Category Archives: CURRENT AFFAIRS

Current Affairs for IAS,KAS,IPS,UPSc Coaching in Bangalore

CBI New Director: Delhi Police Chief Alok Verma

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  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi  approved the appointment of Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Kumar Verma as the new Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation.
  • He will succeed Anil Sinha, who retired on December 2 last year.
  • His name was cleared by a three-member selection panel headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and comprising Chief Justice of India Jagdish Singh Khehar and Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge as members.
  • A controversy had preceded Verma’s selection to the post by a three-member search and selection panel headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chief Justice of India JS Khehar and Leader of largest Opposition party (Congress) in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge as members with the government shifting the second-in-command in CBI RK Dutta (1981-batch Karnataka cadre IPS officer) to the Ministry of Home Affairs as Special Secretary and an NGO approaching the SC against it.
  • Since then, Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana was acting as the interim director of the agency.
  • Though the selection panel meeting took place on January 16, a decision in this regard was issued today, which showed how the government was careful in Verma’s appointment, as even Kharge had expressed his reservation on his name.

About Alok Verma 

  • Verma, a 1979-batch IPS officer of the Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre, has been appointed the Director of the CBI, an official said on Thursday evening.
  • Verma, who has been the Delhi Police chief for the last 11 months, was, however, one among the frontrunners for the post.
  • The others in the race were ITBP chief Krishna Chaudhary, head of National Police Academy Aruna Bahuguna, SSB DG Archana Ramasundram and 1981-batch Maharastra cadre IPS officer Satish Mathur.
  • Verma was earlier the director general of Tihar prisons and the police chief of Mizoram.
  • He has also served as the joint and special commissioner of the Delhi Police crime branch between August 2007 and December 2008.
  • The new Director’s appointment in the CBI is his 24th posting in his 36-year career. Verma is due to retire in July this year, but he will now have a fixed two-year tenure from the date of assumption of office.

About Central Bureau of Investigation

  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of India, which simultaneously serves as the nation’s prime federal law enforcement agency.
  • It operates under the jurisdiction of the Government of India. The CBI is overseen by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions of the Federal government, headed by a Cabinet Minister who reports directly to the Prime Minister.
  • As far as national security is concern its comparable to those of the American FBI, British MI5 or Russian FSS.
  • However, CBI’s powers and functions are limited to specific crimes by Acts (primarily the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946). Alok Verma has been announced as the director on 19th Jan 2017
  • The CBI is involved in major criminal probes, and is the Interpol agency in India.
  • The CBI was established in 1941 as the Special Police Establishment, tasked with domestic security. It was renamed the Central Bureau of Investigation on 1 April 1963.
  • Its motto is “Industry, Impartiality, Integrity”. Agency headquarters is in the Indian capital, New Delhi, with field offices located in major cities throughout India.

IAF, RAFO chiefs review joint air exercise at Jamnagar base

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  • Chief of Indian Air Force Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa  reviewed the ongoing joint exercise of the Air Forces of India and Oman.
  • Commander of the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) Air Vice Marshal Matar Ali Matar Al-Obaidani was also present on the occasion.
  • Air Force Station Jamnagar is hosting a five-day long fourth Joint Indo-Oman Air Exercise- ‘Eastern Bridge IV’, which commenced on January 16.
  • The Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) is participating with five F-16s belonging to No. 18 Squadron based at Thumrait.
  • IAF is participating with Su-30 MKIs, MiG-29s, Jaguars and MiG-27 aircraft. This is the first time RAFO F-16s are participating in an Air exercise outside the Gulf nations.
  • Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa and Air Vice Marshal Matar Ali Matar Al-Obaidani reviewed the progress of the exercise at Air Force Station Jamnagar.
  • During their review they interacted with the participating crew and held bilateral discussions, Defence spokesperson Wing Commander Abhishek Matiman said. UNI RAJ PY 2044

Cabinet approves India’s Membership in the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), South Korea

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  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to the proposal for India’s taking full membership of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) Governing Council.
  • The move involves payment of annual contribution of US $ 5,00,000 to the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), Seoul, South Korea.

