Exam Important Current Affairs Topics

These are most possible concepts for IAS Prelims General Studies paper-1 (Current affairs) of UPSC Civil Service exam.

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EveryDay Program List

Sunday- Indian and world Geography

Monday-General issues on Environmental Ecology, bio-diversity and Climate Change

Tuesday- General Science

Wednesday- Indian Polity and Governance

Thursday- History of India and Indian National Movement

Friday- Economic and Social Development

Saturday-Exam Important Current Affairs Topics

 

Today’s Topic: Exam Important Current Affairs Topics

 

Q1. Who among the following is the winner of Nobel Peace Prize for the year 2017?

a) Juan Manuel Santos

b) International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

c) Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

d) Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet

Ans: b)

Explanation:

Nobel Prizes 2017

a) The Nobel Prize in Physics 2017

Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne

“For decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves”

b) The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017

Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson

“For developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution”

c) The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2017

Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young

“For their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm”

d) The Nobel Prize in Literature 2017

Kazuo Ishiguro

“Who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world”

e) The Nobel Peace Prize 2017

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

“For its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons”

f) The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2017

Richard H. Thaler

“For his contributions to behavioural economics”

 

Q2. According to the National Trachoma Survey Report (2014-17), India is now free from infective trachoma. Trachoma is a chronic infective disease of

a) Nose

b) Heart

c) Ear

d) Eye

Ans: d)

Explanation:

Trachoma

  • Trachoma is a disease of the eye caused by infection with the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. It is known to be a public health problem in 41 countries, and is responsible for the blindness or visual impairment of about 1.9 million people. In 2016, 190.2 million people lived in trachoma endemic areas and were at risk of trachoma blindness.
  • Blindness from trachoma is irreversible. Infection spreads through personal contact (via hands, clothes or bedding) and by flies that have been in contact with discharge from the eyes or nose of an infected person. With repeated episodes of infection over many years, the eyelashes may be drawn in so that they rub on the surface of the eye, with pain and discomfort and permanent damage to the cornea.
  • The World Health Assembly adopted resolution WHA51.11 in 1998, targeting the global elimination of trachoma as a public health problem. The elimination strategy is encapsulated by the acronym “SAFE”: Surgery for advanced disease, Antibiotics to clear C. trachomatis infection, Facial cleanliness and Environmental improvement to reduce transmission.

Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide. It is caused by an obligate intracellular bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis. The infection is transmitted through contact with eye and nose discharge of infected people, particularly young children who harbour the principal reservoir of infection. It is also spread by flies which have been in contact with the eyes and noses of infected people.

Q3. In December 2017, India was admitted as a member of Wassenaar Arrangement, an elite arms export control regime, similar to NSG and MTCR. Which one of the following is not a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement?

a) USA

b) Australia

c) China

d) Italy

Ans: c)

Explanation:

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement was established to contribute to regional and international security and stability by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, thus preventing destabilizing accumulations. Participating states seek, through their national policies, to ensure that transfers of these items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities which undermine these goals, and are not diverted to support such capabilities.

It is the successor to the Cold War-era Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls, and was established on 12 July 1996, in Wassenaar, the Netherlands, which is near The Hague. The Wassenaar Arrangement is considerably less strict than COCOM, focusing primarily on the transparency of national export control regimes and not granting veto power to individual members over organizational decisions. A Secretariat for administering the agreement is located in Vienna, Austria. Like COCOM, however, it is not a treaty, and therefore is not legally binding.

Every six months member countries exchange information on deliveries of conventional arms to non-Wassenaar members that fall under eight broad weapons categories: battle tanks, armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs), large-caliber artillery, military aircraft, military helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems, and small arms and light weapons.

As of February 2018, the 43 participating states are:

Argentina, Australia Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark   Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden,  Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America.

Q4. Which among the following countries in not a founder member of Shanghai Cooperation Organization ?

a) Kazakhstan

b) Kyrgyzstan

c) Tajikistan

d) Afghanistan

Ans:d)

Explanation:

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation, the creation of which was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai (China) by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan. It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanism.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Charter was signed during the St.Petersburg SCO Heads of State meeting in June 2002, and entered into force on 19 September 2003. This is the fundamental statutory document which outlines the organisation’s goals and principles, as well as its structure and core activities.

The historical meeting of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation was held on 8-9 June 2017 in Astana. On the meeting the status of a full member of the Organization was granted to the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The SCO’s main goals are as follows: strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states; promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture, as well as in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, and other areas; making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region; and moving towards the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.

