Current Affairs, News & Facts of 18 Sep 2015

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  • After years of delay, Nepal approves new constitution  


    After years of delay, Nepal approves new constitution


    • Nepalese lawmakers on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to approve a new constitution that will turn the former Himalayan monarchy into a secular, multiparty democracy. The new constitution came as a result of seven years of painstaking efforts and deliberations.
    • The new constituent was passed by a 507-25 vote in the 601-seat Constituent Assembly (CA) after the voting and is due to come into effect on 20 September 2015.
    • The new constituent comes after years of political wrangling, while Nepal was governed by an interim constitution after the monarchy was abolished in 2008. This is fifth constitution enacted by Nepal. The previous four constitutions were enacted in 1959, 1962, 1990 and 1999.
    • It will divide the Himalayan nation of 28 million people into seven federal provinces, but it angered minority ethnic groups who fear discrimination and sparked protests in which 40 died.

    Features of Nepal’s new constitution:-

    The new constitution establishes Nepal as secular and federal democratic republic and build an equitable society on the basis of the principle of proportional inclusion and participation, by ensuring economic equality, prosperity and social justice.  It moves away from the existing unitary structure.

    Citizenship :-  In order to get the citizenship by decent, one needs to have father or mother Nepali at the time of his/her birth. 

    Religious tolerance :- Protection of the age old religions and culture, secularism with freedom to adopt any religion

    The executive rights of the country shall vest on the Council of Ministers while the President would be ceremonial head-of-the-state. 

    Preamble of  Nepalese constitution

    The preamble of the constitution mentions people's competitive multi-party democratic system, civic freedom, fundamental rights, human rights, period election, voting rights, full press freedom, independent, fair and competent judiciary, building of a prosperous nation with the commitment to socialism based on rule of law, and democratic norms and values, and durable peace, good governance, development through the federal democratic republic.

    Other features:-

    A bi-cameral federal parliament, a constitutional bench in the Supreme Court, and formation of constitutional commissions on national natural resources and finance, on national inclusion, on indigenous nationalities, on Madhesi, on Tharu and on Muslim are other features of the new constitution 


  • Central Chile hit by 8.3 magnitude earthquake


    Central Chile hit by 8.3 magnitude earthquake


    • A powerful earthquake of 8.3-magnitude on Richter scale has hit off Chile’s coast in Illapel, the capital of Choapa Province in central Coquimbo Region of Chile.
    • US Geological Survey has noted its epicenter at a depth of 12.5 kilometers off Chile’s coast in Illapel. After the initial earthquake, two aftershock quakes of magnitudes 6.2 and 6.4 occurred west of Illapel.
    • The temblor occurred 46 km (28 miles) west of Illapel, Chile, and 229 km (142 miles) northwest of Santiago, Chile's capital. It occurred as the result of thrust faulting on the interface between the Nazca and South America plates in central Chile as per US Geological Survey
    • One million people had to leave their homes in Chile after a powerful quake hit the country's central region and at least 10 people have died 
    • The quake that rocked Chile was five times more energetic than the one that devastated Nepal still but still the death toll will be a fraction (perhaps a thousandth) of what it was in the Himalayan nation.

    Earthquake preparedness of Chile:-

    • Chile is one of the world’s most earthquake prone countries as it lies on so called Pacific Ring of Fire. This was Chile's third massive quake in five years; the region all too frequently experiences magnitude 8 events
    • Earthquake preparedness of Chile is unique in itself  the building codes are strict and generally well enforced. Chilean government has spent millions upgrading the country's seismic network of sensors, and made improvements to telecommunications systems that share critical information and warnings.
    • The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) has issued tsunami warnings for Chile, Peru and Hawaii shortly after the quake struck for the entire Chilean coast but have been gradually lifted.

