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 – 11 and 12 April 2018
■ To commemorate the launch of Champaran Satyagraha over a century ago on 10th of April, in year 1917, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, in coordination with the Government of Bihar, has initiated the “Satyagraha se Swachhagraha” campaign to spread the message of Swachhata across the country.
Under the campaign, Swachhagrahis from different parts of the country were invited to Bihar, to work with 10,000 Swachhagrahis from Bihar to “trigger” behaviour change in the 38 districts of the State.
Note that: Mahatma Gandhi had launched the Champaran Satyagraha over a century ago, on 10th April, 1917, to fight for the rights of indigo cultivators. The European planters at Champaran practised illegal methods of indigo cultivation and forced the Indian peasants to cultivate Indigo on 3/20th part of their land holding. This was called Tinkathia system against which the satyagraha was organised. The centenary year celebrations of the Champaran Satyagraha, through the “Satyagraha se Swachhagraha” campaign, has been aimed at achieving freedom from filth.
About SBM- Gramin: The Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) Gramin, which was launched on October 2, 2014 is the largest behaviour change campaign ever attempted in the field of sanitation in the world. It aims to build an ODF (Open Defecation Free) and Swachh Bharat by October 2, 2019 as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary, by focusesing on use of toilets, after their construction.
■ The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has launched a unique initiative ‘Project Dhoop’ to encourage schools to shift their morning assembly to around noon-time, mainly between 11 am to 1 pm, to ensure maximum exposure of Vitamin D in students through natural sunlight. This move comes in the backdrop of rising incidence of Vitamin D deficiency (VDD), particularly amongst the young people, in the country as the studies have found that over 90% of boys and girls in various Indian cities are deficient in Vitamin D despite most part of India receiving abundant sunshine all the year through.
The ‘Project Dhoop’ has been launched by FSSAI in association with National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and North MCD Schools at National Bal Bhavan.
Significance of micronutrients for the body:
About Vitamin D:
Vitamin D along withVitamin A, B12, Iron, Folic Acid and Iodine, are classified as Micronutrients, which are needed by people in only very small amounts, but these enable the body to produce enzymes, hormones and other substances essential for proper growth and development. The consequences of their absence represents a major threat to the health and development of populations the world over, particularly children and pregnant women in countries like India. Shockingly, studies have found that more than 90% of boys and girls across various Indian cities are deficient in Vitamin D despite India receving abundant sunshine.
Additionally, opting for fortified foods (with +F symbol) is a simple and inexpensive way to address micronutrient deficiencies without any radical change in behaviour or eating patterns. Read about Food Fortification here
About FSSAI: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been established under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 which consolidates various acts & orders that have hitherto handled food related issues in various Ministries and Departments.
It was created for laying down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.
Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is the Administrative Ministry for the implementation of FSSAI.
■ The 8th Regional 3R Forum in Asia and Pacific Region was recently held in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. This forum was co-organized by Ministry of Housing and Affairs, Japan’s Environment Ministry, and United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD). The theme of the 3R Forum was: “Achieving Clean Water, Clean Land and Clean Air through 3R and Resource Efficiency– A 21st Century Vision for Asia-Pacific Communities”.
■ The Supreme Court has held that a person’s right to choose a religion and marry is an intrinsic part of her meaningful existence and lie within an area of individual autonomy. Neither the State nor “patriarchal supremacy” can interfere in such decision. The Constitution guarantees to each individual the right freely to practise, profess and propagate religion. Neither the state nor the law can dictate a choice of partners or limit the free ability of every person to decide on these matters.
These observations are part of the judgment published by the Supreme Court in the case of Hadiya, a 26-year-old Homeopathy student who converted to Islam and married a Muslim man. The case first gained attention as a case of love jihad and forced conversion.
About Article 25 and forced conversions: Article 25 states that subject to public order, morality and health, and to the other fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution, all persons are equally entitled to “freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion.” Article 25(1) guarantees ‘freedom of conscience’ to every citizen, and not merely to the followers of one particular religion and that, in turn, postulates that there is no fundamental right to convert another person to one’s own religion because if a person purposely undertakes the conversion of another person to his religion, as distinguished from his effort to transmit or spread the tenets of his religion, that would impinge on the ‘freedom of conscience’ guaranteed to all the citizens of the country alike.
Worth Recalling: Important rights which have been declared by Supreme Court as a part of A-21
- Right to live with human dignity
- Right to the decent environment including pollution-free water and air and protection against hazardous industries
- Right to livelihood
- Right to privacy
- Right to health
- Right to free education up to 14 years of age
- Right to free legal aid
- Right to fair trial
- Right to information
- Right to marry person of one’s choice
■ India’s first high-speed electric locomotive has been flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the Madhepura Electric Locomotive Factory in Bihar. It has a 12000 horsepower (HP) engine with a maximum speed of 110 km per hour. This first big Make-in-India project is developed & completed in collaboration with French firm Alstome, under which, 800 such trains will be manufactured in the country over a period of 11 years. The average cost of each locomotive is estimated to be Rs 25 crore.