Proceeding from the Shanghai Spirit, the SCO pursues its internal policy based on the principles of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, mutual consultations, respect for cultural diversity, and a desire for common development, while its external policy is conducted in accordance with the principles of non-alignment, non-targeting any third country, and openness.

The Heads of State Council (HSC) is the supreme decision-making body in the SCO. It meets once a year and adopts decisions and guidelines on all important matters of the organisation. The SCO Heads of Government Council (HGC) meets once a year to discuss the organisation’s multilateral cooperation strategy and priority areas, to resolve current important economic and other cooperation issues, and also to approve the organisation’s annual budget. The SCO’s official languages are Russian and Chinese.

In addition to HSC and HGC meetings, there is also a mechanism of meetings at the level of heads of parliament; secretaries of Security Councils; ministers of foreign affairs, defence, emergency relief, economy, transport, culture, education, and healthcare; heads of law enforcement agencies and supreme and arbitration courts; and prosecutors general. The Council of National Coordinators of SCO Member States (CNC) acts as the SCO coordination mechanism.

The organisation has two permanent bodies — the SCO Secretariat based in Beijing and the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) based in Tashkent. The SCO Secretary-General and the Director of the Executive Committee of the SCO RATS are appointed by the Council of Heads of State for a term of three years. Rashid Alimov (Tajikistan) and Yevgeny Sysoyev (Russia) have held these positions, respectively, since 1 January 2016.

Thus, currently:

  • The SCO comprises eight member states, namely the Republic of India, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan;
  • The SCO counts four observer states, namely the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Belarus, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Mongolia;
  • The SCO has six dialogue partners, namely the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Armenia, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the Republic of Turkey, and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

 

Q5. Which one of the following is not correct regarding India’s position in Regional Organizations/Institutions ?

a) Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) — Founder Member

b) Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) – Observer Member

c) East Asia Summit (EAS) – Member

d) Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) — Founder Member

Ans:a)

Explanation:

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation:

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation, the creation of which was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai (China) by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan. It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanism.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Charter was signed during the St.Petersburg SCO Heads of State meeting in June 2002, and entered into force on 19 September 2003. This is the fundamental statutory document which outlines the organisation’s goals and principles, as well as its structure and core activities.

The historical meeting of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation was held on 8-9 June 2017 in Astana. On the meeting the status of a full member of the Organization was granted to the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The SCO’s main goals are as follows: strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states; promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture, as well as in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, and other areas; making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region; and moving towards the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.

Proceeding from the Shanghai Spirit, the SCO pursues its internal policy based on the principles of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, mutual consultations, respect for cultural diversity, and a desire for common development, while its external policy is conducted in accordance with the principles of non-alignment, non-targeting any third country, and openness.

The Heads of State Council (HSC) is the supreme decision-making body in the SCO. It meets once a year and adopts decisions and guidelines on all important matters of the organisation. The SCO Heads of Government Council (HGC) meets once a year to discuss the organisation’s multilateral cooperation strategy and priority areas, to resolve current important economic and other cooperation issues, and also to approve the organisation’s annual budget. The SCO’s official languages are Russian and Chinese.

In addition to HSC and HGC meetings, there is also a mechanism of meetings at the level of heads of parliament; secretaries of Security Councils; ministers of foreign affairs, defence, emergency relief, economy, transport, culture, education, and healthcare; heads of law enforcement agencies and supreme and arbitration courts; and prosecutors general. The Council of National Coordinators of SCO Member States (CNC) acts as the SCO coordination mechanism.

The organisation has two permanent bodies — the SCO Secretariat based in Beijing and the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) based in Tashkent. The SCO Secretary-General and the Director of the Executive Committee of the SCO RATS are appointed by the Council of Heads of State for a term of three years. Rashid Alimov (Tajikistan) and Yevgeny Sysoyev (Russia) have held these positions, respectively, since 1 January 2016.

Thus, currently:

  • The SCO comprises eight member states, namely the Republic of India, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan;
  • The SCO counts four observer states, namely the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Belarus, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Mongolia;
  • The SCO has six dialogue partners, namely the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Armenia, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the Republic of Turkey, and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific. APEC’s 21 members aim to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration.

APEC ensures that goods, services, investment and people move easily across borders. Members facilitate this trade through faster customs procedures at borders; more favorable business climates behind the border; and aligning regulations and standards across the region. For example, APEC’s initiatives to synchronize regulatory systems is a key step to integrating the Asia-Pacific economy. A product can be more easily exported with just one set of common standards across all economies.

Sustainable and Inclusive Asia-Pacific

APEC works to help all residents of the Asia-Pacific participate in the growing economy. For example, APEC projects provide digital skills training for rural communities and help indigenous women export their products abroad. Recognizing the impacts of climate change, APEC members also implement initiatives to increase energy efficiency and promote sustainable management of forest and marine resources.

