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Current Affairs 2019

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 2019 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 January 06 to January 12

International Current News

  • China: China is a populous nation in East Asia whose vast landscape encompasses grassland, desert, mountains, lakes, rivers and more than 14,000km of coastline. China passes law to make Islam more Chinese in nature. China has passed a law that seeks to ‘Sinicise’ Islam within five years and might do that with other four religions in the country, according to the state media. Under the all-powerful Chinese President Xi Jinping, China has heavily cracked down on religion, especially Islam practised by most Uighurs in the country's Xinjiang province who Beijing suspects of having separatist and extremist tendencies.

National Current News

  • Renukaji Dam: It is a multipurpose river project agreement signed between six states- Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand. According to Renukaji Multi Purpose Project, three storage projects are proposed to be constructed on the river Yamuna and two of its tributaries - Tons and Giri in the hilly regions of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh of Upper Yamuna Basin. These include Lakhwar project on river Yamuna in Uttarakhand , Kishau on river Tons in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh and Renukaji on river Giri in Himachal Pradesh. These three projects were identified as National Projects in 2008 under which 90% funding of the cost of irrigation & drinking water component will be provided by the Govt. of India as central assistance and the rest 10% cost of the irrigation and drinking water component will be borne by the beneficiary states.
  • National Clean Air Programme(NCAP): It is a new scheme launched to tackle the increasing air pollution problem the government has launched National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). It is a path breaking initiative and one of the most critical and most significant programme as it addresses one of the most alarming challenges of urbanization i.e. air pollution. The NCAP will be a mid-term, five-year action plan with 2019 as the first year. However, the international experiences and national studies indicate that significant outcome in terms of air pollution initiatives are visible only in the long-term, and hence the programme may be further extended to a longer time horizon after a mid-term review of the outcomes. The approach for NCAP includes collaborative, multi-scale and cross-sectoral coordination between the relevant central ministries, state governments and local bodies. Dovetailing of the existing policies and programmes including the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) and other initiatives of Government of India in reference to climate change will be done while execution of NCAP.There will be collaborative and participatory approach involving relevant Central Ministries, State Governments, local bodies and other Stakeholders with focus on all sources of pollution forms the crux of the Programme. Overall objective of the NCAP is comprehensive mitigation actions for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution besides augmenting the air quality monitoring network across the country and strengthening the awareness and capacity building activities.
  • Web Wonder Women Campaign: It is an online campaign launched by The Ministry of Women and Child Development. The Campaign aims to discover and celebrate the exceptional achievements of women, who have been driving positive agenda of social change via social media. Through the campaign, the Ministry and the Campaign’s Partners aim to recognize the fortitude of Indian women stalwarts from across the globe who have used the power of social media to run positive & niche campaigns to steer a change in society. This Campaign will recognize and acknowledge the efforts of these meritorious Women.
  • Sikkim: It is a state in northeast India, bordered by Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal. Part of the Himalayas, the area has a dramatic landscape that includes India’s highest mountain, 8,586m Kangchenjunga. Sikkim will be the first state to roll out Universal Basic Income (UBI). The state has started the process to introduce the unconditional direct cash transfer scheme. Sikkim’s ruling party, the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), has decided to include UBI in its manifesto ahead of the Assembly election in 2019 and aims to implement the scheme by 2022.
