This Daily Current Affair Capsule is a brief collection of important news from national dailies and government releases on PIB useful for UPSC IAS, CDS, SSC CGL, NDA, etc.) It covers national, international, economic, sports news.
National Important Current Affairs – 24 August 2017
■ The Union cabinet has raised the ceiling for the “creamy layer” among the other backward classes (OBCs) to 8 Lakh and also pledged to earmark more categories for availing reservation benefits in the norms. The creamy layer announcement will allow more people to be eligible to avail of the 27% reservation benefits in government jobs and educational institutions.
This move could potentially benefit the Union government ruling party, by enhancing the ceiling of the creamy layer annual income criteria to Rs8 lakh from the existing Rs6 lakh it has made more people eligible for reservation benefits. Proposed sub-categorization within the OBCs could dilute the benefits currently cornered by dominant caste groups like the Yadavs. This has the potential to rewrite caste politics, particularly in northern India.
■ A new policy for cadre allocation has been finalised by the Central government for Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and other officers, aimed at ensuring “national integration” in the country’s top bureaucracy.
Officers of all-India services—the IAS, IPS and Indian Forest Service (IFS)—will now have to choose cadres from a set of zones instead of states. The officers of the three services are at present allocated a cadre state or a set of states to work in.
The existing 26 cadres have been divided into five zones in the new policy proposed by the ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions.
- Zone-I has seven cadres—AGMUT (also known as Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territories), Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana.
- Zone-II consists of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha.
- Zone-III comprises Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
- Zone-IV constitutes West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam-Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura and Nagaland.
- Zone-V will have Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Under the new policy, candidates appearing for the civil services examination—conducted annually by the Union Public Service Commission—will have to first give their choices in a descending order of preference from among the various zones. “Thereafter the candidates will indicate cadres in order of preference from each zone,”. Candidates will be allotted their home cadre on the basis of merit, preference and vacancy in the category.
■ The Centre will provide Rs 70,000 as monthly fellowship to those researchers doing their PhDs in Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) or Indian Institute of Science (IISc). Presently researcher-students get Rs25,000 as monthly scholarship at IITs. This is aimed at increasing the incentives for meritorious students, in order to prevent them from seeking greener pastures overseas.
■ NITI Aayog will launch the Mentor India Campaign, a strategic nation building initiative to engage leaders who can guide and mentor students at more than 900 Atal Tinkering Labs, established across the country as a part of the Atal Innovation Mission.
Mentor India is aimed to engage leaders who will nurture and guide students in the Atal Tinkering Labs. These labs are non-prescriptive by nature, and mentors are expected to be enablers rather than instructors.
NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission is among one of the flagship programs of the Government of India to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the country to set up the Atal Tinkering Labs across the country.
Atal Tinkering Labs are dedicated works spaces where students from Class 6th to Class 12th learn innovation skills and develop ideas that will go on to transform India. The labs are powered to acquaint students with state-of-the-art equipment such as 3D printers, robotics & electronics development tools, Internet of things & sensors etc.
■ In Rajasthan, Jats of Dholpur and Bharatpur districts have been given reservation under the Other Backward Class (OBC) category. The State Social Justice and Empowerment department issued a notification in this regard after approval from the cabinet. This was a long pending demand of the Jat community people residing in both these districts to include them in the OBC list. Jats from other districts in Rajasthan enjoy reservation early on.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 24 August 2017
■ India has welcomed U.S. President Donald Trump’s new policy on Afghanistan and said his move would help target “safe havens” of terrorism in South Asia. US President Trump had urged India to play a larger role in providing economic and development assistance to the war-torn Afghanistan. The new U.S. strategy for South Asia commits US troops in Afghanistan for an open-ended period of time. The policy also sets the stage for a new wave of U.S. offensive against Islamist forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
India and Afghanistan:
India has played an important role in Afghanistan’s reconstruction in post Taliban era spending around USD 2 Billion since 2002 on development projects including the Afghan parliament building and committed another USD 1 Billion last year. The Indian aid has been mostly in infrastructure development, health services and military equipment like bullet proof jackets and convoy vehicles. India also gave Afghanistan four attack helicopters last year and is also training its soldiers.
■ Typhoon Hato, the 13th typhoon to hit China this year, has made landfall in the city of Zhuhai in the southern Guangdong Province, bringing gales of up to 45 metres per second. Hato will now move west and scale down to a tropical storm passing through Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Several expressways have also been closed.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 24 August 2017
■ The finance ministry has notified the issue of Rs 200 notes, making them legal tender and paving the way for their circulation, in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 24 of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.
It has also been clarified that the government is not considering withdrawal of the Rs 2000 currency notes.
RBI had earlier on 18 August announced that a new Rs 50 note will be issued shortly under the Mahatma Gandhi series, while notes issued under the earlier series will remain legal tender.
■ Mark Wahlberg has soared to the top of the world’s highest paid actors on an annual Forbes magazine list. Wahlberg, 46, earned an estimated $68 million in 2017 for his pay days for movies “Daddy’s Home 2” and “Transformers: The Last Knight”.
Three of Bollywood’s biggest stars—Shah Rukh Khan ($38 million), Salman Khan ($37 million) and Akshay Kumar ($35.5 million)—took the eighth, ninth and 10th places on the Forbes list, respectively
■ Ex- Governor of RBI, Raghuram Rajan’s commentary and speeches in form of a new book named “I Do What I Do: On Reform, Rhetoric & Resolve” will hit stores on 4 September, exactly a year after he quit as the RBI governor.
In his new book, which is a collection of essays and speeches during his stint as Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor, he writes about what it was like to be at the helm of the central bank in those turbulent but exciting times.
Note that: Raghuram Rajan was the 23rd governor of Reserve Bank of India between September 2013 and September 2016.
He has also co-authored “Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists” with Luigi Zingales and wrote “Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy”, for which he was awarded the Financial Times-Goldman Sachs prize for best business book.
■ The 7th Meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) was recently held in New Delhi under the Chairmanship of the Union Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley. The meeting was attended by RBI Governor Dr. Urjit R. Patel, SEBI chairman, IRDAI Chairman along with heads and other senior officers of the Government and financial sector regulators.
The Council discussed the issues and challenges facing the Indian economy and members agreed on the need to keep constant vigil and be in a state of preparedness of managing any external and internal vulnerabilities.
The Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) was constituted in December, 2010. The Council is chaired by the Union Finance Minister and its members are:
- Governor, Reserve Bank of India;
- Finance Secretary and/or Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs;
- Secretary, Department of Financial Services;
- Chief Economic Adviser, Ministry of Finance;
- Chairman, Securities and Exchange Board of India;
- Chairman, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority.
- Chairman, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority.
What FSDC does?
The Council deals, inter-alia, with issues relating to financial stability, financial sector development, inter–regulatory coordination, financial literacy, financial inclusion and macro prudential supervision of the economy including the functioning of large financial conglomerates. No funds are separately allocated to the Council for undertaking its activities.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims”
Q1. Which city is hosting the 8th World Renewable Energy Technology Congress?
- A) Pune
- B) Gwalior
- C) New Delhi
- D) Bhopal
Q2. The ‘Chushul approach’, is used with reference to which one of the following geographical features/regions?
- A) Finger Area, Sikkim
- B) Pangong Tso lake, Jammu and Kashmir
- C) Namcha Barwa, Tibet
- D) Siachen Glacier, Jammu and Kashmir
Answer these questions in the comments below. We encourage you to discuss your thoughts on the news and issues mentioned in today’s current affairs post. The idea is to promote healthy discussions on interesting issues to make preparation fun. Have a good day!
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