Current Affairs Today May 30 2018

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 INDIAN AFFAIRS

The New User Interface of Next Generation e-Ticketing System launched by Ministry of Railways.
On May 30,2018, The Minister of Railways Mr. Piyush Goyal launched new User interface of its Next Generation e-Ticketing system.
Objective:
To ensure better User experience and efficient dispatch of services with the help of technology.
Salient Features about the new Interface:
i. To view and enquire about train timings , check availability of seats without logging in.
ii. New filters for serch based on Class wise, train wise, destination wise, departure /arrival time wise and quota wise for trains.
iii. Addition of  ‘My Transaction’  feature to view their booked tickets based on journey date , booking date etc.
iv. Addition of ‘Waitlist Prediction’ has been made for ease of the passangers .
v. Facility for the user to find out the availability up to the entire advanced reservation period (presently ,120 days) . Cancellations printing of tickets and request for additional SMS.
Using the  ‘Vikalp’ service passengers can select alternative train .
vii.  Facilitating seamless navigation in mobiles, Desktops etc.
viii. This beta version is requested to be tested by the users and a period of 15 days is being given for any suggestion and feedback.
About Next Generation e-Ticketing System:
♦ This new and improved way of ticket booking system was made to provide ease and is a fast way of booking rail tickets and by automating the journey planning and purchase of tickets.
♦ It is under Government’s ‘Digital India’ scheme .
♦ It consists of two-thirds of total reserved ticket in Indian Railways.

PRAAPTI App and Web portal launched by Minister of State (I/C) for Power, Shri R.K. Singh to bring transparency in electricity payments to Generators by Discoms.
On May 29,2018 , The Minister of State (I/C) for Power Mr. R. K. Singh launched the PRAAPTI app and web portal .
Objective:
This was done to bring transparency in electricity payments to generators.
Salient Features about PRAAPTI:
i. It is a web portal and an App named PRAAPTI : Payment Ratification And Analysis in Power procurement for bringing Transparency in Invoicing of Generators) . the website is :  www.praapti.in .
ii. This is for transparency in power purchase between Generators and Discoms.
iii. It will collect data regarding the payments and invoicing for long term PPAs from the generators and will help the stakeholders in getting monthly wise data that is legitimate against Discoms.
iv. it will help consumers to evaluate DIscoms performance in terms of payment.
v. it will help in making assessments for DIscoms against ‘Ease of Making Payments’to generation companies.

‘The Pankha’ an exhibition cum sale event launched by Union Tribal Affairs Minister, Shri Jual Oram
On 29th May 2018, Union Tribal Affairs Minister, Jual Oram launched ‘the PANKHA’ (Hand-fans), an exhibition cum sale event, at Tribes India, New Delhi.

‘The Pankha’ an exhibition cum sale event launched by Union Tribal Affairs Minister, Shri Jual OramThe Pankha:
i. The Pankha has been created by TRIFED through its artisans from various parts of India.
ii. TRIFED has collaborated with Jatin Das Centre for Arts (JDCA) to offer marketing support to the tribal artisans who are related to this craft.
iii. The Pankhas are a range of exotic hand fans.  Inspiration for this event has been drawn from Artist Jatin Das and his collection of 10000 handmade Pankhas.
iv. The Pankhas are kept on display at Indira Gandhi Naitonal Auditorium (IGNA), New Delhi from 26th May 2018 to 24th June 2018.
v. TRIFED and the J.D.Centre for Arts (JDCA) have tied up to promote the Pankhas throughout India.
vi. TRIFED is displaying and marketing the Pankhas through its 97 retail showrooms and e-portals.
About TRIFED (Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India):
♦ Brand Ambassador – Mary Kom
♦ Formed – 1987
♦ Chairperson – Ramesh Chand Meena
♦ Managing Director – Pravir Krishna

Ministry of Women and Child Development signs pact with Government of Uttar Pradesh to manage Homes for widows in Varanasi
On May 29,2018, Ministry of Women and Child Development signed an MOU with Government of Uttar Pradesh.
Objective:
For management of home of Widows at Sunrakh Bangar,Varanasi.
Key points:
i. The ministry of Women and Child Development has constructed shelter homes for widows with a maximum capacity of 1000people in it.
ii. The MOU will be valid for a period of2 years and can be further renewed .
iii. The Home shall be run by the Uttar Pradesh government or any institution under the supervision of the state government.
iv. The MOU states that the state government will be liable for all the activities of the Home and shall perform periodical probes for security and monitoring for performances of the staff.
v. Widows will be provided their individual Aadhar Cards and medical/ generic facilities.
Uttar Pradesh:
♦ UNESCO World Heritage Site :Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri
♦ Capital :Lucknow
♦ Chief Minister:Yogi Adityanath

Kerala to Reduce Price of Petrol and Diesel by Rs. 1 from Friday
Kerala government has decided to reduce the prices of petrol and diesel by Re 1 in Kerala with effect from 1st June 2018.

