed that Earth’s dry areas are getting drier due to various factors like human water management, climate change and natural cycles.
  • Areas in northern and eastern India, the Middle East, California and Australia are some of the hotspots where freshwater levels are reducing. In northern India, groundwater extraction for irrigation of crops has led to a drastic reduce in available water, in spite of receiving normal rainfall throughout the period studied.
  • The scientists used 14 years of observations from the US/German led Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) spacecraft mission to track global trends in freshwater in 34 regions throughout the world. It has been said that, water loss in some regions are due to climate change. Yet it requires more time and data to find out the driving forces behind other patterns of freshwater change.

5) Himanta Biswa Sarma elected as Vice-President of Badminton Asia Confederation

  • On 17th May 2018, Himanta Biswa Sarma, the President of Badminton Association of India (BAI) was unanimously elected as the vice-president of Badminton Asia Confederation (BAC) at the Annual General Meeting of BAC at Bangkok, Thailand.
  • Himanta Biswa Sarma is also the chairman of Para Badminton committee. He will take charge as Vice-President of BAC with immediate effect. Devender Singh, Senior vice-president of BAI and Omar Rashid, honorable secretary (events) of BAI also attended the Annual General Meeting of BAC.

6) Renowned Indian academic and foreign policy analyst C Raja Mohan has been appointed as director of the Institute of South Asian Studies

  • Indian academic and foreign policy analyst C Raja Mohan has been appointed as director of the Institute of South Asian Studies, a think tank of National University of Singapore. C Raja Mohan will take charge as director of the Institute of South Asian Studies on 21st May 2018.
  • At the same time, he will be a visiting research professor at the ISAS. He was the Henry Alfred Kissinger Chair in Foreign and International Relations at the Library of Congress from 2009 to 2010. Earlier, he was a professor of South Asian Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi.
  • He was also a member of India’s National Security Advisory Board and was the diplomatic editor and Washington correspondent for ‘The Hindu’ newspaper. He was the founding director of Carnegie India. Carnegie India is a Delhi-based research centre.

7) Union Environment Ministry Launches Green Skill Development Programme

  • The Union Environment Ministry launched the Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP) with an aim to train over 5.5 lakh workers in environment and forest sectors in the country.
  • Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan also launched a related mobile app ‘GSDP-ENVIS’ to boost employability and entrepreneurship of the youth in the country. The app can be used for information and for applying to the courses. The GSPD-ENVIS app can be downloaded on android mobile phones without any hassle.

8) RBI tweaks norms for setting up of IFSC Banking Units

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has modified the norms for setting up International Financial Services Centres (IFSC) Banking Units (IBUs) by banks. As per the new norm, parent bank will be required to provide and maintain at a minimum capital of USD 20 million in its IBU on an ongoing basis.
  • The modification has been brought in to accommodate suggestions from stakeholders to consider minimum prescribed regulatory capital at the parent level rather than at the IBU level. However, parent bank will be required to provide a Letter of Comfort for extending financial assistance, as and when required, in the form of capital/liquidity support to IBU.
  • It is to be noted that, government has set up an IFSC in Gujarat (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City, GIFT in Gandhinagar). These guidelines will be applicable to IBUs set up in GIFT as well as in other IFSCs which may be set up in India in future.

9) IIM Calcutta wins international awards

  • On 18th May 2018, IIM Calcutta said that, two case studies published by the IIM Calcutta Case Research Centre have received awards in the 2017 edition of the European Foundation of Management Development case competition.
  • In the inclusive business models category, sponsored by the Institute for Management Development: the IIM Calcutta team of Professor Indranil Bose and student Gaurav Gupta won the award for their case ‘SIMsePAY at YES BANK: Creating Value Through an UnSmart Innovation.’
  • In the sustainable business models category, Prof Ramendra Singh and student Menaka Rao won the award for their case study “Switchon O’nergy: Social innovation challenges at the bottom of the pyramid”.

10) NMDC gets S&P Platts award in CSR

  • On 18th May, State owned NMDC won the S&P Platts award in Corporate Social Responsibility. The award ceremony was held in London, United Kingdom. NMDC’s CSR has grown from Rs 86 crore (USD13.25 million) in 2011-12 to an average of Rs.190 crore (USD30 million ) during the last three (03) years. It has worked in areas like education, health , skill development, infrastructure and drinking water. This is the first time any Indian company has bagged this award from S&P.

11) Himachal govt sanctions Rs 25 cr for renovating Bantony Castle

  • Himachal Pradesh State government will spend Rs 25 crore on renovating and developing the historic British era ‘Bantony Castle Estate’ in Shimla as a major tourist attraction. ‘Bantony Castle Estate’ is one of the historic and monumental buildings of Shimla town with a very rich history and is a fine example of the Anglo-Gothic architecture.
  • Himachal Pradesh State Government believes that owing to its strategic location on Mall Road, it would be an added attraction for the tourists. Bantony Castle was acquired by Government, two years ago from a business family for Rs 27.84 crore. It currently houses state police headquarters.
  • Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur stated that organising ‘Gram Shilp Mela’ was a new beginning for the Bantony Castle as local artisans of the state got an opportunity to showcase their artefacts.

12) Indian Railways fits specially designed aerators in basin-taps of Tejas Express

  • With an objective to conserve water, the Bhusawal Division of Indian Railways has fitted specially designed aerators in basin-taps of Tejas Express. The aerators have minute pores that break the stream of incoming water into fine water sub-streams.
  • This phenomenon discharges an optimal amount of water to be utilised for cleanliness and thus reduces excess water flow. Tejas Express is a high speed (200 kmph) air-conditioned train equipped with several ultra modern facilities onboard.

13) Creation of Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) in Department of Commerce

  • Union Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu has given his approval for creation of Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) in Department of Commerce. DGTR will be the top National Authority for dealing in all trade remedial measures including anti-dumping, countervailing duties and safeguard measures.
  • Directorate General of Anti-dumping and Allied duties (DGAD), Directorate General of Safeguards (DGS) and Safeguards functions of Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) will be merged into a single national entity and will be placed under DGTR. This merger will save 49 posts to the Government.
  • DGTR will also provide trade defence support to Indian exporters in dealing with increasing instances of trade remedy investigations instituted against them by other countries.
  • Sanctioned strength for DGTR is 112, to be primarily drawn from Directorate General of Anti-dumping and Allied duties of Department of Commerce and Directorate General of Safeguards of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).

14) Union Minister of Railways and Coal, Piyush Goyal chaired a review meeting

  • On May 18, 2018, Union Minister of Railways and Coal, Piyush Goyal chaired a detailed review meeting with R.K. Singh, Minister of State (IC) Power and New & Renewable Energy and with top officials of Ministries of Coal, Railways and Power in New Delhi. review of Power supply requirement during the ongoing summer and forthcoming winter season was carried out during the course of this meeting.
  • Short term, medium term and long term measures to improve the coal stock position in Power Plants were also discussed. Mr. Goyal emphasised that the necessity to increase Plant Load Factor (PLF) of various Power Plants across India and stated that all pithead plants with sufficient coal supply should run at 100% PLF.
  • For Railways, Mr. Goyal expressed the need to improve the turnaround time of rakes by better scheduling of trains and optimum utilization of traffic blocks. He emphasised the need to rationalize operational and maintenance practices on the high density routes of Indian Railways.

15) SC approves Centre’s draft Cauvery management scheme

  • On May 18, 2018, Supreme Court approved Central Government’s draft Cauvery Management Scheme aimed at ensuring smooth distribution of water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. Supreme Court in its verdict delivered on February 16, 2018 had asked the Centre to frame the Cauvery management scheme, which would deal with the issue of water share of the four states in different circumstances like normal and deficient water years in the Cauvery river basin.
  • In the draft Cauvery management scheme submitted by the Central Government, there was a provision under which Central Government was to pass directions from time to time with regard to the distribution of water. However, Supreme Court asked Centre to make suitable changes pertaining to this provision as it was not in consonance with its judgement on the matter.
  • In context of this news, it is important to note that Supreme Court rejected the suggestions of Karnataka and Kerala governments for the scheme, terming them as “devoid of merits” and also dismissed Tamil Nadu’s plea seeking initiation of contempt against the Centre for non-finalisation of Cauvery scheme.

16) Gujarat government decided to bear medical expenses of road accident victims

  • Gujarat government will be bearing medical expenses up to Rs 50,000 for each victim of road accident in Gujarat for the first 48 hours, from 18th May 2018. A Government Resolution (GR) was issued on 17th May 2018 regarding this by Gujarat state Health and Family Welfare department.
  • It stated that, even people from other states or countries will receive free treatment in Gujarat, irrespective of their income, if they are victim of a road accident and admitted to a government or a private hospital. Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, had announced the launch of the free treatment scheme recently.
  • This scheme aims to provide timely and better treatment and to minimise loss of life due to road accidents. The government will reimburse the amount to the concerned hospital once bills are submitted.
  • The free treatment for the first 48 hours comprise dressing of wounds, X-ray, blood transfusion, treatment in ICU and MRI, and all other treatment available in a hospital. If a hospital refers a patient to another hospital within 48 hours, both the hospitals can avail reimbursement of their combined bill of Rs 50,000.

17) Day-NULM – New Initiatives Likely to Reduce Vulnerability and Improve Working Conditions for the Urban Poor

  • On 18th May, The Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Shri. Hardeep Singh Puri has announced the expansion of policies under Deen Antodaya Yojna – National Urban Livelihood Mission (DAY-NULM) in New Delhi. The announcement was done during a workshop “Making Cities Work for All: Integrating the informal economy” organised by National Institute of Urban Affairs in collaboration with Women in the Informal Employment.
  • These initiatives focus on better working conditionsand reducing vulnerability among the urban poor (especially waste pickers, street vendors, brick kiln workers etc) working in the informal sector. The informal sector includes workers not having social security or job security and organizations having less than 10 workers. More opportunities will be given to women labour forcein the informal sector and ‘formalisation’ of the sector will be considered.

18) Delhi cabinet gives in principle approval for procuring 1k buses under cluster scheme

  • On 18th May, The Delhi cabinet gave their approval for procuring 1000 CNG run standard floor buses under cluster scheme. Each bus will have three internet protocol (IP) cameras, panic buttons, in-built GPS and anti skid features. The Delhi government acquired 1000 buses for Rs. 276 crore. A total of 11000 buses will be acquired 5500 buses each for DTC and cluster scheme of the Delhi government.

19) RBI prescribes 100% net stable funding ratio for banks

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released final guidelines prescribing 100 percent net stable funding ratio (NSFR) for banks aimed at maintaining adequate liquidity for more resilience. NSFR is a long-term liquidity measurement included in the Basel III liquidity standards.
  • It is defined as the amount of available stable funding (ASF) relative to the amount of required stable funding (RSF). A portion of capital and liabilities which has been assessed to be reliable over a year is referred to as ASF, while RSF is bank’s liquidity position required to honour maturities of the various assets and other off-balance sheet exposures.
  • RBI’s 100 per cent NSFR guideline requires banks to fund their activities with more stable sources of funding on an ongoing basis. Stronger NSFR promotes resilience of the bank over a longer-term time horizon.

