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 – 23 March 2018
■ President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have paid tributes to Dr Ram Manohar Lohia on his birth anniversary. Lohia is known for his scholarly zeal along with a penchant for grassroot level politics.
About Ram Manohar Lohia: Born in 1910, Dr. Lohia was educated at Bombay, Banaras, Calcutta and Berlin.He was an activist for the Indian independence movement and a socialist political leader. He attended the Gaya Congress at the age of 14 and later also organised the Foreign Office of the AICC at the instance of Nehru. He was imprisoned in the freedom movement and also during Socialist agitations against higher irrigation rates in U.P. After Independence, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia parted ways with the Congress and founded the Praja Socialist Party along with Madhu Limaye and Mr. Asoka Mehta. He had the courage of his convictions and became the bitterest opponent of Nehru. He even fought Nehru at the polls in 1962 but failed.
Prime Minister has also paid tribute to Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev on the day of their martyrdom.
■ The Government has decided to declare 2018 as ‘National Year of Millets to boost the cultivation of millets like ragi and jowar on a mission mode to achieve nutritional security in the country. The push will promote cultivation of jowar, bajra, ragi.
The millet cultivation has declined due to change in dietary habits and unavailability of millets. As a result of this, level of nutrients like proteins, Vitamin-A, iron and iodine fell in women and children. He said this has led to a special focus on millets, which are being promoted under the National Food Security Mission (NFSM). Under NFSM, maize and jau are also promoted separately.
■ The “First Indian Sign Language Dictionary of 3000 words” has been launched by Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Thaawarchand Gehlot. The primary aim of developing the ISL Dictionary is to remove communications barriers between the deaf and hearing communities as it is focused on providing more information in Indian sign language. Its intention is to give Deaf people their constitutional right to speech and opportunity of freedom of expression and also bringing them into the mainstream of the society. ISL dictionary consists of various categories of words, such as – legal terms, medical terms, academic terms, technical terms and daily use words.
The ISL dictionary has been developed by the Indian Sign Language Research & Training Centre (ISLR&TC) under Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), under Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
Note that: As per the census 2011, there are 50, 71,007 Deaf people and 19, 98,535 with speech disability in India.
■ ISRO has signed a Technology Transfer Agreement (TTA) with Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), to transfer the technology for the manufacture of space grade Li-Ion cells to BHEL. The TTA with BHEL, which is one of the country’s leading PSUs, was signed in the presence of Dr. K. Sivan, Chairman, ISRO and Atul Sobti, Chairman & Managing Director, BHEL.
ISRO uses Li-Ion batteries as power sources for satellite and launch-vehicle applications due to their high energy density, reliability and long cycle life. The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) of ISRO at Thiruvananthapuram has successfully developed the technology to produce space grade Li-ion cell, and demonstrated the performance of the cell under various testing conditions and established its cycle life characteristics in accelerated mode. These space grade Li-ion cells are currently being used for various satellite and launch vehicle applications.
This Li-ion cell Technology Transfer will enable BHEL to produce space grade Li-Ion cells to be able to meet the country’s space programme requirements as well as other national needs.
About Lithium-ion Batteries:
A lithium-ion battery or Li-ion battery (abbreviated as LIB) is a type of rechargeable battery in which lithium ions move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode during discharge and back when charging. Li-ion batteries use an intercalated lithium compound as one electrode material, as opposed to the metallic lithium used in a non-rechargeable lithium battery. The electrolyte, which allows for ionic movement, and the two electrodes are the constituent components of a lithium-ion battery cell.
Lithium-ion batteries are known to pose unique safety hazards in recent time, since they contain a flammable electrolyte and may be kept pressurized. A Li-ion battery cell charged too quickly could cause a short circuit, leading to explosions and fires.
Recall that: There have been battery-related recalls by some companies lately, including the 2016 Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall for causing battery fires.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 23 March 2018
■ During the meeting of the 11th round of the Working Mechanism on Consultation and Coordination for India-China Border Affairs in New Delhi, India and China exchanged views on ways to improve border management. Both countries have agreed to explore the possibility of strengthening cooperation through exchange of visits and institutionalized dialogue mechanisms to promote better understanding and cooperation between the two defence forces. India has emphasized that maintenance of peace and order in the India-China border areas is an important pre-requisite for the further development of bilateral relations.
