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 November 2018

■ State Governments of Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal have withdrawn the “general consent” granted to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), effectively curtailing the agency’s powers in the State without prior permission.

The CBI and all agencies under the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946, will now have to approach the State government for permission on a case by case basis. The withdrawal of general consent is in tune with suggestions made by legal experts and intellectuals in the light of serious allegations against the CBI.


■ The Union Ministry of Finance will release a Rs 75 commemorative coin on the occasion of 75th anniversary of the hoisting of Tricolour for the first time by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose at Port Blair.

Note that:  During his visit to Andaman in on December 30, 1943, much before India attained Independence Subhash Chandra Bose had hoisted the Tricolor for the first time at Cellular Jail of Port Blair, which was declared as free territory from the British rule. On the same occasion, he also announced the freedom of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, the first Indian Territory, from the British rule.


■ The National Press Day was celebrated on 16th November commemorating the day the Press Council of India started functioning on this day in 1966. The Press Council of India is a statutory body and governs the functioning of print media in the country. The Chairman of Press Council of India is Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad. Presentations were made on ethics in the digital era and it was stressed that the media should be unbiased

On the occasion, eminent journalist and chairman of the Hindu publishing Group Mr N. Ram was conferred prestigious Raja Ram Mohan Roy award for excellence in Journalism.


■ The NITI Aayog has constituted the ‘Himalayan State Regional Council’ to ensure sustainable development of the Indian Himalayan region. The Council has been constituted to review and implement identified action points based on the Reports of five Working Groups, which were established along thematic areas to prepare a roadmap for action. The HSRC will be the nodal agency for the Sustainable development in the Himalayan Region which consists of the twelve States and some selected districts (includes West Bengal and Assam as well).

The Himalayan State Regional Council will be chaired by the Dr VK Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog and will consist of the Chief Secretaries of the Himalayan States as well as the Secretaries of key Central Ministries, senior officers of NITI Aayog special invitees.

Background: The Five Working Groups were constituted by NITI Aayog on June 2, 2017 for meeting the challenges for sustainable development in the unique Himalayan region. These Working Groups were tasked with preparing a roadmap for action across five thematic areas namely:

  • Inventory and Revival of Springs in Himalayas for Water Security,
  • Sustainable Tourism in Indian Himalayan Region,
  • Shifting Cultivation: Towards Transformation Approach,
  • Strengthening Skill & Entrepreneurship (E&S) Landscape in Himalayas, and
  • Data/Information for Informed Decision Making

Five working groups have been tasked to prepare a roadmap for revival of springs in Himalayas for water security, monitor tourism sector standards and strengthen skill & entrepreneurship with focus on identified priority sectors.

Note that: Himalayan Region includes – Twelve States namely Jammu &Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, and two districts of Assam namely Dima Hasao and KarbiAnglong ;and Darjeeling and Kalimpong in West Bengal.


■  India International Cherry Blossom festival is scheduled to be held from November 14 to 17 in Shillong, Meghalaya. This festival is the world’s only autumn cherry blossom festival. The aim of the festival is to celebrate the unique autumn flowering of Himalayan Cherry Blossoms. The Cherry Blossom tree flowers only for a short period in a year. The festival will showcase full pink and white cherry blossoms found all along the roadside of the famous Ward Lake in Shillong.

This festival is organised by Government of Meghalaya’s Forest & Environment Department as well as by the Institute of Bioresources & Sustainable Development (IBSD) in collaboration with Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). It has been organised in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan.


■ The State Uttar Pradesh Government has approved renaming of Faizabad and Allahabad divisions as Ayodhya and Prayagraj respectively. This decision was taken at meeting of state cabinet presided over by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in state capital Lucknow.

The Justification for Allahabadand Faizabad name change: Allahabad’s ancient name was ‘Prayag’, but was changed after 16th-century Mughal emperor Akbar built fort near ‘Sangam’, the holy confluence of three rivers viz. Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. Akbar named the fort and its neighbourhood ‘Ilahabad’. Later, Akbar’s grandson Shah Jahan renamed the entire city as ‘Allahabad’. But the area near the ‘Sangam’, the site of the Kumbh Mela, continues to be known as ‘Prayag’.
Ayodhya has been associated with Lord Ram and is known as his birth place. Ayodhya has been the capital of various dynasties, including the Ikshvaku dynasty of which Lord Ram is a descendent.


