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Daily Current Affairs 15th Feb 2018

Prime Minister to inaugurate World Sustainable Development Summit 2018

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, will inaugurate the 2018 edition of the World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS 2018) at VigyanBhawan in the capital tomorrow on Friday, 16thFebruary. WSDS is the flagship forum of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and seeks to bring together on a common platform, global leaders and thinkers in the fields of sustainable development, energy and environment sectors.
  • The theme of the Summit this year is ‘Partnerships for a Resilient Planet’, WSDS 2018 seeks to create action frameworks to resolve some of the most urgent challenges facing developing economies in the backdrop of climate change.
  • The Summit will address a wide variety of issues, including combating land degradation, effective waste management mechanisms to make cities free of landfills free, combat air pollution effectively, measures to increase resource and energy efficiency, facilitate transition to clean energy and create financial mechanisms to enable effective climate change mitigation.
  • The ‘Greenovation Exhibition’ at WSDS 2018 will showcase the latest technological advancements to meet Sustainable Development Goals.

PM visits Arunachal Pradesh, inaugurates Convention Centre

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, visited Arunachal Pradesh today. At a function in Itanagar, he inaugurated the Dorjee Khandu State Convention Centre. This Convention Centre has an auditorium, conference halls and an exhibition hall.
  • The Prime Minister also dedicated the State Civil Secretariat Building to the nation, and laid the Foundation Stone of the Academic Block of the TomoRiba Institute of Health and Medical Science.

India’s biggest Annual Conference on Pharma Industry and Medical Devices

  • “Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme announced by the Government, popularly called as ‘Namo-Care’, has the potential to turn India into the largest pharma manufacturer of the world in about three years”, Union Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs, Shri Ananthkumar, said while inaugurating the third edition of India Pharma 2018 and India Medical Device 2018, International conference and exhibition in Bengaluru today.
  • The three-day event is being organized by Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, in collaboration with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). India Pharma & India Medical Device Awards were announced at the event to honour excellence and innovation in the field of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

Swachhta pledge to officials of the Department of Food & Public Distribution

  • Shri Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution will administer the Swachhta pledge to officials of the Department of Food & Public Distribution at 11.30 a.m. on 16.2.2018 on the first day of the Department’s Swachhta Pakhwada scheduled from 16th to 28th February, 2018.
  • The Pakhwada is being organized to create awareness amongst officials as well as the general public on the importance of the need for sustained maintenance of cleanliness and hygiene.

India Signs Second Loan Agreement with New Development Bank

  • The Loan Agreement for financing of Rajasthan Water Sector Restructuring Project for the Desert Areas was signed between Government of India and the New Development Bank (NDB) on 13th February 2018 at New Delhi. This is the first tranche loan of USD 100 million approved by the NDB under the Multi Tranche Financing Facility of USD 345 million for this project.
  • The objective of this Project is to rehabilitate the 678 km long Indira Gandhi Canal system built during 1958-63 to prevent seepage, conserve water, and enhance water use efficiency as mandated by both national and state level policies on water use. The execution of the project would multiple benefits such as:
    i. Arresting the seepage by rehabilitating the deteriorating canal lining of the Indira Gandhi Nahar Project (IGNP) which needs urgent attention;
    ii. Rehabilitation of waterlogged areas;
    iii. Modernization and optimization of the irrigation management practices in the project area by involvement of the water users’ associations (WUA) in the command area
    iv. Strengthening of drinking water supply and irrigation facilities in the project area

Government extends anti-narcotics scheme for 3 more years

The Union Government has extended the anti-narcotics scheme, ‘Assistance to States and UTs for Narcotics Control’ for a further period of three years, from 2017-18 to 2019-20 with an estimated budget of Rs 21 crore.

Objective of the Scheme

  • The main objective of the scheme is to assist states and Union Territories that are contributing in controlling the inter-state and cross-border drug trafficking.
  • The scheme aims to combat illicit trafficking in drugs and psychotropic substance.

Key Features

• Under the scheme, financial assistance will be provided to all the anti-narcotics agencies for strengthening their enforcement capabilities to combat illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

• Financial assistance is also proposed to be provided for all capacity building activities, including training of personnel.

NEET mandatory for MBBS aspirant going abroad

  • Government makes it mandatory for Indian students to clear NEET to obtain an eligibility certificate for applying to medical colleges abroad.
  • Currently, anyone who scores 50% in 12th boards is eligible to go abroad which is why Medical Council of India proposed making NEET mandatory.
  • A common national entrance exam— NEET— is mandatory for admission to all medical courses in the country.

