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Important Current Affairs 5th October 2018 English

National News
Chanda Kochhar quits as ICICI Bank CEO, MD


The ICCI Bank CEO and MD, Chanda Kochhar quit her position with immediate effect on October 4, 2018. The announcement came after her plea for early retirement was accepted by the bank. 

Kochhar, who had headed ICICI Bank since May 2009, is also stepping down from the board of directors of its units. Her third term was set to end in March 2019. 
Sandeep Bakhshi, who was appointed as the bank's COO in June 2018, has been named to succeed Kochhar as the bank’s new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. Bakhshi has been appointed for a period of five years until October 3, 2023, subject to various approvals.

21 IORA Countries adopt the Delhi Declaration on Renewable Energy

As many as 21 countries in the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) today adopted the Delhi Declaration on Renewable Energy in the Indian Ocean Region, post the 2nd IORA Renewable Energy Ministerial Meeting held at the 2nd Global Re-Invest India-ISA Partnership Renewable Energy Investor’s Meet & Expo in Greater Noida.
The Delhi Declaration on Renewable Energy in the Indian Ocean Region calls for collaboration among IORA member states in meeting the growing demand for renewable energy in the Indian Ocean littorals, development of a common renewable energy agenda for the Indian Ocean region and promote regional capacity building.


First Regional Conference on 'Women in Detention and Access to Justice' in Shimla 

The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), Ministry of Home Affairs is organising the First ever Regional Conference at Shimla on 'Women in Detention and Access to Justice' in collaboration with the Prison Department, Himachal Pradesh on October 4-5, 2018. The Conference will be inaugurated by Shri Acharya Devvrat, the  Governor of Himachal Pradesh.

The following themes have been identified for discussions and deliberations:

•    Reproductive Health Rights of Women Prisoners: National and International Legal Norms
•    Health Needs of Women Prisoners
•    Health, Skill, Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Women Inmates and Their Children
•    Prison Reforms, Structural Managerial and Legal Issues with Focus on Women Inmates & Comparison to Global Norms
•    Neuro-Criminology Program for the Offender
•    Transforming Prisons

 Defence News

India and Kazakhstan agree to boost Defence and Military Technical Cooperation
 
Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman was on a three-day visit to Astana, Kazakhstan from October 02, 2018 at the invitation of Minister of Defence of the Republic of Kazakhstan Mr. Nurlan Yermekbayev.
India and Kazakhstan Defence Cooperation includes military-technical cooperation, military education and training, joint military exercises, bilateral exchange of visits and cadet youth exchange programs.  Over 200 Kazakh Defence Forces Personnel have undergone military training in India till date.  Both countries successfully conducted a company level joint military exercise ‘KAZIND-2018’ in South Kazakhstan, last month. India and Kazakhstan are bound by historical and cultural ties and this has laid a strong foundation for the multifaceted cooperation.  Both countries are Strategic Partners since 2009.

 Awards News

Swachh Survekshan Grameen Awards 2018

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi gave awards to top Ranked State, District and State with maximum citizen participation based on the National Swachh SurvekshanGrameen 2018 commissioned by Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. 
The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation had commissioned “Swachh Survekshan Grameen-2018” (SSG 2018) through an independent survey agency to develop ranking of all districts of India on the basis of quantitative and qualitative sanitation (Swachhata) parameters.
Overall Ranking:
•    Top 3 States-1) Haryana, 2) Gujarat 3) Maharashtra
•    Top 3 Districts 1) Satara, Maharashtra 2) Rewari, Haryana 3) Pedapalli, Telangana
•    States with maximum citizen participation 1) Uttar Pradesh 2) Gujarat 3) Maharashtra
•    Districts with maximum citizens’ participation 1) Nashik, Maharashtra 2) Solapur, Maharashtra 3) Chittorgarh, Rajasthan

International News

Four-day long India International Science Festival (IISF-2018) begins 
     

Union Minister of Science & Technology, Dr. Harsh Vardhanand Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Shri Yogi Adityanath jointly addressed a curtain raiser in Luknow on the eve of 4thIndia International Science Festival-2018 (IISF-2018) to be held in Lucknow from 05th to 08th October.The mega science expo will be formally inauguratedby the President Shri Ram NathKovind.
The theme of this edition of Science Festival is “Science for Transformation”. IISF-2018 is expected to be represented by approximately 10000 delegates including 5000 students, 550 teachers, 200 students from North-East Region, 20 international delegates and approximately 200 startups.

