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Current Affairs Today September 11 2018

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Current Affairs Today September 11 2018


Model International Center for Transformative AI (ICTAI) set up by NITI Aayog, Intel and TIFR
On September 11, 2018, NITI Aayog, Intel and TIFR collaborated to set up a Model International Center for Transformative AI (ICTAI) in Bengaluru.

Model International Center for Transformative AI (ICTAI) set up by NITI Aayogi. It is a part of NITI Aayog’s plan on ‘National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence’.
To develop and deploy AI-led application-based research projects.
Key Points:
i. In the collaboration:

  • NITI Aayog will contribute its vision of ‘AI for All’ initiative.
  • Intel will contribute in human centric AI problem solving.
  • TIFR will help in applied research and technology development.

About ICTAI:
i. It would conduct advanced research to produce AI-led solutions in three important areas – healthcare, agriculture and smart mobility.
ii. It would work on the following domains of ICTAI:
Governance, fundamental research, physical infrastructure, compute and service infrastructure needs, and talent acquisition.
iii. This would in turn help in building policies and standards related to information technology such as data-storage, information security, privacy, and ethics for data capture and use.
iv. Another key area of focus is collaboration with industries and startups to produce more AI based technologies and increase skilled talent.
v. The learning and best practices developed through this model ICTAI will be used by NITI Aayog to set up the future ICTAIs across country.
NITI Aayog:
♦ Chairman: Narendra Modi.
♦ CEO: Amitabh Kant.
♦ Headquarters: California, USA.
♦ CEO: Robert H. Swan.
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR):
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.

Piyush Goyal launches ‘Rail Sahyog’ for collaboration through CSR
On September 11, 2018, the Minister of Railways and Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal launched a web portal called ‘Rail Sahyog’ to rope in corporate collaborations.

Piyush Goyal launches 'Rail Sahyog' for collaboration through CSRObjective:
To enable Corporates and PSUs to contribute to upgradation through Corporate Social Responsibility funds.
Key Points:
i. The Webportal is :
ii. This has been made for the Indian Railway stations for upgrading its infrastructure, technology, hygiene among other things.
iii. Corporates and PSUs willing to contribute can register themselves in the portal.
iv. The shortlisted applicants would deposit their funds with Railways/nominated agencies like RITES/RAILTEL etc.
v. Projects to be funded under this are:

  • Construction of toiletsin circulating areas for an approximate Cost per station: Rs. 22-30 Lakh,
  • Providing free Wi-Fi at stationswith approximate cost per station: Rs. 10.30 lakhs to Rs 12.30 lakhs,
  • Provision of Benches at station Platformsas facility for senior citizens/disabled. With an approximate cost per set: Rs. 17500 to Rs. 47500,
  • Bottle crushing machinesat 2175 major stations at Rs. 3.5 lakhs to Rs. 4.5 Lakhs per machine,
  • Dustbinsat all stations for Swachh Bharat at an approximate cost per set (two dustbins) : Rs. 4500.

Indian Railways:
♦ Minister of State for Railways: Manoj Sinha, Rajen Gohain.
♦ Chairman of Railway Board: Shri Ashwani Lohani.

Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana to cover Child Cancer Treatment: NITI Aayog
On September 11, 2018, NITI Aayog announced that Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana will cover treatment of childhood cancer.
i. It was announced by NITI Aayog member Vinod Kumar Paul.

India launches new digital bridge with Africa through e-VidyaBharati and e-ArogyaBharati Network Project
On 10th September 2018, External Affairs Ministry signed an agreement with the Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd. (TCIL) in New Delhi, to set up a pan-African e-network between India and Africa.
e-VidyaBharati and e-ArogyaBharati Network Project:
i. The project is named e-VidyaBharati and e-ArogyaBharati Network Project. It will serve as a digital bridge between India and Africa and promote capacity building in education and health services.
ii. This e-network aims to offer quality tele-education and tele-medicine facility by connecting select Indian Universities, Institutions and Super Specialty Hospitals to African educational institutions and hospitals.
iii. Earlier, this project was operated on satellite-based technology and covered 48 African countries. Now, it has been decided to set up two separate web-based portals for tele-education and tele-medicine through e-VidyaBharati and e-ArogyaBharati Network Project.
About Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd. (TCIL):
♦ Chairman and Managing Director – A.Seshagiri Rao
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi

Two Day Regional Conference on Good Governance with Focus on Aspirational Districts held in Bhopal
On September 10-11, 2018, 2 day Regional Conference on Good Governance with Focus on Aspirational Districts was held in Bhopal.
To create a common platform to implement Best Practices in Citizen Centric Governance
Key Points:
i. It was organized by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DAR&PG), Government of India and Government of Madhya Pradesh.
ii. Delegates from 12 States and 2 UTs participated in the conference.
iii. It consisted of  5 Technical sessions in the 2-day conference.
iv. The themes of the sessions included: ICT Enabled Education, Agriculture, Public Service and Grievance Management and Good Governance initiatives.
v. Session on Citizen centric Services was also made.