20) Rajput appointed interim head coach of Zimbabwe

  • On 18th May, The Zimbabwe Cricket council appointed 56 year old former Indian Cricketer Mr Lalchand Rajput as the interim head coach of Zimbabwe. He replaced Heath Streak, a former Zimbabwe pacer, who was sacked after Zimbabwe lost to qualify in March for ICC world Cup to be held next year.
  • Rajput was the head of Indian team in ICC World Twenty20 in 2007 when India won. He has been the manager for MS Dhoni , Ravi Shastri and the Indian team during 2008 Australia  CB series. He also managed Afghanistan and has held administrative positions in Mumbai Cricket association.

21) Ramalingam Sudhakar sworn-in as new Chief Justice of Manipur High Court

  • On 18th May 2018, Justice Ramalingam Sudhakar was sworn-in as the Chief Justice of the High Court of Manipur. The oath of office to Justice Ramalingam Sudhakar was administered by Acting Governor of Manipur Jagdish Mukhi. The event was attended by Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh, Deputy chief minister, ministers, MLAs, leaders of opposition parties, high court officials, high ranking civil, police and military officials etc.

22) Odisha CM appoints Dilip Tirkey as OTDC chairman

  • On 18th May, The Chief Minister of Odisha Mr. Naveen Patnaik appointed Dilip Tirkey as chairman of the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation. Odisha Tourism Development Corporation is a state government undertaking that promotes tourism and operates some of the tourist bungalows and fleets.

23) Arsenic Sensor and Removal Media: IISER develops device to detect and remove arsenic from water.

  • On 18th May, Kolkata based Institute Indian Institute of Science and Research (IISER) has announced a device that would help detect and remove arsenic from water. It would help detect and remove arsenic from water and thus make it safe for human consumption.
  • The device called ‘Arsenic Sensor and Removal Media’ is a cost effective product. On detection of arsenic the sensor will show immediate change in color. This has been created by IISER in collaboration with a private company called ‘ADO Additive’. As per reports,  83 blocks in eight districts of West Bengal- Burdwan, Malda, Hooghly, Howrah, Murshidabad, Nadia, North and South 24 Parganas – were hit by arsenic contamination.

24) Eminent Tamil writer Balakumaran passes away

  • On 18th May, eminent Tamil writer Balakumaran passed away at the  age of 71. He was well known for creating strong women characters in his works. Some of his works include  Vazhimayakkam, Mercury PookkalIrumbu Kuthiraigal. He wrote the dialogues for Mani Rathnam’s award-winning film Nayakan, Shankar’s GentlemanKaadhalan and Jeans.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS MAY 18 2018

1) Guatemala 2nd nation to open embassy in Jerusalem after US

  • On 16th May, the President of Guatemala Jimmy Morales inaugurated Guatemalan embassy in Jerusalem. It is the second country after US to do so. In a ceremony held during the visit of the president of Guatemala, the Prime Minister of Israel expressed his content on the growing friendship of the three countries viz. Israel, Guatemala and US.
  • Morales stated that this embassy would be beneficial for Guatemalans and it signifies strong link between the two nations. Talks of trilateral relationships are on among the three countries. Apart from this, other Latin American countries like Paraguay and Honduras are next on opening their embassies in Jerusalem in the next few weeks as per reports.

2) 15th Meeting of SCO Cultural Ministers at Sanya, China

  • On 17th May, The Minister of State of Culture (I/C) and Minister of State of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Mahesh Sharma announced that he will be attending the 15th meeting of the Shanghai Corporation Organization (SCO) at Sanya, China to be held (17th May, 2018). The meeting will focus on showcasing India’s willingness to participate and strengthen cultural cooperationwith all the other participants including the SCO member countries.
  • India became full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on 9thJune, 2017 during the SCO Heads of State Summit in Astana, Kazakhstan. India has opened a SCO Division in MEA and has appointed a National Coordinator and Permanent Representative to SCO (Shri Bandaru Wilsonbabu).

3) Susheela Jayapal Becomes 1st South Asian To Be Elected In Oregon

  • On 15th May 2018, Indian American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal’s sister Susheela Jayapal was elected as a member of the Board of Commissioners of Multnomah County in Oregon, making her the first South Asian to be elected in Oregon. Susheela Jayapal is 55 years old. She won the District 2 seat on the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners with 57 % of the vote.
  • Pramila Jayapal is the first ever Indian American woman elected to the House of Representatives. Susheela Jayapal will represent North and Northeast Portland commissioner’s seat. She was born in India. She went to the United States when she was 16 years for higher studies. She was a litigator at law firms in San Francisco and Portland. Then she became the General Counsel at adidas America.

4) Atletico crowned Europa League Champions (Football)

  • On 16th May 2018, Atletico Madrid emerged as champions in the UEFA Europa League in Lyon, France. Atletico Madrid defeated Marseille 3-0 in the final of the UEFA Europa League. This is the third Europa League title for Atletico Madrid. Earlier, they had won the title in 2010 and 2012.

5) BSE becomes first Indian stock exchange to get US SEC’s DOSM recognition

  • Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) has become the first Indian exchange to be recognised as a designated offshore securities market (DOSM) by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The DOSM status eases the trades by U.S. investors in India as it allows sale of securities to U.S. investors through the trading venue of BSE without registration of such securities with the U.S. SEC.
  • In addition this, DOSM recognition also enhances the attractiveness of Indian Depository Receipts (IDRs) amongst US investors. Few exchanges across the world that have the DOSM recognition are London Stock Exchange, Bourse de Luxembourg, Tokyo Stock Exchange and Toronto Stock Exchange.

 6) BJP’s Yeddyurappa sworn in as Karnataka chief minister

  • Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) legislative leader in Karnataka, B S Yeddyurappa was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Karnataka on May 17, 2018. BJP, which emerged as the single largest party post state assembly elections, was invited by Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala to form government.
  • BJP has secured 104 seats in the 224 member Karnataka assembly and is thus short of majority. On the other side, Congress, which won 78 seats in the elections, and JD(S) which has 37 seats, have formed a post-poll alliance, thereby claiming 115 seats, which is above the simple majority mark. However, Karnataka Governor has given BJP, 15 days to prove its strength on the floor of the House.

7) Indore, India’s Cleanest City In Swachh Survekshan 2018

  • As per the Swachh Survekshan-2018 results, Indore has once again emerged as the cleanliest city in India. Bhopal has been ranked 2nd and Chandigarh 3rd in the survey at the national level. The announcement was made in New Delhi by Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri. Besides, Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh is India’s cleanest big city with a population of over 10 lakh. Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh is ‘Fastest Mover’ big city. New Delhi Municipal Council is country’s cleanest small city having a population between one lakh to three lakh.
  • The Swachh Survekshan 2018 assessed 4203 urban local bodies and was organized by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban). The exercise was undertaken between 4th January to 10th March 2018. Jharkhand has been declared the best-performing state, followed by Maharashtra.

8) First Para-National Games this year under Khelo India Scheme

  • The first National Para Games as part of National Games for able bodied athletes, will be conducted under the Khelo India Scheme in June July 2018 in Bengaluru, Karnataka. This will be a multi sport event for para athletes which will see participation from various states. The tentative dates for the event are 28 June to 7 July 2018.
  • The Paralympic Committee of India will be responsible for the technical conduct of the Games. The sports ministry will fund the games under the Khelo India Scheme. The Games will be held for both male and female para athletes aged between 16 to 40. Games will be conducted in 10 categories: para athletics, badminton, chess, blind judo, para powerlifting, shooting para sport, para swimming, table tennis, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair fencing.
  • Each category will have several classifications as per the guidelines of PCI (Paralympic Committee of India). 416 medal events (220 for men, 180 for women and 16 mixed) will be conducted. The total number of participants is fixed as 2192 (men – 1311, women – 837 and mixed events – 44). Para athletics will have the most number of medal events (167). It will be followed by para swimming with 135 medals.
  • The events will be held at the following 4 venues: Kanteerava Stadium, Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, SAI Centre Bengaluru and Karnataka Badminton Association Stadium. The Games will be a biennial affair. This inaugural event will also act as qualifiers for the Para Asian Games that will be held in Jakarta in October 2018.

9) Uttam Pacharne Appointed Regular Chairman Of Lalit Kala Akademi

  • The President of India has appointed Uttam Pacharne, as regular Chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi. Mr Pacharne is an eminent artist and sculptor. Currently, he is Member of Advisory Committee, Kala Academy, Goa. He is the recipient of National Lalit Kala Award 1985, Maharashtra Gaurav Puraska 1985 from Government of Maharashtra, Junior National Award 1986 and Jeevan Gaurav Puraskar 2017 from Prafulla Dahanukar Foundation. Previously, Mr M.L. Srivastava, Joint Secretary (Akademies), Ministry of Culture was appointed Protem Chairman of the Lalit Kala Akademi.

10) Punjab CM announces development projects for Tarn Taran

  • On May 17, 2018, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced several development projects aggregating Rs 555 crore for the uplift and up-gradation of the border district of Tarn Taran. Tarn Taran district in Punjab is strategically located near the Indo-Pakistan border.
  • Majority of the development projects (amounting to Rs. 370 crore) announced, are for improving road network and connectivity. Rs 60 crore has been set aside for the development of 779 schools while Rs 44 crore has been earmarked for development works in various mandis. Rs 40 crore will be spent for strengthening of health facilities in the district and Rs 12 crore for establishing government degree college. Other projects include setting up a buffalo research centre and construction of high-level bridges.

11) PM Modi to lay foundation stone for construction of Zojila Tunnel in J&K

  • On May 19, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of 14.2 km long tunnel under the Zojila Pass in Jammu & Kashmir. This tunnel will provide all weather connectivity from Baltal in Kashmir to Minamarg near Gumri in Ladakh.
  • Located at a height of above 11000 feet, Zojila Pass is the gateway to Ladkah region and connects Kargil and Leh with Srinagar. However, during winters, it remains inaccessible due to heavy snowfall. The tunnel will have immense utility for tourists. It also has a strategic significance as it will facilitate quick mobilisation of troops in case of any incursion from across the border. The project will be executed by IL & FS, which has experience of infrastructure development in such tough terrain.

12) Telangana CM announces employee welfare schemes

  • On May 16, 2018, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao announced setting up of a new Pay Revision Commission (PRC) for government employees. Mr. Rao announced that Telangana Permanent Transfer policy will be brought into force. Telangana Government will be giving special allowances to employees working in remote areas.
  • Mr. Rao added that all benefits accruing to Retired Employees will be sanctioned 100% and implemented by the day an employee retires. He also announced that women employees will be given special leave of five days and Teachers in the state will get good pay revision in coming days.

