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Current Affairs 2018

The value of Current Affairs in Civil Service Examinations is enormous. This is the most critical part of both Prelims and Mains Exam. Aspirants should study in depth to understand the significance of current affairs for the Union Public Service Commission. In fact, all the questions in Civil Service Exams are framed around current affairs. Questions are not asked directly for current news and information in the exam. Questions are framed by combining current affairs with practical knowledge. The primary motive behind this type of strategy is to check the ability of correlation a candidate can make to the fact.

Why current affairs is more important in Civil Service Exam ?

Success in Prelims and Mains Exam is directly related to an aspirant’s awareness in current affairs. Preparation of current affairs for UPSC is the key to unlock the exam. It requires practice and revision in a well-connected manner.

In such a scenario the preparation of current affairs topics related to India and the world is an important part of your preparations. The students have to be aware of the happening in India and around the world as this portion is an integral part of the general studies paper.

In order to make you ready for the challenges of the Current Affairs preparation, we are covering the current affairs topics on a regular basis.

Our current topics are categorised in such a way that it includes; political affairs, current news, science news, general knowledge, government's scheme and policies and international affairs.

We provide you comprehensive topics of preparation that covers not only India's current scenario but also international events. We also cover Indian news headlines and other important international events under the current affairs segment.

For the very purpose of getting you ready for the challenge that is current news and views in India, we are covering the current affairs 2018 on a regular basis. Our hot topics are categorised such that they include political affairs, current news, science news, general knowledge, current government affairs and international affairs. Only studying India's current scenario or political affairs is not sufficient as you have to cover international events and affairs along with the Indian news space, as well as important and current events in the field of science and sports.

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IAS Academy Bangalore

Current Affairs April 08 to April 14

International Current News

  • MoU between India and UK on Illegal Migrants: The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval to the MoU between India and the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland on the return of Illegal Migrants. The MoU will facilitate that the Visa Free Agreement for holders of Diplomatic passports as well as liberalization of UK Visa Regime for those who are travelling to the UK legally, after conclusion of the MoU. It will ensure the return of persons who have no lawful basis to be in the territory of the other Party after verification of nationality to its satisfaction. It will help in streamlining the procedure of return of nationals who are caught to be staying illegally, belonging to the other party in a specified time-frame.

