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Daily Current Affairs 02nd Feb 2018

7th India Energy Congress Held In New Delhi

  • The 7th India Energy Congress was held in New Delhi. Over 400 experts are expected to brainstorm on energy transition across the globe in view of technology and digital disruptions. The theme of the 7th edition of India Energy Congress is ‘Energy 4.0: Energy Transition Towards 2030’.
  • The India Energy Congress is the flagship event of World Energy Council India (WEC India) and joint event of ministries of power, coal, new & renewable energy, petroleum & natural gas, external affairs and Department of Atomic Energy.

4 Major Rivers In Jammu And Kashmir Declared ‘National Waterways’

  • Four major rivers, Jhelum, Chenab, Indus and Ravi in Jammu and Kashmir have been declared “national waterways” by the union government, paving the way for inland navigation on them to boost water transport and tourism.
  • The state government was examining the feasibility-cum-detailed project report of Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) prepared for inland navigation and construction of horizontal and vertical terminals across these waterways.
  • The development of these national waterways will boost the Inland Water Transport, besides, exploit the tourism potential on the national waterways of the state and improve the socio-economic profile of people of these areas.

Naidu to lay foundation for Universal Peace Retreat Center

  • Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has laid the foundation stone for the Universal Peace Retreat Center of ‘Prajapita Brahmakumari Eswariya University’ in Amaravati.
  • The state government has allotted 10 acres of land for this center at Nekkollu village within the Amaravati Capital Region.
  • Dr Janaki Dadi, Chief of Brahmakumaris as well as representatives across the country will be participating in the event.

UP theme state for 2018 Surajkund international crafts fair

  • The annual 32nd Surajkund International Crafts Mela will be held from February 2-18. at Surajkund in Haryana’s Faridabad district. Uttar Pradesh is the theme of this year’s crafts mela. At least 20 countries and all the states in India will be participating.
  • The 17-day cultural extravaganza will see a spectacular showcase of regional and international crafts, handlooms, traditions along with some mouth-watering multi-cuisine food for the visitors. This year Uttar Pradesh is the theme state and Kyrgyzstan is the Partner Nation.

First defence industrial corridor between Chennai, Bengaluru

  • The first of the two defence industrial production corridors, as announced in the Union Budget, will link Chennai and Bengaluru.
  • The first corridor will link Chennai and Bengaluru and will pass through Coimbatore and several other industrial clusters.

‘ModiCare, NaMoCare’ Buzz As World’s Biggest Health Plan Is Revealed In Budget

  • India will have the world’s largest healthcare programme for half a billion of its poorest citizens, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in as part of his Budget 2018. The plan was soon dubbed “NaMoCare” by BJP president Amit Shah and “ModiCare” by many online.
  • The government’s new national health protection scheme will cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families, Mr Jaitley said. The brand-new scheme, the minister said to loud desk-thumping in parliament, would cover 50 crore people or nearly 40 per cent of the country’s population. Each family would be entitled to up to Rs. 5 lakh every year
  • The programme would take public healthcare in the world’s largest democracy “to a new aspiration level”, said the Finance Minister, saying that his government was steadily but surely progressing towards a goal of “universal health coverage.”

To Counter China, A New Tunnel At 13,700 Feet In Arunachal Pradesh

  • To ensure faster movement of troops in Tawang, a strategically located town in Arunachal Pradesh bordering China, the government plans to build a tunnel at an elevation of 13,700 feet. The tunnel will go through the Sela Pass, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced while presenting the Union Budget.
  • The proposal to build the Sela Pass comes amid concerns over Beijing’s growing assertiveness along the nearly 4,000 km-long China-India border.
  • The Sela Pass is located between the Tawang and West Kameng districts of Arunachal Pradesh and considered crucial from strategic perspective.

Launch of Gobar-Dhan Scheme announced to improve lives of villagers

  • In an effort to make the villages open defecation free and improving the lives of villagers, the Finance Minister in his budget speech today announced the launch of Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan (GOBAR-DHAN) . The Minister added that this will manage and convert cattle dung and solid waste in farms to compost, bio-gas and bio-CNG.
  • The Finance Minister also announced that 187 projects have been sanctioned under Namami Gange Programme for infrastructure development, reverse surface cleaning, rural sanitation and other interventions at a cost of Rs.16, 713 crore. 47 projects have been completed and remaining projects are at various stages of execution All 4465 Ganga Grams villages on the bank of river have been declared open defecation free.