  • Airports Authority of India (AAI): It is a national body responsible for creating, upgrading, maintaining and managing civil aviation infrastructure in India. AAI has imposed a ban on single-use plastic at all the airports run by it in the country. According to a statement made by AAI, all airports will gradually become plastic-free, and this is the first step that the authority is taking towards achieving that goal. The Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Indore, Kolkata, Madurai, Pune, Raipur, Tirupati, Trichy, Vadodara, Varanasi Vijayawada, and Vizag airports have already been declared plastic free. These airports were selected on the basis of the third-party assessment carried out by the Quality Council of India (QCI). Issuing a statement about the ban, the authority said that various steps have been undertaken to eliminate single-use plastic items at passenger terminals and city side. These steps include banning of single-use plastic items like straws, plastic cutlery, plastic plates etc. Elaborating upon the next step in this implementation, AAI said that it has also engaged the QCI to check how the ban has been implemented at 34 airports across the country that handle about 10 lakh passengers every year.
  • DNA Technology Regulation Bill 2018: It is a new bill which allows regulation of the use of DNA technology for establishing the identity of persons in respect of matters listed in a Schedule. These include criminal matters (such as offences under the Indian Penal Code, 1860), and civil matters such as parentage disputes, emigration or immigration, and transplantation of human organs. The Bill establishes a National DNA Data Bank and Regional DNA Data Banks. Every Data Bank will maintain the following indices: (i) crime scene index, (ii) suspects’ or undertrials’ index, (iii) offenders’ index, (iv) missing persons’ index, and (v) unknown deceased persons’ index. The Bill establishes a DNA Regulatory Board. Every DNA laboratory that analyses a DNA sample to establish the identity of an individual, has to be accredited by the Board. Written consent by individuals is required to collect DNA samples from them. Consent is not required for offences with punishment of more than seven years of imprisonment or death. The Bill provides for the removal of DNA profiles of suspects on filing of a police report or court order, and of undertrials on the basis of a court order. Profiles in the crime scene and missing persons’ index will be removed on a written request.
  • National Health Authority: It is new authority which is created after the restructuring of existing National Health Agency. The restructuring was done for the better implementation of Pradhan Mantri - Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) and will be attached to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. The existing multi-tier decision making structure has been replaced with the Governing Board chaired by the Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India which will enable the decision making at a faster pace, required for smooth implementation of the scheme. The composition of the Governing Board is broad based with due representations from the Government, domain experts, etc. Besides, the States shall also be represented in the Governing Board on rotational basis. No new funds have been approved. Existing budget that was approved earlier by the Cabinet for The National Health Agency, including costs related to IT, human resources, infrastructure, operational costs etc. would be utilized by the proposed National Health Authority. It is envisaged that the National Health Authority shall have full accountability, authority and mandate to implement PM-JAY through an efficient, effective and transparent decision-making process.
  • Mandal Dam: It is a dam which is a part of North Koel Reservoir Project in Jharkhand and Bihar. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the Foundation Stone for the revival of North Koel (Mandal Dam) project. The project is situated on North Koel river which is a tributary of Sone river finally joining the river Ganga. The North Koel Reservoir is located in the most backward tribal areas in Palamau and Garhwa districts of Jharkhand State. The construction was originally started in the year 1972 and continued till 1993 when it was stopped by the Forest Department, Govt. of Bihar. Since then, the work on dam is at a standstill. The major components of project are: 67.86 m high and 343.33 m long concrete dam called Mandal dam originally intended to store 1160 million cubic metre (MCM) water; 819.6 m long barrage at Mohammadganj, 96 km downstream of the dam; and two canals originating from left and right banks of Mohammadganj Barrage with distributaries system for irrigation. With the new lowered elevation level (EL) of 341 metre, the Mandal dam will now have storage of 190 MCM. The project aims to provide irrigation to 111,521 hectares of land annually in the most backward and drought prone areas of Palamu & Garhwa districts in Jharkhand and Aurangabad & Gaya districts in Bihar. The unfinished project as on date is providing irrigation to 71,720 hectares and completion of this project will provide additional irrigation benefit to the extent of 39,801 hectares. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the Foundation Stone for the revival of North Koel (Mandal Dam) project.