Background

  • International Vaccine Institute (IVI), Seoul, South Korea, established in 1997 on the initiatives of the UNDP, is an international organization devoted to developing and introducing new and improved vaccines to protect the people, especially children, against deadly infectious diseases.
  • In the year 2007, with the approval of Cabinet, India joined IVI. India is a long-term collaborator and stake-holder of IVI. In December, 2012 the Board of Trustees (BOT) of IVI approved the formation of its new governance structure.
  • Created initially as an initiative of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), IVI began formal operations as an independent international organization in 1997 in Seoul, Republic of Korea. Currently, IVI has 40 countries and the World Health Organization (WHO) as signatories to its Establishment Agreement.
  • The Institute has a unique mandate to work exclusively on vaccine development and introduction specifically for people in developing countries, with a focus on neglected diseases affecting these regions.
  • As per the new governance structure of IVI, a member State has to contribute to the IVI by paying a portion of its core budget.
  • Since India is classified in Group-I, it has to pay an annual contribution of US $ 50,000.

Achievements of IVI

  • IVI has developed 3 new or improved vaccines: reformulated oral cholera vaccine, typhoid Vi polysaccharide vaccine, and typhoid Vi conjugate vaccine.
  • Shanchol™, the oral cholera vaccine developed and licensed under guidance by IVI, was pre-qualified by WHO in September 2011.
  • IVI has completed a global investment case for cholera vaccines, the first report to systematically provide detailed estimates of the disease burden of cholera and the global cost-effectiveness of cholera vaccination.
  • IVI and the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) jointly established a state-of-the-art immune-monitoring laboratory in Kolkata, India.
  • IVI was the first to identify that Japanese encephalitis is a major problem in Bali, Indonesia.
  • IVI scientists developed the first animal model of Shigella colitis for use in developing a Shigella vaccine.
  • Since 2000, IVI has hosted an annual International Advanced Course on Vaccinology for the Asia-Pacific Region to build country capacity in vaccine-related research.
  • IVI demonstrated for the first time that killed oral cholera vaccine is effective in populations with high rates of HIV/AIDS(Mozambique

Army Jawans To Finally Get Their First Modern Helmet

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  • For the first time ever, each and every jawan of the Indian Army will be equipped with a world-class helmet, an essential piece of kit that can be the difference between life and death during military operations.
  • An Indian company, the Kanpur-based MKU Industries has been contracted to manufacture 1.58 lakh helmets in a deal worth Rs. 170 and 180 crore, and the production of the new helmets is now beginning. This is the first large scale order of helmets by the Army in more than two decades.
  • The new helmets will be delivered within three years by MKU Industries, which is a world leader in the manufacture of body armour (bulletproof jackets and helmets) which it exports to armed forces around the world.
  • The new helmets are designed to bear the impact of 9 mm ammunition fired from a short range. This meets the global standard for protection among leading armed forces. They are also designed to be comfortable and many of them can be integrated with communications devices.

After Ten Years

  • More than a decade back, the Indian Army’s elite para special forces were equipped with an Israeli OR-201 helmet made of Glass Reinforced Plastic.
  • However, regular soldiers in infantry formations had to make do with heavy domestically-made helmets which were not comfortable to wear during combat situations.
  • A unique and often preferred solution for Indian Army soldiers, particularly during counter-insurgency operations, is wearing a bulletproof ‘patka’, though these have severe limitations since they offer protection only on the forehead and the back of the head. In addition to this, they weigh more than 2.5 kilograms.

Bulletproof Jacket

  • In March last year, the government signed an ’emergency contract’ to purchase 50,000 new bulletproof jackets from Tata Advanced Materials Limited after a delay of more than 10 years.
  • This is a stand-in acquisition – the Army is in the process of evaluating far more advanced jackets which can provide soldiers a greater degree of protection from enemy bullets or shrapnel in the battlefield.

