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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.

Current Affairs News


Current affairs books and magazine

Current Affairs November 11 to November 17

International Current News

  • World War I: A Statue commemorating role of Indian soldiers in World War I unveiled in France. For the first time in France A new statue commemorating the role of Indian soldiers in World War One was unveiled. The occasion was done to mark Armistice Day when the war ended in 1918. The seven-foot bronze statue in the town of Laventie commemorates over 4,700 soldiers and labourers from British India who lost their lives on the Western Front during World War I and have no known graves. The site in Laventie was chosen after the remains of two soldiers were identified as belonging to the 39th Royal Garhwal Rifles and reburied with military honours last year. Col (retd) Deepak Dahiya, who served for 23 years in the Indian Army and is now based in Paris, said this marks the commencement of a project to establish 57 such statues near all cemeteries where Indian soldiers lie buried in France.
  • United Kingdom: It is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, is an island nation in northwestern Europe. England – birthplace of Shakespeare and The Beatles – is home to the capital, London, a globally influential centre of finance and culture. India and the UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for collaboration in cancer research, the Ministry of Science and Technology. The pact between the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) for the India-UK Cancer Research Initiative was signed here for collaboration for the next five years. Both CRUK and DBT will invest five million pounds each in this five-year pilot project, and seek further investment from other potential funding partners. The India-UK Cancer Research Initiative will identify a core set of research challenges that address issues of affordability, prevention and care of cancer patients by bringing together leading Indian and UK experts in clinical research, demographic research, new technologies and physical sciences, the statement said. "The initiative will provide funding to develop new research alliances and undertake impactful research to enable significant progress against cancer outcomes," the statement added.

National Current News

  • National Data Repository: It is a data storage initiative which collects reliable exploration and production data for India with provisions for seamless access and on-line data management. The aim of the repository is to validate, store, maintain and reproduce high quality and reliable geoscientific data. Facilitate efficient data reporting, data exchange, and data trading among existing players including all geoscientific agencies. National Data Repository is equipped with cutting edge technology and provides ready access to interested companies. The Government has also brought out various others policy reforms including such as Coal Bed Methane policy, incentivize Enhanced Recovery for augmenting production of oil and gas from matured fields, exploration and exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbon from all fields.
  • Supreme Court: The Supreme Court of India is the highest judicial forum and final court of appeal under the Constitution of India, the highest constitutional court, with the power of judicial review. Consisting of the Chief Justice of India and a maximum of 30 other judges, it has extensive powers in the form of original, appellate and advisory jurisdictions. The Supreme Court has upheld the “presumption” that a couple who live together as husband and wife are legally married and the woman can claim maintenance under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. A Bench of Justices R. Banumathi and Indira Banerjee observed that it is “fairly well settled that the law presumes in favour of marriage and against concubinage when a man and woman have cohabited continuously for a number of years”. Citing past judgments of the apex court, the Bench quoted that “where a man, who lived with a woman for a long time and even though they may not have undergone legal necessities of a valid marriage, should be made liable to pay the woman maintenance if he deserts her”.
  • Artillery Gun: It is a heavy military weapons built to fire munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry's small arms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach fortifications, and led to heavy, fairly immobile siege engines. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has inducted three major artillery gun systems,including the M777 American Ultra Light Howitzers and the K-9 Vajra, into the Army. The third gun system inducted is the 'Composite Gun Towing Vehicle' for towing some of the existing guns in service with the country, while K-9 Vajra is a self-propelled artillery gun. The induction ceremony comes ahead of establishing the first regiment- each comprising of about 18 guns- of the M777s and the Vajra by around mid next year, an official said. For procuring 145 M777s, India in November 2016 had entered into a contract with the United States under the Foreign Military Sales programme for Rs. 5,070 crore. The M777s, which have been used in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, can be easily transported to high altitude areas by helicopters.
  • Whatsapp: WhatsApp is a freeware and cross-platform messaging and Voice over IP service owned by Facebook. The application allows the sending of text messages and voice calls, as well as video calls, images and other media, documents, and user location. WhatsApp has announced that it has selected 20 research teams to curb fake news. The teams include experts from India and those of Indian origin - who will work towards how misinformation spreads and what additional steps the mobile messaging platform could take to curb fake news. Each of the 20 research teams will receive up to $50,000 (roughly Rs. 36,30,300) for their project (for a total of $1 million).

