INDIAN AFFAIRS
MHA signs MoU with ISRO to set up an Integrated Control Room for Emergency Response
On September 21, 2018, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Department of Space signed an MOU for setting up of Integrated Control Room for Emergency Response (ICR-ER) in Ministry of Home Affairs.
i. The MoU was signed by Joint Secretary (Disaster Management) Shri Sanjeev Kumar Jindal and
Dr P.V.N Rao, Deputy Director, NRSC, ISRO.
ii. The project will be executed under overall supervision of MHA.
iii. It will be established by 2020.
iv. The functions of  the ICR-ER are:
  • Will cater to the requirement of Disaster Management as well as Internal Security,
  • Receipt of information on near real-time basis on various internal security situation and emergencies.
v. This would help in timely response and assistance in emergency situations.
Health Ministry partners with Dell and Tata Trusts to provide technology solution for a nationwide healthcare program
On September 21, 2018, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare signed MoUs with the Tata Trusts and Dell to provide a technological platform for nationwide prevention, control, screening and management program of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
Health Ministry partners with Dell and Tata Trusts to provide technology solution for a nationwide healthcare programi. Contributions of Dell and Tata in NCD:
Dell helped in the development of the technology platform as technology partner and
TATA helped in the implementation support of the NCD programme as deployment partner.
ii. The technology solution by Dell is hosted on a Government Data Center and managed by Centre for Health Informatics, MoHFW.
iii. Also a user manual for NCD application under Comprehensive Primary Health Care (CPHC) IT Solutions was released.
iv. Under Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS), government will start population based screening under NHM for diabetes, Hypertension and three types of common cancers.
v. Also under Ayushman Bharat,  Centre will provide 12 different kinds of services of which Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) form an important part.
About the IT solution:
The NCD IT solution covers program-level data for screening, referral, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up activities of non-communicable diseases with an aim to connect health workers, doctors and decision-makers in a single, integrated platform.
About Non-Communicable Disease :
♦ NCD screening program addresses Hypertension, Diabetes, Oral, Breast and Cervical cancers and covers all men and women over the age of 30 years.
♦ It is under the Ayushman Bharat Comprehensive Primary Healthcare (CPHC) Initiative that is being deployed in 200 districts across the country.
Union Government launched India’s first National Registry of Sexual Offenders and several initiatives for sexual violence against women and children
On September 21, 2018, the Union Government released a National Database of Sexual Offenders (NDSO) in New Delhi. It was launched by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
India thus became the 9th nation to have a registry of this kind.
i. It is an initiative under the National Mission for Safety of Women.
ii. The database would be maintained by the National Crime Records Bureau under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
iii. The database would contain 4.4 lakh offenders (from 2005 till date) and their DNA samples, fingerprints, Aadhaar numbers and Personal Account Numbers (PANs).
iv. Data will be stored for 15 years for those who are posing low danger, 25 years for moderate danger and lifetime for habitual offenders.
v. Along with this, 79 lakh rape kits are in the process of distribution across the country.
vi. Additionally, the Home Minister also launched the Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children (CCPWC) portal “cybercrime.gov.in” to check objectionable online content.
vii. It will have features of tracking complaints against various sexual crimes and child abuse materials. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) will be responsible for further investigation in these matters.
viii. Also, the following has been launched:
  • Women’s Safety Division in the Ministry of Home Affairsand
  • Safe City projects for Women’s Safety.
ix. Ministry of Home Affairs has already released a grant of Rs. 94.5 crore to States/UTs for establishing cyber forensic-cum-training laboratories.
x. These will help in better cybercrime investigation and training programmes for Police officers, public prosecutors and judicial officers.
Home Ministry:
♦ Union Minister: Shri Rajnath Singh.
♦ Minister of State: Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Shei Kiren Rijiju.
♦ Secretary: Shri Rajiv Gauba.
ANI, WAM signed MoU for bilateral cooperation in area of free news exchange
On September 21, 2018, Asian News International, ANI and Emirates News Agency, WAM, the official news agency of the UAE government has signed an MoU, for bilateral cooperation in the area of the free news exchange in Abu Dhabi.
i. The Mou wa signed between:
  • Mohammad Jalal Alrayssi, Executive Director of WAM and
  • Sanjiv Prakash, Chief Editor and CEO of ANI.
ANI News :
Headquarters: New Delhi.