13) Environment Ministry Forms 19 Teams to clean Beaches and lakes

  • Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, has formed 19 teams to take up cleaning of beaches, lakes and river fronts across India. The 19 teams comprise senior officers of environment ministry, State Pollution Control Boards, college of fisheries located along the coastal stretches, district administration and other educational/research institutions.
  • Eco-club schools, which are being provided assistance from Environment Ministry under the National Green Corps programme will also be a part of the teams. The 19 teams will undertake cleaning up of around 24 beaches in 9 coastal states and river fronts in 24 identified polluted stretches in 19 states. In addition to this, a special cleanliness drives will be carried out at Yamuna riverfront in Delhi and certain lakes and water bodies.

14) Smart Cities Mission – 1,333 projects worth Rs.50,626 crores completed or under implementation / tendering

  • On 17th May, The Ministry of Housing and Urban affairs has announced that it has been able to achieve success in the Smart City Mission. Smart Cities Mission – 1,333 projects worth Rs 50,626 crores completed or under implementation. Overall projects worth Rs 2,03,979 crores for all 99 smart cities across the country. Out of which as far, 91 of them have already incorporated SPVs (Special Purpose Vehicles).
  • 9 Smart Cities viz. Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Vadodara, Visakhapatnam, Bhopal, Pune, Kakinada, Surat & Nagpur have already established Integrated City Command and Control Centres (ICCC). Smart Road projects have been completed in 4 cities worth Rs 228 croresSmart Solar projects and Smart Water projects in 6 cities have been completed. Smart Waste Water projects in 46 cities have been completed/under implementation/ tendering. Other than these many impactful projects like heritage conservation, water front development, public space development etc have been completed in 13 cities worth Rs 107 crores and projects worth Rs. 5,865 crores are under implementation/tendering.

15) Suresh Prabhu launches Intellectual Property mascot – IP Nani

  • On 17th May, the Minister of Commerce and  Industry Shri Suresh Prabhu launched an Intellectual Property Mascot named IP NANI at a conference of National Intellectual Property Rights Policy held in New Delhi. Mascot IP Nani is a tech-savvy grandmother who helps in combating IP crimes with the help of her grandson “Chhotu” aka Aditya. The IP mascot will spread awareness about the importance of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) among people, especially children, in an interesting manner.
  • The National IPR Policy was approved by the Union Cabinet on 12th May 2016. The objective of the Policy is “IPR Awareness: Outreach and Promotion” on IPR for school children. The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP)collaborated with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EU-IPO) to produce a series of animated videos on IPRs for children with IP Nani as their central character. The Minister has launched an anti-piracy video featuring actor Mr. Amitabh Bachhan in the same event.

16) The Union Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) has sanctioned two projects worth Rs 48 crore to boost tourism in Tripura

  • On 17th May 2018, the Union Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) sanctioned two projects worth Rs 48 crore to enhance tourism in Tripura. The funds will be utilised to repair and develop two roads that link two tourism spots Chabimura and Tirthamuk at Amarpur sub-division in Gomati district.
  • Chabimura is known for its rock carvings. Tirthamukh is the confluence of Raima and Sarma rivers. It is considered a sacred spot. The projects were approved at a meeting of the North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme held in New Delhi recently.

17) Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Shri Radha Mohan Singh addresses National Conference of Fisheries Ministers of Coastal states

  • On 17th May 2018, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Radha Mohan Singh addressed the National Conference of Fisheries Ministers of Coastal states, in New Delhi. Radha Mohan Singh said that, during the last decade, India has attained first position with 14% average annual growth in the export of fish & fishery products.
  • He added that, Fish production in India has also grown by 27% in 2014-18 compared to 2010-14. He said that, the government has decided to promote deep sea fishing and has launched a sub-component ‘Assistance for Deep Sea Fishing’ under the Blue Revolution.
  • As per this scheme, self-help groups of traditional fishermen are given 50 per cent of the vessel cost i.e. the central assistance of Rs 40 lakh for vessel costing up to Rs 80 lakh. In the first year, central funds of over Rs 300 crore have been released for the implementation of this scheme in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

18) Smaller towns driving growth for SBI Cards

  • Smaller towns are driving growth for SBI Cards (a subsidiary of State Bank of India) which has been increasing its card numbers at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40%. In terms of spending, Cardholders in centres outside the top 10 cities account for 45% of spending.
  • Primary reason behind this surge is the penetration of mobile-phone internet which accounts for 20% of spending from smaller towns. SBI cards, the second largest credit card issuer after HDFC Bank currently holds 16% market share (in terms of number of cards) and is the only stand-alone credit card company in India.

19) LMA Award for Chennaiyin FC’s head coach Gregory

  • On 15th May 2018, Chennaiyin FC’s head coach John Gregory was presented with a Special Achievement Award by England’s League Managers Association (LMA) at LMA’s 26th Annual Awards function in London. John Gregory is 64 years old. He was presented the Special Achievement Award for becoming the first Englishman to win the Indian Super League (ISL).
  • Chennaiyin FC had defeated Bengaluru FC in the ISL final in March 2018 and won the trophy. John Gregory has signed a one-year extension with Chennaiyin FC. He received the award from former Manchester United and Everton manager and current West Ham United head coach David Moyes. The LMA is a body in England for English coaches and managers in English football. It hosts an award event every year to honour the best performing coaches in English football every season.

20) Allahabad Bank CEO Usha Ananthasubramanian loses her executive powers

  • On 17th May, The former CEO of Allahabad Bank Mrs. Usha Ananthasubramanian was moved out of the board and loses all her executive powers. This is in lieu of Punjab National Bank Nirav Modi fraud investigation where she was found guilty by the CBI. She had previously been in the board of PNB two times. Apart from her other officials of PNB namely KV Brahmaji Rao and Sanjiv Sharan has also been accussed.

21) Ambika Sharma to head USIBC India office

  • On 16th May 2018, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S. India Business Council (USIBC) said that Ambika Sharma will join USIBC as Managing Director of India operations. Ambika Sharma will oversee and guide USIBC’s growth strategy in India through its offices in New Delhi and Mumbai. She will join USIBC as Managing Director of India operations on 15th June 2018. Earlier, she was Director General for International at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

22) Vineet Rai replaces Dhanpal Ganesh in national camp

  • On 17th May, The Tamil Nadu player Dhanapal Ganesh was replaced by Vineet Rai due to physical ailments. This is in line with the upcoming Hero International Cup 2018 to be held at Mumbai Football Arena, Mumbai on June 1. Stephen Constantine’s men face Chinese Taipei in their first match. The tournament also features New Zealandand Kenya. India will be competing against South Africa, New Zealand, Chinese Taipei. Hero International Cup is held under AIFF.

23) Shri Ashwini Lohani launches “Guidebook for Creating a Child Friendly and Protective Environment for Children in Contact with Railways’

  • On 16th May 2018, a “Guidebook for Creating a Child Friendly and Protective Environment for Children in Contact with Railways’, was launched by Ashwini Lohani, Chairman, Railway Board, at an event at the Habitat World, New Delhi.
  • The Guidebook has been developed by National Commission for protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) along with Railway Children India. This document will be a framework to develop child friendly environment at all Railway Stations. Also, Information Education Communication (IEC) Materials on child protection for children in contact with Indian Railways was also launched. It was developed by NCPCR along with Indian Railways. Materials developed by “Save The Children” were also launched to create awareness among the people and stakeholders.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS MAY 17 2018

1) WHO publishes its first essential diagnostics list

  • World Health Organisation (WHO) has published its first ‘essential diagnostics list’, a list of tests needed to diagnose the most common conditions as well as a number of global priority diseases. Objective behind publishing this list is to address the problem of people’s inability to access diagnostic services.
  • WHO outlined that an estimated 46 percent of adults with Type 2 diabetes worldwide were undiagnosed, thereby facing serious health risks and complications. WHO’s essential diagnostics list concentrates on in-vitro tests like tests of blood and urine.
  • tests have been enlisted for detection and diagnosis of a wide range of common conditions while 55 tests are designed for the detection, diagnosis and monitoring of ‘priority’ diseases such as HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, hepatitis B and C, human papillomavirus and syphilis.
  • As WHO will update the essential diagnostics list on a regular basis, the list will expand significantly over the next few years, and will incorporate other important areas including antimicrobial resistance, neglected tropical diseases and emerging pathogens.

2) Tiny NASA satellite maps global ice clouds

  • “IceCube”, a tiny NASA satellite which is about the size of a loaf of bread has developed the first global map of ice clouds. The IceCube  spacecraft was deployed from the International Space Station (ISS) in 2017. It is testing instruments for their ability to make space-based measurements of the small, frozen crystals that create ice clouds.
  • Ice clouds start as tiny particles high in the atmosphere. They absorb moisture, and become heavier. This make them to fall to lower altitudes. The ice clouds affect Earth’s energy budget by reflecting or absorbing the Sun’s energy and by affecting the emission of heat from Earth into space.
  • Ice clouds are major variables in weather and climate models. IceCube was equipped with a sub-millimetre radiometer that links the missing sensitivity between infrared and microwave wavelengths. IceCube weighs only 10 pounds.  It has three-axis attitude control, deployable solar arrays and a deployable UHF communications antenna.
  • The CubeSat spins around its axis. It points at Earth to measure and looks at the space to calibrate. It was started as a 30-day technology-demonstration mission. It still operates in low-Earth orbit, measuring ice clouds and providing data.
  • IceCube charges its batteries when the Sun shines on its solar arrays. During the test, safeguards prevented the satellite from losing all its power and ending the mission. The batteries operated the IceCube throughout night and recharged during the day.  IceCube will operate for a year, and then it will reenter Earth’s atmosphere and burn up.

3) President of India Presents National Geoscience Awards

  • On 16th May, the President of India Mr. Ram Nath Kovind, presented the National Geoscience Award in New Delhi. After the commencement of the programme the President praised the geoscientists saying that with their deep understanding of landform dynamics, geoscientists have an important role to play in enhancing agricultural productivity and farmer incomes in providing a bedrock to the Smart Cities initiative and in helping our fellow citizens fight the challenge of water scarcityas well.
  • He further said that India being one of the fastest growing major economies in the world. The mining and mineral sector contributes a considerable part of the GDP. It varies from 2.2% to 2.5% only but going by the GDP of the total industrial sector it contributes around 10% to 11%.
  • To expand this sector high-quality research initiatives for sustainable, ecologically friendly resource generation and meaningful investment in technological innovation in the mining sector. With different reforms being taken in this sector. Steps taken by the Ministry of Mines have led to identification of promising mineral blocks in states for auction. It is local communities that must benefit from the discovery, extraction and development of mineral resources.