Sports Current News

  • Bajrang Punia: He is a Indian Wrestler who becames World No 1 in 65 Kg category. The 24-year-old Bajrang was placed atop the ranking table with 96 points in the United World Wrestling (UWW) list. Bajrang has won five medals this season, including Common Wealth Games and the Asian Games gold and a silver at the World Championship in Budapest. Bajrang was also the only Indian grappler to be given a seeding at the Budapest World Championship. Cuba's Alejandro Enrique Vlades Tobier is a distant second with 66 points. Russia's Akhmed Chakaev is in third place. Interestingly, Bajrang is the lone male Indian to figure in top-10 but the country has five female wrestlers who are in top-10 bracket in their respective categories. They are Pooja Dhanda, Ritu Phogat, Sarita Mor, Navjot Kaur and Kiran.

Science and Technology Current News

  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) : It is a public engineering institute located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. As one of the Indian Institutes of Technology, it is recognised as an Institute of National Importance. has developed a portable solar-powered cold storage device with a 500 kg capacity for storing vegetables, and fruits, among other items. The device will help farmers store their produce for sufficient time so that it does not get spoilt before it is sold, thereby preventing wastage of agricultural produce. The first unit of the device, which provides storage facility with temperature ranging between four and 10 degree celsius, was deployed at a farm in Madurantakam in Kancheepuram district, around 80 km from Chennai.
  • SpiNNaker: It is the world’s largest supercomputer designed to work in the same way as the human brain has been switched on for the first time. The Spiking Neural Network Architecture machine is capable of completing more than 200 million million actions per second, with each of its chips having 100 million transistors. SpiNNaker, built at the University of Manchester in the U.K., can model more biological neurons. Biological neurons are basic brain cells present in the nervous system that communicate by emitting ‘spikes’ of pure electro-chemical energy. It is unique as it mimics the massively parallel communication architecture of the brain, sending billions of small amounts of information simultaneously to thousands of different destinations. SpiNNaker completely re-thinks the way conventional computers work.
  • GSAT 29: It is the newest communication satellite launched Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is was launched into orbit on the GSLV-MkIII D2's second developmental flight from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR), Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. At exactly 5.08 pm, the GSLV-Mk III rocket began fly from the second launchpad in Sriharikota. The MkIII, in its second developmental test launch before its carries Indian astronauts to space, launched the GSAT-29 satellite into Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). The satellite will then be positioned in Earth's Geostationary Orbit (GEO) using thrusters, at an altitude of 207 kilometres above ground

Environment

  • UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation programme: It is an award, which recognizes the efforts of private individuals and organizations that have successfully conserved structures and buildings of heritage value in the region. Restoration of an aristocratic house from a state of partial ruin in Ladakh has won a UNESCO Asia-Pacific award for conservation. While the Ladakh project won in the category of Award of Distinction under the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation, rejuvenation of a university clock tower and a fountain in Mumbai have jointly received Honourable Mention, along with a project in China. The LAMO Center in Jammu and Kashmir's Ladakh region was chosen for its systematic restoration project that used salvaged and local building materials, and indigenous construction techniques while adroitly introducing modern amenities to assure its ongoing use, UNESCO Bangkok said in a statement. "The recovery of the aristocratic house from a state of partial ruin establishes an important precedent for conserving the non-monumental urban fabric of Leh Old Town," it said. In its citation for the award for the Ladakh project, the jury said, "A dynamic programme of arts activities enlivens its space for the benefit of both local residents and visitors."
  • Global Cooling Prize: It is a prize launched by Union Environment Ministry. Prize which is set in international standards, aims to encourage the development of a residential cooling technology which impacts the environment five times lesser than the standard Room Air Conditioning (RAC). Besides, it encourages participants from worldwide to innovate technology to rapidly lessen the harmful impact of cooling technology on climate. The key objective of the competition is to develop climate-friendly residential cooling solutions which would provide an access to cooling without increasing to global warming. The desired technology could prevent up to 100 gigatons (GT) of CO2- equivalent emissions by 2050.
  • Annual Refresher Programme In Teaching (ARPIT):It is a new scheme launched by Human Resource Development. It aims to empowering the teaching faculty. Committed teachers will develop confidence and competence and must become effective communicators so that they can spread knowledge like the rays of the sun. Combining the qualities of a good teacher and an effective leader is still more daunting task but not an impossible task.
  • Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP) : It is a new scheme launched by Ministry of Human Resource Development. It is aimed to transform quality of teaching and improve leaders, thereby enhancing the quality of higher education institutions. LEAP will help in creating better higher education leaders of tomorrow. He appealed to all faculties in higher education to take benefit of these two initiatives.
  • Multi-modal terminal Project: It is first of the four multi-modal terminals being constructed on the National Waterway-1 (river Ganga) as part of the World Bank-aided Jal Marg Vikas project of the Inland Waterways Authority of India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated India's first multi-modal terminal on the Ganga river in his parliamentary constituency and received the country's first container cargo transported on inland waterways from Kolkata. The objective of the project is to promote inland waterways as a cheap and environment-friendly means of transportation, especially for cargo movement. The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the project implementing agency. The project entails construction of three multi-modal terminals (Varanasi, Sahibganj and Haldia), two inter-modal terminals, five roll-on-roll-off (Ro-Ro) terminal pairs, new navigation lock at Farakka in West Bengal, assured depth dredging, integrated vessel repair and maintenance facility, differential global positioning system (DGPS), river information system (RIS), river training. The total estimated cost of the project is Rs 5,369.18 crore, which will be equally shared between the Government of India and the World Bank. Earlier, upon his arrival here, the prime minister was given a detailed presentation of the waterways and watched a short film on the viability of the waterways between Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Haldia in West Bengal.
  • Yuva Sahakar-Cooperative Enterprise Support and Innovation Scheme: It is a new scheme launched National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) for young men to cooperative business ventures. NCDC has created a dedicated fund with liberal features enabling youth to avail the scheme. The newly launched scheme would encourage cooperatives to venture into new and innovative areas. The scheme will be linked to Rs 1000 crore ‘Cooperative Start-up and Innovation Fund (CSIF)’ created by the NCDC. It would have more incentives for cooperatives of North Eastern region, Aspirational Districts and cooperatives with women or SC or ST or PwD members. The funding for the project will be up to 80% of the project cost for these special categories as against 70% for others. The scheme envisages 2% less than the applicable rate of interest on term loan for the project cost up to Rs 3 crore including 2 years moratorium on payment of principal. All types of cooperatives in operation for at least one year are eligible.

