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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

IAS Academy Bangalore

International Current News

  • Ireland removes abortion ban: Ireland voted to end the abortion ban. Voters voted to liberalise the highly restrictive abortion laws by two-to-one, thus, allowing the government to bring in the new legislation by the end of the year. In 1995, a public vote was conducted resulting in the legalization of divorce. Later Ireland became the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote; and a year after Leo Varadkar, a gay politician and son of an Indian immigrant, became Prime Minister. Ireland has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the European Union. Malta, a country that bans the abortion under all circumstances, is the only member of the union with tighter legislation.
  • 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 currently headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO is a member of the United Nations Development Group. It has adopted a Digital health resolution initiated by India and was unanimously adopted by the 71st World Health Assembly in Geneva. India received widespread praise for its leadership on this forward-looking agenda. The resolution paves the path for WHO to establish a global strategy on digital health identifying priority areas including where WHO should focus its efforts and engages member states to optimize their health systems in sync with the global digital health agenda.
  • India and Indonesia: India and Indonesia have signed 15 new agreements. The agreements include cooperation in the field of defence, space, science and technology, railways and health. Prime Minister Modi, who arrived in Jakarta last night on his first-ever official visit to Indonesia, was accorded a red carpet welcome on his arrival at the Merdeka palace, one of the presidential palaces in Indonesia. The two leaders discussed areas of strategic cooperation, ways towards ensuring better economic ties, closer cultural relations as well as regional and global issues of mutual interest.

National Current News

  • Patratu Super Thermal Power Project: It is one of the largest thermal power project setup in India. The project is a 74: 26 joint venture between Government of Jharkhand (GoJ) and Patratu Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd. (PVUN), which is a subsidiary company of NTPC. The NTPC's PVUNL is set to develop the project in two phases: 2,400 MW (3x800MW) in Phase-I and 1,600 MW (2x800 MW) in Phase-II, which will be developed later. This project will allocate 85 per cent of the power to Jharkhand that will benefit the state in the long run and help in the economic growth of the region. Under the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya) scheme, this project will ensure providing 24x7 power availability to households.
  • NASSCOM: The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) is a trade association of Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry. It was established in 1988, NASSCOM is a non-profit organisation. NASSCOM has established one more Digital Collaborative Opportunities Plaza (SIDCOP) platform in Dalian, China. The primary aim is to offer market access to Indian IT firms in the hugely potential Chinese market.
  • Cochin International Airport: It is an international airport serving the city of Kochi in Kerala. It is also the fourth busiest airport in India in terms of international traffic and seventh busiest overall terms. In fiscal year 2017-18, the airport handled around 10.2 million passengers with a total of 68,898 aircraft movements. The United Nations Environment Programme has recognized Cochin International Airport (CIAL) as the world's first fully solar energy-powered airport. United Nations Environment chief Eirk Solheim said that a placard be kept at the airport showing the UNEP's endorsement of CIAL as the world's first solar-powered airport. Eastern Peripheral Expressway: It is known as Kundli-Ghaziabad- Palwal (KGP) Expressway (135 km). It is the country's first highway to be lit by solar power making it as the first smart and green highway. At every 500 metres, as there are eight solar power plants on this Expressway, with a capacity of 4000 KW (4 megawatt) for lighting of the underpasses and running solar pumps for watering plants and also having arrangement for rainwater harvesting on both sides at every 500 meters and there is drip irrigation for plants all along the expressway.
  • PRAAPTI app: It is an app launched by power ministry. It aims to bring transparency to power sector during invoicing of generators. It will also contain all details related to the payment. The app will enable the citizens to monitor the payments that are being made to power generation companies. The app will also allow its users to know the details related to the payments made by the discoms to the power generation company and when it was made. They will also be able to see the details related to delays, if any, and check the number of reminders that was sent by the generation company and its impact on generation companies. PRAAPTI will also enable the consumers to know the performance of their discoms in terms of payments that are being made to the generation companies. Later, the performance of the discoms will be ratified on the basis of payments that were made. The app will allow people to know the tariffs at which the power was procured by the discom.
  • IRCTC: Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is a subsidiary of the Indian Railways that handles the catering, tourism and online ticketing operations of the Indian railways. has now launched beta version of its new User Interface. The new link has more user friendly features for easier navigation. Some of the salient features of the New User Interface include, enquire / search trains and check availability of seats without login, Change font size throughout the website for comfortable viewing experience. The new look and feel will have enhanced class-wise, train-wise, destination-wise, departure/arrival time wise and quota-wise filters for facilitating customer while planning their journeys. Single screen information about the train including the train no, train name, originating and destination station and distances between them, arrival and departure time and journey time has now been arranged. In addition, more features such as new filters on ‘My Transactions’ where user can also view their booked tickets based on Journey Date, Booking Date, Upcoming Journey and completed journey.
  • Facebook: Facebook is an American online social media and social networking service company based in Menlo Park, California. It has partnered with National Commission for Women (NCW) to launch a digital literacy programme in collaboration with the Cyber Peace Foundation (CPF). The move was a part of the digital literacy programme pilot, awareness training will be conducted for 60,000 women in universities across major cities in Haryana, Delhi-NCR, Manipur, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu over a one-year period.
  • Andhra Pradesh state symbols:
    State tree: Neem is the state tree.
    State animal: Black buck.
    State bird: Rose-ringed parakeet
    State flower: Jasmine

