Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 11 October 2018


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 11 October 2018


::NATIONAL::

NITI Aayog Organises Workshop on Best Practices in International Arbitration

  •  The NITI Aayog and ICC International Court of Arbitration organised the inaugural Training-cum-Brainstorming Workshop on Best Practices in International Arbitration in New Delhi today.
  •  Moving towards a New India in 2022, ensuring legal reform is a key and critical priority. Complementing ‘Make in India’ vision with ‘Resolve in India’, strong alternate dispute resolution mechanisms are important levers in encouraging the Ease of Doing Business and Ease of Living in India.
  •  With government’s thrust on ‘Make in India’, it is important for investors, both domestic and international, to have faith in the dispute resolution mechanism in India.
  •  In this regard, a well drafted dispute resolution mechanism and a comprehensive understanding of best practices and procedures would complement the initiative and give the much-needed impetus to effective and timely enforcement of contracts.
  •  The training-cum-brainstorming workshop is an important part of the on-going endeavour by NITI Aayog in a co-operative setting to skill and prepare senior officers for global best practices and give them the opportunity to gain expertise in enhancing the ability to understand, review, revise and draft Arbitration related aspects of contracts
  •  NITI Aayog first highlighted the importance of Arbitration by organizing a successful two-day conference on international arbitration in 2016 with over 1400 participants, which was presided over by the President of India and Prime Minister of India and saw participation from the Chief Justices of all SAARC countries.

Footwear & leather industry gets special central govt.package

  •  The Central Government has approved a special package for employment generation in leather and footwear sector. The package involves implementation of Central Sector Scheme - Indian Footwear, Leather & Accessories Development Programme (IFLADP) with an approved expenditure of Rs. 2600 Crore for 2017-20.
  •  The scheme aims at development of infrastructure for the leather sector, address environmental concerns specific to the leather sector, facilitate additional investments, generate employment and increase production. Enhanced Tax incentives will attract large scale investments in this sector and reforms in labour laws taking into account the seasonal nature of the sector will support economies of scale.
  •  In a major boost to the leather industry in Tamil Nadu under the IFLADP four projects with a total outlay of 107.33 crore have been approved by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) to facilitate upgradation of infrastructure, job creation and environmental sustainability.
  •  DIPP has also given in-principal approval for mega leather cluster at Bantala in West Bengal. This will generate employment for around 7000 people and lead to an investment of Rs. 400 to 500 crore.
  •  The Leather Technology, Innovation and Environmental Issues sub-scheme under IFLADP provides financial support at 70% of the project cost to leather clusters to meet the prescribed pollution control discharge norms. This covers establishment, expansion, upgradation of CETPs, developing secure landfills, common recovery units, management of sludge and any other techniques for hazardous waste management.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

China seeks Indian help to fight protectionism

  •  China has asked India to counter jointly the growing threat of trade protectionism championed by U.S. President Donald Trump.
  •  A statement issued by the Embassy of China in India said that attempts were being made to sow discord between China and India and they should not fall for such traps.
  •  “Under the current circumstances, China and India need to deepen their cooperation to fight trade protectionism. As the two largest developing countries and major emerging markets, China and India are both in the vital stage of deepening reform and developing economy, and both need stable external environment,” Ji Rong, spokesperson of the Embassy, said.
  •  The Chinese response comes in the wake of the escalating U.S.-China trade warfare that has soured ties between the two countries. The Embassy said the U.S. has provoked trade disputes, and asked it to introspect about “interfering” in the internal affairs of China and India in the guise of religious freedom and human rights.
  •  The spokesperson said the U.S. was promoting protectionism while trying to keep India away from China by planting ideas that China’s financial support for developing countries would lead to a “debt trap”.
  •  China wants to build on development partnerships with other countries in the region, the statement emphasised.

Maldives’ outgoing President challenges poll defeat

  •  Maldives’ outgoing President Abdulla Yameen has challenged his recent election defeat, with his Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) on Wednesday filing a legal petition claiming the September 23 presidential election was rigged.
  •  According to local media reports, lawyers representing the party said they received “numerous complaints” from Mr. Yameen’s supporters. The PPM had, therefore, decided to “seek legal recourse” to uphold its members’ rights.
  •  It is so far unclear if the Supreme Court has accepted the case, but the move has stirred those hoping for an easy power transfer from strongman President Mr. Yameen to Opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who defeated him with 58.4 % of the vote.
  •  The Election Commission has denied the charge. Some of its commissioners also raised concerns over receiving threats from supporters of Mr. Yameen in the last week . “If the PPM wants to go to court, we are ready for the fight. It was an absolutely free and fair election and we have nothing to hide,” Commission spokesman Ahmed Akram told.
  •  The Indian Ocean Archipelago has been on the edge since February, after a dramatic Supreme Court ruling that freed Mr. Nasheed and nine other Opposition leaders. Within days, the order was overturned and Mr. Yameen declared a 45-day State of Emergency, setting off a political crisis. The recent election was expected to help restore normalcy in the troubled island nation.