Economics

  • Dredging Corporation of India Limited(DCI): It is a Indian public sector unit engaged in the business of dredging. DCI does dredging for Indian seaports exclusively. It occasionally dredges at foreign seaports in countries such as Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Dubai. It is mainly involved in maintenance dredging. Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has given ‘in principle’ approval for strategic disinvestment of 100 per cent, Government of India's shares in DCIL to consortium of four ports namely, Vishakhapatnam Port Trust, Paradeep Port Trust, Jawahar Lal Nehru Port Trust and Kandla Port Trust. Presently the Government of India holds 73.44 % shares in Dredging Corporation of India Limited. The approval will further facilitate the linkage of dredging activities with the ports, keeping in view the role of the DCIL in expansion of dredging activity in the country as well as potential scope for diversification of ports into third party dredging. The co-sharing of facilities between the company as well as ports shall lead to savings for ports. This would further provide opportunities for larger investment in DCIL as integration with ports shall help ineffective vertical linkage in the value chain.
  • IndusInd Bank: It is a Mumbai based Indian new generation bank, established in 1994. The bank offers commercial, transactional and electronic banking products and services. IndusInd Bank has announced the launch of IndusInd Bank Nexxt Credit Card, which empowers customers with a choice of payment options such as EMI, Reward Points or Credit at the push of a button, on the card, at the point of sale (POS). The bank claims it to be the nation’s first interactive credit card with buttons. According to the bank, this card provides customers with the flexibility of 3 payment options at a POS terminal — Credit, Converting Transactions into EMIs with 4 tenure options (6, 12, 18 & 24 months) or using accumulated Reward Points, by simply pushing a button on the card. The card has been created in partnership with Dynamics Inc, which is headquartered in Pittsburgh USA, and designs and manufactures intelligent, battery powered payment cards.

