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 national, international, economic, sports news.
National Important Current Affairs – 23 and 24 March 2017
■ The Election Commission has blocked the AIADMK’s ‘two leaves’ party symbol after rival factions led by K Palaniswamy and O Panneerselvam staked claim to it ahead of a by-poll in R K Nagar necessitated by J Jayalalithaa’s death. These two factions have been also been asked to pick new party names for the RK Nagar by-poll.
- Even though neither party will be allowed to call themselves the AIADMK, there is precedent which could allow them to use the name with a suffix.
■ The Central Government is contemplating an institutional mechanism to improve safety in India’s 5300-odd dams. This new law has been vetted by the Union Law Ministry and will now go to the Union Cabinet for approval. It proposes a Central authority and State-level bodies that will enforce regulation.
- Note that: There are around 4900 large dams in India and several thousand smaller ones. Around 300 are in various stages of construction. Large reservoirs and water storage structures, in the past few decades are not seen as a model of safety. Analysis of the state of India’s dams found that half of them did not meet contemporary safety standards.
■ Medical services at government-run hospitals in Delhi and Mumbai have been severely hit as over 20,000 doctors proceeded on mass casual leave in solidarity with their counterparts in Maharashtra. The court has asked doctors to resolve their issues amicably with the government. The Indian Medical Association, which has around 2.7 lakh members across the country, has also supported the strike.
■ The Union Cabinet has approved the amendment to Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009. The amendments are aimed at ensuring that all teachers, in position as on 31st March, 2015, acquire the minimum qualifications prescribed by the academic authority to extend the period for such training for four years up to 31st March, 2019.
- It will enable the in-service untrained elementary teachers to complete their training and ensure that all teachers at the elementary level in the country have a certain minimum standard of qualifications.
- It will also ensure that all Teachers would attain minimum qualifications as considered necessary to maintain the standard of teaching quality, resulting in improvement in overall quality of teachers, teaching processes and consequently learning outcomes of children.
■ Indigenously developed hypersonic wind tunnel and shock tunnel, the 3rd largest in terms of size and simulation capability in the world, has been commissioned at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC).
- A wind tunnel is used to study the effects of air flowing past a solid object—in ISRO’s case, space vehicles.
- With lining up of big missions like the ‘Reusable Launch Vehicle’ (RLV), ‘Two Stage to Orbit’ (TSTO) rockets, air breathing propulsion systems, and the human space flight programme for the future, the aero-thermodynamic modelling of such vehicles in a hypersonic environment is crucial for optimal designs.
- The facility will also help aerodynamic characterisation of advanced space transportation systems.
- Hypersonic Wind Tunnel and Shock Tunnel facilities are used to simulate the aero-thermal environment where characterisation of vehicles is carried out.
- One metre hypersonic wind tunnel can simulate flow speeds of Mach 6 to 12.
- One metre shock tunnel simulates flight speed of 4.5 kilometres per second.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 23 and 24 March 2017
■ Upendra Tripathy has been appointed as the Interim Director General (IDG) of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) on a full time basis.
|About the ISA :
The International Solar Alliance (ISA) was launched in 2015 as a coalition of the solar resource rich countries jointly by Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India and François Hollande, the President of France in the presence of Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations on the first day of the Paris Climate Conference or CoP21.
■ India and Pakistan have agreed on redesigning the Miyar Hydroelectric project, at the end of two-day talks of Indus Water Commissioners held in Islamabad.
- This 113th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission was the first since India suspended dialogue following a militant attack on an Indian military base in Uri in September last year.
- Pakistan has been flagging concerns over the designs of five Indian hydroelectric projects: 1000MW Pakal Dul, 850MW Ratle, 330MW Kishanganga, 120MW Miyar and 48MW Lower Kalnai.
■ United Nations Human Rights Council UNHRC, has granted Sri Lanka a two-year extension to fulfill obligation relating to reconciliation and accountability on war crimes in the civil war which ended in 2009.
- The resolution granting the extention was sponsored by 40 countries including United States and United Kingdom and adopted without a vote.
- Note that: Minority groups and human rights activists have been critical of Sri Lankan government for slow progress in war crimes probe and accountability measures.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 23 and 24 March 2017
■ The Union Cabinet has approved the following proposals with regard to the Fund of Funds of Start-ups (FFS) which was established in June 2016 with a corpus of Rs. 1,000 crores.
- Alternate Investment Funds (AIFs) supported by FFS shall invest at least twice the amount of contribution received from FFS in Start-ups.
- If the amount committed for a Start-up in whole has not been released before a Start-up ceases to be so, the balance funding can continue thereafter.
- The operating expenses for carrying out due diligence, legal and technical appraisal, convening meeting of Venture Capital Investment Committee, etc. would be met out of the FFS to the extent of 0.50% of the commitments made to AIFs and outstanding. This will be debited to the fund at the beginning of each half year; i.e. April 1 and October 1.
The Union Cabinet approved the proposal to establish a Fund of Funds for Start-ups (FFS) with a total corpus of Rs.10000 crore, with contribution spread over the 14th & 15th Finance Commission cycles based on progress of implementation and availability of funds. It was decided that the FFS shall contribute to the corpus of Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) for investing in equity and equity linked instruments of various start-ups at early stage, seed stage and growth stages.
The FFS is being managed and operated by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). FFS contributes to SEBI registered Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) that may go up to a maximum of 35% of the corpus of the AIF concerned.
■ The World Bank has signed a 100 million US dollar credit agreement with the Centre and Uttarakhand in New Delhi to improve quality of health care services in all 13 districts of the state.
- World Bank said large-scale vacancies of health staff is the reason as deployment and retention in such geographically remote areas has proven to be extremely difficult.
- The project also aims to reduce the financial risk for its citizens and make affordable, quality health care available to all.
Sports Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 23 and 24 March 2017
■ Young Indian shooter Ankur Mittal won Gold medal in the Men’s Double Trap event at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup held in Acapulco, Mexico last night. Ankur had also won Silver medal in Men’s Double trap at the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi last month.
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