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 – 22 and 23 June 2018
■ The Union Government has decided to deploy India’s elite counter-terrorism force the National Security Guard (NSG) commandos in Jammu and Kashmir as and when required. The Home Ministry will deploy the NSG commandos on special situations- hostage-like situation or when militants take shelter or hiding in some building.
The Ministry will position around 100 commandos in phased manner — to be engaged with other security forces that are deployed in counter-terror operations.
■ The Union Government has advised AC (Air-Conditioner) manufacturers to keep default setting at 24 degree Celsius. The government will also consider making it mandatory setting for air conditioners in few months, as every one-degree increase in the air-conditioner temperature setting results in saving of 6 per cent of electricity consumed.
■ The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has notified amendments in the Delhi’s Master Plan which will allow shop-cum-residence complexes to continue with activities permissible in a local shopping centre.
- The amendments also include having a uniform floor-area ratio (FAR) for shop-cum-residence plots and complexes at par with residential plots.
- The upper floors can be converted to commercial use after paying the applicable charges.
- The basement is to be permitted in shop-cum-residence plots and complexes, subject to relevant provisions under mixed use regulations.
- Activities which are non-polluting, non-hazardous and not prohibited by law in residential areas shall be permitted.
The Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said this move will provide relief to the people from the ongoing sealing drive.
■ On 22nd June 2018, the annual Ambubachi Mela has started at Nilachall hillock in Guwahati where the Kamakhya Devi temple is situated in Assam. The Ambubachi Mela is a four-day fair to mark the annual menstruation of the goddess at Kamakhya temple , where the temple remains close and re-opens for public in the morning of 26th.
Kamakhya Devi temple, atop Nilachal Hills in Guwahati, is one of 51 shaktipeeths or seat of Shakti followers, each representing a body part of the Sati, Lord Shiva’s companion. This revered temple’s sanctum sanctorum houses the yoni — female genital — symbolised by a rock.
■ In Maharashtra, the statewide ban on single-use plastic items has come into effect. Heavy fine will be imposed on those caught using these items. The state government imposed a ban on manufacturing, use, sale, distribution and storage of plastic materials on 23rd of March.
- The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, as part of the ban, will levy a fine of Rs 5,000 for the first offence, Rs 1,000 fine for the second one and Rs 25,000 fine for every subsequent violation.
■ Rajasthan has been ranked 1st by the NITI Aayog among all states after it registered a significant increase in groundwater level due to the water conversation structures built under Chief Minister’s Jal Swavlamban Abhiyan. As many as 4 lakh structures were built in Rajasthan in the last three years. The state has also witnessed an increase of 81% in irrigation capacity.
■ Punjab government has launched ‘i-Hariyali’ mobile application under ‘Mission Tandarust Punjab’ aimed at increasing the state’s green cover. This will enable app users to order free plant saplings and help to save the environment from pollution. The aim of I-Hariyali is to inspire people to plant maximum saplings during current monsoon season so as to save environment from pollution hazards.
■ Nine awards have been announced under the India Smart Cities Awards. India Smart Cities Award were launched on 25 June 2017 with an objective to reward cities, projects and innovative ideas, promoting sustainable development in cities.There are 3 categories of awards- Project Award, Innovative Idea Award and City Award.
- Surat smart city has been selected for ‘city award’ for showing great momentum in implementation of projects under ‘India Smart Cities Awards’ 2018.
- Governance category : PMC Care from Pune.
- Built Environment category : Smart Place Making from Pune.
- Social Aspects category : Smart Class rooms from NDMC and Jabalpur, Smart Campus from Visakhapatnam, Lighthouse from Pune.
- Culture and Economy category : B Nest Incubation Centre from Bhopal and Conservation of Rajasthan School of Arts from Jaipur.
- Urban environment category : Public Bike Sharing from Pune, Bhopal, Coimbatore and Waste to Energy Plant in Jabalpur.
- Transport and Mobility category : Integrated Transit Management System (TMS) from Ahmedabad and Surat.
