For the very purpose of getting you ready for the challenge that is Current Affairs In India, we are covering the 2017 january current affairs including politics current affair, current affair news, science current affairs, general knowledge current affair, current government affair and international current affairs. Only studying India's current affairs or political current affairs is not sufficient as you have to cover international events and current affairs along with the Indian current affairs, as well as those in the field of science and sports.
Current Affairs - January 2019
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It is the global intergovernmental body charged with the conservation of whales and the management of whaling.Japan has withdrawn from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and will resume commercial whaling from July.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and others, with Australia saying it was "extremely disappointed" and New Zealand regretting the resumption of the "outdated and unnecessary" commercial killing of the ocean mammals.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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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 January 13 to January 19
International Current News
- Macedonia : It is a country in the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe. Macedonia parliamentarians of the Republic of Macedonia voted to change their country’s name to the 'Republic of North Macedonia'. The move now awaits approval from Greece's Parliament. A longstanding dispute between the two countries led to the move, because a region of Greece bordering the Macedonian republic is also called Macedonia. The change of name, if cleared by Athens, would pave the way for the small republic to enter NATO and the European Union. It should be noted that Macedonia broke away from the former Yugoslavia in 1991 and declared independence. It measures a little over 25,000 sq km, and has a population just over 2 million. Neighbouring Greece has objected to its name all through, suggesting it implied the Macedonian republic’s territorial aspirations over the northern region of Greece. For the Greeks, Macedonia is significant as the cradle of Alexander the Great’s empire. Insisting that the name apply only to the Greek region, the Greeks have been blocking the Macedonian republic’s entry to NATO and EU membership.
- Human Rights TV Channel: The world’s first television channel dedicated to human rights was launched in London with a promise to deliver hidden stories ignored by mainstream media into people’s living rooms. The International Observatory of Human Rights (IOHR) said its web-based channel would bring human rights issues to audiences in over 20 countries across Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
National Current News
- National Register of Indian Citizens: It is a register containing names of all genuine Indian citizens residing in Assam. Government has decided to revive the project in order to fight illegal immigrants. Some of the highlights of the NPR project proposal are, data for NPR was collected in 2010 along with the house-listing phase of the Census. However, the main task assigned to the department for the creation of the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) had been shelved by the government. The NPR’s main task is to generate the NRIC. The rest will automatically become National Register of Residents or NRR. It is called a filtering process, and involves field verification as well as scrutiny of documents. The National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in Assam and the subsequent releasing of the data appears to have provided a much-needed push for the NRIC project.
- Puducherry: It is formerly known as Pondicherry, is a union territory in India. It was formed out of four exclaves of former French India, namely Pondichery, Karikal, Mahe and Yanam. Puducherry government has decided to ban the production, sale and use of single-use plastic products in the Union Territory from March 1. Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy said, 'We want to gift a plastic free Puducherry to the future generation and curb the plastic in the larger interest of environment. Neighbouring Tamil Nadu government had announced in June, 2018 that it would ban the use of plastic items including non-biodegradable carry bags from January 1, 2019 to gift a plastic-free state to future generations.
- Lottery: It is a game that involves the drawing of numbers for a prize. Lotteries are outlawed by some governments, while others endorse it to the extent of organizing a national or state lottery. Government of India has constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) on issues relating to lottery. The ‘GoM for Lottery’ shall consists of Sudhir Mungantiwar(Finance Minister, Government of Maharashtra), Dr. T.M. Thomas Isaac (Finance Minister, Government of Kerala), Dr. Amit Mitra (Finance Minister, Government of West Bengal), Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma (Finance Minister, Government of Assam), Mauvin Godinho ( Minister of Panchayat, Government of Goa), Manpreet Singh Badal (Finance Minister, Government of Punjab), Krishna Byre Gowda (Finance Minister, Government of Karnataka), Jarkar Gamlin (Minister, Taxes and Excise, Government of Arunachal Pradesh). The Terms of Reference (ToR) for the GoM for lottery shall be as follows, whether the disparity in tax structure on the same product/commodity be continued or a uniform rate be prescribed for both; Whether private persons authorized by the States are misusing the lower rate and getting enriched themselves at the cost of the State and suggest measures to curb it; Examine any other issue related to enforcement including the legal frame work, so as to prevent evasion of tax on lottery and suggest appropriate tax rate to address the problem.