The forum adapts to allow members to deal with important new challenges to the region’s economic well-being. This includes ensuring disaster resilience, planning for pandemics, and addressing terrorism.

APEC’s 21 member economies are Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; People’s Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; The Philippines; The Russian Federation; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States of America; Viet Nam.

India has been anobserver at the forum since 2011 and a membership would have been in tune with the Modi government’s ‘Act East Policy.

East Asia Summit:

The East Asia Summit is a unique Leaders-led forum of 18 countries of the Asia-Pacific region formed to further the objectives of regional peace, security and prosperity. It has evolved as a forum for strategic dialogue and cooperation on political, security and economic issues of common regional concern and plays an important role in the regional architecture.

Established in 2005, EAS allows the principal players in the Asia-Pacific region to discuss issues of common interest and concern, in an open and transparent manner, at the highest level. The membership of EAS consists of ten ASEAN Member States (i.e. Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam), Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation and the USA. EAS is an initiative of ASEAN and is based on the premise of the centrality of ASEAN.

The concept of an East Asia Grouping was first promoted in 1991 by the then Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir bin Mohamad. The final report of the East Asian Study Group in 2002, established by the ASEAN+3 countries (i.e. China, Japan and ROK), recommended EAS as an ASEAN led development limited to the ASEAN +3 countries. However, the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) held in Vientiane on July 26, 2005 welcomed the participation of ASEAN, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, India and New Zealand, in the first EAS. USA and the Russian Federation were formally included as members of the EAS at the 6th EAS held in Bali, Indonesia on 19 November 2011.

Eleven East Asia Summits have been held so far. India has been a part of this process since its inception in 2005 in Kuala Lumpur and the fact that Indian Prime Ministers have participated in all the Summits, stands testimony to the importance India attaches to this process. The relevance of East Asia Summit has been aptly summarised by our Prime Minister, who in his speech at the 9th EAS, held in Myanmar in November 2014, stated that “no other forum brings together such a large collective weight of global population, youth, economy and military strength. Nor is any other forum is so critical for peace, stability and prosperity in Asia-Pacific and the world. Over the last eight Summits, we have made progress in a number of areas. We worked on important issues. We have begun to establish a culture and habit of dialogue and cooperation.”

There are six priority areas of regional cooperation within the framework of the EAS. These are – Environment and Energy, Education, Finance, Global Health Issues and Pandemic Diseases, Natural Disaster Management, and ASEAN Connectivity. India endorses regional collaboration in all six priority areas.

In the area of Education, at the 4th East Asia Summit (EAS), held in Thailand on 24-25 October 2009, the EAS Leaders endorsed the proposal for the revival of Nalanda University, to bring together the brightest minds from all the countries of Asia. The idea was first mooted by former President APJ Abdul Kalam in 2006. The University held in first convocation ceremony on 27th August 2016 and the President of India conferred the degrees on the graduating students. The President also laid the foundation stone for the construction of permanent campus of the University and the construction work is in progress. The University has, at present, a total number of about 127 students in three Schools of studies- School of Historical Studies, School of Ecology and Environment Studies and School of Buddhist Studies, Philosophy and Comparative Religion. The University proposes to launch new schools of studies – School of Linguistic Studies and School of Public health – in the coming years.

The archaeological site of Nalanda Mahavihara, that is, Nalanda University, was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in July 2016. With a view to attracting students from East Asia, the government has announced a certain number of Scholarships to deserving students from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV countries) as also Bhutan.

In addition to Nalanda University, India has taken lead in three projects on harmonization of national qualification frameworks to assure their interoperability and facilitate student and people mobility in the region, the EAS regional leadership development program and facilitating technical and vocational training (TVET) teacher- student mobility.

In the area of Global Health Issues and Pandemic Diseases, Australia and India are co-chairs of the Task Force for Access to Quality Medicines and other Technologies Task Force (AQMTF). India has also hosted a Round table on Trauma Care and Nursing on 15-16 October 2015, in New Delhi.

A Flagship ASEAN India Programme for combating Malaria towards elimination was taken note of in the Chair’s statement of the 11th East Asia Summit.

