Weekly Current Affairs Update for IAS Exam
VOL - 43 (22nd September 2014 TO 28th September 2014)
Issue : VOL - 43 (22nd September 2014 TO 28th September 2014)
File Type: PDF ONLY "NO HARD COPY"
:: NATIONAL PORTAL OF INDIA ::
Swachh Bharat-Swachh Vidyalaya Campaign
The Swachh Bharat-Swachh Vidyalaya campaign began on 25th September, 2014 and
will last for a month till 31st October 2014. The Union Minister used a broom
and a shovel to clean the ground of the school. While addressing the teachers
and the students of the school the Minister appealed to everyone to become a
part of this campaign and contribute their efforts to make the drive a big
success. The campaign is a prelude to the launch of this Abhiyan formally by
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 2nd of October 2014.
The HRD Ministry had earlier decided to initiate Swachh Vidyalaya campaign
from 25th September, 2014 in Kendriya Vidyalays and Navodaya Vidyalya Sangathans.
The Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalya Sangathans would take up various
activities under the cleanliness drive in schools.
The Kendriya Vidyalays and Navodaya Vidyalya Sangathans would take up the
- Talk in the school assembly by a few children on different aspects of
cleanliness every day especially with regard to the teachings of Mahatma
Gandhi, on cleanliness & hygiene.
- Cleaning of the class rooms, laboratories, libraries etc.
- Cleaning of any statue installed in the school and a talk on the
contribution of the person whose statue is installed in the school.
- Cleaning of toilets and drinking water areas.
- Cleaning of kitchen sheds stores etc.
- Cleaning of playgrounds.
- Cleaning and maintenance of school gardens.
- Annual maintenance of the school buildings including white wash and
- Organise essay, debates, painting, competitions on cleanliness and
- Constitution of Childrens’ Cabinets to supervise and monitor cleanliness
:: Ministry of External affairs ::
India & US: Shaping the 21st century
Fast-track diplomacy and smart development-centric diplomacy are the twin
mantra of the new government in Delhi. Starting from hosting the leaders of
South Asian neighbours to engaging key Asian partners, China and Japan, India’s
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is now headed for the US on a defining trip that is
set to infuse "the defining partnership of the 21st century” with a new burst of
energy and vitality. Spectacle, colour, high diplomacy, culture, commerce and
creativity – all these varied elements are going to be fused into Prime Minister
Modi’s maiden voyage to America (Sept 26-30), which is poised to be a
blockbuster diplomatic event.
There are several firsts to this prime ministerial trip: This will be not
only the first visit of Narendra Modi as the Prime minister of India, but it
will also be his first meeting with US President Barack Obama. Mr Modi will also
become the first foreign leader to be given the largest-ever community reception
in the heart of New York City - around 20,000-odd Indian-Americans will be
listening in to the Indian leader at the Madison Square Garden, the iconic venue
better known for celebrity rock stars and singers performing on its grand stage.
This will also be the first time when an Indian leader’s speech will be beamed
live on giant screens at Time Square, the pulsating heart of Manhattan which is
frequented by thousands of people every day. This is also the first time the US
Senate has designated September 30 as the day of India-US Partnership, which has
coincided with the day Prime Minister Modi will meet President Obama in
Washington for full-spectrum talks.
In the run-up to the prime ministerial visits, senior figures of the US
administration have visited India in the first 100 days of the Modi government,
including US Secretary of State John Kerry, Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel,
Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.
They held wide-ranging talks in New Delhi, which have firmed up an ambitious
agenda for making the summit meeting between the leaders of the world’s oldest
and most populous democracies substantive and successful.
Raising the Bar
Many issues will be competing for the leaders’ mind space, but one can safely
say that their overarching focus will be to impart a renewed momentum to the
India-US relationship, which was transformed after the path-breaking civil
nuclear deal of 2008, converting the hitherto estranged democracies into engaged
democracies. While the nuclear deal, also called the 123 agreement, remains a
work in progress, proponents of stronger India-US relations say it’s time for
456, indicating a common desire to raise the bar for the relationship which is
seen as central to ongoing effort to shape an inclusive and pluralistic 21st
century world order.
(Source- Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief of India Writes
Network,www.indiawrites.org, a portal and e-journal focused on international
affairs and the India Story @ www.mea.gov.in)
:: Planning Commission of India ::
Government announces ‘Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana’-
DAY for uplift of urban, rural poor The Government announced an overarching
scheme for uplift of urban and rural poor through enhancement of livelihood
opportunities through skill development and other means. The scheme has been
named as ‘Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana – DAY’. The announcement was made today by
Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu, Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation and Shri
Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Rural Development at a National Convention on Skills
for Rural and Urban Poor.