Rwanda becomes first poor country to provide eye care for all

  • Rwanda has become the first low-income country to provide universal eye care for its 12 million population.
  • The government has partnered with the organisation Vision for a Nation (VFAN) to train more than 3,000 eye care nurses based in 502 local health centres, prescribing glasses and referring those with serious eye problems to national clinics. Nurses have visited each of Rwanda’s 15,000 villages.

UAE launches world’s longest zip line

  • The United Arab Emirates has made a record by opening the world’s longest zip line, measuring 2.83 kms in length.
  • The Jebel Jais Flight takes thrill-seekers atop the country’s largest mountain peak, from a launch pad 1,680 meters (5,512 feet) above sea level. For nearly three minutes, riders are suspended above the mountain as they glide past rocky terrain.

Tamil Nadu to get $100-m WB loan to boost rural enterprises

  • The Centre, the Tamil Nadu government and the World Bank have signed a $100-million loan agreement to promote rural enterprises of the southern state.
  • The WB funding will facilitate their access to finance and create employment opportunities for the youth, particularly women, in selected blocks across 26 districts, directly benefiting over 4 lakh people. (Reuters)
  • The Centre, the Tamil Nadu government and the World Bank have signed a $100-million loan agreement to promote rural enterprises of the southern state. The WB funding will facilitate their access to finance and create employment opportunities for the youth, particularly women, in selected blocks across 26 districts, directly benefiting over 4 lakh people.
  • The Tamil Nadu Rural Transformation project is expected to create an enabling environment for producer organisations and enterprises to promote businesses across select value chains. Around 30% of the financing for the business plans will be through a matching grant programme from the project and the remaining 70% will be leveraged from other financial institutions.
  • It will specifically support eligible households from socially and culturally disadvantaged groups harness their existing assets, skills and resources.

High govt debt burden constrains India’s rating

  • Fitch Ratings has said that the high debt burden of the government constrains India’s rating upgrade, a day after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley projecting a fiscal deficit of 3.5 % of GDP against the earlier target of 3.2 %.
  • The 2018-19 Union Budget unveiled on Thursday contains a number of policy measures with the potential to support economic demand and social well being.
  • He said that weak public finances “constrain India’s sovereign ratings, given a high general government debt burden of around 68 % of GDP and a wide fiscal balance of 6.5 % of GDP if states are included.
  • The Budget has pegged fiscal deficit at 3.5 % of GDP in current year ending March, higher than 3.2 % targeted earlier.
  • For the next fiscal, the deficit is projected to be 3.3 % of GDP.

Railways get highest-ever capital expenditure; fares remain unchanged

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a capital expenditure of Rs 1.48 lakh crore for the Indian Railways in his Budget 2018 speech, the largest ever.
  • Over Rs 1.48 lakh crore to be allocated for railways in next fiscal.
  • Last year, about Rs 1.31 lakh crore were allocated to Indian Railways, with a gross budgetary support of Rs 55,000 crore. The 92-year-old practice of a separate Railway budget was discontinued last year and was merged with the Union Budget.
  • He proposed a target of doubling 18,000 km of lines and said gauge conversion is underway to eliminate capacity constraints.

Investments in land or building: Lock-in period for capital gains from property sale increased from 3 to 5 years

  • Capital gains from property transactions will have to be invested for a minimum of five years to avail tax exemption.
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley proposed to increase the investment tenure of capital gains arising out of sale of land or building into bonds issued by National Highways Authority of India or by Rural Electrification Corporation from the existing three years to five years.
  • The government also announced that such benefit would only be available for long-term capital gains arising out of sale of land and building or both.
  • While capital gains on sale of land or building needs to be invested into such bonds (NHAI or REC or other bond notified by the government) within six months of the date of sale by the investor, it was allowed to be invested in bonds of up to three years earlier.

FY19 revenue loss estimated at 7K crore

  • In a big boost to the small and medium enterprises, the finance minister Arun Jaitley announced a reduction in corporate tax rate from existing 30 per cent to 25 per cent, for companies with turnover of up to Rs 250 crore.
  • The decision will benefit the entire class of MSME that account for almost 99% of companies filing their tax returns. But it will lead to an estimated revenue loss of Rs 7,000 cr in the financial year 2018-19.