India has also contributed in the area of Natural Disaster Management. At the 6th EAS held on 19 November 2011 in Bali, Indonesia, Prime Minister announced India’s intention of hosting an EAS Workshop in 2012 on Disaster Management and Relief in the case of an earthquake. In fulfilment of Prime Minister’s announcement, India hosted an ‘EAS-India Workshop 2012: Building Regional Framework for Earthquake Risk Management’ in New Delhi on 8-9 November 2012. India also hosted the first Meeting of the 24×7 Points of Contact among the National Disaster Response Agencies of East Asia Summit (EAS) countries on 4-5 December 2014 in New Delhi during which a Virtual Knowledge Portal (VKP) was launched. The Virtual Knowledge Portal (VKP), a web based tool to share knowledge and best practices related to natural disaster risk assessment, mitigation and response among EAS countries. It is hosted by Natural Institute of Disaster Management, New Delhi.

An EAS Conference on Disaster Management and Emergency Response was organised on 2 November 2016, in the margins of the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in New Delhi from 3-5 November 2016.

On ASEAN connectivity, at the 6th EAS, Leaders had shared the view that the effective implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) will not only bring benefit to ASEAN, but also the East Asia region as a whole and ASEAN Connectivity was included as an additional area of cooperation within EAS. At the 10th ASEAN-India Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 19 November 2012, PM reiterated that connectivity with ASEAN in all its dimensions – physical, institutional and people-to-people – is a strategic priority for India. Regional cooperation through public-private partnership (PPP) is envisaged to take the agenda forward and India is actively taking part in the deliberations with the regional partners. At the 11th East Asia Summit, a new MPAC 2025 was adopted, succeeding MPAC 2010, that focuses on the five strategic areas of sustainable infrastructure, digital innovation, seamless logistics, regulatory excellence and people mobility.

At the 13th ASEAN India Summit held in November 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, PM announced a Line of Credit of US$1 billion for undertaking projects promoting physical and digital connectivity between ASEAN and India.

At the 7th EAS in November 2012, the Leaders of 16 EAS participating countries launched the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). ASEAN and the 6 FTA Partners of ASEAN, which includes India, are the RCEP participating countries. The objective of RCEP is to achieve a modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement and will cover trade in goods, trade in services, investment, economic and technical cooperation, intellectual property, competition, dispute settlement and other issues. India is participating in the working group level discussions and negotiations for RCEP. At the 11th East Asia Summit on 8 September 2016, the Leaders called for further intensification of negotiations in a collaborative manner for the swift conclusion of the RCEP negotiations. Minister for Commerce and Industry, Shri. Suresh Prabhu, led the Indian delegation to the fifth EAS Economic Ministers’ Meeting held from 9-11 September 2017 in Manila, Philippines.

Maritime Cooperation has emerged as a significant priority area of cooperation in recent times. India hosted the EAS Conference on Maritime Security and Cooperation on 9-10 November 2015 in New Delhi which called for a more cooperative and integrated future for the region through overall development of the ocean-based blue economy.

As a follow up to PM’s announcement at the 11th EAS held on 8 September 2016 in Vientiane, Lao PDR, the 2nd EAS Conference on Maritime Security and Cooperation was held on 4-5 November 2016 in Goa.

At the 11th EAS held on 8 September 2016, the Leaders adopted the following Statements/ Declarations: (i) Vientiane Declaration on Promoting Infrastructure Development Cooperation in East Asia; (ii) East Asia Statement on Non Proliferation; (iii) East Asia Summit Declaration on Strengthening Responses to Migrants in Crisis and Trafficking in Persons.

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB):

 About AIIB

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is an international financial institution proposed by China. The purpose of the multilateral development bank is to provide finance to infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific region.

Members

The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has officially approved 57 nations as prospective founding members, with Sweden, Israel, South Africa, Azerbaijan, Iceland, Portugal and Poland the latest to be included.

Countries accepted as AIIB founding members include China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Brunei, Myanmar, the Philippines, Pakistan, Britain, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany and Spain.

Founding members have priority over nations that sign up later because they will have the right to set the rules for the bank.

In March 2015, United Kingdom became the first of G7 nations to join the bank.4 members of UNSC

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region. The bank currently has 64 member states while another 20 are prospective members for a total of 84 approved members and was proposed as an initiative by the government of China. The initiative gained support from 37 regional and 20 non-regional Prospective Founding Members (PFM), all of which have signed the Articles of Agreement that form the legal basis for the bank. The bank started operation after the agreement entered into force on 25 December 2015, after ratifications were received from 10 member states holding a total number of 50% of the initial subscriptions of the Authorized Capital Stock. Major economies that are not members include Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, and the United States.

The United Nations has addressed the launch of AIIB as having potential for “scaling up financing for sustainable development for the concern of global economic governance. The capital of the bank is $100 billion, equivalent to 2⁄3 of the capital of the Asian Development Bank and about half that of the World Bank.

The bank was proposed by China in 2013 and the initiative was launched at a ceremony in Beijing in October 2014.

Jan 11,2016 India became member of AIIB

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