Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 12 JANUARY 2018

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 12 JANUARY 2019


India says Pakistan not serious on tackling terrorism across the border

  •  New Delhi has said that Pakistan is trying to mainstream terror organisations and there is no seriousness in Islamabad's statement on talks between the two sides.
  •  Replying to a media query in New Delhi on reported comments made by the Pakistan Prime Minister that India has refused offer of talks, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Friday questioned that if Pakistan is ready for talks then why it has not taken any action against the perpetrators of Mumbai and Pathankot terror attacks till now.
  •  The spokesperson asked Pakistan why it is still allowing their territory to be used by terror groups, terrorist organizations and terrorists, which is still on going if it is serious about talks.
  •  Mr Kumar said, explicit support which was being provided to banned organizations is still ongoing and there is no change in that. He said, Pakistan trying to mainstream terror organisations.
  •  On Imran Khan's statement on treatment of minorities in India, Mr Kumar said, Pakistan should be the last country in the world to lecture India on the topic of plurality and inclusive society. He said, everyone is fully aware how the minorities are being treated in India.

‘Women of India Organic Festival’ to be organized by WCD Ministr

  •  The Ministry of Women and Child Development is organising the three-day 6th ‘Women of India Organic Festival’ from tomorrow at Leisure Valley, Sector-10, Chandigarh, to celebrate and promote women farmers and entrepreneurs in the organic sector from the remotest parts of India.
  •  Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Union Minister for Women and Child Development will inaugurate National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD) Mohali Regional Centre in the morning
  •  Over 200 women are coming together at Leisure Valley, which will become the epicentre of an organic extravaganza. The Festival will showcase over 1,000 varied organic products, including fabric, wellness, grains, seeds, jewellery, bakery items and a lot more.
  •  Through this festival, the Ministry also aims to educate people about its various initiatives and schemes relating to women and children
  •  The Women of India Organic Festival has been held annually in New Delhi since 2015, and makes its debut in Chandigarh this year, bringing the joy of going organic to the evergreen Leisure Valley, which is a continuum of gardens, to showcase the varied products of women farmers and entrepreneurs.

     With each year, the sales and footfalls at the Organic Festival have only increased, indicating a growing interest in organic produce.


Atal Innovation Mission releases the Atal Tinkering Lab Handbook

  •  NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) released the “Atal Tinkering Lab Handbook – Nayee Dishayen, Naye Nirman, Naya Bharat” on the eve of the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, also celebrated as the National Youth Day, to hail and take forward the spirit of Tinkering and Innovation across the country.
  •  They also announced the 10 Month Student Entrepreneurship Programme, which is a fully-funded initiative to help the Top Six innovations of the Atal Tinkering Marathon 2017 to transform their innovative prototypes into functioning, scaled and Go-to-Market products. These innovations include prototypes across six crucial themes having broader social impact, namely, Clean Energy, Waste Management, Agritech, Healthcare, Smart Mobility and Water Resources.
  •  From a smart tap which monitors and purifies the water flowing through it to a low-costayurvedic herbal air spray which eliminates harmful microbes in the air, the Top Six innovations, which were designed in the Atal Tinkering Labs under AIM are poised to bring in fresh ideas to market and inspire a generation of entrepreneurs.
  •  The handbook will serve as an action plan that can provide the basis for a smooth scale up approach for the Atal Tinkering Lab initiative, via the public-private-partnership and Centre-State cooperation. The document attempts bring together all stakeholders in the school and administrative ecosystem towards creating a sustainable and scalable approach for tinkering and innovation at the high school level.

Mixed response for vote on account provision

  •  While the government will need to amend the Finance Act and the Income Tax Act if it wants to give income tax or corporate tax relief in the Budget, and this can easily be done given its majority in the Lok Sabha, political experts say that doing so would fly in the face of convention.
  •  Several tax analysts have opined that the government was likely to announce schemes and token expenditure during the vote on account on February 1, but added that it might desist from making changes to tax rates since this would require amending Acts of Parliament, which the Opposition might block so close to the general elections.
  •  Officials in the Finance Ministry also confirmed that the vote on account will not be accompanied by the release of the economic survey as the survey is usually released along with the full Budget.
  •  Political analysts, however, say that there is nothing in the rules that say the government cannot amend an Act of Parliament, if it so chooses. The only factor to be considered is that doing so would go against the established convention.
  •  However, if it does announce a major policy decision on February 1, the NDA-II Government will not be the first to disregard convention. The then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram had, in the vote on account in 2014-15, announced the One Rank One Pension scheme, which Opposition members claimed was an attempt to garner votes from the members of the armed forces.
  •  Prior to this Pranab Mukherjee, as the Finance Minister in 2009-10, had in the vote on account in that year extended interest subvention scheme for exporters and had increased defence spending in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.

