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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 October 14 to October 20

International Current News

  • United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC): It is a United Nations body whose mission is to promote and protect human rights around the world. India was elected to the United Nations' top human rights body for a period of three years beginning January 1, 2019. India got around 188 votes in the Asia-Pacific category, the highest number of votes among all candidates. The 193-member UN General Assembly held elections for new members to the UN Human Rights Council. The 18 new members were elected by absolute majority through a secret ballot. Countries needed a minimum of 97 votes to get elected to the Council.
  • Azerbaijan: It is a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. India-Azerbaijan have signed protocol and have exchanged views on current economic situation and reviewed the current status of bilateral trade, investment and their cooperation in the fields of trade, economy, science and technology. They emphasised to further strengthen and expand their cooperation in trade and investment, transportation, energy and hydro-carbons, SMEs, agriculture, food safety and environmental protection, tourism, culture, health and pharmaceuticals, space technology, education and scientific research, chemicals and petrochemicals and mining. Trade turnover between India and Azerbaijan in January-August 2018 was USD 657.9 million. Both sides felt that bilateral trade was far below the potential and there was a need to step up the cooperation to enlarge the trade basket and increase bilateral trade and investment. Both sides agreed to take measures to enhance trade relations and expand business relations between the two countries.

National Current News

  • Sikkim: It is a state in northeast India, bordered by Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal. Sikkim has won the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) Future Policy Gold Award for its achievement in becoming the world's first totally organic agriculture state. Sikkim is the first organic state in the world. All of its farmland is certified organic. At the same time, Sikkim's approach reaches beyond organic production and has proven truly transformational for the state and its citizens. Uniquely, the state has totally banned the sale and use of chemical pesticides. Sikkim sets an excellent example of how other Indian states and countries worldwide can successfully upscale agroecology. Nicknamed the "Oscar for best policies", the award is co-organised with the FAO by The World Future Council (WFC) and IFOAM -- Organics International, and recognises the world's best laws and policies promoting agroecology. Sikkim beat out 51 other nominees from around the world for the award.
  • National Health Profile 2018: It is an analytical Report of the National Health prepared by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI), under the aegis of the Directorate General of Health Services. It covers demographic, socio-economic, health status and health finance indicators, along with comprehensive information on health infrastructure and human resources in health. CBHI has been publishing National Health Profile every year since 2005. This is the 12th edition. E-book of NHP-2015 is a step towards realizing Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s vision of Digital India where digital documents give us an opportunity for wider dissemination of information.
  • Urban Leadership fellowship programme: It is a new fellowship programme launched by Delhi government to seeks to attract young leaders across the country to work with it on addressing some of the most pressing urban challenges. Any person under 35 years of age and has a dream to contribute for India can participate in the programme. The deadline for receiving applications will end on November 4. Selected fellows will be assigned to work with ministers or senior officials across various departments of the Delhi government such as education, health, water, transport, art and culture. Remuneration of Rs 1.25 lakh per month will be provided to Fellows (20 positions) an Rs 75,000 per month to Associate Fellows (10 positions).
  • Youth Road Safety Learners Licence programme: It is a new initiative launched in collaboration with Diageo India and the Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE). It attempts to bring a formal and structured training program for young, first-time drivers as they apply for learner’s license. Road safety is of prime importance for the Government as recent times have seen an alarming rise in road fatalities especially among the youth. Rash driving, drunken driving, lack of adequate safety measures like not wearing helmets are some of the major factors resulting in high road accidents. He said, the government is committed to making its vision of safer roads and cities a reality. This programme will help the Government achieve its target of reducing road accidents by 50 percent by 2020. Every individual road user is a brand ambassador for road safety. She informed that India accounts for 12.5 per cent (over 1.45 lakh fatalities a year) of global road accidents, with one road accident occurring every four minutes. Alarmingly, 72 per cent victims involved in such road mishaps are between the age groups of 15-44 years with speeding, reckless and drunk driving being the top reason accounting for 1.5 per cent of road traffic accidents and 4.6 per cent of fatalities. She welcomed the main-streaming of road safety in formal education system.
  • Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation: It is a subsidiary of the Indian Railways that handles the catering, tourism and online ticketing operations of the Indian railways. It has launched a chatbot to help its users answer various queries . The AI chatbot-- Ask Disha- is powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and it is aimed at facilitating accessibility by answering users' queries pertaining to various services offered by IRCTC. This first-of-its-kind initiative by IRCTC is live and it is already available on the bottom right corner of IRCTC's revamped website and it will soon be available on IRCTC's Android app. Besides this, the AI chatbot will be voice enabled and it will support several regional languages in the near future.
  • Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE): It is an autonomous council under the Environment Ministry, signed two pacts to spread awareness about forests, and environment among the youths of the country. The first pact was signed between ICFRE, Dehradun, and Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS), and the second with Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS). The MoUs have been signed to launch the 'Prakriti' programme, which aims to promote awareness about forests and environment, and to stimulate interest among the students of NVS and KVS in maintaining a balanced environment and for acquiring skills that reflect care and protection towards forests, environment and society. It added that another objective of the programme is to provide a platform to school children to learn practical skills for judicious use of resources and to mobilise a cadre of youths for raising a peoples' movement committed to conserve forests and the environment.
  • Saubhagya Scheme: It is an Indian government project to provide electricity to all households. It is also known as Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana. Ministry for Power and New & Renewable Energy has announced an award scheme under Saubhagya to felicitate the DISCOMs / Power Department of the States and their employees for achieving 100 per cent household electrification in their area of operations. According to an official release, awards would be provided for achieving 100 per cent household electrification at DISCOM/Power Department level of the States. Eight States which have already achieved more than 99 per cent household electrification prior to launch of Saubhagya (Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab and Tamil Nadu), are ineligible for participation under the award scheme. All the remaining States and their Discoms are eligible for the award. Award will be given in three categories, (i) DISCOMs / Power Departments of Special Category States (which includes seven North Eastern States, Sikkim, J&K and Uttarakhand); (ii) DISCOMs / Power Departments of other than Special Category States (which includes Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telengana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal)having more than 5 Lakh un-electrified households and (iii) DISCOMs / Power Departments of other than Special Category States having less than 5 Lakh un-electrified households.
  • Swasth Bharat Yatra: It is a new initiative launched by the Food Safety Food Safety and Standards Authority of India(FSSAI) to sensitize people about healthy eating habits among consumers. In association with the state, the union government took the initiative. A pan-India cycle rally is being organized to propagate safe and nutritious food among the consumers. The campaign is aiming to raise awareness among the consumers. Around 7500 cyclists are expected to participate the rally which will cover over 18,000 km in over 100 days. The cycle rally will pass through almost every state and UT while propagating a powerful message 'Eat Right India.' The rally will conclude in the national capital on January 27, 2019. The campaign will aim not only to mobilize masses but also to create a large pool of local community to sustain this movement.

