Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 07 August 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 07 August 2019


::NATIONAL::

Kashmir security tightened after passing of re organisation bill

  • Necessary security arrangements have been put in place for ensuring peace and security in Jammu and Kashmir, said General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh on Tuesday after chairing a meeting of the core group of intelligence and security agencies in Srinagar.

  • However, sources in the Army said they expected infiltrations and ceasefire violations to go up in the coming days by Pakistan following the dilution of Article 370 and reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir.

  • Lt. Gen. Singh pointed out in the past few days, Pakistan intensified its efforts to increase the strength of terrorists in the launch pads along the LoC, initiated ceasefire violations, pushed infiltrators across the LoC, calibrated terrorist actions in the hinterland, as also exploited the social media to launch disinformation campaign in Jammu and Kashmir.

  • The Indian Army had given a befitting response and it would “respond with resolve and the cost would be prohibitive for them,” Lt. Gen. Singh said.

  • Early in the morning, the Army foiled an infiltration bid along the LoC in Machhal sector. It also recovered three AK assault rifles, three pistols and 13 grenades from an infiltration attempt that occurred in Uri on Monday.

  • Meanwhile the Kashmir Valley remained cut off for the second consecutive day on Tuesday as the government anticipated violence after Parliament passed a resolution ending Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in the Indian Union under Article 370.

Centre to facilitate states and districts under BBBP

  • The Union Ministry of Women and Child Developmentis organizing a felicitation and award function for those Districts and States who have successfully implemented the BetiBachaoBetiPadhao (BBBP)scheme in the country. The function will be held on 7thAugust, 2019 in New Delhi.

  • The objective of the programme is to felicitate States and Districts which are performing well in improving Sex Ratio at Birth as per Health Management Information System (HMIS) of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data and excellent performance in awareness generation and outreach.

  • The BBBP scheme launched on 22ndJanuary, 2015 has been implemented in phases. Currently, it is being implemented in 640 districts (as per census 2011).

  • All 640 districts are covered through advocacy and media campaign. Moreover, out of these 640 districts, 405 districts are covered under Multi- Sectoral Intervention in which 100% Centrally Sponsored Schemes grant is provided directly to DM/DC for BBBP.

  • District Magistrates/Deputy Commissioners of 10additional districts (covering 8 States)will also be felicitated for outstanding performance under awareness generation and outreach activities.

  • The latest reports on State/UT-wise Sex Ratio at Birth data for the period 2014-15 and 2018-19, reveal that SRB increased from 918 to 931 showing improving trends at the national level.

::ECONOMY::

RBI cuts repo rates to help boost economy

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cut repo rate by 35 basis points to 5.40 per cent to give a fillip to the economy. This is the fourth consecutive time that the Monetary Policy Committee has reduced the rates. In the earlier three policies, RBI had reduced repo rate by 25 basis points each.

  • Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility stands revised to 5.15 per cent, and the marginal standing facility rate and the Bank Rate to 5.65 per cent. In its third bi-monthly policy announced today, RBI has decided to maintain the accommodative stance of monetary policy.

  • Repo rate is the rate at which RBI lends to banks generally against government securities while the reverse repo is the rate at which RBI borrows money from the banks. Both these rates are key determinants for customers availing loans from banks.

  • The Monetary Police Committee has noted that domestic economic activity continues to be weak, with the global slowdown and escalating trade tensions posing downside risks. Private consumption too remained sluggish while benign inflation provided some room for policy action. Accordingly, the Committee decided to reduce rates further so boost growth, especially private investment.

  • On the inflation front, RBI has informed that actual headline inflation for first quarter of 2019-20 stood at 3.1 percent and in alignment with the Committee’s projections of 3-3.1 percent inflation figure for first half of the current financial year.

  • RBI has said that an uptick in food inflation cannot be ruled due to uneven distribution of monsoon, adding that volatile crude prices have also have some impact on fuel prices. Hence, RBI has said projected CPI inflation at 3.1 percent for second quarter of 2019-20 and in the range of 3.5-3.7 percent for second half of 2019-20 with risks evenly balanced.