- Water and Sanitation category : Smart Water Management through SCADA from Ahmedabad.
■ Shillong (Capital city of Meghalaya) has been selected as 100th Smart City, in line to receive funding under the Centre’s flagship Smart Cities Mission, after evaluating the proposal submitted by it. Up until now, 99 smart cities have been selected in four rounds of competition.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 22 and 23 June 2018
■ The inaugural United States-India 2+2 Dialogue is set to take place on July 6. US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis will host External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Minister of Defence Nirmala Sitharaman in Washington, D.C, for the dialogue. It will focus on strengthening strategic, security, and defence cooperation as the United States and India jointly confront global challenges. This meeting will take place amidst considerable divergence between the two countries on several strategic and trade issues.
This is a new dialogue format which was agreed to during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington D.C. in June 2017.
- While there have been reassurances that the Trump administration will shield India from anti-Russia third party sanctions required by a U.S law. The negotiations on India’s proposed purchase of Guardian Avenger armed drones from the U.S are dependent on the progress of talks on the Communications, Compatibility, Security Agreement (COMCASA) between the two countries.
■ India and Cuba have signed two MoUs in the field of biotechnology, traditional medicine and homoeopathy. These agreements were inked after delegation-level talks between President Ram Nath Kovind and his Cuban counterpart Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel at Revolution Palace in Havana. They have also agreed to enhance cooperation in biotechnology, renewable energy and traditional medicine.
- Cuba also reiterated its support to India’s candidature for a permanent seat in UN Security Council.
- The Indian President said, that mutual respect and solidarity among developing countries form the core of South-South cooperation.
Note that: The President is in the Latin American country on the final leg of his three-nation tour to Greece, Suriname and Cuba.
■The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, has agreed on a modest increase in oil production from next month. This move comes after its leader Saudi Arabia persuaded arch-rival Iran to cooperate, following calls to curb rising fuel costs from US, China and India, in order to prevent an oil deficit that could undermine global economic growth.
■ The North and South Korea have agreed to resume reunions for families separated by the Korean War from August. This resumption of the family reunions was part of the agreements reached between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the South’s president Moon Jae-in at their landmark summit in April.
Note that: Millions of people were separated during the 1950-53 conflict that sealed the division of the two Koreas divided into two spheres of influence along the 38th parallel.
■ The Eurozone ministers have declared the end of the Greek debt crisis. They have also agreed on debt relief and a big cash payout for Greece, which is a part of a broad bailout exit deal that will close the eight years of financial rescues for cash-strapped Athens. This agreement is an important turning point for the eurozone nearly a decade after Greece stunned the world with out-of-control spending and sparked three bailouts and a near collapse of the euro single currency.
■ External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Didier Reynders in Brussels. The two leaders held delegation-level talks and undertook a comprehensive review of bilateral ties and exchanged views on regional and multilateral issues.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj reached Belgium on the final leg of her four-nation tour after concluding visits to France, Italy Luxembourg.
Swaraj had arrived in Luxembourg on the third leg of her four-nation tour, became the first external affairs minister from India to visit the European country. Swaraj had also called on Prime Minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel and discussed ways to expand bilateral cooperation in trade and investment, space and people-to-people relationship.
■The number of hungry people in the world has risen for the first time in more than a decade, according to a recently released UN’s Sustainable Development Goals report 2018. According to this report, there are now approximately 38 million more undernourished people in the world.
■ The Hungarian Parliament has adopted the “Stop Soros” law that criminalises helping migrants. Hungary has named the legislation after George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist who is accused by many of encouraging migration of Muslims to Europe. The law states that anyone “facilitating illegal immigration” in Hungary will be sentenced to one year in prison.
Hungary says immigration threatens its national security, but its hardline stance and the new law have faced widespread international criticism.
■ Indian Government has hiked customs duty on several goods imported from the US. The Finance Ministry said the import duty hike would be effective from August 4.
