For the very purpose of getting you ready for the challenge that is Current Affairs In India, we are covering the 2019 April current affairs including politics current affair, current affair news, science current affairs, general knowledge current affair, current government affair and international current affairs. Only studying India's current affairs or political current affairs is not sufficient as you have to cover international events and current affairs along with the Indian current affairs, as well as those in the field of science and sports.
Current Affairs - April
Current Affairs March 31 to April 06
International Current News
- Bolivia: It is a country in central South America, with a varied terrain spanning Andes Mountains, the Atacama Desert and Amazon Basin rainforest. India and Bolivia have signed eight Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) in diverse sectors including culture space and medicine. Indian President Ramnath Govind said, 'We are happy to have Bolivia as a partner in the International Solar Alliance and welcome the signing of the framework agreement establishing the bond. In addition, we have signed eight MoUs in the fields of culture, Visa waiver arrangement for diplomats, the exchange between diplomatic academies, mining, space, traditional medicine, the establishment of Centre of Excellence in IT and Bi-Oceanic Railway project'.
- Malawi: It is a landlocked country in southeastern Africa, is defined by its topography of highlands split by the Great Rift Valley and enormous Lake Malawi. India will be developing an agricultural institute in Malawi, a landlocked country in southeastern Africa. According to sources, India has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Consultancy Service (NABCONS) for setting up the India-Africa Institute of Agriculture and Rural Development (IAIARD) in Malawi. Ministry of External Affairs signed on Tuesday with NABCONS for setting up IAIARD, an attempt to complement the efforts of the Government of India to enhance capacity in the areas of agro-financing and entrepreneurship development for African countries. According to an official statement, 'IAIARD will be a pan-African institute wherein trainees not only from Malawi but also from other African countries, will receive training to develop their human resources and build their capacity. IAIARD will develop training programmes in the areas of micro-financing and agro-financing, among others. This institute will be the first of its kind developed in an African country by India. This will further strengthen bilateral relations with Malawi and India's relations with the African Union'.
- Reiwa: It is the new name created for the era of new emperor Crown Prince Naruhito's reign. The title was choosen from two Chinese characters, the first meaning 'good' or 'beautiful' as well as 'order' or 'command' and the second meaning 'peace'. According to various sources, the characters were taken from the Manyoshu, an ancient collection of Japanese poetry, in a break with the tradition of selections from ancient Chinese texts. The name implied culture is born and nourished when people's hearts are drawn beautifully together. It is selected from a Japanese classical text, it is said that it is a collection which expresses our nation's rich culture, which we should take pride in, along with our nation's beautiful nature.
National Current News
- Chief Information Commissioner: He/she is the head of Central Information Commission (CIC). CIC is set up under the Right to Information Act. It is the authorised body, established in 2005 to act upon complaints from those individuals who have not been able to submit information requests to a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer due to either the officer not have been appointed. The government has proposed setting up bureaucrat-led committees that would sit and decide on complaints against the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and Information Commissioners (ICs). This proposal was sent to the CIC late last month seeking its views. It was signed by an Under Secretary in the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT). The proposal envisages setting up of two committees — one, to receive and decide on complaints against the CIC and a second one for complaints against Information Commissioners. For the former, the committee is proposed to include the Cabinet Secretary; Secretary, DoPT; and a retired CIC. For ICs, the committee will include Secretary (Coordination) in the Cabinet Secretariat; Secretary, DoPT; and a retired IC. Clearly, in both the committees, government officers will be in a majority. Clearly in both the committees, government officers will be in a majority.
- National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF): It is an investor-owned fund manager, anchored by the Government of India (GoI) in collaboration with leading global and domestic institutional investors. The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and global transport infrastructure operator Roadis have jointly announced creation of a platform to invest up to USD 2 billion of equity in road projects in India. The platform will invest up to $2 billion of equity to target toll-operate-transfer models, acquisition of existing road concessions and investment opportunities in the road sector with the aim of creating a large roads platform in the country, the companies According to an official release, the platform would target toll-operate-transfer models and acquisitions of existing road concessions.
- Community Radio: It is a radio service offering a third model of radio broadcasting in addition to commercial and public broadcasting. In a move to reach out voters about the voting, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has initiated community radio system. It has already reached out to over 150 community radio stations across the country to educate and inform the voters ahead of the general elections. To facilitate the collaboration a workshop was organised by India International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Management (IIIDEM), in partnership with Seeking Modern Applications for Real Transformation (SMART) in Dwaraka The Workshop was organised for training and capacity building of the community radios for voter education and awareness. How Community Radios can contribute? They can play a vital role in motivating and mobilising the voters, enlisting them into the electoral roll, mobilising them to go to the polling booth, educating them about their rights and responsibilities, and making them an informed and educated voter. Community radio stations can further strengthen democracy by developing content in local dialects and deepening the process of voter education and awareness up to the grass root levels. It should be noted that Community radios are one of the best mediums to reach out to the last voter of the country. The Election Commission envisions to make community radio stations an integral part of the voter education programme and the workshops were just the beginning of a long term and sustained engagement between Election Commission and Community Radio Stations.
- Kandhamal Haldi: It is a variety of turmeric indigenous to southern Odisha. Kandhamal Haldi is about to get Geographical Indication Tag. The turmeric is famous for its healing properties. Kandhamal Apex Spices Association for Marketing, based at the district headquarter town of Phulbani, had moved for registration ‘Kandhamal Haldi’ which was accepted under sub-section (1) of Section 13 of the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. Turmeric is the main cash crop of tribal people in Kandhamal. Apart from domestic use, turmeric is also used for cosmetic and medicinal purposes.
