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Current Affairs Today August 15 2018

INDIAN AFFAIRS

Rajnath Singh Inaugurates NDMC Smart City Projects
On 13th August 2018, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated several Smart City projects undertaken by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), in New Delhi.

Rajnath Singh Inaugurates NDMC Smart City ProjectsNDMC Smart City Projects:
i. Projects inaugurated by Rajnath Singh include: Smart Poles, Solar Tree, Ideation Centre, 50 LED interactive screens, Ambedkar Vatika and 2 hi-tech nurseries, 4 mechanical road sweepers, 2 litter picking machines and 10 auto tippers.
ii. MTNL’s (Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited) hi-speed Broadband on Optical Fiber and Hi-Speed Wi-Fi were also launched in Connaught Place.
iii. New Delhi was one of the 20 cities included in the First Phase of the Smart City Mission in January 2016 announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
About Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL):
♦ Founded – 1986
♦ Chairman & Managing director – Pravin Kumar Purwar

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari launched road safety awareness video in collaboration with Akshay Kumar and R Balkhasve
On August 15, 2018, minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari launched road safety awareness video with Brand ambassador of road safety campaign actor Akshay Kumar in New Delhi.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari launched road safety awareness video in collaboration with Akshay Kumar and R BalkhasveObjective:
To reduce road accidents.
Key Points:
i. Aiming on promoting road safety to be a people’s movement, the awareness campaign urged people to come forward without fear to help accident victims.
ii. The Road and Transport Ministry insisted Home Ministry to consider the good Samaritans in road accidents for getting National Bravery Awards.
iii. The central government is yet to get the Road Safety Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha, which has provisions for stricter penalties for offenders.
iv. The government has also constituted the national road safety council as the apex body to take policy decisions in matters of road safety.
v. States and Union Territories will set up state road safety council and district road safety committee as well.
About the Campaign:
Akshay Kumar, along with filmmaker R Balkhasve shot three videos with an underlying message on road safety, which is sent in a light-hearted way to the viewer.
Background:
♦ As many as 1,46,000 people died in road accidents across the country in 2017.
♦ Majority of the road accidents involved two-wheelers, where the victims were not wearing helmets.

3 mobile apps launched for e-filing of cases by CJI Dipak Misra
On August 15, 2018, the E-committee of the Supreme Court headed by Justice M B Lokur, launched 3 mobile applications for the benefit of litigants and lawyers.
i. The apps were inaugurated by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
About the 3 apps and their services:
Following are the focus areas the apps would focus on:

  • e-courts services: e-filing along with user manual.
  • E-pay : making digital payments.
  • NSTEP (National Service and Tracking of Electronic Processes): service of judicial notices.

Key Points:
i. These software have been developed on “open source technology” and thus has saved Rs 1,670 crore.
ii. The litigants and the lawyers would be able to file petitions in almost 17,000 district and ‘taluka’ courts in the country.
iii .e-pay would enable the litigants to pay court fees, costs imposed by courts, maintenance in matrimonial cases through digital means
iv. The NSTEP would be connected to GPRS and the judges would be able to monitor any services being done by the court staff.
Other Announcements:
i. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad announced that the connectivity speed will soon be increased from the present 2 Mbps to 10 Mbps.

Telangana CM launched 2 schemes for people of the state on 72nd  Independence day
On August 15, 2018, on the eve of 72nd Independence Day, Telengana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao launched  two major schemes:

  • Rythu Bima: insurance to farmers
  • Kanti Velugu: free eye screening for all citizens.

About Rythu Bima:
i. Under this scheme, every farmer would be provided with life insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh.
ii. It will cover 28 lakh farmers aged between 18 and 59 years.
iii. The government has already paid Rs 636 crore towards premium to Life Insurance Corp.
iv. It will bear the annual premium of Rs 2,271 per farmer.
About Kanti Velugu:
i. The entire population of 3.7 crore would be provided with free eye care.
ii. The authorities will not only conduct eye screening but will also provide free medicines, spectacles and arrange for free surgeries, if required.
iii. Approximately four lakh surgeries will be performed across the state.
iv. The government also plans on distributing 40 lakh spectacles.
Other Announcements:
i. The second phase of distribution of cheques under the ‘Rythu Bandhu’ investment support scheme for farmers would begin in November 2018.
ii. It provides Rs 8,000 per acre for two crops to every farmer.
iii. The government will set up a mega textile park in Warangal to provide employment to weavers and ‘Textile hubs’ are being set up at Sircilla and Gadwal.
iv. Rs 2,000 crore to be spent on minorities welfare and development and setting up a special IT park for IT industrialists from the minority sections.
v.Different construction programmes have been taken up with Rs 35,000 crore to make Hyderabad a global city.
vi. Furthur improvements would be implemented at a cost of Rs 50,000 crore in the next five years.

