“A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.” 
– Max Lucado

This post covers relevant news from national dailies and government releases for aspirants of examinations like UPSC IAS, CDS, SSC CGL, NDA, etc. It is highly useful for both, revision and awareness purposes.

National Important Current Affairs – 22 April 2019

  • The Indian Navy has successfully launched guided missile destroyer Imphal at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders in Mumbai. It has been named after the Battle of Imphal and Kohima that were fought 75 years ago.

Imphal is the third ship to be launched under a project in which ships are being built to carry and operate two multiple role helicopters.
According to the Indian Navy, enhanced stealth features have been achieved through the shaping of hull and use of radar transparent deck fittings which make the ships difficult to detect. These ships have the state-of-the-art weapons and sensors, including multi-functional surveillance radars and vertically launched missile system for long distance engagement of shore, sea-based and air targets.

Note that: Over the years, Navy has become a builder from a buyer and was slated to excel in coming years.

 

  • The Civil Service Day is celebrated on 21 April every year by the civil servants of the country to rededicate and recommit themselves to the cause of the people. However, there were no celebrations on Sunday on the occasion of Civil Services Day due to ongoing general elections.

Note that: It was on this day that Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, had addressed the first batch of civil servants in Independent India at the Metcalf House where he referred to civil servants as the ‘steel frame of India’.

 

  • India has been ranked 17th position among 100 countries in the global startup ecosystem in 2018, from the 37th spot last year in the Startup Ecosystem Ranking for 2019 as per the data released by StartupBlink. The United States, United Kingdom, and Canada are the top three countries ranked the first, second and third respectively in terms of global rankings.

Note that: Bengaluru, New Delhi, and Mumbai are the cities with the most vibrant startup ecosystems in India. Bengaluru was as the top startup city in India at 11th spot, while New Delhi followed in the 18th spot. Mumbai stood at 29th rank.

 

  • Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has carried out a successful flight test of a modified version of the intermediate jet trainer (IJT), which is the revival of the indigenous aircraft programme abandoned three years ago due to technical problems. The IJT is also referred to as Hindustan Jet Trainer 36 Sitara.
    The HAL HJT-36 Sitara is a subsonic intermediate jet trainer craft developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy. The HJT-36 will replace the HAL HJT-16 Kiran as the Stage-2 trainer for the two forces.

Note that: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is an Indian state-owned aerospace and defence company headquartered in Bangalore, India. It is governed by the management of Indian Ministry of Defence.

 

  • Renewable Energy companies have moved the Delhi High Court, seeking an exemption for Renewable Energy Certificates under the GST. In order to promote renewable energy market in India, the Indian government has framed policies under the Electricity Act, 2003 and the National Action Plan on Climate Change to increase the total renewable power generation capacity in the country.

Note that: Renewable Energy Certificates is a policy instrument to catalyze the development of renewable energy. The tradable RECs are awarded for every 1 mega-watt hour of electricity generated.

 

  • In a genetic mapping effort, around 1000 rural youth across the Indian territory will have their genomes sequenced by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. This project targets at educating a generation of students on the usefulness of genomics. The project aims to reach out to a lot of collegians, educating them about genomics and putting a system in place that allows them to access information revealed by their genome.

Note that: The project is an adjunct to a much larger government-led programme to sequence at least 10,000 Indian genomes.

 

  • A budget of Rs 4315 crore has been approved by Union Cabinet headed by PM Narendra Modi, to create over 2 lakhs additional seats in 158 central education institutions. The additional seats will be created over next two years to implement 10 per cent Economically Weaker Sections reservation. This step is taken in the backdrop of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act, which provides 10% reservations to Economic Weaker Sections in government jobs and educational institutions.

Note that: To implement this 10% EWS quota, the government has asked all educational institutions to increase their intake by 25 percent so that it would not result in the reduction of seats available to SC, ST, OBC and general category.

 

International Current Affairs Capsule – 22 April 2019

  • Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has announced the appointment of a special committee led by retired Supreme Court judge to investigate the terror attacks on Sunday Easter Mass which has claimed  207 lives and submit its report within two weeks.