- Seahawk Helicopters : It is a twin turboshaft engine, multi-mission United States Navy helicopter. After the approval of the United States for the sale 24 MH-60R helicopters, Indian Navy will be inducted the helicopters very soon. According to sources, Nicknamed the Romeo, the MH-60R helicopters manufactured by Lockheed Martin are designed for hunting submarines as well as knocking out ships and conducting search-and-rescue operations at sea. This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship and to improve the security of a major defensive partner. In a statement, US stated that India is a major defensive partner which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region. India, which had estranged relations with the United States since the Cold War, has emerged as one of its leading defense partner with the interests of the world's two largest democracies largely overlapping amid their concerns over a rising China and Islamist extremism.
- Maitri Bridge: It is the longest suspension bridge over the Indus River at Choglamsar village in Leh. This 260-foot Maitri Bridge was created by Indian Army creates record by building Longest Bridge on Indus River. With just 40 days, the Indian Army has created a personal record after it completed construction of the longest suspension bridge over Indus river in Leh. It was built by combat engineers of the 'Sahas aur Yogyata' regiment of the Indian Army's 'Fire and Fury Corps'. 500 tonnes of construction material were required for building it. According to the news agency, the bridge was inaugurated by war veterans who have been part of operations in 1947-48, 1962, 1971 and 1999 in Jammu and Kashmir. Naik Phunchok Angdus & Naik Shezwan Stobdan, two senior Ladakhi war veterans, were at the helm of the inauguration. The name of the bridge, Maitri, is meant to symbolise the amity and solidarity between soldiers and locals. The bridge is expected to improve connectivity in remote regions of Leh and Ladakh. It well connect the remote areas of Choglamsar, Stok and Chuchot, which are said to be the largest villages in the region. Many on social media appreciated the grit and dedication of the Army persons who swiftly constructed the bridge in record time, with assistance from locals and under the extreme climatic conditions in the region.
Science and Technology Current News
- Cafe Scientifique: It is a new initiative aimed making science relevant, powerful and important to the public. It is promoted by a group of science experts of the Hume Centre for Ecology and Wildlife Biology. It is targeted at younger generations. Various topics such as universe, climate change, evolution, genetics and human-animal relations will be discussed in every monthly gathering.CK Vishnudas an ornithologist and director of the centre said, 'first such initiative in the State, envisages to bring science back into popular culture by demystifying scientific research for the public and empowering non-scientists to comfortably assess science and technology issues, particularly those that impact social policy making. We are planning to organise meetings of science enthusiasts in the district every month at a café or a convenient place, where one or more scientists are invited to talk to the public about new developments in science.
- 5G : It is the latest generation of cellular mobile communications. It succeeds the 4G (LTE-A, WiMax), 3G (UMTS, LTE) and 2G (GSM) systems. 5G performance targets high data rate, reduced latency, energy saving, cost reduction, higher system capacity, and massive device connectivity. South Korea launched the world’s first nationwide 5G mobile networks. Three top telecom providers of the South Korea namely SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus have begun their 5G services two days ago. Hyper-wired South Korea has long had a reputation for technical prowess, and Seoul had made the 5G rollout a priority as it seeks to stimulate stuttering economic growth. Along with the United States, China and Japan, South Korea had been racing to claim the title as the first to provide the ultra-fast network nationwide. Experts say 5G will bring smartphones near-instantaneous connectivity -- 20 times faster than 4G -- allowing users to download entire movies in less than a second. The technology is crucial for the future development of devices such as self-driving vehicles and is expected to bring about USD 565 billion in global economic benefits by 2034, according to the London-based Global System for Mobile Communications, an industry alliance.
- Lithium: It is a soft, silvery-white alkali metal. Under standard conditions, it is the lightest metal and the lightest solid element. In a significant move, Bolivia, known to have the largest reserves of Lithium, has offered the metal—used in making batteries of electric vehicles, laptops and smart phones—to India. Speaking to a news agency, the South American nation’s ambassador, Sergio Dario Arispe Barrientos said, Bolivia has the largest reserve of Lithium in the world and it can become a strategic partner to India in providing the resource. We would like India (both the government and the private sector) to explore this opportunity. Referring to reports that India was looking at an all-electric car fleet by 2030, the ambassador said in the years to come Lithium will become a very important commodity. He mentioned that sooner we consolidate the links with particular countries, which have markets, I think it would be better in way of ensuring your needs (of meeting supply demands of Lithium).
- Reserve Bank of India (RBI): It is India's central banking institution, which controls the issuance and supply of the Indian rupee. RBI sets limits for Ways and Means Advances (WMA) for the first half of the financial year 2019-20 (April 2019 to September 2019) will be Rs 75,000 crore. The Reserve Bank of India, in consultation with the Government of India, has decided that the limits for Ways and Means Advances (WMA) for the first half of the financial year 2019-20 (April 2019 to September 2019) will be Rs 75000 crore. The Reserve Bank may trigger fresh floatation of market loans when the Government of India utilises 75 per cent of the WMA limit. The Reserve Bank retains the flexibility to revise the limit at any time, in consultation with the Government of India, taking into consideration the prevailing circumstances. The interest rate on WMA will be Repo Rate and overdraft will be 2% above the Repo Rate. The Reserve Bank, in consultation with Government of India, will put in place a rule- based WMA limit in future, based on objective parameters.
- Non-performing asset (NPA) : It is defined as a credit facility in respect of which the interest and/or installment of Bond finance principal has remained 'past due' for a specified period of time. Reserve Bank of India asked banks to disclose bad loan divergences in their financial statements if the additional provisioning exceeds 10 percent of profit before provision and contingencies. In a notification, the RBI said it is observed that some banks, on account of low or negative net profit after tax, are required to disclose divergences even where the additional provisioning assessed by RBI is small, which is contrary to the regulatory intent that only material divergences should be disclosed. Therefore, it has been decided that henceforth, banks should disclose divergences, if the additional provisioning for NPAs assessed by RBI exceeds 10% of the reported profit before provisions and contingencies for the reference period.