::ECONOMY::

Aluminium companies hit by coal shortage

  •  The Aluminium Association of India (AAI) has written to the government asking it to stop prioritising coal supply to power plants. The exclusion of other industries that required coal was depriving them of the much-needed raw material essential for their functioning, the association said.
  •  The government on September 22 directed State-run coal companies to first send coal rakes to power plants as they were facing acute shortage of coal.
  •  This new ad hoc decision without any advance notice has brought the industry to a standstill and industry has been left with no time to devise any mitigation plan to continue sustainable operations,” AAI added.
  •  The association said that aluminium smelting required uninterrupted power supply and that any power outage of two hours or more would result in the freezing of the aluminium pots and shutting down of the plant for at least six months. But, this isn’t all that is affecting the industry.
  •  “Electricity demand has grown strongly and so the power plants’ coal off-take has also increased. There are also some logistical issues affecting coal supply to these plants.”
  •  “One major issue affecting the industry is that, since the U.S. and China have levied import tariffs on each other, the other large economy they can send their aluminium scrap to is India,” a senior official of one of the largest aluminium companies in India said on condition of anonymity.

New IMF growth forecasts India growth at 7.4%

  •  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday forecast a growth rate of 7.3% for India in the 7.4% the next year.In 2017, the growth rate was 6.7%.
  •  “India’s growth is expected to increase to 7.3% in 2018 and to 7.4% in 2019 [slightly lower than in the April 2018 World Economic Outlook (WEO) for 2019, given the recent increase in oil prices and the tightening of global financial conditions], up from 6.7% in 2017,” the IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook report.
  •  This acceleration, the world body said, reflected a rebound from transitory shocks (the currency exchange initiative and implementation of the national Goods and Services Tax), with strengthening investment and robust private consumption.
  •  India’s medium-term growth prospects remain strong at 7¾%, benefiting from ongoing structural reform, but have been marked down by just under ½ percentage point relative to the April 2018 WEO, it said.
  •  If projections are true, then India would regain the tag of fastest growing major economies of the world, crossing China with more than 0.7 percentage point in 2018 and an impressive 1.2 percentage point growth lead in 2019.
  •  According to the World Economic Outlook, in India, reform priorities include reviving bank credit and enhancing the efficiency of credit provision by accelerating the cleanup of bank and corporate balance sheets and improving the governance of public sector banks.
  •  In India, a high interest burden and risks from rising yields require continued focus on debt reduction to establish policy credibility and build buffers.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

Scientist reclaims memory of mice with alzheimers

  •  Using a small molecule that activates two enzymes (CBP/p300 histone acetyltransferases), researchers from India and France have been able to completely recover long-term memory in mice with Alzheimer’s disease. Neuron-to-neuron connections that form the network were re-established leading to memory recovery in the diseased mice.
  •  The therapeutic molecule used in the study was synthesised by a team led by Tapas Kundu from the Molecular Biology and Genetics Unit at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bengaluru.
  •  The small molecule was found to activate the two enzymes, and the two enzymes by virtue of being the master regulators activate several genes that are important for memory. In a June 2013 paper in the Journal of Neuroscience, Prof. Kundu’s team had demonstrated the small molecule’s ability to generate new neurons and induce long-term memory in normal mice.
  •  The study tested the ability of the small molecule in recovering memory at an early stage of disease onset. “Currently, we are studying mice with Alzheimer’s disease that are one year old. And the initial results are promising,” he says.
  •  Synthesis of the small molecule and carbon nanospheres and testing them on normal mice were carried out in JNCASR, while testing them on diseased mice model was done in France.

::SPORTS::

Harvinder singh clinches gold in Asian Games

  •  Harvinder Singh notched up India’s maiden archery gold in the Asian Para Games by finishing on top in the men’s individual recurve event, while the country also picked up three silver and four bronze medals on day 5 of the competitions here.
  •  Harvinder defeated China’s Zhao Lixue 6-0 in the W2/ST category final to claim the top honours and take India’s gold tally to seven.
  •  The W2 category of impairment covers athletes with paraplegia, diplegia or double leg amputation below the knee, requiring wheelchair.

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