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 – 16 January 2018
■ The 3rd edition of the annual Raisina Dialogue 2018 will be held in New Delhi with the theme “Managing Disruptive Transitions: Ideas, Institutions and Idioms”. This dialogue will explore the shifting dynamics within the global order; where old relationships need new directions, emerging partnerships face unprecedented constraints and the notions of power and sovereignty are challenged. The 3-day-long event will see a series of high-powered panel discussions on geopolitical issues.
The 2018 Conference will be inaugurated by the visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Over 150 speakers from 90 countries expected to participate in the event.
About the Raisina Dialogue:
It is a multilateral conference committed to addressing the most challenging issues facing the global community. Every year, global leaders in policy, business, media and civil society are hosted in New Delhi to discuss cooperation on a wide range of pertinent international policy matters. The Dialogue is structured as a multi-stakeholder, cross-sectoral discussion, involving heads of state, cabinet ministers and local government officials, as well as major private sector executives, members of the media and academics. The conference is jointly hosted by the Observer Research Foundation in collaboration with the Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs.
■ The Government of Sikkim, under Sikkim Forest Tree (Amity & Reverence) Rules 2017, has come up with a novel way of preserving trees by encouraging people to forge a relationship of brotherhood or sisterhood with trees through a practice locally known as Mith/Mit or Mitini.
- Under the Sikkim Forest Tree (Amity & Reverence) Rules 2017, the State government will allow any person to associate with trees in their private land or on any public land by entering into a Mith/Mit or Mitini relationship.
- A person can also adopt a tree “as if it was his or her own child” in which case the tree shall be called an adopted tree.
- Another way to forge a relationship with a tree is by “preserving a tree in remembrance of a departed relative in which case the tree shall be called a Smriti tree.”
- These Rules also prohibit felling or damage to any tree that is registered as Mith/Mit or Mitini, adopted or Smriti and points out that any such violation shall be treated as a forest offence.
Note that: As per the Forest Survey of India 2015 the forest cover of Sikkim is 47.80 % of the State’s total geographical area. The State government has also started an initiative of identifying heritage trees where 21 trees of 25-ft. girth and above and 32 trees of 20-25 ft. girth have been demarcated as heritage trees.
■ The Ministry of Culture is organising the 7th Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav under the Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat matrix in Karnataka beginning January 14, 2018. The Mahotsav will be spread across Bengaluru, Hubli – Dharwad, and Mangaluru. The Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat programme was launched by the Prime Minister in 2016 to promote engagement amongst the people of different states/UTs in order to enhance mutual understanding and bonding between people of diverse cultures, thereby securing stronger unity and integrity of India. These State paired with Karnataka is Uttarakhand.
The following cultural activities are being highlighted under the Mahotsav:
- Ramman ritual theatre of Garhwal Himalayas (which has been inscribed by UNESCO as Cultural Heritage in 2009)
- Thiruvathira (Kerala)
- Kaksar Nritya (Chattisgarh)
- Kalbelia (Rajasthan)
- Purullia Chhou (West Bengal)
- Gudum Baza (Madhya Pradesh)
- Chholiya, Chhapeli Nritya by Dancers from Uttrakhand
- Paku etu (Arunachal Pradesh)
- Ghode Modni ( Goa)
- Siddi Dhamal (Gujarat)
- Ghoomar/Phaag Nritya (Haryana)
- Gangalur (Madhya Pradesh)
- Karagam, Kavadi, Pambai (Tamilnadu)
- Aadhimelam (Tamilnadu)
- Mathuri, Lambadi & Dhimsa (Telangana)
- Janapada Nritya (Karnataka)
An exhibition on Nicholas Roerich, who is a Russian artist, writer, theosophist and archaeologist who lived and died in the Himalayas is also being organised at the Manikyavelu Mansion (National Gallery of Modern Art).
■ The 65th Meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) was held under the Chairmanship of Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar. The Centre and state governments have resolved to launch ‘Operation Digital Board‘ and also initiate a scheme to identify out of school children from September 2018.