Kerala to Reduce Price of Petrol and Diesel by Rs. 1 from FridayKerala To Reduce Price Of Petrol And Diesel By Rs. 1:
i. Kerala has become the first state to announce a reduction in fuel prices. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan made the announcement on 30th May 2018.
ii. Pinarayi Vijayan said that, this will create a loss of Rs. 509 crore for the Kerala state government.
iii. On 30th May 2018, there was a reduction in the prices of petrol and diesel after 16 consecutive days. But the reduction was only one paisa per litre.
About Indian Oil Corporation:
♦ Chairman – Sanjiv Singh
♦ Corporate Office – New Delhi

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

International conference on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) – Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) linkage in Geneva on June 7 and 8 for protection of traditional knowledge
On May 30,2018, India is organizing an International Conference on Trade –Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) linkage in Geneva on June 7 and 8.
Objective:
To talk with the World Trade Organization (WTO) on issues related to prevention of theft of traditional knowledge of Ayurveda and Naturopathy.
Salient Features:
i. The conference will be participated by various nations like Brazil, China, Indonesia , Peru, Philippines and New Zealand.
ii. The fields for the issue will be : Ayurveda , Naturopathy and Yoga and traditional knowledge of healing properties of Neem and Turmeric.
iii. The CBD is a multi lateral agreement on sustainable development and fair sharing of benefits .
iv. It will give global protection to the knowledge and country of origin like India from theft.
v. Trade in Ayush Industry is about $ 1.2 billion .
vi. The world trade in herbal products is at $ 120 billionand is piquing to $ 7 trillion by 2050.
World Trade Organization:
Headquarters: Geneva , Switzerland.

India releases Rs 33.10 Cr to Nepal for 2 road Projects
India has released Rs 33.10 Crore to Nepal for 2 road packages of Birgunj-Thori Road implemented under Postal Highway Projects in Nepal with the grant assistance from Indian Government.
India releases Rs 33.10 Cr to Nepal for 2 road Projects:
i. On 29th May 2018, Deputy Chief of Mission in the Indian Embassy, Dr. Ajay Kumar gave a Cheque to Secretary, Ministry for Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Nepal, Madhusudan Adhikari in Kathmandu.
ii. The funds has been released for 25% of tendered cost (including 10% mobilization advance) of the Postal Highway Projects.
iii. The Indian Government has provided 117.63 Crore rupees to the Nepal Government so far, for implementation of 14 packages of the Postal Highway Projects.

Digital Health initiative of  India commended and adopted by WHO in the 71st World Health Assembly
On May 29,2018, the 71st World Health Assesmbly the decision making body of World Health Organization (WHO) has adopted India’s Digital Health Initiative.
i. The Assembly was held at Geneva, Switzerland.
Key points:
i. The resolution will establish a global strategy on digital health and prioritize areas where WHO will work together with its member countries.
ii. It is for countries achieving health related SDG (sustainable development goals ) and and implementing WHO’s13th General Program of work.
iii. Mainstreaming digital interventions in health like big data and analysis , AI, machine learning etc.
iv. India will host a Global Digital Health Summit with the support of WHO later.
v. India will plan to create a digital health platform of electronic health records of 1.3 billion people of the country.
About the Digital Health India:
♦ It will be supporting Universal Health Coverage (UHC) to improve health related services affordable , accessible and better in quality. It will have the combined effort of private health care providers , academia, health IT practitioners,industry, patients groups and regulatory bodies.

BANKING & FINANCE

SBI hikes interest rates of Term Deposits
On May 30,2018, State Bank of India hiked its fixed deposit rates for selected tenures.