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Important Current Affairs 4th October 2018 English

National News

Establishment of National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation in Sehore District instead of Bhopal 
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved,in partial modification of the earlier decision taken on 16.05.2018, the establishment of National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation(NIMHR) in Sehore District (Bhopal-Sehore highway) instead of Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.
Benefits:
NIMHR will be the first of its kind in the country in the area of mental health rehabilitation. It will serve as an institution of excellence for capacity building in human resource and research in the area of mental health  rehabilitation, and also recommending body suggesting models/protocols for effective rehabilitation of persons with mental illness.

840 institutes enrolled in "Unnat Bharat Abhiyan"
  

Under “Unnat Bharat Abhiyan” scheme, 688 institutes selected in the phase-1 are involved in various activities aimed to enrich rural India. This includes field visits, house to house survey, identifying the felt needs of the rural masses, developing technology or process to improve their lives.
 Now, in the next phase, on a challenge mode, 840 Institutions have been selected and will be part of UBA 2.0. Out of these 840 Institutes, 521 are Technical Institutions and 319 are Non-Technical Institutions.
“Unnat Bharat Abhiyan”
Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is being coordinated and steered by IIT Delhi. The programme involve engaging with neighbouring communities and using technologies for their upliftment. Recently an article has been published outlining a roadmap for rural India.

International News

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Russiaon cooperation in the field of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
 
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between National Small Industries Corporation Ltd. (NSIC) - a Public Sector Undertaking of the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) of the Republic of India and JSC-Russian Small & Medium Business Corporation (RSMB Corporation), Russia.The MoU will be signed during the upcoming visit of Russian President to India.
Objective:
The objective of the MoU is to promote cooperation between the Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) of the two countries. It would provide a structured framework and enabling environment to the MSME sector of the two countries to understand each other's strengths, markets, technologies, policies etc. 
Aim:
It aims to enhance enterprise to enterprise cooperation and help initiate sustainable business alliances in terms of technology transfers, joint ventures and business partnerships in MSME sector between the two countries. 

Approval Second Protocol amending CECA between India and Singapore
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval to the Second Protocol amending the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between India and Singapore. The CECA was signed on 24th August 2018.
Benefits:
Signing of the Second Protocol will enhance bilateral trade and will deepen the Economic Cooperation between India and Singapore. It will also improve utilization of CECA.

Bilateral Cooperation in the Road Transport and Road Industry between India and Russia 
 
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Russia on Bilateral Cooperation in the Road Transport and Road Industry. The MoU will be signed during the upcoming visit of Russian President to India.
 Background:
 India and Russia enjoy long-standing relationship and have maintained strong economic ties at a strategic partnership level. Russia has developed technological solutions for satellite based tolling solutions. Similarly, they have also adopted advanced intelligent traffic management systems including crash reporting/ monitoring systems. 


IBSAMAR VI: India, Brazil & SA Navies train to build interoperability
With the aim to build interoperability and mutual understanding as well as sharing of best practices, the 6th edition of IBSAMAR, a joint Multi – National Maritime Exercise between the Indian, Brazilian and South African Navies, is being held at Simons Town, South Africa from Oct 1-13.

The exercise includes both harbour and sea phases with various navigation and seamanship evolutions, surface weapons firing, force protection exercises, antipiracy exercise, anti-air and anti-submarine exercise as well as flying operations. Apart from professional activities, sports and social engagements are also planned.

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Important Current Affairs 3rd October 2018 English

(National news)

BSE to launch commodity derivatives trading next week 

BSE is set to launch trading in commodity derivatives from October 1 and has decided to waive off the transaction charges for the first year of commodities market operations, the exchange said Friday. 