Current Affairs April 07 to April 13
International Current News
- Online Harms White paper: It is a name of the document released by UK Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in association with Home Office. The White paper sets out a programme of action to tackle content or activity that harms individual users, particularly children, or threatens our way of life in the UK, either by undermining national security or by undermining our shared rights, responsibilities and opportunities to foster integration. Public consultation has been called on for the white paper. Suggestions Made in the White Paper are establishing an independent regulator that can write a code of practice; for social networks and internet companies. Giving the regulator enforcement powers including the ability to fine companies that break the rules. Considering additional enforcement powers such as the ability to fine company executives and force internet service providers to block sites that break the rules. The white paper covers a range of issues that are clearly defined in law such as spreading terrorist content, child sex abuse, so-called revenge pornography, hate crimes, harassment and the sale of illegal goods together with harmful behaviour that has a less clear legal definition such as cyber-bullying, trolling and the spread of fake news and disinformation.
- World Trade Organisation (WTO): It is an intergovernmental organization that is concerned with the regulation of international trade between nations. India will be hosting the second informal meeting of trade ministers from about 20 member nations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on May 13,2019. This meeting assumes significance as several countries are raising questions over the relevance of the WTO. Many countries are also taking protectionist measures, which is impacting the global trade. However, India has time and again stressed the importance and relevance of the WTO for promoting global trade. Further, India will seek to get developing countries to discuss the future of the multilateral body and the development agenda next month. Key highlights are, a global framework for e-commerce, an issue that is being pushed hard by the US. Even China is not against negotiations. Further, India may also be willing to discuss the issue as it had recently floated a draft e-commerce policy as part of the preparations. Recently, India had told the WTO that it will not join the negotiations to develop trade rules on e-commerce. India fears that new rules could provide the pretext for unfair mandatory market access to foreign companies. This will hurt the rapidly growing domestic e-commerce sector, which is still under initial stages.
- United States: It is a country of 50 states covering a vast swath of North America. A group of half a dozen influential American lawmakers has reintroduced an important legislation in the House of Representatives which seeks to advance the US-India strategic relationship. According to officials, the act if enacted, the legislation would ensure that the US State Department treat India as a NATO ally for the purposes of the Arms Export Control Act. It would send a powerful signal that defence sales to India should be prioritised according to US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, which had worked on this important legislation. The bill H R 2123 was introduced this week by Congressman Joe Wilson, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
National Current News
- RailTel : It is a "Miniratna" enterprise of Government of India focusing on providing broadband and VPN services. Around 1600 stations across the country now have fast and free RailWire Wi-Fi provided by RailTel. Santacruz railway station on suburban section of Mumbai became the 1600th station in the country to have public Wi-Fi. In order to fulfil the promise of bringing fast and free Wi-Fi at all Railway stations (except the halt stations) within a year, team RailTel is tirelessly working to achieve the target. Talking about the Wi-Fi provided by RailTel, Ravinder Bhakar, Chief Public Relations Officer of Western Railway said “Mumbai suburban Railway has seen major milestones being achieved for the Railway Station Wi-Fi project. The journey of RailWire station Wi-fi started from Mumbai Central . Reay Road became the 1000th station couple of days back and now Santacruz station has been declared as the 1600th station in the country to have fast free RailWire Wi-Fi. This Wi-Fi is a boon for millions of passengers commuting through Suburban Railways everyday.
- Amicus Curiae : He/She is someone who is not a party to a case and may or may not have been solicited by a party and who assists a court by offering information, expertise, or insight that has a bearing on the issues in the case. Report of amicus curiae has recommended appointment probe to find the cause of floods in Kerala 2019. The amicus curiae appointed by the High Court of Kerala to assist it in a slew of flood related cases, has recommended appointment of an independent expert committee headed by a superior court judge to ascertain what caused the floods of August 2019 and to come up with recommendations for strengthening dam management. In a report submitted to the High Court, Jacob P. Alex, amicus curiae, said that the formation of an expert committee consisting of hydrologists, dam management experts and engineers was essential in view of the severe magnitude of the flood.
- Jallianwala Bagh massacre : It is also known as the Amritsar massacre, took place on 13 April 1919 when troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer fired rifles into a crowd of Indians, who had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab. Official British Indian sources gave a figure of 379 identified dead, with approximately 1,100 wounded. Aiming to arrest the rising demand from various quarters, British Prime Minister Theresa May expressed deep regret for April 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Calling it a ‘shameful scar’ on British Indian history, Prime Minister Theresa May reiterated the UK government’s long-standing expression of ‘deep regret’ over the April 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre. In a brief statement during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) in the House of Commons, May said: 'The tragedy of Jallianwala Bagh in 1919 is a shameful scar on British Indian history. As her majesty the Queen said before visiting Jallianwala Bagh in 1997, it is a distressing example of our past history with India. We deeply regret what happened and the suffering caused. I am pleased that today the UK-India relationship is one of collaboration, partnership, prosperity and security'. May went on to extol what she called the 'enormous contribution' of the Indian diaspora, but did not dwell on the issue further during the session, when Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for the apology a hundred years after the incident.
- Veer Parivar App : It is a new mobile app launched for CRPF by President Ram Nath Kovind for families of CRPF personnel killed in the line of duty. The application will act as an interface between the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) authorities and the next of kin of the slain personnel. It will render all assistance to the families of the martyred CRPF personnel with regard to issuance of ex gratia, pensionary benefits and all information regarding the welfare schemes introduced for them by the government. The assistance will be provided to the families on a real-time basis. The CRPF headquarters in Delhi and various group centres across the country will respond to these issues. The Android-based app will be installed by the force’s officials securely on the phone of the families and will not be available over the app stores.
