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 – 31 January 2018
■ The 641st Birth Anniversary of Guru Ravidas, Guru Ravidas Jayanti is being celebrated today on the birthday of Guru Ravidas. He was a North Indian mystic poet-sant of the bhakti movement during the 15th to 16th century.
Paying tributes to Guru Ravidas Ji, PM Modi has said when government work with the motto of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ we are deeply motivated by Guru Ji’s emphasis on serving every human, especially the poor. Modi also shared these words of Guru Ravidas Ji –
ऐसा चाहूँ राज मैं जहाँ मिलै सबन को अन्न।
छोट बड़ो सब सम बसै, रैदास रहै प्रसन्न।।
■ Ministry of External Affairs has decided to continue with the current practice of printing of the last page of the passport and not to issue a separate passport with an orange colour jacket to ECR passport holders. This decision to overturn the recent order effecting these changes was taken by the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at a meeting after a discussion with the various stakeholders in the matter.
Note that: The Ministry had received various representations requesting to reconsider its earlier decisions in which it had decided not to print the last page of Passport Booklet. It had also decided to issue a passport with an orange colour jacket to passport holders with ECR status.
■ The Indian government is pushing the Supreme Court to apply a rarely used doctrine of “res extra commercium“ for tobbaco that would strip the $11 billion tobacco industry’s legal right to trade. This is an effort aimed at deterring tobacco companies from challenging the tough new regulations pertaining to the industry.
The “res extra commercium” is a Latin phrase for “outside commerce“. If this Roman law doctrine is applied, it would give authorities more freedom to impose restrictions on the tobacco industry. The government has initiated several reforms (such asIncreased taxes, campaigns, advertisements) in the recent years to curb the use of tobacco that kills almost nine lakh people in India each year.
Previously the“res extra commercium” has been applied once by the Supreme Court’s to alcohol in the 1970s, which paved the way for two Indian states to ban it completely and also allowed courts to take a stricter stance while regulating liquor. – Constitutional law experts say this could happen with tobacco also.
■ The Indian Parliamentary Group has announced five Outstanding Parliamentarian Awards for the following years.
- For the year 2017: Bhartruhari Mahatab
- For the year 2016: Dinesh Trivedi
- For the year 2015: Ghulam Nabi Azad
- For the year 2014: Hukumdev Narayan Yadav
- For the year 2013: Dr Najma Heptulla
■ In order to promote organic farming, the Himachal Pradesh Government has launched Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) project. This project aims to increase agriculture produce and the income of farmers by the year 2022.
About Zero Budget Natural Farming:
It is a method of farming where the cost of growing and harvesting plants is zero. Farmers need not purchase fertilizers and pesticides in order to ensure the healthy growth of crops. Basically, it uses biological pesticides instead of chemical-based fertilizers. Farmers use earthworms, cow dung, urine, plants, human excreta and such biological fertilizers for crop protection. It also protects the soil from degradation.
■ The 2018 International Bird Festival will be held at the Dudhwa National Park with nearly 200 leading ornithologists to promote eco-tourism in Dudhwa and to give it a distinct international identity besides highlighting its traditional Tharu arts, culture, and heritage.
Eminent documentary maker Mike Pandey will be the brand ambassador of the festival.
■ Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Radha Mohan Singh has launched the Rapid Detection Kits for Adulterants in Fresh Fish, which has been developed by the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT), Kochi.
Many people in the fisheries sector use chemicals like ammonia (helps in preventing ice from melting) and formaldehyde (increases the shelf life of fish). This kit helps in detecting both the chemicals in the fish. It is handy and consist of simple paper strips, reagent solution, and standard chart for comparing results
Health concerns: Continuous ingestion of ammonia and formaldehyde can lead to many health issues including abdominal pain, vomiting, unconsciousness, and sometimes even cause death. Formaldehyde is potential cancer-inducing chemical, therefore, its use needs to be curbed.
Only cold chain should be used for handling, processing, storage, transportation, and display for sale of fish and fish products.
■ The first-ever India-Vietnam Bilateral Army Exercise, christened as “VINBAX-2018″, has started in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, as part of joint training undertaken with friendly foreign countries by Indian Army. The 6-day-long Table Top military exercise has been especially designed to enable and train officers from Vietnam in United Nations Peace Keeping Operations. It is the first military exercise between the two countries.
Defence ties between India and Vietnam have been strengthening with the primary focus being cooperation in the maritime domain. India and Vietnam had signed a protocol on defence cooperation in 1994. The partnership was elevated to the strategic level in 2007 and a pact on defence cooperation was signed in 2009. The strategic partnership was further elevated to a comprehensive strategic partnership in September 2016.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 31 January 2018
■ US President Donald Trump, in his first State of the Union address, has promised to make America great again for all citizens. Trump said this is our new American Moment with small business confidence at all time high and unemployment is at a 45-year low. His administration has created 2.4 million jobs and has undertaken biggest tax cut.
