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Current Affairs Today July 23 2018

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Nitin Gadkari launches development projects worth over Rs 5000 crore in Madhya Pradesh
On July 23 2018, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari launched the foundation for National Highways projects in Guna district of Madhya Pradesh.
i.The total project worths over Rs 5485 Crores.
ii. He laid the foundation stone for 5 NH projects of total length 226 km, worth Rs 3583 Crore and also inaugurated 188 km of NH projects worth Rs 1902 Crores.It includes

Name of NH projectsCost of project
4 laning of  Jhansi-Khajuraho section of NH 75Rs 976.62 Crore
4 laning of Seoni-Nagpur section of NH7Rs 730.8 Crore
4 laning of Hiran Nadi-Sindoor Nadi section of NH12Rs 617.17 Crore
4 laning of Rewa-Sidhi section of NH75 with Churhat Byepass and TunnelRs 1004 Crore
2 laning of Biaora-Maksudangarh section of NH752 BRs 254.17 Crore
Phase I of 4 laning of Shivpuri-Guna section of NH 3Rs 830.36 Crore
4 laning of Guna- Biaora section of NH 3Rs 1012.9 Crore
4 laning of parts of Lakhnadaun – Chapara  section of NH 7Rs 58.6 Crore

Other plans to be execute:-
i. Two Expressways are proposed to be built:-
Rs 3000 Crore Indore – Bhopal Expressway and
Rs 6000 Crore Chambal Expressway.
ii. The 3180 km of Economic Corridors are planned in the state under Bharatmala Pariyojanaand 986 km of Inter Corridors and 679 km of Feeder Routes.
iii. Logistics Parks are also planned at Bhopal and Indore.

NITI Aayog signs SoI with Lupin Foundation for Collaborating in Aspirational Districts
On July 23 2018, Shri Yaduvendra Mathur, Additional Secretary, NITI Aayog and Shri Sita Ram Gupta, Executive Director, Lupin Foundation was signed a Statement of Intent (SoI) to collaborate and improve indicators in education, health & nutrition, financial inclusion and skill development, agriculture and water resources and basic infrastructure in Aspirational Districts(in the backward disticts) of India.
i. As per this SoI ,it will work in three states – Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan to develop economic strength, technological viability and moral leadership across three districts Dholpur in Rajasthan, Nandurbar in Maharashtra and Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh as part of Phase I of the cooperation.
Few facts about Aspirational District Programme:
i. ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ programme was launched by the Hon’ble PM in January 2018 aims to quickly and effectively transform some of the most underdeveloped districts of the country.
ii. The Government is committed to raising the living standards of its citizens and ensuring inclusive growth for all – Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas.
Few facts about Lupin and Lupin Foundation:
The Lupin Human Welfare & Research Foundation (LHWRF) was founded in 1988.Lupin is an innovation-led pharmaceutical company with a global footprint and known for its generic medicines,
i. It aims to transform rural India by creating sustainable and replicable programs around economic, social and infrastructure development targeted at uplifting the poorest of the poor residing in remote villages of India.The Founder & Chairman is Dr. Desh Bandhu Gupta.

Regional Rail Training Institute inaugurated at Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh
On 22nd July 2018, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha inaugurated Regional Rail Training Institute (RRTI) in Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh.

Regional Rail Training Institute inaugurated at Ghazipur, Uttar PradeshRegional Rail Training Institute inaugurated at Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh:
i. The Rail Training Institute (RRTI) was inaugurated with an aim to strengthen the expertise and capabilities of the employees of North-Eastern Railways.
ii. He also inaugurated the newly constructed washing pit at Ghazipur City station.
iii. Manoj Sinha said that, the RRTI was constructed within stipulated time. It will highly boost the development of the area.
iv. RRTI was built at a the cost of Rs 21 crore. It has modern training facilities, an advanced model hostel, computer room, cafeteria and other necessary facilities.
v. He said that, the 400 metre washing pit was built at a cost of Rs 19.62 crore.
vi. He added that, doubling of railway tracks, their electrification and other passengers amenities are developed in the area on priority basis.
vii. He also mentioned about the status of the projects of Tadighat to Mau via Ghazipur rail route, doubling of Chapra-Allahabad, Bhatni-Aurihar, Aurihar-Jaunpur, Indara-Phephna and Mau-Shahganj rail routes.
Some important lakes in India:
♦ Largest fresh water lakes in Asia & India – Wular Lake, Kashmir
♦ Largest artificial lake in Asia – Upper Lake, Madhya Pradesh
♦ Largest saline water lake in India – Chilika Lake, Odisha

