Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 07 JANUARY 2019
Centre reiterates commitment on research and development
- The Union Minister of Human Resource Development,
ShriPrakashJavadekar has said that only the research work in various fields
can pave way for innovations in the country.
- He said that it is the research only which helps countries to
overcome problems of any type in any field and that’s why the research work
is being strengthened and given top priority by the union government.
- Talking about the slogan of “Jai Anusandhan” given by the Prime
Minister ShriNarendraModi in the inaugural session of the 106th Indian
Science Congress, he said, “This shows the commitment of the Centre towards
the research and innovations. The NDA government had carved out a fund of Rs
200 Crore this year for the innovative solutions and 1000 colleges across
the country are being equipped with innovation hubs.
- ShriPrakashJavadekar also mentioned the problems faced by the
country and gave clarion call to the women to come forward and join science
stream to resolve social and economic problems. He said union government had
set up a fund under Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) to provide
assistance to the research laboratories.
- This year ministry is spending nearly Rs 33,000 Crore for this
purpose while to encourage social science research Rs 250 Crore has been
earmarked. He said the major project of the government is SPARK which was
launched to assist and encourage students to carry on their ambitious
research projects within India instead of going abroad.
- He also said country cannot make progress unless the science
laboratories and research work are strengthened. With this motive the
government has established six research parks in different IIT’s of country
where students and teachers are doing their research work.
Study reveals west Bengal tribals suffering from extreme food scarcity
- Two months after the West Bengal government denied any food
scarcity as a possible cause of death of seven persons from a tribal
community, a survey report has identified “food scarcity in varying degrees”
in about 31% of tribal households in West Bengal.
- The study titled ‘An Inquiry into the world of the Adivasis of
West Bengal’, conducted by Professor AmartyaSen’sPratichi Institute and
Asiatic Society, will be released in Kolkata on Monday.
- The survey was conducted in 1,000 tribal households to ascertain
living conditions, health and education.
- West Bengal is home to a over five million tribals, with 6% of the
India’s tribal population of 100 million. But in many areas, tribals of the
State are “far behind” in terms of human development. One area, which has
been a matter of contention in recent months after the death of seven
tribals in a span of 15 days in November, is scarcity of food.
- The preliminary survey report claimed that “nearly one third [31%]
of the surveyed households” reportedly faced “food scarcity in varying
degrees” in the past year.
- The report indicated that the number of deaths reported to have
occurred in the surveyed households, in the year preceding the survey, “was
52, among which 48 [92%] were premature deaths” and only four were due to
- The work participation rate [WPR] is higher among the Adivasis in
Bengal “forcing the children of schoolgoing age to discontinue their studies
in order to fend [for] themselves and support the families,” the report
Finance ministry quotes good savings due to Aadhar implementation
- The Rs. 90,000-crore savings from the implementation of Aadhaar is
enough to fund three schemes the size of Ayushman Bharat, Finance Minister
ArunJaitley wrote in a blog post on Sunday.
- “The government estimates that Rs. 90,000 crore have been saved in
the past few years till March 2018 by the use of Aadhaar,” Mr.Jaitley said.
- “Several duplicate beneficiaries, non-existent beneficiaries and
fake beneficiaries have been eliminated. The Digital Dividend Report
prepared by the World Bank estimates that India can save Rs. 77,000 crore
every year by the use of Aadhaar.”
- Mr.Jaitley said that in the past 28 months, more than 122
croreAadhaar numbers had been issued, covering 99% of India’s population
above the age of 18.
- 22.80 crore of PAHAL and Ujjwala beneficiaries are given cooking
gas subsidies through DBT in their Aadhaar-linked bank accounts. 58.24 crore
ration card holders stand linked. 10.33 crore MGNREGA card holders get wage
payment through DBT in their bank accounts.
- So do the 1.93 crore beneficiaries and other beneficiaries of the
national social assistance programme. The Income Tax Department has already
linked 21 crore PAN card holders with their Aadhaar numbers.
- Mr.Jaitley said 63.52 crore bank accounts had been linked with the
unique identity as of December 15, 2018. The number of subsidy transactions
are about 425 crore. The total subsidies transferred through Aadhaar now
equal Rs. 1,69,868crore, he said.
Expert panel claims GST can boost tax collection
- The fact that the government is increasingly dependent on tax
revenue, especially indirect taxes, to meet its fiscal requirements is not a
cause for worry, according to tax analysts, who say that the real benefits
of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) have not yet taken effect. Once they do,
government revenue from both direct and indirect taxes will grow
- An analysis by The Hindu of the budget documents of the last five
years has shown that the government’s dependence on tax revenue has steadily
increased, with tax revenue making up a little more than 70% of its total
receipts in 2018-19, up from 65% in 2014-15.
- Correspondingly, the share of revenue from non-tax sources (such
as dividends from PSUs and the RBI) and capital receipts (such as
disinvestment proceeds) has been declining.
