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
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
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
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
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
“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
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.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
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-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
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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