Science and Technology Current News
- Self destructive mechanism : It is new mechanism discovered by Chinese scientist. It is also known as death switch mechanism. According to officials, this mechanism will triggers infected cells to self-destruct, thus limiting the spread of the disease and keeping other parts of the plant healthy. This research can lead to a new generation of disease-resistant crops that use significantly less pesticide and are more environmentally friendly. The research was done by scientists from Tsinghua University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Genetics and Development Biology. Their findings were published in the journal Science. About 20 years ago, scientists discovered that plants, like animals, have robust immune systems that can protect them from pathogens including viruses, fungi, bacteria and parasites.
- Global Cooling Coalition : It is a new coalition launched at the first Global Conference on Synergies between the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement held at Copenhagen, Denmark. It is supported by the UN, Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL). This coalition includes environment ministers from Chile and Rwanda and foreign affairs from Denmark as well as heads of Danish engineering firms ENGIE and Danfoss and leaders from civil society, research and intergovernmental institutions. The Global Cool Coalition is a unified front that links action across the Kigali Amendment, Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals. The Coalition aims to, Inspire ambition, identify solutions and mobilise action to accelerate progress towards clean and efficient cooling. Complement and build upon ongoing successful programmes to advance clean and efficient cooling, including, the Cooling for All Secretariat, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Programme, private sector action like the Global Cooling Prize, and other initiatives. Provide all with sustainable cooling at a scale that would ensure safe food, safe vaccine and comfort at work.
- National Institutional Ranking Framework 2019 : It is ranking initiative carried out by Ministry of Human Resources Development. According to the report, The Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-Madras) beat Indian Institute of Science (IISc) to grab the top spot in the latest edition of National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) 2019. IIT-Madras has been ranked as the top institute in the overall category, followed by IISc in the second position. Barring IISc in the second spot, the IITs dominated the top ten slots in the overall category. While IIT Delhi was ranked third, IIT-Bombay, IIT-Kharagpur and IIT Kanpur followed in the fourth, fifth and sixth position. IIT-Roorkee got the eight position while IIT-Guwahati ranked ninth. JNU and BHU also found the place in the list at seventh and tenth positions respectively.
- Spacex Falcon : It is the most powerful and reusable heavy-lift launch vehicle designed and manufactured by SpaceX launches the world first commercial mission. The launch is considered as a key demonstration for billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's space company in the race to grasp lucrative military launch contracts. Roughly three minutes after clearing the launch pad, Falcon Heavy's two side boosters separated from the core rocket for a synchronised landing at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, just like it did for the rocket's debut last year. The middle booster, after pushing the payload into space, returned nearly 10 minutes later for a successful landing on SpaceX's seafaring drone ship waiting 645 kilometres off the Florida coast. A successful lift-off with Falcon Heavy's new military-certified Falcon 9 boosters was a crucial element in the race against Boeing-Lockheed venture United Launch Alliance and Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin to secure lucrative military contracts. Musk's SpaceX, working to prove the flight-worthiness of its rocket fleet one mission at a time, aims to clinch one-third of all US National Security Space missions — coveted contracts that are worth billions of llars. The US Air Force tapped SpaceX in 2019 to launch a classified military satellite, which cost it USD 130 million and in February added three more missions in a USD 297 million contract.
- Reserve Bank of India (RBI): It is India's central banking institution, which controls the issuance and supply of the Indian rupee. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to approve the merger between the private sector lender — Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB) and the non-banking finance company (NBFC) Indiabulls Housing Finance (IBH). Though there are concerns with IBH about its previous experience with the regulator, there are hopes that RBI might approve the merger. Speaking on the development, R Gandhi, former Deputy Governor, RBI said, 'At that time, the RBI was very conservative in terms of allowing new entrants into the banking system. So, only two entities were found suitable as compared to other applicants for the licence. As per the previous policy, exposure to sensitive sectors would have led to hesitation in granting licences. However, that is not a condition anymore'.
- International Monetary Fund (IMF): It is an international organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., consisting of 189 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation and secure financial stability. Stressing on the importance of reducing non performing loans to India, IMF has released the Financial Sector Assessment Programme (FSAP) for India. Anna Ilyina, Division Chief of IMF Monetary and Capital Markets Department, said that bolstering the level of capitalisation was one of the recommendations of the Financial Sector Assessment Programme (FSAP) for India. The level of non-performing loans (NPLs) in India remains high. And the level of the capitalization of some banks, particularly government-owned banks, should be bolstered. There were some steps that were taken by the authorities to boost capital in banks and also to improve governance in state-owned banks that have had some positive impact. There has been some progression, but we would welcome further progress on the non-performing assets in India.
- Indian Population: India’s population grew at an average annual rate of 1.2 per cent between 2010 and 2019 to 1.36 billion, more than double the annual growth rate of China, according to a report by the United Nations Population Fund. India’s population in 2019 stood at 1.36 billion, growing from 942.2 million in 1994 and 541.5 million in 1969. The Indian population grew at average annual rate of 1.2 per cent between 2010 and 2019, the UN sexual and reproductive health agency said, in the State of World Population 2019 report. In comparison, China’s population stood at 1.42 billion in 2019, growing from 1.23 billion in 1994 and 803.6 million in 1969. China’s population grew at an average annual rate of 0.5 per cent between 2010 and 2019.
Current Affairs April 14 to April 20
International Current News
- Indo-Pacific division: It is the new division created by Ministry of External Affairs. The main objective of the Indo-pacific division is intended to give a coherent architecture to the Indo-Pacific policy articulated by PM Narendra Modi at the Shangri-La Dialogue in 2019. The Wing is currently headed by joint secretary Vikram Doraiswami. The move is considered as the big step by the government and it is expected to give thrust to the Indo-Pacific centred policymaking. It integrates the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), ASEAN region and the Quad. The Indo-Pacific diplomacy of India India has repeatedly placed ASEAN at the centre of its policy. Even the US has recently renamed its Pacific Command to the Indo-Pacific Command as it seeks to give teeth to its Indo-Pacific policy.
