Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 12 APRIL 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 12 APRIL 2019


::NATIONAL::

SC gives timeline to furnish details on electoral bonds

  • The Supreme Court has directed all political parties to furnish receipts of electoral bonds and details of identity of donors in a sealed cover to the Election Commission.
  • In an interim order, the apex court also directed all political parties to provide details of the amount and bank accounts of donors by 30th May to the poll panel.
  • The order was pronounced today by a bench consisting of Chief Justice of India RanjanGogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and SanjivKhanna.The order was passed on a plea of an NGO which challenged the validity of the scheme and sought that either the issuance of electoral bonds be stayed or names of donors be made public to ensure transparency in the poll process.
  • The Centre had notified the Electoral Bond Scheme 2018 in January last year. As per the provisions of the scheme, electoral bonds may be purchased by a person, who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India.
  • A person being an individual can buy electoral bonds, either singly or jointly with other individuals. Only political parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and which secured not less than one per cent of votes polled in the last general election to the LokSabha or the Legislative Assembly of the State, shall be eligible to receive electoral bonds.
  • Electoral bonds shall be encashed by an eligible political party only through a bank account with an authorized bank.

Study reveals threat of India’s solar waste pile up

  • By 2050, India will likely stare at a pile of a new category of electronic waste, namely solar e-waste, says a study made public on Thursday. Currently, India’s e-waste rules have no laws mandating solar cell manufacturers to recycle or dispose waste from this sector.
  • “India’s PV (photovoltaic) waste volume is estimated to grow to 200,000 tonnes by 2030 and around 1.8 million tonnes by 2050,” said the study by Bridge To India (BTI), an energy consultancy firm.
  • India is among the leading markets for solar cells in the world, buoyed by the government’s commitment to install 100 GW of solar power by 2022. So far, India has installed solar cells for about 28 GW and this is largely from imported solar PV cells.
  • Solar cell modules are made by processing sand to make silicon, casting silicon ingots, using wafers to create cells and then assembling them to make modules.
  • These modules are 80% glass and aluminium, and non-hazardous. Other materials used, including polymers, metals, metallic compounds and alloys, and are classified as potentially hazardous, says the study.
  • “India is poorly positioned to handle PV waste as it doesn’t yet have policy guidelines on the same…a lack of a policy framework is coupled with the fact that even basic recycling facilities for laminated glass and e-waste are unavailable. Despite the e-waste regulation being in place for over seven years, only less than 4% of estimated e-waste is recycled in the organised sector as per the latest estimates from the Central Pollution Control Board,” say the authors of the report.

::ECONOMY::

Vice president stresses on banking sector reforms to ensure inclusive growth

  • Vice President Venkaiah Naidu today said the rising Non Performing Assets in the banking system is a cause for concern as mounting NPAs would affect banks’ capacity to lend.
  • Addressing the 125th foundation day function of Punjab National Bank in New Delhi, Mr. Naidu said, the accumulation of bad loans happened over a long period of time and now threatens to hamper economic growth by weakening credit supply. He said banks must constantly strengthen their internal processes to monitor funds and maintain strict discipline in lending.
  • The Vice President said that financial inclusion is at the heart of transformation. The banks should work towards further improving their services and work towards avoiding leakages. He said, India’s financial institutions have been lauded for being resilient and withstanding recessions.
  • He said, the banks are no longer just about strong lockers and good interest rates. They have transcended their conventional mandates and are now at forefront of India's development story. He said, systematic reforms in the banking sector is the need of the hour to ensure inclusive growth.
  • Mr Naidu said, India’s banking sector is poised for robust growth as the rapidly growing business and commerce in India would turn to banks for financial services.
  • He said, many positive trends like expansion of middle class and digital revolution have transformed the Banking. The Vice President said, digital revolution and latest technologies should be used in the banking sector so that people can avail most of the banking services through online.

