Current Affairs March 2018 - Vikalp Education

Online Vikalp, Current Affairs, Current Awareness, General Awareness, Aptitude Classes, Daily News, General Knowledge, General Awareness For All Competitive Exam, current affairs quiz,current affairs in india, current affairs about sports, current affairs and gk, current affairs about india, current affairs daily quiz, current affairs dairy, current affairs education, Top News, Breaking News, Latest News

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Current Affairs - 31 March 2018

by , in

General Affairs 

Prakash Javadekar Wants Students To Find A Solution To CBSE Paper Leaks
  • Education Minister Prakash Javadekar today asked students to find ways to make exams "leak-proof" at an event in New Delhi. The union minister's comment comes amid protests by students against the leak of CBSE question papers of Class 10 mathematics and class 12 economics, re-exams for which have been announced.

    Mr Javadekar, who has been facing flak over the CBSE paper leak, was speaking at an event to mark the launch of the final round of the Smart India Hackathon-2018 (software edition). He said that although the paper leak was not the subject of this year's Smart India Hackathon, the students should accept the challenge, according to a statement. Mr Javadekar said that the students could even work on this "challenge" after the two-day event.

    The event, Smart India Hackathon (Software Edition), is being held at 28 nodal centres across the country where around one lakh students from across 1,200 colleges have gathered. Students have been shortlisted to find solutions to problems faced by various central ministries and government departments.

    "Printing and making a paper goes through a procedure which involves it going from place to place, hence it increases the risk of leak," he said, adding that firewalls needed to be built.

    prakash javadekar pti
    The Congress has demanded the resignation of Prakash Javadekar. (PTI)

    The union minister previously tried to connect with anxious parents and students saying, "I can understand the pain and anguish of the students and parents...I also could not sleep. I am also a parent."

    The Congress has demanded the resignation of Mr Javadekar, and a probe by a High Court judge. Opposition parties have also demanded that CBSE Chairperson Anita Karwal be sacked for the alleged lapse.

    A special team of Delhi Police has been set up to investigate the leak. So far, 25 people, including students and tutors have been questioned. The CBSE has also instituted an internal inquiry into the matter with a view to secure all future exams.

India Asks China For Details Of Citizen Gone Missing In China
  • Fearing the abduction of an Indian national in central China's Zhejiang province, Indian authorities in Shanghai have sought details of his whereabouts from the Chinese government, diplomatic sources said today.

    The Indian Consulate in Shanghai filed a "note verbale", a diplomatic communication, with the local office of the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday, seeking details of Tabrez Akbarali Bana, a resident of Mumbai, the sources said.

    Mr Bana has been reported missing from the Chinese commodity market Yiwu for the past a few days, amid concerns that he may have been abducted by local businessmen over a trade dispute.

    Tabrez Bana visited the police station in Yiwu a few days ago to complain about threats by the businessmen and has been reported missing since.

    Indian officials fear he may have been abducted by the traders, who aggressively pursue foreign businessmen who owe them money.

    Family sources say Mr Bana may have been picked up by the traders because of a mistaken identity.

    Hundreds of Indian traders visit Yiwu, the world's biggest commodity market, to purchase goods and sell them via retail outlets in India.

    Similar cases involving trade disputes have been reported in the past in China. Two Indian traders - Sunder Agrawal and Deepak Raheja - had to face cases for allegedly cheating Chinese suppliers in 2012.

India, Pakistan Reach Truce On Alleged Harassment Of Diplomats
  • India and Pakistan have agreed to treat diplomats from the other country according to a pact signed 25 years ago, a truce that is expected to pave the way to end complaints of harassment of diplomats from both sides.

    A Foreign Ministry statement said both countries had "mutually agreed" to resolve matters related to the treatment of diplomats in line with the 12-point code of conduct signed in 1992.

    In this agreement, both countries had decided, among other steps, not to carry out intrusive and aggressive surveillance of the diplomats, chasing their cars or harass each other. "The inviolability of the official/private vehicles, duly registered in the name of the mission and diplomatic/consular personnel shall be respected," it says.

    In case of breach of code, the agreement required an intimation to be sent to the high commission before lodging a formal protest. Once a country did so far as to file the protest, the other side was required to probe the complaint and take steps to rectify the situation.

    "Both sides shall exercise restraint to avoid unnecessary escalation," the pact says.

    But the ground rules appeared to have fallen into disuse over the last year when differences between the two countries spilled over to how the government treated the diplomats. Indian officials had earlier spoken about difficulties and harassment that diplomats in Islamabad had to face.

