Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 12 January 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 12 January 2020


PM calls for making India a hub for heritage tourism

  • Prime Minister NarendraModi has said that India should be a world-class centre of heritage tourism. Speaking after unveiling a statue at the iconic Old Currency Building in Kolkata this evening, the Prime Minister said, the Centre is planning to set up Indian Institute of Heritage for which work will start from Indian Museum in Kolkata, one of the oldest museums of the world.

  • The Prime Minister dedicated to the nation four iconic buildings of Kolkata namely Old Currency Building, Belvedere House, Victoria Memorial Hall and MetCafe House after renovation. He said, the government has taken up a plan to modernize five museums of the country to international standard. Mr.Modi is on a two-day visit to the city.

  • The Prime Minister said, Bengal has rich culture and heritage and it is the culture which kept us united. Mr.Modi said, we are celebrating of 200th Birth Anniversary of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in 2022, when India will be celebrating its 75th Anniversary of Independence. He said, the country will also celebrate 250th Birth Anniversary of great social reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy.

  • The Prime Minister further said, the country has great regards for NetajiSubash Chandra Bose and the government has recognized his great contributions to freedom movement. The demand of declassification of the files of Netaji was on for several years. Mr.Modi added, the NDA Government declassified them. He also said that other revolutionaries from Bengal should get deserved respect and regard.

  • Paying glowing tributes to Swami Vivekananda for his contributions to enriching Indian culture, the Prime Minister said, Swamiji's teachings are still relevant today.

New portal launched for citizens to lodge their grievances

  • Minister of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Dr Jitendra Singh has said that efforts are on to help citizens lodge their grievances on the Centralized Public Grievance Redress And Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) portal in Indian languages.

  • Participating in a Facebook Live session on Citizen Grievance Redressal in New Delhi yesterday, Dr Singh said that this process will be expedited. He said, many States have already replicated the CPGRAMS model and some States have provisions to lodge grievances in respective regional languages.

  • The Minister said a big leap has been taken in the newly carved out Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir with the launch of the “Awaaz-e-aam”- UT Grievance Redressal Cell and it will soon be linked with the CPGRAMS portal.

  • Interacting with more than 8,000 active viewers during the Live programme, Dr Singh appealed to the citizens to submit their entries in the first Online Hackathon on Data-Driven Innovation for Citizen Grievance Redressa.

  • It is being conducted by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG). The Hackathon was made live on 5th November last year in a DARPG Workshop and over 53 proposals have been submitted by 1,329 registered teams. Upon popular demand, the Hackathon has been extended till tomorrow by 5 pm.


Government to seek RBI dividend as revenue drops

  • The government plans to push the central bank for a fiscal lifeline in the form of another interim dividend, as it struggles to meet its expenditure commitments amid a steep revenue shortfall, three sources directly aware of the matter said.

  • The fresh call comes just months after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) approved aRs 1.76 lakh crore ($24.8 billion) dividend payment to the government, including Rs 1.48 lakh crore for the current fiscal year.

  • The RBI largely earns profits through its trading of currencies and government bonds. Part of these earnings are set aside by the RBI for its operational and contingency needs while the rest is transferred to the government in the form of dividend.

  • It earned a surplus of Rs 1.23 lakh crore in its last financial year, which was substantially higher than previous years.

  • One of the officials said the government wants the RBI to consider its demand for an interim dividend given this financial year has been an "exceptional year," with economic growth projected to fall to an 11-year low of 5%. The current fiscal year runs to March 31.

  • Shaktikanta Das, who was appointed RBI governor by Prime Minister NarendraModi in late 2018 after the resignation of Urjit Patel, has cut the policy repo rate five times by a total of 135 basis points and eased liquidity restrictions to support falling economic growth.

  • Some RBI officials are still reluctant to pay more funds as it could impact provisions to cover sovereign risks, sources said, but the government is hopeful that the RBI board, which include its nominees, will approve the dividend.

  • RBI officials have been told the revenue shortfall was currently estimated at between 34-37% of the budgeted target, but using all efforts may be brought down to nearly 25%, the first official told.

New mission launched to develop eastern region into integrated steel hub

  • Union Steel Minister DharmendraPradhan has said, the eastern belt has the potential to add over 75 percent of the country’s incremental steel capacity envisioned by the National Steel Policy.

