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.) It covers The Hindu, Indian Express, thewire.in. scroll.in, PIB, Govt Websites, Down to Earth.
National Important Current Affairs – 18 and 19 September 2017
■ The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has launched a full-fledged Intelligence Wing of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). This intelligence wing will gather actionable information with an aim to enhance operational efficiency. It will comprise of 650 field and staff agents.
■ Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated world’s second biggest dam Sardar Sarovar, 56 years after its foundation stone was laid by the first PM of India, Jawaharlal Nehru.
- Sardar Sarovar project is the second biggest dam in the world after the Grand Coulee Dam in the United States.
- The Sardar Sarovar Dam has two power houses with installed capacity of 1,200 MW and 250 MW respectively.
- Sardar Sarovar Dam is also the most controversial development project of the nation. Activists have been long demanding that the filling of the reservoir with water be stopped immediately. They want the dam gates to be open to reduce the water level.
■ According to new rules of the Indian Railways, passengers in reserved coaches of trains will be allowed to only sleep between 10 pm and 6 am. This provision has been placed to allow others to sit on seats for the remaining time, after officials reported issues between passengers over sleeping arrangements.
■ The 30th Anniversary of Montreal protocol and 23rd World Ozone Day has been celebrated on September 16th, with the theme – “Caring for all life under the Sun”.
- Every year September 16, is celebrated as the International day for the preservation of Ozone layer as the World Ozone Day. The first ozone hole was discovered 30 years ago in May 1985 over Antarctica.
- The ozone layer absorbs about 97 to 99% of ultraviolet rays and maintain the ozone-oxygen cycle. Also note that, Dobson unit is a unit which is used to measure the ozone in the atmosphere at a standard temperature and pressure.
- The Montreal Protocol is one of the most successful global environmental treaties, whose implementation has led to phasing out of around 98% of ozone depleting chemicals. It has also averted more than 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
- Note that: The Montreal Protocol is the only environmental treaty which enjoys universal ratification of 197 UN member countries.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 18 and 19 September 2017
■ External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said that North Korea’s proliferation linkages must be explored and those involved must be held accountable. She held tri-lateral meeting with her US and Japanese counterparts on the sideline of the ongoing UN General Assembly session and has deplored North Korea’s recent actions.
■ Military Exercise Yudh Abhyas – 2017, a tow week long joint military exercise between Indian and US armies has commenced at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington, USA. During the exercise soldiers from both countries will hone their tactical skills in counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations under a joint brigade headquarter.
Both sides will jointly train, plan and execute a series of well-developed tactical drills for neutralization of likely threats that may be encountered in UN peace keeping operations.
■ The Global Human Capital Index 2017 has been released by WEF. It aims to be used as a tool to assess progress within countries and point to opportunities for cross-country learning and exchange. The list has been compiled by Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF) taking into account “the knowledge and skills people possess that enable them to create value in the global economic system” to measure the ‘human capital’ rank of a country.
The GHC Index 2017 ranks 130 countries on how well they are developing their human capital on a scale from zero (worst) to 100 (best). The report measures four key areas of human capital development:
- Capacity (determined by past investment in formal education),
- Deployment (accumulation of skills through work),
- Development (continued upskilling and reskilling of existing workers),
- Know-how (specialised skills-use at work).
India has been placed at a low 103rd rank, which is the lowest among BRICS economies. India also ranks “among the lowest in the world” when it comes to the employment gender gap. India is held back by a number of factors, including low educational attainment (primary education attainment among 25 -54 year olds is 110th for example) and low deployment of its human capital, which means the skills available are not being put to good use.
The overall list was topped by Norway, followed by Finland and Switzerland in the second and third place respectively.
■ Japanese postal department has released postage stamps on yoga legend Bishnu Charan Ghosh and his family members to acknowledge their contribution in spreading yoga awareness in the country.
■ The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has taken Snow Leopard, off the “endangered” list, where it was included in 1972. In the new assessment, the IUCN has placed the animal under the less-threatened “vulnerable” category.
Note that : To be considered endangered, species need to have global populations of fewer than 2,500 adults with a decline rate of 20% over 16 years.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 18 and 19 September 2017
■ The finance minister Arun Jaitley has launched Internet giant Google’s free mobile wallet and payments app titled ‘Tez’ in India. Tez app will let users link up their phones to their bank accounts to pay for goods securely in physical stores and online. It will be available for both Android and iOS users, the app also allows person-to-person money transfers with a new technology called Audio QR, which uses ultrasonic sounds to exchange money, bypassing any need for NFC.
