Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 16 FEBRUARY 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 16 FEBRUARY 2019


India revokes MFN status given to Pakistan, condemns attack

  •  India on Friday revoked the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status of Pakistan and warned of more measures in response to its support for terrorist groups targeting India.
  •  While Prime Minister NarendraModi asserted that those responsible for Thursday’s terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir would be given a “befitting reply,” the Opposition rallied behind the government in a show of solemn unity.
  •  There is “incontrovertible evidence” of Pakistan’s “direct” involvement in the attack, Finance Minister ArunJaitley said after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security that deliberated on India’s response.
  •  India has asked its High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria to return to New Delhi for consultations. “Those who committed this heinous act or supported it will be made to pay a heavy cost,” Mr.Jaitley said after the CCS meeting.
  •  The U.S., Russia, Australia, France, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are among the countries that condemned the attack. “I would like to reiterate the readiness for further strengthening counter-terrorist cooperation with Indian partners,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a statement.
  •  The government said it would take measures to diplomatically isolate Pakistan, which is at the centre of several international initiatives to bring an end to the conflict in Afghanistan.

Supreme court questions government over appointment of information commissioner

  •  The Central Information Commission (CIC) and State Information Commissions, the country’s apex bodies entrusted to uphold the citizen’s fundamental right to information, have been bastions of government employees and their retired counterparts.
  •  The apex court found that “official bias” in favour of bureaucrats and government employees was evident from the very beginning of the process for appointment of Chief Information Commissioners and Information Commissioners. In fact, the selection committee, which shortlists candidates for appointment, is itself composed of government employees.
  •  The 2005 law was enacted to ensure accountability in governance. The Commissions are meant to be the law’s eyes and hands to provide information to ordinary people.
  •  The apex court directed the government to look beyond bureaucrats and appoint professionals from “all walks of life,” including eminent persons with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism as Information Commissioners.
  •  The Supreme Court concluded that the entire RTI mechanism has been choked by rising pendency and growing number of vacancies of Information Commissioners.
  •  Now, the Supreme Court has, for the first time, put the government on a deadline as far as filling vacancies in the Commissions. The court directed that the process of appointment should commence at least one or two months before the retirement is due.


National Conference on “Sustainable and Environment-friendly Industrial Production” held

  •  Under Indo-German Development Cooperation, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change(MoEFCC) organized Second National Conference today at Hyatt Hotel, New Delhi on Sustainable and Environment-friendly Industrial Production (SEIP).
  •  The project concludes in two weeks and Ministry organized this conference for dissemination of results, successful models and experiences so as to enable replication and plan further actions with state agencies on Pan-India basis.
  •  The project worked directly with companies and advised them on environment friendly production and wastewater management in 5 industrial areas in three states (Delhi, Uttarakhand and Gujarat).
  •  Shri A. K. Jain, Additional Secretary, MoEFCC inaugurated the conference and stressed thatRegional Replication Workshops shall be carried out at various locations involving state local bodies, in the next phase of SEIP, for further dissemination of results.
  •  Some major interventions from this project which were discussed over the day included topics as Resource efficiency and cleaner production in industries (as there have been over 100 success stories from this action), voluntary action by industries and industrial associations, skills development, sustainability standards for industrial areas, etc.

Government e -Marketplace signs MoU with GS1

  •  GS1 India, a standards organization set up by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Government e-Marketplace (GeM).
  •  This will enable GeM’s buyers and vendors toaccess rich, accurate and standardized information on attributes of thousands of products across categories, empowering them to make more informed decisions.
  •  The agreement was signed by Additional CEO, GeM,K Suresh Kumarand CEO, GS1 India, Ravi Mathur. CEO, GeM, RadhaChauhan, and senior officials from GeM and GS1 India were present on this occasion
  •  GeM will access product data from GS1 India’s DataKart, the National repository of information on attributes of millions of retail products in the country.
  •  The categories get populated directly by manufacturers and brand owners. Every data will undergo validity checks based on globally accepted GS1 standards prior to being published for access by buyers

