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 February 2018
■ The Sanskriti Mahotsav “Swachhagrah – Bapu ko Kaaryaanjali” has started at the Man Mandir Ghat and Assi Ghat in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh to celebrate the creative and cultural industries in Varanasi and to focus attention on the need for Swachhta by using cultural forms. The two-day Mahotsav will integrate the tangible and intangible heritage along the river-belt and will see the engagement of the academia, artists, artisans, writers, poets, environmental and cultural forums on the use of cultural expressions for conservation and protection of the river and the ancient city. It will cover a profusion of art forms from classical, folk music, dance and visual arts and would offer the chance to experience the best in established and emerging virtuosity.
■ Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in Amritsar, they discussed Punjab-Canada relations and the issues regarding trade in agricultural, services sector and dairy farming. Amarinder Singh also raised the issue of Khalistan movement. The Chief Minister gave a list of some Canada-based operatives to the Canadian PM, involved in creating trouble in Punjab by financing and supplying weapons for terrorist activities. Mr Trudeau has assured to take action against the people who are allegedly using Canadian land against Punjab. The Canadian PM and his family also visited the Golden Temple (Sri Harmandir Sahib, also known as Darbar Sahib, one of the most revered spiritual sites of Sikhism) and performed ”seva’ in a community kitchen there.
■ As per the Census Directorate, 42 Indian languages are endangered. A small number of individuals who speak the languages are expected to soon be extinct. These languages which include dialects as well, are considered endangered because they are spoken by less than 10,000 people.
The endangered languages include the following:
- Eleven from Andaman and Nicobar Islands- Andamanese, Jarawa, Lamongse, Luro, Muot, Onge, Pu, Sanenyo, Sentilese, Shompen and Takahanyilang;
- Seven from Manipur- Aimol, Aka, Koiren, Lamgang, Langrong, Purum, and Tarao;
- Four from Himachal Pradesh- Baghati, Handuri, Pangvali, Sirmaudi.
- Mandi, Parji and Pengo from Orissa;
- Koraga and Kuruba from Karnataka;
- Gadaba and Naiki from Andhra Pradesh;
- Mra and Na from Arunachal Pradesh;
- Tai Nora and Tai Rong from Assam;
- Bangani from Uttarakhand;
- Kota and Toda from Tamil Nadu;
- Birhor from Jharkhand;
- Nihali from Maharashtra;
- Ruga from Meghalaya;
- Toto from West Bengal.
A Dialect and a Language are distinct based on the concept of Mutual intelligibility. Two languages where speakers can understand each other are considered dialects of the same language, whereas two languages where the speakers cannot understand each other are separate languages.
■ The Union Government has constituted a committee headed by Rajiv Kumar, the Vice Chairman of the NITI Aayog, to study the Brahmaputra and flood control measures in Assam and neighbouring states.
■ India has successfully conducted night trial of its indigenously developed surface-to-surface nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile off the Odisha coast. The Strategic Forces Command of the Indian Army has conducted the user trial of the 350 km range missile from a mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range. The missile weighs about 4,600 kg, is capable of carrying 500 to one thousand kilograms of warheads.
This perfect test launch of Prithvi-II came after a successful trial of the Agni-5, Agni-1I and Agni I just little over a month from the Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast. The Prithvi-II was inducted into the 333-missile regiment of the Indian Army in 2003, as a single-stage liquid-fuelled weapon. Prithvi-II is the first missile to have been developed by the DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme. Developed under the joint collaboration of Defence Research and Development Organization and Bharat Dynamics Limited, the missile was first tested in 1996.
■ The Rajasthan government has withdrawn the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill 2017. The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill sought to protect serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants in the State from being investigated for on-duty action, without government sanction. It also barred the media from reporting on such accusations till the sanction to proceed with the probe is given by the government.
The government said the bill was aimed at protecting honest officials from frivolous allegations which are levelled by vested interests, and thus prevent a situation of policy paralysis. A bar on reporting will deter false cases brought with the intention of maligning public officials.
At present, a prior sanction is required before public officials can be prosecuted in courts. The CrPC provides that no court can take cognizance of an offence by a public official unless sanction has been given by the central or state government. The Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) also requires prior sanction for prosecution of public servants for offences such as taking a bribe or criminal misconduct. The aforementioned Rajasthan Government’s Bill introduced the requirement of prior sanction at the stage of investigation in addition to the stage of prosecution.
■ Makkal Neethi Maiyam is the name of the political party founded by Tamil Actor Kamal Hasan who has begun his political sojourn from late President Dr Abdul Kalaam’s house at Ramanathapuram. At a mammoth public meeting at Madurai, the actor also launched the Party ‘s flag. Kamal Hasan, has been critical of the ruling AIADMK government in the State.
■ President Ram Nath Kovind has approved the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill making Kambala a legal rural sport in Karnataka. With this, all obstacles preventing kambala have been cleared. The Karnataka government had promulgated Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 to exempt kambala and bullock-cart racing from the ambit of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960.
