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 – 25 and 26 April 2018
■ The Union Home Ministry has relaxed the six-decade-old Protected Area Permit regime from Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur for five years with effect from April 1. This implies that foreign tourists, except those from Pakistan, China and Afghanistan, would now be allowed to visit some of the most pristine spots of the country which, so far, were out of bounds for them without a special permit.
About Protected area permit:
Under the Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order, 1958, all areas falling between the Inner line and the International Border of some states have been declared as protected areas. The protected areas currently include whole of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim, besides parts of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir. As per the guidelines, a foreign national is not normally allowed to visit a protected or restricted area unless the government is satisfied that there are extra-ordinary reasons to justify his or her visit.
Every foreigner, except a citizen of Bhutan, who desires to enter and stay in a protected or restricted area, is required to obtain a special permit from a competent authority having the power to issue such permits to a foreigner, seeking it.
■ The Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance 2018 has got the President’s assent. With this new law, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) can now confiscate assets worth over Rs 15,000 crore belonging to economic offenders who have fled India. The ED has decided to approach a special court for Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi to be declared ‘fugitives’.
■ A special SC/ST court in Jodhpur has convicted the self-proclaimed godman Asaram Bapu, who is currently lodged in Jodhpur Central Jail, in a sexual assault case against him. He has been in jail since 2013, was charged under relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The court has sentenced him to life imprisonment after he was convicted of raping a minor girl in his ashram.
■ Two unique craft forms of Telangana have been granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag by the GI registry. These are the Adilabad Dokra metalcraft and the Warangal durries.
- Adilabad Dokra: It is an ancient metal craft practised by the state’s tribals, in which no two sculptures are the same, as they are not made out of a pre-designed cast. The craftsmen of this art are from the Woj community, commonly referred to as Wojaris or Ohjas in the rural areas of Telangana. They use brass as their main material and an ancient casting technique called ‘cire perdue’. The ‘cire perdue’ technique uses clay to design a model of the sculpture that they want to create. They then wrap the clay with wax threads before baking the mould, so that the wax melts away and the molten metal is poured into the mould. The common items include small idols and statues of tribal deities, jewellery, bells, small-scale animal sculptures and others.
- Warangal durries: The weavers create beautiful patterns and dye them using vegetable colours, which are washed in flowing water after the printing process. The cotton used for making these durries is sourced from local cultivators. Warangal district has become a renowned hub for weaving these rugs due to the availability of cotton.
About GI tag:
A GI is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory. Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin. Once the GI protection is granted, no other producer can misuse the name to market similar products. It also provides comfort to customers about the authenticity of that product.
■ The Centre has removed the AFSPA from Meghalaya, from April 1 onwards. Previously, the Act was effective in the State in the 20 km area along its border with Assam. In Arunachal Pradesh, the AFSPA has been restricted to 8 police stations, instead of the 16 earlier.
About AFSPA: The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 in simple terms, AFSPA gives armed forces the power to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”. They have the authority to prohibit a gathering of five or more persons in an area, can use force or even open fire after giving a due warning if they feel a person is in contravention of the law. If reasonable suspicion exists, the army can also arrest a person without a warrant; enter or search a premises without a warrant; and ban the possession of firearms.
What is a “disturbed area” and who has the power to declare it?
A disturbed area is one which is declared by notification under Section 3 of the AFSPA. An area can be disturbed due to differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities.
■ India is tying up with the United States and Finland to develop a pollution-forecast system that will help anticipate particulate matter (PM) levels at least two days in advance and at a greater resolution. The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) will coordinate this exercise to have a system in place by winter.
This new system, to be jointly developed with expertise from the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the U.S.’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will use a different modelling approach as well as computational techniques from that employed in the existing SAFAR model.
Currently, the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, serves as the apex forecaster of pollution trends in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad. It generates a likely air quality profile, a day in advance, for these cities.
The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Government of India, has introduced the System of Air Quality Forecasting And Research (SAFAR). It has been introduced for greater metropolitan cities of India to provide location-specific information on air quality in near real time and its forecast 1-3 days in advance for the first time in India. It’s objective is to increase awareness among general public regarding the air quality in their city well in advance so that appropriate mitigation measures and systematic action can be taken up for betterment of air quality and related health issues.
■ The Union Cabinet has approved the declaration of Scheduled Areas in respect of Rajasthan under the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution. It will ensure that the Scheduled Tribes of Rajasthan will get benefits of protective measures available under the Fifth Schedule. The areas comprising three complete districts — Banswara, Dungarpur, Pratapgarh, and nine tehsils, one block and 46 complete gram panchayats covering 227 villages in district Udaipur, Rajsamand, Chittorgarh, Pali and Sirohi of Rajasthan would be included in the Scheduled Areas.
■ A two-day coastal security exercise ‘Sagar Kavach’ is being held along Kerala coast. It’s aim is to strengthen and assess the loopholes in the coastal security mechanism. The exercise saw the participation of Indian Coast Guard (ICG), Indian Navy, Coastal Police and Marine Enforcement wing and various other security stakeholders. The ‘Sagar Kavach’ exercise is conducted on a half yearly basis with an objective to validate standard operating procedures.
