Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 12 October 2018


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 12 October 2018


::NATIONAL::

As part of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma; around 900 prisoners freed

  •  More than 900 prisoners were released from prisons across India under an amnesty scheme announced as part of the year-long celebrations to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi beginning October 2, the Home Ministry said on Thursday.
  •  Women convicts aged 55 and above and male convicts of 60 years or more, who have served half of their sentence, and a few other categories of prisoners were eligible for the amnesty scheme announced by the Union Cabinet on July 18.
  •  In the week-long first phase of special remission to prisoners, the States and Union Territories, after obtaining the approval of the competent authority in their jurisdictions, have released more than 900 prisoners, a Home Ministry statement said.
  •  Physically challenged or disabled convicts with 70 per cent disability and more who have completed 50 per cent of their actual sentence period, terminally-ill convicts, convicted prisoners who have completed two-third (66 per cent) of their actual sentence period are also eligible under the scheme.
  •  Special remission scheme is not available to prisoners who have been convicted for an offence for which the sentence awarded is death or where death sentence has been commuted to life imprisonment, and in cases of convicts involved in serious and heinous crimes such as dowry death, rape, human trafficking and convicted under POTA, UAPA, TADA, FICN, POCSO Act, Money Laundering, FEMA, NDPS, Prevention of Corruption Act etc.

Global hunger Index report worries India

  •  At least one in five Indian children under the age of five are wasted, which means they have extremely low weight for their height, reflecting acute under-nutrition, according to the Global Hunger Index 2018. The only country with a higher prevalence of child wasting is the war-torn nation of South Sudan, says the report, which was released on Thursday.
  •  Overall, India has been ranked at 103 out of 119 countries in the Index, with hunger levels in the country categorised as “serious”. India’s ranking has dropped three places from last year, although the Index says its results are not accurately comparable from year to year and instead provides a few reference years for comparable data.
  •  Child wasting is high across South Asia, constituting a “critical public health emergency”, according to UN organisations. The report notes that wasting rates are highest for infants aged 0 to 5 months, suggesting that attention to birth outcomes and breastfeeding is important.
  •  The report notes that in South Asia, “maternal BMI and access to improved water and sanitation are more closely associated with rates of child wasting than household wealth, suggesting that a reduction in poverty alone may not be sufficient to correct the problem…Factors that could reduce child stunting in South Asia include increased consumption of non-staple foods, access to sanitation, women’s education, access to safe water, gender equality, and national food availability.”
  •  Globally, the level of hunger still falls into the “serious” category, despite improvement over the last two decades. The Index projects that at the current rate of progress, 50 countries will fail to reach the “low” hunger category by 2030. This puts the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 2, which aims to end hunger by 2030, in jeopardy, says the report.

::ECONOMY::

FC chairman says special category status not part of its terms of reference

  •  Grant of ‘Special Category Status’ to states is out of purview of the Ṭerms of Reference of Finance Commission, said Chairman of Finance Commission Shri N.K.Singh .
  •  Responding to the questions from the media, he stated that the issue was forcefully raised by the Chief Minister but it would be a transgression of the Presidential Notification by the Commission if it considers the issue of Special Category as it does not figure in its Terms of Reference. Philosophy of Special Category Status never emanated from any Finance Commission but from the resolution of erstwhile National Development Council.
  •  The Commission believes that current initiatives of the state govt are credible, timely and speedy and for a prosperous India, prosperous Andhra Pradesh is must. He lauded the contribution of Andhra Pradesh to the national GDP and said that it will do everything possible in constitutional framework to realise the state’s potential.
  •  On the question of populist schemes, he said that Commission will have to delve deeper into it. There are many schemes which have become popular with significant outcomes, and at the same time, there are many which result in sub-optimal outcomes. On the question of using population census 2011, he said that it has been mentioned in the TOR and Commission will look into the ways of incentivising the states who have done well in controlling their population.
  •  15th Finance Commission which concludes its 4 day visit to Andhra Pradesh on Friday, also sought views of the representatives from various political parties. Meeting with representatives of local bodies and trade and industry will be held tomorrow.

IMF chief warns currency wars detrimental to growth

  •  International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Thursday warned countries of the perils of a trade or a currency war, saying they could be detrimental to global growth and hurt ”innocent bystanders”.
  •  “We certainly hope we don’t move in either direction of a trade war or a currency war. It will be detrimental on both accounts for all participants,” Ms. Lagarde told a news conference during the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Indonesian resort island of Bali.
  •  China and the United States have slapped tit-for-tat tariffs over the past few months, rattling financial markets as investors worried the escalating trade war could knock global trade and investment.
  •  On recent yuan declines, Ms. Lagarde said they were mainly driven by the strength of the dollar, noting that it has not depreciated as much against a basket of currencies.
  •  The yuan currency has faced strong selling pressure this year, losing over 8% between March and August at the height of market worries, though it has since pared losses as authorities stepped up support.
  •  A U.S. Treasury official on Monday repeated that the Trump administration was concerned about the yuans recent weakening as the department prepares a semi-annual report on currency manipulation due out next week.
  •  Ms. Lagarde urged China to follow through on the IMF’s recommendation to continue moving toward a system that allows the yuan to move flexibly.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

