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 – 8 March 2018
■ Prime Minister has inaugurated pan-India expansion of ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ programme from Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan, to save and educate the girl child. The programme has been expanded from the present 161 districts to all 640 districts over the country. The Prime Minister has also inaugurated the National Nutrition Mission to reduce under-nutrition and low birth weight, bring down anaemia among young children, women and adolescent girls.
About Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP): It was launched by the Prime Minister in 2015 at Panipat, Haryana, with an objective to improve Child Sex Ratio, Protect and educate the girl child. Three ministries are involved in this programme – The Ministries of Women and Child Development, The Health & Family Welfare and The Human Resource Development.
■ The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has decided to pull out of the NDA government at the Centre on the issue of special status to Andhra Pradesh. It two ministers in the Narendra Modi government – Ministers are Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Minister of State for Science and Technology YS Chowdary – will resign. TDP Chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has said that the party has decided to leave the alliance in the Centre after repeatedly denied of Special status by the government, in the interest of the state. Mr Naidu’s announcement came hours after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told a press conference in New Delhi that funds equivalent to what a special category state receives will be given to Andhra Pradesh.
Note that: TDP has pulled out from the government and not from the NDA alliance.
■ Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport has been rated as the world number one among airports handling more than 40 million passengers per annum in a survey by the Airports Council International (ACI). While, Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport has been ranked as the World’s Best Airport for customer experience.
■ The headquarters of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) have been shifted after 56 years, to Ballabhgarh in Faridabad District of Haryana from the present Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Since its inception in 1962, the AWBI has operated from Chennai. This decision has been taken for better coordination between the Environment Ministry and AWBI for carrying out the animal welfare activities.
About The Animal Welfare Board of India :
Established in 1960 under Section 4 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,1960, the Animal Welfare Board of India is a statutory advisory body advising the Government of India on animal welfare laws, and promotes animal welfare in the country of India. The Board consists of 28 Members, who serve for a period of 3 years.
The Board was initially within the jurisdiction of the Government of India’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture. In 1990, the subject of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was transferred to the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
■ The Union environment ministry has asked the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to stop imports of genetically modified (GM) soybean for food or feed without the approval of the regulator for transgenic products, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC). The GEAC has not authorized or approved GM soybean or any other products derived from GM soybean seeds for import or cultivation in India.
The issue of GM foods has been controversial in India, with GM Cotton being the only transgenic crop which is allowed to be cultivated. The permission to GM Mustard is under consideration.
GM soybean is one of the most widely planted genetically modified plants in the world. The GM soybean, otherwise called as the Roundup Ready (RR) soybean, was developed by the biotech giant Monsanto and is commercially available to farmers since 1996. It was developed to make the plant survive being sprayed on with the non-selective herbicide, Roundup, which can kill conventional soybean plants. GM Soybean was developed by introducing a copy of a gene from the Agrobacterium sp. strain CP4. Conventional soybean is sensitive to glyphosate, the active ingredient of the herbicide Roundup. With the insertion of the CP4 version of the gene, the GM soybean was able to develop resistance to the Roundup herbicide.
About GEAC: The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) is the apex body constituted in the Ministry of Environment and Forests under ‘Rules for Manufacture, Use, Import, Export and Storage of Hazardous Microorganisms/Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells 1989’, under the Environment Protection Act, 1986. The GEAC is responsible for approval of proposals relating to release of genetically engineered organisms and products into the environment including experimental field trials (Biosafety Research Level trial-I and II known as BRL-I and BRL-II).
■ The week-long 29th edition of the world-famous International Yoga Festival (IYF-2018) has concluded at Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand. The IYF offers classes in meditation, mudras, Sanskrit chanting, reiki, Indian philosophy and spiritual discourses to be held by revered spiritual leaders from India and abroad. The festival was officially inaugurated by Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu. Approx 1500 participants from 92 nations participated in the festival.
■ The government has launched Sukhad Yatra App. It has been prepared by National Highways Authority of India, NHAI, to empower the Highway user. The key feature of the app includes provision for the user to enter road quality-related information or to report any accident or pothole on the highway. It also provides users with real-time data related to waiting time expected at Plazas and various facilities like points of interest, highway nest/nest mini, etc., available across the highway. The app can also be used to purchase the FASTag tag and further facilitate the highway user experience.
■ The Union Cabinet has approved the continuation of Swatantra Sainik Samman Yojana (SSSY) during 2017-2020 beyond the 12th Five Year Plan which has ended in March 2017. This approval provides for a monthly Samman Pension to freedom fighters, as a token of respect for their contribution in the national freedom struggle and on their demise, to their eligible dependents as per prescribed eligibility norms and procedure.
