This Daily Current Affair Capsule aims to be a time-saving tool for going through relevant news from national dailies and government releases on PIB. Aspirants for UPSC IAS, CDS, SSC CGL, NDA, etc. will find it highly useful to cover for revision and awareness purposes.
National Important Current Affairs – 1 February 2018
■ The Navy’s third state-of-the-art Scorpene class submarine, INS Karanj, has been launched as a part of the six Scorpene-class submarines being built under Indian Navy’s Project 75 by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDSL), Mumbai, under a $3.75 billion technology transfer signed in October 2005 with the Naval Group of France. INS Karanj is following the first two Scorpene submarines — INS Kalavari (first to be launched, was commissioned in December 2017 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi) and INS Khanderi (launched in January 2017, undergoing deep dive trails)
INS Karanj is designed to operate in all theatres, including the tropics. It has superior stealth features such as advanced acoustic silencing techniques, low radiated noise levels and hydrodynamically optimized shape. These stealth features give it an invulnerability, unmatched by most submarine. INS Kalvari carries sea-skimming SM39 Exocet missiles and the heavyweight wire-guided Surface and Underwater Target (SUT) torpedoes.
This new submarine is named after the earlier Kalvari class INS Karanj, which was decommissioned in 2003. The Scorpene submarines is the Navy’s first modern conventional submarine series in almost 2 decades since INS Sindhushastra was procured from Russia in July 2000.
The remaining three submarines under the Project 75 — Vela, Vagir and Vagsheer – are expected to be timely constructed and speedily delivered by 2020.
■ Google India has recognized legendary Malayalam and English writer Kamala Das with a doodle. Popularly known by her pseudonyms Madhavikutty and Ami, Kamala Das is prominent in Indian literature for her poetry and short stories which revolved around a myriad women’s issues, from sexuality to childbirth. Critics have labelled her a feminist writer and the “the mother of modern English Indian poetry”. She wrote ‘My Story’ in English inspired by her real-life, and ‘Ente Katha’ in Malayalam. She is a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi award and many literary awards such as the Asian World Prize, Kent Award, and Ezhuthachan Puraskaram.
■ The Union government has told the Supreme Court that it does not want the country to become the refugee capital of the world. Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra in response to a submission made by Rohingya refugees that the Border Security Force was “pushing back” that fleeing persecution in native Myanmar, at the borders with chilli spray and stun grenades to stop the refugees from entering India. The court has given the Centre time till the 7th of next month to respond.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has submitted that the issue of how to deal with refugees trying to enter at the border should be diplomatically resolved. The court has asserted that it would want to balance national interests with humanitarian concern about the refugees.
■ In order to counter Islamic radicalisation of youth, the Centre has proposed the adoption of the ‘Singapore Model’.
Under the model, there would be a religious rehabilitation mechanism in place with help from popular scholars and community leaders, rather than an extended criminal trial for the radicalised youth.
■ A recent study has found that Pampadum Shola National Park located on the southern portion of Western Ghats is a safe habitat for the rare and most elusive Nilgiri Marten. The Nilgiri Marten is endemic to the Western Ghats, and looks like a civet or a mongoose. The species is listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and Schedule II, Part 2 of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.
Note that: The Pampadum shola national park is the smallest national park in Kerala state. It falls under the Munnar Wildlife Division, in the proximity of Kurunjimala Wildlife Sanctuary and Palani hills of Tamil Nadu.
■ India has commissioned its largest High-Performance Computer (HPC) system – named ‘Mihir’ – for improved weather forecasting, at the National Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting at Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
The Mihir system will propel India’s ranking from the 368th position to the 30th in the list of top 500 HPC facilities in the world. The country will now also be ranked 4th – after Japan, UK and USA – for dedicated HPC resources for weather/climate community.
This new HPC facility will improve the following services: Weather forecasts at the block level to predict extreme weather events, High resolution seasonal/extended range forecasts of active/break spells of Monsoon, Tsunami forecasts with greater lead time, and Air quality forecasts for various cities.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 1 February 2018
■ The United States is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the launch of their first spacecraft sent into space, Explorer 1.
Explorer 1 was a two-metre-long satellite carrying a cosmic-ray detection package as the main scientific instrument, was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida on 31 January 1958. Explorer 1 and missions thereafter led to the first space-based discovery – radiation belts around the Earth called the Van Allen Belts.