‘North East Circuit: Imphal & Khongjom’ : First project under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme inaugurated in Manipur  
On August 14, 2018, governor of Manipur Dr. Najma A. Heptulla, inaugurated project “Development of North East Circuit: Imphal & Khongjom” implemented under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism in Imphal, Manipur.

‘North East Circuit: Imphal & Khongjom’ : First project under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme inaugurated in Manipur  i.  It is the first project under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme being inaugurated in the country.
About the project:
i. The project under inauguration was sanctioned by the Ministry of Tourism in September 2015 for Rs.72.30 Crores.
ii. Under this project Ministry has carried out developmental works at a cost of Rs. 63.90 Crore.
iii. The project covers two sites i.e. Kangla Fort and Khongjom.
iv.The developmental works on these 2 places are :
Restoration & Improvement of Outer & Inner Moat and Rejuvenation of Sacred Ponds; Reconstruction of Old Rampart; Sound and Light Show, Construction of Rock Garden, Utility Block; Audio Guide, Eco Friendly Conveyance, Development of Crafts Houses and Parking on Naga Nullah; Polo Gallery; Reception and Ticket Counter.
v. Also a Pedestrian bridge and rejuvenation of Kombirei Lake has been carried out for Rs.4.89 Crore.
Static knowledge about the places:
♦ Kangla Fort is one of the most important historic and archaeological site of Manipur located in Imphal.
♦ Khongjom is the place where the last war of resistance of Anglo Manipur War of 1891 was fought.
Other announcements/initiatives taken for the North-Eastern region:
i. The Ministry is developing the tourism infrastructure in the region under Swadesh Darshan and PRASHAD and has sanctioned 15 projects covering all North Eastern states for Rs.1301.47 Crores.
ii. A number of facilities like Tourist Facilitation Centres, Interpretation Centres, better last mile connectivity, heliports, wayside amenities region, SEL Shows, Eco Log Huts, Rope Way, Golf Course, theme parks etc. are being developed.
iii. The Ministry organizes International Travel Mart every year in one of the North eastern state to showcase its tourism potential.
iv. This year the 7th Edition of ITM is scheduled to be held in November in Agartala, Tripura.
Background:
Swadesh Darshan scheme is one of the flagship scheme of Ministry of tourism for development of circuits in the country. The scheme was launched in 2014 -15 and as on date the Ministry has sanctioned 70 projects for Rs.5708.88 Crore to 29 States and UTs under the Scheme. 30 projects / major components of these projects are expected to be completed in 2018.

BANKING & FINANCE

IDBI hiked MCLR rate by up to 0.10% on various tenors
On August 15, 2018, IDBI Bank increased the marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR) by up to 0.10 per cent for various tenors.
i. They are as follows:

TenorsNew Interest Rate (in %)
Overnight8
One month8.25
Three months8.45
Six Months8.60
One year8.85
Two years & Three years8.90
ii. These changes come into effect from August 12,2018.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

REC inked pact with German bank for 200 mn euro loan for energy projects in India
On August 15, 2018, Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) inked a loan agreement with German bank KfW in Frankfurt for EUR 200 million.

REC inked pact with German bank for 200 mn euro loan for energy projects in Indiai. This would be used to finance clean energy projects in India.
ii. This is REC’s fourth line of credit under Indo-German development cooperation.
Background:
♦ REC finances the power sector of India by lending to power projects.
♦ In 2017, it has more than tripled its financing in renewable sector.
♦ The sanctions grew from Rs 2,090 crore in FY2016-17 to Rs 7,034 crore in FY2017-18.
REC:
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi.
♦ Founded: 1969.