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurates National Traders’ Conclave in New Delhi
On 23rd July 2018, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the three day National Traders’ Conclave at Constitution Club of India, in New Delhi.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurates National Traders’ Conclave in New DelhiNational Traders’ Conclave:
i. National Traders’ Conclave is organised by the Confederation of All-India Traders.
ii. He said that, in the next two-three years India’s economy will be among the top five. Also, by 2030 India would enter the world’s Top Three economies.
iii. He said that, India is the most attractive destination for foreign investors and received more than $150 billion FDI in last four years.
iv. In ‘Ease of Doing Business’, India’s ranking has improved from 142 to 100. In 2014, there were only two mobile phone factories in India. Now we have 120 handset manufacturing units.
v. He mentioned the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), Goods & Services Tax (GST), amendment to the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code and the historic Demonetization, and said India’s GDP growth rate in the last 4 years has outpaced the inflation rate every year since 2014.
vi. He said that the GST rates have been modified on several items recently. Many items have been brought under 0 % and 5% slabs.
vii. He added that, the Government is open to further review of GST slabs.
viii. He said that, out of 6.5 crore traders and shopkeepers, nearly 1.25 crores have registered under the GST.
ix. As per the Economic Survey, during November, 2016-2017, over 1.15 crore returns have been filed.
x. He said that, only 6.10 crore people are under the GST taxation regime out of a total population of over 130 crores.
Some important dams in India:
♦ Karjan Dam – Karjan River
♦ Kulamavu (Eb) Dam – Kilivillithode River
♦ Koteshwar Dam – Bhagirathi River

First Meeting of India-Bangladesh Joint Committee on Border HaatsHeld in Agartala 
On 22-23 July 2018, The first meeting of the India-Bangladesh Joint Committee on Border Haats was held in Agartala, Tripura.The meeting reveal about the positive impact of Border Hatts on the livelihoods of the people living in areas around the Haats.
First Meeting of India-Bangladesh Joint Committee on Border HaatsHeld in Agartala i. Other issues related to review of operations of the four functional Border Haats and suggestions for improvement, timeline for setting up the six additional Border Haats.
ii. The next meeting would be held in Bangladesh on mutually agreed dates.
iii. The Joint Committee visited the Border Haat at Kamlasagar (Sipahijala District, Tripura) – Tarapur (Brahmanbaria, Bangladesh).
iv. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Border Haats between India and Bangladesh signed on 8th April 2017 provides for establishment of a Joint Committee to review the border haats operations, suggest modifications in the operational modalities and propose new locations of Border Haats.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik releases first-ever tribal atlas of Odisha
On 23rd July 2018, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik released the first tribal atlas of Odisha consisting of a set of maps and statistics highlighting the tribal demography of Odisha.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik releases first-ever tribal atlas of OdishaFirst tribal atlas of Odisha:
i. The atlas has been prepared by the SC & ST Research and Training Institute along with Academy of Tribal Language and Culture.
ii. The atlas has been edited by Prof A B Ota, director of SC & ST Research Institute. It was reviewed by development commissioner R Balakrishnan.
iii. It will be available at the SC & ST Research and Training Institute located at Nayapalli in Bhubaneshwar.
iv. The atlas has been developed using the data of Census 2011 and other relevant statistics. This atlas is said to be the first of its kind in India.
v. The atlas displays salient features of tribal population of Odisha with maps, charts and diagrams.
vi. The atlas has 60 plates of maps along with corresponding graphs and diagrams to depict the distributional aspects of the Odisha’s tribal population, ecological setting of the tribal habitats, their socio-cultural attributes like linguistic/dialectical affinity, sex composition and literary levels.
vii. It also shows participation of economic activity, structure of their workforce, administrative mechanism and other related aspects.
viii. The atlas has plates of maps in each section with an explanatory text. Naveen Patnaik said that, this atlas will aid in policy decisions and offer insight for social researchers working with culture and development of tribes of Odisha.
Some important international airports in India:
♦ Jay Prakash Narayan International Airport – Patna, Bihar
♦ Indira Gandhi International Airport – New Delhi, Delhi
♦ Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport – Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Odisha police launch drive to bust Pangolin smuggling racket
On 22nd July 2018, a senior official said that, a special unit of the Odisha Police has launched a drive to curb an international syndicate that smuggles endangered pangolin, which is one of the world’s most illegally traded mammals.
Odisha police launch drive to bust Pangolin smuggling racket:
i. Odisha Director General of Police (DGP) R P Sharma said that, they have already moved the government and initiated a process to curb the international pangolin smuggling network with the help of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT).
ii. MLAT is an agreement between countries to exchange information or offer legal assistance to enforce laws.
iii. He said that an organised international network smuggles pangolin for its scales.
iv. He added that, members of the network also function from neighbouring countries like Myanmar.
v. This issue is forwarded to the Ministry of Home Affairs that can approach the Myanmar government for required assistance.
vi. Himanshu Lal, the DIG of the Special Task Force (STF) of state Crime Branch, said that, important members of the racket in India have been arrested. Those functioning from China and Myanmar will also be arrested soon.
vii. STF is also planning to approach the Interpol to curb the international network of pangolin smuggling.
viii. Pangolin poaching is severe in districts like Kandhamal, Nayagarh, Ganjam, Kalahandi, Boudh and Rayagada, Lal.
ix. Main consumer of Pangolin scales is China. In China there is great demand for Pangolin for its medicinal purposes.
x. Biswajit Mohanty, a member of Wildlife Society of Odisha, said that, the Ganjam-Nayagarh-Kandhamal belt of Odisha has emerged as a hub of illegal pangolin trade.
Some Wildlife sanctuaries in Odisha:
♦ Kapilasa Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Kondakameru Wildlife Sanctuary

