Daily Current Affairs 18 April 2018

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Daily Current Affairs 18 April 2018
Daily Current Affairs 18 April 2018 – Featured


Finance and Banking

India-Sweden Joint Action Plan and List of MoUs signed

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid an official visit to Sweden on April 16-17, 2018 at the invitation of Stefan Lofven, Sweden’s Prime Minister.
  • PM Modi visited Sweden at such a crucial time when India-Sweden economic ties have strengthened significantly. Since the year 2000, around 170 Swedish companies have invested USD 1.4 billion in India and over 70 Indian companies have established their presence in Sweden. Today, India-Sweden annual bilateral trade stands at USD 1.8 billion, approximately.
  • This was the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Sweden after almost three decades. However, both the sides have met earlier when PM Stefan Lofven visited India in February 2016 with a strong business delegation to attend the ‘Make in India’ week in Mumbai. PM Lofven also participated in ‘Make in India: Sweden 2017’ event which was organised in Stockholm in October 2017.

MOU between India and Sweden on Joint Declaration

India and Sweden signed the Joint Declaration on India-Sweden Innovation Partnership for a Sustainable Future. The MoU was signed between the Union Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation of Sweden.

MOUs signed between India and Denmark

  • MOU on Urban Development: A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Union Ministry for Housing and Urban Affairs and the Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs of Denmark for cooperation in the field of sustainable and smart urban development.
  • MOU on Animal Husbandry: India and Denmark signed a MoU for cooperation in the fields of animal husbandry and dairying. The MoU was signed between India’s Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries and the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration.
  • MOU on Food Safety: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India and the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration signed a MoU on cooperation on Food Safety.
  • MOU on Agricultural Research: The Indian Council of Agricultural Research and the University of Copenhagen, Denmark signed a MoU for cooperation in the field of agricultural research and education.

MOU signed between India and Iceland

  • India and Iceland signed a MoU on the establishment of the ICCR Chair for Hindi Language. The MoU was signed between Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the University of Iceland.

India-Sweden Joint Action Plan

  • During the visit, India and Sweden signed a ‘Joint Declaration on India-Sweden Innovation Partnership for a Sustainable Future’ and adopted a Joint Action Plan to promote bilateral cooperation.
  • The Indo-Swedish Joint Commission on Scientific and Economic Affairs, Foreign Office Consultations and Joint Working Groups will oversee the implementation of this Action Plan.

India, UK agrees on multiple agreements on trade, investment and finance

  • Both India and the United Kingdom (UK) on Wednesday agreed to forge a dynamic new India-UK Trade Partnership, to develop new trading arrangements.
  • The decision comes as the UK assumes responsibility for its independent trade policy, facilitate investment in both directions and intensify collaboration on shared or complementary strengths.

List of MoUs/Agreements

  • India and UK have agreed to an overarching cyber-relationship framework that among others enables the development of a common and shared understanding of international cyber activity
  • On rejuvenation of River Ganga, a MoU has been signed between National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC), UK.
  • The MoU on Skill Development, Vocational education and Training between the two governments seeks to promote greater collaboration in domains such as strengthening skill delivery in high demand sectors
  • In the area of regulation of safe nuclear energy use for peaceful purposes, an arrangement has been arrived at between Atomic Energy Regulatory Board of India (AERB) and the Office for Nuclear Regulation of Great Britain (ONR).
  • A Statement of Intent between NITI Aayog and UK’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has been signed which will enable the two sides to explore potential for regular engagement on technology co-operation in areas such as electric vehicles, AI, FinTech, and advanced manufacturing, as well as utilizing AI, big data and analytics capability for evidence based policy making.
  • The MoU on cooperation in the field of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Sectors seeks to strengthen collaboration in livestock health and husbandry, breeding, dairying and fisheries.
  • MoU on Exchange of Information for the Purposes of Combating International Criminality and Tackling Serious Organised Crime has been signed.
  • An Addendum covering research in humanities and social sciences has been added to the 2004 Newton-BhabhaMoU.
  • The UK has announced setting up a Fast Track Mechanism to identify and resolve specific issues faced by Indian companies who are either in the UK or looking to establish operations in the UK.
  • The All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA), an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Ayush in collaboration with the College of Medicine will set up a Centre of Excellence in Ayurveda and traditional Indian medicine.

India-UK Tech initiatives

  • UK – India Tech Alliance: NASSCOM and techUK have set up the UK – India Tech Alliance, which will facilitate collaboration on building future skills in new technologies by nurturing a solid skills base in the UK and India, with the support of both the governments. The Alliance will be composed of high-level stakeholders from the technology industry in the United Kingdom and India.
  • Technology Summit II: The UK and India announced the Technology Summit II, which will be held in autumn 2018.
  • AI and Digital Healthcare: The UK and India announced that as partners in the next generation of healthcare, theywill collaborate on digital health pilots in India’s Aspirational Health Districts by applying UK evidence-based healthcare AI and technology to strengthen healthcare delivery.

