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August 9, 2019
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08 August Current Affairs

Vikram Sarabhai Journalism Award In Space Science, Technology And Research

In News:

As part of centenary year celebrations of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, father of Indian space programme, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has instituted two categories of awards in journalism.


Objective: ISRO has announced its “Vikram Sarabhai Journalism Award in Space Science, Technology and Research” to recognize and reward journalists who have actively contributed towards the field of space science, applications, and research.

Eligibility: The nominations are open to all Indians who have a good experience in journalism. The articles published from 2019 to 2020 will be considered.

Category 1:

The first category holds a cash price of Rs 5,00,000, a medal and citation and two journalists or freelancers of print media will be awarded.

Nominated candidates will be judged on the basis of the articles or success stories published in Hindi, English, or Regional languages in popular Periodicals, Science magazines, or Journals in India during the year 2019 to 2020.

Category 2:

The second category of the award holds 3 cash prizes of Rs 3,00,000, 2,00,000 and 1,00,000 and citation each for journalists or freelancers of print media.

The articles or success stories published in Hindi, English, Regional languages in popular newspapers or news magazines in India during the one year as indicated in the proposal.

The names of the selected candidates will be announced on August 1st, 2020.

Article 371 Of The Constitution

In News:

Home Minister Amit Shah told Lok Sabha that the government had no intention of removing Article 371 of the Constitution. His assurance came amid apprehension that having rendered Article 370 irrelevant, the government might unilaterally abrogate or modify Article 371.


Articles 369 through 392 (including some that have been removed) appear in Part XXI of the Constitution, titled ‘Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions’.

Article 370 dealt with ‘Temporary Provisions with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir’.

Articles 371, 371A, 371B, 371C, 371D, 371E, 371F, 371G, 371H, and 371J define special provisions with regard to another state (or states).

Articles 370 and 371 were part of the Constitution at the time of its commencement on January 26, 1950; Articles 371A through 371J were incorporated subsequently.

Article 371, Maharashtra and Gujarat: Governor has “special responsibility” to establish “separate development boards” for “Vidarbha, Marathwada, and the rest of Maharashtra”, and Saurashtra and Kutch in Gujarat.

Article 371A (13th Amendment Act, 1962), Nagaland: Parliament cannot legislate in matters of Naga religion or social practices, Naga customary law and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice according to Naga customary law, and ownership and transfer of land without concurrence of the state Assembly.

Article 371B (22nd Amendment Act, 1969), Assam: The President may provide for the constitution and functions of a committee of the Assembly consisting of members elected from the state’s tribal areas.

Article 371C (27th Amendment Act, 1971), Manipur: The President may provide for the constitution of a committee of elected members from the Hill areas in the Assembly, and entrust “special responsibility” to the Governor to ensure its proper functioning.

Article 371D (32nd Amendment Act, 1973; substituted by The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014), Andhra Pradesh and Telangana: President must ensure “equitable opportunities and facilities” in “public employment and education to people from different parts of the state”.

Article 371E: it allows for the establishment of a university in Andhra Pradesh by a law of Parliament. But this is not a “special provision” in the sense of the others in this part.

Article 371F (36th Amendment Act, 1975), Sikkim: To protect the rights and interests of various sections of the population of Sikkim, Parliament may provide for the number of seats in the Assembly, which may be filled only by candidates from those sections.

Article 371G (53rd Amendment Act, 1986), Mizoram: Parliament cannot make laws on “religious or social practices of the Mizos,

Article 371H (55th Amendment Act, 1986), Arunachal Pradesh: The Governor has a special responsibility with regard to law and order, and “he shall, after consulting the Council of Ministers, exercise his individual judgment as to the action to be taken”.

Article 371J (98th Amendment Act, 2012), Karnataka: There is a provision for a separate development board for the Hyderabad-Karnataka region.

Article 371I deals with Goa, but it does not include any provision that can be deemed ‘special’.

Budget Session 2019

In News:

The Lok Sabha has been adjourned sine die a day before schedule. After adopting the resolution and a Bill related to Jammu and Kashmir, Speaker Om Birla made an announcement in this regard.


The Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla termed it the most productive session since 1952. In this session, the House passed as many as 36 Bills which is more than the Bills passed in 1952.

The Budget session of the Lok Sabha had 37 sittings and sat for 280 hours. Productivity of the House remained 125 %. The session did not witness any obstruction during the period.

The Budget session of the Lok Sabha which was scheduled to end on 26th July was extended till 7th of this month.


Adjournment is a postponement of the sitting or proceedings of the House from one time to another specified for the reassembling of the House.

During the course of a Session, the Lok Sabha may be adjourned from day to day or for more than a day.

It may also be adjourned sine die which means the termination of a sitting of the House without any definite date being fixed for its next sitting.

The Speaker shall determine the time when a sitting of the House shall be adjourned sine die or to a particular day, or to an hour or part of the same day.

Sushma Swaraj

In News:

Former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, 67, passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest.


