National Current Affairs
National Current Affairs May 5th Week 2018
Category : National Current Affairs
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 1. Queen Maxima Of Kingdom Of Netherlands On 4-Day Visit To India.

Days after Netherlands Prime Minister visited India, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands arrived here for a four-day visit, as per the Ministry of External Affairs. On the first day of her visit, the Queen will be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi later in the day at the Prime Minister`s Office.

The Queen is scheduled to take part in a meeting with development partners at the United Nations house followed by a meeting with Co-Founder and Governing Council Member of iSpirit Sharad Sharma. She will then meet Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NITI Aayog Rajiv Kumar and Amitabh Kant respectively at the NITI Aayog at noon. During Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte`s visit to India, the former became an official partner of the International Solar Alliance.

The two Prime Ministers also discussed multiple agreements in various fields including the Clean Ganga mission and providing assistance to Kanpur and Unnao-based leather industries to help to adopt eco-friendly technologies and promote water conservation by following efficient agriculture practices in the sugarcane industry of Uttar Pradesh.

Earlier Prime Minister Rutt attended the Indo-Dutch CEOs forum that was held here. As per a release by the Ministry of External Affairs, Indian Netherlands have a bilateral trade worth USD 5.39 billion. Netherlands is the 5th largest investor in India with a cumulative investment of USD 23 billion for the period 2000 to December 2017. Further, the country is home to around 2, 35,000 Indians, the highest in Europe`s mainland. (ANI)


2. 1st Smart & Green Highway Eastern Peripheral Expressway At Baghpat In UP. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated two newly-built expressways - phase 1 of Delhi-Meerut Expressway and the Rs. 11,000 crore Eastern Peripheral Expressway, India`s first smart and green highway. PM Modi, after inaugurating the 14-lane Delhi-Meerut Expressway spanning Sarai Kale Khan in Delhi to UP Gate, rode in an open car, waving at crowds gathered on either sides of the highway. Road Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari too rode in a separate open car alongside PM Modi. The Delhi-Meerut Expressway, stretching from Nizammudin Bridge to Delhi-UP border, has been completed in a record time of 18 months. The 135-km-long Eastern Peripheral Expressway or EPE, that was dedicated by prime minister in Baghpat in UP, has been built in a record time of 17 months. Its foundation stone was laid by PM Modi in November 2015. The expressway is expected to bring down the pollution level in the national capital by 27 percent.


3. PM Modi Launches Survey On NaMo App.

On the fourth anniversary of the BJP-led NDA government in power at the Centre, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched a survey to gauge people`s mood about his style of governance and their expectations.

The survey was launched on the popular on the NaMo App, where people were asked to rate the performance of the BJP government as well as the performance of his flagship schemes and even the performance of the local MPs and MLAs.

The survey is designed to take the opinion of the people about the three most popular BJP leaders at the constituency and the state level. It urges people to rate their leaders` on the basis of their availability, honesty, humility and popularity. The assessment-based survey allows the participants to tell about the prime considerations while voting and the condition of various amenities and infrastructure in their constituency.

The Prime Minister informed his followers about the survey on the Twitter handle.

`It is your voice that counts! Tell me what you feel about the working of the Central Government, its initiatives and the development work in your constituency. Take part in this survey on the NaMo App,`` he tweeted.

The NaMo App is a popular connectivity platform provided by the BJP government where people can directly connect with their Prime Minister and share their valuable feedback about various schemes and policies of the central government. 

PM Modi also uses it to interact with common people as well as his party members.


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

 The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) signed an agreement to promote ‘green’ cricket in India with the United Nations (UN) Environment. Acting BCCI Secretary Amitabh Choudhary and Executive Director of UN Environment Erik Solheim signed a letter of intent at the BCCI headquarters, Cricket Centre in Mumbai ahead of the VIVO IPL 2018 final between Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday.

Commenting on the initiative, Amitabh Choudhary said, “The Board is happy to announce its partnership with UN Environment. This is a major step in spreading the message of environmental conservation. We will help make cricket green and sensitize spectators towards minimizing waste generation during matches.” The partnership aims to spread greater awareness about key environmental challenges facing the country, and highlight alternate, sustainable solutions. The BCCI will endeavor to reduce its environmental impact by greening operations and engaging cricketers and fans in green initiatives.