Sports Current News

  • Asian Para Games : It is a multi-sport event regulated by the Asian Paralympic Committee that held every four years after every Asian Games for athletes with physical disabilities. India ended the 2018 Asian Para Games on a high after bagging a total of 72 medals, their best show in the event's history. India clinched 15 gold, 24 silver and 33 bronze medals to finish the campaign at the ninth place. In the last edition in 2014, India had won just 33 medals (3 gold, 14 silver, 16 bronze). India's Pramod Bhagat defeated Ukun Rukaendi of Indonesia 21-19, 15-21, 21-14 to clinch the gold medal in men's singles SL3 class badminton event. Significantly, athletes falling in the SL3 category generally have impairment in one or both lower limbs and poor walking or running balance.

Science and Technology Current News

  • Artificial Intelligence:It is a way of making a computer, a computer-controlled robot, or a software think intelligently, in the similar manner the intelligent humans think. NITI Aayog has inked agreement with Microsoft India to deploy artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to deal with problems in agriculture and health care and promote adoption of area language computing among the other folks. This partnership will assist NITI Aayog to shift over and above pilots and understand how to scale AI implementation in sectors characterized by preponderance of community products. Below the agreement, Microsoft will present NITI Aayog sophisticated AI-dependent remedies to handle worries in agriculture and health care which includes farm advisory services, health care screening styles at Major Health Centres (PHCs) and build potential for AI by education between some others. It will also assist NITI Aayog by combining cloud, AI, investigate and its vertical skills for new initiatives and options throughout various main parts.

Economics

  • Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGB) :These are government securities denominated in grams of gold. They are substitutes for holding physical gold. Investors have to pay the issue price in cash and the bonds will be redeemed in cash on maturity. The Bond is issued by Reserve Bank on behalf of Government of India. The government of India has launches the Series II of Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGB) scheme opened for subscription. Sovereign Gold Bonds will be issued every month from October 2018 to February 2019 as per the calendar specified in five tranches. The first tranche of the scheme which opened today would be open for subscription till October 19 and the bonds would be issued on October 23. The next tranche would be open from November 5-9 and issuance would be on November 13. The next one would be available for subscription from December 24-28 and the bonds would be issued on January 1, 2019. Another tranche would open for subscription from January 14-18 and the issuance of bonds would be on January 22. The final one would be from February 4-8 and those would be issued on February 12.
  • Reserve Bank of India: 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. Aiming to improve digital transactions, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released guidelines to facilitate payments among different mobile wallets. As per the road-map laid down in 2017, interoperability of all KYC-compliant Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs) was to be enabled in three phases - interoperability of PPIs issued in the form of wallets through Unified Payments Interface (UPI), interoperability between wallets and bank accounts through UPI, and interoperability for PPIs issued in the form of cards through card networks. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued consolidated guidelines for enabling all phases "in order to prepare better for implementation of interoperability". Interoperability is the technical compatibility that enables a payment system to be used in conjunction with other payment systems. Interoperability allows PPI issuers, system providers and system participants in different systems to undertake, clear and settle payment transactions across systems without participating in multiple systems. MobiKwik, Oxigen, Paytm, ItzCash, and Ola Money are some of the popular mobile wallets in the country. Currently, a mobile wallet does not allow customers to send or receive money from a wallet run by another company.