Thirteen local suspects have been arrested for their involvement in the serial blasts across the country in which at least 450 people were injured and hospitalized.  The attacks targeted three five-star hotels in capital Colombo and three churches across the country.  Security has been tightened at all sensitive places. 

  • In Ukraine, comedian and political newcomer Volodymyr Zelensky has secured a landslide victory in the Presidential election.  Zelensky’s only previous political role has been playing the part of President on television. The 41 year-old leader victory will open a new chapter in the history of a country that has gone through two popular uprisings in the last 20 years. 
  • Saudi Arabia has issued a formal order increasing the Haj quota of India to 2 lakhs from one lakh seventy five thousand.  Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had given the assurance to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard at a meeting in February. This increase will help the huge number of pilgrim of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, and Bihar to embark pilgrimage this year. Also, total 2,340 Muslim women from India will go for Haj without Mehram or male companion.

Note that: This year, the GST also on Haj pilgrimage has been reduced from 18 percent to 5 percent which will ensure that about Rs 113 crore will be saved by pilgrims during the 2019 Haj.

 

  • Egypt is holding a three day referendum on constitutional amendments that can permit President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to stay in office until 2030. Parliament of Egypt has approved the proposals, which would also bolster the role of the military and expand the president’s power over judicial appointments. An amendment to Article 140 of the constitution extends the presidential term to six years from four. An outright bar on any president serving more than two terms will change to a bar on serving more than two consecutive terms.

Note that: The amendments provide for the creation of a second parliamentary chamber known as the Council of Senators. It has 180 members, two-thirds elected by the public and the rest appointed by the president.

 

  • A total of 150 Indian peacekeepers serving with the UN Mission in South Sudan have received medals of honour for their dedicated service and sacrifice. The rise of the Republic of South Sudan is the culmination of a 6 year peace process which began with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement  in 2005.

Note that: Due to the crisis which broke out in South Sudan during December 2013, the Security Council reinforced UNMISS and also reprioritized it’s mandate towards the protection of civilians, human rights monitoring and supporting for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. It also includes the implementation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement.

 

  • As part of the 70th Anniversary of People’s Liberation Army Navy celebrations in china, two Indian Navy warships namely INS Kolkata and INS Shakti will participate in the Chinese international fleet review maritime parade in Qingdao, on April 23. The main objective of the IFR is to promote goodwill, co-operation strengthening and exhibit their organizational capabilities.

Note that: INS Kolkata is a warship of Kolkata class stealth guided missile destroyers.

 

  • A book containing English translation of the 100-year-old classic Punjabi poem about Jallianwala Bagh massacre, Khooni Vaisakhi has been released in Abu Dhabi. The release of the book has attracted exceptional media and public interest and that many have commented on the timeless quality of its message.

Note that: The book was also released in New Delhi on April 13, marking 100 years since the Jallianwala Bagh massacre that took place in Amritsar.

 

  • India has rebuilt Chhyoiphel Kundeling Monastery in Nepal. Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche inaugurated newly reconstructed Monastery at Lisankhu village in Sindhupalchok district. The Monastery has been reconstructed by a grant of 18.9 million Nepalese rupees by Government of India.

Note that: The Chhyoiphel Kundeling Monastery was established in 1946 with the active initiation and contribution of Lisankhu villagers. Apart from being an important heritage building, the monastery is also an integral part of the social and cultural life of people in the area.

 

  • The Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) or Reporters Without Borders has released the World Press Freedom Index 2019, reflecting growing animosity towards journalists. The index has been topped by Norway again for the third year, followed by Finland and Sweden at second and third positions, respectively. Only 24 percent of the 180 countries and territories were classified as good or fairly good, as opposed to 26 percent last year.

    India has dropped two places on a global press freedom index to be ranked 140th out of 180 countries.

    The Middle East and North Africa region continues to be the most difficult and dangerous for journalists. The Asia-Pacific region continues to rank third last. The number of murdered journalists was extremely high in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan.

Note that: Reporters Without Borders, is a non-profit organisation that works to document and combat attacks on journalists around the world.

 

  • The Scientists have detected the most ancient type of molecule in our universe Helium hydride ion in space for the first time ever. It was discovered with the help of the spectrometer aboard SOFIA in the envelope of the planetary nebula NGC 7027. 

