Weekly Current Affairs Prelims ( 14th to 20th October, 2018)

zika virus


Weekly Current Affairs Prelims ( 14th to 20th October, 2018)


Topic: Bihar’s Shahi litchi gets GI tag

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Geography

bihar litchi gets gi tag

Why in news?

Recently Bihars Shahi litchi has got the Geographical Indication (GI) tag and has become an exclusive brand in the national and international market.

More about news:

  • The famous Shahi litchi, which is famous for its sweet, juicy, unique flavour and aroma, is mostly grown in Muzaffarpur and neighbouring districts including East Champaran, Vaishali, Samastipur and Begusarai.
  • It has officially become an exclusive brand with the GI tag.
  • The GI registration was done in the name of Litchi Growers Association of Bihar, which had applied for the tag,
  • It added that the districts of Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Samastipur, Champaran and Begusarai and adjoining areas of Bihar can claim for this variant.


  • The GI tag for the fruit will help and benefit thousands of litchi growers who will gain access to more markets and get better price in the country and abroad.
  • The GI tag to Shahi litchi will boost up its demand in the market and will minimize the fear of fake and poor quality litchis.
  • The tag will improve the demand for the fruit and reduce the fear of fake and poor-quality litchis.

About Shahi litchi:

  • Shahi litchi, a variety of the fruit that is grown in five districts of Bihar (namely Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Samastipur, Champaran and Begusarai) and the adjoining areas.
  • It has become the fourth product from the state to receive the status, the others being Jardalu mango, Katarni rice and Magahi paan.
  • This variant of the fruit is known for its attractive appearance and delicious flavour.
  • It is sweet and juicy and has a pearly white aril.
  • Shahi is one of the choicest varieties of litchi in the state.
  • The Shahi litchis grown in Muzaffarpur, Samastipur and the adjoining areas are renowned for their very good sugar acid blend and aroma.
  • The state produces 40 per cent of the litchis grown in India in 38 per cent of the area.

gi tag

Geographical Indications (GI) Tags:

  • A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
  • In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place.
  • In addition, the qualities, characteristics or reputation of the product should be essentially due to the place of origin.
  • Since the qualities depend on the geographical place of production, there is a clear link between the product and its original place of production.
  • The status to the products marks its authenticity and ensures that registered authorized users are allowed to use the popular product name.
  • GI tags are given on the basis of the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.
  • The registration of GI is valid for 10 years after which it needs to be renewed.
  • Violation of GI tags is punishable offence under law.

Advantages of the GI tag:

  • Registered geographical indications have the exclusive right to exploit or use the GIs’ products in the course of trade.
  • The authorized users are allowed to issue infringements
  • It confers legal protection to Geographical Indications in India
  • Prevents unauthorized use of a Registered Geographical Indication by others
  • It provides legal protection to Indian Geographical Indications which in turn boost exports.
  • It promotes economic prosperity of producers of goods produced in a geographical territory.


Sample Question:

Consider the following statements

  1. Recently Bihars Shahi litchi has got the Geographical Indication (GI) tag
  2. The registration of GI is valid for 7 years after which it needs to be renewed.
  3. Shahi litchi, a variety of the fruit that is grown in five districts of Bihar namely Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Samastipur, Champaran and Begusarai.

Choose the correct answer from the codes given below

a) 1 only

b) 1 and 2 only

c) 1 and 3 only

d) All of the above

Answer: c) 1 and 3 only  



Topic: ’75th Year of Establishment of Azad Hind Government’

Topic in Syllabus:  Modern History

indian national army

Why in news?

Recently The Prime Minister of India hoisted the National flag and unveiling the plaque to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the formation of Azad Hind Government on 21st October, 2018, at the Red Fort, Delhi.

More about news:

  • On October 21, 1943, Bose had announced the formation of the country’s first independent government which was called the Azad Hind government.
  • The Azad Hind government was raised by Netaji during the freedom movement.
  • The decision to hoist the national flag at the Red Fort has reportedly been taken because it was the same place where soldiers of the Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fauj) faced trials by the British.
  • Azad Hind government represented the vision laid down by Subhas Chandra Bose, of a strong undivided India.

