Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 12 June 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 12 June 2019


Centre targets clean drinking water by 2024,to cooperate with states

  •  The Centre has set a target of providing clean drinking water to all by 2024. Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat told this to reporters in New Delhi yesterday after holding discussions with officials and Ministers from several states looking after water-related issues.
  •  Mr Shekhawat said, in states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha, the coverage of clean drinking water is less than five per cent.
  •  Given that water is a State subject, it will take the exercise of “cooperative federalism” to achieve the Modi government’s big-ticket agenda of providing piped drinking water to all households by the end of its second term, Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said on Tuesday.
  •  He was speaking to journalists during a conference with State-level ministers and secretaries of water and sanitation departments, where he assured them that the new ‘Nal se Jal’ scheme will be flexible enough to take local issues and concerns into account.
  •  Currently, only 18% of rural households get piped water, and State performances range widely from 99% in Sikkim to less than 5% in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha.

High level review meeting on non communicable diseases held

  •  Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan reviewed the status of National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and strokes (NPCDCS) at a high-level meeting yesterday.
  •  An official release said, during the meeting, Dr Vardhan stressed on the need to expedite and accelerate the Non-Communicable Diseases interventions as the burden of these diseases is rising in the country. He directed the officials to carry out aggressive awareness campaigns for adopting a healthy lifestyle at all levels.
  •  The Health Minister also reviewed the status of umbrella scheme of Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi that includes Health Minister’s Cancer Patient Fund and scheme for financial assistance for poor patients suffering from specified rare diseases.
  •  He asked officials to expedite the process of formulating the National Policy for treatment of Rare Diseases in consultation with all stakeholders.


RBI convenes meeting on ATM pricing,to waive off NEFT/RTGS charges

  •  The Reserve Bank of India has constituted a six-member committee to review the entire gamut of ATM charges and fees. In a press release, the RBI said, Chief Executive of Indian Banks’ Association VG Kannan will chair the committee consisting of senior officers from National Payments Corporation of India, SBI, HDFC Bank, Confederation of ATM Industry and Tata Communications Payment Solutions Limited.
  •  The committee will review existing patterns of costs, charges and interchange fees for ATM transactions. It is to submit its report within two months from the date of its first meeting.
  •  With an aim to encourage digital transfer of funds, the Reserve Bank has waived off all charges for transactions using National Electronic Funds Transfer - NEFT and Real Time Gross Settlement - RTGS systems.
  •  In a press release issued in Mumbai this evening, RBI has advised banks to pass on the benefits to their customers with effect from 1st July, 2019.
  •  While announcing the Second Bi-monthly Monetary Policy last week, RBI has issued a Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies, mentioning that it was planning to waive off these charges.
  •  The Reserve Bank levies minimum charges on banks for transactions routed through its RTGS and NEFT System. RTGS is meant for large-value instantaneous fund transfers while NEFT System is used for fund transfers up to 2 lakh rupees.
  • Centre brings in e-governance initiatives for tribal welfare
  •  Shri Arjun Munda, Union Minister for Tribal Affairs launched the “e-governance initiatives for ST Welfare schemes” at a function organized by Ministry of Tribal Affairs here.
  •  Shri Munda applauded the teamworkefforts of the Ministry of Tribal affairs for these-governance initiatives for Scheduled Tribes Welfare schemes and said that as per the “SabkaSaath, SabkaVikas and SabkaVishwas”, these e-governance initiatives will serve their purpose of the betterment of tribal communities across the nation.
  •  He called upon the officials of Ministry of Tribal Affairs to prepare a Databank of the previous beneficiaries of the schemes of the ministry on a priority basis. He emphasized that the officials of the ministry have to achieve the target of completion of its tasks before time.
  •  Ministry has further developed module for verification of students by Universities and Colleges under Fellowship scheme and Grievance Module for all stake holders including beneficiary students in 03 Central Sector schemes and Institutions.
  •  The NGO portal, developed for implementing scheme of Aid to Voluntary Organizations working for the welfare of STs, has been fully revamped & redesigned with simplified Application form, Inspection Report and Fund Processing module. The portal has been re-opened on today for FY 2019-20 for NGOs and States for online application.

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Australian envoy embraces ‘Quad’ to solve regional issues

  •  There is need for flexibility, agility and speed in solving regional problems and the Quad is “one of many such small groupings” in solving them, asserted Harinder Sidhu, Australia’s High Commissioner in India. Ms. Sidhu also identified strengthening of the economic order in the Indo-Pacific as a focus area for future cooperation.
  •  The quadrilateral grouping comprising India, Australia, Japan and the U.S. was revived in 2017 but the grouping has so far shied away from adding a military aspect to it. The latest meeting was held last month in Bangkok.
  •  On trade and investment in the region, Ms. Sidhu stressed the importance of concluding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) between ASEAN and six Asia-Pacific countries.
  •  A successful conclusion to negotiations on RCEP would help shape the “regional rules and norms governing trade, investment and the broader economy,” she said, adding “very importantly, it deals India into regional economic integration.”
  •  While India has not responded positively to Australia’s request to join the Malabar exercises, the two countries have expanded bilateral military cooperation over the last few years.
  •  The latest edition of the bilateral naval exercise AUSINDEX in April saw the largest deployment of Australian military assets to India in peacetime, Ms. Sidhu noted. There had been a fourfold increase in defence engagement from 2014.

Pakistan assures support for stable Afghanistan

  •  Pakistan has assured support for a stable and peaceful Afghanistan at the first Review session of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) held in Islamabad yesterday.
  •  Pakistan Foreign office said, delegations from the two nations held the first review session of a bilateral engagement framework to improve cooperation in different fields.
  •  Pakistan Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Idrees Zaman led their respective multi-agency delegations in the meeting. It was agreed that the APAPPS was the best forum to overcome common challenges and to take bilateral relations to the next level and it was emphasized to optimally utilise this mechanism.
  •  The APAPPS was established last year to provide a comprehensive and structured framework for institutional engagement in diverse areas of bilateral cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan.


Cabinet committee on security to set up DSRO

  •  To enhance the capabilities of the armed forces to fight wars in space, the government has approved the setting up of a new agency which will develop sophisticated weapon systems and technologies.
  •  The decision was taken at the topmost level some time ago and the agency has started taking shape under a Joint Secretary-level scientist.
  •  The agency would be provided with a team of scientists which would be working in close coordination with the tri-services integrated Defence staff officers.
  •  It would be providing the research and development support to the Defence Space Agency (DSA) which comprises members of the three services. The DSA has been created “to help the country fight wars in the space”.
  •  In March, India had carried out the Anti Satellite Test (ASAT) which demonstrated its capability to shoot down satellites and joined an elite club of four nations with similar capability. The test also helped the country develop deterrence capability against adversaries who may want to attack Indian satellites to cripple systems in times of war.
  •  The Defence Space Agency is being set up in Bengaluru under an Air Vice Marshal-rank officer and will gradually take over the space-related capabilities of the three forces.


US claims biggest win in women’s FIFA world cup

  •  In Football, the United States recorded the biggest-ever victory in the Fifa Women's World Cup last night when they crushed Thailand, 13-nil in a Group-F match at Reims in France. Alex Morgan scored five times for the three-time winners and defending champions.
  •  Rose Lavelle and Samantha Mewis netted two goals each. Lindsey Horan, Megan Rapinoe, Mallory Pugh and Carli Lloyd were also on the score sheet as the US broke Germany's record of an 11-nil win over Argentina in 2007.
  •  The US has lost just one international game since July 2017 and has now won seven games in a row. They have scored 36 goals in the process and have not conceded in five matches.


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