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials


UN and major countries condemn pulwana attack

  •  The United States has reacted strongly to the terrorist attack on the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir.
  •  “The United States condemns in the strongest terms the heinous terrorist attack by a Pakistan-based terrorist group that killed over 40 Indian paramilitary forces and wounded at least 44 others. We express our deep condolences to the victims’ families, the Indian government, and the Indian people for the loss of life in this brutal attack,” a statement from the White House said.
  •  “The UN-designated Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed has claimed responsibility for this heinous act. We call on all countries to uphold their responsibilities pursuant to UN Security Council resolutions to deny safe haven and support for terrorists,” the statement said.
  •  In New York, the United Nations Secretary-General’s office has also strongly condemned the attack and offered condolences. “We call for those behind the attack to be brought to justice,” a UN Spokesperson for Secretary- General AntónioGuterres said.
  •  Indian-American Members of Congress also conveyed their condolences with Democratic Congresswoman PramilaJayapal calling the attack “heartbreaking” and her colleague, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi saying, “We must all stand united against terrorism.”

Centre to expand strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia

  •  A High-level delegation, led by NITI Aayog CEO Shri Amitabh Kant, will be visiting Saudi Arabia from 16th to 17th February 2019 to participate in extensive discussions with the Saudi Centre for International Strategic Partnerships (SCISP) in Riyadh.
  •  The visit will serve as aprecursor to the forthcoming visit of HRH Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Crown Prince, Vice President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Defence of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  •  The delegationwill comprise of senior officials from the Ministries of Housing and Urban Affairs, Electronics and Information Technology, Tourism, and Commerce and Industry. It will also include CEOs of leading Indian companies.
  •  The discussionswith the Saudi Arabian leadership will showcase the economic opportunities that Indiapresentsfor investment and explore pathways to further strengthen the economic pillar of the India – Saudi Arabia strategic partnership.
  •  India – Saudi Arabia bilateral trade during April to November 2018 reached USD 23.24 billion, and is poised to reach greater heights post the visit of the Crown Prince between 19-20th February, which follows the highly successful visit of Prime Minister ShriNarendraModi to Saudi Arabia in April 2016.
  •  During his forthcoming visit, HRH the Crown Prince of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will call on the President and Vice President, and also participate in bilateral talks on a wide range of issues of mutual interest.


Antibiotic resistant NDM-1 gene found in arctic

  •  The recent detection of the antibiotic resistant (AR) gene NDM-1, first isolated in India, in the Arctic region is a further indication of the globalisation of antimicrobial resistance, said a study.
  •  The research was conducted in the High Arctic zone (Kongsfjorden region of Svalbard) and scientists were surprised to find a rather robust presence of NDM-1, according to Clare McCann, principal author of the study.
  •  Answering questions from The Hindu over email, Dr. McCann said: “It was not a shock to find AR in the High Arctic. In essence, AR is a natural phenomenon. Most antibiotics are produced by soil microorganisms and over time they have evolved to become resistant to the compounds which they excrete to survive. However, finding NDM-1 in 2013 was a surprise.”
  •  “Our findings show that the NDM-1 gene is present in highest concentrations near fresh water sources where wildlife tend to congregate. Additionally, we discovered levels of mobile genetic elements (MGEs), the mechanism by which bacteria ‘trade’ AR, to mirror NDM-1.
  •  MGEs are noteworthy here because they are often associated with ‘acquired’ resistance and are found at higher levels in human, or animal waste-impacted environments,” she said.
  •  The findings point towards the involvement of migratory birds, who could carry the resistance in the gut and transfer it to the Arctic soil through faecal matter.
  •  “However, it is also possible that it may have migrated with humans and spread via local wildlife, or it may be a combination of factors,” the scientist explained.


Spain to take on Croatia in Davis cup finals

  •  Rafael Nadal’s Spain will host defending champion Croatia in the Davis Cup finals with the 17-time major winner set to be the only member of the sport’s big four taking part in the controversially rebooted tournament.
  •  Nadal, who has played in four Davis Cup-winning campaigns, has said he intends to take part in the new-look week-long event on home ground in Madrid from November 18-24.
  •  However, long-time rivals Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray will be missing.
  •  Federer’s Switzerland didn’t qualify, Britain’s Murray has virtually retired while World No. 1 Djokovic has said he intends to focus on the ATP World Team Cup to be staged in Australia in January.

Click Here For Today's Current Affairs MCQ's

Click Here for Old Current Affairs Archive

This is a Part of Online Coaching Programme for UPSC Exam

Buy Printed Study Material for UPSC PRELIMS EXAM

Join Test Series for IAS (Pre.) Exam