Science and Technology

  • Magnetic properties of Ruthenium: Researchers from the University of Minnesota have discovered the chemical element ruthenium (Ru). According to the reports from the researchers, the fourth single element to have unique magnetic properties at room temperature. The discovery could be used to improve sensors, devices in the computer memory and logic industry, or other devices using magnetic materials. The use of ferromagnetism, or the basic mechanism by which certain materials (such as iron) form permanent magnets or are attracted to magnets, reaches back as far as ancient times when lodestone was used for navigation. Since then only three elements on the periodic table have been found to be ferromagnetic at room temperature -- iron (Fe), cobalt (Co), and nickel (Ni). The rare earth element gadolinium (Gd) nearly misses by only 8 degrees Celsius.
  • Antarctica: It is the southernmost continent and site of the South Pole, is a virtually uninhabited, ice-covered landmass. Most cruises to the continent visit the Antarctic Peninsula, which stretches toward South America. Researchers have discovered mountain ranges and three huge, deep subglacial valleys hidden beneath the Antarctica ice. These formations were found after extensive ice penetrating radar data collected in Antarctica as part of the European Space Agency PolarGAP project. The team, led by researchers from Northumbria University in the UK, has mapped for the first time three vast, subglacial valleys in West Antarctica. These valleys could be important in future as they help to channel the flow of ice from the centre of the continent towards the coast. The largest valley, known as the Foundation Trough, is more than 350 kilometres long and 35 kilometres wide. Its length is equivalent to the distance from London to Manchester, while its width amounts to more than one and a half times the length of New York’s Manhattan Island. The two other troughs are equally vast. The Patuxent Trough is more than 300 kilometres long and over 15 kilometres wide, while the Offset Rift Basin is 150 kilometres long and 30 kilometres wide.
  • Cornea: The cornea is the transparent front part of the eye that covers the iris, pupil, and anterior chamber. Thecornea, with the anterior chamber and lens, refracts light, with the cornea accounting for approximately two-thirds of the eye's total optical power. Scientists at Newcastle University have created the new 3D printed human cornea. Using a simple low-cost 3D bio-printer, the bio-ink was successfully extruded in concentric circles to form the shape of a human cornea. It took less than 10 minutes to print. It means the technique could be used in the future to ensure an unlimited supply of corneas. As the outermost layer of the human eye, the cornea has an important role in focusing vision.

Current Affairs May 21 to May 27, 2018

International Current News

  • 10 year residency visa: It is a unique scheme announced by UAE to retain international investors and exceptional talents including professionals and students. The system will grant investors and talents up to 10-year residency visas for specialists in medical, scientific, research and technical fields, as well as for all scientists and innovators. Five-year residency visas will be for students studying in the UAE, and 10-year visas for exceptional students. The new decision will also review the current residency system to extend the residency time for the dependent students after completing their university studies. This will give them the opportunity to study their practical options in the future.
  • Nepal: Nepal is a landlocked country in South Asia located mainly in the Himalayas. Nepal has become the first country in south-east Asia to eliminate trachoma, world's leading cause of preventable blindness of infectious origin. The Nepal government, through the ministry of water supply and sanitation, provided incentives to local communities and districts to build and maintain latrines, measures that were crucial to improve sanitation and reduce the disease carrying flies. The national trachoma programme in that country also collaborated with the ministry of education to include a module on trachoma in the school curriculum.
  • Samagra Shiksha : It is a program that unifies learning from the pre-school to class 12 levels and encapsulates elements of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamk Shiksha Abhiyan and teacher education. The objectives of the scheme include, provision of quality education, enhancing learning outcomes of students, bridging social and gender gaps in school education, and promoting vocationalisation of education. It is also includes, strengthening teacher education institutions like SCERTs and Diets to improve quality of teachers. Annual grant of Rs 5,000 to Rs 20,000 per school for strengthening of libraries. The Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan aims to treat education holistically as a continuum from pre-school to class 12. It is evidence of the govt's commitment to provide quality education to equip all children with varied skills and knowledge essential for their development.
  • United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF ): It is a United Nations program headquartered in New York City that provides humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries. UNICEF today launched a data visualisation app to offer user-friendly visual representation of complex analytics of the education scenario in India. The app has been made with technical inputs from the UNICEF, in collaboration with the National Institute of Education Planning and Administration (NIEPA) and the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT). It uses the UDISE (Unified District Information System for Education), the NAS (National Assessment survey) and demographic data and can be used as a visual tool by policy makers, senior government officials, academia, and researchers to address gaps and monitor programmes in the field of education.