The exchange will begin trading in commodity derivatives with non-agriculture commodities like metals initially, followed by agri commodities subsequently, BSE said in a statement. 

Bombay Stock Exchange 

The Bombay Stock Exchange is an Indian stock exchange located at Dalal Street, Mumbai. Established in 1875, the BSE is Asia’s first stock exchange.


Launch of SATAT initiative to promote Compressed Bio-Gas as an alternative, green transport fuel 

Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Skill Development and Entrepreneurship will kick off an innovative initiative in New Delhi on 1st October, 2018, with PSU Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs ,i.e. IOC, BPCL and HPCL) inviting Expression of Interest (EoI) from potential entrepreneurs to set up Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) production plants and make available CBG in the market for use in automotive fuels. 
Significance
This significant move has the potential to boost availability of more affordable transport fuels, better use of agricultural residue, cattle dung and municipal solid waste, as well as to provide an additional revenue source to farmers.
Titled SATAT, the initiative is aimed at providing a Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) as a developmental effort that would benefit both vehicle-users as well as farmers and entrepreneurs.


India ranked 5th in pictorial warnings on cigarette packets

India ranks fifth, jointly with Hong Kong and Thailand, in terms of the largest pictorial warning on cigarette packs with 85 per cent of both sides of the packets covered, according to a Canadian Cancer Society report released.

The Cigarette Package Health Warnings: International Status Report 2018 highlighted that 118 countries worldwide have made pictorial warnings mandatory, representing a global public health achievement and 58 per cent of the world's population is covered by this regulat.

(International news)
India, Uzbekistan sign 17 agreements for cooperation in various sectors

India and Uzbekistan inked 17 agreements on Monday, including in the areas of defence, space, health and agriculture.

After holding delegation-level talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uzbekistan's President Shavkat Mirziyoyev termed the signing of agreements "historic".

The two countries signed pacts for 

•    collaboration in the field of military education and for cooperation between the Office of the Security Council under the President of Uzbekistan and the National Security Council Secretariat of India.

•    Agreement on cooperation in combating illicit drug trafficking.
•    A pact for cooperation in outer space exploration for peaceful purposes was also signed.
•    Agreements were signed for visa-free travel of diplomatic passport holders for programme of cooperation between the ministries of foreign affairs of Uzbekistan and India in 2019-2020.
•    Two agreements in the sectors of innovation, and health and medical science were also signed.
•    Business relationships between the two countries will be promoted through the India-Uzbekistan Business Council, for which a pact was inked.

PM inaugurates first assembly of the International Solar Alliance
The Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, today inaugurated the first Assembly of the International Solar Alliance at Vigyan Bhawan. The same event also marked the inauguration of the second IORA Renewable Energy Ministerial Meeting, and the 2nd Global RE-Invest (Renewable Energy Investors’ Meet and Expo). 

International Solar Alliance (ISA)

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an alliance of more than 121 countries, most of them being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The primary objective of the alliance is to work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. 

( Award News)

James P. Allison, Tasuku Honjo win Nobel Prize in Medicine for cancer research

The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been jointly awarded to James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo, by the Nobel committee of the Karolinska Institute.

The two immunologists — from the U.S. and Japan, respectively — were awarded the Prize “for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.”

The discovery made by the two Medicine Laureates takes advantage of the immune system’s ability to attack cancer cells by releasing the brakes on immune cells.


 

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Important Current Affairs 2nd October 2018 English

(International News)

World Habitat Day

1st October was celebrated as World Habitat Day by United Nations.
Theme : Muncipal Solid Waste Management.
About World Habitat Day
World Habitat Day is observed every year on the first Monday of October throughout the world. It was officially designated by the United Nations and first celebrated in 1986. The purpose of the day is to reflect on the state of our cities and towns and the basic human right to adequate shelter.

Gita Gopinath : new Chief Economist of IMF

Indian-American Gita Gopinath has been appointed as new chief economist of International Monetary Fund (IMF). She is second Indian after Raghuram Rajan on this post.
IMF
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., consisting of "189 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.