Environment

  • PRAKRITI:It is an initiative launched to promote awareness about forests and environment. It aims to stimulate interest among the students of NVS and KVS in maintaining a balanced environment and for acquiring skills that reflect care and protection towards forests, environment and society. Another objective is to provide a platform to school children to learn practical skills towards judicious use of our resources and to mobilize a cadre of youth for raising a peoples’ movement committed to conservation of forest and environment. Through this collaboration, knowledge will be imparted to students/teachers of NVS and KVS on environment, forest, environmental services and contemporary areas of forestry research by way of lectures and interactive sessions by scientists of ICFRE institutes. Visits of students/teachers of NVS and KVS schools will also be arranged to the laboratories and field/experiments of ICFRE institutes for hands-on experiences.

Current Affairs October 07 to October 13

National Current News

  • Zika Virus: It is a member of the virus family Flaviviridae. It is spread by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes, such as A. aegypti and A. albopictus. Its name comes from the Ziika Forest of Uganda, where the virus was first isolated in 1947. In a written statement, the Union health ministry confirmed 22 Zika cases so far through the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) surveillance system. A joint monitoring group of technical experts headed by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has met twice to monitor the preparedness and response measures. To date, a total of 22 positive laboratory confirmed cases have been detected. A Control Room has been activated at the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to undertake regular monitoring of the situation. All suspect cases are in the defined area and mosquito samples from this area are being tested. Additional testing kits are provided to the Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratories.
  • Rapid Action Force: It is a specialised wing of the Indian CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) to deal with riot and crowd control situations. Government of India has sanctioned five battalions this year and their new bases have now been sanctioned. With these, the total number of RAF battalions in the country goes up to 15. The process for acquiring land for the five new bases is underway and the five battalions, which are already operational, will start functioning from their permanent locations in sometime. Apart from the temple town of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, the four other new battalions will be based in Jaipur (Rajasthan), Mangalore (Karnataka), Hajipur (Bihar) and Nuh (Haryana). Varanasi will be the fourth base of the RAF in Uttar Pradesh -- the three others being in Meerut, Allahabad and Aligarh. A single RAF battalion has a strength of just over 1,000 personnel and it is equipped with gadgets and non-lethal weapons like pump action guns, tear smoke grenade launchers and others to enforce security and law and order in case of protests or riot-like situations. The 10 old RAF battalions are based in Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Aligarh, Coimbatore, Jamshedpur, Bhopal and Meerut.
  • Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY): It is the government sponsored crop insurance scheme that integrates multiple stakeholders on a single platform. The Union Government has decided to cover damages done to crops in case of wild animal attacks under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna in select districts on an experimental basis. According to the information shared by a government official, the government also brought certain horticultural crops under the ambit of Fasal Bima Yojna ambit on an experimental basis. Initially, Fasal Bima Yojna did not previously cover damages incurred to an individual or a limited number of cultivators during unprecedented localised events such as waterlogging, landslide and hailstorms. However, now under its new provisions, the protection scheme will cover all these events.
  • Alphonso Mango: Alphonso mango is a seasonal fruit, considered to be among the most superior varieties of the fruit in terms of sweetness, richness and flavour. The variety is named after Afonso de Albuquerque, a Portuguese general and military expert who helped establish Portuguese colonies in India. Alphonso mango from Maharashtra's Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Palghar, Thane and Raigad districts has got Geographical Indication (GI) tag. A GI is an indication used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. Such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to its origin in that defined geographical locality. Darjeeling Tea, Mahabaleshwar Strawberry, Blue Pottery of Jaipur, Banarasi Sarees and Tirupati Laddus are some of the GIs. GI products can benefit the rural economy in remote areas, by supplementing the incomes of artisans, farmers, weavers and craftsmen.
  • Task Force for Closing the Skills Gap : It is a new initiative launched by Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in collaboration with the World Economic Forum. The task force will bring together leaders from business, Government, civil society, and the education and training sectors to accelerate the future-proofing of education and training systems in the country. The goal of the Task Force is to develop an action plan to address skills gaps in India and make the Indian workforce ready for jobs of future. Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship said that with more than half of our population in the working age, skills development will be critical to sustaining inclusive growth and development in India. The “Closing the Skills Gap” Task Force will be a significant step to accelerate the impact on skills development already achieved by bringing together relevant stakeholders to act collectively.He thanked World Economic Forum and Observer Research Foundation for coming out with reports on these important areas particularly related to the aspirations of Indian youth. The Task Force is the second country-led public-private collaboration of the World Economic Forum’s Closing the Skills Gap Project after South Africa.