National Current News

  • IP NANI: It is a mascot for intellectual property (IP). It is visual represented by a tech-savvy grandmother who helps the government and enforcement agencies in combating IP crimes with the help of her grandson Chhotu aka Aditya. The IP mascot will spread awareness about the importance of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) among people, especially children, in an interesting manner.
  • Zojila tunnel: It is the longest tunnel in Asia. The 14.2km long tunnel will be built at a cost of Rs 6,809 crore. The tunnel, which will come up at an altitude of 3,528 metres high Zojila pass, is expected to bring down the travel time from 3.5 hours to 15 minutes. The tunnel will serve as a lifeline for the people of Kargil and Leh. The normal life in both the towns comes to a standstill during winters as all the necessary goods and medicines are flown in via aircrafts. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the foundation stone to kick-start the work on Asia's longest bi-directional tunnel.
  • Model Code of Conduct Violation Reporting App: It is a new mobile application, which will be launched by Election Commission of India (ECI). The application, part of the steps taken by the Commission to prevent abuse of money and muscle power, allows for sharing of photos and short audio and video clips from the spot itself. The mobile application was already made available for the first time in Bengaluru in the run-up to the recently concluded Karnataka Assembly polls. As part of the implementation, the application will also be made operational in the coming Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
  • Model Agriculture Produce and Livestock Contract Farming and Services (Promotion & Facilitation) Act, 2018: It is an act which aims to integrate farmers with bulk purchasers including exporters, agro- industries etc. for better price realization through mitigation of market and price risks to the farmers and ensuring smooth agro raw material supply to the agro industries. The Act lays special emphasis on protecting the interests of the farmers, considering them as weaker of the two parties entering into a contract. In addition to contract farming, services contracts all along the value chain including pre-production, production and post-production have been included. Registering and Agreement Recording Committee” or an “Officer” for the purpose at district/block/ taluka level for online registration of sponsor and recording of agreement provided. Contracted produce is to be covered under crop / livestock insurance in operation.
  • Univesity Grants Commission (UGC): It is a statutory body created by Indian government under Ministry of Human Resource Development and is charged with co-ordination, determination and maintenance of standard of higher education. It has approved graduate, post graduate and diploma programmes online. Besides, the top educational body is set to approve draft regulations for the online delivery of such programmes offered by universities and higher educational institutions from this academic session.

Science and Technology

  • Akademik Lomonosov: It is the world's first floating nuclear power station. Constructed by the state nuclear power firm Rosatom, the 144 by 30 metre (472 by 98 foot) ship holds two reactors with two 35 megawatt nuclear reactors that are similar to those used to power icebreaker ships. The 21,000-tonne barge will be towed in the summer of 2019 to the port of Pevek in the autonomous Chukotka region in Russia's extreme northeast, 350 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. The barge can produce enough electricity to power a town of 2,00,000 residents, far more than the 5,000 who live in Pevek, Russia's northernmost town. It will be primarily used to power oil rigs as Russia pushes further north into the Arctic to drill for oil and gas and needs electricity in far-flung locations.
  • Nipah Virus: Nipah Virus is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes a severe disease in both animals and humans. This virus was first identified in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998. At that time, it was primarily caused in pigs and through them got transferred to humans. Nipah Virus infected as many as 265 people then, out of which 40 per cent were taken under intensive care due to the infection having spread severely. As quoted by the WHO, the natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus. Nipah Virus is usually associated with inflammation of the brain due to which severe days of fever can often lead to a state of confusion, disorientation and even persistent drowsiness. If not taken care of, these symptoms can even cause a coma in a span of 24-48 hours. There are many patients who show neurological, respiratory and pulmonary signs as well. Therefore, do not ignore any such signs.

Economics:

  • Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve: It is an emergency fuel store of total 5 MMT (million metric tons) or 36.92 MMbbl of strategic crude oil enough to provide 10 days of consumption which are maintained by the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited. India has received the first cargo of crude oil for filling up one of the two Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) caverns built by Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve Ltd (ISPRL) at Mangalore this week. According to an official sources, the Indian government under phase I of SPR programme has built crude oil storage facilities with total capacity of 5.33 million tonnes (around 39 million barrels) at three locations (Vishakhapatnam, Mangalore and Padur). Vishakhapatnam storage has a capacity of 1.33 million tonnes (around 9.77 million barrels) of crude oil, Mangalore has a capacity of 1.5 million tonnes (around 11 million barrels) and Padur can stock 2.5 million tonnes (18.37 million barrels).

