Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 16 MARCH 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 16 MARCH 2019


Vice President stresses on concerted effort to reduce agrarian distress

  •  The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that concerted efforts are required from every stakeholder to ensure that there is no agrarian distress in the country.
  •  The Vice President said that the foremost need in the country is to double the income of the farmers by making agriculture resilient, sustainable and profitable. “We need to introduce structural changes and both the Centre and various States need to accord the highest priority to this aspect”, he added.
  •  Emphasizing upon the important role played by infrastructure empowering the farmers, the Vice President said that improving rural road connectivity, setting up more godowns, cold storage facilities, ensuring assured water and electricity supply are some of the key measures which have to be implemented. Providing timely credit to farmers is equally important, he added.
  •  Shri Naidu said that the farmers should also be educated on the need to diversify crops and take up allied farm activities. A study by MANAGE has revealed that there were no suicides in the families of farmers, who took up allied activities, he pointed out.
  •  The Vice President said that the agriculture sector needs a big push in India and in other parts of the world. It is obvious that a concerted, coordinated action is needed on a number of issues that impact the growth of agriculture sector and the quality of life of people who depend primarily on this sector, he said.
  •  The Government, Private Sector, Agricultural Universities, KVKs, Scientists and farmers must come together and address the pressing issues of farmers, he added.

India resents on Pakistan agreement on Kartarpur

  •  A day after India and Pakistan discussed the draft agreement for the Kartarpur corridor at Attari, officials said on Friday that despite promising visa-free access to the Sikh shrine, Pakistan through back door wanted to introduce “special permits for pilgrims for a fee.”
  •  India also strongly protested against the encroachment of around 100 acres of land belonging to the GurdwaraKartarpur Sahib in the Pakistani territory that was donated by Maharaja Ranjeet Singh in the 19th century.
  •  A senior government official said that against the hype created by the Pakistan government and the Pakistani media on the Kartarpur corridor, its actual offer during the talks turned out to be “farcical and mere tokenism.”
  •  Sikh bodies have been petitioning both the governments to build a pilgrim corridor over the border from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur to Kartarpur in Pakistani Punjab’s Narowal province.
  •  “Lands owned by the KartarpurGurdwara committee has been usurped by the government of Pakistan in name of developing the corridor. A strident demand was made by India for restoration of these lands to the gurdwara,” said the official.
  •  The official also said that Pakistan suggested capping the number of pilgrims to the shrine at 700 a day instead of the 5,000 proposed by India. “Initially they said 500, when we insisted, they agreed to increase the number of pilgrims to 700.
  •  The official said India and Pakistan had signed a pact in 1974 to facilitate the visit of their pilgrims to the shrines located in each other’s territories but Kartarpur Sahib was not included in the pact despite repeated requests by India. As per that agreement, there are 15 shrines in Pakistan and seven in India which pilgrims from both sides can visit.


RBI guidelines to prevent market abuse

  •  The Reserve Bank of India has come out with guidelines to prevent misuse of price-sensitive information by participants in markets for financial instruments.
  •  The RBI said market participants, either acting independently or in collusion, shall not undertake any action with the intention to manipulate the calculation of a benchmark rate or a reference rate. The guidelines have become effective from yesterday.
  •  About regulatory action on market abuse, the RBI said market participants who are indulging in any such activity are liable to be denied access to markets in one or more instruments for a period that may not exceed one month at a time.
  •  These directions would exclude transactions executed through the recognised stock exchanges and not apply to banks and the central government in furtherance of monetary policy, fiscal policy or other public policy objectives.

Centre releases guidelines on responsible business conduct

  •  Ministry of Corporate Affairs has released national guidelines on responsible business conduct. These guidelines urge businesses to actualise the principles in letter and spirit.
  •  An official release said, the Ministry has revised the National Voluntary Guidelines on Social, Environmental and Economic Responsibilities of Business, 2011 and formulated the National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct.
  •  According to the guidelines, businesses should conduct and govern themselves with integrity in a manner that is ethical, transparent and accountable. Businesses should provide goods and services in a manner that is sustainable and safe.
  •  It should also respect and promote the well-being of all employees, including those in their value chains. The Ministry said, it has taken various initiatives for ensuring responsible business conduct by companies.