  • India for Humanity: It is a new initiative launched by the government of India. It aims to touch the lives of thousands of people who are in need of such assistance and will span over one year covering several countries. These camps will be initially held in 12 countries identified through our missions with financial support of the central government. The larger aim is to provide for the physical, economic and social rehabilitation of the differently-abled around the world by helping them regain their mobility and dignity to become self-respecting and productive members of society. We stand open to extending the initiative to more countries. India for Humanity will provide that hope for the future. With its focus on Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy of compassion, caring and service to humanity, the initiative will feature a year-long series of artificial limb fitment camps in a number of countries spanning the globe, for which the MEA is collaborating with the renowned charitable organisation -- "Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti" (BMVSS).
  • National Policy on Electronics 2018 : It is a new policy proposed by Ministry of Information Technology which has set an ambitious target of creating a $400 billion electronics manufacturing industry by 2025, with the mobile phone devices segment accounting for three-fourths of the production. The draft National Policy on Electronics (NPE) aims to promote domestic manufacturing in the entire value-chain of ESDM (electronic system design and manufacturing) for spur economic development. The proposed policy aims to double the target of mobile phone production from 500 million units in 2019 to 1 billion by 2025 to meet the objective. The $400 billion turnover shall include targeted production of 1 billion mobile handsets by 2025, valued at $190 billion (approximately Rs 13 lakh crore), including 600 million mobile handsets valued at $110 billion (approximately Rs 7 lakh crore) for export, the draft states. According to the draft, 20 greenfield and three brownfield electronic manufacturing cluster projects have been sanctioned with the project outlay of Rs 3,898 crore, including Rs 1,577 crore from the Government of India. The policy proposes to push development of core competencies in all the sub-sectors of electronics including electronic components and semiconductors, defence electronics, automotive electronics, industrial electronics, strategic electronics etc.
  • World Economic Forum: It is a not-for-profit organization. It gained formal status in January 2015 under the Swiss Host-State Act, confirming the role of the Forum as an International Institution for Public-Private Cooperation. The World Economic Forum launches the centre for the fourth Industrial Revolution in India. Making the announcement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the launch of a Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which will be based in Maharashtra. The centre, he said, will "open the door to infinite possibilities for the future. The Fourth Industrial Revolution describes the huge ongoing changes in our lives due to the Internet and the resulting smart technologies. Describing the exponential changes, PM Modi said, "Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Blockchain, Big Data and several other new technologies have the capacity to take development in India to new heights... Coordination among diverse technologies is leading to 4th Industrial Revolution."
  • National Council for Vocational Education and Training: It is a new council created after the merger of National Council for Vocational Training(NCVT) and National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) to establish National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET). NCVET will regulate the functioning of entities engaged in vocational education and training, both long-term and short-term and establish minimum standards for the functioning of such entities. The primary functions of NCVET will include - recognition and regulation of awarding bodies, assessment bodies and skill related information providers; approval of qualifications developed by awarding bodies and Sector Skill Councils (SSCs); indirect regulation of vocational training institutes through awarding bodies and assessment agencies; research and information dissemination; grievance redressal.
  • Productivity Linked Bonus for Railway Employees : It is the new bonus scheme announced by government of India. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the payment of Productivity Linked Bonus (PLB) equivalent to 78 days’ wages for the financial year 2017-18 for all eligible non-gazetted Railway employees (excluding RPF/RPSF personnel). The financial implication of payment of 78 days’ PLB to railway employees has been estimated to be Rs.2044.31 crore. The wage calculation ceiling prescribed for payment of PLB to the eligible non-gazetted railway employees is Rs.7000/- p.m. The maximum amount payable per eligible railway employee is Rs.17,951 for 78 days. About 11.91 lakh non-gazetted Railway employees are likely to benefit from the decision. The Productivity Linked Bonus on Railway covers all non-gazetted railway employees (excluding RPF/RPSF personnel) who are spread over the entire country. Payment of PLB to eligible railway employees is made each year before the Dusshera/ Puja holidays. The decision of the Cabinet shall be implemented before the holidays for this year as well. For the year 2017-18 PLB equivalent to 78 days’ wages will be paid which is expected to motivate the employees for working towards improving the performance of the Railways.