■ The recently released National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) 2015-16 by the Health Ministry have revealed that over half of all Indians, especially women, eat an unbalanced diet devoid of fresh fruits, green vegetables, pulses, meat and milk products that are needed to lead a healthy life. The new figures show that fewer than half (47%) of all women consume dark green, leafy vegetables daily and another 38% eat them only once a week.
About Balanced Diet:
A well-balanced diet is one that contains enough proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Experts say eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, which contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, every day can reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
- The NFHS-4 showed that only half (45%) of women eat pulses or beans daily and an equal percentage consume them weekly.
- Milk or curd is consumed daily by 45% of women and weekly by 23%. 7 percent never have either milk or curd and 25% consume these dairy products only occasionally.
Reasons cited: Poverty and discrimination against women are responsible for women’s poor diet in India. India witnesses gender discrimination in food habits. Experts point out that there are two classes in India—those who can’t afford vegetables, fresh fruits and milk and the others who can afford them but discriminate between male and female children. Women in India are trained to eat less and their dietary requirements are not understood, so most of them suffer from anaemia.
■ The Delhi University is mulling computer-based online admission test for admission in both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Also, in order to check unrealistic cut-offs of the colleges due to marks inflation by various boards, the Delhi University admission committee will bring in principals of the colleges together to decide this matter. DU is also deliberating on having a centralised online counselling.
■ The Unique Identification Authority of India, UIDAI, will soon include face recognition alongside iris or fingerprint scan as a means of verifying Aadhaar users. This will help those who face difficulties in biometric authentication due to old age, hard work or worn-out fingerprints. The face authentication facility will start on 1st of July.
■ The dispute between Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra over the sharing of the Mahadayi (Mandovi) river has escalated with upcoming electoral heat. The Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal has set a February date for the final hearing, and henceforth, political parties in both States have upped the ante.
About the Mahadayi (Mandovi) river:
This 80-km-long river rises from the forests of the Western Ghats at Devgaon in northern Karnataka. It enters Goa where it is a lifeline of the people and the rich flora and fauna of its forests.
While Karnataka seeks to divert water from tributaries of the river through the Kalasa-Bhanduri Nala project towards its parched Malaprabha river basin (which is a tributary of River Krishna), it is being strongly opposed by Goa. This has led to a long-drawn farmers’ agitation in Karnataka, reignited by upcoming Assembly polls.
Goa’s main contention is that Karnataka cannot divert water from an already-deficit Mahadayi basin to the Malaprabha river basin, saying that any attempt to divert water will cause irreparable environmental damage.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 16 January 2018
■ Aishwarya Tipnis, the Delhi-based conservation architect, has been conferred France’s top cultural award ” Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres” for her outstanding commitment to the preservation of French heritage in India. This prestigious award honours people who have distinguished themselves in the field of art.
Tipnis has been associated with the ongoing ‘Bonjour India 2017-18’ as the curator for the ‘Know Your Indo-French Heritage’ in Chandannagar, which is a former French colony in West Bengal. She is also part of the UNESCO expert team on the preparation of a ‘Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan’ for the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a world heritage.
■ India and Israel have pitched for strong measures against terrorists, terror organizations and those who sponsor, finance and provide sanctuary to them. The joint statement issued after the talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu in New Delhi, reiterated the importance of building comprehensive cooperation in counter-terrorism. The two Prime Ministers have discussed the developments pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process and reaffirmed their support for an early resumption of peace talks on all outstanding issues for a comprehensive negotiated solution. During the talks, both the leaders discussed a host of issues, including defence cooperation, trade, innovation, counter-terrorism, agriculture and water harvesting.
India and Israel also exchanged nine agreements for cooperation in different areas, after delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu in New Delhi. PM Modi also invited Israeli defence companies to India for co-production and to take advantage of the liberalised FDI regime to make more in India with Indian companies.