Defence:

  • BrahMos: It is a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarine, ships, aircraft, or land. It is the fastest supersonic cruise missile in the world. It is a joint venture between the Russian Federation's NPO Mashinostroeyenia and India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) who together have formed BrahMos Aerospace. Supersonic cruise missile BrahMos was successfully fired from a test range along the Odisha coast to validate some new features including ‘life extension’ technologies developed for the first time by DRDO and team BrahMos.
  • Bastariya Battalion: It is a new battalion raised by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to fight Naxals in Bastar (Chattisgarh). The special unit has been numbered as 241 and has all the candidates are selected from four highly Naxal infested district in Chhattisgarh, i.e Bijapur, Dantewada, Narayanpur and Sukma. It has decided to include local representation in a special unit. Comprising of 739 local tribal youths, the Bastariya Battalion, will be commissioned on May 21. One of the unique characters of this 241 Bastariya Battalion is that the representation of 33 percent female candidates has been maintaining as per policy of the government

Sports:

  • Sports University in Manipur: The Union Cabinet has approved an ordinance to set up the country's first national sports university in Manipur. Speaking on the development, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said a bill to set up the university in Imphal (west) is already pending in parliament. Things will start moving fast once the president signs the ordinance. The Manipur government has already allocated land for the proposed university. The ordinance will be on the lines of the bill introduced in Lok Sabha in August, 2017. The proposed university is expected to bridge the gap existing in the sports environment of the country in various areas such as sports science, sports technology, high performance training. The proposal to set up the national sports university in Manipur was initially announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while Rs. 100 crore funds for it were allocated in the 2014-15 budget.

Current Affairs May 14 to May 20, 2018

International Current News

  • World Health Organization (WHO): It is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health. The WHO is a member of the United Nations Development Group. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has published its first 'essential diagnostics list', a catalogue of tests needed to diagnose the most common conditions as well as a number of global priority diseases. The step was taken to address the problem of people's inability to access diagnostic services, thus failing to receive the correct treatment.

National Current News

  • Micro Irrigation Fund: It is a fund created to supplement the efforts of Per Drop More Crop Component (PDMC) of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana in an effective and timely manner. It helps facilitate states to mobilise resources for their initiatives, including additional (top up subsidy) in implementation of PMKSY-PDMC toachieve the annual target of about 2 Million ha/year during the remaining period of 14thFinance Commission under Per Drop More Crop Component of PMKSY as recommended by the Group of Secretaries.
  • National Agriculture Market (eNAM) : It is an online trading platform developed for agricultural commodities in India. The market also facilitates farmers, traders and buyers with online trading in commodities. The market helps better price discovery and provide facilities for smooth marketing of their produce. Aiming to encourage inter-mandi transactions, the government will link additional 200 wholesale mandis to the online trading platform called eNAM (electronic National Agriculture Market) this fiscal year.
  • Green Skill Development Programme: It is an initiative for skill development in the environment and forest sector to enable youth to get gainful employment and/or self-employment. The programme endeavours to develop green skilled workers having technical knowledge and commitment to sustainable development. It will help in the attainment of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), National Biodiversity Targets (NBTs), as well as Waste Management Rules (2016). GSDP aims to get 80,000 people imparted green skills and in filling the skill gaps in the environment sector. The number of people to be employed under GSDP will be increased to cover 2.25 lakh people next year and to about 5 lakh people by the year 2021.
  • Cabinet Reshuffle:
    The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, has directed the following reallocation of portfolios amongst the members of the Union Council of Ministers:
    1. During the period of the indisposition of Arun Jaitley, the portfolios of Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs held by him, be temporarily assigned to Piyush Goyal, in addition to his existing portfolios.
    2. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore is assigned the independent charge as Minister of State in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, in place of Smriti Zubin Irani, presently Minister of Information and Broadcasting.
    3. SS Ahluwalia, Minister of State be relieved of the charge of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and assigned the portfolio of Ministry of State in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
    4. Alphons Kannanthanam, Minister of State relieved of the charge of Minister of State in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
  • National Legal Services Authority of India (NALSA): It is a legal body formed under the authority of the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987. Its purpose is to provide free legal services to eligible candidates and to organize Lok Adalats for speedy resolution of cases. The prime objective of NALSA is speedy disposal of cases and reducing the burden of judiciary. The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) in consultation with the Centre has drawn up a relief policy offering minimum amount of Rs 5 lakh and Rs 7 lakh respectively. NALSA’s comprehensive scheme sets out the minimum amount as relief for gang rape and rape cases. The compensation scheme for women victims/survivors of sexual assault/other crimes has been prepared on an order of the apex court that sought ‘model rules’ to provide succour to women victims and their family members, particularly the poor and residents of rural areas lacking resources to fight legal battles. As per the scheme, a minimum Rs 5 lakh is to be paid in case of loss of life or gang rape of a victim and maximum has been fixed at Rs 10 lakh. A minimum amount of Rs 4 lakh is to be paid in case of rape or unnatural sexual assault.
  • Woman can file complaint against former husband for cruelty even after divorce:
    Supreme Court has declared that a woman can lodge a complaint under the domestic violence law against the excesses committed by her ex-husband even after the dissolution of marriage. The Supreme court has refused to interfere with the order of the Rajasthan high court which held that the absence of subsisting domestic relationship in no manner prevents a court from granting relief to the aggrieved woman. The high court had passed the order while adjudicating a matrimonial dispute. A bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi, R Banumathi and Navin Sinha dismissed the appeal against the high court verdict, saying it was not inclined to interfere with the order in the facts of the case. During the hearing, advocate Dushyant Parashar, appearing for the estranged husband, said that the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, which came into force on October 26, 2006, could not be applied retrospectively. He submitted that if the provisions of the domestic violence law were allowed to be used retrospectively, then it would be subjected to gross misuse. Parashar contended that husband-wife relationship often ends on an acrimonious note and if the provisions of the act were allowed to be used retrospectively, then it would further increase the acrimony and rule out the possibility of any compromise. He said that legislature's purposive interpretation has to be kept in mind while interpreting any provisions of the law.

