“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.”

―  Chinese Proverb.

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 – 17 April 2019

  • Mahavir Jayanti, the birth anniversary of 24th and last Jain Tirthankar Lord Mahavir is being celebrated across the country today. It is one of the most sacred days for Jain people. The followers of Lord Mahavir celebrate this festival by chanting prayers, offering Prasad and participating in chariot processions. 
  • A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court pleading that Muslim women be allowed to enter and offer namaz inside mosques. The petitioner has asked the apex court to declare the prohibition on entry of women inside mosques in the country as illegal and unconstitutional.

The petition was filed on the grounds that :

(a) There is nothing in the Quran and the Hadith that requires gender segregation.

(b) The act of prohibition of females from entering Mosque is void and unconstitutional.

(c) Such practices are not only repugnant to the basic dignity of a woman as an individual but also violative of the fundamental rights.

Note that: As of Now, women are allowed to offer prayers at mosques under the Jamaat-e-Islami and Mujahid denominations but they are barred from entering mosques under the predominant Sunni faction. Even in mosques wherever women are permitted, there have separate enclosures and entrances for men and women.

 

  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval to create one post of Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General by abolishing one STS level post in the Office of the Comptroller & Auditor General of India. The Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General shall oversee the coordination among State Audits, audit of telecommunication and coordinate the various Information Systems initiatives within the Indian Audit & Accounts Department.

Note that: The CAG is an authority, established by Article 148 of the Constitution of India. It audits all receipts and expenditure of the Government of India including state governments and authorities substantially financed by the government.

 

  • The National Green Tribunal has formed a Central Monitoring Committee to prepare and enforce a national plan to make over 350 river stretches across the country pollution free. The committee has been composed to monitor pollution of rivers, as it has caused serious threat to the safety of water and environment. The Chairman of Central Monitoring Committee Board will be the nodal authority for coordination.

Note that: Besides checking river pollution, the central monitoring committee will coordinate with the River Rejuvenation Committees of the states and oversee the execution of the action plans, taking into account the timelines, budgetary mechanism and miscellaneous other factors.

  • The Supreme Court has banned all mining activities along the Kaziranga National Park and the catchment area of rivers originating in Karbi Anglong Hills in Assam. This ban was ordered as per the recommendations of the Central Empowered Committee (CEC). The SC has also banned new construction activities on private lands which form part of the nine identified animal corridors.  

 

International Current Affairs Capsule – 17 April 2019

  • The Bhutan government has decided to send the bill for ratification of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) initiative for road and rail connectivity to its upper senate.

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) had signed a framework MVA in June 2015 to enable movement of passenger and cargo vehicles across borders among these four countries. Bhutan had not yet sanctioned the pact.

Note that: As per the BBIN agreement, member countries will allow vehicles registered in the other countries to enter their territory under certain terms and conditions. It will also allow unhindered movement of passenger as well as cargo vehicles among the four countries. The BBIN agreement will promote safe, economical efficient and environmentally sound road transport in the sub-region and will further help each country in creating an institutional mechanism for regional integration.

 

  • Google has launched its first African artificial Intelligence laboratory in Accra, capital city of Ghana, to tackle challenges in Africa. The new laboratory will use Artificial Intelligence technique to develop solutions in healthcare, education and agriculture. The lab will collaborate with researchers in Ghana and across Africa to address economic, political and environmental issues.

Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 17 April 2019

  • A committee of creditors has decided to liquidate PNB defaulter Mehul Choksi’s Gitanjali Gems to recover over 12,000 crore rupees. The lenders rejected a resolution proposal and voted for liquidation, citing time over-run beyond the 180 days. The major lenders include PNB, ICICI Bank, Corporation Bank and Allahabad Bank.

Note that: Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are absconding since February 2018 after the 14,000 crore rupees PNB scam came into light. Overall, as many as 31 financial creditors have claimed dues worth over 12,558 crore rupees from Gitanjali Gems.

 

  • 5G Use Cases Lab for banking and financial sector along with blockchain technology has been launched by an arm of Reserve Bank of India – The Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology. The 5G Use Cases Lab will change the technologies and applications, including point of sale (PoS) machines in the banking sector, which right now is 2G-enabled.

Note that: 5G can play an important role in financial inclusion, it will enable integration and leveraging of various new technologies like cognitive computing, artificial intelligence and big data.

 

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to provide a total of USD 3.88 billion in sovereign loans to India in 2018, which is the highest ever loan amount since sovereign operations began in the country in 1986.

Note that: ADB committed several projects like a USD 100-million loan to Ostro Kutch Wind, which is a renewable energy company for constructing and operating a 250-megawatt wind power project in Gujarat, also provided USD 30 million in equity and USD 20 million in debt security to Annapurna Finance, a microfinance company.

 

  • India has became a net importer of steel in the fiscal year 2018-2019 for the first time in 3 years, as the 25% import duty on steel products imposed by the US has diverted supplementary supplies to India.

Note that: India’s steel imports had increased by 4.7% to 7.84 million tonnes in 2018-19 from 7.48 million tonnes a year earlier. While exports fell by 34% to 6.36 million tonnes from 9.62 million tonnes over.

  • The Reserve Bank of India has begun the circulation of 50 rupees denomination banknotes signed by its Governor Shaktikanta Das. The design of these notes is similar in all respects to 50 banknotes in Mahatma Gandhi new series.

 

Sports Current Affairs – 17 April 2019

  • FC Goa, nicknamed as The Gaurs, have emerged as champions of the second edition of Hero Super Cup 2019 after beating Chennaiyin FC 2-1 held at the Kalinka Stadium in Bhubaneswar. The 19 year old Goa Goal keeper Mohammad Nawaz has been named as Hero of the Match.

Note that: In six years of competition, FC Goa accounted for two Indian Super League semi-finals and two finals and then in their first Super Cup final, they conquered their first trophy.

 

“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 17 April 2019”

Q1. A high level roundtable on ‘Fiscal Relations across levels of government’ was recently held by the 15th Finance Commission. It was moderated by ________.

  • A) Arun Jaitley
  • B) NK Singh
  • C) Yashwant Sinha
  • D) Raghuram Rajan

 

Q2. Justice Pradeep Nandrajog was recently sworn in as Chief Justice of the ________.

  • A) Bombay HC
  • B) Punjab & Haryana HC
  • C) Allahabad HC
  • D) Delhi HC

 

Q3. Lakshmi Vilas Bank’s board has approved a scheme of amalgamation with __________ recently.

  • A) lndiabulls Housing Finance
  • B) HDFC
  • C) Citi Bank
  • D) ICICI

 

Q4. Who has been appointed British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s Special Envoy on Media Freedom?

  • A) Vikram Kirloskar
  • B) Pardeep Nandrajog
  • C) Amal Clooney
  • D) Daphne Caruana

 

Q5. Staff Maj Gen (Navy) Abdulla Hassan M A Al-Sulaiti, Commander, QENF visited India. He is from which among the following countries?

  • A) Saudi Arabia
  • B) Pakistan
  • C) Iran
  • D) Qatar

 

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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