Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 12 FEBRUARY 2019
PM affirms grant of citizenship only after investigation and recommendation
- Prime Minister NarendraModi today assured the people of Assam and
the North East that the Citizenship Amendment Bill will in no way cause harm
to their interest. Mr Modi was addressing a public rally at Changsari in
- He said, citizenship will be only granted after due investigation
and recommendation of the state governments. The Prime Minister asserted
that his government is committed to provide shelter to those who are
minorities in neighbouring countries and had to leave due to the atrocities
inflicted on them.
- Mr Modi also said, the NDA government is committed to implement
the 36-year old Assam Accord within the stipulated time. He said, he would
not allow anyone to destroy Assam for vote bank politics and only his
government would fulfill the Assam Accord.
- The Prime Minister also said, steps are being taken to grant ST
status to 6 communities of the state. He added that his government is
committed to make Assam the oil and gas hub of the country and in the last
four years projects worth 14,000 crore rupees have been completed.
- Mr Modi also laid foundation stones of several projects, including
a six lane and 1600 meter long bridge over the Brahmaputra connecting
Guwahati to North Guwahati. He also laid foundation stone of North East Gas
Grid which will ensure uninterrupted availability of natural gas across the
region and boost industrial growth.
Reports suggest majority adoption takes place amongst girls
- India may have a skewed gender ratio, but the female child happens
to be the first choice when it comes to adoption. The number of female
children placed for in-country adoptions and inter-country adoptions between
2015 and 2018 are relatively higher than male children.
- All the figures put together, female children comprise almost 60%
of all in-country adoptions. When it came to inter-country adoptions, the
number of female children was even higher: 69%. Of the 2,310 children placed
under adoption between the same period, 1,594 were females.
- The data was tabled by the Ministry of Women and Child Development
in the LokSabha on February 8, in response to a question by members
TejPratap Sigh Yadav, L.R. ShivarameGowda and AnjuBala.
- PrajaktaKulkarni, a member of the Central Adoption Resource
Authority (CARA), said there was little doubt that more girls were being
adopted and it reflected that gender bias and the attitude of people against
the girl child are changing across the country.
- SindhuNaik, member, Adoption Scrutiny Committee, State Council of
Child Welfare (Karnataka), said that one has to also look whether more girls
were coming for adoption.
- Ms.Naik said that the urban middle class people were preferring
female children because they are concerned and aware of the situation of the
girl child. The situation may not be the same for villages and small towns,
SEBI to lookinto allegations on sale of pledged shares
- Markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is
looking into allegations and counter-allegations related to the sale of
pledged shares of the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group’s three listed firms by
two lenders, senior officials said on Monday.
- Reliance Group has accused L&T Finance and Edelweiss Group
entities of “illegal” and “motivated” actions in invoking the pledged shares
of Anil Ambani group firms and selling them in open market causing a steep
fall in share values.
- L&T Finance and Edelweiss Group have refuted the allegations and
have counter-alleged that Reliance Group failed to make timely payments,
which, they said, necessitated the sale of pledged shares.
- Officials said the regulator had asked the exchanges to look into
the trade details and seek clarifications from the entities concerned
regarding open market sale of shares to ascertain whether any norms were
breached in the process.
- The regulator would subsequently examine whether there was any
violation of regulations relating to insider trading and disclosure norms,
the officials said.
Government to focus on electrical mobility in roads
- The Minister of State for Road Transport, Shipping and Chemical &
Fertilizers ShriMansukhMandaviya in a written reply to a question in
RajyaSabha today informed that in order to promote the electric vehicle
sector, the Government has notified for retro-fitment of hybrid electric
system or electric kit to vehicles and has specified the type approval
procedure of electric hybrid vehicles.