Government of India had introduced the ‘Ex-Andaman Political Prisoners Pension Scheme’ in 1969 to honour the freedom fighters who had been incarcerated in the Cellular Jail at Port Blair. In 1972, to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of Independence, a regular scheme for grant of freedom fighters’ pension was also introduced.
■ The Central Government has sanctioned a sum of Rs. 1000 crore for the phase two of the Impacting Research Innovation and Technology (IMPRINT) India programme, in order to give a major boost for research and innovation in the country.
Under the IMPRINT-II, a fund is being created by the Department of Science and Technology and Ministry of Human Resource Development together, for participation from industry and other interested Ministries. The project will be run as a separate vertical in coordination with the DST.
About IMPRINT India: The initiative, ‘IMPRINT India’, is a pan-IIT and IISc joint collaboration to develop a blueprint for research of immediate relevance to society requiring innovation, direct scientific research into identified areas, ensure higher funding support for research into these areas and measure outcomes of the research efforts with reference to the impact on the standard of living in rural/urban areas.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 8 March 2018
■ Washington has become the 1st US state to set up its own net-neutrality requirements after U.S. Federal regulators repealed the earlier Obama-era rules that banned internet providers from blocking content or interfering with online traffic.
The Governors of five other US states namely, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Montana and Vermont have also signed net-neutrality related executive orders.
■ Renowned Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi has been awarded this year’s Pritzker Prize for being able to interpret architecture and transform it into buildings that respect Eastern culture. The Pritzker Prize is regarded as architecture’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize. He is the 45th Pritzker laureate and the first from India.
The 90-year-old Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi is a pioneer of low-cost housing design —one of the last living architects to have apprenticed with the Franco-Swiss legend Le Corbusier— who distinguished his work by committing to sustainable architecture and inexpensive housing, bringing modernist design to an India rooted in traditionalism.
He worked under Modernist Le Corbusier in 1954 to oversee two of his guru’s projects in Chandigarh and Ahmedabad. The Indian architect also collaborated with Louis Kahn, another of the 20th century’s Modernist giants.
He designed a well-known low cost housing scheme in the central city of Indore. He has also designed IIM of Bangalore.
About the Pritzker Architecture Prize:
The international Pritzker prize, established by Chicago’s Pritzker family in 1979, bestows laureates with $100,000 along with a bronze medallion.
The Prize is awarded annually to honour a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.
The award is funded by the Pritzker family and sponsored by the Hyatt Foundation.
Previous winners include Jørn Utzon who designed the Sydney Opera House, Oscar Niemeyer of Brazil and the British-Iraqi designer, Zaha Hadid.
■ According to the Global Fire Power Index (GFPI) 2017, out of 133 countries, India has been ranked the 4th most powerful military power in the world. The list is topped by US followed by Russia and China.
India has an active military comprising of 13, 62,500 personnel. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has 2102 aircraft — 676 fighter, 809 attack, and others. The Indian Army has a total of 4426 combat tanks, 6704 armoured fighting vehicles, 290 self-propelled artillery guns and 7414 towed artillery guns.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 8 March 2018
■ Telecom major Bharti Airtel has acquired India leg of Gulf Bridge International submarine cable to boost its data carrying capacity. Under the agreement, Airtel will acquire the ownership of the India leg of GBI’s India-Middle East-Europe submarine cable and also pick up a significant capacity on Middle East-Europe leg of GBI’s cable system.
The GBI (Gulf Bridge International) is a private submarine cable system connecting the Gulf countries together and provide onward connectivity to the rest of the world. The GBI Cable System was launched in Feb. 2012, connecting the world to the Gulf. The GBI Cable System is designed with a self-healing core ring in the Gulf, with double cable landings at the major terminals of Qatar and Fujairah (UAE) and branched landings in Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, Oman, and onward connectivity to landing in India and Europe as well.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 8 March 2018 “
Q1. Neiphiu Rio will be new Chief Minister of Nagaland. He is MP from which Lok Sabha constituency?
- A) Kiphire
- B) Peren
- C) Nagaland
- D) Noklak
Q2. India’s first helicopter-taxi service has launched in which city?
- A) Bengaluru
- B) Kochi
- C) New Delhi
- D) Kolkata
Q3. What is the theme of the 9th edition of Women’s Film Festival 2018?
- A) Take Freedom
- B) Learn to Live
- C) Meet with Yourself
- D) Travelling Women
Q4. Where is the headquarters of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)?
- A) Paris
- B) Berlin
- C) New York
- D) London
Q5. Shammi, who passed away recently, was the veteran personality of which field?
- A) Film Industry
- B) Politics
- C) Sports
- D) Law
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!