Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 09 November 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 09 November 2019


::NATIONAL::

PM assures that Assamese demands would be considered while signing deal with Naga groups

  • Prime Minister NarendraModi assured Assam Chief Minister SarbanandaSonowal that the Centre will take into consideration Assam and its people while signing any accord with the Naga militant groups. The Prime Minister gave the assurance when Mr.Sonowal called him in New Delhi yesterday.

  • During the meeting, Mr.Sonowal apprised the Prime Minister of the situation in Assam in the wake of the proposed Naga peace accord and discussed with him a number of other issues concerning the state.

  • The prime minister assured him that the Centre would keep in mind the interests and aspirations of the people of Assam before taking any decision.

  • Earlier, Assam Chief Minister also met Home Minister Amit Shah. The Home Minister also conveyed that the interest of Assam would be protected while signing any pact with Naga rebel groups.

MMR declines by 8 points in a year

  • Maternal Mortality Ratio, MMR, of India has declined by eight points in one year as per the latest special bulletin on MMR released by the Registrar General of India.

  • This was informed by Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan today in New Delhi. The Minister said, this decline is important as it translates to over 2,000 more pregnant women saved annually.

  • He added that the MMR has declined from 130 per lakh live births in 2014-16 to 122 per lakh live births in 2015-17 which is a decline of 6.2 per cent.

  • The Minister said, with this persistent decline, India is on track to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) set for reducing the MMR by 2025 which is five years ahead of the fixed time-line of 2030.

  • Dr.Vardhan stated that achievement is the result of significant gains made in institutional deliveries and focused approach towards high priority districts to reach the most marginalized and vulnerable sections of the society.

  • He further said, focus on quality health services provided through National Health Mission such as PradhanMantriSurakshitMatritvaAbhiyan, JananiShishuSurakshaKaryakram and JananiSurakshaYojana have contributed to this endeavour.

::ECONOMY::

Economic poll reveals Indian inflation exceeded RBI limits in October

  • Indian retail inflation probably exceeded the Reserve Bank of India's ( RBI) medium-term target of 4% in October for the first time in 15 months, mainly because of rising vegetable prices, a Reuters poll of economists showed.

  • Prices of most vegetables climbed during the month as monsoon downpours delayed harvests and disrupted supplies. That was despite a government ban on onion exports, a key component in the Indian diet.

  • The RBI has cut its key interest rate by a cumulative 135 basis points this year to 5.15%. The central bank is expected to cut the repo rate in December for the sixth meeting in a row, according to a separate Reuters poll. That view primarily stems from a slowing economy.

  • Despite easy monetary and fiscal policy, recent business surveys indicate the economy, which slowed to a six-year low of 5% growth during the second quarter, is still struggling and is not expected to recover anytime soon.

  • If those forecasts are realised, it will be the first time since October 2016 the RBI has cut rates even though inflation is above the central bank's medium-term target.

  • The wholesale price index probably remained flat last month, the lowest in nearly three and a half years. The WPI was the preferred gauge for the RBI before the consumer price index was introduced on early 2012.

Study urges India to adopt low cost modern technologies for storage of onions

  • India, which is currently witnessing a spike in retail onion price up to Rs 100/kg on tight supply, should explore low-cost modern technology models from countries like Israel and Brazil for storing the commodity, industry body Ficci said on Friday.

  • The government's Tomato Onion Potato (TOP) scheme announced in the 2018-19 Budget was expected to address the problem of surplus in producing areas, but the scheme has not taken off, it said, adding that the government should provide railway rakes for reducing transportation cost.

  • For ensuring cost-effective storage of onions, Ficci said the emphasis should be laid on building low-cost farm gate storage.

  • In Brazil, for the procurement and storage of onions, low-cost ventilated silos system is being used at farm level. They also use refrigerated storage rooms which is the most efficient system, it said.

  • In India, startups such as InficoldInc are using multi-commodity efficient farm level cooling systems for perishables. Low-cost thatched bamboo storage have been promoted by the government under the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture. "However, we need better technology to reduce losses during monsoon," it said.

  • Among other solutions, Ficci said the government should undertake special campaign to promote processed onion and increase investment in producing dehydrated variety of onions which has a long shelf life and has export potential.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

Mauritius PM claims victory in elections

  • In Mauritius, Prime Minister PravindJugnauth claimed victory in the election today as official preliminary results showing his alliance taking a comfortable lead over rivals in the Indian Ocean nation.

  • Projections from the Electoral Commission gave a large lead to a coalition led by Jugnauth, who took the helm of one of Africa's wealthiest countries when his father stepped down in 2017.

  • Partial results from the state-run commission forecasted that Jugnauth's centre-right Morisian Alliance will win 38 of 62 possible seats in parliament.

  • Official projections showed that two-time prime ministerNavinRamgoolam was on course to clinch 13 seats in parliament.

Iran shoots down drone in its coastal region

  • In Iran, the army shot down an unidentified drone near the port of Bandar-e-Mahshahr on the Gulf coast today. Iran's Tasnim news agency reports that the unmanned aircraft was downed over Iranian territory with a domestically manufactured Mersad surface-to-air missile.

  • The agency not elaborating on whether it was a military or civilian drone. However, there was no Iranian official comment on this incident as yet.

  • In June, Iran shot down an unmanned US surveillance drone.Relations between Iran and the US have worsened since last year when US President Donald Trump pulled out of Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and reimposed sanctions on the country.

  • Meanwhile, Iran resumed uranium enrichment at its underground Fordow plant south of Tehran yesterday in a new step back from its commitments under a landmark 2015 nuclear deal, raising alarm from Western powers.

  • The suspension of uranium enrichment at the long-secret plant was one of the restrictions on its nuclear programme Iran had agreed to in return for the lifting of sanctions.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

MoST to launch 3 hi tech missions worth 5000crores

  • The Union Ministry of Science and Technology is currently working on three missions of quantum technology, methanol and electric mobility at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore each and expects government approval for it in the next three months, a senior official has said.

  • The Science and Technology Department, in partnership with the Ministry of Railways, has rolled out aRs 700 crore 'Railway Technology Mission' with a focus on driving new technologies of monitoring, design, materials.

  • The mission is aimed at finding solution to fog vision, carrying capacity of wagons and other areas, the official said.

  • Speaking on the 'Vajra' (Visiting Advanced Joint Research) scheme to invite overseas scientists and academicians with emphasis on non-resident Indians to work as adjunct or visiting faculty for a specific period in the country's academic and research institutions, he said, "About 500 scientists from abroad have so far applied and we have selected about 60 professors."

  • He further said, "We want top scientists to spend time here and impart their knowledge to our students as co-guides. The programme has started one and a half years ago," he said.

::SPORTS::

India to host Men’s hockey world cup 2020

  • India will host the 2023 Men's Hockey World Cup from 13th to 29th of January.Making this announcement today, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) said India will play host to the men's tournament while Spain and the Netherlands have been named as the co-hosts of the 2022 Women's World Cup scheduled to be held from 1st to 22nd of July.

  • The decisions were made during FIH's Executive Board Meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland today.The FIH further said that the venues of both the men's and women's World Cups will be announced by the host nations at a later date.

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