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
- The LokSabha had already passed the bill seeking to further amend
the Right to Education Act, 2009 to abolish the no-detention policy in
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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
- 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
- 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.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
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
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
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