The Minister further informed that under the current urban
poverty alleviation programmes, only 790 cities and towns are covered and the
government has decided to extend these measures to all the 4,041 statutory
cities and towns, there by covering almost the entire urban population.
Announcing the details of urban component of DAY, Shri Venkaiah
Naidu said, Rs.1,000 cr has been provisioned for urban poverty alleviation
during 2014-15. Out of this, Rs.500 cr will be spent on skill development of
over 5,00,000 urban poor. He said, for realizing the ‘Make in India’ objective,
skill development is essential. He observed that “If India is to emerge as the
manufacturing base to meet global needs, the only certain way is to empower
every youth of the country with the necessary skills. Skill development has
multiple outcomes including enhancing employment opportunities, stimulating
economic growth and promoting self-worth of beneficiaries.’’
:: NATIONAL EVENTS ::
NGT gave order to MoEF for the demarcation of Eco-Sensitive area
The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) submitted
a confusing affidavit to the National Green Tribunal saying State
governments in the Western Ghats region may, after undertaking demarcation
of eco sensitive areas (ESA) by physical verification, propose the
exclusion/inclusion of certain areas in the draft notification dated March
This draft notification issued by MoEF was based on the
ESA demarcated by the high-level working group (HLWG) headed by K.
Justice Swatanter Kumar of the NGT asked the counsel for
the Ministry to take direction from secretary or additional secretary on the
question of demarcating ESAs. He said that if Kerala had completed its
demarcation of ESAs, then let it be finalized.
No government can force anyone to declare his religion: Bombay High Court
No person in India can be compelled to declare his
religion, the Bombay high court ruled while hearing a PIL seeking direction
to the Maharashtra government to not insist on declaration of religion on
official forms and documents.
The petition was filed by Dr Ranjeet Mohite, Kishore
Nazare and Subhash Ranaware, who claimed to be members of Full Gospel Church
of God, which they said had more than 4,000 members. Though they believe in
Jesus Christ, they do not believe in Christianity or any other religion.
The court said that "every individual has the right to
claim that he does not belong to any religion and that he does not practice
or profess any religion".
The HC reminded the governments that India is a secular,
democratic republic with no state religion. The court held that no state
authority could infringe upon a person’s fundamental right under the
Constitution of India (Article 25) of freedom of conscience and freely
practicing, professing or propagating a religion.
The HC said that if an individual is told by the state to
disclose his religion, he can say that he does not practice or belong to any
SC cancelled allocation of 214 coal blocks
- In an order with far-reaching implications, the Supreme Court cancelled
all but four of the 218 coal block allocations declared arbitrary and
illegal by it in an August 25 judgment.
- The decision comes as a windfall for the government as the court has
ordered the owners of the cancelled coal blocks to cough up Rs. 295 as
compensation for every tone of coal they extracted illegally, to make up for
the loss to the exchequer.
- The levy was calculated with reference to the figures of loss arrived at
by the Comptroller and Auditor General.
- The government is expected to get Rs. 8,000- 10,000 crore this way. The
government is also free to auction the cancelled blocks.
Ganga clean-up programme
The Supreme Court said it wants the NDA government to
give it a “commitment” that river Ganga will be cleaned in a phased manner
and said the court will keep a close watch on the executive's efforts to
rejuvenate the 2,500 km-long river.
In response, the government said the Centre's efforts
alone will not help the river get a second lease of life, instead the
“thought to keep the Ganga clean must come from within” for the general
public, and moreover, the State governments in the five Ganga river basin
States - Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal –
should rise above political differences and chip in to save the Ganga.
Another proposal is by the Ministry of Drinking Water and
Sanitation to make all 1,649 grampanchayats located along the Ganga banks
free from open defecation.
The third is to enforce zero liquid discharge from
“grossly” polluting industries located across the five Ganga river basin
:: INTERNATIONAL ::
Citizenship to some Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar
Myanmar gave citizenship to 209 Muslims displaced by
sectarian violence, after the first phase of a project aimed at determining
the status of about a million Rohingya whose claims to nationality have been
rejected in the past.
