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Current Affairs October 10 2018

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Shri Nitin Gadkari laid the Foundation Stone for various developmental projects in Uttar Pradesh
On October 9, 2018, Union Minister for Shipping, Road Transport & Highways and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari laid foundation stone for various development projects at Basti in Uttar Pradesh.
National Waterway (NW)-40 at Basti in Uttar Pradesh:
i. This project undertakes development work of 354 km stretch of Ghagra river under the Sagarmala Programme of Ministry of Shipping.
ii. In 2016, the waterway from Manjhighat at Ganga-Gaghra river confluence to Faizabad/Ayodhya along Gaghra River was declared as NW-40.
iii. It will provide major transportation boost for cargo and passenger movement and envisages terminal at 5 locations – Ayodhya, Mahirpur (Tanda/Kalwari), Dohrighat, Tortipar and Manjhighat.  
iv. Phase –I of the project with project cost of Rs. 11.6 Cr has been initiated by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), under Ministry of Shipping.
v. It is scheduled to be completed by 2019-20.
Other News:
i. He also laid the foundation stone for widening and improvement of Rs 1224 crore worth of National Highways works in Uttar Pradesh.
ii. The projects includes:

  • Widening and improvement of Ramjanaki Marg(NH-227A) from Ayodhya Cantt to Rampur (55 km) at a cost of Rs 315 crore,
  • 35 km from Rampur to Sikriganjat a cost of Rs 250 crore,
  • 14km long Basti Ring Road Phase 1 which is to be constructed at a cost of Rs 450 crore and
  • Widening and improvement of the 35 km long Badhni -Shoratganj sectionof NH-730 at Rs. 200 crore.

Ministry of Shipping:
♦ Union Minister: Shri Nitin Gadkari.
♦ Minister of State: Shri. P.  Radhakrishnan, Shri. M.L. Mandaviya.

‘2nd World Conference on Access to Medical Products: Achieving the SDGs 2030’ inaugurated by Shri J P Nadda
On October 9, 2018, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Shri J P Nadda inaugurated ‘2nd World Conference on Access to Medical Products: Achieving the SDGs 2030’ in New Delhi.

i. The objectives of the conference is:

  • Working on recommendations from the 1st World Conference 2017 ,
  • Work on medical products in the context of SDGs (including trade agreements) in line with GPW 13 of WHO,
  • Accelerating research and innovation.

ii.  The following was released:

  • Position Paper,
  • Information Sharing Platform Gateway for South-East Asia Regulatory Network (SEARN) developed by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing.

iii. It also highlighted the importance of traditional medical system in achieving the health goals.
iv. The National Health Policy 2017 was also discussed.
v. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director GeneralWorld Health Organization announced the release of 13th Global Programme of Work (GPW13) for strategic direction in Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 (SDG).
vi. It is built around “triple billion” goal of strategic priorities of Healthy Lives, Universal Health Coverage and health emergencies.
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare:
♦ Union Minister: Shri J P Nadda.
♦ Minister of State: Shri Ashwini Kumar Chaubey, Smt. Anupriya Patel.
♦ Secretary: Smt. Preeti Sudan

EAM Sushma Swaraj launched ‘India for Humanity’ initiative in New Delhi
On October 9, 2018, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj launched ‘India for Humanity’ initiative in New Delhi.

i.  It is a part of 150th Birth Anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi being held over the next one year.
ii. For this, MEA had collaborated with charitable organization Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti, BMVSS.
iii.This initiative comprises of a year-long series of artificial limb fitment camps in a number of countries spanning the globe fully sponsored by Ministry.
iv. Initially,the camps will be held in 12 countries identified through the Missions with financial support of Indian government.
About Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti, BMVSS:
♦ Founded in 1975.
♦ Famous for: trademark limb Jaipur Foot.
♦ Till date it has served over 1.73 million amputees.
♦ Founder: DR Mehta.

10-member government panel set to probe e-commerce firms’ big discounts
On October 8, 2018, the Corporate affairs ministry set up a 10-member panel to check on the discounts offered by the online retailers.
i. The panel will set probe to:

  • Practices in the digital economy,
  • Backlog of competition cases to be resolved and
  • The fee structure followed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

ii. These came to the forefront as traditional retailers requested the commerce minister to impose a ban on discounted sales by online sellers.
iii. This is possible due to access of e-retailers to foreign direct investment (FDI) which allows them t offer discounts.
Earlier in 2015, Retailers Association of India (RAI) and the All India Footwear Manufacturers and Retailers Association (AIFMRA), had approached the Delhi High Court on this topic.
Ministry of Corporate Affairs:
♦ Union Minister : Arun Jaitley
♦ Minister Of state: P. P. Choudhury.

