Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 01 MAY 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 01 MAY 2019


::NATIONAL::

EC gives clean chit to PM on alleged model code violation

  • The Election Commission on Tuesday ruled that Prime Minister NarendraModi’s speech at Wardha in Maharashtra on April 1 did not violate the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and the Representation of the People Act provisions.
  • The decision came after Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and two Election Commissioners thoroughly examined a detailed report received from the State Chief Electoral Officer on the impugned comments.
  • “The matter has been examined in detail in accordance with the extant guidelines/provisions of the Model Code of Conduct, the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and the report of the Chief Electoral Officer, Maharashtra. Accordingly, Commission is of the considered view that in this matter no such violation has been noticed,” said a senior EC official.
  • The Congress had earlier lodged a complaint with the EC alleging that the “hateful, vile and divisive” comments were directed at party president Rahul Gandhi. A delegation of Congress leaders including Ahmed Patel, Jairam Ramesh, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and RandeepSurjewala had submitted the memorandum, seeking the Commission’s intervention.
  • Mr.Modi had said “it is evident from the fact that one has to contest a seat where the minority is majority” alluding to the decision of Mr. Gandhi (who was not named) to contest from Wayanad in Kerala, apart from Amethi. Taking cognisance, the EC sought a report from the State CEO.
  • According to poll panel officials, an authenticated transcript of the entire speech was submitted to the Commission on April 14 and the impugned comments were examined.

NCMC meets to review preparedness as FANI intensifies to severe cyclonic storm

  • The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) under the chairmanship of Sh. P. K. Sinha, Cabinet Secretary,met here today for the second time in as many days and reviewed the preparedness with the States and concerned Departments of Government of India, to deal with the situation arising out of the Cyclonic Storm ‘Fani’.
  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) informed that the Severe Cyclonic Storm ‘FANI’ lay centredthis afternoon at about 800 kmsSouth of Puri.As per IMD, it is very likely to intensify further into an Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm during next 24 hours and move northwestwards till 01st May evening and thereafter recurve north-northeastwards and reach Odisha Coast by afternoon of 3rd May.
  • Reviewing the preparedness of the States and Central Agencies, Cabinet Secretary directed that all necessary measures be taken to prevent any loss of life and to keep in readiness essential supplies including food, drinking water and medicines etc.
  • He also advised all concerned to make adequate preparations to ensure maintenance of essential services such as power, telecommunications in the event of damages caused to them.During the meeting, officers of all concerned State Governments confirmed their preparedness to deal with any emerging situation arising out of the cyclonic storm.
  • Indian Coast Guard and the Navy have deployed ships and helicopters for relief and rescue operations. Army and Air Force units in the three states have also been put on standby. States have issued advisories and are ensuring that fishermen do not venture into the sea. IMD has been issuing three hourly bulletins with latest forecast to all the concerned States. MHA is also in continuous touch with the State Governments and the Central Agencies concerned.

::ECONOMY::

High growth witnessed in core sectors in March

  • Growth in the core sectors of the economy surged in March to a five-month high of 4.7%, driven by a broad-based recovery in sectors such as cement, refinery products, steel, and coal.
  • The March edition of the Index of Eight Core Industries also provides a full year (April-March) performance review, which shows that the core industries maintained their growth rate of 4.3% in 2018-19, the same as in the previous year.
  • The cement sector saw the strongest rebound in March 2019, growing 15.7% compared with 8% in February 2019. The steel sector saw growth accelerating to 6.7% from 4.9% over the same period. The cement sector grew 13.3% over the full year 2018-19, up from the 6.3% growth it recorded in the previous year.
  • The steel sector, on the other hand, saw growth for the full year come in at a slower 4.7% in 2018-19 compared with 5.6% in 2017-18.
  • Growth in the coal sector also accelerated in March, to 9.1% from 7.4% in February. Over the full year, the sector grew 7.3% in 2018-19 compared to 2.6% in the previous year. The crude oil sector continued its contraction in March, contracting 6.2% compared with a contraction of 6.1% in the previous month. Over 2018-19, the sector contracted 4.1% compared with a contraction of 0.9% in the previous year.
  • Refinery products, however, saw growth picking up in March to 4.3% compared with a contraction of 0.8% in February. The sector’s full-year growth nevertheless came in lower, at 3.1%, than the previous year’s 4.6%.
  • The natural gas sector saw growth slowing in March to 1.4% from 3.8% in February. The sector saw growth for the full year slipping to 0.8% in 2018-19 from 2.9% in 2017-18.