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Gun attack in New Zealand mosque claims 49 lives

  •   In New Zealand, a gunman killed 49 persons and injured 20 in attacks at two mosques killing 49 people and seriously injuring 20 others in the Christchurch city. The mosques were packed with worshippers gathered for Friday prayers.
  •  New Zealand Prime Minister JacindaArdern confirmed the toll and termed the shooting as one of the country's darkest days.
  •  Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the gunman responsible for shootings was an Australian-born citizen. He described the attacker as an 'extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist'.
  •  New Zealand police said they have detained four people in connection with the deadly shootings and have neutralised a number of improvised explosive devices found.
  •  Meanwhile, Bangladesh cricket team's tour of New Zealand has been called off in the wake of the attack.
  •  Bangladesh were scheduled to play New Zealand in the third and final Test of the series, beginning tomorrow. The International Cricket Council has shown its full support for the cancellation of the test match.

Nepali students to follow Gandhian path for peace & harmony

  •  The students in Nepal have called upon to follow the Gandhian path for peace and harmony in the world.
  •  Participating in a speech competition on Gandhiji in Kathmandu today the students said Mahatma Gandhi's principles are more relevant in today's world to tackle increasing violence, hatred and intolerance.
  •  The participants said peace and non violence are invaluable gifts of Mahatma Gandhi to mankind. They said Gandhiji guided people all around the world to solve conflicts in a non violent way.
  •  The students said Mahatma Gandhi always believed that all religions are based on humanity and they are like different flowers from a same garden.
  •  The speakers also highlighted the importance of Gandhiji's thoughts on ethical values, morality, naturopathy and cleanliness. The students recalled Bapu's contribution in India's freedom struggle.
  •  The event was organised by the Embassy of India and Ministry of Culture as part of ongoing Festival of India in Nepal and to celebrate 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
  •  Former Minister and Chairperson of Gandhi-Tulasi Memorial Trust BhadraKumariGhale graced the occasion as Chief Guest. 35 students from of various schools and colleges of Nepal participated in the speech competition.


Newly developed drug may reduce time for treatment of MDR TB

  •  A new drug cocktail reduces the length of treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis from nearly two years to nine to 11 months with a similar effectiveness, according to a large clinical trial whose results were published in a U.S. journal on Wednesday.
  •  Nearly 6,00,000 people contract multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) every year, killing more people than any other infectious disease in the world though the drugs used for treating it haven’t changed much in decades.
  •  The number of pills an MDR-TB patient would have to take could be reduced from an average of 14,000 to an average of 3,360 over the course of treatment, said Paula Fujiwara, the scientific director of The Union, an NGO that co-funded the STREAM trial, which was described in the New England Journal of Medicine .
  •  But more and more, strains are becoming resistant to standard drug courses and require up to two years of treatment a regimen which brings with it all of the sometimes serious side effects of antibiotic use.
  •  The new clinical trial, which included nearly 400 patients from Vietnam, Mongolia, South Africa and Ethiopia (all severely affected by the disease), compared the effectiveness of long-term treatment and that of a shorter therapy.
  •  Results showed that the longer, two-year treatment course was effective 80 percent of the time and the shorter treatment plan was effective 79% of the time.
  •  In reducing the length of treatment, patients have a better chance of finishing the entire regimen, especially in poor countries where healthcare infrastructures are weak.


2020 U-17 Women’s world cup to be hosted by India

  •  India will host the Under-17 Women's Football World Cup in 2020. This was announced by the President of International Football Federation (FIFA) Gianni Infantino after the council meeting in Miami, USA last night.
  •  Infantino said, FIFA is delighted to announce that India has been confirmed as the host of the Women's World Cup.
  •  This will be the second FIFA tournament India will be hosting, after the U-17 Men's World Cup in 2017.

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