■ The government has ordered the review of Floor Space Index (FSI) and Floor Area Ratio (FAR) norms in country’s mega cities. The review of these norms will be taken up in all the 53 cities with a population of one million and above each. The review to be taken up in consultation with States and cities.
Floor Surface Index (FSI) is the ratio of a building’s total floor area to the size of the piece of the land on which it is built. In Indian cities, it is generally about 1.50, which is considered to be low, given the needs of rapid urbanization.
NITI Aayog report has noted that a comparison of Mumbai and Shanghai illustrates the deleterious effects of restrictive FSI. In 1984, Shanghai had only 3.65 sq.mt of space per person. Through liberal use of FSI, despite increase in population since 1984, the city had increased the available space to 34 sq.mt per person. In contrast, in 2009, Mumbai on average had just 4.50 sq.mt of space per person.
Therefore, review is necessary in order to give a planned push to country’s urban development. Besides, increasing the availability of land in urban areas is also critical to meet the demand for affordable housing under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban).
■ In order to make Northeast a favourite destination for young Startups, the government has invited young start-ups to avail the benefits of Northeast Venture Fund. With its vast unexplored avenues, those looking for livelihood will find a potential enterprise in the Northeast, particularly in fruit, food, handicraft and tourism industry.
In addition to the provisions of tax holiday and exit period available in the Government of India’s “Standup India, Startup India” programme, the Ministry of DoNER has rolled out “Venture Fund” for setup of Startup in the Northeast region, which would provide a huge financial relief particularly to young entrepreneurs.
- Northeast Venture Fund is the first dedicated venture capital fund for North-Eastern region.
- It has been set up by North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd (NEDFi), which has the mandate to encourage entrepreneurship in the region, primarily by offering support to the first-generation entrepreneurs. NEDFi also performs the role of hand-holding and capacity building.
Sports Current Affairs – 18 and 19 September 2017
■ Indian Ace shuttler PV Sindhu has became the first Indian to lift the Korea Open Superseries title. In the final match, she defeated World Championships gold winner, Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara. Playing back-to-back finals against Okuhara, Sindhu has exacted sweet revenge of her World Championship heart-break in Glasgow last month in an epic battle. It is also her third super series title of her career.
■ Mercedes’ British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton has registered his 60th career win at the Singapore Grand Prix.
■ The central government has exempted import duty on sports items and a wide range of goods for the upcoming Under-17 football World Cup India, from October 6 to 28. It is the first FIFA event to be held in India, spread over six cities which will have 52 matches.
■ Former India captain MS Dhoni has completed his 100 fifties in international cricket, reaching the milestone in the first ODI against Australia at Chennai. Dhoni is the 14th batsman to accomplish the feat, which is lead by Sachin Tendulkar having 164 fifties in international cricket.
■ Indian Air Marshal Arjan Singh has passed away at age of 98 years. Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh was a hero of World War II and won nation’s gratitude for his military leadership in the War of 1965. He was the first and only five-star ranked IAF officer in India. Singh was honored with the Padma Vibhushan award in 1965.
His service to the nation continued even outside uniform, as :
- Lt. Governor of Delhi;
- Ambassador of India to Switzerland and the Vatican, High Commissioner to Kenya;
- Member of the National Commission for Minorities.
In 2016, the Indian Air Force named its Panagarh (West Bengal) air base after Arjan Singh on the occasion of his 97th birth anniversary. The Panagarh base would be called Air Force Station Arjan Singh. He was the only living officer to have a base named after him.
His mortal remains were paid tribute with seventeen Gun salutes, while Indian Air Force paid their last respect to the Marshal of the Air Force through a fly past led by three Mi-17 V5 aircraft trooping IAF colours. Three Su-30 MKI aircraft flew in a ‘Missing Man’ formation.
Note that: ‘Missing Man’ formation is flown to honour a deceased comrade in arms celebrating the spirit of an eternal warrior.
■ Dr KS Chugh, the ‘Father of nephrology in India’, has passed away at age of 65 years. He is known for his pioneering study in kidney diseases. Chugh was included among the 50 legends of nephrology by the International Society of Nephrology.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims”
Q1. What is the theme of the 2017 International Day of Democracy?
- A) Democracy and conflict prevention
- B) Fight for democracy
- C) Democracy for Universal Peace
- D) Space for Civil Society
Q2. Which state has become the first Indian State to approve e-vehicle policy?
- A) Kerala
- B) Andhra Pradesh
- C) Karnataka
- D) Odisha
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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