Current Affairs November 04 to November 10

International Current News

  • The United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) :It is the postal agency of the United Nations. It issues postage stamps and postal stationery, denominated in United States dollars for the United Nations offices in New York, in Swiss francs for the offices in Geneva and in euros (formerly schillings) for the offices in Vienna. Postage rates charged are identical to those of the host nation. The United Nations Postal Administration issued a special event sheet on October 19 to commemorate the festival of Diwali. India on Wednesday thanked the UN Postal Administration for issuing special postal stamps to commemorate Diwali, the Indian festival of lights. “The struggle between Good & Evil happens everyday @UN. Thank you @UNStamps for portraying our common quest for the triumph of Good over Evil in your 1st set of Diwali stamps on the occasion of the auspicious Festival of Lights,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin tweeted. The sheet in the denomination of USD 1.15 contains ten stamps and tabs featuring festive lights and the symbolic lamps known as diyas. The background of the sheet features the United Nations Headquarters building illuminated with the message of “Happy Diwali” to celebrate the spirit of the festival. “Diwali, also known as Deepawali is the joyous and popular festival of lights, which is celebrated in India and by followers of many faiths across the world,” the UN agency had said in its description accompanying information about the stamps.
  • Korea: It is a country located in a region in East Asia; since 1948 it has been divided between two distinct sovereign states: North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and neighbours Japan to the east by the Korea Strait and the Sea of Japan. The Ministry of Tourism signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Government for the Republic of Korea for strengthening cooperation in the field of Tourism in New Delhi today. K J Alphons, Union Tourism Minister and Do Jong-hwan Korean, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sports, Republic of Korea signed the MoU and officials from the Ministry and their counterparts from the Korean side were also present during the signing ceremony. The MoU was signed by two parties desiring to strengthen and further develop the established relationship for strengthening cooperation in the field of Tourism. The main objectives of the Memorandum of Understanding are, to expand bilateral cooperation in tourism sector, increase Exchange of information and data related to tourism, encourage cooperation between tourism stakeholders including Hotels and Tour Operators, establish exchange programmes for cooperation in Human Resources Development, encourage Investment in the Tourism and Hospitality sectors, exchange visits of Tour Operators, Media, Opinion Makers for promotion of two way tourism, exchange experience in the areas of promotion, marketing destination development and management, encourage participation in travel fairs/exhibitions in each other’s country, promote safe, honorable and sustainable tourism.

National Current News

  • Turga Pumped Storage Project : It is a project designed to envisages utilization of rainfall in the catchment of the Turga Nala in Ayodhya hills for peak power generation for a Pumped Storage type project development. The project envisages construction of Upper Dam (C.A. 8.29 Sq. Km) across Turga Nala, a tributary of Subarnarekha river and a water conductor system with an underground Power House on the downstream of Upper Dam and a Lower Dam (augmenting the existing Turga Dam of I&W Dte., Govt. of West Bengal) having intermediate catchment of 4.37 sq. km (total C.A. 12.66 sq. km). India and Japan have signed a loan agreement of Rs 18.17 bn for the construction of the Turga Pumped Storage in West Bengal. The deal was signed by the Additional Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), C.S. Mohapatra, and Katsuo Matsumoto, chief representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The objective of the project is to strengthen the capability to respond to fluctuation in supply and demand of power and to improve the stability of the power supply by constructing pumped storage facilities, thereby contributing to industrial development and improvement of living standards in the state of West Bengal.
  • Railways' UTS mobile app: It is a new mobile application which will enable booking and cancellation of unreserved tickets among other facilities. The Railways issued a statement saying that the app will also enable issue and renewal of season and platform tickets, check and load R-wallet balance and help maintain user profile management and booking history. The application which is called ‘utsonmobile’ has been developed by Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS) and it can be used by both Android and Windows phones. To download the app from one can go to Google Play Store or Windows store free of cost. First the passenger will get registered by providing his/her mobile number, name, city, default booking train type, class, ticket type, number of passengers and frequently traveling routes. Upon successful registration, Railway Wallet (R-Wallet) will be created automatically with zero balance to the passenger. There will be no extra cost for creating R-Wallet. The R-Wallet can be recharged either at any of the UTS counter or through recharge option available in the https://www.utsonmobile.indianrail.gov.in website.
  • Bharat Ratan Atal Bihari Vajpayee International Cricket Stadium: It is the new name of the Ekana International Cricket Stadium located in Uttar Pradesh. The move comes ahead of the first-ever international cricket match that is set to take place in the state capital – the second T20 International of the three-match series between India and West Indies. UP Governor Ram Naik was the one who approved the government proposal to this effect. Orders for the same were issued by Principal Secretary (Housing) Nitin Ramesh Gokaran. Officials of the Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) informed that the clause 17.5.1 of the agreement between Ekana Sports City Private Ltd, GC Constructions and Development Industries Pvt Ltd and the LDA says that the stadium will be named after the project is completed. The state government used the powers vested in it as per this clause, on the eve of the high-decibel match, and changed its name in the memory of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who passed away in August this year. Meanwhile, both cricket teams arrived in the city to a rousing welcome. The cricket mania has completely overtaken the Diwali festivities in the city and everyone seems to be scurrying for passes as the online tickets have been sold out. From ministers to bureaucrat sons, police officials, everyone worth their name on Monday evening was hunting for possibilities to see the match at the stadium which was built under the watch of Samajwadi Party (SP) chief and former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav during his tenure.
  • Operation Greens: It is a new scheme announced by Budget speech of 2018-19 with an outlay of Rs 500 crores to stabilize the supply of Tomato, Onion and Potato(TOP) crops and to ensure availability of TOP crops throughout the country round the year without price volatility. Ministry of Food Processing Industries(MoFPI) under Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal has approved the operationalisation strategy for Operation Greens. The strategy will comprise of a series of measures as decided by the Ministry which include, short term Price Stabilisation Measures. NAFED will be the Nodal Agency to implement price stabilisation measures. MoFPI will provide 50 % of the subsidy on the following two components, Transportation of Tomato Onion Potato(TOP) Crops from production to storage, hiring of appropriate storage facilities for TOP Crops, Long Term Integrated value chain development projects, Capacity Building of FPOs & their consortium, Quality production, Post-harvest processing facilities, Agri-Logistics, Marketing / Consumption Points, Creation and Management of e-platform for demand and supply management of TOP Crops. The pattern of assistance will comprise of grants-in-aid at the rate of 50% of the eligible project cost in all areas, subject to maximum Rs 50 crores per project. However, in case where PIA is/are FPO(s), the grant-in-aid will be at the rate of 70 % of the eligible project cost in all areas, subject to maximum Rs 50 crores per project.

