Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 04 JANUARY 2018

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 04 JANUARY 2019


RTE amendment bill passed in Parliament

  •  Parliament has passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2018, with the RajyaSabha approving it on Thursday.
  •  The LokSabha had already passed the bill seeking to further amend the Right to Education Act, 2009 to abolish the no-detention policy in schools.
  •  No student can be detained up to class 8th under current provisions of the Act. As per the amendment, it would be left to the States to decide whether to continue the no-detention policy.
  •  Replying to a discussion on the Bill, Human Resource Development Minister PrakashJavadekar assured the RajyaSabha that no child will be excluded from school in case he or she fails. He said such children will be provided two-month remedial teaching to perform better in another examination to be conducted by their schools.
  •  The Minister said 25 states favoured abolishing the no-detention policy. He said even the parents supported the move as learning outcomes of the students have been poor.
  •  Mr Javadekar said the government has been increasing the budget for education, with over 40 per cent hike since 2014.

Centre to recognise most promising entrepreneurs at national entrepreneurship awards

  •  The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship will host third edition of the National Entrepreneurship Awards in New Delhi today. The awards aim to recognize and honour outstanding young first-generation entrepreneurs and those who have contributed immensely in building the entrepreneurship ecosystem.
  •  Total of 43 awards will be presented this year. These include 39 awards for Young Entrepreneurs in different sectors and four awards for Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders.
  •  The award nominations have been subjected to rigorous three-level assessment methodology backed by detailed study of the nominated companies, based on actual market parameters and performance indicator.
  •  The winners will receive trophy, certificate and cash prizes ranging from 5 to 10 lakhs rupees. There are special awards for women, persons with disability, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and entrepreneurs from areas with limited opportunities.
  •  The National Entrepreneurship Awards is a platform focused on driving innovation, ushering in a positive change for youth in entrepreneurship across all the industries. The awards will inspire and promote growth of entrepreneurs in India.


Study releases report citing challenges faced by start ups

  •  A large number of start-ups, small and medium enterprises view corruption and bureaucratic inefficiencies, securing loans as well as funding as major challenges in 2019, according to a report by citizens’ engagement forum LocalCircles.
  •  The report, based on responses from over 15,000 start-ups, SMEs and entrepreneurs, found 45% respondents saying that corruption or bureaucratic inefficiencies as the top challenge, followed by securing loans and funding (37%), and business growth (18%).
  •  “Angel tax is one area that falls under corruption and bureaucratic inefficiencies as it takes the focus of entrepreneurs away from building a product or service to responding to tax notices and filing appeals, something that start-ups can clearly do without,” it added.
  •  Several start-ups and angel investors have raised concerns over notices received from the authorities related to taxation of angel funds. The Centre has set up a panel to look into the taxation issues faced by start-ups and angel investors. The study noted that 38% of the respondents said they had received at least one notice.
  •  “Angel tax continued to be a key pain point for start-ups, where the assessing officers in many cases reject the valuation method used by the start-up and instead treat the capital raised as income from other sources, thereby, raising a tax demand and penalty on the start-up.”

Centre expects good recovery through IBC by March 2019

  •  The government expects a recovery of about Rs. 70,000 crore from the 12 big companies that were identified for bankruptcy proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, by March 31, 2019, Finance Minister ArunJaitley wrote in a blog on Thursday.
  •  According to the RBI, these 12 companies are estimated to account for a quarter of the gross non-performing assets in the system, and so were identified for immediate bankruptcy proceedings.
  •  He added that so far, 1,322 cases had been admitted by the National Company Law Tribunal. He said that the NCLT disposed of 4,452 cases at the pre-admission stage and that 66 cases had been resolved after adjudication, from which creditors had recovered about Rs. 80,000 crore.
  •  Another 260 cases had been ordered for liquidation. “As per NCLT database, in 4,452 cases disposed at pre-admission stage, the amount apparently settled was around Rs. 2.02 lakh crore,” Mr.Jaitley said.
  •  Mr.Jaitley explained that the effectiveness of the IBC process was arising out of three factors. The first was that debtors were beginning to pay their dues in anticipation of a potential default in order to avoid the prospect of them being removed from management.
  •  The second is that once a creditor’s petition has been filed with the NCLT, the debtors have been paying at the pre-admission stage to prevent the declaration of insolvency. Thirdly, many major cases of insolvency have already been resolved or are being moved to liquidation.

