This post covers relevant news from national dailies and government releases for aspirants of examinations like UPSC IAS, CDS, SSC CGL, NDA, etc. It is highly useful for both, revision and awareness purposes.
National Important Current Affairs – 12 September 2018
■ The Union Ministry of Railways has launched Rail Sahyog web portal (www.railsahyog.in). It will provide a platform for Corporates and PSUs to fund the amenities infrastructure at railway stations through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds. The portal will offer simplicity and transparency while providing an opportunity for industry, companies, associations to collaborate with Indian Railways.
Working of Rail Sahyog portal: This portal will be processing these requests based on the principle of first come first serve, done by Railway officials. Selected applicants will be intimated to deposit the funds with Railways or its nominated agencies like RITES or RAILTEL etc. The nominated agency will get the work executed thereafter.
■ The Haryana state government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to set up an ethanol plant in village Bohali of Panipat with an outlay of over Rs 900 crore. The pact will be valid for one year. The Haryana State Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare department will motivate the farmers in the 50 km radius of the plant to provide crop residue or feedstock on regular basis as raw material.
This initiative will manage crop residue and prevent straw burning before the upcoming paddy season, with a proposed capacity of 100 kilolitres of ethanol per day.
■ The Rajasthan government will hold a convention on preserving heritage properties & promoting heritage tourism in Bharatpur from September 13-14, 2018. It will be organised by the Indian Heritage Hotels Association (IHHA), to preserve heritage properties from decay while promoting heritage tourism in the in-bound tourism market.
The convention will also bring to the forefront ‘battlefield tourism’, which aims to recreate the grand battles of Rajasthan.
The convention on ‘Revitalising India as a Heritage Destination’ will witness national and international experts speak on the preservation of heritage buildings, museums and promoting lesser-known destinations.
■ The first-ever joint military exercise of BIMSTEC, which has been named MILEX-18, has started at Aundh Military Station in Pune from September 10 to enhance cooperation in dealing with the challenge of terrorism in the region. All member BIMSTEC countries, except Thailand and Nepal, are taking an active part in this exercise, these countries have just sent observers. The exercise will include training in search-and-cordon operations and handling and neutralisation of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) among other things.
The aim of the week-long anti-terror exercise is to boost interoperability among the forces and exchanging best practices to contain terror-related activities.
About BIMSTEC: The BIMSTEC is a regional grouping comprising Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal. The grouping accounts for 22% of the global population & has a combined gross domestic product of USD 2.8 trillion.
■ The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), based in Trombay (Maharashtra) has recommissioned India’s oldest nuclear research reactor named ‘Apsara’, which was shut down in 2009 for repair. The refurbished version of this reactor has been named as ‘Apsara-upgraded’ (Apsara-U). It has double capacity compared to its earlier version.
About ‘ Apsara’: Apsara was the first nuclear research reactor in Asia which had become operational in BARC’s Trombay campus in August 1956. It was also the first nuclear research reactor indigenously developed in India. It’s design was conceptualised in 1955 by Dr Homi Bhabha, the father of Indian Nuclear programme. The name Apsara was coined by Jawaharlal Nehru.
Apsara was a light water moderated (swimming pool-type) reactor with a maximum power output of 1 megawatt thermal (MWt). It burned enriched uranium and was employed for various experiments including neutron activation analysis, radiation damage studies, forensic research, neutron radiography, and shielding experiments.
The Apsara-upgraded is also indigenously made. It uses Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) in plate type dispersion fuel elements. It will be used in :
- Production of radio-isotopes for medical application
- Research in nuclear physics, material science and radiation shielding
- Production of radioisotopes for study in the field of food preservation, agriculture, and other industries apart from medicine for diagnosis and therapy.
About Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC): The BARC is India’s premier nuclear research facility based in Mumbai. It is multi-disciplinary research center which covers the entire spectrum of nuclear science, engineering and related areas. BARC’s core mandate is to sustain peaceful applications of nuclear energy, primarily for power generation.
■ The NITI Aayog, Intel, and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) have collaborated to set up a model International Center for Transformative Artificial Intelligence (ICTAI) for developing and deploying AI-led application-based research projects.
The ICTAI initiative is part of NITI Aayog’s ‘National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence’ discussion Paper that focuses on establishing ICTAI in the country through private sector collaboration.
About the International Center for Transformative Artificial Intelligence (ICTAI): It is based in Bengaluru, to conduct advanced research to incubate AI-led solutions in three important areas – healthcare, agriculture and smart mobility – by bringing together the expertise of Intel and TIFR.
- The intent is to develop standards and support policy development related to information technology such as data storage, information security, privacy, and ethics for data capture and use.
- Another key area of its focus will be the collaboration with industry leaders, startups, and AI services and product companies to productize technologies and IP that are developed at the model ICTAI.
- The lore and best practices developed through this model ICTAI will be used by NITI Aayog to set up the future ICTAIs across the country.