National Current News

  • Walmiki and Malhar: Walmiki and Malhar are two new languages discovered in India. The discovery was made by Professor Panchanan Mohanty, a researcher from the University of Hyderabad who is also the former dean of the School of Humanities. Walmiki is spoken in Koraput of Odisha and on the bordering districts of Andhra Pradesh, the second language Malhar is spoken in a remote and isolated hamlet about 165 km away from Bhubaneswar.
  • Tajmahal: Tajmahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (reigned from 1628 to 1658), to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Supreme Court demands documents to accept Taj Mahal as Walkf Board property. The country’s top court has asked Sunni Central Walkf Board to produce original title documents bearing emperor Shah Jahan’s signatures handing over Taj Mahal as Wakf property if the court had to accept the board’s claim over the world famous monument.
  • Ganga Hariteema Yojana : It is a state government scheme to allow plantation in one-kilometre areas from the banks of river by government of Uttar Pradesh. The state government will also encourage the common people for plantation on their private lands under ‘One Person One Tree’ slogan. The scheme aims to enhance the green cover in the catchment areas of the river Ganga and to control the land erosion. A high power committee under Chairmanship of Chief Minister has been set up to monitor the implementation of the scheme.The scheme Ganga Hariteema Yojana will be carried out by September 16 2018, the date that will be observed as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer 2018. Seven state government departments have been engaged for implementation of the Ganga Hariteema Yojana Scheme. A committee has been set up under the Chairmanship of the Chief Secretary Rajeev Kumar will check out the contribution of different.
  • Committee for Online media : Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry set up a 10-member committee to recommend policy formation to regulate online. The committee includes secretaries of Ministries of Home, and Information Technology, Departments of Legal Affairs, and Industrial Policy and Promotion. It also has a representatives from Press Council of India, News Broadcasters Association and Indian Broadcasters Federation. The committee will recommend appropriate policy formulation for online media/news portals and online content platforms, including digital broadcasting that encompasses entertainment, infotainment and news and media aggregators. It will do so keeping in mind the existing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms, programmes and advertising code for TV channels and norms circulated by the representative bodies of media organisations.
  • Steroids: Steroids are aerosols, creams, gels, lotions, and solutions that contain corticosteroids (often abbreviated to steroids) and are designed to be applied externally to the scalp or skin, depending on the condition being treated. Union Government of India has banned over 14 creams including alclometasone, beclomethasone, desonide, desoximetasone, flucinonide etc. These were banned under the Schedule H category by making amendments to certain Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945. The immediate decision was taken following consultation with the Drugs Technical Advisory Board which had recommended a ban on the sale of such creams without prescription and had also submitted their recommendations to the Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation.
  • Inland waterways: India has a large network of water bodies in the form of rivers, Lakes, Canals and backwaters. These long waterways are provides a good mode of transport across the cities as well as towns, like backwaters of Kerala, Canals in Gujarat and few waterways in Goa, West Bengal and Assam. In an effort boost the cooperation in the connectivity sector, India and Nepal has decided to develop inland waterways for cargo movements.
  • All electric high-speed locomotive in India: India's first all-electric high-speed locomotive developed in collaboration with French firm Alstom at Madhepura's Electric Locomotive Factory. The locomotive was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The powerful locomotive, each double section has a capacity to pull 6000 tonnes. These heavy haulage locomotives will be used to transport coal and iron ore. This high-speed all-electric rail engine will reduce the congestion faced by Indian railways with a speed of 120 km/hr. Since the locomotive is fully electric, it will lower the operating costs for the Railways and will cut down greenhouse gas emissions as well.
  • Project Dhoop: It is a nation-wide campaign which aims to spread awareness about availing Vitamin D through natural sunlight and consuming fortified food among school-going children. Project Dhoop urges schools to shift their morning assembly to noon time, mainly between 11am and 1pm to ensure maximum absorption of Vitamin D in students through natural sunlight. The project was implemented in collaboration with the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), North MCD and several private schools through a Joint Noon Assembly. Twenty-five schools from the National Capital Region were among the participants.
  • eAadhaar with digitally signed QR code with photo: The UIDAI has brought in secure digitally-signed QR Code on the e-Aadhaar which will now contain photograph of the Aadhaar holder too, in addition to demographic details. But in order to ensure that a person is a bonafide owner of the Aadhaar card, there will be a manual check of photo with the individual’s face or through use of agency specific authentication scheme. A QR code is a form of barcode label which contains machine-readable information, while e-Aadhaar is the electronic version of Aadhaar that can be downloaded from UIDAI website. The new feature, the digitally-signed QR code, will contain photo of the Aadhaar holder in addition to existing facility of demographic details, in turn allowing various user agencies like banks to verify authenticity of Aadhaar card offline. UIDAI’s e-Aadhaar QR Code reader software has been made available on the agency’s website from 27 March 2018.
  • Pay revision for Lieutenant Governors of UT: The Cabinet has approved the proposal for increasing the pay and allowances of Lieutenant Governors of Union Territories with effect from 1st January, 2016 from Rs.80,000/- per month plus dearness allowance, sumptuary allowance at the rate of Rs.4,000/- per month and local allowances to Rs. 2,25,000/- plus dearness allowance, sumptuary allowance at the rate of Rs.4,000/- per month and local allowances at the same rate as applicable to the officers of the rank of Secretary to the Govt. of India It will be subject to the condition that the total emoluments (excluding sumptuary allowance and local allowances) shall not exceed the total emoluments drawn by the Governor of a State. The pay and allowances of Lieutenant Governors of Union Territories remain at par with those of officers of the rank of Secretary to the Government of India. The pay and allowances of Lieutenant Governors of Union Territories was last revised with the approval of the Cabinet with effect from 1stJanuary, 2006 from Rs. 26,000/- (fixed) per month to Rs.80,000/- (fixed) per month plus dearness allowance, sumptuary allowance at the rate of Rs.4,000/- per month and local allowances. The pay of officers of the rank of Secretary to the Government of India has been revised from Rs.80,000/- to Rs.2,25,000/- per month with effect from 01.01.2016 as per CCS (Revised) Pay Rules, 2016.

