This Daily Current Affair Capsule gives a concise brief of important and relevant news from national dailies and government releases on PIB. Aspirants for UPSC IAS, CDS, SSC CGL, NDA, etc. will find it highly useful.
National Important Current Affairs – 4 November 2017
■ Guru Nanak Jayanti or Guruparb is being celebrated across the country, considered as the most sacred day in Sikhism. This day marks the birth of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev. This year will mark the 548th birthday of Guru Nanak.
The Gurpurab is celebrated as the day of reverence and is a reminder for the devotees to follow the teachings of Guru Nanak and devote one’s life in the selfless service of the God.
■ The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has announced that all motorised four-wheel vehicles sold after December 1, 2017, will be mandatorily be fitted with FASTags, either by the manufacturer or the authorised dealer.
- The FASTag is a device that uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to make the toll payments directly from the prepaid account that is linked to it.
- FASTag is valid for five years.
- It is a part of the National Highway Authority of India’s (NHAI) programme for electronic toll collection on toll plazas on national highways to save heavy cost to national economy on account of delays, excess fuel consumption on toll queues and reduced speed on highways.
- With the FASTag, there is no need to carry cash for toll fees, online recharge through credit card, debit card, NEF, RTGS or net banking make it convenient.
Recall that: The NHAI launched two smartphone apps in August 2017 – MyFASTag and FASTag Partner – to help the availability of FASTags. It is noteworthy that, all 371 tolls on highways operated by the NHAI are FASTag-enabled.
■ The Geographical Indication Registry has given the Geographical Indication (GI) tag to the traditional toys made by the artisans in the Etikoppaka village of Andhra Pradesh.
- The Etikoppaka toys are not only popular in Andhra Pradesh but also gained their popularity all over the country and abroad over the years. But this art form suffered after exports to the US and Europe, to the tune of Rs 50 to 80 lakh per annum, was stopped in 2007 when the importers insisted on GI certification and heavy metal analysis, which were not in the hands of the villagers.
- The Etikoppaka toys are unique in shape and form as well as the material used.
- They are made of wood from ‘Ankudi Karra’ (Wrightia tinctoria) tree that is soft in nature and the art is also known as “Turned wood Lacquer craft”.
- The Etikoppaka toys are painted with natural dyes. There is no heavy metal or toxic content and that is why it is unique. The natural dyes are prepared from seeds, lacquer, bark, roots and leaves.
The Etikoppaka toys now join the elite products from Andhra Pradesh with GI tag such as – Kondapalli toys, Bobbili Veena, Tirupati laddu, Srikalahasthi Kalamkari, Uppada Jamdani sarees and Shadow puppets.
About Geographical Indications(GI):
Geographical Indications of Goods are defined as that aspect of industrial property which refer to the geographical place situated therein as being the country or place of origin of that product.
Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to the fact of its origin in that defined geographical locality, region or country. As per the norms, goods and products having the tag are recognised for their origin, quality and reputation and this provides the required edge in the global market.
Simply put, GI is a name or sign used on certain products which correspond to a specific geographical location or origin.
■ In Bihar, a stampede at Simaria Ghat in Begusarai district killed three women. The incident took place when a huge crowd was moving towards Simaria ghat on the banks of the Ganga river to take holy dip on the occasion of Kartik Purnima.
■ The Centre has given a six-month extension to the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) for submitting its report on Cauvery water sharing dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The report has now been extended till May next year after the tribunal sought more time for submitting its report.
Note that: The CWDT was constituted on June 2, 1990 under section 4 of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 for the adjudication of the water dispute between the riparian states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
■ The Border Roads Organisation has constructed the world’s highest motorable road in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. The 86-km-long road passing through Umlingla pass is at a height of over 19,300 feet. BRO constructed this pass under Project Himank.
Note that: Other high-altitude roads built under Project Himank are- passes through Khardungla and Changla, which connect the Nubra valley and Durbuk valley.
■ President Ramnath Kovind inaugurated the 21st World Congress of Mental Health, which is taking place in India for the first time. It is organised by the World Federation for Mental Health in partnership with Caring Foundation and other institutions.
- India has a young population, with 65% of our people below the age of 35. In a rapidly urbanising society, a possible mental health epidemic is a real danger.
- Those living in metropolitan cities and particularly the young — whether in the productive age group or children and teenagers — are most vulnerable to mental illnesses.
- A major gap in combating the mental health challenge is that of human resource in India.
- India has 1.25 billion people but just 700,000 doctors — which is even less than one million. In the field of mental health, the scarcity is even starker. There are only about 5,000 psychiatrists and less than 2,000 clinical psychologists in the country.
