Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 01 June 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 01 June 2019


::NATIONAL::

Newly formed government gives preference to farmers,traders

  • The newly-sworn in NDA government at the Centre has taken four major decisions related to farmers' and traders welfare in the first meeting of the Union Cabinet.

  • It has approved the extension of PradhanMantriKisanSammanNidhi (PM-KISAN) to all the farmers in the country. Earlier the benefit of the scheme was applicable to farmers having two hectares of land.

  • Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting in New Delhi last evening, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said, nearly 14 crore 50 lakh farmers will be now covered under the revised scheme. The Minister said, total burden on the exchequer will be over 87,000 crore rupees for the year 2019-20. He said, over three crore farmers have been benefited so far. Six thousand rupees per year is being given in three instalments to the farmers, under the scheme.

  • In another major decision, the Centre approved the PradhanMantriKisan Pension Yojana under which small and marginal farmers will get a minimum fixed pension of 3,000 rupees per month on attaining the age of 60 years. The beneficiaries should be in the age group of 18 to 40 years. Mr Tomar said, the central government will also contribute an equal amount to the pension fund. He said, the scheme aims to initially cover 5 crore farmers in the first 3 years.

  • The Cabinet cleared a pension scheme for small traders. Briefing reporters in New Delhi last evening, Information and Broadcasting Minister PrakashJavdekar said, the scheme is meant to provide universal social security to all shopkeepers, retail traders and self-employed persons. They will be given a minimum monthly pension of 3 thousand rupees on attaining the age of 60 years. Altogether 3 crore retail traders and shopkeepers will be benefited under this scheme.

India lifts curbs on usage of its airspace

  • There is relief likely for thousands of air travellers affected due to the closure of Pakistan airspace as India lifted curbs on use of its skies on Friday.

  • “The ball is now in Pakistan’s court. Most likely they will also open up,” a senior official said on the condition of anonymity.

  • “Temporary restrictions on all air routes in the Indian airspace imposed by the Indian Air Force on 27 February 2019 have been removed,” the IAF posted on Twitter. The IAF communicated its decision in a letter to the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

  • Pakistan shut its airspace for all flights on February 27 following the IAF airstrike at a Jaish-e-Mohammad camp in Balakot. According to Indian officials, 11 entry and exit points, which are located between Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat, were also closed for flights to and from Pakistan as a reciprocal measure.

  • The government official also said that AAI has written to U.N.’s aviation watchdog, International Civil Aviation Organisation, as well as countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Oman and Iran informing them of the decision.

  • Since the imposition of its ban, Pakistan has gradually opened its airspace for most airlines, barring those that enter the country from its eastern border after traversing India.

::ECONOMY::

GDP growth slows down to 5 year low mark

  • India’s GDP grew at 5.8% in the January-March 2019 quarter, dragging down the full year growth to a five-year low of 6.8%. The unemployment rate in the country rose to a 45-year high of 6.1% in 2017-18, as per official data released on the first day of the second term of the Modi government.

  • Addressing a press conference on Friday, Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said the slowdown, caused by temporary factors such as liquidity crunch, is likely to continue in the April-June 2019 quarter, with the demand picking up from the second quarter onwards.

  • Asked about India losing the fastest growing nation tag to China with a quarterly growth of 5.8%, Mr.Garg, who is also the Finance Secretary, said, “Quarterly numbers don’t matter…it is basically annual growth… At 6.8% annual growth, India is still the fastest growing nation… China is still lower.”

  • During the year, the slowdown in the economy was led by sluggish growth in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector (2.9% growth), the mining sector (1.3% growth) and in manufacturing (6.9%).

  • The sectors which saw growth rate of over 7% were public administration, defence and other services, construction, financial, real estate and professional services, and electricity, gas, water supply and other utility services.

  • The unemployment data, which was released a day after Prime NarendraModi took oath for the second term, confirms an earlier leaked version of this survey that claimed that joblessness was at a 45-year high.

New draft education policy report submitted

  • Former ISRO chief Dr.Kasturirangan led Committee submitted the draft National Educational Policy (NEP) to HRD Minister Ramesh PokhriyalNishank in New Delhi yesterday.

  • The policy draft recommends incorporation of Indian knowledge systems in the curriculum, constituting a National Education Commission and curbing arbitrary fees hikes by private schools.

