Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 06 MARCH 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 06 MARCH 2019


Supreme court quizzes centre over immigrants issue

  •  The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a response from the Centre on a fresh plea seeking to quash a series of subordinate laws which allows the naturalisation of illegal immigrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians fleeing religious persecution from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  •  The petitioners have urged the court to declare the amendments made through the Passport (Entry into India) Amendment Rules, 2015; the Foreigners (Amendment) Order, 2015 and the order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on December 26, 2016 under the Citizenship Act, allowing the naturalisation of illegal immigrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, as “illegal and invalid”.
  •  They have contended that the leeway offered by the subordinate laws would further multiply the “uncontrolled influx of illegal migrants from Bangladesh to Assam”. The illegal immigration has caused huge demographic changes in the northeastern State, the petitioners claimed.
  •  The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill proposed to amend the original Citizenship Act of 1955 vintage. It mandated that those who crossed the border to India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan and belong to “minority communities”, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians would not be treated as illegal immigrants despite having entered India without valid travel documents.
  •  If the Bill is implemented, the immigrants from the minority communities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan would not face deportation.

Indian states amongst top polluters of the world

  •  Fifteen of the top 20 most polluted cities in the world are located in India, according to an analysis of air quality in several cities around the world.
  •  Gurugram, in Haryana, topped the list with an average annual particulate matter (PM 2.5) quality of 135 micrograms/cubic metre, in 2018. Delhi a frequent fixture on global pollution hotspots was only the 11th most noxious city behind Lahore, Pakistan (10th) and Hotan, China (8th).
  •  The other cities in India that made the list of 20 were Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Bhiwadi, Noida, Patna, Lucknow, Jodhpur, Muzaffarpur, Varanasi, Moradabad, Agra, Gaya and Jind.
  •  When ranked by country, Bangladesh emerged as the most polluted followed by Pakistan and India respectively.
  •  Of the cities analysed, 64% exceeded the WHO’s annual exposure guideline (10 micrograms/cubic metre) for fine particulate matter, also known as PM2.5. India’s annual guidelines range from 40-60 g/m3, depending on whether they are residential or industrial areas.
  •  Every single one of measured cities with data in the Middle East and Africa exceeded the WHO guideline, while 99% of cities in South Asia, 95% of cities in Southeast Asia and 89% of cities in East Asia breached this level.
  •  The ranking a one of its kind study that relies on ground-based sensors located in 3,000 cities from 73 countries was compiled by IQAir Group, a manufacturer of air-monitoring sensors as well as purifiers and environmentalist group Greenpeace.
  •  Beijing ranks now as the 122nd most polluted city in the world in 2018 and China, the 12th most polluted country in the world. Of the countries analysed, Iceland emerged as the one with the cleanest air.


U.S withdraws GSP preference to India

  •  U.S. President Donald Trump has announced that he intends to end preferential trade terms for India under the U.S.’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programme. His intent was conveyed in a letter sent to the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and President of the Senate.
  •  The GSP programme, which sets zero tariffs for certain goods from a set of 121 developing countries to foster their trade and economic development, accounts for some $5.6 billion of India’s exports to the U.S., making India the largest GSP beneficiary.
  •  Chemicals, gems and jewellery, engineering and textiles are among the Indian industrial sectors that benefit from GSP.
  •  While The Indian government on Tuesday downplayed the effect of the U.S. decision to withdraw trade concessions granted to India under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), with Commerce Secretary AnupWadhawan saying that the impact would amount to only $190 million on the value of $5.6 billion in exports to the U.S. that fall under the GSP category.
  •  Sources in the Ministry of External Affairs, however, said that the government would continue to talk to the U.S. during the 60-day period after which the GSP withdrawal would come into effect, in an effort to work out a deal.
  •  The government had, in the middle of last year, decided the list of items on which it would impose retaliatory tariffs but has since then postponed the deadline of implementation six times. The latest deadline is April 1, 2019. “The U.S. needs to keep in mind that for the second consecutive year, their exports to India have climbed by 30% in the past year,” the MEA official said.

Handloom Haat initiative along with 3 other projects launched by ministry Of Textiles

  •  Union Textiles Minister, SmritiZubinIrani, inaugurated the renovated Handloom Haat in New Delhi today. She also launched three projects of NIFT - VisionNXT – Trend Forecasting Initiative, Indian Textiles and Craft Repository and Design Innovation and Incubation.
  •  The Haat at Janpath in New Delhi has been set up by Ministry of Textiles to provide marketing opportunities to authentic handloom products from various States, PSUs and cooperative societies.
  •  Its main objective is to provide infrastructure support to handloom agencies to augment their sales of handloom products and to showcase the exquisite variety of handloom products produced all over the country.
  •  Project related to trend innovation lab ‘VisionNxt’ initiativebeing set up by NIFT in the building will create an indigenous fashion forecasting service that endeavours to design seasonal directions for our country.
  •  The trend forecasting service would be aligned to our national and sub-national socio-cultural constructs and market requirements. The proposed service is based on the premise that fashion is a dynamic industry, depending on seasonal trends and forecast to predict its future direction.
  •  The project of Indian Textiles and Craft Repository Initiative of NIFT is supported by the DC Handlooms and the DC Handicrafts, Ministry of Textiles.
  •  The body of textile and craft knowledge generated through the Craft Cluster Initiative will be channelled into a national knowledge portal titled Indian Textile & Craft Repository.
  •  This repository will also house the virtual registers of the textiles and crafts resources, which are available in the Weaver Service Centres, the Crafts Museums, similar institutions and private collections. The repository will develop a virtual museum of textiles, and textile crafts, a designer archive, indigenous case studies, and also act as aggregator of online information on related research.