(National news)

Asian Bank approved  $150 Million loan to GoI.
    

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of lndia have signed a $150 Million Loan to finance continued improvements to road connectivity and efficiency of the International Trade Corridor in West Bengal and North-Eastern Region of lndia.
Asian Development Bank
It  is a regional development bank established on 19 December 1966, which is headquartered in the Ortigas Center located in the city of Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines.67 counteries are its member.

RUN-LLP (Reserve Unique Name – Limited Liability Partnership)

Ministry of Corporate Affairs has launched a process re-engineering by making incorporation of Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) through a complete online system- titled “RUN-LLP (Reserve Unique Name – Limited Liability Partnership)”. 
LLP
A limited liability partnership (LLP) is a partnership in which some or all partners (depending on the jurisdiction) have limited liabilities. It therefore can exhibit elements of partnerships and corporations. In an LLP, each partner is not responsible or liable for another partner's misconduct or negligence.

New District of MP

With effect from 1st October, Niwari is the 52nd 
District of Madhya Pradesh. According to the orders of the Governor of Madhya Pradesh, Rastogi told that Prithipura, Niwadi and Orchha tehsils of Tikamgarh district will now come to the Niwadi district.

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Important Current Affairs 1st October 2018 English

 

National News

PM inaugurates Mahatma Gandhi Museum at Rajkot


The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has inaugurated the Mahatma Gandhi Museum in Rajkot. The Museum has been set up at the Alfred High School, which was an important part of the formative years of Mahatma Gandhi. It will help spread awareness about Gandhian culture, values and philosophy. 
The Prime Minister also unveiled a plaque to mark the inauguration of a public housing project of 624 houses. He witnessed the e-Gruh Pravesh of 240 beneficiary families.

Government constitutes Competition Law Review Committee to review the Competition Act

 
In pursuance of its objective of ensuring that Legislation is in sync with the needs of strong economic fundamentals, the Government has constituted a Competition Law Review Committee to review the Competition Act.
The Competition Act was passed in the year 2002 and the Competition Commission of India was set up in pursuance of the same. The Commission started functioning in right earnest from 2009 and has contributed immensely towards the development of competition and fair play practices in the Indian market. During the past nine years the size of the Indian Economy has grown immensely and India is today amongst the top five Economies in the World and poised to forge ahead further. In this context, it is essential that Competition Law is strengthened, and re-calibrated to promote best practices which result in the citizens of this country achieving their aspirations and value for money.

PM Inaugurates modern food processing facilities in Anand
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, inaugurated modern food processing facilities, including Amul’s ultra-modern Chocolate Plant, at Anand today. He also visited the chocolate plant and was briefed on the various technologies used, and products being made there.
Speaking on the occasion, he thanked the people of Anand for turning out in such large numbers.
Referring to India's 75th anniversary of independence in 2022, the Prime Minister said India is doing well in milk processing but can do even better. He said the time has come to give importance to innovation and value addition. In this context he also spoke of the production of honey.


PM inaugurates LNG terminal and pipeline projects at Anjar

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi today inaugurated the Mundra LNG terminal, the Anjar-Mundra Pipeline Project and the Palanpur-Pali-Barmer pipeline project, at Anjar. 
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said that the affection he receives in Kutch is unparalleled. He appreciated the development work that has happened in the Kutch region over the last 20 years.

Defence News
Closing Ceremony: Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2018
Exercise Yudh Abhyas, a joint Indo-US Military exercise which witnessed participation of an Infantry Battalion of Indian Army and the 1st Battalion 23 Infantry Regiment of US Army concluded at Chaubatia, Uttarakhand on 29 Sep 2018.
The exercise was the 14th in the Yudh Abhyas series, which started in 2004 under US Army Pacific Partnership Programme. Exercise Yudh Abhyas strengthens and broadens interoperability and cooperation between the Indian and US armies. It is the fourth Indian US Army exercise at Chaubattia and complements number of other exchanges and exercise between the forces. 


