Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 10 FEBRUARY 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 10 FEBRUARY 2019


Parliamentary panel proposes rehab scheme for Nagas

  •  A Parliamentary panel has recommended the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) prepare a detailed and generous rehabilitation-cum-settlement scheme for the cadres of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), the group that signed a Naga Framework Agreement with the Centre in 2015.
  •  The panel also wondered at the delay in concluding the Naga peace talks “when all other stakeholders other than the Government appear to be eager to conclude it.” Any further delay may harm the progress achieved in the last few years, it said.
  •  “NSCN (IM), being the largest group in the entire region, would have thousands of cadres who must be adequately settled to make the agreement successful and to prevent the emergence of any splinter groups the government should, nevertheless, stay prepared for any scenario that may emerge in the aftermath of this agreement, and keep security forces on the alert,” the panel said in its report.
  •  After signing a Framework Agreement with the NSCN-IM, the largest group representing the Nagas, the Centre signed a preamble in November 2017 with six Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) to hold discussions to find a solution to the issue lingering on for decades.
  •  The NSCN-IM has been fighting for ‘Greater Nagaland’ or Nagalim — it wants to extend Nagaland's borders by including Naga-dominated areas in neighbouring Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, to unite 1.2 million Nagas.

Good quality education the most potent way to reduce poverty : Vice president

  •  The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that good quality education was one of the most potent ways to reduce poverty, achieve gender equality, and create more jobs. He said that improving the quality of education, revamping the curriculum to teach Indian values and transforming classrooms into centres of joyful learning was the way forward.
  •  Addressing a gathering Shri Naidu stressed upon the need to keep innovating curricula, infrastructure, pedagogy, teaching and examination methodology and our technology tools so that the students are well prepared to face the challenges of 21st century.
  •  He said that such endeavours would help us overcome the most pressing problems of the 21st century, from mitigating climate change to cleaner energy, from ensuring better agricultural productivity to water conservation, from combating hunger to efficient waste management.
  •  Saying that India holds an important place in the global education arena, Shri Naidu stressed the need to improve the quality of education to suit to the requirements of the world
  •  He opined that India cannot continue with sub-optimal efficiency at the crucial juncture in our history where education, knowledge and skill define country’s soft power.
  •  The Vice President also stressed upon the need to invest more resources and energy to further strengthen our education system, starting from the roots, from primary, all the way up to post-doctoral education.
  •  Shri Naidu observed that Innovation and Entrepreneurship were the twin engines that propel India to a new era of economic prosperity and social inclusion. He said that it was time to make India the favourable environment for innovation and the most attractive destination for enterprise


RBI raises limit of collateral free farm loans

  •  The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday raised the limit of collateral-free agricultural loans to ₹1.6 lakh from the current ₹1 lakh with a view to help small and marginal farmers.
  •  The Central bank also decided to set up an internal working group (IWG) to review agricultural credit and arrive at a workable policy solution.The Interim Budget had also announced measures to boost the farming sector in addition to annual payment of ₹6,000 to small and marginal farmers.
  •  Currently, the banks are mandated to extend collateral-free agricultural loans up to ₹1 lakh. This limit was fixed in the year 2010
  •  “Keeping in view the overall inflation and rise in agriculture input costs since then, it has been decided to raise the limit for collateral-free agriculture loans from ₹1 lakh to ₹1.6 lakh.
  •  “This will enhance coverage of small and marginal farmers in the formal credit system,” said the Central bank’s “Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies”.
  •  In spite of this, there remain issues related to agricultural credit such as regional disparity and the extent of coverage, among others.“There is also the issue of deepening long-term agricultural credit for capital formation,” the RBI said while announcing setting up of the IWG.

Pension for unorganised sector to roll from next week

  •  All unorganised sector workers up to 40 years of age can subscribe to the PradhanMantriShram Yogi Maandhan (PMSYM) scheme, which entails a minimum monthly pension of ₹3,000, from February 15, a Labour Ministry notification said.
  •  The scheme, announced by Finance Minister PiyushGoyal in the Interim Budget, is targeted at unorganised sector workers with monthly income of up to ₹15,000.
  •  Mr.Goyal had said it would benefit 10 crore workers in the next five years. The scheme would provide them with an assured pension of ₹3,000 from the age of 60 years on a monthly contribution of a small amount during their working life.
  •  “This scheme may be called the PradhanMantriShram Yogi Maandhan, 2019. It shall come into force on the 15th day of February, 2019....the unorganised workers have option to become the members of the scheme, on and from the 15th day of February, 2019,” the notification issued by the Labour Ministry said.
  •  The scheme would cover unorganised workers who are working or engaged as home-based workers, street vendors, mid-day meal workers, head loaders, brick kiln workers, cobblers, rag pickers, domestic workers, washer men, rickshaw pullers, landless labourers, agricultural workers amid construction workers, among others.
  •  However, informal workers will not be eligible for the scheme if they are covered under the National Pension Scheme, the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation Scheme or Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme.