Science and Technology Current News
- UNNATI: It is acronym for UNispaceNanosatellite Assembly &Training by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). ISRO has launched UNNATI programme to provide opportunities to the participating developing countries to strengthen in assembling, integrating and testing of Nanosatellite. The is planned to be conducted for 3 years by U.R. Rao Satellite Centre of ISRO in 3 batches and will target to benefit officials of 45 countries. The first batch started today in which 30 delegates from 17 countries are participating. Each batch will be for 8-week duration and will comprise of theoretical course work on nanosatellite definition, utility, laws governing their impact on space debris, design drivers, reliability & quality assurance and hands-on training on assembly, integration and testing of nanosatellites. The first batch of this programme is starting on January 17, 2019 with 30 participants from 17 countries (Algeria, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Oman, Panama and Portugal). These participants were selected from 87 applications from 34 countries.
Sports Current News
- ICC World Cup 2019 : It is the 12th edition of the Cricket World Cup, scheduled to be hosted by England and Wales from 30 May to 14 July 2019. The first match will be played at The Oval while the final will be played at Lord's. It is the fifth time that the Cricket World Cup will be held in England and Wales.The 2019 World Cup will feature 10 teams, a decrease from previous World Cups in 2011 and 2015 which featured 14 teams. The hosts, England, and the top seven other teams in the ICC One Day International rankings as of 30 September 2017 earned automatic qualification, with the remaining two spots being decided by the 2018 Cricket World Cup Qualifier. The group stage format is a round-robin, where all ten teams play each other once, in a single group. This means a total of 45 matches will be played, with each team playing a total of nine matches. The top four teams from the group will progress to the knockout stage. A similar format was previously used in the 1992 Cricket World Cup, though that tournament featured nine teams instead of ten.
- Sovereign gold bond: It is gold bond scheme announced by government of India. The aim of the scheme is to cut down gold imports and lower the current account deficit. The scheme retains the incentives offered in the earlier tranche—of 2.5% interest rate and capital gains tax exemption on redemption.Sovereign gold bonds will be sold every month from October 2018 to February 2019 through banks, Stock Holding Corporation of India Ltd, designated post offices, and recognized stock exchanges. The tenor of the bond will be for a period of eight years with exit option in the fifth, sixth and seventh year. Payment for the bonds can be made through demand draft, cheque and electronic banking, while cash payment is allowed up to a maximum of Rs 20,000.
- Exim Bank of India (Exim Bank): It was established in 1982 under an Act of Parliament as the apex financial institution for financing, facilitating and promoting India's international trade. The Bank primarily lends for exports from India including supporting overseas buyers and Indian suppliers for export of developmental and infrastructure projects, equipment, goods and services from India. It is regulated by RBI. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the recapitalization of EXIM Bank. According to an official release, issuance of Recapitalization Bonds by Government of India to the tune of Rs.6,000 crore for capital infusion in Export Import Bank of India (Exim Bank). The equity will be infused in two tranches of Rs. 4,500 crore in FY 2018-19 and Rs.1,500 crore in FY 2019-20 respectively. The Cabinet also approved an increase in the authorized capital of Exim Bank from Rs. 10,000 crore to Rs. 20,000 crore. The recapitalisation bonds will be on the lines issued to Public Sector Banks. Exim Bank is the principal export credit agency for India. The infusion of capital into Exim Bank will enable it to augment capital adequacy and support Indian exports with enhanced ability. The infusion will give an impetus to anticipate new initiatives like supporting Indian textile industries, likely changes in Concessional Finance Scheme (CFS), likelihood of new LoCs in future in view of India's active foreign policy and strategic intent.
- Gandhi Peace Prize: The International Gandhi Peace Prize, named after Mahatma Gandhi, is awarded annually by the Government of India. As a tribute to the ideals espoused by Gandhi, the Government of India launched the International Gandhi Peace Prize in 1995 on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Mohandas Gandhi. The Gandhi Peace Prize for the years 2015,2016,2017 and 2018 are announced. Organisation which were conferred are, Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari for the year 2015 for their contribution in Rural Development, Education , Development of natural resources. For 2016 jointly to AkshayaPatra Foundation for its contribution in providing mid-day meals to millions of children across India and Sulabh International for its contribution in improving the condition of sanitation in India and emancipation of manual scavengers. EkalAbhiyan Trust for the year 2017 for their contribution in providing Education for Rural and Tribal Children in remote areas pan India, Rural Empowerment, Gender and Social Equality. Mr YoheiSasakawa for the year 2018 for his contribution in Leprosy Eradication in India and across the world.
