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Current Affairs September 27 2018

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First Smart City Expo India-2018 inaugurated in Jaipur by Vice President
On September 26, 2018, Vice president M. Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated three days long Smart City Expo India-2018 in Jaipur.

First Smart City Expo India-2018 inaugurated in Jaipur by Vice Presidenti. Near about 6000 delegates from MNC’s of different countries  , researchers , CEO’s of different Smart cities , Mayors and corporates participated in the expo.
ii. They had discussions related to:
Benefits of new technology, town planning, capacity management, challenges before socio-economic development and development of networking in the Smart City sector.
iii. At present 433 smart city projects worth Rs 7,958 crore have been completed in the country.
iv. Additionally, over 800 projects worth Rs 32,500 crore are being implemented.
v. 48 out of the 100 smart city projects in India are based on the public private partnership.

4-day “Lok Manthan 2018” : national literary and intellectual conference inaugurated by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu in Ranchi
On September 27, 2018, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated a national literary and intellectual conference- “Lok Manthan 2018” at Khel Gaon in Ranchi.
i. The four-day event was organised by Department of Culture of Jharkhand Government in association with a NGO.
ii. The event witnessed discussions on present social and cultural issues facing the country.

‘USAID-India End TB Alliance’: alliance formed between India, United States to combat tuberculosis
On September 27, 2018, India and United States have formed an alliance to jointly fight tuberculosis.
To achieve a TB-free India by 2025.
Key Points:
i. An alliance comprising leading experts in public and private sectors called ‘USAID-India End TB Alliance’ was formed in New York.
ii. Alliance members include industry and civil society leaders, academics, scientists, innovators, investors, and members of the diaspora.
iii. The team would offer innovative approaches to combat tuberculosis in India.
iv.USAID Administrator Mark Green announced that USAID is making an initial USD 30 million commitment,subject to the approval of the US Congress.
India accounts for 27 per cent of the world’s TB cases, with 421,000 deaths per year. This accounts to one death per minute in India.
♦ Capital: Washington D.C.
♦ Currency: US Dollar.
♦ President: Donald Trump

MOU to enhance bilateral cooperation in the field of defence and security: India and Morocco
On September 25, 2018, Moroccan defence minister Mr Abdeltif Loudyi on his two day first official visit to India, met Indian Defence minister Smt Nirmala Sitaraman in New Delhi.
i. They inked pact on the following:

  • Bilateral cooperation in the field of defence and security,
  • The fields include: Hydrography, Peacekeeping, Telemedicine, Information Technology and Communications as well as Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency,
  • Collaboration in Ship Building and manufacturing support,
  • Participation of Defence minister of Morocco in the  Aero India 2019to be held in Bengaluru in February 2019,
  • MOU for cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Outer Space’ between ISROand the Moroccan Centre of Remote Sensing ,
  • MOU for Cooperation in the area of Cyber Security’ between the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT –IN)Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the Moroccan Computer Response Team (ma-CERT).

ii. The Moroccan delegate also visited Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) facilities at Bengaluru .
♦ Capital: Rabat.
♦ Currency: Moroccan dirham.

Indo-Bangla border conference held in Aizawl, Mizoram
On 27th September 2018, a joint border conference was held between India and Bangladesh at Aizawl, Mizoram.
i. Delegates from India and Bangladesh discussed the border issues between both the countries including demarcation of border between the two countries along Mizoram.
ii. Indian delegation was headed by Survey of India Director Sanjay Kumar. Surveyor General of Bangladesh, Brigadier General Zakir Ahmed also participated

India, Oman agree to boost cooperation in maritime security
On 26th September 2018, Defence Minister of India, Nirmala Sitharaman and Minsiter of Defence Affairs, Sultanate of Oman, Sayyid Badr Saud Harib Al Busaidi agreed to improve cooperation in maritime security and defence industry engagement.
Key Points:
i. Sayyid Badr Saud Harib Al Busaidi is on an official visit to India. He held discussions on a wide range of topics with Nirmala Sitharaman.
ii. They reviewed bilateral defence cooperation and discussed measures to improve bilateral exchanges and defence relationship between both the countries.
iii. India and Oman have decided to cooperate in coastal defence and conduct regular joint exercises by navy, air and army officials.
iv. Oman has opened access to Port of Duqm in Oman for military use and logistical support. It will provide maintenance to Indian Naval vessels.
v. Also, Oman is the first GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) to formalize Defence ties with India from joint military exercise and cooperation in anti-piracy and security matters.
About GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council):
♦ Secretary General – Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani
♦ Headquarters – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Agmark online system launched by Agriculture minister to conduct quality control functions
On September 26, 2018, Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Shri Radha Mohan Singh launched online software for Agmark certification process.

