This post covers relevant news from national dailies and government releases for aspirants of examinations like UPSC IAS, CDS, SSC CGL, NDA, etc. It is highly useful for both, revision and awareness purposes.
National Important Current Affairs – 31 January 2019
■ As per National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO’s) periodic labour force survey (PLFS), India’s unemployment rate hit a 45 year high of 6.1% in 2017-18. It is the first comprehensive survey on employment conducted by a government agency post demonetization. The unemployment rate is at its highest level as in 1972-73.
The unemployment is higher in urban areas which is 7.8% as compared to 5.3% in rural areas of the country.
Unemployment rate among youth has reached a record high level in 2017-18 as compared to that in the overall population.
■ The celebration of ‘Bharat Parv’ have concluded at Red Fort. It was organized by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India at New Delhi from 26th to 31st January, 2019. The major attractions this year included the replica of the Statue of Unity created by sculptor Ram Vanji Suttar.
The Tableau of ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) in the Republic Day Parade has won the 1st prize for its Kisan Gandhi theme. The tableau portrayed Gandhi with goats and a cow and Kasturba engaged with charkha and caring animals.
A total of 22 tableaux were displayed on the 70th Republic Day parade. Of which, 16 were from States and Union Territories, six from various central ministries and departments. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman gave away the prizes. Among the states:
- Tripura bagged the 1st prize for the state tableau with the theme ‘Empowering Rural Economy the Gandhian Way‘.
- Jammu and Kashmir was adjudged the 2nd, displaying state’s composite culture and ethnic diversity.
- Punjab which represented the theme of Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919 has won the 3rd prize.
On the other hand, the Gorkha Brigade has received the best marching contingent trophy of the Republic Day parade. And the CRPF has won the best marching contingent prize for the para-military forces.
■ Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has announced that his government will provide 100 units free power to the Most Backward Classes (MCBs) in the state. The government would also give aid of up to Rs 15 lakh to backward classes for foreign education.
■ Uttar Pradesh cabinet has approved construction of a 4 lane Ganga Express way which will be connecting Prayagraj to Western UP at the estimated cost of about Rs 36,000 Crore. The proposed Ganga Express way would be 600km long and could be expanded to 6 lanes in future.
■ The 3rd Stock Taking Conference on Tiger Conservation is being held at New Delhi. This conference is being organised by the Global Tiger Forum which is an implementing arm of the Global Tiger Initiative Council (GTIC), in collaboration with the National Tiger Conservation Authority (Government of India), WWF, Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT) and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI).
In the conference, wide-ranging discussions shall be held on the status of the Global Tiger Recovery Program (GTRP) by all tiger range countries. Deliberations will also be made on combating wildlife trafficking.
■ Prime Minister Narendra Modi has unveiled the National Salt Satyagraha Memorial at Dandi Village which is situated on Arabian Sea coast in South Gujarat.
About Dandi Salt March
During the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1930, Mahatma Gandhi along with 80 Satyagrahis marched 241 miles in 24 days from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad to the Dandi Village from 12th March 1930 to 6th April 1930 and made salt from the seawater breaking the Salt Law imposed by the British.
■ Ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections, based on the report of the MS Swaminathan Commission, the Delhi government is going to introduce Minimum Support Price (MSP) for farmers. There are about 20,000 farmers in the national capital.
■ The two non-governmental members of National Statistical Commission headquartered in New Delhi, P C Mohanan and J V Meenakshi who had a tenure upto 2020 have quit. They resigned over the government’s failure to recognize the commission’s contribution and a delay in the release of new National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) data.
- P C Mohanan was the acting Chairperson of the autonomous body and was a former member of the Indian Statistical Services
- J V Meenakshi was a NSC member and was a professor at the Delhi School of Economics.
■ The Human Resources Development Ministry under Prakash Javadekar has signed an agreement with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for India’s Participation in Programme for International Student Assessment- PISA 2021.
The PISA is a triennial international survey which aims to evaluate the education system worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students. The learnings from participation in PISA will help introduce competency based examination reforms in the school system.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 31 January 2019
■ Syria and Iran have signed ‘strategic’ economic agreement aimed at strengthening cooperation between Damascus and one of its key allies in the civil war that has torn the country apart. In relation to infrastructure, there was an agreement rehabilitation of the ports of Tartus and Latakia and construction of a 540 megawatt energy plant.
■ In order to put pressure on Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro to cede power to the opposition, the United States has imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, PDVSA. These sanctions will freeze any assets the firm may have in US.
