Current Affairs Today May 23 2018

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Cabinet Approvals  On May 23, 2018
On May 23,2018, The Union Cabinet gave the following approvals:
i. Cabinet approves USOF scheme for provision of mobile services in Meghalaya under CTDP for North Eastern Region
ii. Cabinet approves provision of mobile connectivity in Left Wing Extremism Areas
iii. Cabinet approves waiver of Penal Interest on Government Loans advanced to Visakhapatnam Port Trust.
vi. Cabinet approves waiver of Penal Interest on Government Loans advanced to Paradip Port Trust.
v. Cabinet approves restructuring of balance sheet of Scooters India Limited, Lucknow…………………………………Click here to read more information

Cabinet Approvals with Foreign Countries :- May 23,2018
On May 23,2018, The Union Cabinet chaired by PM Narendra Modi approved the following MOUs with different countries:
i. Cabinet apprised of the MoU between India and Angola for promoting bilateral cooperation in the field of Electronics and Information Technology.
ii. Cabinet approves MoU signed between India and France in the field of Renewable Energy.
iii. Cabinet approves MoU between India and Denmark on Food Safety Cooperation.
iv. Cabinet approves between India and Morocco on India-Morocco cooperation in Renewable Energy.
v. Cabinet approves MoU between India and Singapore on Cooperation in the field of Personnel Management and Public Administration.
vi. Cabinet approves MoU between India and Turkey on trade in poppy seeds to ensure quick and transparent processing for import of poppy seeds from Turkey……………………………………………………………Click here to read more information.

Rajasthan launches ‘Nidaan’ software for disease monitoring
On May23,2018,Thegovernment of Rajasthan launched ‘Nidaan’ software for disease monitoring .This will monitor seasonal and non-communicable diseases and the trends of ailments found in specific areas. This was launched by Additional Chief Secretary (Medical and Health) Veenu Gupta.
i. NHM State Director Naveen Jain, Rajasthan Medical Services Corporation’s Managing Director M.P. Sharma, Commissioner (Public Health) V.K. Mathur and Director (AIDS) S.S. Chauhan were among those present in the launch ceremony.
Rajasthan launches ‘Nidaan’ software for disease monitoringObjective:
This will strengthen tele-medecine services in govt. hospitals and help formulate action plans for control of diseases.
Key points about ‘Nidaan’:
i. This will facilitate online entries of as many as 46 diseases and healthcare services available in the different institutions.
ii. Simultaneous monitoring of the programs will run under National Health Mission.
iii. The monitoring of activities of the District Early Intervention Centres will be done.
About National Health Mission:
National Health Mission (NHM) was launched by the government of India in 2013 subsuming the National Rural Health Mission and National Urban Health Mission. It was further extended in March 2018, to continue till March 2020. It has many initiatives like Janani Suraksha Yojana , Eradication of TB etc.

Maharashtra govt introduces new scheme to help landless labourers
Maharashtra Government has launched a new scheme to help the landless labourers from the Scheduled Castes to acquire agricultural land.
New scheme to help the landless labourers:
i. Now the landless labourers from the Scheduled Castes can purchase acres of rainfed agricultural land or two acres of irrigated land by paying only 5 % of the cost.
ii. The rest up to 8 lakh rupees will be borne by the Maharashtra government. This is a modified scheme.
iii. The previous Dadasaheb Gaikwad empowerment of scheduled caste landless labourers scheme was offering 50 % subsidy. It was not adequate and benefited only 5000 landless labourers from SCs in Maharashtra.

