Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 11 FEBRUARY 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 11 FEBRUARY 2019


PM reiterates move towards responsible pricing of oil

  •  Prime Minister NarendraModi today said there is a need to move towards responsible pricing of Oil and Gas to balance the interests of both the producer and the consumer. He was inaugurating the 13th International Oil and Gas Conference - PETROTECH-2019 in Greater Noida.
  •  The three-day biennial event began at India Expo Mart yesterday. The Prime Minister stressed on the need to move towards transparent and flexible markets for oil and gas to serve energy needs in an optimal manner.
  •  The Prime Minister said, winds of change are evident in the global energy arena. He said supply, sources and consumption of energy patterns are changing. Mr Modi said, there is a shift in energy consumption from West to East.
  •  He said, there are signs of convergence between cheaper renewable energy, technologies and digital applications. He said, it may expedite the achievement of sustainable development goals. Prime Minister expressed happiness that nations are coming together to tackle climate change.
  •  Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas DharmendraPradhan said, India has made tremendous strides in providing energy justice. He said, UJJWALA scheme and expansion of City Gas Distribution Network have provided clean cooking gas to people.

Supreme court asks NCM to redefine the term ‘minority’

  •  The Supreme Court today directed the National Commission for Minorities, to take a decision within three months on a representation seeking guidelines to redefine the term 'minority'.
  •  A bench headed by Chief Justice RanjanGogoi asked BJP leader and lawyer AshwiniUpadhyay to re-file his representation to the panel which, will take a decision on it within three months from today.
  •  Upadhyay, in his plea, has said that the term minority needed to be redefined and reconsidered in the context of population of a community in a particular state, instead of nationwide population data.
  •  The plea said that Hindus, who are a majority community as per national data, are a minority in several north-eastern states and in Jammu and Kashmir.
  •  It said the Hindu community is deprived of benefits which are available to the minority communities in these states, adding the minority panel should reconsider the definition of minority in this context.


RBI’s restructuring package for MSME’s to boost sector in future

  •  The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) restructuring package for small businesses announced last month will help recast Rs. 1 lakh crore of loans for seven lakh micro, small and medium enterprises(MSMEs), a top government official has said.
  •  The estimate from the Department of Financial Services (DFS) Secretary Rajiv Kumar is much higher than domestic ratings agency ICRA’s assessment of Rs. 10,000 crore.
  •  It comes even as some banks have seen reluctance among the target MSMEs to take advantage of the scheme.
  •  Mr. Kumar said seven lakh MSME units need restructuring. “They all can be restructured till March 2020 without downgrading the asset. [As much as] Rs. 1 lakh crore worth loans will get restructured,” Mr. Kumar said at a post-Budget meeting with industry captains.

     He said the scheme would help free up additional resources which would fuel demand and create further opportunities in the industry.
  •  “In the last few years, RBI has been doing away with various schemes for asset quality forbearance and hence, this is regressive from a credit culture point of view, given the past experiences of the banking sector with restructuring,” ICRA’s group head KarthikSrinivasan had said.

Report suggests co-living segment has great potential in real estate sector

  •  The co-living segment, an emerging sector in real estate, has the potential to grow into a $93-billion market in India, a report by PropTiger said.
  •  “The supply by organised players in co-living is currently limited to over one lakh beds. Assuming they earn Rs. 1.44 lakh per annum per bed, organised players in this segment are currently generating a combined Rs. 1,440 crore ($206 million),” the report said.
  •  “If the existing demand-supply mismatch is fixed, this segment has the potentially to grow into a $93-billion market,” it added.
  •  Most of the projected demand comes from students studying in different colleges and single working professionals across the county.
  •  In India, there are about 50,000 colleges where over 31 million students study. Out of this, over 12.3 million students are migrants.
  •  As per a survey by, total occupancy recorded in hostels within college campuses across India was only 3.4 million students, leading to a demand-supply mismatch of 8.9 million students. “This deficit for co-living spaces is currently being met by the unorganised sector, which includes PG accommodation and rental houses,” the report said.
  •  “A major part of this population is still served by unorganised rental options,” the report said.“The co-living sector has total untapped demand of approximately 46.3 million beds, out of which 8.9 million is from student housing,” it added.