4) Inflation to average around 5.1% this fiscal: Report

  • As per a report by HSBC inflation is set to rise further during Oct 2018 to March 2019 and could average 5.1 per cent for financial year 2018-19. This year’s projection of 5.1 per cent is higher as compared to 3.6 per cent last year.
  • Higher oil prices, a weaker rupee, higher minimum support prices (MSPs) for agricultural commodities and more currency in circulationhave been identified as factors that will fuel higher inflation. However, the report has outlined that if appropriate actions are taken now, inflation may move lower in 2019-20, and could even fall back towards the RBI’s 4 per cent target by the second half of 2019-20.
  • It is to be noted that in April 2018, retail inflation inched up to 4.58 per cent, reversing the declining trend of past three months, while Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation also rose to 3.18 per cent on account of spike in fuel prices.

5) Cabinet Approvals With Foreign Countries On May 16 2018

 

  • Cabinet apprised of MoU between India and France on Technical Cooperation in the field of railways 
  1. Union Cabinet has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Indian Railways and SNCF Mobilites (a company owned by the French State) on Technical Cooperation in the field of Railways.
  2. This MoU was signed on March 10, 2018.
  3. Activities to be carried out under this MoU: exchange of technical experts, training and seminars/workshops focusing on specific technology areas, reports and technical documents and other interactions for knowledge sharing.
  4. Identified areas of cooperation under this MoU are High speed and semi-high speed rail, Station renovation and operations, Modernisation of current operations and infrastructure and suburban trains.
  • Cabinet approves MoU between India and Morocco in the legal field
  1. This MoU will enable India and Morocco to share their experience and expertise in the field of law and legislation. Under this MoU, Lawyers, Law Officers and law students in India and Morocco will get an opportunity to discuss issues in the field of law and justice through seminars, symposiums and workshops.
  • Cabinet approves MoU between India and Morocco in the field of Mining and Geology
  1. Union Cabinet has given its ex post facto approval to the signing of MoU between India and Morocco in the field of mining and geology. The agreement was signed on April 11, 2018, in New Delhi between the Moroccan Ministry of Energy, Mines and Sustainable development and the Ministry of Mines, Govt. of India.
  2. The MoU envisages India-Morocco cooperation in development of geological infrastructure, training programs, establishment of geological data bank and promotion of mining and geology. The MoU will be mutually beneficial for both the countries in economic, social and environmental fields.
  • Cabinet approves MoU between India and Swaziland on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine
  1. Union Cabinet has given its ex-post-facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the India and Swaziland on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine.
  2. This MoU was signed on April 9, 2018.
  3. Areas of cooperation Covered under this MOU: Drugs & Pharmaceutical products, Medical Consumable products, Medical Research, Medical Equipment, Public Health, Communicable Disease Control & Surveillance and Health Tourism. A working group will be constituted to oversee the activities carried out under the scope of this MoU.
  • Cabinet approves MoU between India and Suriname for cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration
  1. The MoU envisages exchange of knowledge and experience in the field of organizational and technical development of electoral process, institutional strengthening and capacity building, support in exchanging information, training of personnel and holding regular consultations etc. The MoU is expected to promote bilateral cooperation between both the countries aimed at building technical assistance/capacity support for Suriname.
  • Cabinet approves MoU between India and Equatorial Guinea for Cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine
  1. Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Equatorial Guinea for Cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine.
  2. This MoU was signed on April 8, 2018.
  3. It is aimed at enhancing bilateral cooperation between India and Equatorial Guinea in the areas of Traditional Systems of Medicine.
  4. Financial resources necessary to conduct research, training courses, conferences/ meetings and deputations of experts under the scope of this MoU will be met from the existing allocated budget and existing plan schemes of Ministry of AYUSH. It is to be noted that India has signed similar MoUs with other countries also viz. Malaysia, Trinidad & Tobago, Hungry, Bangladesh, Nepal.
  • Cabinet approves MoU on Cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine between India and Colombia

  1. Activities carried out under the scope of this MoU will lead to promotion and propagation of Traditional Systems of Medicines of India in Colombia.
  2. Activities to be carried out under this MOU: exchange of experts for training the practitioners and conducting collaborative research in Traditional Systems of Medicine which will lead to new innovations in drug development and traditional medical practice.

6) Important Cabinet Approvals- 16th May 2018

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given the following set of approvals. The important Cabinet Approvals are given as follows-
  • The Cabinet has approved-
    1. MoU between India and France on Technical Cooperation in the field of railways.
    2. MoU between India and Morocco in the legal field.
    3. MoU between the India and Swaziland on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine.
    4. MoU between India and Suriname for cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration.
    5. MoU between India and Equatorial Guinea for Cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine.
    6. MoU on Cooperation in the field of Medicinal Plants between India and Equatorial Guinea.
    7. MoU between India and Morocco in the field of Mining and Geology.
    8. MoU on Cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine between India and Colombia.
    9. Signing and ratification of Agreement between India and Brunei Darussalam for the Exchange of Information and Assistance in Collection with respect to Taxes.
    10. Setting up of a Central University in Andhra Pradesh.
    11. Establishment of National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation at Bhopal.
    12. Strengthening the mechanism for resolution of commercial disputes of Central Public Sector Enterprises.
    13. National Policy on Biofuels – 2018.
    14. Development of Trunk Infrastructure Components for Integrated Multi-Modal Logistics Hub known as “Freight Village” at Nangal Chaudhary in Haryana under Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project.
    15. Corpus for Micro Irrigation Fund with NABARD under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana.
    16. Enhancement of budget for implementation of Network for Spectrum for Defence Services.
    17. Cabinet approves setting up of a new AIIMS in Deoghar, Jharkhand.

7) CIPAM-DIPP organizes a conference on National IPR Policy

  • On May 16, 2018, Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM)organised a conference on successful completion of two years of the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy adopted by the Government of India in New Delhi. Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu, launched the IP Mascot at the event.
  • In a bid to involve eminent personalities as ambassadors to spread awareness and importance of IP in India, an anti-piracy video featuring Mr. Amitabh Bachchan was also launched at the event. Focused sessions on women in innovation and creativity, commercialization and enforcement of IPRs were also held during the course of this conference.

8) International Rail Coach Expo to be hosted by Integral Coach Factory Chennai

  • The first ever International Rail Coach Expo (IRCE) focusing on Rail Coaches and train sets will be held in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, from 17th to 19th May, 2018. Objective of the expo is to bring reputed rail car, equipment builders and suppliers under one roof and create synergy for “Make in India”.
  • The Expo will be hosted by Integral Coach Factory, in coordination with CII (Confederation of Indian Industries) and RITES Ltd. 100+ exhibitors from 10+ countries will participate in this expo. Conferences/seminars on specialized subjects on Rail Coach and Train sets will also be conducted during the course of this expo. Key brands from rail coach and train sets will be displaying products and exclusive Rail Coach and train sets for the first time in India.

9) CM inaugurates Uttarakhand’s first City Gas Distribution system

  • On May 16, 2018, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat inaugurated state’s first City Gas Distribution (CGD) network at Rudrapur in Udham Singh Nagar district. The network comprises 500 km long pipeline and ten CNG stations, one each in Jaspur, Bazpur, Khatima and Kiccha, two in Kashipur and three in Rudrapur Estimated cost for laying this pipeline is Rs 250 crore. The work will be completed by 2020 and would provide employment to 2,000 people. Uttarakhand’s first CGD network will be India’s eighth CGD system.

10) The 3rd Advance Estimates of production of major crops for 2017-18- Released by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare

  • On 16th May 2018, the 3rd Advance Estimates of production of major crops for 2017-18 was released by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare. 
  • The assessment of production of various crops is based on the feedback received from States and validated with information from other sources. According to the 3rd Advance Estimates, the estimated production of major crops during 2017-18 is as follows:
  1. Foodgrains – 279.51 million tonnes (record)
  2. Rice – 111.52 million tonnes (record)
  3. Wheat – 98.61 million tonnes (record)
  4. Nutri/Coarse Cereals – 44.87 million tonnes (record)
  5. Maize – 26.88 million tonnes (record)
  6. Pulses – 24.51 million tonnes (record)
  7. Gram – 11.16 million tonnes (record)
  8. Tur – 4.18 million tonnes
  9. Urad – 3.28 million tonnes (record)
  10. Oilseeds – 30.64 million tonnes
  11. Soyabean – 10.93 million tonnes
  12. Groundnut – 8.94 million tonnes
  13. Rapeseed & Mustard – 8.04 million tonnes
  14. Castorseed – 1.49 million tonnes
  15. Cotton – 34.86 million bales (of 170 kg each)
  16. Sugarcane – 355.10 million tonnes
  • Due to near normal rainfall in monsoon 2017 and several policy initiatives of the Government, India has achieved record Foodgrains production in the current year.
  • As per Third Advance Estimates for 2017-18, total foodgrains production in the India is estimated at 279.51 million tonnes. This is higher by 4.40 million tonnes than the previous record production of foodgrain of 275.11 million tonnes in 2016-17. The current year’s production is also higher by 19.33 million tonnes than the previous five year’s (2012-13 to 2016-17) average production of foodgrains.

11) Guwahati now has India’s first solar powered railway station

  • Now Guwahati has India’s first railway station run by solar power. The project of installing solar panels was commissioned in April 2017. Nearly 2352 solar modules with a capacity of 700 kwp has been set up over the roof of the Guwahati railway station.
  • The solar-powered station aims to reduce carbon-footprint and also to reduce power costs. Nearly, 6.3 lakh kg carbon dioxide emissions have been reduced from 12th April 2017 to 10th May 2018.
  • The estimated project cost is Rs 6.7 crore. The solar power plant will save Rs 67 lakh worth of electricity. The average power generation capacity per day is 2048 KW. Till now the solar panels have generated 96,669 KWH of electricity.

12) An Inter-Ministerial Task Force (IMTF) was constituted to review of existing coal sources of Independent Power Producers (IPPs)

  • An Inter-Ministerial Task Force (IMTF) was formed to perform a comprehensive review of existing coal sources of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) having linkages and consider the feasibility for rationalization of these sources to optimize transportation cost, keeping in mind the technical constraints. The recommendation of the IMTF has been approved by the Competent Authority.
  • In Coal linkage rationalization, the coal linkage of a Thermal Power Plant (TPP) of an Independent Power Producer (IPP) may be transferred from one Coal Company to another based on the availability during the fiscal and future coal production plan of the coal company.
  • The objective of this exercise is to reduce the landed cost of coal due to reduction in transportation cost. The savings obtained from this reduction of landed price of coal needs to be passed on to the Discom/consumer of power. This exercise is voluntary for the TPPs. It aims to reduce the distance by which coal travels.
  • The one time process of calling for the requests of the IPP for linkage rationalization will be done jointly by CIL, SCCL and CEA in a transparent process. This linkage rationalization will be considered only for IPPs having linkages through allotment route. The IPPs shall also be stating the Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) for which the linkage rationalization may be requested and their preferred mode of transportation after the linkage rationalization.
  • The Fuel Supply Agreement (FSA) of the rationalized source from any coal company will be signed and implemented only after the approval of appropriate Electricity Regulatory Commission. If any dispute arises, it would be resolved as per the provision of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act.
  • The reduced landed price of coal will result in savings in cost of power generated and might reduce transportation cost of coal. It will also reduce the load on the transportation infrastructure.