Current Affairs January 20 to January 26
National Current News
- Tripura tea: It is a hilly state in northeast India, bordered on 3 sides by Bangladesh, and home to a diverse mix of tribal cultures and religious groups. Aiming help in getting a better scope in the market, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb unveiled the official logo of Tripura Tea. Tea industry started in Tripura over 100 years ago, in 1916, at Hiracherra tea estate in present Unakoti district. The state now has 58 operational tea estates, among which 42 are individually owned, 13 are operated under cooperative societies and 3 are run by the Tripura Tea Development Corporation (TTDC). Nearly 3,000 small tea growers also run their small tea estates with government support. As per government estimates, 6,885-hectare land area is under tea cultivation in the state, in which 3.58 crore kg green tea leaf is produced annually. Meanwhile, talks are on to facilitate the auction of Tripura Tea at Srimangal auction centre, which is in Bangladesh, right across the international border near Kailashahar in Unakoti district, 15 Km from here.
- Godavari and Cauvery River linking project: It is a new river linking plan proposed by government of India. The project aims to resolve water issues between four southern states. Expected cost of the project could cost up to Rs 60,000 crore. It aims to make good use of about 1100 tmc ft of Godavari water that currently drained into the sea. It is said that the detailed project report for linking rivers Godavari-Krishna-Pennar-Cauvery is ready. It will soon present it to the Cabinet for approval. Thereafter, the government will raise finances for the project either from the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank as the project cost is about Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 60,000 crore. The Godavari water would thus be taken to the tail end of Tamil Nadu.
- Project ReWeave: It is a philanthropic initiative from Microsoft India. It is a new e-commerce platform for handloom weavers. This e-commerce platform will help connect artisans to buyers directly, enabling them to expand to newer customers and markets. The new e-commerce website hosts signature collections created by weaver communities and showcases traditional designs and products created from natural dyes. This e-marketplace will help sell to a broad set of customers, helping weavers to increase their income and earn a sustainable livelihood, while also reviving forgotten Indian art. Microsoft in association with the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) has also curated a special curriculum in ‘CAD and Color for Handloom Weaving’ to provide digital training in handloom design.
- Aadhaar: It is a 12-digit unique identity number that can be obtained by residents of India, based on their biometric and demographic data cards are now valid travel documents. Home Ministry has allowed the usage of Aadhaar cards for Indians under 15 and over 65 years travelling to Nepal and Bhutan. According to a Home Ministry communiqué, Indians other than those in the two age brackets will not be able to use Aadhaar to travel to the two neighbouring countries, for which no visas are needed. Indian citizens going to Nepal and Bhutan don’t need a visa if they have a valid passport, a photo identity card issued by the government of India or an election ID card issued by the Election Commission, it added. Earlier, persons over 65 and under 15 could show their PAN card, driving licence, Central Government Health Service (CGHS) card or ration card, but not the Aadhaar, to prove their identity and visit the two countries. The Aadhaar card has now been added to the list.
- Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojana: It is an initiative launched by government of India for Indian diaspora. According to an official release, a group of Indian diaspora will be taken on a government-sponsored tour of religious places in India twice a year. They will be taken to religious places of all major religions in India and the government will bear all the expenses including the airfare from their country of residence. All people of Indian-origin aged 45 to 65 can apply and a group will be selected out of them with first preference given to people from 'Girmitiya countries' such as Mauritius, Fiji, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica.
- 2019 Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) : It is a new norm announced by the government of India. It replaces the existing CRZ norms of 2011. Objective of CRZ Regulations 2019 are to promote sustainable development based on scientific principles taking into account the natural hazards such as increasing sea levels due to global warming. The norms also seek to conserve and protect the environment of coastal stretches and marine areas, besides livelihood security to the fisher communities and other local communities in the coastal area.
- JNPT: Jawaharlal Nehru Port is the largest container port in India. It is located east of Mumbai, Maharashtra. The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), India’s premiere container port has got listed amongst the top 30 container ports globally, as per the latest Lloyds Report. JNPT notched up five spots, to be 28th on the list, compared to its previous ranking.This is a validation of all the efforts and strategic initiatives being implemented at JNPT in order to enhance overall port efficiency. Various new processes activated under the ‘ease of doing business’ initiative have not only helped in overall growth of the port business, but also allowed the EXIM trade to save time and cost which in turn have accentuated the growth story. Gaining operational efficiency is an on-going process and looking for solutions to better services so that the EXIM trade community benefits from it.
Science and Technology Current News
- Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO): It is the space agency of the Government of India headquartered in the city of Bengaluru. Its vision is to "harness space technology for national development while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration. ISRO is planning to launch an exclusive satellite for the home ministry to help it further strengthen its frontiers with Pakistan and Bangladesh among others. According to an official statement issued, the move is part of recommendations made by a task force on the use of space technology in improving border management which have been accepted by home minister Rajnath Singh. To execute the project in a time bound manner, a short, medium and long-term plan has been proposed for implementation in five years in close coordination with the ISRO and the defence ministry. Major recommendations of the report are to build capacity in border guarding forces to use space resources for security, operational planning and border infrastructure development. In short term, immediate needs of border guarding forces will be met by procurement of high resolution imagery and hiring of bandwidth for communications. In mid-term, one satellite is being launched by the ISRO for exclusive use of the MHA. ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C44)successfully injected Microsat-R andKalamsat-V2 satellites into their designated orbits. Microsat-R was successfully injected into intended orbit of 274 km. After injection, two solar arrays of the satellite were deployed automatically and ISRO Telemetry Tracking & Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bengaluru assumed control of the satellite. Subsequently , the fourth stage (PS4) of the vehicle was moved to a higher circular orbit of 453 km after two restarts of the stage, to establish an orbital platform for carrying out experiments. Kalamsat-V2, a student payload, first to use PS4 as an orbital platform, was taken to its designated orbit about 1 hour and 40 minutes after lift-off. This flight marked the first mission of PSLV-DL, a new variant of PSLV with two strap-on motors. In the previous PSLV launch on November 29, PSLV-C43 had successfully launched India’s HysIS as well as 30 customer satellites from abroad.
- Young Scientist Programme: It is a new launched by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for the young minds who want to explore themselves in space research. Under Young Scientist programme at ISRO, three students from each state will be selected. They will be given lectures and they will be given access to R&D labs and practical experience of building a small satellite. Three students from each of the 29 States and 7 Union Territories will selected for the Young Scientist program.
- The World Economic Forum (WEF): It is a not-for-profit foundation, known for its Annual Meeting which takes place in the modern Davos Congress Centre. The aim of the meeting will be to set an agenda that drives greater multistakeholder collaboration to address political, economic and societal challenges. Over the course of the year, the Forum, also convenes regional meetings each year in locations across Africa, East Asia, and Latin America, and holds two further annual meetings in China and the United Arab Emirates. Beside meetings, the Forum produces a series of research reports and engages its members in sector-specific initiatives. It also has offices in New York, Beijing, Tokyo and San Francisco. Aiming to bring a global collaboration to address political, economic and societal challenges, World Economic Forum 2019 began in Davos (Switzerland).
- PricewaterhouseCoopers: It is a multinational professional services network headquartered in London, United Kingdom. India and France are likely to surpass the UK in the 2019 rankings of world's largest economies, according to the latest projections by British consultancy multinational PwC. 'India and France are likely to surpass the UK in the world's largest economy rankings in 2019, knocking it from fifth to seventh place in the global table. India is the fastest growing large economy in the world, with an enormous population, favourable demographics and high catch-up potential due to low initial GDP per head. It is therefore all but certain to continue to rise in the global GDP league table in the coming decades. India should return to a healthy growth rate of 7.6 per cent in 2019-20 if there are no major headwinds in the global economy such as enhanced trade tensions or supply-side shocks in oil'.
- Corps of Military Police (CMP): It is the military police of the Indian Army. The term 'red berets' is synonymous with the personnel of the elite corps of Military Police(CMP), since all ranks of this Corps adorn the exclusive red berets along with white belts to distinguish themselves from other Corps of Army. Union Government has decided to induct women for the first time in Personnel Below Officer Rank, PBOR, role in Corps of Military Police. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, the women will be inducted in graded manner to eventually comprise 20 per cent of total Corps of Military Police. She said, the decision to induct women in the military police will enhance their representation in the armed forces. Their role would range from probing rape and molestation cases to assisting the Army wherever required. Currently, women are allowed in select areas such as medical, legal, educational, signals and engineering wings of the Army.
- TN Defence Corridor: It is also called the Tamil Nadu Defence Production Quad. It includes nodal cities form a quadrilateral — includes Chennai, Hosur, Salem, Coimbatore and Tiruchirappalli as nodes. The idea behind setting up defence industrial corridors is to ensure connectivity among various defence industrial units. Aforementioned five nodal cities have existing defence ecosystem in the form of OFBs (Ordnance Factory Boards), vendors working with Defence PSUs, and other allied industries. Taking a step forward to boost indigenous production, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated the Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor.
- National Museum of Indian Cinema: It is a new museum which aims to conserve the film heritage of India. The important aspects of NMIC are: NMIC is housed in two buildings, the New Museum Building and the 19th-century historic palace Gulshan Mahal – in the Films Division campus in Mumbai. The museum provides a glimpse of the evolution of Indian cinema in a storytelling mode with the help of visuals, graphics, artifacts, interactive exhibits, and multimedia expositions. Posters have been on display at NMIC to map the journey of Indian cinema over the last century. The museum also hosts scenes from landmark films like Dadasaheb Phalke’s Raja Harishchandra and Kaliya Mardan, replicas of old cameras and long-missing shooting equipment, and rare photographs. The verandah of Gulshan Mahal takes visitors through the multiple eras of Hindi and regional cinema, with the showcasing of posters, booklets, lobby cards and other exhibits. The Museum was refurbished by Navratna public sector undertaking NBCC (India) Limited under the guidance of the Museum Advisory Committee headed by Shyam Benegal, and an innovation committee headed by Prasoon Joshi.
- Rio de Janeiro (Rio): It is the second-most populous municipality in Brazil and the sixth-most populous in the Americas. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has recognised Rio de Janeiro as the 'World Capital of Architecture' for 2020. According to an official statement, 'Through the range and quality of its activities, the World Capital of Architecture in Rio de Janeiro will demonstrate the crucial role of architecture and culture in sustainable urban development'.
- Subhas Chandra Bose Museum: It is a new museum dedicated to Indian leader Subhas Chandra Bose. It was inaugurated in Redfort by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The museum on Subhas Chandra Bose and the Indian National Army showcases different artefacts, including a wooden chair and sword used by the leader, medals, badges and uniforms. The Yaad-e-Jalian showcases an authentic account of the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy, which occurred on April 13, 1919. It also showcases the bravery and valour of the Indian soldiers during World War I.
Current Affairs January 27 to February 02
International Current News
- Iran Trade promotion plan: It is a new plan launched by three European powers namely UK, France and Germany to help companies trade with Iran.The move is said to defy US President Donald Trump with a bid to bypass US sanctions. The entity is key to the European Unions effort to save a 2015 nuclear accord with Iran after Trump withdrew the US. Whatever the economic impact, the push by the UK, France and Germany is another sign of European exasperation with the president. The initiative is designed to shield European companies keen to do business with Iran from U.S. sanctions that could result from dollar-based transactions. The Trump administration has deemed the channel an attempt to evade its maximum pressure campaign against Iran, while questioning whether it’ll work.
Interim Budget 2019: Taxation Reforms
- The direct tax collection has been increased substantially.
- The number of returns filed have increased from 3.79 crore to 6.85 crore, showing 80 percent growth in tax base since four years.
- In 2018-19, 99.54 percent of the income-tax returns were accepted as they were filed.
- All returns will be processed in 24 hours and refund will be initiated at the earliest.
- Cinema goers who were subjected to multiple taxes up to 50 percent are mostly paying much lower tax at 12 percent now.
- Exemptions from GST for small businesses has been doubled from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 40 lakh.
- Businesses comprising over 90 percent of GST payers will be allowed to file quarterly return soon.
- The GST collection for January 2019 is estimated at Rs 1.03 lakh crore.
- Abolished the duties on 36 capital goods. Indian Customs is introducing full digitization.
- Individual tax payers with taxable income of up to Rs 5 lakh will get full tax rebate from now on.
- Those earning Rs 6.5 lakh will not have to pay tax, if they invested in specified savings such as PF, PPF, etc.
- However, the tax slabs will remain unchanged.
- This move will benefit around 3 crore middle class tax payers.
- For salaried persons, Standard Deduction is being raised from the current Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000.
- The Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) on fixed deposits and postal deposits will be exempted for interest earned up to Rs 40,000 from Rs 10,000 currently.
- The rent up to Rs 2.4 lakh will be exempted from TDS.
- The benefit of capital gains of up to Rs 2 crore will be increased to investment on two residential houses.This benefit can be availed only once in a lifetime.
- The benefit of the section 80IBA of Income Tax Act will be extended for one more year for availing of the affordable housing.
Interim Budget 2019 : Underprivileged
- 10 per cent additional reservation for the backward classes in general category in government jobs and education.
- To provide food grains at affordable prices to the poor and middle classes, about Rs 1,70,000 crores were spent in the year 2018-19 which is almost double the amount of Rs 92,000 crores spent in the year 2013-14.
- Allocating Rs 60,000 crore for MGNREGA. Additional amount would be provided if required.
- Under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, construction of rural roads has been tripled. 15.80 lakh habitations out of a total of 17.84 lakh habitations have already been connected with pucca roads and work is going on to complete the rest very soon.
- The yojana is being allocated Rs 19,000 crore in 2019-20 as against Rs 15,500 crore in 2018-19.
- A total number of 1.53 crore houses have been built under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in 2014-18.
- Under the Pradhan Mantri Saubhagya Yojna, by March 2019 every household will get electricity connection.
- Distributed 143 crore LED bulbs with the participation of private sector, which has resulted into a savings of approximately Rs 50,000 crore per year in electricity bills of poor and middle class families.
Interim Budget 2019: Infrastructure
- Around 15.8 lakh out of a total 17.84 lakh habitations have been connected with pucca roads under PMGSY. PMGSY allocated Rs 19,000 crore in 2019-20
- The flagship programme of Sagarmala along the coastal areas of the country will develop ports for faster handling of import and export cargo.
- Container freight movement has started on inland waterways from Kolkata to Varanasi.
- The government also plans to introduce container cargo movement to the North East as well, by improving the navigation capacity of the Brahmaputra River.
- All unmanned level crossings on broad gauge network have been completely eliminated.
- First indigenously developed ‘Vande Bharat Express’ will give the Indian passengers world class experience with speed, service and safety.
- Railways’ overall capital expenditure programme is of Rs 1, 58, 658 crore. The operating ratio is expected to improve from 98.4 per cent in 2017-18 to 96.2 per cent in 2018-19 and further to 95% in 2019-20 (BE). The operating ratio is expected to improve to 96.2 per cent in 18-19.
National Current News
- Swadesh Darshan Scheme of North East Circuits : It is a newly launched scheme by Ministry of Tourism. There are two projects under the scheme. These projects are 'Development of North East Circuits: Bhalukpong- Bomdila - Tawang Project and Nafra- Seppa- Pappu, Pasa, Pakke Valleys- Sangdupota- New Sagalee- Ziro- Yomcha Project '. These projects were jointly inaugurated by the Union Minister of State (IC) Tourism, K.J. Alphons; Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Pema Khandu and Minister for Tourism, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, Jarkar Gamlin. Other important dignitaries were also present on the occasion.
- Common Services Centres (CSCs): It is a scheme under Digital India mission which seeks to provide Citizen Centric Services. CSCs are delivering many government and non-government services to citizens in rural India across the country. They have also launched many products: like Patanjali, i-Ball, Samsung and signed agreement with many service providers. Common Services Centres (CSCs) are also selling IFFCO fertilizers and seeds through its vast network in the country. Common Services Centres (CSCs) has launched its first Cash and Carry store in Kanth Tehsil of Moradabad district, Uttar Pradesh.
- Transparency International (TI): It is a Berlin-based non-government organisation.India’s ranking in the annual corruption index, released by Transparency International (TI), slid to 81 among a group of 180 countries. The Corruption Perception Index 2017 also singled out India as one of the “worst offenders" in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2016, India was in the 79th place among 176 countries. India’s ranking in the index had plummeted in 2013 and 2014 in the wake of the spectrum and coal scams. The ranking has improved since then, but seems to be showing signs of weakening. The index, which measures perception of corruption in the public sector, uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. India’s score remained intact at 40 points in both 2016 and 2017. New Zealand and Singapore scored the highest scores with 89 and 84 out of 100, respectively. Somalia was found to be the most corrupt country in the world. A majority of the world’s countries scored below 50 on the index with the global average score coming at around 43. India’s score of 40 in 2017 puts it below the global average.
- Biojet fuel: It is a biofuel used for aircraft. It is considered by some to be the primary means by which the aviation industry can reduce its carbon footprint. After months of exhaustive ground and flight trials, the indigenous produced bio-fuel has been finally cleared for use by the premier airworthiness certification agency of the country. According to an official release, after meeting chaired by Mr Jaypal, Outstanding Scientist and Chief Executive, the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) deliberated in detail the results of various checks and tests conducted on bio-jet fuel as per procedure recommended by top national and international certification agencies. On being completely satisfied with the performance parameters, the agency has formally granted its approval for use of this fuel, produced from non-conventional source i.e. non-edible vegetable/ tree borne oil to be used on military aircraft. The bio-jet fuel has been produced from seeds of Jatropha plant sourced from Chhattisgarh and processed at CSIR-IIP’s lab at Dehradun. This approval enables the IAF to fulfil its commitment to fly the maiden IAF An-32 aircraft on January 26, 2019, with a blend of bio-jet fuel.
- Tulip : It is a spring-blooming perennial herbaceous bulbiferous geophytes. The flowers are usually large, showy and brightly coloured, generally red, pink, yellow, or white. They often have a different coloured blotch at the base of the tepals, internally. Uttarakhand's first tulip garden will come up over 50 hectares of forest land in Pithoragarh district at a cost of Rs 50 crore. The state government has obtained the Centre's nod for development of the garden. To be developed by the ONGC, under its corporate social responsibility programme in over 50 hectares of forest land near Chandak hill top, the proposed tulip garden will be the country's second after the one located in Srinagar (J&K). The garden will be even larger than the one in Srinagar. The site in Mad village near Chandak hilltop for the garden to be developed at a cost of Rs 50 crore has been selected under the state Government's '13 districts, 13 new destinations' scheme, to attract more tourists to the district. Tulip, the flower from Holland, blooms from mid-March to May. The flower can be grown in every hill region as well as in plains but the plains cannot produce bulbs of the flower.
- Vande Bharat Express: It is the name of the Indian Railways’ fastest engine-less train – the Vande Bharat Express – also known as Train 18. The train is all set to be flagged off in the coming days by PM Narendra Modi on the Delhi-Varanasi route. The Vande Bharat Express will cover the distance between Delhi and Varanasi in 8 hours, stopping at only two stations – Kanpur and Prayagraj. According to sources, the schedule and fares of Vande Bharat Express are awaiting final clearance from Railway Ministry.
- Uttar Pradesh: It is a state in northern India. Uttar Pradesh is set to construct the world’s longest expressway. UP government approved the construction of the Ganga Expressway for better connectivity of Prayagraj with western districts of the state. UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath presided over the cabinet meeting, where the approval for the construction of the 600-km long expressway was given. According to Yogi Adityanath, the new Ganga Expressway will be the longest expressway in the world. Adityanath further said that the Ganga Expressway will start from Meerut and will touch Amroha, Bulandshahr, Badaun, Shahjahanpur, Farrukhabad, Hardoi, Kannauj, Unnao, Rae Bareli, Pratapgarh before reaching Prayagraj. The Ganga expressway will require 6,556 hectares of land and it will be access-controlled and four-laned, which will be expandable to six lanes. The CM added that the estimated cost of this project will be around Rs 36,000 crore. The expressway will provide massive connectivity in the state as it will pass through major cities of UP like Varanasi, Mirzapur, Prayagraj, Pratapgarh, Rae Bareli, Unnao, Kanpur, Kannauj, Hardoi, Farrukhabad, Shahjahanpur, Badaun, Bulandshahr.
- NAHEP : It is the acronym for National Agricultural Higher Education Project. This initiative aims to attract talent and strengthen higher agricultural education in the country. It was launched by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). This project will be funded by the World Bank and the Indian Government on a 50:50 basis. In addition, a four year degree in Agriculture, Horticulture, Fisheries and Forestry has been declared a professional degree.
Science and Technology Current News
- Indian Institute of Technology Madras: It is a public engineering institute located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. As one of the Indian Institutes of Technology, it is recognised as an Institute of National Importance. The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has established three mission centres at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) at the collective cost of Rs 50 crore. The centres were aimed at research and development in the field of solar and water treatment. Harsh Vardhan, the Union Minister for Science and Technology, inaugurated the three DST mission centres, namely, DST -IITM Solar Energy Harnessing Centre, DST- IITM Centre for Sustainable Treatment, Reuse and Management for Efficient, Affordable and Synergistic Solutions for Water (Water-IC for SUTRAM of EASY WATER), and DST-IITM-KGDS Test-bed on Solar Thermal Desalination Solutions in Narippaiyur, Ramanathapuram District, Tamil Nadu. The DST – IITM Water – IC for SUTRAM of EASY WATER will be available for CSIR-CLRI Chennai, Anna University, VIT Chennai, PRIST University, Indian Institute of Toxicological Research-Lucknow, IIT Tirupati, Kumaon University, IISER Bhopal. This Centre has been supported at a cost of Rs 9 crore.
- South Asian Nitrogen Hub: It is a new scientific hub created to study nitrogen pollution in South Asia. It was launched by United Kindgom. Eighteen research institutions in India are among a group of 50 institutions — called the South Asian Nitrogen Hub (SANH) — in the United Kingdom and South Asia that have secured £20 million (about Rs 200 crore) from the U.K. government to assess and study the quantum and impact of nitrogen pollution in South Asia. While nitrogen is the dominant gas in the atmosphere, it is inert and doesn’t react. However, when it is released as part of compounds from agriculture, sewage and biological waste, nitrogen is considered reactive, and it may be polluting and even exert a potent greenhouse gas (heat trapping) effect.
- Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC): It is a newly inaugurated centre in Indian Space Research Centre (ISRO). It will be the hub of ISRO's future manned missions, was inaugurated at ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru. It will be responsible for the implementation of Gaganyaan project — which involves mission planning, development of engineering systems for crew survival in space, crew selection and training and also pursue activities for sustained human space flight missions. HSFC will take the support of ISRO centres to implement the first developmental [crewed] flight'.
