Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 05 July 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 05 July 2019


::NATIONAL::

Private entities storing Aadhardatas could now face penalty

  • The LokSabha cleared the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 by a voice vote on Thursday.

  • The Bill replaces an Ordinance promulgated on March 2 and provides for a stiff Rs. 1 crorepenalty and a jail term to private entities for storing Aadhaardata.It also makes the use of Aadhaar voluntary for opening a bank account, securing a mobile phone connection, or receiving treatment at a hospital.

  • Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad, speaking about the Bill, assured the House that the government is also working on a data protection Bill, which will be brought in at a later date to ensure data privacy for all Indians.

  • Speaking on the possible violation of the Supreme Court judgment on Aadhaar, as raised by several members of the Opposition, the Minister replied: “Let us not together work towards bringing down the power that this Parliament has give to us. The Parliament has been given power to frame laws, and we are not violating the Supreme Court judgment.”

  • The Bill saw stiff Opposition in the House. Trinamool Congress leader in the LokSabhaMahuaMoitra said the Bill strikes at the very heart of an individual’s privacy.

Centre seeks private investment for meeting Swachh Bharat targets

  • With the Centre claiming that 99.2% of rural India is now open defecation free, the next big goal on the Swachh Bharat journey is the 100% safe and scientific disposal of solid and liquid waste, according to the Economic Survey 2018-19.

  • However, it emphasises that the large resources needed to reach this milestone will need to be met through crowd and corporate funding, private partnerships and innovative financing mechanisms along with government allocations.

  • According to it, the scientific disposal of waste has a noticeable impact on “social development”, referring to the sanitation workers and manual scavengers who now work to dispose of waste, mostly in unscientific and unsafe ways.

  • Some of the areas which must be dealt with in this next phase are sewer construction and water availability, scientific techniques for waste disposal, treatment of industrial effluence, drain bio-remediation, river surface cleaning, sustained rural sanitation and monitoring of villages, says the survey.

  • Apart from financial resources, mindset change is the other major ingredient required for sustained progress in sanitation. The swachhagrahis or village level ambassadors who have already been recruited for Phase 1 of the programme are key to maintaining momentum, it says, in keeping with its thrust on leveraging behavioural economics.

::ECONOMY::

Economic survey projects 7% growth in current fiscal

  • Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister NirmalaSitharaman tabled the Economic Survey 2018-19 in both Houses of Parliament today.

  • The survey projects GDP to grow at 7 per cent in 2019-20. The Indian economy is expected to grow at 6.8 per in 2018-19 while maintaining macro-economic stability.

  • The fiscal deficit has been pegged at 3.4 per cent of GDP for 2018-19. The survey has provisionally estimated 2.9 per cent growth rate for the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector.

  • 283.4 million tonnefoodgrain production has been projected. Imports are slated to grow at 15.4 per cent while exports are projected to grow at 12.5 per cent for the year 2018-19.

  • It has put forex reserves at 412.9 billion dollars for fiscal 2018-19.The survey also lays down the strategic blueprint for fructifying Prime Minister NarendraModi’s vision of India becoming a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2025.

  • The theme of the survey is about enabling shifting of gears to sustained economic growth to achieve a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2025.The survey has recommended creating a virtuous cycle encompassing private investment, jobs, export and demand. It states that the Indian economy has performed well in the last five years.

Former RBI governor moots current capital buffer not enough to tackle stress in banks

  • A failure on the part of banks, the government and the regulator till 2014 has got us into the current bad loan mess and the resultant low capital buffers, Urjit Patel, the past Reserve Bank Governor, has said, asking all to resist the temptation of going back to status quo.

  • In his first comments after resigning as the RBI Governor on December 10 last year amid sharp differences with the government, Mr. Patel said banks indulged in over-lending while the government did not ‘fully play’ its role.

  • It can be noted that after 2014, which saw a change of guard in government, the RBI, under the governorship of RaghuramRajan, started an asset quality review that led to the recognition of the huge pile of hidden stress in the system and an attempt at resolution through the introduction of bankruptcy laws.

  • Mr. Patel, who spent over five years at the RBI, including in his role as the Deputy Governor, advised stakeholders to stay the course even in the face of difficulties.

  • On the Supreme Court striking down the February 12, 2018 circular, which was also a major bone of contention between him and the government, Mr. Patel said only time will tell whether a system of ‘extend and pretend’ will make a comeback.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

China demands lifting of US tariffs for trade deal

  • U.S. tariffs against China must be lifted for the two sides to reach a deal to end the trade war, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said on Thursday.

  • Trade teams from the world’s top two economies “have maintained communication”, Ministry spokesman GaoFeng said, days after Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping agreed at the G20 in Japan to revive negotiations.

  • “The United States’ unilateral tariff increase on China’s exports to the United States is the starting point for the Sino-U.S. economic and trade frictions,” Mr.Gao said at a weekly press briefing. “If the two sides can reach an agreement, the tariffs imposed must be completely eliminated. China’s attitude toward this is clear and consistent,” Mr.Gao said.

  • The countries have exchanged tariffs on $360 billion in two-way trade and negotiations broke down in May after the United States accused China of reneging on its commitments.

  • The U.S. leader said he would not slap new tariffs on Chinese exports and suggested he could take a softer stance on Chinese telecom giant Huawei, which he has moved to blacklist.

  • On Wednesday, Trump administration officials said top representatives of the U.S. and China are organising a resumption of talks for next week to try to resolve the trade war.

  • An official from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said later that the two sides were in the process of scheduling a principal-level phone call with Chinese officials for next week.

Sudan military council and opposition finalise on power sharing agreement

  • Sudan's ruling military council and a coalition of opposition and protest groups have reached an agreement to share power during a transition period leading to elections.

  • Addressing a press conference, African Union mediator Mohamed Hassan Lebatt today said the two sides agreed to establish a sovereign council by rotation between the military and civilians for a period of three years or slightly more.

  • The two sides also agreed to form an independent 'technocratic' government and to launch a transparent, independent investigation into violent events in recent weeks.

  • Omar al-Degair, a leader of the Forces for Freedom and Change -- an umbrella organization of opposition groups, hailed the agreement as the beginning of a new era and said the agreement opens the way for the formation of the institutions of the transitional authority.

  • General Mohamed HamdanDagalo, Deputy Head of the Transitional Military Council, said that the agreement will be comprehensive and will not exclude anyone.

  • The power-sharing agreement came after two days of talks in Khartoum that resumed on Wednesday.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

NASA successfully tests launch abort system for moon mission

  • NASA carried out a successful test on Tuesday of a launch-abort system for the Orion capsule designed to take U.S. astronauts to the Moon.

  • The three-minute exercise at Cape Canaveral in Florida aimed to test in almost real-life conditions the evacuation of astronauts from the capsule in the event of an explosion or rocket booster failure.

  • In the test, an unmanned Orion capsule was launched by a mini-rocket — a repurposed first stage of an intercontinental ballistic missile. Fifty-five seconds after the launch, at an altitude of 9,500 m, a rocket-powered tower on top of the crew module ignited its engines to quickly pull the Orion away from a hypothetical rocket experiencing problems.

  • In just 15 seconds, the capsule gained two miles of altitude. Then the tower reoriented the capsule to prepare it for descent and disengagement from the tower.

  • In real-life conditions, parachutes would open to ease the manned capsule's fall toward the Atlantic Ocean.

::SPORTS::

Hima Das wins gold in Poznan athletics grand prix

  • Indian sprinter Hima Das won the women's 200m gold, while national record holder shot putter Tajinder Pal Singh Toor bagged a bronze in the Poznan Athletics Grand Prix in Poland.

  • Hima, the world junior champion and national record holder in 400m clocked 23.65 seconds on her way to the 200m gold.

  • This was Hima's first competitive 200m race of the year. She has a personal best of 23.10 seconds, which she clocked last year. Another Indian, V K Vismaya finished third with a personal best time of 23.75 seconds in the race at Poznan last night.

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