About MKU

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  • MKU (originally incorporated as M Kumar Udyog) is an Indian defence company headquartered in Kanpur, India.
  • The company manufactures protection and surveillance range of equipment and solutions, including ballistic helmets, armour inserts, bulletproof vests, and electro-optical devices like night vision binoculars and monoculars.
  • The company started off with the manufacturing of locks.
  • In 1985, M Kumar Udyog was founded for manufacturing and supply of defence specific requirements of the Indian Army, with its first lot of FRP helmets being shipped out in 1989.
  • By 1993 footwear manufacturing unit was commissioned. The company further diversified in 1997 and entered into plywood manufacturing business. Subsequently a separate manufacturing unit was set up for catering to the growing demand of plywood in India. In the same year a bitumen manufacturing plant was commissioned for supplies to the emerging road construction requirements of India
  • During the Kargil war of 1999, fought between India and Pakistan, the Indian Ministry of Defence realized the acute need of ballistic protection due to the high casualties amongst Indian soldiers, leading to MKU entering the bulletproof protection market. It made its first commercial international sale in 2003

India ranks 92nd on global talent competitiveness

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  • India has slipped 3 places to 92nd rank on the global index of talent competitiveness that measures how countries grow, attract and retain talent, a list topped by Switzerland.
  • India’s ranking is worst among the five BRICS countries. While China was ranked at the 54th place, Russian Federation was placed at 56th, followed by South Africa at 67th and Brazil 81st.
  • Switzerland topped the overall index, followed by Singapore and the United Kingdom in second and third places respectively, in the list released on Monday by INSEAD Produced in partnership with The Adecco Group and the Human Capital Leadership Institute of Singapore (HCLI).
  • Others in the top 10 include the United States (4th), Sweden (5th), Australia (6th), Luxembourg (7th), Denmark (8th), Finland (9th) and Norway (10th).
  • Last year, India came in at 89th on the index. The report noted that the BRICS countries are not getting stronger and both China and India have slipped from their year-ago rankings.
  • Although China attains an impressive 4th place in the sub-pillar of Talent Impact and is solid in the Grow pillar mainly supported by good formal education (23rd) and lifelong learning (20th), the shortage of vocational and technical skills shows up clearly.
  • While India stood on a relatively solid pool of global knowledge skills compared with other emerging markets, the country is not able to retain and attract talent.
  • In terms of retaining and attracting talent, India was ranked at a lowly 104th and 114th, respectively.
  • “This is not likely to improve until India boosts performance in its regulatory (94th) and market (99th) landscapes,” the report said.
  • It further said that overall, a challenge for countries such as China and India is to attract talent from abroad, particularly in the context of large emigration rates of high-skilled people.
  • India has been able to create a stable pool of global knowledge skills, but it has suffered in the ‘Retain’ pillar (104th). “Although diasporas have been engaged successfully in some industries, a great deal of talent continues to leave the country, and thus India still experiences a brain drain,” the report added.

Global Ranking for Cites

  • Meanwhile, the index also released the first-ever global ranking of cities on the basis of their reputation and growing footprint in attracting, growing, and retaining global talent.
  • Mumbai was the only Indian city that has made it to this coveted list, topped by Copenhagen.
  • The top 10 global cities in terms of talent competitiveness include Zurich, Helsinki, San Francisco, Gothenburg, Madrid, Paris, Los Angeles, Eindhoven and Dublin.
  • The 2017 report explores the effect of technological change on talent competitiveness and noted that while jobs at all levels continue to be replaced by machines, technology is also creating new opportunities.