Smart Cities India 2018 Expo begins in New Delhi today
On 23rd May 2018, the 4th Smart Cities India 2018 expo began at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.
Smart Cities India 2018 Expo:
i.Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu, was the Chief Guest at the opening ceremony.
ii.CR Chaudhary, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, and Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare were the guests of honour.
iii.The Smart Cities India 2018 Expo is held for 3 days till 25th May 2018. It is co-organised by the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), the NASSCOM Center of Excellence – IoT and Exhibitions India Group.
iv.This event acts as a platform to make profitable business relationships, exchange ideas and improve know-how.
Some important stadiums in Delhi:
♦ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium
♦ Feroz Shah Kotla
♦ Dhyan Chand National Stadium

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India ranks 145th among 195 countries in terms of healthcare access: Lancet Study
On May 23,2018, According to a Lancet study called “The Global Burden of Disease “ India ranked 145 among 195 countries in terms of health care access. India performed poorly in tackling cases of tuberculosis, rheumatic heart diseases, Ischaemic heart diseases, stroke, testicular cancer, colon cancer and chronic kidney disease among others.
India ranks at 154, below Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, on healthcare index
Subnational inequalities were particularly pronounced in China and India, although high-income countries, including England and the US, also saw considerable local gaps in performance.
About the Performance:
i. In 2016, India’s healthcare access and quality scored at 41.2 (up from 24.7 in 1990).
ii. India has seen improvements in healthcare access and quality on the (healthcare access and quality) HAQ index hastened from 2000 to 2016, the gap between the country’s highest and lowest scores widened (23.4point difference in 1990, and 30.8-point difference in 2016).
iii. It said that Goa and Kerala had the highest scores in 2016, each exceeding 60 points, whereas Assam and Uttar Pradesh had the lowest, each below 40.
vi. India lags behind China (48), Sri Lanka (71), Bangladesh ( 133) and Bhutan (134) while its health index was better than those of Nepal (149), Pakistan (154) and Afghanistan (191).
v. The five countries with the highest levels of healthcare access and quality in 2016 were Iceland (97.1 points), Norway (96.6), the Netherlands (96.1), Luxembourg (96.0), and Finland and Australia (each with 95.9).
vi. The countries with the lowest scores were the Central African Republic (18.6), Somalia (19.0), Guinea-Bissau (23.4), Chad (25.4), and Afghanistan (25.9).
About the Study by Lancet:
♦ The study used an index to measure the quality and accessibility of healthcare, based on 32 causes of death which should be preventable with effective medical care.
♦ For the first time, the study also analysed healthcare access and quality between regions within seven countries: Brazil, China, England, India, Japan, Mexico, and the US.

BANKING & FINANCE

HDFC Bank to offer Digital Loans against mutual funds
On May 23,2018, HDFC bank launched Digital Loans against Mutual Funds. This is launched in partnership with transfer agaent CAMS.
Objective:
To reach out to customers in the tier 2 and 3 markets and bring them into the digital lending fold and reducing time for the availability of loan through mutual funds .
Salient Features :
i. Customers will be able to leverage their mutual fund portfolio to avail funds for any contingencies or emergencies without liquidating their investments or stopping their regular investment plans.
ii.  The bank has a tie-up with 10 mutual companies against whose policies loans will be given
iii.  The ticket size of the loans will range from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1 crore at an interest rate of 10.5 -11%.
vi.The bank has a mutual fund loan portfolio of Rs 10,000 crore.
About the Digital Loan offer:
Digital Loans against Mutual Fund is an industry first innovation and takes customer convenience, flexibility and access to greater heights. In emergencies, customers will not be forced to liquidate assets at less than optimal market conditions. They can instead design their own loan to tide over the cash crunch.
About HDFC:
♦ Founded – 1994
 CEO – Aditya Puri.
 Headquarters – Mumbai.
♦ TagLine – We understand your World.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

DAC Approves Measures to Simplify Defence Procurement Procedure
On May 23,2018, The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved measures to simplify defence procurement procedure. These amendments form part of the ongoing Business Process Re-engineering in Defence Capital procurements.
Objective:
In order to streamline defence procurement procedures and to reduce timelines to ensure timely delivery of equipment to the Armed forces.
Key Points
i. This measures will be incorporated in the DPP-16.
ii. The significant changes inter-alia include devolution of powers within the Ministry of Defence and the Service Headquarters.
iii. Concurrent running of the acquisition process instead of sequential stage clearance.
vi. Deletion of repetitive processes.
v. Aligning of various documents with revised financial guidelines.
DAC:
♦ Under the Ministry of Defence
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Chairman – Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

