Current Affair Today

West Bengal has become the first state in the country to opt out of 'Modicare', the Central government's ambitious healthcare insurance plan, that was announced in the Union Budget earlier this month. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, while announcing the state government's decision to opt out of the healthcare scheme, also slammed the Centre for not consulting the states before unveiling the plan.

Under the provisions of the National Health Protection Scheme, dubbed "Modicare", the Centre will contribute Rs 2,000 crore to the scheme, out of a total cost of Rs 5,500 crore to Rs 6,000 crore. State governments are expected to pay the remainder.Bengal government has enrolled 50 lakh people under its own Swasthya Sathi programme.Banerjee also ridiculed the Centre's 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' scheme, saying the allocation given to the scheme is paltry, and the state government spends more money on education of girls.

South Africa's embattled President Jacob Zuma has resigned after intense pressure from his own party.He was quitting with immediate effect but said he disagreed with his ANC party's decision.

Mr Zuma, who has been in power since 2009, faces numerous allegations of corruption.

Jacob Zuma's life in seven key dates

April 1942: Born into poverty in northern KwaZulu-Natal, he is raised by his widowed mother and receives no formal schooling
1959: Joins the ANC. He becomes an active member of its military wing in 1962
August 1963: Aged 21, he is convicted of conspiring to overthrow the apartheid government and imprisoned on Robben Island, alongside Nelson Mandela, for 10 years
March 1990: After a period in exile, he returns to South Africa when a ban on the ANC is lifted - he is elected to chair the party four years later
June 1999: Five years after apartheid ends, he becomes deputy president of South Africa - he loses the position in 2005 after being implicated in a fraud trial
April 2009: Two weeks after corruption charges are dropped, Mr Zuma becomes president of South Africa
October 2017: The Supreme Court of Appeal rules he must face 18 counts of corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering

Yes Bank announced the listing of its debut $600 million bond issue under its maiden $1 billion  (MTN) programme on Global Securities Market (GSM) of India INX.

The country’s first international exchange India INX, a subsidiary of BSE Ltd, is located at Gujarat International Finance Tec City’s (GIFT City) International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), Gandhinagar.The listing ceremony held at GIFT City was presided over by Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani. This is the largest debut international bond issuance by an Indian bank.

The bond is also listed on London Stock Exchange International Securities Market (LSE ISM) and Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited (SGX).The listing ceremony was presided over by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani who also inaugurated the bank’s new IFSC office in the GIFT City in the presence of J N Singh, Chief Secretary of Gujarat and Sudhir Mankad, GIFT City Chairman.

The bank will use the proceeds to fund the bank’s IFSC Banking Unit (IBU) in Gift City and expand IBU’s rapidly growing business opportunities.IFSC received a major boost in the Union Budget with the proposed unified regulator and enabling tax benefits.

India’s Umang App was named winner of the Best M-Government Service award in the Accessible Government category while Aadhar won the best emerging technology award at the recently concluded World Government Summit 2018 in Dubai, where India had the status of ‘Guest of Honour’ country.

The Summit acknowledged technology pioneers for providing global solutions to global challenges.The mobile application Umang App provides users a unified platform that combines government departments and services, facilitating transactions for citizens. The award acknowledged Government of India’s efforts to provide convenient services to its citizens.

The Aadhaar project was recognized as the world’s largest biometric enabled identification programme which provides access to service income tax, passport services, bank accounts, social services benefits aimed at providing 1.2 billion citizens unique identification card with fingerprint, eye-print and other vital data. 

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has bagged a major order, valued at Rs 560 crore, for supply and installation of the Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) system from NTPC for 2x490 MW National Capital Power Station (NCPS) at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh. The order has been secured by BHEL against stiff competition from Indian and multinational companies.

The Indian power sector has seen an uptick in the ordering of emission control equipment due to the revised and more stringent emission norms notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in December ’15. The notification calls for installation of equipment to control various harmful emissions, both in existing as well as new thermal power projects. 