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India terms Pak PM’s remark as an insult to Indian citizens

  •  India has termed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's remarks about its minorities as an egregious insult to all citizens of India. It said, Pakistan Prime Minister's latest attempts to play with minority sentiment will be rejected by the people of India.
  •  In response to the media queries in this regard, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, Pakistan’s Prime Minister has yet again demonstrated his lack of understanding about India’s secular polity and ethos.
  •  He said, he overlooks the obvious fact that adherents of all faiths choose to live under the democratic polity and the progressive Constitution of India.
  •  Mr Kumar said, India has eminent leaders of all faiths who occupy its highest Constitutional and official positions and in contrast, Pakistani citizens of non-Islamic faith are barred from occupying high Constitutional offices.
  •  The minorities are often turned away from government bodies like the Economic Advisory Council of their Prime Minister, even in ‘naya Pakistan. He said, Pakistan would do well to focus on its domestic challenges and improve conditions of its citizens rather than try and divert attention.

U.S may end zero tariffs concession given to India

  •  India could lose a vital U.S. trade concession, under which it enjoys zero tariffs on $5.6 billion of exports to the United States, amid a widening dispute over its trade and investment policies, people with close knowledge of the matter said.
  •  A move to withdraw the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) from India, the world’s largest beneficiary of a scheme that has been in force since the 1970s, would be the strongest punitive action against India since President Donald Trump took office in 2017, vowing to reduce the U.S. deficit with large economies.
  •  Mr. Trump has repeatedly called out India for its high tariffs. Indian Prime Minister NarendraModi has courted foreign investment as part of his Make-in-India campaign to turn India into a manufacturing hub and deliver jobs to the millions of youth.
  •  The trigger for the latest downturn in trade ties was India’s new rules on e-commerce that restrict the way Inc. and Walmart-backed Flipkart do business in a rapidly growing online market set to touch $200 billion by 2027.
  •  That, coming on top of a drive to force global card payments companies such as Mastercard and Visa to move their data to India and the imposition of higher tariffs on electronic products and smartphones, left a broader trade package the two sides were working on through last year in tatters.
  •  The GSP was tied to the trade package and since that deal had slipped further away, the U.S. was considering withdrawing or scaling back the preferential arrangement, people familiar with the matter said.


Scientists decode Indian gut microbiome

  •  By studying the faecal samples of over 100 healthy people from Madhya Pradesh and Kerala, researchers from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal have decoded the Indian gut microbiome and have created a gene catalogue.
  •  Constructed using multiple omics approaches such as genomics and proteomics, the catalogue contains details on the different genes coded by the gut bacteria and the functions carried out by the bacteria.
  •  This study also compared the gut microbiome of Indians with people in China, the U.S. and Denmark. The Indian gut microbiome showed higher levels of Prevotella bacteria compared to the other populations.
  •  Faecal samples from 53 people from Madhya Pradesh and 57 from Kerala were used to construct the microbial gene catalogue. The catalogue contains 1,551,581 genes and 943,395 genes out of them were identified as unique to the Indian population.
  •  “So about 9% (almost one million) microbial genes were found unique to our population, and were not identified in the integrated microbial gene catalogue constructed from other populations across the globe,” adds Prof. Sharma.
  •  Using large-scale metabolomics, the study also identified the different faecal metabolites (end products after microbial metabolism) of the Indian samples and mapped their association with the gut microbial species
  •  According to Mr.Dhakan, a drug made and tested in the U.S. may not work for the Indian population. So understanding the gut microbiome will help customise drugs and also develop new strategies for tackling the metabolic diseases by correcting the imbalance in the gut microbiome.


International Paralympics Committee lifts Russia’s doping ban

  •  The International Paralympics Committee (IPC) today said that it will conditionally readmit Russia by next month, lifting a suspension imposed over a doping scandal. A Kremlin spokesman responded by saying Russia is delighted.
  •  The IPC says the ban will be lifted by 15th, providing the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) adhere to strict criteria.
  •  In August 2016 the IPC suspended the RPC because it was necessary and proportionate to the situation they faced and essential to ensure a clean sport.

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