Note that: USSR’s Sputnik 1 was the first object successfully launched into pace.
■ The solitary rail link between India and Pakistan, Thar Link Express, has received an extension for three more years from Islamabad and New Delhi. The Thar Link Express connects Khokhrapar in Pakistan and Munabao in Rajasthan. The primary agreement to run the Thar Link Express was signed in 2006 and is one of the cheapest means of transport between these two bitter neighbour countries.
■ The Sri Lanka government will set up special courts to investigate charges of corruption under former president Mahinda Rajapaksa amounting to billions of dollars.
A special three-judge high court exclusively to hear bribery and corruption cases will be set up to clear the current clogging at the lower courts.
Note that: Rajapaksa’s chief aide Lalith Weeratunga has already been convicted on a charge of misappropriating 4 million US Dollar and sentenced to three years in prison. President Maithripala Sirisena has said as many as half of all public procurement contracts under the Rajapaksa administration were corrupt. The new government has renegotiated several multi-billion dollar projects after assuming power.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 1 February 2018
■ A new e-way bill system will come into effect from 1st of February as decided by the GST Council last month. Under the new system, every transporter will have to carry a system-generated bill to move goods from one place to another. The e-way bill system will bring uniformity across the states for seamless inter-state movement of goods.
Under the Goods and Services Tax regime, interstate transportation of goods beyond 10 kilometres with a value of Rs 50,000 and above, will mandatorily require the e-way bill.
■ India has achieved 20 GW cumulative solar capacity milestone, four years ahead of the target for 2022 originally set in the National Solar Mission.
- The utility-scale cumulative installations now stand at approximately 18.4 GW,
- And rooftop solar account for another 1.6 GW.
- The top state for solar installations was Telangana, followed by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Rajasthan.
About the National Solar Mission:
National Solar Mission, launched in 2010, aims to establish India as a global leader in solar energy by creating the policy conditions for its diffusion across the country as quickly as possible. The mission is one of the several initiatives that are part of the National Action Plan on Climate Change. Initial target was to achieve 20GW by 2022 which was later increased to 100 GW in the 2015 Union budget of India.
■ Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh have inaugurated the 7th India Energy Congress 2018 being organised by the World Energy Council India. The theme is “Energy 4.0: Energy Transition Towards 2030“.
India’s per capita power consumption of 1,200 units is likely to go up by three to four times by 2030 as it aspires to become a developed country with GDP growth rate averaging 8.5 percent. India is also committed to environmental protection and the central and state governments are pushing huge thrust on clean renewable energy. This will eventually reduce India’s dependence on oil imports.
Sports Current Affairs – 1 February 2018
■ Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the first Khelo India School Games in New Delhi and said that sports should occupy a central place in the lives of the youth of the country as it is an important means of personality development. He said, when an Indian sportsperson wins and gets to hold the Tri-colour, it is an extremely special feeling and it energizes the entire nation.
- Each year 1,000 athletes will be shortlisted — based on their performance during the Khelo India School Games — and will be provided financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh per annum for 8 years.
Anu Kumar of Uttarakhand has won the first gold medal of the Khelo India School Games in 1500 metres.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 1 February 2018 “
Q1. Which union minister has launched the Rapid Detection Kits for adulterants in fresh fish?
- A) Rajnath Singh
- B) Prakash Javadekar
- C) Smriti Irani
- D) Radha Mohan Singh
Q2. What is India’s rank in the list of wealthiest countries, according to a new report by New World Wealth?
- A) 11th
- B) 6th
- C) 9th
- D) 4th
Q3. Which Indian-American personality has been elected as the Vice Chairman of the US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF) to promote bilateral trade and work on creating meaningful opportunities that have the power to change the lives of citizens?
- A) Shantanu Narayen
- B) Ajay Singh
- C) Mukesh Aghi
- D) Sayak Banerjee
Q4. The Anti-Leprosy Day is observed on which date in India, on which day a campaign named ‘Sparsh Leprosy Awareness Campaign (SLAC)” was organised in all the Gram Sabhas throughout the country by the Central Leprosy Division of the Health Ministry?
- A) January 28
- B) January 30
- C) January 29
- D) January 31
Q5. India has signed how much amount of loan agreement with ADB for construction of over 6,200-kilometre rural roads in five states – Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)?
- A) $550 million
- B) $450 million
- C) $250 million
- D) $750 million
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!