20-member Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority reconstituted by government
On October 9, 2018, Centre reconstituted 20-member Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority or the EPCA .
To tackle air pollution in the National Capital Region
Key Points:
i. The authority is headed by Former secretary Bhure Lal.
ii. Other members include:

  • Ajay Mathur, who is the Director General of The Energy Research Institute (TERI),
  •  Arunabha Ghosh, the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Energy Environment and Water,
  • Navroz K. Dubash, the Senior Fellow for the Centre for Policy Research.
  • Vishnu Mathur, Director General, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers;
  • Arvind Kumar, former professor of surgery, AIIMS, in New Delhi and presently Chairman Centre for Chest Surgery, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital;
  • Krishna Dhawan, Chief Executive Officer, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, New Delhi.

iii.The EPCA is mandated to enforce Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in the city as per the pollution levels.
iv. The tenure of the last EPCA expired on October 3.
About EPCA:
EPCA is Supreme Court mandated body tasked with taking various measures to tackle air pollution in the National Capital Region.

UNICEF & NASSCOM sign MoU to strengthen child rights
On October 8, 2018, UNICEF and NASSCOM Foundation signed an MOU to strengthen child rights through meaningful business interventions.

To create awareness and use technology in the right way to protect children’s rights
Key Points:
i.According to the MOU, they will focus on 2 areas:

  • National sensitisation on ‘child online protection’ and
  • Encouraging innovations for child rights.

ii. Together the organizations will co-create sensitisation workshops across India through online and offline interventions such as Tweet chats, webinars, meetups and roadshows.

CII, UN Environment signed MoU for environmental cooperation
On October 4, 2018, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the UN Environment signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at CII’s headquarters in Delhi.

i.This MOU aims to work on coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development.
ii.  It aims to promote cooperation in issues of environment, climate change, renewable energy, energy efficiency, resource conservation and management, water sanitation, smart cities and urban infrastructure.
iii. As per the MOU, the Un-plastic Initiative of CII and UN Environment will rope in industry to take actions to curb plastic pollution.

SPG: key panel under NSA to assist National Security Council set up by government
On October 9, 2018, Central government set up a Strategic Policy Group (SPG) headed by National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval to assist the National Security Council.
To advise on matters of national security and strategic interests.
Key Points:
i. The SPG will assist the National Security Council on undertaking national security measures and strategic review of country’s security affairs.
ii. The NSA gives strategic advice to prime minister on the topics of national security and the group’s decision will help it implement them the right way.
iii. The group will also be responsible for inter-ministerial coordination and integration of relevant inputs.
iv. Other members of the group include:

  • The NITI Aayog vice chairman,
  • The cabinet secretary,
  • The chiefs of the three defence services,
  • The RBI governor,
  • The foreign secretary, the home secretary, the finance secretary and the defence secretary.
  • Secretary of the Department of Defence Production and Supplies, the scientific adviser to the defence minister and the secretary (R), Cabinet Secretariat.

v.  The decisions thus taken by the group will lead cabinet secretary to coordinate implementation of the decisions.
National Security Council:
♦  Headquarters: New Delhi.
♦  Parent Organization: Prime Minister’s Office.

Country’s first 58-acre biofuel plant to be set up at Bargarh district of Odisha by BPCL
On October 9, 2018, Governor of Odisha Prof Ganeshi Lal laid the foundation stone on country’s first 58-acre Second Generation (2G) Ethanol Bio-Refinery plant at Baulsingha village in Bargarh district of Odisha.
This was announced in the presence of Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan.

