This post covers relevant news from national dailies and government releases for aspirants of examinations like UPSC IAS, CDS, SSC CGL, NDA, etc. It is highly useful for both, revision and awareness purposes.

National Important Current Affairs – 25 January 2019

■ India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C44) in its 46th flight, has successfully injected Microsat-R and Kalamsat-V2 satellites into their designated orbits. This flight marked the first mission of PSLV-DL, a new variant of PSLV with two strap-on motors.

  • Kalamsat-V2, is a student payload, first to use PS4 as an orbital platform.
  • With this launch, India also becomes the first country to use the fourth stage of a space rocket as an orbital platform for micro-gravity experiments.

The ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan held the third edition of Samwad with Students (SwS) in Sriharikota. Over 300 students from schools in and around the region had an opportunity to interact with him.

Note that: SwS is the newly-launched outreach initiative of ISRO to instill scientific temper among youngsters. The first edition was held in Bengaluru on January 1, 2019 and the second one at Kochi on January 20, 2019.

India’s highest peacetime gallantry medal, the Ashoka Chakra, will be awarded posthumously to Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani, who laid down his life during an anti-terror operation at Batagund village in J&K’s Shopian in November last year.

Note that : The two-time winner of the Sena Medal was once an Ikhwan (a terrorist who surrenders and becomes involved in counter-insurgency operations) and surrendered before the Army and went onto become a highly decorated soldier.

■ The Union Environment Ministry has released the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), 2019 opening up the coastline of the country for construction and tourism activities.

These regulations are based on the recommendations of the Shailesh Nayak Committee which held wide ranging consultations with State Governments and other stakeholders and submitted its recommendations in 2015. The MoEFCC constituted a Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. Shailesh Nayak to examine the various issues and concerns recommending appropriate changes in the CRZ Notification, 2011.

■ For the first time, four veterans from Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army, all aged between 95 and 100, will take part in the Republic Day parade.  A contingent of the Gorkha Brigade will take part in the parade and the Army’s M777 ultra-light howitzers and the K-9 Vajra artillery guns will be showcased for the first time.

■ The Union Cabinet has approved a landmark amendment to Article 280 and Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. The Constitutional amendment is meant to increase the financial and executive powers of the 10 autonomous councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of the northeast.

  • The Finance Commission would be mandated to recommend devolution of financial resources to these autonomous councils. Till now, the autonomous councils have depended on grants from Central Ministries and the State governments for specific projects.
  • The amendment also provides for transfer of additional 30 subjects including departments of Public Works, Forests, Public Health Engineering, Health and Family Welfare, Urban Development and Food and Civil Supply to Karbi Anglong Autonomous Territorial Council and Dima Hasao Autonomous Territorial Council in Assam.
  • As per the amendment, at least one third of the seats would be reserved for women in the village and municipal councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura.
  • The State Election Commissions would hold elections to the autonomous councils, village and municipal councils in the areas of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura. There would be a provision for anti-defection too.

These amendments will be a game changer, as they will substantially enhance the funds available to these local government institutions for undertaking development works in these tribal areas.

■ The Gujarat Forest Department has started evacuating muggers from two ponds on the Sardar Sarovar Dam premises on the Narmada, to facilitate a seaplane service at the Statue of Unity.

The mugger crocodile, also called marsh crocodile or broad-snouted crocodile, is a species (Crocodylus palustris) native to freshwater habitats ranging from southern Iran and Pakistan to the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka.
It is already extinct in Bhutan and Myanmar, and the mugger has been listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1982. In India, it is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Note that: Vadodara, which is 90 km from the Narmada dam, is the only city in the country where crocodiles live in their natural habitat amidst human population.

Crocodiles were listed under Schedule I not because of the fear of extinction but to prevent their trade. They need protection because they are valued for their skin and flesh.

About the Mugger: The mugger is a marsh crocodile which is found throughout the Indian subcontinent.
It is a freshwater species, and found in lakes, rivers and marshes.
IUCN Status: Vulnerable

Saltwater Crocodile: It is the largest of all living reptiles.
It is found along the eastern coast of India.
IUCN Status: Least Concerned

Gharial: The Gharial is a fish eating crocodile is native to the Indian subcontinent. It is listed as a Critically Endangered by IUCN.
Small released populations are present and increasing in the rivers of the National Chambal Sanctuary, Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, Son River Sanctuary. It is also found at the rainforest biome of Mahanadi in Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary, Orissa.

■ The Department of Justice has decided to deliver eCourts services through around 2 lakh Common Service Centres (CSCs) in order to provide efficient and time-bound access to the Courts services to litigant public, who are on the other side of the digital divide and don’t have access to internet. The project has made significant progress under the guidance of e-Committee of Supreme Court of India in computerizing district and subordinate courts of the country through installation of case information software, hardware and local area network in courts.