GDP likely to expand by 7.4% in FY’19: Ficci’s Economic Outlook Survey’
On August 15, 2018, as per Ficci’s survey ‘Ficci’s Economic Outlook Survey’, the Indian economy is expected to grow at 7.4 per cent in the current fiscal.
i. It projects that GDP will grow at 7.4 per cent for 2018-19, with a minimum and maximum range of 7.1 per cent and 7.5 per cent, respectively.
ii. The economic activity on the first quarter of the current fiscal would be 7.1 per cent.
iii.  The study further said the median growth forecast for agriculture and allied activities has been put at 3 per cent for 2018-19.
iv.Industry and services sector are expected to grow by 6.9 per cent and 8.3 per cent, respectively in 2018-19.
v.The Consumer Price Index or retail inflation has been forecast at 4.8 per cent for the year as whole.
vi. These predictions are in line with RBI’s data that was released on August 1, 2018.
Other announcements:
i. Rising oil prices and trade war can out a pressure in the rupee,
ii. The fair value of Indian Rupee vis-à-vis the US Dollar has been predicted to be in the range of 65 to 66.
iii. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) is scheduled to release the first quarter GDP number on August 31.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Rifleman Aurangzeb, Major Aditya Kumar conferred with Shaurya Chakra
Rifleman Aurangzeb and Major Aditya Kumar of Indian Army were conferred the Shaurya Chakra, along with 18 other Armed Forces Personnel and members of Paramilitary Forces.
Key Points:
i. Rifleman Aurangzeb has been honoured posthumously. He was abducted and killed by terrorists in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir in June 2018.
ii. Also, Sepoy Vrahma Pal Singh has been conferred with Kirti Chakra posthumously.
iii. Also, Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) has been conferred on Group Captain Abhishek Sharma, Squadron Leader Vernon Desmond Keane and Sergeant Shashidhar P Prasad.
iv. The President has approved 131 Gallantry Awards to Armed Forces Personnel and members of Paramilitary Forces.
v. This consists of: 1 Kirti Chakra, 20 Shaurya Chakras, three Bar to Sena Medals (Gallantry), 93 Sena Medals (Gallantry), 11 Nao Sena Medals (Gallantry) and three Vayu Sena Medals (Gallantry).
About Indian Army:
♦ Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) – General Bipin Rawat
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi

President approves Nao Sena (Gallantary) medal for all women crew members of INSV Tarini that circumnavigated globe
President Ram Nath Kovind approved Nao Sena (Gallantary) medal for the 6 women crew members of Indian Naval Sailing Vessel (INSV) Tarini, who circumnavigated the globe.
Nao Sena (Gallantary) medal for INSV Tarini crew:
i. Lt Cdr Vartika Joshi captained the 194-day mission. The mission started on 10th September 2017.
ii. Other crew members are: Lt Cdr Pratibha Jamwal, and Lts P Swathi, Vijaya Devi, B Aishwarya and Payal Gupta.
iii. Nao Sena Gallantary medals were also announced for marine Lt Cdr Anil Raina and Kunal Saini for anti-insurgency operations.
iv. The president also approved Shaurya Chakra for Capt P Rajkumar for his work during Cyclone Ockhi.
About Indian Navy:
♦ Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) – Admiral Sunil Lanba
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Anandiben Patel takes oath as Governor of Chhattisgarh
On 15th August 2018, Madhya Pardesh Governor Anandiben Patel was sworn in as Governor of Chhattisgarh.
Anandiben Patel – additional charge as Governor of Chhattisgarh:
i. President Ram Nath Kovind gave Anandiben Patel the additional charge as Governor of Chhattisgarh following the death of Chhattisgarh governor Balramji Dass Tandon.
ii. Chhattisgarh High Court Chief Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi administered the oath of office to Anandiben Patel.
iii. Anandiben Patel will perform additional duties as Chhattisgarh governor until regular arrangements for the office of the governor of Chhattisgarh are made.
Some National Parks in Chhattisgarh:
♦ Indravati National Park
♦ Kanger Ghati National Park

D Bala Venkatesh Varma appointed the new Ambassador of India to Russia
On August 15, 2018, D Bala Venkatesh Varma has been appointed as the Ambassador to Russia.
D Bala Venkatesh Varma appointed the new Ambassador of India to Russiai.He is currently serving as Ambassador of India to Madrid.
ii.He will succeed Pankaj Saran who has been appointed as the deputy National Security Advisor.
iii.Varma is a 1988 batch IFS officer.
Russia:
Capital: Moscow.
Currency: Russian Ruble.
President: Vladmir Putin.
India and Russia Military exercise name: INDRA.

Partha Satpathy : the next Ambassador of India to Ukraine
On August 15, 2018, Partha Satpathy was appointed the next Ambassador of India to Ukraine.
i.A 1990 batch IFS officer, Partha Satpathy has been appointed as the Ambassador of India to Ukraine.
ii.He is currently a joint secretary at the MEA headquarters.
Ukraine:
Capital: Kiev.
Currency: Ukrainian hryvnia.
President: Petro Poroshenko.

