Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 01 August 2019
Centre plans to bring in single water disputes tribunal
The LokSabha on Wednesday passed a Bill that promises faster
redress of water disputes between the States by putting in place a new
architecture for tribunals that handle inter-State water disputes.
Moving the Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill,
2019, for passage in the LokSabha, Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat
said the existing tribunals constituted to resolve river water disputes had
failed and in some cases, even after 33 years, the tribunals were yet to give an
The Minister said though the original Inter-State River Water
Disputes Act, enacted in 1956, was amended 17 years ago to make five years the
maximum period within which river water disputes need to be resolved, the
reality had been different.
Giving a background of the history of tribunals, the Minister
said only four of the nine water tribunals could submit their report. And these
too came after a seven- to 28-year delay.
The new Bill provides for the constitution of a single tribunal
with different Benches, and the setting of strict timelines for adjudication. A
retired Supreme Court judge will head the tribunal and Benches will be formed as
and when required. The States can approach the tribunal for resolution of their
disputes and once resolved, the Bench would wind up.
RajyaSabha passes motor vehicle amendment bill
The RajyaSabha passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment), Bill,
2019 with some amendments. The bill was passed yesterday with 108 members
voting in favour of the bill and 13 against.
The bill seeks to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 to provide
for road safety. Provisions related to increasing penalties of traffic
violations, addressing issues on third-party insurance, regulation of cab
aggregators and road safety are proposed in the amendment.
The Bill proposes a scheme to allow cashless treatment of
victims in a road accident during the golden hour. The Bill proposes to increase
the minimum compensation for hit and run cases.
In case of the death, the compensation has been raised from 25
thousand to two lakh rupees, and in case of grievous injury, it will be from 12
thousand 500 to 50 thousand rupees.
Replying to a debate on the bill, Mr Gadkari made it clear that
the legislation will no way encroach the rights of the States regarding their
own Act. He said the government will open motor driving training schools to
impart skill trainings to drivers. He also said that the government will give
one crore rupees grant to those who want to open such training schools.
He said, it is a matter of concern that around 1.50 lakh people
die and 5 lakh people injured annually in road accidents. He appreciated the
measures taken by Tamil Nadu Government in reducing the number of accidents by
29 per cent in the last two years and the Centre will adopt the Tamil Nadu model
in reducing the accidents across the country.
India-U.S trade issues to be resolved soon
India and the U.S. are “very close” to resolving all their
trade-related differences, with Commerce Minister PiyushGoyal planning to
meet the U.S. Trade Representative in the coming month, a senior Commerce
Ministry official told The Hindu .
“All the issues that have happened, on aluminium, steel,
retaliatory tariffs by us, are all done now,” the official said on the condition
of anonymity. “The focus now is to look ahead and to calm the heightened tempers
on both sides. The officials from our side and their side have been meeting
regularly, and we are very close to seeing an agreement coming into place.”
The key bone of contention between India and the U.S. is market
access, the official explained, adding that this was at the bottom of most of
the tensions between the two countries over the last year or so.
“The market access issue will also be resolved soon, when the
[Commerce] Minister meets the U.S. Trade Representative either late next month
[August] or early the month after that,” the official said.
The Indian government is demanding greater market access in the
U.S. for dairy products, medical devices, and information and communication
technology (ICT) services, he added.
The U.S. government, on the other hand, is demanding increased
market access on a wider range of products.
Air India divestment to involve foreign players as well
A second attempt at disinvestment of Air India is likely to
see strong interest from private players, including participation from
leading global airlines such as those from the Gulf, according to aviation
consulting firm CAPA.
There is a likelihood of international entities seeking to form
joint ventures with Indian companies to bid for Air India to comply with norms
that cap foreign direct investment into the national carrier at 49%.
The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) has recommended that
the government allow FDI for a higher number of bidders and increased valuation
for Air India.
This will be necessary as major Indian corporations from outside
aviation may not have the appetite to invest in a complex project without an
experienced strategic partner, it noted.
The aviation consultancy reiterated what it considered were key
factors to ensure a successful attempt at privatisation of the national carrier.
These include: the government exiting completely from the airline, allowing the
new owner flexibility in dealing with Air India’s employees and easing the
requirement of the ‘Air India’ brand being kept intact by its buyer.
