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 – 30 March 2018
■ The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully placed a communication satellite GSAT-6A in a geosynchronous transfer orbit, on board the GSLV F-08 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.
The GSAT-6A is a communication satellite that will complement the GSAT-6, which is already in orbit. The GSLV F-08 is a three-stage rocket. The core of the first stage is fired with solid fuel while the four strap-on motors with liquid fuel. The second is the liquid fuel and the third is the cryogenic engine. This is a step forward for ISRO in its indigenous communication satellites programme.
This was the 12th GSLV flight and the sixth flight with the Cryogenic Upper Stage. It will provide mobile communication to India through multi-beam coverage. The purpose of the satellite is to provide mobile communication applications in S-band in five spot beams and C-band in one beam during its 10-year lifespan.
Antrix – Devas Controversy on GSAT 6A:
The GSAT 6A has been in the news before, but for the Antrix-Devas deal. Under the controversial Antrix deal, Antrix, ISRO’s commercial arm, was to provide 70 MHz of the scarce S-Band wavelength to Devas for its digital multimedia services. This was to be done by leasing 90 per cent of the transponders in satellites GSAT-6 and GSAT-6A that are proposed to be launched by ISRO. Devas, in turn, was to pay Antrix a total of $300 million over 12 years. This agreement was signed on January 28, 2005. Consequently, the Department of Space (DoS) got the Cabinet approval for the building of GSAT-6 at a cost of Rs 269 crore and GSAT-6A at a cost of Rs 147 crore. The deal was annulled in 2011 when irregularities were found in the financial management.
With this successful launch, India has established the performance of its GSLV-MkII rocket which may fetch orders from third parties for launching their satellites in future. India puts into orbit foreign satellites for a fee using its lighter rocket – the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
According to the 2018 Economic Survey, foreign exchange earnings of India from the export of satellite launch services has increased noticeably in 2015-16 and 2016-17 to Rs. 394 crores and Rs. 275 crores from Rs 149 crores in 2014-15.
■ The NITI Aayog has launched the baseline ranking for the Aspirational Districts based on data of 49 indicators. All the states — except West Bengal and Kerala — are on board in this ranking initiative.
As per the baseline ranking, Vizianagaram in Andhra Pradesh is ranked highest with a score of 48.13% while Mewat in Haryana stands at last with 26.02%. Following districts are also at lower end of spectrum, Asifabad (Telengana), Singrauli (Madhya Pradesh), Kiphire (Nagaland), Shrawasti, Siddarthnagar and Balrampur (Uttar Pradesh), Namsai (Arunachal Pradesh), Sukma (Chattisgarh).
About Transformation of Aspirational Districts Programme:
‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ has launched in January with an aim to quickly and effectively transform some of the most underdeveloped districts in the country. The broad contours of the programme are Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts driven by a mass Movement. It will converge the central and state schemes, collaborate central, state and district collectors to strengthen these districts by identifying the low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement, measure progress and then rank the district by getting the data on a real-time basis.
States are the main drivers of growth, under the programme, identified districts are encouraged to first catch-up with the best district within their state, and subsequently aspire to become one of the best in the country, by competing with, and learning from others.
■ Indu Bhushan has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) for a period of two years. Presently, he is Director General (DG) of East Asia Department of Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Manila, Philippines.
■ Social activist Anna Hazare has ended his six-day fast at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat met him. He has been assured by the government that appointments of Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in the states would be made soon. The 80-year-old anti-corruption activist’s demanded appointment of Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in the states, and giving better prices to the farmers for their yield.
■ The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the continuation of the Credit Guarantee Fund for Education Loans Scheme and continuation and modification of Central Sector Interest Subsidy Scheme with a financial outlay of 6,600 crore rupees from 2017-18 to 2019-20.
It will cover loans for pursuing professional and technical courses to promote quality education by providing education loans to ten lakh students during this period.
The CCEA also approved a proposal to formulate an Integrated Scheme on school education by subsuming Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education from 1st April 2018 to 31st March, 2020.
■ The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to add ‘Ramji’ as Dr BR Ambedkar’s middle name in all documents and records. The spelling of the leader’s name in Hindi has also been changed so that it is pronounced as ‘Aambedkar’.
Note that: Ramji was Ambedkar’s father’s name and it is customary in Maharashtra to add it as middle name.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 30 March 2018
■ The 9th India-Japan Foreign Minister’s Strategic Dialogue, co-chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj took place at Tokyo with her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono. They reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral ties between India and Japan.
India welcomes Japanese investments in India’s flagship programmes like smart cities. India’s relations with Japan have strengthened under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
■ China has announced that it has already met its 2020 carbon dioxide emissions reduction target in 2017. China cut CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 46% from the 2005 level, fulfilling its commitment before 2020. According to Paris climate deal, China have to cut emissions by 60-65% by 2030.
■ Win Myint, a loyalist of Aung San Suu Kyi, has been elected as the new President of Myanmar after the resignation of his predecessor ‘Htin Kyaw’. Myint is a stalwart member of National League for Democracy (NLD) and has been a Speaker in the Lower House since 2012. This role will be essentially ceremonial, with Ms Suu Kyi acting as de facto President.
