Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 08 October 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 08 October 2019


Home ministry reiterates statehood to Jammu & Kashmir after improvement in security situation

  • Home Minister Amit Shah today reiterated that statehood of Jammu and Kashmir will be restored after the improvement in the security situation there.

  • He said, Jammu and Kashmir will not remain a Union Territory forever. Mr Shah was interacting with the probationers of the 2018 batch of the Indian Police Service in New Delhi. The Home Minister asserted that some bold decisions are necessary to be made for people’s benefit, without getting bogged down by the fear of a backlash.

  • He said, not a single bullet had been fired and not a single person had died after the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. Mr Shah said, this notion that only Article 370 protected the Kashmiri culture and identity was wrong.

  • He asserted that all regional identities are inherently protected by the Indian constitution. He said, the misuse of the Article 370 is the root cause of cross-border terrorism.

  • Referring to the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which is being d in Assam, the Home Minister said, the NRC was essential not just for the national security but for good governance as well.

  • He said, the NRC must not be seen as a political exercise but a Constitutional one, as it is very important to have a National Register of Citizens in order to ensure that benefits of development reach all our citizens.

CPCB to take stock of pollution levels in Delhi-NCR

  • Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change PrakashJavadekar has said 46 teams of the central pollution control board (CPCB) will take stock of pollution levels in Delhi-NCR from today and appropriate action will be taken thereafter wherever needed. He was addressing a press conference over central government initiatives to combat air pollution in New Delhi today.

  • He said that under the visionary leadership of Prime ministerNarendraModi, the government recognised the problem and launched an air quality index, which led to greater public awareness and actions to control air pollution. He further explained ambient air quality monitoring network in Delhi and NCR has been strengthened.

  • The Minister said the focused actions had a positive impact on air quality. Out of 273 days till last month the number of good satisfactory and moderate days were 165 against 104 in 2016.

  • The minister said, a special scheme was launched to address air pollution due to stubble burning and under this scheme around 1100 crore rupees have been provided to state governments for providing subsidy on machinery required for in-situ management of crop residue.

  • Mr Javdekar said that to combat with vehicle pollution nearly 60 thousand crore rupees was spent on switching over to BS-VI fuels. He said that the country will shift to Bharat Stage Six (BS-VI) vehicular emission norms from BS-IV by April 2020. He said the department of heavy industries is providing subsidy on e-vehicles.


Finance ministry inaugurates national e- assessment centre of income tax

  • The Income Tax Department is ushering in a paradigm shift in its working by introducing faceless e-assessment to impart greater efficiency, transparency and accountability in the assessment process. There would be no physical interface between the tax payers and the tax officers.

  • The setting up of National e-Assessment Centre (NeAC) of the Income Tax Department is a momentous step towards the larger objectives of better taxpayer service, reduction of taxpayer grievances in line with Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Digital India’ and promotion of ease of doing business.

  • Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Smt. NirmalaSitharaman will inaugurate National e-Assessment Centre ( NeAC) in New Delhi tomorrow in the presence of ShriAnurag Singh Thakur, Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs . Dr. Ajay BhushanPandey, Revenue Secretary, ShriPramod Chandra Mody, Chairman, CBDT will also be present .

  • Officers of the Income Tax Department and other dignitaries shall also be linked through Multimedia Video Conferencing at Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Pune and Bengaluru.

  • Under the new system, tax payers have received notices on their registered emails as well as on registered accounts on the web portal with real time alert by way of SMS on their registered mobile number, specifying the issues for which their cases have been selected for scrutiny.

  • The replies to the notices can be prepared at ease by the tax payers at their own residence or office and be sent by email to the National e-Assessment Centre by uploading the same on the designated web portal.

  • This is another initiative by CBDT in the field of ease of compliance for our tax payers.

MFI’s allowed to lend more loans

  • Microfinance lenders including private banks such as Axis Bank, IndusInd Bank and RBL Bank have raised their cumulative microloan cap per borrower by 33 percent prompted by strong demand in rural India and rise in self-employment amid poor industrial demand.

  • The new cap proposed by Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN) is set at Rs 80000, up from Rs 60000 under the joint liability group model to cover inflation of recent years. This will also help borrowers grow their businesses such as selling of vegetable or running beauty parlours, the bankers say. The previous limit was in force since 2013.

