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Daily Current Affairs 16th & 17th Feb 2018

World Sustainable Development Summit 2018

  • PM Modi inaugurated the World Sustainable Development Summit 2018 in New Delhi.
  • Event has been organized by The Energy and Resources Institute to discuss frameworks to resolve climate change crises in developing countries
  • The summit will see participation from over 41 countries, bringing together different stakeholders in the fields of sustainable development, energy and environment sectors.

WADA suspends Romanian laboratory

  • The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has suspended Romania’s drug-testing laboratory for six months.
  • WADA has imposed the sanction on the lab in Bucharest due to a number of non-conformities with regulations.
  • The lab is now forbidden from testing any samples and must transfer any in its possession to another laboratory.

Govt to change base year for GDP, IIP

  • The govt will change the base year to 2017-18 for calculation of GDP & IIP numbers while for retail inflation the year will be revised to 2018.
  • Change in base year is significant as capturing economic activity much away from base year gives unrealistic numbers & does not capture changed economic scenario.
  • Earlier in 2015, CSO had changed the base year for GDP to 2011-12 from 2004-05.

Vikas Sathaye honoured at Oscars

  • Vikas Sathaye has been honoured with the Scientific and Engineering Academy Award at the Oscars Scientific and Technical Awards 2018.
  • Sathaye and his team received the award for his contribution towards conceptualisation, designing, engineering, and the implementation of the ‘Shotover K1 Camera System.
  • The Shotover K1 Camera System is a camera mount that is used in aerial filming.

Maneka Gandhi to launch #YesIBleed campaign

  • Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi will launch a menstrual hygiene campaign on Feb 20.
  • The objective of the campaign is to create a holistic approach to issue of menstruation, which is an experience that transcends culture, class, and caste.
  • The campaign called “#Yes I Bleed” will be initiated formally across all multi-media platforms, including Facebook and YouTube.

HomeShop18, Shop CJ Network merge businesses

  • E-commerce company Homeshop18 and home shopping network Shop CJ Network have combined their businesses.
  • This combination makes HomeShop18 the largest TV home-shopping network in India.
  • The resultant benefits of scale shall better the growth prospects for the combined entity, allowing it to improve its standing in the TV home-shopping landscape.

China to host SCO Summit in Qingdao

  • China has announced that this year’s summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation will be held in the city of Qingdao in June.
  • SCO focuses on security-related issues of the region specially on counterterrorism cooperation.
  • It is comprised of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India & Pak.
  • China, which is one of the founders of SCO, plays an influential role in it.

Cauvery Water Dispute

  • Declaring Cauvery a national asset & upholding principle of equitable apportionment of inter-State river water among riparian States, the SC reduced the allocation of Cauvery water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu.
  • Karnataka would now need to supply 177.25 TMC rather than 192 TMC Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.
  • Court has also granted global status to Bengaluru, hence it will get more Cauvery water.

Japan reappoints Kuroda as BOJ chief

  • Japan’s govt has reappointed Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda to serve another 5 yr term.
  • It comes amid heightened anxiety in Japanese & global markets on speculation major central banks will soon wind down their crisis-era policies
  • It would make Kuroda the longest-serving BOJ head in half a century, a sign of Abe’s confidence in Kuroda ability to pull Japan’s economy out of stagnation.

India lets businesses invest in Iran in rupee

  • India is allowing its businesses to invest in Indian Rs. in Iran, in a major departure from rules that allow Indian investors to open business abroad only in foreign currency
  • So far permission to invest in Rs. has only been given to businessmen investing in Nepal & Bhutan
  • Exception has been made in case of Iran as West Asian country has imposed restriction, barring it from dealing in $ and €.

Umang App wins Best M-Govt Service award

  • Umang App was named as the winner of the Best M-Government Service award in the Accessible Govt category while Aadhar won the best emerging technology award at the World Government Summit 2018 in Dubai.
  • Aadhaar was also recognized as the world’s largest biometric-enabled identification programme.
  • The award acknowledged Govt of India’s efforts to provide convenient services to its citizens.

