Current Affairs Today May 31 2018

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 INDIAN AFFAIRS

A one day workshop of ‘Mission Raftar’ aimed at raising the average speed of freight trains and coaching trains organized by the Railway Ministry
On May 30,2018 , The Ministry of Railways organized a one day workshop called ‘Mission Raftar’  in New Delhi.

A one day workshop of ‘Mission Raftar’ aimed at raising the average speed of freight trains and coaching trains organized by the Railway MinistryThe workshop was inaugurated by Shri Rajen Gohain, Minister of State for Railways & Shri Ashwani Lohani, Chairman,Railway Board. All the members of Railway Board along with General Managers of Zonal Railways & Senior Railway officers were present on the occasion.
Objective:
To raising the average speed of freight trains and coaching trains.
Salient Features:
i. It aimed at brainstorming ideas about speed of freight trains and passenger trains.
ii. It also aimed at deriving solutions to various problems related to punctuality , rolling stock, traffic, elimination of unmanned railway crossings.
iii. The demand for coal has risen as a result of less imports so there has been an increase in coal loading for power plants and Coal India Limited has been giving enough supply for the purpose.
iv. The workshop aims to address the future needs of the Indian railways. Prioritizing passenger safety has been important as well.
v. Its main target is doubling the speed of freight trains and increase the speed of coaching trains by 25kmph.
vi. Special actions has to be taken for the challenges faced by the golden quadrilateral( Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Howrah, Howrah-Chennai, Chennai-Mumbai, Howrah-Mumbai).

Andhra Pradesh gets its state symbols after 4 years of bifurcation
On May 30,2018, after 4 years of  bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana, the state of Andhra Pradesh gets its own symbol. This was announced by the Principle Secretary of Environment Forests G . Anantha Ramu.

Andhra Pradesh gets its state symbols after 4 years of bifurcationKey points:
i. Neem and Black Buck have been declared as  the state tree and the state animal respectively.
ii. Rose-ringed Parakeet will be the State Bird.
iii. Jasmine will be the state flower .
Andhra Pradesh:
♦ Capital – Amravati
♦ Chief Minister – NChandrababu Naidu.
♦ National Parks – Nagarjuna Tiger Reserve, Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary, Mrugavani National Park.

First ever guidelines by government on Adventure Tourism launched by Tourism Ministry
On May 31,2018, the Minister of State (I/C) of Tourism  Mr. K.J. Alphons launched the first ever guidelines on Adventure Tourism in New Delhi.

First ever guidelines by government on Adventure Tourism launched by Tourism MinistryObjective:
To Make adventure tourism safer.
Salient Features:
i. These are the minimum guideline for adventure activities in India.
ii. These guideline cover air, water and land sports including trekking, bungee jumping , mountaineering, paragliding, kayaking , scuba diving, river rafting etc.
iii. The guidelines of safety and Quality norms for Adventure Tourisms in India has been made by  Adventure Tour Operators Association of Inidia (ATOAI).
iv. With a strong and safety management in place tourism will increase and it will help in the economic growth.

e-PDS app for ration card holders launched by Himachal Food, Civil supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCC) department
On May 31,2018, The Food , civil supplies and Consumer Affairs department of Himachal Pradesh has launched an app for ration card holders.
Key Points:
i. The name of the app is ePDS (electronic public distribution system )
ii. The beneficiaries will get the ration card in the digital form in the app and can use them for transactions in the ration shops.
iii. The best quality of rice, wheat has been purchased from  the government agencies and has saved Rs. 22 crore in 5 months. By year end the savings will be Rs. 100 crore.
iv. The HP government has started Himachal Grihni Suvidha Yojna which will provide 1 lakh women with gas cylinders and stoves free of cost. In the first stage it will be given to 33600 women.
Himachal Pradesh:
♦ Chief Minister : Jai Ram Thakur
♦ Capital: Shimla
♦ UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Great Himalayan National Park.

