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
- 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
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,
- 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.
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
- 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
- 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.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
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
- 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
- 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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