Reaffirming its commitment towards a better environment, BHEL is fully geared up to tap the huge market potential and ready to manufacture and supply emission control equipment for Indian thermal power plants to meet these revised emission norms.Earlier, BHEL has successfully executed the FGD system at Tata Power’s Trombay Unit 8 in 2008 and is currently installing FGD systems at NTPC’s 3x250 MW Bongaigaon project. The company has also recently received orders for installation of FGD system at 5x800 MW Yadadri project of TSGENCO and 2x660 MW Maitree project in Bangladesh. With the ordering of Dadri, BHEL has contracted FGD orders for 13 units till date.

BHEL’s five-decade long experience of installing more than 180 GW power generating equipment in India and abroad, backed by its strong engineering credentials, has prompted various utilities to repose their confidence in the company’s capabilities to make their power plants compliant with the revised emission norms. While central utilities like NTPC and state utilities of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu have already placed orders on BHEL for supplying emission control equipment, discussions are presently in progress with several other utilities.BHEL's plan to indigenously manufacture major equipment for emission control provides a twin boost to the Government’s plan of ‘Make in India’ and it’s Intended National Determined Contributions (INDC) for limiting the carbon footprint of the nation.


China will host 2018 Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit be held in the city of Qingdao in June.The SCO is comprised of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.

China is one of the founders of the organisation, plays an influential role in it. The SCO focuses on security- related issues of the region specially on counter terrorism cooperation.India and Pakistan were admitted as full members of the organisation at the summit in Astana last year.

China is in close coordination with all SCO members to make arrangements.As for the attendance of relevant countries of course we welcome the heads of state and leaders of all the members to participate in the summit.China has been holding summit-level meetings of international organisations in different cities giving them special prominence. Last year it held the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) summit in Xiamen city.

Around 40 ships, submarines and fighter aircraft participated in 'Paschim Lehar', a tri-service maritime exercise off India's western coast.The objective of the exercise, which commenced on February 12, is to build interoperability.

This exercise includes participation of a large number of ships, submarines and aircraft from the Western Naval Command of the Indian Navy. Units from Eastern Naval Command, Indian Army, Indian Air Force and the Coast Guard are also participating to build interoperability.Over 40 ships and submarines, a similar number of maritime surveillance, fighter aircraft, helicopters and Remotely Piloted Aircraft of the Indian Navy and the IAFare participating.The Amphibious capabilitiesof the armed forces, along with the elements of Army Amphibious Brigade will also be deployed and tested for operational tasking during the exercise.

The exercise includes a number of weapon firings, including missile, gun and torpedo firings during the initial phase.The second phase is structured to validate and refine the operational plans of the Western Naval Command.

The 'Assistance to States and UTs for Narcotics Control' scheme has been extended for a further period of 3 years--from 2017-18 to 2019-20--with an estimated budget of Rs 21 crore.The purpose of the scheme is to assist state governments and Union Territories which are contributing in controlling the inter-state and cross border drug trafficking. 

Financial assistance will be provided to all the anti- narcotics agencies for strengthening their enforcement capabilities to combat illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.Financial assistance is also proposed to be provided for all capacity building activities, including training of personnel. 

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) being the national nodal agency for drug administration will process the requests from state governments and UTs for financial assistance for improving their enforcement capabilities in dealing with the supply side of the drug menace.The most common drugs of abuse are 'ganja', 'hashish', 'opium' and 'heroin'. The abuse of pharmaceutical preparations like 'buprenorphine', codeine based cough syrups and painkillers like 'proxivon' has also assumed serious proportions. 

In certain regions of the country, drug abuse has already become a severe social-economic problem affecting the vulnerable age groups.The strategies would include both supply reduction and demand reduction. Supply reduction would include enforcement activities while demand reduction would involve rehabilitation and de-addiction measures. The scheme was first launched on October 24, 2004 for a period of five and later extended twice in subsequent years.