Public Affairs Index 2018: Kerala tops list of best governed States for third time
On 21st July 2018, Public Affairs Centre (PAC), a think tank, released Public Affairs Index (PAI) for 2018, its third annual PAI, at an event in Bengaluru.

Public Affairs Index 2018: Kerala tops list of best governed States for third timePublic Affairs Index 2018:
i. Kerala has topped the Public Affairs Index (PAI) for 2018 as the best governed state in India for the 3rd continuous year since 2016 among large states.
ii. Best governed large states that topped in the Public Affairs Index (PAI) for 2018:

2Tamil Nadu

iii. The PAI is released since 2016. It examines governance performance in the states through a data-based framework and ranks them on social and economic development they are offering.
iv. The PAI was based on 10 themes, 30 focus subjects and 100 indicators. The Public Affairs Centre (PAC) aims to mobilise a demand for better governance in India.
v. Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar ranked the lowest on the PAI due to higher social and economic inequalities in the states.
vi. Among smaller states (with population less than 2 crores), Himachal Pradesh topped the list.
vii. It is followed by Goa, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura as states with good governance.
viii. Nagaland, Manipur and Meghalaya were ranked the lowest in the index among small states.
ix. The 10 themes considered for this index are essential infrastructure, support to human development, social protection, women and children, law and order etc.
x. The states were divided into 2 categories namely large and small based on their population. States with over 2 crore population were considered large.
xi. PAI 2018 also included a separate index on the children of India, indicating a measure of how child-friendly the states are.
xii. Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Mizoram topped the index on being the states to provide better living conditions for all children.
xiii. Former chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Shantha Sinha, delivered the Samuel Paul Memorial Lecture, providing light on children’s rights in India.
xiv. Karnataka has been ranked number one in environment and transparency and accountability.
xv. Kerala has also been named the best child-friendly state. It also secured the top position in providing best facilities to children.
xvi. It is also first in providing basic infrastructure. Kerala is in first position in support of human development.
About Public Affairs Centre (PAC):
♦ Founded – 1994
♦ Founded by – late Samuel Paul (renowned Indian economist and scholar)
♦ Based in – Bengaluru
♦ Chairman – K Kasturirangan