WAM News:
Headquarters: Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Tamil Nadu govt announced scheme for the protection of the exotic Neela Kurinji plants
On September 21, 2018, Tamil Nadu government announced scheme for the protection of the exotic Neela kurinji (Strobilanthus kunthianus) plants in Nilagiri district of Tamilnadu.
i. This came after the complaints of packaging and selling them on commercial basis.
ii. These plants flower only once in 12 years.
iii. The Neela Kurinju is a native to the Western Ghats.
National Parks of Tamil Nadu : Mudumalai National Park, Anamalai National Park, Periyar National Park, Bandipur National Park, Guindy National Park.
Gujarat govt doubled farmers’ accident insurance amounts costing it Rs.70 crore
On September 21, 2018, the Gujarat government increase in insurance cover compensation for farmers in the event of accidental death or disability.
i. The increased premium will be borne by the state government costing it more than Rs.70 crore.
ii. According to the announcement compensation has been doubled for,
  • Accidental death from Rs.1 lakh to Rs.2 lakh, and
  • Partial disability, losing either a limb or an eye, from Rs.50,000 to Rs.1 lakh.
iii. This will benefit over 2.5 crore farmers in the State from the existing 1.75 crore under Farmers’ Accident Insurance Scheme.
iv. Now, any child of the farmer is entitled to be covered under this scheme unlike only the first child which was stated earlier.
Gujarat:
♦ Capital: Gandhinagar.
♦ Chief Minister: Vijay Rupani.
♦ Governor: Om Prakash Kohli.
Nicknames:
♦ Ahmedabad: India’s First world heritage city, Manchester of India, Boston of India.
♦ Baroda(Vadodara): Banyan City, Power Hub of India, Cultural capital of Gujarat.
Gujarat Government forms panel to probe crop insurance complaints
On 20th September 2018, Gujarat government announced the formation of a committee to look into the complaints of farmers who have not received timely compensation for crop loss.
Key Points:
i. The committee includes Gujarat Agriculture Minister R C FalduGujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani will directly supervise the committee.
ii. Erring insurance companies will be reported directly to the Central government. The committee will soon hold a meeting with the chairman and managing directors of insurance companies that offer crop loans in Gujarat, to tackle this issue.
iii. Under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) more than 12 lakh farmers in Gujarat have been covered during the ongoing Kharif 2018 season. This scheme was introduced in Kharif 2016.
iv. More than Rs 374 crore has been collected from farmers as premium through this scheme.
Some National Parks in Gujarat:
♦ Vansda National Park
♦ Gir Forest National Park
♦ Blackbuck National Park
First ever Mizoram International Short Film Festival (MISFF) in Aizawl
On 20th September 2018, the first-ever Mizoram International Short Film Festival (MISFF) was inaugurated by Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla at the Aijal Club in Aizawl, Mizoram.
Mizoram International Short Film Festival (MISFF) in AizawlMizoram International Short Film Festival (MISFF):
i. At the inaugural event, Gulshan Grover’s short film ‘Forbidden’ was screened. This is the first of its kind film festival in Mizoram.
ii. It is organised by: Government of Mizoram and Innovations India. It is supported by the Mizo Film Forum.
iii. The festival aims to promote Mizoram as a preferred destination for film making, and to exhibit the beautiful locations of Mizoram. It will also highlight the film making capabilities of the Mizo film makers.
Some wildlife sanctuaries in Mizoram:
♦ Lengteng wildlife sanctuary
♦ Ngengpui wildlife sanctuary
♦ Pualreng wildlife sanctuary
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu’s 3 nation visit to Serbia, Malta and Romania
i. On September 14, 2018, Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu commenced his official visit to Serbia, Malta and Romania till September 20, 2018.
ii. On September 14-16, 2018, Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu visited Serbia at the invitation of the President of Serbia, Mr. Aleksander Vucic.
iii. Serbia Post and India Post have released commemorative stamps on renowned Serbian Physicist and Innovator Nikola Tesla and Swami Vivekananda.
iv. On September 16-18, 2018, the Vice president visited Malta from September 16-18, 2018 at the invitation of the President of Malta, Ms. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca.
v. On September 18-20, 2018, the Vice President visited Romania from September 18-20, 2018 at the invitation of the Mr. Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, the President of the Senate of Romania. 
vi. In Romania, the Vice President launched two books on Ayurveda and inaugurated an Ayurveda Information Centre………………………..Click here to Read more
1 million contributed by India to UN’s ambitious solar project
On September 20, 2018, India contributed one million US dollars for the installation of solar panels on the roof of the imposing UN building in New York.
1 million contributed by India to UN's ambitious solar projectObjective:
To reduce carbon footprint and promote sustainable energy.