MoU signed between DEPwD and ALIMCO for the Financial year 2018-19
i. On May 23,2018, The Department of Empowerment of Person with Disabilities (DEPwD-Divyangjan Shashaktikaran Vibhag) and  Ministry of Social Justice & empowerment signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO) for the Financial Year 2018-19.
ii. The MoU was signed by Smt Shakuntala D. Gamlin, Secretary DEPwD & Shri D.R.Sarin, CMD ALIMCO. On this occasion, Dr. Prabodh Seth, Joint Secretary, DEPwD & Smt Dolly Chakraborty, Joint Secretary, DEPwD were also present.
Objective of the MOU:
It covers major developments to be achieved in this year for the Empowerment of Divyangjan of the country.
About the MOU:
DEPwD will act as a Nodal Agency for matters pertaining to Persons with Disabilities, including ensuring effecting closer coordination among different stakeholders in the disability sector.
About the DEPwD:
The Vision of the Department is to build an all-inclusive society, in which equal opportunities are provided for the growth and development of Persons with Disabilities so that they can lead productive, safe and dignified life.
About Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO):
i. ALIMCO is a “Not For Profit” Central Public Sector Undertaking working under the administrative control of Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment. Manufacturing various types of aids and appliances on mass scale to meet the requirements of PwDs including orthopedically, visual and hearing impaired etc.
ii. It has been serving on an average around two lakhs of disabled population every year and has supplied 42 lakhs of aids & appliances (approx.).

E-catering facility launched on 23 major stations of Western Railway
On May 23, 2018, Western Railway (WR) has launched E-catering facility on 23 major stations.
Objective:
Through e-catering service, a passenger can pick a food item from wide range of menu that is also hygienic.
Key Points of the facility:
i. The Passengers can order food of their choice from a wide range of restaurants and food chains while on the go.
ii. Vendors at stations such as Mumbai Central, Bandra Terminus, Andheri, Ahmedabad, Gandhidham, Surat, Nandurbar, Vasai Road, Maninagar, Mahesana, Palanpur, Anand, Bharuch, Vadodara, Rajkot, Dwarka, Vapi , Chittorgarh, Indore, Nimach, Ratlam, Ujjain and Nagda can easily deliver food to the passengers.
iii. Popular restaurants and food chains like Domino’s Pizza, Faasos, Havmor, Haldiram, Delhi Darbar, Comesum, McDonald’s, MFC etc. are e-catering associates of the WR.
About the E-Catering facility:
♦ The e-catering initiative was launched by the IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation), a subsidiary of the Indian Railways, in 2015, and was extended from time to time to cover more number of trains.
♦ Minister of Railways – Piyush Goyal.

Ministry of Railways and RCIL sign an MoU for 2018-19
On 22nd May 2018, Ministry of Railways and RailTel Corporation of India Limited (RCIL) signed a Memorandum of Uunderstanding (MoU).
Ministry of Railways and RCIL sign an MoU for 2018-19:
i. The MoU was signed by Railway Board Secretary, Ranjanesh Sahai and RCIL, Chairman and Managing Director, N. Kashinath.
ii.They fixed both financial and physical targets for 18-19 for several major Projects.
iii . According to the MoU, RCIL has projected revenue from operations of Rs. 1200 crore and other target related to CCTV and Wifi at Stations, development of Content on Demand (CoD) services on trains etc.
iv. RailTel Corporation of India Limited (RCIL) is a CPSE (Central Public Sector Enterprises). It functions under the Ministry of Railways.
v. RCIL is executing various Rail projects across India for doubling, New Line, Electrification, Workshops etc.

Ministry of Railways and MRVC sign an MoU for 2018-19
On 22nd May 2018, Ministry of Railways signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation Ltd (MRVC).
Ministry of Railways and MRVC sign an MoU for 2018-19:
i. The MoU was signed by Railway Board Secretary, Ranjanesh Sahai and Chairman and Managing Director of MRVC, R S Khurana.
ii. They fixed the targets for 18-19 for several major activities of suburban projects. According to targets under the MoU, MRVC will spend Rs. 1464 crore on completion of several suburban projects of capacity enhancement, safety up-gradation and passenger amenities.
iii. These projects will help in making the suburban commute of Mumbai people fast, safe and comfortable.
iv. Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation Ltd (MRVC) is a Joint venture of Ministry of Railways and the Government of Maharashtra.
v. It functions under the Ministry of Railways. It implements Rail projects on Mumbai suburban system under Mumbai Urban Transport Projects (MUTPs).

