Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 03 JANUARY 2018

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 03 JANUARY 2019


Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, introduced in Loksabha

  •  The government on Wednesday introduced a Bill in the LokSabha that will allow individuals to voluntarily offer biometric ID Aadhaar as a means of identity verification for obtaining services like opening a bank account and getting a mobile phone connection.
  •  The Bill, which seeks to amend three separate laws governing Aadhaar, the telecom sector and banking regulation, gives a minor an option to opt out of the 12-digit identity scheme on attaining the age of 18 years.
  •  The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018, moved by Law and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, bans storing of core biometric information as well as Aadhaar number by service providers in cases of individuals who have voluntarily offered the national ID as a means of authentication.
  •  The Bill seeks to lay down the procedure for offline verification of an Aadhaar number holder, and confers enhanced regulator-like power on the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to give directions as it may consider necessary to any entity in the Aadhaar ecosystem.
  •  Mandatory authentication of an Aadhaar holder for the provision of any service will take place if such authentication is required by a law made by Parliament. The Bill proposes a civil penalty of up to Rs. 1 crore on entities that violate the theAadhaar Act, with an additional fine of up to Rs. 10 lakh per day in case of continuous non-compliance.

Cabinet restructures national health agency for better implementation of PM-JAY

  •  The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister ShriNarendraModi has approved the restructuring of existing National Health Agency as "National Health Authority" for better implementation of PradhanMantri - Jan ArogyaYojana (PM-JAY).
  •  With this approval, the existing society "National Health Agency" has been dissolved and will be replaced by National Health Authority as an attached office to Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
  •  The existing multi-tier decision making structure has been replaced with the Governing Board chaired by the Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India which will enable the decision making at a faster pace, required for smooth implementation of the scheme.
  •  The composition of the Governing Board is broad based with due representations from the Government, domain experts, etc. Besides, the States shall also be represented in the Governing Board on rotational basis.
  •  No new funds have been approved. Existing budget that was approved earlier by the Cabinet for The National Health Agency, including costs related to IT, human resources, infrastructure, operational costs etc. would be utilized by the proposed National Health Authority.
  •  It is envisaged that the National Health Authority shall have full accountability, authority and mandate to implement PM-JAY through an efficient, effective and transparent decision-making process.


Centre approves merger of 3 PSB’s

  •  The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister ShriNarendraModi has approved the scheme of amalgamation for amalgamating Bank of Baroda, Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank, with Bank of Baroda as the transferee bank and Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank as transferor banks.
  •  The amalgamation will be the first-ever three-way consolidation of banks in India, with the amalgamated bank being India's second largest Public Sector Bank.
  •  The amalgamation will help create a strong globally competitive bank with economies of scale and enable realisation of wide-ranging synergies.
  •  Leveraging of networks, low-cost deposits and subsidiaries of the three banks has the potential of yielding significant synergies for positioning the consolidated entity for substantial rise in customer base, market reach, operational efficiency, wider bouquet of products and services, and improved access for customers.
  •  The amalgamated banks will have access to a wider talent pool, and a large database that may be leveraged through analytics for competitive advantage in a rapidly digitalising banking context. Benefits would also flow as a result of wider reach and distribution network and reduction in distribution costs for the products and services through subsidiaries.
  •  Public at large shall benefit in terms of enhanced access to banking services through a stronger network, the ability to support a wider offering of product and services, and easy access to credit.

RBI to bring technology based solution to read denomination of notes

  •  In a bid to help the visually challenged, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is scouting for a digital solution that can identify and read out the denomination of Indian currency notes to users.
  •  Coming in the backdrop of issuance of new currency notes, the plan is aimed at developing or authenticating a technology-based solution to achieve the task in a few seconds, according to a source familiar with the development. The solution could be a device, software or a combination of both, to help not just the visually challenged, but also those who cannot read in poor lighting, the source said.
  •  Following up on an announcement in June, the RBI recently called for an expression of interest (EoI) from entities for a mechanism or device that can detect and read out the denomination. The reason behind the RBI scouting for such solutions is because of the blurring of physical dimensions of the notes that thus far served as the main differentiator.
  •  In other words, unlike in the past, the size of the note need not be indicative of denomination. There are also certain Intaglio (raised) printing-based identification marks in currency notes of Rs. 100 and above.
  •  Noting that technological progress had opened up new vistas for making banknotes more recognisable for the visually challenged, the bank had announced its decision to explore the feasibility of developing a suitable device or mechanism for aiding them in the identification.
  •  Apart from inviting EoIs, the RBI has formed a panel to go into different aspects, including solutions in practice abroad, which include an app used in the U.S. and a credit card-sized solution in a few other countries.

