Current Affairs for NDA, CDS, AFCAT, Airforce X&Y Groups – News
Analysis from THE HINDU (January 23, 2019)
1. Pune-Secunderabad Shatabdi is India’s cleanest train
The results of the first-ever ‘Total Cleanliness Survey’ of
the Railways are now out, and the winners are North Western Railway (NWR),
which topped the zonal rankings in the ‘Premium’ category trains, and Southern
Railway, which came out on top in the ‘Other than Premium’ category’ trains.
The cleanliness survey covered 209 trains and was conducted
by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) through two
professional agencies. The survey’s stated aim was to assess the progress of
the ‘Swachh Rail-Swachh Bharat’ mission and promote healthy competition among trains.
While the NWR recorded an average score of 860 out of 1,000
in the ‘Premium’ category, South Central Railway finished at the bottom with an
average score of 658. Southern Railway topped the ‘Other than Premium’
category’, recording the highest average score of 736 among the 16 railway
zones, while the East Central Railway was the dirtiest in this group, with an
average score of 572.
The ‘Premium’ trains included the Rajdhani, Shatabdi,
Duronto, Tejas and Gatiman while Sampark Kranti, Intercity, Jan Shatabdi and
other Mail and Express trains were grouped under the ‘Other than Premium’
The overall score of the Rajdhani trains was 787. This
included separate scores for process audit, direct observation, and passenger
feedback. Out of the 23 Rajdhanis surveyed, the Mumbai Rajdhani emerged on top
with 875, followed by those linking Bhubaneswar and Sealdah.
2. Centre files status report on CIC selection
The government on Tuesday handed over a status report to the
Supreme Court on the progress in the process of appointment to the Central
Information Commission even as PIL petitioners alleged that the procedure
followed was arbitrary.
A three-judge Bench, led by Justice A.K. Sikri, took the
status report on record and ordered that a copy be handed over to RTI
activists-petitioners Anjali Bhardwaj, Lokesh Batra and Amrita Johri,
represented by advocates Prashant Bhushan and Pranav Sachdeva. They have agreed
to file a response to the report in three days.
The government may file a rejoinder to the petitioners’
reply by January 28. The court scheduled the next hearing for January 29.
During the hearing, the petitioners submitted that the appointment
process of Information Commissioners to the Central Information Commission
happened in an “arbitrary manner as the search committee, had in violation of
its mandate, short-listed persons who had not even applied for the post in
response to advertisements.”
3. States put on high alert as swine flu cases spike across the
With 49 swine flu deaths and 1,694 cases reported in just
one fortnight from January 1-13 as per data released by the Integrated Disease
Surveillance Programme (IDSP), several States are on alert.
Rajasthan alone has reported 31 deaths in this period with
other instances being reported from Delhi, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar
Prdaesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.
While the Rajasthan health department has reported that the
number of cases in the State has crossed 1,000 with more than 200 people having
died in the past 13 months, the Union Health Ministry has said that there is no
cause for panic and that the situation is being closely monitored.
H1N1 influenza (or swine flu) is a highly contagious acute
respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza virus that regularly
causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs. Swine flu viruses do not normally infect
humans. However, sporadic human infections with swine flu have occurred. Most
commonly, these cases occur in people with direct exposure to pigs (e.g.,
children near pigs at a fair or workers in the swine industry). However, there
have been cases of human-to-human spread of swine flu.
The Rajasthan health department confirmed that 1,036 people
had tested positive between January 1 and 17, 2019, with nine fatalities
reported in one week from January 13-17. “On January 17, 65 people tested
positive for the flu,” the official added.
According to Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry’s
IDSP, 14,992 people contracted swine flu in 2018., while 1,103 people died. In
2017, 38,811 people tested positive with 2,270 deaths.
