Current Affairs 24th February 2018 (17/02/2018)

National Current Affairs:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that the government wants to take medical education and health facilities to remote areas of the country. Speaking after inaugurating the new Dorji Khandu state convention centre in Arunachal Pradesh capital, Itanagar, Mr. Modi said government has taken steps to minimize the medical expenses. He said, about 800 medicines are now available at very cheap rates through Jan Aushadhi Kendras. He said the Ayushman Bharat Scheme will bring medical revolution in the country. Prime Minister also dedicated to the nation Arunachal Pradesh civil secretariat building and laid the foundation stone of the academic block of the Tomo Riba Institute of Health and Medical Science.

The government has extended the anti-narcotics scheme for 3 more years to combat illicit trafficking in drugs and psychotropic substance. The purpose of the scheme is to assist states and Union Territories, which are contributing in controlling the inter-state and cross-border drug trafficking. In a notification, the Home Ministry said, the assistance for narcotics control has been extended, with an estimated budget of Rs 21 crore. The most common drugs of abuse are ganja, hashish, opium and heroin. The scheme was first launched on October 24, 2004 for a period of five years and later extended twice in subsequent years. According to the latest assessments, there are approximately 40 lakh drug addicts in the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked students not to compete with others but compete with themselves. Interacting with students on Pareeksha Par Charcha in New Delhi, Mr Modi said, student needs self-confidence in addition to the right skills and means. He advised students to practice Yoga for improving concentration. Mr Modi said, students should have confidence among themselves, while preparing for exams. He said, several students lack confidence despite working hard for exams. About two thousand school and college students attended the programme at Talkatora Stadium.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani has said that stating the truth should be the sole agenda of journalism and biased news is harmful for the society at large. Speaking at a function in New Delhi, the Minister said that news agencies should not have any agenda and stressed on the importance of cross-checking facts. She pointed out that journalism is not an easy job and not many people in this field want to do proper groundwork and research. The Minister also highlighted the importance of imparting proper training to young and aspiring journalists.

International Current Affairs:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on significant and historic visits to Palestine, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman from February 9 to 12. The transit, via Jordan, to Palestine, afforded an opportunity for discussions with King Abdullah on counter radicalisation and regional developments. Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a bilateral meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan in Jordanian capital Amman. The talks were aimed to give strength to India-Jordan bilateral relations.

Narendra Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to set foot in Ramallah where he expressed support for a sovereign Palestine at peace with its neighbourhood while his host President Mahmoud Abbas said India has a role in ensuring a two-state solution. During the historic visit, the focus of the diplomatic exchange was Indian assistance in medical care, IT training and governance. Three agreements in the education sector worth U5 million, one MoU for procurement of equipment and machinery for the National Printing Press and one for construction of a centre for empowering women were signed. Mr Modi was conferred the ‘Grand Collar of the State of Palestine’ by President Mahmoud Abbas, recognising his key contribution to promote relations between India and Palestine.

The Prime Minister’s second visit to UAE was on invitation of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. During the visit, Mr. Modi witnessed laying of foundation stone for the BAPS Swaminarayan temple in Abu Dhabi—first ever Hindu temple being built in a land gifted by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. One of the significant aspect of this visit was agreements in terms building oil reserves and meeting India’s energy needs. Two highlights of PM’s visit were the signing of the concession agreement between an Indian Consortium and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) for award of 10 per cent stake in Lower Zakum Offshore oil field, and an agreement between Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL) and ADNOC to operationalise the filling up of a strategic petroleum reserve cavern in Mangalore. In the final leg of his tour, Modi visited Oman on the invitation of Sultan Qaboos bin Said. During the bilateral talks, both the countries agreed to counter sponsors and supporters of terrorism.

Cyril Ramaphosa, head of the ruling African National Congress, ANC , has been sworn in as South Africa’s new President. He was elected as the new president of South Africa by the ruling party politicians after the resignation of Jacob Zuma. Zuma announced the decision in a televised address to the nation after the ruling African National Congress party threatened to eject him from office via a parliamentary vote of no confidence. The 75-year-old Zuma, who was the country’s President for the last 9 years, has been under increasing pressure to give way to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC’s new leader. Mr Zuma’s resignation followed weeks of intense public pressure to step down amid long-standing corruption allegations.

The Communist Party of Nepal (UML) Chairman KP Sharma Oli has become new Prime Minister of Nepal. President Bidya Devi administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr. Oli in Kathmandu. This is the second time Mr. Oli has become the prime minister. He had served as prime minister from October 2015 to August 2016. Mr. Lal Babu Pandit and Ms. Tham Maya Thapa. both from CPN (UML), have also been administered oath of office as ministers.

Business & Economy Current Affairs:

The annual rate of inflation, based on monthly WPI, stood at 2.84% for the month of January 2018 as compared to 3.58% for the previous month and 4.26% during the corresponding month of the previous year. Build up inflation rate in the financial year so far was 2.30% corn-pared to a build-up rate of 4.55% in the corresponding period of the previous year. The official Wholesale Price Index for All Commodities for the month of January 2018 rose by 0.1 percent to 115.8 from 115.7 for the previous month.

Retail inflation fell to 5.07 per cent in January this year due to easing prices of vegetables, fruits and fuel components compared to last month. According to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, the inflation, based on Consumer Price Index (CPI), was at 5.21 per cent in December. It was at lower level at 3.17 per cent in January last year. The base year for the calculation of CPI is 2012.

Road Transport 8, Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that electric vehicles are cost-effective and pollution free and electric charging stations can come up at petrol stations also, which will give employment to lots of people. Inaugurating two electric vehicle charging points at NITI Aayog , Mr Gadkari said electric mobility is a revolution in the country and it will alter the transportation scenario of the country. The minister said Ethanol, bio-diesel and electric vehicles are the future of country’s transportation.

Reserve Bank of India has issued a revised framework for expeditious resolution of bad loans, harmonising the existing guidelines with the norms specified in the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). The new guidelines have specified framework for early identification and reporting of stressed assets. ln a notification issued in Mumbai, RBI said, in view of the enactment of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, it has been decided to substitute the existing guidelines with a harmonised and simplified generic framework for resolution of stressed assets.

Sports Current Affairs:

In Cricket, India has taken a fair lead over South Africa at the top of the ICC ODI Team Rankings. The Men in Blue consolidated their position after they defeated the Proteas in the fifth ODI at Port Elizabeth to clinch the 6-match series. It was their first-ever ODI series win in South Africa. Team India will remain the top ranked side, irrespective of how the sixth and final game at Centurion pans out. India came into the series in the second spot with 119 points, with South Africa leading by 121 points. After taking a 2-0 lead, India went to the top, and it moved to 122 points, with South Africa dropping to 118 points. The Virat Kohli led Indian team is also the top-ranked Test side. It is third in the Twenty-20 Rankings.

Tamil Nadu has won the Senior Women’s National Football Championship for the first time. Tamil Nadu, which was playing its first ever final, defeated Manipur, 2-1 at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack. Skipper lndumathi and Indrani found the net for Tamil Nadu, while Ratanbala scored Manipur’s only goal.

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