Nagpur celebrated Marbat festival
On September 11, 2018, Marbat festival was celebrated in Nagpur, Maharashtra.
i. It comprises burning of effigies that represent evil forces called ‘Marbats’ of Kali (black) and Pivli (Yellow) .
ii. It is a 150-year old festival and is celebrated only in Nagpur.

Haryana Assembly passes two Bills to rename universities
On September 11, 2018, the Haryana Assembly passed two Bills.
i. They were :  YMCA University of Science and Technology, Faridabad (Amendment) Bills, 2018 and the Haryana Vishwakarma Skill University (Amendment) Bills, 2018.
ii. The first bill renamed YMCA University to the JC Bose University of Science and Technology, YMCA, Faridabad.
iii. The second bill renamed Haryana Vishwakarma Skill University to Shri Vishwakarma Skill University, Haryana.

181:  helpline for women in distress launched by Goa government
On September 11, 2018, the Women and Child Development ministry of Goa launched a helpline service for women in distress in the state.
i. The helpline number is : 181 and will be operated by GVK-EMRI along with the ministry.
ii. It would provide counselling, guidance, information, as well as deal with cases of domestic violence.
iii. It will help in solving crimes against women more efficiently.
Other News:
i. The government also partnered with Gomantak Lokseva Trust Mahilashram, Assagao, where rescued women would be given asylum.
ii. The Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation (GSIC) has invested Rs. 8 crore for the construction of a centralised location at Merces for the North Goa and South Goa child welfare committees and the ministry of woman and child development.
♦ Director of Women and Child Development: Deepak Dessai.
♦ Chief Minister: Manohar Parrikar.
♦ Governor: Mridula Sinha.
♦ Lakes: Carambolim Lake, Mayem Lake, Sarzora Lake.
♦ National Parks/Bird and Wildlife Sanctuaries: Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary.

Ethanol plant: Haryana Government inks MoU with IOC to stop straw burning.
On September 11, 2018, the Haryana government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL) to set up an ethanol plant at village Bohali in Panipat.

Nagpur celebrated Marbat festivali. The Mou was signed by:

  • Dusmanta K Behera, Director, Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Department of Haryana, and
  • Sanjay Kumar Srivastav, Chief General Manager, Alternate Energy and Sustainable Development, IOC Ltd.

ii. It would be valid for a period of one year.
iii. The project would have a cost of over Rs 900 crore.
iv. It would have a capacity of 100 kilolitres of ethanol per day which will prevent straw burning and manage crop residue.
v. Raw fuel to the plant would be provided by 10 cooperative and three private sugar mills in Haryana.
♦ Capital: Chandigarh.
♦ Chief Minister:  Manohar Lal Khattar.
♦ Governor: Satyadev Narayan Arya
♦ National Parks: Sultanpur National Park, Kalesar National Park.
♦ Gurugram: Millennium city of India,
♦ Bhiwani: Mini Cuba.


Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu’s visit US to participate in 2nd World Hindu Congress
On September 7, 2018, the Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu went for a 2 day visit to United States of America to attend the 2nd  World Hindu Congress held in Illinois, Chicago.

Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu’s visit US to participate in 2nd World Hindu Congressi. This has been organized on the occasion of 125th Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s Historic Speech at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1893.
i. On September 8, 2018,  the VP participated in a programme organized by the 14 Telugu Associations of the US at the Community Christian Church, Plainfield of Greater Chicago.
ii. On September 9, 2018, the Vice President met the Organizers of World Hindu Congress and participated in the 2nd World Hindu Congress 2018.
He also addressed the Indian Diaspora in the US.
About the The World Hindu Congress:
i. The objective of the World Hindu Congress is connect, share ideas, inspire one another, and impact the common good.  
ii. It is held once every four years and has seven parallel conferences.
iii. The 2018 WHC was organized by the World Hindu Foundation (WHF).
iv. The theme of the WHC 2018 was: Sumantrite Suvikrante – THINK COLLECTIVELY, ACHIEVE VALIANTLY.
v. WHC Guiding Philosophy was :Yato Dharmas tato Jaya — Where there is Dharma, there is victory.
Addressal of Indian Community at the WHC:
The VP addressed the Indian community shared his opinions on:

  • Preserving the true values of Hinduism,
  • Tolerance and acceptance.