“The environment and sports are more closely connected than people think. If we don’t have a healthy environment, then sports will not thrive. I am delighted that UN Environment is partnering with the BCCI to use the power of cricket to inspire action for a cleaner environment,” said Erik Solheim. The partnership will also focus on phasing out single-use plastic across stadiums in the country. The BCCI has already begun raising awareness on this issue. During the course of the VIVO IPL, a film with messages from captains of various franchises was created and aired in stadiums highlighting hazards of plastic pollution.


5. DAC Approves Procurement Of Equipment For Defence Forces.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Raksha Mantri Nirmala Sitharaman, met here today and accorded approval for the procurement of equipment for the Defence Forces valued at over Rs. 6900 crore.In a major boost to indigenisation and in realisation of India’s growing technological prowess, 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. The TI sight for 84mm RL will be used by troops in operations to facilitate accurate and continuous engagement of moving and static enemy targets and destruction of field fortifications (bunkers) during hours of complete darkness. The sight will enable own troops to detect and recognize enemy tanks and soldiers’ movement during night and engage them with greater efficiency. Furthermore, the effect of camouflage and concealment will be drastically reduced as RL detachments will be able to ascertain location of enemy taking cover behind foliage and thin walled constructions with greater ease.The DAC also accorded approval for undertaking Design and Development of the Long Range Dual Band Infrared Imaging Search and Track System (IRST) for SU-30 MKI aircraft under ‘Make II’ sub category and subsequently, for procurement of at least 100 IRSTs under ‘Buy (Indian–IDDM) category.  

The system will be able to operate in day and night conditions and will substantially enhance the capabilities of the aircraft.With the above approvals, in the last eight months alone, the DAC has pursued modernisation of the Armed Forces with greater vigour and has accorded major thrust on indigenisation. Approvals for procurement of equipment valued at approx Rs 43,844 crore, have been accorded, of which, Rs 32,253 crore would be Made-in-India, through the indigenous route.Tourism Minister attends the 108th session of UNWTO Executive council in San Sebastian, Spain from 23rd to 25th May 2018 UNWTO will focus on Innovation and digital transformation in the sector The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism, Shri K. J. Alphons along with a delegation of senior officials attended the 108th session of UNWTO Executive Council from 23rd to 25th May 2018 held in San Sebastian, Spain. The Executive council decided that in order to address new challenge and trends, the organization will pay special attention to scaling up innovation and digitization in the sector.During the three day Executive Council meeting, Sh. K. J. Alphons chaired the ‘Programme and Budget Committee’ meeting of UNWTO. In the opening remarks, the Minister highlighted the role of tourism in socio-economic development through job creation, enterprise and environment development and foreign exchange earnings.


6. Main Event Of 4th International Yoga Day Celebrations To Be Held At Dehradun.

Take out your Yoga mats, exercise clothes etc as less than a month for International Yoga Day (IDY) is remaining, preparations have started as this year’s celebrations of Main Event is to be organized in Dehradun on June 21.

The main event of 4th International Yoga Day celebrations (IDY-2018) will be held on 21st June 2018 at Dehradun in Uttrakhand.

Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary, Ministry of AYUSH announced today that Dehradun (Uttarakhand) has been selected as the venue for Mass Yoga Demonstration (Main Event) of 4th International Day of Yoga on 21st June 2018.

Kotecha is in Dehradun to initiate the preparations regarding this mega event. In this regard, Shri Kotecha along with concerned Joint Secretary has met Chief Secretary, Government of Uttarakhand to discuss various arrangements for organizing Mass Yoga Demonstration of 4th International Day of Yoga at Dehradun.

Last year the host for IDY was Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh where nearly 51,000 people demonstrated Yoga protocol along with dignitaries.


7. NIC Launches India`s 4th Data Centre In Bhubaneswar.

The National Informatics Centre (NIC) launched its fourth National Data Centre of the country in Bhubaneswar after Delhi, Hyderabad and Pune on Monday. Union IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad inaugurated the cloud-enabled IT infrastructure having a capacity to host over 35,000 virtual servers, set up with an investment of Rs 200 crore.

“The data centre in Bhubaneswar is of global standards and will enhance the global profile as well as digital clout of a state or location. In IT ecosystem the role of a data centre is very crucial,” Prasad said after inaugurating the NDC, which will host new and existing applications and websites of the central and state government.

The data centre will function 24X7 with secure hosting for e-governance applications of ministries, departments and also some central Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs).