Defence

  • IN Viraat: It was a Centaur-class aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy. INS Viraat was the flagship of the Indian Navy before INS Vikramaditya was commissioned in 2013. The ship was completed and commissioned in 1959 as the Royal Navy's HMS Hermes, and decommissioned in 1984. It was sold to India in 1987. The Maharashtra Cabinet on Thursday approved the conversion of decommissioned carrier INS Viraat into a floating museum. As per primary estimates, the project worth 852 crore rupees will be implemented through public-private-partnership (PPP).A state Government press release said the decision has been taken to elicit interest among the school and college students in the marine sector. Besides, it will make the new generation familiar with the glorious history of INS Viraat. As per the proposal sent by the Maharashtra Government to the Union Defence Ministry, the carrier will be housed on a concrete foundation near Nivati Rocks in Sindhudurg in Konkan region of the state.

Economics

  • The Companies Act 2013: It is an Act of the Parliament of India on Indian company law which regulates incorporation of a company, responsibilities of a company, directors, dissolution of a company. The government has promulgated an ordinance to amend the company’s law. The proposal to issue an ordinance to amend the Companies Act, 2013, was cleared by the Cabinet Thursday. The official said the ordinance had received assent from President Ram Nath Kovind and has been promulgated. Details about the proposed amendments could not be immediately ascertained. The Corporate Affairs Ministry, which is implementing the Act, has been looking at ways to promote ease of doing business as well as ensure better compliance levels. Few months ago, government-appointed panel suggested various changes to the Act, including restructuring of corporate offences under the company’s law and an in-house adjudication mechanism to ensure that courts get more time to deal with serious violations.<
  • Public Credit Registry: It is a scheme created by Reserve Bank of India to offer a single-point and real-time source for financial liabilities of a person or entity. The RBI has initiated steps to promote Public Credit Registry. The decision is based on the report of the task force it had appointed last October, which pointed out that credit information is spread over multiple systems in bits and pieces, making it difficult to get a comprehensive view of the financial liabilities of a person or entity.The setting up of the PCR is significant as the financial information about borrowers exists at present in silos and often impacts the time taken to get a loan as well as the quantum of loan sanctioned. Within the RBI, CRILC is a borrower-level supervisory dataset with a threshold in aggregate exposure of ₹50 million, whereas the BSR-1 is a loan-level statistical dataset without any threshold in amount outstanding and focusses on the distribution aspects of credit disbursal. Also, there are four privately-owned credit information companies in the country.

Current Affairs October 28 to November 03

International Current News

  • Seychelles: It is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa. It's home to numerous beaches, coral reefs and nature reserves, as well as rare animals such as giant Aldabra tortoises. The Republic of Seychelles has launched the world’s first sovereign blue bond — a financial instrument designed to support sustainable marine and fisheries projects. The initiative was launched at supporting the expansion of marine protected areas‚ improved governance of priority fisheries and the development of the Seychelles’ blue economy. Making the annoucement, Vincent Meriton‚ vice-president of Seychelles said, 'We are honoured to be the first nation to pioneer such a novel financing instrument. The blue bond‚ which is part of an initiative that combines public and private investment to mobilise resources for empowering local communities and businesses‚ will greatly assist Seychelles in achieving a transition to sustainable fisheries and safeguarding our oceans while we sustainably develop our blue economy. Marine resources are critical to the Seychelles’ economic growth. After tourism‚ the fisheries sector is the country’s most important industry‚ contributing significantly to annual GDP and employing 17% of the population. Fish products make up around 95% of domestic exports.