Economics

  • Panel to review CSR provisions under the company's law: A 12-member panel to review the enforcement of CSR provisions under the company’s law. The panel is headed by Regional Director (Western Region) Manmohan Juneja. Other members include Joint Director (Legal) Sanjay Shorey and Joint Director (Policy) N K Dua, while Deputy Director (CSR) Seema Rath will be the convener. Representatives from apex bodies of chartered accountants, cost accountants and company secretaries, among others will be part of the panel. Besides, there will be two sub-committees — legal and technical — that would go into various aspects in relation to compliance with CSR provisions. The panel would revisit the guidelines for enforcement of CSR provisions and basis, including structure of Centralised Scrutiny and Prosecution Mechanism (CSPM). It will also look at methodologies for monitoring of compliance by companies with CSR norms for having an effective CSPM.
  • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): It is an investment made by a company or individual in one country in business interests in another country. India has bagged the top place in the list of foreign direct investment (FDI) from within the Commonwealth and is the second-most lucrative source of investment within the 53-member organisation after the UK, according to a new trade review. According to a trade review release, ‘Commonwealth Trade Review 2018: Strengthening the Commonwealth Advantage’, compiled by the Commonwealth secretariat, also found that India has moved into the top five providers of intra-Commonwealth services trade, surpassing Canada, and alongside Australia, Singapore and the UK'.
  • Incentives for Startup: Government of India is creating an Inter-Ministerial Board (IMB) to consider applications of Startups for claim of following incentives of the Income Tax Act 1961(hereinafter referred as Act). A) exemption from levy of income tax on share premium received by eligible Startups under section 56 of the Act. B) 100% deduction of the profits and gains from income of Startups for three out of seven consecutive assessment years under 80 IAC of the Act. With the introduction of amendments through this notification, startups are likely to have easy access to funding which in turn will ensure ease in starting of new businesses, promote startup eco-system, encourage entrepreneurship leading to more job creation and economic growth in the country.
  • UAV: An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is a drone or an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. UAVs are a component of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS); which include a UAV, a ground-based controller, and a system of communications between them. Government has decided to constitute a Task Force under the chairmanship of Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation for fast-tracking the roll-out of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology. The Task Force will develop a roadmap with implementable recommendations for Central as well as State Governments, Industry and Research Institutions. The Task Force will consist of representatives from the Government, PSUs, industry and sectoral experts and submit report within 6 months of its constitution. The Headquarters of the Task Force will be at Ministry of Civil Aviation, New Delhi.

Science and Technology

  • Odilorhabins: It is new class of antibiotics, discovered by a team of scientists from the University of Illinois, Chicago (US). Odilorhabdins are produced by a symbiotic bacterium found in soil-dwelling nematode worms. Called Xenorhabdus nematophila, the bacterial symbiont produces toxins and immuno-modulators, enabling the nematode to colonize and kill insects. The bacteria further benefit the host nematode by releasing antibiotics that prevent the invasion of the insect’s carcass by other competing bacteria and fungi.
  • IRNSS-1I: It is a navigation satellite launched by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 12 April. IRNSS is launched to create India's own navigation system which would be quite similar to the US' GPS or Global Positioning System. IRNSS can also provide ‘accurate position information service to users in India as well as the region extending up to 1,500 km from its boundary’. IRNSS-1I also carries two types of payloads for navigation and ranging. The navigation payload will transmit navigation service signals to the users, while the ranging payload consists of a C-band transponder, which facilitates accurate determination of the range of the satellite.

Current Affairs April 2 to April 6

International Current News

  • Turkey: Turkey has launched its first nuclear power plant in the Mediterranean Mersin region, which will be built at the cost of 20 billion dollar. The nuclear power plant Titled ‘Akkuyu nuclear power plant project’, will come online in 2023, the 100th anniversary of modern Turkey's founding, and be completed entirely in 2026. Once complete the power station will provide 10 percent of the electricity needs of Turkey, which has few energy resources of its own. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin launched the construction of the nuclear power plant.