Agmark online system launched by Agriculture minister to conduct quality control functionsi.The processes of certification are being implemented by the Directorate of Marketing & Inspection (DMI).
ii. The process has been easy and accessible due to modern technologies implemented by the National Informatics Center .
iii. The online certification processes include:

  • Certificate of authorisation (domestic),
  • Permission of printing press,
  • Permission of laboratories (domestic) and
  • Services related to laboratory information management system and
  • Provisions for online receipt of fees from the applicants.

Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare:
♦ Union Minister: Shri Radha Mohan Singh.
♦ Minister of State:  Shri. Purushottam R., Smt. Krishna Raj, Shri. Gajendra S.S.

Hyderabad Metro became India’s 2nd largest metro rail network
On September 27, 2018, the Hyderabad Metro Rail’s (HMR)  46-km Corridor One became India’s second-largest metro network after Delhi.
i. It is also the world’s largest metro project under the public-private-partnership (PPP) worth over Rs 20,000 crore.
ii. It is originally a 72 km of elevated metro line which is being built by L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad in the three dense traffic corridors of the city, of which 46 km is now operational.

4 Northern states and 2 UTs to fix uniform tax rates on petroleum products
On September 27, 2018, 4 Northern states and 2 UTs agree to fix uniform tax rates on petroleum products.
Fixing uniform rate of taxes on petrol and diesel.
Key Points:
i. These state are : Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh and UTs of Delhi and Chandigarh.
ii. This was decided in a meeting held by the finance ministers of 4 states and officials of UTs in Chandigarh.
iii. Futher, a sub-committee would be instituted which would recommend with regard to uniformity in tax rates in next fifteen days.
iv. As per the decision taken by the officials,
Uniformity in VAT rates on petrol and diesel will be brought to provide relief to consumers,
Other News:
i. They have also decided on uniformity in taxes on liquor and registration of vehicles and transport permit.
ii. A committee of officials has also been set up for excise and transport to report about the tax uniformity in the respective states.
Punjab has one of the highest rates of VAT on petrol in the country and it is second to Maharashtra.

Assam cabinet to launch the Universal Pension scheme on October 2, 2018
On September 27, 2018, the Assam cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, announced that on the 150th birth anniversary of the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, will launch the Universal Pension scheme in the state.
i. Under the scheme, the pension will be given to all BPL and APL ration card holders over 60 years of age.
Other News:
i. An amount of 50 lakh rupees has been sanctioned to filmmaker Rima Das whose movie Village Rockstar has been nominated for Oscars.
ii. Small tea growers have been exempted from the levy of cess amounting to 10 paise per kilogram under an amendment in the Assam Special Land Act, 1990.
iii. It also approved the Inland Water Transport Authority Bill for regulating and inspecting all vessels for their safety measures.
iv. The State Cabinet approved the amendment in the Assam GST Act by which GST registration has been relaxed from 10 lakh rupees annual turnover to 20 lakh rupees annual turnover.
v. Furthermore, a recommendation of Sports University Bill to set up a sports university at Chabua named after Aniruddha Dev was placed before the cabinet.
♦ Capital: Dispur.
♦ Chief Minister:  Sarbananda Sonowal.
♦ Governor: Jagdish Mukhi.
♦ National Parks: Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park (UNESCO Natural World Herigate Site), Orang National Park, Dibru-Saikhowa National Park.
♦ Airports: Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Dibrugarh Airport, Jorhat Airport, Tezpur Airport, Silchar Airport.