Third quarter witnesses decline in NPA and boost in commercial credit

  • Total bank credit exposure stood at Rs. 111.1 lakh crore as of December 2018 with the mid and large corporate segment accounting for the largest share of 43% and an exposure of Rs. 47.5 lakh crore, said a TransUnion CIBIL and SIDBI report.
  • “Consumer lending [retail, agriculture and priority sector lending] is the second biggest segment with a share of 35% and exposure of Rs. 38.4 lakh crore,” it said.
  • “The MSME segment [business lending to both corporate entities and individuals] stands third with a share of 23% of the aggregate pie.”
  • Commercial credit growth also grew robustly in the December 2018 quarter, with all segments large, micro and SME recording a growth of more than 14%.
  • “After a long period of stress, the banking sector seems to be on the course to recovery as the NPA rates have started showing a gradual decline,” the report added. “The NPA rate reached its peak between March 2018 to June 2018 for the mid and large segments.”
  • Since then, however, NPA levels have fallen in both segments. The NPA level for the large segment dropped marginally from 20% in June 2018 to 19% in December 2018. Similarly, the NPA level for the mid segment declined from 18% to 16.5%.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

Military coup in Sudan, ousts President

  • Sudan's army ousted and arrested President Omar al-Bashir on Thursday.Announcing this on state television, Defence Minister AwadIbnouf said, the President has been removed from power and detained by the army. He also said, a three-month state of emergency was being put in place.
  • He said, Sudan's constitution was being suspended, border crossings were being closed until further notice and airspace was being closed for 24 hours.
  • AwadIbnOuf said, the army had decided to oversee a two-year transitional period followed by elections.
  • Meanwhile, Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) service announced that it was freeing all the political detainees across the country.
  • Protests against Mr Bashir, who has governed Sudan since 1989, have been underway for several months.
  • Mr Bashir is the subject of an international arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which accuses him of organising war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan's western Darfur region.

U.S defends India’s ASAT missile testing

  • India is concerned about the “threats” it faces in space, the Pentagon has said, defending the country for acquiring anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test capabilities.
  • The test made India the fourth country in the world after the US, Russia and China to have the ASAT capabilities.
  • After India’s test, NASA termed as a “terrible thing” the country’s shooting down of one of its satellites, saying it created about 400 pieces of orbital debris, endangering the the International Space Station (ISS).
  • Raising the issue, Senator Tim Kaine said India announced last month that it had successfully conducted a test of an anti-satellite weapon.
  • “So, they had something in low earth orbit. They used an anti-satellite weapon to down, and it resulted in - the estimate’s right now 400 pieces of debris, 24 which are large enough to potentially pose a threat to the International Space Station,” he said.
  • “There have been other instances like this. There was a Chinese - a similar effort in 2007 that led to the catalogued 100,000 pieces of debris, many of which are still observing in debris fields that pose danger to other assets in space,” he said.
  • What should the rules environment be, and what should we be doing to try to promote rules? India is an ally. We’re not talking about an adversary doing something. We’re talking about them testing some capacity, but then that creates challenges for all kinds of uses of space. How should we be solving problems like that?” Mr.Kaine asked.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

Scientists develop new genetic conservation method

  • Scientists have been using genetics to study wild animals for several years now. However, a new genetic method developed by a team, including scientists from Bengaluru’s National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), hopes to make studying as well as and conserving wild species quicker, easier and cost-effective by deriving information from animal sources containing extremely low-quality DNA including animal faeces and cooked wild meat.
  • Their method, available for free and described in the study published on April 10 in the international journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution , relies on identifying multiple, short portions of DNA segments in a single experiment (a ‘multiplex PCR’), followed by ‘next-generation sequencing’, in which multiple fragments of DNA can be decoded simultaneously, and several times, in an automated process.
  • The team tested their method on Caribbean queen conches (that are illegally harvested for meat in the Atlantic Ocean) and tigers, two “extremely different species that had strong conservation needs,” to “show how this approach could be used generally,” said co-author Dr. Stephen Palumbi (Stanford University) in a press release.
  • While the method can be implemented in labs with access to more or less basic equipment, following a standard procedure would make it easy to share and compare the data, making monitoring populations across states or even countries easier, said lead author MeghanaNatesh (NCBS and Sastra University) in a press release.

::SPORTS::

Indian women confirms medal in cologne boxing world cup

  • In the ongoing Cologne Boxing world cup in Germany, four Indian women boxers have confirmed 4 medals for the Nation in the tournament.
  • Last night, Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Pinki Rani and reigning youth world champion Sakshi assured India of two medals by entering the semi-finals scheduled later today.
  • The India Open gold medallist Pinki Rani defeated Thailand's PhunsangCahiranchaya 5-0 in the quarter-final bout in 51 kg category.The 18-year-old Sakshi won in contrasting fashion as she faced some stiff resistance from CecilleKelle of Denmark in 57 kg category.
  • The Indian contingent has already been confirmed of at least a silver and a bronze after MeenaKumariMaisnam entered the 54 Kg finals and PwilaoBasumatary reached the 64 Kg semi-finals .

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