  • Private banks such as IndusInd, IDFC and RBL are increasing their exposure to the bottom of the pyramid customers while industrial credit demand is yet to show momentum.

  • The microfinance industry’s total loan portfolio grew 27% in FY18 to Rs 1.37 lakh crore while industrial credit rose just about 1%. The lenders are expecting growth to further rise to about 50%

  • Although banks are not members of MFIN, which is an industry association of NBFC-MFIs, they have in principle agreed to follow the microfinance business code to keep borrowers’ delinquency in check, three people in the know said.

  • Small finance banks also follow the Mutually Agreed Code of Conduct (MACC) which is designed for all lenders in the microfinance industry. Out of 10 small finance banks, six including AU Small Finance Bank, ESAF and Ujjivan are associates.

  • The MACC code is stricter than Reserve Bank of India’s direction which says that a micro borrower can take loans up to Rs 1 lakh from maximum two MFIs.

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India lashes out at Pakistan for weaponising women’s right issues at Jammu for political gains

  • India has lashed out at Pakistan for weaponising women's rights issues for self-serving political gains in Jammu and Kashmir. First Secretary in India's Permanent Mission to the UN, PaulomiTripathi, says it is ironical that a country where violations of women's right to live in the name of honour go unpunished is making baseless statements about India.

  • She stated this during the UN General Assembly Third Committee session on 'Advancement of Women' yesterday. Ms.Tripathi did not directly name Pakistan but was responding to references made to Jammu and Kashmir by Islamabad's outgoing envoy to the UN MaleehaLodhi.

  • Ms.Tripathi asserted that from the first woman President of the General Assembly, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, to women scientists at ISRO, Indian women have long served as inspiration for many. She told the session that gender equality and empowerment of women are an integral part of India's inclusive development strategy.

  • The Committee is one of the six in the UN General Assembly, deals with social, humanitarian affairs and human rights issues.

U.S begins troop withdrawal from Syria

  • United States troops have begun withdrawing from positions in northern Syria, paving the way for a Turkish operation against Kurdish fighters in the border area.

  • Kurdish-led forces have until now been a key US ally in Syria, where they helped defeat the Islamic State group, but Turkey regards them as terrorists.

  • The main Kurdish-led group called the surprise US to move a stab in the back. But, President Donald Trump defended the withdrawal, saying it was time to get out of these endless wars.

  • The pullout represents a significant shift in US foreign policy and goes against the advice of senior officials in the Pentagon and state department. The White House said yesterday US troops were stepping aside for an imminent Turkish operation.

  • Turkish President RecepTayyipErdogan said Turkey's aim was to combat Kurdish fighters in the border area and to set up a safe zone for Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey.


India launches green crackers to curb pollution

  • In a bid to resolve the crisis of air pollution, the Governnment today launched green firecrackers.Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan today announced in a Press Conference in New Delhi,that Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) labs have been successful in developing various environment-friendly fireworks such as sound emitting crackers, flowerpots, pencils, chakkar and sparklers.

  • He further informed that due to the ban that had been imposed as per the orders of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, there was a threat of imminent closure of the entire fireworks industry. However, Science has once again come to the rescue of the common man and millions of jobs have been saved due to the interventions made by our scientists.

  • During the press conference, Dr Harsh Vardhan launched the green crackers manufactured by licensee-manufacturers. He also informed that a green logo as well as a Quick Response (QR) coding system has been developed for differentiation of green crackers from conventional crackers.

  • QR codes is a novel feature incorporated on the fire crackers to avoid manufacture and sale of counterfeit products. This will also help the consumers to track the cracker using smart phones and other devices. Dr Harsh Vardhan also indicated that the cost of the green crackers is almost same as that of regular crackers.


Djokovic wins Japan open title

  • World number one Novak Djokovic clinched the Japan Open tennis title today defeating Australian qualifier John Millman 6-3, 6-2 in straight sets.

  • Djokovic, playing in his first Japanese competition, dominated throughout the game, to claim the trophy at the AriakeColosseum at Tokyo.

  • Djokovic grabbed an early break in the first set to take a 3-1 lead with a series of sizzling serves and precision returns that had Millman scrambling across the baseline.

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