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri told
Parliament that the government may launch its second attempt to privatise the
national carrier before the end of August.
India –Africa bilateral relationship expands further
President RamnathKovind said that trade and investment ties
between India and Africa are growing.
India has become the fifth largest investor in Africa with
cumulative investment at over 54 billion US dollars. He was addressing Special
Session of National Assembly of Gambia yesterday evening in capital Banjul.
President said African continental Free Trade Area Agreement
launched this month will make Africa the largest free trade area in the world.
He said after South Asia, the African Continent is the largest
recipient of Indian overseas assistance. President has promised India's support
to Gambia in areas of skills development. Later President participated in a
community reception at Banjul.
The event was organised by the Indian community and Friends of
India. Addressing Members of the Indian Diaspora he said that just like Mahatma
Gandhi the Indian diaspora are the biggest and best ambassadors of India Abroad.
He highlighted India's priority for the Africa region. India is
opening 18 new missions, of which seven will be in west Africa. During his
two-day visit to Gambia, President had extensive talks with his Gambian
counterpart Adama Barrow.
During the delegation-level talks, the two leaders reviewed the
entire spectrum of bilateral relations and regional and global issues of mutual
New U.K government expected to be lenient towards migrants
Describing the new U.K. government led by Prime Minister
Boris Johnson as the “most desi Cabinet ever”, the British High Commissioner
to India, Dominic Asquith, said that revising immigration rules, including
those unpopular in India, would be a “focus” of the government.
“This is the most desi Cabinet ever seen, which is a testament
to just how diverse U.K. is, and also to what an impact the Indian diaspora
makes in the U.K.,” said Mr. Asquith, speaking for the first time since Mr.
Johnson was sworn in on July 24.
“There are, and it’s a matter of record, a group of Ministers
within the Cabinet who are very strong public supporters of revising the
immigration system, and I can only assume that that will be a focus,” he added.
“Certainly, with more personalities of Indian origin in the
Cabinet, we should be better placed to make things easier. Not only for the good
of Indians but also for the benefit of British industry and educational
institutions which have been facing competition from other countries,” former
Indian High Commissioner to the U.K. NavtejSarna told
Of particular concern were proposals to put India amongst
“high-risk” countries for visa violations, cutting down postgraduation
work-periods for students, and a contentious MoU on “illegal migrants’ return”
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Study reveals link between tumour growth and diet
Diet is already a key part of managing diseases like
diabetes and hypertension, but new research adds to a growing body of
evidence that it could help cancer treatment too.
The study, published on Thursday in the journal Nature , found
restricting intake of an amino acid found in red meat and eggs significantly
enhanced cancer treatment in mice, slowing tumour growth.
The study focused on restricting intake of the amino acid
methionine which is key to a process called one-carbon metabolism that helps
cancer cells grow.
The researchers first tested methionine restriction in healthy
mice to confirm it was having the desired effects on metabolism and then moved
to testing it in mice with colorectal cancer and soft tissue sarcomas.
They found that a low dose of chemotherapy, which on its own had
no effect on colorectal cancer, led to “marked inhibition of tumour growth” when
combined with methionine restriction.
Mr.Locasale and his colleagues extended the research by testing
a methionine restricted diet in six healthy humans, and found that the effect on
human metabolism appeared similar to that seen in mice.
That suggests that the diet could have a similar effect on
certain tumours in humans, though Mr.Locasale warned it was far too early to
draw any definitive conclusions.
BCCI suspends Prithvi shah for doping violation
Indian Test opener Prithvi Shaw has been suspended by the
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) till November 15, 2019, for a
doping violation. According to a BCCI release, Shaw had inadvertently
ingested a prohibited substance, which can be commonly found in cough
Mr Shaw had provided a urine sample as part of the BCCI's
anti-doping testing program during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy match on 22nd
February 2019 in Indore.
His sample was subsequently tested and found to contain
Terbutaline. Terbutaline, a specified substance, is prohibited both In& Out of
Competition in the WADA Prohibited List of Substances.
Mr Shaw responded to the charge but asserting that it was
inadvertent, being caused by his ingestion of the over the counter cough syrup
he had taken for his cough.
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