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Pakistan scraps visa on arrival for afghan citizens

  •  Pakistan on Thursday abolished the long-standing facility of visa on arrival for Afghan nationals.
  •  The Immigration Wing of the Federal Investigation Agency cited increased security risks from the western border as a reason for the move.
  •  Furthermore, the government also restricted the movement of Afghan nationals in Pakistan and stopped issuance of visas at airports and border crossing points.
  •  The move to restrict Afghans came as Pakistan has already decided to issue 'on-arrival' visas to citizens of 24 other countries to increase tourism and investments.

Pakistan and U.S to hold meeting soon

  •  Pakistan and the U.S. are discussing plans to hold a maiden meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Donald Trump but it hinges on the “positive outcome” of the Pakistan-brokered talks to strike a peace deal in Afghanistan, a senior official here said.
  •  In his first comments in 2019, President Trump on Wednesday said that he wants a “great relationship” with Pakistan and is looking forward to meeting the new leadership.
  •  When asked to comment on the Trump’s statement and whether there was any chance of the meeting between the two leaders, Foreign Office spokesperson Muhammad Faisal said Pakistan looked forward to “positive engagement” with the U.S. at the leadership level.
  •  Ties between the US and Pakistan strained after Mr. Trump, while announcing his Afghanistan and South Asia policy in August 2017, hit out at Pakistan for providing safe havens to “agents of chaos” that kill Americans in Afghanistan and warned Islamabad that it has “much to lose” by harbouring terrorists.
  •  In November, The US suspended $1.66 billion in security assistance to Pakistan and in September, the Trump administration cancelled $300 million in military aid to Islamabad for not doing enough against terror groups like the Haqqani Network and the Taliban active on its soil.


Chinese space probe successfully lands in lunar crater

  •  A Chinese space probe touched down on the far side of the moon on Thursday, China’s space agency said, hailing the event as a historic first and a major achievement for the country’s space programme.
  •  The Chang’e-4 lunar probe, launched in December, made the “soft landing” at 02.26 GMT and transmitted the first-ever “close range” image of the far side of the moon, the China National Space Administration said.
  •  The moon is tidally locked to Earth, rotating at the same rate as it orbits our planet, so most of the far side — or “dark side” — is never visible to us. Previous spacecraft have seen the far side, but none has landed on it.
  •  The landing “lifted the mysterious veil” of the far side of the moon and “opened a new chapter in human lunar exploration,” the agency said in a statement on its website, which included a wide-angle colour picture of a crater from the moon’s surface.
  •  The probe, which has a lander and a rover, touched down at a targeted area near the moon’s south pole in the Von Karman Crater, after entering its orbit in mid-December.
  •  The tasks of the Chang’e-4 include astronomical observation, surveying the moon’s terrain, land form and mineral make-up, and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment of its far side.


India in stable position in Sydney test

  •  In Sydney test, Australia ended day two with 24 without loss in their first innings. Earlier India rose to a commanding position having declared the first innings at 622 for seven.
  •  CheteshwarPujara missed his fourth double ton by falling to Nathan Lyon at 193 runs while Wicket Keeper batsman Rishab Pant stole the show with 159 not out today.
  •  The visitors resumed their innings with 303 for 4 this morning. India won the toss yesterday and elected to bat first. For the hosts, Nathan Lyon picked four wickets. India has already retained the four-match series 2-1.

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