Quote of the day —  “The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance” – Socrates

The following 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 – 5 April 2019

■ India’s first geological history museum, housing the country’s unique geological history that chronicles rocks, pre-human skulls and dinosaur fossils, will be set up in the national capital region. The Indian Museum of Earth (TIME) will host fossils ranging in age from 4000 million years old to recent times. The project is being envisaged as a public-private partnership venture with significant philanthropic and CSR contribution, ahead of the 36th International Geological Congress which will be held in India next year.

 

■ The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has conferred the prestigious Zayed Medal for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the highest decoration awarded to kings, presidents and heads of states. The award comes as appreciation for Prime Minister Modi’s role for consolidating the long-standing friendship and joint strategic cooperation between India and UAE.

 

■  The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that promotion and protection of ancient Indian languages was the need of the hour as they offer a window to our ancient civilizational values, knowledge, and wisdom.

Addressing the gathering after conferring around 100 ‘President’s Certificate of Honour’ and ‘Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman’ Awards to scholars in Classical Languages. The Vice President addressing the gathering said that the modern Indian languages have ancient roots and are derivatives of the classical language.

Note that: The study done by the experts estimate that almost 600 languages were on the verge of extinction and more than 250 languages have disappeared in the past 60 years.

About ‘Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman’ Awards: The Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman distinction is conferred on persons in recognition of their substantial contribution in the field of Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, Pali, Prakrit, Classical Oriya, Classical Kannada, Classical Telugu and Classical Malayalam. Introduced in the year 2002. Given to selected young scholars in the age group of 30 to 45 years. Carries a certificate of honour, a memento and a one-time cash prize of Rs.1 lakh.

Who was Maharshi Badrayan? He was an Indian philosopher about whom almost no personal details are reliably known. The date of Badarayana and his Brahma Sutras is uncertain. Different scholars have dated the Brahma Sutras variously from 500 BCE to 450 BCE.
Badarayana is regarded as having written the basic text of the Vedanta system, the Vedāntasūtra a.k.a. Brahmasūtra. He is thus considered the founder of the Vedānta system of philosophy.

 

■ A 12 member Indian Army patrol along with a police representative discovered the wreckage of a World War II vintage US Air Force aircraft in Roing district of Arunachal Pradesh. The patrol located the aircraft debris, which was covered by thick undergrowth and was buried under five feet of snow. Based on the news received from local trekkers of Lower Dibang district through the police, a special patrol of Army was sent for locating the wreckage in a remote location, 30 km from Roing.

 

International Current Affairs Capsule – 5 April 2019

■ The 7th Foreign Office conference between India and Italy were held in New Delhi on Thursday.  The Indian side was represented by the Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs, A. Gitesh Sarma. The Italian side was represented by the Director General of Global Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy, Luca Sabbatucci.

The External Affairs Minister said these conferences provided a good opportunity for reviewing the follow-up actions taken by both the country after the visit of Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in October as well as the entire range of bilateral relations, including defense, economic, political, commercial ties, and scientific.

 

■ Pakistan could be blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) because of the insufficient physical actions on the ground against the banned terror groups for blocking the flow of funds and activities. 

In June last year, the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force had put Pakistan on the ‘grey list’ of countries whose domestic laws are believed to be weak when tackling the challenges of terror financing and money laundering. A group of experts from the Financial Action Task Force recently visited Pakistan for reviewing the progress made by Islamabad on global standards against financial crimes to warrant its exclusion from the watchdog’s grey list.

About Financial Action Task Force (FATF): It is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the Ministers of its Member jurisdictions. The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. The FATF’s decision making body, the FATF Plenary, meets three times per year.

 

Australian researchers have made a new automated non-invasive technique for the purpose of diagnosing the eye surface cancer. This new technique provides the potential to reduce the need for biopsies, preventing therapy delays, and thus making the treatment far more effective for patients.

Eye surface cancer, also known as Ocular Surface Squamous Neoplasia (OSSN), is a malignancy of the cornea and conjunctiva parts of the eye. The novel technique includes custom-building of an advanced imaging microscope linked together by the computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) operations. It results in an automated system that is able to successfully distinguish between the diseased and non-diseased eye tissue, in real-time, with the help of a simple scanning process.

 

Scientists have put the Stephen Hawking theory to its more careful test till date, which suggests that the dark matter is not made up of primordial black holes which are smaller than a tenth of a millimeter.These scientists have ruled out Stephen Hawking’s theory for mysterious dark matter.

About 85 percent of the matter in the universe is thought to be made up of dark matter. Its gravitational force prevents stars in our Milky Way from flying apart from each other. Although, various attempts for detecting such dark matter particles by the use of underground experiments, or accelerator experiments including the world’s largest accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, have failed so far. This has led the Scientists to consider Hawking’s theory of the existence of primordial black holes which was published in 1974.

 

Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 5 April 2019

■ The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) met for the new fiscal’s first bi-monthly monetary policy review.  The Reserve Bank of India trimmed key repo rates by 25 basis points to 6% in a bid to bring down the cost of money and boost the faltering economy. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das has also revised inflation outlook downwards to to 2.9-3% in the first half of this year and 3.5-3.8% for the second half. However, the RBI has warned of the upside risks to price pressures if food and fuel prices rise abruptly, or if fiscal deficits overshot targets.

