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Current Affairs October 9 2018

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Task Force launched to address skill gaps in India: MoSD&E and World Economic Forum
On October 8, 2018, a task force was constituted by the Union ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship in collaboration with World Economic Forum for addressing the skill gap in the country.

i. This task force is called: Closing the Skills Gap Task Force in India and will be co-chaired by the Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Minister Dharmendra Pradhan along with Infosys MD and CEO Salil Parekh.
ii. This is the second country-led public-private collaboration of the World Economic Forum’s Closing the Skills Gap Project after South Africa. 
iii. The functions of the task force would be to:

  • Bring together various leaders from different sectors like business, government, education and
  • Working on promoting education and training systems in the country.

Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship:
♦  Union Ministry: Shri Dharmendra Pradhan.
♦  Minister of State: Shri Anantkumar Hegde
♦  Secretary: Dr. K.P. Krishnan.

Bill to tackle Cybercrime, Sexual Offences & unlawful acts in Telangana got assent from President
On October 7, 2018, President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to a bill seeking punishment for sexual offenders, cyber criminals and traditional unlawful acts like bootlegging and dacoity in Telangana state.
i. The name of the act is: the Telangana Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Dacoits, Drug-Offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders and Land-Grabbers (Amendment) Bill, 2017.
ii. This will replace the 1986 Act that had jurisdiction for the undivided Andhra Pradesh but not for Telangana.
iii.The amended Act contains punishments for the following crimes:
Bootlegging, dacoity, drug trafficking, immoral trafficking, land-grabbing, sexual offenders, explosive substances offenders, arms smugglers, cyber fraudsters and white-collar or financial offenders.
Telangana :
♦ Capital: Hyderabad.
♦ Chief Minister: K. Chandrasekhar Rao.
♦  Governor: E.S.L. Narasimhan.
♦  National Park: Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park, Kasu Brahmananda National Park, Mrugavani National Park, Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary.

‘JIMEX 18’: 3rd edition of India-Japan bilateral maritime exercise began at Visakhapatnam
On October 7, 2018, the 3rd edition of Japan-India Maritime Exercise (JIMEX) commenced at Visakhapatnam. It will be a week long exercise concluding on October 15, 2018.

i. In the exercise:
Indian side is represented by : INS Satpura, INS Kadmatt, INS Shakti, one submarine, P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft, under the command of Rear Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Fleet.
Japanese Side is represented by: Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) Ships Kaga, an Izumo Class Helicopter Destroyer and Inazuma , under the command of Rear Admiral Tatsuya Fukada, Commander, Escort Flotilla-4 (CCF-4).
ii. JIMEX-18 is aimed to enhance interoperability, improve understanding and imbibe the best practices of each other.
iii. It would consist of:

  • A Harbour Phase: professional and social interactions between ship’s crews, sports fixtures and
  • A Sea Phase: Anti-Submarine Warfare Exercises, VBSS (Visit, Board, Search and Seizure) Drills, Gun Firings, Cross Deck Helo Operations and coordinated operations in Anti-Submarine/ Anti-Air threat scenarios.

iv. The last edition of JIMEX was conducted in Dec 2013 off Chennai.
JMSDF Ships also participated in the recently concluded MALABAR 18 off Guam (along with Indian and US Navy units) in the Pacific Ocean in Jun and biennial multilateral exercise  RIMPAC-18 off Hawaii, USA.
♦ Capital: Tokyo.
♦ Currency: Japanese yen.
♦ Prime Minister: Shinzo Abe.

Chief Minister’s Sashakt Kisan Yojana and Chief Minister’s Krishi Samuh Yojana launched in Itanagar by Arunachal Pradesh govt
On October 8, 2018, Arunachal Pradesh Government launched 2 schemes called- the Chief Minister’s Sashakt Kisan Yojana and Chief Minister’s Krishi Samuh Yojana in Itanagar.

To double the income of the farmers in the country by 2022
Key Points:
i. The Chief Minister’s Sashakt Kisan Yojana will subsume three state flagship programmes, namely:

  • CM’s Employment Generation Scheme,
  • CM’s Agri-Mechanization Programme and
  • CM’s Flagship Programme on Tea and Rubber.

ii. The Chief Minister’s Krishi Samuh Yojana aims at:
Providing timely supports and marketing interventions of the government for better price realization and doubling farmers’ income.
Arunachal Pradesh:
♦ Chief Minister: Pema Khandu.
♦ Governor: B.D. Mishra.
♦ Capital: Itanagar.
♦ National Parks: Namdapha National Park, Mouling National Park.