::INTERNATIONAL::

Improved connectivity boosts bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh

  •  Bangladesh is sending a strong buyer delegation to India during the upcoming Indus Food-II to be held in January, 2019, in Greater Noida, organized jointly with Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  •  CEO, IBCCI said that trade growth depends on the developmental progress of Bangladesh. He further said that Bangladesh is growing and hence trade is increasing with India and the rest of the world. India being an immediate neighbour with whom Bangladesh not only shares a long border but also culture, traditions and language will be looking towards India to import the items it needs.
  •  Fresh fruits going from India to Bangladesh are: mangoes, grapes, pomegranates and apples. Among other F&B products, there is still great scope for added export of dried, shelled chickpeas, fresh or chilled onions and shallots, food preparations, cumin seeds, fresh grapes, semi-milled or wholly milled rice, black fermented tea and partly fermented tea, turmeric and cane sugar.
  •  Improved connectivity between the two countries will help a lot in developing trade further. Till only a sometime back, maximum trade between India and Bangladesh was routed through ports in Singapore. The traditional river waterways that connected various cities in Bangladesh to India were operational till 1965.
  •  The recent thrust to rebuild those waterways and develop new routes to ease connectivity will not only be in the interest of bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh, but will also help Indian mainland to connect better with its own North Eastern States.

Indians top amongst U.K overstayers

  •  India accounts for the largest number of individuals staying in the U.K. illegally, and the number of those subjected to forced returns to India has fallen by 50% in three years, Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has said.
  •  The problem of “visa overstayers” was highlighted by the department in its submission to a British parliamentary committee’s “Global Britain and India’ inquiry into post-Brexit relations with India.
  •  The focus on overstayers is significant, suggesting that there is little sign of change on an issue that has overshadowed bilateral relationships. Tensions came to a head earlier this year when Britain’s Trade Secretary Liam Fox linked the decision on excluding Indians from a relaxation of student visa requirements to cooperation between the two countries on the return of illegal migrants, including India’s failure to sign an MOU with the U.K. on the issue during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit in April.
  •  Subsequently, Indian High Commissioner Y.K. Sinha questioned Britain’s focus and stance on overstayers. “I am sure there are many [overstayers] but where did this figure of 100,000 come from?” he said in June.
  •  Backing his concerns, the think tank Chatham House, in its submission to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry, pointed to Britain’s visa regime for Indians as one of the key impediments to its relationship and highlighted U.K.’s emphasis on overstayers.
  •  The “Global Britain and India’ inquiry, which is looking at opportunities for cooperation with India beyond Brexit, took written evidence till late September and has been holding evidence sessions this month.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

PM to launch Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

  •  The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today attended, and delivered an address at the event to mark the launch of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  •  He said the components of “Industry 4.0” actually have the ability to transform the present and future of human life. He said the launch of this Centre, the fourth in the world after San Francisco, Tokyo and Beijing, opens the door to immense possibilities in the future.
  •  He said emerging fields, including Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Blockchain, and Big Data, can take India to new heights of development, and improve the quality of life of its citizens. He said that for India, this is not just an industrial transformation, but a social transformation.
  •  He said Industry 4.0 has the strength to drive irreversible positive change in India. He added that it will help bring the required speed and scale to work being done in India.
  •  The Prime Minister mentioned how the Digital India movement has brought data to villages of India. He explained how tele-density, internet coverage, and mobile internet subscriptions have increased in the recent past. He spoke of the rapid growth in number of Common Service Centres in India.
  •  The Prime Minister expressed confidence that India would be able to take advantage of the fourth Industrial Revolution. He added that India would also make an immense contribution to it. He said that Government initiatives including Skill India Mission, Start Up India, and Atal Innovation Mission are preparing our youth for new and emerging technologies.

::SPORTS::

Power bat launched to enhance fan experience

  •  V.V.S. Laxman, Abhinav Mukund, Robin Uthappa and Ian Bishop spoke about the benefits of Power Bat, a tool that provides players, coaches, commentators, fans and viewers a completely new and unique way to engage with cricket and improve their game.
  •  Spektacom Technologies, start-up by former India leg-spinner Anil Kumble, Microsoft Corp and broadcast partner Star India introduced the product at the Star India studio on Thursday.
  •  The Power Bat is powered by the Microsoft Azure cloud platform using AI and Internet of Things (IoT) services.
  •  Power Bat is a unique concept whereby a lightweight, Azure Sphere-powered sticker is stuck on the shoulder of the bat.
  •  As soon as the batsman hits the ball, data on different parameters (speed, twist, and quality of the shot) are captured in a new unit of measurement titled Power Speks.

Click Here for Old Current Affairs Archive

This is a Part of Online Coaching Programme for UPSC Exam

Buy Printed Study Material for UPSC PRELIMS EXAM

Join Test Series for IAS (Pre.) Exam

For Study Materials Call Us at +91 8800734161 (MON-SAT 11AM-7PM)