■  In an attempt to further improve the cash position of banks, RBI has tweaked the liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) norms to provide an additional 2 % window to lenders. The LCR indicates the proportion of highly liquid assets held by banks to ensure their ability to meet short-term obligations.

 

■ The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into 18 Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) in March this year, including 3 bilateral APAs. Now, the total number of APAs entered into by the CBDT as of now stands at 271, which inter alia includes 31 bilateral APAs. The progress of the APA scheme strengthens the government’s resolve of fostering a non-adversarial tax regime.

About APAs : An APA is an agreement between a taxpayer and the tax authority determining the Transfer Pricing methodology for pricing the tax payer’s international transactions for future years. An APA provides certainty with respect to the tax outcome of the tax payer’s international transactions.

An APA can be one of the three types – unilateral, bilateral and multilateral.

  1. A Unilateral APA is an APA that involves only the taxpayer and the tax authority of the country where the taxpayer is located.
  2. Bilateral APA (BAPA) is an APA that involves the tax payer, associated enterprise (AE) of the taxpayer in the foreign country, tax authority of the country where the taxpayer is located and the foreign tax authority.
  3. Multilateral APA (MAPA) is an APA that involves the taxpayer, two or more AEs of the tax payer in different foreign countries, tax authority of the country where the taxpayer is located and the tax authorities of AEs.

Note that: The Indian APA programme has been appreciated nationally and internationally for being able to address complex transfer pricing issues in a fair and transparent manner.

 What is transfer pricing? Transfer price is the price at which divisions of a company transact with each other, such as the trade of supplies or labor between departments. Transfer prices are used when individual entities of a larger multi-entity firm are treated and measured as separately run entities.

 

■  The 15th Finance Commission has held, a high-level roundtable on ‘Fiscal Relations across levels of government’. It was chaired by N. K. Singh, the Chairperson of the Commission. The roundtable was being organised in partnership with the World Bank, ADB, and OECD. The gathering was addressed by the Chairman who set the tone by briefly discussing the four technical sessions of the meeting:

  • Sub-national debt

  • Transfer design incentives and fiscal equalisation.

  • Sub-national budget and Public financial management system, and

  • Finances of third-tier of Government.

Earlier, the Commission had held separate workshops with the OECD in April 2018 and with the World Bank in July 2018 for discussing the initial thoughts and country experiences on the agendas which were related to inter-governmental transfers and fiscal federalism.

 

■ The Asian Development Bank (ADB), in its report Asian Development Outlook 2019 has said India is expected to grow at 7.2 per cent in the current fiscal on strengthening consumption. According to the report, India’s growth slowed from 7.2 per cent in fiscal 2017 to 7 per cent in 2018, with weaker agricultural output and consumption growth which was disrupted by higher global oil prices and lower government expenditure.

India’s economic growth rate is expected to rebound to 7.2 % in 2019 and 7.3 % in 2020 as policy rates are cut and farmers receive income support, bolstering domestic demand.

Note: The Asian Development Bank was established in the early 1960s as a financial institution that would be Asian in character and foster economic growth and cooperation in one of the poorest regions in the world. ADB has headquarters in Manila, Philippines. ADB is composed of 68 members.

 

Sports Current Affairs – 5 April 2019

Indian women’s hockey team beat hosts Malaysia 3-0 in the opening game of the five-match series in Kuala Lumpur. 

■ The Indian men’s football team gained two places to rise to 101 in the FIFA rankings issued. With the total of 1219 ranking points, the Indian team lies 18th among the Asian countries.

  • While Iran continued to top the Asian rankings at 21st spot, followed by Japan (26), South Korea (37), and Australia (41).
  • Belgium holds on to the top spot followed by France at second and Brazil at third while England rose to the fourth place, displacing World Cup finalists Croatia.

 

■ In tennis, Roger Federer won his fourth ATP Miami Open title by defeating the defending champions John Isner in the straight sets 6-1, 6-4. This is 28th Masters Title and the 101st overall for the 20 Grand Slam Winner.

“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 5 April 2019 “

Q1. India after signing MoU with which country, has leveraged its way into the lithium reserves?

  • A) Russia

  • B) Bolivia

  • C) China

  • D) Chile

Q2. Which city is going to host the 2024 Summer Olympics?

  • A) Tokyo, Japan

  • B) Paris, France

  • C) Los Angeles, USA

  • D) Budapest, Hungary

Q3. On which day Rajasthan Diwas is being observed?

  • A)19 April

  • B) 16 March

  • C) 30 March

  • D) 4 April

Q3. Which among the following banks has become the first lender to change UPI beyond a monthly limit of 30 transactions from May?

  • A)ICICI Bank

  • B) Kotak Mahindra Bank

  • C) HDFC Bank

  • D) State Bank of India

Q5. Which nation given the name ‘Reiwa’ for the new imperial era that begins on May 1?

  • A) South Korea

  • B) Japan

  • C) Russia

  • D) Kazakhstan

 

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!