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 – 9 January 2018

■ The Supreme Court will revisit its 2013 ruling criminalizing consensual sex between same-sex adults, clearing the way for a fresh round of debate on a controversial colonial-era law governing homosexuality in India. The court held that a review of the 2013 ruling and constitutional validity of Section 377 would be considered by a larger bench that is still to be constituted. This follows the apex court’s August judgement which held privacy to be a fundamental right, extending its scope to the sexual orientation of a person as an essential attribute.

 

■ Today is Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. The day is celebrated every year to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community in the development of the nation. It also commemorates the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to Mumbai on 9th January 1915.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a keynote speech to over 100 parliamentarians of Indian-origin at the first PIO Parliamentarian Conference at Delhi. As many as 124 members of parliament (MPs) and 17 mayors from 23 countries including UK, USA, South Africa, Canada, among others were present at the event. The biggest delegation came from Guyana with 20 members of parliament and three mayors.

 

Arunachal Pradesh would get the country’s second Film and Television Institute, being set up by the Union Government as part of tapping the potential of the Northeastern region.

Note that: The first Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) was set up in Pune, an autonomous institute operating under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

 

■ Central government will declare Medaram’s Sammakka-Sarakka Jatara or Saralamma Jatara a national festival this year. Once declared a national festival, Jatara can be considered for ‘intangible cultural heritage of humanity’ tag of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Medaram’s Sammakka-Sarakka/Saralamma Jatara is held by forest-dwelling Koya tribe of Telangana and surrounding States, is the biggest Tribal festival in Asia which is attended by about one crore people.

The event is held bi-annually to honour the twin goddesses Sammakka and her daughter Sarakka. Jatara is also a mythical narrative of two tribal women leaders who fought against the Kakatiya rulers who tried to annex their land and forests. According to the myth, it was Sammakka’s curse which caused gradual decline and death of Kakatiya rule.

Note that:  Medaram is a remote place in the Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary, which is a part of Dandakaranya, the largest surviving forest belt in the Deccan.

 

Jammu and Kashmir government has launched a Social Security Net “Muhafiz” for the 3 lakh construction workers of the State. The social security scheme has been formally launched by the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on the occasion of the 2nd death anniversary of former J&K Chief Minister Late Mufti Mohammed Sayeed in Jammu.

Mehbooba has said that her government has been making all efforts to uplift the condition of the workers of unorganized sector. This social security net involves the Accidental, Life and disability insurance cover, educational scholarships for the children, Special Microcredit facility and online Registration portal.

 

■ Union minister for science and technology has unveiled India’s fastest and first “multi-petaflops” supercomputer in Pune. Christened as “Pratyush, which means ‘the sun’, the High-Performance Computing (HPC) has been established at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, and will be a national facility for improving weather and climate forecasts. The facility would help the country with better forecasts in terms of monsoon, extreme events, tsunamis, cyclones, earthquakes, air quality, lightning, fishing, hot and cold waves, flood and drought among others.

Petaflops is a measure of a computer’s processing speed. The human brain is estimated to operate at about 1,000 petaflops.

 

■ The three-day annual Flamingo Festival is being held at Pulicat lake. Migratory birds from Siberia visit this place for breeding and the colourful birds are a treat to the eye of bird watchers. The Flamingo Festival has held annually since past 12 years, to promote tourism in Pulicat and Nellapattu. Flamingo Festival witnesses usually around 80 different avian species who come here for breeding, hunting in shallow waters of the lake and then they fly away to their native land with their offspring in tow. The conducive atmosphere for this seasonal avian guests is being conserved at Nelapattu bird sanctuary.

About the Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary:

It is considered one of the biggest habitat for pelicans and other birds. It is located about 20 km north of the Pulicat Lake on the Andhra Pradesh-Tamil Nadu border.

About Pulicat lake:

Itis the second largest brackish water lake or lagoon in India, after Chilika Lake (Orissa). It encompasses the Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary. The barrier island of Sriharikota separates the lake from the Bay of Bengal, where the Satish Dhawan Space Centre is located. The Buckingham Canal, a navigation channel, is part of the lagoon on its western side. Two rivers that feed the lagoon are the Arani River at the southern tip and the Kalangi River from the northwest.

 

International Current Affairs Capsule – 9 January 2018

■ In a relief for Indian tech workers, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has denied the reports that claimed that it was considering tightening H-1B visa rules that could lead to deportation of 7,50,000 Indians.

