Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 06 December 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 06 December 2019


::NATIONAL::

Citizenship amendment bill cleared by Union cabinet

  • The Union Cabinet has cleared the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. Briefing media in New Delhi after the Cabinet meeting yesterday, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, PrakashJavadekar said, the bill takes care of India's interest, and it will be introduced in Parliament as soon as possible.

  • AIR correspondent reports that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants of six communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship.

  • The communities are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians. The legislation relaxes the 11-year criteria for citizenship to six years for persons belonging to these six religions. The bill was passed by the last LokSabha but it could not be taken up in the RajyaSabha.

  • Now, it is expected to be taken up during the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament. Opposition parties like Congress, TMC and the Left have already objected to the provisions of the bill.

  • On Tuesday, senior BJP leader and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had asked party MPs to be present in large numbers in Parliament when the bill is tabled. He said the bill as an important legislation.

MHA seeks suggestions from states regarding revamping criminal laws

  • Union Home Ministry has asked all State Governments to send their suggestions for a major overhaul and recasting of the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code.

  • Sources said, the new structure and content of criminal laws will be citizen-centric and will reflect the aspirations of modern democracy and provide for speedy justice, especially to the weaker sections of society.

  • The Bureau of Police Research and Development may undertake a review of the laws such as the IPC, CrPC, Indian Evidence Act and the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

  • The BPRD will constitute a suitable working or consultative group and submit a report.

  • The laws should reflect the modern reality and the revised laws should be in accordance with the democratic aspirations of the people and provide speedy justice to women, children and weaker sections of the people.

  • The new laws are required to focus on simplifying legal procedures so that ease of living is ensured for the common man.

::ECONOMY::

RBI to consider strengthening of UCB’s

  • The Reserve Bank of India today said that it is mulling to amend regulatory guidelines for primary Urban Co-operative Banks - UCBs.

  • Speaking to reporters in Mumbai today, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said, the guidelines would primarily relate to exposure norms for single and group/interconnected borrowers, promotion of financial inclusion and priority sector lending.

  • He said, these measures are expected to strengthen the resilience and sustainability of UCBs and protect the interest of depositors. The draft guidelines in this regard will be issued shortly.

  • Mr. Das added that RBI has also decided to bring UCBs with assets of 500 crore rupees and above under the Central Repository of Information on Large Credits - CRILC reporting framework.

  • This will help in strengthening off-site supervision and early recognition of financial distress.The apex bank has further said that it will announce a comprehensive cyber-security framework for the UCBs.

  • The framework would mandate implementation of progressively stronger security measures, like the implementation of bank-specific email domain; periodic security assessment of public-facing websites/applications; strengthening the cyber-security incident reporting mechanism and governance framework along with setting up of Security Operations Centre.

  • RBI said that this measure would bolster cyber-security preparedness and ensure that UCBs offering a range of payment services and higher information technology penetration are brought at par with commercial banks in addressing cyber-security threats.

Govt. to develop infrastructure for city gas distribution

  • India is making efforts to move towards a gas-based economy and going to invest 60 billion dollar to develop gas infrastructure in the country.

  • Inaugurating the India Gas Infrastructure Conference in New Delhi today, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, DharmendraPradhan said the government is taking steps to develop infrastructure for pipelines, city gas distribution and LNG terminals.

  • He said, domestic gas production will be increased in the coming times and the Center is working to monetize the huge gas reserve in the North Eastern region.

  • Mr.Pradhan said, a coal-to-synthetic gas plant will be set up in Odisha which will be a significant step in the area of gas production. The Minister added that work is also going on to produce Bio-CNG from Biomass.

  • Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister DharmendraPradhan today hoped that Finance Minister NirmalaSitharaman will signal the inclusion of jet fuel and natural gas under the ambit of GST to reduce multiplicity of taxes and improve the business climate.

