“ The Earth is what we all have in common.

 Wendell Berry.

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 – 7 & 8 May 2019

  • The fasting month of Ramzan has began after worshippers across the country thronged to mosques last night, to offer special night prayers called “Taraweeh”, to continue throughout the month.

Note that: Ramzan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar culminates with Eid-ul-Fitr celebration.

 

  • The Election Commission has approved of the relaxation in the model code of conduct for the Maharashtra government to undertake drought relief works in view of public interest. This relaxation was given after chief minister Devendra Fadnavis wrote to the EC regarding the issue stating that the polling for all 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state already got over on April 29.

Note that: The EC has however directed the state government that staff involved in vote counting should not accompany any ministers on any tour during this period.

 

  • The Delhi High Court has run a pilot project ‘Zero pendency Court’ which is one of its kind project in India aimed to study the life cycles of cases to come up with optimal timelines for cases. The objective of this project was to study the flow of cases in the absence of backlog, to provide information on the judicial time required to dispose of a case together with the gathering stage wise details in each case.
    It was undertaken in some subordinate courts of Delhi to identify benchmarks for different types of cases timelines, number of judges required, case flow management rules and a host of other relevant factors. The following observations were made:
  1. Delhi needs 43 more Judges above the current strength of 143 to clear all pending cases in one year.
  2. There is a large number of criminal cases in Delhi far more than the number of civil cases. As on March 2019, there were 5.5 lakh criminal cases and 1.8 lakh civil cases pending in subordinate courts in Delhi.
  3. The highest amount of (time per hearing) was spent on the final arguments stage on average followed by the final order or judgement.
  4. A considerable amount of time is also taken on dictation, researching on case laws etc. before pronouncing the final judgement. Therefore, a lot of time is spent on each of the hearings.

Note the major reasons of delay: The absence of witness.Unnecessary Adjournments sought by the advocates or the parties at various stages in the case. A delay in the service of summons, especially by outstation parties.

 

  • The ‘Gujarat Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 2019’ has come into force from May 1st. It replaces ‘Gujarat Shops and Establishments Act of 1948’ which had prohibited shops and other businesses from remaining open between 12 am to 6 am. The new law allows shops, commercial establishments and businesses running in state to now remain open round the clock (24X7). Shops and commercial establishments employing less than ten persons will need no registration and those employing more than 10 workers will require one-time registration without the need for annual renewal. Under this new act, workers will get twice the regular salary for working. Previously, it was one-and-a-half-time.

However, the working hours for women employees can be only between 6 am and 9 pm. It could be relaxed if after considering safety issues by the authorities upon a written request in this regard.

 

  • Indian Navy’s fourth Scorpene-class submarine INS Vela, was launched in the presence of the Defense Secretary Production. This is the 4th submarine in the series of 6 submarines under the Project 75 being built by Mazagon Dock Ltd, Mumbai. The Scorpene-class submarine has been termed as the Kalavari Class.

Note that: Before Vela, Mazagon Dock Ltd has launched Kalvari, Khanderi, Karanj submarines. The upcoming submarines, INS Vagir and INS Vagsheer are also in the stages of manufacturing.

 

  • A Rajput class destroyer, INS Ranjit, was decommissioned at a solemn grand ceremony held at Naval Dockyard at  Visakhapatnam. The ship was commissioned in 1983 by Captain Vishnu Bhagwat in erstwhile USSR and has sailed for 2190 days covering a distance of over 7,43,000 nautical miles.

Note that: The ship has been at the forefront of major naval operations like Operation Talwar (to blockade the Karachi port during Kargil war) and various multinational exercises. It has also participated in relief operations post Tsunami in 2004 and Hud-hud on 2014. 

 

  • To mark the 123rd birth anniversary of V K Krishna Menon- Indian diplomat and politician, Indian origin journalist Late G D ‘Robert’ Govender has been conferred with V K Krishna Menon Award 2019 in UK for his contribution as a pioneer of decolonised journalism. The award is given posthumously for the first time.
    Govender had written many books in the field of journalism but his one of the outstanding work was “The Martyrdom of Patrice Lumumba” which had exposed the role of western intelligence agencies in the murder of the Congolese independence leader.

Note that: Govender was the first journalist to call for an international boycott of South Africa’s sports team which was only comprised of whites as their members.

 

  • Indian spiritual leader, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, has been presented with the ‘Order of St. George’ Award for the year 2019 as part of the Commemorative Feast at the Puthuppally St. George Orthodox Church (which is 462-year-old ), in Kottayam Kerala.

Note that: Sri Sri founded the Art of Living Foundation, a volunteer-based Non Governmental Organization (NGO)  in 1981, for providing social support to the people.

 

Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 7 & 8 May 2019

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a monetary penalty on 5 Pre-Paid Payment Instrument (PPI) issuers for violating its regulatory guidelines under provisions of payment and settlement Systems act 2007. As per the RBI directions, PPIs or mobile wallets were mandated in October 2017 to capture all information required under the know-your-customer (KYC) guidelines by end February.

About Prepaid payment instruments (PPI): Entities which facilitate purchase of goods and services as well as inter-personal remittance transactions such as sending money to a friend or a family member. There are three types of PPIs—closed system PPIs, semi-closed system PPIs and open system PPIs. PPIs provide money against the value stored on such instruments. These are generally issued in the form of smart cards, mobile wallets, paper vouchers, internet accounts/wallets. These payment instruments are licensed and regulated by the Reserve Bank of India.

 

  • Based on the recommendation of Commerce Ministry in March 2019, the revenue department under the Ministry of Finance has imposed anti-dumping duty of 1,633.17 $ per tonne on saccharin imports from Indonesia. This duty will be valid for a period of 5 years.

Note that: Saccharin is a non-nutritive sweetener that is 500 times sweeter than sugar and contains very less calories. The import of saccharin into India has increased from 421 tonnes in 2014-15 to 543 tonne in 2017-18.
Saccharin is used in various industries, namely, food and beverage, table top sweeteners, electroplating brighteners, pharmaceuticals, etc.

 

Sports Current Affairs – 7 & 8 May 2019

  • Indian Squash players, Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa have won men’s and women’s title respectively in the Asian Individual Squash Championship held at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia organised by Asian Squash Federation. This is the first time Indian players have won both men’s and women’s titles.

 

“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 7 & 8 May 2019 “

Q1. Global Registry of Violent Deaths (GReVD), sometimes seen in the news, is a new initiative of _________.

  • A. IMF
  • B. SIPRI
  • C. UNDP
  • D. Amnesty International

 

Q2. Which among the following emerged as the top choice for Indian investors ahead of other cities?

  • A. London
  • B. Dubai
  • C. South Africa
  • D. Japan

 

Q3. Defence Ministry recently approved Indian Navy’s proposal to acquire 10 Kamov-31 choppers from ________.

  • A. Russia
  • B. France
  • C. Israel
  • D. Germany

 

Q4. Nearly 300 people have died following the world’s biggest-ever single-day election, which took place in _________ recently.

  • A. India
  • B. Indonesia
  • C. Pakistan
  • D. Myanmar

 

Q5. The name Fani, in context of the recent cyclone, has been suggested by which among the following countries?

  •  A. Sri Lanka
  • B. Maldives
  • C. Bangladesh
  • D. Oman

 

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!

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