Key Points:
India is the first responder to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ call for climate action.
United Nations:
♦ Headquarters: New York.
♦ Members: 193.
International Solar Alliance:
♦ Headquarters: Haryana , India.
♦ Members (as of 2017): 121.
World Environment Day: June 5.
BANKING & FINANCE
World Bank approved Country Partnership Framework for India to support its transition to higher middle- income country
On September 21, 2018, World Bank Board approved a 5-year Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for India.
World Bank approved Country Partnership Framework for India to support its transition to higher middle- income countryThis is the first country partnership framework written with India.
Objective:
For high, sustainable and inclusive growth.
Key Points:
i. Under this, 25 and 30 billion US Dollars in financial support would be provided from:
  • The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD),
  • The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and
  • The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).
ii. This would help in India’s transition to a higher middle-income country by 2030.
iii. Key priorities are: resource efficiency and inclusive growth, job creation and building its human capital.
World Bank:
♦ Headquarters: Washington D.C., USA.
♦ Membership: 189 countries.
♦ President: Jim Yong Kim.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
India’s growth forecast increased to 7.8 per cent for financial year 2019: Fitch
On September 21, 2018, Fitch Ratings in its Global Economic Outlook report increased India’s growth forecast for the current fiscal to 7.8 per cent, from 7.4per cent.
i. According to the report:
  • India’s growth likely peaked in 2Q 18 (April-June) to 8.2 percent,
  • Interest rates have been raised,
  • inflation is increasing within reach on relatively high demand-pull pressures and INR depreciation.
ii. However, the demotivating parameters of growth are:  tightening of financial conditions, rising oil bill and weak bank balance sheets .
iii. The growth forecasts for FY 2019-2020 and FY 2020-2021 has been cut by 0.2 percentage points to 7.3 per cent.
Fitch:
♦ Headquarters: New York City, US.
♦ CEO: Paul Taylor.
IRDAI raised minimum driver insurance cover to Rs 15 lakh for 2 wheelers and cars
On September 21, 2018, Insurance regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI) raised the minimum insurance cover for owner-driver to Rs.15 lakh for a premium of Rs.750 per annum.
i. Presently, the capital sum insured (CSI) under this section for motorised two-wheelers and private cars/commercial vehicles is Rs.1 lakh and Rs.2 lakh, respectively.
ii. This will help in financial support at the time of accident.
iii. However it is only to all classes of vehicles at the premium rate of ₹750 per annum for annual policy.
IRDAI:
♦ Headquarters: Hyderabad.
♦ Chairman: Dr. Subhash Chandra Khuntia.
NSE, LSEG inked deal for dual listing of masala, foreign currency bonds
On September 21, 2018, NSE and London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) signed a pact on a dual listing route for masala bonds as well as foreign currency bonds of Indian issuers.
i. MOU was signed by NSE MD and CEO Vikram Limaye and London Stock Exchange Plc CEO Nikhil Rathi.
ii. Under the MOU, the masala bonds and foreign currency bonds in LSEG would be listed on NSE and the reverse would be done as well.
iii. This would help in:
  • Enhancing visibility & increase liquidity in secondary markets,
  • Also reduce the cost of raising capital for all issuers.
iv. They would also launch ELITE LSEG’s business support and capital raising initiative for small and medium enterprises in India in 2019.
v. The ELITE global community is made up of over 900 private, ambitious companies from 32 countries and over 30 sectors.
vi. This would help SMEs scale up their businesses and include them in the list.
NSE:
Headquarters: Mumbai.
Alibaba to comply with Govt policy on data localization
On September 21, 2018, Alibaba shared its consent on Central Government’s mandate of data localisation for e-commerce companies in India.
Alibaba to comply with Govt policy on data localizationObjective:
For data privacy and security
i. Alibaba-backed Paytm would take only 6 months for data localization.
ii. Alibaba already has  investments in several Indian companies including Paytm, Zomato and BigBasket.
Other News:
It has recently set up a data center also building a data team that will help provide big data and AI services to Indian companies.
Background:
The Indian government has proposed data localisation as part of the Data Protection Bill, while the banking regulator of the country has mandated all payments companies to store data locally.
Alibaba:
Headquarters: Hangzhou, China.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
Anushka Sharma receives Smita Patil Memorial Award
On 19th September 2018, actor Anushka Sharma received the Smita Patil Memorial Award at Priyadarshni Academy 34th Anniversary Global Awards, in Mumbai.
i. She was presented the award by Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari and Union Minister of Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Kalraj Mishra appointed chairman of parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence
On 19th September 2018, Kalraj Mishra was appointed the chairman of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence.