Science and Technology

  • New frog species: Scientists from Karnataka have found a new frog species in a small industrial region in coastal Karnataka. The new frog named as Microhyla kodial after the city of Mangaluru (called kodial in the Konkani language) from where they spotted it two years ago. The frog is found only in a small industrial region here — a former timber dumping yard — surrounded by seaport, petrochemical, chemical and refinery industries. The yard is bounded by the rail line of the Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited on one side and the busy National Highway 66 on another.
  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO): It 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. Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have reported progress in the development of an environment-friendly propellant to power satellites and spacecraft. The effort is to replace the conventional hydrazine rocket fuel, a highly toxic and carcinogenic chemical, with a greener propellant for future missions. Initial tests by a research team at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) have shown promising results in the formulation and associated tests of a propellant blend based on hydroxylammonium nitrate (HAN).
  • National Wind Solar Hybrid Policy (2018): It is a new policy announced by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to promote to promote new hybrid projects as well as hybridisation of existing wind/solar projects. The objective of the policy is to provide a framework for promotion of large grid connected wind-solar PV hybrid system for efficient utilization of transmission infrastructure and land. It also aims at reducing the variability in renewable power generation and achieving better grid stability. The Policy provides for procurement of power from a hybrid project on tariff based transparent bidding process for which Government entities may invite bids.
  • National Policy on Biofuels (2018): It is a new policy approved by Union Cabinet, which aims to seek farmers dispose of their surplus stock and reduce India’s oil-import dependence. The Policy categorises biofuels as ‘Basic Biofuels’. First Generation (1G) bioethanol & biodiesel and ‘Advanced Biofuels’ - Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels, Third Generation (3G) biofuels, bio-CNG etc. to enable extension of appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category. The policy expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing use of sugarcane juice, sugar containing materials like sugar beet, sweet sorghum, starch containing materials like corn, cassava, damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, rotten potatoes, unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.
  • National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation: It is a health created for the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure. The Union Cabinet Chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the establishment of National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation (NIMHR) at Bhopal. The estimated cumulative cost of the project is Rs 179.54 crore in first three years. This includes non-recurring expenditure of Rs 128.54 crore and recurring expenditure of Rs 51 crore.

Economics:

  • India dedicated Investment Fund: A state-run Chinese bank has launched the country’s first India-dedicated publicly offered investment fund. It is China’s first publicly offered fund for investing in India. The fund named the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) Credit Suisse India Market Fund, will invest in exchange-traded funds listed on more than 20 exchanges in Europe and the US that are based on the Indian market. The fund will invest in the future of the Indian economy and track the distribution of the industrial structure across the Indian market.