Sumitra Mahajan inaugurated Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference of India Region, Zone III in Guwahati
On October 8, 2018, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan inaugurated the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference of India Region, Zone III in Guwahati.
i. Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference plays an important role in promoting democracy.
ii. It provides a platform to the legislators to interact with domain experts and their peers.


“Quintero One”: World’s First Full-Scale Hyperloop Passenger Capsule Unveiled
On October 3, 2018, US-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies or HyperloopTT launched the first full-scale transportation capsule which will be operational in 2019.

About the Capsule:
i. The name of the capsule is: “Quintero One”.
ii. It is a 32-metre 5 tonne capsule that has 72 sensors, 75,000 rivets and 7,200 square metres of fibre.
iii. It was constructed completely out of a specially made dual-layer smart composite material called  “Vibranium” made by HyperloopTT.
iv. It can move at speeds of more than 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) per hour and has a capacity to hold 30 to 40 passengers at a time.
India’s Association:
i. In May 2018, Andhra Pradesh signed Mou with HyperloopTT o set up the Hyperloop transportation system connecting Anantapur, Amaravati, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam.
ii. It will be a part of 700-800-km-long integrated public transit system.
iii. The Maharashtra government too had signed a pact with the Richard Branson-led Virgin Group to build the Mumbai-Pune Hyperloop.
Other News:
HyperloopTT would build the first Hyperloop system in China in the Guizhou province.
♦  Co-founder & CEO: Dirk Ahlborn.
♦  Chairman & Founder: Bibop Gresta.
♦  Headquarters: California, USA.

Kamandag: Japan military joins historic Philippine war games for the first time since WWII
On October 6, 2018, Japan joined the joint exercise codenamed- ‘Kamandag’(venom) with US and Filipino troops in the Philippines for the first time since World War II.
i. This marked the first time Japanese armoured military vehicles were used on foreign soil since 1945.
ii. This exercise consists of about 150 US, Filipino and Japanese troops participating in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief training.


RBI proposed Voluntary Retention Route to attract long-term investment from FPIs
On October 8, 2018, RBI in consultation with the government and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), proposed a flexible route for FPIs to invest in debt markets.
i. The route is called: voluntary retention route (VRR).
ii. Under this, a foreign portfolio investor will be required to invest a minimum of 67% of the committed portfolio size (CPS) within the one-month period.
iii. Under VRR-Govt, foreign portfolio investors will be eligible to invest in any government security, including treasury bills.
iv. Under VRR-Corp, FPIs may invest in corporate debt instruments, including commercial papers.
v. Also the FPIs under VVR would be eligible for participating in repo for liquidity only if their amount doesn’t exceed 10% of their investment under VRR.

UNCTAD expects India’s GDP to rise 7% in 2018
On September 26, 2018, UNCTAD in its ‘Trade and Development 2017’ report predicted India’s GDP to grow to 7% in 2018.
i.  Previously, in 2017 it was predicted to be 6.2%.
ii. India is currently among the world’s fastest growing economies with GDP growth of 7.7 per cent year on-year in the first quarter of 2018.
iii. Main reason for the growth is growing demand for exports which has led to a moderate recovery in industrial production,
iv. Effects of demonetization are still evident in private consumption.
v. The Indian rupee is under pressure on foreign exchange markets.
vi. A leading factor of the depreciation being the rise in the current account deficit on the balance of payments of India intensified by the sharp rise in the international price of oil.
vii. China is expected to decelerate from 6.9 in 2017 to 6.7 per cent in 2018.
♦  Full Form: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
♦  Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
♦  Secretary- General: Mukhisa Kituyi.