    The cases of alleged harassment made headlines this month when Pakistan went public with complaints of alleged harassment of its diplomatic staff and their family in the national capital, a move that was seen as an attempt to embarrass New Delhi. It next attempted to escalate the issue by declaring that it was summoning High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood for consultations in light of these incidents.

    India had responded angrily, pointing how Indian diplomats in Islamabad too had been facing "tremendous harassment for long, particularly in the last year" but had chose to tackle the matter with "quiet and persistent diplomacy".

    Sources had later detailed numerous incidents where Indian diplomats were chased and abused in public places, reportedly by personnel of Pakistan's security establishment.

There Was No Time To Cancel Math Exam, Says Education Ministry
  • Nine hours before the Class 10 math exam, the education board CBSE received a copy of the handwritten question paper by email. The Education Secretary explained today why the exam was not scrapped straight away.

    The e-mail had 12 attachments with handwritten question papers. The sender claimed that the math paper was leaked on WhatsApp and urged the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) to cancel the paper.

    "The mail came at 1.29 am on March 28 (early Wednesday) but the mail was seen at 8.55 am by the CBSE chairman. The paper was sent for verification. Just because there was an alert, we couldn't have stopped the exam," said Education Secretary Anil Swarup.

    The math exam began at 10 am and "could not practically be stopped", said Mr Swarup. "Putting the children at an inconvenience at some fellow's message who might be playing a trick...we could not have done that."

    Amid huge anger over leaked CBSE final papers, the government has announced that the Class 12 Economics re-exam will be held on April 25. For the class 10 math exam, the Education Secretary said a decision would be taken later and the exam would be held only in July, in Delhi and Haryana.

    The police have written to Google for help to track down the whistleblower through their gmail ID.

    The CBSE has been accused of sitting on at least two tip-offs that the exam papers had been leaked.

    The board received an anonymous fax on March 23, which alerted it to the possibility that the paper for the Class 12 Economics exam three days later may have been leaked. The fax, which was from an unknown source, alleged that a coaching centre and two schools were involved in leaking the exam paper.

    A day later, the board forwarded the fax to its regional office, which in turn passed it on to the Crime branch on WhatsApp.

    The police contacted the coaching centre's owner, a man named Vicky. But he was let off in absence of any solid proof.

    After the Economics exam on March 26 (Monday), the CBSE office received a packet with answers along with mobile numbers of four people who allegedly received the paper on WhatsApp.

    On Tuesday, a day before the Class 10 math exam, the CBSE was well aware that the Class 12 Economics paper had been leaked.

    A day later, the class 10 math paper was leaked at 1.29 am. The board went to the police 90 minutes after the exam.

CBSE Re-Exam Date: CBSE Class 12 Economics Re-Exam On April 25, Class 10 Likely In July In Delhi, Haryana
  • The CBSE re-exam for the Class 12 economics paper will be held on 25 April but a decision on the CBSE re-exam for the Class 10 math paper will be taken later, Union Education Secretary Anil Swarup said today, two days after the CBSE or Central Board of Secondary Education announced that the papers for the two exams had been leaked and students will have to take re-exams.

    Addressing a press conference, Mr Swarup said a preliminary enquiry has revealed that the leak for CBSE Class 10 mathematics paper was restricted to Delhi and Haryana.

    "Regarding Class 10th re-examination, as leak was restricted to Delhi and Haryana, if it at all a re-exam will happen, it will happen only in Delhi and Haryana and a decision will be taken on this in next 15 days. If at all a re-exam is done, it will be in July," he said.

    "Our immediate concern is that the children of this country should not suffer unnecessarily. The decision we have taken is in their interest but this does not mean the inquiry will end," Mr Swarup added.

    The CBSE had decided to conduct re-exams for the Class 10 mathematics paper and Class 12 economics paper after it had received information about paper leaks.

    cbse protest
    CBSE Paper Leak: Students protest against CBSE in Delhi on Friday

    At least 1,000 students in Delhi may have accessed the leaked papers, the police believe.

    The CBSE had received an anonymous fax on March 23, which alerted it to the possibility that the paper for the Class 12 Economics exam three days later may have been leaked. The fax, which was from an unknown source, alleged that a coaching centre and two schools were involved in leaking the exam paper.

    According a First Information Report (FIR) -- the second in this case -- the CBSE or Central Board of Secondary Education received an email at 1:40 am on March 28, the day of the math exam, with 12 images of the question paper, handwritten. 

    Despite evidence that the question paper was out before the exam and a nine-hour window to act, nothing was done until the exam was over. The police on Thursday questioned 25 people, including 11 school students and seven first year college students. For the first time, the CBSE's exam in-charge was questioned, for four hours. 

