Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (November 24, 2018)
1. India protests denial of consular access to pilgrims
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) summoned the Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan on Friday after an Indian consular team was prevented from meeting pilgrims
visiting Nankana Sahib, where a Sikh festival is now being celebrated.
Sources said Deepak Mittal, Joint Secretary in charge of the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran division of the MEA, raised the issue at a meeting with Syed Haider Shah.
The Indian side conveyed disappointment that the consular team could not meet the pilgrims for performing official duties, despite prior permission from the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of Pakistan.
A team of local Sikhs, led by their pro-Khalistan leader Gopal Chawla, prevented the Indian officials from entering the holy sites.
It was conveyed that the opposition to the presence of the Indian officials came more from the fundamentalists, and that Pakistani officials did not play a direct role
in the incidents.
2. India to study drugs derived from marijuana
Three major science administrators in India — the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the Indian Council for Medical Research and the Department of
Biotechnolgy — are getting together to promote research in herbal drugs, some of which involve deriving new drugs from marijuana.
Among the first such studies likely to kick off is joint investigation by the CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine and the Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai.
Here researchers will test whether strains of marijuana grown at the CSIR-IIIM campus in Jammu could be effective in the treatment of breast cancer, sickle-cell
anaemia as well as be “bio-equivalent” (similar in make-up and effect) to marijuana-derived drugs already approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
3. V.K. Dev new Delhi Chief Secretary
Delhi’s Chief Electoral Officer Vijay Kumar Dev has been appointed as the new Chief Secretary of Delhi, according to an order of the Union Home Ministry issued on
Mr. Dev, a 1987-batch IAS officer of the AGMUT cadre, takes over from Anshu Prakash, a 1986-batch officer. He had earlier been posted as adviser in the Chandigarh
Union Territory administration.
4. Lunar lander faces crucial test
The Chandrayaan-2 lunar lander’s sensors are set to undergo a crucial test in the next few days as the mission races towards a planned take-off in around two months.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to fly the sensors on an aircraft over its artificial lunar site at Challakere to see how they will function and
guide the Chandrayaan-2 landing craft when it starts descending on the lunar terrain. The test flight is slated tentatively for November 24.
The orbiter carrying the lander and a rover is scheduled to be sent to the Moon from Sriharikota on January 31 and is expected to reach there sometime in February
The test on ground, called the Lander Sensor Performance Test or LSPT, will be conducted at ISRO’s new R&D campus in Chitradurga district, about 200 km from here, ISRO
Chairman K. Sivan said.
The highly autonomous or pre-programmed mission uses a large number of sensors. Among them are those that help the lander to precisely assess its height from the
landing spot; decide its speed and help it to steer clear of any boulders or uneven surface.
The lander is being developed and tested by the U.R. Rao Satellite Centre in Bengaluru. For the test, a prototype module carrying the sensors will be flown on one of
ISRO’s two small aircraft. As the plane descends from around 7 km to about 1 km over the artificial terrain, the sensors must show how they will guide the soft landing
of the lunar craft at the right spot, speed and position.
About two years back, ISRO had started readying a part of the Challakere site to resemble lunar craters and had conducted a few preliminary sensor tests. Features of
the lander have since been modified and the upcoming tests will also validate the new design. “The development and testing of the orbiter are over. Lander-related
activities are going on. We will then add the rover also [to tests.] Until the mission is launched, we would be testing all systems continuously after every
integration,” said Dr. Sivan.
5. Statute in Braille to mark Constitution Day
The Constitution will be made available in Braille for the first time ahead of the Constitution Day on November 26.
In a joint project undertaken by The Buddhist Association for the Blind along with Saavi Foundation and Swagat Thorat, who started India’s first Braille newsletter
Sparshdnyan, the Constitution will be made available in five parts in Braille for the benefit of visually challenged individuals.
6. Prasar Bharati to audit workforce
Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati will audit its workforce, a long-pending exercise that was recommended by the Sam Pitroda Committee in 2014. The last time the Prasar
Bharati made recruitments was in 1996.
The decision was taken by the Prasar Bharati Board on Monday. The state broadcaster has hired Ernst and Young to conduct a manpower audit, expected to be completed in
Prasar Bharati Chief Executive Officer Shashi Shekhar Vempati tweeted, “The 151st Board Meeting of Prasar Bharati held earlier in the week was one of the most
productive meetings on the wide range of issues on which decisions were taken. An important decision was on the manpower audit recommended by Sam Pitroda Committee.”
According to the Pitroda report, Prasar Bharati reportedly had 33,800 staff and the sanctioned strength was 48,022 — the highest in the world for a public broadcaster.
While the BBC had 16,858 staff, public broadcasters of Japan and China employed 10,000 each.
Doordarshan operates 23 channels and a free-to-air direct-to-home platform. AIR has 420 radio sRTI request to see RTI Amendment Bill deniedtations.
7. RTI request to see RTI Amendment Bill denied
The Centre has denied a Right to Information (RTI) request for a copy of the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill 2018, which had been notified for introduction in
the monsoon session of Parliament.
The Bill sought to give the Centre power to set the tenure and salaries of State and Central Information Commissioners. Critics worry this could threaten the
independence of Commissioners. An RTI request for details on the applicants and search committee set up to fill the vacancies on the Central Information Commission
(CIC) has also been denied. The CIC is the final appellate authority for all Central public authorities. By December 1, there will be eight vacancies in the 11-member
In an affidavit filed in an ongoing Supreme Court case regarding the appointment of Information Commissioners, the Centre admitted that it has held up appointments due
to its effort to first amend the law.
