Current Affairs 18th August 2015..

  • Second Round of Foreign Office Consultations held between - India and Paraguay
 The Second Round of India-Paraguay Foreign Office Consultations (IPFOC) was held in New Delhi between India and Paraguay. The objective of the meet was to nourish the cooperation between the two countries.
The Paraguayan delegation was led by Oscar Cabellow Sarubbi, Deputy Foreign Minister of Paraguay and R Swaminathan, Secretary (AMS, CPV &SA), MEA led the Indian delegation.
During the meet, the entire catalogue of bilateral relations including financial, tourism, commercial & trade, political, technical and other areas of cooperation were discussed. They also considered important regional and multilateral issues including India’s ongoing engagement with UN Reforms, Community of Latin American Caribbean States (CELAC) and MERCOSUR.

  • City Taxi Scheme was announced by - Delhi government

 A new City Taxi Scheme 2015 was announced under which permits will be issued to 600 CC vehicles by Delhi government.
Image result for City Taxi Scheme was announced by - Delhi governmentA minimum flag down rate of 25 rupees for first two kilometres will be charged under the scheme by Small size taxis between 600 cc and 749 cc operational. 10 rupees per kilometer will be charged after two kilometres, which is costlier than the present 8.5 rupees per kilometre fare that auto rickshaws charge.
About the City Taxi Scheme 2015
  • A panic and hooter button as a safety feature will be provided under the scheme.
  • Uber and Ola will also be eligible to partake in providing the service apart from the local taxi drivers.
  • As per the new scheme, small size taxi between 600 CC to 749 CC can register for the permit.
  • The color of the taxis operating under this scheme will be white and will have a LCD display on top in green and red colour to indicate if the availability.

  • A MoU with Adani Group for development of Vizhinjam Port has been signed by - Kerala Government
 a MoU with Adani Group led Adani Vizhinjam Port Private Ltd for developing 7525 crore rupees Vizhinjam International Deepwater Multipurpose Seaport near Kovalam beach was inked by Kerala government.
Santosh Kumar Mahopatra, CEO of Adani Vizhinjam Port Private Ltd and Kerala Principal Secretary (Ports) James Varghese inked the MoU.
Highlights of the MoU
  • A proposal for usage of foreign ships for the carriage of goods between two ports in one country and relaxation of Centre’s Cabotage law that allows use of registered Indian ships only.
  • The project will become functional from November 2015 and will become operational in a record time of less than 1000 days.
  • For construction and operation of the port for a 40-year period, including the construction period of four years is granted by the MoU.
About Vizhinjam seaport project
  • It is an ambitious project of Kerala government which was initiated 25 years ago in 1991 to build a deepest and natural draft port near Kovalam beach in Thiruvananthapuram.
  • It is located on Southern tip of Indian Peninsula which is just 10 nautical miles from the International Shipping Lane and is an all-weather port.
Do You Know :
According to the Cabotage law, it is mandatory to use Indian ships in transportation of cargo to different ports along the country's coast. Only after seeking permission from India's maritime regulator, foreign ships can be used for carrying goods that too in case when domestic ships are not available.

  • Joint Statement to take bilateral relations to a higher level was released by - India and UAE