Supreme Court struck down Section 497 of IPC due to violation of rights
On September 27, 2018, a five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, of the Supreme Court struck down the 150-year-old penal law on adultery.
i. It invalidated the Section 497 of IPC as a violation of Articles 14 and 15 and under Article 21 of the constitution of India.
ii. It is declared that adultery can be the ground for civil issues including dissolution of marriage but it cannot be a criminal offence.
iii.The 5 judges include: Chief Justice India Dipak Misra, Justices Rohinton NarimanAM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.


India ranks 96th; HK, Singapore retain top spot: Economic Freedom Index
On September 27, 2018, according to a study named Economic Freedom in the World by Centre for Civil Society (CCS) along with Canada’s Fraser Institute, India stands at 96th rank out of 162 countries in economic freedom.

India-ranks-96thThe 2018 report is based on data from 2016.
i. The index measures areas of economic freedom. They are: Size of Government, Legal System and Property Rights, Sound Money, Freedom to Trade Internationally and Regulation.
ii. India ranked 98th in the previous year.
iii. India improved its score on parameters such as legal system and property rights, access to sound money, freedom to trade internationally and regulation of credit, labour and business.
iv. The score however reduced in the size of government parameter.
v. Among the BRICS nations, Russia and South Africa are ahead of India at 87th and 94th place and China and Brazil are behind it at 108th and 144th positions.
vi. Hong Kong and Singapore again topped the index ranking first and second respectively.
vii. Remaining countries in the top 10 were: New Zealand, Switzerland, Ireland, the US, Georgia, Mauritius, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada (tied for 10th) respectively.
viii. The 10 lowest-rated countries are: Sudan, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Syria, Algeria, Argentina, Libya, and lastly Venezuela.
ix. People living in countries with high levels of economic freedom enjoy greater prosperity, more political and civil liberties, and live longer.
x. Life expectancy is 79.5 years in the top quartile nations compared to 64.4 years in the bottom quartile nations.
Centre for Civil Society:
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi.
♦ Founded: 1997.
♦ Founder and President: Parth J shah.
♦ Chairman: Luis Miranda.


RBI eased cash reserve rules to allow banks to get increased liquidity from SLR
On September 27, 2018, Reserve Bank of India enhanced the “Facility to Avail Liquidity for Liquidity Coverage Ratio (FALLCR)” from the existing 11 per cent to 13 per cent of their deposits.
To overcome any possible liquidity constraints by the banks.
Key Points:
i. This will be effective from October 1.
ii. This will enable the banks to forge out up to 15 per cent of holdings under the statutory liquidity reserves (SLR) during liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) requirements as compared to 13 per cent now.
iii. As of September 26, banks had availed of Rs.1.88 trillion through term repos from the Reserve Bank.
♦ Availing of liquidity against the securities under FALLCR is usually permitted to banks only under the conditions of stress.
♦ Current SLR: 19.5%.

ADB approved $500 mn for Tamil Nadu water supply, sewerage, drainage infrastructure project
On September 25, 2018, Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved financing of up to $500 million for a multitranche financing facility (MFF) infrastructure project in at least 10 cities of Tamil Nadu.

ADB approved $500 mn for Tamil Nadu water supply, sewerage, drainage infrastructure projectObjective:
To develop climate-resilient water supply, sewerage, and drainage infrastructure.
Key Points:
i. ADB’s financing will be provided in tranches between September 2018 and March 2022.
ii. The first tranche of the program amounting to $169 million will target the cities of Chennai, Coimbatore, Rajapalayam, Tiruchirappalli, Tirunelveli, and Vellore.
iii.The Second one would be a $2 million grant from the Asian Clean Energy Fund, established by the Government of Japan, to fund the solar energy pilot project.
iv. ADB technical assistance grant of $1 million to support capacity building. This is a part of a project worth $766.4 million by The Government of India, Government of Tamil Nadu, Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board.
v. The MFF availability period is up to 30 June 2026.
vi. This assistance is a part of its support to the state’s Vision Tamil Nadu 2023 to provide universal access to water and sanitation and develop world-class cities in high-performing industrial corridors.
vii. The projects would include:

  • Development of climate-resilient sewerage collection and treatment and drainage systems in 10 cities,
  • Installation of country’s first solar-powered sewage treatment plant on a pilot basis,
  • Introduction of smart water management systems.

viii. Around 4 million people will benefit from piped water and sewerage connections and improved drainage.
National Parks of Tamil Nadu :
♦ Mudumalai National Park
♦ Anamalai National Park,
♦ Guindy National Park.
♦ Headquarters: Manila, Philippines.
♦ Established in 1966.
♦ Members- 67 , (48 from Asian region).


