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 – 7 and 8 May 2018
■ The Ministry of Tribal Affairs plans to expand Van Dhan Vikas Kendras in Tribal Districts across the country. It aims to promote Minor Forest Produce (MFPs)-centric livelihood development of tribal gatherers and artisans. This will mainstream the tribal community by promoting primary level value addition to MFP at the grassroots level.
About Van Dhan Vikas Kendras initiative: The scheme will be implemented through Ministry of Tribal Affairs as Nodal Department at the Central Level and TRIFED as Nodal Agency at the National Level. At State level, the State Nodal Agency for MFPs and the District collectors are envisaged to play a pivot role in scheme implementation at grassroot level.Through this initiative, the share of tribals in the value chain of Non-Timber Forest Produce is expected to rise from the present 20% to around 60%.
Note that: Minor Forest Produce (MFP) is a major source of livelihood for tribals living in forest areas. Around 100 million forest dwellers depend on MFPs for food, shelter, medicines and cash income. It provides them critical subsistence during the lean seasons, particularly for primitive tribal groups such as hunter-gatherers, and the landless.
■ National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has partnered with Survey of India, to facilitate the Ganga rejuvenation task under Namami Gange programme by using Geographic Information System (GIS)’s DEM technology. Through this project, NMCG aims to strengthen planning and implementation at national, state and local levels.
About DEM technology: The project will use Digital Elevation Model (DEM) technology to ensure accurate data collection, an important aspect for river basin management planning. DEM technology enables identification of entire topography of an area making it easy for policy makers to analyse the available data thereby supporting the decision-making process. Critical hotspots are also easily identified through this technology.
About Namami Gange Programme: The Namami Gange programme was launched as a mission to achieve the target of cleaning river Ganga in an effective manner with the unceasing involvement of all stakeholders, especially five major Ganga basin States – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal. This programme envisages: River Surface Cleaning, Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure, River Front Development, Bio-Diversity, Afforestation and Public Awareness.
About Survey of India: It is the oldest scientific department in the country set up in 1767. It works under the administrative control of Department of Science & Technology. It is India’s Principal Mapping Agency, that bears a special responsibility to ensure that the country’s domain is explored and mapped suitably, provide base maps for expeditious and integrated development and ensure that all resources contribute with their full measure to the progress, prosperity and security of our country now and for generations to come.
■ The Ministry of Human Resource Development has launched a major and unique initiative of online professional development of 1.5 million higher education faculty using the MOOCs platform SWAYAM. In the first phase, 75 discipline-specific National Resource Centres have been identified to prepare online training material with a focus on latest developments in the discipline, new & emerging trends, pedagogical improvements and methodologies for transacting revised curriculum.
About SWAYAM: It is an online interactive learning platform that provides, not only video lectures, reading material but also assignments/quizzes that could end up in securing credits after completing the assessment system. More than 400 Courses are available on SWAYAM covering all the engineering and non-engineering subjects at undergraduate and post-graduate levels. The UGC Regulation allows transfer of credits earned through the courses done through SWAYAM into the academic record of the students.
It is now possible for the students and others to take courses of the prestigious IITs or IIMs without formally studying there. The platform has been constructed by Microsoft with totally indigenous efforts.
■ India has signed an agreement of $200-million loan with the World Bank for the National Nutrition Mission (POSHAN Abhiyaan) for 315 districts across all states and union territories. It would help the government in achieving its goal of reducing stunting in children 0-6 years of age from 38.4 percent to 25 percent by the year 2022.
- The POSHAN Abhiyaan was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March this year.
- A large component of POSHAN Abhiyaan involves gradual scaling-up of the interventions supported by the ongoing World Bank assisted Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP) to all districts in the country over a 3-year period.
- The focus is on improving the coverage and quality of ICDS nutrition services to pregnant and lactating women and children under 3 years of age.