Among the important International Current Affairs, On 17th August 2015, India and United Arab Emirates (UAE) released a Joint Statement to take bilateral relations to a higher level. After the meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and His Highness Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Zayed AI Nahyan the Joint statement was released in Abu Dhabi.
PM Modi is the first Prime Minister of India to visit UAE after 34 years. Few major issues on which the two leaders agreed on are:
  • Cooperate to strengthen maritime security in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean region, which is vital for the security and prosperity of both countries.
  • Promote collaboration and inter-operability for humanitarian assistance and evacuation in naturaldisasters and conflict situations.
  • Strengthen defence relations, including through regular exercises and training of naval, air, land and Special Forces, and in coastal defence. UAE decided to participate in International Fleet Review in India in February 2016.
  • Cooperate in manufacture of defence equipment in India.
  • Work together to promote peace, reconciliation, stability, inclusiveness and cooperation in the wider South Asia, Gulf and West Asia region.
  • Support efforts for peaceful resolution of conflicts and promote adherence to the principles of sovereignty and non-interference in the conduct of relations between nations and settlement of disputes.
  • Establish a Strategic Security Dialogue between the two governments.
  • Tap India's expertise in Small and Medium Enterprises to create a vibrant industrial base in UAE, which could also be of benefit to Indian enterprises.
  • Strengthen cooperation between UAE's increasingly sophisticated educational institutions and India's universities and higher research institutions.
  • Promote cooperation in Space, including in joint development and launch of satellites, ground-based infrastructure and space application. UAE has planned to set up the West Asia's first Space Research Centre at AI Ain and also to launch a Mars Mission in 2021.
  • Cooperate in peaceful uses of nuclear energy including in areas like safety, health, agriculture and science and technology.
  • Elevate the India-UAE relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
  • Coordinate efforts to counter radicalization and misuse of religion by groups and countries for inciting hatred, perpetrating and justifying terrorism or pursuing political aims.
  • Denounce and oppose terrorism in all forms and manifestations, wherever committed and by whomever and enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism operations, intelligence sharing and capacity building.
  • Work together for the adoption of India’s proposed Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the United Nations.
  • Strengthen cooperation in law enforcement, anti-money laundering, drug trafficking, other trans-national crimes, extradition arrangements, as well as police training.
  • Promote cooperation in cyber security, including prevention on use of cyber for terrorism, radicalization and disturbing social harmony.
  • Establish a dialogue between their National Security Advisors and National Security Councils which will meet every six months. The two sides will also establish points of contact between their security agencies to further improve operational cooperation.
  • Establishment of UAE-India Infrastructure Investment Fund, with the aim of reaching a target of 75 billion US dollars to support investment in India especially in railways, ports, roads, airports and industrial corridors and parks.
  • Promote strategic partnership in the energy sector, including through UAE's participation in India in the development of strategic petroleum reserves, upstream and downstream petroleum sectors, and collaboration in third countries.
  • Further promote trade between the two countries, and use their respective locations and infrastructure for expanding trade in the region and beyond; and, with the target of increasing trade by 60% in the next five years.
  • PM Narendra Modi visited - Masdar City of Abu Dhabi

On 17th August 2015, the Masdar City of Abu Dhabi was visited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his official visit to the UAE. Masdar City is located at 17 km from Abu Dhabi and is a zero carbon planned city which relies on solar energy and other renewable energy sources.
Masdar City is looking to be one of the world's most sustainable urban development powered by renewable energy. It aims to do this by:
  • Maintaining a low carbon footprint during and after its construction
  • Iw will be completely powered by renewable energy
  • If possible, the waste will be reduced to zero , through motivating changes in behaviour and regulating materials.
  • Leading research and education into sustainable technology
  • To create comfortable environments reducing the need for air conditioning, heating, and artificial light, the city and builddings will be designed.
  • Out of 40000 residents three quarters of them will be educated with 5 hours of sustainability education each year.
  • Leading research at its university to ensure the city perpetuate its sustainable identification and leading knowledge in sustainable living
  • The transport network would be below ground annd a full pedestrianisation within the city, without vehicles in the space.
Designing of the Masdar City
Masdar, a subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company headed this project. The project was started in 2006 and took approx 8 years to be built. In October 2010, Construction of first six buildings of the city were completed and occupied.
The city has terracotta walls decorated with arabesque patterns and looks like a cube from distance. Due to Masdar's unique construction, the temperature in the streets is generally 15 to 20 °C cooler than the surrounding desert.
Transport system of the city
There is a ban of automobiles in the city to keep out the hot desert winds. However, the travel in the city is mastered through Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system, with existing road and railways connecting to other locations outside the city.
Personnel Rapid Transit car is a driver-less vehicle which runs from point to point on magnetic strips.

  • Smart Vault locker facility was launched by - ICICI Bank

 Smart Vault, a first-of-its-kind locker facility with latest robotic technology in India was launched by ICICI Bank. MD & CEO of ICICI Bank, Chanda Kochhar launched the facility at Defence Colony branch of Delhi.
The facility provides customers to easily access their lockers at any time of their preference, in the comfort of a secure lounge where the locker automatically comes up to the customer with the use of robotic technology.
The locker is supplied with multi-layer security system, including biometric and PIN authentication and debit cards. Customers can gain access to it without any involvement by the branch staff.

  • Name the scheme launched by Telangana Government - Jyothi Scheme

Image result for Name the scheme launched by Telangana Government - Jyothi Scheme a flagship programme named Grama Jyothi was launched across the state by Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao. The objective of the scheme is for comprehensive development of rural areas allowing planning and execution of works by villages themselves.
A sum of 25000 crore rupees will be invested by the state government for the successful deployment of the scheme. Human Development Index (HDI) will be improved by directing core issues such as health and nutrition, natural resources management, poverty reduction, infrastructure, drinking water and sanitation, agriculture, social security and education.
Panchayats, self help groups, people and all interested in the holistic development of the village can take part and help in village development plans.
An incentive will also be given to the villages by the state government that achieve 100% in the areas of literacy, green cover, immunisation, nutrition and sanitation.