13) Smt. Meenakshi Lekhi, MP launches ‘Swachhata Pakhwada’ undertaken by DARPG

  • On 16th May 2018, Meenakshi Lekhi, MP (Lok Sabha), New Delhi and Member, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice launched the “Swachhata Abhiyan” of the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
  • DARPG is observing the ‘Swachhata Pakhwada’ from 16th May to 31st May 2018 at its premises at Sardar Patel Bhawan, New Delhi. ‘Swachhata Pakhwada’ is being observed with an aim to renew and reinforce the concept of cleanliness in the Department.
  • Several activities have been planned which involves the participation of the staff. Joint Secretary, DARPG, Smita Kumar said that, DARPG has implemented 100% e-office and digitised all records. Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh will visit the office premises on 29th May 2018 to inspect the implementation of Swachhata Action Plan.

14) Karnataka Bank to sell part of stake in insurance co

  • Karnataka Bank will sell 8.26 % stake in Universal Sompo General Insurance to Dabur Investment Corporation and Sompo Japan. This transaction is waiting for approval from Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI).
  • After this transaction, Karnataka Bank’s stake in the general insurance company will reduce to 6 percent from the current 14.26 percent. Sompo Japan’s stake will increase to 34.61 percent from 28.42 percent and Dabur Investment Corporation’s stake will increase to 12.81 percent from 10.74 percent.

15) Gujarat Governor to hold additional charge of MP

  • On May 15, 2018, Gujarat Governor Om Prakash Kohli was given the additional charge of Madhya Pradesh as the incumbent Governor, Anandiben Patel is on leave. In the past, Mr. Kohli held the additional charge of the office of Governor of Madhya Pradesh from 8th  September 2016 to 19th January 2018. In January 2018, Anandiben, became the Governor of Madhya Pradesh.

16) Sr lawyer Mukul Rohatgi appointed as eminent jurist in Lokpal panel: Govt

  • On 15th May 2018, the Central Government told the Supreme Court that Mukul Rohatgi was appointed as an eminent jurist in the selection committee for appointment of the Lokpal. Decision was taken on 11th May 2018 to appoint senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi as an eminent jurist in the selection committee, which is chaired by the Prime Minister. Mukul Rohatgi was appointed as Attorney General of India in May 2014. He resigned from the position in June 2017.

17) Tata Steel to acquire Bhushan Steel through its subsidiary Bamnipal Steel

  • Tata Steel will be acquiring debt-ridden Bhushan Steel as its bid has been approved by National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). Tata Steel will be acquiring Bhushan Steel through its step-down subsidiary Bamnipal Steel Ltd, which will invest in Bhushan steel and acquire the controlling stake. 
  • As per the resolution plan, Bamnipal Steel will subscribe to the equity share capital of Bhushan Steel on a preferential basis at a price of Rs 2 per share, and provide additional funds in the form of inter-corporate loans of which up to Rs 9000 crore loans have an option of conversion into equity shares of BSL. These investments of Bamnipal Steel in Bhushan steel will raise Rs 35132.58 crore, which will be used to settle the existing debts of Bhushan Steel.

18) Football Delhi to launch Pro League in October

  • Football Delhi has planned to launch a Pro League in October 2018 and a community league in January 2019. On 15th May 2018, Football Delhi finalised and approved the Annual Calendar of football activities for the season 2018-19. Earlier, Football Delhi, was known as Delhi Soccer Association. The new season will start in July 2018 with the Golden League (U9 & U11 league), a mixed league for boys and girls.
  • Football Delhi will organise Futsal competitions in December 2018. It will also organise an Amateur league for A and B Division clubs in August 2018. It has also planned to launch a corporate league. It will launch a U15 School league for girls and a proper women’s football league. It will initiate a school league for private and government schools.

19) Tom Wolfe, author of ‘The Right Stuff’ dies at 88

  • On 14th May 2018, Tom Wolfe, a journalist and novelist, passed away after he was hospitalized with an infection, in Manhattan, United States. Tom Wolfe was 88 years old. He joined The New York Herald Tribune as a reporter in 1962. He published his important novel “The Right Stuff” in 1979. It spoke about the first American astronauts and the Mercury space program.

20) Lavani singer Yamunabai Waikar passes away

  • On 15th May 2018, Lavani singer Yamunabai Waikar died after a short term illness, in Maharashtra. Yamunabai Waikar was 103 years old. She received Padma Shri award in 2012. She was popular for her Lavani sings. She was born in Satara district, Maharashtra as Yamuna Vikram Jawale. She had also worked to create awareness about water conservation during the 1972 drought in Maharashtra.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS MAY 16 2018

1) India 3rd largest solar market in world: Mercom

  • As per a report by Mercom Communications India, India emerged as the third largest solar market in the world in 2017 behind China and the US. In 2017, India set a new record with 9.6 GW of solar installations, which was more than double the 4.3 GW installed in 2016.
  • On account of this stellar growth, India’s total solar installed capacity reached 19.6 GW as of December 2017. Out of the 19.6 GW installation, 92% is on account of large-scale project development. Mercom Communications India is the Indian subsidiary of Mercom Capital Group, a global clean energy consulting firm.

2) Lewis Hamilton wins Spanish Grand Prix to stretch lead in F1 title race

  • On 14th MayMercedes and british driver Lewis Hamilton won the Spanish Grand Prix thus crowning himself with the Formula One’s season title.
  • Valtteri Bottasof Mercedes ranked second .
  • Max Verstappenof Red Bull ranked third .
  • Sebastian  Vettelranked fourth.
  • It is a high class professional single-seater auto racing sports league consisting of 20 drivers where renowned racing cars and engine suppliers like FerrariMercedes, Renault and Honda participate  . A season of Formula One race consists of a series of grand prix held worldwide on circuit and public roads. This season was held in Barcelona, Spain.

3) World Bank agrees to a grant for Bangladesh

  • World Bank (WB) has finally agreed to provide a grant to Bangladesh for meeting the basic needs of around one million Rohingyas who fled their homeland Myanmar. Bangladesh had asked World Bank’s assistance for this cause in October 2017. At that time, WB offered to provide a mix of soft loans and grant. However, Bangladesh refused to take loans.
  • World Bank has now agreed to extend the grant as considering the case of Rohingyas as “exceptional”. WB, which has dealt with similar refugee crisis in Venezuela, Turkey and some other African countries has stated that grant provided to Bangladesh should be entirely spent for Rohingyas only.

4) Heena bags gold in 10m air pistol in Hannover

  • On 13th May 2018, India’s Heena Sidhu won a gold medal in the 10m air pistol category at the International Shooting Competitions of Hannover (ISCH). In the final, Heena Sidhu was tied with France’s Mathilde Lamolle on 239.8 points. Heena Sidhu won the tie and secured the gold medal. India’s Shri Nivetha won a bronze medal with a score of 219.2.

5) Neymar named France’s player of the year

  • On 15th May, the Paris saint-Germain’s brazilian forward footballer Neymar was named France’s player of the Year at an award ceremony in Paris. He received his award from former Brazilian international player Ronaldo as a part of 27th UNFP (French National Professional Football Players Union) trophy Ceremony. He is considered to be the world’s most expensive player with a score of 19 goals in 20 leagues for PSG games before suffering from a foot injury that needed surgery. He is hoping to be back to full fitness in time to lead Brazil at the World Cup in Russia, which starts in a month’s time.

6) Sulabh International founder Dr Bindeshwar Pathak honoured with Nikkei Asia Prize

  • Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of Sulabh International, has been chosen for the Nikkei Asia Prize in Japan for his contribution to the development of Asia. Dr Bindeshwar Pathak is one among the three persons who have been selected for the award. The prizes will be awarded on 13th June 2018 in Tokyo, Japan.
  • Nikkei Inc., is one of the largest media corporations in Japan. It has been presenting the awards since 1996. It honours people in Asia who have made remarkable contributions in: Economic and Business Innovation, Science, Technology and Environment and Culture and Community.
  • The Sulabh International foundation has built Sulabh flush composting toilets all over India, which has helped in providing better sanitation, safety for rural women and freedom from the manual labour of removing human waste.

7) WHO Launches ‘REPLACE’ To Eliminate Trans Fat In Foods By 2023

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a comprehensive plan to eliminate industrially-produced artificial trans fats from the global food supply by 2023. WHO calls on governments to use the ‘REPLACE’ action package to eliminate industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the food supply.
  • Elimination of trans fats is key to protecting the health and saving lives. The global health body estimates that every year, trans fat intake leads to over 5,00,000 deaths worldwidefrom cardiovascular diseases.

8) Foxconn Unit Writes Off Another $40 Million In Snapdeal Investment

  • FIH Mobile, the investment subsidiary of Foxconn Technology Group, the world’s largest contract manufacturing giant, has written off an additional $40 million of its $200 million bet on Gurgaon-based online marketplace Snapdeal. 
  • The latest write-down comes about nine months after the Hong Kong-listed unit of the Apple iPhone manufacturer announced that it had undertaken an impairment loss of $160 million. In its 2017 annual report, FIH Mobile has stated the company had come to the view that its entire $200 million investment in Jasper Infotech, first announced in September 2015, cannot be recovered.

9) Shashank Manohar To Serve 2nd Term As ICC Chairman

  • Former BCCI President Shashank Manohar will serve a second two-year term as the independent chairman of the International Cricket Council after he was elected unopposed by the governing body’s Board. Mr. Manohar became the first independent ICC Chairman in 2016. According to the election process, ICC Directors were each allowed to nominate one candidate, who had to be either a present or a past ICC Director.

10) Retail Inflation Surges To 4.58%, WPI At 4-Month High In April

  • The first month of the current financial year has brought some bad news on the inflation front with both retail (Consumer Price Index or CPI) and producer (Wholesale Price Index or WPI) inflation showing a surge raising the possibility of a policy rate hike by the Reserve Bank in the near future.
  • A statement issued by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation revealed that an increase in fruit and vegetable prices, coupled with egg prices, has pushed CPI to 4.58 percent in April, from 4.28 percent in March. The Consumer Food Price Index, however, was a tad lower at 2.8 percent in April, from 2.81 percent in March. The latest number has put a break on the slide in CPI since January this year.

11) President Kovind Inaugurates Global Exhibition On Services- 2018

  • President Ram Nath Kovind has inaugurated the 4th edition of Global Exhibition on services in Mumbai. He has also released the logo for Services and launched the portal. 25 Indian states and around 100 countries are expected to participate in Global Exhibition on Services, this year, with 625 exhibitors and 500 overseas delegates.