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Afghan Taliban confirm s no conclusion reached with U.S

  •  The Afghan Taliban has said that despite the ongoing talks with the U.S. and other regional powers, it had “not yet reached” any conclusion that would entail an immediate end to hostilities, according to a media report.
  •  Speaking to Pakistan’s Dawn News channel, Taliban spokesperson ZabiullahMujahid said that, even in Moscow talks, nothing concrete was achieved that would compel the militants to end the war. He insisted that the Taliban is holding talks with the U.S. “on its own initiative”.
  •  When asked about Pakistan’s role in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table, Mr.Mujahid said: “There is no role being played by any outside country. This has always been our own initiative and policy.” He, however, said that if the Taliban does end up having a say in the Afghan polity one day, it will approach Pakistan “as a brother and a neighbour”, seeking “comprehensive ties based on mutual respect.”
  •  On a question regarding the possible formation of an interim government in Afghanistan, he said that the Taliban had neither held any discussions regarding an interim government nor had they proposed such an idea.
  •  Explaining the Taliban position on refusing to talk to the government in Kabul, Mr.Mujahid said that any talks with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani regime would have symbolic ramifications.
  •  If the Taliban were hold talks with the Kabul government, it would mean that it had “accepted this stooge regime as a legitimate government (even though it was) imposed upon us by air craft and (the) bombing of invaders”, he said.

Indian doctors in U.K protest over unfair health surcharge

  •  U.K.-based Indian doctors and health-care professionals are campaigning against what they describe as an “unfair” doubling of a health surcharge imposed on professionals from outside European Union (EU) living and working in Britain.
  •  It is imposed on anyone in the U.K. on a work, study or family visa for longer than six months, in order to raise additional funds for the country’s state-funded National Health Service (NHS).
  •  The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO), the U.K.’s largest representative body for Indian-origin doctors, is lobbying the U.K. Home Office for a rethink over the charge, arguing that it would have an adverse impact on their attempt to recruit more health-care professionals from India to meet staff shortages in the NHS.
  •  Clinicians wishing to work in the U.K. are already facing burdensome processes relating to regulation and immigration, and this surcharge is only going to see U.K. losing out on quality health-care professionals from non-EU countries, notes a letter from BAPIO president Ramesh Mehta and secretary ParagSinghal, sent to U.K. Home Secretary SajidJavid earlier this month.
  •  Doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals from countries like India are considered the backbone of the U.K.’s health-care system as they take up critical posts across hospitals and clinics in the country, the BAPIO pointed out.


PM launches dedicated Doordarshan channel for Arunachal Pradesh

  •  Prime Minister ShriNarendraModi will launch DD Arunprabha, a dedicated 24x7 Doordarshan satellite channel for Arunachal Pradesh and lay the foundation stone of a permanent campus of Film and Television Institute (FTI) at Arunachal Pradesh on 9.2.2019.
  •  DD Arunprabha, set to become the 24th satellite channel operated by Doordarshan, will be launched by the Prime Minister at IG Park, Itanagar. It will be equipped with state of the art facilities, including a Digital Satellite News Gathering unit to provide live coverage from remote locations, for 24x7 telecast.
  •  The channel will showcase the rich tradition and diversity of local culture. Not only will it help integrate North-East with the country, but will also bring alive the magnificence of North-East by airing content sensitive to the needs and aspirations of local population including news, travelogues, mythological shows, documentaries, magazines, tele-films, reality shows, daily shows etc.
  •  The foundation stone of the permanent campus of FTI will be laid by the Prime Minister at Jollang-Rakap (Jote), Papum Pare, Arunachal Pradesh. This is the third Film and Television Institute of Ministry of I&B, the first two being FTII Pune and SRFTI Kolkata. It is the first Film and Television Institute of entire North-East.
  •  It will provide a boost to the talented youngsters of the North-East in film and television sector.


CorentinMoutet wins Chennai ATP challenger title

  •  In Tennis, France’s CorentinMoutet has clinched the Chennai Open ATP Challenger tournament title after beating Andrew Harris of Australia 6-3, 6-3 in the singles final.
  •  The second seeded Frenchman yesterday played confidently to dash the hopes of Harris, the conqueror of top-seeded PrajneshGunneswaran on Saturday. It was the second Challenger title for Moutet, who received 80 ATP points, while Andrew got 48 ATP points.

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