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 – 20 January 2018
■ In a setback to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi, the Election Commission (EC) has recommended to President Ram Nath Kovind that 20 MLAs be disqualified for holding offices of profit. The 20 AAP legislators have been accused of being unconstitutionally appointed as parliamentary secretaries to aid various ministers of the Delhi government.
The Election Commission’s counsel is binding on the President. The party however also has recourse to judicial review.
Note that: The AAP currently holds 65 of the 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly and the disqualifications will not pose a threat to its government.
Issue of Parliamentary Secretaries:
The office-of-profit controversy was triggered after 21 AAP MLAs were appointed Parliamentary Secretaries in March 2015. The Delhi government then introduced an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, exempting the post from the definition of “office-of-profit.” But, President Pranab Mukherjee rejected the amendment in June 2015. The same month, advocate Prashant Patel petitioned the President seeking their disqualification on office-of-profit charge. The petition was referred to the EC, which has given its recommendation now.
■ The Election Commission has announced that the polling for legislative assembly elections in Tripura will be held on February 18, while polling in Meghalaya and Nagaland will be held on February 27. The counting for all three states will be held on March 3. EVMs and VVPATs will be used in all three states.
■ ‘Nirman Samvaad’ a one-day Mega Conclave, the first ever interaction between the Ministry of Railways and the Construction Industry was held recently in New Delhi. It was aimed at taking measures to ensure expeditious implementation of ambitious Railway Infrastructure Development Plans. It also aimed to streamline procedures and remove bottlenecks to ensure the fast track implementation of projects on the railways.
This event was organized by Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd. (RVNL), which a dedicated arm of Ministry of Railways for fast track implementation of railway projects.
■ The government has announced that April 1 as the deadline for the mandatory installation of Global Positioning System (GPS) devices and panic buttons in all passenger transport vehicles, including taxis and buses.
Note that: Three-wheelers like e-rickshaws and auto-rickshaws have been exempted from the rule.
■ Thaawarchand Gehlot, the Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, has launched 100 accessible websites for Divyangs. These 100 government websites are now divyang friendly.
The Accessible Web sites are those websites into which Persons with Disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web. The divyang-friendly websites, especially for visually impaired, use features such as screen readers and screen magnifiers, which can relay website content to the user in audio format. Approx, 900 such websites will be launched in a phased manner.
■ Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has announced the name of nine more smart cities, taking the total number of Smart Cities to 99. Silvassa in Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli has topped the list of winning cities in this round of competition.
The other cities include Erode in Tamil Nadu, Diu in Union Territory of Daman and Diu, Biharsharif in Bihar, Bareilly, Saharanpur and Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh and Kavaratti in Lakshadweep.
With the selection of these nine cities, the total proposed investment in 99 Smart Cities will be two lakh three thousand 979 crore rupees. 189 projects have been completed so far.
■ In an unprecedented move, Maharashtra government has announced a 1% reservation in the open category for orphans in the state. Maharashtra is the first state to bring such a policy. Only children who have no idea who their parents were and what their caste is will be covered under this reservation. This historic decision is aimed at social and economic empowerment of such children. This will help orphans get education and employment, especially in government services and help many children who otherwise find it hard to be assimilated in the mainstream.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 20 January 2018
■ India has become the 43rd member of the Australia Group export control regime. The inclusion will raise India’s stature in the field of non-proliferation and help in acquiring critical technologies. The Australia Group is an informal forum which seeks to ensure that exports do not contribute to the development of chemical or biological weapons.
Note that: With this, India has managed entry into Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Wassenaar Arrangement and Australia Group despite not being a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
■ Post-ratification, the International Solar Alliance (ISA) is hosting an event ‘International Solar Alliance Forum’ at the Future World Energy Summit (WFES) 2018 in Abu Dhabi.
About the ISA:
The ISA is an alliance of sunshine-rich countries set up jointly by India and France on the sidelines of the historic Paris meeting on climate change in November 2015. The ISA’s major objectives include global deployment of over 1,000GW of solar generation capacity and mobilisation of investment of over US$ 1000 billion into solar energy by 2030. When the ISA Framework Agreement entered into force on December 6th, 2017, ISA formally became a de-jure treaty based International Intergovernmental Organization, headquartered at Gurugram, India. As of now the ISA Framework Agreement has been signed by 48 countries, with 19 of them also depositing the instruments of ratification with the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and Renewable Energy, Raj Kumar Singh during the Future World Energy Summit (WFES) 2018 announced that Government of India (GoI) will set up a $350 million Solar Development Fund (SDF) for financing solar projects to achieve its ambitious target of adding 175 GigaWatts (GW) in renewable energy by 2022.