In May 2018, NCPRI co-convener Anjali Bhardwaj filed an RTI request for a copy of the Bill and was denied on the grounds that the matter was still under consideration
and had not reached finality. “We put in another request, it was denied on October 24. The same reason was given for the denial.”
8. Armies hold flag meeting in Poonch
The Indian and Pakistan Armies held a brigade commander-level meeting in the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday to strengthen ceasefire, a defence official
The flag meeting at the Poonch-Rawlakote crossing point on the Line of Control comes after several ceasefire violations by Pakistan in the recent past during which
five Indian security men were killed and seven others were injured.
The two delegations discussed increasing confidence-building measures, maintaining peace along the Line of Control and preventing infiltration from the Pakistan-
occupied Kashmir, the official said.
9. Another wall has fallen: PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi likened the proposed corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in India to the Kartarpur Gurdwara in Pakistan to the fall of the Berlin wall. “What
happe-ned in 1947 happened. But people-to-people contact has a strength. Who would have believed that the Berlin Wall could fall… maybe with Guru Nanak’s blessings,
the Kartarpur corridor can become a big reason to join people with people,” he said in Delhi.
10. China eyes trade war solution at G20 talks
China said on Friday that it hopes U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese premier Xi Jinping will find a solution to the continuing trade war when they meet at the
G20 summit next week. “We hope that both sides can work together for a solution,” Wang Shouwen, Vice Minister of Commerce, China, said.
11. All eyes on Mary Kom
M.C. Mary Kom, who is bidding for an unprecedented sixth World champion title, will meet Ukrainian Hanna Okhota in the 48kg final of the World women’s boxing
championships at the Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex here on Saturday.
It has been a challenging journey for the 35-year-old, who has displayed tremendous grit, game sense, tactical acumen and superb fitness to get the better of younger
opponents — Aigerim Kassenayeva of Kazakhstan, Yu Wu of China and Hyang Mi Kim of North Korea — and reach her seventh final in the event.
It will be interesting to see what strategy the Ukrainian adopts against Mary and how the five-time World champion and Olympic medallist responds to it.
12. World T20 to be renamed
The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Friday renamed the ICC Women’s World T20 championships as the T20 World Cup, claiming it would “enhance” the event’s profile
and ensure that its status is at par with pinnacle events of the ODI and Test format.
13. Chenai happy to trap gold
Kynan Chenai, who trained in Italy with coach Mansher Singh this summer, was understandably proud after clinching his maiden National championship trap gold in Jaipur.
In Delhi for the first set of selection trials a little earlier than the rest, as he could not find a partner from Telengana to compete in the mixed trap team
competition, the 27-year-old Chenai said that it was a good start for the season ahead.
14. Sandeep Michael passes away
Former India hockey player Sandeep Michael passed away due to a brain infection here on Friday. He was 33. Michael was admitted to Aster CMI Hospital here around five
days ago. On Friday afternoon, he succumbed to the illness.
A talented forward, Michael won the ‘Most Promising Player’ award in the 2003 Asia Cup in Malaysia.
Hockey Bengaluru secretary, K. Krishnamurthy, who was the Indian team manager for the tournament, said, “Michael received the award from none other than the late
Sultan Azlan Shah. Michael had the world at his feet.”
A fine goal that Michael scored against Pakistan in the league stage stands out.
15. Monaco to host 2019 Laureus
The 19th edition of the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards will be held in Monaco on February 18 next year. Considered the ‘Oscars of sports’, the Laureus World
Sports Awards celebrate global sporting achievements across the calendar year.
16. Tvesa Malik wins her fourth title
Tvesa Malik wrapped up her fourth title of the season with a birdie-birdie finish in the 16th leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour here on Friday.
Tvesa, who carded even par 210 over three days, also extended her lead at the top of the Hero Order of Merit with two more events to go in the season.
17. Sholay screened at IFFI
India needs a policy to ensure that its cinema is inclusive and accessible to all sections of society. Having audio-description and same language sub-titling would be
a step in the right direction, says Dipendra Manocha, co-founder of Delhi-based “Saksham”, an NGO working for persons with disability (PwD), particularly the visually
Mr. Manocha was speaking to The Hindu on Friday on the sidelines of a function at the ongoing International Film Festival of India 2018, where the blockbuster movie
Sholay was screened for the visually and hearing impaired.
“The social exclusion of persons with disability (PwD), which begins at the family level, is a huge issue in our country,” he said.
Saksham helps people with disabilities by making entertainment more accessible to them through a variety of strategies. By helping films incorporate audio descriptions
in movies, which helps the visual impaired to listen to the added narration — while there is no dialogue/sound in the scene, and subtitles for the deaf, Saksham is
giving the visually impaired an opportunity that they never had before.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
Lander Sensor Performance Test (LSPT)
National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI)
19. Things to Remember:
ISRO Chairman K. Sivan
20. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – An official appointed by a state to live in a foreign city and protect the state’s citizens and interests there.
Example – ‘the British consul in Israel’
Synonyms – ambassador, diplomat, chargé d’affaires, attaché, envoy, emissary, plenipotentiary, consul general