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 – 18 and 19 January 2018
■ India’s nuclear capable Agni-V Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), has been successfully test fired with a payload of 1.5 tonnes. Agni- 5 is the intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear capable ballistic missile can transport a fusion-boosted fission weapon. This is the latest in India’s “Agni” family of medium to intercontinental range missiles. The launch coincided with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s state visit to India and during the Raisina Dialogue 2018.
It is noteworthy that Agni-5 has a range of over 5,000 km and can carry about a 1,000-kg warhead. It can target almost all of Asia including Pakistan and China and Europe.
The surface-to-surface missile is a fire-and-forget system that cannot be easily detected as it follows a ballistic trajectory. India describes the Agni – 5 missile system as a ‘weapon of peace’.
India had already joined an elite club of nations that possess the ICBM launch capability when the maiden test-firing of Agni-V was successfully conducted in April, 2012. Only China, France, Russia, the United States and Britain, and Israel, possessed such long-range missiles.
■ Prime Minister Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu have dedicated the iCREATE facility on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, to the nation. iCreate is an independent Centre with the objective of facilitating entrepreneurship through a blend of creativity, innovation, engineering, product design and leveraging emerging technologies to deal with major issues such as food security, water, connectivity, cybersecurity, IT and electronics, energy, bio-medical equipment and devices etc.
■ The Maharashtra Government has approved a 4,000-crore rupee project aimed at promoting climate-resilient agriculture. The project is named Nanaji Deshmukh Krishi Sanjivani Yojna, will be implemented in 5,142 villages across 15 districts. It’s objectives is to improve soil quality, developing foodgrain varieties that can sustain climate variations and effect necessary changes in the crop pattern as per the availability of water in a particular region. The scheme will cover small and medium scale farmers, who are more vulnerable to the impact of climate change.
Note that: About 70 percent of the project’s cost will be borne by the World Bank while the state will contribute the remaining 30 percent over six years.
■ P.P. Chaudhary, the Union Minister of State for Law and Justice & Corporate Affairs, has been conferred the Honorary Fellowship of Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI). Chaudhary has conducted around 11,000 cases, mostly Constitutional Litigations in the last 38 years on matters related to land acquisition, farmers grievances, labour & service, central excise & customs and PILs related to restoration of natural water bodies and dams.
■ The Odisha government has launched Mukhyamantri Kalakar Sahayata Yojana (MMKSY) for literature and cultural artists of the state. Under this scheme, the state artists will receive a financial assistance of Rs. 1200 per month. Male artists with minimum 50 years of age and female artists with minimum 40 years of age are eligible for the financial assistance.
■ Maharashtra has become India’s first state to launch Public Cloud Policy, which will allow all government departments to access public cloud. It will create business opportunities worth $2 billion while helping the state government departments to shift all their data to cloud storage. This will accelerate e-governance and open up entire new area for investment by the private sector to make available newest technologies for all the departments as the government not only is the biggest data creator but also a consumer.
■ The indigenously-developed weapon system integrated helicopter Rudra will make its first appearance in this year’s Republic Day parade in New Delhi.
Note that: The flypast by the Indian Air Force at the Republic Day parade will involve 38 aircraft, including 21 fighters, 12 helicopters and five transport planes.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 19 January 2018
■ China has constructed a 330-foot tall air purifying tower which is dubbed the “world’s biggest air purifier”. The tower has been built in Xian in Shaanxi province and is being tested by researchers at the Institute of Earth Environment at the Chinese Academy of Sciences The tower has produced more than 10 million cubic meters of clean air since it was launched. The air purification system works through greenhouses covering about half the size of a soccer field around the base of the tower.
■ UK PM Theresa May has appointed Tracey Crouch with the portfolio of ‘Loneliness’, to look after the loneliness-related issues of people across the country. With this, Crouch will be the world’s first-ever minister for Loneliness.
Note that: According to the British Red Cross, more than 9 million people say they are always or often lonely, out of a population of 65.6 million.
■ The 10th Global Forum for Food & Agriculture (GFFA-2018) has started in Berlin, Germany with the theme “Shaping the future of livestock – sustainably, responsibly, efficiently”. The discussions will focus on sustainable and productive animal production among other issues.
- Organised by the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMEL) in cooperation with GFFA Berlin e.V., the Senate of Berlin and Messe Berlin GmbH.
- The GFFA is an international conference that focuses on central questions concerning the future of the global agri-food industry. It gives representatives from the worlds of politics, business, science and civil society an opportunity to share ideas and enhance understanding on a selected topic of current agricultural policy.
- Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, the Union Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, is leading the Indian delegation at the GFFA-2018.
