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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 17th January 2020

Daily Current Affairs for Government Exams:

Today Current Affairs: 17th January 2020 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc.


  1. GSAT-30(India’s first satellite of 2020).
  2. 29th Saraswati Samman.
  3. K9 VAJRA-T Gun.
  4. Road Safety Meeting.
  5. Australian Bushfire.
  6. First Biotechnology Park in Rajasthan.
  7. Globalizing Indian Thought.
  8. Telecommunication Consumers Education and Protection Fund.
  9. National Investigation Act, 2008.
  10. Open Acreage Licensing Policy Round-V (OALP-V):
  11. Other important current affairs.


1. GSAT-30(India’s first satellite of 2020):

India’s telecommunication satellite GSAT-30 was successfully launched into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) on January 17, 2020, from Kourou launch base, French Guiana by Ariane-5 VA-251.

  • According to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), GSAT-30 is aimed at providing high-quality television, telecommunications and broadcasting services.
  • With a mission life of 15 years, GSAT-30 is an operational communication satellite for DTH, television uplink and VSAT services.
  • GSAT-30 will serve as a replacement to the aging INSAT-4A spacecraft services with enhanced coverage.


2. 29th Saraswati Samman:

Eminent Sindhi writer Vasdev Mohi will be conferred with 29th Saraswati Samman for his short stories collection- Chequebook.

  • Mr. Mohi has authored 25 books of poetry, stories, and translations.
  • He has also received the Sahitya Akademi Award.

The award is annually given to an outstanding work of an Indian citizen published during the last 10 years in any of the languages mentioned in Schedule 8 of the constitution.

  • Instituted by: KK Birla Foundation in 1991.
  • Cash Prize: 15 lakh rupees.
  • Besides the Saraswati Samman, the K.K. Birla foundation also gives away two other literary awards Vyas Samman and Bihari Puraskar besides G.D Birla Award for scientific research.


3. K9 VAJRA-T Gun:

Shri Rajnath Singh flagged off 51st K9 VAJRA-T Gun from Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Armoured System Complex at Hazira in Gujarat.

  • K-9 Vajra-T Gun is a 155-mm, 52-caliber self-propelled artillery gun with a maximum range of 40 km.
  • The fire control system has been customized for desert conditions.
  • Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Defence is currently executing the ‘K9 VAJRA-T’ Tracked, Self-Propelled Howitzer Guns program – the contract awarded to the company by Ministry of Defence through global competitive bidding.
  • In 2017, the Indian engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and South Korea’s Hanwha Techwin signed a contract to make 100 K9 Vajra-T guns.
  • All 100 guns will be delivered by November 2020.


4. Road Safety Meeting:

Recently, the 18th meeting of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) and the 39th meeting of Transport Development Council (TDC) was held in New Delhi under the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH).

  • The ministry is discussing with States the steps required for improving the engagement of the society towards accidents, and victims, whose life can be saved within the first ‘golden hour.’
  • Golden hour refers to the immediate one-hour time period following a traumatic injury, during which, chances of preventing death by way of prompt medical treatment are the highest.

Different road safety aspects discussed in the meeting:

  • The Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act 2019
  • Tourist Vehicles Authorisation and Permit Rules 2019
  • Bus port guidelines
  • Digitization of transport and abolition of border check posts
  • Inter-state transfer of vehicle registration and driving licenses
  • Harmonization of road tax across States – One Nation One Tax
  • Vehicle scrapping policy
  • Guidelines for setting up, authorization and operation of vehicle scrapping facility
  • Implementation of a vehicle tracking platform under the Nirbhaya framework.
  • The meeting also highlighted a 36% improvement on national highways and 26% on State highways.


5. Australian Bushfire:

Australia is witnessing its most devastating bushfire season in at least 20 years.

  • Forest fires, or bushfires, routinely occur across the world in hot and dry seasons.
  • Reason: Dry leaves, grass, shrubs, deadwood, etc are easily combustible. Ignition happens naturally, from lightning strikes for example, or accidentally, from sources such as cigarette stubs.
  • Suitable speed and direction of wind help spread a forest fire faster.
  • It usually comes to an end due to rain or because there is no further contiguous vegetation to spread to.
  • Sometimes, fires are ignited on purpose, for example, in 2019, the fires in the Amazon forests in Brazil had become controversial because they were largely seen to have been a result of deliberate burning by farmers and large agro-industry players keen on getting more land.
  • This Australian summer, the spread and intensity of forest fires are something never seen before. The fire has impacted more than 10.3 million hectares of forest land so far, an area the size of South Korea. People and millions of wild animals have died.


