12 and 13 August 2017 Current Affairs : Jharkhand anti conversion bill, Prasoon Joshi new Censor chief, BIMSTEC, Milkha Singh

///12 and 13 August 2017 Current Affairs : Jharkhand anti conversion bill, Prasoon Joshi new Censor chief, BIMSTEC, Milkha Singh

This Daily Current Affair Capsule is a brief collection of important news from national dailies and government releases on PIB, The Hindu, Indian Express and Mint  useful for UPSC IAS, CDS, SSC CGL, NDA, etc.) It covers national, international, economic, sports news which is essential for you to form opinions about relevant issues for civil services exams.


National Important Current Affairs – 12 and 13 August 2017

Jharkhand Assembly has passed anti-conversion Bill.  The Religious Freedom Bill, 2017 has provision for imprisonment of 3 years and fine of Rs 50,000 or both, and 4 year- imprisonment and Rs 1 lakh fine, or both, if the person converted is a minor, woman or a member of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe. It also says that a person converting willingly will have to inform the Deputy Commissioner about details such as time, place and the person who administers the conversion proceedings. The Bill will now be sent to Governor, following whose approval it would go to the President for assent.


■ Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has tabled the Economic Survey 2016-17 Volume-2 in the Parliament. The Survey report focuses on various aspects of the Indian economy and explains in detail what the country’s economic conditions are and how it is expected to perform. In a part of its report, the Economic Survey has explained the current position of Indian economy on overall trade, external debt and inflow of foreign funds under Foreign Direct Investment or FDI.

The survey talks about the structural reforms, the launch of the GST, impacts of demonetisation. It has focused on almost every economic decision including privatisation of Air India and rationalisation of energy subsidies.


■ Ministry of Finance has issued guidelines for mandatory retrofitting installation of energy efficient appliances in all Central Government buildings across India. Given the fact that majority of the government buildings are old constructions and, therefore, consume large amount of energy, this is a welcome step.

Ministry of Finance will take up services of Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of PSUs under the Ministry of Power. Currently, EESL is the implementation agency for the Buildings Energy Efficiency Programme, which was launched in May 2017.

Under the BEE programme, EESL intends to bring in investment of around 1000 crore covering more than 10,000 large government/private buildings by 2020. It is estimated that about one crore LED lights, 15 lakh energy efficient ceiling fans, and 1.5 lakh energy efficient ACs will be retrofitted by EESL in these buildings. Apart from retrofitting, EESL also aims to widen its services in areas like centralized AC system, Energy Audits, and New Generation Energy Management System in buildings.


■ The Parliament’s monsoon session has been adjourned sine die after an eventful 19 days. The Lok Sabha passed 14 legislations, including the Banking (Amendment) Bill, and saw the suspension of six Congress members for “highly unbecoming” behaviour. The Rajya Sabha passed 9 bills and conducted debates on a number of crucial issues like lynchings and the agrarian crisis facing the country.


Odisha government and social media giant Facebook has launched ‘SheMeansBusiness’ programme for train women entrepreneurs in the state. Odisha government’s partnership with Facebook aimed to reduce the digital divide and empower nearly 25,000 women entrepreneurs and SHGs. Facebook will also make a database of entrepreneurs in the state and will monitor their growth, turnover and profit after one year.  Women entrepreneurs will get training on digital marketing free of cost and the platform will also facilitate vertical integration.


■ Screenwriter-lyricist Prasoon Joshi has replaced Pahlaj Nihalani as the Chairman of the Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC). Nihalani has faced criticism for his decisions regarding certification for films including ‘Udta Punjab’ and ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’. The reconstituted Censor Board includes Actor Vidya Balan, Vivek Agnihotri, Gautami Tadimalla. 

About CBFC:

Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) is a statutory body under Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, with a mandate for regulating the public exhibition of films under the provisions of the Cinematograph Act 1952. The Board consists of non-official members and a Chairman (all of whom are appointed by Central Government). Films in India can be publicly exhibited only after they have been certified by the Central Board of Film Certification.


International Current Affairs Capsule – 12 and 13 August 2017

■ 12th of August has been observed as the International Youth Day, to draw attention to a given set of cultural and legal issues surrounding youth.
The Theme of International Youth Day 2017 was : “Youth Building Peace”.


■ The 15th ministerial meeting of the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) has concluded in Kathmandu. It endorsed the establishment of BIMSTEC grid interconnection and also agreed to expedite the negotiations for BIMSTEC Free Trade Area Agreement. The meeting also pledged to deepen cooperation for shared prosperity in the region with focus on areas, like energy, environment and culture, among others.

About BIMSTEC : 

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation is a sub- regional organisation which comprises of 7 member states which lie near the Bay of Bengal. BIMSTEC consists of seven countries: 5 come from South Asia, including India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka; and 2 come from Southeast Asia, which includes Myanmar and Thailand.