■ The US has officially opened its new embassy in London which is believed to be the world’s most expensive embassy. The embassy worths over Rs 6,400 crore and has been designed like a crystalline cube.
■ World Energy and Environment Council is organising the 5th Series World Energy and Environment Conference and Exhibition 2018 at Bahrain. The Conference raises and sets the bar higher for global debate, dialogue, engagement and cooperation. It’s theme is “Shifting to Clean, Renewable Energy in Time of Transition”.
WEEC is a world platform that addresses serious issues about environment and the challenges to turn to clean, renewable energy.
■ In the last day of his six-day India tour, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has attended a series of events in Mumbai. He participated in the India-Israel Business Submit which was attended by captains of industry and also paid his tributes to the 26/11 terror attack victims.
During an overwhelming meeting at Nariman House, Moshe Holtzberg received a memento from Netanyahu and invited the Prime Minister for his `Bar Mitzvah’ – a coming-of-age ritual which Jewish boys undergo when they turn 13. PM Netanyahu also attended the much-anticipated “Shalom Bollywood” event that attracted a galaxy of leading actors, directors and producers including Amitabh Bachchan.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 19 January 2018
■ Department of Commerce has signed MoU with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for integrated development of Logistics sector in the country.
■ The 25th meeting of GST Council was convened on Thursday at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The Goods and Services Tax Council has decided to reduce the tax rate on 29 goods and 53 categories of services by bringing them into a lower category. The new rates will be effective from the 25th of this month. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said it was also discussed to simplify the return filing process by merging all three types of GST returns into a single return.
The Council also reviewed the preparedness of GST Network in handling the return filing process as well as for implementing the e-way bill system with effect from 1st February. Under the e-way bill system, the inter-state road transport of goods beyond 10 kilometers with a value of 50 thousand rupees and above, will mandatorily require the e-way bill. This will bring uniformity across the States for seamless inter-State movement of goods.
■ The GST Council has decided to provide a three-year GST exemption for viability gap funding (VGF) given under the regional air connectivity scheme UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik). The scheme seeks to connect unserved and under-served airports as well as make flying more affordable. The participating airlines are eligible for VGF subject to certain conditions.
- VGF by the civil aviation ministry contributes 80 per cent of the VGF amount, while the state governments concerned give the remaining and in the case of north-eastern states and Union territories, the Centre contributes 90 percent.
Note that: A total of 128 routes connecting 70 airports were awarded in the first round of bidding under the scheme.
Sports Current Affairs – 19 January 2018
■ Indian captain Virat Kohli has been named the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for Cricketer of the Year 2017. He has also bagged the top honour for ODI players in the ICC annual awards at the 2017 ICC annual awards. He has also been named as the captain of both the ICC Men’s ODI Team of the Year and ICC Men’s Test Team of the Year. Australian captain Steve Smith claimed the 2017 Test Player of the Year honour.
Note that: This is the second time in succession that an Indian won the overall cricketer of the year award. In 2016, Off-spinner R Ashwin had claimed the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy.
■ Brazilian football legend and 2002 World Cup winner Ronaldinho has announced his retirement from football. The 37-year-old, widely known for his creativity, dribbling skills, and the ‘elastico’ move, had won the UEFA Champions League and the Ballon d’Or award as a Barcelona player.
■ Kashinath, the noted Kannada film actor, director and producer, has passed away at the age of 67 years. The senior actor is known for his work in the genre of comedy. The veteran actor has at least 40 films to his credit, spanning over a career of more than three decades.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 19 January 2018 “
Q1. The Delhi government has recently signed a friendship agreement with which country for cooperation in various fields including environment, cultural exchange, education, tourism and heritage, and air pollution.?
- A) Germany
- B) United States
- C) Japan
- D) France
Q2. Who is the newly appointed MD & CEO of National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Limited (NCDEX)?
- A) Nabi Narayan Das
- B) Samir Shah
- C) Jeetmal Singh
- D) Vijay Kumar
Q3. Who is the head of the newly-constituted 5-judge constitution bench of the SC to hear a range of crucial cases?
- A) AK Sikri
- B) AM Khanwilkar
- C) Dipak Mishra
- D) Ashok Bhushan
Q4. Which state government has signed a pact with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to set up bio-gas and bio-CNG plants?
- A) Punjab
- B) Uttar Pradesh
- C) Haryana
- D) Tamil Nadu
Q5. NITI Aayog has launched the first GIAN course on Sustainable Urban planning using Remote Sensing and GIS in which IIT institute?
- A) IIT Kanpur
- B) IIT Indore
- C) IIT Delhi
- D) IIT Bombay
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!