- Seychelles : It is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa. The Seychelles president Danny Faure has gone below the surface of the Indian Ocean to call for better protection for the world's seas. He said that a healthy ocean was crucial for the survival of humanity" in a broadcast made 124m (406ft) below sea level. He had joined a British-led expedition exploring the ocean's depths. During the live broadcast Mr Faure could be seen in the submersible wearing a Seychelles T-shirt. He told viewers that the ocean was the beating blue heart of our planet" and said that it was under threat like never before. We have managed to seriously impact this environment through climate change. I can see the incredible wildlife that needs protection. Over the years we have created these problems, we must solve them and we must solve them together.
- The United Nations Mission in South Sudan : It is the newest United Nations peacekeeping mission for the recently independent South Sudan, which became independent on 9 July 2011. A total of 150 Indian peacekeepers serving with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) have received medals of honour for their dedicated service and sacrifice. The medals were given to the 150 Indian peacekeepers serving in UNMISS in Malakal during a ceremony filled with parades and performances by a piped band. Colonel Amit Gupta, deployed with UNMISS in Malakal, was among the recipients of the medal of honour. A UNMISS news article said Gupta commands a battalion of 850 soldiers in the Upper Nile region of South Sudan. Under his command, his men have conducted highly sought-after veterinary camps and run a veterinary hospital in Malakal, with a second expected to be completed in Kodok a major town along the west bank of the Nile in a few weeks' time. India is one of the top troop contributing countries to UN peacekeeping missions. More than 200,000 military and police have served over the past 70 years and 168 Indian military personnel have lost their lives under the UN flag. India is the second largest contributor of peacekeepers to UNMISS with more than 2,400 military and police personnel currently deployed the mission.
- WHO: It is an acronym for World Health Organization which is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health. WHO has released new recommendations for digital health interventions. The new recommendations include 10 ways that countries can use digital health technology, accessible via mobile phones, tablets and computers, to improve people’s health and essential services. Speaking on the development, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, 'Harnessing the power of digital technologies is essential for achieving universal health coverage. Ultimately, digital technologies are not ends in themselves; they are vital tools to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable'. Over the past two years, WHO systematically reviewed evidence on digital technologies and consulted with experts from around the world to produce recommendations on some key ways such tools may be used for maximum impact on health systems and people’s health. One digital intervention already having positive effects in some areas is sending reminders to pregnant women to attend antenatal care appointments and having children return for vaccinations. Other digital approaches reviewed include decision-support tools to guide health workers as they provide care; and enabling individuals and health workers to communicate and consult on health issues from across different locations.
- Raavana- 1: It is the first satellite of Srilanka. According to reports, the satellite was launched from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's East Shore. The event which occurred at 2.16 am marked Sri Lanka's entry into the global space age. BIRDS-3 satellites from Japan, Nepal and Sri Lanka were taken to International Space Station (ISS) as a cargo and had been boarded onto Antares rocket in this mission which is carrying the Cygnus cargo spacecraft. Raavana 1 had been designed and built by Research Engineers Tharindu Dayaratne and Dulani Chamika from the Arthur C. Clarke Institute, Moratuwa, at the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan. It is 1,000 cubic cm in size and weighs 1.1 kg. It is set to be launched into orbit by the end of May or the outset of June. The satellite is It is expected to orbit the Earth for approximately 15 times per day. Its speed is estimated at 7.6 km per second. It is expected to orbit 400 km away from earth and will have a minimum lifespan of one and a half years. 'Raavana 1' was designed to accomplish five missions. Its camera mission is to take pictures of Sri Lanka and its neighbouring countries. Its Lora Demonstration Mission is to validate the module/to be used to data download next satellites. The Attitude Determination and Control Mission of 'Ravaana 1' involve the team trying to reduce the angular velocity of the satellite using magnetic torquers. Raavana 1 was officially handed over to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency on February 18, 2019.
National Current News
- Bamboo rice: It is a type of rice popular in Asia, and it is made by infusing the grains with juice squeezed from bamboo plants. After four decades, Odisha's unique bamboo rice is harvested. Odisha is among the states known for a wide variety of rice, the staple food of eastern and north-eastern India and beyond. But this variety can be called unique even by Odisha's standards — the bamboo rice, which grows only twice or thrice in a century. The rare rice grows out of a dying bamboo shoot, it is being harvested now. The forest dwellers were permited after the wild life authorities of Chandaka-Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary in Cuttack district felt after the threat of rats. Sangram Mohanty, forest range officer said, 'Whenever bamboo blossoms, the rat population increases. To prevent rats from running the rice, we allow local villagers and forest dwellers to collect bamboo rice. Also, the rice then becomes a major source of income and food for villagers living near the forest.
Science and Technology Current News
- Antibotics: They also known as antibacterials, are medications that destroy or slow down the growth of bacteria. With reports of adverse reactions after the usage of commonly-used antibiotics, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has now asked manufacturers to ensure that this information be made available to the general public. In a letter to drug manufacturers, CDSCO asked them to mention in leaflets inserted into drug packets or on promotional literature, information about the adverse reactions of these medicines. All of the seven formulations — antibiotics Cefotaxime, Ofloxacin and Cefixime; Tranexamic Acid, used to control bleeding; antipsychotic drug Quetiapine; anti-rheumatoid drug Sulfasalazine and the anti-epileptic medicine Sodium Valproate — have been instructed to warn patients of the new side effects. The letter was sent out by CDSCO on April 9.
- Homo luzonensis : It is an extinct species of the genus Homo. Researchers in the Philippines have discovered a species of ancient human Homo Luzonensis which was previously unknown to science. The small-bodied hominin, named Homo luzonensis, lived on the island of Luzon at least 50,000 to 67,000 years ago. The hominin—identified from a total of seven teeth and six small bones—hosts a patchwork of ancient and more advanced features. The landmark discovery, announced in Nature on Wednesday, makes Luzon the third Southeast Asian island in the last 15 years to bear signs of unexpectedly ancient human activity. Scientists have for a long, long time, felt that there is nothing Philippine islands. Homo luzonensis flips the script, and it continues to challenge the outdated idea that the human line neatly progressed from less advanced to more advanced species.