About the Plant:
i. This refinery will be set up by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) .
ii. The estimated cost of the project is Rs. 1000 crore.
iii. It will be producing 3 crore litre of fuel grade ethanol annually.
iv.  Commercial production will start from 2020.
v. It is one among 12 refineries planned in 11 States in the country.
vi.  It will utilise about two lakh tonne of rice straw annually from locations like Bhatli, Ambabhona, Attabira, Sohela, Burla and Lakhanpur.
vii.  And it will be based on zero-liquid discharge plant technology where water will be recycled back into the plant.
Other News:
BPCL is setting up bio-refineries in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
India has surplus biomass availability of about 160 MMT annually which if converted has the potential to yield 3000 crore litre of ethanol.
National Biofuel Policy 2018:
This policy aims 20 per cent ethanol blending to petrol by 2030 from the current 3% -4%.
♦ Chief Minister: Naveen Patnaik.
♦ Governor: Prof. Ganeshi Lal.
♦ Lakes : Chilika Lake, Kanjia Lake, Anshupa Lake, Balimela Reservoir.
♦ Dams: Rengali Dam, Kala dam, Pitamahal Dam, Kansbahal Dam, Tikhali Dam, Deras Dam, Salia Dam, Ghodahada Dam, Kuanria Dam.
♦ Festivals: Kalinga Mahotsav, Chandan Yatra, Durga Puja, Konark Dance Festival, Rath Yatra, Deepabali, Kumar Purnima.
Headquarters: Mumbai.

Haryana govt to set up anti-terrorist force ‘kavach’
On October 9, 2018, Chief Minister of Haryana Manohar Lal Khattar announced the launch of an anti-terrorist force (ATF) called ‘Kavach’.
i. The force will comprise of specially trained recruits from the state police, to deal with security challenges.
ii. For this, Haryana police recruits will be trained by the National Security Guard (NSG).
♦ Capital: Chandigarh.
♦ Chief Minister: Manohar Lal Khattar.
♦ Governor: Satyadev Narayan Arya.

Jharkhand, the partner state at Goa International Film Festival 2018
On October 9, 2018, Jharkhand has announced to be the partner state in Goa International Film Festival 2018 which will be held on 20th to 28th of November, 2018.

i. The decision was taken in meeting between Secretary of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting ,Mr. Amit Khare and Chief Secretary of Jharkhand, Sudhir Tripathy at Ranchi.
ii.This is help Jharkhand to showcase its culture.
iii. Furthermore, it was also decided to organize Jharkhand Film Festival, under Indian Panorama, in two towns of Jharkhand in January 2019.
♦ Capital: Ranchi.
♦ Chief Minister: Raghubar Das.
♦ Governor: Draupadi Murmu.
♦  National Parks: Belta National Park.

2-day ‘Destination Uttarakhand Investors Summit 2018’ hosted by Uttarakhand for the first time
On October 7, 2108, Uttarakhand hosted its first ever 2-day investor summit called- ‘Destination Uttarakhand Investors Summit 2018’.
The summit witnessed industrialists from ITC Limited, Reliance Industries Limited, Azure Power, Pawan Hans, Amul, Vardhman, and Hero MotoCorp.
Investors from Japan, Czech Republic, Argentina, Mauritius and Nepal also participated in the two-day summit.
P.M’s address in the Summit:
On October 7, 2018, the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the ‘Destination Uttarakhand: Investors’ Summit 2018’, in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
i. He mentioned that:

  • India had improved by 42 ranksin the Ease of Doing Business rankings,
  • Infrastructure sector has grown rapidly,
  • Apprised the improving connectivity projects of Uttarakhand such as- Char-Dham all weather road project,and the Rishikesh-Karnprayag Railway line project.

Concluding Session of the Summit:
On October 8, 2018, the concluding session of the Summit was chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
i. He addressed the summit with the following:

  • India’s improvement as among the top economies by 2030,
  • Currently, India stands at 6th  rank and improved its performance by places,
  • Policies to be framed to realize Uttarakhand’s powerful Spiritual Eco Zone,
  • It has the potential of becoming a destination for Yoga, AYUSH, and wellness, for tourists from across the world.

Achievements of the Summit:
i. As part of the Summit, upto 1,500 Indian and foreign investors had participated in the two-day conclave.
ii601 MOUs worth Rs 1,20,150 crore had been signed.
iii. The investments focused on various sectors such as- tourism, health and wellness, pharmaceuticals, food processing, film shooting, biotechnology, and renewable energy.
iv. Some of them are:

  • Investment proposal of Rs 27,000 crore in the solar power sector,
  • Rs 14,000 crore investment in the health sector,
  • Rs 11,000 crore investment in the manufacturing sector,
  • Rs 13,000 crore investment in the tourism sector,
  • Rs 5,500 crore investment in the IT sector, and
  • Rs 5,000 crore investment in the food processing sector.

