This Daily Current Affair Capsule covers the news for 27th and 28th January to act as a time-saving tool for going through relevant news from national dailies and government releases on PIB.
National Important Current Affairs – 28 January 2018
■ President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have paid tributes to Punjab Kesari Lala Lajpat Rai on his 153rd birth anniversary on 28th January. The nation remembers him as a righteous and courageous leader who dedicated himself towards India’s freedom.
■ An MoU has been signed by National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) under the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, for construction of the Zojila Tunnel in Jammu & Kashmir. The Zojila tunnel will be the longest bi-directional tunnel in Asia. This pass is most strategic for the entire Kargil sector which has seen intrusion and war in the past.
The Zojila pass tunnel is a 14.2-km long tunnel project in Jammu and Kashmir to provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh, which remains cut-off from the rest of India during winters due to heavy snowfall. The project would enhance the safety of travellers crossing Zojila Pass and reduce the travel time from 3.5 hours to 15 minutes.
■ The closing ceremony of Maitreyi Yatra for Jammu and Kashmir students was held recently. The Maitreyi Yatra is an exchange programme for schoolchildren as part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the J&K government and the Ministry of Human Resource Development. This programme aims to integrate the youth of Jammu and Kashmir to the rest of the country and to promote brotherhood and harmony.
■ On the occasion of the 69th Republic Day, the Indian Railways renamed Fairy Queen, the world’s oldest working steam engine, as ‘69 Ganrajya Express’. The Fairy Queen engine was constructed in the UK and inducted to the then East Indian Railway in 1855.
■ Kolkata has become the first metro city in India to get floating market. The floating market is now open in Kolkata’s Patuli area in West Bengal. It has been set up by the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA), the market functions solely on boats at the lake in Patuli, where shopkeepers sell fruits, vegetables, fish among other produce.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 28 January 2018
■ China has released its Arctic Policy document which draws a picture of how China views the economic possibilities in the region. China has vowed to actively participate in Arctic affairs as a “near-Arctic State” – one of the continental States that are closest to the Arctic Circle. As per the policy, specifically, China will mainly focus its attention on four aspects:
- Development of Arctic shipping routes which are composed of the Northeast Passage, Northwest Passage, and the Central Passage. China plans to build a “Polar Silk Road” by developing the Arctic shipping routes.
- China aims to participate “in the exploration for and exploitation of oil, gas, mineral and other non-living resources” in the Arctic.
- China will start to utilize fisheries and other living resources and participate in conservation, since “the Arctic has the potential to become a new fishing ground in the future.”
- China will develop Arctic tourism in the region” and conduct “training for and regulates Chinese tourism agencies and professionals involved in Arctic tourism.”
Note that: The land territories in the Arctic covers an area of about 8 million square kilometres, whose sovereignty belongs to Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the US. The Arctic Ocean has an area of over 12 million square kilometres, in which coastal and other countries share maritime rights and interests.
■ India’s first indigenously developed vaccine “Rotavac” has been pre-qualified by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The Rotavac, a vaccine conceived and developed from scratch in India, has been “pre-qualified” which means that the vaccine can be sold internationally to several countries in Africa and South America.
The Rotavac vaccine is developed by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech Limited. It has been included in India’s national immunisation programme and protects against childhood diarrhoea caused by the rotavirus. Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhoea and kills more than 200,000 children every year.
■ The Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen called on President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan. President Kovind said, India was honoured by the presence of Mr Hun Sen at the Republic Day celebrations and the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit and thanked him for his support for the successful ASEAN-India Summit. Cambodia is a key partner for India’s Act East policy. President Kovind also thanked the Cambodian Prime Minister for Cambodia’s support for India in various UN bodies and international fora.He also appreciated the decision of Cambodia to join the International Solar Alliance.
A number of agreements have been signed between the two countries during this visit:
- Cultural Exchange Programme with Cambodia for the year 2018-2022 to promote cultural exchange and strengthen the friendly relations between India and Cambodia.
- Credit Line Agreement between the EXIM Bank, Government of India and the Government of Cambodia for a Line of Credit to finance the Stung Sva Hab Water Resource Development Project for US$ 36.92 million.
- Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, to improve the effectiveness of both countries in the prevention, investigation and prosecution of crimes through cooperation and legal assistance in criminal matters.
- MoU on Cooperation for Prevention of Human Trafficking, to increase the bilateral cooperation on the issues of prevention, rescue and repatriation related to human trafficking.
■ In order to safeguard the world from state sponsponsered hackers and growing data breaches from nation-states — the World Economic Forum (WEF) has announced a new Global Centre for Cybersecurity. The centre will be based in Geneva, Switzerland, and will function as an autonomous organization under the auspices of the World Economic Forum.
The centre will focus on the following aims:
- Consolidating existing cybersecurity initiatives of the World Economic Forum.
- Establishing an independent library of cyber best practices.
- Helping partners to enhance knowledge on cybersecurity.
- Working towards an appropriate and agile regulatory framework on cybersecurity.
- Serving as a laboratory and early-warning think tank for future cybersecurity scenarios.
As a truly borderless problem, cyber-attacks are surpassing the capacities and institutions that are currently dealing with this threat in an isolated manner. Only through collaboration, information exchange and common standards can the global community successfully counter organized digital crime.
■ 27th January has been observed as the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. This day commemorates the genocide that resulted in the death of an estimated 6 million Jewish people, 2 million Romani people, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people, and 9,000 homosexual men by the Nazi regime and its colalborators.