■ India and Myanmar will streamline the free movement of people within 16 km along their borders. The Centre has asked the four states governments of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram that share an unfenced border with Myanmar to distribute “border pass” to all the residents living within 16 km from the boundary line. It has also asked these states to enrol the border residents under Aadhaar. The border pass will be given only to the domiciles. All residents going across the border for agriculture, work or to meet relatives should carry the pass at all times without any restrictions on their movement.
Note that: The Union Cabinet had on January 3rd, approved the agreement between India and Myanmar on land border crossing which would enhance economic interaction between the people of the two countries.
Recall that: India and Myanmar share an unfenced border of 1,643 km, touching Arunachal Pradesh (520 km), Nagaland (215 km), Manipur (398 km) and Mizoram (510 km).
■ Union Minister for Law and Justice and Electronics and IT Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad is visiting Sri Lanka. He inaugurated the gigabit connectivity between the National Knowledge Network of India and LEARN network of Sri Lanka. This dedicated high-speed internet connectivity will boost the collaboration among the academic institutions of India and Sri Lanka.
Both countries have also signed MoU for enhancing cooperation between India and Sri Lanka in the IT sector, cyber security and eGovernance.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 16 January 2018
■ According to daily fuel price list of state-owned oil firms, the Diesel prices have touched a record high of 61 rupees 74 paise a litre as international oil rates continue to rally. Petrol prices have also crossed 71 rupees. Prices have been on the rise since 12th December 2017.
Reason: Price of crude oil has surged in global markets because of production cuts by Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia has constrained supplies.
Steps by the Government: India has been trying to diversify its sources of oil supplies and add renewable sources as well as biofuels into its energy mix for tackling possible price shocks and maintaining energy security. India is also working on a plan to shift to electric vehicles to reduce fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions.
Note that: Consumption of petroleum products has been steadily increasing. In 2016-17, domestic consumption of all refinery products rose to 194.5 million tonnes, up 5.4% from the previous year.
■ According to data released by Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the country’s exports grew by 12.36 percent in December 2017 to the tune of 27.03 billion US dollars on account of the strong performance by sectors like engineering goods and petroleum products.
Sports Current Affairs – 16 January 2018
■ The year’s first grand slam Tennis tournament, the Australian Open, has begun in Melbourne. World Number five and last year’s runner-up Venus Williams and her fellow American Sloane Stephens made shocking first-round exits.
Yuki Bhambri, the only Indian in the Men’s Singles, has also crashed out in the opening round after losing to Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus.
■ NK Trikha, the veteran journalist, has passed away at the age of 82 years. Trikha had worked as the editor of ‘Navbharat Times’ Lucknow edition. He also served as a member of the Press Council of India and he was twice president of the National Union of Journalists (India).
■ Sarod maestro Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta has died at the age of 84. The Padma Bhushan awardee was also conferred Sangeet Mahasamman and Bangabibhusan in 2015.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 16 January 2018 “
Q1. Which city is hosting the International Workshop on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (IWDRI) organized by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in collaboration with United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) ?
- A) Kanpur
- B) Chennai
- C) Kochi
- D) New Delhi
Q2. Doodhnath Singh, the well-known Hindi writer who was honoured with the Bharat Bharti Samman has passed away. He hailed from which state?
- A) Rajasthan
- B) Uttar Pradesh
- C) Madhya Pradesh
- D) Gujarat
Q3. Which commodity exchange has launched India’s first agri-commodity options contract in guar seeds to benefit farmers and ensure better prices?
- A) National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX)
- B) Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX)
- C) Universal Commodity Exchange (UCX)
- D) National Multi-Commodity Exchange (NMCE)
Q4. The 70th edition of Army Day 2018 has celebrated on which date in India?
- A) January 16
- B) January 14
- C) January 15
- D) January 13
Q5. National Youth Day marks the birth anniversary of _?
- A) Jawaharlal Nehru
- B) Rukhmabai Raut
- C) APJ Abdul Kalam
- D) Swami Vivekananda
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!