Indian Polity

Strategic Command of CRPF: The strategic command of CRPF that deals with anti-naxalite operations has been shifted from Kolkata to Chhattisgarh. In 2010, the central zone command headquarters was shifted from Raipur to Kolkata owing to logistics and connectivity issues. The recent decision comes at the backdrop of ambush in Sukma district that killed 37 jawans of the paramilitary force. CRPF is the largest central armed police force or paramilitary force in India. It functions under the aegis of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). It was established in 1939, under Crown Representative’s Police but after independence, it was made statutory after enactment of the CRPF Act, 1949. Its primary role is to assist States/Union Territories in police operations to maintain law and order and contain the insurgency. Apart from anti-Naxal operations, CRPF personnel also carries out several operations in situations of crisis like terrorist attacks, counter-terrorism operations, rescuing citizens during terrorist attacks among others.
Assam is declared as a Disturbed Area under AFSPA for 3 more months: The government has declared the entire Assam as a “disturbed” area under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act for another 3 months. As per the notification, the entire Assam besides bordering areas of Meghalaya has been declared as “Disturbed Areas”. In addition, the government has placed three districts of Arunachal Pradesh, namely, Tirap, Changlang and Longding and other areas falling under 16 police stations bordering Assam as “disturbed” area under the AFSPA. The government has cited various violent activities carried out by certain insurgent groups like ULFA, NDFB and others as a reason behind the extension of AFSPA. In Assam, 75 incidents of violence have been reported in 2016 and 9 in 2017. The Assam has been placed under AFSPA since November 1990. The AFSPA has been under force in the three Arunachal Pradesh districts since January 2016.
Draft Rules for No Fly List: The government has come up with three levels of disruptions for flyers who are unruly in their behaviour:
Level 1 Disruptive behaviour such as physical gestures. The unruly passenger would be suspended from flying for a time period of three months.
Level 2 Physically abusive behaviour and sexual harassment. The passenger would be suspended from flying for a time period of six months.
Level 3 Murderous assault or life-threatening behaviour as well as causing damage to aircraft operating systems would invite suspension from flying for a time period of 2 years or more.
The above punishments would be applicable to the domestic carriers but the international airlines can also make use of these inputs if they want to.
SAMPADA Scheme: SAMPADA is an umbrella scheme incorporating ongoing schemes of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) such as Mega Food Parks, Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure, Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure, etc. It will also incorporate the new schemes like Infrastructure for Agro-processing Clusters, Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages, as well as Creation / Expansion of Food Processing & Preservation Capacities. SAMPADA with an allocation of Rs. 6,000 crore is expected to benefit 20 lakh farmers and generate 5,30,500 direct and indirect employment opportunities in the country by the year 2019-20. The objective of SAMPADA is to supplement agriculture, modernize processing of agri products and decrease their wastage. It was in news as the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved re-structuring the schemes of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) under new Central Sector Scheme called as SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters) for the time period 2016-20.
Madhya Pradesh becomes the first state to shift the fiscal year from January to December from next fiscal.

International Affairs

UN-Habitat: UN-Habitat was in news as India has been appointed as the President of UN-Habitat. UN-Habitat, an organ of the United Nations’ Organisation (UNO) reports to the United Nations General Assembly. UN-Habitat promotes socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements across the world. India has been elected as the President of UN-Habitat after a gap of 10 years. This is only the third time that India has been elected as the President of UN-Habitat after 2007 and 1988. The UN-Habitat was established in 1978.
156th Birth Anniversary of Tagore related cultural festival in Egypt: India will organise Tagore cultural Festival in Egypt to mark the 156th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore from May 8-12. Tagore Festival will be organised by the Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture (MACIC), which is the cultural wing of the Indian Embassy in Cairo. Tagore visited Egypt as a young adolescent in 1878 and later in 1926. Tagore was impressed by the strong literary trends of Egypt. On his visit, he met King Fouad and has interacted with many scholars in Alexandria and Cairo. He had an enduring friendship with Egyptian poet Ahmed Shawki and wrote a moving eulogy on his death in 1932. Tagore had also written about the beautiful relationship between the Nile River and the flourishing civilisation of Egyptians.
THAAD: The US’ Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system is operational in South Korea to guard against missile threats emanating from North Korea. South Korea is concerned about the nuclear threat posed by the North Korea especially after the accession of Kim Jong-un as the supreme leader of North Korea in 2012. However, China and North Korea have continually called the deployment of THAAD in South Korea as an act of aggression. It is similar to Iron Dome defence system of Israel.
Safe Zones in Syria: Russia and Iran which are allies of the Syrian regime as well as the rebel supporter Turkey signed a Russia-backed plan for creating safe zones in Syria. The pact which was signed in the Kazakh capital Astana was meant to halt fighting in the war-torn Syria. However, the Syrian government and rebel delegations were not signatories to the agreement. Russia-backed plan to create safe zones in Syria is targeted at further pacification and cessation of hostilities and a halt in fighting in the zones.

