20 September 2017 Current Affairs : Bathukamma festival, M.S. Subbulakshmi, Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill draft, Hurricane Maria

///20 September 2017 Current Affairs : Bathukamma festival, M.S. Subbulakshmi, Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill draft, Hurricane Maria

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 – 20 September 2017

■ In Telangana, the Bathukamma festival has begun amidst traditional fervour and enthusiasm.

It is the festival for feminine felicitation. The nine-day festival, which reflects the spirit of Telangana culture and traditions is celebrated by women with a variety of flowers that grow exclusively in the region.

Bathukamma is Telangana’s annual floral festival, which is celebrated as per Shalivahana calendar for nine days starting Bhadrapada Amavasya (also known as Mahalaya Amavasya or Pitru Amavasya) till Durgashtami.

In Telugu, ‘Bathukamma’ means ‘Mother Goddess come Alive’ and Goddess Maha Gauri-‘Life Giver’ is worshipped in the form of Bathukamma – the patron goddess of womanhood


■ The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu released a Commemorative Rs. 100 and Rs. 10 Coin on Bharat Ratna Dr. M.S. Subbulakshmi and inaugurated an exhibition entitled “Kurai Onrum Illai-MS: Life in Music” on the occasion of Birth Centenary Commemoration of Dr. M.S. Subbulakshmi.


Recall that: Bharat Ratna Dr. M.S. Subbulakshmi performed in 50th anniversary celebration of the United Nations. She was also the first Indian musician to be a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award (Asia’s Noble Prize) in 1974.


■ The law ministry has given its approval to the draft Fugitive Economic Offenders bill to give powers to the government to confiscate property of economic offenders and defaulters who flee India, albeit with a new provision. The bill flows from Finance Minister Arun Jaitleys 2017 -18 Budget speech promising legislative changes or even a new law to confiscate the assets of such fugitives.

  • A Fugitive Economic Offender is a person who has an arrest warrant issued in respect of a scheduled offence and who leaves or has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution, or refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.
  • The Bill seeks to deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by fleeing the country.
  • The proposed law will be applicable in cases where the value of offences is over Rs 100 crore.
  • The bill will allow the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the premier technical snoop wing under the finance ministry, to file an application for the declaration of fugitive economic offender for confiscation of their assets.
  • Also, the burden of proof for establishing that an individual is a fugitive economic offender will be on the authorities.

Note that: There have been several instances of economic offenders fleeing the jurisdiction of Indian courts, anticipating the commencement, or during the pendency, of criminal proceedings, such as Vijaya Mallya. The absence of such offenders from Indian courts hampers investigation in criminal cases;  and wastes precious time of courts of law. This also undermines the rule of law in India.


■ The Government of Singapore will set up a Skill Center at Guwahati which will cater to the entire North-Eastern region. An MoU has been formalized between Singapore and the State Government of Assam, a Skill Center will be set up at Guwahati by the year 2019 and the Ministry of DoNER will coordinate in this initiative.

Note that: There already exists an arrangement between Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) Mussoorie with Singapore, wherein a certain number of passing out Civil Services officers, accompanied by two faculty members, regularly undertake a visit to Singapore.


■ The Uttar Pradesh government will link land records with the Aadhar Card. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said, the decision has taken to check benaami land transfer and frauds in land sell deeds.


■ Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar has been appointed as Brand Ambassador of the Swachh Bharat Mission. Last month, Akshay Kumar was also appointed as the brand ambassador for cleanliness drive by the Uttar Pradesh Government.


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■ A statutory inquiry has held the Railway staff responsible for the derailment of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express last month. The Commissioner of Railway Safety, Northern Circle, has submitted his preliminary report over the accident.

Note that: On 19th of last month, several  coaches of the Utkal Express derailed at Khatauli in Uttar Pradesh killing 22 people and injuring over 100 passengers.


