Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 01 FEBRUARY 2019
SBM to evaluate solid waste management in rural India
- The Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBMG) of Ministry of Drinking
Water and Sanitation, held a National Workshop on Solid and Liquid Waste
Management (SLWM).The workshop was attended by District Collectors, CEOs,
CDOs, Executive Engineers and other officers, from across the country.
- ShriParameswaranIyer, Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and
Sanitation, reiterated the SBMG's continued commitment to SLWM and shared an
overview of the various ongoing initiatives of the Ministry.
- He said that the Mission is on track to deliver an Open Defecation
Free (ODF) India well before the set deadline of October 2019 and is
focusing increasingly on sustaining the ODF outcomes and ODF-plus activities
- The workshop emphasized the importance of Fecal Sludge Management
(FSM) for rural census towns and large dense villages and Galvanizing
Organic Bio-Agro Resource–dhan (GOBAR-DHAN) in rural areas. It also covered
Plastic Waste Management, Grey Water Management and featured case studies
from across the country.
- The experts on FSM shared various technological and operational
models, specific to different geographic terrains and climatic conditions.
Innovative Solid Waste Management initiatives from across the country were
shared by the States. This included transforming waste into construction
bricks and fuel during the harsh winters in Leh district in Jammu and
- Kerala showcased the “Green Protocol” being implemented in
Thiruvananthapuram district using the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) to
minimize waste generation. Rajgarh district from Madhya Pradesh presented
the experience of successfully implementing the GOBAR-DHAN project.
Centre hooked by opposition for non-publishing of NSSO report on
- The government’s think tank NITI Aayog on Thursday debunked claims
of a news report that unemployment in 2017-18 was at a 45-year high. The
NITI Aayog said the report of the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO),
cited as the source for the report, was in fact a draft and not approved by
- A report in the Business Standard on Thursday, which cited the
NSSO’s periodic labour force survey that is yet to be released said the
unemployment rate was 6.1% in 2017-18. The only year of comparable data when
the unemployment rate was higher was in 1972-73. It was at 2.2% in 2011-12.
- The NSSO report is a matter of much controversy, with the two
external members of the National Statistical Commission citing the delay in
its release as a major reason for their resignations on Monday.
- The data reportedly showed that joblessness was higher in urban
India (7.8%) than in rural India (5.3%). Within this, it stood at 17.4% for
rural males and 13.6% for rural females. In urban India, joblessness was at
18.7% among males and a huge 27.2% among females.
- The government’s decision to discontinue the NSSO’s five year
surveys, failure to regularly release Labour Bureau data and delay in
releasing the NSSO’s periodic labour force survey had led to an atmosphere
of uncertainty and confusion.
- Instead, the government kept citing job numbers based on EPFO’s
payroll data and the Mudra loans, which are not helpful,the report said.
RBI allows banks to exit PCA framework
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to allow three public
sector banks — Bank of India, Bank of Maharashtra and Oriental Bank of
Commerce to exit the PCA framework following capital infusion by the
government and a decline in net non-performing asset ratio.
- The RBI, which conducted a review following a demand made by
government to lift the restrictions in order to boost credit growth, said,
“it was noted that a few banks are not in breach of the PCA (Prompt
Corrective Action) parameters as per their published results for the quarter
ending December 2018, except for return on assets (RoA).”
- Bank of India had made significant higher provisioning during the
third quarter which saw net NPA ratio declining to 5.87% from 10.29% a year
ago. Similarly, Bank of Maharashtra brought down its net NPA ratio to 5.91%
from 12.17%. Both the banks reported heavy losses in the third quarter.
- OBC, which had made Rs. 145 crore net profit in the third quarter,
reported net NPA ratio of 7.15% at the end of the October-December quarter.
- RBI justified its action by saying “though the net NPA ratio was
7.15%, as per the published results of third quarter, the government has
since infused sufficient capital and bank has brought the net NPA ratio to
less than 6%.
- Hence, it has been decided to remove the restrictions placed on
Oriental Bank of Commerce under PCA framework subject to certain conditions
and close monitoring,” the RBI said.
Health sector demands tax breaks from centre in interim budget
- The healthcare sector wants the government’s interim Budget to
include tax measures to help the middle class better mitigate health risks.
- “Ayushman Bharat for the financially weaker section took centre
stage in healthcare last year; however, the middle class is still at risk!,”
said Suneeta Reddy, managing director, Apollo Hospitals Group.
