Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 09 December 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 09 December 2019


::NATIONAL::

New panel formed to monitor govt. ads as mandated by SC

  • A panel comprising former chief election commissioner OP Rawat, advertising veteran Ramesh Narayan and former PrasarBharati member AK Tandon will look into the content and propriety of government advertisements to check their adherence to Supreme court guidelines.

  • In 2015, the SC directed the central government to constitute a three-member committee "consisting of persons with unimpeachable neutrality and impartiality" to regulate the issue of public advertisement In a notification issued last week, the I&B ministry said the new committee will look into the implementation of the SC guidelines on content regulation of government advertising.

  • The new committee has been selected by a three-member panel comprising Press Council of India chairman CK Prasad,lyricist Prasoon Joshi and I&B secretary AmitKhare.

  • In 2016, Tandon-led committee had flagged the expenditure of AAP in govt ads, following a complaint from Congress leader Ajay Maken on the issue. It had also directed the AAP to reimburse the money spent on such ads and had said the Delhi government should assess its expenditure.

  • The committee will not only monitor print advertisements, but will also seek reports from I&B ministry, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation and the National Broadcasters Association in identifying violations in advertisements on electronic media. The committee has been asked to send monthly reports to the ministry in this regard.

PM stresses on effective policing to ensure women safety

  • Prime Minister NarendraModi has emphasised the role of effective policing for the safety and security of women. He was speaking at the concluding session of the 54th All India conference of DGPs and IGPs in Pune today. Mr Modi said at all times, police personnel must strive to improve the image of the police force to inspire confidence amongst all sections of society, including women and children.

  • The Prime Minister participated in the conference today as well as yesterday. Apart from leading the discussions and giving valuable suggestions over the past two days, he addressed the valedictory session of the conference this evening. The Prime Minister also awarded the President’s police medals for distinguished service to officers of the Intelligence Bureau.

  • Commending the Conference for generating good inputs for policy planning and implementation, Mr Modi laid emphasis on the emergence of concrete outcomes from the finalised action points.

  • The Prime Minister appreciated the meticulous efforts made by the country’s police forces for maintaining general peace and tranquillity in the country and ensuring normalcy. He said people must not forget the contribution of the families of police personnel, who stood firmly behind them.

  • Mr Modi urged the heads of police departments to carry forth the spirit of the conference to the lowest level from State to District to the police station. After listening to the presentations made by State police forces, the Prime Minister mentioned that a comprehensive list of the best practices could be prepared and adopted by all States and Union Territories.

::ECONOMY::

Report suggests UPI may not see new players

  • The Unified Payments Interface (UPI) system may not see many new players entering the space as it has got aggregated with few players, according to a report.

  • As a payment product, UPI will continue to scale with more innovative use cases coming in and will remain default payment gateway for the country, said a report by The Digital Fifth.

  • Advisor on industry and data management and analysis at the NitiAayog, Roy also leads the Women in Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) initiative, supporting women entrepreneurs in India. She is leading the Government of India's initiatives on frontier technologies such as BigData, artificial intelligence and Blockchain.

  • The report further said the remittance business would continue to scale as the market has remained largely untapped as of now.

  • India will see emergence of few large remittance players with focus on high-traffic corridors, it said.

  • The business-to-business segment has done well over past few years across POS (point-of-sale) and payment gateway segments with firms such as Pinelabs and Razorpay, building scalable and profitable business models, it said.

  • This change will impact payment start-ups focusing on the issuance side where they share issuance fees with banks and acquirer side, it said.

New national policy on statistics to be unveiled soon

  • India will shortly unveil a National Policy on Official Statistics in the wake of various controversies related to the alleged suppression of bad news, undermining the credibility of government data, said people with knowledge of the matter.

  • The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) has begun work on a cabinet note on the policy that seeks to provide “timely and credible social and economic data,” one of the persons said.

  • The policy seeks to create synergy between the Centre and the states in statistical matters besides promoting an ecosystem for “informed debate” on various social and economic issues affecting people’s lives.

  • The ministry began drafting the policy in June, shelving a proposal to set up a National Statistical Development Council, an independent authority headed by the Prime Minister that would supersede the National Statistical Commission (NSC). The latter is the apex body on statistical matters.