Note that: Helium hydride ion (HeH+) was the first molecule that formed when, almost 14 billion years ago, falling temperatures in the young universe allowed recombination of the light elements produced in the Big Bang.

About SOFIA: The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), is a Boeing 747SP aircraft which is modified to carry a 2.7-meter reflecting telescope with an effective diameter of 100 inches. SOFIA is designed to observe the infrared universe. Many objects in space emit almost all their energy at infrared wavelengths and are often invisible when observed with visible light. 
To achieve this, it flies into the stratosphere at 38,000-45,000 feet, which puts SOFIA above 99 percent of Earth’s infrared-blocking atmosphere, allowing astronomers to study the solar system and beyond in ways that are not possible with ground-based telescopes. 

Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 22 April 2019

  • The Banks Board Bureau has identified 75 senior officials of state-run banks for leadership roles across public sector banks. The BBB has asked the government to give complete autonomy to bank boards to decide the organization structure for better efficiency. Further, a revamp of credit governance architecture has been suggested in state-run banks to minimize credit costs and improve efficiency of credit allocation.

Note that: BBB is an autonomous body of the Government of India. It has been tasked to improve the governance of Public Sector Banks, recommend selection of chiefs of government owned banks as well as financial institutions and to help banks in developing strategies and capital raising plans.

 

  • Drugs and Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) has given its approval to replace the words chemist and druggist with the term pharmacy. It will amend the Rule 65(15)(b) and Rule 65(15)(c) under Drugs and Cosmetics Rules.

Note that: Earlier, the description Chemists and Druggists was to be displayed by those licenses only who employed the services of a registered pharmacist but do not maintain a pharmacy for compounding.

 

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) notified that Exim Bank has offered soft loans worth $266.6 million to the African nation Rwanda for various projects. The funding for the projects has been done in three distinct tranches. The projects are for:
  1. Supporting agricultural projects
  2. The development of Special Economic Zones (SEZs)
  3. Financing road projects in Rwanda.

Note that: RBI notified that the aforementioned 3 funding project agreements between Exim Bank and the Government of Rawanda have been put to effect from April 2, 2019.

 

  • An insurance giant Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Company Limited has received ISO 31000:2018 certification by TUV India. Chola MS has received certification for applying risk management system which conforms to the prescribed standards.

Note that: ISO 31000:2018 is an international risk management standard introduced by International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This standard issues guidelines, framework, principles and a process for risk management.
Any organization or firm can use this standard in managing risk irrespective of its size, activity or sector. This ISO certification is valid only for 3 years from April 07, 2019 to April 06, 2022.

 

  • According to the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) data, after a very low growth phase, life and non-life premium income of insurance companies have registered substantial growth in financial year 2019.
    Life insurer’s premium income grew 11% in FY19 over 2018 and non-life insurance firms witnessed a 13% rise in their total premium income to Rs 1.70 lakh crore in the financial year ended March 2019.

Note that: The 34 non-life insurers had a total premium of Rs 1.51 lakh crore in 2017-18.

 

  • On 19th April 2019, Airtel Payments Bank joined hands with Bharti AXA General Insurance for a two wheeler insurance product offering which is available on MyAirtel App and at over 40,000 Airtel Payments Bank points across India. It offers various benefits such as 70 % savings on an annual premium, personal accident cover, protection against third party liabilities and inspection-free renewal via a paperless process.

Note that: In India, approximately 75 percent two-wheelers are uninsured, despite being mandatory by the Supreme Court order in 2018 which is mandatory for individuals to buy five-year motor third party insurance while buying a new two-wheeler.

 

  • For the boost of tea trade, cultural and technical exchanges as well as global promotion of tea, the Asian Tea Alliance, a union of five tea-growing and consuming countries has been opened in Guizhou, China. The alliance was constituted with Indian Tea Association, Indonesian tea Marketing Association, China tea marketing Association, Sri Lanka Tea Board and  Japan tea Association.

    The ATA plans to work towards enhancing tea trade, cultural exchanges, technology exchanges as well as promoting tea globally. It will also work towards enhancing global consumption of tea, while creating a sustainability agenda for the future of Asian tea.