Science and Technology Current News

  • Climate change: It is a change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns when that change lasts for an extended period of time. Climate change may refer to a change in average weather conditions, or in the time variation of weather within the context of longer-term average conditions. India has suffered economic losses of $79.5 billion due to natural disasters during the last two decades, according to the United Nations (UN). Between 1998 to 2017, two of the worst years for lower-middle income countries -- a category that India falls into -- were 2002 when a severe drought in India affected 300 million people, and 2015 again with a drought hitting India and other countries, according to the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction report. It warned of growing risk from climate change, which would hit developing countries the hardest. The last 20 years have seen a dramatic rise of 151 per cent in direct economic losses from climate-related disasters, the report said. During that period 77 per cent of the economic losses $2,908 billion were due to climate-related disasters.
  • ISRO: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is the space agency of the Government of India headquartered in the city of Bangalore. Its vision is to "harness space technology for national development while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration. The Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will be working together on the first manned space mission. At end of delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladmir Putin, a MoU was inked between ISRO and the Federal Space Agency of Russia ‘ROSCOSMOS’ for joint activities in the field of Human Spaceflight Programme. The Russian side has offered a ride to Indian astronaut a short visit to International Space Station (ISS) on board a Soyuz spacecraft for a short training mission in 2022. India hopes to send its first manned mission Gaganyaan in 2022.
  • Bioelectronic medicine: It is a new development in the scientific world where an implantable, biodegradable wireless device that speeds nerve regeneration and improves the healing of a damaged nerve. Researchers at the Washington University in the US developed a device that delivers regular pulses of electricity to damaged peripheral nerves in rats after a surgical repair process, accelerating the regrowth of nerves in their legs and enhancing the ultimate recovery of muscle strength and control. The size of a dime and the thickness of a sheet of paper,the wireless device operates for about two weeks before naturally absorbing into the body, according to the study published in the journal Nature Medicine. This method offers therapy and treatment over a clinically relevant period of time and directly at the site where it’s needed, thereby reducing side-effects or risks associated with conventional, permanent implants. While the device has not been tested in humans, the findings offer promise as a future therapeutic option for nerve injury patients.
  • Stanford University: It is a private research university in Stanford, California. Stanford is known for its academic strength, wealth, proximity to Silicon Valley, and ranking as one of the world's top universities. Stanford University takes first place on Reuters' list of the World's Most Innovative Universities for the fourth consecutive year. Backed by producing new patents and papers that influence researchers around the world, the university has locked down the top spot. According to the report, the patents and research works include several developments in the field of rtificial intelligence. Members of the department of Electrical Engineering have come up with an AI camera system that analyzes images faster and with less energy than current systems. The work could lead to a new generation of smart camera applications in autonomous vehicles, surveillance systems and medical devices. At the university's department of Computer Science, researchers have designed an AI system that can predict potential drug interactions before new pharmaceuticals are ever tested on humans. The system, called Decagon, could help researchers find better drug combinations to treat complex diseases.

Defence:

  • MedWatch app: It is a new mobile application launched by the Indian Air. The app is conceived by the doctors of IAF and developed in house by Directorate of Information Technology (DIT) with ZERO financial outlay. MedWatch will provide correct, Scientific and authentic health information to airwarriors and all citizens of India. The app is available on www.apps.mgov.gov.in and comprises of host of features like information on basic First Aid, Health topics and Nutritional Facts; reminders for timely Medical Review, Vaccination and utility tools like Health Record Card, BMI calculator, helpline numbers and web links. MedWatch is the first mobile health app in the three Armed Services .

Environment

  • Dolphin research centre: India’s and Asia’s first dolphin research centre will be setup at Patna. National Dolphin Research Centre (NDRC) is likely to be set up next month on the banks of the Ganga river in the Patna University premises. It will play an important role in strengthening conservation efforts and research to save the endangered mammal. The process to set up the NDRC started after the Patna University agreed nearly two months ago to provide the land. The university’s Syndicate had earlier stalled the proposal for over three years. Unhappy over the delay, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had threatened earlier this year to shift NDRC to Bhagalpur.
  • The United Nations Environment Programme: It is an agency of United Nations and coordinates its environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices. The Confederation of Indian Industry has signed a MoU with the UN Environment for coherent implementation of the environmental dimension. The MoU encompasses ‘coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development’. It provides a framework of cooperation and facilitates cooperation in issues of environment, climate change, renewable energy, energy efficiency, resource conservation and management, water sanitation, smart cities and urban infrastructure. A major activity planned under the MoU, will be the #Un-plastic Initiative of CII and UN Environment, beginning with a Call to Action including commitments by industry on actions to curb plastic pollution. This builds upon the momentum generated on World Environment Day, 2018, whose theme was, Beat Plastic Pollution.
  • Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority: It is a board which functions for protecting and improving the quality of the environment and preventing, controlling and abating environmental pollution. The Centre has reconstituted Supreme Court-empowered Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority or the EPCA, which is tasked with taking various measures to tackle air pollution in the National Capital Region. The tenure of the last EPCA expired on October 3. Former secretary Bhure Lal continues to be the chairman, while theCentre for Science and Environment (CSE) DG Sunita Narain is one of the members. The other members of the 20-member re-constituted authorityinclude Ajay Mathur, who is the Director General of The Energy Research Institute (TERI), Arunabha Ghosh, the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Energy Environment and Water, Navroz K. Dubash, the Senior Fellow for the Centre for Policy Research. Others include Vishnu Mathur, Director General, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers; Arvind Kumar, former professor of surgery, AIIMS, in New Delhi and presently Chairman Centre for Chest Surgery, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital; Krishna Dhawan, Chief Executive Officer, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, New Delhi among others.
  • National Environment Survey: It is the proposed survey to be held in 2019. Around 55 districts across the country have been identified in 2018-19 for conducting an environmental survey covering various parameters like flora, fauna and pollution. The survey is proposed under the ongoing Environmental Information System (ENVIS) Scheme of the ministry. The data, information or maps flowing from the survey would contribute significantly towards valuation of eco-system services at district, state and national levels and arriving at their respective green gross domestic product.