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Trump promises changes in H1B visa regime

  •  US President Donald Trump today assured H-1B visa holders, an overwhelming majority of whom are Indian IT professionals, that his administration will soon bring changes that will give them certainty to stay in America and a "potential path to citizenship".
  •  Trump today tweeted that his administration is planning an overhaul of US policies on H-1B visa and will encourage talented and highly-skilled people to pursue career options in the US.
  •  Trump's tweet comes as a good news for Indian professionals, especially in the IT sector, who currently have to wait for nearly a decade to get a Green Card or permanent legal residency.
  •  The H-1B visa, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
  •  Meanwhile President Trump has again threatened to declare a national emergency along the border with Mexico as he seeks funding for a wall he says will keep out dangerous immigrants, his latest jab in a fight with Democrats in Congress that has now shut down parts of the government for a record-tying 21 days.
  •  Such a declaration, almost certain to be challenged in court, would in theory allow Mr. Trump to sidestep Congress and divert money from military projects toward construction of the wall that has been a core focus of his nationalist campaign.

Cabinet approves MoU with Denmark on maritime issues.

  •  The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Maritime issues between India and Denmark. The MoU is proposed to be signed during the upcoming visit of the WIP from Denmark to India in January, 2019.
  •  Denmark is one of the important trading partners with India. Major Danish exports to India include medicinal/ pharmaceutical goods, power generation machinery; industrial machinery, metal ores, organic chemicals, etc.
  •  Major Indian exports to Denmark include apparels, textiles/ fabrics/ yarns, road vehicles and components, metal goods, iron and steel, footwear and travel goods.In order to boost the bilateral trade between the two countries and to ensure cooperation and coordination in the maritime sector, it is proposed to enter into a bilateral MoU with Denmark.
  •  It will be facilitating cross-border cooperation and investments between the maritime sectors of India and Denmark; enabling both the countries to exchange expertise, publications, information, data and statistics to improve mutual capabilities for ensuring quality shipping;cooperation in the field of green maritime technology and shipbuilding, granting the Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) the status of Recognized Organization (RO), cooperation in the fields of maritime training and education.
  •  It will also promote Research and development for sustained cooperation in the field of merchant shipping and maritime transport related matters; and further extend and deepen the cooperation on the opportunities of mutual benefits to both the countries, at both bilateral and international level.


ISRO to shift focus on to Gaganyaan mission

  •  The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Friday said work on ‘Gaganyaan’, the project to send a manned mission to space by 2022, would start soon at the newly created Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC).
  •  “Gaganyaan is our highest priority now,” K. Sivan, ISRO Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space, told reporters here. “We have put in a management structure to realise it. The Human Space Flight Centre [based in Bengaluru] will carry out all activities related to the human programme. Under it will function the Gaganyaan Project,” he added.
  •  Dr. Sivan also announced the appointment of Unnikrishnan Nair who led ISRO’s Advanced Space Transportation Programme at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) and has already worked in the area as the director of the Human Space Flight Project as the director of the new centre.
  •  The facility would be staffed by a dedicated team, with ISRO planning to deploy 800 to 900 people over time on the project.
  •  ISRO’s announcement of the new centre and the naming of its head comes about five months after the government first unveiled plans to send a manned mission to space.
  •  The heavy lift launch vehicle GSLV Mark III, which got operational in November after its second successive flight in a row, must be suitably certified or human-rated. It will have two non-crew flights in December 2020 and July 2021.
  •  The actual flight with crew is targeted to happen by December 2021 — to meet the Prime Minister’s goal of August 2022, India’s 75th Independence anniversary.


Ravi Shastri and Virat kohi receive honorary membership of Sydney Cricket Ground

  •  India skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri today received the honorary membership of the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) for their contribution to the sport of cricket.
  •  Congratulating India for their Test series win on Australian soil, SCG Chairman Tony Shepherd expressed happiness that the world's largest cricketing nation India was putting its focus firmly on Test cricket.
  •  He said this will reinforce the pre-eminence of Tests in global cricketing landscape.The only other international cricketers to be granted the honorary membership of the SCG are Sachin Tendulkar and Brain Lara of the West Indies.

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