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 – 12 March 2018
■ A group of 39 trekkers, comprising mostly women, were trapped in a forest fire in the hills above Kurangani, a tourist spot in the Western Ghats of Theni district, Tamil Nadu. Nine people have been confirmed dead by the State government. According to preliminary reports, these students were climbing down the hills from Munnar in Kerala to Theni on their own.
Note that: It is the forest fire season in the dry Western Ghats, especially in the Theni and Palani hills and the forest department does not allow any trekking anywhere along the ghats during this time.
■ Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron have inaugurated Uttar Pradesh’s biggest solar power plant in Mirzapur district’s Chhanvey block, built at a cost of around Rs 500 crore by French firm ENGIE. The 75 MW solar plant has come up with 1,18,600 solar panels set up in 380 acres. The plant will generate 15.6 crore units of electricity annually, about 1.30 crore units per month.
India and France have also signed 14 key agreements in strategic areas. These agreements are :
- Agreement on cooperation in the field of Sustainable Urban Development.
- Agreement on Prevention of Illicit Consumption and Reduction of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Chemical Precursors and Related Offences.
- Agreement regarding exchange and reciprocal protection of classified or protected information
- Agreement regarding provision of reciprocal logistics support between their Armed Forces.
- Agreement to facilitate Mutual Recognition of Academic Qualifications.
- Bilateral Arrangement on cooperation in matter of Hydrography and Maritime Cartography.
- Credit Facility Agreement of Euros 100 million for funding of Smart City Projects through a Challenge Process
- Implementing Arrangement for pre-formulation studies of a Maritime Awareness Mission.
- India-France Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement.
- Industrial Way Forward Agreement between NPCL and EDF, France for construction of six nuclear reactors at Jaitapur, Maharashtra.
- Letter of Intent for creation of permanent Indo-French Railways Forum.
- MoU for co-operation in projects in ISA member countries in areas of solar energy
- MoU on cooperation in the field of Environment.
- MoU on technical cooperation in the field of Railways.
Apart from the above agreements, Companies from India and France signed contracts worth over Rs 1 lakh crore, which includes a contract for France’s Safran to supply airline SpiceJet with engines and a contract between gas company Air Liquide and Sterlite.
■ The Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha, the highest body for decision making and policy formulation for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has re-elected Bhaiyyaji Joshi as the Sarkaryavah (General Secretary) of the RSS for the next three years.
■ A parliamentary panel has asked the Finance Ministry to launch a “comprehensive enquiry” into the $2-billion PNB fraud and submit the report within a month. The panel has said it is “extremely concerned” about the fraud which shows that a “small group of individuals can manipulate such a gigantic bank”.
■ The Union Territory of Diu has become the first and only Union Territory in the country to be fully run on solar energy. Diu generates total of 13 megawatts (MW) of electricity from solar power generating facilities daily. Of this, 3 MW is generated by rooftop solar plants and 10 MW by its other solar power plants.
■ In Maharashtra, thousands of farmers are marching towards Mumbai from across Maharashtra, demanding farm loan waiver and implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report. The Farmer’s march is heading to the Legislative Assembly. The financial capital of Mumbai witnessed 40,000 farmers and tribals – march slowly through the length of the city, after midnight in order to avoid causing distress to the citizens and students who have exams.
■ The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has celebrated its 33rd Inception Day, on March 11 in their new Complex at Mahipalpur, New Delhi and also released “Citizen Services” Mobile APP.
The Mobile App called “Citizen Services” developed in-house by NCRB for various essential police related services to the citizen. The App can be used by the citizen for various services such as Complaint Registration & Status Check, View FIR Detail, SOS – Stay Safe, Locate Police Stations, Vahan-Samanvay, Emergency Contact List, Police Stations Telephone Directory etc.
About NCRB: NCRB is the Nodal Agency for authentic source of Data on crime, accidents, suicides, and prisons for policy matters and research.