♦ Capital: Washington DC.
♦ Currency: US Dollar.
♦ President: Donald Trump.

Iraq pipped Saudi Arabia as top oil supplier to India in August 2018: Reuters
On September 11, 2018, according to ReutersIraq has replaced Saudi Arabia as India’s largest oil supplier in August 2018.
i. Iran remained the third biggest oil supplier to India in August, 2018.
ii. Overall India’s monthly oil imports in August rose 3.1 per cent.
iii. The US will reimpose sanctions on Iran following its decision in May to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal.

India, Bangladesh jointly inaugurate three projects
On 10th September 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal and Biplab Kumar Deb, Chief Minister of Tripura, jointly inaugurated 3 projects in Bangladesh through video conferencing.

India, Bangladesh jointly inaugurate three projectsKey Points:
i. The 3 projects are:

  • Supply of 500 MW additional power supply from India to Bangladesh through Baharampur (West Bengal) – Bheramara (Bangladesh) interconnection: In 2015, it was decided to supply an additional 500 MW power to Bangladesh. With this, a total of 1.16 Gigawatts of power is now supplied from India to Bangladesh.
  • Construction work of the Bangladesh part of Akhaura-Agartala railway link
  • Rehabilitation of the Kulaura-Shahbazpur section of Bangladesh Railways

About Bangladesh:
♦ Capital – Dhaka
♦ Currency – Taka
♦ Official language – Bengali
♦ President – Abdul Hamid
♦ Prime Minister – Sheikh Hasina

Nomadic Elephant 2018: 13th  India, Mongolia joint exercise held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
On September 10, 2018, the 12-day long 13th Indo-Mongolia annual, bilateral joint exercise Nomadic Elephant-2018 commenced at Mongolian Armed Forces (MAF) Five Hills Training Area, Ullanbaatar, Mongolia.

Nomadic Elephant 2018: 13th  India, Mongolia joint exercise held in Ulaanbaatar, MongoliaObjective:
To strengthen the partnership between Indian Army and Mongolian Armed Forces.
Key Points:
i. The Focus of the exercise would be in joint counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations in rural and urban scenario under United Nations mandate.
ii. The Indian contingent comprises of 17 PUNJAB Regimen while the Mongolian contingent is represented by Unit 084 of the Mongolian Armed Forces.
Nomadic Elephant exercise:
♦ Commencement year: 2006.
♦ Capital: Ullanbaatar.
♦ Currency: Mongolian togrog.
♦ President: Khaltmaagiin Battulga

Vostok 2018- the largest exercise in four decades held in Russia
On September 11, 2018, the 5day Vostok 2018 commenced in central and eastern Russia.

Vostok 2018- the largest exercise in four decades held in Russiai. It is the dubbed as the largest military drills in almost four decades since Zapad held by the Soviet Union in 1981.
ii. It will involve nearly 300,000 troops, more than 1,000 planes, helicopters and drones, and up to 36,000 tanks and 80 ships.
iii. It would also include contingents from China and Mongolia.
♦ Capital: Moscow.
♦ Currency: Russian Ruble.
♦ President: Vladmir Putin.
♦ India and Russia Military exercise name: INDRA.


ICRA downgraded loan, debenture rating of IL&FS to ‘default Risk’ of BB and A4
On September 9, 2018, Rating agency ICRA downgraded loan and debentures of infrastructure financing firm Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services to ‘default risk’ .
i. This was done due to liquidity pressure on the group owing to sizeable repayment obligations.
ii. Also the long-term rating of IL&FS’ Rs 5,225 crore non-convertible debenture programme and the Rs 350 crore term loans has been cut to ‘BB’ from ‘AA+’.
iii. The short-term rating for the Rs.4000 & Rs 2,500 crore commercial paper programme has been lowered to ‘A4’ from ‘A1+’.
iv. ’BB’ stands for moderate risk of default and ‘A4’ stands for high credit risk.
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.
♦ CEO: Arun K. Saha.
♦ CEO: Naresh Takkar.
♦ Non-Executive Chairman: Arun Duggal.
♦ Headquarters: India.