- A policy on charging infrastructure has been issued by Ministry of
Power which clarifies that charging electric vehicles will be a service, not
a sale of electricity. Further to combat increasing air pollution in Delhi,
Ministry of Finance has issued advisory to all Ministries/ Departments that
they may aim to replace all petrol/diesel hired cars in their offices by
- In this regard, The National Institute for Transforming India (NITI
Aayog) has also taken an initiative to provide a Model Concessionaire
Agreement (MCA) document for introducing Electric-Bus Fleet in Cities for
Public Transportation on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode on
Operational Expenditure Model (per km basis) rather than paying upfront
- Further, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has made an
amendment in the Urban and Regional Development Plans Formulation and
Implementation (URDPFI) guidelines to provide for electric vehicle charging
stations in private and commercial buildings.
India-Norway marine pollution combat initiative launched
- The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change today
signed a letter of Intent establishing the India-Norway Marine Pollution
Initiative together with the Norwegian ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- In January, 2019, the Indian and Norwegian governments agreed to
work more closely on oceans by signing a MoU and establishing the
India-Norway Ocean Dialogue during the Norwegian Prime Minister’s visit to
India in January.
- A joint Task Force on Blue Economy with government officials,
researchers and experts as well as private sector was established to develop
sustainable solutions within strategic areas of the blue economy, such as
maritime and marine sector in addition to energy sector.
- In partnership, Norway and India will share experiences and
competence, and collaborate on efforts to develop clean and healthy oceans,
sustainable use of ocean resources and growth in the blue economy.
- Both the governments launched the first Joint initiative under
this new partnership. The India-Norway Marine Pollution Initiative will
combat marine pollution, which is one of the fastest growing environmental
UN secretary general offers help to solve Venezuelan crisis
- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has renewed his
offer to help broker an end to the crisis in Venezuela during talks with
Venezuela Foreign Minister,JorgeArreaza in New York yesterday as the
standoff between President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido
- The United Nations has called for serious political negotiations
between the two sides to prevent a slide towards more violence in the South
- Guaido declared himself interim president last month and has since
been recognised by some 50 countries including the United States. Russia and
China, however, continue to back Maduro as do some African countries,
creating a global split that has left the UN in a quandary.
- Venezuela is in the midst of a disastrous economic crisis marked
by hyperinflation, recession and dire shortages of food and medicines. The
opposition blames Maduro for the meltdown, accusing him of corruption and of
rigging elections to stay in power.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Study discovers plant’s ability to remove lead from soil
- Researchers from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala have identified a
native roadside plant that can take up lead from the soil and thus help in
removing the metal from the environment.
- The plant was found to accumulate lead at about 12,000 microgram/g of
dry weight in the root and 7,000 microgram/g of dry weight in its shoot.
Among the hundreds of native plants screened, research done earlier by the
group shortlisted three plants. The present study found that
Ecliptaprostrata had the highest lead tolerance.
- Hi-tech microscopic analysis showed that the lead travelled to the
leaves and was deposited as lead nanoparticles in its cell wall, cytoplasm,
and chloroplast. Though we noticed a little distortion in the structure of
these organelles no toxicity was seen,” explains Chandana Chandrasekhar, a
- This study has provided evidence that the plant is a lead
hyperaccumulator that has the suitable biochemical machinery. But as the
present experiment was carried out using a soluble salt of lead (lead
nitrate), more studies are needed in contaminated environments where lead is
usually found in insoluble forms.
- Such experiments using naturally contaminated soils are significant
further steps in using the plant for bioremediation of lead-contaminated
Australia rejects ODI’s in Pakistan due to security reasons
- Australia have refused to play any of the five One Day
International matches in Pakistan due to security concerns and the two teams
will now compete in the World Cup preparatory series in the UAE.
- The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) today announced that the series
will be played entirely in UAE from 22nd to 31st of next month as the
Aussies have refused to play in Karachi. Sharjah will host the first two
matches on 22nd and 24th of next month, followed by Abu Dhabi on 27th and
Dubai on 29th and 31st.
- PCB had invited Australia to play two of the five ODIs to further
their attempts to revive international cricket at home. International
cricket was suspended in the country after an attack on the Sri Lankan team
bus in 2009.
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