Haryana cabinet gives nod for  ordinance for grant of salary to chief whip
On May 31,2018, The Cabinet of Haryana approved the ordinance to grant salary and allownace to the Chief whip.
Key points:
i. This was done by amending the Haryana Legislative Assembly ( Salary, Allowances and Pension Members ) Act, 1975.
ii. This amendments were done in many other state legislatures like : Delhi, Jharkhand , Kerela , Karnataka , Rajasthan.
iii. The tenure of head of department in Haryana was made to a maximum of three years.
iv. Some officials will be given extensions beyond their retirement age especially for departments pertaining to law and order, regulatory work, work of administrative importance, infrastructure development and basic public service.

The First biannual IAF Commanders’ Conference 2018 commenced at the Air Headquarters.
On May 31,2018, the first biannual IAF Commander’s conference of 2018 was held by Defence Minister M/s Nirmala Sitharaman at Air headquarters (Vayu Bhawan) in New Delhi.
The First biannual IAF Commanders' Conference 2018 commenced at the Air Headquarters.Objective:
To discuss the contribution of the IAF towards indigenization to propagate the governments ‘Make in India’ campaign.
Salient Features:
i. Briefing of the exercise of ‘Gagan Shakti’ of the Indian Air Force along the conduced in April 2018.
ii. IAF to start absorption and production of high end aviation technology in India in the next 15 years.
iii. Addressing the key role played by the IAF in national building of the regional connectivity (UDAN scheme ) as it has opened several of its airfields for civil aircraft operations .
About Gagan Shakti:
It was a landmark exercise of IAF and the biggest in recent times. It was held along the borders of Pakistan-China in April 2018. It witnessed Air-to-Ground delivery by IAF fighters and helicopters, operation from ALGs, accelerated fighter operations and Garud Assault Drill.

Financial Assistance of Rs. Five Lakh given to Manipuri Fencer Kh. Kalambia Chanu For Medical Treatment by Sports Minister.
On May 31,2018, Union Minister for Sports Mr. Rajvardhan Singh Rathore granted a financial assiatnce of Rs. 5 Lakh to Manipuri Fencer Ms. Kh. Kalambia Chanu .
i. It was given for her medical expenses from the Pandit DeenDayal Upadhyay National WelfareFund for Sportsperson (PDUNWFS).
ii. Ms . Chanu is suffering from multiple sclerosis and could’nt  continue her sports and is living in indegent conditions.

34th meeting of the Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee approves sanction of 1.5 lakh new houses under PMAY(U) in various states
On May 31,2018, the 34th meeting of the Central Sanctioning and Monitoring took place in New Delhi. In this meeting the approval for construction of new 1.5 lakh affordable houses took place .
Key points:
i. The beneficiaries of new and affordable houses will be urban poor and is taken under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (Urban).
ii. It has an investment of Rs.7227 crore with central assistance of Rs. 2209 crore.
iii. With the inclusion of new 1.5 lakh the total number of houses under PMAY(U) is 47,52,751 houses.
Following table gives  the detailed roadmap of the approval:

StateNo. of Houses sanctionedAcross no. of cities in the stateTotal outlay in (Rs.) croreCentral assistance (Rs.)  in crore
Andhra Pradesh56512223184848
Uttar Pradesh23060110870346
Madhya Pradesh1792032730269
Jharkhand14526261075209
Maharashtra1350615643201
Chhattisgarh761561234114
Rajasthan65763028599
Odisha48492014673
Punjab1909487128
Assam152063923

Roll out of e-Way Bill system for intra-State movement of goods in Chhattisgarh, Goa, Jammu & Kashmir, Mizoram, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal
Chhattisgarh, Goa, Jammu & Kashmir, Mizoram, Odisha and Punjab are implementing e-way bill system for intra-state movement of goods from 1st June 2018.
e-Way Bill system for intra-State movement of goods:
i. Tamil Nadu will implement e-Way Bill system for intra-State movement of goods on 2nd June 2018 and West Bengal on 3rd June 2018.
ii. The e-Way Bill system for inter-State movement of goods was launched from 1st April 2018.
iii. It is said that, the e-Way Bill system for intra-State movement of goods will be implemented all over India latest by 3rd June 2018.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