SBI hikes interest rates of Term DepositsKey points :
i. The range of hike starts from 0.05 (5bps) to 0.25 (25 basis points ) .
ii. The newest interest rate will come into effect from May 28.
iii. SBI will offer 6.65 % for 1 to 2 year term deposists from 6.4%.
iv. Term deposits with 2-3 years with fetch 6.65% from 6.60% form earlier.
v. For Senior citizens the term deposits of 1-2 years will be fetching 7.15%from 6.9%.
vi. FDs of 2-3 years will be getting interest rate of 7.15%.
vii. These rates are for the amount less than 1 crore.
viii. For bulk amounts of between 1 crore and 10 crore , 1-2 year deposits will get 7 % and for senior citizens it is 7.5% . The rates are same for amount greater than 10 crore.
About Interest Rates:
An increase in deposit rates results in higher lending rates as well as the marginal cost lending rate (MCLR) is linked to the cost of funds.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

India’s GDP forecast declined to 7.3% from 7.5%: Moody’s
On May 30,2018, according to Moody’s investor service report India’s GDP forecast has gone down to 7.3% from 7.5% for 2018. This cut is because of higher oil prices .
Key points:
i. The forecast for 2019 is constant at 7.5%.
ii. With higher rural consumption and supported by minimum support price and normal monsoon the economy is moving forward.
iii. By addressing the repair in impaired assets of banks and corporates through the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code  the economy will be improving.
iv. The GST may weigh down the growth too.
About Moody’s :
♦ It is an American business and financial services company . Headquartered in New York , US.

NMDC, NLC and an Australian firm to develop R&D facility in Tamil Nadu
On May 30,2018, National Mineral Development Corporation and NLC ltd. (formerly knows as Neyveli Lignite Corporation) signed a pact with Environment Clean Technologies Ltd. Of Australia in Canberra .
Objective:
To set up a research and Development facility in Tamil Nadu.
Salient Features of the Pact:
i. This pact would help Australia and India work together in developing low emission iron and steel process through integrated Coldry – Mamtorplant that will be built in India.
ii. Developing innovations in iron and steel making and making a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for steel manufacturing unit.
iii. The project has two phases : Commencing a R&D phase that has a fund of AUD 35 million by Indian partners and commercial expansion of the for the steel making facility with capacity of 5 lakh tonne per annum . The amount for this fund is : AUD 300 million.
Australia:
♦ Capital : Canberra.
♦ Prime Minister : Malcolm Turnbull.
♦ Currency : Australian Dollar.

Facebook to offer digital literacy programme for women
On May 30,2018, Social Media platform Facebook joined hands with National Commission for Women (NCW) to launch digital literacy programme in collaboration with Cyber Peace Foundation (CPF).
Key Points:
i. This will provide training on responsible and right usage of Internet , social media and email.
ii. The training  will be given to 60000 women in universities across major cities in Haryana, Delhi-NCR, Manipur, Sikkim, Meghalaya , Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu .The training will be conducted in local languages.
iii. The aim of the programme is to raise awareness and equal participation of women in the digital sphere.
Facebook:
♦ Headquarters :California, US
♦ CEO : Mark Zuckerberg.

FB set to launch WhatsApp Pay with 4 major banks in India
On May 30,2018, Facebook will be launching Whatsapp Pay , a payment service for its whatsapp platform .

FB set to launch WhatsApp Pay with 4 major banks in IndiaKey points:
i. It will be partnering with HDFC , AXIS, ICICI and SBI banks.
ii. A pilot version of Whatsapp Pay has started in February with 1 million users in India.
iii.  More than 200 million Indians use Whatspp and that is about 60% of US population.
iv. The active usage is estimated to be 20 times more than Paytm’s .

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Indian Botanist Kamaljit Bawa first Indian to receive Linnean Medal for Botany
On May 30,2018, Indian Botanist Mr. Kamaljit Bawa was awarded the Linnean Medal in Botany from Linnean Society of London. HE is the first Indian to receive this award.

Indian Botanist Kamaljit Bawa first Indian to receive Linnean Medal for Botanyi. He is the president of Bengaluru based non-profit Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE)
ii. ATREE has been ranked 2ndin Asia and 18th globally among the world’s environmental think tanks.
iii. Mr. Bawa has constituted an open access peer reviewed magazine called Conservation and Society .
iv. The Linnean Medal was first constituted in 1888 and acts as a good recognition in the field of conservation and sustainability.