■ The Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh chaired the third meeting of the Island Development Agency (IDA). The Island Development Agency has reviewed the progress made towards the preparation of Development Plans for identified Islands.
About the Island Development Agency (IDA):
The IDA was set up on June 1 this year following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s review meeting for the development of islands. The meetings of the agency are chaired by the Union Home Minister. Members of the IDA include cabinet secretary, home secretary, secretary (environment, forests and climate change), secretary (tourism) and secretary (tribal welfare).
International Current Affairs Capsule – 25 and 26 April 2018
■ World Malaria Day was observed on 25th April, the day recognizes global efforts to control malaria. Globally about 3.3 billion people in 106 countries are at risk of malaria. The theme for World Malaria Day2018: “Ready to beat malaria”. Wolrd Malaria Day is one of eight official global public health campaigns currently marked by the World Health Organization (WHO).
■ Scientists have proposed Earth BioGenome project, a massive project to sequence, catalog and analyze the genomes of all eukaryotic species on the planet.
About Eukaryotes: Eukaryotes include all organisms except bacteria and archaea. It includes plants, animals, fungi and other organisms whose cells have a nucleus that houses their chromosomal DNA. There are an estimated 10-15 million eukaryotic species on Earth.
About the Earth BioGenome Project (EBP) : The central goal of the Earth BioGenome Project (EBP) is to understand the evolution and organization of life on our planet by sequencing and functionally annotating the genomes of 1.5 million known species of eukaryotes. This project seeks to reveal some of the estimated 10 to 15 million unknown species of eukaryotes, most of which are single cell organisms, insects and small animals in the oceans. The Project plans to capitalize on the “citizen scientist” movement to collect specimens. The initiative is led by a coordinating council with members from the United States, the European Union, China, Brazil, Canada, Australia and some African countries. This will take 10 years, cost $4.7 billion and require more than 200 petabytes of digital storage capacity.
■ The United Nations’ cultural agency has awarded the World Press Freedom Prize to an imprisoned Egyptian photographer, Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as Shawkan.
About the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize: It was created in 1997, the annual UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize honours a person, organization or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defence and, or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, and especially when this has been achieved in the face of danger. This Prize was established on the initiative of UNESCO’s Executive Board and is formally conferred by the Director-General of the Organization, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, on 3 May. It is named in honour of Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist who was assassinated in front of the offices of his newspaper El Espectador in Bogotá, Colombia on 17 December 1986.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 25 and 26 April 2018
■ The government has increased the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of raw jute by Rs 200 to Rs 3,700 per quintal for 2018-19 season. This decision will benefit jute farmers mainly in West Bengal, Assam and Bihar which account for 95% of the country’s jute production. The MSP of Raw Jute is expected to ensure appropriate minimum prices to the farmers and step up investment in Jute cultivation and thereby production and productivity in the country.
■ India has signed a loan agreement with World Bank for US$ 125 million for “Innovate in India for Inclusiveness Project”.
This project seeks to nurture indigenous innovation, foster local product development and accelerate commercialization process by bridging critical skill and infrastructure gaps to promote affordable and innovative healthcare products generation for inclusive development and increasing competitiveness in India. The project would support consortia of public, private, and the academic institutions to overcome the key market failures currently holding back the development of an innovative biopharmaceutical and medical devices industry in India.
The project consists of the following parts:
- Strengthening of pilot-to market innovation ecosystem.
- Acceleration of the pilot –to-market process for specific products.
- Project Management and monitoring & Evaluation.
Sports Current Affairs – 25 and 26 April 2018
■ Former Indian Navy Commando, Praveen Teotia, has completed the 2018 Triathlon Championships in South Africa and also became India’s first disabled man to win the ‘Ironman’ title. The Shaurya Chakra winner took 4 bullets during the operation to neutralize terrorists at the 26/11 Taj Mahal Hotel terror attack in Mumbai in 2008. He was hit in the lung and in an ear, he became partially hearing impaired.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 25 and 26 April 2018 “
Q1. The World Book And Copyright Day (WBD) is observed on which date?
A) April 23
B) April 24
C) April 22
D) April 21
Q2. Who has won the 2018 Monte Carlo Masters tennis tournament?
A) Marin Cilic
B) Rafael Nadal
C) Grigor Dimitrov
D) Diego Schwartzman
Q3. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan in which district of Madhya Pradesh?
Q4.Who chaired the first meeting of the think tank on the Framework for National Policy on E-commerce?
A) Narendra Modi
B) Arun Jaitely
C) Suresh Prabhu
D) Smriti Irani
Q5.The Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) has signed Information Utility pact with NeSL. What does “NeSL” stands for?
A) National E-Governance Solutions Limited
B) National E-Governance Services Limited
C) National E-Governance Server Limited
D) National E-Governance Bank Limited
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!