Kalraj Mishra – chairman of parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence:
i. Kalraj Mishra replaces former Uttarakhand chief minister Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri as chairman of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence.
ii. Kalraj Mishra is 77 years old. He is a BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) MP from Deoria, Uttar Pradesh. He has served as Union Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. He has also served as the president of BJP’s Uttar Pradesh unit 4 times.
iii. Also, Chintamani Malviya, a BJP member from Ujjain, has become the chairman of the Standing Committee on Coal and Steel. He replaces replaced Rakesh Singh from Jabalpur.
About parliamentary standing committees:
  • Number of parliamentary standing committees – 24
  • 16 parliamentary standing committees are under the administrative control of Lok Sabha and 8 are under Rajya Sabha
  • They consist of members from both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
A Gitesh Sarma appointed Secretary (West) in Ministry of External Affairs
On 20th September 2018, A Gitesh Sarma was appointed as Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
A Gitesh Sarma – Secretary (West) in MEA:
i. A Gitesh Sarma’s appointment has been approved by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet.
ii. He is an Indian Foreign Service Officer (IFS) of 1986 batch. He replaces Ruchi Ghanashyam. Currently, A Gitesh Sarma is additional secretary in the foreign ministry.
iii. As the Secretary (West), A Gitesh Sarma will be responsible for India’s diplomatic affairs with the UK and other European countries
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) discovers two new Earth-like planets: “super-Earth” and “hot Earth”
NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered two new earth-like exoplanets namely: “super-Earth” and “hot Earth”.
Key Points:
i. TESS was launched in April 2018 to detect exoplanets (planets outside the sun’s solar system). It is a one year mission worth $337 million. This is TESS’s first discovery.
ii. Super-Earth: It is named as Pi Mensae c. It is 60 light-years away. It orbits its sun every 6.3 days.
iii. Hot-Earth: It is named as LHS 3844 b. It is 49 light-years away. It orbits its sun every 11 hours. Both the planets are too hot to support life.
About NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration):
♦ Administrator – Jim Bridenstine
♦ Headquarters – Washington, D.C., US
Japanese businessman Yusaku Maezawa to become the first private moon tourist
Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese businessman, will be the first private moon tourist, to fly on Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) of SpaceX around the Moon in 2023.
Key Points:
i. Yusaku Maezawa is a 42-year-old Japanese billionaire and chief executive of Japan’s largest online fashion mall Zozotown.
ii. He will be the first lunar traveler since the last US Apollo mission in 1972. The amount he has paid for the journey has not been revealed.
iii. He will take six to eight artists along with him. The artists will not be charged.
iv. The Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) is in development. It is 118 meters long. It will comprise a first stage with engines and fuel systems, and a second stage with the spacecraft where the passengers will ride.
About SpaceX:
CEO – Elon Musk
Headquarters – California, U.S.
OBITUARY
Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang Dies at 61
On 21st September 2018, Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang died due to a serious illness, in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang Dies at 61i. Tran Dai Quang was 61 years old. He became the President of Vietnam in April 2016.
ii. Earlier he had been the Minister of Public Security. He was also a police general and member of decision-making Politburo of Vietnam.
Former Air Marshal Randhir Singh passes away at 97
On 18th September 2018, former Air Marshal Randhir Singh died following a short term illness in Chandigarh. He was 97 years old. He was a highly decorated Indian Air Force veteran.
IMPORTANT DAYS
International day for Peace or World Peace Day – September 21
On 21st September 2018, International Day of Peace was celebrated all over the world.
International day for Peace or World Peace DayInternational Day of Peace:
i. When: In 1981, United Nations General Assembly declared September 21 as International Day of Peace. This day is observed every year. It is also unofficially referred to as World Peace Day.
ii. Why: This day aims to strengthen the ideals of peace and create awareness on issues related to peace.
iii. Theme: for International Day of Peace 2018 is “The Right to Peace – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70.”
About United Nations:
♦ Secretary‑General – António Guterres
♦ Headquarters – New York City, United States
World Alzheimer’s Day – September 21
On 21st September 2018, World Alzheimer’s Day was observed all over the world.
World Alzheimer’s Day:
i. When: World Alzheimer’s Day is observed on 21 September since 2012. Also, September is observed as World Alzheimer’s Month.
ii. Why: On this day, Alzheimer’s organizations throughout the world create awareness about Alzheimer’s disease.
iii. Alzheimer’s disease is a group of disorders that impairs memory and other mental functions.