86th Air Force Day: Air Display
The Indian Air Force proudly celebrates its 86TH anniversary on 08 Oct 2018.     A scintillating air display by various aircraft will be the hallmark of the Air Force Day Parade cum Investiture Ceremony at Air Force Station Hindan (Ghaziabad).  Rehearsals for the air display will commence from 01st October 2018 (Monday).  The general area over which aircraft will be flying at low levels are Wazirpur bridge – Karwalnagar – Afjalpur -  Hindan, Shamli – Jiwana – Chandinagar – Hindan, Hapur – Philkua – Ghaziabad – Hindan.

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Important Current Affairs 30th September 2018 English

NATIONAL NEWS

Second Anniversary of Surgical Strike was celebrated as Parakram Parv(National)

Second Anniversary of Surgical Strike was celebrated as Parakram Parv or Surgical Strike Day on September 29 – 30, 2018 by Indian Army to showcase gallant action of brave Army in the conduct of Surgical Strikes on September 29, 2016. This day was also marked to remember sacrifice of soldiers during ‘Uri incident’.

 #LooReview Campaign: Government and Google launch campaign to review public toilets
Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has partnered with Google to launch Loo Review campaign on Google Map. The joint campaign has been launched under aegis of Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban (SBM–U). It will run throughout October and November 2018 in an effort to increase awareness and ease of locating public toilets across India.

Loo Review campaign
This campaign aims to encourage all local guides in India to rate and review public toilets on Google Maps. It is part of feature which allows all citizens to locate public toilets in their cities on Google Maps, Search and t Assistant and also provide feedback on same.  500 plus cities in India with more than 30,000 toilets with name of “SBM Toilet” are currently live on Google Maps.

NITI Aayog inks SoI for with Oracle collaboration against counterfeit drugs in India.


 NITI Aayog has singed Statement of Intent (SoI) with Oracle to pilot real drug supply-chain using blockchain distributed ledger and Internet of Things (IoT) software to fight growing problem of counterfeit drugs in India. Strides Pharma Sciences and Apollo Hospitals will partner in this effort. Oracle is US multinational computer technology corporation that specializes primarily in developing and marketing database software and technology, cloud engineered systems, and enterprise software products.

Government launches Rail heritage digitisation project in collaboration with Google

 Union Railway Ministry has launched Rail Heritage Digitisation Project in collaboration with Google Arts and Culture Association. It can be accessed at “https://artsandculture.google.com/project/indian-railways”. It is first-of-its-kind project that aims to showcase India’s rail heritage to the national and international audience in an online story-telling platform. It is also largest cultural heritage digitisation project in India and possibly in entire Asia Pacific Region.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

US, Morocco launch GCTF Terrorist Travel Initiative to curb terrorist travel (International)


 United States and Morocco have launched GCTF Terrorist Travel Initiative under auspices of Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF). The initiative brings together stakeholders to share expertise on developing and implementing effective counterterrorism watchlisting and screening tools. It was launched on sidelines of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York.
GCTF Terrorist Travel Initiative
The new initiative will strengthen UNSC Resolution 2396 aiming to stop terrorist travel altogether. It will improve capabilities for detecting and interdicting terrorist travel through enhanced terrorist screening and information sharing.

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Important Current Affairs 29th September 2018 English

(National News)

Election Commission order places Telangana under model code of conduct
 
The model code of conduct came into force on Thursday in poll-bound Telangana following an Election Commission directive that henceforth the guidelines would be implemented immediately after early dissolution of a Legislative Assembly.
Earlier, the restrictions came into force only after the announcement of the election schedule by the Commission. The code will continue in effect till the completion of election for a new Assembly.

PM to inaugurate Conference on Academic Leadership on Education for Resurgence on 29th September, 2018 in New Delhi
 

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi  will inaugurate the Conference on Academic Leadership on Education for Resurgence on 29th September 2018 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi in which the Vice-Chancellors/Directors from more than 350 universities are participating. This event is being organized jointly by UGC, AICTE, ICSSR, IGNCA, IGNOU, JNU and SGT University.
 
The theme of the Conference is to deliberate on the challenges facing the Indian education system and to work out a plan for a paradigm shift both in terms of achieving academic outcomes and also in regulation of education.


