Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 15 June 2019
Vice president urges use of technology to improve governance
The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has
called for adopting digital technology to improve governance and timely
delivery of services to citizens.
Speaking at the inaugural edition of DigiTech Conclave 2019 of
The Times Group after launching ET Government portal, in New Delhi,the Vice
President said that technology has been a game changer and was progressively
helping in eliminating corruption, ensuring transparency and improving the
delivery of services in several areas like healthcare, land registrations,
transport, tax collection and urban planning.
Citing an instance, Shri Naidu said that adopting digital
technology helped the elimination of bogus ration cards and resulted in a saving
of Rs.6,000 crore in one State. He expressed confidence that ET Government
Portal would go a long way in spreading awareness about the transformative
potential of digital technology and also in making governance system more
accessible to citizens.
Quoting to a recent study conducted by McKinsey Global
Institute, the Vice President said that India was the second fastest digitizing
economy after Indonesia. He said that digitization has the potential not only to
boost core sectors like IT, digital communication, and online retail but also
transform financial services, agriculture, logistics and education.
Shri Naidu also called upon education institutes, the corporate
sector, NGOs as also of the Centre and various State governments to impart the
necessary skills to our youth, to channelize the energy of these young minds to
make India the next economic power. He said that digitization was an important
driver of growth as it ensures transparency and builds confidence among
India decides to impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S goods
India has decided to impose retaliatory tariffs on 29 goods
imported from the U.S. from June 16 onwards, a year after it initially
decided to do so, officials in the Commerce Ministry told.
The tariffs will apply on $220-290 million worth of goods
imported from the US, and will have about the same impact as the tariffs imposed
by Washington on India last year.
The tariffs on the 29 goods including walnuts, apples, and some
pulses were initially announced in June 2018 in retaliation to U.S. President
Donald Trump’s decision in March that year to impose higher import tariffs on
Indian aluminium and steel. India has repeatedly asked for exemption from these
higher tariffs, but to no avail.
However, negotiations continued for about a year, with India
repeatedly extending the deadline for retaliatory tariffs. These talks, as well
as negotiations on granting India duty-free imports for certain items under the
U.S.’ Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) seem to have fallen through.
According to the Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI), the
impact of the retaliatory tariffs would amount to about $290 million. While the
Federation of Indian Export Organisations estimates the impact to be $220-240
million, the consensus is that the impact is commensurate to the impact on India
due to the U.S. tariffs on aluminium and steel imports.
India’s trade deficit widens in May
India’s trade deficit widened in May 2019 to $15.36 billion,
with imports growing faster that exports during the period, official data
released on Friday showed.Exports grew 3.93% in May to $30 billion compared
with $28.86 billion worth of exports in the same month last year.
The industries that saw a major growth in exports include
electronic goods (50.97%), organic and inorganic chemicals (20.64%), and
readymade goods of all textiles (14.15%).
“Export growth for May remains at sub-optimal level requiring
immediate government intervention,” Engineering Export Promotion Council India
chairman Ravi Sehgal said.
“For engineering sector, exporters need crucial raw material
like steel at international prices. Exporters are looking forward to Budget for
fiscal relief,” he said.
“Such a growth in exports is a reflection of extremely modest
growth in global trade and increasing protectionism,” said Ganesh Kumar Gupta,
president, Federation of Indian Export Organisations.
“MSME sectors are still facing the problem of liquidity besides
various other challenges, including uncertainties owing to tariff war,
volatility in commodities/currencies, rapid rise in trade restrictive measures
and constraints on the domestic front,” he added. Imports into India grew 4.31%
in May 2019 to $45.35 billion, up from $43.48 billion worth of imports in May of
Finance minister holds pre budget consultation with other
The Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs, Smt.
NirmalaSitharaman held here today her 6th Pre-Budget Consultation Meeting
with the leading Economists in connection with the forthcoming General
The main areas of discussion during the aforesaid Meeting
included boosting Economic Growth, Job Oriented Growth, increased Macro-economic
Stability, Fiscal Management including ideal size of Public Sector Borrowing
requirements and increase in investments among others.
The Economists put forward their view that this Budget should
set the tone for the next five years and is a unique opportunity to promote
manufacturing through Make in India.
Various other suggestions received from Economists related to
tariff reforms, removing bottlenecks in supply-chain, EXIM policy for
agriculture, removal of specific duties on textiles, maintaining fiscal
consolidation, revival of Inter-State Councils for holistic domestic growth,
boosting employment by focusing on skilling and giving fillip to services and
manufacturing sector, macroeconomic stabilisation and structural reforms for
long-term grow etc.
PM wants terror supporting nations to be held accountable
Prime Minister NarendraModi has called for united efforts
from the global community to eliminate the terrorism from its root.
Addressing the Plenary Session of SCO Summit at Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan
Mr.Modi said, all humanitarian forces will have to unite to counter
Prime Minister also called for International Conference Against
Terrorism. He said that nations supporting, promoting and funding terrorism
should be held responsible and made accountable for their actions.
In the meeting, the Member states of SCO stressed that there can
be no justification for any act of terrorism and extremism. They also reiterated
their intention to focus on expanding and deepening cooperation in trade,
finance, investment, transport, energy, agriculture, innovation and cutting-edge
In the Bishkek Declaration released after the meeting yesterday,
the member States urged the international community to strengthen global
cooperation in efforts against terrorism without politicization and double
Prime Minister Modi and Kyrgyz President Jeenbekov also held a
restricted meeting to boost bilateral engagement to the next level. The two
countries exchanged 15 documents in various sectors.
UN to move towards investigation of gulf tanker attacks
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has pressed for an
investigation to establish those responsible for a spate of suspected
attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf that has raised fears of war.
The US has accused Iran of carrying out the attacks, which
Tehran has denied. The UN chief said that it was the purview of the Security
Council that an independent entity could step in to verify the facts.
UN spokesman said that the UN's political chief Rosemary DiCarlo
has discussed the Gulf crisis with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad JavadZarif
on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting in Bishkek.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Aerosol chemotherapy shows promising results for treating
Although is it still being tested, chemotherapy by aerosol
has shown promising results against certain cancers, in a treatment with
fewer side effects, say doctors at Georges-Francois Leclerc hospital in the
eastern city of Dijon.
It is one of seven hospitals in France that are trialling
pressurised intraperitoneal aerosol chemotherapy, or PIPAC, a technique
developed in Germany in 2013.
The drugs are not injected into the bloodstream. Instead, the
patient is put under general anaesthetic and treatment is introduced by
laparoscopy and chemotherapy is introduced into the peritoneal cavity by an
aerosol spray. “It is a minimally invasive without harmful side effects normally
“associated with the circulation of the treatment within the blood”, said David
Orry, who heads the oncological surgery department.
For the moment, PIPAC therapy is only offered to patients
undergoing palliative treatment, as its efficacy has yet to be demonstrated in a
large scientific study.
And the price of the treatment is reasonable, with the injector
device costing around €25,000, and each operation using disposable materials
worth some €2,000.
Saourav Kothari enters international billiards final
India's Sourav Kothari stormed into the final of the Pacific
International Billiards with a thrilling win over DhvajHaria in Melbourne
Reigning world billiards champion Kothari will now take today on
multiple times world champion Peter Gilchrist of Singapore in the final.
Gilchrist beat in-form DhruvSitwala of India, 1250-823.
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