  • Yarn Bank Scheme: It is a new scheme launched by government to avoid fluctuation in yarn prices. The scheme was launched as one of the component of PowerTex India with effect from 01.04.2017 to 31.03.2020. The Scheme provides interest free corpus fund up to Rs.2.00 crore to the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV)/Consortium formed by powerloom weavers to enable them to purchase yarn at wholesale rate and give the yarn at reasonable price to the small weavers to avoid middleman and local supplier's brokerage charge on sales of yarn. There is a 1% increase in powerloom fabric production. The estimated production of powerloom fabric during 2018-19(Apr-Oct) is 22781 Million Square Meters (MSM) which was 22539 MSM during the corresponding period of 2017-18.
  • National Policy for Domestic Workers: It is a new policy drafted by Government of India. The salient features of which are as follows: Inclusion of Domestic Workers in the existing legislations, Registration of Domestic workers, Right to form their own associations, trade unions; Right to have minimum wages, access to social security, protection from abuse, harassment, violence, Right to enhance their professional skills, Protection of Domestic Workers from abuse and exploitation, Domestic Workers to have access to courts, tribunals, etc. Many of the State Government like Rajasthan, Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Tripura have included domestic workers in the schedule of the Minimum Wages Act and they are, therefore, entitled to file cases before the concerned authorities in case of any grievance in this regard.
  • The Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill 2019: It is a bill which seeks to provide for the advancement of 'economically weaker sections' of citizens. Parliament approves 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker sections. Article 15 of the Constitution prohibits discrimination against any citizen on the grounds of race, religion, caste, sex, or place of birth. However, the government may make special provisions for the advancement of socially and educationally backward classes, or for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The Bill seeks to amend Article 15 to additionally permit the government to provide for the advancement of economically weaker sections. Further, up to 10% of seats may be reserved for such sections for admission in educational institutions. Such reservation will not apply to minority educational institutions.
  • Personal Laws (Amendment Bill) 2018: It is new bill passed by Lok Sabha, which seeks removal of leprosy as a ground for divorce. To this end, it seeks to amend five Acts: (i) the Divorce Act, 1869, (ii) the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939, (iii) the Special Marriage Act, 1954, (iv) the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and (v) the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956. The Amendment Bill proposes to amend the provisions in these Acts which prescribe leprosy as a ground for divorce or separation from the spouse. The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill acknowledges the medical advances made in the field, thereby making leprosy curable. Calling for elimination of discrimination against leprosy patients in various statutes in view of such advancements, it states, ‘Leprosy patients were isolated and segregated from society as the leprosy was not curable and the society was hostile to them. However, as a result of intensive healthcare and availability of modern medicine to cure the disease, the attitude of the society towards them began to change. The discriminatory provisions contained in various statutes against the persons affected with leprosy were made prior to the medical advancements rendering leprosy a curable disease.
  • Aadhaar: It is a 12-digit unique identity number that can be obtained by residents of India, based on their biometric and demographic data. The government will soon make it mandatory for linking Aadhaar with driving licences. One of the important purposes for making Aadhaar linkage is that in many accidents the guilty person who causes an accident flees the scene and gets a duplicate licence. This helps him go scot-free. However, with the Aadhaar linkage the guilty cannot change your biometrics, neither iris nor fingerprints. So, the moment one goes in for a duplicate licence, the system will say this person already has a driving licence and should not be given a new one.
  • Gangajal Project: It is a new project launched to assure save water supply to Agra. It is one of the series of development projects worth Rs. 2900 Crores for the Agra city and the adjoining areas launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. Gangajal project aims to bring 140 cusecs of Ganga water to Agra. This will help meet the drinking water demands in the city.