Twenty Embryo Transfer Technology (ETT) centres are being established in the country
 

Twenty Embryo Transfer Technology Centres are being established in the country and a proposal of 19 centres has been approved so far.
This was stated by the Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shri Radha Mohan Singh at the foundation laying ceremony of Embryo transfer Technology ceremony of Embryo Transfer Technology (ETT) centre in the Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation (BALF), Uruilikanchan, Pune. 
The Minister further stated that 3000 high genetic merit bulls of indigenous bovine breeds are being produced from these centres. Two of these centres are to be set up in Nagpur and Pune in Maharashtra.

20th livestock Census to be conducted from 1st October in all districts of the country 
 
The 20th Livestock Census will be conducted in all districts of the Indian Union in participation with all States and Union Territories. States/UTs have been requested to start the census operations from 1st October, 2018. 
The success of this novel initiative is dependent on full cooperation and commitment from all States/UTs Governments.
The enumeration will be done in all villages and urban wards. Various species of animals (Cattle, Buffalo, Mithun, Yak, Sheep, Goat, Pig, Horse, Pony, Mule, Donkey Camel, Dog, Rabbit and Elephant)/poultry birds (Fowl, Duck, Emu, Turkeys, Quail and other poultry birds) possessed by the households, household enterprises/non-household enterprises and institutions will be counted at their site.

High Level Advisory Group Constituted for Trade
 
The Minister of Commerce & Industry, Suresh Prabhu, has approved the constitution of a High Level Advisory Group (HLAG) to make recommendations for identifying and pursuing opportunities and for addressing challenges in order to find a way forward in the contemporary global trade scenario. 
The HLAG will consider ways for boosting India’s share and importance in global merchandise and services trade, managing pressing bilateral trade relations and mainstreaming new age policy making.

(International News)

Commerce Minister Addresses Indo-Uzbek Business Meet
 
The Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, said that India is committed for a strong economic partnership with Uzbekistan. 
Trade relations between India and Uzbekistan are governed by the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation signed in May 1993. 
This agreement provides for mutual MFN treatment, promotion of economic, industrial, scientific and technical cooperation, including active participation of small and medium sized enterprises in bilateral economic cooperation. 
India and Uzbekistan signed an Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation in 1993, and for Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection in May 1999. The Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation has met ten times, and the last Session was held in New Delhi on 04-05 March 2014.

India and Japan sign Loan Agreement for Construction with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
 

Two Loan Agreements were signed between Dr. C.S. Mohapatra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance, Government of India and Mr. Katsuo Matsumoto, Chief Representative, JICA, New Delhi on Japanese Official Development Assistance loan for Construction of Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Project (I) of Yen 89.457 billion (Rs.5591 crore approx.) and Kolkata East-West Metro Project (III) of Yen 25.903 billion (Rs.1619 crore approx.) [Exchange Rate: Yen 100 = Rs.62.50].
 

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Important Current Affairs 28th September 2018 English

(National News)
Govt launches Agmark online system

 
The government Wednesday launched an online platform for processing applications related to quality certification mark ‘Agmark’ for agricultural products.
Agmark is certification mark that assures conformity to a set of standards approved by the government agency Directorate of Marketing and Inspection.
“The process of application will be simple, quick, transparent and 24x7,” Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh was quoted as said in an official statement.


Government constitutes Lokpal Search Committee headed by Justice Ranjana Desai
 
The Union Government on September 27, 2018 constituted the Lokpal Search Committee under the chairmanship of former Supreme Court judge Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai for recommending names for Lokpal.

The notification was issued by the Department of Personnel and Training.
The members of the Search Committee are Justice Sakha Ram Singh Yadav; retired IAS officer Ranjit Kumar; SBI Chief Arundhati Bhattacharya; former Gujarat Police head Lalit K Panwar; former judge of Allahabad High Court Shabbirhusein S Khandwawala; Prasar Bharati chairperson A Surya Prakash; and ISRO Head AS Kiran Kumar.

