This Daily Current Affair Capsule is 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 when the prelims are so close to cover news for revision and awareness purposes.
National Important Current Affairs – 3 and 4 May 2018
■ The Union Cabinet has approved the Cadre review and formation of Group ‘A’ service of the technical cadre of Petroleum & Safety Organization (PESO) in the name of Indian Petroleum & Explosives Safety Service (IPESS).
This is meant to remove severe stagnation in all grades and enhance the performance of the cadres. This will also enhance career progression of its Group ‘A’ officers.
PESO is a subordinate office under Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP). The organization is serving the nation since 1898 as a nodal agency for regulating safety of substances such as explosives, compressed gases and petroleum.
It deals with subjects related to explosives, petroleum, compressed gases, pressure vessels, gas cylinders, cross-country pipelines, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Auto Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Auto LPG) etc.
■ The South Western Command of Indian Army is conducting exercise ‘Vijay Prahar’ in Mahajan area near Suratgarh in Rajasthan. Over 20,000 troops are participating in this month-long exercise, aimed to orchestrate wide spectrum of threats to be tackled through high tempo joint air and land operation. This exercise involves hundreds of aircrafts, thousands of tanks and artillery pieces supported by real-time intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and logistic support.
■ The Union Cabinet has approved the extension of thePradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY), by two years till 2020 with financial outlay of Rs.14,832 crore and a plan to set up 20 All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and upgrade 73 medical colleges. The new AIIMS are expected to address the shortfall of healthcare professionals, transform health education and training, and lead to employment generation.
About Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY):
The Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) was announced in 2003 with objectives of correcting regional imbalances in the availability of affordable/ reliable tertiary healthcare services and also to augment facilities for quality medical education in the country. PMSSY has two components :
- Setting up new AIIMS
- Upgradation of government medical colleges.
■ The Union Cabinet has also approved the restructuring of Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) by upgradation, creation and abolition of certain posts of Joint Secretary-level and above to reform the mineral sector regulation.
The restructuring would enable the adoption of IT and space technology by the bureau to improve its effectiveness in mineral regulation and development
About the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM): It is a multi-disciplinary government organisation under the Department of Mines, Ministry of Mines, engaged in promotion of conservation, scientific development of mineral resources and protection of environment in mines other than coal, petroleum & natural gas, atomic minerals and minor minerals.
IBM is engaged in handholding the states for auction of mineral blocks for greater transparency in allocation of mineral concessions. IBM is also helping states in preparation of auction blocks, publishing of average sale price, assisting in post auction monitoring and approval process.
■ The Supreme Court has issued directions to all high courts of the country regarding trial in sexual assault cases involving children. These are:
- All high courts must ensure that such cases are fast-tracked and decided by special courts.
- High courts should instruct the trial courts to refrain from granting unnecessary adjournments during the trial of cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
- High courts may also constitute a committee of three judges to monitor and regulate the trials of sexual assault cases of children.
- The State police chiefs should constitute special task forces to investigate cases.
Note that: Nearly 32% of cases filed under the POCSO Act, were pending police investigation at the end of 2016 while 89% were pending trials. With the rise in sucg crimes across the nation, it is pertinent for the judiciary to speed up the justice delivery process.
About the POCSO Act:
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012 was formulated in order to address sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children. The Act stipulates that a case of child sexual abuse must be disposed of within one year from the date the offence is reported. The Act makes provisions for avoiding the re-victimisation of the child at the hands of the judicial system. It provides for special courts that conduct the trial in-camera and without revealing the identity of the child, in a manner that is as child-friendly as possible.
The Act also provides for mandatory reporting of sexual offences. This casts a legal duty upon a person who has knowledge that a child has been sexually abused to report the offence; if he fails to do so, he may be punished with six months’ imprisonment and/ or a fine.
■ The government has announced that the Aadhaar is not mandatory for getting a SIM. A phone number can be issued using alternative identification cards such as voter ID or Driving Licence.
■ Amid protests over the formation of the Cauvery Management Board, the Supreme Court has directed the Karnataka government to release 4 TMC of water to Tamil Nadu or face strict action.
Note that: In its February verdict on the Cauvery dispute in February, the Supreme court had reduced the amount of water Karnataka has to supply to Tamil Nadu by 14.75 TMC.
■ The Union Cabinet has approved doubling the investment limit to Rs 15 lakh under the flagship senior citizen pension scheme Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY). This move will enable up to Rs 10,000 pension per month for senior citizens based on a guaranteed 8% annual return.
About Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY):
It is a Pension Scheme exclusively for the senior citizens aged 60 years and above. The Scheme can be purchased offline as well as online through Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India which has been given the sole privilege to operate this Scheme. It was announced on 4th May 2017.
The Scheme provides an assured return of 8% p.a. payable monthly (equivalent to 8.30% p.a. effective) for 10 years. The pension is payable at the end of each period, during the policy term of 10 years, as per the frequency of monthly/ quarterly/ half-yearly/ yearly as chosen by the pensioner at the time of purchase.
The scheme is exempted from Service Tax/ GST.
On death of the Pensioner during the policy term of 10 years, the Purchase Price shall be refunded to the beneficiary. On survival of the pensioner to the end of the policy term of 10 years, Purchase price along with final pension installment shall be payable. The scheme also allows for premature exit for the treatment of any critical/ terminal illness of self or spouse. On such premature exit, 98% of the Purchase Price shall be refunded.
■ The Task Force constituted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on “Establishing a Coalition on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI)” has submitted its report. This report consists step-by-step implementation plan and analysis to build and operationalize CDRI. The head of this Task Force is Preeti Saran, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
The task force was constituted because, during the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) held in New Delhi in November 2016, the Prime Minister has outlined a 10-point Agenda for disaster risk reduction. The task force take the first agenda further under which, the country would work with other partner countries and key stakeholders to build a coalition or centre for promoting disaster resilient infrastructure in the region. This would help generate new knowledge for hazard risk assessment, disaster resilient technologies and mechanism for integrating risk reduction in infrastructure financing”.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 3 and 4 May 2018
■ South American nation amid an economic crisis, Venezuela, has offered India a 30% discount on crude oil purchases made using the oil-backed Venezuelan cryptocurrency Petro. It is noteworthy that the US had banned transactions involving Petro, saying it intended to bypass US sanctions.
Venezuela, a South American country with the largest oil reserves in the world, has offered discount on crude oil, which recently touched a whole new high of $75 a barrel. Though the deal seems attractive, but India’s disinterest in promoting as well as trading in cryptocurrency could pose a hurdle. Venezuela was declared to be in default with debt payments by credit rating agencies, is reportedly keen on promoting this in different countries due to the several economic crises in the country.
About Petro: Petro is the world’s first state-backed virtual currency. It recently tied up with a Delhi-based digital currency exchange Coinsecure.
■ The Chinese and Indian military have agreed to set up a hotline between their headquarters after the recent informal summit between Indian PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Wuhan. This hotline will enable them to intensify communication in order to avoid confrontations like the 73-day Doklam standoff at the 3488-km Line of Actual Control (LAC) as a part of confidence building measures (CBM). The move comes after Modi and Xi agreed to issue “strategic guidance to their respective militaries to strengthen communication in order to build trust and mutual understanding and enhance predictability and effectiveness in the management of border affairs.”
■ The 9th India Japan Energy Dialogue was recently held in New Delhi. India and Japan have issued Joint Statement, agreeing to work together for energy security, energy access and climate change issues. Both Japan and India, as the third and the seventh largest economies respectively, recognise that having access to reliable, clean and economical energy is critical for their economic growth.
India and Japan are commited to work together in promoting well-functioning energy markets and affirmed to promote transparent and diversified Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) market through the relaxation of destination clause without the ‘Asian Premium’.
■ 3rd May was celebrated as the annual World Press Freedom Day with the theme: ‘Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law’. This day aims to draw focus on the freedom of information, protecting journalism from censorship, and ensuring safety for journalists. Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference. The day marks the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek, a statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists in 1991.
Indian scenario on Press Freedom: To preserve the freedom of the press and to maintain and improve the standards of newspapers and news agencies in India and to inculcate principles of self-regulation among the press, the Government of India under the Press Council Act, 1978 has set up Press Council of India , an autonomous, statutory, quasi -Judicial authority.
According to the 2018 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), India has dropped from rank 136 to rank 138. The report mentioned sharing of “hate speeches” targeting journalists by “troll armies” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a reason for this low rank. The report also mentioned “physical violence” against journalists, for example, the murder of Gauri Lankesh as another key reason.
■ According to Swedish arms watchdog SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) report, India has surpassed France to become one of the world’s five largest military spenders. India has spent $63.9 billion on its military in 2017, whgich is an increase of 5.5% compared with 2016.