This organisation started in the year 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration. Its Headquarters are situated in Dhaka, Bangladesh.


■The US President Donald Trump has appointed Neil Chatterjee as the Chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).


Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 12 and 13 August 2017

Government has hiked import duty on palm oil to boost incomes of domestic farmers and refiners. According to a notification issued by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), the import duty on crude palm oil has been hiked to 15% from earlier 7.5%. On refined palm oil the duty is now 25% from earlier 15% to curb cheaper shipments. This will help restrict cheaper imports from Malaysia and Indonesia. the farmers in India are in distress due to fall in prices of oilseeds below the MSP due to bumper oilseed production.

The duty on other crude edible oils like Soya and Sunflower have also been raised to 17.5% from 12.5 percent earlier.


■ The Economic Survey has proposed Transparency of Rules Act (TORA), to end any asymmetry of information regarding rules and regulations faced by an average citizen. TORA will require all departments to mandatorily place all citizen-facing rules on their website. Officials will not be able to impose any rule not mentioned beforehand. The need for such a legislation arises because the ‘opaque mesh’ of regulations prevalent in India makes life difficult for citizens, but also act as a means for corruption and endless litigation.


■ SEBI has allowed BSE-promoted India International Exchange (India INX) to launch trading in gold options from August 30, which will allow investors to hedge their risk without worrying about daily market volatility. India Inx, which began its operations in January 2017 –  is India’s first International Exchange set up at GIFT City in Gandhinagar. This  exchange, operates for 22 hours a day, and allows international investors and Non-Residents Indians to trade in various asset classes including equities and derivatives from anywhere across the globe.

Recently, the domestic commodity exchange MCX also received SEBI’s approval to commence trading in gold options contracts.

Recall that: In June, SEBI had allowed options trading in commodities to deepen the market. But it has permitted each exchange to launch options on futures of only one commodity initially. SEBI had also stipulated necessary guidelines with regard to the product design and risk management framework to be adopted for trading in options on commodity futures.

Note that: Trading in options has been a long pending demand of the exchanges and market intermediaries.


Sports Current Affairs – 12 and 13 August 2017

■ Indian Sprint legend Milkha Singh has been appointed as the World Health Organisation’s goodwill ambassador for physical activity in South-East Asia Region (SEAR). As WHO goodwill ambassador, the ‘Flying Sikh’, will promote WHO SEAR’s non-communicable diseases (NCDs) prevention and control action plan which seeks to reduce the level of insufficient physical activity by 10 per cent and NCDs by 25 per cent by 2025.

Note that: Milkha Singh is a Padma Shri awardee and had won medals in athletics in Commonwealth and Asian games. He had missed a bronze medal by a whisker in the 1960 Rome Olympics.

About non-communicable diseases (NCDs) prevention and control action plan :

An alarming 70 per cent of boys, 80 per cent of girls and nearly 33 per cent adults in the SEAR report insufficient physical activity which is becoming a common feature of modern life. Regular exercise and physical activity help reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases such as heart diseases, stroke, diabetes and cancer – that are now increasingly afflicting people across the world.

WHO recommends at least 60 minutes of physical activity for children daily and 150 minutes of activity for adults weekly to stave off non-communicable diseases. Physical activity also helps those aged 65 years and above to maintain cognitive functioning and reduce the risk of depression.


■ Indian Shooter Maheshwari Chauhan has bagged a bronze medal at the Asian Shotgun Championship to earn India’s first women’s skeet individual medal at the competition held in Astana. A day before, Maheshwari also led India to win a team Silver medal alongside compatriots Rashmmi Rathore and Saniya Sheikh.


■ In World Athletics Championships, Jamaican sprint superstar Usain Bolt could not finish the last race of his illustrious career in London. The World Record holder, was on tracks in the 4×100 meters Final, anchoring one last time for his country Jamaica. As soon as he took the baton, he cramped up and stumbled on the tracks. The event was eventually won by hosts Great Britain, who clocked 37.47 seconds.

12 and 13 August 2017 Current Affairs : Jharkhand anti conversion bill, Prasoon Joshi new Censor chief, BIMSTEC, Milkha Singh


“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims”

Q1.Which nationwide campaign has been launched by the Union Government to protect elephants in the country?

  • A) Gaj Kesari Yatra
  • B) Gajanan Yatra
  • C) Gaj Yatra
  • D) Gaj Suraksha Yatra


Q2. Ruth Pfau, popularly known as Pakistan’s Mother Teresa, who passed away recently hailed from which country?

  • A) Poland
  • B) United States
  • C) Germany
  • D) Sweden


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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