Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 11 May 2019
Vice President urges for a peaceful Indo-pacific region
- The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu emphasized the
importance of building a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region on the
basis of respect for national sovereignty and international law and
expressed the hope that the concerned countries would be able to reach a
consensus on Code of Conduct in South China Sea.
- During his talks with the Vietnamese leadership, the Vice
President expressed confidence that the interactions would provide a new
direction, momentum and substance to the bilateral cooperation between the
- He told them that the exchange of high level visits from both the
sides was a clear indication of the commitment of both the countries to
further strengthen Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. India’s commitment
to be a reliable development partner was stronger than before, he added.
- Describing Vietnam as a “strategic pillar of India’s Act East
Policy and our key interlocutor in ASEAN”, the Vice President said India’s
commitment to be a reliable development partner was stronger than before.
- He said that both the countries agreed to further strengthen
bilateral cooperation in defence and security, outer space, science and
technology, oil and gas, renewable energy, infrastructure development,
agriculture and innovation-based sectors.
- Stating that the bilateral defence and security cooperation
between the two countries was robust, Shri Naidu said India was providing
extensive training support to Vietnamese Armed Forces and the implementation
of the Line of Credit of US Dollars 100 million for building high speed
patrol vessels for Vietnamese Border Guards was progressing satisfactorily.
Cyclone FANI creates new mouths in Chilika lake
- The extremely severe cyclone Fani has created four new mouths in
Chilika Lake, Asia’s largest brackish water lake, connecting to the Bay of
Bengal, officials said.Chilika Development Authority (CDA) officials have
started studying the impact of saline ingression into the lake.
- “Chilika lagoon had only two active mouths — the point where it
meets the sea before Fani hit the Odisha coast on May 3. Four new mouths
have opened due to wave energy with high tidal prism,” said Susanta Nanda,
Chief Executive, CDA.
- While three new mouths have come up between the two functional
mouths near Sanpatna and Arakhakuda, a smaller mouth has been noticed on the
- “In the meantime, a lot of sea water is entering Chilika Lake. We
are now monitoring its salinity level at different stations. If sea water
ingression goes up, fish migration will increase and the biodiversity will
get richer. But its long term impact is something we will have to keep a
watch on,” said Mr. Nanda.
- When asked if the rise in salinity would alter Chilika’s
ecosystem, he said: “Three of the four sectors are more or less marine
ecosystems. The rise in salinity will lead to increase in productivity.
Chilika Lake is a mixture of saline and fresh water. We will keep observing
and consulting with experts.” The three new mouths may ultimately merge with
the two functional mouths, Mr. Nanda added.
Manufacturing slow down leads to low IIP marks
- Growth in industrial activity dipped to a 21-month low in March,
contracting 0.1% due in large part to a continuing slowdown in the
manufacturing sector, according to official data released on Friday.
- The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) contracted in March for
the first time since June 2013. To further put this contraction in
perspective, the IIP grew a robust 5.33% in the same month of last year, and
4.39% in March 2017.
- Within this, the manufacturing sector contracted by 0.43% in
March, the second consecutive month of contraction (it contracted 0.39% in
February) and the third consecutive month of slowing growth.
- One of the primary reasons for the slowdown in the overall economy
is that the government has very little room to manoeuvre on the fiscal side,
even though the Reserve Bank of India has done what it can on the monetary
policy side with two successive interest rate cuts.
- On the demand side, the consumer durables sector also contracted
in March by 5.07% after being positive for three consecutive months, which
is symptomatic of weak demand conditions in the country, Care Ratings added.
- The general outlook for the upcoming months is subdued, according
to economists and ratings agencies alike, who say that there is still no
certainty about the RBI cutting rates in its monetary policy review in June.
Finance ministry claims missing firms in NSSO had little impact on GDP
- The Finance Ministry on Friday clarified that the ‘missing’
enterprises in the MCA-21 database did not have a significant impact on the
calculation of growth rates of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross Value
Added (GVA) as these companies still added to the total output of the
The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) in a
recent survey report on the service sector found that, of a sample of 35,456
companies taken from the MCA-21 database, 38.7% were out-of-survey unit.