■ The 2018 Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) military cooperation meeting was held in Beijing, China. The Indian delegation was led by Major General Ajay Seth in the meeting, which discussed issues of practical cooperation among SCO nations. This is the first meeting attended by India in the field of defence cooperation under the SCO framework.
Note that: India and Pakistan were admitted in the SCO in 2017 into the grouping in which China plays an influential role. The SCO is comprised of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.
■ India’s all-woman Indian Navy team onboard the Indian Naval Sailing Vessel (INSV) Tarini has successfully crossed the notoriously rough Drake Passage – also called the Mount Everest of sailing – as part of their Navika Sagar Parikrama. This voyage aims to showcase the ‘Make in India’ initiative by sailing onboard the indigenously built INSV Tarini.
The Navika Sagar Parikrama began from Goa coast in September 2017 and will be finishing around March 2018. The project aims to showcase ‘Nari Shakti’ on the world platform and help revolutionise societal attitudes and mindset towards women in India by raising the visibility of their participation in challenging environs.
About the Drake Passage:
It is the body of water between South America’s Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica; is the shortest crossing from Antarctica to any other landmass. It connects the southwestern part of the Atlantic Ocean (Scotia Sea) with the southeastern part of the Pacific Ocean and extends into the Southern Ocean. There is no significant land anywhere around the world at the latitudes of Drake Passage, which is important to the unimpeded flow of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current which carries a huge volume of water through the Passage and around Antarctica.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 20 January 2018
■ The India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra), a subsidiary of Fitch Ratings, has projected India’s economic growth to improve to 7.1% for FY19 (2018-19) from 6.5% of this year, helped by robust consumer demand and low commodity prices. The agency expects fiscal deficit in 2018–19 to be at 3.2%, higher than 3% stated in the medium-term fiscal policy statement.
In its outlook for 2018-19, the India Ratings stated that there will be a gradual pick up in growth momentum owing to structural reforms like GST and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code in place.
■ The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has reiterated that all 14 designs of Rs 10 coin are legal tender for transactions. These coins are issued from time to time and have distinctive features reflecting various themes of economic, social, and cultural values.
■ Private sector lender HDFC Bank has became the first Indian bank to cross Rs 5 trillion (about $78 billion) market capitalisation. The bank is only the third Indian company to achieve this milestone after Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Reliance Industries.
■ The IMF and World Bank have released two Detailed Assessment Reports relating to the 2017 India Financial Sector Assessment Programme by the joint IMF-World Bank team conforming to the highest international standards.. Both multilateral agencies have commended the Reserve Bank of India for the remarkable progress in strengthening banking supervision system.
The Report providing ‘Detailed Assessment of Observance-Basel Core Principles’ has noted that :
- Banking reforms, including the Indradhanush Plan for revitalizing the Public Sector Banks and the Bank Board Bureau, have helped install transparency and improved discipline. It will go a long way in resolving the problem of bad loans in India.
- The supervision and regulation by the Reserve Bank have improved in recent years.
- Most of the Basel III framework has been implemented and cooperation arrangements are now firmly in place.
Sports Current Affairs – 20 January 2018
■ Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has launched the official anthem and mascot of Khelo India School Games, which will begin on January 31.
■ Bill Goldberg, retired wrestling superstar and former UGA defensive lineman, will be inducted into World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Hall of Fame.
■ In the International Table Tennis Federation rankings, Manav Thakkar has climbed to World Number 2 in the boys’ under-18 category while Diya Chitale rose to Number 5 in the girls’ under-15 category. Thakkar moved from 18th to his current position.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 20 January 2018 “
Q1. Which state government has launched Nanaji Deshmukh Krishi Sanjivani Yojna to promote climate-resilient agriculture?
- A) Odisha
- B) Karnataka
- C) Goa
- D) Maharashtra
Q2. Which Union minister has recently conferred the Honorary Fellowship of Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI)?
- A) Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi
- B) Arun Jaitely
- C) P.P. Chaudhary
- D) Ravi Shankar Prasad
Q3. Pt Buddhadev Dasgupta, who passed away recently, was a well-known maestro of which musical instrument?
Q4. The 13th Raising Day of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been celebrated on which date?
- A) January 18
- B) January 16
- C) January 19
- D) January 15
Q5. Which state government has launched Mukhyamantri Kalakar Sahayata Yojana (MKSY) for welfare of artists?
- A) Odisha
- B) Rajasthan
- C) Assam
- D) Kerala
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!