World Bank: East Asia-Pacific to grow 6.3% in 2018
On October 4, 2018, the World Bank released its East Asia and Pacific economy update October 2018 edition.
i. According to the report, developing countries of the East Asia and Pacific region will grow at 6.3 per cent in 2018 mainly due to China’s moderate growth.
ii. In 2017, the growth of the region was at 6.6 percent.
iii. Major challenges faced are:

  • Higher US interest rates owing to trade wars,
  • A stronger US dollar and
  • Financial market volatility in many emerging economies.

iv. China’s growth will slow moderately to 6.5 per cent.
v. Remaining East Asia and Pacific region will maintain a stable growth of 5.3 per cent between 2018-2020 mainly due to a domestic demand
vi. Inflation is expected to rise during 2018-20.
vii. A four-pronged approach has been recommended by the authority for preparedness and resilience. They are:

  • Reduction of short-term vulnerabilities and build policy buffers to have exchange rate flexilibity. This will help in absorbing capital shocks.
  • Working on its commitment to an open, rules-based international trade and investment framework, including through deeper regional economic integration.
  • Deepening structural reforms, improving business climate.
  • Strengthening economic security and promoting economic mobility by implementing developmental policies like early childhood development; addressing gaps in educational access and quality.

World Bank:
♦  Headquarters: Washington D.C., USA.
♦  Membership: 189 countries.
♦  President: Jim Yong Kim.

India’s growth Projection is 7.3 per cent in the 2018-19 fiscal and 7.5 per cent in 2019 & 2020: WB
On October 8, 2018, World Bank in its South Asia Economic Focus ‘Budget Crunch’ report released the projection of GDPs of various countries.
i. It stated that India’s GDP growth is expected to touch 7.3% in 2018-19.
ii. Also, India’s GDP projection for 2019 & 2020 has been projected to 7.5%.
iii. Growth reached 6.7 per cent in fiscal year 2017/18.
iv.  The main reasons for the growth are:

  • GST,
  • Recapitalisation of Banks,
  • Stronger private spending and
  • Export growth.

v. On the production side, growth was led by Agriculture and manufacturing sector (8.8% in second half vs 2.7% in first half) and services growth held steady at 7.7 per cent.
vi. The nominal exchange rate depreciated by about 12 per cent from January to September 2018 due to major outflows from April 2018 onwards.
vii. A widening trade deficit is likely to lead to a current account deficit of around 2.6 per cent of the GDP in fiscal year 2018/19.
Other News:
At 4.4 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), South Asia’s fiscal deficit is projected to be the second largest in the world this year after the Middle East and North Africa region.


Flipkart teams up with Bajaj Allianz to offer insurance for smartphones
On October 8, 2018, Flipkart enters into pact with Bajaj Allianz to provide insurance to customers buying smartphones from its platform.

i. Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI) gave Flipkart the license to go on a pact with Bajaj Allianz General Insurance for the scheme.
ii. According to the scheme, Customers who buy the plan will be offered either a cash payout, or a free pickup, service and drop facility if their devices get damaged or stolen.
iii. The minimum insurance price for the scheme is Rs. 99 for a year which will be operational the day the device is delivered to a customer.
iv. The insurance offering will be available from October 10, 2018.
v. Furthermore, Flipkart is setting the stage to sell life and general insurance to its customers.
♦  Headquarters: Bengaluru


Nepal bags tourism awards at 14th Annual Travel Awards ceremony held in New Delhi
On October 8, 2018, at the 14th Hospitality India and Explore the World Annual International Travel Awards 2018 held in New Delhi, Nepal won the tourism award.
i. The award ceremony was organised to honour the best-in-class in the field of Tourism and Hospitality Industry Sector in India and Nepal.
ii.  The Chandragiri Hills Limited of Nepal got the best tourism destination of Nepal award in the hospitality and tourism sector.
iii.   The Minister of State for Tourism, India, Mr. K.J. Alphons was guest of honour in the occasion.
♦  Capital: Kathmandu.
♦  Currency: Nepalese rupee.

Ruhaan Rajput bags Mid-day Young Achiever Icons Award 2018
Actor Ruhaan Rajput received the Mid-day Young Achiever Icons Award for 2018 recently in Mumbai.

Key Points:
i. Ruhaan Rajput was awarded in the film and television category for his work in the industry in a short period of time.
ii .He was presented the award by Ms. Amruta Fadnavis, wife of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
iii. Ruhaan Rajput is the director of “Einfolge”, a company that deals with patents, trademarks, etc. He is also the owner of “Gloss Skin and Hair Clinic”.
iv. The Mid-day awards is hosted every year to honour youngsters for their remarkable work in various fields.