- Yoga, meditation and traditional approaches to better mental health can go a long way in securing mental fitness in the coun try in a cost-effective manner.
Note that: National Mental Health Programme is building 22 centres of excellence in the field of mental health. The District Mental Health Programme has already covered 517 of 650 districts in India.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 4 November 2017
■ The Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC) was inaugurated at the Tarang Auditorium of INS Mandovi, Goa. The conclave is aimed at “Addressing Regional Maritime Challenges”. The discussions were focused on emerging maritime threats and force structuring, maritime domain awareness, maritime security architecture, and maritime security challenges in the Indian Ocean Region(IOR). Political and economic interactions between the stake holders in the IOR has great impact on regional dynamics in international geo-politics.
India has offered to share intelligence of maritime movements in the Indian Ocean in real-time with 10 Indian Ocean littoral States. This comes even as India gears up to counter China’s increased presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
■ Prime Minister Narendra Modi held separate talks with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis in New Delhi to cement India’s bilateral ties with the two countries.
- During the meeting with the Latvian Prime Minister, the protocol amending and supplementing the agreement between India and Latvia relating to Air Services was signed. Their discussions focussed on building closer co-operation in the areas of trade and investment, food processing, and culture among others.
- With the Armenian President, Modi discussed ways to further strengthen future co-operation in diverse areas including political, defence, space, trade and investment, science and technology. Both sides have agreed that the early conclusion of India-Eurasian Economic Union Free Trade Agreement would unleash huge opportunities in increasing bilateral trade.
■ The US President, Donald Trump has embarked on an 11-day trip to Asia to visit Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. This will be the longest tour of Asia by a US president in 25 years. It comes at a time of heightened tensions with North Korea over its nuclear programme and missile tests. In Vietnam, Trump will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Danang. His final engagement will be a summit of South-East Asian nations in the Philippine capital, Manila.
■ India has slipped 21 places on the 2017 World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap index to obtain a rank of 108th among 144 countries, primarily due to less participation of women in the economy and low wages to them.
- According to the WEF Global Gender Gap Report 2017, India has closed 67% of its gender gap, less than many of its international peers, and some of its neighbours like Bangladesh ranked 47th while China is placed at 100th.
- The index is topped by the Iceland, followed by Norway, Finland, Rwanda and Sweden.
- As per the WEF Global Gender Gap report, the global average annual earnings for a female stood at $12,000, in comparison, for a male it was as high as $21,000.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 4 November 2017
■ The Finance Ministry, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and 25 State Governments have jointly reviewed a total of 55 investment projects financed by the multilateral lender ADB, at a meeting held in Bengaluru. The Tripartite Portfolio Review Meeting was held to discuss the status of ongoing projects of worth 13.5 billion US Dollars.
Note that: ADB primarily focuses its assistance in India on three infrastructure sectors – energy, transport and urban infrastructure and services.
- The meeting accorded the best project implementation performance awards to the Madhya Pradesh Power Transmission and Distribution System Improvement Project, Kolkata Environmental Improvement Investment Program (Tranche-1) and Uttarakhand Emergency Assistance Project.
■ The pricing for the new series of Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGBs), which are opening for purchase on Monday, has been fixed at 2,934 rupees per gram. The government, in consultation with the Reserve Bank, has decided to offer a discount of 50 rupees per gram to investors applying online and making digital payments.
Note that: This round is spread over 12 weeks and subscription opens from Monday to Wednesday every week between October 9 and December 27. The settlement is to be made on the first business day of the following week.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 4 November 2017”
Q1. Which country is hosting the International Conference on “Ramayan Circuit and Mithila-Awadh Relations”?
- A) Nepal
- B) India
- C) Bhutan
- D) Myanmar
Q2. Who led the Indian delegation at the 7th Asia Ministerial Energy Roundtable (AMER7) held in Thailand?
- A) Dharmendra Pradhan
- B) Radha Mohan Singh
- C) Narendra Singh Tomar
- D) Birender Singh Chaudhary
Q3. India’s first-ever conservation reserve for blackbuck will come up in which city’s Meja forest division?
- A) Bhopal
- B) Udaipur
- C) Allahabad
- D) Raipur
Q4. Which state will host the second edition of Nobel Prize Series – India?
- A) Gujarat
- B) Goa
- C) Karnataka
- D) Rajasthan
Q5. The Assam government has recently signed MoU with which country for skilling its youth population?
- A) Singapore
- B) USA
- C) United Kingdom
- D) Japan
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!