Ahead of the summit, mini-conclaves were held in Bhimtal, Tehri, Haridwar, and Rudrapur to attract investments in tourism sector, health and wellness, AYUSH, and food processing and automobiles, respectively.
♦ Chief Minister: Trivendra Singh Rawat
♦ Governor: Smt. Baby Rani Maurya.
♦ National Parks: Corbett National Park, Gangotri National Park, Govind National Park, Nanda Devi National Park, Rajaji National Park, Valley of Flowers National Park.


“Clear Sky 2018”: Ukraine launched large-scale air exercises with NATO countries
On October 9, 2018, Ukraine along with United States and other NATO countries launched “Clear Sky 2018” war games, which will run until October 19, in western Ukraine.
To secure air sovereignty and promote peace and security.
Key Points:
i. 700 troops are participating with NATO countries such as the United States, Britain, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania.
ii. US will be represented by F-15C Eagle fighter planes and C-130J Super Hercules.
Capital: Kiev.
Currency: Ukrainian hryvnia.


National Housing Bank increased refinancing limit towards eligible institutions
On October 8, 2018, National Housing Bank announced increase of the Refinance limit to Rs.30,000 crore from the previous Rs. 24,000.
i. With this eligible Housing Finance Companies & Other entities will have increased availability of funds.
ii. The initial sanctioned limit was set to Rs. 24,000 crore for the current year (July 2018-June 2019) to refinance and credit Housing Finance Companies & other Institutions.
iii. Till date, Rs.8835 crore has been sanctioned.
About National Housing Bank (NHB) :

  • Headquarters: New Delhi.
  • Promotes and regulates refinancing of promote Housing Finance Institutions.
  • Members: 97.
  • MD & CEO: Smt. Dakshita Das.

IMF predicted 7.3% growth rate for India in current fiscal year in its WEO report
On October 9, 2018, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted a growth rate of 7.3 per cent for India in the current year of 2018 and 7.4 per cent in 2019.

i. In 2017-18, India had recorded a 6.7 per cent growth rate.
ii. This was published in the IMF’s World Economic Outlook Report.
iii. For 2019, the GDP prediction has been decreased compared to the April 2018 World Economic Outlook (WEO) report.
iv. The reason for the decrease is due to increase in oil prices and the tightening of global financial conditions.
v. The measures for development that has been taken for ease of business are:

  • Goods and Services Tax,
  • The inflation-targeting framework,
  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, and
  • Liberalising foreign investment norms.

vi. India will regain the tag of the fastest growing major economies of the world with a strong medium-term growth estimated at 7.75 per cent due to ongoing structural reform.
vii.  It will cross China by 0.7 percentage point in 2018 and 1.2 percentage point growth lead in 2019.
viii.China was the fastest growing economy in 2017 ahead of India by 0.2% but new projection have been lowered for both India and China by 0.4 per cent and 0.32 per cent respectively.
ix.China is expected to have a moderate growth from 6.9 per cent in 2017 to 6.6 per cent in2018 and 6.2 per cent in 2019.
x.This reduction is due to the negative effect of recent tariff actions reducing external demand growth.
♦ Full Form: International Monetary Fund.
♦ Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
♦ MD: Christine Lagarde.


Nobel Economics 2018 awarded to Americans William Nordhaus and Paul Romer
On 8th October 2018, the Nobel Prize in Economics was jointly awarded to Americans William Nordhaus and Paul Romer for integrating climate change and technological innovation into the macroeconomic analysis.

Key Points:
i. William Nordhaus is a professor at Yale University. In 1990s, he became the first person to develop a quantitative model that described the interplay between economy and climate.
ii. Paul Romer is from New York University’s Stern School of Business. He has shown how economic forces govern the willingness of firms to produce new ideas and innovations. This laid the foundation for endogenous growth theory.
About Nobel Prize in Economics:
♦ Prize money – 9 million Swedish crowns ($1 million)
♦ Established – 1968
♦ This prize was not part of the original group of 5 awards mentioned in Alfred Nobel’s 1895 will.