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  • Unemployment in India is projected to witness marginal increase between 2017 and 2018, signalling stagnation in job creation in the country, according to a UN labour report.
  • The United Nations International Labour Organisation (ILO) released its 2017 World Employment and Social Outlook report yesterday, which finds economic growth trends lagging behind employment needs and predicts both rising unemployment and worsening social inequality throughout 2017.
  • Job creation in India is not expected to pick up pace in 2017 and 2018 as unemployment rises slightly, representing a near stagnation in percentage terms
  • India had performed slightly well in terms of job creation in 2016, when a “majority” of the 13.4 million new employments created in Southern Asia happened in the country.
  • The report also acknowledged that India’s 7.6 per cent growth in 2016 helped Southern Asia achieve 6.8 per cent growth that year.
  • Globally, the unemployment rate is expected to rise modestly from 5.7 to 5.8 per cent in 2017 representing an increase of 3.4 million in the number of jobless people, a new ILO report shows.
  • The number of unemployed persons globally in 2017 is forecast to stand at just over 201 million – with an additional increase of 2.7 million expected in 2018 – as the pace of labour force growth outstrips job creation, according to the ILO’s World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2017  (WESO).
  • The ILO’s 2017 World Employment and Social Outlook (WESO) report released last week, finds economic growth trends lagging behind employment needs and predicts both rising unemployment and worsening social inequality throughout 2017.
  • That statistic is even worse for emerging countries. Those living in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are facing the greatest risk.
  • In contrast, unemployment is expected to fall in 2017 in developed countries (by 670,000), bringing the rate down to 6.2 per cent from 6.3 per cent in 2016.
  • In Europe, notably Northern, Southern and Western Europe, unemployment levels and rates are both expected to continue to fall, but the pace of improvement will slow, and there are signs that structural unemployment is worsening.
  • The ILO advocates policy approaches that address root causes of secular stagnation as well as structural impediments to growth.

Kiran Doshi wins ‘The Hindu Prize 2016’

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  • Kiran Doshi, a retired diplomat and educationist from Gujarat, won The Hindu Prize 2016 on Sunday for his third major work of fiction, Jinnah Often Came to Our House, a book set against the political turmoil of the subcontinent from the early part of the 20th century, ending with the Partition and Independence.
  • Mr. Doshi was among the five authors shortlisted from nearly 60 entries for the seventh edition of the prize.
  • The shortlisted works included Anil Menon’s Half Of What I Say, Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar’s The Adivasi Will Not Dance, Kunal Basu’s Kalkatta and Manjula Padmanabhan’s The Island of Lost Girls.
  • Accepting the award, Mr. Doshi said his life in cities such as Chennai was “full of events” that triggered his ideas.
  • He said 35 years of diplomacy and ten years of education after that shaped his ideas. Two great inspirations for his works were his life in Pakistan, where he was posted and the “dowry” he received when he married his wife, the writer said.
  • Earlier on Saturday, contemporary artist Gulamohammed Sheikh inaugurated The Hindu Lit for Life 2017.
  • The award a citation and a cash prize of Rs5 lakh was given away by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks at the ongoing The Hindu Lit for Life fest organised at Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall.

The Hindu Literary Prize

  • The Hindu Literary Prize or The Hindu Best Fiction Award, established in 2010, is an Indian literary award sponsored by The Hindu Literary Review which is part of the The Hindu paper.
  •  It recognizes Indian works in English and English translation. The first year, 2010, the award was called The Hindu Best Fiction Award.

Government launches App named ‘SEZ India’

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  • In an effort to further strengthen its e-Governance initiative, the Government has launched a mobile app named ‘SEZ India’ which would enable easy access of information and track transactions
  • SEZ Division, Department of Commerce under its broader e-Governance initiative i.e. SEZ Online System, has developed mobile app for Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
  • Commerce Secretary launched the app and mentioned that the App would help the SEZ Units and Developers to find information easily and track their transactions on SEZ Online System.
  • Now the SEZ Developers & Units can file all their transactions digitally through SEZ Online system and track the status on the go through the SEZ India mobile app.

Where it is available & the sections

  • The app is available on Android Platform for use by SEZ Developers, Units, officials and others.
  • The app has four sections i.e. SEZ Information, SEZ Online Transaction, Trade Information, and Contact details.