6. First Biotechnology Park in Rajasthan:

Rajasthan government will be signing a memorandum of understanding with the Centre’s Department of Biotechnology to set up its first biotechnology park and incubation center in the state.

  • The biotechnology park and incubation center would be set up in the State with the support of the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).
  • This will enable the State government to take up research in the field of biotechnology and provide employment to the youths.
  • It would also help to promote interdisciplinary field research such as bioinformatics, biomedical engineering, and nanomedicine.
  • Further, it will also help to promote biotechnology on the lines of health, agriculture, industry, and food which will intensify the science-based manufacturing in industrialization.

Biotechnology Parks and Incubators:

  • The Department of Biotechnology has established Biotechnology Parks/Incubators across the country to translate research into products and services by providing the necessary infrastructure support.
  • These Biotechnology Parks offer facilities to Scientists, and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) for technology incubation, technology demonstration and pilot plant studies for accelerated commercial development of Biotechnology.
  • The Department so far has supported 9 Biotechnology Parks in various States.
  • The Department has also come up with the ‘National Biotechnology Parks Scheme’.
  • The scheme aims to create an ecosystem to absorb the start-ups which have graduated from incubators and give them a platform for further scaling up their R&D activities in collaboration with the state government and industry.


7. Globalizing Indian Thought”:

The International Conclave on “Globalizing Indian Thought” was held in IIM, Kozhikode. PM Modi addressed the conclave. The conclave aimed at revealing India’s thoughts in becoming one of the top three economies of the world.

  • India is stepping towards the goal of becoming a 5 trillion Dollar economy by 2025.
  • This will make India one of the top three economies in the world after the US and China.
  • It is essential for India to reveal its path while it is achieving such goals.
  • Conclave is an initiative to achieve this.
  • The Conclave focuses on India’s thoughts on development.
  • The thoughts are as follows:
    • Satyam-Truth
    • Nithyam-Sustainability
    • Putnam-Wholeness.
  • The conversations on globalization have so far been synonymous with westernization.
  • India does not contribute to such conversations.
  • Through these conclaves, India says that India has always stuck to its intellectual heritage, innovative knowledge system, and rich traditions.
  • According to India, the three thoughts Satyam, Nithyam and Purnam influence the world greatly.


8. Telecommunication Consumers Education and Protection Fund:

Recently, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has directed telecom service providers to put all unclaimed subscriber money in consumer protection fund.

  • TRAI has notified the amendment to the Telecommunication Consumers Education and Protection Fund (TCEPF) regulations to remove any kind of ambiguity and facilitate the deposit of any unclaimed money of the consumer.
  • With this amendment service providers will deposit any unclaimed consumer money of any form such as excess charges, security deposit, plan charges of failed activations, or any amount belonging to a consumer, which service providers are unable to refund to consumers.
  • It provides a time of 12 months or period of limitation specified under law whichever is later, after which unclaimed consumer money should be deposited to the fund.
  • Ambiguity before the amendment: While some service providers were depositing money only on account of excess billing, others were depositing unclaimed money such as security deposits and plan charges of failed activations.
  • Telecommunication Consumers Education and Protection Fund Regulations were notified in 2007
  • The income from the fund is utilized for programs and activities relating to consumer education and protection


9. Chhattisgarh government has moved the Supreme Court against the National Investigation Act, 2008 stating it is violative of the Constitution.:

Objections by Chhattisgarh:

  • In its petition, the Chhattisgarh government said the Act “ultra vires the Constitution” and “beyond the legislative competence of the Parliament”.
  • According to the state, the 2008 Act allows the Centre to create an agency for investigation, which is a function of the state police. ‘Police’ is an entry in the State List of the Constitution’s 7th Schedule.
  • The Act takes away the state’s power of conducting an investigation through the police while conferring “unfettered, discretionary and arbitrary powers” on the Centre.

What is the NIA Act?

  • The law governs the functioning of India’s premier counter-terror agency.
  • It was passed in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks.
  • It makes the National Investigation Agency the only truly federal agency in the country, along the lines of the FBI in the United States, more powerful than the CBI.

The 2019 NIA Amendment Act:

  • It expanded the type of offenses that the investigative body could investigate and prosecute. The agency can now investigate offenses related to human trafficking, counterfeit currency, manufacture or sale of prohibited arms, cyber-terrorism, and offenses under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.
  • The amendment also enables the central government to designate sessions courts as special courts for NIA trials.


10. Open Acreage Licensing Policy Round-V (OALP-V):

The government has launched the bidding process offering 11 areas in oil and gas blocks under Open Acreage Licensing Policy Round-V (OALP-V).