Yes Bank names TS Vijayan & OP Bhatt as external members for MD selection panel
On October 8, 2018, YES Bank appointed former IRDA chief and LIC chairman TS Vijayan and former SBI chief OP Bhatt as external member to a 5 member committee panel.
i. YES Bank constituted a 5 member committee to select the upcoming MD after the current MD Mr. Rana Kapoor leaves office after January 31st2019.
ii.   The Other internal members of the committee are:

  • Brahm Dutt, Independent Director, who chairs the Committee
  • Mukesh Sabharwal an Independent Director and
  • Subhash Chander Kalia, Non-Executive Non-Independent Director..

iii. They consist of the bank’s board’s Nomination and Remuneration Committee.
iv. The MD selection panel will hold its first meeting on October 11.
YES Bank:
♦  Current MD&CEO: Rana Kapoor.
♦  Headquarters: Mumbai.
♦  Tagline: Experience our Expertise.

Interpol President Meng Hongwei resigns after detention in China
On 7th October 2018, Meng Hongwei resigned as the President of International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol).

Resignation of Meng Hongwei:
i. Meng Hongwei is from China. He has resigned after he was detained in China and having been kept under probe for alleged involvement in criminal activities.
ii.  He became the Interpol President in 2016. He is the first Chinese official to become the Interpol President.
iii. Senior Vice-President of Interpol’s Executive Committee, Kim Jong Yang of South Korea, will be the acting president.
iv. A new president will be elected at the General Assembly Session, that will be held in Dubai from November 18 to 21, 2018.
About International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol):
♦  Type – world’s largest international police organization
♦  Member countries – 192
♦  General Secretariat – Lyon, France


India defeats Sri Lanka by 144 runs to lift U-19 Asia Cup title
On 7th October 2018, India won the Under-19 Asia Cup, at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Key Points:
i. India defeated Sri Lanka by 144 runs in the final and won the U-19 Asia Cup for the 6th time.
ii. Indian team batted first and scored 304/3 in the 50 overs. India’s Harsh Tyagi was declared the Man of the Match.
iii. India’s Yashasvi Jaiswal was the highest run-getter in the tournament with 318 runs and was declared Man of the Series.

India’s Keerthana Pandian wins girls’ title in IBSF World U-16 Snooker Championships
India’s Keerthana Pandian has won the girls’ title in the IBSF (International Billiards & Snooker Federation) World Under-16 Snooker Championships, in St Petersburg, Russia.

Key Points:
i. Keerthana Pandian defeated Belarussian Albina Leschuk 3-1 in the final and won the girls’ title in the IBSF World Under-16 Snooker Championships. It is her first international title.
ii.  In the boys category, Belgium’s Ben Martens won the IBSF World Under-16 Snooker Championships title.
About International Billiards & Snooker Federation (IBSF):
♦  President – Mubarak Al-Khayarin
♦  Headquarters – Doha, Qatar

Indian pair win U-15 girls doubles title in Badminton Asia Junior U-17 & U-15 championships
On 7th October 2018, Indian pair of Meghana Reddy and Tasnim Mir won the Under-15 girls doubles title in the Badminton Asia Junior Under-17 and Under-15 championships, at Mandalay, Myanmar.
i. India won a total of 5 medals in the championships: 1 gold and 4 bronze medals.
ii. Bronze medal winners:

  • Meiraba Luwang – Under-17 boys singles
  • Aditi Bhatt – Under-17 girls singles
  • S Shankar Muthuswamy – Under-15 boys singles
  • Pranav Rao Gandham and P Sai Vishnu – U-15 men doubles

Deborah Herold wins gold medal in elite women’s 40 km competition at Saksham Pedal Delhi
On 7th October 2018, Deborah Herold won gold medal in the elite women’s 40 kilometre competition at Saksham Pedal Delhi, India’s Premier Cyclothon.
i. Shreedhar Savanur won gold medal in men’s 50 kilometres. Silver and bronze medals were won by Manjeet Singh and Krishna Nakaodi.
ii. In the women’s elite race, Sonali Chanu won silver, and Swasti Singh won the bronze medal.


