GA- 16 Apr 2018
CII pegs India’s GDP growth at 7.3-7.7% for 2018-19
- The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has expected India’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow at 7.3-7.7 per cent during the 2018-19 financial year.
- This is based on strengthening demand in the rural economy, including agriculture and non-farm activities, as well as better global growth climate.
- There are some macro challenges like rising oil prices, but that would be more than compensated by improving industrial performance.
- Rakesh Bharti Mittal is the President of CII.
Govt raises Nabard’s authorised capital to Rs 300 bn
- The govt has raised the authorized capital of NABARD by six times from 50 billion to Rs 300 billion to help it increase its lending to the rural economy.
- The increment is done as part of the drive to double the income of farmers by 2022.
- A bill in this regard was approved by Parliament earlier this year.
- The increase in authorized capital will enable Nabard to respond to commitments it has undertaken particularly in respect of the Long Term Irrigation Fund and on-lending to cooperative banks.
- The development finance institution also aims to increase its long-term on-lending or refinance portfolio to about Rs 800 billion in the current fiscal as part of its effort to improve the rural economy.
- The institution’s on-lending in 2017-18 was Rs 650 billion.
- The govt in the Budget had enhanced the corpus of the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIFD) to Rs 280 billion with an overall objective of doubling farmers income by 2022.
Govt launches Gram Swaraj Abhiyan
- The Union Govt has launched “Gram Swaraj Abhiyan- Special Interventions”, an high-intensity outreach programme to deliver welfare schemes to select villages which need particular attention on the occasion of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Jayanti (Apr 14).
- The abhiyan has been launched on the lines of rural development schemes like Antyodaya based on principle of convergence and saturation.
- It aims for 100% coverage of seven schemes launched by Central Govt for eligible beneficiaries in three-week window from Apr 14 to May 5, 2018.
- The seven schemes covered under it are Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Ujala scheme, Saubhagya, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and Mission Indradhanush.
Himachal Pradesh celebrates its 71st foundation day
- Himachal Pradesh celebrated its 71st foundation day with much fanfare and gaiety on Apr 15, 2018.
- The hill state came into existence after the merger of 30 odd princely states in 1948.
- The main event was held at Ridge Maidan in Shimla, where Chief Minister Jairam Thakur reviewed the ceremonial Parade presented by police, home guards and NCC cadets.
Govt launches e-FRRO scheme
- The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) launched web-based application e-FRRO (e-Foreigners Regional Registration Office) to allow foreign tourists and travellers to avail paperless and cashless visa-related services.
- e-FRRO eliminates need for any human interface and using it foreigners touring India will be no longer need to physically visit office of Foreigners Registration Office or Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRO/FRRO) for visa-related services including registration and visa extension.
- It aims to build centralized, transparent online platform for foreigners to avail visa related services.
- It also aims to provide faceless, cashless and paperless services to foreigners with user friendly experience.
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana launched in State
- The Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan launched ‘Gram Swaraj Abhiyan’ to provide free LPG gas connections under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).
- The number of LPG distribution points in the State will be increased to 1,000 from the existing 707 for quicker and efficient delivery of gas cylinders.
- Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) is the scheme providing free cooking gas connections to below poverty line families.
- The scheme extends to families of SC/ST, beneficiaries of Antyodaya Anna Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and those from economically backward classes.
- Under it, an eligible woman in the household will be issued a free connection and ₹1,600 cash assistance at installation, and cost of the stove kit will only be deducted in EMIs from the subsidy amount deposited in the account at the start of seventh refill cylinder.
India to work with China on OPEC’s Asian Premium issue
- India will coordinate with China and other Asian countries to raise voice against Asian premium charged by Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Couuntries (OPEC).
- Indian Oil Corporation Chairman Sanjiv Singh will coordinate with head of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to chalk out strategy that will result in getting better price from OPEC countries.
- Asian Premium is extra charge being collected by OPEC countries from Asian countries when selling oil in comparison to western countries.
- The OPEC, headquartered in Vienna, Austria, is an intergovernmental organization (or cartel) of 14 oil-exporting developing nations that coordinates and unifies the petroleum policies of its member countries.
US announces eligibility review of India
- The United States Trade Representative (USTR) formally announced that it is reviewing eligibility of India, Indonesia and Kazakhstan in Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) based on concerns about countries’ compliance with program.
- The reviews are based on Trump administration’s new GSP country eligibility assessment process as well as GSP country eligibility petitions.
- For India, GSP country eligibility review is based on concerns related to its compliance with GSP market access criterion and two petitions related to same criterion.
- For Indonesia, GSP country eligibility review is based on concerns related to its compliance with GSP market access criterion and GSP services and investment criterion.
- Kazakhstan’s eligibility review is based on concerns related to its compliance with the GSP worker rights criterion.
- GSP is largest and oldest US trade preference programme introduced in 1976.
Indian mosquitoes susceptible to Zika virus: NIV study
- According to the recent National Institute of Virology (NIV) study, it has been found that Indian Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits dengue and chikungunya viruses is easily susceptible to zika virus.
- During the study it was found that Indian Aedes aegypti mosquito infected with African strain MR-766 of zika virus (ZIKV) can easily transmit infection.
- This study shows that Indian mosquitoes pick up ZIKV in natural way.
- Zika virus is vector borne disease transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the same mosquito that transmits dengue.
Pakistan successfully test fires enhanced version of Babur cruise missile
- Pakistan has successfully test fired Babur Weapon System-1 (B), an enhanced version of indigenously-built Babur cruise missile.
- The cruise missile is important part of Pakistan’s strategic deterrence.
- The missile has been named after the first Mughal emperor Babur.
- It can deliver conventional and non-conventional weapons with range of 700 kilometres (brings many important Indian cities within its range).
- It is low-flying, terrain-hugging missile, which carries certain stealth features, making it important force multiplier for Pakistan’s strategic deterrence.
Dharmendra to receive Raj Kapoor Lifetime Achievement award
- Veteran actor Dharmendra and filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani will be conferred with the prestigious Raj Kapoor Lifetime Achievement and Raj Kapoor Special Contribution awards, respectively.
- Maharashtra culture minister Vinod Tawde announced the award.
- Veteran Marathi actor Vijay Chavhan will receive the V Shantaram Lifetime Achievement award, while actor-director Mrinal Kulkarni has been named for V Shantaram Special Contribution awards.
- Both the lifetime achievement awards carry a citation and cash reward of Rs 5,00,000, while the special contribution awards carry a citation and Rs 3,00,000 cash prize each.
- The state govt-instituted awards will be given away at the 55th Maharashtra State Marathi Film Festival.