“With a number of government apps and web-enabled services including mygov, eWay bill, public finance management system, e Hospitals all being hosted by NIC, the demand for computing and storage has increased many folds. The NDC cloud service offerings of Bhubaneswar will allow departments not only to bring the solution to deployment quickly but also to scale up based on the demand of peak or low loads,” said Neeta Verma, director general of NIC. 

The unified and shared infrastructure is flexible enough to rapidly respond to infrastructure requirements and also accommodate future technology enhancements, distributed and database applications. In the traditional model departments has to budget and procure infrastructure at the commencement of the project, this result in either over provisioning of infrastructure or under-sizing of the requirements which leads to scalability challenges, NIC sources said. 


8. Sudha Balakrishnan Appointed 1st CFO Of RBI.

The Reserve Bank of India has appointed Sudha Balakrishnan as the first chief financial officer, the Economic Times reported today. Balakrishnan is a former executive of India`s first and largest depository - National Securities Depository Limited. She joined the Central bank on May 15 and will have a three year term.

According to the report, Balakrishnan will be in charge of the Reserve Bank`s balance sheet to ensure accounting policies and procedures comply with regulations.

The new CFO will be in charge of the government and bank account department, which processes government transactions like payments and revenue collections. Balakrishnan will also oversee the apex bank`s investments in India and abroad, the ET reported.

Last year in October, the top bank had advertised for a direct recruitment of `chief financial officer` in the rank of executive director in the RBI. Among the responsibilities that the RBI had listed were: formulating the accounting policy of the bank, maintaining the internal accounts and reporting of financial results through various statements of accounts, balance sheet and profit and loss account.

According to the  ET report, it was former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan who had first floated the idea of having a dedicated officer for handling internal financial functions of the RBI. 

Rajan had proposed creating a post of chief operating officer (COO) at the rank of a deputy governor but that proposal was not accepted by the government, the report said.

The RBI has also sought applications from eligible candidates for the post of Deputy Governor which remains vacant after SS Mundra retired last year in July.


9. Cochin International Airport, World’s 1st Fully Solar Energy-Powered Airport: UNEP.

The solar energy project of the Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) is likely to receive the official recognition of the United Nations. The proposal for giving official recognition of the project is under the consideration of UN, Erik Solheim, head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters after visiting solar plant of CIAL he the UN will be glad to recognize the Kochi airport as the first fully solar-powered airport in the world. "The model of CIAL can be followed by not only other airports but even countries", he added. He also pointed out that agreement signed by between Beijing Airport in China, one of the largest in the world and UNEP for sustainable development. The two are cooperating in areas such as waste disposal and energy generation. "The UNEP is thinking of Beijing model cooperation with CIAL", he added.

The UNEP chief has also mentioned the uniqueness of the CIAL practice of growing organic vegetables in the spaces between the solar panels. This is a novel idea, he pointed out. The UNEP will think of spreading this across the world, he added.      The UNEP chief expressed concern over the accumulation of plastic wastes across the world including the ocean beds. We can see plastic even in the depth of Pacific Ocean.

Even the animals are in danger because of plastic usage", he said and mentioned about the death of wild elephants in Kerala due to plastic. Sea turtles and sea birds are also facing the threat from plastic, he added.   Expressing grief over the police firing at Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu he said he said such incidents should not happen anywhere. "This should not repeat and there should not be any violence. Police should not use gun against the public," he added.


 10. Power Minister Launches Web Portal And App Called `PRAAPTI`.

Power Ministry on May 29, 2018, will launch a new app, named Praapti, which aims at bringing transparency in power sector of India. The app will bring transparency in invoicing of generators. It will also contain all details related to the payment. The app will enable the citizens to monitor the payments that are being made to power generation companies.

The app will also allow its users to know the details related to the payments made by the discoms to the power generation company and when it was made. They will also be able to see the details related to delays, if any, and check the number of reminders that was sent by the generation company and its impact on generation companies.

PRAAPTI will also enable the consumers to know the performance of their discoms in terms of payments that are being made to the generation companies. Later, the performance of the discoms will be ratified on the basis of payments that were made.

The app will allow people to know the tariffs at which the power was procured by the discom.


11. Ministry Of Women And Child Development Signs MoU With UP.

The Ministry of Women and Child and Development, Government of India has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Department of Women and Child Development, Government of Uttar Pradesh, in New Delhi today for management of Home of Widows at Sunrakh Bangar, Vrindavan.  The Ministry of Women and Child Development has constructed this shelter home for widows with a capacity of 1000 inmates. 

