Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - January 23, 2018


National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) makes its First Investment
NIIF has partnered with DP World to create an investment platform for ports, terminals, transportation and logistics businesses in India.

  • Dubai’s DP World and the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), a fund-managing entity of the Government of India have set up an investment platform to invest in ports, terminals, transportation and logistics businesses in India.
  • The platform, which is based on a previous agreement, will invest up to $3 billion to acquire assets and develop projects in the sector, the entities said in a joint statement.

Enlighten about National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF)

  • It is a fund created by the Government of India for enhancing infrastructure financing in the country.
  • This is different from the National Investment Fund.
  • NIIF was proposed to be set up as a Trust, to raise debt to invest in the equity of infrastructure finance companies such as Indian Rail Finance Corporation (IRFC) and National Housing Bank (NHB).
  • The idea is that these infrastructure finance companies can then leverage this extra equity, manifold.
  • In that sense, NIIF is a banker of the banker of the banker.
  • NIIF is envisaged as a fund of funds with the ability to make direct investments as required. As a fund of fund it may invest in other SEBI registered funds.
  • Its creation was announced in the Union Budget 2015-16.
  • NIIF got registered with SEBI as Category II Alternative Investment Fund (AIF)

Ministry of Commerce & Industry

The ASEAN Business and Investment Meet and Expo

  • The inaugural plenary, on the theme of ‘Promoting Mutual Trade and Investment for Shared Prosperity’ covered discussions on strengthening India’s economic relations with the countries in the East with both sides aiming to scale up bilateral trade and investment in the region.
  • The session focused on trade facilitation measures taken to promote trade between India and ASEAN countries in manufacturing sector, promoting SME ecosystem to enhance entrepreneurship quotient in the region and startup culture to create new pipeline of ideas.

Science & Tech

Fourth India International Science Festival to be held in Lucknow

  • Chaired by Union Minister for Science & Technology, Environment, Forest & Climate Change and Earth Sciences
  • The 1st IISF was held at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) New Delhi in December, 2015.
  • The mega S&T expo attracted more than 3 lakh people. India had also set a Guinness Book of World Records, when 2000 school students performed two experiments at the Festival.
  • The second Festival at CSIR-National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi in December 2016 showcased Indian achievements in various fields of science and technology.
  • The third in the series was held in October 2017 in Chennai.

Swachh Bharat Mission

Smart Star-Rating for Garbage Free Cities
Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has launched the ‘Protocol for Star Rating of Garbage-Free Cities’ in Goa.

  • The star-rating initiative, developed by the Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban will be rating cities on a 7-star rating system based on multiple cleanliness indicators for solid waste management.
  • These include Door to Door Collection, bulk generator compliance, source segregation, sweeping, scientific processing of waste, scientific land filling, plastic waste management, construction and demolition management, dump remediation & citizen grievance redressal system etc.
  • Cities can be rated as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 star based on their compliance with the protocol conditions specified for each of the rating.
  • Further city should be ODF(Open Defecation Free) before it could be given rating of 3 star or above.
  • While cities may self-declare themselves as 1-star, 2-star or 4-star, MoHUA will carry out an additional verification through an independent third party to certify cities as 3-star, 5-star or 7-star. Cities will need to get recertified themselves every year to retain their star-status.
  • It provides stakeholders with a single metric to rate a city’s cleanliness, rather than separately evaluating multiple factors which contribute to a city’s overall cleanliness and garbage free status.
  • The distinctive feature of Star Rating System will be that many cities can have higher stars as compared to only one city can be “Cleanest city” under Swachh Survekshan.

Wildlife Conservation

Roadkills App

  • A mobile-based application, ‘Roadkills’, launched
  • by the Wildlife Conservation Trust,
  • Will help citizens report wildlife deaths by uploading geotagged photographs to a public forum.
  • The data generated can be used to identify crucial road or rail stretches that urgently require mitigation measures.

Enlighten about Roadkills app -

  • ‘Roadkills’, an easy-to-use android app, accesses location information from phones and permits users to upload photographs of a dead wild animal on a road or a railway line.
  • The Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT), an NGO which developed the app
  • The information generated from the application can help identify crucial sections of roads or railway lines where animal deaths are high to pinpoint regions that require urgent mitigation measures.

Government Schemes

‘Jiyo Parsi’ scheme


  • Launched in 2013


  • To address the Parsi community’s declining population

What’s new

  • Over 130 babies were born since the government launched the ‘Jiyo Parsi’ scheme

Implementing body -

  • The Parzor Foundation is implementing the scheme along with the Union minority affairs ministry.

Enlighten about Parsi Community

  • The population of Parsis plunged from 1.14 lakh in 1941 to 57,264 in 2011.
  • The sharp decline in the birth rate in the community — located mainly in Maharashtra’s Mumbai and parts of Gujarat – is attributed to socio-psychological reasons. These include Parsis having late or non-marriages, its members marrying with people outside the community and also many couples not willing to have babies.

Enlighten about Jiyo Parsi scheme:

  • Jiyo Parsi is a Government of India supported scheme to arrest the decline in population of the Parsi Zoroastrian Community in India.
  • The main objective of the “Jiyo Parsi” scheme is to reverse the declining trend of Parsi population by adopting a scientific protocol and structured interventions, stabilize their population and increase the population of Parsis in India.

Government Initiatives

Bharat Ke Veer’

  • The government has launched an official anthem for “Bharat Ke Veer”, an initiative with a corpus fund to help the families of paramilitary troopers killed in the line of duty.
  • The anthem is sung and composed by singer Kailash Kher.

Enlighten About Bharat ke Veer:

  • It is a web portal and mobile application.
  • The portal is an IT based platform, with an objective to enable willing donors to contribute towards the family of a braveheart who sacrificed his/her life in line of duty.
  • The website is technically supported by National Informatics Centre (NIC) and powered by State Bank of India.
  • This domain allows anyone to financially support the bravehearts of his choice or towards the “Bharat Ke Veer” corpus.
  • The amount so donated will be credited to the account of ‘Next of Kin’ of those Central Armed Police Force/Central Para Military Force soldiers.
  • To ensure maximum coverage, a cap of 15 lakh rupees is imposed and the donors would be alerted if the amount exceeds, so that they can choose to divert part of the donation to another braveheart account or to the “Bharat Ke Veer” corpus.
  • “Bharat Ke Veer” corpus would be managed by a committee made up of eminent persons of repute and senior Government officials, who would decide to disburse the fund equitably to the braveheart’s family on need basis.

Pre. Facts

India’s first, locally made BS-VI car

  • By - German auto major Mercedes-Benz
  • India’s BS-VI-compliant S-Class produced at its Pune facility, more than two years ahead of the government deadline of April 2020 for switching to new emission norms.