Govt proposes to spend ₹2.9 lakh crore for defence in FY19

  • The government on Thursday hiked the defence budget for the next financial year to ₹2.95 lakh crore, a nearly 7.81% increase from last year. This includes nearly ₹1 lakh crore allotted for capital expenditure including modernisation.
  • The share of the defence budget in terms of GDP has slipped to 1.57%, the lowest since the 1962 Indo-China war.

PAN Mandatory For Entities In Transaction Over ₹ 2.5 Lakh

  • Seeking to widen the tax base, the Budget for 2018-19 provided for making PAN mandatory for any entity entering into a financial transaction of Rs 2.5 lakh or more with effect from April 1.
  • The 10-digit Permanent Account Number (PAN) would be used as Unique Entity Number for non-individuals.

China’s Alibaba leads $300 million funding in Indian online grocer BigBasket

  • Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, has led a $300 million funding round in Indian online grocery startup BigBasket.
  • Bengaluru-based BigBasket said that other investors including Abraaj Capital, Sands Capital and International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, have also participated in this round.
  • The funds will be directed towards bettering our technological, analytical, and infrastructural prowess, all of which will enable the company to move up the curve.

India joins Ashgabat agreement on transport corridor

  • India has joined the Ashgabat agreement which envisages creation of an international transport and transit corridor set to facilitate trade relations between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf regions.
  • Ashgabat Agreement envisages facilitation of transit and transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.
  • Accession to the Agreement would diversify India’s connectivity options with Central Asia and have a positive influence on India’s trade and commercial ties with the region, according to the ministry.
  • Turkmenistan, Iran, Oman and Uzbekistan signed the agreement on April 25, 2011. In October 2016, Pakistan had formally joined the project. Kazakhstan is also a part to this agreement.
  • This agreement will make it possible to enhance connectivity within Eurasian region and synchronize it with other transport corridors within that region including the International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

Cochin Shipyard signs MoU with Russian firm

  • The State-owned Cochin Shipyard and the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) of Russia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate and engage in design, development, and execution of contemporary, state-of-the-art vessels for inland and coastal waterways.
  • The massive push to water-based transport through infrastructure development efforts under the SAGARMALA programme of the government will open up opportunities for specialised vessels.
  • The MoU is an effort to get ready to cater to the demand for different kinds of vessels expected in the near and medium term, the release said.
  • CSL & USC will collaborate for the development of high-speed vessels, river-sea cargo vessels, passenger vessels, dredgers, and other watercraft for Indian waterways and coastal shipping.

Neelam Kapur Appointed DG Of Sports Authority Of India

  • Senior-most Indian Information Service (IIS) officer Neelam Kapur was appointed Director-General of Sports Authority of India (SAI).
  • She is at present the Principal Director General of the Directorate of Field Publicity (DFP). It is for the first time that an IIS officer has been appointed as SAI chief. The post is usually held by an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer.

Lt. Gen Anil Chauhan Takes Charge As DGMO Of Indian Army

  • Lt. Gen Anil Chauhan took charge as the new Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) of the Indian Army. He succeeds Lt General A K Bhatt.
  • Lt Gen Chauhan has held several important posts in the Army and is known for his expertise in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast.

Magahi writer Madhukar awarded Sahitya Akademi’s Bhasha Samman

  • Magahi writer Shesh Anand Madhukar, who has been working extensively for the development of the language, was honoured with this year’s Sahitya Akademi Bhasha Samman award on Wednesday.
  • The second writer of Magahi language to be given the award, Madhurkar was conferred the award, comprising a Rs 1 lakh cheque and a memento, by Sahitya Akademi President Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari.

Mary Kom strikes gold; Cuba, Uzbekistan halt men

  • Mary Kom claimed a gold in the women’s competition but Indian men were denied a complete sweep by traditional powerhouses Cuba and Uzbekistan on an exciting final day of the India Open boxing tournament, here on Thursday.
  • Mary Kom (48kg) got the better of Filipino Josie Gabuco 4-1 in a battle of attrition to come up trumps.

PM Modi Writes Book to Help Students Tackle Board Exam Stress

  • After hosting the hugely popular weekly radio show ‘Mann Ki Baat’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has authored a book “exam warriors” for class 10 and 12 students on how to deal with board exam stress. The book is set to release on February 3.

World’s oldest man dead at 113 – Francisco Nunez Olivera

  • The world’s oldest man has died just over a month after celebrating his 113th birthday.
  • Francisco Nunez Olivera passed away at around 10.30 last night at his home in the village of Bienvenida in Badajoz, south-west Spain.
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