Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 14 November 2013

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 14 November 2013

Financial crisis for UPA’s flagship schemes

  • The Union Finance Ministry has proposed sizeable cuts to not only gross budgetary support to high-spending Ministries but also the United Progressive Alliance’s flagship schemes such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
  • Ministry of Finance officials told The Hindu the decision is being taken to keep the fiscal deficit within the target of 4.8 per cent of Gross Domestic Product that Finance Minister P. Chidambaram had set in Union Budget 2013-14.
  • A fiscal deficit, or the excess of a government’s spending over its revenues, higher than the target could trigger a sovereign rating downgrade.
  • Mr. Chidambaram is seeking to avoid this, in order to avert higher interest rates for India’s massive public debt.
  • The Central government reached 74.6 per cent of this target during the first five months of 2013-14 (April–August), according to official data.

Sabarimala pilgrimage is now available online in 70 world languages at a new website

  • Comprehensive information on Sabarimala pilgrimage is now available online in 70 world languages at a new website, www.sabarimalaayyappa .com.
  • The website, of the Pathanamthitta-based Tatwamasi Communications, was launched by veteran film actor Mohanlal on Sunday, the first day in the Malayalam month of Vrischikom.
  • The website covers various aspects of the pilgrimage, from its legendary genesis to the present state of massive devotee influx to the holy hillock, and the famed history of the Lord Ayyappa Temple.
  • The website is also packed with a wealth of information on the importance of various rituals, its timings, important festivals, persons to contact, etc. The photographs, news reports, features, and video clippings uploaded on the website are highly informative for the pilgrims.

Fukushima residents ‘may never go home’

  • Japanese officials have admitted for the first time that thousands of people evacuated from areas near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may never be able to return home.
  • A report by members of the governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior coalition partner urges the government to abandon its promise to all 1,60,000 evacuees that their irradiated homes will be fit to live in again.
  • The plan instead calls for financial support for displaced residents to move to new homes elsewhere, and for more state funding for the storage of huge quantities of radioactive waste being removed from the 12-mile evacuation zone around the plant.
  • The parties’ admission that some areas closest to the wrecked facility will remain too contaminated for people to make a permanent return is a blow to official assurances that radiation can be brought down to safe levels.
  • The government has come under pressure to abandon those promises amid evidence that attempts to reduce radiation to its target of 1 millisievert a year are failing.

Mylene Paquette became the first North American to make a west-to-east solo crossing of the Atlantic by rowboat.

  • Mylene Paquette (35) from Quebec on Tuesday became the first North American to make a west-to-east solo crossing of the Atlantic by rowboat.
  • Ms. Paquette set out from Halifax, Canada on a 23-foot boat on July 6. She arrived in the north-western French port of Lorient on Tuesday evening after 129 days at sea.
  • “Finally it is over, because it was really an ordeal at times, I am just relieved that it is over,” an emotional Paquette told AFP upon her arrival.
  • The 2,700-nautical mile journey crosses an area known for violent winds of up to 100 kmph per hour and waves of up to 40 feet.
  • The boat capsized several times, she said, and she was terrified after hitting her head and nearly passing out when her boat keeled over two weeks ago.

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Sources: Various News Papers & PIB

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