SEBI panel headed by HR Khan proposed relaxing of rules for investment in FPIs by NRIs
On September 11, 2018, SEBI to relax foreign fund rules initiated a public consultation process for finalising the new guidelines on KYC and beneficial owner identification.
i. This was done on the recommendation of a panel headed by former RBI Deputy (rpt) Deputy Governor H R Khan.
ii. According to the recommendations:

  • NRIs, OCIs (Overseas Citizens of India) and RIs (Resident Indians) to be allowed to hold non-controlling stake in FPIs
  • No restrictions should be imposed to manage non-investing FPIs or Sebi-registered offshore funds,
  • Single and aggregate NRI/OCI/RI holding 25% and 50%(respectively) of the assets under management in the FPI can be the constituents of the FPI,
  • PIOs (Persons of Indian Origin) should not be subjected to any restrictions,
  • Abolition of additional KYC documentation requirements for beneficial owners (BOs) in case of government-related (Category 1) FPIs.
  • Entity can be considered “foreign government agency’only if more than 75 per cent ownership entitlement and control is held by the government of a foreign country

iii. FPIs will be given 6 months to comply to new rules and non-compliant investors can be given further 180 days to stop their operations.
In April 2018, SEBI proposed new norms on KYC and beneficial owner identification, the deadline for which was extended later by two months till December 2018.
The proposed move was aimed at checking any possible re-routing of funds of Indians an NRIs through overseas locations such as Mauritius, Singapore and Dubai. Click here to read more
♦ Chairman: Shri Ajay Tyagi.
♦ Founded: 12 April 1992.
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.


Rs 9785 crore approved by NTPC for investment in 1,320 MW expansion at Talcher plant in Odisha
On September 11, 2018, NTPC’s board has approved an investment of Rs 9,785 crore for the 1,320 MW Stage-III expansion of its Talcher plant in Angul district of Odisha.
i. Presently, the plant has four units of 60 MW and two units of 110 MW and the expansion will include 2×660 MW.
ii. It is a part of NTPC’s vision of being 130 GW company by 2032.
iii. The Talcher plant, one of the oldest and top performing power stations in the country.
iv. Other projects totalling to 20,000 MW capacity across the country are underway.
The NTPC Group has total capacity of 53,651 MW from:

  • 21 coal-based,
  • 7 gas-based,
  • 11 solar PV,
  • one hydro,
  • one small hydro,
  • one wind and
  • nine subsidiaries / joint venture power stations.

♦ Chairman & MD: Shri Gurdeep Singh.
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi.

Apsara – U Reactor Becomes Operational at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Trombay
On 10th September 2018, Apsara- U (upgraded) reactor became operational at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), at Trombay, in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Apsara – U Reactor:
i. Apsara, the first research reactor in Asia, became operational in BARC, Trombay, in August 1956. It was shut down in 2009, after more than 50 years of service.
ii. Apsara- U (upgraded) reactor is a swimming pool type research reactor, with higher capacity.
iii. It has been developed indigenously. It uses plate type dispersion fuel elements made of Low Enriched Uranium (LEU).
iv. Since it has higher neutron flux, it will increase indigenous production of radio-isotopes for medical application by nearly 50 %.
v. It will be used for research in nuclear physics, material science and radiation shielding.
About Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC):
♦ Director – Mr. K. N. Vyas
♦ Headquarters‎ – ‎Trombay, Mumbai, Maharashtra


WiFi Leadership Awards 2018 announced in My India WiFi India Summit & Awards 2018
On September 11, 2018, My India WiFi India Summit & Awards 2018 announced its winners of 2018 on various categories in New Delhi.

WiFi Leadership Awards 2018 announced in My India WiFi India Summit & Awards 2018About the Summit and Award event:
i. This event was organized by DigiAnalysys in New Delhi.
ii. It was themed as: “Achieving 10 million WiFi Hotspots by 2018″ .
iii. It aimed at planning progressive strategy and technology roadmap for growth of WiFi eco-system in India.
iv. The summit spread across five sessions. They were :

  • Achieving 10 million WiFi hotspots by 2018;
  • Public WiFi Hotspots in Rural: Opportunities and Challenges;
  • Public WiFi Hotspots in Urban: Opportunities and Challenges;
  • Enterprise WiFi Hotspots: Exploring Monetisation and Enhancing Custom Experience; and
  • An E-SIM/In-flight Connectivity/WiFi on the Move: Connecting the Dots.

v. Additonally, a White Paper On WiFi Liberalisation jointly compiled by Broadband India Forum (BIF) and DigiAnalysys was released
Analysis as per DigiAnalysys:
According to the study of the organization:

  • 100,000 WiFi hotspots has been set up in India.
  • 6.5 – 7 million WiFi hotspots needs to be deployed.

