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 – 13 and 14 April 2018
■ President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have greeted people on the occasion of Vishu, Rongali Bihu, Naba Barsha, Vaisakhadi, Puthandu Pirappu which were celebrated on 14th and 15th April. These are harvest festivals celebrated with different names and means across the country, such as:
- Puthandu in Tamil Nadu,
- Vishu in Kerala,
- Poila Boishakh in Bengal,
- Bohag Bihu in Assam,
- Maha Sishuba Sankranti in Odisha,
- Baisakhi in Punjab and parts of north India.
These festivals symbolize the importance and respect given to hard work in Indian tradition. These festivals celebrated in various ways in different parts of the country, reflect the diversity and pluralistic traditions and highlight the unity and understanding so characteristic of the social ethos.
■ The Nation remembered Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar on his 127th birth anniversary on 14th April. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, the chief architect of the Constitution of India, was born on 14th April 1891 at Mhow in Madhya Pradesh, which is now known as Dr Ambedkar Nagar. He was also the first law minister of India. His ideals and his belief in the rule of law found most eloquent expression in the Constituent Assembly debates and delibrations. Appropriately, he is considered the guiding light for the Republic of India.
■ Amit Masurkar’s film Newton, which was also India’s pick for the Oscars this year, has won the Best Hindi Film honour at the 65th National Film Awards. Actor Pankaj Tripathi, who was part of the film, also won a Special Mention for his performance. The film was shot in the interiors of Chhattisgarh and revolves around the issue of election.
- Veteran Hindi film actor Vinod Khanna was given the Dadasaheb Phalke Award posthumously. Khanna is the 49th recipient of the Award, which is Indian cinema’s highest honour.
- The National Award for Best Film has gone to Assamese film- ‘Village Rockstars’.
- The Award for Best Director has gone to Jayaraj for Malayalam film ‘Bhayanakam’.
Baahubali 2 was chosen for Best Popular Film for Providing Wholesale Entertainment, and Best Special Effects and Best Action Direction Award categories.
■ An all-encompassing coordinated and composite exercise named Gaganshakti-2018 is being conducted by the IAF. Exercise Gaganshakti is aimed at real-time coordination, deployment and employment of Air Power in a short & intense battle scenario. This exercise will hone the warfighting skills of IAF in a real-time scenario.
■ The Haryana government has decided to launch ‘Gram Swaraj Abhiyan’, an outreach campaign, on the birth anniversary of Dr B R Ambedkar on April 14, which will continue till May 5.
About Gram Swaraj Abhiyan:
“Gram Swaraj Abhiyan” is a campaign, undertaken under the name of “Sabka Sath, Sabka Gaon, Sabka Vikas”, is to promote social harmony, spread awareness about pro-poor initiatives of government, reach out to poor households to enroll them as also to obtain their feedback on various welfare programmes. The programmes covered under the campaign are – Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Saubhagya, Ujala scheme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and Mission Indradhanush.
■ The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched the IRNSS-1I satellite through its PSLV-C41. It was the 20th flight of PSLV-XL version. This satellite will transmit signals for the accurate determination of position, navigation and time.
Note that: Navigation satellite IRNSS-1I has been launched to replace India’s first navigation satellite IRNSS-1A, whose three Rubidium atomic clocks had stopped working two years ago. The malfunctioning of the Europe-imported atomic clocks in IRNSS-1A had made it difficult to measure precise locational data from the satellite.
About IRNSS: It stands for Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System. It is a set of satellites which together can provide India a regional positioning system similar to the GPS. According to the ISRO website, the system is designed to give position accuracy better than 20 metres to users in its primary coverage area. It can also service regions extending up to 1500 km around India’s boundary. NavIC is the operational name for the IRNSS. Read more about IRNSS here.
Read about IRNSS-1I satellite here.
■ In order to equip the children with the information regarding the possible modes of protection/complaints, the National Council Of Educational Research And Training (NCERT) has published the information regarding Childline (1098) 24×7 Helpline for children and POCSO e-box on the back side of the front cover of all course NCERT books from Class 6 to Class 12.
About POCSO e- Box: Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO), e-Box, is an online complaint management system for easy and direct reporting of sexual offences against children and timely action against the offenders under the POCSO Act, 2012. E-Box is very simple to operate and will help to maintain the confidentiality of the complaint. A child who is sexually abused has to face very serious consequences such as cognitive impairment, violent and risk behaviour including depression and anxiety. Feeling shame and guilt with poor interpersonal relationship & self-esteem are other consequences of sexually abused children.
About POCSO Act: Being concerned about offences against children, the Government enacted POCSO Act, 2012 to protect them from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography, while safeguarding the interest of the child at every stage of the judicial process. This is achieved by incorporating child-friendly mechanisms for reporting, recording of evidence, investigation and speedy trial of offences through designated Special Courts. Any human being up to the age of 18 years is recognised as a child under the POCSO Act.
