Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 14 May 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 14 May 2019

::NATIONAL::

VP stress role of social science research in policy formulation

  •  The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has called upon social science researchers to come up with innovative and out-of-box solutions to address various problems confronting the world from eradicating poverty to achieving sustainable development.

  •  Speaking at the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), the Vice President said the objective of every research outcome should be to better the lives of the people. The upliftment of the poor should be the goal of social science research. As such, any research would be incomplete if the researcher failed to spend time in the field and with the people.

  •  Urging social science researchers to find solutions to societal problems, the Vice President he stressed the need for inclusive development, reaching the unreached and funding the unfunded. Achieving sustainable developmental goals, taking care of the health of the population, alleviating poverty, mitigating the urban-rural divide and the challenges faced by the agriculture require a fresh and practical approach, he added.

  •  Stating that tight boundaries between various disciplines have almost disappeared, the Vice President said that today’s researchers cannot confine themselves to compartmentalized silos and must have a basic understanding of other related disciplines. For example, health, education and environment cannot be confined to particular disciplines, he added.

  •  Referring to the emerging areas in bio-technology, genetic engineering, biodiversity, new materials, micro-machines and others, Shri Naidu said social science research should strengthen the data base of policy makers and provide them with evidence-based inputs for policy improvement and implementation.

Supreme Court suspends NGT order on illegal sand mining in Andhra

  •  The Supreme Court has suspended the NGT order directing the Andhra Pradesh government to deposit 100 crore rupees with the Central Pollution Control Board for inaction to prevent illegal sand mining

  •  In the interest of natural justice, the apex court allowed the state government to place its perspective before the National Green Tribunal, NGT with regard to illegal sand mining.

  •  The Andhra Pradesh government has claimed that it was not granted an opportunity to be heard by the green tribunal before the order was passed.

  •  A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta in its recent order said that it is permitting Andhra Pradesh to move an appropriate application before the NGT within two weeks.

  •  On April 4th, the tribunal while asking the state to deposit 100 crore rupees with the CPCB within a month, directed the chief secretary to forthwith prohibit all unregulated sand mining.

::ECONOMY::

WTO ministerial meeting begins in New delhi

  •  Commerce Secretary, Dr.AnupWadhawan, welcomed senior officials of participating delegations from Developing and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) who are meeting in New Delhi over two days to discuss key issues and challenges facing the multi-lateral trading system.

  •  Speaking at the inaugural session, Commerce Secretary said that the existential challenges to the multilateral rules based trading system are manifestina spate of unilateral measures and counter measures, deadlock in key areas of negotiations and the impasse in the Appellate Body.

  •  The logjam in the Appellate Body is a serious threat to the dispute settlement mechanism of the WTO and the implementation function of the Organization. The fundamentals of the system are being tested through a tide of protectionism around the world vitiating the global economic environment. The situation does not bode well for developing countries, including the LDCs.

  •  The harm that the institutional failure due to the collapse of the Appellate Body will cause will be felt more in Developing Countries including LDCs who need the protection of the rules based system more than developed countries. There is an urgent need to engage constructively to preserve the system and come up with constructive solutions to the problem.

  •  India believes that developing countries need to work together to protect their interests in the WTO negotiations through preservation of the core fundamental principles of the WTO. The two-day meet gives an opportunity to the participating countries of developing a shared WTO reform proposal on issues of priority and interest for developing countries. This will help in building a common narrative on issues of importance for Developing Countries including LDCs.

Growth in CPI index quickens in April

  •  Retail inflation quickened to a six-month high of 2.92% in April, driven in large part by accelerating food and fuel inflation, according to official data released on Monday.

  •  Growth in the consumer price index (CPI) quickened in April from 2.86% in March.

  •  Within the index, growth in the food and beverages segment accelerated to 1.38% in April compared with 0.66% in March. Similarly, the fuel and light segment saw inflation quickening to 2.56% from 2.34% over the same period.

  •  “Moreover, food inflation continued to rise with sustained upward momentum in fruits and vegetables. We expect this trend to continue over the summer months.”

  •  Inflation in the pan, tobacco and intoxicants eased to 4.27% in April from 4.61% in March. Similarly, the clothing and footwear segment saw inflation slowing to 2.01% from 2.52% over the same period.

  •  The housing segment saw inflation slowing to 4.76% in April from 4.93% in March.

  •  “Based on this reading and the slowdown visible in industrial production, we maintain our call of another rate cut in the August policy, with the action being dependent on realised outcomes of monsoons and trajectory of oil prices,” Mr. Prasanna added.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

IMF advices Pakistan to stabilise its economic environment

  •  The International Monetary Fund- IMF has warned that Pakistan is facing a challenging economic environment and decisive policies and reforms are needed to stabilise the economy.

  •  IMF reached a deal on Sunday with the cash-strapped government of Prime Minister Imran Khan on a USD 6 billion bailout to ward off a financial crisis.

  •  The funding, which still needs approval from the International Monetary Fund's management, would be provided over three years.

  •  Pakistan is facing an economic crisis with short supplies of foreign currency reserves and stagnating growth. In February, its central bank had the only USD 8 billion left in foreign reserves.

Indian and Iran to discuss issue of U.S sanctions on oil import

  •  Foreign Minister of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif will hold talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi today.

  •  Sources said, the talks will primarily focus on the impact of the US ending waivers on import of Iranian oil and ways to deal with it.

  •  Both the leaders are expected to discuss the latest developments pertaining to the Iran nuclear deal also known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Mr Zarif arrived in New Delhi yesterday on a two-day visit to India.

  •  Speaking to media at the airport, Mr Zarif said, India is one of the most important partners of Iran and both countries have regular consultations on various issues.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

DRDO test fires ABHYAS-high speed expandable target

  •  Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted successful flight test of ABHYAS - High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) from Interim Test Range, Chandipur in Odisha today.

  •  Theflight test was tracked by various RADARS & Electro Optic Systems and proved its performance in fully autonomous way point navigation mode.

  •  The configuration of ABHYAS is designed on an in-line small gas turbine engine and uses indigenously developed MEMS based navigation system for its navigation and guidance.

  •  The performance of the system was as per simulations carried out and demonstrated the capability of ABHYAS to meet the mission requirement for a cost effective HEAT.

::SPORTS::

Jehan Daruvala wins FIA formula 3 championship

  •  Young Indian racer Jehan Daruvala, driving for Prema Racing, won the inaugural round of the FIA Formula 3 Championship, one of the support events to Formula One in Barcelona today.

  •  The all-new FIA F3 Championship was created by merging the erstwhile GP3 Championship and FIA F3 European Championship, resulting in an ultra-competitive 30 car grid.

  •  Jehan is the only Indian to win a Grand Prix when he won the New Zealand Grand Prix and later went on to become the only Indian to win a race in the erstwhile FIA F3 European Championship, which used slower cars.

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