Current Affairs September 30 to October 06

International Current News

  • Uzbekistan: It is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia. The sovereign state is a secular, unitary constitutional republic, comprising 12 provinces, one autonomous republic, and a capital city. India and Uzbekistan inked 17 agreements including in the areas of defence, space, health and agriculture. The two countries signed pacts for collaboration in the field of military education and for cooperation between the Office of the Security Council under the President of Uzbekistan and the National Security Council Secretariat of India. They also signed an agreement on cooperation in combating illicit drug trafficking. A pact for cooperation in outer space exploration for peaceful purposes was also signed. Agreements were signed for visa-free travel of diplomatic passport holders for programme of cooperation between the ministries of foreign affairs of Uzbekistan and India in 2019-2020. Two agreements in the sectors of innovation, and health and medical science were also signed. Business relationships between the two countries will be promoted through the India-Uzbekistan Business Council, for which a pact was inked. The two countries also entered into a pact on cooperation in the pharma sector. An MoU was inked between Khokimiat of Samarkand City and the Municipal Corporation of Agra. Another pact was signed between the Khokimiyat of Andijan Region and the Gujarat government.
  • World Health Organisation (WHO): It is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health. It was established on 7 April 1948, and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It has launched the first global guidelines on sanitation and health even as it pitched for higher investments and policy shifts to achieve the goal of universal sanitation coverage by 2032. According to an official statement from the WHO, 'By adopting WHO’s new guidelines, countries can significantly reduce the 829, 000 annual diarrhoeal deaths due to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene. For every US $1 invested in sanitation, WHO estimates a nearly six-fold return as measured by lower health costs, increased productivity and fewer premature deaths'.
  • Operation Samudra Maitri: It is rescue operation launched by India to assist the survivors earthquake and consequent tsunami in Central Sulawesi province of Indonesia. According to an External Affairs Ministry statement, two IAF aircraft — a C-130J and a C-17 — carrying medical personnel and relief material flew for humanitarian assistance. The C-130J aircraft is carrying a medical team on board along with tents and equipment to set up a field hospital. The C-17 aircraft is carrying medicines, generators, tents and water to provide immediate assistance. Indian naval ships INS Tir, INS Sujatha and INS Shardul have also been mobilised for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. These ships are likely to reach Central Sulawesi on 6 October. The operation was launched after a telephonic conversation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on 1 October, and following Indonesia's acceptance of international aid'. At least 1,347 people were killed in the devastating 7.5-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that hit Sulawesi island. The number of dead was expected to climb, officials said.

