DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS: FEBRUARY 21, 2018
DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS: FEBRUARY 21, 2018
Cabinet approves extra-budgetary support for urban housing scheme:
The Union cabinet approved extra-budgetary support for government’s flagship housing scheme Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban). Under the PMAY(U), the housing and urban affairs ministry targets construction of about 1.2 crore houses for the urban poor. The scheme got allocation at Rs.6,505 crore for Budget 2018-19 as compared to Rs. 6,042.81 crore in 2017-18.
However, additional budgetary resources of Rs. 25,000 crore was also proposed for the scheme to be raised outside the general budget. In urban areas, the assistance has been sanctioned for construction of over 39.4 lakh houses so far.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate the UP Investors Summit in Lucknow:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the UP Investors Summit in Lucknow. The mega event, organised by the Yogi Adityanath government, is aimed at showcasing investment opportunities and potential across various sectors in Uttar Pradesh.
The focus of the summit will be on the key sectors like farming, dairy, information technology, civil aviation, tourism, electronics, MSME, and renewable energy. The goal is to create 10 lakh jobs in next five years and to develop under-developed regions.
- Capital: Lucknow
- Chief Minister: Yogi Adityanath
- Governor: Shri Ram Naik
Cabinet approves creation of National Urban Housing Fund:
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given approval for creation of National Urban Housing Fund (NUHF) for Rs.60,000 crores. This fund will be situated in Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC), an autonomous body registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
NUHF will facilitate raising requisite funds in next four years so that flow of Central Assistance under different verticals i.e. Beneficiary Linked Construction (BLC), Affordable Housing in Partnership (AHP), In-Situ Slum Redevelopment (ISSR) and Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) is sustained and construction of houses to address the gap in Urban Sector progresses smoothly.
Government allows private companies to bid for coal mines for commercial production:
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the methodology for auction of coal mines / blocks for sale of coal under the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 and the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. The opening up of commercial coal mining for private sector is the most ambitious coal sector reform since the nationalisation of this sector in 1973.
The methodology gives highest priority to transparency, ease of doing business and ensures that natural resources are used for national development. It will also lead to energy security as 70% of India’s electricity is generated from thermal power plants. This reform is expected to bring efficiency into the coal sector by moving from an era of monopoly to competition.
DAC clears procurement worth Rs 1850 crore:
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman and accorded approval to Capital Acquisition Proposals of the Services valued at over Rs 1850 crore. These include procurement of essential quantity of Infantry Combat Vehicle (BMPs-2/2k) for Mechanised Infantry and other Arms and Services at an estimated cost of over Rs 1125 crore from the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
DAC accorded approval for procurement of one Survey Training Vessel (STV) for meeting the Navy’s growing ‘Hydrographic Survey’ needs in ports, harbours, Exclusive Economic Zone, etc. The construction of the vessel is to be undertaken under Buy (Indian-IDDM) by Indian shipyards at an estimated cost of Rs 626 crore.
Cabinet approves amendments to Chit Funds Act:
The cabinet has approved amendments to the Chit Funds Act to facilitate orderly growth of the sector and provide more financial products to investors. The cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given approval to introduce the Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018 in Parliament.
For the purpose, amendments would be made to the Chit Funds Act, 1982. One of the amendments is use of the words “Fraternity Fund” for chit business in the Act to signify its inherent nature, and distinguish its working from ‘Prize Chits’ which are banned under a separate legislation.
Cabinet approves Silkyara Bend-Barkot Tunnel in Uttarkhand as part of ‘Chardham Mahamarg Pariyojana’:
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval to the construction of 4.531 km long 2-Lane Bi-Directional Silkyara Bend – Barkot Tunnel with escape passage including approaches on Dharasu -Yamunotri section between Chainage 25.400 Km. and Chainage 51.000 Km in Uttarakhand as part of ‘Chardham Mahamarg Pariyojana’.
The total project cost is Rs. 1383.78 crore. The construction period of the project is 4 years. The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH), through National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. (NHIDCL), a wholly state owned company, formed in 2014 for development of highways in states on the international borders.
- Capital: Dehradun
- Chief Minister: Trivendra Singh Rawat
- Governor: Krishna Kant Paul
Mission BUNIYAD to help govt schools’ students improve:
In order to create a strong base in very initial studies, Delhi Government has joined hand with Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister Manish Sisodia announced the programme “Mission BUNIYAD”. This programme is designed on the lines of Government’s previous scheme “Chunauti”.