Note that: The India- China working mechanism was established in 2012 as an institutional mechanism for maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas.
■ German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier accompanied by his wife Elke Budenbender, arrived on his first visit to India as German president. Steinmeier had visited India several times in his former capacity as the foreign minister and vice chancellor of Germany. He will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to explore ways to further broad base ties between the two countries in a range of areas including trade and investment. The German president began his five-day trip with a visit to Varanasi where he took a tour of the Sarnath museum and the archaeological site. He also visited the Mulgandha-Kuti temple. The last German president’s visit to India was by Joachim Gauck in February 2014.
About Germany – India ties :
Germany is India’s largest trading partner in Europe and the sixth largest trading partner in the world. India was ranked 24th in Germany’s global trade. Germany is the 7th largest foreign direct investor in India and the cumulative German FDI in India from April 2000 to December 2017 is USD 10.71 billion or 2.91 per cent of total FDI.
■ Maldives President Abdulla Yameen has lifted a 45-day State of Emergency, after arresting dozens in that period, in a move that the opposition has accused of being politically motivated. President Yameen had imposed a State of emergency on February 5 for 15 days following a Supreme Court ruling that overturned convictions against nine opposition leaders, including exiled former President Mohamed Nasheed.
He later extended the state of emergency by another 30 days after parliament approval, which drew severe criticism from the opposition and from countries including India and the US.
During Emergency Rule, the Yameen administration arrested former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the Chief Justice, another Supreme Court judge, and a Supreme Court administrator for “attempting to overthrow the government”, while they have denied the allegations.
■ The first G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina with the presence of 57 delegations from countries and institutions. The summit had gathered 22 finance ministers, 17 central bank governors and 10 heads of international organisations, including IMF Director-General Christine Lagarde.
■ The US Senate has passed a $1.3 trillion federal spending bill in dramatic dark-of-night fashion, overcoming hurdles that threatened to send the government into its third shutdown of 2018.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 23 March 2018
■ The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Radha Mohan Singh inaugurated the 5th India Maize Summit 2018 at FICCI, New Delhi. Maize production in India has seen a boom in recent years which has been possible due to increase in area as well as productivity. The Minister said only 15% of cultivated area of Maize in India is irrigated and therefore it is necessary to have adequate irrigation facilities for its cultivation so that the production, productivity and quality of Maize improves.
Maize is mainly a kharif crop. Of India’s annual maize production, around 63-64% is used as feed meal and 16% for industrial purposes like starch and alcohol makers while the remaining is sold in the open market.
In India, Maize is the third most important foodgrain after wheat and rice. The states of Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Rajasthan account for more than half of the total maize production. Currently, India is among the top five exporters of Maize worldwide.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 23 March 2018 “
Q1. What is the theme of the 106th foundation day of Bihar?
A) Centenary of Champaran Satyagraha and Elimination of Dowry and Child Marriage
B) Centenary of Champaran Satyagraha and Gandhi Jayanti
C) Centenary of Champaran Satyagraha and Peaceful protest
D) Centenary of Champaran Satyagraha and Empowerment of Women
Q2. The Union Cabinet has approved the inclusion of the communities ‘Parivara and Talawara’ as synonym of “Nayaka’ in the list of STs. Both the communities are belong to which state?
D) Andhra Pradesh
Q3. The Union Government has constituted which task force to draft new Direct Tax Law?
A) Arun Jaitely
B) Arvind Subramanian
C) Pritam Das
D) Arvind Modi
Q4. Who authored the book on Paramveer Chakra Awardees ‘Paramveer Parwane’?
A) Somnath Sharma
B) Prabhakiran Jain
C) Aman Anand
D) Bipin Rawat
Q5. The Union Cabinet has recently approved North-East Industrial Development Scheme (NEIDS) 2017 with financial outlay of how much amount upto March 2020?
A) Rs.4000 crore
B) Rs.2000 crore
C) Rs.3000 crore
D) Rs.5000 crore
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!