Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 03 MARCH 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 03 MARCH 2019


Centre to consider skill development as a national mission

  •  The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that skill development should become a national mission.
  •  Addressing the gathering after laying foundation stone for the construction of KaushalBhawan,Shri Naidu stressed up on the need to work as team India to build a stronger India, a more developed India, an India that was capable of defending itself against hostile forces and disruptive designs.
  •  The world and especially South East Asia has numerous problems like poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and low employable skills. We should wage a war against these, he added.
  •  The Vice President called up on the Private sector to step in supporting government’s efforts skill the youth of India, especially the ones living in rural areas.
  •  Expressing concern over the rising urban-rural divide, Shri Naidu wanted united efforts by all agencies including the private sector to create healthcare, rural employment, skill training facilities at rural areas at par with the urban areas.
  •  Quoting Maharma Gandhi’s NaiTalim, the Vice President stressed that youth and children should not just be trained to acquire skills but should be taught to respect human labor and social harmony and tolerance. One must learn to respect every job, he added.
  •  Shri Naidu said that training the youth and children on rural crafts by way of vocational training and empowering them to stand on their own should pave the way for Gram Swaraj and create the possibility of large-scale self-employment in rural and urban areas.

Government approves pension scheme for employees of PSU insurance companies

  •  The Government of India has decided to allow one more opportunity to employees of Public Sector Insurance Companies (PSICs) who joined on or before 28th June 1995, to opt for Pension, as a retirement benefit.
  •  Pension was introduced as a retirement benefit in PSICs with effect from 28th June 1995. In April 1997, employees of LIC and Public Sector General Insurance Companies namely, GIC, NICL, OICL, UIICL and NIACL, who joined service on or before 28th June 1995 were given another opportunity to opt for Pension, as a retirement benefit.
  •  However, many eligible employees could not exercise the option and there has been a long standing demand from them to be given another option.
  •  In order to mitigate the hardship of such employees of whom many have retired, Government has decided as a welfare measure, to allow one more opportunity to employees of PSICs who joined service on or before 28th June 1995, to opt for the Pension scheme of their respective organizations, in lieu of Contributory Provident Fund.
  •  This decision is expected to benefit 42,720 employees (serving and retired) of which 24,595 are of LIC and 18,125 of PSGICs.


RBI imposes penalty on banks for violation of norms

  •  The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a penalty of Rs. 3 crore on Union Bank, Rs. 2 crore on Dena Bank and Rs. 1 crore each on IDBI Bank and the SBI for non-compliance with various directions, regulatory filings said.
  •  Union Bank and IDBI Bank said they were penalised for the delay in adherence to RBI’s directives on ‘time-bound implementation and strengthening of SWIFT related controls’ contained in the RBI circular of February 20, 2018.
  •  Dena Bank said it was penalised for its non-compliance with the RBI directions issued on February 20, 2018.
  •  SBI said the RBI has levied an aggregate penalty of Rs. 1 crore on it for delayed implementation of the daily reconciliation of SWIFT transaction logs with effect from February 20, 2018 at 226 “low intensity branches” of the bank.

PM addresses construction technology event

  •  The Prime Minister, ShriNarendraModi, today addressed the Construction Technology India Event, 2019 event at VigyanBhavan today.
  •  The Prime Minister emphasized the commitment of the Union Government towards ensuring that every family’s dream of a home, becomes a reality and said that the need for the Global Housing Technology Challenge, was felt in the light of rapid urbanization in India.
  •  He said that elements from several schemes, including PM AwasYojana, HRIDAY and AMRUT, are oriented towards transforming the housing sector.
  •  The Prime Minister said a lot of emphasis has been placed on affordable housing, real estate sector, skill development, and housing technology. He reiterated his dream that every Indian should have a proper house by 2022, and 1.3 crore houses have been made in his tenure. He called upon everyone to work together to enhance capacities and help the poor.
  •  The Prime Minister said that the Global Housing Technology Challenge is a platform that can help elevate India’s construction ecosystem to international standards. He declared that the period from April 2019 to March 2020, will be observed as the Construction Technology Year.
  •  During the event, the Prime Minister launched the GHTC-India mobile application, an interactive platform for all the stakeholders for facilitating exchange of knowledge on innovation and alternative housing technologies. He also launched the 3rd Edition of the Vulnerability Atlas of India, a collation of the existing hazard scenario for the entire country.