Montserrat Caballé, world-famous soprano, passed away
On 6th October 2018, Spanish Opera singer Montserrat Caballé died following a long term illness, in Barcelona, Spain.

i. Montserrat Caballé was 85 years old. She was born in Barcelona. She started training with Barcelona’s Conservatori Liceu at the age of 9.
ii.  She had performed in various operas. In 1965 she made her debut in the United States at Carnegie Hall.

Geeta Upalekar, the girl in iconic ‘Glow of Hope’ painting dies at 102
On 2nd October 2018, Geeta Upalekar, portrayed in the painting called ‘Glow of Hope’, passed away at her home in Kolhapur, Maharashtra.

i.  The painting ‘Glow of Hope’ was created by Geeta Upalekar’s father SL Haldankar in 1945-46. It is displayed at Jaychama Rajendra Art Gallery, Jaganmohan Palace, Mysuru.
ii.  Geeta Upalekar was 102 years old. She was popularly known as the ‘Woman with the Lamp’.

Prominent Gandhian Natwar Thakkar passes away
On 7th October 2018, Gandhian Natwar Thakkar died following a short term illness, in Guwahati, Assam.

i. Natwar Thakkar was 86 years old. He was born in 1932 in the then Bombay Presidency. He was a recipient of Padmashree award.
ii. Since 1955 he had worked among the tribals of Nagaland to spread the message of Mahatma Gandhi. He was popularly known as ‘Nagaland’s Gandhi’.
iii. In 1955, he had set up a “Nagaland Gandhi Ashram” in Chuchuyimlang village in Nagaland.

Gujarat human rights lawyer Girish Patel passes away
On 6th October 2018, Gujarat human rights lawyer Girish Patel passed away after suffering age related ailments in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
i. Girish Patel was 86 years old. He fought for the rights of poor people. In 1972, he became a member of Gujarat State Law Commission for 3 years.
ii. In 1974, he participated in Gujarat’s Navnirman Andolan against corruption and economic crisis. He fought cases for people displaced by various government projects like Sardar Sarovar project, Sabarmati Riverfront, etc.

Senior journalist Pradip Chowdhury passes away
On 4th October 2018, journalist and former News Editor of Press Trust of India (PTI) Pradip Chowdhury died following cardiac arrest.
Death of Pradip Chowdhury:
i. Pradip Chowdhury was 64 years old. He was popularly known as PC in journalistic circles.
ii. He joined PTI in 1979. In 2014, he retired as News Editor of PTI in Kolkata. He had served as PTI’s Islamabad correspondent for a short period.
iii. He had also served as PTI’s Gangtok bureau manager. He was a guitarist and also wrote limericks.
About Press Trust of India (PTI):
♦  CEO – Venky Venkatesh
♦  Headquarters – New Delhi


World Post Day – October 9
On 9th October 2018, World Post Day was celebrated all over the world.

Key Points:
i. When: In 1969, October 9 was declared as World Post Day by Universal Postal Union Congress held in Tokyo, Japan. This day commemorates the anniversary of the establishment of the Universal Postal Union in 1874 in Bern, Switzerland.
ii. Why: This day creates awareness about the role of postal sector in the everyday activities of people its contribution to the social and economic development.
iii. On this day, several countries introduce or promote new postal products and services.

Indian Air Force (IAF) celebrates 86th anniversary – October 8
On 8th October 2018, the Indian Air Force (IAF) celebrated its 86th anniversary commemorating its official foundation day.

Key Points:
i.  When: Indian Air Force Day is celebrated to mark the official establishment of Indian Air Force in 1932.
ii. A grand parade-cum-investiture ceremony was held at Air Force station Hindan, Ghaziabad. The parade was reviewed by Air Chief Marshal BS DhanoaChief of the Air Staff.
iii. Air display and acrobatics by aircrafts like Jaguar, Bison, MiG-29, Mirage-2000 and SU-30 MKI fighter jets and Rudra helicopters, were performed.
iv. As part of celebrations, IAF organised an 8 km cross-country run with 500 air warriors and a cycle rally with 100 children in Jammu, on 7th October 2018.

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