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu presents “Ramineni Awards 2018”
On 7th October 2018, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu presented the ‘Ramineni Awards 2018’ in Mangalagiri, Andhra Pradesh.
Ramineni Awards 2018:
i. The Ramineni Foundation’s outstanding person award was presented to badminton coach Pullela Gopichand.
ii. He also presented special awards to: Telugu literary legend Garikapati Narasimha Rao, film director Nag Ashwin Reddy  and writer C Venkata Ramana.
iii.The outstanding person award carries a prize money of Rs 2 lakh and special awards carry Rs 1 lakh each.
About Ramineni Awards:
♦ Instituted by – Dr. Ramineni Foundation based in the US (established in 1995)
♦ Honours outstanding persons for their achievements in various fields

ESIC wins ‘ISSA Good Practice Award’ at the “Regional Social Security Forum for Asia and the Pacific”
Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) has won the ‘ISSA Good Practice Award’ for Administrative Solution for Coverage Extension at the “Regional Social Security Forum for Asia and the Pacific” held at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia recently.

Key Points:
i. ESIC was awarded for its measures on extension of coverage-SPREE (Scheme for Promoting Registration of Employers and Employees), etc.
ii. Raj Kumar, IAS, Director General, ESIC received the Certificate of Merit on behalf of ESIC.
iii. Regional Social Security Forum for Asia and the Pacific is a triennial forum. It is the most important social security event in the region.
iv. ISSA (International Social Security Association) invites submissions for the ISSA Good Practices Award for Asia and the Pacific Regions.
v. ESIC hosts ISSA Liaison Office for South Asia at New Delhi. The Liasion Office coordinates with Social Security Institutions in Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Iran.
About ISSA (International Social Security Association):
♦ President – Joachim Breuer
♦ Founded – 1927
♦ Location – Geneva, Switzerland


Scientists develop tiny spheres to trap water contaminants (bisphenol A)
Scientists of Rice University, US, have developed tiny spheres that can catch and destroy bisphenol A (BPA), a synthetic chemical used to make plastics that contaminates water.
i. They have developed micron-sized spheres that look like flower-like collections of titanium dioxide petals. On its surface cyclodextrin is stored.
ii. It has a hydrophobic (water-avoiding) cavity and a hydrophilic (water-attracting) outer surface.
iii. BPA is hydrophobic and is attracted to the cavity. It is trapped and degraded to harmless chemicals through reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced by the spheres.

British scientists create 3D-printed meals
British scientists have created 3D-printed meals for St Helen’s Primary School in Canning Town, London, to develop an interest in science subjects among students.
i. Scientists from the annual Big Bang Fair that promotes science, technology and maths (STEM) subjects worked with St Helen’s Primary School.
ii. They created dishes like geometric fish and chips, cauliflower cogs and mathematical constant ‘Pi’ shaped pie, etc.


Former Chelsea, England defender John Terry retires from football
On 7th October 2018, former Chelsea and England captain John Terry has announced his retirement from football.

Key Points:
i. John Terry is 37 years old. He was a central defender. He has decided to take up a career in management following his retirement.
ii. For most of his career he played with the Chelsea club. He also captained Aston Villa club. He was capped 78 times by England.
iii. When he was with Chelsea he won 5 Premier League titles, 5 FA Cups, and the Champions League and Europa League.
iv.  He made his debut in October 1998 when he was 17 years old. He has made more than 700 appearances for Chelsea.


World Mental Health Day – 10 October
On 10th October 2018, World Mental Health Day was observed all over the world.
Key Points:
i. When: In 1992, World Federation for Mental Health declared October 10 as the World Mental Health Day.
ii. Why: This day creates awareness on mental health issues and support needed for mental health.
iii. Theme: for World Mental Health Day 2018 is “Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World”.
About World Federation for Mental Health:
♦ President – Alberto Trimboli
♦ Location – Occoquan, Virginia, United States

Wild Life Week celebrations conclude at Delhi National Zoological Park
On 8th October 2018, the national program of Wild Life Week concluded at the National Zoological Park in New Delhi.
Key Points:
i. Wildlife Week is observed every year from October 2 to 8.Wildlife Week is celebrated since 1952.
ii. Minister of State of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Mahesh Sharma addressed the event.
iii. He also inaugurated a bio-methanation plant under an MoU between Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The capacity of plant will be 3 Metric Tonnes per day.
iv. He also planted a sapling in the premises of National Zoological Park. He performed a cleanliness drive under Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan along with children.
About Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC):
♦ Director – Mr. Kamlesh Nilkanth Vyas
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai

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