■ The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have issued a new 10-step guidance to increase support for breastfeeding in health facilities that provide maternity and newborn services, which provide the immediate health system platform to help mothers initiate breastfeeding within the first hour and breastfeed exclusively for six months.
Highlights of Ten-Step Guidelines for Breastfeeding:
- The guidelines describe how hospitals should have a written breastfeeding policy in place, required staff competencies, and antenatal and post-birth care, including breastfeeding support for mothers.
- It also recommends limited use of breast milk substitutes, rooming-in, responsive feeding, educating parents on the use of bottles and pacifiers, and support when mothers and babies are discharged from hospital.
About breastfeeding: Breastfeeding is an important efficient and cost-effective intervention promoting child survival and health. Breastfeeding within an hour of birth could prevent 20% of the newborn deaths. Infants who are not breastfed are 15 times more likely to die from pnuemonia and 11 times more likely to die from diarrhoea than children who are exclusively breastfed, which are two leading causes of death in children under-five years of age. Apart from mortality and morbidity benefits, breastfeeding also has tremendous impact on improved the IQ of the child.
Note that: The Health Ministry runs a nationwide programme called “MAA-Mother’s Absolute Affection’’ to bring undiluted focus on promotion of breastfeeding and provision of services towards supporting breastfeeding, along with ongoing efforts of routine health systems. The MAA programme includes awareness generation, promotion of breastfeeding & inter personal counselling at community level, skilled support for breastfeeding at delivery points and monitoring and Award/ recognition of health facility.
■ With a view to establish India as a key global player in the standardisation, research and development and manufacturing of 5G equipment, a Massive MIMO radio laboratory has been set up at IIT Delhi. This is going to be the first such lab in India.
About MIMO Technology: The Multiple-input multiple-output, or MIMO, is a radio communications technology or RF technology that is being mentioned and used in many new technologies these days. MIMO technology uses a natural radio-wave phenomenon called multipath. With multipath, transmitted information bounces off walls, ceilings, and other objects, reaching the receiving antenna multiple times at different angles and slightly different times. In the past, multipath caused interference and slowed down wireless signals. With multipath, MIMO technology uses multiple, smart transmitters and receivers with an added spatial dimension, increasing performance and range.
Note that:Wi-Fi, LTE (Long Term Evolution), and many other radio, wireless and RF technologies are using the new MIMO wireless technology to provide increased link capacity and spectral efficiency combined with improved link reliability using what were previously seen as interference paths.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 13 and 14 April 2018
■ In a combined operation, the United States, Britain and France have launched a military operation against Syria on saturday in response to an alleged poison gas attack in Douma previous week. Announcing the military action from the White House, U.S. President Donald Trump said the joint action was meant to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread, and use of chemical weapons.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May said the attacks were not about regime change or intervening in a civil war, but were to deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government.
■ Pakistan’s Supreme Court in a landmark judgement has disqualified deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for life from holding any public office under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Pakistan Constitution. It said the punishment is for life and such a person cannot contest elections or become a member of parliament.
Now, both, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Jahangir Tareen, have become ineligible to ever hold public office.
Note that: Supreme Court had disqualified Nawaz Sharif in July last year in the Panama Papers case.
■ India has emerged as the biggest beneficiary of the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, taking a quarter of all its investment commitments, despite continuing diplomatic tension between New Delhi and Beijing. In the first two years of its existence, the AIIB — which was conceived by China as an alternative to the World Bank — has approved $4.3bn worth of funding for infrastructure projects around Asia, over $1 bn of which will go to schemes in India.
The AIIB was established as a new multilateral financial institution aimed at providing “financial support for infrastructure development and regional connectivity in Asia.” It was founded in October, 2014, and has its headquarters in Beijing. Its goals are also to boost economic development in the region, create wealth, prove infrastructure, and promote regional cooperation and partnership. The value of AIIB’s authorized capital amounts to $100 billion, with almost $30 billion invested by China. India is not only one of the founding members of AIIB but is also the 2nd largest shareholder in AIIB.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 13 and 14 April 2018
■ The Finance Ministry has reconstituted the Banks Board Bureau (BBB) and has appointed Bhanu Pratap Sharma as the new chairman. He replaces Vinod Rai, former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), who was appointed as BBB’s first chairman in April 2016. Sharma was the former chairman of the Recruitment and Assessment centre of DRDO and former principal secretary (Finance), in the Bihar government.
The BBB has the responsibility of selecting board members, including MD & CEO of PSBs. It started functioning in April 2016 and the chairman and its committee members had a two-year term which ended in March this year.
■ SEBI has amended REITs and InvITs regulations to facilitate the growth of such trusts. As per its amendments, REITs and InvITs will provide a mechanism for resolution of disputes with their shareholders and partners in the holding firm.
About REITs: The REITs are similar to mutual funds. While mutual funds provide for an opportunity to invest in equity stocks, REITs allow one to invest in income-generating real estate assets. The REITs raise funds from a large number of investors and directly invest that sum in income-generating real estate properties (which could be offices, residential apartments, shopping centres, hotels and warehouses). The trusts are listed in stock exchanges so that investors can buy units in the trust. REITs are structured as trusts. Thus, the assets of an REIT are held by an independent trustee on behalf of unit holders.
■ In line with the Government initiative of ease of doing business, the Union Cabinet has approved delegating the powers to Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Finance Minister to award the Blocks/Contract Areas to successful bidders under Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) after International Competitive Bidding (ICB) based on the recommendations of Empowered Committee of Secretaries (ECS).
Under HELP, Blocks are to be awarded twice in a year. Therefore, this delegation of powers will certainly expedite the decision-making process on awarding blocks and give a boost to the initiative of ease of doing business.
About Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP): Government of India launched a new policy regime for Exploration & Production (E&P) sector namely Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) in 2016 which is paradigm shift from earlier policy regime. The main features of new Policy regime are Revenue Sharing Contract, single Licence for exploration and production of conventional as well as unconventional Hydrocarbon resources, marketing & pricing freedom, etc.
About Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP): Under HELP, is main innovative feature wherein investor can carve out Blocks of their own interest and submit an Expression of Interest (Eol) throughout the year. Based on the areas for which expression of interest has been expressed bidding will be conducted every 6 months.
Note that: India is the 3rd largest consumer of crude oil and petroleum products with oil and gas contributing 34.4% to primary energy consumption. In 2015-2016, India’s crude oil import dependence rose to 81% from 78.5%. In last five years, India has seen overall decline in exploration and production of conventional resources. The New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) was created in 1997 ended the state dominance and created a competitive environment leading to liberalization of oil and gas exploration and production industry.
However, it has failed to yield significant production growth and attracting the foreign investment due to bureaucratic hurdles like multiple approvals and sanctions, cost overruns, and disputes.
■ The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a penalty of Rs 3 crore on IDBI Bank for failing to comply with norms related to reporting bad loans. In July 2017, IDBI Bank had under-reported Rs 6,816.6 crore of bad loans for FY16, which were subsequently identified by the RBI.
Note that: The RBI has mandated banks to disclose divergences that exceed 15% of the reported number.
■ Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has charted a plan to promote micro-enterprises in 115 aspirational districts across the country to contribute to their development under ththe aspirational districts programme (ADP). It has tied up with Common Service Centre (CSC) to meet this objective.
About Transformation of Aspirational Districts Programme: The ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ programme was launched in January with an aim to quickly and effectively transform some of the most underdeveloped districts in the country. The broad contours of the programme are Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts driven by a Mass Movement.
It will converge the central and state schemes, collaborate central, state and district collectors to strengthen these districts by identifying the low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement, measure progress and then rank the district by getting the data on a real-time basis.
Selection of backward districts: The 115 districts selected for the scheme, including 35 affected by left-wing extremism, are picked on basis of parameters like deprivation (extent of landless households), health & nutrition (institutional delivery, stunting of children and wasting in children), education (elementary dropout rate and adverse pupil-teacher ratio) and infrastructure (un-electrified homes, lack of toilets, villages not connected by road and lack of drinking water).
Sports Current Affairs – 13 and 14 April 2018
■ Team India captain Virat Kohli has been named Wisden’s leading male cricketer for the two years in a row. With this, Kohli has become the 3rd cricketer after Virender Sehwag and Kumar Sangakkara to be honoured with the award multiple times.
Note that: Mithali Raj has been honored as Wisden’s leading female cricketer.
■ On the penultimate day of the 21st Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, the 35-year-old five-time world champion and Olympic bronze-medallist M C Mary Kom won the day’s first Gold in women boxing’s 48 kg category.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 13 and 14 April 2018 “
Q1. Who will head a task force for fast-tracking roll-out of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology?
A) Jayant Sinha
B) Arun Jaitley
C) Suresh Prabhu
D) Piyush Goyal
Q2.Which neighbouring country of India has decided to end reservation in Government jobs?
Q3.Who has become the India’s youngest-ever gold medallist at the Commonwealth Games (CWG)?
A) Anjum Moudgil
B) Neeraj Kumar
C) Divya Kakran
D) Anish Bhanwala
Q4.Who authored the book “Matmagi Manipur-The first Manipuri Feature Film”?
A) Irom Chanu Sharmila
B) M. K. Binodini Devi
C) Bobby Wahengbam
D) Rajen Toijamba
Q5.Which movie bagged the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Film on National Integration at the 65th National Film Awards 2017? A) Aalorukkam
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!