This Daily Current Affair Capsule is a brief collection of important news from national dailies and government releases on PIB useful for UPSC IAS, CDS, SSC CGL, NDA, etc.).
National Important Current Affairs – 15 and 16 September 2017
■ The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has saluted engineers on 50th Engineers’ Day (15th September). He also paid tributes to Bharat Ratna, M. Visvesvaraya, on his birth anniversary. This day is celebrated every year in India since 1967 to commemorate the birthday of the legendary engineer Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya. The theme of Engineers’ Day 2017 : “Role of Engineers in a Developing India”
■ The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, has launched a nationwide sanitation campaign, ‘Swachhta hi Seva’, at the Ishwariganj village in Kanpur. He also administered the ‘Swachhta hi Seva’ pledge to all present there whereby they resolved to create a clean, healthy and new India.
This campaign is being coordinated by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, the convening Ministry for the Swachh Bharat Mission.
- The objective of the campaign is to mobilise people and reinforce the “Jan Aandolan” for sanitation to contribute to Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of a Clean India.
- It will see large scale mobilisation of people from all walks of life to undertake shramdaan for cleanliness and construction of toilets and to make their environments free from open defecation.
- There will be targeted cleaning of public and tourist places.
■ The Odisha government has passed a bill to launch the first-ever Odia language university at Bhubaneswar, for post-graduation in literature and linguistics among other subjects.
■ The Armament & Combat Engineering (ACE) cluster of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has recently undertaken the design and development of Trawl System for the minefield area in the battle zone to meet the operational requirements of Indian Army.
- The indigenous developed Trawl System is employed for breaching of land mines and creating a vehicle safe lane, through a minefield for the advancing columns of mechanized forces in combat zone.
- The indigenous development of Trawls by DRDO is an important step towards achieving self-reliance in area of critical military equipment under ‘Make in India’ initiative and would result in saving of precious foreign exchange for the country.
■ Telangana State Forest Department has re-introduced the endangered ‘mouse deer’ into the forests of Nallamalla in Amrabad Tiger Reserve, aimed at improving the biodiversity. The deer will gradually be weaned-off externally supplied food. Afterwards if they get a clearing by the field biologists, they will be released from their enclosure into the wild.
■ The Centre will soon grant citizenship to nearly one lakh Chakma and Hajong refugees, who came from the erstwhile East Pakistan 5 decades ago and are living in camps in the northeast.
Recall that : In 2015, the Supreme Court had directed the Central government to grant citizenship to the Chakma and Hajong refugees, mostly staying in Arunachal Pradesh.
Chakmas and Hajongs were originally residents of Chittagong Hill Tracts in the erstwhile East Pakistan. They left their homeland when it was submerged by the Kaptai dam project in the 1960s.
The Chakmas, who are Buddhists, and the Hajongs, who are Hindus, also allegedly faced religious persecution and entered India through the then Lushai Hills district of Assam (now Mizoram). The Centre moved the majority of them to the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), which is now Arunachal Pradesh.
Their numbers have gone up from about 5,000 in 1964-69 to one lakh. At present, they don’t have citizenship and land rights but are provided basic amenities by the state government.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 15 and 16 September 2017
■ Britain has raised its threat level to maximum after a bomb detonated on a packed London Underground train, injuring at least 29 people. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State terror group. The explosion — Britain’s fifth terror attack in past six months — sparked a wall of fire that left passengers with burns and caused a stampede of panicking people.
■ Operation Insaaniyat has been launched by the government of India to assist Bangladesh in managing the Rohingya crisis caused due to heavy influx of refugees from neighbouring Bangladesh. The Indian government is sending relief material by the Indian Air Force help. The first Indian consignment comes days after Bangladesh High Commissioner in New Delhi briefed Indian Foreign Secretary about the problems faced by Dhaka due to the influx of the refugees.
■ The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced that it will grant visa on arrival to Indian passport holders with residence visas from the UK and EU. UAE had earlier allowed Indian passport holders with American visas or Green Cards were eligible for visa on arrival.