Note that: India will join an elite list of countries, including Russia, China, Germany and Sweden, that have 12,000 HP and above capacity electric locomotives.
■ A new website a mobile app has been launched for the ‘National Commission for Safai Karamcharis’. The Mobile App will help the Commission in addressing the grievances/complaints of petitioners in an efficient manner.
About NCSK: National Commission for Safai Karamcharis was established through National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993. It aims to promote and safeguard the interests and rights of Safai Karamcharis. National Commission for Safai Karamchari now functions as a Non-Statutory body and it comes under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
■ According to revised guidelines of the centre’s flagship scheme, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), to promote organic farming, farmers will be eligible for an assistance of Rs 48,700 per hectare for a three-year period for adopting these traditional methods of cultivation.
According to the new and revised guidelines, those adopting standard organic farming practices like zero-budget natural farming and permaculture and farmers practising traditional methods of organic farming such as Yogik farming, Gou Mata kheti, Vedic farming, Vaishnav kheti, Ahinsa farming, Adhvoot Shivanand farming, and Rishi Krishi will be eligible for financial assistance.
What it means?
Yogik farming refers to a system where it is believed that farmers can channelize cosmic energy to their fields by performing yoga.
Rishi krishi is based on pre-Vedic, Vedic and medieval texts like Vishvavallava, Kashyapiyakrishisukti, and Surapala’s Vrikshayurveda.
Gou mata kheti is a system of farming which uses cow dung and urine from indigenous breeds of lactating cows.
About Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY): Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana is an important component of Soil Health Management (SHM) under National Mission of Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA). Under the PKVY Organic farming is promoted through the adoption of the organic village by cluster approach and PGS certification. The produce will be pesticide residue free and will contribute to improving the health of the consumer.
■ The Union Health Ministry has banned over-the-counter sale of around 14 creams containing steroids and antibiotics under the Schedule H category by making amendments to certain Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945. This decision was made following consultation with the Drugs Technical Advisory Board to recommend a ban on the sale of such creams without a prescription.
This move comes in the wake of dermatologists’ complaints that pharmaceutical companies are selling steroid-based creams and ointments without medical guidance.
About DTAB: Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) is the highest decision-making body under the Union health ministry on technical matters. The Director-General of Health Services (DGHS) is the ex-officio chairman of this statutory body which is constituted by the ministry under section 5 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
About Schedule H drugs: Schedule H is a class of prescription drugs listed under Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 which governs manufacture and sale of all drugs in India. These drugs cannot be purchased over counter without the prescription of a doctor. The time and date of prescription must be noted.
About Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945: The Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 are the set of rules under The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. It contains provisions for classification of drugs under given schedules and there are guidelines for the storage, sale, display and prescription of each schedule.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 11 and 12 April 2018
■ Panama has prohibited Venezuelan companies from operating flights to Panama for 90 days, in retaliation for Venezuela’s recent diplomatic and trade bans. This measure affects 10 Venezuelan companies.
■ The International Conference on Human Rights in South Asia has begun in Kathmandu, Nepal. The three-day conference is organized by the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal under the theme “Identifying Challenges, Assessing Progress, Moving Forward: Addressing Impunity and Realizing Human Rights in South Asia”.
The representatives of Human Rights Commissions and institutions, human rights activists from 20 countries including India are participating in the event, to discuss various issues including different types of discrimination in South Asia including rights of marginalized groups, collective rights, violence against women, rule of law, due process and combating impunity.
■ Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has apologised to United States lawmakers for the leak of personal data on tens of millions of users as he faced a day of retribution before a Congress reflecting on regulation of the global social media giant. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg was asked how up to 87 million Facebook users’ data was improperly shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.
In his first-ever congressional appearance, the Facebook founder and chief executive attempted to quell the storm over privacy and security lapses at the social network that has angered lawmakers and Facebook’s two billion users.
Zuckerberg faced tough questions over how a U.S.-British political research firm, Cambridge Analytica, raided detailed personal data on 87 million users to be used in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
■ India has signed a MoU with the Republic of Korea on Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Competency of Seafarers. This MoU will pave way for recognition of maritime education and training, certificates of competency, endorsements, training documentary evidence and medical fitness certificates for seafarers issued by the Government of the other country in accordance with the provisions of Regulation 1/10 of the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention, and cooperation between the two countries in training and management of seafarers.
