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 – 28 April 2017
■ The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has declared the results of the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main 2017 exam, in which Rajasthan’s Kalpit Veerwal emerged as the topper, scoring 360 out of 360 marks in the examination. This is the first time a score of 100% has been achieved in this coveted exam.
■ Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation has sanctioned 1,00,537 more houses for urban poor under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) with an investment of Rs.4,200 crore. This takes the total investment so far approved to Rs.1,00,466 crore. The total investment approved so far includes central assistance of Rs.29,409 cr, assistance from State Governments and beneficiary contribution.
The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) Programme is run by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA), in Mission mode with provision of Housing for All by 2022, when the Nation completes 75 years of its Independence.
The beneficiaries are poor and people living under EWS and LIG categories in the country.
The government is providing an interest subsidy of 6.5% on housing loans which can be availed by beneficiaries for 15 years from start of loan date.
■ The annual report of the U.S Commission on International Religious Freedom said that religious tolerance and religious freedom continued to deteriorate in India in 2016. It stated that Hindu nationalist groups and their sympathisers perpetrated numerous incidents of intimidation, harassment, and violence against religious minority communities and Hindu Dalits.
■ The Jammu & Kashmir High Court has reprimanded the authorities for failing to preserve the famous Dal Lake. The court has also ordered measures to contain the ever growing pollution and encroachments in and around the waterbody. These are:
- Re-structure and refurnish existing Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs).
- Implement a rehabilitation project for lake-dwellers who are being displaced as part of the conservation programme.
- Seek guidance of the World Wildlife Fund, which has created a network called the India Water Stewardship Network and Alliance for Water Stewardship, “to ensure sustainable water management”.
- Encourage good Samaritans to save the lake. This can be done by encouraging school and college students to take part in community service programmes, focusing specifically on clean environment in and around the lake.
About Dal lake:
It is the second largest lake in Jammu and Kashmir and is integral to tourism and recreation in Kashmir. It isalso called the “Jewel in the crown of Kashmir” or “Srinagar’s Jewel”.
The lake is located within a catchment area covering 316 square kilometres in the Zabarwan mountain valley, in the foothills of the Shankracharya hills, which surrounds it on three sides.
The lake covers an area of 18 square kilometres and is part of a natural wetland which covers 21.1 square kilometres, including its floating gardens. The floating gardens are known as “Rad” in Kashmiri.
■ Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme for regional flight connectivity by flagging off the inaugural flight from Shimla to Delhi.
Under UDAN, government will connect small towns by air with 50% plane seats’ fare capped at ₹2,500 for a one-hour journey of 500 kilometres. UDAN will connect over 45 unserved and under-served airports.
■ According to a study by IUCN experts, 17 Western Ghats species have smaller area coverage ranges than what was thought previously. The study used land cover, forest type (satellite imagery), temperature, precipitation and ‘citizen science’ using the eBird online birding checklist. IUCN overestimated the habitat of these bird species by up to 88%. Of the 18 species, habitats of 12 were overestimated by over 50%.
- An example is the Malabar grey hornbill which IUCN classifies as ‘Least Concern’ and believes is distributed across 2.3 lakh sq.km in Kerala and Karnataka. But data from spatial modelling techniques, showed its range was just 43,060 sq. km, or, nearly 81% less than the estimates. This would put the bird in the ‘Near Threatened’ category.
- Similarly, the Nilgiri pipit appears to have lost 88% of its habitat, making it “endangered” rather than “vulnerable.”
- These species are in danger because as per the IUCN guidelines, ‘less vulnerable’ species receive a lower conservation focus.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 28 April 2017
■ NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has successful executed its historic first-ever dive through the narrow gap between the planet Saturn and its rings, marking the beginning of the ‘Grand Finale’ of the 20-year-long journey. The spacecraft is in the process of beaming back science data collected during its passage, through NASA’s Deep Space Network Goldstone Complex in California’s Mojave Desert.
- No spacecraft has ever been this close to Saturn before. Cassini’s next dive through the gap is scheduled for May 2nd.
- It was launched in 1997, and had arrived at Saturn in 2004.
■ El Salvador has became the first country in the world to ban the mining of metals in what campaigners called a landmark move for environmental protection. The law in El Salvador bans prospection, exploration, exploitation, extraction or processing of metallic minerals in El Salvador.
Note that: Some Latin American countries thrive on mineral exports but local communities have been complaining of environmental risks from toxic metals used in the process. The country has had disputes with powerful foreign mining firms in the past.
■ Scientists have successfully tested an artificial womb filled with clear liquid on pre-natal lambs. It has a fluid environment, which is critical for foetal development. The foetus — breathing liquid, as it would in the womb — lies in a clear-plastic sack filled with a synthetic amniotic fluid. It is designed to continue what naturally occurs in the womb.
The umbilical cord is attached via tubes to a machine outside the bag, which removes CO2 and adds oxygen to blood passing through it. There are no mechanical pumps — it is the foetus’ heart that keeps things moving.
This new system mimics life in the uterus and has potential for human use. If approved, this could help extremely premature babies avoid death or life-long disability.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 28 April 2017
■ Digital payments startup Paytm has partnered with metal refinery MMTC-PAMP to launch a ‘Digital Gold’ feature to allow users to buy and sell gold digitally on its platform. Paytm claims users will be able to purchase 24K 999.9 Gold starting from Rs 1. These gold can be home delivered in the form of minted coins or be stored in MMTC-PAMP’s vaults.
■ The Centre has extended the last date for filing service tax return by five days to April 30, in a relief to lakhs of service providers. Every registered service tax assessee has to file service tax return in form ST-3 on a half-yearly basis before the due date to avoid penalty.
- The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) said that the due date is being extended as the assessees faced intermittent difficulties” in accessing the ACES (Automation of Central Excise and Service Tax) website on April 25th. As per norms, the returns have to be filed online on www.aces.gov.in.
■ The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will soon put into circulation new Rs 5 coins to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Allahabad High Court and new Rs 10 coins to commemorate the 125th year of National Archives of India.
Sports News Current Affairs – 28 April 2017
■ Nita Ambani has become a member of International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Channel Commission, which handles IOC’s digital platform. She has also been made a member of IOC’s Olympic Education Commission also.
- Note that : In August last year, Nita became IOC’s first Indian woman member.
■ Former World No 1 Maria Sharapova has made a winning comeback to the sports following her 15-month ban for doping. The Russian Tennis player defeated Italian Roberta Vinci in the first round of the Stuttgart Open held in Germany.
Her initial two-year suspension was reduced to 15 months and Sharapova is now without a world ranking.
Recall that: The 30-year-old player tested positive at the 2016 Australian Open for meldonium, a medication she had been taking within the rules but which was then reclassified as a banned drug.
■ Veteran actor and Member of Parliament, Vinod Khanna, who was reportedly suffering from cancer, has passed away at age of 70 years. Khanna was the sitting Member of Parliament from Gurdaspur for the Bharatiya Janata Party.
- The actor, who appeared in films including ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’ and ‘The Burning Train’, is also a recipient of the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims”
Q1. Which country has become the first country to open an honorary consulate office in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City)?
- A) Germany
- B) Belgium
- C) Singapore
- D) South Africa
Q2. Jonathan Demme, the Oscar-winning filmmaker has passed away. He hailed from which country?
- A) United States
- B) France
- C) Germany
- D) Russia
Q3. Which of the following security forces is / are the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) of India?
- A) Special Frontier Force (SFF)
- B) Assam Rifles
- C) Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)
- D) All of the above
Answer these questions in the comments below. Discuss your thoughts on the news and issues mentioned in today’s current affairs post. Have a good day!
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