Note that: The sanctions come just days after the US and several European countries refused to recognise Maduro as Venezuela’s legitimate president and instead recognised opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim president.
■ Dubai International Airport (DXB) has retained its position as the world’s busiest airport for international travel for the 5th consecutive year in 2018. India is the biggest source of traffic there, accounting for more than 1.2 crore passengers. The overall passenger traffic at the airport rose to over 8.9 crore in 2018.
Note that: It overtook the crown of the world’s busiest hub for international travel from London’s Heathrow in 2014.
■ Suman Kumari has become the first Hindu woman to have been appointed as a civil judge in Pakistan after passing an examination for induction of judicial officers. Kumari hails from Qambar-Shahdadkot, and will serve in her native district only.
■ UNESCO has launched the International Year Of The Periodic Table, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the organisation of the periodic table. You can know more about this on the official website https://www.iypt2019.org/
- Russian scientist Dmitry Mendeleev published the first periodic such table in 1869. The table organizes all chemical elements by the number of protons in a given atom and other properties. There are seven rows, called Periods (Elements in the same period have the same number of atomic orbitals), and 18 columns, called Groups (Elements in the same group share similar properties), in the table.
- The periodic table is a useful tool for deriving relationships between the different properties of the elements. It can also help predict the properties of new elements that have yet to be discovered or created.
- The International Union of Pure Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) headquartered in Zürich, Switzerland, is responsible for maintaining the periodic table. It is an international federation of National Adhering Organizations that represents chemists in individual countries.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 31 January 2019
■ The ICICI Bank has decided to sack the former Managing Director and CEO Chanda Kochhar. A panel lead by B.N Srikrishna had found that she violated the bank code of conduct.
The board has also decide to retrieve bonuses to the tune of Rs 9.8 crore paid to her from April 2009 to March 2018.
Note that: Chanda Kochhar assumed charge as MD and CEO of ICICI Bank on May 1, 2009 and resigned on October 2018. Bank appointed Sandeep Bakshi as CEO for after her resignation.
■ The Union Government has renamed the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) as the Department of promotion of Industry and Internal Trade. The newly named department is under Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
It will look into matters related to promotion of internal trade, including retail trade, facilitating ease of doing business and start-ups. The matters related to internal trade were earlier under the domain of Ministry of consumer affairs and now under the promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.
Note that: DIPP was responsible for formation and implementation of promotional and developmental measures for growth of the industrial sector keeping in view the national priorities and Socio economic objectives.
Sports Current Affairs – 31 January 2019
■ Nagaland Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio has given Nagaland its first Astro Turf Football Pitch at Indira Gandhi Stadium in Kohima on the occasion of 100th Birth Anniversary of the legendary footballer, Dr. T. Ao (Talimeren Ao).
The project for Astro turf following specifications and norms of FIFA was conceived in the year 2013-14 with a total cost of 498 lakh rupees.
■ Former Defence Minister George Fernandes has passed away at the age of 88 years. He was known as the ‘rebel leader’ during the infamous emergency era who took on Indira Gandhi and called her a ‘congenital liar’. He also served as the Railways Minister in former Prime Minister VP Singh’s government.
George Fernandes was accused and later cleared of the Rs 24,000 crore coffin scam.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 31 January 2019 “
Q1. Which state of India has recently approved the ‘Smart Village Campaign’ by allocating Rs 384 crore to the project?
- A. Tamil Nadu
- B. Haryana
- C. Punjab
- D. West Bengal
Q2. SEBI has proposed a new set of framework for REITs and InvITs in order to provide flexibility to the issuers in terms of fund raising and increasing the access of these investment vehicles to investors. What is the full form of REITs?
- A. Real Estate Inventory Trusteeship
- B. Real Estate Investment Trusts
- C. Regulatory Estate Investment Trusts
- D. Real Estate Infrastructure Trusts
Q3. India has grabbed ___ spot in the Bloomberg Innovation Index.
- A. 47th
- B. 53rd
- C. 54th
- D. 80th
Q4. Who will receive the Carnot prize for his contribution towards sustainable energy solutions?
- A. Narendra Modi
- B. Arun Jaitley
- C. Ramchandra Guha
- D. Piyush Goyal
Q5. The first project under the Swadesh Darshan Project of the Union Ministry of Tourism has been recently inaugurated in which state?
- A. Meghalaya
- B. Assam
- C. Sikkim
- D. Uttar Pradesh
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!