This Current Affair Capsule is a brief collection of important news useful for UPSC IAS, CDS, SSC CGL, NDA, etc.) It covers The Hindu, Indian Express, PIB, Govt Websites, Down to Earth, etc.
National Important Current Affairs – 1 and 2 September 2017
■ The festival of sacrifice, Eid-ul-Azha or Bakra-eid is being celebrated with religious fervour and gaiety in various parts of the country today. The faithful will offer Eid prayers in Eidgahs and mosques.
■ The 41st flight of India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C39), conducted on August 31 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, was unsuccessful. PSLV-C39 had a normal lift-off and all the flight events took place exactly as planned, except heat shield separation. This resulted in satellite separation occurring within the heat shield, leading to failure of the launch
■ The Delhi High Court has quashed a Central government’s notification granting reservation in promotion for SCs and STs beyond the five-year period, stipulated in the Indira Sawhney case, by the Supreme Court.
The Court has said the move under Article 16 (4A) was not permissible without adequate data to prove inadequacy of representation and backwardness in promotion. It has made the observation while quashing Department of Personnel and Training’s Office Memorandum dated August 13, 1997.
■ Rajiv Gauba, IAS (Jharkhand cadre-1982 batch) has taken over as Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Home Affairs. Prior to this, Gauba was Secretary in the Ministry of Urban Development. He also served in the International Monetary Fund representing the country for four years on the Board of IMF.
■ The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), under the Ministry of Science and Technology, had recently convened the Smart Agriculture Conclave in New Delhi, in partnership with the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Research Councils UK (RCUK) India. The objective of this conclave was to set the stage for “FarmerZone”.
Farmerzone is a collective open-source data platform for smart agriculture which will use biological research and data to improve the lives of small and marginal farmers.
FarmerZone has been envisioned by the DBT. It will help cater to all needs of the farmer, from dealing with climate change, weather predictions and soil, water, and seed requirements to providing market intelligence.
■ The outgoing Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi was appointed Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). While former Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Secretary Sunil Arora was appointed Election Commissioner to fill the vacancy in the three-member Election Commission.
Both are former IAS officers of the Rajasthan cadre.
■ The Ministry of Defence in consultation with the Indian Army has decided to reform the Indian Army in a planned manner. These decisions were approved by the Defence Minister Arun Jaitley after an extensive consultation with all stakeholders. The purpose of reforms is to enhance combat capability and also optimize and rebalance defence expenditure of Indian Army.
- The Ministry of Defence had constituted a Committee of Experts under the Chairmanship of Lt Gen (Retd) DB Shekatkar with a mandate to recommend measures for enhancing of Combat Capability & Rebalancing Defence Expenditure of the Armed Forces with an aim to increase “teeth to tail ratio”.
The defence reforms include:
- Optimisation of Signals Establishments to include Radio Monitoring Companies, Corps Air Support Signal Regiments, Air Formation Signal Regiments, Composite Signal Regiments and merger of Corps Operating and Engineering Signal Regiments.
- Restructuring of repair echelons in the Army to include Base Workshops, Advance Base Workshops and Static/Station Workshops in the field Army.
- Redeployment of Ordnance echelons to include Vehicle Depots, Ordnance Depots and Central Ordnance Depots apart from streamlining inventory control mechanisms.
- Others: Better utilization of Supply and Transport echelons and Animal Transport units. Closure of Military Farms and Army postal establishments in peace locations.
- Enhancement in standards for recruitment of clerical staff and drivers in the Army. Improving the efficiency of the National Cadet Corps.
■ The National Nutrition Week is being observed throughout the country from 1st to 7th September. The theme of the National Nutrition Week for 2017 is “Optimal Infant & Young Child Feeding Practices: Better Child Health”.
The basic objective of this annual event is to increase awareness generation on the importance of nutrition for health which has an impact on development, productivity, economic growth and ultimately National development. It is prudent that improving the nutritional status of the population is imperative for National Development. Malnutrition in young children continues to be a major public health problem in India.
Read in detail about Malnutrition related problems and measures here.
■ Gujarat’s commercial capital Ahmedabad has been formally accorded the status of India’s first World Heritage City by UNESCO. UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova has handed over the certificate declaring Ahmedabad as a ‘World Heritage City’ to Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in Gandhinagar.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 1 and 2 September 2017
■ The visiting Swiss President Doris Leuthard, has been welcomed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PM Modi has sought greater cooperation with Switzerland to ensure bilateral financial transparency.
He also thanked the Swiss government for its support to India’s membership bid for the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
India and Switzerland have discussed ways to deepen cooperation in the detection of black money and combating tax evasion—which is a key priority of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration. Switzerland sought a new bilateral investment treaty (BIT) with India to protect investments from Switzerland after New Delhi terminated all existing pacts with partner countries in March.
Note that: Switzerland was the eleventh largest investor in India.
The two countries have also signed two preliminary MoU pacts for cooperation in the railways sector:
- Under the first, the Swiss Confederation will provide cooperation in various areas including traction rolling stock, railway electrification equipment, station modernization and multimodal transport.
- As per the second pact, signed between the Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, the latter will help in establishing the George Fernandes Institute of Tunnel Technology (GFITT) at Goa.
■ India and China have jointly submitted a proposal to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) calling for the elimination – by developed countries – of the most trade-distorting form of farm subsidies, known in WTO parlance as Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS) / ‘Amber Box’ support as a prerequisite for consideration of other reforms in domestic support negotiations. This is an important proposal by India and China in view of the ongoing negotiations for the upcoming 11th Ministerial Conference of the WTO to be held in Buenos Aires in December 2017.
