Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 09 June 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 09 June 2019


::NATIONAL::

India seeks exemption to PM’s flight via Pak airspace

• India has requested Pakistan that Prime Minister Narendra Modi be allowed to fly through its airspace to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, on June 13 and 14 despite the restrictions it had imposed on flights from and through the country, according to government sources.

• After imposing a ban on all flights following India’s air strikes in Balakot deep inside its territory, Pakistan has lifted restrictions on the use of its airspace for most carriers and opened only two out of 11 routes through its southern parts for flights to and from India.

• As a result, airlines still need to take a long detour to fly to countries to the north of Pakistan. A flight to Bishkek through Pakistan is likely to take nearly four hours, but a detour will result in an eight-hour flight.

• Airspace restrictions by Pakistan have been in place since February 27 and were recently extended until June 15 for flights entering the country through its eastern border after flying through Indian skies.

• These have resulted in steep airfares for passengers, including a large number of Indian students in different Central Asian countries planning a trip home for their summer break.

Government notifies PM-KISAN scheme for farmers

• The government has notified its decision to extend the benefit of six thousand rupees per year to eligible farmers under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme. The decision will benefit all 14.5 crore farmers, irrespective of the size of their landholding, in the country.

• Notifying the decision, the Union Agriculture Ministry has written to all state governments, asking them to identify beneficiaries subject to the existing exclusion factors.

• The NDA government took this historic decision in the first meeting of Union Cabinet after assuming office last month. In its manifesto for 2019 general elections, the BJP had promised to extend the scheme to all farmers.

• PM-KISAN scheme was announced in the interim budget, under which the government decided to provide 6,000 rupees per year to about 12.5 crore small and marginal farmers.

• Now, the revised scheme is expected to cover two crore more farmers with an estimated expenditure of over 87 thousand crore rupees in the current financial year.

::ECONOMY::

National institute for valuers in lines with ICAI mooted

• The government will look at setting up a national institute for valuers on the lines of chartered accountants’ apex body ICAI, a senior official said Saturday.

• Professional institutes like the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) have been set up under Acts of Parliament.The Companies Act, 2013, provides a comprehensive framework for development and regulation of the profession of valuers.

• Speaking at a national seminar on valuation here organised by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI), Mr. Srinivas stressed on the importance of professional competence, conduct and ethics of valuers.

• Corporate affairs secretary said standards for valuation are likely to be finalised in the near future, adding that the immediate priority is that Registered Valuers Organisations (RVOs) should develop and further improve their code of conduct as each RVO is a frontline regulator.

• In 2008, there was an initial attempt to have a bill on the lines of ICAI Act for having an institute for the valuers, he said, adding that now valuation profession cannot fly below the radar as the corporate affairs ministry is taking various steps.

RBI governor moots transformation of banking sector

• Following the steps taken by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the government in the last few years, the tide has turned for the banks, with asset quality improving.

• There was a significant improvement in asset quality of scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) in 2018-19 as the gross non-performing assets (NPA) ratio declined to 9.3% as on March 2019. It was 10.8% in September 2018 and 11.5% in March 2018.

• At the same time, there has been an improvement in the provision coverage ratio (PCR) of SCBs to 60.9% in March 2019 from 48.3% in March 2018 and 44% in March 2015.There has been evidence of credit growth picking up after remaining subdued in the last few years.

• Even though the government’s capital infusion has helped PSBs improve their balance sheets, they should not become too dependent on this source. “Depending upon individual situations, PSBs should access the capital market for mobilisation of capital,” Mr. Das said.

• The RBI would continue to monitor the activity and performance of the sector with a focus on major entities and their inter-linkages with other sectors and would take steps, if needed, to maintain financial stability in the short, medium and long-term.

• The central bank’s objective was to harmonise the liquidity norms between banks and NBFCs, taking into account the unique business model of the NBFCs vis-à-vis the banks’, he added.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

India-Maldives expand partnerships

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Maldives on Saturday, his first state visit abroad since being re-elected to office, was marked by the signing of six key agreements and substantive bilateral level talks, reaffirming cooperation between the two countries.

• President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih conferred upon Mr. Modi the Maldives’ highest honour — the Rule of Nishan Izzuddeen.

• Addressing the Maldivian parliament, the Majlis, Mr. Modi said the relations between India and the Maldives are older than history. “Today I want to emphasise that every Indian is with you for the strengthening of democracy in the Maldives,” he said.

• Stressing the need for global cooperation in combating terror, he said terrorism is not just a threat to a country but to the entire civilisation. “It is very unfortunate that people are still making the mistake of distinguishing between good terrorists and bad terrorists,” he said.

• “Both leaders welcomed the signing of the $800-million Line of Credit Agreement in March 2019 for assisting the Maldives in achieving sustainable social and economic development. The leaders stressed the need to work towards expeditious implementation of people-centric and socio-economic projects,” the joint statement said.

Commerce minister attends G20 ministerial meeting in Japan

• Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal attended the G-20 ministerial meeting on Trade and digital economy in Japan yesterday.

• Trade and Digital Economy Ministers of member countries were also present. In a series of tweets, Mr Goyal said, he participated in discussions relating to increasing trade and cooperation to harness the potential of digital economy.

• On the sidelines, he had a constructive interaction with Minister for Trade of South Korea Yoo Myung-Hee in regard to exploring new avenues of trade cooperation between the two nations.

• He also interacted with Minister of Trade and Industry for South Africa Ebrahim Patel and engaged in productive discussions over strengthening trade relations and economic cooperation between the two nations.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

Scientists develop high resolution maps on groundwater resources

• Scientists have created high-resolution maps of points around the globe where groundwater meets the oceans — the first such analysis of its kind that may help protect both drinking water and the seas.

• In a study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, researchers from The Ohio State University in the U.S. showed that nearly one-half of fresh submarine groundwater discharge flows into the ocean near the tropics.

• They also found that regions near active fault lines send greater volumes of groundwater into the ocean than regions that are tectonically stable.

• They found that dry, arid regions have very little groundwater discharge, opening the limited groundwater supplies in those parts of the world to saltwater intrusion.

• The study found that in some parts of the world, groundwater could be polluting oceans and lakes with nutrients and other chemicals.

• The study also found that climate heavily influences groundwater flow, and that cities in dry areas are especially vulnerable to salt water contamination of aquifers.

::SPORTS::

Ashley Barty wins French open women’s title

• In French Open Tennis, Australian Ashleigh Barty won her first Grand Slam singles title after easing past Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets in the women's final.

• In men's singles top seed Novak Djokovic saw his 26-match winning streak in Grand Slams snapped at the hands of fourth-seeded Dominic Thiem in full sets in semifinals yesterday.

• In the women's final, No. 8 seed Barty outclassed Vondrousova 6-1, 6-3 in one hour and 10 minutes.

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