Akshay Kumar Singh takes charge as Director-Pipeline of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC)
Akshay Kumar Singh has assumed charge as Director (Pipelines) of Indian Oil Corp (IOC).
Akshay Kumar Singh – Director (Pipelines) of IOC:
i. Akshay Kumar Singh will be in charge of IOC’s 13,400-km network of crude oil, petroleum product and gas pipelines with a throughput capacity of 94.79 MTPA of oil and 9.5 million metric standard cubic metres per day of gas.
ii. IOC operates the world’s largest oil pipeline network. Akshay Kumar Singh is 57 years old.
iii. He joined GAIL in 1985. He was made Executive Director (Project) of GAIL in 2013. He has 32 years of experience in the petroleum and natural gas sector.
About Indian Oil Corp (IOC):
♦ Chairman – Sanjiv Singh
♦ Corporate Office – New Delhi

Government accepts NHB MD Sriram Kalyanaraman’s resignation
The government has accepted the resignation of National Housing Bank (NHB) Managing Director Sriram Kalyanaraman.
Resignation of Sriram Kalyanaraman:
i. Sriram Kalyanaraman was alleged for adopting unethical practices for sanctioning refinance facility to several housing finance companies.
ii. The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) ordered an inquiry against him, few months back.
iii. Sriram Kalyanaraman was the first private sector candidate to be appointed as MD &CEO of NHB in 2015. He was appointed for a five-year term.
iv. Earlier, he was Director-Business Development at Equifax Credit Information Services Pvt Ltd.
v. He was also director and Head of asset products and business banking at Deutsche Bank India from 2007 to 2010.
About National Housing Bank (NHB):
♦ Set up – 1988
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi

David Silva : Spanish International Player and Manchester City Midfielder retired
On August 15, 2018, Manchester City midfielder 32 year old David Silva announced his retirement from international football.

David Silva : Spanish International Player and Manchester City Midfielder retiredHe is also known as “Spain’s Lionel Messi”.
i. He was in the Spanish team which won the 2010 World Cup as well as the 2008 and 2010 European Championships.
ii. He made 125 appearances and scored 35 goals over 12 years.
iii. His final match was the penalty shootout defeat to Russia in the 2018 World Cup round of 16.

SPORTS

TNPL 2018 Final: Madurai Panthers win first title with dominant win over Dindigul Dragons
On 12th August 2018, Madurai Panthers won their first Tamil Nadu Premier League 2018 title, at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Madurai Panthers win TNPL 2018 title:
i. Madurai Panthers beat Dindigul Dragons by seven wickets in the final and won the 2018 Tamil Nadu Premier League title.
ii. Madurai Panthers’ Arun Karthik scored his sixth fifty of this season and remained the highest run scorer in the tournament.
iii Dindigul Dragons scored 117 runs and all out in 19.5 overs. They lost to Madurai Panthers 119/3 in 17.1 overs by seven wickets.
About TNPL 2018:
♦ Edition – 3rd
♦ Sponsor – Sankar Cement
♦ Teams – 8
♦ Matches – 32
♦ Dates – July 11 – August 12, 2018
♦ Venues – Tirunelveli, Dindigul and Chennai

OBITUARY

Noted Malayalam poet and Sahitya Akademi awardee Chemmanam Chacko died at 92
On August 15, 2018, noted Malayalam poet and Sahitya Akademi awardee 92 year old Chemmanam Chacko died in Kakkanad.

Noted Malayalam poet and Sahitya Akademi awardee Chemmanam Chacko died at 92i. He is survived by wife and two daughters.
ii. He is known for his satirical works on contemporary socio-political issues of Kerala through his poems.
iii. He taught Malayalam at schools and colleges, worked at Kerala University and then the Publication Department.
iv. He had won several awards, including those by the Kerala Sahitya Akademi, Sanjayan Award, Kunjan Nambiar Kavitha puraskaram, P Smaraka Puraskaram and Mahakavi Ulloor Award.

IMPORTANT DAYS

India celebrates its 72nd Independence Day
On 15th August 2018, India celebrated its 72nd Independence Day.

India celebrates its 72nd Independence Day72nd Independence Day of India:
i. India attained independence from the British rule on 15 August 1947. This day is celebrated as Independence Day, every year on August 15, in India.
ii. This day remembers and honours all those who fought and sacrificed their lives for the freedom of India.
iii. This year the Indian Navy was the coordinating service for Independence Day celebrations. The Guard of Honour was commanded by Commander PR Jagan Mohan of the Indian Navy.
iv. India’s first all-women SWAT team recently inducted by Delhi Police, provided security cover to the Red Fort in Delhi, for the Independence Day celebrations.
v. Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat, and addressed the nation from the Red Fort.
Some important announcements:
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that, India’s manned space mission will be launched by 2022.
ii. He also launched Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Scheme, the world’s largest government-funded healthcare programme.