Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 14 June 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 14 June 2019


PM to chair NITI Aayog governing council meeting

  • Prime Minister NarendraModi will chair the fifth Governing Council Meeting of NITI Aayog on 15th of this month at RashtrapatiBhawan.

  • An official release said, the meeting will be attended by Defence Minister, Home Minister, Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister, Agriculture Minister, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister as ex-officio members.

  • The agenda before the Meeting include rain-water harvesting, drought situation and relief measures, aspirational districts programme, transforming agriculture, and security-related issues with a specific focus on Left Wing Extremism districts.

  • The Governing Council reviews the action taken on the agenda items of the previous meeting and deliberates upon the future developmental priorities. So far, four meetings of the Governing Council have been held under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister with the Chief Ministers and Lt. Governors of the states and union territories and other members of NITI Aayog.

  • The first meeting was held on 8 February, 2015, at which the Prime Minister laid down the key mandates of NITI Aayog such as fostering cooperative federalism and addressing national issues through active participation of the states.

HRD ministry moots creation of Sanskrit villages

  • Human Resources Development Minister Ramesh PokhriyalNishank has stressed on creation of at least two Sanskrit speaking villages near the Sanskrit Institutions in the country.

  • He said, more highly qualified Sanskrit teachers, professors should be engaged to give new dimensions to the language both at National and International level to promote the Sanskrit language.

  • Chairing meeting with heads of Central Language Institutions under his Ministry in New Delhi yesterday, he said the focus of his ministry is to promote all Indian languages for which all vacancies need to be filled. The Minister directed the officials of the Ministry to meet the heads of these institutions on a regular basis.

  • The Minister urged to discover innovative ways to promote these languages. He added there is a strong need to do research in Indian languages. The Minister added that the literature in each Indian language must be translated into other languages so that all can avail the best of literature.


SEBI directs credit agencies to disclose probability of default

  • Credit rating agencies will now have to disclose the probability of default for the instruments they rate and also clearly state the sensitive factors that could impact the credit worthiness of the entity.

  • Further, rating agencies will have to adopt a standardised terminology to disclose liquidity indicators like liquid investments, access to credit and cash flows among other factors while rating an instrument.

  • These are part of the enhanced disclosure guidelines introduced by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for credit rating agencies (CRA).

  • This assumes significance as the current calendar year has seen a record number of downgrades amidst a fall in the corresponding number of upgrades when compared to the previous calendar year.

  • Further, such uniform and standardised PD benchmarks will have to be disclosed on the website of each CRA on a consolidated basis for all financial instruments rated by a CRA by December 31.

Government reduces ESI contribution by employees &employers

  • The government has reduced the rate of the contribution made by employees and employers under the Employees' State Insurance (ESI) Act from 6.5 per cent to 4 per cent.

  • In a release, the Ministry of Labour and Employment said, the government has taken a historic decision to reduce the rate of contribution under the ESI act. The new rate will be effective from the 1st of next month. It will benefit 3.6 crore employees and 12.85 lakh, employers.

  • The ministry said, the reduced rate of contribution will bring about a substantial relief to workers and it will facilitate further enrollment of workers under the ESI scheme and bring more and more workforce into the formal sector.

  • It said, similarly, reduction in the share of contribution of employers will reduce the financial liability of the establishments leading to improved viability of these establishments. It will also lead to enhanced Ease of Doing Business, the statement added.

  • The ESI Act provides for medical, cash, maternity, disability and dependent benefits to the Insured Persons under the Act. Benefits provided under the ESI Act are funded by the contributions made by the employers and the employees.

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U.S open to talks with India on GSP

  • U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo hinted that it was possible to reinstate the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), a program for preferential access to certain goods markets in the U.S., for India.

  • The administration official is expected to discuss the issue as well as 5G network technology and data localization while in New Delhi later this month on a visit.

  • In addition to the GSP, data localisation regulations and proposed policies have been a source of friction between the two countries.

  • In a speech that went to some lengths to stress that Washington understood India’s post-Independence economic history and current geopolitical realities, Mr Pompeo touched on a common theme — a India-U.S. partnership based on values.

  • “We get it. We realise it’s different to deal with the likes of China and Pakistan from across the ocean than it is when they are on your borders. That's why in this room and not so many months ago, I elaborated on President Trump's vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Mr.Pompeo said.

GCC and UAE condemns terror attack at Saudi airport

  • The UAE and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have condemned the terrorist attack targeting Saudi Arabia’s Abha International Airport, allegedly by the Houthi rebels which have resulted in the injury of many civilians.

  • In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) said the UAE strongly condemned this terrorist act which utilised military projectile capabilities and deemed it as new evidence of the Houthi's hostile and terrorist tendencies that seek to undermine security and stability in the region.

  • The security of the UAE and of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is indivisible, it noted and added that any threat or danger to the Kingdom's security is considered a threat to UAE's security and stability.

  • The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has also deplored the launch of Yemen's Houthi militias of a missile at Saudi Arabia's Abha airport that wounded 26 civilians.

  • In a press statement, GCC, Secretary General Abdulatif Al-Zayani described this act as a terrorist crime, which runs counter to the international humanitarian law. He denounced the targeting of the populated areas and civilian facilities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

  • The GCC chief also urged the UN Security Council to put an end to continued attacks carried out by the Houthi militias on Saudi Arabia, saying this is a clear threat to regional security and peace.


ISRO to launch India’s own space station soon

  • India is planning to launch its own space station. Addressing a press conference in New Delhi today, ISRO chief K Sivan said, the ambitious project which will enable the agency to send more humans to space when executed.

  • He said, India will not join the International Space Station. Mr Sivan said, the mission will also be an extension of the Gaganyaan project implying that there will be several phases to the human space mission project.

  • Currently, there is only one fully functioning space station in Earth's lower orbit, the International Space Station and astronauts conduct different experiments in it.

  • Union Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today said, Chandrayaan-2 will be launched on 15th of July. He said, it will land in September and will carry a rover. It will be an extension of Chandrayaan-1.

  • Chandrayaan-2 will contain three components, Orbiter, Lander and Rover and the total composite module will weight 3.8 tonnes. Dr Singh lauded the commitment and hard work of scientific community and highlighted the benefits of usage of space technology in improving the lives of common people.


Malaysian star badminton player Lee chongwei retires

  • Cancer-hit Malaysian Badminton star Lee Chong Wei announced his retirement today, ending a career in which he bagged a swathe of honours but could not win a World or Olympic title.

  • Lee, who spent a total of 348 weeks as world number one but lost six worlds and Olympic Finals, called it quits at a news conference at Putrajaya in Malaysia. The teary-eyed 36-year old thank all Malaysians for the past 19 years.

  • Lee was diagnosed with early-stage nose cancer last year and after intensive treatment in Taiwan, said he was keen to play again. But, he hasn't trained since April and after missing a series of self-made deadlines to return, his hopes of being eligible for next year's Tokyo Olympics were remote.

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