Note that: The USCIS has a Congressional mandate to issue 65,000 H-1B visas in general category and another 20,000 for those applicants having higher education—masters and above—from US universities in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

About the H-1B programme :

It offers temporary US visas that allow companies to hire highly skilled foreign professionals working in areas with shortages of qualified American workers.

 

Iran has banned the teaching of English in primary schools after the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that early learning of the language could result in Western “cultural invasion” of the young minds.

 

■ Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has said that Saudi Arabia has agreed to India’s proposal to revive option of Haj pilgrimage through sea route. It will be a revolutionary, pro-poor, pilgrim-friendly decision, because sending Haj pilgrims through ships will help cut down travel expenses significantly.

 

■ Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan is attending the 24th conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth being held in Seychelles. The conference will discuss the role of the Speaker in strengthening parliamentary diplomacy in both regional and international cooperation, the use of technology to support Members and House Business and emerging security issues for Parliamentarians.

 

Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 9 January 2018

Direct tax collections in the country grew by more than 18% in the first 9 months of this fiscal, in a relief for the government struggling to meet the fiscal deficit target. The growth in direct tax collections could offset the shortfall in revenues from the goods and services tax (GST).

Net direct tax collections for the nine months, ending December, rose 18.2% to Rs 6.56 trillion. These numbers were 67% of the budgeted direct tax collections of Rs9.8 trillion for the full year,which means the remaining one-third of tax collections have to come in the last quarter of 2017-18. Personal advance income tax collections grew by 21.6%, while corporate advance tax collections grew by 10.9%.

 

■ The Logistics Ease Across Different States (LEADS) index, a composite indicator to assess international trade logistics across states and Union territories, has highlighted that logistics performance of Indian states and Union territories is “sub-par” owing to a host of inefficiencies.

  • While Gujarat topped the index, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh took the second and third positions, respectively. The index is based on a stakeholders’ survey conducted by Deloitte for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

The Commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu said Indian logistics costs are said to be among the highest in the world—in the vicinity of 13% of gross domestic product (GDP).

Importance of Logistics:

Logistics is defined as the management of the flow of resources such as cargo, documents, information and funds through a range of activities and services between points of origin and destination. It is a key parameter in deciding the trade competitiveness of a state or country.

  • Recent Steps by the government: For developing an integrated logistics framework in the country, the government in November granted infrastructure status to the logistics sector, enabling the industry to access cheaper finances.
  • Problems faced by India: It faced problems such as inadequate terminal capacity, poor last-mile terminal connectivity and issues in regulatory services by government agencies, among others. For example, labour unions created impediments for trade efficiency in states like West Bengal, Kerala, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh. The supply chain efficiencies and economies of scale are yet to be unlocked in the country, mostly due to suboptimal investment in building scale in infrastructure, automation, human capital and technology.

 

Obituaries

■ India’s powerlifting world champion Saksham Yadav succumbed to his injuries following a road accident at Delhi-Haryana border. He was among six athletes travelling from Delhi to Panipat. The 28 years old, Yadav, had last won a world championship gold in 2017.

 

“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 9 January 2018 “

Q1. Who has become the first African-American to win Golden Globe for best actor in a drama television series at the 75th Golden Globe Awards 2018?

  • A) Aziz Ansari
  • B) Ewan McGregor
  • C) Sterling K Brown
  • D) Alexander Skarsgard

Q2. The Indian Navy has inked a MoU with which port trust for utilizing the Port’s berthing facility for Naval ships?

  • A) Kandla Port Trust
  • B) Kolkatta Port Trust
  • C) Cochin Port Trust
  • D) Chennai Port Trust

Q3. Which chief minister of India has been bestowed with the 1st Mufti Mohammed Sayeed Probity in Politics and Public Life Award?

  • A) Nitish Kumar
  • B) Pema Khandu
  • C) Sarbananda Sonowal
  • D) N. Chandrababu Naidu

Q4. The Defence Innovation Centre (DIC) will be set up in which city to assist small industries in manufacturing components for the defence sector?

  • A) Kochi
  • B) Coimbatore
  • C) Chennai
  • D) New Delhi

Q5. Which country has won the 30th edition of the Hopman Cup tournament 2018?

  • A) France
  • B) Spain
  • C) Portugal
  • D) Switzerland

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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