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 March 2018
■ The Union Cabinet has approved the launch of Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission. The scheme will provide benefit cover of 5 lakh rupees per family per year. A beneficiary will be allowed to take cashless benefits from any public and private empanelled hospitals across the country. The target beneficiaries under the scheme will be over 10 crore poor, vulnerable families. The benefits of the scheme are portable across the country. The scheme will subsume the ongoing existing centrally sponsored schemes, namely – the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana and senior citizen health insurance scheme.
■ The Cabinet has also approved the continuation of the National Health Mission (NHM) with effect from April 2017 to March 2020 with a budgetary support of over 85,000 crore rupees as Central Share over this period. This will boost the health infrastructure in country.
■ Among other decisions, the Cabinet also gave an in-principle approval to the inclusion of two communities in Karnataka in the list of Scheduled Tribes. The Parivara and Talawara will be synonyms of “Nayaka” in the list of STs in Karnataka. This decision will fulfill a long-term demand of the two communities for inclusion in Scheduled Tribe in the state.
■ The Cabinet has also cleared the second and final extension of the term of the Commission constituted to examine the issue of Sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes in the Central List, beyond the 27th of March this year for a period of 12 weeks.
■ The Cabinet has approved the North East Industrial Development Scheme 2017 with a financial outlay of 3,000 crore rupees upto March, 2020. In order to promote employment in the North Eastern States, the government is incentivising primarily the MSME Sector through this scheme and is also providing specific incentive through it to generate employment in the region.
■ The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has cleared a scheme called Integrated Scheme for Development of Silk Industry from 2017-18 to 2019-20 at a cost of over 2,100 crore rupees. The ISDS scheme will promote Women Empowerment and provide livelihood opportunities for SC, ST and other weaker sections of the society.
■ The Committee on Estimates has tabled its report on the Central Armed Police Forces and Internal Security Challenges- Evaluation and Response Mechanism in the Lok Sabha. The Estimates Committee headed by Dr Murli Manohar Joshi has recommended effective measures to modernise and upgrade the country’s security systems at par with the developed countries. It has also suggested that states have to develop their own systems and augment their own police forces by providing adequate training and equipping them with the latest weapons to effectively deal with the militancy and insurgency besides handling the law and order problems in their jurisdiction. The panel has advised the government to hold discussion with states and arrive at a conclusion on defining the roles of the police and central forces.
The Committee on Estimates is a panel made up of Lok Sabha members, set up to review the working of various ministries, in this case, the Ministry of Home Affairs.
About Estimates Committee:
It is a Parliamentary Committee in India consisting of 30 members, elected every year by the lower chamber of the Parliament – Lok Sabha – from amongst its Members. The chairman is appointed by the Speaker and chairman is always from ruling party or coalition.
Estimates committee has powers to examine the Budget Estimates and :
a) to report what economies, improvements in organisation, efficiency or administrative reform, consistent with the policy underlying the estimates, may be effected
b) to suggest alternative policies in order to bring about efficiency and economy in administration
c) to examine whether the money is well laid out within the limits of the policy implied in the estimates
d) to suggest the form in which the estimates shall be presented to Parliament. This committee tries to report economy and efficiency in expenditures.
It suggests what changes in policy or administrative framework can be done and what alternative policies can be considered to bring economy and efficiency. Due to this reason, this committee is also called ‘continuous economy committee’. The committee also suggests improvements in a ministry’s functioning.
In its report, the panel has also expressed concern over the quality of food served to the Border Security Force (BSF) jawans. Recently, reports of the poor quality of food served to BSF personnel went viral on social media.
The Committee also recommended that in order to meet the challenges of the cyber threat by external or internal forces, there is a compelling need to develop a system to counter the future threats of biological, chemical and mini-nuclear weapons capable of causing limited damage.
The panel noted that the challenges to internal security in the country are mainly due to terrorism in the hinterland, cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, insurgency in the northeast and Left Wing terrorism in certain states and their over-dependence on the CAPFs to meet the challenges of routine law and law and order duties which is likely to affect their anti-insurgency and border-guarding operations.
■ Bihar is celebrating its 106th foundation day on 22 March. On this day in 1912 that the state was carved out of a United Bengal. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu will inaugurate three-day Bihar Diwas celebrations in Patna, with the theme “Centenary of Champaran Satyagraha and Elimination of Dowry and Child Marriage.”
■ The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has developed an android based mobile application called Tribal Diaries. It has been developed for internal monitoring and for connecting with officers/officials concerned with the implementation of schemes/programmes for tribal development. This application provides an opportunity for visual feedback in terms of photographs, videos, uploading reports of official tours/inspections and sharing of best practices etc.
The application is being extensively used to get an overview of the Ekalavya Model Residential Schools (EMRSs) which is funded by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs of teh Union Government.
About Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS):
Eklavya Model Residential School Scheme was started in 1998 and first school was started in the year 2000 in Maharashtra.