■ The Ministry of Railways has decided to recruit one lakh employees in the ‘sanraksha shreynee’ (safety category). This move comes after five incidents of train derailment were reported in the month of September. These vacancies were on hold for a very long time. The ministry now feels that to put a brake on the wheels of train accidents, it requires manpower in addition to latest technology, equipment and tools.


■ Aiming at developing villages of freedom fighters in the state, the Jharkhand Government has launched Shaheed Gram Vikas Yojana. Under this scheme, villages of tribal freedom fighters will be developed and their habitants will be provided basic amenities. The Shaheed Gram Vikas Yojana has been launched from Ulihatu Village, birth place of freedom fighter Birsa Munda.


International Current Affairs Capsule – 20 September 2017

■ The latest major Atlantic hurricane of the season, Maria, has powered back to category five strength after pounding the Caribbean island of Dominica. The storm is moving roughly along the same track as Irma, this season’s other category five hurricane.


■ During a trilateral meeting with US and Japan, India sought probe into North Korea’s nuclear proliferation linkages to countries like Pakistan, asserting that those who are involved must be held accountable.
Note that: Pakistan has been under UN Security Council’s scanner after certain sources in the UN security council claimed North Korea has secretively been receiving nuclear enrichment technology from them.


■ Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani while addressing the United Nations General Assembly, has expressed concern over terrorist threats and backed the new US Strategy regarding this. Trump’s new Afghan strategy has sent a signal to Taliban fighters as that they cannot win on the field and must negotiate peace.


■ The First ‘BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise- 2017’ (BIMSTEC DMEx-2017) will be conducted by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as the lead agency from October 10-13, in Delhi.

  • This Exercise will be a platform for sharing Best Practices on all aspects of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), strengthening regional response and coordination for Disaster Management among the BIMSTEC member countries.
  • The main focus of the BIMSTEC DMEx-2017 will be on testing the region’s preparedness and resilience towards effective activation of inter-Governmental agreements for immediate deployment of regional resources for disaster response.
  • It will help create synergy and synchronize efforts to institutionalize regional cooperation among the member countries.


Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 20 September 2017

■ The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has cut the mobile termination rate by a massive 57% to 6 paise per minute from the current 14 paise per minute. TRAI also stated that termination rates would become zero (bill and keep or BAK in technical parlance) from January 1, 2020. The termination rates were last revised by Trai in March 2015 when it was lowered from 20 paise per minute to 14 paise. It is perceived by the industry as a move that would render a loss of over Rs 4,000 crore annually to the three big incumbents — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular — while leading to an annual saving of around Rs 5,000 crore for Reliance Jio.


■ The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has relaxed the guidelines for Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs) in order to broaden the scope of fund raising by such instruments.

  • As per the new rules, REITs and InvITs are allowed to raise capital by issuing debt securities.
  • REITs have also been allowed to lend to an underlying holding company or a special purpose vehicle (SPV).


REITs are similar to mutual funds and are listed in stock exchanges. While mutual funds provide for an opportunity to invest in equity stocks, REITs allow one to invest in income-generating real estate assets. REITs raise funds from a large number of investors and directly invest that sum in income-generating real estate properties like offices, residential apartments, shopping centres, hotels and warehouses.


Sports Current Affairs – 20 September 2017

■ Indian athlete Purnima Hembram has won the Gold Medal in Women’s Pentathlon Event at the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games held in Turkmenistan. The 24-year-old, is Asian championship bronze medalist in 2015 and 2017 and Asian Junior Champion in 2012.



“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims”

Q1. Which city to host the 2028 Summer Olympics?

  • A) Munich
  • B) Paris
  • C) Amsterdam
  • D) Los Angeles


Q2. Consider the following statements:

  1.  River Kabini originates in Kerala and drains into the Bay of Bengal.
  2. Kabini Dam is located in Mysore, Karnataka.

Choose from codes below:

  • A) 1 only
  • B)  2 only
  • C) Both 1 and 2
  • D) None of these


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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