The eCourts database contains case information in respect of over 10 crore cases and more than 7 crore orders / judgments. No fee will be charged from the customers for eCourts related services delivered through CSC’s to ensure affordability. ECourts services are also being connected on Wide Area Network through a dedicated network offering bandwidth upto 100 Mbps.

International Current Affairs Capsule – 25 January 2019

■ The World Health Organisation (WHO) list of 10 global health threats which demand immediate attention from WHO and health partners in 2019 has been released. WHO’s new 5-year strategic plan, the 13th General Programme of Work, aims to address these and other threats. Its plan focuses on a triple billion target that includes ensuring 1 billion more people benefit from access to universal health coverage, 1 billion more people being protected from health emergencies and 1 billion more people enjoy better health and well-being.

The 10 health issues that demand urgent attention are:

  1. Air pollution and climate change.
  2. Non-communicable diseases.
  3. Global influenza pandemic.
  4. Fragile and vulnerable settings: More than 22% of the world population lives in places where protracted crisis (through a combination of challenges such as drought, famine, conflict and population displacement) and weak health services leave people without access to basic care.
  5. Antimicrobial resistance.
  6. Ebola and other high-threat pathogens.
  7. Weak primary health care.
  8. Vaccine hesitancy: Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective ways of avoiding disease, however, the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines, threatens to reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases.
  9. Dengue
  10. HIV

According to the WHO, unless steps are taken to address these threats millions of lives are at risk.

■ In order to “help Pakistan achieve financial stability and overcome economic challenges”, the State Bank of Pakistan and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development have signed an agreement. According to this agreement, Pakistan will receive $3 billion in bailout package from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

■ Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaidó has declared himself as the country’s interim President. This came amid protests against Nicolás Maduro, who was sworn in as the Venezuelan President for the second time earlier this month.

Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 25 January 2019

■ A week ahead of the February 1st Interim Budget Presentation, the Union Minister of Railways and Coal, Piyush Goyal, has been temporarily given the additional charge of the Ministry of Finance and Corporate Affairs, held by Arun Jaitley.

■ The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case against former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon Group MD Venugopal Dhoot in connection with alleged irregularities in the Rs 3,250-crore Videocon loan case.

■ The Cabinet has approved the creation of National Bench of the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT).  The tribunal is the forum of second appeal in GST laws and the first common forum of dispute resolution between Centre and states.  It will be presided over by a President and comprise one technical member each from the Centre and states. It shall be situated at New Delhi.

Being a common forum, GST Appellate Tribunal will ensure that there is uniformity in redressal of disputes arising under GST, and therefore, in implementation of GST across the country.

■ Mumbai’s Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) has become India’s only port to be among the top 30 global container ports according to the Lloyds Report.  The JNPT has notched up five spots to be 28th on the list.

Sports Current Affairs – 25 January 2019

■ Indian artistic gymnast Dipa Karmakar’s biography titled “The Small Wonder”, was launched by the legendary Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar in Mumbai.This book has been co-authored by journalist Digvijay Singh Deo.
The book has inputs from her coach Bishweshwar Nandi, and chronicles her life from Agartala to becoming a world-famous gymnast, who finished fourth in the finals of the vault event at the Rio Olympics back in 2016.

■ Indian Cricket team Captain Virat Kohli (10,430 runs in 212 innings) has become the 10th highest ODI run-getter, achieving the feat with his 45-run knock against New Zealand in the first ODI.  With this, Kohli has overtaken ex-Windies captain Brian Lara, who scored 10,405 runs in 289 ODI innings.

“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 25 January 2019 “

Q1.The ‘Manu Smriti’ mainly deals with _ ?

  • A) Social order
  • B) Economics
  • C) State-Craft
  • D) Laws
Q2. ‘Sanrakshan Kshamta Mahotsav’ is associated with which of the following ministries?

  • A) Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
  • B) Ministry of Panchayati Raj
  • C) Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas
  • D) Ministry of Renewable Energy
Q3.Which of the following acts established the direct rule of British crown over India?

  • A) Government of India Act, 1858
  • B) Pitts India Act
  • C) Indian Councils Act 1813
  • D) Indian Councils Act 1833
Q4.What is ‘VY Canis Majoris’, which was recently in news?

  • A) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
  • B) Computer Malware
  • C) Night Frog
  • D) Star
Q5. The Nodal Ministry for ‘Government e-Marketplace’ is

  • A) Ministry of Commerce & Industry
  • B) Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
  • C) Ministry of Finance
  • D) Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare
Answers for these:

  1. D
  2. C
  3. A
  4. D
  5. D

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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