Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 01 MARCH 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 01 MARCH 2019


India displays debris of Pakistan F-16 planes

  •  The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Thursday produced evidence to prove that Pakistan Air Force (PAF) deployed F-16 fighters to target Indian military installations, and one of which was downed. The armed forces, in a rare tri-service press conference, reiterated that they were fully prepared putting the onus of further escalation on Pakistan.
  •  On Wednesday, several PAF jets targeted Indian military positions, which Pakistan said was to show their ability to hit back following India’s strikes on Balakot. However, Pakistan has said no F-16s were used in the operation and no Pakistani jet was downed.
  •  Later, AVM Kapoor displayed parts of an AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile) fired by an F-16, which fell in Indian territory. A senior defence source said the AMRAAM was supplied to Pakistan by the U.S. under strict conditions that it could not be used in an offensive role.
  •  As for the Army’s role, Maj.Gen. Surindra Singh Mahal said the PAF “attempted” to target military establishments, including a Brigade Headquarters (HQ), a Battalion HQ, forward defences and a logistics installation.
  •  He said the ground-based air defence systems had been put on alert along the border and mechanised formations had been on the standby. Despite the present turn of events, the Army was “committed to maintaining peace and stability in the region” and would “continue to act against agencies” that harboured inimical designs against India.

Cabinet approves ordinance for voluntary use of Aadhar as identity proof

  •  The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister NarendraModi, on Thursday approved the promulgation of an Ordinance to allow voluntary submission of Aadhaar as identity proof for use by private entities such as banks, telcos and fintech firms.
  •  The Ordinance also gives a child an option to exit from the Aadhaar on attaining 18 years of age.
  •  The amendment also provides for civil penalties for violations of Aadhaar Act and provisions by entities in the Aadhaar ecosystem. “It permits the entities to perform authentication only when they are compliant with the standards of privacy and security specified by the Authority,” it said.
  •  “Subsequent to this amendment, no individual shall be compelled to provide proof of possession of Aadhaar number of undergo authentication for the purpose of establishing his identity unless it is so provided by a law made by Parliament,” the government said, adding that the amendments will enable UIDAI to restrain the misuse of Aadhaar.
  •  The amendment “provide for 12-digit Aadhaar number and its alternate virtual identity to conceal the actual Aadhaar number.”
  •  The move follows, a Supreme Court judgement dated September 26, 2018 which struck down section 57 of the Aadhaar Act that allowed sharing of aadhaar data with private entities.


Centre cuts down growth estimate to 7%

  •  GDP growth slowed for the third consecutive quarter in the October-December 2018 period, according to data released on Thursday. Growth fell to 6.6% in the third quarter, the lowest in the last six quarters.
  •  The slowdown was led by agriculture, which is estimated to grow at 2.7%, against the earlier estimate of 3.8%.
  •  Data showed that the GDP growth slowed for the third consecutive quarter in the quarter ended December 2018 to 6.6% — a six-quarter low from 7% in the second quarter and 8% in the first quarter of this financial year
  •  The slowdown in 2018-19 is due to a lowering in the growth estimate of the agriculture sector to 2.7% as per the latest data compared with the 3.8% estimated earlier. The manufacturing sector, too, is estimated to grow at a marginally lower 8.1% compared with the previously predicted 8.3%.
  •  The two notable divergences between the second estimate and the first are that private final consumption expenditure growth has been revised upwards to 8.3% from 6.4% and investment growth was revised lower to 10% from the earlier estimate of 12.2%.
  •  The government revised downwards its estimate for GDP growth in the 2018-19 financial year to 7% from the 7.2% estimated in the first estimate for the year released in January
  •  Economists point out that the size of the economy in terms of nominal GDP is now estimated to be ₹190.54 lakh crore, up from the ₹188.41 lakh crore estimated earlier.

Cabinet clears software product policy

  •  The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the National Policy on Software Products 2019 that aims to help the industry grow at CAGR of 40% to reach $70-80 billion by 2025, while creating employment opportunities for 3.5 million people.
  •  “The policy aims to adopt a shift in strategy so that IT products also contribute equitably and significantly to the industry along with IT services,” Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
  •  In a statement, the government said that initially an outlay of ₹1,500 crore is being planned for various schemes under in policy in the next seven years.
  •  Further, the policy proposes to create a ₹5,000-crore fund with industry participation to promote emerging technology such as Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Big Data and robotics. Of this, government contribution will be ₹1,000 crore.
  •  The policy, which aims to increase share of Indian software products in global market by tenfold, pitches for nurturing of 10,000 technology start-ups in software product industry, including 1,000 such start-ups in tier-II and tier-III towns.