The top 5 Largest Military Spenders are : USA – $610 bn; China – $228 bn; Saudi Arabia – $69 bn; Russia – $66 bn; India – $63.9 bn; France – $ 58 bn.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 3 and 4 May 2018
■ The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Umbrella Scheme, “Green Revolution – Krishonnati Yojana” in agriculture sector beyond 12th Five Year Plan for the period from 2017-18 to 2019-20.
The Umbrella scheme will cover 11 Schemes/Missions, with an objective to develop the agriculture and allied sector in a holistic and scientific manner. It aims for betterment of agricultural base, while doubling of farmers’ earnings, by development of appropriate agriculture infrastructure. The scheme also aims to develop adequate market for sale of produce. The Schemes under the Umbrella Scheme are:
- Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH).
- National Food Security Mission (NFSM).
- National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA).
- Submission on Agriculture Extension (SMAE).
- Sub-Mission on Seeds and Planting Material (SMSP).
- Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation (SMAM).
- Sub Mission on Plant Protection and Plan Quarantine (SMPPQ).
- Integrated Scheme on Agriculture Census, Economics and Statistics (ISACES).
- Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Cooperation (ISAC).
- Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Marketing (ISAM).
- National e-Governance Plan (NeGP-A).
■ The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has also approved the renaming and restructuring of Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) as Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK), and its continuation during the remaining period of the 14th Finance Commission.
About Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP)/ PMJVK: It was launched in the year 2008-09 in 90 identified Minority Concentration Districts (MCDs) having at least 25% minority population and below national average with respect to one or both of the backwardness parameters with the objective of developing assets for socio-economic and basic amenities.
MsDP has been designed primarily to address the developmental gaps/deficits in identified backward minority concentration areas by topping up of existing Centrally Sponsored Schemes of various Central ministries/departments without any change in the norms, guidelines and the funding pattern. MsDP has been identified as one of the Core of the Core Schemes under National Development Agenda by NITI Aayog.
■ The Union Cabinet has approved the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA). Now it will be easy for Indian accountancy professionals to explore employment opportunities in South Africa
The ICAI is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament of India, The Chartered Accountants Act, 1949′, to regulate the profession of Chartered Accountancy in India.
Note that: MRAs are meant for recognition of the professional bodies of one country by the other. The regulatory bodies of various professional services like engineering, accountancy and architecture are encouraged to enter into these pacts to aid movement of professionals between the nations. These agreements are part of free trade pacts that India has signed with several regions, including Singapore, Japan, South Korea and ASEAN.
Sports Current Affairs – 3 and 4 May 2018
■ The oldest tennis tournament in the world, Wimbledon has increased the total prize amount for 2018’s edition to $46.57 million (approximately Rs 300 crore), which is a 7.6% increase from last year. Wimbledon is the only grand slam event to be played on grass and will take place from July 2-15. This year’s championships has several milestones- marking the 150th anniversary of the club, 50 years of Open tennis and 125 years of the women’s singles championships.
■ Former Australian cricketer Justin Langer has been appointed as Australian cricket team’s Head Coach for all three formats. He replaces Darren Lehmann, who had stepped down after Australia’s tour of South Africa amid the ball-tampering controversy.
■ Noted Marxist economist and former West Bengal Finance Minister Ashok Mitra has passed away at 90 years of age.
Mitra had also worked as India’s Chief Economic Adviser and was a member of Rajya Sabha. A teacher of Economics, who taught in UN Economic Commission, Mitra was also associated with World Bank for many years.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 3 & 4 May 2018 “
Q1.What is the India’s rank in the list of doping violations, as per latest report of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)?
Q2. The GOBAR-DHAN scheme has launched from which state to promote wealth and energy from waste?
A) Uttar Pradesh
C) Madhya Pradesh
Q3.Who has been appointed the new chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament?
A) Ghulam Nabi Azad
B) Mallikarjun Kharge
C) Jyotiraditya Scindia
D) Kamal Nath
Q4. The Government of India (GoI) has launched which nationwide Karyashala for farmer outreach as part of Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan?
A) Kisan Kalyan Karyashala
B) Krishi Jyoti Karyashala
C) Kisan Jyoti Karyashala
D) Krishi Kalyan Karyashala
Q5.Who has won the 2018 Azerbaijan Formula 1 Grand Prix tournament?
A) Lewis Hamilton
B) Daniel Ricciardo
C) Sebastian Vettel
D) Kimi Raikkonen
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!