■ The Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) has signed a $500 million Line of Credit (LoC) agreement with ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) to fund various development projects in western-south Africa.
The LoC of $500 million to EBID is an umbrella limit for financing developmental projects in 15-member countries of EBID in West African region — Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
Note that: The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has a mandate to promote economic integration in all fields of activity of the constituting countries.
■ The Union Cabinet has approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and South Asian Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP) for cooperation on the response to Oil and Chemical Pollution in the South Asian Seas Region. This MoU intends to promote closer cooperation between India and other maritime nations in the South Asian seas region namely Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka for protection and preservation of marine environment in the region.
- Indian Coast Guard (ICG) will be the Competent National Authority and national operational contact point for implementation of “Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan” under the MoU.
- ICG shall respond to oil and chemical spills on behalf of Government of India.
- ICG Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs) will be the national emergency response centre for marine incidents.
In order to promote and support protection, management and enhancement of the environment in the South Asian region, the Governments of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka established the SACEP in 1982 in Sri Lanka.
The SACEP jointly with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) developed a “Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan” to facilitate international co-operation and mutual assistance in preparing and responding to a major oil pollution incident in the seas around the Maritime States of Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Note that: In South Asia region, the Malé Declaration on control and prevention of air pollution is another significant effort which encourages intergovernmental cooperation to combat the transboundary air pollution problem due to its likely transboundary effect.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 30 March 2018
■ The first mega food park of Rajasthan has inaugurated by Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal at Roopangarh village near Ajmer. It is set up with an investment of Rs 113.57 crore and will benefit around 25 thousand farmers in Ajmer and neighbouring districts. The Park is expected to provide employment to around 5 thousand persons.
Note that: Rajasthan is the fourth largest producer of food grains in India and leader in mustard, guar seed, coriander, groundnut, fennel, soybean, gram, and oilseeds.
■ The Union Cabinet has given its approval for restructuring of National Skill Development Fund (NSDF) and National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) in order to strengthen governance, implementation and monitoring framework. This approval will lead to restructuring of composition of Board of NSDF and the NSDC to strengthen governance, implementation and monitoring framework.
About NSDC: National Skill Development Corporation India (NSDC), established in 2009, is a not- for- profit company set up by the Ministry of Finance. The present equity base of NSDC is Rs.10 crore, of which the Government of India through Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) holds 49%, while the private sector has the balance 51%.
About National Skill Development Fund: The National Skill Development Fund was set up in 2009 by the Government of India for raising funds both from Government and Non Government sectors for skill development in the country. A public Trust set up by the Government of India is the custodian of the Fund. The Trust accepts donation, contribution in cash or kind from the Contributors for furtherance of objectives of the Fund. The Fund meets its objectives through National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).
■ National Agricultural Cooperative Federation of India Ltd. (NAFED) has signed the Debt Settlement Agreement with its eight lender banks. This One Time Settlement with the lender banks has been made at Rs. 478 Crore. The lenders are entitled to the assignment of auction right of the property of one of the defaulters of its tie-up business conducted in the years 2003-05.
National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd.(NAFED), established in 1958, is registered under the Multi State Co-operative Societies Act. NAFED was setup with the object to promote Co-operative marketing of Agricultural Produce to benefit the farmers. The objectives of the NAFED shall be to organize, promote and develop marketing, processing and storage of agricultural, horticultural and forest produce, distribution of agricultural machinery, implements and other inputs, undertake inter-state, import and export trade etc.
Agricultural farmers are the main members of NAFED, who have the authority to say in the form of members of the General Body in its working.
■ The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for enhancing the scope of Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY). Now, the Government of India will contribute the Employer’s full admissible contribution for the first three years from the date of registration of the new employee for all the sectors including existing beneficiaries for their remaining period of three years.
About Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana:
The scheme “Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana”(PMRPY) was announced in the Budget for 2016-17. The objective of the scheme is to promote employment generation.
The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Labour and Employment. Under the scheme employers would be provided an incentive for enhancing employment by reimbursement of the 8.33% EPS contribution made by the employer in respect of new employment. The PMRPY scheme is targeted for workers earning wages upto Rs. 15,000/- per month.
Sports Current Affairs – 30 March 2018
■ Darren Lehmann has announced his resignation as head coach of Cricket Australia. Although, Lehman was cleared of any wrongdoing by Cricket Australia investigation in the ball-tampering scandal. He also admitted that the players made a grave mistake and hoped people will give them a second chance.
■ New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson has been named the Captain of IPL franchise SunRisers Hyderabad, replacing Australian cricketer David Warner.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 30 March 2018 “
Q1.The 114th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC)between India and Pakistan has started in which city?
B) New Delhi
Q2.Which state is hosting the 17th Sub-junior National Wushu Championship 2018?
A) Himchal Pradesh
C) Jammu & Kashmir
Q3.Who has been appointed as the new acting chairperson of the National Green Tribunal (NGT)?
A) Jawad Rahim
B) Mohit Arora
C) Dipak Misra
D) R S Rathore
Q4.Who has been appointed as chairman of the central panel of the 65th National Film Awards (NFA)?
A) Shekhar Kapur
B) Imtiaz Hussain
C) Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury
D) P Sheshadri
Q5.India’s first Insect Museum has opened in which state?
B) Tamil Nadu
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!