Salient Features of the four sections are:

  1. SEZ INFORMATION: This is a compendium of the SEZ Act, 2005, SEZ Rules, 2006, MOCI Circulars, details of SEZs and Units etc. It gives up to date comprehensive details on all the above aspects.
  2. TRADE INFORMATION: This provision gives access to important information / tools such as Foreign Trade Policy, Hand Book of procedure , Duty Calculator , Customs & Excise Notification and MEIS Rates.
  3. CONTACT DETAILS: We see that the contact details of all Development Commissioners Office, DGFT, DG System, DGCI & S and SEZ online.
  4. SEZ online Transaction This is a dynamic submenu that tracks the Bill of Entry / Shipping Bill processing status and also does verification. The app also helps the Importers / Exporters to track the status of ‘Bill of Entry / Shipping Bill” integration and processing in the EDI system of the ICEGATE.

India – US Sign Agreement On Cyber Security

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  • India and the US have signed a memorandum of understanding between the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT- In) under the Ministry of Electronics and Information technology of the government of India and the Department of Homeland Security, government of the United States of America on cooperation in the field of cyber security.
  • The agreement was signed by Aruna Sundararajan, secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, and Richard Verma, US Ambassador to India, on Wednesday.
  • “The MoU intends to promote closer cooperation and the exchange of information pertaining to the Cyber Security in accordance with the relevant laws, rules and regulations of each economy and this MoU and on the basis of equality, reciprocity and mutual benefit,” an official statement said.
  • Previously, the two countries had signed an MoU on July 19, 2011 to promote a closer cooperation and timely exchange of information between the organisations of their respective governments responsible for cyber security.
  • Since, July 19, 2011, regular interactions between CERT-In and US CERT are taking place to share the information and discuss cyber security related issues.
  • In continuation to the cooperation in cyber security areas, both have renewed the MoU, it added.

National Youth Festival begins tomorrow in Haryana

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  • The National Festival will ensure the participation of youth from all over India taking active part in various competitive and non-competitive events, Yuva Kriti exhibition, food festival, spreading the message of national unity and integration etc. from Jan 12 to Jan 16, 2017.
  • The host state Haryana is making elaborate arrangements for successful organization of this prestigious national event, along with Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS), a Government of India organisations.
  • The opening and closing ceremony of the 21st National Youth Festival will be held on January 12 and January 16 respectively in the sports stadium complex of Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak.
  • All the participating State contingents will participate in the march past in their traditional custom attire. A gala cultural programme will be organized during the opening ceremony.
  • Competitive and non-Competitive events, Suvichar, Yuva Kriti exhibition and Food Festival, Adventure Sports event will be organized during the festival.
  • State contingents will take part in Competitive Events like One Act Play (English/Hindi), Folk Dance, Folk Song, Classical Vocal Solo (Hindustani/Carnatic), Classical Instrumental Solo (Sitar/Flute/Tabla/Veena/Mridangyam), Harmonium (Light), Guitar, and Classical Dance. Besides, Non-Competitive events, Young Artistes Camp will also be organized.
  • The National Youth Festival 2017 will also showcase the policies and programme of Government of India, especially to promote Digital economy. Stalls for Digital Payment Training (UPI/e-wallet/debit cards/credit cards/PoS etc.) will be put up at various venues of NYF to educate the masses about digital financial transactions.
  • Another unique attraction of NYF 2017 will be a number of Selfie Spots with attractive backdrops based upon flagship programmes of Government of India where the delegates and general youth may get their selfies clicked.

About National Youth Festival

  • The National Youth Festival in India is an annual gathering of youth with various activities including competitive ones. Celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of youth icon Swami Vivekananda.
  • It is organized by Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India in collaboration with one of the State Governments. Thus it is held in a different state each year during National Youth Week, 12 to 16 January every year

Objective

  • The National Youth Festival began in 1995 as a major activity under the programme of National Integration Camp (NIC).
  • In collaboration with one of the States and institutions like Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) and the National Service Scheme (NSS), the Government of India conducts this programme every year.
  • Like the National Youth Festival, States are also encouraged to hold state level, district level and block level youth festivals in the same format as that of the National Youth Festival.
  • The centre of the festival focuses on cultural aspects and a number of other programmes covering a wide variety of activities, which not only reflect the spirit of friendship but also peace and development.
  • Besides all this, this festival provides a nationwide exposure to the youth for the expression and fulfilment of their cultural talents and aspirations.