Ayodhya land dispute: SC declines to revisit its 1994 judgment and refer it to larger bench
 

The Supreme Court on September 27, 2018 declined to refer the 1994 Ismail Farooqui judgment that mosques are not integral to Islam to a larger constitution bench.
The judgement was delivered by a three-judge bench with 2: 1 majority. The majority judgement was written by Justice Ashok Bhushan on behalf of himself and Chief Justice Deepak Misra. The third judge, Justice Abdul Nazeer presented a dissenting judgment.
The decision to not refer the issue of reconsideration of the 1994 observations on the Ayodhya-Ram Janmabhoomi land dispute case to a five-judge constitution bench paves the way for the apex court to hear the main Ayodhya land dispute.

Second Anniversary of Surgical Strike to be commemorated as Parakram Parv on 29 September
 
The second anniversary of the surgical strike will be commemorated by the Indian Army as the Parakram Parv or the Surgical Strike Day during September 29 - 30, 2018 to showcase the gallant action of brave Army in the conduct of Surgical Strikes on September 29, 2016.

The Day will also be marked to remember the sacrifice of soldiers during the 'Uri incident'.
Surgical strike
•    A surgical strike is a military attack which results in only damage to the intended legitimate military target, and no or minimal collateral damage to surrounding structures, vehicles, buildings, or the general public infrastructure and utilities.
•    A swift and targeted attack with the aim of minimum collateral damage to the nearby areas and civilians is a surgical strike.
•    Surgical strikes require not just detailed and exhaustive planning but also needs precision in execution undertaken by forces across the world.

(International News)

International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons 
 
The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons was observed across the world on 26 September 2017 with an aim to educate the public and their leaders about the real benefits of eliminating nuclear weapons and the social and economic costs of perpetuating them.

Earlier on 7 July 2017, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted with an aim of a world without nuclear weapons. The Treaty was the result of a global campaign focused on the unacceptability of the use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances.

PM Modi, Cochin International Airport honoured with UN Champions of the Earth Award 2018
 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on September 26, 2018 awarded with the prestigious UN Champions of the Earth Award 2018, the highest environmental honour of the United Nations. 

The UN Environment jointly awarded PM Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron in the Policy Leadership category for their efforts regarding the creation of the International Solar Alliance. 

PM Modi was also acknowledged for his unprecedented pledge to eliminate all single use plastic in India by 2022.
 

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Important Current Affairs 27th September 2018 English

 

(National News)

Cabinet approves National Digital Communications Policy-2018 
 
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has  approved the National Digital Communications Policy-2018 (NDCP-2018) and re-designation of the Telecom Commission as the "Digital Communications Commission”.
 Impact:
The NDCP-2018 envisions supporting India's transition to a digitally empowered economy and society by fulfilling the information and communications needs of citizens and enterprises by establishment of a ubiquitous, resilient and affordable digital communications infrastructure and services. 
 The ‘Customer focused’ and ‘application driven’ NDCP-2018 shall lead to new ideas and innovations, after the launch of advanced technology such as 5G, IOT, M2M, etc. which shall govern the telecom sector of India.

NDRF to raise four more battalions
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) will soon raise four more battalions, adding to the existing 12, and will also be modernised to meet international standards, its Director General Sanjay Kumar said Wednesday.
The four new battalions would be stationed in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and NCR Delhi.


Addressing a press conference after attending a Sainik Sammelan of the NDRF 10th Battalion at the Acharya Nagarjuna University campus here, they have also proposed to have exclusive women contingents within the battalions to take care of women during times of distress.

Government launches Financial Inclusion Index
The government has  announced three initiatives to take banking to the last mile comprising a financial inclusion index, geographical mapping of banking services and hassle-free online loans for MSMEs valuing up to Rs 10 million.  

After an annual review meeting of the public sector banks, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley launched a common online platform for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) credit which will enable businesses to get loans up to Rs 10 million approved through a completely automated process within just 59 minutes.

HSL to sign contract to build two Diving Support Vessels soon
Shipyard Limited with the stage set for signing of contract of agreement with the Navy for construction of two Diving Support Vessels (DSVs).