Microsoft becomes third most valuable firm globally after Apple and Amazon
On May 30,2018, Microsoft becomes third most valuable firm globally surpassing Alphabet.
Key points:
i. Microsoft had a market cap of $753 billion.
ii. It ranks after Apple and Amazon.
iii. Apple’s M-cap is $ 924 billion and Amazon has a m-cap of $783 billion.
Microsoft 
♦ Headquarters : Washington , US.

HDFC Bank’s Aditya Puri figures in Barron’s top 30 global CEO list
Aditya Puri, managing director of HDFC has appeared in the top 30 global CEOs list released by Barron’s.

HDFC Bank's Aditya Puri figures in Barron's top 30 global CEO listHDFC Bank’s Aditya Puri figures in Barron’s top 30 global CEO list:
i. Aditya Puri has featured in the top 30 global CEOs list by Barron’s for the fourth consecutive year. He is the only Indian to feature in the list.
ii.Other names that have appeared in the list are:

  • Jeff Bezos of Amazon
  • Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway
  • Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase
  • Larry Page of Alphabet
  • Reed Hastings of Netflix
  • Satya Nadella of Microsoft
  • Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook

iii. This is the 14th edition of this list. This year, the CEOs have been grouped in three categories in the list:

  • Visionary Founders
  • Growth Leaders
  • Turnaround Experts

iv. Aditya Puri has appeared in the “Growth Leaders” category. He is 67 years old. He has been the Managing Director of HDFC Bank since 1994.
About HDFC Bank:
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai
♦ Tag Line – We understand your world

Kerala cartoonist Thomas Antony wins international award
Thomas Antony, a cartoonist from Kerala, has won an international award, in the best caricature category, at the 13th edition of the World Press Cartoon awards.
Thomas Antony wins international award:
i. At present, Thomas Antony, is working as Executive Artist of ‘Metro Vaartha’, a Malayalam daily.
ii. Thomas Antony is one among the nine winners at the 13th edition of the World Press Cartoon awards. The awards are instituted by an organisation based in Lisbon, Portugal.
iii. The awards honour the best works published in 2017 in newspapers and magazines throughout the world.
iv. Thomas Antony is the only cartoonist chosen from Asia for this prize. The awards will be presented at an event in Portugal on 2nd June 2018.
Some wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala:
♦ Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary

Yuvraj Singh Awarded ‘Most Inspiring Icon Of The Year For Social Welfare’
Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh has been awarded the “most inspiring icon of the year for Social Welfare” award by the Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival (DPIFF).
Yuvraj Singh – ‘Most Inspiring Icon Of The Year For Social Welfare’
i. Yuvraj Singh has been awarded for his remarkable contribution in the social welfare field.
ii. He runs a foundation named ‘YouWeCan’. The foundation focuses on spreading cancer awareness and educating the kids of cancer survivors.
iii. He is currently not a part of the India cricket team. He played for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018.
Some important stadiums in India:
♦ Dr. Bhupen Hazarika Cricket Stadium – Guwahati, Assam
♦ Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium – Guwahati, Assam
♦ Satindra Mohan Dev Stadium – Silchar, Assam

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

ICICI Bank has appointed M D Mallya, former Bank of Baroda boss as an additional independent director of the bank
On 29th May 2018, the ICICI Bank board appointed former Bank of Baroda (BoB) chief M D Mallya as an additional (independent) directorfor a period of 5 years.
M D Mallya – additional independent director of ICICI Bank:
i. M D Mallya’s appointment is subject to the approval of shareholders. His appointment comes a month before the ICICI bank’s chairman M K Sharma completes his term.
ii. Before joining BoB, M D Mallya was the chairman of Bank of Maharashtra. He is 65 years old.
iii. He joined Corporation Bank in August 1976. He also served as executive director of Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC). He was also the chairman of the Indian Banks Association.
About Bank of Baroda:
♦ MD & CEO – P. S. Jayakumar
♦ Headquarters – Vadodara, Gujarat

AQUISITIONS & MERGERS

Infosys acquires US-based Wongdoody
On 30th May 2018, Infosys said that, it has acquired US-based Wongdoody.