National Current News

  • Oxytocin: Oxytocin is a hormone which is involved in childbirth and breast-feeding. It is a neurotransmitter which is deeply associated with empathy, trust, sexual activity, and relationship-building. The Union government of India has banned imports of the hormone oxytocin. The immediate ban comes after the severe misuse has been noted in the livestock industry, where activists say it causes hormonal imbalances and shortens the lives of animals. The government has also asked customs officials to step up vigilance against smuggling of oxytocin into the country.
  • UTTAM App: UTTAM app Unlocking Transparency by Third Party Assessment of Mined Coal (uttam.coalindia.in). It provides a platform for monitoring of sampling and coal dispatches. The App is designed with an aim to make the citizens a stakeholder in the coal ecosystem. UTTAM is an example of leveraging technology to facilitate a bidirectional channel between Coal India Limited and a common citizen. It ensures transparency and efficiency in the coal quality monitoring process and brings coal governance closer to people.
  • Election Commission of India (EC): It is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in India. The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, state Legislative Assemblies in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country. Election Commission has voiced its stand on validity of the candidate’s contesting in more than one constituency. The Election Commission (EC) has told the Supreme Court that a candidate should not be allowed to contest election from more than one constituency. The commission noted that, there have been several cases where a person contests election from two constituencies and wins both. In such a situation he vacates the seat in one of two constituencies. The consequence is that a bye-election would be required for one constituency involving avoidable labour and expenditure on the conduct of that bye-election.
  • National Medical Commission Bill: It is a new bill approved by union cabinet and was introduced by the Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda in Lok Sabha on December 29, 2017. The Bill seeks to repeal the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and provide for a medical education system which ensures: (a) availability of adequate and high quality medical professionals, (b) adoption of the latest medical research by medical professionals, (c) periodic assessment of medical institutions, and (d) an effective grievance redressal mechanism. The Bill sets up the National Medical Commission (NMC). Within three years of the passage of the Bill, state governments will establish State Medical Councils at the state level. The NMC will consist of 25 members, appointed by the central government.
  • Baseline ranking and Real-time monitoring for Aspirational Districts : This programme is a policy priority of Government of India. NITI Aayog anchors the programme with support from Central Ministries and the State Governments. While NITI Aayog is steering the initiative in 30 districts, various central ministries oversee 50 districts besides the Ministry of Home Affairs, which focuses on 35 Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected districts. Officers at the level of Joint Secretary / Additional Secretary have been nominated to become the ‘Central Prabhari Officers’ of each district. States have appointed state-nodal and Prabhari officers. An Empowered Committee under the Convenorship of the CEO, NITI Aayog will help in the convergence of various government schemes and streamlining of efforts.
  • Monument Mitra: Government has launched Monument Mitra to adopt heritage sites. It is an important project launched by Ministry of Tourism works in close collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). It is a unique project which aims to focus on providing basic amenities that include cleanliness, public convenience, drinking water, and ease of access for tourists, signage etc. and advanced amenities like TFC, Souvenir shop, Cafeteria etc. The project envisages that selected public sector companies, private sector companies and individuals will develop tourist amenities at heritage sites. They would become ‘Monument Mitra’ and adopt the sites essentially under their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity. They would also look after the operations and maintenance of the adopted site initially for the 5 years subject to review at any time. The project began with 93 ASI ticketed monuments and has now been expanded to other natural and cultural heritage sites and other tourist sites across India. The project was launched by the Hon’ble President of India on 27th Sept, 2017 on the occasion of World Tourism Day.
  • OBC List: 120 castes and communities included in OBC list in the Central List of Other Backward Classes for different States/Union Territories. These inclusion were made on the basis of recommendation from by National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) under Section 9(1) of the NCBC Act, 1993. A total of 120 entries containing castes, their synonyms and sub-castes have been notified in the Central List of Other Backward Classes in the last three years.

