UPSC Civil Services preparation: From government’s decision to provide added advantage to economically weaker section in education and jobs by introducing 10 per reservation to Indian School of Business’s placement in the top 50 world MBA colleges in the recently published Financial Times World MBA Ranking, a lot happened in the beginning month of this year. These events are crucial and topics can come in the competitive examination.
Here is the top news of this January you should know before appearing for the UPSC prelims examination that is scheduled to be conducted from June 2, 2019. The commission will release the notification for registration mid of February.
Nation and politics
70th Republic Day
The country celebrates 70th Republic Day; quick facts
Indians celebrated the 70th Republic Day on Saturday, January 26 with full fervour. President Ram Nath Kovind hoisted the tricolour in presence of the chief guest South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Rajpath, New Delhi.
The central theme of the tableaux displayed was Mahatma Gandhi as 2019 marks the year of his 150th birth anniversary. The might of the Indian military was on full display, and in particular, women’s power.
Bharat Ratna 2019: Check the list
Former president Pranab Mukherjee was conferred with the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India. The award was also conferred on Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader Nanaji Deshmukh and legendary singer-composer Bhupen Hazarika posthumously.
Born on 11 December 1935, Mukherjee served as president between 2012 and 2017. Fondly known as ‘Pranab Da’, he has been a senior leader in the Congress and had held several ministerial portfolios. He was also the finance minister from 2009-2012, under the prime ministership of Manmohan Singh. Having dabbled in politics in 1969, Mukherjee had worked closely with former PM Indira Gandhi, becoming one of her trusted lieutenants.
Hazarika (1926-2011) was a singer and filmmaker, popularly known as Sudhakantha. He was born in Sadiya, Assam. Known for his flawless baritone and his trademark Nepali cap, he was respected nationwide, as a great balladeer and also came to be known as the ‘Bard of the Brahmaputra’.
Nanaji Deshmukh was a Sangh Parivar veteran, founder member of the Janata Party and one of the seniormost members of the Bharatiya Janata Party. A social activist, Nanaji played an important role in carrying out social restructuring programme in over 500 villages of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. He passed away on February 27, 2010 in Chitrakoot, at the age of 93.
Padma awardees 2019
President Ram Nath Kovind conferred the Padma Awards, one of the highest civilian awards of the category, to 112 people from various disciplines. The awards were conferred in three categories — Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri.
The list, which was approved by the President, comprises four Padma Vibhushan, 14 Padma Bhushan and 94 Padma Shri awardees. Twenty-one of the awardees are women, 11 persons are from the category of foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI; there are three posthumous awardees and one transgender person.
Parliament passes 10% EWS quota
Nearly three decades after the Mandal Commission recommendations came into force, the Parliament approved the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill on providing 10 per cent reservation in jobs and education for the economically weaker sections (EWS) of the general category.
Rajya Sabha voted 165-7 in favour of the Bill — meeting the requirement of a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting for effecting a constitutional amendment.
A day after the Bill sailed through Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha too gave its stamp of approval at the end of a marathon nine-hour debate that saw the Opposition tearing into the government. Questioning the timing, Opposition members said “electoral compulsions” had forced the government to push the legislation in “haste”.
SC refuses to stay 10% EWS quota
Refusing to stay the implementation of 10 per cent quota to the economically weaker in general category, the Supreme Court said “we will examine” the matter. A bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Rajan Gogoi and comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna, will hear the matter in four weeks. “We are examining the matter and hence issuing notice returnable within four weeks,” the bench said.
There are several petitions in the apex court which challenge the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019 including those from NGO Youth For Equality and political activist Tehseen Poonawalla.
Lok Sabha elections 2019: Mayawati-Akhilesh to fight together in UP
As Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati announced their alliance for the Lok Sabha elections in Lucknow, the experts predicted that the alliance has the potential to change the outcome of the Lok Sabha elections in the state. From almost entirely saffron now, UP could turn predominantly red-green-blue, the colours of the SP and BSP flags.
An analysis of constituency-wise data from the 2017 Assembly elections, the latest in the state, shows the NDA could lose as many as 50 of its 73 Lok Sabha seats in UP if the votes obtained by the SP and BSP are combined. The SP-BSP alliance could win at least 57 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats, and the NDA (assuming the Apna Dal and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party stay on with the BJP) could be reduced to only 23 seats.
Australian Open 2019
Naomi Osaka wins, road to second gram slam title
Naomi Osaka beat Petra Kvitova 7-6(2) 5-7 6-4 to become the first Japanese player to win the Australian Open on Saturday. This is also her second Grand Slam title. The win made fourth seed Osaka the first player from an Asian country to claim the world number one ranking.
The 21-year-old Osaka became the youngest women’s world number one since Dane Caroline Wozniacki, who was 20 when she topped the rankings in 2010. The fourth seed, one of the cleanest strikers of the ball in women’s tennis, also became the first player since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to win the next Grand Slam after her maiden major title.