- An enhancement in the medical allowance for salaried employees in
line with inflation and a separate deduction in respect of preventive health
checks would be desirable,’’ she said, speaking about the sector’s
expectations from the Budget.
- “We look forward to zero-rating of GST for the sector, or for
normalisation of the GST rates for services consumed by the healthcare
service providers at 5%,’’ Ms. Reddy added.
- “We expect a reduction in the cost of medical equipment that will
help in increasing the outreach of telemedicine and home healthcare
facilities,” said AshutoshTiwari, director and chairman, VinobaBhave
- The last year had been a challenging one for India’s private
healthcare providers, with multiple headwinds impacting growth and
profitability. The overall sector had become less attractive for
investments, the absence of which had hindered growth significantly,
asserted ArindamHaldar, CEO, SRL Diagnostics.
- However, given that more than two-thirds of the sector was driven
by private operators, the government had to increase its willingness to
partner with the private sector players, according to Mr.Haldar.
India asks Pakistan not to interfere in internal affairs
- India today asked Pakistan not to interfere in India’s internal
affairs. Reacting to the telephonic conversation between Pakistan Foreign
Minister Shah MehmoodQureshi and Separatist Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, External
Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, the behaviour of Pakistani
Foreign Minister is condemnable.
- Mr Kumar said, it is high time for Pakistan to take action against
terrorism, but unfortunately, the neighbouring country is doing nothing.
- Asked about recent developments in Afghanistan regarding the
reconciliation process, the spokesperson said, India is following the
- He said India wants peace and stability in that country. He said
peace and reconciliation process in that country should be
Afghan-controlled, Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.
- After summoning the Pakistan High Commissioner on Wednesday, India
has registered its protest with the British government about an upcoming
meet on Kashmir at the British Parliament, the Ministry of External Affairs
- India has raised the issue of “anti-India” groups within the U.K.
often in the past few months. In August, the British government turned down
an Indian request to cancel a pro-Khalistani rally in London.
U.S – China trade talks progresses smoothly
- President Donald Trump on Wednesday touted the chances of success
as U.S.-China negotiations entered a second day, saying Beijing was eager to
make a deal.
- In a morning series of tweets, he also said a final deal would
leave “NOTHING” unresolved but such a bargain could only be struck after he
met with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping “in the near future”.
- The meetings are “going well,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter. “China
does not want an increase in Tariffs and feels they will do much better if
they make a deal. They are correct.”
- The two sides have just a month remaining in a 90-day truce
declared in December. Should the talks fail, U.S. import duties on $200
billion in Chinese imports are due to more than double on March 2.
- But Washington’s aggressive prosecution of the Chinese telecoms
firm Huawei which federal prosecutors accused this week of industrial
espionage, sanctions violations and fraud threatened to upend the talks,
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
NASA reports rapid decay of ice sheets in Antartic due to climate change
- NASA scientists have discovered a gigantic cavity, almost 300
metres tall, growing at the bottom of the Thwaites Glacier in West
Antarctica, indicating rapid decay of the ice sheet and acceleration in
global sea levels due to climate change.
- Researchers expected to find some gaps between ice and bedrock at
Thwaites’ bottom, where ocean water could flow in and melt the glacier from
below, NASA said in a statement.
- The size and explosive growth rate of the hole, however, surprised
them. It is big enough to have contained 14 billion tonnes of ice, and most
of that ice melted over the last three years.
- The cavity was revealed by ice-penetrating radar in NASA’s
Operation IceBridge, an airborne campaign beginning in 2010 that studies
connections between the polar regions and the global climate.
ICC urges Srilankanteam to clean up the mess of corruption
- The International Cricket Council has urged Sri Lanka to come
clean on corruption before an amnesty expires on Thursday or risk expulsion
from the game.
- ICC's anti-corruption chief Alex Marshall said new cases had come
to light and urged others to come forward before the expiry of the amnesty.
He said those who refuse to share information with ICC investigators could
face five-year bans if caught.
- The ICC said it had received a "positive response" after granting
a 15-day amnesty earlier this month for players, coaches or anyone else
linked to the sport to come clean.
- Sri Lankan cricket has been mired in corruption allegations in
recent years, including claims of match-fixing ahead of an international
Test against England last year. The cricket's world governing body is in the
middle of a major inquiry into the island nation.
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