Note that: This Alliance was formed based on the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Indian tea Association and China tea Marketing Association in December 2018 to promote tea consumption in India, China, U.S., Russia, Europe and West Asia.

 

Sports Current Affairs – 22 April 2019

  • Two Indian boxers have entered the pre-quarterfinals of the Asian Championship in Bangkok. National champion Deepak in 49kg category and Rohit Tokas in 64kg category advanced to the last-16 stage with confident victories. Deepak defeated Vietnam’s Loi Bui, Cong Danh, fetching a unanimous verdict from the judges before Rohit put it past Taiwan’s Chu-Yen Lai with a similar scoreline.

 

  • In Tennis, top seed Novak Djokovic and 11-time champion Rafael Nadal enter into the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals last night. The two time tournament champion has won nine in a row over America after losing at Wimbledon in 2016 to Sam Querrey. Nadal has repeated last year’s semi-final win over Grigor Dimitrov, defeating Bulgaria for the 12th time.

 

  • In Football, the Services have lifted the Santosh Trophy, beating Punjab 1-0 in the final at Ludhiana. In the semi-finals earlier, eight-time champions Punjab had defeated five-time winners Goa 2-1 to enter their 15th final. Services beat Karnataka 4-3 in the semis via a penalty shootout to book a place in the title clash for the 11th time.

About Santosh trophy:  Santosh Trophy is an annual Indian football tournament in which the states of the country along with some government institutions participate. The trophy is named after the late Maharaja Sir Manmatha Nath Roy Chowdhary of Santosh, now in Bangladesh. This is being held since 1941, in which Bengal was the first winner of the competition.  

 

  • The Head Coach of the India National Cricket Team and former Indian Cricketer, Ravi Shastri who also known as “Champion of Champions” has been appointed as Exclusive Corporate Ambassador to the Indian Business Community of Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ).
    Indian companies in RAKEZ are currently carrying on operations in various fields, almost 1600 in the commercial field, around 1000 in services and more than 350 in general trading and around 100 in the industrial sector.

Note that: The Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) in UAE is one of the leading hub for businesses operating in commercial, service & consultancy field that uniquely offers customisable solutions to free zone and non-free zone businesses with Ramy Jallad as the CEO of RAKEZ Group.

 

“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 22 April 2019 “

Q1. World Heritage Day or International Day For Monuments and Sites is observed on __________ every year.

  • A) April 17
  • B) April 18
  • C) April 19
  • D) April 20

 

Q2. The Navies of India and _______ held a maritime exercise off Cam Ranh Bay recently.

  • A) Cambodia
  • B) Vietnam
  • C) Malaysia
  • D) Indonesia

 

Q3. Champaner-Pavagadh Archaelogical Park, sometimes seen in the news, is in which among the following states?

  • A) Rajasthan
  • B) Telangana
  • C) Assam
  • D) Gujarat

 

Q4. IMF and the World Bank have recently created ____________, a quasi crypto currency.

  • A) Learning Coin
  • B) Teaching Coin
  • C) Studying Coin
  • D) Mixing Coin

 

Q5. Extinction Rebellion (XR), sometimes seen in the news, was established in _____.

  • A) USA
  • B) Russia
  • C) UK
  • D) France

 

Q6. Who has recently resigned as the Adani Enterprises’ chief financial officer (CFO)?

  • A) Nitin Mehra
  • B) Pankaj Sahni
  • C) Rakesh Suryakant Shah
  • D) Arun Sood

 

Q7. Machu Picchu, sometimes seen in the news, is located in ________.

  • A) USA
  • B) India
  • C) Peru
  • D) Morocco

 

Q8. Which country will host the annual G20 leaders’ summit in 2020?

  • A) Iran
  • B) India
  • C) Saudi Arabia
  • D)  Israel

 

Q9. _________ has become India’s first comprehensive financial services app to integrate UPI.

  • A) STMONEY
  • B) ETMONEY
  • C) RTMONEY
  • D) XRMONEY

 

Q10. Vedanta arm Cairn Oil & Gas has appointed ________ as its chief executive officer.

  • A) Sunil Lamba
  • B) Mathur Ali
  • C) Ajay Dixit
  • D) Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan

 

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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