  • The expert panel also proposed massive transformation in Teacher Education by moving all teacher preparation and education programmes into large multidisciplinary universities or colleges.

  • It added that the topics will include Indian contribution to mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, psychology, yoga, architecture, medicine, as well as governance, polity, society, and conservation course on Indian knowledge systems.

  • The existing NEP was framed in 1986 and revised in 1992.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

India to lose access to preferential trade under U.S GSP

  • India will lose access to preferential trade terms with the U.S. under the latter’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme, a Senior State Department official told reporters in Washington DC on Thursday.

  • The official, who did not want to be named, said the restoration of benefits remained a possibility if underlying trade issues were resolved, but the withdrawal of India’s GSP eligibility, was “a done deal”.

  • President Donald Trump had written to the U.S. Congress on March 4 stating his intention to withdraw GSP benefits for India, saying India had failed to assure Washington that it would provide “equitable and reasonable access to the markets of India”.

  • However, U.S. lawmakers had written to the administration, asking that a final decision be put on hold until the Indian elections concluded. Twenty-five lawmakers also wrote to the administration in May to request that GSP benefits not be cancelled as it would represent “a step back, not forward” and harm U.S. companies.

  • The lawmakers had urged further negotiations with India. Indian exports to the U.S. worth $5.6 billion are covered by GSP, although India gets only $190 million in tariff savings.

  • Nevertheless, the programme impacts crucial Indian sectors including textiles, leather, engineering goods, gems and jewellery.

U.S to confront Mexico with tariffs over migration issue

  • Washington will impose a 5% tariff on all goods from Mexico increasing to as much as 25% — until “illegal migrants” stop coming through the country into the U.S., President Donald Trump said on Thursday.

  • “On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP,” he tweeted. “The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied, at which time the Tariffs will be removed,” he wrote.

  • According to a White House statement, the tariff will rise to 10% on July 1, then increase by 5% increments each month until topping out at 25% on October 1. “Tariffs will permanently remain at the 25% level unless and until Mexico substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory,” the statement said

  • Mexican President Andrés Manuel LópezObrador struck a conciliatory tone in a letter to Mr. Trump following the tariff announcement. “I express to you that I don’t want confrontation,” he wrote. “I propose deepening our dialogue, to look for other alternatives to the migration problem.”

  • The announcement came a day after border agents in El Paso, Texas detained the largest single group of migrants they had ever encountered — 1,036 people.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

ICMR claims e-cigarette poses severe health risk

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has warned of a potential public health disaster if action was not taken to completely prohibit and dissuade the use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) or e-cigarettes given that the nicotine delivered by these devices adversely affect almost all systems in a human body.

  • E-cigarette use adversely affects the cardiovascular system, impairs respiratory immune cell function and airways in a way similar to cigarette smoking and is responsible for severe respiratory disease. It also poses risk to foetus, infant, and child brain development, the council noted in a white paper released on Friday.

  • Given the harmful health effects e-cigarettes pose to users, as well as passive exposure, failure to make appropriate interventions at the right time — by bringing together all stakeholders under one umbrella to prevent this impending epidemic of e-cigarettes use — could lead to a public health disaster in India, Dr.Bhargava asserted.

  • With any benefit that e-cigarettes may offer as a tobacco cessation aid yet to be established and evidence suggesting that there were risks of both dual use and the initiation to tobacco addiction among non-smokers, these products, on balance, had a net negative impact on public health, the ICMR noted.

  • In its response, Association of Vapers India (AVI) in a statement said that the white paper does not present the true picture.

::SPORTS::

Shooter Manu bhaker secures Olympic quota

  • In shooting, young shooter Manu Bhaker secured India its seventh Olympic quota with a fourth-place finish in the women's 10 meter air pistol event of the ISSF World Cup in Munich, Germany, today. This is India's first quota in women's 10 meter pistol.

  • The 17-year Bhaker shot 201 in the final to secure the quota for the Tokyo Games. Bhaker is winner of multiple medals at top global events. She finished third in qualification with a total of 582 points , shooting a solid 98 in her last two rounds.

  • SaurabhChaudhary has won quota place in men's 10 meter air pistol at the World Cup in Delhi and AbhishekVerma grabbed the quota place in the same event at the World Cup in Beijing.

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