Science and Technology Current News

  • NASA: It is an acronym for National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. NASA’s latest planet-hunting probe has discovered a new world outside our solar system, orbiting a dwarf star 53 light years away. This is the third new planet confirmed by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) since its launch in April last year. The planet, named HD 21749b, orbits a bright, nearby dwarf star about 53 light years away, in the constellation Reticulum, and appears to have the longest orbital period of the three planets so far identified by TESS. HD 21749b journeys around its star in a relatively leisurely 36 days, compared to the two other planets — Pi Mensae b, a super-Earth with a 6.3-day orbit, and LHS 3844b, a rocky world that speeds around its star in just 11 hours.
  • The Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT): These are autonomous public institutes of higher education, located in India. They are governed by the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 which has declared them as institutions of national importance and lays down their powers, duties, and framework for governance etc. IIT Madras scientists have created what they call 'space fuel' by simulating interstellar conditions in the lab, a method that may be used to convert atmospheric CO2 into a next generation energy source on Earth. The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), could help curb greenhouse gases as well as provide a new, sustainable source of energy. IIT Madras researchers formed such hydrates in vacuum, one thousand billion times below the atmospheric pressure called ultra-high vacuum (UHV) and temperature close to minus 263 degree Celsius. These are the conditions present in deep space.

Sports Current News

  • Indian Cricket Team: India scripted history winning the first ever series on Australian soil beating the home team 2-1 after the fourth and final Test ended in a tame draw due to inclement weather. India scored 622 for 7 in their first innings and then bowled out Australia for 300 thereby enforcing the follow-on. However persistent drizzle washed out day five thereby keeping the victory margin down to 2-1. Coming into this fifth Test, India had an unassailable 2-1 series’ lead after winning the first Test in Adelaide by 31 runs and the third Test in Melbourne by 137 runs. Australia had won the second Test in Perth by 146 runs.
  • Khelo India Youth Games 2019: It is a game event which is held annually in January or Februrary, are the national level multidisciplinary grassroot games in India held for two categories, namely under-17 years school students and under-21 college students. The Khelo India Youth Games 2019 were declared open in Pune. The festival was started in the presence of a host of sports personalities including double Olympic medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar. The ceremony officially kicked off the 12-day extravaganza for over 6,000 Under-17 and Under-21 athletes. Eighteen disciplines are being contested including athletics, badminton, boxing, hockey and football.

Economics

  • World Economic Forum(WEF): It is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political and academic status. According to a report from World Economic Forum, India will become the third largest consumer market by 2030. The report stated that rising income will transform India to a middle class led one from a bottom of the pyramid economy, with consumer spending in the country to grow from the current USD 1.5 trillion to USD 6 trillion by 2030. Currently India is the sixth largest economy in the world with an annual GDP growth rate of 7.5 per cent and domestic private consumption accounts for about 60 per cent of the GDP.
  • Currency Swap Agreement: It is a financial agreement between two counterparties, which specifies the nature of an exchange of payments benchmarked against two interest rate indexes denominated in two different currencies. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for entering into an Agreement for Bilateral Swap Arrangement (BSA) between India and Japan and authorizing the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to sign the Agreement for Bilateral Swap Arrangement between the RBI and the Bank of Japan for a maximum amount of USD 75 billion. Some of the salient features, the swap arrangement is an agreement between India and Japan to essentially exchange and re-exchange a maximum amount of USD 75 Billion for domestic currency, for the purpose of maintaining an appropriate level of balance of payments for meeting short-term deficiency in foreign exchange. The BSA is a very good example of mutual cooperation between India and Japan for strategic objective of assisting each other in times of difficulty and for restoring international confidence. This facility will enable the agreed amount of Capital being available to India on tap for use. Also, with this arrangement in place, prospects of Indian companies would improve in tapping foreign capital as there would be greater confidence in stability of country’s exchange rate. Availability of such swap line to tide over difficulties arising out of Balance of Payment (BOP) would deter speculative attacks on the domestic currency and greatly enhance the RBI’s ability to manage exchange rate volatility. The arrangement is another milestone in mutual economic cooperation and special strategic and global partnership between India and Japan.
  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI): It is India's central banking institution, which controls the issuance and supply of the Indian rupee. Until the Monetary Policy Committee was established in 2016, it also controlled monetary policy in India. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has amended the gold monetisation scheme regulations relating to the eligibility criteria for making deposits. According to a notification says the Gold Monetisation Scheme 2015 (GMS) has been amended immediate effect. Some of the key highlights of the amended regulations: Persons eligible to make a deposit – resident Indians (individuals, HUFs, proprietorship and partnership firms, trusts including mutual funds/exchange-traded funds registered under the Sebi (mutual fund) regulations, companies, charitable institutions, the central government, state governments or any other entity owned by the central government or state governments) can make a deposits under the scheme. The amended regulations allow joint deposits by two or more eligible depositors under the gold monetisation scheme. The deposit in such cases shall be credited to the joint deposit account in the name of the depositors. The existing rules regarding the joint operation of bank deposit accounts including nominations will be applicable to these gold deposits. This is the second set of amendments to the gold monetisation scheme regulations. The RBI tweaked regulations in June last year to make it more lucrative. The short term deposits shall be treated as banks’ on-balance sheet liability.