    Chile is one of the world’s most earthquake prone country :-

    • Chile is one of the world’s most earthquake prone countries as it lies on so called Pacific Ring of Fire. It is located on the seismically active location that runs along the boundary between the Nazca and South American tectonic plates
    • These plates are continuously grinding each other at a rate of up to 80mm per year. The strongest earthquake recorded on Earth of magnitude 9.3 on Richter scale had hit Chile in 1960 which had killed more than 5000 people


  • NHAI global arm to build roads in Iran, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan


    NHAI global arm to build roads in Iran, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan


    • National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will not be limited to India but it is getting offers from Iran, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan to build roads and highways considering which Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari will soon set up a separate body "NHAI International" to tap into road building possibilities outside India. 
    • NHAI International will be a set-up outside the existing ambit of NHAI and will have its offices in several countries. It will work as a contractor mostly in neighbouring countries on the same model as railways PSUs  IRCON, Railtel and RITES are undertaking construction and consultancy projects internationally. 
    • Recently, Iranian foreign Minister met the roads minister in Delhi and requested him to take up the roads and highways construction projects in Iran. The ministry has similar proposals from Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bhutan 
    • The government has decided to increase India's national highways network to 1.5 lakh km within a year by adding 50,000 km more to the existing network. Roads ministry is already in the process to increase its road building capacity with the target of achieving 30 km of roads construction every day by March 2016. 
    • The government is also planning to set up a separate body to undertake its expressways project. The ministry has planned to build more than eight expressways at a cost of Rs 16,500 crore 

    Proposal to built mass rapid transport system :-

    • There's a proposal to build Rs 4,000 crore mass rapid transport system that connects Manesar to Dhaula Kuan. The work on the project is expected to start by the end of this year 
    • Under this project, small, fully automatic, driverless vehicles known as pods will travel suspended under an overhead network. The overhead network will be laid on the median of the highway stretch. 
    • The government is likely to set up a separate body on the lines of DMRC to build more such projects around the National Capital Region 
  • Godavari, Krishna Rivers formally interlinked in Andhra Pradesh


    Godavari, Krishna Rivers formally interlinked in Andhra Pradesh


    • Andhra Pradesh has created history by completing the Krishna-Godavari linking project to divert about 80 TMC of water from river Godavari river to Krishna. Godavari was formally interlinked  with the Krishna at Ibrahimpatnam near Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh.
    • This historic step is being seen as a boon for farmers of Krishna delta who are facing water scarcity.The interlinking involves diversion of about 80 TMC of water from Godavari river to Krishna via a canal.  State government has named this historic occasion as ‘Krishna-Godavari Pavitra Sangamam’ meaning holy confluence in Telugu.
    • Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu performed puja at Ibrahimpatnam near Vijayawada. He then switched on a pump, commissioning an irrigation project that will pump Godavari waters into a canal 4 km away. From there, it will flow 174 km to meet the Krishna river.

    Key facts :-

    • Prakasam Barrage in Vijayawada is where the water will be stored and diverted to irrigate paddy crop on seven lakh acres in the Krishna, West and East Godavari districts, often called the rice bowl of the country.
    • It will also be used to bring drought prone area Rayalaseema region (Anantpur, Kurnool and Kadapa districts) under irrigation through Srisailam reservoir as it faces acute shortage of water for irrigation from June to August every year.
    • It will save around 80 thousand million cubic feet (TMCs) surplus water directly flowing from Godavari River into Bay of Bengal which will be used for irrigation purpose.
    • The inter-linking of both rivers was dream of eminent engineer and former Union minister Kanuri Lakshmana Rao (He is considered as father of the Indian Irrigation System).
  • Government of India launches Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY) 


    Government of India launches Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY)


    • Union Government has launched the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY) which will enable states to utilize the District Mineral Funds (DMF) for the welfare of people and areas affected by mining operations.
    • Minister of Mines and Steel Shri Narendra Singh Tomar said, PMKKKY is a revolutionary and unprecedented scheme of its kind, which will transform the lives of people living in areas which are affected directly or indirectly by mining. 