Born in Haryana in 1952, Sushma Swaraj went on to become a practicing lawyer in the Supreme Court. After being an active member of Jayaprakash Narayan’s anti-Emergency movement, she became a member of the Bhartiya Janata Party.

Sushma Swaraj was a seven-time Member of Parliament and a three-time MLA.

She had many firsts to her credit such as being the youngest cabinet minister in the Haryana government in 1977, first woman Chief Minister of Delhi in 1998 and the first woman spokesperson for any national political party in the country.

She was External Affairs Minister from 2014 to 2019, leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha from 2009 to 2014, Minister for Information and Broadcasting in Vajpayee Government from 2000-2003.

Tenure as External Affairs Minister:

She was the second Indian woman to become the External Affairs Minister, after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

She played a key role in resolving the Doklam standoff with China in 2017 and in India approaching the International Court of Justice (ICJ) challenging a Pakistani military court’s death sentence to Kulbhushan Jadhav.

Through her extensive use of Twitter, Sushma Swaraj had earned a reputation of easily-accessible External Affairs Minister. She took a personal interest in resolving minor issues like issuance of visa to the needy and helped the Indian diaspora in distress through her social media outreach.

Quit India Movement

In News:

India is observing the 77th anniversary of Quit India Movement on August 8.


It was 77 years ago that All India Congress Committee approved the ‘Quit India Resolution’ in Bombay Session, paving way for a mass movement to attain independence.

As a precursor to India’s independence, the Quit India Movement was launched at Mumbai’s historic Gowalia Tank Maidan, now popularly known as August Kranti Maidan on 8th August 1942.

Mahatma Gandhi’s clarion call of ‘Do or Die’ inspired thousands of party workers but also created a frenzy among the British who rushed to imprison the entire Congress leadership.

Currency Manipulation

In News:

The United States has designated China a “currency manipulator”, thus fulfilling Donald Trump’s election campaign promise.


Arguments by United States: 

The treasury department accused China of manipulating its currency “to gain unfair competitive advantage in international trade”.

It alleged that China has a long history of facilitating an undervalued currency through protracted, large-scale intervention in the foreign exchange market.

The US action came after China allowed its yuan to weaken past the key seven-per-dollar level on Monday for the first time in more than a decade.

Counter-arguments by China: China’s central bank said the depreciation in its currency was “due to the effects of unilateralist and trade-protectionist measures and the expectations for tariffs against China”.

Way ahead: The US will now ask the International Monetary Fund to “eliminate the unfair competitive advantage created by China’s latest actions”. This move could escalate the tense trade relations between the two nations.

The Treaty On The Prohibition Of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)

In News:

The mayor of Hiroshima urged Japan to sign the Treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, a landmark UN treaty banning nuclear weapons as the city today marked 74 years since being targeted in the world’s first atomic attack.


Name: The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is also known as the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty.

What is it? it is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons, with the goal of leading towards their total elimination.


It was passed in July 2017.

In order to come into effect, signature and ratification by at least 50 countries is required. As of 31 July 2019, 24 nations have ratified the treaty.


For those nations that are party to it, the treaty prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons, as well as assistance and encouragement to the prohibited activities.

For nuclear armed states joining the treaty, it provides for a time-bound framework for negotiations leading to the verified and irreversible elimination of its nuclear weapons programme.

About the National Handloom Day

In News:

National Handloom Day was observed on August 7 across the country to honour the handloom weavers.

Why August 7? to mark the 1905 Swadeshi movement. It was on August 7, 1905 that the formal proclamation of the Swadeshi Movement was made in a meeting at the Calcutta Town hall. The movement involved boycotting British products and the revival of domestic products and production processes.

United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements (UNISA)


India to sign UNISA


  • The Convention provides a uniform and efficient framework for the enforcement of international settlement agreements resulting from mediation and for allowing parties to invoke such agreements, akin to the framework that the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York, 1958) (the “New York Convention”) provides for arbitral awards.
  • The Convention defines two additional grounds upon which a court may, on its own motion, refuse to grant relief. Those grounds relate to the fact that a dispute would not be capable of settlement by mediation or would be contrary to public policy.
  • It will boost the confidence of the investors and shall provide a positive signal to foreign investors about India’s commitment to adhere to international practice on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

Initiatives to promote ADR Mechanisms:

  • In order to encourage international commercial arbitration in India, to evolve a comprehensive ecosystem of arbitration the Government is establishing the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC) as a statutory body.
  • The Commercial Courts Act, 2015, has been further amended and legislative exercise to further amend the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, is currently underway.
  • These initiatives are being taken with a view to encourage the settlement of commercial disputes, domestic and international, in India through ADR Mechanism of Arbitration, Conciliation and Mediation.
  • A new Chapter (IIIA) has been inserted in the Commercial Courts Act, 2015, for mandatory pre-institution mediation and settlement in certain category of cases.


  • It is a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarine, ships, aircraft, or land. It is the fastest supersonic cruise missile in the world.
  • It is a joint venture between the Russian Federation’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) who together have formed BrahMos Aerospace.
  • The name BrahMos is a portmanteau formed from the names of two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia.
  • It is the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile in operation.