Current Affairs December 30 to January 05

International Current News

  • The International Whaling Commission (IWC): It is the global intergovernmental body charged with the conservation of whales and the management of whaling.Japan has withdrawn from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and will resume commercial whaling from July. Making the announcement, a Japanese official said abandoning a decades-old campaign to persuade the commission to allow Japan to hunt whales commercially. But the announcement drew criticism from anti-whaling groups and others, with Australia saying it was "extremely disappointed" and New Zealand regretting the resumption of the "outdated and unnecessary" commercial killing of the ocean mammals.
  • Exchange list of nuclear installations: India and Pakistan have exchanged for the 28th consecutive year a list of their nuclear installations under a bilateral agreement that prohibits them from attacking each other’s atomic facilities. Besides, the two countries also exchanged details of civilian prisoners and fishermen lodged in each other’s jails. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said India handed over to Pakistan a list of 249 Pakistani civilian prisoners and 98 fishermen in its custody. Pakistan gave India lists of 54 civilian prisoners and 483 fishermen in its custody, who are Indians or are believed-to-be-Indians. The two countries, through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad, exchanged the list of nuclear installations and facilities covered under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear installations between India and Pakistan.
  • Asia Reassurance Initiative Act 2018: It is a new act signed by United States President Donald Trump. In a press release, Trump stated that several provisions of the Act, including Sections 101, 102, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 208, 209, 210, 211, 213, 216, 306, 307, 406, and 410, intend to dictate the policy of the United States in external military and foreign affairs, or to require the executive branch to undertake certain diplomatic initiatives with international partners. Sections including 201 and 213 aimed to restrict the President's authority to control the personnel and material which he believes are necessary or advisable for the successful conduct of military operations. President Trump further stated that while he shares the objectives of the Congress with respect to maintaining the strength and security of the United States, his administration will treat these provisions consistent with the President's constitutional authority as the Commander in Chief. The Trump Administration will treat these provisions consistent with the President's constitutional authority to withhold information, the disclosure of which could impair national security, foreign relations, or the performance of the President's constitutional duties.