- It is implementing & monitoring agency for implementation of Crime & Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS), a Mission Mode Project under the National e-Governance Plan of Government of India.
- NCRB also imparts training in Information Technology (IT) and Finger Print Science for Indian Police Officers as well Foreign Police officers.
- NCRB publishes 4 annual publications on Crime, Accidental Deaths & Suicides, Prison Statistics and Finger Prints. These publications serve as principal reference points on crime statistics not only police officers but also for criminologists, researchers, media and policy makers.
■ Union commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu has been assigned additional charge of the Ministry of Aviation.
He is going to replace TDP Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, who has resigned from the Union Cabinet.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 12 March 2018
■ Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron co-chaired the 1st Founding Conference of International Solar Alliance (ISA) in New Delhi’s Rashtrapati Bhavan. It’s purpose is to focus on various aspects of promoting solar energy in 121 countries that are part of the International Solar Alliance. The ISA is the first treaty-based intergovernmental organisation to be based in India that aims to help sunshine-rich developing countries to tap solar energy at more affordable prices.
Note that: The idea of a solar alliance of countries that receive sunshine for around 300 days in a year was mooted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the India-Africa Summit in Delhi in October 2015.
- Modi presented a 10-point action plan aimed at making solar power more affordable while raising the share of power generated. He said India will generate 175 gigawatts (GW) of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2022.
- France has committed to providing an additional €700 million in loans and support by 2022 to emerging economies for solar energy projects.
- India has announced its $1.4 billion assistance for developing 27 solar projects in 15 countries, showing that New Delhi will employ the ISA as a foreign policy tool to cement its leadership among developing countries. The $1.4 billion line of credit will boost the much-required financial power to the solar sector.
The conference was attended by 23 heads of states and governments from all over the world, including United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid.
■ China’s Parliament has voted to amend its Constitution to remove a decades-old provision that bans more than two consecutive presidential terms, allowing Xi Jinping to remain as the country’s leader for life.
The constitutional changes were passed in Beijing by the annual sitting of the National People’s Congress – the country’s legislature – with two-third majority. Earlier, the seven-member Standing Committee – the topmost body of the ruling Communist Party of China – had unanimously approved the amendment.
Note that: The 64-year old Xi Jinping is currently in his second five-year term and is due to retire in 2023 under the current two term system.
■ PM Narendra Modi will visit neighbouring countries Bhutan and Bangladesh during the coming months aiming to show his government’s support to both Thimpu and Dhaka as both prepare for general elections later in the year.
■ Data from Nasa’s Juno spacecraft, which is orbiting the solar system’s largest planet Jupiter since 2016, is providing researchers with unprecedented insight into Jupiter’s internal dynamics and structure. Until now, scientists had little information about what lies below Jupiter’s thick red, brown, yellow and white clouds. The interior of Jupiter has a swirling mixture of liquid hydrogen and helium at its centre, vast atmospheric jet streams and exotic gravitational properties.
Jupiter is a gas giant, as opposed to rocky planets like Earth and Mars, and its composition is 99 percent hydrogen and helium. Juno’s data showed that under the surface, Jupiter’s gas becomes ionized and eventually turns into a hot, dense metallic liquid.
Note that: Jupiter, the fifth planet from the sun, is big enough that 1,300 Earths could fit inside it.
■ In Santiago, Chile, the 11 Pacific Rim countries have formally entered into Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (also known as CP TPP or TPP11). This is a revised version of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that was initially proposed by US, but Trump administration later withdrew from it.
The TPP11 includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. It will be world’s third largest trade bloc after European Union (EU) and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
■ President Ram Nath Kovind, who is on a state visit to Mauritius, has urged Indian diaspora in Mauritius to become living bridge between the two countries. The Indian community in Mauritius comprises those who trace their roots to different states ranging from Bihar to Tamil Nadu.