Govt increased customs duties on 19 items to bridge gap of CAD
On September 27, 2018, the government increased customs duty on import of 19 on certain ‘non-essential’ items.
i. This increase in import duty is aimed at bridging current account deficit (CAD) in order to save Indian rupee from the incessant fall.
ii. The changes came into effect from September 27.
iii. The total value of imports of these items in the year 2017-18 was about Rs 86,000 crore.
iv. The increased rate would enable the government to collect Rs 4,000 crore by the end of this financial year.
Finance Ministry:
♦ Union Minister: Shri Arun Jaitley.
♦ Minister of State: Shri Shiv Pratap Shukla, Shri Pon Radhakrishnan.
♦ Secretart of Finance:Shri Rajiv Kumar(Finance).

Indian Navy signs contract with Hindustan Shipyard Ltd for construction of 2 Diving Support Vessels (DSV)
On 20th September 2018, Indian Navy signed a contract with M/s Hindustan Shipyard Limited, Vishakhapatnam, for construction of 2 Diving Support Vessels (DSV) to expand Indian Navy’s submarine support operations.

Indian Navy signs contract with Hindustan Shipyard Ltd for construction of 2 Diving Support Vessels (DSV)Key Points:
i. The first vessel will be built in 36 months. It will be followed by the second vessel, 6 months later.
ii. The vessels will be based at Vishakhapatnam and Mumbai respectively. It will have 118 m length and 7,650 T displacement.
iii. The DSV also has a Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel (DSRV) that will improve its Submarine Rescue Capabilities.
iv. M/s James Fisher Defence, United Kingdom, delivered the first non-tethered DSRV with capability of submarine rescue upto depths of 650 m, in April 2018, in Mumbai.
v. The second DSRV for Vishakhapatnam is expected to be delivered in December 2018.
About Indian Navy:
♦ Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) – Admiral Sunil Lanba
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi


PM Modi among 6 entities to get UN’s ‘Champions of the Earth’ award: UN
On September 26, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with 5 other individuals and organisations are recipients of UN’s highest environmental honour: Champions of the Earth Award.

PM Modi among 6 entities to get UN's 'Champions of the Earth' award: UNi. He along with French President Emmanuel Macron have been conferred this award in the Policy Leadership category
ii. They have been awarded for their joint effort to:

  • Promote environmental policies through the International Solar Allianceand
  • Eliminate all single-use plastic in India by 2022.

iii. Cochin International Airport has also been awarded this year under the ‘Entrepreneurial Vision’ category for its leadership in the use of sustainable energy.
iv. Among other awardees are:

  • Environmental and indigenous rights defender Joan Carlingand the ‘Beyond Meat and Impossible Food’ in the Science and Innovation category for their popular, plant-based alternative to beef.
  • China’s Zhejiang’s Green Rural Revival Programmegot the awarded for transformation of polluted rivers and streams.

v. These awards would be presented during the Champions of the Earth Gala in New York City, on the sidelines of the ongoing 73rd UN General Assembly in New York.
♦ Headquarters: New York.
♦ Member: 193
♦ Secretary-General: Antonio Guterres.

Mukesh Ambani retains top spot; 214 new additions: Barclays Hurun India rich list 2018
On September 26, 2018, Barclays Hurun India rich list 2018 was released and according to it new 214 individuals were added, whose net worth is Rs 1,000 crore or more.

Mukesh Ambani retains top spot; 214 new additions: Barclays Hurun India rich list 2018i. Since its inception in 2012, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani remains to be at the top of the list.
ii. He is now the richest Indian with net worth of Rs 371,000 crore with his wealth increasing by Rs 300 crore a day over the past year.
iii. With 831 members, the list has increased by a third since 2017 and almost eight times since 2012.
iv. The cumulative wealth of the 831 individuals featured in the list stood at $719 billion, roughly a quarter of India’s GDP of $2,848 billion.
v. India as 3rd with 141 billionaires in terms of countries highest number of billionaires behind China and the US.

Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology announced by CSIR
On September 27, 2018, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on its foundation day released the list of awardees for Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize 2018. Dr Aditi Sen De is the only female winner this year.
i. Dr Thomas Pucadyil from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Pune has been awarded the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology by CSIR.
ii. He was conferred with the honor for his research in the discipline of Biological Sciences on membrane biochemistry and vesicular transport.
iii. Other awardees of the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology 2018 were:

  • In the Biological Sciences category, Ganesh Nagaraju from IISC, Bengaluru.
  • In the Chemical science category, Rahul Banerjee and Swadhin Kumar Mandal of IISER, Kolkata,
  • In the Earth, Atmosphere, Ocean and Planetary Sciences category, Dr. Madineni Venkat Ratnam of the National Atmospheric Research Laboratory, Tirupati, and Parthasarathi Chakraborty of CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, Goa,
  • In the Engineering SciencesAmit Agarwaland Ashwin Anil Gumaste of IIT Bombay,
  • In the Mathematical Sciences category, Amit Kumar and Nitin Saxena, from IIT Delhi and IIT Kanpur respectively,
  • In the Medical Sciences category, Dr Ganesan Venkatasubramanian of NIMHANS, Bengaluru,
  • In the Physical Sciences category, Dr. Aditi Sen De the Harish Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad and Dr. Ambarish Ghosh from IISc, Bengaluru.

About the Award:
Constituted in 1958, the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize is India’s highest science award, for outstanding research, in science and technology.


TRIFED & “TRIBES INDIA” presents “Punch Tantra collection” & Ms. Mary Kom as Brand Ambassador of Tribes India
On 27th September 2018, Jual Oram, Union Minister for Tribal Affairs launched “Punch Tantra Diwali collection” and announced World Boxing Champion Mary Kom as Brand Ambassador of “Tribes India” in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.
Key Points:
i. The event was organised by Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) and Tribes India under Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
ii. The Punch Tantra range of tribal arti-facts consists of handlooms and handicrafts inspired and promoted by Mary Kom.
iii. The collection is like the powerful punch of Mary Kom, as the name suggests. It has been specially introduced for the festive season.
iv. The Punch Tantra collection comprises Sarees, Stoles, Dupatas, Shawls, Kurtas/Kurtis, Lamp shades (Kandels), Sky Lanters, Diyas, Gift hampers, etc.
About Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED):
♦ Managing Director – Pravir Krishna
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi


‘Astra’ air-to-air missile successfully test fired
On September 27, 2018, the Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully test fired the indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) Astra from a Su-30 aircraft over the Bay of Bengal near Chandipur in Odisha.
i. It has been developed by:
IAF and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) primarily.
ii. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited modifying the aircraft for weapon integration along with 50 other private and public industries.
iii. It was part of the series of final pre-induction trials and had already undergone more than twenty developmental trials.
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi.
♦ Founded:1958.
♦ Defence Minister: Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman.
♦ Minister of State for Defence : Dr.Subhash Bhamre.
♦ Defence Secretary and Chairman of DRDO: Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy.
♦ Headquarters: Bengaluru.
♦ Head: R. Madhavan.


Madrid to host new-format Davis Cup in 2019 and 2020
On 27th September 2018, International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced that, Madrid would host the first two new-format Davis Cup finals in 2019 and 2020.
Key Points:
i. The new format was proposed by the Kosmos group headed by footballer Gerard Pique and was adopted by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) in August 2018.
ii. The competition will engage 18 countries at one place for a week at the end of the tennis season.
iii. The revamped finals will be conducted at La Caja Magica, venue for Madrid Open in 2019. The venue for the 2020 event has not yet been decided.
iv. The investment group Kosmos will spend $3 billion over 25 years on the revamped 118-year-old Davis Cup.
About International Tennis Federation (ITF):
♦ President – David Haggerty
♦ Headquarters – London, United Kingdom