Current Affair Today

Kunwar Bai, a 106-year-old woman from Chhattisgarh who was chosen as a mascot for the `Swachh Bharat Abhiyan', died after a prolonged illness. Kunwar Bai passed away at Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar Memorial Hospital where she was admitted. Kunwar Bai shot to fame in 2016 when the story of how she sold her goats to build a toilet at home got nationwide publicity. 

She was felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a public meeting at Kurrubhat village in Rajnandgaon district, and later made a mascot for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. 

She was suffering from age-related ailments, and was admitted to the Dhamtari district hospital a few days ago. On Chief Minister Raman Singh instructions, she was shifted to the hospital in Raipur.

According to the official, all 18 houses in her village Kotabharri in Dhamtari district now have toilets, earning the village Open Defecation Free status. 

Chief Minister Singh expressed grief over her death, describing her as the "Swachhta Doot" (messenger of cleanliness) of the state. 

Multi-lateral funding agency Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a $84 million loan agreement to finance water supply projects in two cities of Bihar.The loan with a 25-year term, includes a grace period of 5 years.

The loan will finance water supply improvements and expansion in Bhagalpur and Gaya towns in Bihar.This is the second tranche of ADB’s $200 million multi-tranche financing facility for Bihar Urban Development Investment Programme, which was approved in 2012.

The Manila-headquartered funding facility is aimed at providing sustainable urban infrastructure and services in Bhagalpur, Gaya, Darbhanga and Muzaffarpur in Bihar.The Project 2 will improve access to better quality and sustainable water supply for the people of Bhagalpur and Gaya towns. It will also promote better water management practices that will result in a citywide coverage with 24-hour uninterrupted supply of treated water of 135 liters per capita per day in both cities.

The loan agreement was signed by Khare and ADB India’s Resident Mission Country Director, Kenichi Yokoyama.The loan finances will support civil works sub-projects and would benefit 1.1 million people in the two project towns with increased coverage of treated water supply by 2021; train 400 urban local body (ULB) staff in the management and operation and maintenance of water supply systems and help ULBs improve technical and financial management of the water supply operations.The investment programme will assist ULBs in designing affordable tariffs for operations and maintenance cost recovery.

The NHRC has retained its 'A' status of accreditation with the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) for the fourth consecutive term.

The accreditation is given to those human rights institutions, which, after a "rigorous process" of review every five years, are found "fully compliant with the UN-mandated Paris Principles.Justice H L Dattu, Chairperson of the NHRC, was presented the certificate at the ongoing annual meeting of GANHRI in Geneva from February 21-23.
'A' status accreditation also grants participation in the work and decision-making of the GANHRI, as well as the work of the Human Rights Council and other UN mechanisms.

The NHRC had got the 'A' status of accreditation first time in 1999 which it retained in 2006 and 2011 reviews.It was under the process of review for 2016, which was deferred to second session of 2017, when the Sub Committee on Accreditation of GANHRI recommended giving 'A' status again to the NHRC, India in November 2017.The United Nations' Paris Principles provide the international benchmarks against which national human rights institutions can be accredited.

An Indo-German MOU has been signed for an Implementation Agreement in Sustainable Urban Development and Smart Cities in India, here today. The objective of the programme is to develop and apply concepts for sustainable urban development about the provision of urban basic services and housing in selected cities and Smart Cities in India. 

The Agreement was signed between Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs(MoHUA), Government of India and Deutsche Gesellschaft f Internationale Zusammenarbeit(GIZ) GmbH, India on behalf of the Government of Federal Republic of Germany in the presence of Shri. Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (IC) for Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India and Dr. Martin Ney, the German Ambassador to India. The agreement was signed by Shri. Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and Ms. Annette Rkel, Deputy Country Director and Ms.Tanja Feldmann, Cluster Coordinator, Sustainable Urban and Industrial Development, Deutsche Gesellschaft f Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH India.

The 'Sustainable Urban Development Programme - Smart Cities in India' project is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and jointly implemented by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India and Deutsche Gesellschaft f Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The project support to Government of India will seek to achieve the set target of promoting sustainable urban development under the national urban missions/programmes such as Smart Cities Mission, linking with the Sustainable Development Goal No. 11 'Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable'. 

The German contribution to the project is up to 8 million EUR. The project will continue for a duration of three years (starting from 2018 till December 2020).MoHUA and GIZ will jointly work on implementing Government of India's missions, the optimisation of the national orientation framework and the dissemination of practice-proven approaches on sustainable urban development. Amongst others, focus is given to integrated planning approaches for the three Smart Cities with development of local innovations and pilot approaches pertaining to the provision of affordable housing and basic services within the three cities. Experiences and learnings from previous technical cooperation measures in the area of the provision of housing and sanitation as well as solid waste management will be integrated into the new project.

Bharti Airtel and Chinese telecom gear maker Huawei have successfully conducted India’s first 5G network trial under a test setup at the former’s network experience centre in Manesar Gurgaon. 

Abhay Savargaonkar, director – networks at Bharti Airtel, said the test is a small but significant step in its journey towards next generation 5G mobile networks, which could offer data speed up to 100 times faster than current 4G networks. “The promise of 5G is endless;it will be a game changer, and it will change the way we live, work and engage. We look forward to working closely with our partners for developing a robust 5G ecosystem in India.

India plans to roll out 5G services for consumers by 2020 and to achieve that objective, the government had in September this year set up a high-level forum that will evaluate and approve roadmaps and action plans to bring in the latest technology. 

Telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan recently said the department was expected to finalise a roadmap for 5G services by June this year. The industry — reeling under debt of more than Rs 7 lakh crore mainly due to cut-throat competition triggered by the entry of Reliance Jio Infocomm — has urged the government to go slow on 5G spectrum auction, but clearly Airtel wants to be fully prepared for the new technology. 

During the test trial, a user throughput of more than 3 GBPS was achieved using the setup. This is the highest measured throughput for a mobile network in 3.5 GHz band with 100 MHz bandwidth and end-to-end network latency of approximately 1 msec. 

India and Canada signed six agreements, including in the area of nuclear science, energy cooperation and information communication technology.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between India's Department of Atomic Energy and the Department of Natural Resources of Canada for co-operation in the fields of science, technology and innovation.India and Canada have already signed an agreement on peaceful use of nuclear energy.

To step up cooperation in the field of energy, terms of reference for the India-Canada Ministerial Energy Dialogue were exchanged between the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and the Department of Natural Resources of Canada.An MoU between the two countries for cooperation in higher education was also signed. India sends the second-largest number of students to the North American country for higher education.

An agreement was signed between India's Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports and the Department of Canadian Heritage (Sport Canada) on cooperation in sports.

An MoU was also signed between India's Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and the Canadian Intellectual Property Office Concerning Cooperation on Intellectual Property Rights.