RIMPAC 2018 exercise commences from June 27 to Aug 2 ;India among 26 participant countries
On May 31,2018, a group of 26 countries including India will participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) military exercise from June 27 2018 to August 2 2018 in and around the Hawaiian islands and Southern California .
Key points of the RIMPAC exercise :
i. It is known as the world’s largest international maritime exercise .
ii. This year would involve 47surface ships and submarines, 18 national land forces and more than 200 aircraft and 25000 personnel.
iii. China has been disinvited and won’t join the exercise.
iv. For the first time 4 new countries are participating in RIMPAC . they are : Brazil, Israel , Sri Lanka, Vietnam.
v. Additionally New Zealand will be the sea combat commander for the first time and Chile (a non founding RIMPAC nation ) will be the component commander for the first time.
vi. Other countries participating are : Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, South Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, and the United Kingdom.
vii. The Theme of 2018 RIMPAC is ‘Capable, Adaptive, Partners’ .
viii. This year for the first time there will be live firing from a land – based unit by the US army : the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) by US and surface to ship missiles by Japan ground Self defence force .
ix. RIMPAC 18 will have international band engagements and fleet innovation in the Innovation Fair.
x. The exercise will be hosted by the Commander US 3rd fleet Vice Adm John D. Alexander .

BANKING & FINANCE

USD 500 Mn additional financing assistance given to the Indian govt by World Bank for PMGSY Rural Roads Project
On May 31,2018, Indian Government has signed a loan agreement with the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) an arm of World Bank , of $500 million.

USD 500 Mn additional financing assistance given to the Indian govt by World Bank for PMGSY Rural Roads ProjectKey points:
i. This loan has a grace period of 3 years and a maturity period of 10 years.
ii. The loan agreement for the project was signed by Sameer Kumar Khare, joint secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the government of India and Junaid Ahmad, country director, World Bank India, on behalf of the World Bank in the presence of Alka Upadhyaya, joint secretary (RC), Ministry of Rural Development.
iii. The financing would help in bringing new construction technology like green and low carbon design and climate resilient techniques.
iv. For adequate maintenance of  existing 4.6 million km of  road networks.
v. To built infrastructure to support rural economy and communities and households.
vi. Climate vulnerability assessment for identifying the critical locations affected by natural disasters , water logging, excessive erosion etc.
vii. To improve drainage system, innovative bridges to withstand earthquakes, use of bio-engineering methods , improved drainage for areas prone to landslides etc.
viii. The additional financing would help in giving employment opportunities for women in the construction and maintenance  thus filling the gender gap.
About Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY):
♦ It will built 7000kms of climate resilient roads out of which 3500 kms would be made with green technologies. World Bank has supported this scheme since its launch in 2004.
♦ So far World bank has invested $1.8billion in loans for North Indian states– Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan , Meghalaya, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh (mainly focusing on the economically backward side ).

ADB granted financial assistance of  $375 mn project for irrigation boost in Madhya Pradesh
On May 31,2018, Asian Development Bank approved $375 million loan in Madhya Pradesh.
Objective:
For a project to improve irrigation in Madhya Pradesh and help increase farmer’s income.
Salient Features:
i. The project will expand irrigation networks and system efficiency.
ii. The total cost of the project is $535.1 million and $160.71 million will be given by the government.
iii. The estimated time of completion of the project is September 2025.
iv. In the first stage , the Kundalia irrigation project will develop 125000 hectare of new , efficient, Climate resilient irrigation networks.
v. with this project the state will double the irrigated to 2 million hectares land by 2025.
vi. It will help farmers adopt micro-irrigation strategies and overall will help 838,000 people of 419 villages.
Madhya Pradesh:
♦ Capital – Bhopal
♦ Chief Minister –  Shivraj Singh Chouhan
♦ UNESCO World Heritage Site – Sanchi , Bhimbekta Rock Shelters, Khajuraho Group of Monuments.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

India’s GDP grows at robust 7.7% in Q4 of FY18, full year growth at 6.7%
On May 31,2018, The ministry of Statistics reported that India’s GDP grew at robust 7.7% in Q4 of financial year 2017-18.
Key points:
i. The full year growth is at 6.7%.
ii. It surpassed China’s trajectory of 8%.
iii. The ministry revised the October-December growth from earlier 7.2% to 7.0%.
iv. It can be forcasted that the growth is towards a 7.3% for annual growth.
v. This improvement can be due to improved manufacturing sector and GST.
vi. Manufacturing sector grew a9.1% from a 6.1% earlier .
vii. Inflation is projected to be 4.58 % in april above the RBI’s target of 4%.