About Azad Hind Government:

  • Azad Hind Government was an Indian provisional government established in occupied Singapore in 1943 and supported by the Empire of Japan, Nazi Germany, Italian Social Republic, and their allies.
  • It was a part of a political movement originating in the 1940s outside India with the purpose of allying with the Axis powers to free India from British Rule.
  • It was established by Indian nationalists-in-exile during the latter part of the Second World War in Singapore with monetary, military and political assistance from Imperial Japan
  • The government was inspired by the concepts of Subhas Chandra Bose who was also the leader of the government and the Head of State of this Provisional Indian Government-in-exile.
  • The government proclaimed authority over Indian civilian and military personnel in Southeast Asian British colonial territory and prospective authority over Indian Territory to fall to the Japanese forces and the Indian National Army during the Japanese thrust towards India during the Second World War.

Objectives of the government:

  • It will be the task of the provisional Government to launch and to conduct the struggle that will bring about the expulsion of the British and their allies from the soil of India.
  • It will then be the task of the Provisional Government to bring about the establishment of a permanent National Government of Azad Hind constituted in accordance with the will of the Indian people and enjoying their confidence.
  • After the British and their allies are overthrown and until a permanent national Government of Azad Hind is set up on Indian soil, the provisional Government will ad-minister the affairs of the country’ in trust for the Indian people.
  • The provisional Government is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Indian.
  • It guarantees religious liberty, as well as equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens.
  • It declares their firms resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally and transcending all the differences cunningly fostered by an alien government in the past.

Indian areas under the administration of the Provisional Government

  • Almost all of the territory of the Provisional Government lay in the Andaman Islands, although the Provisional Government was allowed some authority over Indian enclaves in Japanese-occupied territories.
  • Provisional Government civil authority was never enacted in areas occupied by the INA instead, Japanese military authority prevailed and responsibility for administration of occupied areas of India was shared between the Japanese and the Indian forces.

Contributions to Indian independence:

The true extent to which the INA’s activities influenced the decision to leave India is mirrored by the views of Clement Attlee, the British prime minister at the time of India’s Independence. Attlee cites several reasons, the most important of which were the INA activities of Subhas Chandra Bose, which weakened the very foundation of the British Empire in India, and the Royal Indian Navy Mutiny which made the British realize that the support of the Indian armed forces could no longer be relied upon.


Sample Question:

Q. Which Indian revolutionary helped Subhash Chandra Bose in raising ‘Indian National Army’ ?

a) Surya Sen
b) Ram Prasad Bismil
c) Rash Behari Bose
d) Batukeshwar Dutt

Answer: Option (c)



Topic: Zika spreads rapidly in India, with 94 cases confirmed

Topic in Syllabus: Science and Technology

 zika virus

Why in news?

As the number of people infected with Zika virus rose to 100, the Center rushed an Indian Council of Medical Research team to Rajasthan to intensify vector control measures.


More about news:

  • The number of people infected with the Zika virus in India has increased to 94 confirmed cases in the western state of Rajasthan, including 22 pregnant women, as of 17 October.
  • The first case was confirmed on September 23 and the number of people who have tested positive for the virus in the city of Jaipur has steadily grown.
  • The state’s health department has deployed 330 teams to affected areas in the Shastri Nagar area in Jaipur to monitor and stall the spread of the infection with intensive fogging of mosquito sites and rigorous surveillance to identify cases early.
  • People who have tested positive are being isolated in hospitals or in their homes and are being monitored closely by officials.
  • Around 434,515 people have been brought under surveillance and 86,903 houses have been checked, according to to India’s Health Ministry.
  • Out of more than 200,000 breeding sites, 74,483 have tested positive for the virus.


Counter measures:

  • Awareness involves informing people in affected areas on prevention measures, such as ensuring there is no stagnant water around their homes, keeping doors and windows closed to make sure mosquitoes do not enter homes and seeking help if they get any of the symptoms associated with Zika.
  • Awareness campaigns have been conducted over the past few years for dengue and Chikungunya, which have seen continued outbreaks in India.
  • To counter this outbreak, the government needs to develop better public health facilities, train more people and put in more money.
  • The Indian government has allocated a little above $2,000, or 147,000 rupees, until now to counter the virus.