■ The Punjab government along with WWF-India are conducting the first organised census on the population of Indus dolphins – one of the world’s rarest mammals.
About Indus Dolphins: A blind species that communicates through echo like bats, Indus dolphins are one of the seven freshwater dolphins found across the world. They are found only in India and Pakistan. In Punjab, they are confined to only a 185 km stretch between Talwara and Harike Barrage in India’s Beas river in Punjab. The most flourishing population of the Indus dolphin, platanista gangetica minor, is found across Pakistan where their numbers are estimated to be around 1,800 over a stretch of 1,500 km of the Indus river. It is listed by the IUCN as endangered on its red list of threatened species. IUCN suspects the population size of the Indus river dolphins has reduced by more than 50% since 1944.
■ SP Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan had recently declared assets worth Rs 1,000 crore, making her India’s richest politician. Congress MP Abhishek Singhvi with assets worth Rs 860 crore stands at the second spot. While TDP MP Jayadev Galla with assets worth Rs 683 crore is at the third position.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 7 and 8 May 2018
■ Israel has announced its withdrawal from the bid for a Non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council (UNSC) for the 2019-2020 term. Israel was competing with Germany and Belgium for one of the two seats allocated to the Western European and Others Group.
Note that: The UN Security Council has five permanent and 10 non-permanent members who are elected for a two-year term.
■ Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, CERT-In detected GravityRAT, on various computers first in 2017. GravityRAT is a malware allegedly designed by Pakistani hackers. The RAT was designed to infiltrate computers and steal the data of users, and relay the stolen data to Command and Control centres in other countries.
About the ‘RAT’: The name stands for Remote Access Trojan, which is a program capable of being controlled remotely and thus difficult to trace. It has recently been updated further and equipped with anti-malware evasion capabilities. The latest update to the program by its developers is part of GravityRAT’s function as an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT), which, once it infiltrates a system, silently evolves and does long-term damage.
■ Vladimir Putin has been sworn-in as the President of Russia for the 4th time, thereby renewing another six-year term in office. Noteworthy that, Putin has ruled the country as either President or Prime Minister since 1999. He won the presidential elections held in March with over 76% of the votes.
■ NASA has launched Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight), their first-ever mission to study the interior of Mars. It was launched on board Atlas 5 rocket. The findings of Mars’ formation will help better understand how other rocky planets, including Earth, were and are created.
About InSight Mission: InSight is part of NASA’s Discovery Program, managed by the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. It will be the first mission to peer deep beneath the Martian surface, studying the planet’s interior by measuring its heat output and listening for marsquakes, which are seismic events similar to earthquakes on Earth. It will use the seismic waves generated by marsquakes to develop a map of the planet’s deep interior. InSight seeks to answer one of science’s most fundamental questions: How did the terrestrial planets form?
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 7 and 8 May 2018
■ The GST Council has approved making GST Network (GSTN) a government entity by taking over stakes held by private entities. As per this proposal, the central government will own 50% and the remaining would be collectively held by the state governments.
About GSTN: The GSTN is a private limited company floated to aid the rollout of the new indirect tax regime. The company will provide information technology support to all stakeholders for smooth implementation of the new taxation regime across the country and will be the repository of all information related to taxation and entities registered under GST. The majority (51%) shareholding in the firm is with private entities including HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and LIC among others. The central government, jointly with state governments and Union Territories, own 49% in the company.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 7 & 8 May 2018 “
Q1.Which country has successfully launched a new communication satellite “APSTAR-6C” into orbit?
Q2.The bi-annual Naval Commander’s Conference will be held in which city?
D) New Delhi
Q3.Which city to host the first apex conference for the CEOs of Smart Cities?
Q4.Which state to host the International Children’s Theatre Festival 2018?
A) Uttar Pradesh
B) West Bengal
C) Madhya Pradesh
Q5.The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has celebrated its 58th Raising Day on which date?
A) May 4
B) May 5
C) May 7
D) May 6
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!