Coalition forces have liberated almost 100 percent of the territory once held by Islamic State terror group in Iraq and Syria. He said the Coalition will continue its fight until ISIS is defeated. The US President said, he will not repeat the mistakes of the past Administrations that got America into this dangerous position.
■ Russia has decided to send home all migrant workers from North Korea by the end of 2019 to comply with sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council. Countries are required to send all North Korean workers home within two years under the sanctions imposed on December 22 over Pyongyang’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs.
■ A member of the NITI Aayog, Dr Vinod Paul, has been awarded the prestigious IhsanDoğramacı Family Health Foundation Prize by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Dr Paul is the first Indian to receive this global honour, which is conferred in recognition to his services in the field of family health.
The award will be presented to Dr Paul formally at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland in May 2018.
The WHO Board acknowledges Dr Paul as an internationally renowned researcher, clinician, educator and public health advocate in the area of family health, with a special focus on newborn health. Dr Paul’s efforts brought the long-neglected issue of newborn health to the centre-stage of strategies for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). His book on paediatrics is the standard textbook for medical students in India and several other countries.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 31 January 2018
■ India has been ranked sixth in the list of wealthiest countries with a total wealth of $8,230 billion, while the United States topped the list with the total wealth of $64,584 billion. China follows at the second position with $24,803 billion and Japan has $19,522 billion in wealth at third position.
According to a report by New World Wealth, India was the best-performing wealth market globally in 2017 as its total wealth swelled from 6,584 billion dollars in 2016 to 8,230 billion dollars in 2017, registering a 25 percent growth.
Total wealth refers to the private wealth held by all the individuals living in each country and includes all their assets. The report excludes government funds from its figures.
Note that: According to the report, India is also home to 20,730 multimillionaires, the seventh largest in the world. India has 119 billionaires, the third-highest after the US and China.
■ The Government of India and the World Bank have signed a $100 million Loan Agreement for Tamil Nadu Rural Transformation Project to promote rural enterprises, facilitate their access to finance, and create employment opportunities for youth, particularly women, in selected blocks of Tamil Nadu across 26 districts. It will be directly benefitting over 400,000 people. An e-governance architecture with the use of ICT along with a robust Management Information System (MIS) will help monitor and track results real time.
The $100 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 5-year grace period, and a maturity of 19 years.
■ According to a recent report published by World Steel Association (WSA), India has overtaken the US to become the world’s third-largest steel producer in 2017. China remains the highest producer followed by Japan.
■ The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India have signed a $250 million loan to finance the construction of 6,254 kilometres all-weather rural roads in the States of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal under the Prime Minister’s Rural Roads Program (PMGSY).
The First Tranche Loan is part of the $500 million Second Rural Connectivity Investment Program for India approved by the ADB Board in December 2017. This program is aimed at improving rural connectivity, facilitating safer and more efficient access to livelihood and socio-economic opportunities for rural communities.
Sports Current Affairs – 31 January 2018
■ Sandeep Lamichhane, the leg-spinner, has become the first cricketer from Nepal to sign for an IPL team. He was bought by Delhi Daredevils for his base price of Rs 20 lakh. He became famous by becoming the second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 14 scalps in six innings at an average of 17 and an economy of 4.67 runs.
■ Vikram Singh Sisodia has been appointed the Chef-de-Mission for the 21st Commonwealth Games 2018 which is scheduled to be held in Gold Coast, Australia from April 4 to 15. He is the joint secretary of Indian Olympic Association (IOA). Sisodia is also currently the president of Chhattisgarh State Tennis Association.
■ Former world number one badminton player Prakash Padukone has been conferred with Badminton Association of India’s (BAI) inaugural Lifetime Achievement award for his contribution to the sport of Badminton. One of the first superstars of Indian sport, Prakash has been the flag-bearer of Indian badminton. He conquered the best and rose to become the World No. 1 in the 80s. At the height of his career in 1980, claiming the Danish Open, the Swedish Open and the highly coveted All-England Championship one after the other.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 31 January 2018 “
Q1. Who has won the 2018 women’s singles title in the Australian Open 2018?
- A) Caroline Wozniack
- B) Serena Williams
- C) Elina Svitolina
- D) Simona Halep
Q2. Which state government has launched ‘Shakti’ app for women’s safety in the state?
- A) Himachal Pradesh
- B) Punjab
- C) Haryana
- D) Uttar Pradesh
Q3. India’s first ever ‘Khadi Haat’ has launched in which city?
- A) Lucknow
- B) Patna
- C) Ahmedabad
- D) New Delhi
Q4. Which union ministry has launched “Stree Swabhiman” initiative?
- A) Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
- B) Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
- C) Ministry of Women and Child Development
- D) Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
Q5. Who has won the 2018 women’s singles Indonesia Masters badminton tournament?
- A) Carolina Marín
- B) Tai Tzu-ying
- C) Saina Nehwal
- D) P. V. Sindhu
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!