Indian Government signs a MoU with United Kingdom to obtain help in improving overall public transport system in India
Indian Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with United Kingdom to obtain help in enhancing overall public transport system in India.
Indian Government signs a MoU with United Kingdom:
i. The MoU was signed by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, India, and Transport for London (TFL) to develop public transport in India.
ii. Transport for London (TFL) is a statutory body formed under the Greater London Authority Act, 1999 (UK).
iii. This MoU will to share information and areas of cooperation like improving the public transport system with an augmentation of passenger capacity, passenger services, data analysis, induction of electric vehicles, introduction of technology, ticketing and the provision of passenger information, urban transport planning and policy, institutional organisation of transport, governance and accountability arrangements, project financing, strategy, and procurement methodologies, policy development and assessment of technology strategies, operations procurement and contracting, Infrastructure maintenance strategies, Infrastructure design and delivery etc.
iv. Also, this MoU will help to strengthen the integrated public transport for all. This will help people from all segments of society to access a quality public transport system.
v. Also, it will help in launching innovative practices like digital payments, standardizing the design of the buses, use of technology for demand projection and route rationalization to enhance efficiency of public transport operations.
vi. This information was provided by the Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Chemical & Fertilizers Mansukh L Mandaviya.
Some important museums in India:
♦ Maharaja Lakshmeshwar Singh Museum – Darbhanga, Bihar
♦ Chandra Shekhar Singh Museum – Jamui, Bihar
♦ Srikrishna Science Centre – Patna, Bihar


Government slashes minimum yearly deposit for Sukanya Samriddhi account to Rs 250
Under the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana ,the government has cut the minimum annual deposit requirement for accounts to Rs 250 from Rs 1,000 earlier.It will enable more number of people to take advantage of the girl child savings scheme.
i. Sukanya Samriddhi scheme was launched in 2015. Till November 2017, more than 1.26 crore accounts were opened across the country securing an amount of Rs 19,183 crore.
ii. Under the scheme, a parent or legal guardian can open an account in the name of the girl child until she attains the age of 10 years.
iii. As per the scheme, the account will be valid for 21 years from the date of opening, after which it will mature and the money will be paid to the girl child in whose name the account has been opened.
iv. The minimum deposit that needs to be made every year is now Rs 250, while the maximum is Rs 1.50 lakh.


Sahapedia’s India Heritage Walk fete wins PATA award
India Heritage Walk Festival, a collaboration of Sahapedia and YES Arts & Culture, has been awarded the PATA Gold Award 2018.

Sahapedia's India Heritage Walk fete wins PATA awardi. The award has been announced by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) in Bangkok under the ‘Heritage-Culture’ category.
ii. It was sponsored by Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO).
iii. The PATA Awards achievements of recognised achievements of 27 organisations and individuals in the field of travel and tourism.
iv. PATA Awardswill be presented to the winners on September 14 during the PATA Travel Mart in Malaysia.The month-long, multi-city IHWF 2018 was organised in February 2018.
v. YES Arts & Culture is the cultural division of YES Global Institute, a practicing think tank of YES BANK.

2017 AIFF Awards: Sunil Chhetri wins 2017 AIFF player of the year award
On 22nd July 2018, Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri was named the 2017 All India Football Federation (AIFF) Player of the Year. This was announced by AIFF after its Executive Committee meeting in Mumbai.
2017 AIFF Awards: Sunil Chhetri wins 2017 AIFF player of the year award2017 AIFF Award winners:
i. Sunil Chhetri is a star player for both India and Bengaluru FC teams.
ii. List of 2017 AIFF Award winners:

  • 2017 AIFF Award for Best Grassroots Development Programme: Kerala FA.
  • 2017 AIFF Award for long-time contribution to Indian Football: Hero Motocorp.
  • 2017 AIFF Award for Best Assistant Referee: Sumanta Datta (Assam).
  • 2017 AIFF Award for Best Referee: CR Srikrishna.
  • 2017 AIFF Emerging Woman Footballer of the Year: E Panthoi.
  • 2017 AIFF Emerging Player of the Year: Anirudh Thapa.
  • 2017 AIFF Woman Footballer of the Year: Kamala Devi.
  • 2017 AIFF Player of the Year: Sunil Chhetri.

