Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 03 January 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 03 January 2020


PM asks scientists to create roadmap for a decade at science congress

  • Prime Minister NarendraModi has asked the scientists to prepare a definite roadmap for the new decade to set the direction and pace of scientific research in various fields in country.

  • Mr Modi was speaking after dedicating to the nation five Young Scientists Laboratories of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Bengaluru yesterday.

  • These laboratories will work on key advanced technologies of importance to the development of futuristic defence system. The Prime Minister said these labs would help in shaping the pattern of research and development in the field of emerging technologies in the country.

  • Earlier in the day, speaking at Tumakuru, the Prime Minister lashed out at the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and said, the protest must be against Pakistan's continuous atrocities on minorities. He said that Pakistan has always persecuted religious minorities and India is duty bound to help these minorities.

  • The Prime Minister electronically disbursed 12,000 crore rupees to six crore farmers as third installment of PradhanMantriKisanSammaanNidhi scheme.

  • He expressed hope that those states who have not implemented the scheme, will implement it this year. The Prime Minister also awarded the Krishi Karman Award to the progressive farmers from 21 states.

MHA to bring in amendments in IPC, CrPC to curb henious crimes

  • Aimed to curb henious crimes like rape which have shaken the country on many occasions with brutal assaults on minor girls as well as on adult women, and to instill fear of law, the Union Home Ministry has expedited its procedure of seeking suggestions to amend the British-era Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

  • Once the opinion sought from departments concerned in the Ministry of Home Affairs, including the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD), the Ministry of Women and Child Development, and Ministry of Law and among others, are received, a proposal to change certain sections will be sent to the Union Cabinet seeking it approval to put it in Parliament for a new strict law to deal with such gruesome crimes.

  • It is learnt that the proposal for a new law could be moved in Parliament during the upcoming Budget Session 2020, which is expected soon, officials in the know told IANS, adding the Home Ministry has "expedited" its work in this direction in consultation with the BPRD.

  • The suggestions include diluting the right to file an appeal or seek legal remedies in henious crimes against women, and making forensic evidence compulsory in criminal cases where punishment is seven years or more, so that the amended law could be as strict as it "instill fear among criminals", the official said.

  • The Ministry began its work to amend sections in IPC and CrPC after Union Home Minister Amit Shah mentioned the need for such changes in the 47th All India Police Science Congress summit in Lucknow in November.


Report suggests India could tap the export potential of around 82bUSD in China

  • India can explore an annual USD 82-billion export potential in twenty products, including electrical equipment and ferro alloys, in the world's second largest economy China, according to a report. Indian exporters have a competitive advantage as far as these twenty goods are concerned.

  • Currently, India meets only 3.3 per cent or USD 2.7 billion of the total annual import demands of USD 82 billion for these 20 products in China.

  • India's exports of these 20 products are worth around USD 15 billion to the world, which is 4.5 per cent of the country's annual outward shipments.

  • India can substantially reduce its trade deficit with China, which stood at USD 53.56 billion in 2018-19, by enhancing its market share for these products in that country, the report added.

  • Electrical equipment, tobacco, iron and steel, ferro alloys, parts of aircraft, engines and other auto-components, benzene, frozen boneless bovine meat are some of the product segment out of the 20 in the list.

  • Increasing India's market share for these products in China will add further momentum to the growing exports of India in this country, she added.

  • India's overall exports to China grew 5.39 per cent to USD 11.57 billion in April-November 2019, even as our total exports to the world declined 2 per cent during this period.

  • The country's overall trade deficit with China declined 5 per cent to USD 35.3 billion in the first eight months of the current financial year, compared to USD 37.3 billion in the year-ago period, the report added.

Centre to use AI technology to track GST evaders

  • The government plans to increase the use of artificial intelligence and data analytics to track down tax evaders, and improve compliance with the Goods and Service Tax in order to augment revenue.

  • Top tax officials are scheduled to participate in a brainstorming session to be chaired by revenue secretary Ajay BhushanPandey next week to firm up this plan.

  • The discussions will include assessing the wider use of data analytics and AI in the process of enforcement and red-flagging tax evaders and fake refund claimants without overreach or harassment to genuine taxpayers.

  • The meeting comes on the heels of the government notifying changes to GST rules to prevent frauds and fake invoicing, besides setting up grievance cells to ensure that genuine taxpayers are not harassed and the overall tax base increases.