4. ILO urges universal labour guarantee
As heads of State and business leaders gather in Davos for
the World Economic Forum this week, the UN agency that sets international
labour standards is asking them to commit to a universal labour guarantee,
universal social protection from birth to old age, an international governance
system for the gig economy, and a human-in-command approach to artificial
In a report on the ‘Future of Work’, released in Geneva on
Tuesday to mark its centenary, the International Labour Organisation (ILO)
warned that “without decisive action we will be sleepwalking into a world that
widens inequality, increases uncertainty and reinforces exclusion, with
destructive political, social and economic repercussions.”
Around the world, 190 million people are unemployed, while
300 million workers live in extreme poverty, according to the ILO. Wage gaps
are growing at a time of declining wage growth.
Two-thirds of jobs in the developing world are susceptible
to automation, and only 15% of households in emerging countries have Internet
access. Implementing the Paris Climate Agenda could create 24 million new jobs,
but it could still be brutal to the 6 million workers expected to lose their
jobs in the transition to a greener economy.
5. Research fellowship hike likely to be notified by February
With hundreds of student-researchers in several institutions
across the country picketing for a hike in fellowships, two senior officials
said that a decision should be out by the first week of February and the hikes
could range from 25-50%.
On January 16 about 2,000 students and researchers,
including from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the labs of the
Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and several universities
converged for a protest in Delhi. About 700 of them were briefly detained by
the Delhi Police, as The Hindu has previously reported.
The students are gunning for at least an 80% hike in the
research stipends given to those pursuing their doctoral degrees.
6. Labelling theory
This refers to a theory of social behaviour which states
that the behaviour of human beings is influenced significantly by the way other
members in society label them. It has been used to explain a variety of social
behaviour among groups, including deviant criminal behaviour. According to this
theory, individuals who are labelled as criminals by society, for instance, may
be more likely to engage in criminal activities simply due to such social
labelling. By the same logic, positive labelling by society can influence
individuals to exhibit positive behaviour. The labelling theory was developed
and popularised by American sociologist Howard S. Becker in his 1963 book
7. Who is Stefanos Tsitsipas?
The Greek player created an upset at the Australian Open
where he knocked out Roger Federer in the fourth round. Stefanos Tsitsipas could barely get
words out of his mouth minutes after knocking out a legend in the Australian
Open. So dazed was he that when he was being interviewed on court by another
tennis legend, he apologetically asked John McEnroe to repeat a question. It
took time for him to register that he had actually eliminated tournament
favourite Roger Federer 6-7 (11-13), 7-6 (7-3), 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) in the fourth
round, at the same time achieving the distinction of being the first player
from Greece to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam.
The 14th seeded Tsitsipas (ATP world rank 15th in Men’s
Singles) stretched Federer in the first set, conceding it in the tie-breaker
but fought back in the next two sets. The fourth set was just as tightly
contested as the others, with the 37 year old Federer not letting up, but the
Greek created an upset by taking the match with the first available match
8. SC to take ‘in-chamber’ decision on Art. 35A plea
The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it will be taking an
“in-chamber” decision on the listing of petitions challenging the
constitutional validity of Article 35-A, which provides special rights and
privileges to permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
The oral observation came from a Bench led by Chief Justice
of India Ranjan Gogoi in response to an oral mentioning for early hearing of
In August last year, the court indicated that it would
consider the question of whether Article 35A was violative of the Basic
Structure of the Constitution.
However, at that time, the Centre and J&K government had
sought an adjournment on the ground that an interlocutor was carrying on
dialogues with the State’s stakeholders.
The special status was bestowed on Jammu and Kashmir by
incorporating Article 35A in the Constitution. Article 35A was incorporated by
an order of President Rajendra Prasad in 1954 on the advice of the Nehru
Parliament was not consulted when the President incorporated
Article 35A into the Constitution through a Presidential Order issued under
Article 370. Article 368 (i) of the Constitution mandates that only the
Parliament can amend the Constitution by introducing a new article.
