1-2 February 2018 Current Affairs

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02 Feb, 2018

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1) Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Union Budget for 2018-19 on 1 February 2018. What the fiscal deficit target for 2018-19 is, as outlined in the budget declaration? – 3.3% of GDP

Explanation: In the Budget declaration, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley disclosed that the government has revised the fiscal consolidation glide path and set fiscal deficit target for 2018-19 now at 3.3% of GDP against earlier target of 3% of GDP.

It was also disclosed that the government has breached the fiscal deficit target for 2017-18. While the budget estimate was 3.3%, the revised estimate is 3.5%.

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2) Which 3 public sector general insurance companies will be merged to form a single insurance company, as was announced in the Union Budget on 1 February 2018? – The Oriental Insurance Company Ltd., National Insurance Company Ltd. and United India Insurance Company Ltd.

Explanation: Three public sector insurance companies – The Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd., National Insurance Co. Ltd., and United India Insurance Co. Ltd. – will be merged into a single insurance company and listed on the bourses, finance minister Arun Jaitley announced in the Union Budget on 1 February 2018.

The merging of the three state-run insurers will lead to the creation of a mammoth insurance organization.

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3) What is the disinvestment target for 2018-19, as was announced in the Union Budget on 1 February 2018? – Rs. 80,000 crore

Explanation: The government in the Budget presented on 1 February 2018 announced a disinvestment target of Rs 80,000 crore for 2018-19 while suggesting that the figure for the current fiscal may cross the Rs 1 lakh crore mark.

In his previous Budget speech in 2017, Jaitley had pegged the divestment target at Rs 72,500 crore. With total disinvestment proceeds of Rs 54,338 crore so far, the Rs 37,000 crore ONGC-HPCL deal is all set to push the divestment proceeds in FY18 to a record Rs 1 lakh crore mark.

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4) What is the name of the world’s largest government funded national health programme that was announced in the Union Budget on 1 February 2018? – National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS)

Explanation: The Union Government announced the ambitious mega health scheme for the poor named ‘National Health Protection Scheme’ (NHPS) in the Union Budget of 2018-19 on 1 February 2018. NHPS the world’s largest government funded national health programme and will provide 10 crore families with medical coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.

NHPS is based on the cost of the existing Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), that provides Rs 30,000 cover for up to five members of a below the poverty line (BPL) family. The Centre provides 75% of the total premium while states pay the rest. Around 36 million of 59 million BPL families across 15 states are enrolled in the RSBY scheme.

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5) What is the name given to the 4% cess announced in the Union Budget 2018-19 on 1 February 2018 that will replace the present 3% Education cess? – ‘Health and Education Cess’

Explanation: The Union Government proposed to replace existing 3% education cess on personal income tax and corporation tax with a new 4% ‘Health and Education Cess’ to take care the education and health needs of poor and rural families, as was announced on 1 February 2018.

At present, a 3% cess, consisting of 2% cess for primary education and 1% cess for secondary and higher education, is levied on personal income tax and corporation tax.

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6) Finance minister Arun Jaitley introduced the much talked about long term capital gains tax (LTCG) on sale of listed securities on gains of over Rs1 lakh. This tax was abolished in which year? – 2005-06

Explanation: As part of its attempts to encourage long-term investment in equity shares, the Union Government in 2005-06 had abolished LTCG tax replacing it with securities transaction tax (STT).

But the LTCG was reintroduced in the Union Budget of 2018-19 on 1 February 2018. While the Centre has brought back LTCG, it has, however, decided against abolishing or reducing the STT rates, which, many feel, is a case of double taxation.

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7) What is the name of Indian Navy’s third Scorpene class submarine that was launched on 31 January 2018? – Karanj

Explanation: ‘Karanj’ is the name of Indian Navy’s third Scorpene class submarine that was launched by Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba’s wife Reena Lanba on 31 January 2018. The submarine has been constructed at the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in Mumbai.

A total of six submarines are to be built at the MDL in collaboration with French shipbuilding major Naval Group (formerly DCNS).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had commissioned INS Kalvari, the first of the six Scorpene-class submarine during December 2017. The second submarine, INS Khanderi, named after the Island fort of Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaj, was launched on 12 January 2018.

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8) Indian taxi aggregator Ola launched its first overseas service in which country on 30 January 2018? – Australia

Explanation: Softbank-backed Indian taxi aggregator Ola launched its service in Australia, its first overseas market, on 30 January 2018. The company began inviting private hire vehicle owners in the cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Perth to sign up on its service. Commencement of its commercial operations is still subject to necessary regulatory approvals.

Ola company is looking to fulfill its global ambitions in line with the ride-hailing model peers and competitors such as Didi, Grab and Uber.

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9) Which Japanese conglomerate is buying control of the iconic American corporate giant Xerox Corp. to create a $18 billion company, as was announced on 31 January 2018? – Fujifilm Holdings Corp.

Explanation: Tokyo-based Fujifilm Holdings Corp. will buy control of Xerox Corp. in a deal that creates an $18 billion company and marks the end of the independence of the iconic American corporate giant. This deal was announced on 31 January 2018.

Xerox, which has a market value of $8.3 billion, will first merge with a joint venture the company operates with Fujifilm in Asia. Fujifilm will ultimately end up owning 50.1% of the combined entity, which expands the joint venture to encompass all of Xerox’s operations.

The deal marks the end of independence for a US company whose roots trace back to the start of the 20th century. While Xerox became famous for its hardware, it has fallen on hard times as Canon Inc. and Asian competitors eroded its dominance while email and other forms of electronic communications took over.

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10) Who was chosen to receive WHO’s prestigious IhsanDogramaci Family Health Foundation Prize, thus becoming the first Indian to receive this award? – Dr. Vinod Paul

Explanation: Dr. Vinod Paul, the member of the NITI Aayog, has been chosen to receive WHO’s prestigious IhsanDogramaci Family Health Foundation Prize for his services in the field of family health. He was chosen unanimously from among shortlisted candidates from Algeria, China, Malaysia, Mexico, Russian Federation, and Uzbekistan. This was announced by the WHO on 27 January 2018.

The award will be presented to Paul at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, in May 2018. According to a notification by the WHO Executive Board, Dr. Paul has made distinguished contributions towards improving the health and well-being of families, especially in developing countries.

A well-known name in public health circles in India, Paul has played a key role in formulating national child health guidelines and programmes in the country.

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11) What is the name of India’s High Performance Computer (HPC) system that was commissioned at the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting at Noida on 30 January 2018? –  ‘Mihir’

Explanation: India on 30 January 2018 commissioned its High Performance Computer (HPC) system – named   (meaning Sun) – at the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) at Noida, Uttar Pradesh.

Mihir is India’s largest HPC facility in terms of peak capacity and performance and will propel India’s ranking from the 368th position to the 30th in the list of top 500 HPC facilities in the world.

It will improve India’s capacity in weather forecasting and help it to come out with weather forecast down to the block level (for about 6500 blocks) across the country later this year. At present, such facility is available at district level.

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