Novak Djokovic beat Rafa Nadal to grab 15th grand slam
Novak Djokovic was at his utmost best as he surpassed against Spain’s Rafael Nadal to record his 15th career Grand Slam. He defeated the Spaniard 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 in straight sets to surpass Roger Federer with most Australian Open titles.
This is Djokovic’s third straight Grand Slam title after winning Wimbledon 2018 and US Open 2018. While lifting the trophy, Djokovic said, “I had surgery exactly 12 months ago. To be standing here, and lifting this title, this is truly amazing. I am speechless.”
India’s test victory in Australia: Not just a series, but a historic win for India
After 72 years of visiting Australia and coming back without a win, Indian cricket team will finally return home triumphant. With rain pouring down at the Sydney Cricket Ground for the most part of Day 4 and Day 5 of the fourth Test, the contest was abandoned and the anti-climatic finish played into India’s hands to win the series 2-1.
India became the fifth team to win a Test series in Australia. England leads the list with 13 series wins, followed by West Indies (four times), South Africa (thrice) and their trans-Tasmanian rivals New Zealand (once).
Saina Nehwal wins Indonesia Masters
Saina Nehwal has been declared the winner of Indonesia Masters after Carolina Marin was forced to retire with a knee injury. The Spaniard was leading 10-4 in the first game when she developed an injury in the knee. Marin looked in so much pain that even Saina walked over to the reigning Olympic and World Champion out of concern.
“I’m not very happy with how I got it (title) today because it is unfortunate Carolina got injured. But I’m happy I could reach the finals with such difficult opponents as He Bingjiao, because I’ve never played her and she’s been beating good players,” Nehwal said.
Brexit: UK MPs back PM May’s bid to reopen deal
British MPs voted to reject a chaotic ‘no-deal’ Brexit by 318 to 310 votes but backed British Prime Minister Theresa May’s bid to change the withdrawal agreement already struck with the European Union (EU). Conservative Party MP Caroline Spelman and Labour MP Jack Dromey had tabled an amendment to try to prevent a crash-out exit of the UK from the EU, which won the support of MPs by eight votes, undermining the government’s argument that Britain would be willing to crash out of the EU without an agreement.
However, the vote is not legally binding – meaning it showed the view of the House of Commons but does nothing to change the Brexit date of March 29, as reported by PTI.
Education and Jobs
10% quota for poor: Centre directs educational institutions to implement reservation
All educational institutes and universities have been directed to implement 10 per cent reservation for economically weak in general category in the upcoming educational year. The government has also issued an office memorandum to implement the stipulated quota. “Government has issued an office memorandum to implement 10 per cent reservation,” said HRD minister Prakash Javadekar.
The reservation is meant for individuals whose annual earning is below Rs. 8 lakh and who possess less than 5 acres of agriculture land.
7th Pay Commission: Javadekar announces revision of teachers’ allowance
Ahead of Union elections, the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has issued an order on the revision of allowance and special allowance for teachers. The additional allowances will now be updated as per the 7th Pay Commission for teachers, registrars, finance officers and controller of examinations in central universities and colleges.
The order comes into force with immediate effect. The revised special allowance per month for vice-chancellors, pro-vice-chancellors, principals in PG college and principal in undergraduate colleges will be Rs 11,250, Rs 9000, Rs 6750, and Rs 4500 respectively, according to Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar.
Railway Recruitment 2019: Piyush Goyal announces 2.50 lakh additional vacancies
Days before Lok Sabha elections, Indian Railway announced vacancies of additional 2.50 lakh post. The new 10 per cent quota for Economically Weaker Section will be applicable for these posts, an official said.
Addressing the press, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said, “New job opportunities for 2.25-2.50 lakh people have been created, process for 1.50 lakh vacancies is underway. So Railways, in a way, will be providing 4 Lakh jobs.”
“2.25 – 2.50 Lakh logon ko aur adhik mauka mile, 1.50 logon ki bharti ka kaam chal raha hai. Ek prakar se 4 Lakh nai naukriyan Railways akele dene ja raha hai, jismein 1.50 ki process bahut aage badh chuki hai, karib 2-2.5 mahine mein process khatam ho jaega,” said Piyush Goyal, as reported by news agency ANI.
Oscar on February 24: Nomination list announced, check details
The nominations for the 91st Academy Awards were announced. This year, Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma and Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite are leading the pack with 10 nominations each. A Star Is Born and Vice follow close behind with eight and seven nominations, respectively.
This year, the Academy chose to not acknowledge a single female filmmaker in the Best Director category.
Oscar 2019: Check list of nominees
Roma, Green Book, Black Panther, Black Klansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, A star is born, Vice.
Roma- Alfonso Cuaron
Black Klansman- Spike Lee
Cold War- Pawel Pawlikowski
Vice- Adam Mckay
The Favourite- Yorgos Lanthimos
Roma- Yalitza Aparicio
A star is born- Lady Gaga
The Wife- Glenn Close
The Favourite- Olivia Colman
Can you ever forgive me- Melissa McCarthy
Vice- Christian Bale
A Star is Born- Bradley Cooper
Bohemian Rhapsody- Rami Malek
An Eternity’s gate- William Dafoe
Green Book- Viggo Mortensen.
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