Business Affairs

Ahead of monetary policy, RBI Governor Urjit Patel holds meeting with FM Arun Jaitley
  • Reserve Bank Governor Urjit Patel held a meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and is believed to have discussed the current economic situation, ahead of the first bi-monthly monetary policy review next week, according to sources. This would be the first monetary policy announcement for 2018-19.

    Patel held a meeting with Jaitley on Thursday, sources said without divulging specific details. Pressure has been mounting on the RBI to cut interest rate in the wake of declining retail inflation and the need to fuel growth momentum. However, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) would have to do a tightrope walk as globally interest rates are moving northwards, experts opined.

    Currently, the key rate at which the RBI lends to banks is 6 per cent. The six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), is to meet on April 4 and 5 to decide the monetary policy. The industry has been pitching for a cut in interest rate. The retail inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which the RBI factors in while deciding policy rate, fell to a 4-month low of 4.44 per cent in February. It was at 5.07 per cent in January.

Jet Airways, SpiceJet, Vistara flag concern over ‘misreporting’ of data in Parliament
  • Jet Airways, SpiceJet and Vistara have flagged serious concerns over the data on technical snags faced by airlines in 2017, which was provided by the government in Parliament. They maintained that the data was leading to a “false illusion” about safety of the airlines. In a letter to Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha, the airlines have demanded an investigation by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to the matter so that accurate information is provided to Parliament and public at large. “It seems apparent that the number of technical snags being reported by various airlines is inaccurate. This discrepancy and misreporting of data is leading to false illusion of the relative safety of some airlines over others,” the airlines said in their letter on March 28. On March 13, Sinha, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha had said that airlines reported more than 24,700 technical snags last year. Airline-wise break up was also furnished.

    “As you are aware reporting of snags is mandatory in India and accurate reporting of such snags is in the interest of passengers and aviation safety. “We request you to get this matter investigated by the DGCA so that accurate information may be made available to Parliament and the travelling public,” the letter said. According to the minister’s reply, the technical snag faced by Jet Airways in 2017, which has a fleet of 110 aircraft, was 9,689 (88.08 snags per annum).

    IndiGo, the country’s largest private carrier, which has a fleet size of 151, faced only 340 technical snags (2.25 snags per annum). Similarly, SpiceJet, which has a fleet size of 57 aircraft, faced 4,903 snags (86.02 snags per annum). Vistara, with a fleet size of 17 aircraft, faced 1,225 snags (72.06 snags per annum). IndiGo at present operates over 1,000 flights per day, SpiceJet 408 flights and Jet Airways 600 flights.

PM Narendra Modi pitches for river inter-linking, says India has only 4 per cent water of the world
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today batted for inter-linking of rivers in the country, saying it can help address the issue of imbalance between areas having excess water and those facing scarcity of the resource. Responding to the question by a student during the ‘smart India hackathon’, Modi said while 17 per cent of the world population is in India, the country has only four per cent of water. “Water is limited for our population…there are areas which face floods. Then there are rivers which are dry. If there is inter-linking, the problem can be solved,” he said, adding river inter-linking is the vision of the government and will come true one day. Earlier, addressing the over one lakh participants through video-conference, who had gathered at multiple locations, Modi said nobody is blessed with all the knowledge of the world. “This applies to governments too…the biggest mistake governments make is to think they alone can bring about change. What brings about change is a participatory governance,” he said.

    He said it was essential to know the root of every problem and think out-of-the-box ways to solve them. He was of the view that innovation is not merely a word. “Innovation is a continuous process. Questioning is an important aspect of innovation,” he said. The prime minister said IPPP — innovate, patent, produce, and prosper — will drive innovation in coming days. “We should innovate more, patent them, make their production easier and take it to the people. This is what brings prosperity,” he said.

    He said students should strive to come up with innovations which help in development of the nation. He said getting papers published in reputed journals is good, but most important thing was to use innovations for the betterment of people. The hackthon was organised to crowd-source solutions to governance-related problems.

IRCTC introduces private luxury railway saloons; know all about this new initiative
  • The first privately-occupied saloon coach, complete with air-conditioned rooms, valet service and attached bathroom, today started its journey with six customers of a private tour operating company as the Jammu Mail pulled out of the Old Delhi Railway Station. The six VIP customers will be the first passengers to experience the grandeur of travelling in a saloon car, after the facility, which till now was primarily reserved for railway officials to reach places not connected by road or air, was opened to public, the IRCTC said. The first charter service has been booked by M/s Royal India Train Journeys for its six premium customers for a saloon travelling from Delhi to Jammu. The cost of chartering this saloon coach is around Rs 2 lakh, the IRCTC said. The saloon has a living room, two air-conditioned bedrooms – one twin bedroom and the other similar to a AC First Class coupe with attached baths, dining area and a well-equipped kitchen. It will also have a valet service, which will be chargeable in the future.