He also praised the island nation on its sanitation record, saying in many ways it is a model for Swachh Bharat. India and Mauritius share developmental and economic interests in agriculture and dairy farming, tourism and textiles, coastal zoning and urbanisation, and skilling and education. On the second leg of his five-day tour, the President will visit Madagascar.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 12 March 2018
■ The International Solar Alliance (ISA) has signed a cooperation arrangement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to promote solar energy deployment in Asia and the Pacific. The cooperation envisages solar power generation, solar based mini-grids and transmission systems for integrating solar energy into grids.
Apart from this, the ISA has also inked joint financial partnership declarations with the African Development Bank (AfDb), the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Green climate fund (GCF), and the New Development Bank (NDB).
- ISA and AfDb would work on the mobilisation of concessional financing through existing, notably the Bank’s Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa and the Facility for Energy Inclusion.
- AIIB and ISA have collaborated for the promotion of solar energy in prospective ISA member countries where AIIB operates.
- ISA and GCF will promote the development of affordable, reliable and sustainable solar energy as an important way towards a sustainable and inclusive economic growth. The purpose of the agreements is to deepen their cooperation in support of renewable energy.
■ The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a penalty of Rs 5 crore on Airtel Payments Bank for breaching the Know Your Customer (KYC) norms. The fine was imposed after the RBI found it guilty of opening payments bank accounts of subscribers without their consent.
■ The government has announced that Passport details will be made mandatory for availing loans worth more than Rs 50 crore from state-owned banks. The loan application form will be modified in order to incorporate passport details of borrowers. Further, the government has also asked banks to collect passport details of all existing borrowers with loans over Rs 50 crore in the next 45 days.
■ The Telangana government has launched India’s first state-led incubator for women entrepreneurs, called as Women Entrepreneurship Hub (WE-Hub), in Hyderabad. The WE Hub will be open for all kinds of startups led by women. We-Hub will promote women-led, women-owned enterprises in Telangana. Deepthi Ravula is heading the WE-Hub incubator as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Sports Current Affairs – 12 March 2018
■ World champions Australia has won the coveted 27th edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah cup 2018 in Ipoh, Malaysia. In the finals, they beat the defending champions England by a narrow 2-1 margin. With this, Australia has now won this prestigious tournament for the tenth time.
■ India B has won the 45th edition of the Deodhar Trophy 2018 by defeating Karnataka in the final by 6 wickets at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala.
The Deodhar Trophy is a List A cricket competition in Indian domestic cricket and is named after Prof. D. B. Deodhar, who is known as the Grand Old Man of Indian cricket.
■ John Sulston, a Nobel Prize-winning British scientist who helped decode the human genome, has passed away at 75 years of age. He shared the Nobel in 2002 for his contribution to work unravelling how genes control cell division. He had traced the adult nematode worm, C. elegans, to decipher how cells divide and create something new. These finding were key to understanding how cancers develop.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 12 March 2018 “
Q1. The founder of the Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University, Dr. Patangrao Kadam, who passed away, was associated with which political party?
- A) Indian National Congress
- B) Bharatiya Janata Party
- C) Nationalist Congress Party
- D) Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Q2. As part of the 10th edition of MILAN 2018, which first-ever multi-nation naval exercise at sea has started?
- A) COAST-18
- B) MILES-18
- C) NAVAL MEET-18
- D) SEA-18
Q3. Pyare Lal Wadali, the famous sufi singer passed away. He belonged to which state?
- A) Odisha
- B) Punjab
- C) Rajasthan
- D) Uttar Pradesh
Q4. What is the theme of the biennial event on Civil Aviation and Aerospace ‘Wings India 2018’?
- A) India-Global Aviation Hub
- B) Sab Uden, Sab Juden
- C) Bharat-Ek Chhat
- D) India-Wings of Aerospace
Q5. Who has been sworn in as the 10th Chief Minister of Tripura?
- A) Biplab Kumar Deb
- B) Prabhash K Devvarman
- C) Pradyot Kishore Manikya
- D) Jishnu Debbarma
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!