National Current News

  • Arunachal Pradesh: It is one of the 29 states of India and is the northeastern-most state of the country. Arunachal Pradesh borders the states of Assam and Nagaland to the south and shares international borders with Bhutan in the west, Myanmar in the east and is separated from China in the north by the McMahon Line.The Union Cabinet has approved the introduction of a bill to modify the list of Scheduled Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. The following changes will be made in list of Scheduled Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh: Deletion of 'Abor' in serial No. 1, as it is the same as 'Adi' in Serial No. 16. Replace Tai Khamti' instead of 'Khampti' at serial No. 6. Inclusion of 'Mishmi-Kaman' (Miju Mishmi), Idu (Mishmi) and Taraon (Digaru Mishmi) in serial No. 8. Inclusion of Monpa, Memba, Sartang, Sajolong (Miji) in serial No. 9 in lieu of 'Momba'. Inclusion of 'Nocte', "Tangsa', Tutsa', 'Wancho' in lieu of 'Any Naga Tribes' in serial No. 10 in list of Scheduled Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh.The rationale for the proposed amendments are, deletion of Abor – Removal of duplication. Replace Khampti – There is no tribe called ‘Khampti’. Inclusion of Mishmi-Kaman, Idu and Taraon – Existing entry is only of ‘Mishmi’. There is reportedly no such community. Inclusion of Monpa, Memba, Sartang, Wancho – Existing entry is of ‘Any Naga Tribes’. These are reportedly the only Naga tribes in the State. Inclusion of Nocte, Tangsa, Tutsa, Wancho – Existing entry is of ‘Any Naga Tribes’. These are reportedly the only Naga tribes in the State.
  • GEF : It is the acronym for Global Environment Facility- (GEF). It is a new project launched to conserve Indian Agriculture for Transforming Indian agriculture for global environment benefits and the conservation of critical biodiversity and forest landscapes. The project was launched in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in high-conservation-value landscapes of five states, namely Madhya Pradesh (Chambal landscape), Mizoram (Dampa landscape), Odisha (Similipal landscape), Rajasthan (Desert National Park landscape) and Uttarakhand (Corbett-Rajaji landscape) in September 2018. The project seeks to mainstream biodiversity, climate change and sustainable land management objectives and practices into Indian agriculture. The overall objective of the project is to catalyse the transformative change of India’s agricultural sector to support achievement of national and global environmental benefits and conservation of critical biodiversity and forest landscapes.
  • Archaeological Survey of India: It is an Indian government agency attached to the Ministry of Culture that is responsible for archaeological research and the conservation and preservation of cultural monuments in the country. Archaeological Survey of India has declared 6 monuments of protected and national importance in 2018. The six monuments declared as Monuments as Monuments of national importance in 2018 are, Old High Court Building (Nagpur, Maharashtra), Haveli of Agha Khan (Agra, UP), Haveli of Hathi Khana (Agra, UP), Neemrana Baori (Alwar, Rajasthan), Group of Temples (Ranipur Jharail, Odisha), Vishnu Temple (Kotali, Pithoragarh district, Uttarkhand).
  • International Rice Research Institute (IRRI): It is a centre created for improving crop production, seed quality and the nutritional value of rice.Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the IRRI South Asia Regional Centre (IRRI SARC) in Varanasi. It will also work with national partners to enhance farmers’ knowledge and income and deliver advanced research, teaching and services in the connection. With an aim to double farmers’ income, the Prime Minister dedicated the country the 6th IRRI SARC campus here which will serve as a hub for rice research and training in South Asia and SAARC region. Not only that, the education and training arm of IRRI SARC, IRRI Education, will also teach scientists and agriculture leaders about the latest technologies and innovations for sustainable farming; and laboratories for digital crop monitoring and assessment, and demonstration fields where variety testing is conducted. The major aim of IRRI is to improve livelihood and nutrition, abolishing poverty, hunger, and malnutrition among those countries which depend on rice-based agri-food systems.
  • Andaman and Nicobar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has renamed three islands in Andaman & Nicobar. The three islands — Ross Island, Neil Island and Havelock Island — will now be called Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island, Shaheed Dweep and Swaraj Dweep, respectively, said Modi at a public function in Port Blair. He also hoisted a 150-feet-high national flag at Port Blair to mark the 75th anniversary of freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose’s declaration of the formation of the Azad Hind government in 1943.
  • Coastal Regulation Zone Scheme : It is a new scheme approved by the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The approval move comes in the backdrop of a series of representations received by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change from various Coastal States/UTs, besides other stakeholders, for a comprehensive review of the provisions of the CRZ Notification, 2011, particularly related to the management and conservation of marine and coastal eco-systems, development in coastal areas, eco-tourism, livelihood option and sustainable development of coastal communities etc.