- The view among tax analysts is that the government cannot take the
risk of increasing tax rates, whether direct or indirect, for fear of a
backlash from the public. So, the only option it has to boost tax revenues
is to increase the tax base and stop evasion, both of which the government
has been trying to do.
- The other trend the government would be banking on is that
increased economic activity and a higher GDP growth rate will boost
consumption and hence, indirect tax collections, other analysts say.
- Despite this optimistic outlook of future growth in tax revenue,
the government has also been trying to improve its collections from other
sources such as dividends from public sector companies and the Reserve Bank
of India, and also through disinvestments.
- The analysis of budget data shows that PSU dividends as a
proportion of non-tax revenue have been growing over the years, from 16% in
2014-15 to 21.4% in 2018-19. The government has reportedly been pressurising
the state-run oil companies to transfer larger dividends to the Centre every
- It is also reportedly asking the state-run oil companies to buy
back shares, and is also pushing more PSUs to list on the stock exchanges.
- However, this is an untenable source of revenue for the government
because they are based on finite resources.Notably, dividends from the RBI,
as a proportion of non-tax revenue, have been falling.
Norwegian PM arrives in Delhi to boost cooperation
- Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg has arrived in New Delhi on
a three-day state visit to India. She was accompanied by senior officials
from her government and a large business delegation. She will participate in
the Indo-Norwegian Business Conference.
- Tomorrow, Ms Solberg will be accorded ceremonial reception at
RashtrapatiBhavan. She will hold talks with Prime Minister NarendraModi. She
will also call on President Ram NathKovind and Vice President M Venkaiah
Naidu. External Affairs Minister SushmaSwaraj will call on the visiting
- The Norwegian Prime Minister will deliver the Inaugural address at
the Raisina Dialogue.
- The visit of Prime Minister of Norway will provide an opportunity
to review the progress in bilateral cooperation between the two countries
and discuss ways to further expand the multifaceted partnership in areas of
- India and Norway enjoy close and multifaceted ties and economic
and technical cooperation are important facets of the bilateral relation.
More than 100 Norwegian companies have invested in India in areas such as
ship-building, petroleum related services, hydropower, clean energy and IT
services. Several major Indian companies are also present in Norway.
- India and Norway have shared the interest in sustainable use of
ocean resources for the growth of the economies
U.S – North Korea next meeting under discussion
- President Donald Trump said on Sunday that negotiations are under
way on the location of his next summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un,
while remaining evasive on its timing.
- “We are negotiating a location,” he told reporters before boarding
a helicopter for the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, where he
said he would be discussing a trade deal with China. “It will be announced
probably in the not too distant future,” he said of a summit with Mr. Kim.
“They do want to meet and we want to meet and we’ll see what happens.”
- He also stood firm on his demand for billions of dollars to fund a
border wall with Mexico, claiming “tremendous” support inside his camp on
the contentious issue which has forced a government shutdown now entering
its third week.
- He also confirmed through a tweet that the U.S. military has
killed one of the architects of the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole that left
17 American servicemen dead.
- “Our GREAT MILITARY has delivered justice for the heroes lost and
wounded in the cowardly attack on the USS Cole,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “We have
just killed the leader of that attack, Jamal al-Badawi.”
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
New research reveals ISS members could grow beans by 2021
- After cultivating lettuce in space three years ago, crew members
aboard the International Space Station could be growing beans in 2021, new
- The beans could be planted in high-tech planters developed at the
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).The planters can
regulate all the water, nutrients, gas and air the plants need.
- NTNU said it was collaborating with Italian and French researchers
in their quest to cultivate plant-based food for long space journeys.The
food grown in space could be crucial to sustain the crew in future deep
- The longest stays at the International Space Station have been six
months, while people travelling to Mars will need to be prepared to stay in
space for at least a year.
- In the study, published in the journal Life , the researchers
performed three experiments — the first two experiments determined the
effect of restricted rooting and nutrient solution volumes, and based on
this a third experiment was performed to assess plant responses to various
nitrate nutrient solution concentrations.
- The next step is to grow beans in space to observe the effect of
no gravity on plants’ ability to transport water and absorb nutrients.
Simulating the absence of gravity cannot be done on Earth.
- The beans would be placed in a centrifuge to sprout and grow in
the space station. The centrifuge would be rotated to create different
amounts of gravity.
India thrashes Thailand in AFC opener
- In Football, India made a thrilling start in the opening encounter
at the AFC Asian Cup campaign defeating Thailand 4-1 at Abu Dhabi last
evening. Captain Sunil Chettri scored twice, while AnirudhThapa and Jeje
were other scorers for India.
- At halftime, India and Thailand were at the level score of one
goal each. This is India’s fourth Asian Cup appearance, having last appeared
in the 2011 edition of the tournament.
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