Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 12 August 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 12 August 2019


CEC sees model code of conduct as biggest achievement of Indian political system

  • Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora has described the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), which comes into effect after the announcement of the election schedule, as the biggest achievement of Indian political system.

  • Addressing the annual business conclave of IIM-Calcutta yesterday, Mr Arora said, it was a voluntary code agreed upon by the political parties and Election Commission (EC) over the years.

  • Model code spells out the do's and don'ts during elections. Political parties, candidates and polling agents are expected to abide by the norms immediately after the announcement of election dates till the conclusion of the entire poll process to ensure free and fair polls.

  • To a question by one of the students on the power of social media in influencing poll matters, he said it has a vital role to play in the elections.

  • The Chief Election Commissioner also stated that the new cVIGIL app of the EC has empowered citizens in a big way. He said, senior EC officials have told him that 22 countries have recently evinced interest in the cVIGIL app.

PM assures investment led growth in next 5 years

  • Prime Minister NarendraModi has said, vision of the NDA government for the next five years is to have investment led growth targeting 100 lakh crore rupees worth of investment.

  • In an exclusive interview to an English daily Mr.Modi said, the government is working on policies to promote inflows from domestic as well foreign sources to achieve this vision.

  • Prime Minister asserted that the government will leave no stone unturned to make India a better business destination. Mr.Modisaid, the private sector must continue to believe in the India story and assured that he will do his best to make India a better place to do business.

  • He said, the Centre is working towards long term growth and not the kind which happened between 2008 and 2014.


Automobile manufacturers demand immediate cut in GST rates

  • The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on Friday said that all vehicle makers were unanimous in their demand for immediate reduction in GST on the sector to 18% from the current 28%.

  • “This was also reiterated at a recent meeting with the Finance Minister, where all OEMs representing passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles and two wheelers had actively participated,” SIAM president RajanWadhera said in a statement.

  • The statement follows reports that Rajiv Bajaj, MD of Bajaj Auto, had called for reduction in GST on automobiles closer to the roll-out of BS-VI norms in April 2020. He had reasoned that the move would help bring down vehicle prices, which would become costlier with BS-VI.

  • This is in contrast to the industry demand for an ‘immediate reduction’ to kick-start sales ahead of the festive season. SIAM added that PawanMunjal, chairman, Hero MotoCorp, had emphasised on immediate GST reduction at the meeting with the Minister. “Any other differing view on this are purely personal views,” it said. launch app for the aid of farmers

  • A laser-guided land leveller harnesses technology to accurately flatten a field in a fraction of the time used by a traditional oxen-powered scraper.

  • The result? Farmers save precious groundwater and increase productivity by 10 to 15%. The hitch? Such hi-tech levellers cost at least Rs. 3 lakh, way beyond the reach of the average small farmer. But a new app, that’s being described as “Uber for tractors” offers a solution.

  • The CHC app is already open for registrations by the farmers, societies and entrepreneurs who run these centres. So far, almost 26,800 CHCs have registered to offer more than one lakh pieces of equipment for hire.

  • Feedback from both the CHC and the farmers contributes to a rating system, allowing customers to make informed decisions.

  • The Ministry's app will also create an invaluable database for policymakers, who can track the use and cost of equipment.“We have already done very successful demo runs in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab,” said the official.

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Indian external affairs minister visits Beijing,discuss Kashmir issue

  • Indian external affairs minister S. Jaishankar arrived in Beijing on Sunday amid efforts by Pakistan to internationalize the Kashmir issue that has made it a tightrope walk for both India and China as they seek to consolidate ties after a summit meeting between Indian and Chinese leaders last year.

  • Jaishankar’s visit to Beijing is to prepare the ground for a visit to India in October by Chinese president Xi Jinping to carry forward the dialogue begun in Wuhan last year when the two sides stabilized their relationship after a 73-day military standoff in Bhutan’s Doklam region.

  • Jaishankar will co-chair the second meeting of the India-China High Level Mechanism (HLM) on cultural and people-to-people exchanges on Monday with Chinese foreign minister and state councillor Wang Yi.

  • With Pakistan stating that it will move a motion at the UN Security Council to condemn India for its decision to strip the Kashmir region of special status, with China’s support, one of Jaishankar’s aims will be to set the record straight on the Indian moves.

  • India as part of its efforts to keep all five of the permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) up to date with the events. In Beijing, Jaishankar is expected to discuss the matter further with Wang.

South Korea – Japan relation worsens further

  • South Korea has decided to remove Japan from a list of nations receiving preferential treatment in trade in what was seen as a retaliatory move to Tokyo’s recent decision to downgrade Seoul’s trade status.

  • South Korean Trade Minister Sung Yun-mo said on August 12 that the government was removing Japan from the country’s 29-country “white list” because it has failed to uphold international principles while managing its export controls on sensitive materials.

  • South Korean officials did not specify what they saw as Japan’s problems in export controls. They said they would work to minimize negative impact on South Korean exporters and bilateral trade.Mr. Sung said the changes are expected to enter effect sometime in September.


Researchers map soil worms across the globe

  • Grab a pinch of soil and you can find over a hundred soil worms or nematodes, says the first global analysis of nematodes. Nematodes are roundworms and their size can vary from a tiny 0.2 millimetre to a few metres.

  • A team of over 50 researchers collected over 6,500 soil samples from all seven continents of the world and found that there are about 57 billion nematodes for every human being on Earth.

  • The study was done only on the top 15 cm of soil. Their total biomass comes to around 300 million tonnes which is about 80% of the combined weight of Earth’s humans.

  • The most interesting finding of the study is this — at 38% of the total, sub-Arctic regions have the highest abundance of nematodes. The temperate region has the next highest abundance followed by the tropical regions.

  • Soils from Western and Eastern Ghats of India and the Himalayas were used for the study. “These nematodes play a crucial role in the environment as they are responsible for production of about 19% of ammonia of the soil. They are also important bioindicators of soil ecosystem health,” says Prof. Ahmad.


Sourabhverma wins Hyderabad open title

  • In Badminton, reigning national champion, SourabhVerma clinched the Men's Singles title in the Hyderabad Open today. He beat Singapore's Loh Kean Yew 21-13, 14-21, 21-16 in a 52-minute final clash.

  • The 26-year-old Sourabh from Madhya Pradesh had won the Slovenian International in May this year. He had also won two Super 100 titles at the Dutch Open and Russian Open last year

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