    “This will be an all inclusive tour where the guests will be offered all the comfort of a hotel. Exclusive staff will be available for services on board. Railway also provides one AC attendant and one saloon attendant for ensuring hassle free travel,” the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) said. The four-day tour started today and the saloon will be back on April 2. It was attached to the Jammu Mail at the Old Delhi Railway Station for onward journey to Katra. From now on, the saloons are available for charter for the common people and the details are available on the IRCTC website, it said.

    The decision to make such saloons available to people was taken soon after a meeting of Chairman of the Railway Board, Ashwani Lohani, with travel and trade associations in Delhi in January this year. The Railways has a total of 336 saloon cars across railway zones, among them 62 are air-conditioned.

PNG & CNG budget may rise as govt may hike natural gas rates for second consecutive time
  • Just days after a Bloomberg report said that the government is set to raise prices to a two year high, impacting household budgets, a CARE report estimates that the Narendra Modi-led administration is set to hike prices by as much as 6.2% from the current prices. Last week, the Bloomberg report had estimated that the federal government will increase the price to $3.2 per million British thermal units for April to September, implying a 11% hike from current prices, according to an average of 10 estimates. Notably, CARE’s estimate is 6.2% higher while Bloomberg estimates a 11% hike in prices. 

    Earlier the government had hiked the prices of natural gas to $2.89 mmbtu for October-March-18. CARE report said, “We believe the prices of domestic natural gas for the April- September 2018 period will increase from the current $2.89 British thermal units to approximately, $3.07 british thermal units resulting in a 6.2% increase.”

    Detailing the implications of a potential price rise, CARE Ratings said that a rise in the natural gas price will result in the increase in the cost of manufacturing of urea and petrochemicals where natural gas is used as a feedstock. “There will be a rise in the prices of CNG and PNG which will affect the consumers,” CARE noted. Further, the firm said that an Increase in price of Natural gas will also affect the margins of the power sector and sponge iron industry where it used for the generation of energy.

    A potential rise in natural gas prices is also seen to impact WPI marginally as crude petroleum and natural gas has a 2.46% weight and in that natural gas has a 0.46% weight, noted the report. Interestingly, India sets the rate every six months. The Bloomberg report had earlier said that higher gas prices may encourage producers to boost investment and production, helping the country meet its goals of cutting energy imports and more than doubling the share of gas in the energy mix.

General Awareness

transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints.
Mega food park

  • Context: Greentech Mega Food Park Private Ltd, first mega food park in Rajasthan, was recently inaugurated at Roopangarh Village in Ajmer. The Park has been set up at a cost of Rs 113.57 crore and will benefit around 25,000 farmers in this as well as neighbouring districts.

    About Mega Food Parks:

    Ministry of Food Processing Industries is implementing Mega Food Park Scheme in the country.

    The Scheme of Mega Food Park aims at providing a mechanism to link agricultural production to the market by bringing together farmers, processors and retailers so as to ensure maximizing value addition, minimizing wastages, increasing farmers’ income and creating employment opportunities particularly in rural sector.
    These food parks give a major boost to the food processing sector by adding value and reducing food wastage at each stage of the supply chain with particular focus on perishables.
    A maximum grant of R50 crore is given for setting up a MFP, in minimum 50 acres of contiguous land with only 50% contribution to the total project cost.

    Mode of operation:

    The Scheme has a cluster based approach based on a hub and spokes model. It includes creation of infrastructure for primary processing and storage near the farm in the form of Primary Processing Centres (PPCs) and Collection Centres (CCs) and common facilities and enabling infrastructure at Central Processing Centre (CPC).
    The PPCs are meant for functioning as a link between the producers and processors for supply of raw material to the Central Processing Centres.
    CPC has need based core processing facilities and basic enabling infrastructure to be used by the food processing units setup at the CPC. The minimum area required for a CPC is 50 acres.
    The scheme is demand-driven and would facilitate food processing units to meet environmental, safety and social standards.

    Facts for Prelims:

    India’s first mega food park ‘Srini Mega Food Park’, sprawling 147-acre space, was opened in Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh in 2012.

Featured post

Current Affairs - 16 December 2018

General Affairs   Cyclone Phethai Gathers Over Bay Of Bengal, May Hit Andhra On Monday ...

Copyright © 2016. Vikalp Education