Long Term Visa to Minorities From Afghanistan

  • The government has given its nod to the proposal for granting long-term visa to minorities from Afghanistan seeking refuge in India.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs also relaxed norms for visa and residential permits for Afghan minorities which include Sikhs & non-Muslims
  • The development assumes significance as it came at a time when Pakistan is imposing visa restrictions on Afghan nationals.

NITI Aayog & KPIT Tech to promote innovation

  • KPIT tech has announced 2-year statement of intent with NITI Aayog to promote innovative skills among students of senior secondary level as part of AIM.
  • It aims to push students to understand the concepts of science, technology, engineering & maths through new-age technologies.
  • KPIT will provide 2 volumes of booklets named ‘Chhote scientists’ that will help schools to prepare the curriculum.

Odisha Govt to sponsor Indian hockey team

  • Indian hockey has got a new sponsor in state govt of Odisha, which has decided to support the game for next 5 years.
  • It is for the 1st time a state is sponsoring a national hockey team.
  • Odisha is regarded as the cradle of hockey & has produced greats like Dilip Tirkey & Ignace Tirkey.
  • Odisha has been supporting the game with various initiatives & also won the Kalinga Lancers in the HIL.

Ethiopia PM Hailemariam Desalegn Resigns

  • Ethiopia’s PM has submitted his resignation in a surprise move that comes amid protracted anti-govt protest.
  • He said his resignation was vital to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace & democracy.
  • Hailemariam, who has led the country since 2012, also stepped down as chairman of the ruling coalition.
  • He took office following the death of Meles Zenawi who had ruled since 1991.

K P Sharma Oli becomes Nepal PM

  • The Communist Party of Nepal (UML) Chairman KP Sharma Oli has become new Prime Minister of Nepal.
  • This is the second time Mr. Oli has become the prime minister. He had served as prime minister from October 2015 to August 2016.
  • The formation of new government after historic elections is expected to begin a new era of political stability in the Himalayan nation.

List of MoUs/Agreements signed during the visit of President of Iran to India (February 17, 2018)


S. No. Name of MoUs/Agreements Description of MoU/ Agreement Indian side Iranian side
1. Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to taxes on Income. To avoid burden of double taxation between the two countries in order to promote flow of investment and services. Smt. Sushma Swaraj,External Affairs Minister Dr. Masoud Karbasian, Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance
2. MoU on Exemption from Visa requirement for holders of Diplomatic Passports. Waiver of requirement of visa for the travel of diplomatic passport holders in each country. Smt. Sushma Swaraj,External Affairs Minister Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Minister of Foreign Affairs
3. Exchange of Instrument of Ratification of Extradition Treaty. It brings into effect the Extradition Treaty signed between India and Iran in 2008. Smt. Sushma Swaraj,External Affairs Minister Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Minister of Foreign Affairs
4. Lease Contract for Shahid Beheshti Port- Phase 1 of Chabahar during Interim Period between Port and Maritime Organization (PMO), Iran and India Ports Global Limited (IPGL). Leasing of a part of the area of the multipurpose and container Terminal for a term of one and half solar year (18 months) to take over operation of existing port facilities. Shri Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Shipping Dr. Abbas Akhundi, Minister of Road and Urban Development
5. MoU on Cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine. To develop and strengthen cooperation in traditional systems of medicine including regulation of teaching, practice, drugs and drugless therapies; facilitating supply of all medicine materials and documents; exchange of experts for training of practitioners, paramedics, scientists, teaching professionals and students and accommodating them in institutions for research, educational and training programmes; mutual recognition of pharmacopoeias and formularies; setting up of academic chairs; provision of scholarships; recognition of traditional preparations on reciprocity basis; permission to practice on reciprocity basis. Shri Vijay Gokhale, Foreign Secretary H.E. Gholamreza Ansari, Ambassador of Iran
6. MoU on the establishment of an Expert Group on Trade Remedy Measures to promote cooperation in areas of mutual interest. It aims to establish a framework of cooperation in the area of Trade Remedial Measures viz. anti-dumping and counterveiling duty. Smt. Rita Teotia, Secretary (Commerce) Dr. Mohammad Khazaei, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance
7. MoU on Cooperation in the field of Agriculture and Allied Sectors. Bilateral cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sector including joint activities, programmes,exchange of information and personnel; cooperation in the field of agricultural crops, agricultural extension, horticulture, machinery, post harvest technology, plant quarantine measures, credit and cooperation, soil conservation, seed technology, livestock improvement, dairy development. Shri S K Pattanayak, Secretary (Agriculture) Dr. Mohammad Khazaei, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance
8. MoU on Cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine. To establish comprehensive inter-ministerial and inter-institutional cooperation between two sides including pooling of technical, scientific, financial and human resources; upgrading the quality and reach of human, material and infrastructural resources in healthcare, medical education, research and training; exchanging experience in training of medical doctors and other health professionals; assistance in development of human resources and setting up of health care facilities; regulation of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and cosmetics and exchange of information thereon; cooperation in medical research; cooperating in public health, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and international health. Shri Vijay Gokhale, Foreign Secretary H.E. Gholamreza Ansari, Ambassador of Iran
9. MoU on Postal Cooperation. Cooperation between the two postal agencies including exchange of experience, knowledge and technology in e-commerce/logistics services; cooperation on philately; establishment of working group of experts; feasibility studies on using air and surface transit capacities of both countries. Shree Anant Narayan Nanda, Secretary (Post) H.E. Gholamreza Ansari, Ambassador of Iran