Zika virus in India:

  • The first was reported in Ahmedabad in the western Gujarat state around January 2017 with three confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization.
  • The second outbreak was reported in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. According to local media reports, one man tested positive for the virus. Both outbreaks were contained.
  • The third Zika virus outbreak has occurred in Jaipur.

about zika virus

About Zika virus:

  • The Zika virus is a mosquito-transmitted infection. During pregnancy, the virus can cause birth defects in newborn called microcephaly – a condition defined by small heads and brain damage, along with other defects like blindness, deafness, seizures and other congenital defects.
  • Zika virus can also lead to Guillain-Barré syndrome, a form of temporary paralysis in adults that has links to other neurological complications.
  • The symptoms of Zika are similar to dengue and include fever, rarely higher than 102 degrees, skin rashes, bloodshot eyes, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.
  • Zika virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected female mosquito, primarily the Aedes aegypti. This mosquito also spreads yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya. Aedes mosquitoes usually bite during the day, peaking during early morning and late afternoon/evening.
  • Zika virus is primarily transmitted through mosquitoes, it can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can be transmitted by vaginal and anal sex, and possibly by oral sex.
  • First identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys, Zika was detected in humans five years later.


Sample Question:

Q. Consider the following statements with respect to Zika virus

  1. Zika virus is vector borne disease transmitted primarily by daytime-active Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.
  2. First discovered in Zika forest in Uganda.
  3. In India First case of Zika found in Rajasthan.

Choose the correct answer from the codes given below

a) 1 only

b) 1 and 3 only

c) 1 and 2 only

d) All of the above

Answer: c) 1 and 2 only



Topic: Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi launched

Topic in Syllabus: Ecology and Environment

Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi launched

Why in news?

Recently Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi was launched in Delhi by the Union Minister for Earth Sciences and Environment.


More about news:

  • The System is designed to predict extreme air pollution events and give alerts to take necessary steps as per Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) of the Government of India.
  • The air pollution system has been developed jointly by the scientists at Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, India Meteorological Department and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF).
  • The early warning system will help in proactively forewarning, 3-4 days in advance, any large scale air pollution events which may occur over the Delhi region.


The warning system consists of

  • Real time observations of air quality over Delhi region and details about natural aerosols like dust (from dust storms) and particulate matter using different satellite data sets
  • Predictions of air pollutants from two different air quality prediction systems based on state-of-the-art atmospheric chemistry transport models and
  • Warning Messages and Alerts and Bulletins.


Early Warning Systems

  • The term ‘early warning’ is used in many fields to describe the provision of information on an emerging dangerous hazard that enables advance action to reduce the associated risks.
  • Early warning systems exist for natural geophysical and biological hazards, complex socio-political emergencies, industrial hazards and personal health risks, among many others.
  • Damage caused by flooding early warning is a major element of disaster risk reduction. Early action can often prevent a hazard turning into a human disaster by preventing loss of life and reducing the economic and material impacts. To be effective and sustainable they must actively involve the communities at risk.
  • Early warning systems can be set up to avoid or reduce the impact of hazards such as floods, landslides, storms, and forest fires. The significance of an effective early warning system lies in the recognition of its benefits by local people.
  • Practical Action is working in many countries that are regularly affected by natural disasters. In these countries we use cutting-edge resilience measurement tools to explore innovative early warning systems with hazard-prone communities to provide the advance warning they need.


Sample Question:

Q) Air Quality Early Warning System has been developed jointly by

  1. Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM)
  2. India Meteorological Department
  3. National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF).

Choose the correct answer from the above

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c) 1 and 3 only

d) All of the above

Answer: d) all of the above



Topic: 12th ASEM Summit

Topic in Syllabus: International Affairs

12th ASEM Summit

Why in news?

The 12th ASEM Summit (ASEM12) was successfully held on 18-19 October 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.


More about news:

  • The summit was chaired by the European Council President Donald TUSK. European Commission President Jean-Claude JUNCKER and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica MOGHERINI, also represented the EU at the summit.
  • The bi-annual event is considered the highest platform for dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe in the areas of trade, investment, security and tourism.
  • Discussions focused on the theme “Europe and Asia: Global Partners for Global Challenges”.


The ASEM summit brought together:

  • Heads of state or government of 51 European and Asian countries
  • Representatives of the European Union
  • The Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).


The summit is sought to strengthen dialogue and cooperation between the two continents on a wide range of areas, including:

  • trade & investment
  • connectivity
  • sustainable development and climate
  • Security challenges such as terrorism, non-proliferation, cyber-security, irregular migration.