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Chinese President says Taiwan’s unification to mainland inevitable

  •  Taiwan’s unification with the mainland is “inevitable”, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday, warning against any efforts to promote the island’s independence and saying China would not renounce the option of using military force to bring it into the fold.
  •  Mr. Xi’s comments provoked a swift rebuke from Taipei, where President Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan’s people would never willingly give up the kind of democratic freedoms unseen on the mainland.
  •  China still sees democratic Taiwan as part of its territory to be reunified, despite the two sides being ruled separately since the end of a civil war in 1949.
  •  Relations have been strained since the 2016 election of President Tsai, who has refused to acknowledge Beijing’s stance that the island is part of “one China”. “Democratic values are cherished by the Taiwanese people, it’s their way of life,” Ms. Tsai said in a press conference arranged in response to Mr. Xi’s speech.
  •  She accused Beijing of provocations that strained people’s “emotional connection” to the mainland such as “buying off” Taiwan’s few diplomatic allies and increased military drills near the island.
  •  Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry released a terser response. “If the Chinese government cannot treat its own people kindly, cannot guarantee human rights and will not let its own people vote... then Taiwanese will look at China’s intent with suspicion,” it said.

Reports claim China building warships for Pakistan

  •  China is building the first of four “most advanced” naval warships for Pakistan as part of a major bilateral arms deal to ensure among other things “balance of power” in the strategic Indian Ocean, the state media reported.
  •  Equipped with modern detection and weapon systems, it will be capable of anti-ship, anti-submarine and air-defence operations, China Daily quoted state-owned defence contractor China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) as saying.
  •  The ship’s class is reported to be Type 054AP, which means it is based on the Type 054A of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, the report quoted the Pakistani Navy as saying.
  •  The Pakistani Navy previously said four such ships had been ordered, according to the report.
  •  Once constructed, the warship “will be one of the largest and technologically advanced platforms of the Pakistani Navy and strengthen the country’s capability to respond to future challenges, maintain peace and stability and the balance of power in the Indian Ocean region,” the report said.
  •  It will also support the Pakistan Navy’s initiative of securing sea lanes for international shipping by patrolling distant waters, the daily quoted CSSC as saying.


Centre gives approval to India’s approach to COP 24

  •  The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister ShriNarendraModi has given its ex-post facto approval to the negotiating stand of India at the 24th Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Katowice, Poland
  •  India reiterated its commitment to Paris Agreement and highlighted its leadership during the COP-24 by reuniting its promise to implement the Paris Agreement fully in a collective manner.
  •  In line with our traditional ethos of protecting environment, Government of India has taken several initiatives to address climate change concerns under the leadership of Prime Minister, ShriNarendraModi and these initiatives reflect India's commitment towards climate action.
  •  It is however important to ensure that the actions of developing countries are supported by sustained and adequate means of implementation including finance, capacity building and technological support by developed countries.
  •  The adopted guidance operationalises the obligation of developed countries in providing means of implementation to developing countries and requires developed countries to provide detailed information to bring clarity on projected levels of climate finance.
  •  Parties have also agreed to initiate the work on setting up the new collective finance goals post-2020 from the floor of US$ 100 billion.


AIFF to consider extension of contract of Constantine

  •  The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has not ruled out giving another contract extension to head coach Stephen Constantine after the Asian Cup in January, saying the National team has been “performing excellently” under him.
  •  Terming some media reports which claimed the AIFF was parting ways with Constantine after the January 5 TO February 1 Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates as baseless, the National federation said it was focusing on the team’s performance in the continental showpiece event.

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