National Current News

  • Indian Railways: It is India's national railway system operated by the Ministry of Railways. It manages the fourth-largest railway network in the world by size, with 121,407 kilometres of total track over a 67,368-kilometre route. India is currently building the world’s highest railway line.The proposed 465km-long Bilaspur-Manali-Leh route will include 74 tunnels, 124 major bridges and 396 minor bridges—reducing the travel time from Delhi to Leh from 40 hours to 20 hours. According to an official source, the project will cost of Rs 83,360 crore, the railway line will pass through the Shivaliks, the Himalayas and the Zanskar range along with four mountain passes: Rohtang La, Barlacha La, Lachung La and Tangla La. Enroute, it will connect important locations between Bilaspur and Leh, such as Sundernagar, Mandi, Manali, Keylong, Koksar, Darcha, Upshi and Karu, plus cater to the other towns of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. Its contender, China’s Qinghai-Tibet line, connects Xining in Qinghai to the Tibetian capital of Lhasa. In Bilaspur, the line will commence at an elevation of 500 metres and culminate in Leh at 3,215 metres. The highest point on the route will be Tanglangla Pass at 5,360 metres. More than half of the line will be underground. Close to the Sino-India border, the line will feature a 27-km long tunnel with Keylong station inside—the first station in a tunnel on the Indian Railway network.
  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act:It is an Indian labour law and social security measure that aims to guarantee the 'right to work'. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has been generated 92 % wage payments within 15 days. According to an official release, wage payment was 26.85% in 2014-15, indicating the remarkable improvement towards making timely payments. The allocation of MGNREGA was also increased to a record Rs. 55,000 crore in 2018-19. So far, the Central Government has released over Rs. 45,070 crore to the States. Including State shares, over Rs. 50,000 crore is available for work so far. On receipt of audited accounts from the State Governments, additional funds are being released this week to ensure sufficient availability in all the States. The thrust on completion of incomplete works is showing with a record Rs. 1.70 crore assets completed in the last 30 months. These assets have been for Natural Resource Management (NRM), Water Conservation works, durable assets, and a very large number of Individual Beneficiary Schemes including a 90/95 days’ work availability for poor households in the construction of their own houses under Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G). Independent evaluation studies have indicated the success of Natural Resource Management in improving incomes, acreage, productivity, fodder availability, and water table. Similarly, independent assessment of Individual Beneficiary Schemes especially for animal resources has acknowledged their contribution in livelihood diversification and poverty reduction.
  • Statue of Unity : It is the name of the tallest statue in the world. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has unveiled the Statue of Unity – the world’s tallest statue at 182 metres -built in honour of freedom fighter and India’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Built at a cost of Rs 2,989 crores, the project took 42 months to complete. Apart from the statue itself, there are five other related sites that are constructed along with the world’s tallest statue. These include the walkway, the ticket counter, the food court, the four-lane approach highway, and the ‘Shrestha Bharat Bhavan’- a 52-room three-star lodging facility for the visitors coming to see the monument. The statue stands on Sadhu island on the Narmada in Gujarat and is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty in the US.
  • Nextgen Shatabdi Express:It is a new and the country’s first engine-less semi-high speed train - "Train 18" - was rolled out by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF). This train will eventually replace the Shatabdi Express for inter-city travel. The 16-coach semi-high speed 'trainset' built at a cost of Rs 100 crore per rake with 80 per cent Indian component has been designed for a maximum operating speed of 160 kmph. Fitted with CCTV cameras, Train-18 would have two executive compartments in the middle with 52 seats each, whereas trailer coaches would have 78 seats each.
  • International Solar Alliance : It is an alliance of more than 121 countries initiated by India, most of them being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The Union Cabinet gave its approval for moving a resolution in the first assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) to amend the framework agreement of the alliance to open up its membership to all UN countries. The decision was taken to put solar energy on the global agenda with the universal appeal for developing and deploying solar energy. The Cabinet also apprised of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with Russia on October 5. The MoUs/ MoCs provide a platform for Indian Railways to interact and share the latest developments and knowledge in the railway sector. They will also facilitate exchange of technical experts, reports and technical documents, training and seminars/ workshops focusing on specific technology areas and other interactions for knowledge sharing.
  • Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) : It is a branch of the Government of India, is the apex body for the formulation and administration of rules, regulations and laws relating to micro, small and medium enterprises in India. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the Union Government’s Support and Outreach Initiative for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. Besides Delhi, similar launch programmes will be held at 100 locations across the country, where Union Ministers, and Ministers from State Governments will be present. All these locations will also connect with Delhi, for the main event, which will include a special address by the Prime Minister. He is expected to touch upon several matters of vital interest to the MSME sector.
  • Veer Surendra Sai Airport : It is a new name given for Jharsuguda Airport, Odisha. It should be noted that Veer Surendra Sai is a well-known freedom fighter of Odisha. Renaming of the Jharsuguda airport in his name will fulfill long-pending demand of the Odisha Government, which reflects the sentiments of the local public of the respective area. It will also be a befitting tribute to the contribution of the revered personality associated with the State.