Infosys acquires US-based WongdoodyInfosys acquires US-based Wongdoody:
i. In April 2018, Infosys said that, it will acquire WongDoody Holding Company for a total consideration of up to $75 million.
ii. WongDoody Holding Company is a US-based digital creative and consumer insights agency.
iii. It has clients in telecommunications, consumer electronics, healthcare and consumer packaged goods industries.
iv. This acquisition, will help Infosys to improve its digital experience services with services like strategy, design and user experience.
About Wongdoody:
♦ Founded – 1993
♦ Headquarters – Seattle, United States

ENVIRONMENT

Rare, isolated neutron star discovered
Scientists from NASA have discovered a special kind of neutron star outside the Milky Way galaxy for the first time.
Rare, isolated neutron star discovered:
i. Neutron stars are highly dense cores of massive stars that collapse and go through a supernova explosion.
ii. The newly found neutron star was discovered through data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile.
iii. It is a rare variety having both low magnetic field and no stellar companion. The neutron star is located within the remains of a supernova named 1E 0102.2-7219 (E0102) – in the Small Magellanic Cloud, which is 200,000 light years away from Earth.
iv. The observations of E0102 state that the supernova remnant is dominated by a large ring-shaped structure in X-rays.
v. The data collect by NASA states that, it is an isolated neutron star, created in the supernova explosion nearly two millennia ago.
About NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration):
♦ Administrator – Jim Bridenstine
♦ Headquarters – Washington, D.C., U.S.

Researchers discover hidden mountain ranges, valleys under Antarctica
Researchers have found out mountain ranges and three vast, deep sub-glacial valleys hidden under the Antarctica ice.
Hidden mountain ranges, valleys under Antarctica:
i. The discovery has been published in the journal Geophysical Research Letter. This is the first finding observed from ice penetrating radar data collected in Antarctica as part of the European Space Agency PolarGAP project.
ii. Researchers from Northumbria University, UK, have mapped three huge, sub-glacial valleys in West Antarctica, for the first time.
iii. The largest valley is named the Foundation Trough. It is over 350 kilometres long and 35 kilometres wide.
iv. The Patuxent Trough is over 300 kilometres long and over 15 kilometres wide. The Offset Rift Basin is 150 kilometres long and 30 kilometres wide.
Some important dams in India:
♦ Aruna Dam – Aruna River
♦ Upper Bhavani Dam – Bhavani River
♦ Podagada Dam – Podagada River

SPORTS

Vikas Gowda, India’s only CWG gold medallist discus thrower, retires
On 30th May 2018, the Athletics Federation of India announced the retirement of discus thrower Vikas Gowda.

Vikas Gowda, India's only CWG gold medallist discus thrower, retiresRetirement of Vikas Gowda:
i. Vikas Gowda has retired from the game after competing at the highest level for over 15 years.
ii. He became the first and only Indian male to win Commonwealth Games medals in discus throw.
iii. He is 34 years old. He was born in Mysore. His family moved to Maryland, USA when he was 5 years old.
iv. He owns the national record of 66.28m (achieved in 2012).  He won silver medal in the 2010 Commonwealth Games and a gold medal in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
About Athletics Federation of India:
♦ President – Mr. Adille J. Sumariwalla
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi

OBITUARY

Ex-Himachal Pradesh governor Urmila Singh passed away
On 29th May 2018, Urmila Singh, former Himachal Pradesh governor, died after a long term illness at private hospital in Indore, Madhya Pradesh.

Ex-Himachal Pradesh governor Urmila Singh passed awayDeath of Urmila Singh:
i. Urmila Singh was 71 years old. She was made the governor of Himachal Pradesh in 2010.
ii. Earlier, she had worked as chairman of the National Scheduled Tribes Commission (NCTC).
iii. She had also served as a minister in Madhya Pradesh government. She was associated with the Congress Party.
Some important National Parks in Madhya Pradesh:
♦ Madhav National Park
♦ Ghughua Fossil Park
♦ Bandhavgarh National Park

IMPORTANT DAYS

Goa Celebrates its Statehood Day today
On 30th May 2018Goa Statehood Day was celebrated throughout the state.
Goa Statehood Day:
i. Goa attained statehood on 30th May 1987 and became the 25th state of India. Earlier it was a Union Territory along with Daman and Diu.
ii. Daman and Diu separated from Goa and still remain as a union territory. This is the 31st Goa Statehood Day.
Some important museums in Goa:
♦ Goa Chitra Museum
♦ Goa Science Centre
♦ Goa State Museum