■ The Government of India signed a loan deal worth $76 million with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), for a project to upgrade the environment management plan at Alang-Sosiya ship recycling yards.
- This project will also help in safeguarding the marine and coastal environment.
- The use of advanced decontamination technology will rule out the possibility of fire accidents in oil and chemical tankers, thereby ensuring workers safety.
- This project is expected to result in increase in direct employment from 50,000 to 92,000 people and in-direct employment from 1.5 lakhs to 3 lakh people.
- It will attract more business at the recycling facilities at Alang, thereby further consolidating India’s share in the global ship-recycling industry. The project will also help in safeguarding the marine and coastal environment.
- Ministry of Shipping the project will be executed by Gujarat Maritime Board and is likely to be completed by 2022. The project will help the Alang-Sosia ship-recycling yards to comply with international safety and environmental regulations.
■ India and Japan have agreed to an open sky arrangement under which the airlines of both countries can operate an unlimited number of flights. This agreement will not only encourage connectivity and passenger travel between the two countries, but will also result in reduction in airfares on these routes.
The agreement was signed in accordance with the National Civil Aviation Policy (NACP), 2016. The NACP permits the government to enter into an ‘open sky’ air services agreement on a reciprocal basis with SAARC nations as well as countries with territory located entirely beyond a 5,000 kilometre radius from New Delhi.
India has signed an open sky agreement with Greece, Jamaica, Guyana, Czech Republic, Finland, Spain and Sri Lanka, US and 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 15 and 16 September 2017
■ The Current Account Deficit (CAD) of the first quarter of this fiscal has widened to 2.4 per cent of gross domestic product (14.3 billion dollars), as imports have pushed the trade deficit. CAD was 0.1 per cent in the same period last year. It is now at its highest level since the June quarter of 2013.
RBI has said that widening of the year-on-year deficit was primarily on account of a higher trade deficit, which was at 41.2 billion dollars, brought about by a larger increase in merchandise imports relative to exports.
■ The Reserve Bank has indicated that it is uncomfortable with “non-fiat” cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which is a private cryptocurrency. RBI is considering a fiat cryptocurrency, a digital currency in place of the physical one at present.
The RBI has been repeatedly cautioning everyone about the usage of cryptocurrencies, flagging a slew of concerns. It had stated that Bitcoins posed potential risks.
Crypto-currency is a digital currency which allows transacting parties to remain anonymous while confirming that the transaction is a valid one. It is not owned or controlled by any institution – governments or private.
There are multiple such currencies — bitcoin, ethereum, ripple are some of the popular ones. Currently, they are neither illegal nor legal in India.
■ After a gap of 10 years, government has lifted ban on export of tur, urad and moong dal in order to help farmers get remunerative prices. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has removed the ban on export of tur, urad and moong dal with immediate effect. The country’s pulses production has touched a record of 22.4 million ton in 2016-17 crop year, on account of encouragement from the government.
Sports Current Affairs – 15 and 16 September 2017
■ The Olympic Task Force has recommended that stipend of Rs 50,000 per month be paid to the elite athletes preparing for the Tokyo Olympic, Asian Games or Common Wealth Games to meet their pocket expenses. The Government has accepted the recommendation with effect from 1st September 2017.
■ Actor Harry Dean Stanton, known for his roles in films like The Godfather II, Alien and Cool Hand Luke, has died at age of 91 years.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims”
Q1. The National Agri-food Biotechnology Institute (NABI) has signed MoU with Bonn food industries to promote coloured wheat. The NABI is an autonomous body of which union ministry?
- A) Ministry of Food Processing Industries
- B) Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
- C) Ministry of Science and Technology
- D) Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
Q2. Which city is hosting the first-ever National Ayurveda Youth Festival (NAYF)?
- A) Kanpur
- B) Bhopal
- C) New Delhi
- D) Jaipur
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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