M&M signs two MoUs with Maharashtra government for 1000 EVs
Mahindra & Mahindra has signed two MoUs with Maharashtra Government to advance its next phase of expansion in electric vehicles (EVs) and to achieve its goal to become completely electric ready.

M&M signs two MoUs with Maharashtra government for 1000 EVsKey Points:
These MoUs are in line with the Government’s initiative for rapid adoption of EVs for private and public (shared mobility).
First MoU:
i.As per the first MoU, Mahindra & Mahindra will work towards becoming fully electric ready by further investing in its Chakan plant for manufacture of EVs, e-motor, controller, battery pack and other electric vehicle components for multiple mobility applications associated with battery pack assembly of EVs.
ii.Mahindra & Mahindra will invest an additional Rs. 500 crore, as a part of this expansion plan.
Second MoU:
i. The second MoU focuses on exploring a strategic alliance to enable Mahindra & Mahindra to deploy EVs in major cities of Maharashtra.
ii. Mahindra & Mahindra and Maharashtra Government will work with fleet partners, taxi aggregators, logistics companies, etc to deploy 1,000 electric cars in the next one year.

Tata Motors signs a MoU with the Government of Maharashtra to promote e-mobility
The Tata Motors and Maharashtra Government have signed a MoU to deploy 1,000 Electric Vehicles across a range of passenger and commercial vehicles in Maharashtra.
Key Points:
i. Tata Power Ltd, a Tata Group company, will help Tata Motors to set up EV Charging Stations in Maharashtra.
ii. The MoU has come as part of the World Environment Day celebrations.
iii. On the occasion, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis flagged off five Tigor EVs at the Gateway of India.
iv. The five Tigor EVs were provided by Tata Motors to the EESL (Energy Efficiency Services Limited) as part of its tender for the initiative.
v. As part of the tender with EESL, Tata Motors has already manufactured 250 cars.
About Tata Group:
♦ Tata Power CEO & MD – Praveer Sinha
♦ Tata Motors CEO & MD – Guenter Butschek

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Visa risk security award for HDFC Bank
On May 31,2018, HDFC bank has been recognized with the Champion Security Award at the 14th Visa Asia Pacific Security Summit.
Key points:
i. The bank has won the award in the India & South Asia category and it is its second time winning it .
ii. The Champion Security awards were presented to

Australia/New Zealand:National Australia Bank Limited
Greater China:National Credit Card Centre, Taiwan
India & South Asia:HDFC Bank Limited
Japan:Mitsubishi UFJ NICOS CO., Ltd
South Korea:Lotte Card Company, Limited
Southeast Asia (2 awards):1.Krungthai Card Limited
2. Bank Mandiri
Best in Asia Pacific:United Overseas Bank (Singapore)

Vijay Goel confers FICCI Smart Policing Awards 2018
On 31st May 2018, Statistics and Pragramme Implementation Minister Vijay Goel presented FICCI Smart Policing Awards 2018 to police officials of central armed police force and states police, in New Delhi.
FICCI Smart Policing Awards 2018:
i.  This is the 3rd edition of the event. It was held on 30th and 31st May 2018. It is part of two-day conference on Homeland Security-Cyber Crime Management.
ii.The event aimed to display smart initiatives and best practices done by the police to tackle crimes in their corresponding areas.
iii. More than 200 entries were received in several categories like safety for child, women, elders, road, cyber-crime and community policing.
About FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry):
♦ President – Rashesh Shah
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi

SantokBaa Humanitarian Award to Kailash Satyarthi
On 29th May 2018, Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi was awarded with ‘Santokbaa Humanitarian Award’ by President Ram Nath Kovind for his contribution to the betterment of society, in Surat, Gujarat.