About the 2nd  WiFi Leadership Awards 2018:

  • Best WiFi Project led by Woman – Ms. Sushma Mishra, BSNL.
  • Best IoT Solution – Kamakshi Clouds
  • Most Promising WiFi Brand – UTStarcom India Telecom
  • Best Home WiFi Product – D-Link (India)
  • Best WiFi Service Provider (East) – BSNL
  • Best WiFi Service Provider (West) – ONE OTT iNTERTAINMENT INDIA
  • Best WiFi Service Provider (South) – BSNL
  • Best WiFi Service Provider (North) – BSNL
  • Best WiFi Service Provider – BSNL.
  • Best WiFi Startup – Kirat Communications. (NewsVoir)

♦  Headquarters: New Delhi.
♦ Incorporated: 2016.
♦ Editor & Director: Pravin Prashant.


Societe Generale appoints Sunil Shah as CEO of India, Romania units
On 6th September 2018, Societe Generale, a French financial services company, appointed Sunil Shah as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Societe Generale’s solution centres: Societe Generale Global Solution Centre (India) and Societe Generale European Business Services (Romania).
i. Sunil Shah will be based in Bangalore. He will report to Christophe Leblanc, Group Head of Corporate Resources and Innovation. Earlier, he had worked with Fidelity Investments and led the asset management IT team.


Apollo Global Management buys JP Morgan’s India realty platform
Apollo Global Management, alternative asset managers, has acquired JP Morgan’s real estate fund management platform in India.
Key Points:
i. JP Morgan’s real estate fund management platform consists of 2 funds of vintage 2007 and 2014 with aggregate assets under management of about $300 million.
ii. These funds have 14 investments in 6 cities and 10 joint venture partners. After this acquisition, some JP Morgan’s members handling real estate fund management platform in India will be integrated into Apollo Global’s on-ground team.
iii. The newly formed joint platform will be headed by Nipun Sahni, who heads Apollo Global’s India real estate business.
iv. This deal is claimed to be the largest transfer of a fund manager in the Indian real estate industry.
About Apollo Global Management:
♦ Founded – 1990
♦ Founder Chairman & CEO – Leon Black


Triple jumper Arpinder Singh becomes first Indian to win medal in IAAF Continental Cup
On 9th September 2018, triple jumper Arpinder Singh became the first Indian to win a medal at the IAAF Continental Cup, by winning bronze medal, at Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Triple jumper Arpinder Singh becomes first Indian to win medal in IAAF Continental CupKey Points:
i. Arpinder Singh, who is a 25-year-old triple jumper, represented the Asia-Pacific team in the IAAF Continental Cup 2018.
ii. He won bronze medal in the men’s triple jump event with a jump of 16.59m. Reigning Olympic and world champion Christian Taylor of the United States, won gold medal with a jump of 17.59 m.
iii. This is the first time an Indian has won a medal in the Continental Cup which was known as the IAAF World Cup before 2010.
iv. In men’s javelin throw, reigning Commonwealth Games and Asian Games champion Neeraj Chopra from India, finished in 6th position.
About IAAF Continental Cup 2018:
♦ Dates – 8–9 September 2018
♦ Location – Ostrava, Czech Republic
♦ Type – international track and field sporting event


Noted writer Dr Rita Jitendra Passed Away
On 10th September 2018, writer Dr Rita Jitendra passed away due to cardiac arrest in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir.
i. Dr Rita Jitendra was a leading educationist, renowned artist, writer and social activist.
ii. She was former secretary of Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages.


Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh releases a profile booklet titled ‘NCDC- Assisting Cooperative. Always!’
On 11th September 2018, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Radha Mohan Singh released a booklet titled ‘NCDC-Assisting Cooperatives. Always!’ in New Delhi.

Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh releases a profile booklet titled ‘NCDC- Assisting Cooperative. Always!’i. The booklet highlighted the role and activities assisted by National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC).