Atal Bihari Vajpayee demise, Mahadayi Verdict, “Pitch to MOVE”, Hydrogen wall, Railway Station Cleanliness Index

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This Daily Current Affair Capsule aims to be a time-saving tool for going through relevant news from national dailies and government releases on PIB. Aspirants for UPSC IAS, CDS, SSC CGL, NDA, etc. will find it highly useful to cover for revision and awareness purposes.

 

National Important Current Affairs – 16 and 17 August 2018

■ The final verdict by Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal hearing the tussle over sharing of the Mahadayi or Mandovi river between Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra, has been delivered.

  • Karnataka has been allowed access to 13.4 tmc of water for its consumptive use (5.4 tmc) and power generation (8.02 tmc).
  • The share of Goa has been pegged at 24 tmc for the state’s municipal water needs, irrigation water requirements and industrial water demands.
  • Maharashtra has received the lowest share of 1.33 tmc for meeting its in-basin needs with respect to five projects.
  • The tribunal also directed the Centre to set up the Mahadayi Water Management Authority to implement its report and final decision.

About Mahadayi river dispute: The river basin drains an area of 2032 square kilometres of which 375 square km lies in Karnataka, 77 sq km in Maharashtra and the remaining in Goa. The dispute arose since Goa was opposed to Karnataka’s plans to divert waters from the tributaries of the river, which Karnataka justified was for drinking water purposes. The tribunal was constituted in November 2010.

 

■ Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari has announced the appointment of Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar as Road Safety Brand Ambassador.

 

■ The High Court of Uttarakhand would henceforth act as the legal guardian of cows in the state.  This is the first time in India that a court has had invoked the ‘parens patriae’ doctrine for cow protection. The Uttarakhand high court has issued directions to the state government regarding this.  The court can now act as the legal guardian of the cows in the state and keep a tab on all issues related to cows especially its directions with regard to their protection. If there are any violations in laws and rules regarding cows, the court can take suo moto cognisance and issue directions to the state.

What is ‘Parens patriae’ doctrine: Parens patriae in Latin means ‘parent of the country’. It is a doctrine that grants the court inherent power and authority to act as guardian for those who are unable to take care of themselves.

 

Odisha government has launched Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana, a health for all scheme, on the occasion of the 72nd Independence Day. All beneficiaries currently enrolled under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), as well as other low-income families, will be covered under the BSKY.

The scheme will provide Rs. 5 lakh per family per annum for all Secondary and Tertiary Cashless Health Care Assistance. Women beneficiaries can get health cover upto Rs. 7 lakh. It will benefit 3.5 crore people (70 lakh families) at any govt. and private empanelled hospitals.

 

NITI Aayog has launched a competition “Pitch to MOVE” – a mobility pitch competition that aims to provide budding entrepreneurs of India with a unique opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a distinguished jury. “Pitch to MOVE” is organised by NITI Aayog in collaboration with Invest India and Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

  • The competition aims to identify and reward the start-ups offering innovative solutions for shared, connected, and environment friendly mobility.
  • The Startups can be from the domain of Public Mobility, Electric Vehicles, Shared Transport, Last Mile Connectivity, Passenger Transportation, Battery Technology, Automotive IoT, Freight & Logistics, Powertrain/Drivetrain, Experiential, Travel, Mobility Infrastructure and Automotive Electronics etc.

 

■ Third Party Survey Report on Railway Station Cleanliness has been released by the Quality Council of India (QCI). It ranks 407 railway stations including 75 A1 category stations, 332 A category stations on basis of cleanliness performance.

  • Top 10 A1 category Stations (out of 75): Jodhpur (1st), Jaipur (2nd), Tirupati (3rd), Vijayawada (4th), Anand Vihar Terminal (5th), Secunderabad Junction (6th), Bandra (7th), Hyderabad (8th), Bhubaneshwar (9th) and Vishakhapatnam (10th).
  • Top 10 A category stations (out of 332): Marwar (1st), Phulera (2nd), Warangal (3rd), Udaipur (4th), Jaisalmer (5th), Nizamabad (6th), Barmer (7th), Machiryal (8th), Mysore (9th) and Bhilwara (10th).
  • Top 10 Zonal Railways Rankings: North Western Railway (1st), South Central Railway (2nd), East Coast Railway (3rd), South East Central Railway (4th), Western Railway (5th), Southern Western Railway (6th), Southern Railway (7th), Central Railway (8th), West Central Railway (9th) and Northeast Frontiers Railway (10th).

The survey was conducted to increase level of cleanliness under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan by identifying unclean spots, improve cleanliness standards and propel healthy competition among railway stations.

 

West Bengal government has removed ceiling for a family’s annual earnings to be a beneficiary under its UN award-winning Kanyashree scheme. Currently, girls who belong to families with annual family income not more than Rs 1.20 lakh are entitled. The state government has announced the establishment of “Kanyashree University” for girls soon.

About Kanyashree scheme: Kanyashree is a conditional cash transfer scheme aiming at improving the status and well being of the girl child by incentivising schooling of teenage girls and delaying their marriages until the age of 18. It received the United Nations Public Service Award 2017.

Under the scheme, cash was deposited into the bank account of girls for every year they remained in school and were unmarried. This initiative led to a “drastic reduction in child marriage, an increase in female education and female empowerment.”

 

■ The Uttar Pradesh government has approached the Centre for its approval to rename Bareilly Airport to ‘Nath Nagri’, which is believed to be an ancient name of the city which had worshippers of Lord Shiva.

 

International Current Affairs Capsule – 16 and 17 August 2018

■ The Parsi new year, known as Navroz, is being observed as a holy occasion within the community. The festival marks the beginning of the Iranian calendar and is marked by merrymaking and a spirit of positivity.

Note that: The Parsis trace their origin to Persia and follow Zoroastrianism which was founded by Zarathustra. It is believed that the Persian king, Jamshed introduced the Parsi calendar and as means to honour him, the festival is also known as Jamshed-i-Nowruz.

 

■ The Government of Australia will recommence the Adoption Programme with India, as per Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoption. The adoptions from India were put on hold by the Government of Australia eight years ago, on the reported charges of trafficking of children for Inter-country adoption by some of the recognized Indian placement agencies. This will now enable a large number of prospective adoptive parents including those of Indian origin settled in Australia in fulfilling their desire of adopting a child from India.

Steps by Indian Government: The regulation of Inter-country adoptions have become strict after the enactment of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and notification of Adoption Regulations, 2017. The Ministry of Women & Child Development along with the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) constantly monitor the implementation of these laws.

About CARA: Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory body of Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India. CARA is designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter-country adoptions in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, ratified by Government of India in 2003. It functions as the nodal body for the adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.

 

■ The 24th World Congress of Philosophy will be held in Beijing, China. It is organized every five years by the International Federation of Philosophical Societies (FISP) in collaboration with one of its member societies. It was first organized in 1900. It puts emphasis on exploring dimensions of the human and inquiring into the challenges facing humanity.

 

■ National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) New Horizons spacecraft has sent scientific data which suggests that there could be a hydrogen wall at the end of our solar system. It is believed that this hydrogen wall is a “signature of the furthest reaches of sun’s energy”. The charged particles which the sun sends outwards causes hydrogen to release characteristic ultraviolet light. But as one keeps going away from the sun its influence wanes, which might create a pileup of interstellar hydrogen.

About New Horizons Mission: New Horizons was launched on 19 January 2006, and has been travelling through space for the past nine years. It passed Jupiter within a year and used the giant world’s gravity to boost its velocity, as well as making scientific observations. This boost shortened the time to reach Pluto by years.
The mission makes the U.S. the first nation to send a space probe to every planet from Mercury to Pluto.  New Horizon’s core science mission is to map the surfaces of Pluto and Charon, to study Pluto’s atmosphere and to take temperature readings.

Note that:  The New Horizon spacecraft was launched in 2006, before the big debate started over Pluto’s status as a planet. In August of that same year, the International Astronomical Union reclassified Pluto as a dwarf planet.

 

Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 16 and 17 August 2018

■ The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has said the recent incident of a cyber attack in Pune-based Cosmos Cooperative Bank, that has caused an over Rs 90-crore loss, is due to a malware attack on the bank’s system.

In the attack, hackers transferred over Rs 90 crore out on August 11 and 13 through the malware attack on the bank’s server by cloning debit cards of the bank’s customers.

About NPCI: National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is an umbrella organization for all retail payments system in India. It was set up with the guidance and support of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).

 

Qatar has pledged $15 billion of investment in Turkey to support the country’s fledging economy. This comes as Turkey faces a currency crisis amid a diplomatic stand-off with the US. Turkish currency lira has lost nearly 40% against the dollar this year causing panic in markets.

 

Sports Current Affairs – 16 and 17 August 2018

■ Kerala’s Nihal Sarin has become India’s 53rd Grandmaster after attaining his third and final GM-Norm by drawing in the eighth round of Abu Dhabi Masters against Uzbekistan’s Temur Kuybokarov. The 14-year-old is the 12th youngest grandmaster in chess history.

 

Obituaries

■ Former Prime Minister and Bharat Ratna awardee Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away at 93 years of age. Seven days of state mourning and a state funeral to be accorded to the nonagenarian. He was the 10th Prime Minister of India.  He served as the Prime Minister of India for three times (13 days in 1996, 11 months during 1998-99, Full-term during 1999-2004). He is the only parliamentarian to have been elected from four different states at different times – Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi.

  • Atal Bihari Vajpayee is credited with launching crucial infrastructure program Golden Quadrilateral and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.
  • In 2001 he launched Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, a social scheme to provide universal access to free elementary education to children aged 6-14.
  • He introduced the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which aimed to bring down fiscal deficit.
  • He bought the telecom revolution in the country with New Telecom Policy which replaced fixed license fees for telecom firms with a revenue sharing arrangement.
  • India conducted 2nd Nuclear Test in Pokharan under his leadership in May 1998.
  • Former PM Vajpayee’s birthday, 25 December, has been celebrated as ‘Good Governance Day’.

Awards: He was honored with India’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna and Bangladesh Liberation War Honor in the year 2015. Earlier, he was honored with prestegious Padma Vibhushan in 1992.

 

■ Former India Test captain Ajit Wadekar has passed away at 77 years of age. He played 37 Tests for India, making his debut in 1966 against the West Indies, and was named the national team captain in 1971. He was also part of the Indian team that played its first-ever ODI in 1974.

 

“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 16 and 17 August 2018 “

Q1.Which city has been ranked first in the Ease of Living Index 2018, which is released by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs?

  • A) Pune
  • B) Triputi
  • C) Chandigarh
  • D) Vijaywada

Q2. Dhyan Chand awardee, Hakam Singh Bhattal, who passed away recently, had won gold for India during which Asian Games?

  • A) 1974
  • B) 1982
  • C) 1986
  • D) 1978

Q3.Which country has successfully tested its first cutting-edge waverider hypersonic aircraft “Starry Sky-2”, which can carry nuclear warheads and penetrate any current generation anti-missile defense systems. This type of waverider aircraft uses shock waves generated by its own flight as a lifting surface to enhance the lift-to-drag ratio to reach the hypersonic regime of Mach 5 or even above?

  • A) China
  • B) Japan
  • C) Russia
  • D) United States

Q4.Prasar Bharati has tied up with which techonlogical giant to telecast 2018 Independence Day programme live online?

  • A) Facebook
  • B) Google
  • C) Twitter
  • D) Instagram

Q5.Which of the following has become the India’s first tribal language to get a Wikipedia edition in its native script?

  • A) Maithili
  • B) Santhali
  • C) Bodo
  • D) Dogri

Answer these questions in the comments below. We encourage you to discuss your thoughts on the news and issues mentioned in today’s current affairs post. The idea is to promote healthy discussions on interesting issues to make preparation fun. Have a good day!

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