National Current News

  • Odisha: It is an eastern Indian state on the Bay of Bengal, is known for its tribal cultures and its many ancient Hindu temples. The capital, Bhubaneswar, is home to hundreds of temples, notably the intricately-carved Mukteshvara. The state government of Odisha has launched its own food security scheme on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, benefiting 25 lakh people who were left out of the National Food Security Act. Making the annoucement over the tweet, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik mentioned,“On Gandhi Jayanti, launched Odisha’s own food security scheme to benefit 25 lakh vulnerable populace that were excluded from coverage; sufficient and nutritious food is a basic need and prerequisite for a healthy Odisha, as a part of our resolve to eradicate hunger in Odisha,”. The beneficiaries will get 5 kg of rice per person per month at the rate of Rs 1 per kg, said the Chief Minister while launching the scheme at four different districts through videoconferencing from the State Secretariat here. The State government will spend Rs 443.5 crore per annum to support the scheme and Rs 221.75 crore in the current financial year, Mr. Patnaik added. The State government had decided to launch its own food security scheme after the Centre did not respond to its request to add additional beneficiaries under the NFSA.
  • Digi Yatra: It is new policy draft released by Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation. The initiative aims to develop standards for digital processing of passengers at airport to ensure uniform implementation and passenger experience across Indian airports through a connected ecosystem. A technical working committee having members from airport operators, airlines and industry has been formed for development of standards. DigiYatra Central Platform will be operational by end of February, 2019. Bangalore & Hyderabad International Airports will be ready with pilot implementation by end of February, 2019. Airport Authority of India (AAI) intends to roll out the programme initially at Kolkata, Varanasi, Pune and Vijayawada by April, 2019. DigiYatra will provide a pan-India powerful platform for future, adding that Airports will have the possibility of providing innovative services and consent based targeted services in future. Any service provider involved in facilitating travel of passenger from door to door will be able to use these platform in future through innovative solutions. The Minister asserted that the ultimate beneficiary will be the passengers, who will have all the travel related options available to them.
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  • The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA): It is an international organisation consisting of coastal states bordering the Indian Ocean. 21 countries in the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) adopted the Delhi Declaration on Renewable Energy in the Indian Ocean Region. The Delhi Declaration on Renewable Energy in the Indian Ocean Region calls for collaboration among IORA member states in meeting the growing demand for renewable energy in the Indian Ocean littorals, development of a common renewable energy agenda for the Indian Ocean region and promote regional capacity building. The declaration also calls for promotion of technology development and transfer, strengthening of public private partnerships in renewable energy and collaboration among IORA member states and the member nations of the International Solar Alliance (ISA). IORA member countries also resolved to collaborate with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
  • Swachh Survekshan Grameen Awards 2018: These are the awards given to states and districts for their sanitation status in public places. Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave awards to top Ranked State, District and State with maximum citizen participation based on the National Swachh SurvekshanGrameen 2018 commissioned by Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. Haryana was ranked as the best State while Satara District of Maharashtra was ranked as the best district as per the ranking undertaken by Swachh SurvekshanGrameen 2018. Uttar Pradesh was rewarded for maximum citizens’ participation. Overall Ranking: Top 3 States-1) Haryana, 2) Gujarat 3) Maharashtra. Top 3 Districts 1) Satara, Maharashtra 2) Rewari, Haryana 3) Pedapalli, Telangana. States with maximum citizen participation 1) Uttar Pradesh 2) Gujarat 3) Maharashtra. Districts with maximum citizens’ participation 1) Nashik, Maharashtra 2) Solapur, Maharashtra 3) Chittorgarh, Rajasthan
  • Loo Review campaign: It is a campaign launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, under the aegis of Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban (SBM – U), has partnered with Google to to encourage all local guides in India to rate and review public toilets on Google Maps. This campaign is part of a feature which allows all citizens to locate public toilets in their cities on Google Maps, Search and the Assistant and also provide feedback on the same. 500+ cities in India with more than 30,000 toilets with the name of “SBM Toilet” are currently live on Google Maps. One of the objectives of the Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban (SBM - U) is to provide sanitation coverage through public toilet facilities across cities in India for achieving Open Defecation Free (ODF) status. With around 3400cities already having achieved ODF status, and other cities gearing up towards the same, there is now a need to ensure that the ODF status is sustained through continuous usage and proper maintenance of public toilets. The joint campaign to be run throughout October and November 2018 is an effort to increase the awareness and ease of locating public toilets across India. The campaign will involve and engage Local Guides in India to rate and review public toilets on Google Maps, and use the hashtag #LooReview for the chance to be featured on Google Local Guides’ social channels. Local Guides are people who share reviews, photos, and knowledge on Google Maps to help people explore the world.
  • NITI Aayog: It is a policy think tank of the Government of India, established with the aim to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. NITI Aayog has joined hands with Cloud major Oracle, Apollo Hospitals and global pharmaceutical manufacturer Strides Pharma Sciences to pilot a real drug supply chain, using Blockchain decentralised ledger and Internet of Things (IoT) software. The collaboration is aimed to bring transparency, accountability and efficiency in tracing and tracking drugs manufactured in the country. The agreement was signed by Anna Roy, Advisor (Industry), NITI Aayog and Shailender Kumar, Regional Managing Director, Oracle India, in the presence of Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog and Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals.
  • Bullet train: It is a high-speed rail is a type of rail transport that operates significantly faster than traditional rail traffic, using an integrated system of specialized rolling stock and dedicated tracks. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has signed two agreements with the Government of India to provide Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail (MAHSR) and the Kolkata East-West Metro Project. The objective of the project is to develop a high-frequency mass transportation system by constructing the High-Speed Rail between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, using Japan's Shinkansen technology (also known as the "Bullet Train"), thereby enhancing mobility in India and contributing to regional economic development.
  • SATAT: It is a new initiative aimed at providing a Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) as a developmental effort that would benefit both vehicle-users as well as farmers and entrepreneurs. It was launched by Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship with PSU Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs ,i.e. IOC, BPCL and HPCL) inviting Expression of Interest (EoI) from potential entrepreneurs to set up Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) production plants and make available CBG in the market for use in automotive fuels. This significant move has the potential to boost availability of more affordable transport fuels, better use of agricultural residue, cattle dung and municipal solid waste, as well as to provide an additional revenue source to farmers.
  • Tobacco package warning messages : These are warning messages that appear on the packaging of cigarettes and other tobacco products concerning their health effects. They have been implemented in an effort to enhance the public's awareness of the harmful effects of smoking. India has slipped to the fifth position among 206 countries in terms of the largest pictorial warning on cigarette packs with 85 per cent of both sides of the packets covered, according to a report released by the Canadian Cancer Society. India secured the fifth rank, jointly with Hong Kong and Thailand, in the Cigarette Package Health Warnings: International Status Report 2018. While India has maintained the size of the pictorial warning on tobacco packaging, it slipped two places as other countries have improved on the parameter. The report released Monday highlighted that 118 countries worldwide have made pictorial warnings mandatory, representing a global public health achievement, and 58 per cent of the world's population is covered by this regulation. Timor-Leste has the largest warnings on cigarette packages in the world with 92.5 per cent on front and back, followed by Nepal and Vanuatu with 90 per cent and New Zealand at fourth with 87.5 per cent. This is the sixth Canadian Cancer Society international report on cigarette package health warnings. Previous reports were published in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016.
  • Dome: It is a rounded vault forming the roof of a building or structure, typically with a circular base. Indian Vice President Venkaiah Naidu has inaugurated the world largest dome in MIT World Peace University in Pune. VP Venkaiah Naidu and Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis appreciated the efforts of MIT in bringing together such a facility in the country. All the statues in the dome are made by 93 year old famous sculpture Ram V Sutir. The dome can house over a thousand people together and has spititual symbols of all religions in the world. With 160ft diameter and 263 feet height, this would be one of the largest dome in the world. Earlier the largest dome was at Vatican city with 136 ft diameter and 448 ft height. Vice president Venkaiah Naidu on this prestigious occasion dedicated the World Peace Monument to mankind. World Parliament with 110 speakers and thousands of delegates from around the world are expected to participate and speak on a wide spectrum spanning the spiritual and scientific realms over different sessions.