Meanwhile Myanmar government’s chief negotiator said that
efforts to secure a historic ceasefire agreement with ethnic armed groups
are “at a crucial moment” at the start of a fresh round of negotiations
The Rohingya Muslim minority in Rakhine State need
permission to move from their villages or from camps, where almost 140,000
remain after being displaced in deadly clashes with ethnic Rakhine Buddhists
Some of the 209 who received citizenship were members of
the Kaman Muslim minority, who are recognised by the government as
indigenous to Myanmar, but there were also Rohingya.
Climate gathering: focus will be on “Right to grow”
- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the UN Climate Summit on 23rd
september, as world leaders and several business executives gathered to
announce their commitments to reduce the effects of climate change.
- The summit is not part of the negotiations that are taking place in the
build up to a 2015 summit in Paris in 2015, in which a comprehensive deal is
set to be decided. Mr. Ban has instead convened the event to build political
momentum in favour of an agreement.
- The UN chief called on governments and private institutions to invest in
climate solutions designed to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. He
also urged the implementation of carbon taxes.
US responsible for the delay in India Japan nuclear deal
India's nuclear deal with Japan is not going to happen in
a hurry. Neither will its nuclear agreement with Australia which was signed
just weeks ago. The reason lies in Washington.
India and the US are yet to complete the last bit of
their nuclear deal, known as "administrative arrangements." This is
necessary to operationalize the deal, but has been hanging fire.
India says the US is responsible for the delay, but US
officials say they are holding firm on their demand for end-user
verification visits to Indian nuclear plants and more important, to track
externally sourced fuel through Indian plants.
This demand is at the heart of Japanese refusal to sign
the nuclear agreement with India. Before Modi's visit, MEA had put a lot of
pressure on the Japanese side to complete the deal.
Japan has indicated clearly that it would wait for India
to complete administrative arrangements with the US before they would
consider the Indian deal.
:: INDIA AND THE WORLD ::
Mars mission success “pride of Asia”, says China
- China has hailed India’s success in positioning a satellite in the
Martian orbit, calling the interplanetary triumph of the Mangalyaan as “the
pride of Asia”.
- With the success of Mangalyaan, India has boosted its credentials as a
potential launch pad for its resource-strapped neighbors.
- Among India’s neighbours, it is becoming a symbol of national pride to
launch satellites independently rather than hire transponders from other
nations. The previous government had highlighted the ISRO’s relative lack of
:: ECONOMY ::
Reserve Bank of India unlikely to cut policy rate
While the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to
maintain its policy rate at current levels, the financial markets expect
that the central bank would reduce the Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR)
In the last bi-monthly policy review on August 5, amidst
uncertainty over the progress of the monsoon, the RBI had kept the short
term indicative lending rate (repo) at the current level of 8 per cent and
the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) unchanged at 4 per cent. However, SLR was
reduced from 22.5 per cent to 22 per cent with effect from August 9. In the
June bi-monthly policy also, the central bank had cut SLR by 50 basis points
from 23 per cent to 22.5 per cent.
SLR is the portion of deposits banks are required to
maintain in the form of gold or government securities, before providing
credit to customers. CRR is the portion of total deposits of customers,
which commercial banks have to hold as reserves either in cash or as
deposits with the central bank and the repo rate is the rate at which the
central bank lends money to banks.
In the last policy review, Dr. Rajan said that “The idea
behind the SLR cut is that if government finances are improving and the
government is on a fiscal consolidation mode, we can afford to liberate more
access to government financing and make it possible for the private sector
and public sector firms to get access to that financing.”
“FDI should be understood as ‘First Develop India’: PM
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ‘Make in India’ campaign at a
high-profile event, which captains of industry from India and abroad
immediately joined by committing multi-crore investments and projects in the
presence of Mr. Modi.
- Speaking on the occasion, Aditya Birla Group chief Kumar Mangalam Birla
said his steel-to-software conglomerate already had its manufacturing base
in India and now planned to leverage its global production facilities for
bringing technology here.
- The head of India’s largest private sector company, Mukesh Ambani of
Reliance Industries (RIL), called the launch of the campaign a historic day
for Indian industry and said, “We are committing ourselves to the movement
our beloved Prime Minister had given to 1 billion Indians on Independence
Day… The uniqueness of his leadership is that he dreams and he does.”
- Unveiling the campaign logo earlier, Mr. Modi said “FDI should be
understood as ‘First Develop India’ along with ‘Foreign Direct Investment’”
while encouraging investors not to just look at India as merely a market but
also as an opportunity.