■ J Y Pillay, an Indian-origin veteran civil servant, has been appointed as Singapore’s acting President until a new head of state is sworn in later this month.
He took over from Tony Tan Keng Yam who has completed a six-year term.
■ The Union Cabinet has approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Brazil for cooperation in the fields of Zebu Cattle Genomics and Assisted Reproductive Technologies. The MoU would promote and facilitate scientific cooperation and setting up of genomic selection programme in Zebu Cattle through:
- Application of genomic in Zebu Cattle and their crosses and buffaloes.
- Application of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) in cattle and buffaloes.
- Capacity building in genomic and assisted reproductive technology.
- Related research and development in Genomics and ART in accordance with the respective laws and regulations of the two countries and is covered.
What exactly is Zebu cattle?
Zebu, also known as indicine or humped cattle, is a species or subspecies of domestic cattle originating in the Indian subcontinent. Zebu are characterised by a fatty hump on their shoulders, a large dewlap, and sometimes drooping ears.
They are well adapted to withstanding high temperatures, and are farmed throughout the tropical countries, both as pure zebu and as hybrids with taurine cattle, the other main type of domestic cattle. Though they are poorly developed for milk production.
Zebu are used as draught oxen, dairy cattle, and beef cattle, as well as for byproducts such as hides and dung for fuel and manure.
■ The Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Myanmar for the conservation of earthquake-damaged pagodas at Bagan, Myanmar. The implementation of the project will further strengthen India’s enduring ties in culture and religion with Myanmar.
- Bagan in central Burma is one of the world’s greatest archeological sites. The Irrawaddy River drifts past its northern and western sides.
- From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Pagan Kingdom, the first kingdom that unified the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 1 and 2 September 2017
■ The growth in production in India’s eight major industries accelerated during July when total output grew by 2.4 per cent in comparison with a 0.8 per cent marginal increase during the previous month, according to official data. The Index of Eight Core Industries (ECI), representing the output of major industrial sectors like coal, steel, cement and electricity, grew by 3.1 per cent in the corresponding month of the previous year.
The Central Statistics Office (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has released the estimates of Gross Domestic Product(GDP) for the first quarter (April-June) Q1, of 2017-18, both at constant (2011-12) and current prices, along with the corresponding quarterly estimates of expenditure components of the GDP.
■ Ministry of Railways has decided to run Onam Special Trains for convenience of the people attending Onam festival in Kerala between 1 Sep 2017 to 10 Sep 2017. These special trains are being run in keeping in view the pattern of traffic, commercial viability, operational feasibility and availability of resources.
■ In the first-of-its-kind success, the creation and maintenance of sewage treatment infrastructure under Hybrid Annuity based PPP model has taken off, with NMCG awarding work to private sector for construction and maintenance of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) in two major cities in Ganga river basin – Varanasi and Haridwar.
Hybrid Annuity based PPP model has been adopted for the first time in the country in sewage management sector. Such a model has earlier been adopted successfully in highway sector only.
About the Hybrid Annuity Model:
The Government of India had accorded Cabinet approval to Hybrid Annuity-PPP model in January 2016 with 100% central sector funding.
Under this model, the development, operation and maintenance of the sewage treatment STPs will be undertaken by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to be created by the winning bidder at the local level.
As per this model, 40% of the Capital cost quoted would be paid on completion of construction while the remaining 60% of the cost will be paid over the life of the project as annuities along with operation and maintenance cost (O&M) expenses.
One of the most important features of this model is that both the Annuity and O&M payments are linked to the performance of the STP. This will ensure continued performance of the assets created due to better accountability, ownership and optimal performance.
■ The National Payments Corporation of India-backed BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) app has been updated with features like splitting bills and collecting payments. The app allows users to send or receive money from other users through a mobile number or payment address and is available on Android app store.
Sports Current Affairs – 1 and 2 September 2017
■ A Supreme Court-appointed pollution monitoring panel has instructed authorities in Delhi to gear up to avert any air pollution crisis during the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup. The 24-team tournament will have eight matches in Delhi Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium between October 6 and 16.
The Central Pollution Control Board informed the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) that it has written to all the states which will host the matches of the world cup listing preventive measures. The EPCA stressed that the capital city cannot afford any repeat of 2010, when dust pollution had shrouded Delhi during the Commonwealth Games.
■ The Sports Ministry has approved constitution of a 13-member Empowered Steering Committee (ESC), to shape and influence India’s preparation for multi- disciplinary events, including 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. This decision to form the Committee has been taken on the basis of recommendations made by the Olympic Task Force in its interim report.
The Steering Committee will have the mandate to review of the core probable list of each High Priority and Priority disciplines for the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Olympic Games. The Committee will also have power to recommend specific plans or packages for beneficiaries of Target Olympic Podium Scheme.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims”
Q1. Which one of the following articles of the constitution, reflects the fact that the Supreme Court is “the guarantor of the fundamental rights of citizens”?
- A) Article 32
- B) Article 39A
- C) Article 136
- D) Article 142
Q2. Which one of the following Commissions has NOT been constituted under Article 340 of the Indian Constitution?
- A) Kothari Commission
- B) Kaka Kalekar Commission
- C) Mandal Commission
- D) Commission to examine sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes
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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