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India rejects Jammu & Kashmir resolution proposal by OIC

  •  Rejecting a resolution by the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) on Jammu and Kashmir that referred to “Indian terrorism” and “mass blindings”, the External Affairs Ministry said its stand on the matter was “well known”.
  •  The resolution on Jammu and Kashmir, another on the “India-Pakistan Peace Process” that praised Pakistan for its “efforts”, and a statement on “Muslim minorities” worldwide that called upon the Indian government to rebuild the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, came as an embarrassment for the government just a day after External Affairs Minister SushmaSwaraj had addressed the gathering.
  •  “We reaffirm that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and is a matter strictly internal to India,” the Ministry said in a statement here on Saturday after the conclusion of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Abu Dhabi. The statement appreciated the invitation to Ms. Swaraj as a “historic gesture”.
  •  Officials underplayed the statements and references to India, pointing out that there were no negative references to New Delhi in the “Abu Dhabi declaration” document, which is the main communiqué.
  •  Sources told that the other resolutions “don’t reflect or need a consensus” of the entire 57-nation group. “They are essentially national positions of individual countries, and often go unopposed,” an official said.
  •  Foreign Minister of the UAE Sheikh Abdullah attempted to explain the statements from what he called a “positive angle”. “I think the OIC has sent a very clear and positive sign to India and looks forward to strengthening such a relationship to a point where we can embrace India one day at the OIC,” he said.

RCEP agrees upon mega trade agreement

  •  The 16 members of the RCEP group, including India and China, on Saturday agreed to intensify ongoing negotiations for a proposed mega trade agreement to resolve all issues and conclude the talks this year. The progress of negotiations was reviewed at a meeting of all the Trade Ministers of 16 countries in Cambodia, which concluded on Saturday.
  •  “To ensure that progress is made towards meeting the target for conclusion in 2019, the Ministers agreed to intensify engagement, including by convening more inter-sessional meetings,” the Commerce Ministry said, quoting a joint statement.
  •  The statement added that all Ministers resolved to exert utmost effort to achieve the target of concluding negotiations this year. The leaders commended the Trade Negotiating Committee for the progress made to date on both market access and text-based negotiations but also “recognised that more work needs to be done to advance both aspects of the negotiations,” it said.
  •  Members of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership want India to eliminate or reduce customs duties on maximum number of goods it trades with them. But, lower level of ambitions in services and investments, a key area of interest for India, does not augur well for the pact that seeks to be comprehensive.


Space X launches Astronaut Capsule to ISS

  •  SpaceX celebrated the successful launch on Saturday of a new astronaut capsule on a week-long round trip to the International Space Station a key step towards resuming manned space flights from U.S. soil after an eight-year break.
  •  This time around, the only occupant on board SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule was a dummy named Ripley but NASA plans to put two astronauts aboard in July, although that date could be delayed.
  •  The new capsule blasted off aboard the Falcon 9 rocket built by SpaceX run by billionaire Elon Musk at 2:49 a.m. (0749 GMT) from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, lighting up the coastline.
  •  The next tricky step for the capsule will be docking at the ISS on Sunday at around 1100 GMT, with a return to Earth scheduled for next Friday.
  •  It is to splash down in the Atlantic Ocean, and then return to Cape Canaveral. The mission aims to test the vessel’s reliability and safety in real-life conditions.
  •  After the shuttle programme was shut down in July 2011 following a 30-year run, NASA began outsourcing the logistics of its space missions. It pays Russia to get its people up to the ISS orbiting research facility at a cost of $82 million per head for a round trip.
  •  In 2014, NASA awarded contracts to SpaceX and Boeing for them to take over this task. But the programme has suffered delays as safety requirements are much more stringent for manned flights than for unmanned missions to deploy satellites.


Indian Wrestlers win gold at Dan Petrov tournament

  •  Indian wrestlers have won four medals including two golds at the Dan Kolov-NikolPetrov tournament in Ruse, Bulgaria.
  •  BajrangPunia won gold in the fresstyle wrestling 65kg category and PoojaDhanda claimed gold in the 59kg category. Rio Olympic bronze medallistSakshi Malik settled for a silver medal in the 65kg category final after a defeat by Sweden’s Henna Johansson of Sweden.
  •  In the men’s freestyle category, SandeepTomar won a silver after he lost his final in the 61 kg category.

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