Current Affairs May 07 to May 12, 2018

International Current News

  • United Nations Security Council (UNSC): It is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations charged with the maintenance of international peace and security around the world. India and Guatemala have agreed to support each other’s candidature for Non-Permanent Membership in the United Nations Security Council. While, Guatemala will support India’s candidature for UNSC membership for 2021-22 New Delhi will do so for 2031-32 for Guatemala. The final decision was taken after several rounds talks Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu held with the President, Vice President and Parliament Speaker of Guatemala in the capital Guatemala City on May 7, 2018. Kick starting India’s high level outreach to the Latin American countries.
  • Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA): It is an agreement between China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), the European Union (EU) and Iran. It was an interim deal, in which Iran agreed to roll back parts of its nuclear program in exchange for relief from some sanctions. United States President Donald Trump has withdrawn the United States of America from the Obama-era Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA deal with Iran. Iran accepted strict limits on its nuclear programme in return for an escape from the sanctions that grew up around its economy over a decade prior to the accord. Under the deal, Iran unplugged two-thirds of its centrifuges, shipped out 98% of its enriched uranium and filled its plutonium production reactor with concrete.
  • Bangabandhu-1: It is the first Bangladeshi geostationary communications satellite. It was launched on May 11, 2018.The project is being implemented by Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) and was the first payload launched by a Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket. It is named after the founding father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. It is designed and manufactured by Thales Alenia Space and its launch provider is SpaceX. The total cost of the satellite was projected to be 248 million US dollars.

National Current News

  • Digital India Internship Scheme: It is a scheme launched by Ministry of Electronics and IT. The scheme aims to provide youths an opportunity to secure first hand and practical work experience under the guidance of a mentor and students will be able to apply for the internship scheme online. The internship is likely to start from the next month and will be of two months’ duration (extendable to three months). After completion of the internship and submission of report, students will be awarded with a certificate. Students with minimum 60 per cent marks in the last degree or certificate examination and students who are pursuing BE/ BTech (second/ third year) or integrated degree course/ dual degree (B.E/ B. Tech, M.E./ M. Tech) can apply for the programme.
  • Indian Pharmacopeia Commission (IPC): It is an Autonomous Institution of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. IPC is created to set standards of drugs in the country. Its basic function is to update regularly the standards of drugs commonly required for treatment of diseases prevailing in this region. Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC) has approved modern, animal-free tests for drug manufacturers. It will spare animals from suffering due to drug experiments. Indian Pharmacopoeia provides guidelines on tests for drugs manufactured and marketed in India. It replaces Pyrogen test carried out on rabbits and abnormal toxicity test carried out on guinea pigs and mice with tests that can be done in test tubes. These guidelines will come into effect from July 1, 2018.
  • Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM): IBM was set up by the Government of India on 1st March, 1948 under the Ministry of Works, Mines and Power, primarily as an advisory body to help in formulation of policy and legal framework for mining sector and advising Central and State Governments on development and utilization of mineral resources. The role and responsibility of IBM have changed with emerging needs of the sector as facilitator and regulator of mining sector (other than coal, petroleum and atomic minerals). The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the Restructuring of the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) by upgradation, creation and abolition of certain posts of Joint Secretary-level and above. The total cadre strength of Indian Bureau of Mines has been maintained at the existing strength of 1477.
  • Adult couple can live together without marriage: In a historic judgement, Supreme Court said, that adult couple has a right to live together without marriage, the Supreme Court . The observations came while the apex court was hearing a plea filed by one Nandakumar against a Kerala High Court order annulling his marriage with Thushara on the ground that he had not attained the legal age of marriage. Thushara’s father moved court after the two got married in April 2017, accusing Nandakumar of kidnapping her. Under the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 the groom has to be at least 21 years old and the bride 18. The High Court sent Thushara back to her father. But, the Supreme Court ruled that it was enough that the two were adults. “Even if they were not competent to enter into wedlock, they have right to live together even outside wedlock,” Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said. “It would not be out of place to mention that ‘live-in relationship’ is now recognised by the legislature itself which has found its place under the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005,” they added.
  • Indus Dolphins: The Indus river dolphin (Platanista gangetica minor) is a subspecies of freshwater river dolphin currently only found in the Indus river of India and Pakistan. This dolphin was the first discovered side-swimming cetacean. The Punjab Government joined hands with the WWF and began the census of the Indus Dolphin found in the Indus River. The main objective of this census is to find out the exact population of this species of dolphins. After this, their protection program will be run. This is India's first organized Dolphin Census, which will be completed within a span of five years. Before that very few dolphins were marked. The Forest and Wildlife Conservation Department of Punjab Government and WWF-India will complete this work together. Under this, dolphin census will be made by creating two teams.
  • One Stop Centre (OSC): It is a centre created to facilitate integrated services for women affected with violence such as police assistance, medical aid, psycho-social counselling, legal aid/counselling, temporary stay for 5 days etc. such that aggrieved women can avail services under one roof and The OSCs are established in existing buildings and in new constructed buildings in a standard format. Ministry of Women and Child Development has approved 100 additional One Stop Centres have been approved in the States of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
  • National Nutrition Mission (Poshan Abhiyaan): It is programme established to achieve improvement in nutritional status of Children from 0-6 years, Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers in a time bound manner during the next three years beginning 2017-18. The government has signed a loan deal worth $200 million (Rs 1,344 crore) with the World Bank for the National Nutrition Mission (Poshan Abhiyaan). A large component of Poshan Abhiyaan involves gradual scaling-up of the interventions supported by the ongoing World Bank assisted Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Systems.
  • Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL): Atal Tinkering Labs are dedicated works spaces where students (Class 6th to Class 12th) learn innovation skills and develop ideas that will go on to transform India. The labs are powered to acquaint students with state-of-the-art equipment such as 3D printers, robotics & electronics development tools, IoT and sensors etc. Aiming to encourage innovation among students, the NITI Aayog will set up 5,000 Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) by March 2019.