  • Inaugurating the India Gas Infrastructure Conference in New Delhi, he said, his expectation is that in the coming Budget, ATF and natural gas is included in GST.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

Srilanka calls on Indian companies for investment

  • Sri Lankan President GotabayaRajapaksa has invited Indian companies for investment in the country. In a message, he called upon India and China to place their trust and invest in Sri Lanka’s future while respecting its sovereignty.

  • Sri Lankan President since taking over last month, has been calling upon global powers including India, Japan and Australia to bring investments and not to allow them to be dependent on China only.

  • Mr.Gotabaya visited India on his first overseas trip last week where a fresh line of credit of 450 million US dollars was announced.

  • Sri Lanka was considered close to China during the regime of former President MahindaRajapaksa, elder brother of Gotabaya and there are concerted efforts to change the impression under the current regime.

  • Mr Rajapaksa said in an interview that they will try to renegotiate the Hambantota port deal with China, which was given to a Chinese company on 99 year lease.

Australian bushfire causes high pollution in Sydney

  • Australian bushfires have caused unprecedented pollution in Sydney and along the country's east coast . Smoke and dust is burning residents' eyes and prompting a spike in respiratory complaints.

  • Hundreds of bushfires have burnt out of control since September, up and down the eastern seaboard, blanketing cities from Sydney to Brisbane in smoke for weeks on end.

  • The New South Wales department of environment made clear on Thursday, the extent of the crisis . It declared bushfires and dust had caused some of the highest air pollution ever seen in Australia.

  • A spokesperson said, the region has experienced other periods of poor air quality that lasted several weeks, including the 1994 Sydney bushfires and the Black Christmas bushfires of Dec 2001-Jan 2002.

  • He added, this event however, is the longest and the most widespread in the records. New South Wales Rural Fire Service said more than a dozen fires were burning near Sydney on Thursday, including three that carried an emergency warning.

  • For three weeks the city has seen almost daily air quality warnings. Bushfires are common in Australia, but scientists say this year's season has come earlier and with more intensity due to a prolonged drought fueled by climate change.

  • New South Wales health officials said more people with asthma were turning up at hospitals, and ambulance call-outs for breathing problems were up 24 percent in the week to 1st December.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

NASA’s parker solar probe gives its first observations

  • NASA's Parker Solar Probe -- which has flown closer to the Sun than any spacecraft ever -- has beamed back the first observations from its close encounters with the Sun, revealing a "spectacular trove" of data about the solar wind and space weather, the US space agency said.

  • The data from the probe, published in the journal Nature, offers clues to long-standing mysteries, including why the Sun's atmosphere, known as the corona, is hundreds of times hotter than its surface, as well as the precise origins of the solar wind.

  • Since its launch in August 2018, Parker Solar Probe has completed three of the 24 planned passes through never-before-explored parts of the Sun's atmosphere, using cutting-edge scientific instruments to measure the environment around the spacecraft.

  • These findings reveal new information about the behaviour of the material and particles that speed away from the Sun, bringing scientists closer to answering fundamental questions about the physics of our star, NASA said in a statement.

  • Another surprise, the researchers said, was the dust that peppered the spacecraft repeatedly during each fly-by at perihelion -- the point in the orbit where the spacecraft was closest to the Sun.

  • Smaller than a micron, which is a thousandth of a millimetre, the dust particles are likely debris from asteroids or comets that melted near the Sun and left behind their trapped dust, the researchers said.

::SPORTS::

Indian skipper regains no 1 spot in ICC test rankings

  • India captain ViratKohli today regained the top spot in the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Test rankings in batting.

  • Australian Steve Smith slipped a rung in the latest list issued in Dubai. Kohli, who had struck a fine 136 in the day-night Kolkata Test against Bangladesh last week, reached 928 points.

  • Smith's knock of 36 in the Adelaide Test against Pakistan saw him slip to 923 points from 931 before the match. CheteshwarPujara has held on to his fourth spot, while AjinkyaRahane has come down a spot to sixth in the latest batting .

  • Australia opener David Warner's epic unbeaten 335 has lifted him 12 places to the fifth position. England batsman and captain Joe Root is back in the top 10.

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