■ NASA’s Global-Scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) instrument was recently launched atop an Ariane 5 rocket. It is an imaging spectrograph, meant to break light down into its constituent wavelengths and to measure their intensity. By examining the data, scientists can determine a wide variety of characteristics, including a target’s composition and temperature. GOLD will be tasked with collecting far ultraviolet light data on Earth’s atmosphere. Its mission is to shed light on how the uppermost layers of Earth’s atmosphere can be affected by powerful space and Earth-based weather events.
- The need for study of outer atmosphere: Earth’s atmosphere is known to undergo swift and significant changes in less than an hour. These fluctuations can be driven by the constant interactions between the ionosphere and thermosphere, in conjunction with weather emanating from both Earth and space. Disturbances in the ionosphere can interfere with, or even block signals being sent between Earth-based systems and orbital probes, potentially affecting cell-phone communications, and other vital services such as GPS, which is needed to safely navigate airplanes and ships.
■ A space mission to test different methods to clean up space junk will be launched by the RemoveDebris. The mission will comprise of the main satellite platform that will deploy two CubeSats as artificial debris targets to demonstrate some of the technologies (net capture, harpoon capture, vision-based navigation, dragsail de-orbitation) once it gets into orbit.
About RemoveDebris mission:
RemoveDEBRIS is aimed at performing key Active Debris Removal (ADR) technology demonstrations (e.g capture, deorbiting) representative of an operational scenario during a low-cost mission using novel key technologies for ADR. The project is co-ordinated by the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey, UK, and involves the collaboration of a number of mission partners.
Note that: Scientists have warned that the growing problem of space debris is putting spacecraft and astronauts at risk. AN estimate states that there are about half a million pieces of man-made rubbish orbiting the Earth, ranging from huge defunct satellites to spent rocket boosters and nuts and bolts. Any collisions can cause a great deal of damage, and generate even more pieces of debris.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 28 January 2018
■ Usha Ananthasubramanian, the MD and CEO of Allahabad Bank, has been elected the first woman chairman of Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) for the year 2017-18.
IBA is the banking sector’s industry body, whose objective, among others, is to promote and develop sound and progressive banking principles, practices and conventions and to contribute to the developments of creative banking in the country.
■ The Centre has decided to allow small finance banks and payment banks to offer the Atal Pension Yojana (APY), which is expected to significantly increase the coverage of the scheme. Participation in APY not only builds a pensioned society but also adds sustainable fee income to banks by way of attractive incentive for mobilising APY. So far, 11 payment banks and 10 small finance banks have received licences from the Reserve Bank of India to start banking operations in India.
About Atal Pension Yojana:
The Atal Pension Yojana became operational from June 1, 2015 and is available to all the citizens of India in the age group of 18-40 years. Under the scheme, a subscriber would receive a minimum guaranteed pension of Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 per month, depending upon his contribution, from the age of 60 years. The same pension would be paid to the spouse of the subscriber and on the demise of both the subscriber and the spouse, the accumulated pension wealth is returned to the nominee. The Central Government would also co-contribute 50% of the total contribution or Rs. 1000 per annum, whichever is lower, to each eligible subscriber account, for a period of 5 years, to those who join the NPS before 31st December, 2015 and who are not members of any statutory social security scheme and who are not Income Tax payers.
■ The Prime Minister’s Shram Awards for the year 2016 will be awarded to 50 workers employed in the Departmental Undertakings & Public Sector Undertakings of the Central and State Governments and Private Sector Units that are employing 500 or more workers.
About Shram Awards:
Instituted in 1985 to be conferred on workers for outstanding contributions that improve productivity, innovation, and indigenization, resulting in saving foreign exchange. The objective is to recognize the outstanding contributions made by workmen as defined in the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 in organizations both in public and private sector and who have distinguished record of performance, devotion to duty of a high order, specific contribution in the field of productivity and proven innovative abilities among others.
There are four types of Shram awards:
- Shram Ratna: Rs. Two lakhs and recognition of their contribution to their field (a Sanad).
- Shram Bhushan: RS. 100000 and a Sanad.
- Shram Vir / Shram Veerangana: RS. 60000 and a Sanad.
- Shram Devi / Shram Shree: RS. 40000 and a Sanad.
Sports Current Affairs – 28 January 2018
■ World number two tennis player Caroline Wozniacki won her maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open by beating the world number one Simona Halep. Caroline Wozniacki reigned in a classic Australian Open final, claiming a long-awaited Grand Slam title after two heart-breaking near-misses.
■ English football club Arsenal has become the first major global sporting team to sign a sponsorship deal promoting a cryptocurrency. The football club will promote a new cryptocurrency sold by gambling platform, CashBet.
■ India have won the third and final cricket Test match against South Africa by 63 runs after bundling out the hosts for 177 in their second innings on the fourth day at Johannesburg. Though India won the match; South Africa won the 3-match series 2-1.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 28 January 2018 “
Q1. Which state government has launched Mahatma Gandhi Sarbat Vikas Yojna (MGSVY) for distressed sections?
- A) Karnataka
- B) Punjab
- C) Meghalaya
- D) Kerala
Q2. Who has been honoured with the India’s highest peacetime military decoration “Ashoka Chakra” at the 69th Republic Day?
- A) Khairnar Milind Kishor
- B) Nilesh Kumar Narayan
- C) Devendra Mehta
- D) Jyoti Prakash Nirala
Q3. Ursula K. Le Guin, the renowned science fiction author passed away, hailed from which country?
- A) United States
- B) Israel
- C) Italy
- D) United Kingdom
Q4. Which state to host the 7th Asia Steel International Conference (ASIC-2018)?
- A) Punjab
- B) Rajasthan
- C) West Bengal
- D) Odisha
Q5. What is the India’s rank in the 2018 Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI)?
- A) 81st
- B) 98th
- C) 102nd
- D) 88th
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!