- Steel: It is an alloy of iron and carbon, and sometimes other elements. Because of its high tensile strength and low cost, it is a major component used in buildings, infrastructure, tools, ships, automobiles, machines, appliances, and weapons. India has replaced Japan as world's second largest steel producing country, while China is the largest producer of crude steel accounting for more than 51 per cent of production, according to World Steel Association (worldsteel). The global steel body in its latest report noted that China's crude steel output jumped 6.6 per cent to 928.3 million tonnes (MT) in 2018 from 870.9 MT in 2017. China's share increased from 50.3 per cent in 2017 to 51.3 per cent in 2018.
- Aber: It is a common digital currency launched jointly by the central banks of the UAE and Saudi Arabia. It will be used in financial settlements between the two countries through Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers technologies. The UAE central bank said in a statement that it will establish an additional means for the central financial transfer systems of the two countries and enable banks to directly deal with each other in conducting financial remittances. Through this digital currency, both the United Arab Emirates Central Bank (UAECB) and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) are studying the impact on the improvement and reduction of remittance costs and the assessments of risks.
Interim Budget 2019: Some of the highlights of the budget are:
- No income tax for earnings up to ₹5 lakh
- Individuals with gross income of up to ₹6.5 lakh need not pay any tax if they make investments in provident funds and prescribed equities
- Standard tax deduction for salaried persons raised from ₹40,000 to ₹50,000
- TDS threshold on interest on bank and post office deposits raised from ₹10,000 to ₹40,000
- TDS threshold on rental income increased from ₹1.8 lakh to ₹2.4 lakh
- I-T processing of returns to be done in 24 hours
- Within the next 2 years, all verification of tax returns to be done electronically without any interface with the taxpayer
- Package of ₹6000 per annum for farmers with less than 2 hectares of land. Scheme to be called Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi.
- Vande Bharat Express, an indigenously developed semi high-speed train, to be launched
- One lakh digital villages planned in the next five years
- Fund allocation for the Northeast region increased to ₹ 58,166 crore, a 21% rise over last year for infrastructure development
- Anti-camcord regulations to be introduced in the Indian Cinematograph Act to prevent piracy and contact theft of Bollywood films.
- Single window clearance for Indian filmmakers.
- 25 per cent of sourcing for government projects will be from the MSMEs, of which three per cent will be from women entrepreneurs.
- National Artificial Intelligence portal to be developed soon
- ESI cover limit increased to ₹ 21,000. Minimum pension also increased to ₹ 1000.
- Mega pension scheme for workers in the organised sector with an income of less than ₹15,000. They will be able to earn ₹ 3000 after the age of 60. The scheme will be called Pradhan Mantri Shramyogi Maan Dhan Yojana.
- 2% interest subvention for farmers pursuing animal husbandry.
- All farmers affected by severe natural calamities to get 2% interest subvention and additional 3% interest subvention upon timely repayment
- Decision taken to increase MSP (minimum support price) by 1.5 times the production cost for all 22 crops
- The 22nd AIIMS to come up in Haryana
- Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade: It is the new name for Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). The name and structural change of the department was made on the request by trader’s bodies for forming a separate ministry for internal trade. The new body will be given the mandate to deal with matters related to start-ups, facilitating ease of doing business among others. The newly-named department under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry will look into matters related to promotion of internal trade, including retail trade, welfare of traders and their employees, facilitating ease of doing business and start-ups. The matters related to internal trade were earlier under the domain of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs. The President gave his nod to bring internal trade matters under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade. The move comes amidst a demand by traders’ body CAIT (Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT))for forming a separate ministry for internal trade.
- DSC Prize for South Asian Literature: It is a literary prize, which seeks to always encouraged writing in regional languages and translations.‘No Presents Please’ originally written in Kannada by noted author Jayant Kaikini and translated into English by eminent translator Tejaswini Niranjana has been announced as the winner of the prestigious DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2018 at the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet in Kolkata, India. This is the first time that a translated work has won the prize. This magnificent book gives us a protagonist that is vivid yet full of contradictions, spirited yet lonely, embattled yet big-hearted – the city of Mumbai. Empathy and survival are the constant, codependent themes that unify every strand of this extraordinary book, creating a shimmering mosaic of a conflicted city that is as kind as it is, at times, cruel.In a glittering award ceremony, the USD 25,000 DSC Prize was awarded to Jayant Kaikini and Tejaswini Niranjana along with a unique trophy by eminent writer Ruskin Bond. As per the prize process, the prize money would be equally shared between the author and the translator. The world’s literati including writers, publishers, media and literary enthusiasts who had gathered for the Award Ceremony at the iconic Victoria Memorial Hall enthusiastically applauded the winner of the DSC Prize 2018
People in the News
Discuss Current Affairs
Current Affairs Quiz - new