Economics

  • Atal Pension Yojana: It is a pension scheme for unorganised sector workers such as personal maids, drivers, gardeners etc, was launched in June 2015 by the government. This social security scheme was introduced as a replacement to previous government's Swavalamban Yojana NPS Lite. The subscriber base under Atal Pension Yojana (APY) scheme has touched 97.05 lakh subscriber (2017-18). As per the Ministry of Finance, an additional 48.21 lakh subscribers were brought under the scheme, which is 98 percent more than last year's figure of 48.83 lakhs.
  • Import duty on Smart phones: Government has raises 10 percent import duty on smartphone handset. A notification from Union Government said that components like camera module and printed circuit board assembly, will invite 10 percent import duty. In another notification, the revenue department has increased the basic import duty on populated, loaded or stuffed printed circuit boards, related to telephones (including mobile phones) from nil to 10 percent. It should be noted that earlier in the Budget 2018-19, the government had hiked customs duty on mobile phones to 20 percent from 15 percent.
  • Startup India: Startup India is an initiative of the Government of India. It was announced by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi during his 15 August 2015 address from the Red Fort in New Delhi. According to the data available with Startup India, a total of 8,625 Start-ups have been recognized as on 30 March, 2018. 2711 start-ups where incorporated in 2017-18.
  • Digital Initiative for Exports: Government has launched digital initiative by Export Inspection Council (EIC) to improve exports. EIC is the official export certification body of Government of India and has launched this flagship project of Digital India Initiative to keep pace with changing dynamics of the world. In order to continue the vision for credible inspection and certification and to strengthen the confidence on Indian produce, three portals have been developed to reduce transaction time and cost in a transparent manner. The portals not only provide an opportunity for ease of export but also plays an important role in the Go Green initiative by reducing paper usage and saving millions trees. To provide fast, efficient and transparent services for ease of doing business in all sectors the complete export food chain has been integrated in this digital platform. Primary production, chain catch, aquaculture pond, dairy farms and apiaries are all linked. Processing units, testing laboratories, official controls and exports have complete traceability.
  • Indian Accounting Standards: Ind AS is a set of accounting norms developed by Indian authorities, which converge with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). This procedures are adopted by companies in India and issued under the supervison of Accouting Standards Board (ASB) which was constituted as a body in the year 1977. ASB is a committee under Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) which consists of representatives from government department, academicians, other professional bodies viz. ICAI, representatives from ASSOCHAM, CII, FICCI, etc. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday deferred the implementation of the Indian accounting standards (Ind AS) by one year as many banks are not prepared to migrate to the new accounting system. The earlier deadline for banks to switch to the Ind AS was from 1 April 2018. “Ind AS was to be implemented from this year. As part of this, we’ve also been requiring banks to submit half-yearly returns based in Ind AS format. But our assessment is that many banks are still not prepared to move to Ind AS."

Environment:

  • Fimbristylis agasthyamalaensis: A new plant species was found in Western Ghats by a team of researchers from the University College. Plant named after the locality from which it was found. The new plant species is classified as a sedge the grass-like plant has been named. It was found by researchers, including post-doctoral fellow A.R Viji and Assistant Professor T.S Preetha, came across the species during an expedition to the marshy grasslands in the Ponmudi hills within the Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve. The survey was part of a project funded by the Women Scientists Division of the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE). The finding has been published in Phytotaxa, an international journal of botanical systematics and biodiversity.

Science and Technology

  • GSAT-6A: It was the India's largest communications satellite and carrying a 6-metre antenna for enabling more efficient ground communication. The satellite itself was successfully placed into a geosynchronous orbit, but has lost communication. When the satellite was on course to normal operating configuration for the third and final firing, scheduled for April 1, 2018, communication from the satellite was lost. Efforts are underway to establish the link with the satellite. The second orbit raising operation of GSAT-6A satellite has been successfully carried out by LAM Engine firing for about 53 minutes on March 31, 2018, in the morning.
  • TRAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is a statutory body set up by the Government of India under section 3 of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997. It is the regulator of the telecommunications sector in India. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has mooted a concept of open architecture-based public Wi-Fi grid to bring down the cost of internet by 90 per cent. This will allow small entrepreneurs like tea stalls, grocery shops and vendors to set up and maintain access points. Device manufacturers, payment companies, ISPs/telcos and consumer internet companies can provide the remaining pieces to set up public data offices (PDOs). The regulator’s concept involves PDOs — much like PCOs of yesteryears that galvanised connectivity. The PDOs will be companies, or even small merchants, interested in providing Wi-Fi hotspots to public either free or on payment model. According to the report submitted to telecom ministry, the products available for consumption should begin from ‘sachet sized’, that is, low denomination, as low as ₹2. It said users should be able to easily discover the network, do one-click authentication and payment and connect their devices in Wi-Fi hotspots.

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