Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 11 MARCH 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 11 MARCH 2019


Loksabha elections announced, to be held in 7 phases

  •  The largest festival of democracy in the world will begin from 11th of next month when India goes to polls to elect the 17th LokSabha of the country. Ninety crore electorates of 29 states and 7 Union territories will elect 543 LokSabha members in seven phases from 11th April to 19th May.
  •  Simultaneously, Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh will also take place. The Model Code of Conduct has come into force in the entire country with the announcement of the polls.
  •  Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora announced the poll schedule in New Delhi last evening. He said the counting will be held on the 23rd of May. Twenty-two states and Union Territories will have single phase elections, while 4 states will go to polls in two phases.
  •  States undergoing three phases are Assam and Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand while Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha will have four phase polling. Jammu and Kashmir will have five phases and West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh will have seven phases.
  •  In the first phase, 91 Parliamentary constituencies in 20 states and in the 2nd phase 97 Parliamentary constituencies in 13 states will go to polls. 115 constituencies in 14 states will go to polls in the third phase while 71 constituencies in 9 states will go to polls in 4th phase.
  •  Chief Election Commissioner said assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir will not be held with the LokSabha elections. Election Commission has decided to appoint three special observers for effective monitoring of LokSabha polls in Jammu and Kashmir. Chief Election Commissioner said extensive preparations have been made for the polls.

PM lauds CISF personnel on their golden jubilee

  •  Prime Minister NarendraModi has said, the role of security forces like Central Industrial Security Forces, CISF becomes very significant when the country faces a hostile neighbour.
  •  He said, the country's security becomes very challenging when the neighbour is hostile and incapable of fighting a war.
  •  The Prime Minister made it very clear that terrorism shows its face in different forms when the conspiracies to hit the nation internally find a safe haven.
  •  Mr Modi was addressing the 50th Raising Day ceremony of CISF at Indirapuram in Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday.
  •  The Prime Minister said, the CISF personnel are protecting the country's developmental growth by maintaining round the clock vigil. He recalled the services rendered by the CISF personnel not only in the country but also abroad in times of humanitarian crisis.
  •  Hailing the role of CISF in securing the critical infrastructure of the country, Prime Minister said that the force is also involved in disaster response, ensuring safety of women and many other activities. In this context, Prime Minister spoke about the disaster relief operations of CISF during Kerala floods and also during Nepal and Haiti earthquake
  •  The Prime Minister said that his government is committed towards ensuring the safety of its security forces. In this context he mentioned about the initiatives of the Government to modernize the forces and the actions taken for their welfare.
  •  Stating that duty is the festival for the armed forces, Prime Minister said that the role of CISF has increased, due to the challenges posted by terrorism. He added that his government is committed towards eliminating terrorism.


RBI says it does not have data on use of demonetised notes at petrol pumps

  •  The RBI in reply to an RTI query said it has no data on the old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes used to pay for utility bills such as fuel at petrol pumps, which are believed to have formed a good part of the demonetised currency that returned to the banking system.
  •  After the November 8, 2016 shock decision to ban the use of old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, the government had allowed the exchange of the junked notes as well as they being used for payment of utility bills for 23 services.
  •  On November 25, 2016, the exchange of old notes was stopped and the government allowed the use of only old 500 rupee notes at these utilities till December 15, 2016. The government, however, stopped the use of even this currency at petrol pumps and for the purchase of air tickets at airports abruptly with effect from December 2, 2016, after reports that they are becoming fronts for laundering of old currency notes.
  •  As much as 99.3% of the junked ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes have returned to the banking system, the RBI had stated in August last year, indicating that just a minuscule percentage of currency was left out of the system after the government’s unprecedented note ban aimed at curbing black money and corruption.
  •  “The facility of exchange of Specified Bank Notes at banks’ counter was available up to November 24, 2016,” it said. Specified Bank Notes or SBN is the term used to denote the demonetised currency which was allowed to be deposited in bank accounts till December 30, 2016.
  •  The Reserve Bank of India also said it did not have information on the number of SBNs used to buy KYC-compliant instruments like insurance policies.
  •  The central bank referred a part of the RTI to the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) which also stated that it does not have information on old notes used to pay for insurance policies as “it is not maintained by the Authority”.

IRDAI issues draft (Conflict of Interest) Guidelines, 2019

  •  A set of guidelines to address conflicts of interest arising from appointment of common directors in the insurance sector is on the cards with the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India issuing an exposure draft.

  •  The draft IRDAI (Conflict of Interest) Guidelines, 2019 prescribes do’s and don’ts in the event of there being common directors between insurance firms, insurance company and insurance intermediaries and common promoters of health and general insurers.

  •  Where a promoter of a general insurance company wants to be a promoter of a health insurance company or vice versa, the application for issuance of requisition of registration certificate filed by such promoter needs to be accompanied by a note approved by the board of directors. The note should detail the manner in which segregation of business between the general insurer and the standalone health insurer would take place.

  •  The draft guidelines said it would be the responsibility of the board of the insurance companies to formulate policy to address conflict-of-interest situations. For a director or officer who becomes aware of a material conflict of interest, two options will be available either to eliminate the conflict or resign in 30 days.