12) 4 States Ink MoUs With Centre On Health Protection Mission

  • The states of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and Uttarakhand agreed to implement the ambitious national health protection mission, which aims to provide an annual coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family. The four states and the Union Territory of Chandigarh inked MoUs with the Union Health Ministry for the implementation of Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Swasthya Suraksha Mission. Union Health Minister J P Nadda presided over the MoU signing ceremony at a regional workshop for northern states in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.

13) President Ram Nath Kovind launches welfare schemes in Rajasthan

  • President Ram Nath Kovind was on an official visit to Rajasthan on 13th and 14thMay, 2018. This was President Kovind’s first trip to Rajasthan as head of the nation. On May 13, 2018, President Ram Nath Kovind launched Bhairon Singh Shekhawat Antyoday Swarojgar Yojana, Sundar Singh Bhandari EBC (economically backward class) Swarojgar Yojana and Rin Maufi Yojna of Rajasthan State Government.
  • Bhairon Singh Shekhawat Antyoday Swarijgar Yojana: loans of up to Rs 50000 on 4% cent interest will be given to Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Class (OBC) families for self-employment.
  • Sundar Singh Bhandari EBC (Economically backward class) Swarojgar Yojana: a loan of Rs 50000 on 4% interest will be given to economically backward families of the general category.
  • Rin Maufi Yojna: loan waiver scheme of up to Rs 50000 to SC, ST, OBC, sweepers and ‘divyang’.

14) Government issues National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy

  • On 14th May 2018, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy issued National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy. The objective of National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy is to offer a framework for promotion of large grid connected wind-solar PV hybrid system for efficient usage of transmission infrastructure and land. It also aims to reduce the variability in renewable power generation and to achieve better grid stability.
  • It offers integration of both wind and solar at AC and DC level. It offers flexibility in share of wind and solar components in hybrid project, subject to one condition that, rated power capacity of one resource should be at least 25 % of the rated power capacity of other resource for it to be recognised hybrid project. It will promote new hybrid projects and hybridisation of existing wind/solar projects.
  • The existing wind/solar projects can be hybridised with higher transmission capacity than the sanctioned one, subject to availability of margin in the existing transmission capacity. The Policy offers procurement of power from a hybrid project on tariff based transparent bidding process for which Government entities can invite bids.
  • It permits use of battery storage in the hybrid project to optimise the output and reduce the variability. It mandates regulatory authorities to set necessary standards and regulations for wind-solar hybrid systems.

15) Shri Manoj Sinha flags off Darbhanga-Jalandhar City Antyodaya Express

  • On 15th May 2018, Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Communications and Minister of State of Railways, Manoj Sinhaflagged off Antyodaya train named 22551/22552 Darbhanga-Jalandhar City Antyodaya Express (Weekly). Manoj Sinha flagged off the train through video conferencing from Rail Bhawan, New Delhi. He said that, this Antyodaya Train will make commuting easy for those who travel from Bihar to Punjab. This train is equipped with facilities like Bio-toilets, mobile charging etc.

16) Smt Smriti Irani Chairs Meeting of Stakeholders on ‘Samarth’- Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector

  • On 14th May, a meeting on the the Samarth scheme was held in New Delhi . The meeting was chaired by Union Textile minister Smt Smriti Zubin Irani. It was attended by the senior officials of the Textiles Ministry, institutions and organizations under it, representatives of textile industry, State Governmentstraining institutions among others. Minister of State for Textiles, Shri Ajay Tamta and Secretary, Textiles, Shri Anant Kumar Singh also addressed the stakeholders.
  • The aim of the meeting was to familiarize the stakeholders with the objective and functioning of the scheme. The various challengesfaced by the stakeholders from the previous scheme were also addressed and the feedbacks on the concerned potential and benefits of the scheme to the betterment of textile sector were also discussed.
  • The main objective of the scheme being to provide skill training to the youth for gainful and sustainable employment in the textile sectorexcluding spinning and weaving.
  • Inaugurated on 20th December 2017, the scheme intends to provide demand driven placement and sustainable employment of the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) under the Skill India Mission and to create jobs in the textile sector. The scheme targets to train 10 lakh persons (9 lakh in organised and 1 lakh in traditional sector) over a period of 3 years (2017-20), with an outlay of Rs. 1300 crore. The guidelines of the scheme were released on 23rd of April 2018.

17) NALCO inks MoU with Government of India, setting highest ever target

  • Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE), National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO) has signed MoU with Union Ministry of Mines, setting highest ever target of Rs 9350 crore revenue for financial year 2018-19. NALCO’s revenue target of Rs 9350 crore marks a 15% increment over previous year. In terms of production, target for production of Alumina has been set at 2.1 million tons and for Aluminium production it is 4.15 lakh tonnes.
  • During 2018-19, NALCO will be incurring capital expenditure of Rs.1100 crore, mainly on projects like the 1 million tonne 5th stream of Refinery, wind power projects and modernization & up- gradation of plant equipments.

18) Roll out of e-Way Bill system for intra-State movement of goods in Assam & Rajasthan

  • Union Finance Ministry has announced that E-way bill system for intra-state movement of goods valued over Rs 50000 would be rolled out in Assam from May 16, 2018 and in Rajasthan from May 20, 2018. In context of this news, it is important to note that E-way bill system for moving goods worth over Rs 50000 from one state to another has already been rolled out since April 1, 2018.
  • The same for intra or within the state movement has been rolled out in phased manner and so far 18 states, including Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar have made e-way bill mandatory for intra-state movement of goods. Till May 13, 2018 more than 4.15 crore e-way bills have been generated, which includes more than 1 crore e-way bills for intra-state movement of goods.

19) NTPC inks pact to acquire 3 projects in Bihar

  • In a bid to pursue the objective of acquiring state-owned generation units across the country, on May 15, 2018, NTPC inked acquisition pact with Bihar and its power utilities. As per the terms of MoU, Barauni Thermal Power Station will be transferred to NTPC and Bihar State Power Generation Co. Ltd. (BSPGCL’s) 27.36 per cent equity in Kanti Bijlee Utpadan Nigam Ltd (KBUNL) and 50 per cent equity in Nabinagar Power Generating Company will also be transferred to NTPC.
  • As NTPC and BSPGCL own 72.64 per cent and 27.36 per cent equity holding in KBUNL and Nabinagar Power Generating Company (NPGC) is a 50:50 JV of NTPC and BSPGCL, post this transaction, Barauni plant will become part of NTPC portfolio and KBUNL and NPGC will become wholly-owned subsidiaries of NTPC.

20) Eco-tourism initiatives in rural belt of Assam

  • Shikdamakha, one of the cleanest villages in Assam, along with its neighbouring hamlets – Bormarjong, Maulen, Amsai, Langarkhon has taken an initiative to create a rural tourism model.
  • This initiative is aimed at creating livelihood opportunities for local people. It is supported by  Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council, and an NGO named Root Bridge Foundation, which is making a detailed plan for the development of the villages with participation of local youths and students of Tezpur University, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and Guwahati University.

21) First all-woman Post Office Passport Seva Kendra starts operations in Phagwara, Punjab

  • On 14th May 2018, the first Post Office Passport Seva Kendra (POPSK) that is run by an all-woman team began operations in Phagwara, Punjab. The POPSK was inaugurated by Union Minister Vijay Sampla in the local head Post Office. It is the 192nd POPSK in India. But it is the first POPSK to be operated by an all-woman team.
  • The Phagwara Kendra will be headed by department’s Verification Officer Madhuri Bhavi. The other two women staff members – Postal Assistants will be from the Post Office Department. The printing and issuing of passports will be handled by Jalandhar office. Currently, 50 applications will be received and processed daily in the Phagwara POPSK. This POPSK will offer its services to Kapurthala, Nawandhar and Jalandhar rural districts.

22) Two day Regional Conference on “Physical and Social Infrastructure for Regional Development” begins in Guwahati

  • On 14th May, the Governor of Assam Prof. Jagdish Mukhi inaugurated the two day regional conference on “Physical and Social Infrastructure for Regional Development” in Guwahati, Assam. This conference was organized by Ministry of Finance, Government of India in association with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) , Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) and FICCI. This is aimed to bridge the regional disparity through investment in physical and soft infrastructure .
  • The Theme of the conference is ‘Physical and Social Infrastructure for Regional Development’. Since Assam is at the heart of Centre’s Act Easy Policyand it is at close proximity to the neighboring south Asian countries, the focus on investment for thephysical infrastruce will enable better communication with the remote areas and the social infrastructure will be enhanced by providing good health care services and education.
  • Taking into account the potential of the huge female labour force and the challenges being faced various policies are to be made for the betterment of the North East region. AIIB’s “lean and green policy”, govt’s HIRA (highways , Internet, Railways and Airways) policy and govt’s  “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” are the few sought out policies that need to be implemented for the inclusive growth of the are
  • After the conference a session regarding the topic Infrastructure needs in Aspirational Areas”was organized and the presentation was headed by Prof. Sebastian Morrisfrom Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad.

23) Indian Army Women Officers’ Mountaineering Expedition to Mt. Bhagirathi-II

  • On 14th May 2018, Indian Army Women Officers’ Mountaineering Expedition to Mt. Bhagirathi-II (6512 metres) comprising 9 women officers, was flagged off by Director General of Military Training. This expedition is held from 14 May to 11 June 2018. The team has also planned to create a new world record of practicing Yoga at 21000 feet on Yoga Day 2018.
  • This expedition aims to encourage women in the field of adventure. Mt. Bhagirathi-II is located in the Garhwal Himalayas in Gangotri National Park. The peak rises right above the Gangotri glacier. The summit poses challenges to climbers due to technical requirements, vertical ascents, inclement and unpredictable weather conditions.

24) RBI puts deposit, lending restrictions on Allahabad Bank

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has placed additional restrictions on Allahabad Bank, which is under prompt corrective action (PCA) since January 2018. RBI has debarred Allahabad bank from high-risk lending and has advised to reduce exposure to unrated and high-risk advances.
  • Allahabad Bank has also been restricted by RBI from creating non-banking assets and accessing or renewing wholesale or costly deposits or certificate of deposits. These actions have been suggested by RBI by considering Allahabad Bank’s Capital to Risk (Weighted) Assets Ratio (CRAR) and leverage ratio positions.
  • Allahabad Bank is the second lender (after Dena Bank) among the 11 banks under prompt corrective action (PCA) that has been restricted by the RBI from lending to risky assets.

25) YES Bank launches Agenda 25×25 for budding women entrepreneurs in India

  • Private sector bank, Yes Bank and its think tank YES Global Institute have launched ‘Agenda 25×25’, aimed at creating a synergetic startup environment for budding women entrepreneurs in India. This initiative was launched at YES Bank – YES Global Institute Annual Startup Conclave hosted in partnership with NITI Aayog, Invest India, Startup India and Atal Innovation Mission.
  • ’Agenda 25X25’ is geared towards ensuring that by 2025, at least 25% of all entrepreneurs in India are women. A study by YES Bank-YES Global Institute, titled ‘Putting Women First: Building the Start-up Ecosystem Ground Up’ emphasised on the need to build a 10 Step Developmental Model focused on empowering women innovators, synergizing collaborations, catalyzing investments and increasing economic opportunities.

