25 & 26 August 2017 Current Affairs : Privacy fundamental right, SAMPADA, AI task force, Mechi river bridge

///25 & 26 August 2017 Current Affairs : Privacy fundamental right, SAMPADA, AI task force, Mechi river bridge

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 – 25 and 26 August 2017

■ The Supreme Court has ruled that right to privacy is a fundamental right. The court has held that “the right to privacy is protected as intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution”.
The court has enhanced and highlighted the right.

While the notion of privacy extends to the digital space, in the wake of increased internet penetration and smartphones, there is an increase of hacking and misuse of digital credentials as well. It is a well-established fact that privacy helps individuals maintain autonomy, and exercise power over information.


■ The Union Government has constituted a task force on Artificial Intelligence for the country’s Economic Transformation. The 18-member panel is headed by Dr. V. Kamakoti of IIT Madras. It will comprise of experts, academics, researchers and industry leaders to explore the possibilities to leverage Artificial Intelligence for development across various fields.

The task force will submit concrete and implementable recommendations for government, industry and research institutions. With rapid development in the fields of information technology and hardware, the world is about to witness a fourth industrial revolution.


■  The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has greeted the people of Odisha on the occasion of Nuakhai Juhar. It is an agricultural festival mainly observed by people of Western Odisha in India to welcome the new rice of the season.


■ The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the renaming of the new Central Sector Scheme – SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters) as “Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY) “ for the period of 2016-20, which is coterminous with the 14th Finance Commission cycle. The objective of PMKSY is to supplement agriculture, modernize processing and decrease Agri-Waste.



■ The Union Cabinet has approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to be signed between India and Nepal for laying down implementation arrangement on cost sharing, schedules and safeguard issues for starting the construction of a new bridge over Mechi River at Indo-Nepal border.


The estimated cost of construction of the bridge is Rs. 158.65 crore, which would be funded by Government of India through the ADB loan. This new bridge is part of up-gradation of the Kakarvitta (Nepal) to Panitanki Bypass (India) on NH 327B covering a length of 1500 meters.

  • National Highway and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) under Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has been designated as the implementing agency for this project.
  • The Mechi River is a trans-boundary river which is a tributary of the Mahananda River, flowing through Nepal and India. It originates in the Mahabharat Range in Nepal.
  • This bridge will improve regional connectivity and has potential to strengthen cross border trade between both the countries and cementing ties by strengthening industrial, social and cultural exchanges.


■ The Maharashtra education board has launched a web portal with online question banks to help students prepare for competitive exams on their own.
This portal can be accessed for free, and will function as a substitute for expensive coaching classes.



International Current Affairs Capsule – 25 and 26 August 2017

■ Visiting Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have signed eight Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) in various fields.


■  The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Nepal on Drug Demand Reduction and Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and related matters. This MoU lists out the areas of cooperation on drug matters between the two countries. This cooperation on drug matters is expected to curb the illicit traffic of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals in the two countries.


■ According to the latest research by Japanese scientists, delicate mosses found on rocks and trees in cities around the world can be used to measure the impact of atmospheric change and could prove a low-cost way to monitor urban pollution.

Moss- the “bioindicator”– respond to pollution or drought-stress by changing shape, density or disappearing, allowing scientists to calculate atmospheric alterations.


■ Software giant Microsoft has announced its Project Brainwave which is deep learning acceleration platform for real-time artificial intelligence (AI). The ‘Project Brainwave’ uses the massive field-programmable gate array (FPGA) infrastructure that Microsoft has been deploying over the past few years. Due to ultra-low latency, the system processes requests as fast as it receives them. The system has been architected to yield high actual performance across a wide range of complex models, with batch-free execution.


Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 25 and 26 August 2017

Karnataka Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with software giant Microsoft India to develop a unique “farm price forecasting model.” This proposed initiative is claimed to be the first-of-its-kind in the country. It will aid farmers from states to predict farm prices in advance and deal effectively with the unpredictable market.


■ The Union Cabinet has given in-principle approval for Public Sector Banks to amalgamate through an Alternative Mechanism (AM). This will facilitate consolidation among the Nationalised Banks to create strong and competitive banks.


Qantas Airways will offer a 20-hour non-stop flight from Sydney to London, which will make it the world’s longest non-stop commercial flight.
The flight will cross ten time zones, will be made available within the next five years.


■ The civil aviation ministry has relaxed the norms for its flagship regional flying scheme called UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) to allow for greater connectivity. These relaxations include dilution of the exclusivity clause mandating that only one airline may fly on one route in the initial years. These norms that restricted two airports in close proximity from participating in the bidding has also been relaxed.

The UDAN scheme, will allow travellers to save time and enable the middle-classes in small-town India to take their first flights. If the scheme is successfully implemented, the air connectivity to difficult terrains of Jammu and Kashmir, northeast India, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep will get a major push.


Sports Current Affairs – 25 and 26 August 2017

Sanjivani Jadhav, a 20-year-old marathon runner from Nashik, has won the Silver medal in the women’s 10,000-metre at the 29th World University Games held in Taipei.


■ England football captain Wayne Rooney announced his retirement from international football, after appearing for England in 119 matches.



Tony de Brum, the leading advocate of the Paris climate agreement and widely regarded as the “voice of Pacific Islands on Climate Change” has passed away. The former Marshall Islands foreign minister fought against nuclear weapons after witnessing US’ nuclear testing in the islands while growing up.

“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims”

Q1. Which state government has launched a grid-connected rooftop solar programme through net-metering system?

  • A) Odisha
  • B) Madhya Pradesh
  • C) Rajasthan
  • D) Karnataka


Q2. Who has been appointed as the new Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Air India?

  • A) Rajiv Bansal
  • B) Kirti Das
  • C) Nishant Agrawal
  • D) Vinay Kumar


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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