    The objective of  Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY) will be :- 

    • To implement various developmental and welfare projects/programs in mining affected areas that complement the existing ongoing schemes/projects of State and Central Government
    • To minimize/mitigate the adverse impacts, during and after mining, on the environment, health and socio-economics of people in mining districts
    • To ensure long-term sustainable livelihoods for the affected people in mining areas.

    In Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY) care has been taken to include all aspects of living, to ensure substantial improvement in the quality of life. High priority areas like drinking water supply, health care, sanitation, education, skill development, women and child care, welfare of aged and disabled people, skill development and environment conservation will get at least 60 % share of the funds

    For creating a supportive and conducive living environment, balance funds will be spent on making roads, bridges, railways, waterways projects, irrigation and alternative energy sources.

    This way, government is facilitating mainstreaming of the people from lower strata of society, tribals and forest-dwellers who have no wherewithal and are affected the most from mining activities. 

    About District Mineral Foundations (DMFs) :-

    • In March, Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015 (MMDR Act) was passed, paving the way for auction of major mineral-bearing mines. It also stipulates creation of a DMF for the interest and benefit of the persons and areas affected by mining-related operations.
    • In case of mining leases executed before January 12, 2015 (the date of coming into force of the MMDR Act) miners will have to contribute an amount equal to 30 per cent of the royalty payable by them to the DMFs and for the mining leases that are granted after January 12 this year, the rate of contribution would be 10 per cent of royalty payable.
    • DMFs will have to consult the gram panchayats in the district while taking major decisions and will have to provide periodic reports on the projects undertaken by them. 
    • The Central Government has issued a directive to the State Governments, under Section 20A of the MMDR Act, 1957, laying down the guidelines for implementation of PMKKKY and directing the States to incorporate the same in the rules framed by them for the DMFs.



  • Perumanna Grama Panchayat becomes first Panchayat in Kerala to declare a Water Policy


    Perumanna Grama Panchayat becomes first Panchayat in Kerala to declare a Water Policy


    • Perumanna grama panchayat in Kozhikode district has become the first panchayat in the State to declare a water policy on the lines of the State government’s water policy declared in 2008.
    • The water policy of Perumanna was drafted with the help of the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management, Kunnamangalam, after a detailed study of water resources and usage in the panchayat over the last two years.

    Key facts of the drafted water policy :-

    1. The panchayat has drafted a 13-point action plan to ensure proper utilisation and conservation of water in its 18 wards.
    2. The first of the policy to increase water literacy in the panchayat through extensive water conservation and awareness programmes.There will be a water conservation volunteer in every neighbourhood group.
    3. Water conservation committees which work in tandem with the committees for agriculture, basic development, education, health and industrial development will incorporate in its activities the essence of the water and environment policy of the State government.
    4. The water policy is designed in such a way that the panchayat will be garbage free by 2020, thus eliminating water pollution completely.The amount of clean water required for each activity in the panchayat till 2030 will be estimated.
    5. The distribution of water will be arranged taking into consideration the necessity and availability of water in such a way that the water cycle is completed.
    6. Large scale use of water that would have an impact on environment will be discouraged. Disposal of waste will be a major criterion to approve any new project.
  • Nana Patekar sets up Naam Foundation to fund drought relief for farmers


    Nana Patekar sets up Naam Foundation to fund drought relief for farmers


    Nana Patekar has established an organisation which will provide aid to farmers overcome by drought conditions. The organisation has been named as 'Naam Foundation.

    The 'Naam Foundation' has now been set up for donating money to drought affected farmers. It is the brainchild of Nana Patekar and fellow Marathi actor Makrand Anaspure.

    Nana Patekar was inundated with doting fans when he arrived at the registrar's office for the registration of his new foundation many fans clicked selfies with Patekar, several also offered donations for the cause.