Asia–Europe Meeting:

  • The Asia–Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an Asian–European political dialogue forum to enhance relations and various forms of cooperation between its partners.
  • It was officially established on 1 March 1996 at the first summit in Bangkok, Thailand, by the then 15 members of the European Union (EU) and the European Commission, the then 7 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the individual countries of China, Japan, and South Korea.
  • ASEM currently has 53 partners: 51 countries and 2 regional organizations.
  • The main components of the ASEM process rest on the following 3 pillars:
  • Political & Security Pillar
  • Economic & Financial Pillar
  • Social, Cultural & Educational Pillar.


Sample Question:

The recent 12th Asia–Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit was held in

a) Phnom Penh, Cambodia

b) Beijing, China

c) Copenhagen, Denmark

d) Brussels, Belgium

Answer: d)



Topic: Govt launches ‘Swastha Bharat Yatra’ campaign to create awareness about safe food

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Society: Health, Education and Employment

swasth bharat

Why in news?

Recently the government launched a national campaign ‘Swasth Bharat Yatra on the World Food Day under which a pan-India cycle rally is being organized to sensitized people about eating safe food and be healthy.


More about news:

  • The campaign has been launched by the central government, in association with states, from October 16 on occasion of the World Food Day.
  • The FSSAI is leading this campaign to create consumer awareness about eating safe and nutritious food for becoming healthy.
  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is leading this campaign where about 7,500 cyclists are expected to participate in over 18,000 km relay cycle rally travelling across six tracks through almost every state and UT over 100 days to propagate a powerful message ‘Eat Right India’.
  • The ‘Swasth Bharat Yatra’ was launched simultaneously at Leh (in Jammu & Kashmir), Panaji (Goa), Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala), Puducherry, Ranchi (Jharkhand) and Agarthala (Tripura).
  • From October 16 to January 27, 2019, on every single day, 150 volunteer cyclists and a convoy including the ‘Eat Right Mobile Unit’ and ‘Mobile Food Testing Unit’ would travel across the country to build awareness around food safety, combating food adulteration and healthy diets.
  • “In all, over 7,500 volunteer cyclists would stop at 2,000+ locations and conduct in-city and en-route activities and ‘Prabhat Pheris’ to propagate the message of Eat Right India,”
  • The cyclathon will culminate in the national capital on January 27.


World Food Day:

  • World Food Day is celebrated every year around the world on 16 October in honor of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945.
  • The day is celebrated widely by many other organizations concerned with food security, including the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
  • World Food Day (WFD) was established by FAO’s Member Countries at the Organization’s 20th General Conference in November 1979.
  • It has since been observed every year in more than 150 countries, raising awareness of the issues behind poverty and hunger.
  • 2018 theme: Our actions are our future.


Sample Question:

Q. International organization World Food Programme is a member of

a) UN Security Council

b) Food and Agriculture Organization

c) International Bank for Reconstruction and Development

d) UN Development Group

Solution: d) UN Development Group



Topic: Upgraded MiG-29 adds to air power

Topic in Syllabus: Security Issues


Why in news?

The Indian Air Force’s beast — MiG-29 — has gained in strength and ferocity after an upgrade, giving the force, battling a shortage of fighter aircraft, a much-needed boost.


More about news:

  • The previous ‘legacy version’, the aircraft played an important role as the IAF stamped its supremacy over the Pakistani force during the Kargil War of 1999.
  • “With the upgrade, as compared to the previous ‘legacy version’ of the MiG-29 bought under emergency clause in early 1980s, the fighter jets are capable to give a befitting response,”
  • IAF was reeling under a severe shortage of fighter aircraft and force currently had 31 squadrons of fighter jets against the sanctioned strength of 42 squadrons.
  • This Mig 29 up gradation “increased the IAF’s power a lot.”



  • MiG-29 is now capable of effecting mid-air refueling, is compatible with latest missiles and can launch multi-dimensional attacks.
  • The upgraded MiG-29 aircraft could take off within five minutes of spotting a hostile jet trying to enter the Indian airspace and destroy it, he said.
  • “With air-to-air refueling feature, the upgraded MiG-29 can cover larger distance as compared to the previous aircraft and destroy the enemy,”


About MiG-29:

  • MiG-29 is a twin-engine jet fighter aircraft designed in the Soviet Union. Developed by the Mikoyan design bureau as an air superiority fighter during the 1970s.
  • The MiG-29 entered service with the Soviet Air Forces in 1982.
  • In the West, the new fighter was given the NATO reporting name “Fulcrum-A” because the pre-production MiG-29A, which should have logically received this designation, remained unknown in the West at that time.
  • The MiG-29B was widely exported in downgraded versions, known as MiG-29B 9-12A and MiG-29B 9-12B for Warsaw Pact and non-Warsaw Pact nations respectively, with less capable avionics and no capability for delivering nuclear weapons.


