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 – 6 and 7 April 2018
■ Bhartiya Janata Party celebrated its 38th foundation day. On this occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with thousands of booth workers along with the 734 district presidents and their respective teams from five Lok Sabha constituencies via video conferencing.
■ The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has issued a circular directing all states and union territories to avoid using the words ‘Dalit’ and ‘Harijan’ in official communications. Instead, the term ‘Scheduled Caste’ should be used for denoting people belonging to the category.
■ The second part of the budget session of Parliament concluded sine dine after proceedings in both the Houses were disrupted for the 21st consecutive day amidst continuing protests by the Opposition members. No significant legislative business could be transacted in both the Houses due to the stalling of proceedings. This session has seen only 25 percent productivity in the Lok Sabha and 35 percent in the Rajya Sabha making it one of the worst sessions in the last one decade.
Data shows that cost of running Parliament per minute is 2.5 lakh rupees. Lack of productivity in the current session is estimated to have cost the exchequer 190 crore rupees.
■ The Union Cabinet has approved the rightsizing the Competition Commission of India (CCI) from One Chairperson and Six Members (totalling seven) presently to One Chairperson and Three Members (totalling four).
Note that: Section 8(1) of the Competition Act, 2002 (the Act) provides that the Commission shall consist of a Chairperson and not less than two and not more than six Members.
About Competition Commission Of India: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) was established under the Competition Act, 2002 for the administration, implementation and enforcement of the Act, and was duly constituted in March 2009. Chairman and members are appointed by the central government. The objectives of the Commission are: To prevent practices having an adverse effect on competition and to promote and sustain competition in markets and ensure freedom of trade.
The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.
About the Competition Act: The Competition Act, 2002, as amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007, prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and M&A), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.
■ The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018 for better protection and promotion of human rights in the country. It proposes to include “National Commission for Protection of Child Rights” as deemed Member of the Commission; and to add a woman Member in the composition of the Commission;
It also proposes to incorporate a mechanism to look after the cases of human rights violation in the Union Territories. It also proposes to amend the term of office of Chairperson and Members of National Human Rights Commission and State Human Rights Commission to make it in consonance with the terms of Chairperson and Members of other Commissions.
These Amendment will strengthen the Human Rights Institutions of India further for the effective discharge of their mandates, roles and responsibilities. The amended Act will be in perfect sync with the agreed global standards and benchmarks towards ensuring the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual in the country.
The amendment to the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 will make National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) more compliant with the Paris Principle concerning its autonomy, independence, pluralism and wide-ranging functions.
■ India’s longest elevated road, which is also known as “Hindon Elevated Road”, has been inaugurated in Ghaziabad. It is a 10.3 km long elevated road that connects Raj Nagar Extension in Ghaziabad to the border of Delhi at UP Gate near Vaishali and reduces an hour-long journey to just 18 minutes. The total cost of the six-lane elevated road project is estimated to be Rs. 1,147 crore. The entire stretch is built on 228 single-pier pillars. and vehicles will be allowed to drive at an average speed limit of 80 km/hour.
■ The government has launched UTTAM App for Coal Quality Monitoring. The Ministry of Coal and Coal India Limited (CIL) has developed the App.It aims to provide an App for all citizens and coal consumers to monitor the process of Third Party Sampling of coal across CIL subsidiaries. UTTAM stands for – Unlocking Transparency by Third Party Assessment of Mined Coal. It will ensure accountability, transparency, effectiveness and efficiency in coal ecosystem. It provides a platform for monitoring of sampling and coal dispatches.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 6 and 7 April 2018
■ The World Health Day, a global health awareness day, is being observed on 7th April 2018 under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO). This day marks the anniversary of the founding of World Health Organization (WHO), and is seen as an opportunity by the organization to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health each year. WHO marks its 70th anniversary this year.
The theme of World Health Day 2018: ‘Universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere’.
World Health Organization (WHO) is the United Nations’ specialized agency for Health. It is an inter-governmental organization and works in collaboration with its member states usually through the Ministries of Health. India became a party to the WHO Constitution on 12 January 1948. WHO’s six official languages – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish – were established by a 1978 World Health Assembly resolution, turning multilingualism into a WHO policy. It publishes World health report, since 1995, which combines an expert assessment of global health, including statistics relating to all countries, with a focus on a specific subject.
■ India is hosting the 16th International Energy Forum (IEF) Ministerial Meeting in New Delhi. The biennial IEF Ministerial Meetings are the world’s largest gathering of Energy Ministers who engage in a dialogue on global energy issues. These meetings are informal dialogues, at both the political and technical levels, aimed at improving policy and investment decisions, and through increased knowledge and experience sharing.
The International Energy Forum (IEF) is an inter-governmental arrangement set up in 1991. It is based in Riyadh and serves as a neutral facilitator of informal, open, informed and continuing global energy dialogue among its members comprising of energy producing and energy consuming states, including transit countries.
There are 72 member countries of IEF, including India, covering all six continents, which are signatories to the Charter of the IEF. Its membership accounts for 90% of global supply and demand for oil and gas. By virtue of being among the top 11 largest consumers of oil and gas (India is presently 4th), India has been the Permanent Member of the Executive Board since its set-up in 2002. India had earlier hosted the 5th IEF Ministerial in 1996 at Goa.
■ India voiced its concerns about weapons in space in the recently held UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC) session. India has raised opposition to the “weaponization” of outer space, saying it should not become an area of conflict while calling for collective efforts to strengthen safety and security of the space-based assets.
The United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC) is a deliberative body and a subsidiary organ of the UN General Assembly which is mandated to consider and make recommendations on various disarmament related issues and to follow up the relevant decisions and recommendations of the special sessions devoted to disarmament held so far.