    A bank account has also been opened with State Bank of India where people can deposit money for the cause. The account number, IFSC code and RIFT code have been provided.

    • Current Account Number: 35226127148
    • IFSC Code No: SBIN 0006319
    • Swift Code No: SBININBB238
  • Afghan refugee teacher Aqeela Asifi awarded with 2015 Nansen Refugee Award by UNHCR


    Afghan refugee teacher Aqeela Asifi awarded with 2015 Nansen Refugee Award by UNHCR

    • Afghan refugee teacher Aqeela Asifi, who has dedicated her life to bringing education to refugee girls in Pakistan, has won the 2015 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award.
    • Aqeela Asifi was awarded for her brave and tireless dedication to education for Afghan refugee girls in the Kot Chandana refugee village in Mianwali, Pakistan. Despite minimal resources and significant cultural challenges, Asifi guided a thousand refugee girls through their primary education.
    • Asifi is a former teacher who fled from Kabul with her family in 1992, finding safety in the remote refugee settlement of Kot Chandana. She was dismayed by the lack of schooling for girls in the village.
    • Aqeela Asifi, was determined to give these girls a chance to learn and with time she convinced the community and began teaching just a handful of pupils in a makeshift school tent. 
    • Afghanistan is the largest, most protracted refugee crisis in the world. Over 2.6 million Afghans currently live in exile and over half of them are children. Access to education is vital for successful repatriation, resettlement or local integration for refugees

    About UNHCR's Nansen Refugee Award:

    • UNHCR's Nansen Refugee Award recognizes extraordinary humanitarian work on behalf of refugees, internally displaced or stateless people. The award includes a commemorative medal and a US$100,000 monetary prize. In close consultation with UNHCR, the laureate uses the monetary prize to fund a project that complements their existing work.


  • Cricketer Shivnarine Chanderpaul receives Icon Award


    Cricketer Shivnarine Chanderpaul receives Icon Award


    • Veteran Test cricket left-hander Shiv Chanderpaul has been honoured with the Icon Award by the Indo-Caribbean Alliance.
    • Chanderpaul was awarded in a ceremony held in New York recently. It should be noted that Icon Award is the New York City-based organisation's highest award 
    • The others receiving awards were television personality Lakshmee Singh, New York City council member Eric Ulrich and businessman Dave Kadernauth.

    About Shiv Chanderpaul :-

    • Chanderpaul has been one of the most prolific run-scorers in West Indies cricket, amassing 11,867 runs from 164 Tests at an average of 51. He is only second to Brian Lara in aggregate.
    • Chanderpaul was sacked in May for poor form ahead of the Australia series and was also recently overlooked for the tour of Sri Lanka beginning next month. He has not retired from international cricket
  • Shot putter Manpreet Kaur shatters national record


    Shot putter Manpreet Kaur shatters national record


    • Railways shot putter Manpreet Kaur smashed an 18-year-old national record to win gold and qualify for next year's Olympics on the opening day of the 55th National Open Athletics Championships 
    • Railways bagged a total of eight medals on the day. Their tally included three golds, one silver and four bronze medals. Services and ONGC were the next best performers with two medals each. Both ended up with a gold and silver each on the opening day
    • Manpreet Kaur who had the previous best of 16.39 at last year's Delhi National Open, threw the iron ball to 17.96m in her second attempt to shatter Harbans Kaur's earlier national record of 17.43m that stood since 1997.
    • Manpreet Kaur has been trained by her husband Karamjeet Singh, an university level shotputter. It should be noted that  previous record holder Harbans Kaur too worked in the same department of Railways where she's currently posted.

2nd Aug

Exam Date : 02-08-2016

Exam Time : 07:15:00

Ques/Time : 6/5 min


Exam Date : 01-08-2016

Exam Time : 06:00:00

Ques/Time : 8/5 min

Todays test

Exam Date : 22-07-2016

Exam Time : 05:10:00

Ques/Time : 3/5 min