Science and Technology

  • Hidden reserves of water found in Moon: Scientists have found a mineral in a lunar meteorite pointing to the presence of abundant hidden reserves of water ice under the surface of the Moon. A team from the Tohoku University in Japan found the mineral, called moganite, in a lunar meteorite discovered in a desert in northwest Africa. Moganite, a crystal of silicon dioxide, is known to form on Earth in specific circumstances in sedimentary settings from alkaline fluids. It has never before been detected in samples of lunar rock. Researchers believe the mineral formed on the surface of the Moon in the area called Procellarum Terrane, as water originally present in lunar dirt evaporated due to exposure to strong sunlight."For the first time, we can prove that there is water ice in the lunar material," said Masahiro Kayama from Tohoku University, who led the study.
  • Atomic clock: It is a clock device that uses an electron transition frequency in the microwave, optical, or ultraviolet region of the electromagnetic spectrum of atoms as a frequency standard for its timekeeping element. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), has developed an atomic clock to be used in navigation satellites to measure the precise location data. This clock is currently undergoing a series of qualification tests. Once it successfully clears all tests, the desi atomic clock will be used in an experimental navigation satellite to test its accuracy and durability in space.

Environment

  • Green licence plates: The government has approved green licence plates bearing numbers in white fonts for private e-vehicles and yellow for taxis. The purpose behind distinctive number plates is their easy identification for preferential treatment in parking, free entry in congested zones besides other proposed benefits like concessional toll. A notification in this regard will be out in a week’s time, said the Minister, who has been advocating electric mobility promotion.

Current Affairs April 30 to May 06, 2018

International Current News

  • India-Pakistan defense exercise: India and Pakistan will be taking part in first ever joint military exercise under Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). It is the first time in the history India and Pakistan are set to take part in joint military drills. This will happen as part of the Peace Mission exercises to be held in Russia in September, along with a number of other partner countries. India's participation in the Peace Mission 2018 exercises was announced by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her speech to the 15th SCO Defence Ministers Meeting in Beijing. She however made no direct reference to Pakistan in her speech, either in regard to the exercises or to the continued support for terrorists. This will be the first time that the nuclear-armed South Asian nations will take part in exercises together. Both countries had become full members of the SCO last year. The drill will feature all SCO member states, including Russia and China.