Karnataka’s Hampi as ‘Iconic Tourism’ site

  • The Centre announced that Karnataka’s Hampi monuments will be among the ten destinations selected as ‘Iconic Tourism’ sites.
  • In his Union Budget speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that the sites will be provided support for holistic infrastructure and skill development.
  • Other selected sites include the Taj Mahal, Konark Sun Temple, and Ajanta and Ellora caves.

PFRDA identifies 21 Banks as Makers of Excellence under Atal Pension Yojana Outreach Programme

  • PFRDA has observed a Campaign namely, Makers of Excellence for the Chairmen and MDs of all the Public Sector Banks, Private Sector Banks, Regional Rural Banks, Cooperative Banks (Rural & Urban) & Department of Post for registration of subscriber under APY during the month of Dec 2017 for a fortnight. Under the campaign, nearly, 6 lacs APY accounts were sourced by the APY Service Provider Banks.
  • Targets were allocated to various banks to be achieved during the Campaign. A total of 21 banks- 6 Public sector banks, 14 Regional Rural Banks and 1 Cooperative Bank were able to achieve the target under the campaign and became the Makers of Excellence. PFRDA has planned to award the Top Management of the winning banks at the upcoming PFRDA Pension Conclave in national capital.

BHEL bags Rs 560 crore order from NTPC

  • Power equipment maker BHEL has bagged an order worth Rs 560 crore for supply and installation of the flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) system from NTPC for 2×490 MW National Capital Power Station (NCPS) at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The order has been secured by BHEL against stiff competition from Indian and multinational companies, a BHEL statement said.

GST will replace excise, VAT on crude

  • Union Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said that excise duty and VAT on crude oil will be replaced with Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the coming one to two years.
  • He added that the shift will happen gradually as many states are worried if their revenue collection might decline once GST is implemented.

Japan posts longest growth since 1980

  • The Japanese economy posted its longest period of growth since the 1980s boom, government data showed on Wednesday.
  • The world’s third-largest economy expanded at annualized rate of 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2017, the eighth straight quarter of expansion.
  • The growth was mainly due to increased consumer spending, which accounts for about two-thirds of the country’s GDP.

NASA to send meteorite from Mars back to Mars

  • NASA is sending a Martian meteorite, discovered in 1999, back to the Red Planet aboard its Mars 2020 rover.
  • The rock will be used as target practice for a high-precision laser called ‘ SHERLOC’ on the rover.
  • After calibration, the rover will take pictures of Martian rocks and analyse them to look for chemicals that make the ingredients of life.

South Africa’s Prez resigns

  • Jacob Zuma has resigned from the post of South Africa’s President after defying a 48-hour deadline given by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to leave the office.
  • Zuma, who had to face a no-confidence vote in Parliament said, “I fear no motion of no confidence”
  • He said, No life should be lost. The ANC should never be divided in my name.

WhatsApp Vice President Neeraj Arora quits Paytm Board

  • WhatsApp’s Vice President Neeraj Arora has resigned from Paytm’s Board of Directors days after WhatsApp launched its payments feature in India. Arora, an alumnus of Indian School of Business, was among the first WhatsApp employees when he joined in 2011.
  • Meanwhile, Paytm Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma called WhatsApp’s payment feature rollout unfair and said it’s killing “beautiful open UPI system”.

Former Facebook India MD joins Dailyhunt as President

  • Former Managing Director of Facebook India and South Asia Umang Bedi has joined Bengaluru-based news and local language content application Dailyhunt as its President.
  • Bedi stepped down from his role at Facebook in October last year. He had joined the social media major in 2016 after serving as the Managing Director of the South Asia region at Adobe.

Tamil Nadu stun Manipur, win maiden women’s National Football Championship

  • Tamil Nadu beat Manipur 2-1 to lift their maiden title in the 23rd edition of the Senior Women’s National Football Championship here today.
  • Tamil Nadu created history by becoming champions in their first-ever final with Indumathi scoring the opener in the 3rd minute while Indrani made it 2-0 in the 40th.
  • Ratanbala scored the lone goal for Manipur in the 57th.

Ronaldo 1st player with 100 goals for 1 club

  • Real Madrid frontman Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first player in UEFA Champions League history to score 100 goals for a single club.
  • His overall tally in the tournament has gone up to 116 goals, 19 more than Lionel Messi.
  • Further, Ronaldo has scored 10+ UCL goals for the seventh straight season, no other player has done so in three.

Pakistan hockey team to visit India for 2018 World Cup

  • Four-time champions Pakistan will participate in the upcoming Hockey World Cup which will be hosted in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, later this year. Pakistan had failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup and their participation in the 2018 World Cup was doubtful owing to the political relations of India and Pakistan. As many as 16 teams will participate in the event.
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