GSTN signs MoU with IT department allowing access to information to each other

  • The Income Tax Department and the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) are all set to sign anMoU that will allow the two to match their data regarding company financials so as to pin down any anomalies
  • The department order provides for the Principal Director General or Director General of Income Tax (Systems) to sign anMoU with the GSTN allowing them to send information on assessees to the nodal officer in the GSTN.
  • The order, dated April 30, states that the GSTN can ask for and be provided data relating to an assessee’s status of filing income tax returns, turnover, gross total income, financial ratios, and any other data with the I-T Department to be decided at a later date. The order also provides for the automatic exchange of such data, and not just based on requests, the modalities of which will be decided.
  • “While furnishing the information, the specified Income Tax authority shall form an opinion that sharing of such information is necessary for the purposes of enabling the specified authority in GSTN to perform its functions under the Goods and Services Tax,” the order said.
  • The MoU will also include the rules pertaining to the modalities of the exchange, the confidentiality of the data, and the “weeding out after usage”.
  • “Facilitation of exchange of data between authorities under income-tax and GST is indicative of the government’s intention not to spare taxpayers from escaping tax payable under any of the laws,” RakeshNangia, managing partner, Nangia Advisors, said.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

France supports India’s ASAT programme

  • Stating that defence and offensive space technologies are being developed with various aims of spying, gaining control, deactivating service and destroying, French Envoy in India Alexandre Ziegler has supported India’s Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile test as a response to these growing threats.
  • He also observed that outer space has become an “arena of rivalry between major powers.”
  • At the same time, he said there was common concern on space debris. Satellites today have to avoid almost 6,00,000 debris of over 1cm travelling at speed faster than a bullet, he stated.
  • On March 27, India shot down a live satellite in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) of 300 km using a modified interceptor of the Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system. Officials had stated that the LEO was particularly chosen to minimise space debris.
  • India and France, which have been cooperating in the area of space for several decades, had announced the setting up of a constellation of satellites for maritime surveillance of the Indian Ocean. Mr. Ziegler said as part of this, the two countries are co-developing a constellation 10-15 satellites that could help “monitor the maritime traffic in the Indian Ocean.”
  • As space gets increasingly crowded, Mr. Ziegler also called for the need to regulate space traffic on the lines of air traffic or railways. He said France shares India’s view on the use of outer space for peaceful purposes and said, “We therefore refuse any destabilising arms race, which would be detrimental to all of us.”

Japan’s new emperor sworn in

  • Emperor Akihito of Japan formally stepped down on Tuesday, the first abdication for 200 years in the world's oldest monarchy, as his son Naruhito prepared to take the Chrysanthemum Throne and usher in a new imperial era.
  • In the “Room of Pine” in Tokyo's Imperial Palace, the popular 85-year-old performed the abdication ritual in the presence of the imperial regalia an ancient sword and the sacred jewel.
  • Dressed in a Western-style morning coat, Mr. Akihito stood on a small stage before an invited audience and members of the royal family and offered his “deepest heartfelt gratitude to the people of Japan”.
  • He said he would “pray for the peace and happiness of all the people in Japan and around the world”. Empress Michiko stood by his side in a white and silver gown and the outgoing emperor paused briefly after exiting the stage, to help his wife, 60, down the steps.
  • Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the royal couple had offered “courage and hope” to the Japanese people in times of suffering.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

UN releases recommendations on physical activity for under five children

  • The United Nations on Wednesday released its first-ever recommendations on physical activity for children under five, with disputed advice on subjects ranging from screen time to “tummy time”.
  • The guidelines from the World Health Organization may read to some parents like common-sense practices, including not exposing babies under one-year-old to screens.
  • Despite acknowledging that its “strong recommendations” were based on “very low quality evidence,” the UN health agency said its advice could apply to all young children, regardless of gender, cultural background or socio-economic status.
  • With obesity posing a rising public health threat and 80 percent of adolescents “not sufficiently physically active,” WHO said it was time to outline best practices for children under five a crucial period for lifestyle development.
  • WHO’s “glossary says that it excludes ‘active screen-based games where physical activity or movement is required’, but that’s not very clear in my view.”
  • It said the screen time guidelines do not pertain to “an interactive tablet based game or a TV programme where children are encouraged to move, to copy movements to dance to interact with the media.

::SPORTS::

Raheem Sterling is FWA’s footballer of the year

  •  Raheem Sterling has been named the 2019 footballer of the year by the Football Writers' Association (FWA). The Manchester City and England forward topped the poll of the 400-strong FWA membership as a clear winner, with 62 percent of the votes.
  •  It was more than 100 votes ahead of Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk. Hours earlier, Sterling lost out to Van Dijk in the race for the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) award, but was announced PFA young player of the year.

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