UK tech-initiatives in India

  • UK-India Tech Hub: The UK announced the creation of a UK-India Tech Hub. Based in the British High Commission in New Delhi the Tech Hub will include a network of people and programmes designed to facilitate ideas, investment and prosperity for India and the UK.
  • FinTechRocketship Awards: The UK announced the launch of the FinTechRocketship Awards, a unique, first-of-its-kind FinTech mentoring programme, led by India and the UK’s top FinTech mentors.

Trade, Investment and Finance

  • Green Growth Equity Fund (GGEF): The UK and India launched the fund that will leverage City finance to invest in India’s growth, announcing Eversource Capital, a joint venture between Lightsource BP and Everstone Group, as the Green Growth Equity Fund Manager. An initial investment of £240m from both governments will catalyse additional City finance for green projects in India and UK companies will be able to bid for infrastructure projects financed by the Fund. The Fund will invest in renewable energy, clean transportation, water and waste management in India as part of India’s flagship National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF). UK and India contributions are investments that will generate returns for each country.

Global Force for Good

  • International Solar Alliance: The UK signed the Framework Agreement of the International Solar Alliance and became the 62nd signatory member country. The UK also expressed its commitment to the continued advocacy of ISAs aims and objectives.
  • Research and Development: The UK and India will continue their world-leading research relationship, generating new knowledge and innovations that feed the world’s hungry (high yield crops), protect our environment (clean energy), save lives (advanced healthcare) and drive economic inclusion (digital services).

Bandhan Bank enters league of top-50 most valuable company

  • Bandhan Bank, the private sector lender, has entered the list of the top-50 most valuable cmpanies in terms of market capitalization (m-cap) following a sharp surge in its stock price post listing.
  • Bandhan Bank, with an m-cap of Rs 640 billion, stood at 50th position in overall m-cap ranking on the BSE at 10:37 am, the exchange data shows. The bank climbed 5 positions in the m-cap pecking order since its debut on the bourses on March 27, 2018.
  • Bandhan Bank has surpassed fast moving consumer goods companies Dabur India and Britannia Industries, New India Assurance Company, Tech Mahindra and Bharti Infrastructure in past 10 trading sessions. Bandhan Bank, the country’s eighth-most valuable lender, is now stood behind YES Bank, which have market-cap of Rs 717 billion.


Integral Coach Factory manufactures India’s first paintless Antyodaya coaches

  • Taking a giant leap in coach production, the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) has manufactured the first rake of paintless (exterior) Antyodaya coaches.The rake comprising 24 coaches, which was handed over to the Southern Railway recently, is operated as a special train between Tambaram and Tirunelveli.
  • The new type of paintless LHB stainless steel general class coaches will be operated as part of an unreserved train for superfast service on dense routes at the 120-kmph speed.
  • The coaches have corrugate sidewall with duplex stainless steel of 2-mm thickness. It also has paintless finish and fleet graphic and hydrophobic anti-graphic stickers, said ICF officials.Explaining the features of the coaches, official sources said roof-tops are coated with solar heat-resistant paint.

235 districts to be covered under Phase-II of POSHAN Abhiyaan

  • The first meeting of National Council on India’s Nutrition Challenges under POSHAN Abhiyaan, which met here on Wednesday, confirmed inclusion of 235 additional districts in Phase II of the ambitious programme in financial year 2018-19.
  • At Wednesday’s meeting, chaired by Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, the 235 additional districts were selected on the basis of the level of stunting, ensuring that all 105 Left Wing Extremists and 117 Aspirational districts were included and wherever a gap of one district had been left to achieve saturation  in states/UTs.
  • Altogether 315 districts have been already covered under phase-I of POSHAN Abhiyaan and the balance 167 districts out of 718 districts will be covered in Phase III of the Abhiyaan.

Delhi CM approves India’s first power consumer compensation policy

  • In the first of its kind pro-power consumer policy in the country, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday approved the power department’s policy for compensating consumers for unscheduled power cuts by the private power distribution companies in Delhi.
  • The Delhi government has sent this policy for final approval to the Delhi Lieutenant Governor, which is set to make the Discoms accountable to the consumers.
  • According to the new policy, in the case of an unscheduled power cut, the Discoms will have to restore the electricity within one hour, and failure to do so shall result in a penalty of Rs 50 per hour per consumer for the first two hours followed by Rs 100 per hour per consumer after two hours.
  • The exemption of initial one hour from the penalty shall be granted to the Discoms only once a day, and in case of recurrence of failure of supply for the same consumer on same day, the penalty shall accrue right from the beginning of the duration of the unscheduled power cut.

Union Environment Ministry releases the draft of National Clean Air Programme

  • The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on April 17, 2018 released the draft of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). The ministry has put up the draft on its website and invited comments from various stakeholders by May 17, 2018.
  • The NCAP is a national action plan that proposes multiple strategies to reduce air pollution.
  • NCAP aims to enhance and develop an effective and a proficient network to monitor the ambient air quality across the country for a comprehensive and reliable database.
  • The plan calls for an efficient data distribution and public outreach mechanism for timely measures to prevent and mitigate air pollution.
  • It also aims to have a feasible management plan for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution.