■ A 4-day regional meeting of World Customs Organisation (WCO) was recently held in Jaipur (Rajasthan).
The meeting was jointly chaired by WCO Deputy Secretary General Ricardo Travino and Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs Chairman. It was attended by representatives of 33 member countries of Asia.

The meeting deliberated upon various issues including the steps required for the capacity building and reforms in customs. The participants also discussed and deliberated upon the amended Kyoto Convention (not related to Kyoto Protocol of UNFCCC), digital customs, e-commerce among other issues.

About World Customs Organisation : The World Customs Organization (WCO) is an intergovernmental organization headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, established in 1952.  Its mission is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations. The WCO maintains the International Harmonized System goods nomenclature, and administers the technical aspects of the WTO Agreements on Customs Valuation and Rules of Origin.

“Aadi Mahotsav” a National Tribal Festival is being organized in New Delhi by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and TRIFED to celebrate, cherish and promote the spirit of tribal craft, culture, cuisine and commerce. The theme of the festival is: “A Celebration of the Spirit of Tribal Culture, Craft, Cuisine and Commerce”.

About Aadi Mahotsav: The Mahotsav will comprise of display and sale of items of tribal art and craft, tribal medicine & healers, tribal cuisine and display of tribal folk performance, in which tribal artisans, chefs, folk dancers/musicians from 23 States of the country shall participate and provide glimpse of their rich traditional culture. The festival will feature exhibition-cum-sale of tribal handicrafts, art, paintings, fabric, jewellery and much more through 100 stalls.


■ A special train service covering key destinations associated with Lord Ram’s life, the Shri Ramayana Express, was flagged off from the Safdarjung Railway Station in Delhi. The 800-seat train will reach Tamil Nadu in 16 days, following which passengers can fly to Sri Lanka for the second leg of the tour.


■ A meeting of General Assembly of Network for Development of Agricultural Cooperatives in Asia and the Pacific (NEDAC) is being held in New Delhi. The general assembly of 22 prominent cooperative organizations from 8 countries unanimously decided to focus on C2C and capacity development to meet challenges of climate change as transformative cooperatives.

About NEDAC: NEDAC was set up in 1991 by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO). NEDAC sensitises Governments in the region on the role of agricultural cooperatives in promoting agricultural and rural development to ensure rural food and livelihood security for millions of people in Asia and Pacific.


■ Two important projects under Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India have been inaugurated at PTSO Lake in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh.

These projects are “Development of North East Circuits: Bhalukpong- Bomdila – Tawang Project & Nafra- Seppa- Pappu, Pasa, Pakke Valleys- Sangdupota- New Sagalee- Ziro- Yomcha Project”.

About Swadesh Darshan Scheme: The Tourism Ministry had launched ‘Swadesh Darshan’ scheme with an objective to develop theme-based tourist circuits in the country.  The scheme is 100% centrally funded for the project components undertaken for public funding. A National Steering Committee (NSC) will be constituted with Minister in charge of M/O Tourism as Chairman, to steer the mission objectives and vision of the scheme.

International Current Affairs Capsule – 17 November 2018

■ A key BRICS association partner for India, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa will be chief guest at the 2019 Republic Day parade of India. With this, Ramaphosa would become 2nd leader from his country to attend the event after Former president Nelson Mandela who was the chief guest at the Republic Day parade of 1995.

An anti-apatheid activist and a Mahatma Gandhi follower, Ramaphosa became the 5th president of South Africa after the resignation of Jacob Zuma in December 2017. In April 2018, he led around 5,000 people at the annual ‘Gandhi Walk’ event in Lenasia near Johannesburg, to promote community awareness and fitness.


India has voted against a United Nations General Assembly draft resolution on the use of death penalty, stating that it goes against the statutory law of the country where an execution is carried out only in the “rarest of rare” cases.

The draft resolution against Death Penalty aimed to ensure that it is not applied on the basis of discriminatory laws or as a result of discriminatory or arbitrary application of the law. The resolution sought to promote a moratorium on executions with the aim of abolishing death penalty.The draft resolution was taken up in the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian, Cultural) of the General Assembly and was approved with a recorded vote of 123 in favour, 36 against and 30 abstentions.

Note India’s stand on Death Penalty : India has voted against the resolution as a whole, as it goes against statutory law in India. The death penalty is exercised in ‘rarest of rare’ cases, where the crime committed is so heinous that it shocks the conscience of the society. Indian law provides for all requisite procedural safeguards, including the right to a fair trial by an independent Court, presumption of innocence, the minimum guarantees for defence, and the right to review by a higher court.