Since 1978, the Disarmament Commission has dealt with numerous disarmament related questions, both nuclear and conventional, and has submitted guidelines and principles on various subject items, including guidelines for appropriate types of confidence-building measures, guidelines and recommendations for regional approaches to disarmament within the context of global security, and guidelines and recommendations for objective information on military matters.
■ Qatar is introducing national service for women for the first time while also extending the time for enrolled men in the military. Women aged over 18 will be able to volunteer for national service with immediate effect, while men will now serve a year instead of three months in the military service. The decision to extend the rules surrounding conscription, which was first introduced in November 2013, comes in the aftermath of Qatar being at the centre of deepening diplomatic Gulf crisis, which has turned 10 months old now.
Note that: Every Qatari male between 18 and 35 is required to perform a compulsory military service while the national service for females is voluntary.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 6 and 7 April 2018
■ The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to stop providing service to any entity dealing with virtual currencies, with immediate effect. It has also asked regulated entities that are already providing such services to exit the relationship within three months.
Note that: Cryptocurrencies are widely seen as a disruption for the traditional banking and financial institutions, they have gained significant traction over the last half a decade, at the same time creating a regulatory nightmare for banking regulators across the globe. Currently, there are around 969 cryptocurrencies in existence across the globe, with a total market capitalisation close to 116 Billion USD.
What are virtual/ cryptocurrencies?
Established as a peer-to-peer electronic payment system, cryptocurrencies enable transfer of money between parties, without going through a banking system. These digital payment systems are based on cryptographic proof of the chain of transactions which employ cryptographic algorithms and functions to ensure anonymity (privacy) of the users (who are identified by an alphanumeric public key), security of the transactions and integrity of the payment systems.
Cryptocurrencies are being denounced in many countries because of their use in grey and black markets. There are two sets of interconnected risks; one being to the growth and expansion of these platforms in the uncertain policy environment, and the other being the risks these platforms pose to the users and the security of the state.
They also have the potential use for Illicit Trade and Criminal Activities and can be used for Terror Financing while also having the Potential for Tax Evasion.
■ The Reserve Bank of India has decided to set up Data Sciences Lab to improve its forecasting, surveillance and early warning detection abilities to aid policy formulation. The lab will comprise experts and budding analysts, who are trained in Computer Science, Data Analytics, Statistics, Economics, Econometrics and Finance. Policymaking benefits from data collected through regulatory returns and surveys.
■ ‘Internet Security Threat Report’ that has been released by security solutions provider, Symantec has ranked countries based on their vulnerability under eight parameters – malware, spam, phishing, bots, network attacks, web attacks, ransomware and cryptominers. The list is topped by the U.S. at 26.61% followed by China at 10.95%.
India is emerged as the 3rd most vulnerable country in terms of risk of cyber threats, such as malware, spam and ransomware, in 2017, as per latest report by ‘Symantec’. India continues to be second-most impacted by spam and bots and third-most impacted by network attacks and fourth-most impacted by ransomware. In terms of cryptomining activities, India has ranked second in Asia-Pacific and Japan region (APJ), and ninth globally.
■ The policy-making body of the tax departmen, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has notified new Income Tax Return, ITR forms for the assessment year 2018-19. These new form mandates salaried class assessees to provide their salary breakup and businessmen their GST number and turnover. Some fields have been rationalised in the latest forms and that there is no change in the manner of filing the ITRs as compared to last year. The last date for filing the ITR is July the 31st.
■ Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has mooted an ambitious model of a public Wi-Fi grid in order to slash Internet access cost by 90 per cent, and also push broadband proliferation in India. The regulator’s concept involves Public Data Office Providers (PDOs) – on lines of PCOs of yesteryears that spurred connectivity in the country. These PDOs will be companies, or even small merchants, who are interested in providing Wi-Fi hotspots to public using either free or paid model.
■ Pathankot has become the 21st airport under UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) – RCS (Regional Connectivity Scheme).
About UDAN: Udan is a market-based policy intervention that builds on similar programmes in the US, Canada and Australia, consistent with universal service approaches to putting life into un-served and under-served airports. The objective of the Scheme is to make flying affordable for the masses, to promote tourism, increase employment and promote balanced regional growth. The scheme offers viability gap funding to operators to fly smaller aircraft to such airports with a commitment to price tickets for at least half of the seats at Rs 2,500 for an hour-long flight.
Sports Current Affairs – 6 and 7 April 2018
■ Himanta Biswa Sarma, a cabinet-ranked minister and convener of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), has been elected as the new president of Badminton Association of India (BAI) after the federation’s annual general body meeting and election. He will serve for a term of four years.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 6 and 7 April 2018 “
Q1. Which city hosted the 9th trilateral meeting of India, Japan and the United States?
A) New Delhi
Q2. Saikhom Mirabai Chanu has clinched India’s first gold at the 21st Commonwealth Games (CWG-2018). She is related to which weightlifting category?
A) 48 kg
B) 56 kg
C) 42 kg
D) 45 kg
Q3. Which high-powered committee has been formed by the Union government to examine CBSE’s exam conduct process?
A) Nirmal Jain committee
B) VS Oberoi committee
C) Sundaram Das committee
D) Mithali Kumar committee
Q4. Which airport has been adjudged as India’s cleanest airport, as per the latest survey conducted by the Airports Authority of India (AAI)?
A) Indira Gandhi International Airport
B) Goa International Airport
C) Mangaluru International Airport
D) Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport
Q5. Who bagged India’s first medal at the 21st Commonwealth Games 2018?
A) Mirabai Chanu
B) Virdhawal Khade
C) Srihari Nataraj
D) P Gururaja
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!