Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 14 September 2018

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 14 September 2018


Centre confirms no move to cut army strength

  • The government on Wednesday accused the Congress of rumour-mongering and denied that there was any move to reduce the strength of armed forces, as reported by some media houses.
  • “No proposal for reducing the strength of the defence forces, as alleged by the Congress, is under the government’s consideration. Unlike its predecessor, this government has taken specific and decisive steps to translate into action its commitment to ensuring the country’s defence and security.
  • The government also attaches the highest priority to modernise our armed forces and ensuring their preparedness in accordance with the emerging challenges, and strategic and technological imperatives,” said authoritative sources in the government.
  • Government sources also said that the frequent assertion by the Opposition that Prime Minister NarendraModi had spent money on filming a fitness video was a lie. “The matter had already been clarified: no expenditure was incurred on the fitness video posted by the Prime Minister, it was filmed in house and no procurement was done for the video,” said sources.
  • “Similarly, information on the Prime Minister’s visits abroad has been shared with Parliament. The expenditure on them is significantly lower than the arbitrary figure sought to be pushed by the Congress in its effort to spread lies and create confusion,” added sources, also demanding that the Congress “refrain from misusing mass media for rumour-mongering and abusing democracy.”

Justice RanjanGogoi to be the next CJI

  • The President has appointed Justice RanjanGogoi as the 46th Chief Justice of India.JusticeGogoi will assume office from October 3. He is the first Chief Justice of India from Assam.
  • The warrant of appointment comes in less than 10 days after incumbent Chief Justice DipakMisra recommended Justice RanjanGogoi his successor. The Press Information Bureau released a statement about the appointment.JusticeGogoi would have a tenure as Chief Justice of India of about 13 months till his retirement on November 17, 2019.
  • Justice Gogoi was one of the four senior most Supreme Court judges who held the January 12 press conference bringing up the issue of selective assignment of sensitive cases by recent CJIs to certain judges in the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Misra subsequently published a subject-wise roster of cases assigned to judges in the Supreme Court. In various judgments, one of them by a Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Misra himself, the Supreme Court went on to declare the CJI as the 'master of roster'.
  • Among the important cases heard by a Bench led by Justice Gogoi are the appeals filed by the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convicts for remission of their life sentences. Justice Gogoi has played a vital role in upgrading the Supreme Court creche within the court complex.

Election commission conducts sign language training sessions

  • Election Commission of India, in its commitment towards Accessible Elections, organisedSign Language Training Session for officials of the Commission in collaboration with ISLRTC (Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre) at ECI Headquarters in New Delhi.
  • The training was conducted by experts from ISLRTC (Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre)wherein the officers were acquainted with basic as well as election related sign languages symbols such as Election, Identity Card, Address and Polling Booth etc. Besides, information related to basic etiquette while conversing with persons with disabilities was also shared with the Officials of the Commission and they were sensitised regarding the needs of Deaf persons.
  • The session saw enthusiastic participation of the officials. A sensitisation activity was conducted through a live demonstration of a mock poll to understand the frequently asked questions/ issues of the deaf voters.
  • The aim of the workshop was to sensitise election officials to the needs of persons with disabilitiesso as to be better able to respond to their needs & facilitate them during the election process.
  • In July 2018, Election Commission of India had organised a two day National Consultation on Accessible Elections in New Delhi where the Commission declared a series of facilitation measures for Persons with Disabilities, including training and sensitisation ofElection Officials.

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National scholarship portal mobile app launched

  • Union Minister for Minority Affairs ShriMukhtar Abbas Naqvi launched the country's first "National Scholarship Portal Mobile App" (NSP Mobile App) here today.
  • Speaking on the occasion, ShriNaqvi said that this "National Scholarship Portal Mobile App" will ensure a smooth, accessible and hassle-free scholarship system for students from poor and weaker sections. He said that all the scholarships are being given directly into bank accounts of the needy students under Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mode through the National Scholarship Portal which has ensured that there is no scope for duplication and leakage.
  • ShriNaqvi said that the "National Scholarship Portal Mobile App" will prove beneficial for students, and will help in strengthening a transparent mechanism for the scholarships.
  • The mobile app will be beneficial for the students in many ways: students will get all the information regarding various scholarships on this mobile app; they will be able to apply for scholarships sitting in their home; students can upload necessary documents on this mobile app; students can check the status of their application, scholarship disbursement etc. Students from far-flung/hilly areas/North East will be the most benefitted.
  • The Minister said that during the last about 4 years, the Modi Government’s “Empowerment without Appeasement” policy has ensured that record about 3 crore students belonging to poor and weaker sections of Minorities have been benefitted from various scholarship programmes.