- The Prime Minister also noted that India ranked low on the “ease of
doing business” index and said he was sensitising government officials to
the need for “effective” governance.
:: SCIENCE AND TECH ::
ISRO: Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)
- India created history on 24th September becoming the first country to
successfully get a spacecraft into the Martian orbit on its maiden attempt.
- Indian Space Research Organization’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)
spacecraft started orbiting the red planet at 7.47am, but it was only 12
minutes later —because of a time delay in radio signals travelling the 680
million km -- that scientists at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command
Network in Bangalore, could erupt in joy as Prime Minister Narendra Modi
stood a happy witness.
- Through its journey since November 5, 2013 when PSLV-C25 lifted off from
Sriharikota with the spacecraft in its nosecone, MOM has had a perfect
New brain cell discovered
- Researchers have discovered a strange new type of brain cell that sends
signals by bypassing the cell body altogether.
- Neurons come in different shapes and sizes but the basic blueprint
consists of a cell body, from which protrudes spindly appendages called
dendrites and axons.
- Dendrites are branchlike structures that receive signals from other
nerve cells and deliver them to the cell body. The neuron then processes the
signals and zaps along information to the next cell via a long projection
called the axon.
- The newly discovered cells, however, have a different, and until now,
unknown process. In these cells, the signals skip the cell body altogether,
instead travelling along an axon that project directly from one of the
- The new cells were discovered in the hippocampus of a mouse. Humans have
the same general brain structure and types of hippocampus cells as mice. The
hippocampus is home to extensively branched neurons called pyramidal cells
because of their triangular cell bodies.
Government study on spurious drugs is set to gain momentum
- The Government’s study on spurious drugs in the country is set to gain
momentum in the next few months.
- The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) in consultation
with the Indian Statistical Institute and other partners, including the
State drug controllers, have put in the basic framework on how to carry out
the study, including details on the category or medicines to be covered,
said Bangarurajan, Deputy Drugs Controller, CDSCO (West Zone).
- Former Drug Controller-General of India, Surinder Singh, who is now
Director of the National Institute of Biologicals, heads this committee that
is studying the prevalence of spurious drugs.
- A similar study on spurious drugs was conducted in 2009, where 24,000
samples were picked up from across the country. The prevalence of spurious
products was found to be about 0.04 per cent.
:: SPORTS ::
Abhinav Bindra plans to quit shooting
- India’s Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra plans to leave full-time
shooting after competing in his favourite 10m air rifle event in the Asian
- “Tomorrow will mark the end of my professional shooting life!,” “I will
however still shoot, compete as a hobby shooter training twice a week.”
- Despite giving up serious shooting, Bindra still hopes to qualify for
the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
- Bindra, who won the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this
year, failed to make the final at the world championships in Spain.
Saurav Ghosal missed out on winning the gold medal for India
It was Indian squash’s biggest moment at the Asian Games.
Saurav Ghosal, who has been leading the charge here, was just a point away
from winning a historic men’s singles gold. But the top seed slipped at the
doorstep of victory as Kuwaiti Abdullah Al Muzayen grabbed the gold with a
fighting 3-2 verdict at the Yeorumul courts.
After winning the first two games in contrasting style,
the 28-year-old Ghosal was on match ball at 10-8 but still could not pull it
off. Abdullah grabbed the chance with both hands, took risks, raised his
game impressively and raced to victory after that.
Sawarn Singh wins bronze in rowing
- Young rower Sawarn Singh brought some cheers back to the Indian
contingent as he clinched the bronze medal in men’s single sculls final at
the 17th Asian Games in Incheon.
- The 24-year-old Singh finished behind Iran’s Mohsen Shadinaghadh, who
won the gold medal and silver medallist Kim Dongyong of hosts South Korea.
- Another rower Dushyant Singh was the only athlete to manage a podium
finish for India as he grabbed a bronze in the men’s lightweight single
:: IN THE NEWS (PERSONS) ::
- Lieutenant General Rizwan Akhtar was appointed the new chief of
Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in commander-level promotions
announced in the country’s powerful Army.
- Announcement comes as current ISI chief Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam and five
other lieutenant generals are scheduled to retire from service in the first
week of October.
- Lt. Gen. Akhtar is a graduate of the Command and Staff College in Quetta,
National Defence University and the Army War College, U.S.