■ The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has announced the implementation of the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017. The Act safeguards the rights of people living with HIV and affected by HIV. It criminalises any kind of discrimination against people suffering from AIDS in terms of treatment, employment and workplace.
Provisions of the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and control) Act, 2017 :
- It is meant to address HIV-related discrimination, strengthen the existing programme by bringing in legal accountability, and establish formal mechanisms for inquiring into complaints and redressing grievances.
- The Act lists various grounds which include the denial, termination, discontinuation or unfair treatment in regards to (employment, educational establishments, healthcare services, residing or renting property, standing for public or private office, provision of insurance), on which discrimination against HIV positive persons and those living with them is prohibited.
- Every person in the care and custody of the state shall have the right to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and counselling services.
- Every HIV infected or affected person below the age of 18 years has the right to reside in a shared household and enjoy the facilities of the household.
- The requirement for HIV testing as a pre-requisite for obtaining employment or accessing health care or education is also prohibited under the act.
- The Act also prohibits any individual from publishing information or advocating feelings of hatred against HIV positive persons and those living with them.
■ The 2-day Regional Conference on Good Governance with Focus on Aspirational Districts was recently held in Bhopal, capital of Madhya Pradesh. This Regional Conference on “Good Governance: Focus on Aspirational Districts”, was organised by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, along with Madhya Pradesh State Government. Delegates from 12 States/2 UTs had participated in 5 Technical sessions of this conference.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 12 September 2018
■ The 2018 Global Summit on Climate Action is being held at San Francisco in California, United States from September 12 to 14, 2018. The summit brings together several decision makers and officials, from around the world to discuss proposals for future action on climate change and to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
- It aims to promote climate action in five key areas: Healthy Energy Systems, Inclusive Economic Growth, Sustainable Communities, Land and Ocean Stewardship and Transformative Climate Investments.
■ As an important milestone in India’s development partnership with Africa, the Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd (TCIL) have signed an agreement for the implementation of e-VidyaBharati and e-AarogyaBharati (e-VBAB) Network Project in Africa. The project will act as a digital bridge of knowledge and health between India and Africa.
The E-VBAB Network Project is technological upgrade and extension of Pan-African e-Network Project (Phase 1) which was implemented in 48 partner countries across Africa from 2009 till 2017.
- The e-VBAB Network Project is completely funded by Government of India for its entire duration.
- Over its five-year duration, this project will also be utilized for providing free continuing medical education (1000 every year) doctors, nurses, para-medical staff from Africa.
- Note that: The phase 1 of the project had successfully imparted tele-education and telemedicine by linking educational institutions and hospitals in India with those from participating countries from Africa.
■ The Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) has led a 75-member Indian delegation for the ongoing 87th Izmir International Trade Show in Turkey. India is the Focus Country in the trade show with a standalone pavilion named ‘Source India’. This delegation had several B2B meetings and business tie-ups with members of the Turkish business community.
- The Source India Pavilion is a multi-product pavilion, including companies displaying products like ceramics, cereals and mechanical appliances.
- Note that: Bilateral trade between India- Turkey was $7 billion in 2017, an increase of 8% over the previous year.
About Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI): It is an apex trade and investment promotion organization notified in the Foreign Trade Policy. TPCI is supported by the Department of Commerce, Govt. of India. TPCI provides policy suggestions based on inputs from research and industry stakeholders.
■ Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina have launched three key projects via video conferencing. These are :
- Rehabilitation of Kulaura-Shahbazpur section of Bangladesh Railways.
- The 500 MW additional power supply from India to Bangladesh via Bheramara-Baharampur interconnection.
- A 15 km Akhaura–Agartala Rail Link
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 12 September 2018
■ Technology giant Google has sought time till the end of December to comply with the regulation to store data from its payment service Google Pay in geographical boundaries of India as mandated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Sports Current Affairs – 12 September 2018
■ Indian Software major Infosys has signed a three-year partnership with the organisers of Australian Open as its official digital innovation partner. It aims to create new ways of experiencing the Australian Open.
- Infosys will leverage its expertise in emerging technologies such as Big Data and Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual and Augmented Reality, to provide unique, innovative and engaging experiences for viewers and fans.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 12 September 2018 “
Q1. Which Indian airport is set to become first in Asia to use face recognition as boarding pass for passengers?
Q2. What is the theme of the 2018 World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) observed on September 10?
Q3. The Indian Air Force has successfully carried out the first-ever mid-air refuelling of the indigenously build which aircraft?
Q4. India and France have signed an implementation agreement on ‘Mobilise Your City (MYC)’ to support which of the following cities?
- B) Pune, Bhopal and Panaji
Q5. Which Bollywood personality has been honoured with the Meryl Streep Award for Excellence?
- A) Madhuri Dixit
- B) Vidya Balan
- C) Priyanka Chopra
- D) Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
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!