  • Earlier this year, the government withheld the Periodic Labour Force Survey report that showed unemployment sharply rising to 6.1% in FY18 compared with 2.2% in FY12. Issues were also raised about GDP data based on the new series with economists citing quality issues.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

India hopefull in inking crucial agreement with the U.S

  • India and the US hope to conclude three key agreements on issues, including space and science, at the second edition of the 2+2 ministerial dialogue in Washington on December 18.

  • The two sides are negotiating pacts on science and technology, water, and space that could entail technology transfer and collaboration, ET has learnt. The proposed pacts could be signed at the Foreign and Defence Minister, or 2+2, dialogue in DC.

  • The space deal will entail collaboration in handling space debris and incidents of increased collision threat with operational spacecraft. The pact could lead to collaboration between ISRO’s Space Situational Awareness & Management (SSAM) and the corresponding US agency.

  • The ISRO control centre would host a range of activities pertaining to protection of Indian space assets from inactive satellites, pieces of orbiting objects, near-earth asteroids and adverse space weather conditions. The water agreement is likely to involve collaboration under the government’s Jal Shakti Mission.

  • “Inherent in India’s growth story is a natural partnership with the US. This partnership is evolving fast both in strategic and economic domains,” Indian envoy to Washington Harsh VardhanShringla told students and faculty of the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Global arms sales rise by around 5 percent in 2018

  • Worldwide arms sales rose by nearly five per cent in 2018. According to a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the market is dominated by the United States.

  • The turnover of the 100 biggest arms manufacturers came to 420 billion dollars. US manufacturers alone accounted for 59 per cent of the market, or a turnover of 246 billion dollars, up 7.2 per cent on the previous year.

  • Russia was second in the rankings for arms production, with 8.6 per cent of the market, just ahead of the United Kingdom on 8.4 per cent and France on 5.5 per cent.

  • The study did not include China, for lack of sufficient data, but SIPRI estimated that there were between three and seven Chinese businesses in the top 100 arms manufacturers.

  • The world's largest arms maker remains the US firm Lockheed Martin, as it has been since 2009. Its turnover last year was 47.3 billion dollars. Its sales alone account for 11 per cent of the world market.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

Scientists decode evidence on river Saraswati

  • There has been a strong belief that the Harappan civilization depended on monsoons. But now there is ample evidence that a large number of Harappan settlements had mushroomed and flourished along the ancient course of the modern seasonal stream, Ghaggar, in northwestern India. And this ancient course was that of the mythical river Saraswati.

  • A new research — led by the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad, in collaboration with IIT-Bombay — has reported “unequivocal evidence” that there existed a perennial river on the plains of northwestern India. The river, according to the researchers, flowed roughly along the course of the modern Ghaggar. Researchers say that this river was the Saraswati mentioned in the Rig Veda.

  • The researchers provide evidence that the Saraswati was perennial and had flowed from the Higher Himalayas between 7,000 BC and 2,500 BC, and that the Harappans had built their early settlements along this powerful river between 3,800 BC and 1,900 BC.

  • The research posits that the decline of the Saraswati had led to the collapse of the Harappan civilization. The demise of the river and the civilization approximately coincide with the beginning of the Meghalayan Stage — the current dry phase in the global climate that began about 4,200 years ago.

  • The scientists reached this conclusion by determining the depositional ages of the coarse-grained white sand layers that occurred 3-10 metres below the modern alluvium of the Ghaggar’s floodplain. The dating was done with radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence methods at the PRL.

::SPORTS::

Anthony Joshua reclaims world heavyweight championship

  • Britain's Anthony Joshua reclaimed his world heavyweight crown from Andy Ruiz, outclassing the Mexican-American to score a unanimous points victory.

  • Joshua, who suffered a stunning knockout defeat to Ruiz in New York in June, produced a masterclass performance to regain his IBF, WBA and WBO titles in emphatic fashion at Ad Diriyah in Saudi Arabia last night.

  • Dominating from the outset, Joshua won by margins of 118-110 on two scorecards with the third judge making it 119-109.

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