- Mitochondrial donation: It is an experimental IVF treatment involving an egg from the mother, sperm from the father and another egg from a female donor. A baby with DNA from three people has been born in Greece following this fertility treatment. The baby boy, weighing 2.9kg (6lb) was born. Both he and his mother, who is 32, are said to be in good health. The doctors behind the treatment, from Greece and Spain, said that the birth marks a historic advance – it is the first time an IVF technique involving DNA from three people has been used with the aim of addressing fertility problems. But UK experts criticised the decision to proceed with the treatment, which they said was not backed by evidence and involved unjustifiable risks.
- Stratolaunch aircraft: It is a world’s largest airplane which completed its first test flight. According to officials, the aircraft achieved its maximum speed of 189 miles per hour (302.4 km per hour). The plane developed by aerospace venture Stratolaunch (set up by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2011) flew for 2.5 hours over the Mojave Desert at altitudes up to 17,000 feet. The plane has a dual fuselage design and its wingspan is greater than the length of an American football field. As per the information provided on the Stratolaunch website, the test flight took off from Mojave Air and Space Port in California at 6:58 am Pacific Time (7:28 pm India time). As part of the initial flight, the pilots evaluated aircraft performance and handling qualities before landing successfully back at the Mojave Air and Space Port, Stratolaunch said in a statement. The test team conducted standard aircraft testing exercise including a variety of flight control manoeuvres to calibrate speed and test flight control systems. The Stratolaunch aircraft is designed to act as a flying launch pad for satellites and put payloads in orbit. With 117 meters wingspan and 73 meters nose-to-tail length, the company describes its aircraft as the world’s largest plane. While it does have the largest wingspan, it does not have the longest nose-to-tail length.
- Remittance: It is a transfer of money by a foreign worker to an individual in their home country. India has retained its number one position as the world’s top recipient of remittances with its diaspora sending a whopping USD 79 billion back home in 2019. According to a report from World Bank, India was followed by China (USD 67 billion), Mexico (USD 36 billion), the Philippines (USD 34 billion), and Egypt (USD 29 billion). With this, India has retained its top spot on remittances, according to the latest edition of the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief. Over the last three years, India has registered a significant flow of remittances from USD 62.7 billion in 2016 to USD 65.3 billion 2017. Remittances grew by more than 14% in India, where a flooding disaster in Kerala likely boosted the financial help that migrants sent to families. In Pakistan, remittance growth was moderate (7%), due to significant declines in inflows from Saudi Arabia, its largest remittance source. In Bangladesh, remittances showed a brisk uptick in 2019 (15%). According to the report, remittances to low-and middle-income countries reached a record high of USD 529 billion in 2019, an increase of 9.6% over the previous record high of USD 483 billion in 2017. Global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, reached USD 689 billion in 2019, up from USD 633 billion in 2017, it said. The Bank said, remittances to South Asia grew 12% to USD 131 billion in 2019, outpacing the 6% growth in 2017.
- Nirbhay Missile : It is a new missile test fired successfully by DRDO. It is the first Sub-sonic cruise missile. According to defence sources, the launch was conducted from a test range in Odisha at 11.44 am. The missile, which can be deployed from multiple platforms, was launched by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) from complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, PTI reported. Describing the trial “successful”, DRDO said the missile, which is capable of loitering and cruising at 0.7 Mach at altitude as low as 100 meters, covered the designated target range in 42 minutes and 23 seconds. The test flight achieved all the objectives from lift off till the final splash. The missile majestically cruised and covered its given range. Nirbhay was tracked with the help of ground-based radars and other parameters were monitored by indigenous telemetry stations developed by DRDO. The missile test was conducted in a phased manner.
Current Affairs April 21 to April 27
International Current News
- UNSC: It is the acronym for United Nations Security Council is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, charged with ensuring international peace and security, accepting new members to the United Nations and approving any changes to its charter. In a move that would solve the long stalled reforms in UNSC, India has pressed the Africa's right to representation among the ranks of the permanent members of the UN Security Council. Joint Secretary in the External Affairs Ministry Sanjay Rana said, 'We must take action so that Africa is given a central and leading role in an internationally formed new order especially in a reformed and expanded Security Council and so that the Council reflects the world of today and not of 1945.' It should be noted that India is stressing on Africa's right to permanent membership in the UNSC to break the decades-long blockade of the reform process by a small group of countries. The group led by Italy and which includes Pakistan will be made to directly confront African nations, who have demanded two permanent seats on a reformed Council and point to the historic injustices done to the continent.
- Malawi: It is a landlocked country in southeastern Africa. Malawi became testing ground for large-scale pilot tests for the world's most advanced experimental malaria vaccine. Test was done in a bid to prevent the disease that kills hundreds of thousands across Africa each year. After more than three decades in development and almost USD 1 billion in investment, the cutting-edge trial will be rolled out in Malawi's capital Lilongwe this week and then in Kenya and Ghana next week. It aims to immunise 120,000 children aged two years and under to assess the effectiveness of the pilot vaccine and whether the delivery process is feasible. Four successive doses must be administered on a strict timetable for it to work. Trade-named Mosquirix, the drug has been developed by British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline in partnership with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative. Trial test yeilded positive results in the previous scientific testing -- including five years of clinical trials on 15,000 people in seven countries -- and was approved for the pilot programme in 2015. Malaria episodes reduced by 40 percent in the trials. Although the potential vaccine will not give full protection against the mosquito-borne disease, it is the furthest along in development and so far the most effective. Scientists say if it was rolled out on a large-scale it could save hundreds of thousands of lives. The World Health Organisation (WHO) believes that the new vaccine brings a key new tool beyond mosquito nets, insecticides and drugs in the battle against the disease.
