Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 13 December 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 13 December 2019


SC orders enquiry into telangana rape accused encounter case

  • The Supreme Court today appointed a three-member inquiry commission headed by former apex court Judge V S Sirpurkar to inquire into the circumstances leading to the encounter killing of the four accused in the gang-rape and murder of a veterinarian in Telangana.
  • The commission, which also includes former Bombay High Court Judge RekhaSondurBaldota and ex-CBI Director D R Karthikeyan, will submit its report to the Supreme Court in six months.
  • A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde stayed proceedings pending in the Telangana High Court and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in the case and sought an SIT report into the case, saying no other authority shall inquire into the matter pending before the commission of inquiry till further orders.
  • The bench, also comprising Justice S A Nazeer and Justice SanjivKhanna, ordered that security to the three-member commission shall be provided by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
  • The top court said the six-month deadline for submission of the report by the commission shall start from the first day of the hearing and it shall have all the power under the Commission of Inquiry Act for conducting an inquiry into the December 6 encounter deaths.
  • The bench also took into account the submission made by Senior Advocate MukulRohatgi appearing for the Telangana Government that a Special Investigation Team of the state police headed by a police officer of the level of Commissioner of Police was also investigating into the incident and would submit its report. The bench was told that the SIT was inquiring into the cause of death four persons who were accused in the rape and murder of the veterinarian and FIR was lodged against them for attempting to kill police officials who had taken them to the spot where the woman's charred body was found.

Parliamentary panel asks centre to speed up processing of emigration bill

  • A Parliamentary panel asked the government to expedite the finalization of the Emigration Bill and introduce the same in the Parliament at the earliest.
  • The Bill aims to safeguard the rights of Overseas Indians as well as migrants working abroad.
  • The Committee on External Affairs headed by P.P. Chaudhary today tabled its report in Parliament on demand for grants for the year 2019-20.
  • Expressing its concern, Committee observed that despite the repeated recommendations by the Committee, the government has not been able to introduce the Emigration Bill till date.
  • The Bill is vital as Central Government has a limited scope of prosecution with the active support of State Governments against fraud recruiting agents.
  • The Committee further suggested that the Ministry should arrange Shelter Homes for ill-treated Indians till the time arrangements are made for their repatriation back to India.


WTO extends zero tax on e-transmissions

  • Developing countries including India suffered a setback on Tuesday as the World Trade Organization (WTO) decided to extend the practice of not imposing customs duty on electronic transmissions by six months to June 2020.
  • India and South Africa had argued that the ecommerce moratorium led to loss of revenue as it gave such transmissions immunity from taxation in the WTO.\
  • As per an UNCTAD study, India’s potential loss of revenue by not taxing electronic transmissions is around $500 million every year. Of the total $8 billion of potential tax losses projected for 58 developing countries, Mexico, Thailand, Nigeria, India, China and Pakistan face the highest losses, revealed the research paper.
  • The US, Singapore and South Korea have demanded that the temporary moratorium be made permanent amid fears that countries would indiscriminately impose taxes.
  • The moratorium was last extended at the 2017 ministerial conference in Buenos Aires until the next ministerial, which was originally planned for December 2019.

Transport ministry yet to frame guidelines for allocation of projects under BOT

  • The government’s plan to bid out road projects under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) framework is likely to get delayed until next financial year as the roads ministry is yet to firm up the guidelines for allocating the projects.
  • The guidelines are being re-drawn with an aim to make BOT projects more investor-friendly as the government looks to revive private investment in the sector.
  • Road transport and highways minister NitinGadkari had said at the beginning of the financial year that his ministry will look at reviving the BOT mode of project development that has remained subdued for over four years now.
  • In BOT projects, private sector developers build a road using their own funds, operate it and then transfer it to the government after a specified period.
  • The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which initiated the process of making changes to the BOT guidelines, had set a target of awarding 600-700 km of road construction projects on the BOT mode in the current financial year.

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India agrees to help Nepal in reconstruction of damaged heritage sites

  • The government of India has deployed Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) to provide consultancy services for Post-Earthquake reconstruction of 11 Cultural Heritage sites in Nepal.
  • On this occasion, Indian Ambassador Manjeev Singh Puri said Nepal is one of the wonderful places on the earth which has extent civilization going back to thousands of years.
  • He said it is the commitment and partnership of India to join hands with the people and Govt of Nepal to utilize the best possible services in India and internationally for the reconstruction of cultural heritage sites.\
  • Ambassador Puri also said the services of these organizations will be used to ensure that cultural heritage preserved from hundreds of years is available to the future generations.
  • INTACH will provide Design and Project Management Consultancy services for the reconstruction of 11 Cultural Heritage sites in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur and Solukhumbhu districts of Nepal.
  • INTACH will work with Nepal's Department of Archeology to reconstruct/conserve Cultural Heritage sites as per the Government of Nepal’s guidelines.

U.S warns North Korea of consequences of weapons test

  • The United States has warned North Korea of consequences if it goes ahead with its threat of a weapons test in the New Year.
  • At the UN Security Council, US ambassador Kelly Craft voiced concern that North Korea is indicating it would test intercontinental ballistic missiles which are designed to attack the continental United States with nuclear weapons. She said missile and nuclear testing will not bring Pyongyang greater security.
  • Hinting at further sanctions, Craft said if events prove otherwise Security Council must be prepared to act accordingly.
  • Earlier, North Korea vowed an ominous Christmas gift if the US does not come up with concessions by the end of the year.
  • Craft ruled out meeting North Korea's demands for an offer in the year's final weeks, saying the United States and the Security Council have a goal, not a deadline. But she said the United States wanted to work toward a deal and they are prepared to be flexible in how they approach this matter.


BIMSTEC seminar on climate smart farming systems held in New Delhi

  • A three day “International Seminar on Climate Smart Farming systems” is being held in New Delhi. It was inaugurated on December 11, 2019. The seminar is being organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
  • The seminar is attended by all the seven BIMSTEC countries. It includes Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Thailand and Myanmar. The seminar focuses on adopting technological interventions in small holding farming. It will also give attention to targets set by BIMSTEC countries in reducing emissions at those levels to mitigate agricultural situations.
  • The objective of the seminar is to enable improvement of tropical small holder farming system that are resilient to climate change and will provide greater productivity.
  • According to FAO, Climate Smart Agriculture is an approach that reorients agriculture towards food security in a changing climate. FAO also hosts Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture.
  • It aims to improve nutrition, food security and resilience. The alliance has three aspirational outcomes namely improving farmers, building climate resilient farmers and reducing green house gases emitted due to agriculture.


PV Sindhu exits from BWF world tour final

  • Defending Champion PV Sindhu's campaign in the year-ending BWF World Tour Final was all but over after the Indian lost to China's Chen Yufei 22-20, 16-21, 12-21 in Guangzhou, China today.
  • Just like in her campaign opener against Japan's Akane Yamaguchi yesterday, Sindhu squandered a game advantage to lose yet again in a one hour and 12-minute match, virtually bowing out of contention for the knockouts.
  • Trailing 17-20, Sindhu staged a dramatic turnaround to score five straight points and claim the first game.
  • However, the Chinese rallied to win the second game after a strong start. Chen Yufei, who has been in rampaging form this season having won all six of her finals, including the All England Championships, carried the momentum into the decider and left Sindhu stunned with her wide repertoire of shots.

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