- The government has set up a panel of experts to suggest ways for
restructuring the Railway Board, a long pending issue, to infuse efficiency
in the transport behemoth's top decision-making body and run it on
- The seven-member committee, headed by economist Bibek Debroy, has been
tasked to suggest measures to reorganize the Railway Board and its
departments so that policy making is separated from day-to-day operations.
- The panel, which has former cabinet secretary K M Chandrasekhar as
member, has also been mandated to estimate the financial needs of railways
and ensure policies to raise resources, internally and otherwise to meet
- Edward Snowden has been selected among the winners of the Right
Livelihood Award, also known as the “alternative Nobel,” for his disclosures
of top secret surveillance programs.
- The award foundation said the former National Security Agency contractor
splits the honorary portion of the prize with Guardian editor Alan
- The 1.5 million kronor ($210,000) cash award is shared by Pakistani
human rights activist Asma Jahangir, Basil Fernando of the Asian Human
Rights Commission and U.S. environmentalist Bill McKibben.
- Award foundation director Ole von Uexkull said all winners were invited
to the December 1 award ceremony in Stockholm, though he added it’s unclear
whether Mr. Snowden, who remains exiled in Russia, can attend.
:: Selected Editorials of Importance ::
Police Patrol: Tech-savvy police make best use of social media
In July, a Bangalore child who was lost in Chennai, was rescued and reunited
with his family, thanks to WhatsApp.
Social media is the new friend of police personnel on the field. Smartphones,
webcasting technology, and apps such as WhatsApp and Viber allow crucial
information to be transmitted instantly, leading to speedy solving of crimes, in
In July, an 11-year-old boy from Shivaji Nagar, Bangalore, lost his way and
ended up at CMBT bus terminus in Koyembedu.
An MTC bus conductor took him to the Flower Bazaar police.
With the help of a college student who, incidentally, was at the police
station for an enquiry, the policemen uploaded the boy’s photographs, along with
the sketchy details he provided, on WhatsApp.
The message spread like wildfire and made its way to handsets in Bangalore
too. The boy’s father recognised his ward and rushed to Chennai and they were
Even in instances of grievous crimes, instant messages with photographic
evidence are sent to senior officers, including the commissioner of police, from
There are even instances where crimes are cracked with the help of vital
clues available on the social media space of the victim or suspect concerned.
The Chennai traffic police’s Facebook page has proved effective in finding a
solution to online traffic complaints, including those of illegal parking, for
over a year now.
The city police too recently floated their official Facebook page. A Twitter
handle of the city police has also been unveiled.
(Courtesy: The Hindu)
:: MCQs ::
(i) The Election Commission of India has written to the Chief Secretaries to
make arrangements for those under preventive detention to exercise their
franchise through postal ballot.
(ii) The Election Commission pointed out that sub-section (5) of Section 62 of
the Representation of the People Act, 1951, confers voting rights on “electors
subjected to preventive detention.” And Rule 18 of the Conduct of Elections
Rules, 1961, states that such detainees are entitled to cast their vote through
Which of the above statement/statements is/are true ?
(a) Only i
(b) Only ii
(c) Neither i nor ii
(d) Both i and ii
(i) Union Minister of Rural Development has proposed that the MGNREGA be
restricted to only tribal and poor areas and the permissible labour to material
ratio of expenses be changed to 51:49.
(ii) The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) aims
at enhancing the livelihood security of people in rural areas by guarantying 50
days of wage-employment in a financial year.
Which of the above statements is/are true about MGNREGA-?
(a) Only 1
(b) Only 2
(c) Both 1 & 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
(i) Sri Lanka’s United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), led by President
Mahinda Rajpaksa, lost provincial polls in the Sinhala-majority Uva Province by
a narrow margin, signalling an apparent setback to the ruling alliance despite
(ii) Following UPFA’s win, its lead candidate Shasheendra Rajapaksa , nephew of
President Rajapaksa who was Chief Minister of the province, will continue for
Which of the above statement/statements is/are not true ?
(a) Only i
(b) Only ii
(c) Neither i nor ii
(d) Both i and ii
(i) The U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the Nobel Peace
Prize in 2007
(ii) The Conference of Parties III (COP3), on climate change took place in
Kyoto, Japan in 1997.
(iii) Lima (Peru) will host the 20th yearly session of the conference of parties
to the UNFCCC.
Which of the statements is/are true-?
(a) Only 1
(b) 1 & 3
(c) 1, 2 & 3
(d) 1 & 2