■ In Cambodia, for the first time, a UN-backed war crimes court has found two leaders of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime guilty of genocide. The ruling by comes almost 40 years after the fall of a brutal regime that presided over the deaths of a quarter of the population.

The Khmer Rouge’s former head of state Khieu Samphan, aged 87, and “Brother Number 2” Nuon Chea, aged 92, are the two most senior living members of the ultra-Maoist group that seized control of Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) also found Nuon Chea guilty of genocide against the ethnic Vietnamese and Cham Muslim minority group, among a litany of other crimes.

About Khmer Rouge: Led by Saloth Sar, better known as Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge was a radical Maoist movement founded by French-educated intellectuals. They sought to create a self-reliant, agrarian society: cities were emptied and residents forced to work on rural co-operatives. The reign of terror led by Pol Pot had left some 2 million Cambodians dead from overwork, starvation and mass executions,  Many were worked to death while others starved as the economy imploded.

During the four violent years they were in power from 1975 to 1979, the Khmer Rouge tortured and killed all those perceived to be enemies – intellectuals, minorities, former government officials – and their families.

The scale and brutality of the killings has shown that the regime remains one of the bloodiest of the 20th Century. The Pol Pot regime was defeated in a Vietnamese invasion in 1979. The events covered by the verdict span the four years of the Pol Pot regime and include extensive crimes against humanity.


Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 17 November 2018

■ The Union Minister for Food Processing Industries has inaugurated the 2nd Mega Food Park in Maharashtra.
The Paithan Mega Food Park has been set up in 102 acre of land at a cost of Rs. 124.52 crore.

The Mega Food Park will leverage an additional investment of about Rs. 250 crore in 25-30 food processing units in the park and would eventually lead to a turnover of about Rs. 450-500 crore annually. The modern infrastructure for food processing created at Park will benefit the farmers, growers, processors and consumers of Maharashtra and adjoining areas immensely and prove to be a big boost to the growth of the food processing sector in the State of Maharashtra.


■ In order to cater to the needs and aspirations of the youth, the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) has come up with a youth-friendly scheme ‘Yuva Sahakar-Cooperative Enterprise Support and Innovation Scheme” for attracting them to open cooperative business ventures.

This scheme has created a dedicated fund with liberal features enabling youth to avail the scheme. The scheme will be linked to Rs 1000 crore ‘Cooperative Start-up and Innovation Fund (CSIF)’ created by the NCDC. It would have more incentives for cooperatives of North Eastern region, Aspirational Districts and cooperatives with women or SC or ST or PwD members. The funding for the project will be up to 80% of the project cost for these special categories as against 70% for others. All types of cooperatives in operation for at least one year are eligible.

About NCDC: National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) was established by an Act of Parliament in 1963 as a statutory Corporation under Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare. It has many regional centres to provide the financial assistance to Cooperatives/Societies/Federations.


■ China’s largest lender Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) Indian unit has set up a $200-million fund for investing in small and medium-sized Indian businesses. Small businesses, accounting for 32% of Indian economy, are the second-biggest job providers in India after farming.


“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 17 November 2018 “

Q1. Which state police has launched e-learning portal ‘Nipun’ to impart training and provide up to date information to police officers. ?

  • A) Tamil Nadu Police
  • B) Mumbai Police
  • C) Delhi Police
  • D) Bengaluru Police

Q2. Who has been honoured with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” at the 6th Indian Social Work Congress in New Delhi?

  • A) Neelam Kler
  • B) Ketayun Ardeshir Dinshaw
  • C) M. Subhadra Nair
  • D) Martha Farrell

Q3. Which Indian sportsperson has been appointed as UNICEF India’s first-ever Youth Ambassador?

  • A) Hima Das
  • B) Amit Panghal
  • C) Neeraj Chopra
  • D) Krishna Punia

Q4. Which city is the venue of the 2018 Women’s World Boxing Championships?

  • A) Jabalpur
  • B) Pune
  • C)  New Delhi
  • D) Patna

Q5. ISRO has successfully launched GSAT-29 satellite into space from which launch vehicle?

  • A) GSLV Mk III
  • B) GSLV Mk I
  • C) GSLV Mk II
  • D) GSLV Mk IV

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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