Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 13 June 2019
Centre approves Aadhaar amendment bill
- Union Cabinet has approved the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment)
Bill 2019 to replace Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2019.
- This will enable UIDAI to have a more robust mechanism to serve
the public interest and restrain the misuse of Aadhar. After the amendment,
no individual will be compelled to provide proof of possession of Aadhaar
number or undergo authentication for the purpose of establishing his
identity unless it is so provided by a law made by Parliament.
- For the convenience of the general public in the opening of bank
accounts, the proposed amendments will allow the use of Aadhaar number for
authentication on a voluntary basis as an acceptable KYC document. The Bill
will be introduced in the ensuing session of Parliament.
- Giving a major push to reforms in the education sector, Cabinet
has approved the introduction of Central Educational Institutions
(Reservation in Teachers' Cadre) Bill 2019.
- Briefing media in New Delhi last evening, Information and
Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said it will allow filling up of
more than 7,000 existing vacancies by direct recruitment in Teachers' cadre.
- The amendment will also ensure providing 10 per cent reservation
to Economically weaker section. The move is expected to improve the teaching
standards in the higher educational institutions by attracting all eligible
talented candidates belonging to SCs, STs, Socially and Educationally
Backward Classes and economically weaker section.
NIRDPR launches training programmes for sustainable development
- The Hyderabad based National Institute of Rural Development and
Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) has launched a training programme of Sustainable
Livelihoods and Adaptation to Climate Change (SLACC) to help Rural Poor Farm
Holds adapt to Climate Change and sustain their livelihoods.
- The impact of Climate Change on farmers, especially small and
marginal ones is high in any part of the country. If the affected areas are
flood-prone and drought-prone, the impact is enormous.
- The National Institute has taken up training the first batch
Climate-Smart Community Resource Persons so that they help the community at
the grassroots level to combat the impact of climate change.
- The Course Coordinator and Head of the Centre for Climate Change
and Disaster Mitigation, Dr. Ravindra S. Gavali says the training will help
improve the adaptive capacity of the community especially the poor engaged
in farm-based livelihoods to cope with climate change.
- Total 638 drought and flood-prone villages of Madhya Pradesh and
Bihar are being covered on pilot basis under this first of its kind
Industry output rebounds to six month high
- Industrial activity rebounded in April 2019 to grow to a six-month
high of 3.4%, driven by a turnaround across all the sectors measured,
according to official data released on Wednesday.
- Separate data release showed retail inflation in May 2019
accelerated marginally to 3.05% driven by a slight rise in food price
- Growth in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) returned to
positive territory in April following a contraction of 0.1% in March. Within
the index, growth in the manufacturing sector stood at 2.8% in April
compared with a contraction of 0.4% in the previous month. Mining sector saw
growth accelerating to 5.1% from 0.8% over the same period.
- Retail inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI)
quickened to a seven-month high of 3.05% in May 2019, up marginally from the
2.99% registered in the previous month.
- Within the index, inflation in the ‘food and beverages’ segment
accelerated to 2.03% from 1.38% over the same period. The fuel and light
segment, however, saw inflation easing somewhat to 2.48% in May from 2.56%
in the previous month. ‘Pan, tobacco, and other intoxicants’ and the
‘clothing and footwear’ segments, saw inflation easing marginally in May.
Downgrading of debt instruments on a high
- The recent downgrades of debt papers of well-known conglomerates
are not isolated instances as the current year has seen a record in terms of
the number of such downgrades of debt instruments.
- Data from Prime Database shows there have already been 163
instances of such downgrades in the current year till date, which is more
than twice compared to last year when 61 instances of downgrades were
- Some of the well known corporates whose debt papers have been
downgraded in 2019 by rating agencies include Yes Bank, Wockhardt, Diligent
Media Corp, Eveready Industries, Jet Airways and Peninsula Land apart from
the prominent ones like Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group entities, Essel Group
and the most recent instance of Dewan Housing Finance.
- This year, there have been 87 instances of rating upgrade, lower
than last year when over 100 debt securities saw an upgrade. “There has been
a large number of downgrades in the recent months,” said R. Sivakumar, head,
fixed income, Axis Mutual Fund.
- “Till a few months back the spread between a AA and AAA rated
instrument had dipped to 50 basis points, which was quite lower than the
historical average. While currently it is around 150 basis points, the
challenge is downgrades have increased thereby pushing up the risk curve,”
said Mr. Sivakumar.
North Korea demands end of U.S hostility within a year
- North Korea today called on the US to roll back it's, what
Pyongyang called hostile policy. The development comes a day before the
first anniversary of a summit between its North Korean leader Kim Jong-un
and US President Donald Trump.
- North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the joint
statement from the Singapore meeting of what the country termed of great
historical significance is now on the verge of turning into a dead document
as the US shuns its implementation. It termed the policy as arrogant and
unilateral adding that the US would never work with North Korea.
- The first-ever meeting between a North Korean leader and a sitting
US President took place in June last year in Singapore, where Mr Kim and Mr
Trump signed a deal to achieve complete denuclearisation.
- But a second meeting in Vietnam in February ended abruptly as the
two failed to agree on what the North would be willing to give up in
exchange for sanctions relief.
Abudhabi prince discusses issues with Russia
- Amidst simmering tension in the Arab region , the Russian
President Vladimir Putin today called Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan,
Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed
- Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in a tweet said that he had
received a phone call from the Russian President. He said, they discussed
cooperation and key regional and international issues of mutual interest as
well as recent regional developments.
- The Emirates News Agency reported that the two leaders reviewed
the latest regional and international developments, with special emphasis on
the current situation in the Gulf region as well as other issues of common
- UAE , Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Norway in a briefing to the UN
Security Council last week had said that the sabotage attack behind the four
oil tankers off the Fujairah coast is most likely a handiwork of a state
actor, pointing fingers at Iran , without naming the country.
- The US has accused Iran of being behind the attacks but Tehran
denies this and has called for an investigation.
- Earlier , the decision of Iran to partially withdraw from the
nuclear deal last month in retaliation to the sanctions imposed by the US
has led to the military escalation in the region riding on the fear of
Tehran’s nuclear ambition.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
DRDO tests hypersonic technology demonstrator vehicle
- The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on
Wednesday conducted the maiden test of an indigenously developed Hypersonic
Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) along with several technologies on
- The missile was successfully launched at 1127 hours and it was
tracked by various radars, telemetry stations and electro optical tracking
sensors through its course, the MoD added.
- The test was undertaken to validate several technologies including
the HSTDV, a Defence source said. “Some technologies have been validated
while some remained inconclusive of which the data is being analysed,” the
- In the test, a missile with the technology demonstrator vehicle
mounted on it is launched and the vehicle is released only after the missile
reaches a certain altitude and velocity, one official explained.
- Former DRDO Chief V.K. Saraswat had said in 2008, as the Chief
Controller, R and D (Missiles and Strategic Systems), that through the HSTDV
project the idea was to demonstrate the “performance of a scram-jet engine
at an altitude of 15 km to 20 km, is on”.
Rishabh Pant replaces injured Dhawan in world cup squad
- Young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant today brought in as cover
for the injured Shikhar Dhawan in India's World Cup squad.
- Pant's omission from the original squad became a topic of heated
debates given his stupendous form in the past one year. Source said, he
won't be considered a replacement till the time the team management takes a
final call on Dhawan's availability for the rest of the tournament.
- The 21-year-old is one of the most exciting players to have
emerged in Indian cricket. Pant impressed with Test hundreds during the
tours of England and Australia earlier and was in fine form during the IPL