Ministry of Railways and IRCON sign an MoU for 2018-19
On 22nd May 2018, Ministry of Railways and Indian Railway Construction Company International Ltd (IRCON) signed an MoU.
Ministry of Railways and IRCON sign an MoU for 2018-19:
i. IRCON is a CPSE (Central Public Sector Enterprises) under the Ministry of Railways. It executes various Rail, Road & other construction sector projects in India and abroad.
ii. The MoU was signed by Railway Board Secretary, Ranjanesh Sahai and IRCON, Chairman and Managing Director, S.K. Chaudhary.
iii. They set both financial and physical targets for 18-19 for several major Projects.
iv. According to the MoU, IRCON has projected revenue from operations of Rs. 4200 crore and other targets for important National projects like USBRL project, Jogbani – Biratnagar Rail Link, Jainagar – Bijalpura, Shivpuri Guna and Bikaner – Phalodi Highway Project etc.

Election Commission will launch a multi-lingual mobile application to share evidence of malpractice
The Election Commission will launch a multi-lingual mobile application to enable people all over India to share evidence of malpractice by political parties, their candidates and activists, directly with the electoral body, prior to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
App to share evidence of malpractice by political parties:
i. Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat said that  a similar application, named Model Code of Conduct Violation Reporting App, was launched for the first time in Bengaluru ahead of the recent Karnataka Assembly elections.
ii. The application is a part of initiatives taken by the Election Commission to prevent abuse of money and muscle power.
iii. It enables sharing of photos and short audio and video clips from the spot itself. The app will also be made available before the upcoming Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
About Election Commission of India:
♦ Chief Election Commissioner – Om Prakash Rawat
♦ Election Commissioners – Sunil Arora, Ashok Lavasa

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Polish author Olga Tokarczuk wins Man Booker International prize
On 22nd May 2018, Polish author Olga Tokarczuk won the Man Booker International Prize for her novel “Flights”, at an event in in Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Polish author Olga Tokarczuk wins Man Booker International prizeOlga Tokarczuk – Man Booker International prize:
i.Olga Tokarczuk is 56 years old. She is a bestselling author from Poland.
ii.The novel Flight talks about travels in the 21st century and human anatomy. The prize amount is 50,000 British Pounds.
iii.This award is given to the best work of translated fiction from all over the world. The prize money is equally divided between the writer and the translator.
iv.Flights was translated by Jennifer Croft. It was published by Fitzcarraldo Editions.

BRICS forum presents award to late actress Sridevi
 On May 23,2018, BRICS forum awarded “BRICS Business Forum Leadership Award” for Lifetime Achievement to Late actress Sridevi.
i. Reena Marwah, sister of actor-producer Boney Kapoor, husband of late Sridevi, received the award and memento from Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Dr. Jitendra Singh and Larisa Zelentsova, President of the International Alliance of BRICS (Strategic Projects) and Representative in ECOSOC UN.
ii. She was earlier posthumously honoured with the ‘Best Actress’ award for her performance in her last movie ‘Mom’, at 65th National Film Awards held in New Delhi .
About Sridevi :
♦ In 2013 the Government of India awarded Sridevi the Padma Shri, the country’s fourth highest civilian accolade for her contributions to the entertainment industry .
♦ Sridevi was also voted ‘India’s Greatest Actress in 100 Years’ in a CNN-IBN national poll conducted in 2013 on the occasion of the centenary of Indian cinema.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

S.D.Moorthy appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of South Sudan
On 22nd May 2018, S. D. Moorthy was appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of South Sudan.
S.D.Moorthy – next Ambassador of India to the Republic of South Sudan:
i. S. D. Moorthy (YOA: 2006)  is at present Deputy Secretary at Headquarters. He has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of South Sudan.
ii. He will take up the new assignment very soon.

JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy sworn-in as Karnataka CM,G. Parameshwara to take oath as K’taka Dy CM today
On 23rd May 2018, JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy was sworn in as Karnataka’s 24th chief minister.
JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy sworn-in as Karnataka CM:
i. Congress state president G Parameshwara was sworn in as deputy chief minister of Karnataka.
ii. HD Kumaraswamy was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala in front of the Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru.
iii. This is Kumarawamy’s second term as Karnataka chief minister since 2007.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

GRACE-FO satellites: SpaceX launches NASA satellites to track Earth’s water Cycle.
On 22nd May 2018, SpaceX launched two new Earth science satellites for NASA and five Iridium Next communications satellites into orbit.
GRACE-FO satellites:
i. This ride-share mission took off on a pre-flown Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
ii. Nearly 12 minutes after take off, the rocket’s second stage deployed twin satellites for NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission into a near-polar orbit.
iii. The second stage then ignited its engines one more time and went for a higher orbit to drop off the five Iridium Next satellites.
iv. NASA confirmed contact with both GRACE-FO satellites after launch through the McMurdo tracking station in Antarctica.
v. SpaceX confirmed that the five Iridium satellites deployed successfully. These satellites will join a constellation of 50 satellites of Iridium Communications company.
vi. GRACE-FO is a follow-on to the original GRACE mission. This mission mapped Earth’s water and ice by measuring changes in Earth’s gravity field from 2002 to 2017.
vii. GRACE-FO will continue studying rising sea levels, melting of glaciers and polar ice caps and other changes in the distribution of water etc.
viii. NASA is spending $430 million on the GRACE-FO mission. GRACE-FO mission is a joint project with the German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ). GFZ has invested 77 million Euros in the mission.
ix. The two spacecrafts will measure Earth’s gravity by orbiting Earth together. One will trail behind the other at a distance of 220 km.
x. GRACE-FO’s instruments are highly sensitive. They can detect changes with a precision of about 1 micrometer. GRACE-FO is expected to map Earth’s water for the next five years.
About SpaceX:
♦ CEO – Elon Musk
♦ Headquarters – California, U.S.

SPORTS

Former South Africa captain and batting mainstay A B de Villiers today retires from international cricket
On 23rd May 2018, former South Africa captain A B de Villiers announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket.
Retirement of A B de Villiers:
i. A B de Villiers is 34 years old. He has played 114 Tests, 228 ODIs and 78 T20 Internationals for South Africa. His average is over 50 in both the Tests and ODIs.
ii. He made his Test debut against England in 2004. He has been one of the star performers of South Africa.

Mike Hesson, Belinda Clark appointed to ICC Cricket Committee
New Zealand’s Mike Hesson, Australia’s Belinda Clark, and Scotland’s Kyle Coetzer have been appointed to the International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket Committee.
Mike Hesson, Belinda Clark appointed to ICC Cricket Committee:
i. Belinda Clark has been made the women’s cricket representative. She replaces Clare Connor who has finished her third and final three-year term. Belinda Clark is former Australian women’s team captain.
ii. Kyle Coezter has been appointed as the Associate Members representative. He succeeds Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien. Kyle Coezter is the Scotland skipper.
iii. Mike Hesson has been made the Full Member team coach representative. He succeeds Darren Lehmann. Mike Hesson is the New Zealand national team coach.
iv. All the three have been appointed to the committee for an initial term of 3 years.

OBITUARY

Veteran Gujarati writer, humourist Vinod Bhatt dies
On 23rd May 2018, Gujarati writer and humourist Vinod Bhatt passed away at his home after a long term illness, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
bhattvinodDeath of Vinod Bhatt:
i. Vinod Bhatt was 80 years old. He was well known for his newspaper column ‘Mag Nu Naam Mari’
ii. He worked as a tax consultant and also continued writing. He was the president of Gujarati Sahitya Parishad from 1996 to 1997.
iii. He had also written over 45 books in various genres like satire, comedy and biography.