Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 01 August 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 01 August 2019


::NATIONAL::

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 award.

  • 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.

::ECONOMY::

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.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

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 interest.

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” with India.

::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.

::SPORTS::

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 syrups.

  • 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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