  • The government last week reduced input tax credit to 10% from 20% of eligible credit if invoices or debit notes were not reflected in filings.

  • There’s growing concern over revenue shortfall, with slowing consumption demand adversely impacting GST collections. The corporate tax cut amounting to a loss of revenue of Rs 1.45 lakh crore, along with recent GST compensation of over Rs 35,000 crore to states, have increased the stress on the Centre’s fiscal position.

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India-Mauritius FTA to get finalised soon

  • The proposed free trade agreement between India and Mauritius is nearing finalisation as both the sides have concluded the negotiations for the pact, the commerce ministry said on Wednesday.

  • The proposed India-Mauritius Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) seeks to mutually benefit both the countries in the area of trade in goods and services, it said in a statement.

  • Negotiations were held across several sectors including goods, services, rules of origin, technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, trade remedies and dispute settlement.

  • Mauritius was the second top source of foreign direct investment (FDI) into India in 2018-19. India received USD 8 billion (about Rs 56,000 crore) foreign inflows from the country.

  • The bilateral trade between the countries increased marginally to USD 1.2 billion in 2018-19 from USD 1.1 billion in 2017-18.

  • The island nation's exports to New Delhi include iron and steel, pearls, precious/semi-precious stones and optical, photographic and precision instruments.

  • It also said that in order to promote India-Africa trade and economic relations, the ministry regularly reviews trade ties through institutional mechanisms like Joint Commission Meetings, Joint Trade Committees and Joint Working Groups.

China approves home grown vaccines as an alternative to global medicines

  • China has approved a pneumonia vaccine developed by Chinese drugmakerWalvax Biotechnology's unit, its National Medical Products Administration saidoffering an alternative to one of Pfizer's best-selling products Prevnar 13.

  • Pfizer's Prevnar 13, which was approved in China in 2016, was the only pneumococcal 13-valent conjugate vaccine available around the world before Walvax's product, the notice said.

  • With more than 15 million newborn babies in 2018, China has huge demand for vaccines targeting pneumonia, which is the major cause of death of children under the age of five, the authority said.

  • A total of 27 cases of viral pneumonia in the central city of Wuhan were discovered and investigated by Chinese health authorities, local health commission said on Tuesday.

  • Cecolin, an HPV vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Innovax, has also notched approval for sales, the administration said in a separate notice issued on the same day.


WII to conduct Asiatic lion census in May this year

  • The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) is to conduct Asiatic Lion Census in May 2020. The Institute will use 10,000 cameras to conduct the census.

  • In 2015, the WII counted 523 lions in Gujarat. It is expected that the numbers have risen phenomenally and the population must have crossed 1,000. Thecensus is to adopt the technology of National Tiger Conservation Authority. The entire census area is to be divided in to 3-km grid. Officers will collect hair, nails, teeth, etc.

  • The collection process is to be carried out using scientific methods laid out by NTCA. Around 1,000 to 2,000 officers are to be employed. In the second phase, 10,000 cameras are to be used to capture the lions.

  • The Asiatic Lions in Gujarat are restricted to Gir National Park in the state. The lions are listed as “Endangered” in the IUCN Red List. Initially the lions were spread from the east of Indus river to West Bengal and also to Narmada river in Central India. However, today they are restricted to Gujarat alone.

  • The lion is one among the 5 Pantherine Cats inhabiting in India. The other 4 pantherine cats in India are Bengal Tiger, Snow Leopard, Indian Leopard and Clouded leopard.

  • Under IUCN red list, Bengal Tiger has been listed as Endangered, and the three leopards snow leopard, clouded leopard and Indian leopard have been listed as Vulnerable.


National ice hockey championships begin at Leh

  • The 5th Ice Hockey Association of India (IHAI) National Ice Hockey Championship -2020 has begun in Leh today. In the inaugural match in Under-20 Boys category between Chandigarh and Haryana, the contest ended in a draw with 4 goals each.

  • Similarly, the second match between Ladakh Scouts Regiment Centre and Delhi also ended in a draw with 2 goals each.

  • Later in the afternoon Under-20 Girls match will be played between home team Ladakh and Maharashtra.

  • The tournament will continue till 7th January in Karzoo Ice Hockey Rink in Leh, where the Army, Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana, Maharashtra and home team Ladakh are fighting for the championship in U-20 boys category.

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