  • Mahila Police Volunteer Scheme: It is a new scheme approved by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs has envisaged engagement of Mahila Police Volunteers (MPVs) in the States/UTs who will act as a link between police and community and help women in distress. All Chief Secretaries of States/UTs were requested to adopt this initiative in their respective States. Haryana is the first state to adopt the initiative at Karnal and Mahindergarh District on a pilot basis under Nirbhaya Fund during the financial year 2016-2017. Further, the proposals of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Mizoram, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh have also been approved for implementation of MPVs. Under the scheme, the Mahila Police volunteer is required to mobilize community to form Mahila and ShishuRakshak Dals (MASRD) to act as community watch groups. As the, scheme is at the nascent stage of operationalisation at the field level, no impact assessment on MPVs scheme has been done so far. This was stated by Minister of State for Women and Child Development, Dr Virendra Kumar in a written reply to a question in Parliament.
  • Indian Bridge Management System (IBMS): It is scheme which aims to create a data base of all bridges in the country and detailing their structural condition so that timely action can be taken to repair the structures or build new ones in their place. IBMS is the largest platform in the world owned by a single owner, with database that could exceed 1,50,000 bridge structures. Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has inventorized 1,72,517 bridges/structures under Indian Bridge Management System (IBMS). Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Chemical & Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya has said that the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has inventorized 1,72,517 bridges/structures under Indian Bridge Management System (IBMS). These structures comprise 1,34,229 culverts, 32,806 minor bridges, 3,647 major and 1,835 extra-long bridges. Earlier there was no proper data available on these structures on the National Highways network.
  • Commerialise space activities: Indian government is likely to introduce a Bill to commercialise space activities in the budget session next year. The government, responding to a question raised by Poonam Mahajan, said the Space Activities Bill 2017 aims to “facilitate the overall growth of space activities in India with higher order participation of public, non-governmental and private sector stakeholders.” It will help the Centre establish a regulatory mechanism through an appropriate body to authorise and license space activities. “The provision on liability for damages caused by space activities of licensee provides for a risk sharing mechanism, by which the Central Government may determine the quantum of liability to be borne by the licensee,” the response said. The draft Bill received 52 responses, the government said, adding that 15 of these were from the general public. Stakeholders from the Indian aerospace industry and related start-ups sent four responses while law firms and lawyers sent another four. The government also received responses from space law experts and scholars (nine), satcom companies (four), industry fora (seven) and scientists (nine). Most of the responses sought clarifications, while some had suggestions on provisions such as scope of space activities, regulatory mechanism, licensing and authorisation procedures, sharing liability burden with a limit on damage costs and penal provisions.
  • NCTE Bill: It is the acronym for National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill. It is a bill which provides retrospective recognition to central and state government funded institutions under the National Council for Teacher Education Act. Parliament has given its approval institutions offering B.Ed through NCTE Bill for institutions which provide retrospective recognition to central and state government funded institutions under the National Council for Teacher Education Act. The National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill would help over 17,000 students who have obtained B.Ed degrees from those institutions which do not have NCTE approval for the course under the 1993 law. The bill would provide post-facto approval to the students from several state and central universities, whose degree have no recognition under the 1993 law, the Minister said replying to the debate in the Upper House where it was passed. Lok Sabha has already passed this bill on July 23, 2018. This amendment would help several central and state universities that were running Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) and related courses without having any recognisition. The government would ensure that the quality of institutes offering B.Ed courses is maintained. The ministry has asked them to submit affidavits and video recording of the facilities they offer. Moreover, the minister said that from 2020, the government proposes to start integrated course in B.ED as in Law and other courses.
  • Free and Compulsory Education amendment bill: It is a new bill passed by the Lok Sabha. It is known as The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Second Amendment) Bill 2017. The bill allows detention of school students in class 5 and 8.