The entire programme will run from Classes 3 to 5 in MCD schools and in Classes 6 to 8 in Delhi Government schools. Under Buniyaad, students will be divided into three categories. Those who perform at par will be taken into the ‘Ujjawal’ group; those who score medium-level marks will be placed in ‘Utkarsh’ while those who are behind their peers will be placed in ‘Udyam’.
- Chief Minister: Arvind Kejriwal
- Governor: Anil Baijal
Singapore to impose carbon tax from 2019:
Singapore said it would impose a “carbon tax” from next year to cut its greenhouse gas emissions and make companies more competitive as global agreements on climate change take effect. The carbon tax in Singapore, to be applied to all sectors, will be Sg$5.0 ($3.8) per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions from 2019 to 2023.
Singapore ranks 26th out of 142 countries in terms of emissions per capita based on the latest International Energy Agency data largely due to its small size and dense population.
- Singapore Finance minister: Heng Swee Keat
- Capital: Singapore
- Currency: Dollar
- President: Halimah Yacob
Qatar Airways plans to start airline in India says airline’s CEO:
Qatar Airways has plans to launch an airline in India with at least 100 planes, the airline’s chief executive Akbar Al Baker said. In March 2017, Baker had said Qatar Airways plans to set up an airline in India along with the Gulf nation’s sovereign wealth fund. India has permitted foreign investors, barring foreign airlines, to own up to 100 per cent stake in local carriers.
- Currency: Qatari riyal
- Capital: Doha
Shri J P Nadda addresses Global Digital Health Partnership Symposium at Australia:
“Digital Health” has a great potential towards reducing inequity in provisioning and distribution of healthcare resources and services. This was stated by Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare during his address at the Global Digital Health Partnership Symposium at Sydney, Australia.
The first goal is to ensure district-level electronic database of information on health system components by 2020. The second goal is to strengthen the health surveillance system and establish registries for diseases of public health importance by 2020. The third goal pushes us to work for establishment of federated national e-health architecture; setting-up of Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP) is intended to establish first health information exchanges and national Health Information Network by 2025.
- Capital: Canberra
- Currency: Australian dollar
- Prime minister: Malcolm Turnbull
India, Indonesia joint military drill begins in Bandung:
The Indian and Indonesian armies began the sixth edition of their annual military exercises “Garuda Shakti” in the West Java province of the archipelago country. The opening ceremony of the two-week Garuda Shakti military drill was held at Bandung. Indian Ambassador to Indonesia Pradeep Kumar Rawat attended the opening ceremony along with Indonesian military officers. The two sides renewed their commitment to deepen defence and security exchanges.
- Capital: Jakarta
- Currency: Indonesian rupiah
- President: Joko Widodo
BANKING & BUSINESS
UGC constitutes four-member Empowered Expert Committee:
University Grants Commission constituted a four-member Empowered Expert Committee, which is being entrusted to conduct the appraisal of applications for shortlisting 20 Institutions of Eminence. N Gopalaswami, former Chief Election Commissioner of India is the Chairperson of the committee. The government is likely to announce the names of the selected institutions by April 2018.
- Tarun Khanna (Jorge Paulo Lemman Professor at Harvard Business School)
- Pritam Singh (former director of IIM, Lucknow)
- Renu Khator (chancellor of University of Houston System)
Newborn mortality: India 12th worst among low-income countries
India has been ranked 12th-worst among 52 low-middle income countries based on the number of children dying within the first month of their birth, which is 25.4 per 1,000 live births.
Pakistan is the worst with 45.6 newborn deaths per 1,000 live births, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF Programme) which has, for the first time, come out with rankings based on their newborn mortality rate (the number of deaths per 1,000 live births). Japan, with an NMR of 0.9 deaths per 1,000 live births, has been ranked the world’s safest country in which to be born followed by Iceland (1) and Singapore (1.1).
USIBC forms India Advisory Council to enhance bilateral ties:
A top American business advocacy group USIBC has announced the formation of an India Advisory Council to enhance bilateral strategic and economic partnership between them.
The 11 members of the USIBC’s Indian Advisory Council include Arun Kumar (KPMG India); Pramath Raj Sinha (9.9 media); Manoj Adlakha (American Express banking Corporation); Krish Iyer (Walmart India); Vanitha Narayan (IBM India), Prabal Chakraborty (Boston Scientific) and Nishith Desai (Nishith Desai and Associates). Udayant Malhotra (Dynamatic Technologies Limited); Nivruti Rai (Intel India) and Rekha Menon (Accenture).
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