- Iran: It is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. US President Donald Trump has decided to end exemptions from sanctions for countries still buying oil from Iran. According to report from White House, waivers were included for China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey as the sanctions would expire in May, after which they could face US sanctions themselves. This decision is intended to bring Iran's oil exports to zero, denying the government its main source of revenue. Iran insisted the sanctions were illegal and that it had attached no value or credibility to the waivers. Mr Trump reinstated the sanctions last year after abandoning a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers. Under the accord, Iran agreed to limit its sensitive nuclear activities and allow in international inspectors in return for sanctions relief. The Trump administration hopes to compel Iran to negotiate a new deal that would cover not only its nuclear activities, but also its ballistic missile programme and what officials call its malign behaviour across the Middle East. The sanctions have led to a sharp downturn in Iran's economy, pushing the value of its currency to record lows, quadrupling its annual inflation rate, driving away foreign investors, and triggering protests.
- Oil imports: India has decided to stop imports from Iran after US has made the annoucement for cancel waivers. Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that India has plans to increase imports from major oil producing nations other than Iran, indicating that it will be acceding to the U.S. plan to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero. The U.S. has announced that it would be cancelling the waivers from sanctions it had granted eight countries, including India, allowing them to import oil from Iran. Following the revocation of this waiver, any country violating the ban would face U.S. sanctions. Mr. Pradhan said that the government has put in place a robust plan for adequate supply of crude oil to Indian refineries. The Opposition, meanwhile, has criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not speaking up about the U.S. sanctions, questioning how another country can dictate where and how India secures its energy requirements. Terming it a 'surgical strike' on India by the U.S., Congress leaders said that the American decision to impose sanctions on those who continue to buy oil from Iran after May 1 was a failure of diplomacy of the Prime Minister.
- Border reaction force: It is a new joint border reaction force formed by Pakistan and Iran to counter terrorism. Decision was taken after Iran faced deadly attacks on their frontier. The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced yesterday after talks with visiting Prime Minister Imran Khan. Making the annoucement at the joint news conference with Rouhani, Pakistan Imran Khan said, 'The most important reason why I’m here, Mr President, is because I felt that the issue of terrorism was going to ... increase differences between our countries. So it was very important for me to come here and come with our security chief that we resolve this issue. We agreed to create a joint rapid reaction force at the borders for combatting terrorism,’ Rouhani announced, following months of increased tensions over attacks on both sides of the frontier'. The border skirts the volatile southeastern Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchistan which has been the scene of frequent attacks on Iran’s security forces. Khan’s visit to Iran, the first since he took office last year, comes after gunmen who Islamabad says were based in Iran killed 14 members of Pakistan’s security forces last week in its own Baluchistan province.
- NepaliSat-1: It is the first ever satellite from Nepal. It will be soon start rotating around the Earth’s orbit to collect information about the country’s topography and Earth’s magnetic field. It was launched at 2.31 a.m. from the Virginia-based station of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the US, according to authorities at the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST). The satellite, developed by two Nepalis -- Abhas Maskey and Hariram Shrestha at Japan's Kyushu Institute of Technology, bears the Nepal flag and the NAST logo. Similar satellites from Japan and Sri Lanka were also launched alongside NepaliSat-1, reports The Kathmandu Post. According to the NAST, the satellite is equipped with a 5MP camera to capture Nepal's topography and a magnetometer to collect data related to the Earth's magnetic field. The satellite will first reach the International Space Station. It will then start rotating around the earth after a month.
National Current News
- PCEECC: It is an acronym for Promoting Clean and Energy Efficient Cold-Chains in India, which is a report that finds mobile apps and data analysis to manage harvesting and logistics could help to reduce the amount of food wasted between farm gate and supermarket shelf, whilst boosting farmers’ incomes and reducing the environmental impact of much-needed food cooling. The report prepared by a team of Indian and UK experts. The recommendation is part of a four-point roadmap developed by the experts, which includes promoting new business models that involves the communities taking charge of their own cooling needs; establishing Living Labs in rural communities where new technology can be tested among many other things. Toby Peters, Professor in Clean Cold Economy at the University of Birmingham, said: 'We’re proposing a radical new approach to cooling provision with recommendations combined with government of India action to address needs from the first to last mile of the cold-chain as well as those of the broader rural community. 'We must build capacity whilst demonstrating the efficiency of new technology that people will be able to use easily and affordably'.
- MERA India : It is a new initiative launched Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to eliminate malaria from India by 2030. The announcement was made at ICMR headquarters, New Delhi during a key discussion the roadmap of the alliance to be formed for eradicating malaria. Indian Council of Medical Research has established ‘Malaria Elimination Research Alliance-India (MERA-India)’ which is a conglomeration of partners working on malaria control. The principal activity of the alliance is to prioritise, plan, conduct, scale up and translate relevant research in a coordinated and combinatorial way in order to have a tangible impact of this research on the population at risk for malaria. Over the past two decades, India has made impressive progress in malaria control. The malaria burden has declined by over 80 per cent (2.03 million cases in 2000 to 0.39 million in 2019) and malaria deaths by over 90 per cent (932 deaths in 2000 to 85 in 2019). This success has provided a strong foundation for the commitment from the leadership of the GoI to eliminate malaria in India by 2030. The National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme (NVBDCP) of India has developed a comprehensive framework to achieve the overarching vision of Malaria free India by 2030. The NVBDCP’s national strategic plan clearly recognises the critical role of research to support and guide malaria elimination efforts.