Kambla in its traditional form is non-competitive with buffalo pairs made to race one after another in paddy fields, which is considered a thanksgiving to the Gods for protecting the animals from diseases. Over the years, it has however become an organised sport with animal rights activists claiming that the buffaloes run in the race due to fear of being beaten, which the organizers dismiss, saying no violence is involved and that several modifications had been made to ensure that it is an animal friendly event.
■ Flying officer Avani Chaturvedi has created history by becoming the first Indian woman to fly a fighter aircraft solo. She flew a MiG-21 bison in her first solo sortie from IAF’s Jamnagar base in Gujarat. She is one of the three in the first batch of female pilots, besides Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh, who were inducted in Indian Air Force fighter squadron in 2016. They were commissioned as flying officers after the government took the decision in 2015 to open the fighter stream for women on an experimental basis in three women pilots had undergone strenuous training programme to fly fighter jets.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 22 February 2018
■ The Singapore government will impose a ‘carbon tax’ from 2019 to cut its greenhouse gas emissions and make companies more competitive as global agreements on climate change take effect. The carbon tax would be levied on all facilities producing 25,000 tonnes or more of greenhouse gas emissions a year. The tax, which will be applied to all sectors, will be Sg$5.0 ($3.8) per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions from 2019 to 2023, after which the levy will be possibly raised to between Sg$10 and Sg$15 per tonne by 2030.
■ In Pakistan, the Supreme Court has ruled that deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, will no longer remain the chief of the ruling party, PML-N. The Court said that a person disqualified under Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution cannot serve as the head of a political party.
Note that: Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by the apex court in the Panama Papers case in July last year under Article 62 for failing to declare a receivable salary as an asset. After Sharif’s disqualification as Prime Minister, the ruling PML-N amended the Constitution to allow him to retain his chairmanship of the party.
■ India will be the global host of 2018 World Environment Day (WED), which is scheduled to be held on June 5, 2018. The theme will be “Beat Plastic Pollution”, which urges governments, industry, communities, and individuals to explore sustainable alternatives and urgently reduce the production and excessive use of single-use plastic polluting our oceans, damaging marine life and threatening human health. The World Environment Day is a UN Environment-led global event and is the single largest celebration of our environment each year.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 22 February 2018
■ Milkbasket, India’s first and largest micro-delivery platform, has been recognised as ‘Startup of the Year’ 2017 at the 7th Small Business Awards held in New Delhi. This award is dedicated to young SMEs, aged 7 years or less, with great potential to become big in local/international markets.
■ The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has constituted a new 5-member expert Committee under the chairmanship of Y H Malegam, a former member of the Central Board of Directors of RBI, to look into the reasons for wide divergence by banks in asset classification and provisioning by banks and measures to prevent frauds. It will also look into the issue of huge non-performing asset divergences — between what banks classify and what is detected in RBI inspection — and recommend steps to address the issue. The other members of the committee are Bharat Doshi, S. Raman and Nandkumar Saravade.
Sports Current Affairs – 22 February 2018
■ Norway’s Marit Bjoergen became the most successful woman athlete in Winter Olympics history as she took bronze in Pyeongchang, South Korea in cross country skiing’s women’s team sprint free. Bjoergen’s bronze with Maiken Caspersen Falla put her on 14 Olympic medals, outstripping fellow Norwegian Ole Einar Bjoerndalen who has 13 in biathlon. The 37-year-old Norwegian is also the second most successful woman at either the Summer or Winter Games, trailing only Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina who compiled 18 medals.
■ Swiss professional tennis player, Roger Federer has won the 2018 Rotterdam Open men’s singles tennis tournament by defeating Grigor Dimitrov in the final by 6-2-6-2 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. It is his 97th career title overall and 3rd title in Rotterdam following successes in 2005 and 2012.
Note that: In the Open era, only American Jimmy Connors has won more titles than Federer, with 109.
■ The Indian team, led by Kiran Nadar, has won the 5th Commonwealth bridge championship, which was held in Gold Coast, Australia. India beat Australia 103-65 in the final, after negotiating 11 rounds of qualification phase, followed by the knock-out stage from the quarterfinals.
■ Noted violinist M.S. Anantharaman, an exponent of Parur style of violin playing, has passed away in Chennai at age of 94 years. The Parur School is known for its violin recital by mixing the basic features of Carnatic and Hindustani styles.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 22 February 2018 “
Q1. Which company has got audio-visual production rights of the 11th of the Indian Premier League (IPL-2018)?
Q2. The Union Cabinet has recently approved Silkyara Bend-Barkot Tunnel as part of ‘Chardham Mahamarg Pariyojana’. The tunnel is located in which state?
- A) Jammu & Kashmir
- B) Uttarakhand
- C) Himachal Pradesh
- D) Punjab
Q3. Which city hosted the National conference on doubling farmers income?
- A) Hyderabad
- B) New Delhi
- C) Kochi
- D) Chennai
Q4. The UK – India Joint research projects on clean water & energy has launched in which city?
- A) Pune
- B) Jaipur
- C) New Delhi
- D) Bhopal
Q5. Which Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) has been constituted by the University Grants Commission (UGC)?
- A) Pritam Singh committee
- B) Jorge Paulo Lemman committee
- C) Tarun Khanna committee
- D) N Gopalaswami committee
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!