  •  In cases where the insurer becomes aware of the conflict of interest situation, “immediate steps shall be taken by the insurer to ensure the powers/authority delegated to such a director or officer is ceased and he/she is not allowed to participate in the day-to-day activities.” An enquiry, headed by an independent director, is also to be conducted and if found guilty, the director or officer would no longer be “fit and proper” to continue.

  •  Common directorships among insurance firms; an insurance company and its promoter company; and insurance firms and insurance intermediaries will be subject to conditions.

  •  No permission, would, however, be needed when the common director is an independent director in both the companies under the same group and where the annual remuneration is below ₹10 lakh.

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Palestinian authority names new Prime minister

  •  Mohammad Shtayyeh has been named as Palestinian Prime Minister by President of Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas. A member of the West Bank's dominant Fatah party is a long time ally of Abbas.
  •  The announcement comes six weeks after Rami al-Hamdallah tendered his resignation from the post and of his unity government to President Mahmoud Abbas, underscoring the failure of Hamas and Fatah to implement a power-sharing deal.
  •  Quoting Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh, Palestinian news agency, Wafa, has said, Abbas received Shtayyeh, a member of the central committee of the president's Fatah party, at his office yesterday and asked him to form a new government.
  •  Some analysts view the appointment of 61-year-old Shtayyeh as part of Abbas's efforts to further isolate Hamas, a rival political group that runs the besieged Gaza Strip.
  •  Shtayyeh, a former government minister, has been part of a number of Palestinian negotiating teams in the United States-brokered talks with Israel and is a former Minister

North Koreans goes for poll with a probable winner

  •  North Koreans went to the polls Sunday for an election in which there could be only one winner.
  •  Leader Kim Jong-un’s ruling Workers’ Party has an iron grip on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Every five years, it holds an election for the rubber stamp legislature, known as the Supreme People’s Assembly. The exercise has all the trappings of votes elsewhere, from electoral rolls to sealed ballot boxes to scrutineers for the count.
  •  But in keeping with one of Pyongyang’s most enduring slogans “single-minded unity” there is only one approved name on each of the red voting slips.
  •  With portraits of the leader’s father Kim Jong-il and grandfather Kim Il-sung looking down on every ballot box, voters lined up to drop their slips inside.
  •  There is a pencil in the panelled voting booths for anyone who might wish to register dissent by crossing out a candidate’s name. But no one does. By 6 p.m., the official KCNA news agency reported, all electors in all constituencies had voted, “except for those abroad or working in oceans”.
  •  Turnout in 2014 was 99.97% and the vote was 100% in favour of the named candidates, a result unmatched anywhere else in the world. “Our society is one in which the people are gathered around the respected Supreme Leader with a single mind,” election official KoKyongHak said, outside a polling station at the 3.26 Pyongyang Cable Factory.
  •  Voters “should cast approval ballots with their loyalty to the party and the leader, absolute support to the DPRK government and the will to share their destiny with socialism to the last”, it said.


High quality single layered graphene produced

  •  Researchers at Delhi’s National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL) have designed a low-pressure chemical vapour deposition (LPCVD) device that allows high quality, single-layer graphene measuring 4 inches in length and 2 inches in width to be grown. The quality of the single-layer graphene is metrology-grade, and can be used in next-generation quantum devices.
  •  The LPCVD device developed indigenously costs about Rs.5,00,000, which is one-tenth of the imported ones. More importantly, the quality of the single-layer graphene grown using this device is superior than the ones reported in the literature.
  •  By growing single-layer graphene of high quality repeatedly for up to 30 times, the team led by Dr.Bipin Kumar Gupta from the Advanced Materials and Devices Metrology Division at NPL has demonstrated reproducibility. Results of the study were published in ACS Omega.
  •  “It is possible to grow single-layer graphene measuring 6x4 square-inches but the quality will not be as good as when we grow graphene of smaller dimensions,” says Dr. Gupta.
  •  This is because when attempts are made to grow larger graphene single layers, it is difficult to control the diffusion of carbon atoms which get deposited on the copper substrate. This compromises the quality of graphene single layer produced.
  •  Generally, LPCVD devices have three mass flow meters through which hydrogen, argon and hydrocarbon gases are supplied to grow the graphene. Since the mass flow meters are expensive, Dr. Gupta’s team replaced two such meters that supply argon and hydrocarbon with calibrated rotameters.


Kavinder singh wins gold in Finland boxing

  •  Kavinder Singh Bisht in the 56kg-category struck gold while Shiva Thapa in the 60kg category and three others claimed silver medals to end a fine Indian campaign at the 38th GeeBee Boxing Tournament in Helsinki, Finland on Sunday.
  •  Signing off with silver medals were three-time Asian medallist Shiva Thapa, GovindSahani, Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist Mohammed Hussamuddin and Dinesh Dagar.
  •  In a rare all-Indian final, a gritty Bisht was up against Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist Hussamuddin in the 56kg summit clash. Both the boxers are from the Services Sports Control Board.

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