Following MoUs between trade bodies have also been signed on the sidelines of the visit:

(1). MoU between EEPC India and Trade Promotion Organization of Iran.

(2). MoU between Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA).

(3). MoU between the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines & Agriculture (ICCIMA).

(4). MoU between PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) and Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA)

Narendra Modi to Inaugurate the Fourth Container Terminal of JNPT in Mumbai Tomorrow

  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Fourth Container Terminal (FCT) of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Mumbai  tomorrow. With this, JNPT will  nearly double its container handling capacity .
  • The new FCT will add a capacity of 24 lakh containers per year in Phase-I and after completion of Phase-II in 2022, the capacity of JNPT will be 100 lakh containers per year.
  • The Fourth Container Terminal has been developed on Design, Built, Fund, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis for a concession period of 30 years at an estimated cost of Rs. 7915 Crore.

PNB arm, IFC tie up to raise $800 mn for affordable housing

  • PNB Housing Finance Ltd has tied up with International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group, to raise $800 million for green and affordable housing in India.
  • IFC is in negotiations with two other housing finance firms to invest another $150 million, as well as with property developers to assist the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) from both the demand and supply sides, the person said, requesting anonymity.
  • he move comes as a big boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s housing for all scheme by 2022. Under PMAY, the government offers interest subsidy of 6.5% to economically weaker sections on their home loans. The scheme is for people with an annual income up to Rs3 lakh.
  • As per the deal with PNB Housing, IFC will make $400 million available for the new facility, of which $150 million will be its own money and the rest will be mobilized from other sources. All of this money will be raised through masala bonds issued by PNB Housing. Masala bonds are rupee-denominated bonds issued in offshore capital markets.
  • PNB Housing will put up another $400 million on its own, taking the total amount to $800 million. The proposal will go to the IFC board for approval in a couple of months. IFC’s new investments will be separate from the $800 million facility it created with Housing Development Financial Corp. Ltd in 2017 to fund construction of affordable homes.

Government to set up 562 more Ekalavya schools

  • The Centre will set up 562 more Ekalavya Model Residential Schools in tribal areas of the country. Briefing media in New Delhi on the budgetary provisions of his Ministry, Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram said, 271 such schools have already been sanctioned out of which, 190 are currently operational.
  • Mr. Oram said the government is committed to providing quality education to tribal children and it has been announced in the Budget that by the year 2022, every block with at least 20 thousand tribal persons, will have an Ekalavya School.

