Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 08 July 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 08 July 2019


::NATIONAL::

Researchers studying MGNREGS disputes arguments made in economic survey

  • Researchers and activists studying Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) data have disputed the argument made in the Economic Survey for 2018-19 on the positive causal impact of Aadhaar-linked payments (ALP) on the scheme.

  • The Survey used the rural jobs scheme as a case study to show the benefits of the use of technology in improving targeting and efficiency in welfare schemes. One of the strongest pieces of evidence cited dealt with timeliness: the percentage of wage payments generated within 15 days improved from 27% in 2014-15 to more than 90% by 2018-19.

  • RakshitaSwamy, a member of the People’s Action for Employment Guarantee, said the state verified the work done and the muster roll and generated a fund transfer order, and in the next stage, money was credited into the worker’s bank account. Aadhaar could play a role only in the latter stage.

  • Another area of contention is the Survey’s comparison of MGNREGS performance in drought-affected and regular districts before and after the introduction of the ALP. In supply and demand for work as well as in worker attendance, the scheme’s performance in drought-hit areas improved.

  • Rajendran Narayanan, Assistant Professor, AzimPremji University, noted that around the same time that Aadhaar was introduced to the MGNREGS, a Supreme Court ruling mandated special measures for the scheme in drought-affected areas. Governments issued orders to comply with the ruling, leading to interventions influencing the situation at the same time as Aadhaar.

Centre asks Urban local bodies to monitor rainwater harvesting

  • The Centre has asked all Urban Local Bodies across the country to set up a cell each for effective monitoring of Rain Water Harvesting and revival of at least one water body in their areas.

  • In its Guidelines for urban water conservation, Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry said the cell should monitor the extent of groundwater extraction and groundwater aquifer recharge.

  • This information should be displayed at prominent locations for public awareness. The guidelines have been issued as part of the first phase of Jal Shakti Abhiyan which began on 1st of this month and will continue till 15th of September this year.

  • In his recent Mann Ki Baat programme, Prime Minister NarendraNarendraModi pitched for the conservation of rainwater, saying there is a pressing need to make it a mass movement.

::ECONOMY::

Child rights activists disappointed over allocation to child development

  • The outlay for children in the Union Budget has shown a marginal increase of 0.05%, going up from 3.24% in the last fiscal to 3.29% in the current fiscal with a grant of Rs. 91,644.29 crore.

  • The share is less than the low share of 5% that the National Plan of Action for Children, 2016, has recommended, notes the HAQ Centre for Child Rights.

  • A detailed analysis of the budgetary grant carried out by Child Rights and You for four thematic areas of child rights, including education, health, development and child protection, shows that the first two categories have registered a decline while the money allocated for the ambitious plan for nutritional development may be insufficient.

  • The share of education has increased marginally to 68.54% from 68.2%, but has declined by more than 10 percentage points from 79.02% in 2015-16. These include schemes such as SamagraShiksha, National Programme of Mid Day Meal in Schools and NavodayaVidyalayaSamiti.

  • Health-related financial allocation as a share of the child health budget has shown a decline of 0.39% — from 3.9% last fiscal to 3.51%.

  • The Anganwadi services and the PoshanAbhiyan (Nutrion Mission) are among the most important government programmes aimed at reducing stunting, under-weight, anaemia and low birth weight. While the former has registered an increase of 19% and the latter of 14% in this latest Budget announcement, experts have argued it is inadequate.

Centre asks sugar mills to focus on ethanol production

  • Union Minister NitinGadkari has said that surplus production of sugar is a big problem and suggested the sugar mills to focus on producing ethanol instead of sugar.

  • He said, currently sugar production in the country is surplus and there is no profitability in increasing the production of sugar.MrGadkari said, there is a future in ethanol, so sugar mills should focus on manufacturing ethanol instead of sugar.

  • He was speaking at the 'Sugar Conference 2020', organised by Maharashtra State Co-op Bank Ltd in Pune on Sunday.MrGadkari said the Centre has come out with a transparent policy related to ethanol and the Petroleum Ministry is also ready to buy it.

  • Speaking on this occasion, Maharashtra Chief Minister DevendraFadnavis said the state government is committed to stand by the sugar mills and will extend all the possible support.

  • Mr Fadnavis said in obtaining the permissions for ethanol production units, the state government is in the process of starting a single window policy.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

US calls on Germany to send troops to Syria

  • The United States today called upon Germany to send ground troops to northern Syria, pushing Berlin to ramp up its military involvement in the fight against the Islamic State group as Washington looks to withdraw from the region.

  • US Special representative on Syria,James Jeffrey told German media that they want ground troops from Germany to partly replace US soldiers in the area as part of the anti-IS coalition. Jeffrey, who was visiting Berlin for Syria talks, added that he expects an answer this month.

  • Last year US President Donald Trump declared victory against IS and ordered the withdrawal of all 2,000 American troops from Syria.

  • But a small number have remained in northeastern Syria, an area not controlled by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and Washington is pushing for increased military support from other members of the international coalition against IS.

Greek conservatives inch towards landslide win in elections

  • Greece’s conservative New Democracy party is on course for a crushing victory against leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Sunday’s general election and will return to power after more than four years in the Opposition, exit polls showed on Sunday.

  • A combined survey by Greece’s main TV stations showed New Democracy, headed by KyriakosMitsotakis, son of a former Prime Minister, leading Mr.Tsipras’sSyriza party by an average of 40% percent to 28.5

  • If these results are confirmed, the 51-year-old Harvard graduate and former McKinsey consultant Mitsotakis will have a majority of up to 167 lawmakers in the 300-seat Parliament.

  • Mr.Tsipras’s party will have up to 82 seats, the polls showed. The final number will depend on how smaller parties fare. They need at least 3% of the vote to enter Parliament.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

Nepal goes for innovative methods to dispose off Everest trash

  • In a bid to save Mount Everest from trash, Nepal conducted a month-long cleaning campaign and collected around 10,000 kg of rubbish from the region.

  • For the mega clean-up drive, government and non-government agencies, along with a dedicated Sherpa team, not only brought the litter down but also removed four dead bodies from the roof of the world, Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.

  • Instead of sending the solid waste straight to the landfill near Kathmandy, the items were segregated, processed and recycled as raw materials for various products.

  • Besides recycling the waste, a team is also working with municipalities, hospitals, hotels and different offices to maximise value from waste by recycling, reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills and by creating green jobs.

  • To make the campaign more effective, the company suggested authorities to set up an initial processing unit in the mountain area itself, so that waste can be segregated immediately and easily managed.

  • These products, which range from 350 Nepalese rupees to 2,000 Nepalese rupees ($3 to $18), are bacteria free as they are sterilized. These glass items have also been a means of livelihood for local women who shape them into trendy designs.

::SPORTS::

Hima Das wins gold in Kutno athletics meet

  • Star Indian sprinter Hima Das won her second international gold in women's 200m with a top finish at the Kutno Athletics Meet in Poland on Sunday.

  • Hima clocked 23.97 seconds to clinch the gold while VK Vismaya bagged the silver in 24.06 seconds. This was Hima's second competitive 200m race of the year.

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