26) Indian army finalises Rs. 15000 cr indegineous ammunition project

  • On 14th May, the Indian army Chief General Bipin Rawat announced that the Indian Army has bagged a finalized a deal amounting to Rs. 15000 cr for indeginously produced ammunition project consisting of critical weapons and tanks . The over all cost of project is Rs. 15000 crorewith a specific target of 10 years As many as 11 private firmshave been involved in the project and it is being monitored by the top brass of Army and Defence Ministry.
  • The ammunition project includes a range of rocketsair defence systemartillery gunsinfantry combat vehiclesgrenade launchers and various other field weapon The objective of this project is to create an inventory of major weapons that would suffice during a 30-day war scenario. And the long term aimis to cut down ondefence imports.

27) ITR-2 launched on e-filing portal; total 3 ITRs available now

  • On May 15, 2018, Income Tax Department launched the ITR-2, the third income return form for assessment year 2018-19, on the official e-filing portal. ITR-2 is for individuals, Hindu Undivided families (HUFs) and NRIs who have income from any sources except income from profits and gains of business or profession. With this, a total of three Income Tax Returns (ITRs) have now been activated by Income Tax Department viz. ITR-1 (Sahaj), ITR-4 and ITR-2.
  • ITR-1 is primarily for salaried class of taxpayers with income up to Rs 50 lakh from salary while  ITR-4 is for professionals and self-employed individuals who have opted for the presumptive income scheme. Four more ITRs will be activated as per Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) notification on April 5, 2018.

28) DRDO Awards – 2016 & 2017 Presented by Defence Minister

  • On May 14, 2018, Union Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman gave away the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Awards- 2016 & 2017 to various DRDO scientists for their outstanding contributions. Former Secretary, Department of Defence R&D, Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister and Director General, DRDO Dr V K Saraswat was presented DRDO Lifetime Achievement Award – 2017, while former Secretary, Department of Defence R&D, Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister and Director General, DRDO Dr Vasudev Kalkunte Aatre was presented DRDO Lifetime Achievement Award – 2016.
  • Other awardees included distinguished Scientist & Director General (Missiles & Strategic Systems) Dr G Satheesh Reddy for Technology Leadership Award – 2016. During the award function, Chairman of DRDO Dr S Christopher e-launched the ‘Navrachna’ (innovation) implementation programme.

29) Anindita honoured with Jayadev Rastriya Yuva Puraskar award

  • On 14th May 2018, Anindita Anaam, a US-based Kathak dancer, was presented the ‘Shri Jayadev Rastriya Yuva Pratibha Puraskar 2018’, at the ‘Jayadev International Dance Festival’ in Bhubaneswar. Anindita Anaam was awarded for her remarkable contribution to art. The ‘Jayadev International Dance Festival’ is held for 4 days. Is started on 13th May 2018.
  • It has is organised under the control of Odisha’s culture department and National Culture Mission. Anindita Anaam is a Kathak instructor in Wisconsin, United States. She is trained in both Jaipur and Lucknow gharanas.

30) Veteran journalist Mark Tully bags RedInk Award

  • British journalist and former BBC India correspondent Sir William Mark Tully has been selected for this year’s RedInk award for lifetime achievement in journalism. The RedInk awards for excellence in journalism are instituted by the Mumbai Press Club.
  • Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu will present the award to Sir William Mark Tully on 18th May 2018 in Mumbai. The award is presented to Sir William Mark Tully in recognition of his contribution to Indian journalism.
  • Sir William Mark Tully worked with the BBC for 30 years. He was also the Chief of Bureau, BBC, Delhi. Faye D’Souze, executive editor of Mirror Now channel, has been chosen for the RedInk award for ‘journalist of the year’. Apart from these two awards, Redink awards for excellence in journalism are awarded in 13 categories to 32 journalists.

31) Netmeds appoints MS Dhoni as brand ambassador

  • On 15th May 2018, Netmeds said that, it has appointed Mahendra Singh Dhoni as its brand ambassador. Netmeds CEO Pradeep Dadha said that, the company wants people to know that it intends to be a team member to help fight Chronic diseases. Netmeds is promoted by Dadha family. At present it has an inventory of 35,000 stock keeping units (SKUs) of prescription drugs and 5,000 SKUs of OTC (Over-The-Counter) products.

32) Poet-politician Balkavi Bairagi passes away

  • On 15th May, noted poet and politician Mr. Balkavi Bairagi passed away at 87 years in Madhya Pradesh. His full name was Nand Ramdas Balkavi Bairagi. He was a well known person in poetry , politics and cinema .Known for his several compelling and crowd-pulling dramatic style, he wrote many poems for children including Jhar gaye paat, bisar gayi tehni(The leaves have fallen, the branch has forgotten) was one of his acclaimed poems. He also penned lyrics for many hindi films. He was a congressmanand won 1968 state assembly elections in Manasa, west Madhya Pradesh. He also won the Lok Sabha elections in 1984 and was a Rajya Sabha member from 1998 to 2004.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS MAY 15 2018

1) Visit of Vice President to Guatemala, Panama and Peru

  • Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu was on an official visit to Guatemala, Panama and Peru in Latin America from 6th -12th May, 2018This was Mr. Naidu’s first official overseas visit. On this visit, Mr. Naidu was accompanied by a high-level delegation including Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Shri Jasvantsinh Sumanbhai Bhabhor.
  • On May 8, 2018, India and Guatemala agreed to support each other’s candidature for the non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). On May 8, 2018, India and Guatemala signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for expanding cooperation in the area of diplomatic training through their respective Foreign Service Institutes.
  • Panama has welcomed India’s proposal for setting up a Telemetry, Tracking and Tele Command (TTC) Earth station in Panama for supporting operations of geostationary communication and meteorological satellites of the Indian Space & Research Organization (ISRO).

2) Chinese State-Run Bank Launches India-Dedicated Investment Fund

  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) , a state-run Chinese bank has launched ICBC Credit Suisse India Market Fund, China’s first India-dedicated publicly offered investment fund. The fund will invest in exchange-traded funds listed on more than 20 exchanges in Europe and the US that are based on the Indian market.
  • ICBC is pitching this fund to investors stating that Indian market offers the best opportunity for Chinese investors due to the prospects of double-digit growth. Interestingly, this fund has been launched within a fortnight after the first ever informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Wuhan.

3) Nepal to host 2018 BIMSTEC summit

  • On 12th May , Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli announced that Nepal will be the host for the upcoming 2018 BIMSTEC Summit. This was announced during the bilateral talks between the Prime Minister of Nepal and India on commitment towards building the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal initiative.

4) Federer replaces Nadal as number one, Djokovic on the slide

  • Roger Federer has replaced Rafael Nadal as world no. 1 in the men’s singles tennis ATP rankings published on May 14, 2018. Roger Federer returned to the top spot despite of not having played since March 2018. Rafael Nadal lost the No. 1 spot to Roger Federer due to surprise quarter-final exit at the Madrid Masters.
  • Former world No. 1 Novak Djokovic slipped six places to 18th on account of second-round defeat in Madrid Masters. This is Djokovic’s lowest ranking since October 2006. The highest mover in the men’s charts is Russian player Denis Shapovalov who jumped 14 spots to a best ever 29th

5) 4-nation football Tournament: India U-16 crowned champions

  • On 13th May 2018, the Indian U-16 national football team emerged as champions of the Four-Nation Tournament in Serbia. Indian U-16 national football team defeated Tajikistan 4-2 in the finals and became the champions. In the Four-Nation tournament, Indian U-16 team faced Serbia, Jordan, and Tajikistan. The Four-Nation tournament was hosted by Serbia.

6) International Children’s Film Festival Of Kerala

  • On 14th to 26th May 2018, the first edition of the International Children’s Film Festival of Kerala is held in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. Screenings at the festival are organised by the Kerala State Council for Child Welfare, Kerala State Chalachitra Academy, Kerala State Film Development Corporation, and the State Institute of Children’s Literature.
  • Chairman of the organising committee is actor and MLA, Mukesh. More than 140 films, documentaries and short films will be screened in the festival. This will be an opportunity for children to view world class films.

7) High-Level Committee Approves Central Assistance Of Rs1,161 Crores To 4 States And A UT

  • The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh chaired a meeting of the High Level Committee (HLC) in New Delhi for Central Assistance to the States/ UT of Assam (affected by floods during 2017-18), Himachal Pradesh (affected by floods/ landslides during 2017-18), Sikkim (affected by floods/ landslides during 2017-18), Lakshadweep (affected by cyclone Ockhi during 2017) and Rajasthan (affected by Kharif drought during 2017).
  • The HLC approved assistance of Rs 480.87 crore in respect of state of Assam. The HLC also approved assistance from NDRF amounting to Rs 84.60 crore for the state of Himachal Pradesh, Rs 67.40 crore for the state of Sikkim, Rs 2.16 crore for the UT of Lakshadweep and Rs 526.14 crore for the state of Rajasthan. The total assistance approved was Rs 1,161.17 crores.

8) ISRO developing environment-friendly propellant

  • Scientists of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have progressed in the development of an environment-friendly propellant to power satellites and spacecraft. The scientists are working to replace the conventional hydrazine rocket fuel with a greener propellant. The hydrazine rocket fuel is a highly toxic and carcinogenic chemical.
  • Initial tests by scientists at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) have given expected results in the formulation and tests of a propellant blend based on hydroxylammonium nitrate (HAN). The LPSC team formulated the HAN-based monopropellant and performed various tests to study its characteristics.
  • A monopropellant is a chemical propulsion fuel which does not need a separate oxidizer. It is used in satellite thrusters for orbital correction and orientation control. The new formulation comprises HAN, ammonium nitrate (AN), methanol and water. Methanol was added to reduce combustion instability. AN was added to control the burn rate and lower the freezing point of propellant. The propellant formulation was tested for compatibility with four metal samples for a period of six months.

9) India witnessed highest number of Internet shutdowns in 2017-18: UNESCO report

  • According to the ‘Clampdowns and Courage-South Asia Press Freedom Report 2017-18’, released recently by the UNESCO, India alone accounted for 82 out of 97 instances of Internet shutdown among South Asian countries between May 2017 and April 2018. In context of this news, internet shutdown is referred to as any intentional disruption of the broadband or mobile Internet or Internet-based mobile apps, by an order of the authorities or threat of non-state party, to control communication or online content or slowing down the access to the general public.
  • In India, nearly half of the cases of Internet shutdown were experienced in Kashmir Valley. Over 10 instances of Internet being affected were witnessed in Rajasthan, while Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana were among states in which less than 10 cases of Internet shutdown were recorded.
  • Five out of six biggest instances of Internet shutdown were recorded in India. The longest one was in Darjeeling in West Bengal wherein internet was shut down by authorities for 45-days due to political demonstration, protest and clashes by activists seeking a separate state. Among other Asian countries, Pakistan witnessed 12 instances while Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka reported just one instance of internet shutdown.