EMRSs have been functioning as institutions of excellence for tribal students. At least one EMRS is to be set up in each Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) / Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) having 50% ST population in the area.
The capital cost for setting up the school complex, including hostels and staff quarters etc. has been earmarked at Rs. 12 crore with a provision to go up to Rs.16 crore in hill areas, deserts and islands.
■ The Letter of Intent has been issued to 24 agencies for the Submission of Vision Bids for 75 sites under the Adopt a Heritage Project. These private players will undertake a gap analysis of the actual requirement of the basic and advanced amenities, within the permissible guidelines of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and prepare a Vision Bid Proposal accordingly for the site opted by them. Once this vision bid is accepted, an MoU will be signed with the related party for upkeep of the Monument for overall improvement in tourist experience.
About Adopt a Heritage Project: The ‘Adopt a Heritage Scheme’ of Ministry of Tourism has been launched on World Tourism Day (27th September, 2017). A key initiative of Ministry of Tourism in close collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archeological Survey of India (ASI), to develop the heritage sites/monuments and making them tourist-friendly to enhance the tourism potential and their cultural importance in a planned and phased manner.
The project will entrust heritage sites/monuments and other tourist sites to private sector companies, public sector companies and individuals for the development of tourist amenities.
About Monument Mitras:
Successful bidders selected for adopting heritage sites / monuments by the Oversight and Vision Committee shall be called as Monument Mitras. The basic and advanced amenities of the tourist destinations will be provided by them, interms of their operations and the maintenance. The ‘Monument Mitras’ aims to associate pride with their CSR activities.
■ The National Cultural Audiovisual Archives (NCAA) project of the Ministry of Culture has become the world’s first Trusted Digital Repository as per ISO 16363:2012 standard, which is granted by Primary Trustworthy Digital Repository Authorisation Body Ltd. (PTAB), United Kingdom (UK).
The NCAA is being implemented by Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) with an objective to identify and preserve the cultural heritage of India available in audio-visual form through digitization and also making it accessible to the people.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 22 March 2018
■ The World Water Day is being observed on 22 March to ensure water security – sustainable access to water for enabling livelihoods, human well-being and socio-economic development. The day is observed on the 22nd of March every year, to raise awareness about the importance of water. The theme this year is, ‘Nature for Water’ – exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges the world faces in the 21st century.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said, it is an occasion to highlight the importance of Jal Shakti and reaffirm commitment towards water conservation.
The quest for water security has emerged as key priorities on every nation’s agenda over the last decade. Asia’s water supply is currently under threat from climate change. According to a 2015 Asian Development Bank report, more than three-quarters of countries in Asia face serious water shortages, which pose a real threat to continued growth and prosperity for the region, if not managed proactively.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 22 March 2018
■ The Government has constituted a task force to review the Income-tax Act, 1961 and to draft a new Direct Tax Law in consonance with the present-day economic needs of the country. The Finance Ministry has also sought suggestions and feedback from stakeholders and the general public regarding this its website.
■ The Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) has signed an MOU with the Technology Information, Forecasting & Assessment Council (TIFAC) to provide livelihood opportunities and augment income of the forest-based communities. The MoU will be valid for a period of 5 years.
Through this collaboration, TIFAC will help ICFRE to refine and up-scale the technologies developed, and take these technologies to the end users such as farmers, State Forest Departments, forest based industries and forest dependent communities in a more effective manner. The headquarters of ICFRE are located in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
As per the recommendation of Technology Policy Implementation Committee (TPIC) in 1985, Cabinet approved the formation of TIFAC and TIFAC was formed as a registered Society in February, 1988 under the Department of Science and Technology as an autonomous body. It was mandated to assess the state-of-art of technology and set directions for future technological development in India in important socio-economic sectors.
As a unique knowledge network institution in India, TIFAC activities encompass a wide array of technology areas and fill a critical gap in the overall S&T system of India. It has come up with the Technology ‘Vision 2035’ document that foresees people of the nation of 2035 and technologies needed to fulfil their needs.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 22 March 2018 “
Q1. The 2018 World Poetry Day (WPD) is celebrated on which date to honour poets, and celebrate tradition of poetry recital and promoting poetic expression and the linguistic diversity ?
A) March 23
B) March 20
C) March 22
D) March 21
Q2. What is the theme of the 2018 International Day of Happiness?
A) Share Happiness
B) Angry Birds Happy Planet
C) Reclaim Happiness
D) Happy Heroes
Q3. Which state to host the 106th edition of Indian Science Congress (ISC-2019)?
B) Uttar Pradesh
C) Madhya Pradesh
Q4. The 17th Annual Conference of International Competition Network 2018 (ICN2018) has started in which city?
A) New Delhi
Q5. The Government of India (GoI) has approved to set up a Plastic Park in which district of Jharkhand?
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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