National Current News

  • AIIMS: The All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) are a group of autonomous public medical colleges of higher education. These institutes have been declared by an Act of Parliament as Institutes of National Importance. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved a plan to set up 20 All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) across the country, six of which have already been established, and to upgrade 73 medical colleges.
  • Van Dhan Scheme : It is a scheme developed by government of India under the ministry of tribal affairs aimed at improving standard of life of tribals and increase their income through value addition. Under the scheme, 10 Self Help Groups of 30 Tribal gatherers is constituted. They are then trained and provided with working capital to add value to the products, which they collect from the jungle. Working under the leadership of Collector these groups can then market their products not only within the States but also outside the States. Training and technical support is provided by TRIFED. It is proposed to develop 30,000 such centres in the country. Besides, the establishment of ‘Van Dhan Vikas Kendra’ is done for offering skill upgradation and capacity building training and setting up of primary processing and value addition facility. This first model Van Dhan Vikas Kendra in Bijapur is being implemented for training of 300 training beneficiaries with a total outlay of Rs 43.38 lakhs for training, providing equipment and tool for primary level processing and infrastructure & building for housing the Kendra. This Kendra to start with will have processing facility for Tamarind brick making, Mahua flower storage facility and chironjee cleaning and packaging.
  • Gobar Dhan Yojana: It is a scheme that focuses on managing and converting cattle dung and solid waste in farms to compost, biogas and bio-CNG. The Gobar-Dhan Yojana will help in keeping the village clean while increasing the income of farmers and cattle herders. The scheme also intends to provide a stable fuel supply in the market for oil companies and accessible credit in the market through government schemes and banks for entrepreneurs. Developing a pool of skilled manpower, the GOBAR-Dhan Yojana will effectively utilise agri-waste to produce clean fuel.
  • Pilot scheme for Procurement of Aggregate Power: It is a pilot scheme launched by government of India to procure aggregate Power of 2500 MW on competitive basis for 3 (three) years under medium term i.e. from generators with commissioned projects but without Power Purchase Agreement. The Ministry of Power had recently issued the model bid documents, model PAPP and PPSA on 6th April, 2018. The Guidelines for the said scheme were issued on 10th April, 2018. PFC Consulting Limited (A wholly owned subsidiary of PFC Ltd) has been appointed as Nodal Agency and PTC India Limited as the Aggregator. PTC India would sign three-year (mid-term) Agreement for Procurement of Power with successful bidders and Power Supply Agreement with the Discoms. Under the scheme a single entity can be allotted maximum capacity of 600 MW. The Scheme assures a minimum off-take of 55 per cent of contracted capacity. The Tariff will be fixed for three years without any escalation.
  • Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY): It is a Pension Scheme announced by the Government of India exclusively for the senior citizens aged 60 years and above. Scheme provides an assured return of 8% p.a. payable monthly (equivalent to 8.30% p.a. effective) for 10 years. Pension is payable at the end of each period, during the policy term of 10 years, as per the frequency of monthly/ quarterly/ half-yearly/ yearly as chosen by the pensioner at the time of purchase. The scheme is exempted from Service Tax/ GST. On survival of the pensioner to the end of the policy term of 10 years, Purchase price along with final pension installment shall be payable. The Union Cabinet, in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the doubling of investment limit to Rs. 15 lakh, from the current level of Rs. 7.5 lakh. This will help senior citizens earn a pension of up to Rs. 10,000 per month
  • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) : It is an autonomous body that has emerged as the largest research and development organisation in India. It runs thirty-eight laboratories and thirty-nine field stations or extension centres throughout the nation. CSIR was awarded the National Intellectual Property (IP) Award 2018. The award was given under the category 'Top R&D Institution/Organisation for Patents and Commercialisation. CSIR Laboratories have been developing and providing technology focused at the unmet need and the cutting edge knowledge base and human resource on the other for socio-economic development in the country.
  • Saraswati Samman: It is an annual award for outstanding prose or poetry literary works in any 22 Indian language listed in Schedule VIII of the Constitution of India. Eminent Gujarati poet Sitanshu Yashaschandras’s poetry collection ‘Vakhar’ has been chosen for the Saraswati Samman for 2017. According to an official announcement from the K K Birla Foundation, the selection for the award is made by a high level Chayan Parishad (selection committee), presided over by former secretary general of Lok Sabha, Subhash C Kashyap.
  • National Digital Communications Policy (2018): It is a policy that seeks to unlock transformative power of digital communications networks to achieve the goal of digital empowerment and well-being of the people of India. It seeks to establish a ‘National Broadband Mission – Rashtriya Broadband Abhiyan’ to secure universal broadband access for implementation of broadband initiatives, to be funded through USOF and Public Private Partnerships -- BharatNet for providing 1Gbps to Gram Panchayats upgradeable to 10 Gbps, GramNet for connecting all key rural development institutions with 10Mbps upgradeable to 100 Mbps, NagarNet for establishing one- million public Wi-Fi Hotspots in urban areas , JanWiFi for establishing two-million Wi-Fi Hotspots in rural areas -- and implementing a ‘Fibre First Initiative’ to take fibre to the home, to enterprises and to key development institutions in tier I, II and III towns and to rural clusters.
  • Green Revolution – Krishonnati Yojana: It is an Umbrella scheme comprises of 11 Schemes/Missions. These schemes look to develop the agriculture and allied sector in a holistic and scientific manner to increase the income of farmers by enhancing production, productivity and better returns on produce. The Schemes will be continued with an expenditure of Rs 33,269 crore for three financial years, i.e., 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20. These schemes include, Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), National Food Security Mission (NFSM), National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), Submission on Agriculture Extension (SMAE), Sub-Mission on Seeds and Planting Material (SMSP), Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation (SMAM) , Sub Mission on Plant Protection and Plan Quarantine (SMPPQ), Integrated Scheme on Agriculture Census, Economics and Statistics (ISACES), Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Cooperation (ISAC), Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Marketing (ISAM) and National e-Governance Plan (NeGP-A). The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for the Umbrella Scheme, Green Revolution – Krishonnati Yojana in agriculture sector beyond 12th Five Year Plan for the period from 2017-18 to 2019-20 with the Central Share of Rs 33,269.

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