  • He said, it is expected that out of the 300 Million Tonne capacity by 2030-31, over 200 Million Tonne can come from this region alone. Mr Pradhan said this while launching Mission Purvodaya in Kolkata yesterday. The programme is aimed at accelerated development of eastern India through establishment of integrated steel hub.

  • The mission will drive India's march towards five trillion dollar economy set by the government.

  • Stating that eastern India is a land of infinite opportunities, Mr Pradhan said that despite being endowed with natural resources, this region has lagged behind in socio-economic development as compared to some other parts of the country.

  • With Mission Purvodaya in the steel sector, he said, a new chapter will the rise of eastern India by accelerated development of steel sector through an integrated steel hub.

  • Through this programme, the government aims to transform logistics and utilities infrastructure which would change the socio-economic landscape in the eastern India. The steps, under mission, also include growth of steel industry along with employment opportunities across the entire value chain.

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Tsai Ing-wen secures second term in Taiwan presidential elections

  • Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen secured a landslide victory in presidential elections with voters resoundingly handing its first female leader a second term. Her main rival, Han Kuo-yu of the China-friendly Kuomintang (KMT) party, has conceded defeat.

  • As per official results, Tsai was ahead with 57 per cent, more than eight million votes last evening. Han trailed behind with 38 per cent.

  • 63-year old Tsai announced her victory as thousands of jubilant supporters cheered outside her party headquarters after ongoing vote count revealed an all but unassailable lead.

  • In her victory speech last night, President Tsai Ing-wen expressed hope that Beijing authorities understand that democratic Taiwan, and its democratically elected government, will not concede to threats and intimidation.

North Korea to be ready for nuclear talks only when U.S accepts its demands

  • North Korea today said it has received United States President Donald Trump's letter wishing a happy birthday to leader Kim Jong Un, but warned it would only return to nuclear talks if Washington fully accepts its demands.

  • The US President and Kim have held three meetings since June 2018 but negotiations over denuclearisation have been largely deadlocked since the break-up of a summit in Hanoi last February.

  • Official KCNA news agency said, North Korea's Foreign Ministry Adviser Kim KyeGwan has said, in a statement, that it would be absent-mindedness to expect Pyongyang to resume dialogue because of that warm personal relationship.

  • On the gridlocked nuclear talks, he said that reopening dialogue would only be possible in the case of Washington's absolute agreement on the issues raised by North Korea in previous talks.


Indigenous LCA makes its first successful landing

  • The naval version of indigenous Light Combat Aircraft, LCA, made its first successful landing on the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya today. This aircraft is developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization, DRDO.

  • Congratulating the DRDO and Navy for this achievement, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that he is extremely happy to learn about the maiden landing of naval variant of LCA on INS Vikramaditya. He said,this successful landing is a great event in the history of Indian fighter aircraft development programme.

  • DRDO in a tweet said, after completing extensive trials on the Shore Based Test Facility, LCA Navy did an arrested landing on INS Vikramaditya. DRDO Chairman, Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy has congratulated the DRDO and other agencies' team members who were involved in the development of this aircraft.

  • With the successful landing of Light Combat Aircraft, LCA on aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, India has entered into the club of selected nations having the capability to design a fighter jet which can land on an aircraft carrier.

  • Commodore JaideepMaolankar conducted the maiden landing. LCA is the smallest and lightest Multi-Role Supersonic Fighter Aircraft of its class. The LCA programme intends to further expand and advance India's indigenous aerospace capabilities.


Saina and Sindhu out of Malaysian Masters cup

  • Olympic medal-winning Indian shuttlers P V Sindhu and SainaNehwal crashed out of the Malaysia Masters after being outplayed by familiar foes in the quarterfinals ending the country's campaign at Kuala Lumpur today.

  • Reigning world champion Sindhu, who took the court first was knocked out of the Super 500 badminton tournament by top seed Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei.

  • Later in the day, London Olympics bronze-medallist, Saina was outplayed by Olympic champion Spaniard Carolina Marin. Saina and Marin were 6-6 in head-to-head before Friday's match. Saina was no match for Marin, who took exactly half-an-hour to dispose off the Indian's challenge 8-21, 7-21.

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