- The Chief Justice of India : He is the head of the judiciary of India and the Supreme Court of India. The three judge panel is headed by Justice SA Bobde, the senior most judge in apex court after the Chief Justice of India (CJI), to inquire into the sexual harassment complaint by a former junior court assistant (JCA) against CJI Ranjan Gogoi. The other two members of the inquiry panel are Justice NV Ramana, the next senior most after Justice Bobde and Justice Indira Banerjee, who was elevated to the Supreme Court on August 7, 2019. The panel will conduct an in-camera proceeding and is expected to have its first sitting. The panel is expected to hear the complainant in person and analyze the evidence put forward by her. The panel can even appoint a lawyer to assist them. It will then seek the version of the CJI against whom the allegation is made and then come to its conclusion. This is the first in-house enquiry on a sexual harassment complaint conducted in the Supreme Court and it is the first time ever such an inquiry is being conducted against CJI.
- Dentist: It is also known as a dental surgeon, is a surgeon who specializes in dentistry, the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity. Government’s Think tank Niti Ayog has agreed to the proposal of the Dental Council of India which had sought to allow dentists to practice as general physicians after a bridge course. The proposal was in the backdrop of the call by the Prime Minister’s office to explore unconventional methods to address the shortage of doctors in the country, particularly in rural areas. According to a proposal sent to the Medical Council of India last year, it sought to introduce a bridge course of 3 years post Bachelor of Dental Science (BDS). The admission would be either through a common entrance exam or through cumulative marks secured in the BDS course, or even a combination. The syllabus curriculum, scheme of examination, method of evaluation, degrees and registration all these criteria will be the same as recommended for MBBS. But the IMA opposed the Proposal mentioning that the figures that 63,250 MBBS graduates come out of 494 medical colleges every year and India has only 23,729 post-graduate seats. Unemployment among medical graduates is a cause for concern. The IMA has called the policy has flawed.
- Medicine Label: It is the most important part of taking or giving medicine happens before taking or giving that drug: reading and understanding the label. Aiming to curb fake and expired drugs Medicine labels to be issued in regional languages. According to sources in Union Health Ministry these steps have been initiated to counter fake, sub-standard and expired drugs. Hindi and regional language will be used in the tendering process. Drug names and expiry date during tendering will be in Hindi/regional language too for — polio drop and Iron tablets — procured for children under the government programmes. The Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) recently recommended that government procurement agencies should take necessary steps in the tendering process to include the regional language, along with English, on the label of iron tablets and polio drops in government programmes. An advisory may be issued by the government. Also a sub-committee may co-opt the representatives from the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry and Indian Pharmaceutical Association for further deliberations on the overall issues related to labeling requirements of drugs.
- Government guarantee: Guarantees are contingent liabilities have the potential to impact the financial performance of the government. The Finance Ministry has asked all departments to undertake a review of government guarantees given by respective ministries to their CPSEs or entities. The review should undertake aspects like the discharge of repayment obligations or interest obligations as per terms of the loan agreement and covenants and conditions met, the Finance Ministry said in an office memorandum. Besides, the details of CPSEs or entities due guarantee fee paid on time to the government should also be submitted. The Finance Ministry has extended date for submission of these details to April 30 from April 10. In another circular, the ministry said FRBM Rules stipulates that government cannot guarantee more than 0.5 per cent of the GDP of the respective financial year to CPSE/entities. All ministries and departments are requested that prioritised guarantee requirement for 2019-20 may be worked out to include only such proposals where the loan agreement can be signed and guarantee agreement can be executed during the year. The guarantees already approved by the Budget Division of Department of Economic Affairs, Finance Ministry but not executed till March 31, 2019, needs to be revalidated and such proposals may also be included on the total guarantee requirement of 2019-20.
Science and Technology Current News
- Mars: It is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System after Mercury. NASA spacecraft has detected what's believed to be a ‘marsquake' on planet Mars. According to report from NASA, the space agency's InSight lander, which touched down on Mars in November after a seven-month journey, sensed the seismic signal on April 6. Mission scientists are still working to confirm the source of the faint trembling, though it appears to have come not from the wind or movement of the lander's robotic arm but from below the Martian surface. If confirmed, it would be the first seismic activity ever detected on Mars. 'We've been collecting background noise up until now, but this first event officially kicks off a new field: Martian seismology!' Bruce Banerdt, a geologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and the principal investigator of the InSight mission, said in a statement. The 800-pound lander is parked on the Elysium Planitia, a broad, mostly rock-free plain just north of the Martian equator. The lander is designed to operate on the surface of Mars for two years, learning about the Martian interior as a way to boost our understanding of the formation of Mars and other rocky worlds, including Mercury, Venus, Earth and the moon.
- Genome Sequencing : It is the process of determining the complete DNA sequence of an organism's genome at a single time. In a bid to educate students about the usefulness of genomics, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has decided to map the population diversity. According to a report, nearly 1,000 rural youth from the length and breadth of India will have their genomes sequenced by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Globally, many countries have undertaken genome sequencing of a sample of their citizens to determine unique genetic traits, susceptibility (and resilience) to disease. This is the first time that such a large sample of Indians will be recruited for a detailed study. The project is an adjunct to a much larger government-led programme, still in the works, to sequence at least 10,000 Indian genomes.
- INS Imphal: It is a newly missile destroyer of Indian Navy which was launched at Mazgaon Docks as part of its Project 15B. It is the third guided missile destroyer of the Navy. The Navy had launched INS Vishakhapatnam, the first Project 15B ship, in April 2015, while the second ship, INS Mormugao, was launched in September 2016. A contract for four destroyers under the Project 15B has been signed. With a launch weight of 3037 tonnes, the INS Imphal, like the other ships under the project, has been designed indigenously by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design, New Delhi. Each warship spans 163 metres in length and 17.4 metres at beam, and displaces 7300 tonnes. These ships will be propelled by four gas turbines to achieve speeds in excess of 30 knots. The P15B destroyers incorporate new design concepts for improved survivability, sea keeping, stealth and ship maneuverability. Enhanced stealth features have been achieved through shaping of hull and use of radar transparent deck fitting, which make these ships difficult to detect. P 15B ships will be equipped to carry and operate two multiple role helicopters.
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