10) Govt to link 200 more mandis to eNAM portal this fiscal : Agriculture Secretary

  • On May 13th , the agriculture secretary SK Pattanayak announced the inclusion of 200 more wholesale mandis to the eNAM portal. To incorporate all the wholesale markets from all states in a virtual marketplace for transparent trade of agricultural commodities facilitating farmers, traders and buyers.
  • Encouragement ofinter-mandi trade and transactions and improvement in quality is of utmost priority. Once the system is fully operational more mandis will be linked to it. As of now 585 mandis of 14 states have been linked. These 14 states are Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarkhand.
  • Through these procedure the government wants to ensure all the wholesale  mandis are making use of the online auction and that would help in gradually shifting towards a full –fledged online trading platform for mandis within a state and even outside the state. As of now 73.50 lakh farmers , 53,163 commission agents and over one lakh traders have been registered in eNAM portal.

11) Environment Minister launches programme to train 5.5 lakh green skilled workers by 2021

  • On May 14, 2018, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan launched Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP) aimed to train over 5.5 lakh workers in environment and forest sectors. Under this programme 5.5 lakh individuals across India will be provided training in environment and forest sectors through 30 courses by 2021.
  • Objective of GSDP is skilling the youth of India, especially dropouts and increasing the availability of skilled workforce. GSDP was launched last year as a pilot project in 10 districts of India. In the pilot project, 154 youths (mainly school dropouts) were trained as parataxonomists and biodiversity conservationists. A related mobile app (GSDP-ENVIS) was also unveiled by Mr. Harsh Vardhan on May 14, 2018.

12) Ayushman Bharat Program’s first workshop held in Shimla

  • First workshop on Ayushman Bharat Program was held in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh on May 14, 2018. The workshop was addressed by Union Health Minister J P Nadda. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh during the course of this workshop.
  • Ayushman Bharat Scheme was approved by the Union Cabinet on March 21, 2018 with budgetary support of Rs 10500 crore. Under this scheme, Government has set a target to set up 1.5 lakh wellness centres by 2022 to deliver comprehensive primary healthcare. Other component of this scheme is to provide insurance cover to most deprived Indian population.

13) Kerala witnessing advanced demographic transition: Report

  • As per report, titled ‘Impact of mortality and fertility transitions in Kerala on migration and its implications for state’s economy’ Kerala is currently experiencing an advanced demographic transition. The report has been compiled by a team led by noted demographer S. Irudaya Rajan of the Centre for Development Studies.
  • It has outlined that Kerala is currently experiencing an advanced demographic transition as the mortality and fertility levels have come down and so migration will play a critical role in shaping the future demographic scenario of the state. It is to be noted that Kerala was the first Indian state to achieve Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) below 25, in 1989, and then further reduced it to 10 in 2016.
  • The fall in levels of mortality has also brought down fertility levels considerably and thus the combined effect has led to a decline in the natural growth rate of State’s population. As per the report, migration is the only component that can significantly alter the emerging population scenario in Kerala.

14) Shri Gadkari Inaugurated Two National Highways and Lay Foundation Stone of a Highway Project in Punjab

  • On 14th May 2018, Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways, Shipping, Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari inaugurated the upgraded 4-lane NH-15 from Amritsar to Bhatinda and NH-64 from Zirakpur to Bhatinda in Punjab. He also laid the foundation stone of 2-laning with paved shoulders of the Munak-Jhakhal-Budhlana section of NH-144B in Punjab.
  • The 175 kilometre NH-15 stretch was finished in 24 months costing Rs 2893 crore. This will benefit the commuters since the commuting time now is only two hours between Amritsar and Bhatinda. The Harike bypass on the NH will also reduce traffic and pollution in the Harike city. Three ROBs (Road over Bridge), five flyovers, 12 underpasses and 31 large junctions have been developed under the project.
  • The 216 kilometre NH-64 stretch was finished in 24 months costing Rs 2264 crore. The NH will benefit tourists travelling to Bhatinda, Amritsar and Simla, since the travel time between Chandigarh and Bhatinda has been reduced to three hours. District Headquarters like, Mohali, Patiala, Sangrur, Bhatinda, Faridkot and Amritsar will be connected by a 4-lane highway. The project comprises an ROB, 12 flyovers, 22 underpasses and 42 large junctions.
  • The 45.89 kilometre 2-laning with paved shoulders of the Munak-Jhakhal-Budhlana section of NH-144B will be constructed in 18 monthscosting Rs 293 crore. It will reduce the travel time between Bhikhi and Tohana by 1 hour. It will smoothen the travel between Haryana and Punjab. As a part of this project construction of a flyover in front of Guru Nanak College and a grade separator near football chowk of Buldhana will be done. It includes five kilometres of service roads, two VUPs and six small bridges.

15) Seminar on Humanitarian and Disaster Relief held in Delhi

  • On 14th and 15th May 2018, Head Quarter Western Air Command conducted a seminar on Humanitarian and Disaster relief (HADR) at Subroto Park, Delhi. The seminar was held to focus on effective measures to manage HADR situations in North India.
  • Representatives from Indian Air Force (IAF), NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority), NDRF (National Disaster Response Force, ITBP (Indo Tibetan Border Police), secretary level delegations from Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir took part in the seminar. Discussions were held on National Perspective on Disaster Management & Capability Building, Enhancement of disaster relief for the participating states and response procedure using IAF platforms.

16) IIM-Ahmedabad launches Bharat Inclusive Initiative

  • IIM-Ahmedabad’s Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) has launched a Bharat Inclusion Initiative to develop knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurship in areas like financial inclusion, livelihood, education and health.
  • Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) at IIM Ahmedabad helps entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into businesses. The initiative aims to utilise nearly $25 million in the next 3-4 years in backing start-ups, utilising digital transformation in India, to develop access to services that were inaccessible for a large segment of Indians.
  • CIIE will invest in seed and pre-Series-A start-ups through Bharat Inclusion Seed Fund. Its initial closing has been announced as $7.5 million. It is expected to make a final close at $15 million by July 2018. Neharika Vohra is the chairpeson of the CIIE initiative. Bharat Inclusion Initiative aims to catalyse entrepreneurs. It will provide in-depth research to build knowledge about the under-served and incubate new start-ups and provide access to soft and patient capital.

17) UNDP to set up a skill development centre in Hyderabad

  • With an aim to impart skill training and self-sufficiency the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has decided to set up a centre at‘BHAROSA’ in Hyderabad. The agreement has been signed by the UNDP & Hyderabad policeunder the ‘DISHA’ project to provide skill training to the distressed women effected by violence .
  • This aims at enabling rehabilitationand job creation like desk jobs and in the field of enterprenuership for the women involved depending on their educational qualification.

18) Piyush Goyal To Take Over Finance Ministry, Smriti Irani Moved Out Of I&B

  • In the Cabinet rejig, Piyush Goyal to take additional charge as Finance Minister until Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is under treatment. Smriti Irani to handle only the Ministry of Textiles and Rajvardhan Rathore has been given the charge of Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

19) WPI inflation jumps to 3.18% in April

  • As per data released by the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Wholesale Price Index (WPI)-based inflation stood at 3.18 percent in the month of April 2018. WPI for April 2018 at 3.18 percent is higher as compared to 2.47 percent for the previous month.
  • The rise can be attributed to increment in index of ‘Food Articles’ group which went up by 1.9 percent to 139.8 (provisional) from 137.2 (provisional) for the previous month. The increment was mainly on account of higher price of tea, fruits and vegetables, pork, paddy and maize.
  • However, index of Non-Food Articles’ group declined by 0.9 percent to 119.1 (provisional) from 120.2 (provisional) for the previous month due to lower price of raw silk, floriculture, gaur seed and gingelly seed. Other indexes that rose in April 2018 are Crude Petroleum and Natural Gas, Coal, Mineral Oils, Manufacture of Textiles, Manufacture of Leather and Related Products while index for Manufacture of Tobacco Products group declined.

20) Paytm Introduces Automatic Recurring Payments

  • Paytm introduced automatic recurring payments, a new feature that lets users configure the payments app to pay for periodic recurring expenses automatically. Similar to standing instructions for bank accounts, the ‘My Payments’ feature can be used for high-value payments for a variety of cases.
  • The company expects the feature to significantly boost bank-to-bank transactions on Paytm, which it sees crossing Rs60,000 crore a month by December 2018. Currently, Paytm processes about 1 billion transactions every quarter.

21) Lata Mangeshkar Conferred With Swara Mauli Award

  • Melody queen Lata Mangeshkar was honoured with the Swara Mauli title by spiritual guru Vidya Narsimha Bharati Swami. Mangeshkar, 88, was conferred with the award at her residence in Mumbai. Her sisters Asha Bhosle and Usha Mangeshkar and brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar were also present.

22) Wildlife Photographer Latika Nath unveiled her book ‘Hidden India’ to promote protection of Indian Elephants

  •  On 12th May, renowned wildlife photographer Latika Nath unveiled her book ‘Hidden India’ in New Delhi. ‘Hidden India’ is a coffee table book that comprises of all the photographs of some of her “closest wildlife encounters” as per a statement. The proceeds from this book will go to the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Centre which would promote protection of Indian Elephants.

23) DoT approves Bharti Airtel and Telenor India merger

  • On 14th May 2018, Department of Telecom (DoT) approved the merger of Telenor India with Bharti Airtel. The Supreme Court had rejected DoT’s petition for security deposit of Rs 1,700 crore from the companies and ordered it to approve the merger.
  • The guarantee included Rs 1,499 crore for one-time spectrum charge for the radio waves allocated to Airtel without auction, and more than Rs 200 crore for spectrum payment which is to be made by Telenor. Airtel will obtain an additional 43.4 MHz spectrum in the 1800 MHz band. Telenor India operates in 7 circles: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, UP (East), UP (West) and Assam.
  • DoT has asked Airtel to reduce its market share based on adjusted gross revenue (money earned from telecom services) in Bihar service area to a limit of 50 %, within one year from the date of approval of the merger of two companies. The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) had approved the merger on 8 March 2018.

24) Noted Lyricist, Poet, Politician Balkavi Bairagi Passes Away

  • Noted Hindi film lyricist, Nandram Das Bairagi, popularly known as Balkavi Bairagi, passed away in his sleep. Bairagi, a Lok Sabha member between 1984 and 1989 and also a former Rajya Sabha MP. He was 87. He wrote several Hindi poems, among which, “Jhar gaye paat, bisar gayi tehni”is considered a gem by many Hindi poets.