Science and Technology Current News

  • Technology Facility Center (TFC): It is a new centre established in the premises of the CSIR-North East Institute of Science & Technology (NEIST) in Jorhat, Assam. The Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) will bear the cost of setting up of this new Science Centre and has, to begin with, allocated Rs.40 crore for its construction. Present on this historic occasion were, among others, Member of Lok Sabha from Jorhat, Kamkhya Prasad Tasa, Director CSIR-NEIST Dr S. Chattopadhyaya, Chairman Research Council Dr G.N. Qazi, Secretary NEC (North-Eastern Council) Shri Ram Muivah, Vice-Chancellor and National University, Dr Pardeshi Lal. TFC will prove to be a boon for young aspiring youth and will emerge as a Center of Excellence for all the eight States of Northeast as well as the rest of India.
  • Social media : These are interactive computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks US scientists have developed a web-based tool to help monitor the prevalence of fake news on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Developed by researchers at the University of Michigan in the US, the tool uses a Platform Health Metric called the Iffy Quotient, which draws data from two external entities: NewsWhip and Media Bias/Fact Checker. NewsWhip, a social media engagement tracking firm, collects URLs on hundreds of thousands of sites every day and then gathers information on which of those sites have engagements on Facebook and Twitter. Iffy Quotient queries NewsWhip for the top 5,000 most popular URLs on the two social media platforms. Then the tool checks to see if those domain names have been flagged by Media Bias/Fact Check, an independent site that classifies various sources based on their reliability and bias. The first report issued by the researchers confirms what was suspected about the 2016 US presidential election: the Iffy Quotient increased dramatically on both Facebook and Twitter during the election.

Defence:

  • Indian Navy: The Indian Navy is the naval branch of the Indian Armed Forces. The President of India is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Navy. The Chief of Naval Staff, a four-star Admiral, commands the navy. The Indian defense ministry has awarded Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) Limited a contract to design, construct and supply four survey vessels for the Indian Navy. A request for proposals was issued to GRSE, Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL), Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL), Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) and two private shipyards by the Indian Navy in April 2016, with GRSE emerging as the lowest & successful bidder. The order value for these four vessels is Rs. 2435.15 crore (approx. USD 330 million). The first ship is to be delivered within 36 months and remaining within an interval of six months for each vessel. The project completion time is 54 months from date of signing the contract. According to the defense ministry, the 110-meter long ships will displace 3,300 tonnes and have a complement of 231. They will perform full-scale coastal and deep-water hydrographic survey of ports and harbors, approaches and determination of navigational channels/routes.
  • Agni I missile:Agni-I is a short-range ballistic missile developed by DRDO of India under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. It is a single-stage missile developed after the Kargil War to fill the gap between 250 km range of Prithvi-II and 2,500 km range of Agni-II. A night trial of India's indigenously developed nuclear-capable Agni-1 ballistic missile with a strike range of 700 km was successfully conducted today from a test range off Odisha coast as part of a user trial by the Army. The launch of the surface-to-surface missile was undertaken as a part of periodic training activity by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) from Dr Abdul Kalam Island to consolidate operational readiness. Describing the trial as successful, they said all mission objectives were met during the test.
  • Kepler Telescope : It is a retired space observatory launched by NASA to discover Earth-size planets orbiting other stars. Named after astronomer Johannes Kepler, the spacecraft was launched on March 7, 2009, into an Earth-trailing heliocentric orbit. US has decided to retire the Kepler space telescope as it has run out of fuel. The telescope will be retired after a 9-1/2-year mission in which it detected thousands of planets beyond our solar system and boosted the search for worlds that might harbour alien life. Currently orbiting the sun 156 million km from the earth, the spacecraft will drift further from our planet when mission engineers turn off its radio transmitters. The telescope laid bare the diversity of planets that reside in our Milky Way galaxy, with findings indicating that distant star systems are populated with billions of planets, and even helped pinpoint the first moon known outside our solar system. The Kepler telescope discovered more than 2,600 of the roughly 3,800 exoplanets — the term for planets outside our solar system — that have been documented in the past two decades. The telescope has now run out of the fuel needed for further operations.