Science and Technology Current News

  • Chang’e 4: It is the name of Chinese spacecraft which has become the first space craft to land on the far side of the moon in a historic moment for human space exploration. This move has been hailed as the major technical feat and is seen as a important step towards China’s wider ambitions in space. The robotic probe Chang’e 4 landed in the unexplored South Pole-Aitken basin, the biggest known impact structure in the solar system, at about 2.30am GMT on Thursday. Prior to confirmation of the landing and the release of the first close-up shots of the far lunar surface by the Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, many details of the mission, including the planned timing of the landing, had been kept secret.
  • Gaganyaan: It is an Indian crewed orbital spacecraft intended to be the basis of the Indian Human Spaceflight Programme. The spacecraft is being designed to carry three people, and a planned upgraded version will be equipped with rendezvous and docking capability. Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the Gaganyaan Programme with demonstration of Indian Human Spaceflight capability to low earth orbit for a mission duration ranging from one orbital period to a maximum of seven days. A human rated GSLV Mk-lll will be used to carry the orbital module which will have necessary provisions for sustaining a 3-member crew for the duration of the mission. The necessary infrastructure for crew training, realization of flight systems and ground infrastructure will be established to support the Gaganyaan Programme. ISRO will collaborate extensively with National agencies, laboratories, academia and industry to accomplish the Gaganyaan Programme objectives.
  • Samwad scheme: It is a new initiative launched by ISRO. The scheme aims to constantly engage youngsters across India to capture their scientific temperament. The new conversation mission will inspire students cutting across schools and colleges. The first SwS event saw 40 wards and 10 teachers from select schools interact with ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan at the Anthariksh Bhavan. During the three-hour stay at ISRO HQ, the students were first briefed about Indian space programme and their benefits to the common man. In his opening remarks Dr Sivan said the SwS aims at drawing inspiration and motivation from young India. “All of you with your boundless energy and endless curiosity are going to be my biggest source of inspiration and motivation. With so many challenging on hand this year, I thought it is important to seek the well wishes of students who are the future of this country,” Dr Sivan said.
  • IIT Guwahati: It is a public institution established by the Government of India, located in Guwahati, in the state of Assam in India. It is the sixth Indian Institute of Technology established in India.Scientists from Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, have developed a simple paper kit that can test freshness of milk. Aided with a smart phone app, the kit can help ensure that milk is consumed before it turns too sour. Milk being widely consumed food; its safety is of prime concern to consumers. More so because it is highly perishable and prone to action of enzymes and microorganisms inherently present in it. Although pasteurization, freezing and preservation using additives are widely used to prevent spoilage, perishability of milk is still a concern.
  • Chandrayaan 2: It is India's second lunar exploration mission after Chandrayaan-1. Developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation, the mission is planned to be launched to the Moon by a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III. It includes a lunar orbiter, lander and rover, all developed by India. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is likely to launch Chandrayaan-2, the country’s second mission to the Moon, next month. Chandrayaan-2, a totally indigenous venture, comprises an orbiter, a lander and a rover. After a controlled descent, the lander would soft-land on the lunar surface at a specified site and deploy a rover, according to the ISRO. The six-wheeled rover will move around the landing site on the lunar surface in a semi-autonomous mode as decided by the ground commands.

Environment

  • PARIVESH scheme: It is a new scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Titled as PARIVESH (Pro-Active and Responsive facilitation by Interactive, Virtuous and Environmental Single-window Hub), it is a Single-Window Integrated Environmental Management System, developed in pursuance of the spirit of ‘Digital India’ initiated by the Prime Minister and capturing the essence of Minimum Government and Maximum Governance. PARIVESH automates the entire process of submitting the application and tracking the status of such proposals at each stage of processing. Dr. Vardhan emphasised that with the launch of PARIVESH, the vision of the Prime Minister for E-Governance and enhancing Ease of Doing Responsible Business is being translated into action by MoEF&CC.

Economics

  • Financial Stability Report (FSR): It is a report released by Reserve Bank of India. It reflects the collective assessment of the Sub-Committee of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) on risks to financial stability, as also the resilience of the financial system. The Report also discusses issues relating to development and regulation of the financial sector. According to the report, India’s financial system remains stable, and the banking sector shows signs of improvement, even though the global economic environment and the emerging trends in financial sector pose challenges. The global growth outlook for 2018 and 2019 remains steady although the underlying downside risks have risen.
  • Rs 2000 note: The Indian 2000-rupee banknote is a denomination of the Indian rupee. It was released by the Reserve Bank of India on 8 November 2016 after the demonetisation of ₹500 and ₹1000 banknotes and has been in circulation since 10 November 2016. The government has indicated that printing of Rs 2,000 bank notes has been stopped for now as there is enough stock in circulation. In a tweet, economic affairs secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said printing of notes is planned as per the projected requirement. He noted that there is more than adequate notes of Rs 2,000 in the system with over 35 per cent of notes by value in circulation being of Rs 2,000. There has been no decision regarding 2,000 rupee note production recently.

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