What is Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP)?

  • A critical part of the Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy.
  • Provides uniform licenses for exploration and production of all forms of hydrocarbons, enabling contractors to explore conventional as well as unconventional oil and gas resources.
  • Fields are offered under a revenue-sharing model and throw up marketing and pricing freedom for crude oil and natural gas produced.


Other important current affairs:

1. The Punjab Cabinet has given its approval to a Punjab Right to Business Bill, 2020.

  • It is aimed at ensuring ease of doing business for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector.
  • Under the law, an MSME unit can be set up after ‘In-Principle’ approval from the District Bureau of Enterprise, headed by the Deputy Commissioner, working under the guidance of the State Nodal Agency, headed by the Director, Industries.

2. Yada Yada virus Detected recently in Australian mosquitoes.

  • It belonged to a group that includes other alphaviruses such as chikungunya virus and the astern equine encephalitis.
  • Even so, the novel virus poses no threat to human beings, because it is a part of a group of viruses that only infect mosquitoes.
  • Other viruses in the same group include the Tai forest alphavirus and the Agua Salud alphavirus.

3. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) has notified the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Voluntary Liquidation Process) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020.

  • The amendment provides that a Liquidator shall deposit the number of unclaimed dividends and undistributed proceeds in a liquidation process along with any income earned thereon into the Corporate Voluntary Liquidation Account before submission of an application for dissolution of the corporate person.
  • It also provides a process for a stakeholder to seek withdrawal from the Corporate Voluntary Liquidation Account.

4. RBI has issued directions under Section 10(2) of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 (Act 51 of 2007) to increase the security of card transactions. These shall come into effect from March 16, 2020.

  • RBI has asked banks to allow only domestic card transactions at ATMs and point of sale (PoS) terminals in India at the time of issuance or re-issuance of a card.
  • The RBI has also asked banks to offer all cardholders the facility to switch on or off and set or modify transaction limits within the overall card limit.


  • The People’s Congress of Tibet passed a law that makes ethnic unity in the region mandatory.
  • These regulations will come into effect from May 1 and are meant to “strengthen ethnic unity”.
  • The law makes it clear that Tibet has been an inalienable part of China since ancient times and that it is the common responsibility of the people of all ethnic groups to safeguard national reunification and take a clear stand against separatism.
  • There are more than 40 ethnic minorities in the region, which account for 95 percent of Tibet’s population of over three million.

6. According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the year 2019 was the second-hottest year since records began in 1880.

  • It has also warned that heat is likely to lead to more extreme weather events like the Australian bushfires in 2020 and beyond.
  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has declared the 2010-19 decade to have been India’s hottest since records began in 1901, with the average temperature 0.36 degrees Celsius higher than the 30-year 1981-2010 average.
  • 2019 was India’s seventh hottest year on record.

7. China’s President Xi Jinping will be visiting Myanmar to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Myanmar.

  • President’s visit will focus on the three pillars of the China Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC)— the Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone, the China-Myanmar Border Economic Cooperation Zone, and the New Yangon City.
  • CMEC is a branch of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the Indian Ocean.
  • The CMEC to the Bay of Bengal is the replica of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that connects Beijing’s western province of Xinjiang to Karachi and Gwadar on the Arabian Sea.

8. Indian Advocate Harish Salve was recently appointed as Queen’s Counsel (QC) for England and Wales courts.

  • Salve will join the office of the Queen’s Counsel on March 16, 2020.

9. Indian teenage wrestler Anshu Malik won in the women’s 57kg freestyle event of the season ‘s first major competition, the Ranking Series in Rome.

  • She lost to Nigeria’s Odunayo Adekuoroye for the score 10-0.
  • Rome Ranking Series 2020: Rome Ranking Series 2020 was announced by the United World Wrestling.
  • The event is being held from 15-18 January 2020.

10. The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Export Promotion Council (MSNE-EPC) is organizing the first three-day summit from 17 January 2020.

  • It is organized by the Assam state government.
  • Aim: The aim is to aspiring entrepreneurs in the North East to pave the way for the development of entrepreneurship and businesses by women and youths of the region.

11. The Indian Army conducted the airborne Exercise Winged Raider in the North-Eastern theatre on 10 January 2020.

  • It is the Army’s biggest airborne exercise. It comprises of more than 500 special forces troops.
  • It was conducted from 6-10 January.

12. Scientists discovered a new species of bone-eating worm during a study to investigate the deep ocean’s ecosystem.

  • The bone-eating worm is yet to be named. It is the first of its kind found in the Gulf of Mexico.