About STCW convention: The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (or STCW), 1978 sets qualification standards for masters, officers and watch personnel on seagoing merchant ships. STCW was adopted in 1978 by conference at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London, and entered into force in 1984. The Convention prescribes minimum standards relating to training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers which countries are obliged to meet or exceed.
It also applies to ships of non-party States when visiting ports of States which are Parties to the Convention.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 11 and 12 April 2018
■ Google has appealed against a ruling by India’s competition watchdog, CCI, that found it guilty of “search bias” at the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).
In February, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) fined Google Rs136 crore ($21 million), saying it was also abusing its dominance by giving its own online airline flight search product an unfair advantage over rivals.
About NCLAT: National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) was constituted under Section 410 of the Companies Act, 2013 for hearing appeals against the orders of National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). It is also the Appellate Tribunal for hearing appeals against the orders passed by NCLT under Section 61 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC).
NCLAT is also the Appellate Tribunal to hear and dispose of appeals against any direction issued or decision made or order passed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI).
Note that: Search bias refers to the propensity for a search engine to favour certain websites over others in response to user queries, due to biases in their search algorithms or other factors. This can unduly hurt businesses that often rely on search engines to draw customers to their portals.
■ The Singapore Airlines has been named the Best Airline in the world in the 2018 Travellers’ Choice Awards by TripAdvisor. The second spot is occupied by Air New Zealand followed by Emirates.
■ Facebook Inc., is launching a “data abuse” bounty program to reward people who report misuse of data by app developers. The program will reward people with first-hand knowledge and evidence of a Facebook platform app collecting and transferring user data to another party to be sold, stolen or used for scams or political influence.
■ Eleven public sector banks have been brought under the RBI’s Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework with an aim to check NPAs. This comes months after the central government had allocated capital of Rs 52,311 crore to 11 “weak banks” to maintain their minimum capital requirement.
About PCA: PCA norms allow the regulator to place certain restrictions such as halting branch expansion and stopping dividend payment. It can even cap a bank’s lending limit to one entity or sector. Other corrective action that can be imposed on banks include special audit, restructuring operations and activation of recovery plan. Banks’ promoters can be asked to bring in new management, too. The RBI can also supersede the bank’s board, under PCA. The PCA is invoked when certain risk thresholds are breached. There are three risk thresholds which are based on certain levels of asset quality, profitability, capital and the like. The third such threshold, which is maximum tolerance limit, sets net NPA at over 12% and negative return on assets for four consecutive years.
The 11 banks on the RBI’s watch-list include Allahabad Bank, United Bank of India, Corporation Bank, IDBI Bank, UCO Bank, Bank of India, Central Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Dena Bank, Bank of Maharashtra. Five banks which could be brought under the PCA are Andhra Bank, Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank, Union Bank and Punjab & Sind Bank.
■ As per ACI’s World Airport Traffic Forecasts, the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, operated by the Delhi International Airport Ltd, has emerged as one of the busiest airports in the world and features among the top 20. It jumped from 22nd rank in 2016 to 16th. Delhi has also been ranked first in airport service quality for airports above 40 million passengers per annum along with the Mumbai airport. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) was ranked the busiest airport in the world.
About Airports Council International (ACI): Founded in 1991 with the objective of fostering cooperation among its member airports and other partners in world aviation, ACI is the trade association of the world’s airports, currently serving 641 members operating from 1,953 airports across 176 countries.
Sports Current Affairs – 11 and 12 April 2018
■ Pistol shooter Heena Sidhu from India has bagged the gold in the women’s 25-metre pistol event at the 21st Commonwealth Games in Gold Cost, Australia. This is Sidhu’s second medal at the ongoing Games after having claimed a silver in the 10-metre air pistol event behind 16-year-old compatriot Manu Bhaker.
■ In the Men’s 50-metre Pistol event in the Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast, Om Mitharwal finished at third spot to claim his second Bronze of the Games. He had earlier won a Bronze in the 10-metre Air Pistol event.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 11 and 12 April 2018 “
Q1. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has inaugurated a scientific convention on the World Homoeopathy Day (WHD 2018) in which city?
C) New Delhi
Q2. Which state has become the first Indian state to adopt a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for determining brain death cases?
Q3. Indian women’s Table Tennis team has clinched its first-ever gold at the 21st Commonwealth Games (CWG) 2018. The team is led by whom?
A) Mouma Das
B) Madhurika Patkar
C) Manika Batra
D) Nidhi Desai
Q4. Which country is hosting the first International conference on ‘Water, Environment and Climate Change: Knowledge Sharing and Partnership’?
A) Sri Lanka
Q5. Who is the newly elected Chairman of Boao Forum for Asia (BFA)?
A) Yasuo Fukuda
B) Li Baodong
C) Ban Ki-moon
D) Zhou Xiaochuan
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!