SantokBaa Humanitarian Award to Kailash SatyarthiKailash Satyarthi – SantokBaa Humanitarian Award:
i. Kailash Satyarhi dedicated the award to children. He gave the cash prize of Rs 1 crore to the Surakshit Bachpan fund, set up by the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Fund.
ii. The Surakshit Bachpan fund offers legal and medical assistance to child victims of sexual abuse.
iii. The award is instituted by Shree Ramkrishna Knowledge Foundaton (SRKKF). It is led by Govind Dholakia. The award consists of a trophy and prize money of Rs 1 crore.
Some important Wildlife sanctuaries in Gujarat:
♦ Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary
♦ Mitiyala Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary

Kendrick Lamar receives Pulitzer Prize
On 30th May 2018, American rapper Kendrick Lamar was presented the Pulitzer Prize in music for his 2017 album DAMN, at an event held in Columbia University, New York City, in United States.

Kendrick Lamar receives Pulitzer PrizeKendrick Lamar receives Pulitzer Prize:
i. The Pulitzer Prize is awarded for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States.
ii. Kendrick Lamar is the first non-classical or jazz musician to win the Pulitzer Prize. Music was included in the awards 75 years ago.
iii. Kendrick Lamar is 30 years old. DAMN was released in April 2017. He has received 11 Grammy Awards.
Some important temples in India:
♦ Iskcon Temple – Bengaluru, Karnataka
♦ Shani Shingnapur – Nevasa, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra
♦ Belur Math – Belur, Howrah, West Bengal

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

First 3D-printed human corneas
Scientists at Newcastle University have 3D printed human corneas for the first time.
First 3D-printed human corneas:
i. The researchers mixed stem cells from a healthy donor cornea with alginate, a gel made from seaweed, and collagen. This was done to develop a “bio-ink” solution to print.
ii. The bio-ink was 3D printed to form an artificial cornea. This work has been published in Experimental Eye Research.
iii. This work will help with the worldwide shortage of corneas for transplant. The 3D printed corneas produced at the University’s Institute of Genetic Medicine will be tested and could be brought to regular use in five years.
Some important international airports in India:
♦ Veer Savarkar International Airport – Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands
♦ Visakhapatnam International Airport – Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh
♦ Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport – Guwahati, Assam

ENVIRONMENT

World’s oldest lizard fossil discovered
Scientists have discovered world’s oldest lizard fossil, the fossil of a lizard-like creature named Megachirella wachtleri.
Megachirella wachtleri:
i. In the early 2000s the fossil of Megachirella wachtleri was found in Dolomites mountain range of Italy.
ii. Now researchers have found that the fossil is 240 million years old. It might give new information on the evolution of reptiles.
iii. These creatures might have lived among the first dinosaurs. The analysis has been published in the journal Nature.

OBITUARY

Maharashtra Agriculture Minister Pandurang Phundkar passes away
On 31st May 2018, Maharashtra Agriculture minister Pandurang Fundkar died after suffering from heart attack, in Somaiya Hospital, Mumbai.
Death of Pandurang Phundkar:
i. Pandurang Phundkar was 67 years old. He was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1989. He represented Akola till 1998.
ii. In 1978, he was elected to Maharashtra State Legislative Assembly from Changaon assembly seat for the first time.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World No Tobacco Day 2018 – 31 May
On 31st May 2018, World No Tobacco Day 2018 was observed all over the world.

World No Tobacco Day 2018 - 31 MayWorld No Tobacco Day:
i. When: In 1987, May 31 was declared as World No Tobacco Day by the member states of the World Health Organization (WHO).
ii. Why: This day is observed to highlight the health risks of tobacco consumption and to urge governments to take measures to reduce smoking and other tobacco use.
iii. The theme of World No Tobacco Day 2018 is: “Tobacco and heart disease.”
India among top 4 users of tobacco:
i. Tobacco is responsible for over 1 in 10 fatalities in the world. India is one among the top four users of tobacco. Nearly 11.2 % smokers in the world are Indians.
ii. A Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS-2) report states that India is the second largest consumer of tobacco products with 28.6 % of the population addicted to it.
About World Health Organization (WHO):
♦ Director-General – Tedros Adhanom
♦ Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland