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 – 14 March 2018
■ The Supreme Court has extended the March 31st deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to avail various services and welfare schemes run by the government till its constitution bench delivered its verdict on the constitutional validity of the 12-digit biometric number and its enabling law.
Extension of the deadline would also apply on the mandatory linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile phone numbers.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has clarified that while the deadline for linking it to existing bank accounts and PAN has been extended indefinitely by the Supreme Court.the requirement of Aadhaar for opening new bank accounts or applying for Tatkal passports will continue.
As per the Supreme Court’s recent order, the requirement of Aadhaar for opening new bank accounts and applying for Tatkal passports under the relevant laws continues. This extension of the deadline applies only to the existing Bank accounts, existing PAN cards, Mutual fund accounts and Mutual Insurance account.
■ According to a latest research released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India has emerged as the largest importer of major arms. During 2013-17, India accounted for 12% of the total global arms import. The country that accounts for the maximum arms import of India is Russia with 62%, followed by America.
In terms of exporters, the US has emerged as the world’s top exporter of weapons accounting for 34% of global arms sales in the last five years. Russia has accounted for 20% of the export ranking second in the list.
■ The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) is organizing a National Conference on Counterfeiting and Role of Enforcement Agencies in New Delhi, in collaboration with European Union (EU). This conference intends to bring together national and international experts on the same platform to have a dialogue and exchange best practices for the benefit of enforcement agencies, attorneys and industry representatives and provide fresh ideas for further strengthening the IPR protection ecosystem.
Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) has been created as a professional body under the aegis of DIPP to take forward the implementation of the National IPR Policy that was approved by the Government in May 2016, with the slogan – “Creative India; Innovative India”. CIPAM is working towards creating public awareness about IPRs in the country, promoting the filing of IPRs through facilitation, providing inventors with a platform to commercialize their IP assets and coordinating the implementation of the National IPR Policy in collaboration with Government Ministries/Departments and other stakeholders.
■ The over 20-km-long Majlis Park-Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus section of Delhi Metro’s Pink Line has opened for the use of the public. The passenger services will begin from both Majlis Park and Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus stations simultaneously. The new corridor, will also for the first time, connect the north and south campuses of the Delhi University, on the metro network, which can be covered in 40 minutes.
■ In order to provide more autonomy and flexibility to Major Ports and to professionalize their governance, the Government has introduced the Major Port Authorities Bill in Parliament to replace the existing Major Port Trusts Act, 1963.
- This Bill will apply to the major ports of Chennai, Cochin, Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Kandla, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Mangalore, Mormugao, Paradip, V.O. Chidambaranar, and Vishakhapatnam.
Under the 1963 Act, all major ports are managed by the respective Board of Port Trusts that have members that are appointed by the central government. This Bill provides for the creation of a Board of Major Port Authority for each major port, to succeed the existing Port Trusts.
- The Bill allows the Board to use its property, assets and funds as deemed fit for the development of the major port. The Board will have power to make rules on: (i) declaring availability of port assets for port related activities and services, (ii) developing and providing infrastructure facilities such as setting up new ports, jetties, and (iii) providing exemption or remission from payment of any charges on any goods or vessels.
- Under the existing 1963 Act, the Board has to seek prior sanction of the central government to raise any loan. Under this Bill, in order to meet its capital and working expenditure requirements, the Board may raise loans from any (i) Indian scheduled bank or financial institution, or (ii) any financial institution outside India that is compliant with all the laws.
The Bill provides for the central government to create an Adjudicatory Board. The Board will consist of a Presiding Officer and two members, as appointed by the central government on the recommendation of selection committee. Central Government shall have the power to remove the Presiding Officer or any member of the Adjudicatory Board from the office following the prescribed manner.
■ Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a TB-free India Campaign to eradicate Tuberculosis (TB) from India by 2025, five years ahead of a globally-set deadline. The Delhi End TB Summit has been co-hosted by the Union Health Ministry, WHO South East Asia Regional Office and Stop TB Partnership. This campaign will take the activities of National Strategic Plan (NSP) for TB elimination forward in a mission mode.
- The NSP is backed by a funding of over Rs 12,000 crore over the next three years to ensure that every TB patient has access to quality diagnosis, treatment and support.
- The new NSP adopts a multi-pronged approach which aims to detect all TB patients, with an emphasis on reaching TB patients seeking care from private providers and undiagnosed TB in high-risk populations.
The Delhi End TB Summit 2018 will set the stage for United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB in September 2018, where for the first time, TB will be discussed in the UN General Assembly at the Heads of State level.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 14 March 2018
■ Saudi Arabia‘s Cabinet has approved the national policy of its atomic energy programme, as the kingdom prepares to award contracts for its first nuclear power plants. This policy insists on limiting nuclear activities to peaceful purposes and calls for enhanced safety measures as well as the use of best practises for radioactive waste management. The policy announcement comes ahead of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to the United States on March 19-22, which is likely to see efforts to reach a civilian nuclear cooperation accord with Washington.
Note that: Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, is seeking nuclear power to diversify its energy supply mix in order to free up oil to boost exports. The kingdom has accelerated plans to build 16 nuclear reactors over the next two decades, officials and analysts say, at a cost of some 80 billion US dollars.
■ New Zealand has joined the United Nations-led CleanSeas campaign to rid oceans of plastic, in which more than 40 other countries have already signed up. Scientists have estimated that there are over 150 million tonnes of plastics in the ocean. If no action will be taken, then plastic in oceans will weigh more than all the fish that live in them by 2050.
About CleanSeas campaign:
The CleanSeas campaign was launched by the UN Environment in February 2017, to engage governments, the general public, civil society and the private sector in the fight against marine plastic by reducing the use of non-recoverable and single-use plastics.
It addresses the root-cause of marine litter by targeting the production and consumption of non-recoverable and single-use plastic. The campaign contributes to the goals of the Global Partnership on Marine Litter, a voluntary open-ended partnership for international agencies, governments, businesses, academia, local authorities and non-governmental organisations hosted by UN Environment.
■ Nepal‘s first woman President Bidya Devi Bhandari has been re-elected for a second term in office with an overwhelming majority. A Left alliance’s candidate, fifty-six-year-old Bhandari, has been elected with more than two-third majority as she defeated her Nepali Congress rival Kumari Laxmi Rai in the election.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 14 March 2018
■ The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has said in an order that A320 Neos fitted with PW1100 engines beyond ESN 450 have been grounded with immediate effect. The DGCA has cracked the whip after an IndiGo flight bound for Lucknow returned to Ahmedabad within 40 minutes of its getting airborne due to a mid-air engine failure. Citing safety of aircraft operations, Budget carrier IndiGo has cancelled as many as 47 flights after the country’s aviation regulator DGCA grounded its eight A320 Neo planes with faulty Pratt & Whitney engines. The flights that have been cancelled are from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Patna, Srinagar, Bhubaneswar, Amritsar, Srinagar and Guwahati, among others.
Along with IndiGo three such aircraft of GoAir have also been grounded. Hundreds of passengers were stranded across the country as dozens of flights were cancelled by IndiGo and GoAir following the grounding of 11 planes.
Note that: IndiGo operates about 1,000 flights daily and carries about 40 percent of domestic flyers, while GoAir has a market share of around 10 percent.
■ The Department of Biotechnology in the Ministry of Science and Technology has constituted a Field Inspection and Scientific Evaluation Committee (FISEC) to investigate the matter of illegal cultivation of HT cotton.
The cultivation of BG-III or HT cotton has not been approved by Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) of Ministry of Environment. However, there are several media reports and complaints regarding the illegal or unauthorized cultivation of HT cotton in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
About HT Cotton:
BG Cotton – III, also known as Herbicide-Tolerant Cotton, contains Round-up Ready and Round-up Flex (RRF) gene. HT cotton in an innovation in Bt cotton, developed by Monsanto, a US-based multinational seed giant. It takes care of the weeds problem at a much lower cost than the labour farmers have to engage for weeding.
In normal cotton, spraying of herbicide is not possible once the plant has emerged out of the soil, as the chemical cannot distinguish between weeds and the crop itself. But with cotton that is genetically engineered to ‘tolerate’ herbicide application – through introduction of another alien gene, this time coding for a protein inhibiting the action of that chemical – only the weeds, not the crop, get killed.
As the unapproved cotton variety is claimed to be herbicide tolerant, farmers start indiscriminate use of glyphosate, a herbicide, causing environmental and health hazards to humans and cattle, apart from affecting the yield of cotton.
The Punishment for commercial cultivation of genetically modified plants without GEAC approval in India, is covered under many laws. It is a punishable offence under Seeds Act 1966, Seed Rule 1968, Seeds (Control) Order 1983 with regard to Environmental Protection Act 1986 and Environmental Protection Rules, 1989.
■ Renowned British scientist Stephen Hawking has passed away at Cambridge at age of 76 years. The theoretical physicist is known for his groundbreaking work with black holes and relativity. He became one of the science’s biggest celebrities since Albert Einstein. Hawking was the author of several popular science books, including ‘A Brief History of Time’, which sold more than 10 million copies and was translated into 40 different languages.
About Stephen Hawkings’s Disease: Hawking was suffering from a Motor Neurone Disease, called Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, since when Hawking was 21, he stunned doctors by living with the normally fatal illness for more than 50 years. A severe attack of pneumonia in 1985 left him breathing through a tube, forcing him to communicate through an electronic voice synthesizer that gave him his distinctive robotic monotone.
The physicist had been awarded the Albert Einstein Award, the Wolf Prize, the Copley Medal, and the Fundamental Physics Prize. His life story was the subject of the 2014 film ‘The Theory of Everything’, starring Eddie Redmayne. In 1989, Queen Elizabeth II made him a Companion of Honor, one of the highest distinctions that can be given.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 14 March 2018 “
Q1. The first-ever Indo-French Knowledge Summit was held in which city?
- A) Varanasi
- B) New Delhi
- C) Chennai
- D) Shimla
Q2. India’s first national coastal policing academy has set up in which district of Gujarat?
- A) Ahmedabad
- B) Gir Somnath
- C) Devbhumi Dwarka
- D) Junagadh
Q3. The Union Government has constituted the tribunal to solve Mahanadi Water dispute between Odisha & Chhattisgarh. Who will be the Chairman of the tribunal ?
- A) AM Khanwilkar
- B) Indermeet Kaur Kochhar
- C) Ravi Ranjan
- D) Kirtipal Singh
Q4. Which platform has been launched by the Government of India (GoI) as an association of all-India metro rail companies?
- A) E-METROS
- B) I-METROS
- C) M-METROS
- D) R-METROS
Q5. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has celebrated its 33rd Inception Day on which date?
- A) March 11
- B) March 12
- C) March 10
- D) March 13
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!