The MoU shall be in force for a period of 2 years which may be renewed for further period on satisfactory running of the Home.  The Home shall be run by the Government of Uttar Pradesh themselves or by any state government institution or by any civil society or by any reputed non-government organization to be decided by the State Government.

According to the MoU, the Government of Uttar Pradesh shall be responsible for activities including setting up mechanism for identifying beneficiaries, providing residential care to the widows, deploying staff as per norms with prescribed qualification and experience.  The MoU further states that senior officials of Government of Uttar Pradesh shall visit and check the security staff periodically and monitor their performance.  The MoU also includes provisions for facilitating Aadhar Cards for all inmates and medical/geriatric care for inmates.


12. Statehood Day Of Goa: 30 May.

PANAJI: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is undergoing treatment in the US, today greeted Goans on the statehood day and hailed the developmental projects undertaken by the Centre in the coastal state.

The Goa Statehood Day is celebrated every year on May 30.

"I wish all Goans on the occasion of the 31st Goa Statehood Day. The state has witnessed development during the last 31 years," Parrikar said in a video message in Konkani which was released by his office this morning.

"During the last four years, several developmental works have been initiated in Goa by the Narendra Modi-led government (at the Centre)," he said referring to the infrastructural projects going on in the state.

The works to build the third Mandovi bridge (near Panaji) and the Galjibag-Tolpon bridge (near Canacona in South Goa) are inching closer to completion while the construction of Zuari bridge is going on in full-swing, he mentioned.

He said the state has witnessed development in the social sector due to various schemes. The state government is committed towards creating employment in the information technology and industrial sectors, the chief minister said.

"We intend to continue the pace of development witnessed by the state in the last 31 years, for which we would require the cooperation of people, which is very important," he added.


13. Gujarat Government Launches `Reuse Of Treated Waste Water Policy`.

The Gujarat government today unveiled its `Reuse of Treated Waste Water Policy` which aims to reduce the state`s dependence on fresh water sources like the Narmada river.

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel launched the policy at a function held in Gandhinagar today.

The policy will promote the use of treated waste water and will see the setting up of sewage treatment plants (STP) in all major towns and cities of Gujarat.

An official release said that under this policy, the state government planned to construct 161 sewage treatment plants to treat waste water and use it for non-drinking purposes.

The treated water would be used in industrial units, thermal power plants, gardening and in the construction sector, it added.

At present, around 2,600 million litres per day (MLD) of waste water was being treated by 52 STPs in the state.

The policy aims to double the existing water treatment capacity to around 5,000 MLD in the next two years, the release informed.

Rupani, speaking at the function, stressed on the use of treated waste water in order to conserve other ground and fresh water sources.

Under this policy, the state government will make it mandatory for thermal power plants located within a radius of 50 kilometres of an STP to use treated water.

This would also apply to industries or industrial parks which are consuming over 1 lakh litres of water per day, the release said.

The policy document said that once these industries got a connection for treated water, the state government would disconnect the fresh water connection given to them.


14. ‘Gaj Yatra’ Flagged Off In Meghalaya.

The initiative aims to secure 100 routes across the country for safe passage

In 2014, villagers in Meghalaya’s Garo Hills set aside a part of their community-owned land to create village reserve forests, giving right of passage to elephants.

In acknowledgement of that gesture, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) on Monday rolled out the ‘Gaj Yatra’ from Tura, the principal town of Garo Hills.


People’s initiative

’Gaj Yatra’, a “journey celebrating India’s national heritage animal”, aims at securing 100 elephant corridors across India. Four of these are in Meghalaya, including the Siju-Rewak corridor that some 1,000 elephants use to travel between the Balpakram and Nokrek National Parks in the State.

“The campaign has aptly been launched in the Garo Hills, where the people have created community forests for human-elephant harmony and conservation of animals such as hoolock gibbon,” Vivek Menon, executive director of WTI, said after the four-day campaign was flagged off.

The event involves taking an elephant mascot across districts frequented by jumbo herds for generating awareness among the people.

Meghalaya Home Minister James K. Sangma said the ‘Gaj Yatra’ could go a long way in providing space for elephants to move. “There have been 14,700 cases of man-animal conflicts that may have occurred due to space constraint and less food available,” he said.

He underlined the role of Nokmas, traditional custodians of the land, in supporting the move towards co-existence between man and animal and helping conservationists for the success of the initiative. Expansion of human settlements have resulted in fragmented elephant habitats in the Garo Hills, leading to conflicts.