IRDAI notifies changes to regulation of insurance marketing firms

  • Insurance regulator IRDAI has notified changes to regulations governing insurance marketing firms (IMFs). The amendments to the regulations notified in 2015 have been introduced from a perspective of increasing insurance penetration by providing an enabling environment.

  • The regulator had also constituted a committee that made many recommendations, including a reduction in the net worth, expansion of the area of operation of IMFs, as well as the basket of products.

  • Another amendment permits the IMFs to engage with Agriculture Insurance Company of India and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation. This would be in addition to existing norms allowing them to solicit business for two life, two general and two health insurers.

  • On the products allowed for IMF, the regulations said they can solicit business for all kinds of products sold on individual and/or retail basis, including crop insurance for non-loanee farmers and combi products.

  • Other changes include a relaxation in the work experience requirement of IMF’s Principal Officer. A new clause requiring the insurers to file with authority their policies for utilisation of IMFs, has also been introduced.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

India gives contribution to UN Palestine refugee agency

  • India contributed yesterday USD 5 million to the UN Palestine refugee agency and called for ensuring sustained fiscal support for the organisation's work.

  • The cheque for the amount was handed over to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian Refugees by Representative of India (ROI) in Palestine, Sunil Kumar, at the Agency's headquarters in Jerusalem.

  • India increased its annual financial assistance to the UNRWA by four fold, from USD 1.25 million to USD 5 million, when Prime Minister NarendraModi visited Palestine in February 2018, the first-ever visit by an Indian Premier to Ramallah.

  • The UNRWA has been providing health, education, relief and social services, as well as emergency humanitarian assistance, across its five areas of operations in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, and the Gaza Strip since 1950.

Bangladesh and Russia sign Uranium supply agreement

  • Bangladesh today signed a deal with Russia for the supply of uranium for its 2,400 MW Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP).

  • Under the deal, Russia will supply the nuclear fuel needed for the plant during its entire life cycle.

  • The deal was signed today in Dhaka between the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission and Russian Nuclear Fuel Supply Company (TVEL).

  • Work on the two units of the plants, each producing 1200 MW of electricity is scheduled to be completed in 2022 and 2024 respectively.

  • The two countries have also signed 'spent fuel sent back’ agreement in 2017 for management of the nuclear waste of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP).

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

Study finds variation in haemoglobin levels might lead to dementia

  • A new study has linked low and high haemoglobin levels to an increased risk of developing dementia in the future.

  • The study involved 12,305 people with an average age of 65 who did not have dementia. Overall, 745 (6%) of the study subjects were found to have anaemia. The researchers followed the participants for an average of 12 years. During that time, 1,520 people developed dementia. Of these, 1,194 had Alzheimer’s.

  • Subjects who had anaemia were 41% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s and 34% more likely to develop any type of dementia compared to those who did not have anaemia. Of the 745 people with anaemia, 128 developed dementia compared to 1,392 of the 11,560 who did not have anaemia.

  • “Previous studies that had shown this relationship did not rule out the possibility that it could be due to nutritional impairment in early stages of cognitive decline and dementia. This study emphasises the need for screening and treatment of anaemia to reduce the risk as this is a potentially modifiable risk factor,” Dr.Sivakumar said.

  • “A disciplined lifestyle that includes exercise, low-cholesterol and high-fibre diet, and engaging in cognitive activities is important to prevent cognitive decline,” he added.

::SPORTS::

India wins T20 series against West Indies

  • India completed a 3-0 clean sweep over the West Indies after winning the third and final Twenty20 International by seven wickets in Guyana last night. Indian skipper ViratKohli and young wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant starred with the bat, helping India achieve the 147-run target with five balls to spare. Pant stitched a 106-run partnership with Kohli.

  • Pant was brilliant during his unbeaten 65 off 42 balls while Kohli anchored the innings to perfection with 59 off 45 balls. Deepak Chahar, who claimed 3 wickets, was awarded Man of the Match while KrunalPandya was adjudged player of the series.

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