- The import duty on chickpeas and Bengal gram has been increased to 60 per cent, while on lentils has been hiked to 30 per cent.
- The duty on boric acid and binders for foundry moulds has been hiked to 7.5 per cent, while that on domestic reagents was raised to 10 per cent.
- The other products include certain kind of nuts, iron and steel products, apples, pears, flat rolled products of stainless steel, other alloy steel, tube and pipe fittings, and screws, bolts and rivets.
This move is in retaliation to the duty hike by the US on certain steel and aluminium products which had tariff implication of 241 million US dollars on India. The duty hike by India would have equivalent tariff implications for the US.
■ European Union has slapped tariffs on iconic US products including bourbon, jeans and motorcycles in its trade war with President Donald Trump. These tariffs which took effect at midnight will further fuel jitters on world stock markets that are already alarmed by trade tensions between the United States and China.
Brussels based EU has imposed these duties on US products worth 3.3 billion dollars in a tit-for-tat response to Mr Trump’s decision to slap stiff tariffs on the European steel and aluminium exports.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 22 and 23 June 2018
■ The Reserve Bank has given banks strict time line to upgrade their ATMs for greater security or else face action. The instruction has been issued in the wake of increasing number of ATM frauds.
It took a serious note of slow progress on providing enhanced security for the Automated Teller Machines. As per the time line, banks have to implement a host of security measures by August and upgrade all ATMs with a supported version of operating in a phased manner by June next year.
■ ‘Women Wizards Rule Tech’ programme for women techies has been unveiled by NASSCOM. It aims to increase the number of women in senior levels in the Information Technology (IT) industry.
- The Women Wizards Rule Tech was announced in March at the Nasscom Diversity and Inclusion Summit in Chennai as a joint initiative by the Nasscom Sector Skills Council and the Data Security Council of India.
- The programme is designed to support women who are moving up the career ladder, while also paving the way for potential leaders of the future.
- The initiative will aid women techies in core technologies like IT-Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES), Business Process Management (BPM), product and research and development (R&D) sectors.
■ Senegal-born singer Akon has announced the launch of his cryptocurrency called AKoin, which will be available for sale in two weeks. As part of the AKoin venture, the singer plans to complete a ‘100% crypto-based futuristic city’ on 2,000 acres of land located near Dakar, the capital city of Senegal.
Sports Current Affairs – 22 and 23 June 2018
■ India defeated arch-rivals Pakistan 36-20 in the inaugural match of Kabaddi Masters Championship in Dubai last evening.
■ Koko, the gorilla that learned sign language and formed several celebrity friendships while in captivity in the US, has died aged 46 years. The female western lowland gorilla, which gained fame for its mastery of “gorilla sign language”, died peacefully in her sleep at the Gorilla Foundation’s preserve in California, the foundation said. She has taught us about the emotional capacity of gorillas and their cognitive abilities.
■ Veteran Pakistani diplomat Jamsheed Marker has passed away at age of 95 years.
Marker had served as Pakistan’s ambassador continually for 30 years, earning him the title of ‘ambassador to more countries than any other person’ in the Guinness Book of Records.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 22 and 23 June 2018 “
Q1. Which Indian sportsperson has won the Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson Of The Year award for 2017?
- A) Kidambi Srikanth
- B) Manav Thakkar
- C) Jitu Rai
- D) Shubhankar Sharma
Q2. Under which anti-terror law, the Government of India (GoI) has banned Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP)?
- A) Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1968
- B) Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1964
- C) Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967
- D) Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1965
Q3. Which union ministry has been conferred the SKOCH’s ‘Best performing Social Sector Ministry’ award?
- A) Ministry of External Affairs
- B) Ministry of Human Resource Development
- C) Ministry of Women and Child Development
- D) Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
Q4. Which country to host the 3rd annual meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)?
- A) China
- B) India
- C) Brazil
- D) New Zealand
Q5. The 2018 World Music Day (WMD) is observed on which date?
- A) June 21
- B) June 22
- C) June 20
- D) June 23
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!