     It also proposes up-skilling of 10 lakh IT professionals as well specialise 10,000 professionals to “provide leadership.”

     The policy also proposes a programme to encourage innovation to solving societal challenges. “The objective of the programme will be to promote IP driven software product entrepreneurship.
  •  The programme with a budgetary outlay of ₹500 crore will provide financial support to MSMEs and will have matching contribution from the government and the industry,” it said.

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U.N accuses Israel of war crimes in Gaza

  •  United Nations investigators said on Thursday Israeli security forces may have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in killing 189 Palestinians and wounding more than 6,100 at weekly protests in Gaza last year.
  •  The independent panel said it had confidential information about those it believes to be responsible for the killings, including snipers and commanders.
  •  Protests have been held at the frontier between Israel and the Gaza Strip since last year, calling for the easing of an Israeli blockade of the territory and recognition of the right of Palestinian refugees there to return to homes in Israel.
  •  Israel has said its forces opened fire to protect the frontier from incursions and attacks by armed militants.
  •  The latest report, covering the period from March 30-December 31 2018, to the U.N. Human Rights Council was based on hundreds of interviews with victims and witnesses, as well as medical records, video and drone footage, and photographs.
  •  U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet should share the findings with the International Criminal Court (ICC), it said. The Hague-based court opened a preliminary investigation into allegations of Israeli human rights abuses on Palestinian territory in 2015.
  •  The Gaza Strip is home to 2 million Palestinians, the majority of them stateless descendants of people who fled or were driven out of Israel on its founding in 1948.

No agreements finalised in Trump - Kim meeting

  •  The nuclear summit between United States President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in Hanoi ended without an agreement on Thursday, the White House said after the two leaders cut short their discussions.
  •  They had “very good and constructive meetings” and “discussed various ways to advance denuclearisation and economic driven concepts”, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
  •  In the event, both men left the summit venue without a public signing ceremony and Mr. Trump moved up his news conference by two hours, sparking doubts about the progress made at the summit.
  •  The Hanoi summit was supposed to build on their initial historic meeting at Singapore that critics said was more style over substance.
  •  In Hanoi, the smiles and bonhomie remained as Mr. Trump touted the “special relationship” between the two but concrete statements were vague.
  •  From the outset, Mr. Trump had appeared to downplay expectations of an immediate breakthrough in nuclear talks, saying he was in “no rush” to clinch a rapid deal and was content if a pause in missile testing continued.
  •  There were also hopes Mr. Kim could pledge to destroy North Korea’s decades-old Yongbyon nuclear complex, which has long been at the heart of Pyongyang’s atomic development but remains shrouded in secrecy and North Korea has promised to mothball it twice before.
  •  A patent distraction from the summit was a scandal back home in Washington with Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen calling him a “racist” and a “conman” during a congressional hearing.


Asian wildlife experts suggests expansion of boundaries for Rhinos

  •  International boundaries will not come in the way of conservation of rhinos, said representatives of Asian countries where the one-horned herbivore thrives.
  •  The New Delhi Declaration adopted at the second meeting of the Asian rhino range countries that ended on Thursday underscored trans-boundary collaboration among India, Nepal, and Bhutan for the conservation and protection of the greater one-horned rhino.
  •  There are no rhinos in Bhutan, but some from the Manas National Park in adjoining Assam or Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal are known to cross over occasionally.
  •  Emphasis was also laid on expanding rhino domains within a country or between rhino range countries. Indonesia and Malaysia are the other Asian countries where the last of the rhinos live.
  •  The current global population of the Indian one-horned rhinoceros is 3,584. Assam’s Kaziranga National Park has the bulk of 2,938 rhinos in India while Nepal 646.
  •  Among the other decisions taken at the New Delhi meeting of the Asian rhino range countries was “making the best use of all available individuals and technologies” to accelerate natural and conservation breeding of the critically endangered Sumatran rhino.


Deepak singh wins gold in Makran Cup

  •  National champion Deepak Singh was the lone Indian boxer to notch up a gold while five others claimed silver medals in theMakran Cup in Chabahar, Iran.
  •  Deepak (49-kilogram) defeated JaafarNaseriin the finals held last night. However, none of the other five Indian finalists could win their summit clashes.
  •  Finishing second on the podium were P Lalitha Prasad (52kg), Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Manish Kaushik (60kg), Duryodhan Singh Negi (69kg), Sanjeet (91kg) and Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Satish Kumar (91kg).

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