12 September Current Affairs
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13 September Current Affairs

Golden Arrows

In News:

Indian Air Force (IAF) has resurrected the Air Force Station (AFS) Ambala-based Number 17 Squadron, also known as ‘Golden Arrows’, which will operate the 1st squadron of Rafale fighter jets in near future. The resurrection ceremony of 17th Squadron was presided over by IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal (ACM) B.S. Dhanoa.


First batch of Rafale jets are scheduled to be formally handed over to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on 8 October in France and are set to arrive in India in May 2020.

IAF also plans to resurrect another former MiG-21 squadron, 101 Squadron also called as ‘Falcons’, which too was ‘number-plated’ (removed from active list, and its identity mothballed for future use) and were later decommissioned as part of IAF’s long-term plan to phase decades-old aircraft out of service. 101 Squadron, the 2nd Rafale squadron, will be based in Hashimara to operate on Sino-Indian front.

About 17th Squadron: ‘Golden Arrows’:

The resurrected17 Squadron aka Golden Arrows will be the first IAF squadron to be equipped with state of the art Rafale fighter aircraft. Rafale is an extremely capable, 4th generation, multirole aircraft with advanced weapons.

This Rafale squadron will be based in Ambala and operationally committed to India-Pakistan frontier.

Combat history of 17 Squadron: It was formed at Ambala in 1951 and was equipped with Harvard-II B fighter. By November 1955, the Squadron converted fully to De Havilland Vampire and by 1957 Hawker Hunter fighter aircraft were flown by ‘Golden Arrows’, which it flew with distinction in 1971 war (Bangladesh Liberation War), winning numerous gallantry awards.

In December 1961, Golden Arrows actively participated in Goa Liberation Campaign and in 1965 operations as a reserve force.

In 1975, the Squadron converted to Mig-21 M and on November 1988, the Squadron was presented ‘Colours’ by then President of India R Venkataraman.

Under the command of then Wing Commander and current ACM BS Dhanoa, the squadron distinguished itself in Operation ‘Safed Sagar’ (or 1999 kargil conflict).

St. Vincent and Grenadines

In News:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Prime Minister of St. Vincent and Grenadines Dr. Ralph Everard Gonsalves in New Delhi. Prime Minister R.E Gonsalves who is on a first ever visit of Prime Minister of St. Vincent and Grenadines to India is also participating in high-level United Nations Convention on Combating Desertification (UNCCD) Symposium, a 12-day conference being held from 2-13 September 2019 at Greater Noida.

Key Highlights:

PM Gonsalves noted enormous goodwill for India in St. Vincent and Grenadines and also in Carribean and Latin American region. He expressed appreciation for India’s developmental cooperation with the region as well as for India’s prompt assistance subsequent to natural calamities.

Both the leaders PM Modi and PM Gonsalves noted the close cooperation between two countries including in international fora.

Both also agreed to enhance cooperation between two nations including in reas of skill development, education, training, culture, disaster management and finance.

About St. Vincent and Grenadines:

It is an island country that lies within the Lesser Antilles, in eastern Caribbean Sea.

It is a sovereign state. It consists of island of Saint Vincent and northern Grenadine Islands (which stretch southward toward Grenada).

St. Vincent and Grenadines registered a historical achievement of becoming the smallest country ever to be elected as a non-permanent member of United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Steps Taken by Railways to curb Plastic Menace

In News:

Indian Railways will help recharge phones of passengers if they use plastic bottle crushing machines installed at stations. The step is in a bid to promote Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative to junk single use plastic. In PM Modi’s 2019 Independence Day speech he appealed to nation to eliminate single-use plastic and to find alternatives to plastic water bottles on a priority basis.

Key Highlights:

Railways have already issued directions regarding ban on use of single-use plastic on its premises starting from 2 October 2019. A pledge will be administered by railways to cut use of plastic on October 2.

Indian Railways will be installing 400 bottle-crushing machines at selected stations, in which passengers wanting to use the feature will simply have to key in their phone number into machine and their phone will be recharged but the details of recharge will not be known immediately.

Steps Taken by Railways to curb Plastic Menace:

At present 160 bottle-crushing machines are available at 128 stations.

Plastic bottle shredders have been installed at Secunderabad railway station

Also, instructions have been given to railway staff for collecting all the used plastic bottles at railway stations and send them for recycling.

Railway ministry had already issued instructions to all vendors and staff across its network and premises to use reusable bags so as to reduce plastic footprint.

The South Western Railway zone is also in talks with some artisans from Karnataka to supply ‘kulhads’ for serving tea on trains, instead of plastic cups. Therefore, the initiative to shift towards plastic-free operations will financially help artisans and farmers as demand for their items or products will increase.

Indian Skill Development Services

In News:

The first batch of newest central government services, ‘Indian Skill Development Services’ (ISDS) commenced their training program at Administrative Training Institute (ATI), Mysuru, Karnataka. This is the first batch which is joining ISDS cadre from Indian Engineering Service (IES) Examination conducted by UPSC (Union Public Service Commission).

Key Highlights:

As this is the 1st batch of young minds from IES to be included in Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), the aim behind it is to attract young and talented administrators towards institutionalizing Skill Development environment in country.