Economic Affairs

India’s First Bio-refinery Plant set up in Pune: India’s First Integrated Bio-refinery for Renewable Fuels & Chemicals for producing ethanol from a variety of biomass is situated at Rahu in Pune district of Maharashtra. It is capable of producing one million litres of ethanol per annum by processing a variety of biomass like rice and wheat straw, cotton stalk, bagasse, cane trash, corn cobs & stover with superior product yields. Biofuel is cost-effective and pollution-free. Ethanol blending is the practice of blending petrol with ethanol. Globally many countries including India, have resorted to ethanol blending to reduce vehicle exhaust emissions The inauguration of the refinery paves the way for stepping up 20% ethanol blending program and can reduce the import burden of crude petroleum.
Madhya Pradesh to have India’s first private sector small arms manufacturing plant: India’s first private sector small arms manufacturing plant has been inaugurated in Madhya Pradesh to supply world class weapons to the armed forces in line with the India’s defence indigenisation programme. The plant is a joint venture between India’s Punj Lloyd and Israel Weapon Systems. The plant will manufacture four products, namely, X95 carbine and assault rifle, Galil sniper rifle, Tavor assault rifle and Negev Light Machine Gun (LMG). The joint venture company named as Punj Lloyd Raksha Systems will help in replacing the weapons used by the armed forces with sophisticated and high precision products.
World’s Highest Railway Bridge: World’s highest railway bridge which will be 35 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower is to come up over the Chenab River in Jammu and Kashmir. The bridge will connect Bakkal (Katra) and Kauri (Srinagar). The bridge will be a part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project. At present the tallest bridge is Beipan river Shuibai railway bridge (275 m) in China.

Environment and Ecology

Outcome of Swatchh Sarvekshana 2017: Indore has been adjudged as the cleanest city in India while Gonda in Uttar Pradesh has been ranked as the dirtiest city among surveyed. In total, 434 cities and towns with a population of one lakh and above were surveyed. Last year survey had surveyed only 73 cities with a population of 10 lakh and above. Cities and towns in West Bengal did not take part in the survey as the Mamata Banerjee government did not participate in the Swachh Survekshan. Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have emerged as the best performing states.
Banganappalle Mango: The Registrar of Geographical Indications Registry, Chennai, has accorded GI Tag for the much famed Banganapalle Mango of Andhra Pradesh. Henceforth, Andhra Pradesh government will be the registered proprietor of the GI tag for Banganapalle mangoes. Banganapalle mango is known for its sweetness and is known as “the King of fruits.” Banganapalle mangoes can retain their quality under cold storage even up to three months and have been growing in Andhra Pradesh for over 100 years. The primary centre of origin of the fruit is Kurnool district. Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra are the secondary centres of origin. Khammam, Mahabubnagar, Rangareddy, Medak and Adilabad districts in Telangana also form as secondary centres of origin.

Environment and Ecology

South-Asian Satellite: The “South Asia satellite” for use by countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region has been launched on May 5. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has hailed the satellite as an invaluable gift of India to South Asia and has further stated that the satellite “will go a long way in addressing South Asia’s economic and developmental priorities.” During the 2014 SAARC summit that held in Nepal, the plan for the satellite was announced and subsequently all SAARC countries have joined it except Pakistan. Hence, the beneficiaries of the satellite will be Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives. The total cost of launching the satellite (around Rs 235 crore) would be met by the Government of India. The satellite is named as GSAT-9 and was launched using GSLV-MK II Launch Vehicle.
Agni-II test fired successfully: India has successfully carried out a fresh user trial of Agni-II ballistic missile from a defence test facility in the Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha. The objective of the test was to re-establish the operational effectiveness of the weapon system. It is a nuclear-capable, surface-to-surface missile which forms a part of India’s strategic forces arsenal for nuclear deterrence with a range of over 2000 km. It can carry a payload of 1000kg. It can be fired from both rail and road mobile launchers and it takes only 15 minutes for the missile to be readied for firing.

Person in News

Emmanuel Macron: Thirty-nine-year-old Emmanuel Macron has been elected as the president of France. He has become the youngest President and occupant of the Élysée Palace. He is also the first President of France outside of that country’s two traditional main parties. Emmanuel Macron was the former investment banker. He had served for two years as the French economy minister. However, he has never held elected office so far. Emmanuel Macron’s movement called ‘En Marche’ counts more than 200,000 followers.
Justice Leila Seth: Justice Leila Seth who became the first woman Chief Justice of a State High Court has passed away at the age of 86. She has also received the distinction of becoming the first woman to top the London Bar exam as well as the becoming the first female judge of the Delhi High Court. Leila Seth is the mother of the noted author Vikram Seth. Justice Leila Seth had also served as member of the 15th Law Commission of India (1997 to 2000). She was also member of the Justice JS Verma committee which was mandated to take a relook at the criminal laws after the December 16 gang rape incident. The committee’s work resulted in the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, that widened the definition of rape and made the punishment more stringent.


MTV Movie & TV Awards: These awards are in news because they have become the first genderless awards of the cinema industry. Hollywood actor Emma Watson has received the first-ever Genderless Acting Award for the Best Actor category at the MTV Movie and TV Awards. This is the first ever genderless award that doesn’t separate nominees based on their sex. The 2017 edition of the MTV Movie & TV Awards were held on May 7, 2017, in Los Angeles, California. It was the 26th edition of the awards. The MTV Movie & TV Awards is a film and television awards presented annually to winners decided online by the general public


Tallahassee Tennis Challenger: Tallahassee Tennis Challenger is a professional tennis tournament that is currently played as a part of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Challenger Tour. The tournament is played on outdoor hard courts. Since 2000, it is held annually at the Forestmeadows Tennis Complex in Tallahassee, Florida, United States. It was in news recently as top-seeded Indo-American pair of Leander Paes and Scott Lipsky has won the double’s title.

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Topper Speaks

Khandagale Dhammapal
Khandagale Dhammapal Rank-1020 Year-2017 (IAS)
Dear Sir thank you for your warm wishes. I always had conviction in my abilities and the constant support and guidance from teachers and mentors like you helped me a lot in this strenuous journey , I would also like to thank you from the bottom of the heart for taking pains of providing questions on my DAF for personality test and sending me interview preparation book from Delhi to remote location of Latur in Maharastra. Once again thank you for helping me realize my dream.
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