US to restrict movement of Pakistani diplomats from May 1

  • The United States has notified Pakistan that the diplomats at their embassy in Washington and at consulates in other cities would not be able to travel beyond 40 kilometres of their offices without permission from May 1, 2018.
  • According to the notification, diplomats would need to apply for permission at least five days ahead of an intended travel outside the imposed 40-kilometre radius.
  • Pakistan had already imposed similar restrictions on American diplomats in the country, who were not allowed to visit the tribal belt or Karachi.
  • Islamabad however, said that those are not restrictions but security measures intended to protect American diplomats.

US embassy advises Indian travelers to apply early for visa

  • US embassy in New Delhi has asked travelers in India to apply early for US visa to avoid potential delays due to high demand for it in the summer season.
  • The embassy said in a statement, that applicants across India may have to wait 30 days or more for a visa interview appointment to become available and that it expects this wait time to continue for at least the next few months.
  • The embassy also asked people to be aware of scams and fraud.

NASA launches CHESS mission to study matter between stars

  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on April 17, 2018 successfully launched Colorado High-resolution Echelle Stellar Spectrograph (CHESS 4) from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
  • The mission launched on a NASA Black Brant IX sounding rocket will study the interstellar medium, the matter between stars.
  • The CHESS mission would mainly focus on these floating interstellar reservoirs or translucent clouds of gas, which provide the fundamental building blocks for the stars and planets.
  • The clouds are known to have very low densities and the only way to study them is to measure how a cloud is affected by a star and its associated outpouring of stellar material, the stellar wind -moving through it.


World Heritage Day observed today

  • International Day for Monuments and Sites or World Heritage Day observed on 18 April.
  • The theme of International Day for Monuments and Sites or World Heritage Day 2018 is Heritage for Generations.

World Haemophilia Day observed on 17 April

  • April 17 is observed as the global day for spreading awareness on the disease, and to mark this day, World Heritage Site Qutub Minar in Delhi is lit up with red lights as part of this campaign to spread awareness about it and other inherited such bleeding diseases.
  • This year’s theme is ‘Sharing Knowledge Makes Us Stronger’.


Filmmaker & Animation Pioneer Bhimsain passes away at 81

  • Veteran filmmaker and animation pioneer Bhimsain, best known for his film ‘Gharaonda’ and animation short films like ‘Ek Anek Ekta’, has died at the age of 81.
  • A versatile artiste who enriched the medium of both television and films with his contribution, Bhimsain was primarily known for his work in the world of animation during the golden period of Doordarshan.
  • Born in 1936 in Multan (modern-day Pakistan), Bhimsain obtained his diploma in Fine Arts and Classical Music from Lucknow University. In 1970, he made his directorial debut with his first animation short ‘The Climb’, which earned him the Silver Hugo Award in the Chicago Film Festival.
  • ‘Ek chidiya, anek chidiyaan’ is one of the most popular songs from animation film ‘Ek Anek Ekta’, which he made with Vijaya Mulay in 1974.
  • He also directed and produced several animation and ad films such as ‘Na’, ‘Ek-Do’, ‘Fire’, ‘Munni’, ‘Freedom is a Thin Lie’, ‘Mehman’, ‘Kahani Har Zamane Ki’ and ‘Business is People’.
  • In 1976, the director made his feature film debut with “Gharaonda”, starring Zarina Wahab and Amol Palekar. The screenplay was by Gulzar. It is one of the best known films from the middle-of-the-road cinema of the ’70s.
  • He followed it up with two other successful films ‘Doooriyan’ and ‘Tum Laut Aao’.

Former US First Lady Barbara Bush passes away at 92

  • Former US first lady Barbara Bush died Tuesday at the age of 92, triggering an outpouring of praise for the matriarch of a Republican family once at the apex of American politics.
  • Barbara Bush has long been considered the rock at the center of one of America’s most prominent political families, as the wife of a president and the mother to another — George W. Bush — and to Jeb Bush, a former Florida governor and onetime presidential aspirant.
  • As first lady, from 1989 to 1993, she embraced the cause of universal literacy, and founded a foundation for family literacy.
  • As tributes poured in to honor the life of Barbara Bush, President Donald Trump hailed her as an “advocate of the American family.”

Veteran journalist T.V.R. Shenoy passes away at 77

  • Veteran journalist T.V.R. Shenoy passed away at a private hospital here on Tuesday night, family sources said. He was 77.
  • Conferred the Padma Bhushan in 2003, he had been working as a journalist in Delhi for a long time.
  • Hailing from Cherai in Kerala’s Ernakulam district, Shenoy began his career with Indian Express and in 1965, joined the Delhi bureau of Malayala Manorama and served with them for well over a quarter of a century.
  • He was a former Editor of The Week magazine and Sunday Mail and wrote on diverse issues as a columnist.

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