Science and Technology Current News

  • Nobel Prize: The Nobel Prize is a set of six annual international awards bestowed in several categories by Swedish and Norwegian institutions in recognition of academic, cultural, or scientific advances. The will of the Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel established the prizes in 1895.
  • 2018 Nobel Physics Prize : Arthur Ashkin of the United States won one half of the nine million Swedish kronor (about USD 1.01 million or 870,000 euros) prize, while Gerard Mourou of France and Donna Strickland of Canada shared the other half.
  • 2018 Nobel Medicine Prize: Two immunologists, James Allison of the US and Tasuku Honjo of Japan, won this year's Nobel Medicine Prize for research into how the body's natural defences can fight cancer.
  • 2018 Nobel Chemistry Prize: US scientists Frances Arnold and George Smith and British researcher Gregory Winter won the Nobel Chemistry Prize for applying the principles of evolution to develop enzymes used to make everything from biofuels to pharmaceuticals. Arnold, just the fifth woman to win the Nobel Chemistry Prize, won one half of the nine million Swedish kronor (about USD 1.01 million or 870,000 euros) award, while Smith and Winter shared the other half.
  • 2018 Nobel Peace Prize: Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2018 for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict. The prize is worth nine million Swedish kronor (USD 1.01 million).The winners have been chosen from among 331 nominations (216 individuals and 115 organisations) which the second highest number of nominees ever, next only to the 376 nominated in 2016.

Defence:

  • Astra: It is an all-weather beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation. The Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully test fired the indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) Astra from a Su-30 aircraft, the Defence Ministry said. The missile, tested at Kalaikunda Air Force Station, "successfully engaged a manoeuvring target with high precision meeting the mission objectives". In the series of trials held till date, Astra has been launched in the complete Su-30 flight envelope. The flight test assumes significance as it was part of the series of final pre-induction trials. Astra, deemed to be the best in class weapon system, has undergone more than 20 developmental trials.

Economics:

  • Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI): It is a development financial institution in India, headquartered at Lucknow and having its offices all over the country. Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), had launched a National Level Entrepreneurship Awareness Campaign. SIDBI will join to contribute to “the transformation mission” unleashed for these districts. The campaign would be running parallelly from 3rd October to 8thOctober, 2018 across India. The campaign would create and strengthen cadre of more than 800 trainers to provide entrepreneurship training to the aspiring youths across these districts thus encouraging them to enter the admired segment of entrepreneurs.

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