About All India Football Federation (AIFF):
♦ President – Praful M Patel
♦ Location – New Delhi


Analjit Singh appointed as Non-executive Chairman on board of Max Financial Services Ltd
On 23rd July 2018, the Board of Max Financial Services (MFS) named Mr. Analjit Singh, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Max Group, as the non-executive Chairman of Max Financial Services (MFS).
Analjit Singh – non-executive Chairman of Max Financial Services (MFS):
i. Max Financial Services is the listed holding company for Max Life Insurance Company. It was established after the demerger of Max India Limited.
ii. That demerger resulted in 3 independent listed entities: Max Financial Services, Max India Limited and Max Ventures & Industries Limited. These 3 entities comprise the Max Group.
iii. Analjit Singh is the sponsor and principal shareholder of MFS, Max India and MVIL. He succeeds Ms. Naina Lal Kidwai.
iv. Ms. Naina Lal Kidwai will continue on the Board of MFS for her full term as an independent, Non-executive director.
v. Rahul Khosla, Max Group President will continue as Group President and in all his current executive roles till August 2019.
vi.  Mohit Talwar will continue as Vice Chairman, Max Ventures and Industries Limited and Managing Director of MFS and Max India.
Tag lines of some banks:
♦ Bank of Baroda – India’s International Bank
♦ Bank of India – Relationships beyond Banking
♦ Bank of Maharashtra – One Family One Bank


TreadWill: IIT Kanpur develops online tool to help people deal with mental health issues
The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur has created an online tool named TreadWill, to help people overcome issues related to mental health.
i. TreadWill has been developed by a team with support from the Computer Science and Engineering and Humanities and Social Sciences, HSS (Psychology) departments.
ii.T readWill is a website designed to help people deal with stress, low mood, lethargy and other depressive symptoms by means of various online exercises, questionnaires and games.
iii. It will help in overcoming depressive symptoms and becoming more resilient against stressful events in the future.
iv. TreadWill is based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which helps people with depressive symptoms.
v. Based on CBT, TreadWill uses simple language to help users identify involuntary negative thoughts and behavior.
vi. Also, users are taught techniques to modifying their thoughts and actions.
vii. TreadWill will also help its users by sending personalised SMS alerts to help them stick to the programme.
viii. TreadWill uses simple forms like thought record worksheet, core belief worksheet and games to practice the techniques of CBT.
ix. TreadWill users can use support groups to share their experiences and to receive support from other users.
x. Smaller groups of users named Peer Groups have been created as private spaces. There users can follow each other’s progress. It will also help users to form bonds.
xi. In future, TreadWill will also cater to different language users and offer training for other disorders like autism spectrum disorder.
xii. Users have to go through 6 modules in a period of 6 weeks. These modules will teach various skills of CBT.
xiii. The users can finish these modules sitting at their respective places. The user’s mood will be assessed at various stages to analyze usefulness of the programme.
xiv. Just 90 days after finishing the program, the research team would send a mail to users to check the long-term effectiveness of the programme.
Some important bird sanctuaries in India:
♦ Nagi Dam Bird Sanctuary – Bihar
♦ Nakti Dam Bird Sanctuary – Bihar
♦ Bhimband Wildlife Sanctuary – Bihar


Rafael Nadal remains at the top of the ATP tennis world rankings
Rafael Nadal remains in the top position of the ATP tennis world rankings as per standings on 23rd July 2018.
SPORTS Rafael Nadal remains at the top of the ATP tennis world rankingsATP tennis world rankings:
i. Rafael Nadal is 32 years old. He is a 17 time Grand Slam winner.
ii. ATP standings on 23rd July 2018:

  • 1 – Rafael Nadal (ESP) with 9,310 points
  • 2 – Roger Federer (SUI) with 7,080 points
  • 3 – Alexander Zverev (GER) with 5,665 points
  • 4 – Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) with 5,395 points
  • 5 – Kevin Anderson (RSA) with 4,655 points
  • 6 – Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) with 4,610 points
  • 7 – Marin Cilic (CRO) with 3,905 points
  • 8 – Dominic Thiem (AUT) with 3,665 points
  • 9 – John Isner (USA) with 3,490 points
  • 10 – Novak Djokovic (SRB) with 3,355 points

Some important temples in India:
♦ Padmanabhaswamy Temple – Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
♦ Kashi Vishwanath Temple – Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
♦ Kedarnath Temple – Kedarnath, Uttarakhand

Lewis Hamilton won German Grand Prix 2018
On 22nd July 2018, Lewis Hamilton won the German Grand Prix 2018 held at Hockenheimring track in Germany.
Lewis Hamilton won German Grand Prix 2018German Grand Prix 2018:
i. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton secured the first position in the German Grand Prix 2018. He was followed by Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes in the second position.
ii. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen secured the third position. The first part of the F1 season ends in Hungary next weekend.
Some important stadiums in India:
♦ Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Cricket Stadium – Chhattisgarh
♦ International Hockey Stadium – Chhattisgarh