Sumitra Mahajan inaugurates CPA Conference

  • Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan inaugurated the 6th Conference of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) of India Region in Patna.
  • The 2-day conference will discuss subjects of ‘Parliament’s role in the development agenda’ and ‘Legislature and Judiciary’.
  • Over 100 delegates from India and abroad, including Australia, Britain and Uganda, will participate in the conference.

EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2017

  • Sanjiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj Finserv, has been named the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2017.
  • Bajaj Finserv has emerged as the country’s leading name in financial services with solutions across lending, life and general insurance and wealth advisory.
  • Bajaj will now represent India at the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year Award (WEOY) in Monte Carlo from June 13-17, 2018.

 ‘Startup of the Year’ 2017

  • Milkbasket, India’s first and largest micro-delivery platform has been recognised as ‘Startup of the Year’ 2017 at the 7th Small Business Awards.
  • Milkbasket delivers milk, bread, eggs, butter, juices and other daily need items every morning.
  • The startup of the year award is dedicated to young SMEs, aged 7 years or less, with great potential to become big in local/international markets.

SBI launches global customer service centre

  • State Bank of India has launched its Global NRI Centre (GNC) in Kochi, a one-stop customer service point for all NRI banking-related activities.
  • Through its GNC, SBI aims to centralise operations which are currently spread across 16 circles, 92 NRI branches in 66 different locations and several NRI-intensive branches.
  • SBI has a strong NRI customer base of over 33 lakh as on January 31.

Asha Bhosle honoured with Yash Chopra Award

  • Legendary singer Asha Bhosle has been honoured with the Yash Chopra Memorial Award.
  • Bhosle, who is the fifth recipient of the award, was felicitated by actress Rekha during the ceremony.
  • Bhosle illustrious music career spans 7 decades having recorded over 11,000 songs in 20 different languages.

Federer becomes oldest world No.1 in tennis

  • Roger Federer has become the oldest world number one after he defeated his Dutch opponent Robin Haase at Rotterdam’s ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament.
  • He became the oldest No. 1 male player, surpassing eight-time Grand Slam winner Andre Agassi, who holds the record at 33 yrs since September 2003.
  • Federer is back on top after winning 3 majors in 13 months, including another Australian Open.

VP to inaugurate Theatre Olympics

  • Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu will inaugurate the 8th edition of the Theatre Olympics at Lal Quila in New Delhi.
  • The theme of the festival is – “Flag of Friendship”.
  • The 51-day long nationwide theatre extravaganza will be held in 17 cities, including Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Patna.
  • It is for the first time that India is hosting the event & more than 25 thousand foreign artists will participate.

TCS recognized as the world’s best employers

  • Tata Consultancy Services has been recognized as the world’s best employers by the Top Employer Institute for the consecutive 3rd year.
  • TCS was selected from a pool of 1,300 companies in 113 countries for offering exceptional services to its employees.
  • Top Employer rankings are based on criteria including Talent Strategy, Workforce Planning, Learning & Development & On-boarding among others.

India to land Chandrayaan-2 on Moon

  • India, which has been making strides in the space race, is set to land its Chandrayaan-2 on the Moon in April.
  • Chandrayaan-2 is India’s second lunar exploration mission after Chandrayaan-1 which discovered the presence of water on the surface of the moon.
  • The mission will cost around 800 crore rupees which includes cost of orbiter, lander and rover.

NDB to lend $100 mn for water project

  • India has signed 2nd loan agreement for $100 million with New Development Bank for efficient use of water in desert areas of Rajasthan.
  • The objective is to rehabilitate 678-km-long Indira Gandhi Canal system to prevent seepage, conserve water & enhance water use efficiency.
  • Project is aimed at rehabilitation of waterlogged areas & modernisation of irrigation management practices among others.

National Conference to discuss farm issues

  • Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare is organizing a National Conference named Agriculture 2022 – Doubling Farmers’ Income in New Delhi.
  • Aim of the conference is to build a consensus around appropriate recommendations that will help in shaping the vision of Govt on Doubling Farmers’ Income.
  • It is being organised to identify critical issues relating to agriculture & farmers’ welfare.
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