Economics:

  • International Air Transport Association (IATA) : It is a trade association of the world’s airlines. It consist of 290 airlines, primarily major carriers, representing 117 countries, the IATA's member airlines account for carrying approximately 82 % of total Available Seat Miles air traffic. India is said to become the third largest aviation market in 2024. Releasing the latest update to IATA’s 20-year Air Passenger Forecast, the grouping also cautioned that growth prospects for air transport and the economic benefits driven by aviation could be curtailed if protectionist measures are implemented by governments. The present trends in air transport suggest passenger numbers could double to 8.2 billion in 2037. The Asia-Pacific region is projected to drive the biggest growth with more than half the total number of new passengers over the next 20 years coming from these markets. The growth is being driven by a combination of continued robust economic growth, improvements in household incomes and favourable population and demographic profiles. According to the IATA, China would displace the United States as the world’s largest aviation market in the mid-2020s. Aviation market is defined in terms of traffic to, from and within a country, as per the grouping.
  • State Bank of India (SBI): It is a public sector banking and financial services company. It is a government-owned corporation headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The company is ranked 216th on the Fortune Global 500 list of the world's biggest corporations (2017). State Bank of India was authorised to issue and encash electoral bonds with effect from October 1 to 10. These could be done at 29 of the bank’s authorised branches. According to the provisions of the Electoral Bond scheme notified in January this year, these bonds could be purchased by a person who is a citizen of India or an entity incorporated or established in India. An individual can buy electoral bonds either singly or jointly with other individuals. Only the political parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and which secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the previous Lok Sabha or Assembly election are eligible to receive the electoral bonds.
  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI): It is India's central banking institution, which controls the monetary policy of the Indian rupee. It commenced its operations on 1 April 1935 in accordance with the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. The Reserve Bank has annouced that it will inject Rs 40,000 crore into the system in November through the purchase of government securities as it looks to meet festive season demand for funds. The central bank had already injected Rs 36,000 crore into the system in October through open market operation (OMO). According to a release, ‘Based on an assessment of the durable liquidity needs going forward, RBI has decided to conduct purchase of Government securities under OMOs for an aggregate amount of Rs 40,000 crore in the month of November 2018. The auction dates and the government securities to be purchased in respective auctions would be communicated in due course, it added. “The OMO amount stated ... is indicative and RBI retains the flexibility to change it, depending on the evolving liquidity and market conditions.” The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had earlier stated that the system liquidity would move into deficit in the second half of 2018-19 and evolving liquidity conditions would determine its choice of instruments for both transient and durable liquidity management.
  • World Bank: It is an international financial institution that provides loans to countries of the world for capital projects. It comprises two institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the International Development Association. India improved its ranking for the second straight year on the back of reforms related to insolvency, taxation and other areas according World Bank business ranking. India was ranked 100th in the World Bank's Doing Business report last year. The ranking comes as a shot in the arm for the Narendra Modi government which faces strong dissenting voices from opposition parties ahead of the general elections next year. In its annual 'Doing Business' 2019 report, World Bank said India improved its rank on six out of the 10 parameters relating to starting and doing business in a country.

Environment:

  • Green crackers: These are crackers that do not contain harmful chemicals” that would cause air pollution. Components in firecrackers are replaced with others that are “less dangerous” and “less harmful” to the atmosphere. The Supreme Court has permitted the sale and manufacture of low emission "green" firecrackers countrywide and fixed a two-hour time period from 8 pm to 10 pm for bursting them on Diwali and other festivals. The order was delivere by a bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan also restrained e-commerce websites like Flipkart and Amazon from selling firecrackers which were beyond the permissible limit. The apex court's order came on a plea seeking a ban on manufacture and sale of firecrackers across the country to curb air pollution. The bench also said that e-commerce websites will be hauled up for contempt of court if they don't adhere to the court's direction.
  • Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI) : It has been recognized as the premier institution for research and development in electrochemical science and technology. CECRI has developed new firecrackers that promise to be less polluting without compromising on the sound or light effect. Making the announcement, Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan has announced development of a set of new firecrackers that promise to be less polluting without compromising on the sound or light effect. The new crackers have been developed by scientists of two national labs - Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI) based in Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) in Nagpur. The researchers at CECRI have developed green crackers by modifying the chemical formulations for flower pots, `jil jil’ and so-called atom bombs. Crackers essentially comprise of alkali nitrates, aluminum powder of different grain sizes and in some cases a binder to enhance luminescence. Aluminum is used as a primary heat source and to produce the flash. The researchers at NEERI have developed greener version of what are called `bijli’ crackers. Three prototypes have been developed and named SWAS (safe water releaser), SAFAL (safe minimum aluminum) and STAR (safe thermite cracker). The particulate matter was reduced by 30-35 per cent in SWAS and 35 to 40 per cent in SAFAL and STAR.

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