The agreement for an order of Rs. 2,050 crore will be signed in a month or two. The yard bagged the contract through competitive bidding last year.

HSL also bagged the order from the Navy for construction of four 50 tonne bollard pull tugs at a cost of Rs 250 crore.

(Science News)
IAF successfully test fires air-to-air Astra missile


The Indian Air Force (IAF) on 27th September successfully test fired the indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) Astra from a Su-30 aircraft.

The missile, tested at Kalaikunda Air Force Station, "successfully engaged a manoeuvring target with high precision meeting the mission objectives".

In the series of trials held till date, Astra has been launched in the complete Su-30 flight envelope.

(International News)
Govt hikes import tariffs on 19 items; ACs, refrigerators, footwear hit

The government has raised import duties on 19 items, including jet fuel and air conditioners, as it looks to check the widening current account deficit resulting from high crude oil prices and the rupee dipping to a historic low.

The enhanced duty rates, which will make these imported goods expensive, will come into effect from midnight of September 26-27.

"The total value of imports of these items in the year 2017-18 was about Rs 86,000 crore,”
 

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Important Current Affairs 26th September 2018 English

(National News)
5 northern states to fix the uniform tax rate on fuel amid rising petrol prices

Northern states Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and UT Chandigarh Tuesday agreed to fix uniform tax rates on petroleum products, amid rising fuel prices.
Besides, the states also agreed to bring uniformity in taxes on liquor and registration of vehicles and transport permit.

The finance ministers of five states and officials of UT Chandigarh held a meeting here to deliberate on fixing the uniform rate of taxes on petrol and diesel.

Home Minister chairs meeting of central Zonal Council in Lucknow
Home Minister Rajnath Singh today chaired the meeting of 21st Central Zonal Council in Lucknow in which Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand while representative ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh participated. 

The Council discussed various issues including road transport, Pradhanmantri Gramin Sadak Yojna, measures to tackle Naxal violence, modernization of Police, infrastructure development of airports, minimum support price, National health mission and issues related to primary schools. 
After the meeting, Home Minister said that total 22 issues were discussed today in meeting out of which 17 were resolved and on three issue directions were given, rest 2 issues between the states will also be resolved very soon. 


UN Announces Global Media Compact to raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations announced today the launch of the SDG Media Compact, an initiative marking a new drive to advance awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were unanimously adopted by all world leaders at the United Nations in 2015.

 The Compact seeks to inspire media and entertainment companies around the world to leverage their resources and creative talent to advance the Goals.

Finance Ministry Launches Mobile Application “ Jan Dhan Darshak” as A Part of Financial Inclusion
 
Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance and National Informatics Centre  (NIC) has jointly developed a mobile app called Jan Dhan Darshak as a part of financial inclusion (FI) initiative . As the name suggests, this app will act as a guide for the common people in locating a financial service touch point at a given location in the country.
 
Some of the salient features of this App are as follows:
 
Find nearby Financial touch points,  based on current location (Branches/ATM/Post offices)
 Search by place name
 Search by place name also available with Voice Interface
 Phone number of bank branches available in app , with the facility of call button for integrated dialing
 Users’ feedback will go directly to the concerned bank for carrying out the necessary updation in data on financial touch points.

(International News)

Nepal to become world's first country to double its tiger population 
Nepal is set to become the first country in the world to double its tiger population as part of the World Wildlife Foundation's (WWF) 'Tx2' programme which aims to double the number of tigers all over the world.
The government of Nepal announced on September 23, 2018, on the occasion of National Conservation Day, that there are now an estimated 235 wild tigers in the nation, nearly double the number from around 121 in 2009.


(Defence News)

DAC approves procurement of Rs 2300cr-worth engines for T-72 tanks

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) accorded approval for the procurement of 1000 engines for fitment in T-72 tanks of the Army under 'Buy and Make' category at an approximate cost of Rs 2300 crore.
Post the transfer of technology, most of these engines will be manufactured by the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB). The engines will enhance mobility, agility, and acceleration of T-72 tanks making them more versatile and effective in the battlefield.

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