The new service will give a new impetus to central government’s skilling initiative by significantly improving efficiency and effective implementation of various schemes.

In coming years MSDE will be able to create a workforce of trained skill administrators who will further enable ministry to achieve the set goals of the Skill India Mission.

About Indian Skill Development Services:

It is the newest central government services and has 263 all India posts.

This service has been specially created for Training Directorate of Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE).

The ISDS service caters to highly specific task of skill development and thus is a unique combination of skills, technology, management and public service.

It is a Group ‘A’ service and the cadre comprises of 3 posts at Senior Administrative Grade, 28 posts at Junior Administrative Grade, 120 posts at Senior Time Scale and 112 posts at Junior Time Scale.

Man Portable Antitank Guided Missile (MPATGM)

In News:

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the government agency charged with the military’s research and development, successfully flight tested indigenously developed low weight, fire and forget Man Portable Antitank Guided Missile (MPATGM) in ranges of Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh (AP).

Test Highlights:

The missile was launched from a man portable Tripod launcher and target was mimicking a functional tank.

In a major boost for Indian Army, all the mission objectives were met as missile hit the target in top attack mode and destroyed it with precision.

This is 3rd series of successful testing of MPATGM. Thus the test paves way for Indian Army to have developed 3rd generation MPATGM indigenously.

About Man Portable Antitank Guided Missile (MPATGM):

It is an Indian 3rd-generation fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile. The missile is derived from Nag ATGM of India.

Currently it is developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in partnership with Indian defence contractor VEM Technologies Private Limited.

MPATGM is incorporated with state-of-the-art Infrared Imaging Seeker along with advanced avionics.


Mass- 14.5 kg

Length- 1,300 mm (4 ft 3 in)

Warhead- High-explosive anti-tank warhead

Operational range- 2.5 km

Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC)

In News:

Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of P.K. Sinha as Principal Advisor to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with effect from 11 September 2019. He is currently functioning as as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). His appointment as Principal Advisor will be coterminus with the term of Prime Minister or until further orders, whichever is earlier.

About PK Sinha:

He is a 1977 Batch IAS officer from Uttar Pradesh (UP) Cadre. During his career in IAS, he has served with distinction in many capacities both at level of Central Government as well as in Uttar Pradesh Government.

At the Central Government: He served as Cabinet Secretary from 13 June 2015 to 30 August 2019. Prior to this, he has for many years served in the Energy and Infrastructure Sectors as Secretary in Union Ministries of Power and Shipping and as Special Secretary in Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

At the State Government level: He has held various posts like District Magistrate (DM) of Jaunpur and Agra, Commissioner of Varanasi, Secretary (Planning) and Principal Secretary (Irrigation) among others.

Education: He is an Economics graduate from St. Stephens College, University of Delhi. He did his post-graduation in Economics from Delhi School of Economics (DSE). While in service he also obtained Masters Diploma in Public Administration and an M. Phil in Social Sciences.

India-Iceland Business Forum

In News:

President of India Ram Nath Kovind, addressed the India-Iceland Business Forum in Reykjavik, (capital of Iceland) on 11 September 2019. President Kovind is on a 3 day visit to Reykjavik, Iceland from 9-11 September 2019. This is part of President’s three first leg visit to– Iceland, Switzerland and Slovenia. This is also the first visit of an Indian President to Iceland since visit of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam in 2005.

Highlights of India-Iceland Business Forum:

India-Iceland Relation: India’s growth and commitment to sustainability and Iceland’s business strengths and niche capacities complement each other and make for a natural partnership.

The technological prowess of Iceland and scientific skills of India could embrace each other to drive 4th Industrial Revolution and machine-intelligence age.

India’s transformative growth programmes and next-generation infrastructure projects present large opportunities for Icelandic companies.

There is scope to enhance economic partnership in areas such as trade, investment, services to research and innovation.

Even though India-Iceland’s bilateral trade figures are modest but Indian market and Iceland’s business strengths can still add significant numbers to them.

Iceland can source manufactured goods, fruits and vegetables, chemicals and engineering goods and textiles from India.

There is a lot of economic potential and opportunities between India and Iceland in pharma, healthcare, finance, hospitality, tourism services and biotech space.

24th World Energy Congress

In News:

The 24th World Energy Congress was held in Abu Dhabi, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, United Arab Emirates (UAE) from 9-12 September 2019. It was held under the patronage of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of UAE.

About 24th World Energy Congress:

Theme of this year’s 4-day World Energy Congress: ‘Energy for Prosperity’. This theme also represents ambitious and dynamic energy transition of UAE.

Objective: To bring together international energy stakeholders including governments, academia and media, private and state corporations.

The Congress welcomed more than 15,000 participants including 72 Ministers, 250 high-level speakers, 500 CEOs, 1000 media persons with 40,000 square-metre exhibition space that will cover entire energy spectrum.

World Energy Congress (WEC):

Background: The World Energy Congress is a triennial event and has been running since 1924. With over 150 countries represented, WEC is world’s largest and most influential energy event that covers all aspects of energy agenda.

It is a global flagship event of World Energy Council.

It offers a unique platform for global energy leaders to explore new energy futures, new strategies and critical innovation areas.

The congress enables dialogue amongst Ministers, CEOs, policy-makers and industry practitioners on critical developments in energy sector.