Centre launches dairy processing & infrastructure development fund

  • Vast opportunities exist today for dairy entrepreneurs and in order to concretize these opportunities and help double the income of dairy farmers, Rs 51,077 crore is needed to operationalize the National Action Plan (Vision-2024), Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare ShriRadha Mohan Singh said at the inauguration ceremony of Dairy Processing & Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF) in New Delhi today.
  • The Union Agriculture Minister said that with this scheme, 95,00,000 farmers in about 50,000 villages will be benefitted. In addition to this, many skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers will get employment, directly and indirectly. Additional milk processing capacity of 126 lakh litre per day, milk drying capacity of 210 MT per day, milk chilling capacity of 140 lakh litre per day shall be created.
  • Shri Singh informed that implementation of the World Bank-funded National Dairy Plan Phase-I scheme is also being done by the NDDB through the state government’s cooperative milk organizations/milk federations.
  • The government is now implementing this scheme in 18 states from the earlier 14 states. On the other hand, the implementation of the National Programme for Dairy Development (NPDD) is being done by the state's cooperative/milk federations.
  • Union Agriculture Minister further said that in order to increase production, under the RashtriyaGokul Mission, 10 semen centers have been identified for the production of Sex Sorted Semen for the production of more female animals. Also, 20 Embryo Transfer Technology (ETT) centers are being set up for the production of high genetic merit bulls of indigenous bovine breeds. Besides, INDUSCHIP has been developed for genomic selection of indigenous breeds and 6000 dairy animals have been genetically evaluated using INDUSCHIP.


Sweden votes for hung assembly

  • Sweden faced political deadlock on Monday after the far-right made gains in legislative elections that left the question of who will form the next government up in the air.As expected, neither Social Democratic Prime Minister Stefan Lofven’s centre-left bloc nor the centre-right Opposition garnered a majority.
  • The far-right Sweden Democrats, with roots in the neo-Nazi movement, solidified their position as third-biggest party, though they have yet to shake their outcast status.
  • “However the dramatic bloc battle plays out, it looks like it will be difficult for Sweden to have a functioning government,” paper of reference DagensNyheterpredicted.Mr. Lofven met Monday with his party leadership to map out his road ahead.
  • Mr.Lofven is seeking a new four-year mandate but he will have difficulty setting up a stable government. He, like all of the other parties, has ruled out any cooperation with the far-right. He could try to build a similar government to 2014: a minority coalition with the Greens that relies on informal support in parliament from the ex-communist Left Party. But it would then be under constant threat from the Sweden Democrats, out to topple it at the first opportunity.

Indian NSA to meet U.S officals& secretary of state

  • A week after the successful 2+2 Dialogue in New Delhi, India’s National Security Advisor AjitDoval is in Washington to hold meetings with top officials of the Trump Administration.
  • Mr.Doval, who is held in high esteem by the Trump Administration, is scheduled to meet the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department on Friday.
  • “India is a very close friend of the United States,” the State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters at her daily news conference. She had accompanied Pompeo to New Delhi last week for the two-plus-two Dialogue.
  • “We have among the strongest people-to-people ties. I think there are more than three million Indian Americans living here in the United States, so that was certainly part of the meetings and the conversations, she said in response to a question.
  • During the meetings discussions are likely to be primarily focused on bilateral and security in the Af-Pak region in particular those related to counter-terrorism. It is understood that the visit is likely to lay the ground work of the potential visit of the US President Donald Trump to India.
  • Responding to a question on Pompeo’s trip to Pakistan, the spokesperson said the Secretary of State had some meaningful and important meetings with the new government.Looking forward to forging a relationship with that new government, recognizing that there are, of course, some tensions and some areas where the government can work harder.

Space X announces next mission,this time towards the moon

  • SpaceX on Thursday announced a new plan to launch a tourist around the Moon using its Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), a massive launch vehicle that is being designed to carry people into deep space.
  • “SpaceX has signed the world’s first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard our BFR launch vehicle -- an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of travelling to space,” the company said on Twitter.SpaceX gave no further details, but said more information would follow on Monday.
  • This is not the first time the California-based company, headed by Internet entrepreneur and Tesla electric car CEO Elon Musk, has touted plans to send tourists around the Moon.
  • US President Donald Trump has championed plans to put boots on the Moon again, as NASA works on building a lunar gateway that would serve as a launching point for missions heading even further into deep space, such as asteroids or Mars.
  • SpaceX is a key commercial partner to NASA, and is working on a crew ship that will make its first flight to the orbiting International Space Station next year, restoring access to space from US soil for the first time since 2011, when the space shuttle program was retired after 30 years.


India’s women cricket team clinches series win

  • The Indian women’s cricket team Thursday held its nerves in pressure situations to beat Sri Lanka by seven runs in the second ODI, taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
  • India also earned two additional points as the match is a part of the ICC Women’s Championship.
  • Batting first, India were all out for 219 in 50 overs on a slow track where young wicketkeeper Tanya Bhatia’s 68 off 66 balls turned out to be a match-winning knock.

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