The Finance Ministry explained that of the 38.7%
out-of-survey enterprises in the NSSO report, out-of-coverage enterprises
comprised 21.4%. These out-of-coverage enterprises were those that were not
engaged in activities intended for inclusion in the service sector survey.
The Ministry provided data to show that from 2012-13
to 2016-17, the number of enterprises whose annual returns were not
available for GDP estimation accounted for just 12-15% of the paid-up
capital of all the enterprises in the MCA-21 database.
Lastly, the Ministry explained that while the blowing
up affects the level of GDP, it does not affect the year-on-year annual
growth rates in any material way.
North Korea orders for stronger military power
- The leader of North Korea ordered its military to boost its strike
capability as he directed another missile firing, state media said on
Friday, as tensions grew over tests that appeared to show development of a
new advanced missile system.
- Kim Jong-un's call for a "full combat posture" follows the US
seizure of a large North Korean cargo ship accused of illicit coal shipments
in violation of UN sanctions.
- The increased tensions come amid a gridlock in dialogue after the
second summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump collapsed over US
demands for Pyongyang's nuclear disarmament and Kim's demands for relief
- The test of two short-range missiles on Thursday and the firing of
a series of projectiles on Saturday were the first missile launches by the
North since an intercontinental ballistic missile in November 2017.
- Kim later declared the building of its nuclear force was complete
and went on to hold three summit meetings with South Korean President Moon
Jae-in and two with Trump.
- Both Trump and Moon said the latest missile tests were not helpful
but suggested they would not scupper dialogue. "I know they want to
negotiate, they're talking about negotiating. But I don't think they're
ready to negotiate," Trump said.
Ireland declares climate emergency in its territory
- Ireland has declared climate emergency in their country, to be the
second country after Britain to do so.
- An amendment to a parliamentary report declaring a climate
emergency and calling on parliament to examine how the Irish government can
improve its response to the issue of biodiversity loss was accepted without
a vote late Thursday.
- Irish Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, who moved the amendment,
called the decision historic.
- Britain's parliament became the first in the world to declare a
climate emergency, passing the largely symbolic motion on May 1. The step
followed 11 days of street protests in London by the Extinction Rebellion
environmental campaign group.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Chandrayaan-2 mission to carry 14 payloads
- Chandrayaan-2, the lunar lander mission planned to be launched
during July 9-16, will have 14 Indian payloads or study devices, a mission
update of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has said.
- The 3,800-kg spacecraft includes an orbiter which will circle the
moon at 100 km; a five-legged lander called Vikram that will descend on the
moon on or around September 6; and a robotic rover, Pragyan, that will probe
the lunar terrain around it.
- ISRO said all three modules will carry payloads but did not
specify them or their objective. The orbiter alone will have eight payloads
or instruments. The lander will carry four while the rover will be equipped
with two instruments. “All the modules are getting ready for the
Chandrayaan-2 launch,” a recent update had said, mentioning only 13
- ISRO has chosen a landing area at the hitherto unexplored lunar
south pole, making it the first agency to touch down at the south pole if it
succeeds in its first landing attempt. Chandrayaan-2 will be India’s second
outing to the moon. ISRO will send the mission on its heavy lift booster,
the MkIII, from Sriharikota.
Rani Rampal to lead Indian hockey team
- Hockey India announced on Friday that striker Rani Rampal will
lead an 18-member Indian women's hockey team for the three-match series
against hosts Korea, starting on May 20.
- Goalkeeper Savita will be deputy to Rani. The matches will help
the Indian team in preparing for the FIH Women's Series Finals at Hiroshima,
Japan from 15th to 23rd of next month Since the start of the year, the
Indian team has toured Spain and Ireland. India won two matches, drawn three
and lost one. The team also toured Malaysia where they registered a 4-0
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