15. New User Interface Of Next Generation E-Ticketing System Launched.

Railway`s Online Travel Portal - has now launched beta version of its new User Interface in line with Union Minister of Railways Shri Piyush Goyal`s vision to ensure better user experience by recommending best Information Technology industry practices.

The new link has more user friendly features for easier navigation.

The `Digital India` initiative has paved way for government organizations to harness power of technology and in making lives easier for citizens of India. By creating Next Generation e-Ticketing (NGeT) system the new online ticket booking system of Railways provides easy and fast way of booking rail tickets by automating the journey planning and purchase of tickets.

E-ticketing today constitutes about two third of total reserved tickets on Indian Railways.

Salient features of the New User Interface:

With the launch of new interface of e-Ticketing Website, user can now enquire / search trains and check availability of seats without login also, thereby saving precious time of the users. User can now change font size throughout the website for comfortable viewing experience.

The new look and feel will have enhanced class-wise, train-wise, destination-wise, departure/arrival time wise and quota-wise filters for facilitating customer while planning their journeys. Single screen information about the train including the train no, train name, originating and destination station and distances between them, arrival and departure time and journey time has now been arranged.

In addition, more features such as new filters on `My Transactions` where user can also view their booked tickets based on Journey Date, Booking Date, Upcoming Journey and completed journey.


16. 3rd Meeting Of India-UK Home Affairs’ Dialogue Held In New Delhi.

The Third Home Affairs’ Dialogue between India and U.K. was held here today. The Government of India Delegation was led by Shri Rajiv Gauba, Union Home Secretary and the Delegation from Home Office of the U.K. was led by its Second Permanent Secretary, Ms. Patsy Wilkinson.

The Dialogue covered a wide range of issues including cyber security, women safety, organized crime, terror financing etc.  and a need to put in place a mechanism  for timely exchange of information and intelligence inputs on such issues. Detailed exchange of views took place between the two sides on Indian fugitives/economic offenders  residing in the U.K. The Indian delegation impressed upon the UK authorities the need to expedite the process of extradition.

An important topic taken up for discussion related to streamlining the process of various categories of visas for Indian Students and highly skilled professionals and other categories. It was agreed that there will be further interactions on the issues.

The Indian side communicated our concerns on the recent activities of certain extremists and radical elements in UK. The UK delegation were urged to maintain vigil over the activities of such elements and take appropriate action including timely sharing of intelligence.

It was agreed to maintain the momentum for enhanced security cooperation between the two countries.


17. Joint Military Exercise SURYA KIRAN-13 Begins In Uttarakhand.

A joint military exercise between India and Nepal began at Pithoragarh on Wednesday with  soldiers from both the countries sharing their experiences of counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations. The military exercise, which is set to conclude of June 12, is called ‘Surya Kiran’ and is conducted alternatively in India and Nepal every six months.

Notably, Surya Kiran with Nepal is India’s largest military exercise in terms of troop participation, a release from central command headquarters (Lucknow) said. Over 300 soldiers from both the countries are taking part in the exercise, the release added.

According to the official release, the aim of this exercise is to conduct battalion level joint training with emphasis on counter terrorism operations in mountainous terrain. The joint military exercise will enhance the level of defence cooperation between the two neighbours which will further strengthen bilateral relations, it said.


18. India Releases Rs33.10 Cr To Nepal For 2 Road Projects.
India has released 33 point 10 Crore rupees to Nepal towards cost of two road packages of Birgunj-Thori Road being implemented under Postal Highway Projects in Nepal with Government of India’s grant assistance.

Deputy Chief of Mission in the Indian Embassy, Dr. Ajay Kumar handed over a Cheque of the grant to Secretary, Ministry for Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Nepal, Madhusudan Adhikari in Kathmandu on Tuesday. The amount has been released towards 25% of tendered cost (including 10% mobilization advance) of the Postal Highway Projects.

The Government of India has so far released a total of 117.63 Crore rupees to the Government of Nepal for implementing 14 packages of the Postal Highway Projects. The construction of Dhangadhi-Bhajaniya-Satti road and Lamki-Tikapur-Khakraula road has been completed. 

Since 1950, the Government of India has been supporting infrastructure development of Nepal and has provided financial assistance for construction of various Highways, Roads, Bridges, Airports, etc. as part of its multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional India-Nepal Economic Cooperation Programme.