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CHINA releases economic growth estimates amid U.S trade war

  •  China on Tuesday set an economic growth target of 6%-6.5% for 2019, after factoring in a slew of headwinds, including the trade war with the U.S., and financial bottlenecks for its private enterprises.
  •  The growth rate estimate, which was lower than last year’s projection of “about 6.5%“, was revealed in the government work report, which was delivered by Prime Minister Li Keqiang during the opening session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) — China’s Parliament.
  •  China’s GDP growth target will be tested when the full impact of the trade war with the U.S. is felt in the first half of this year. The Chinese government hopes to counter the downward pressure on the economy by shoring up domestic demand, using monetary and fiscal instruments at its command.
  •  Beijing has targeted creation of 11 million new urban jobs this year, compared to the actual 13.6 million jobs that were generated last year. China has already stepped up lending to stimulate domestic growth.
  •  The work report called upon commercial banks to increase loans to small- and medium-sized companies by 30% this year a potential high growth segment.
  •  A separate budget report released at the start of the NPC session said China’s 2019 defence spending will rise 7.5% from 2018.
  •  Compared to China’s military spending, U.S. President Donald Trump has backed plans to request $750 billion from the Congress for defence spending in 2019.

Srilankan President confirms sending representatives to UNHRC meeting

  •  Sri Lankan President MaithripalaSirisena today said he will send his own representatives to attend the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session currently underway in Geneva.
  •  Addressing a media briefing in Colombo this morning, Mr.Sirisena said these representatives are to appeal to the UNHRC that Sri Lanka should be allowed to handle its own issues. Sri Lankan government had co-sponsored a resolution in 2015 to address war crimes and bring accountability while its progress is to come up for discussion during ongoing session.
  •  The government has been slow to act on its promises and there are demands to withdraw the resolution. However, the President sending his own representatives also underlineongoing tensions with the government led by Prime Minister RanilWickremsinghe.
  •  President also harped on the poor economic situation of the country and called upon all political parties to work unitedly for upliftment of economy.
  •  He said that though Presidential elections are scheduled later this year, parliamentary elections are a possibility before that given the unstable nature of parliament. President Sirisena had removed Wickremsinghe as Prime Minister last year and replaced him with former President MahindaRajapaksa but had to reinstate the former in wake of court ruling.


As countries expand arctic footprint ,Polar bears face threat

  •  Last month’s visit by roaming polar bears that put a Russian village on lockdown may be just the beginning.As Moscow steps up its activity in the warming Arctic, conflict with the rare species is likely to increase.
  •  More than 50 bears approached BelyushyaGuba, a village on the far northern Novaya Zemlya archipelago, in February. As many as 10 of them explored the streets and entered buildings.Local authorities declared a state of emergency for a week.
  •  But polar bear experts say the main reason the Arctic predators came so close to humans was the late freezing of the sea. It was this that kept them from hunting seals and sent them looking for alternate food sources.
  •  And as Russia increases its Arctic footprint, pursuing energy projects, Northern Passage navigation and strategic military interests, experts expect more clashes between humans and bears.
  •  “Development in the Arctic will definitely increase conflict with humans, especially now that the polar bear is losing its life platform in several regions and coming ashore,” said biologist Anatoly Kochnev.
  •  Novaya Zemlya, an archipelago of two islands between the Kara and Barents seas, is an example of Moscow’s new frontier that falls inside the polar bear habitat.
  •  Bears in the Barents Sea are seeing the fastest ice reduction of the species’ range, having lost 20 weeks of ice a year over the last few decades, according to Polar Bears International.
  •  “Ice monitoring shows that previously, ice near BelushyaGuba formed in December,” said IlyaMordvintsev, Severtsov Institute, Moscow.“For thousands of years, they migrated this time of year to hunt seals. This year they came to the shore and there was no ice.”


Yonex England championship to begin today

  •  Badminton's greatest show, the Yonex All England Championships 2019, returns to Arena Birmingham from today. A challenging draw stands in the way of India.
  •  But top shuttlers PV Sindhu and SainaNehwal will fancy their chances of ending a nearly two-decade-old title jinx at the tournament. Only the top 32 in the Badminton World Federation(BWF) rankings qualify for the tournament.
  •  Out of them, only three Indians have been seeded the third being KidambiSrikanth (seeded seventh) in the men's event. In women's doubles, the pair of AshwiniPonnapa& N Sikki Reddy and the duo of MeghanaJakkampudi and Poorvisha S Ram are in the fray. In men's doubles, former National champion Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will play in the first round.

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