The three-judge Bench will decide whether or not to refer
the issue to the Constitution Bench. One of the main writ petitions has been
filed by the NGO, We the Citizens, which challenges the validity of both
Article 35A and Article 370.
9. PM to inaugurate Bose museum tomorrow
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Subhash
Chandra Bose museum at Red Fort on Wednesday to mark the leader’s 122nd birth
anniversary. The museum on Bose and the Indian National Army showcases various
artefacts related to Subhash Chandra Bose and the INA.
10. Kartarpur project: India invites Pak. delegation
India on Tuesday announced the coordinates for the
construction of the Kartarpur corridor and invited Pakistan to send a
delegation for the expected official talks in February and March. “Pursuant to
the decision taken by the government of India on November 22, 2018, to
expeditiously realise the long-pending proposal to establish Kartarpur
Corridor, India today shared the coordinates of the zero point of the corridor
along the International Border with Pakistan,” the MEA said.
11. India, Africa joint training exercise in March
In a major Indian military outreach to Africa, the Army will
host a Field Training Exercise with 12 African countries in March at Pune. “The
India Africa FTE 2019 is scheduled to be conducted at Aundh Military Station
and College of Military Engineering in Pune from March 18 to 27,” an Army
source said on Tuesday.
12. Israel, U.S. test ballistic missile interceptor
The Israeli and U.S. Defence Ministries said on Tuesday that
they had successfully tested the Arrow 3 interceptor system deployed at Israeli
airbases. The tests came a day after the latest deadly exchange of fire between
Israel and Iranian forces operating in Syria.
13. CMAI to help govt. in ‘Size India’ project
The Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI) will
work with the Union Ministry of Textiles in the “Size India” project, which is
expected to be launched next month.
Rahul Mehta, president of the Association, told The Hindu
that the aim of the project, was to arrive at standard Indian sizes for
“We are going to do a study across India to arrive at
standard sizes. We are hoping to associate with someone who has been involved in
a similar project before,” he said.
Having standard sizes will reassure customers and reduce
wastages for the apparel makers.
14. Kohli sweeps ICC awards
Virat Kohli became the first player to win the Sir Garfield
Sobers Trophy for ICC Cricketer-of-the-Year, his second consecutive, the ICC
Test and the ODI Player-of-the-Year awards following an extraordinary 2018. He
was also named captain of the Test and ODI teams.
15. Hockey veteran Bhola passes away
Hockey Olympian and former India selector Group Captain
Raghbir Singh Bhola passed away in his sleep at his residence here on Monday.
He was 92 and is survived by his wife Kamla, three daughters and three
Bhola was a member of the Indian team at two Olympics — 1956
and 1960 — winning gold and silver respectively. The Indian Air Force veteran,
born in Multan in Pakistan on August 21 1927, completed his studies from the
Delhi College of Engineering and joined IAF as an aeronautical engineer in
1952. He was part of the National championship-winning Services side in 1953,
the first time ever, and made his India debut in 1954.
He was also selected by the IAF for a two-year post
graduation course in Electrical Engineering at the College of Aeronautics,
Cranfield University, UK In 1962 and retired from the IAF in 1978. Bhola was
awarded the Arjuna for Lifetime Contribution in 2000.
Bhola was also one of the few former India players to
continue their association with hockey after their playing days. He was a
national selector in the Indian Hockey Federation regime for almost nine years,
was inducted as an international umpire by the FIH for five years, was
appointed manager of the Indian team on several international tours and was the
government observer till the late 90s, including the 1994 World Cup and the
1998 Asian Games.
Even till the late 2000s, Bhola kept himself abreast of the
developments in hockey, including attending seminars and workshops at his own
expense before poor health forced him to withdraw.
Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)
International Labour Organisation (ILO)
17. Things to Remember:
Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa
18. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – The thickness, size, or capacity of something,
especially as a standard measure
Example – ‘To judge the quality of a tufted carpet, look at
both the number of stitches per inch and the gauge.’
Synonyms – measuring instrument, measuring device, meter,