Sample Question:

Q. “Mig-29 squadrons”, recently in news are to be replaced by which of the following aircraft ?

a) Mirage

b) Jaguar

c) LCA-Mk2

d) Tejas

Solution: c) LCA-Mk2



Topic: Sikkim wins FAO’s Future Policy Award 2018 for Organic Farming

Topic in Syllabus: Agriculture

Sikkim wins FAO’s Future Policy Award 2018 for Organic Farming

Why in news?

India’s “100 per cent organic state” Sikkim has won the “Oscar for best policies”, conferred by the Food and Agriculture Organization for the world’s best policies promoting agro ecological and sustainable food systems. Sikkim won the Future Policy Award 2018.

More about news:

  • India’s first 100% organic state Sikkim has won the ‘Oscar for best policies’, conferred by the Food and Agriculture Organisation for the world’s best policies promoting agro ecological and sustainable food systems.
  • Sikkim beat 51 nominations from 25 different countries of the world to win the Future Policy Award 2018.
  • Brazil was awarded the second prize for a policy of buying food for school meals from family farms. Denmark shared the prize with Brazil for a successful policy of encouraging people to buy more organic food. Ecuador too gained recognition for boosting urban gardening.
  • Sikkim, the first in the world got the Future Policy Award 2018 for bolstering efforts to attain Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • According to the organizers, its policies have assisted more than 66,000 farmers, increased tourism and also set an example to other countries.

Future Policy Award:

  • The Award Celebrates policies that create better living conditions for current and future generations.
  • Each year, award identify one topic on which policy progress is particularly urgent.
  • The award aims to raise global awareness for exemplary policies and speed up policy action.
  • The first award that celebrates policies rather than people on an international level.

About Sikkim Organic Mission:

  • In 2003, Sikkim became India’s first state to officially announce the adoption of organic farming. Organic farming not only ensures long-term sustenance of soil fertility but also the protection of environment and ecology. It also promotes healthy living.
  • The Government of Sikkim stepped into Organic Mission process from 2003, the year when it stopped imports of chemical fertilizers in the State. Since then the cultivatable land in Sikkim are practically organic and also farmers of Sikkim are traditional users of organic manure.
  • The mission wants to convert Sikkim into a totally Organic State by 2015 whereby any agriculture produce from the State is grown using organic fertilizers and healthy for consumption.
  • The process for bringing the total cultivatable land of 58,168 hectares under organic farming commenced at ground levels from 2010. Agencies accredited by Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority are certifying the organic process in Sikkim in three phases.
  • In 2003, the state also stopped the import of chemical fertilizers and the cultivable land in Sikkim for the last 15 years is being enriched using organic manure. The entire farmland has been certified as organic land. The state has been lauded for transcending boundaries of cultivation and generating sustainable tourism, employment and education development through these policies.
  • The hundred per cent transition has benefited more than 66,000 farming families and the state’s tourism has grown by 50 per cent between 2014 and 2017, according to local media reports. Sikkim however, had to struggle a lot initially during its transition phase when the government banned the consumption of non-organic agricultural and horticultural items. Soon, a boost in organic farming helped in dealing with the shortage of vegetables in the state.

Organic Farming:

  • Organic farming is a method of crop and livestock production that involves much more than choosing not to use pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics and growth hormones.
  • Organic production is a holistic system designed to optimize the productivity and fitness of diverse communities within the agro-ecosystem, including soil organisms, plants, livestock and people. The principal goal of organic production is to develop enterprises that are sustainable and harmonious with the environment.


Sample Question:

With reference to organic farming in India, consider the following statements:

  1. ‘The National Programme for Organic Production’ (NPOP) is operated under the guidelines and directions of the Union Ministry of Rural Development.
  2. ‘The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority’ (APEDA) functions as the Secretariat for the implementation of NPOP.
  3. Sikkim has become India’s first fully organic State.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer (b)