Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 16 June 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 16 June 2019


::NATIONAL::

Centre to help set un PHC’s in encephalitis affected areas of Bihar

  • Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has asked Bihar government to establish ICU at primary health centres (PHCs) in Encephalitis affected areas. Dr. Harsh Vardhan who reviewed the situation of the outbreak of AES in Bihar yesterday emphasized to step up several measures to contain the disease at the initial stage when symptoms of Encephalitis detected in children.

  • The union minister said 85 percent patients of Encephalitis have manifested common symptoms with low blood sugar level, high fever, convulsions so proper glucose must be administered at PHCs when a case is reported.

  • He said it can check death rates. He asked for an independent monitoring system for fogging and vector control as Japanese Encephalitis is transmitted through Culex mosquitoes.

  • AIR correspondent reports that Dr. Harsh Vardhan also stressed upon fast track completion of Centre assisted multi-speciality hospital in SKMCH, Muzaffarpur campus and advanced virology lab in premises.

  • He also held review meeting with senior state health official in Patna. Meanwhile, the death toll has reached to 95 in Muzaffarpur and adjoining areas due to Encephalitis. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has announced ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased in cases of Encephalitis.

Centre announces taskforce for reforming agri-economy

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced the setting up of a high-level task force for undertaking structural reforms in agriculture, including strengthening logistics, produce marketing, food processing as well as changes to the Essential Commodities Act.

  • Speaking at the fifth meeting of the NITI Aayog governing council, Mr. Modi pitched for foundational reforms in the agri-economy, leading to a complete transformation of the agriculture sector in India. While a few chief ministers will be part of the committee, more details are to be announced later.

  • Additionally, with parts of India experiencing drought situation, some States asked for changes in the National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) guidelines. They will work with MHA and Agriculture ministry to make changes.

  • Stating that India is targeting a $5 trillion economy by 2024, the Prime Minister asked the States improve their respective economies by two to two-and-a-half times. This would result in an increase in the common man's purchasing power, he added. The States, he said, can focus on their export potential.

  • Mr Modi said the goal to make India a $5 trillion dollar economy is challenging but can be achieved with concerted efforts of States.

  • At the meeting there was broad consensus on reducing water wastage, promoting efficient water conservation practices with rain-water harvesting to be undertaken at the household and community level with proactive policy and investment support.

  • Talking about the Aspirational Districts scheme, Mr. Modi said many of them are affected by Naxal violence. However, he added, that the battle against Naxal violence is now in a decisive phase and will be dealt with firmly.

::ECONOMY::

Study reveals India could expand exports to U.S,China despite trade war

  • A study by the Commerce Ministry has said, the ongoing trade war between the US and China offers an opportunity to India for boosting exports of as many 350 products such as chemicals and granite to these countries.

  • A study by the Commerce Ministry has said, the ongoing trade war between the US and China offers an opportunity to India for boosting exports of as many 350 products such as chemicals and granite to these countries.

  • The identification of these products is part of the study carried out by the ministry. Both the US and China are imposing heavy import duties on each other's products, which has triggered a trade war kind of situation.

  • According to the study, as much as 151 domestic products including diesel, X-ray tubes and certain chemicals have an outright advantage to displace the US exports to China. Similarly, 203 Indian goods like rubber and graphite electrodes have the advantage to displace Chinese exports to the US.

  • The Indian products which can tap the Chinese market include copper ores, rubber, paper, paperboard, equipment for transmission voice/data in a wired network, tunes and pipes.

  • Similarly, domestic goods which can grab exports opportunities in the US market include industrial valves, vulcanised rubber, carbon or graphite electrodes and natural honey.

  • Federation of Indian Export Organisations President Ganesh Kumar Gupta said that the trade war between the US and China is benefitting India.

Indian staffing association calls for scrapping of archaic laws

  • The number of people in formal employment in India will grow only if the country’s archaic labour regulations, that are irrelevant in today’s context, are fully scrapped, says Indian Staffing Federation (ISF), a staffing industry apex body.

  • The country has a total workforce of 463 million and 94% of them are informal workers employed with small and micro firms. These enterprises prefer to remain tiny (below 20 people) in order to stay away from the burden of unrealistic labour compliance demands.

  • ISF president Rituparna Chakraborty told The Hindu that the country currently had an overdose of labour rules and their irrelevant existence will only damage the growth of formal job market in particular and the economy in general.

  • As per ISF, if labour rules are updated and are made simpler the country will experience a boom in formal employment. “Small enterprises will not shy sway from scaling up their businesses or adding people if labour laws are made friendly.

  • This will automatically boost formal employment in the country. It will also improve the ease of doing businesses and investment flow will pick up. Eventually, streamlining labour laws will bring in positive impact on the economy,’’ she said.

  • There should be consistency and uniformity in definitions. For instance, the existing labour laws, define ‘worker’ and ‘wage’ in 17 different ways. ``There are hundred different things like these that cause ambiguity and confusion in the minds of small entrepreneurs,’’ said B.S. Murthy, CEO, Leadership Capital, a people management firm.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

Presidential elections underway in Guatemala amid tensions

  • Guatemala, a Central American Country, on Sunday began voting for a new president, who will face the challenge of curbing drug gang violence that has convulsed the country and helped spur illegal immigration to the United States, fuelling tensions with President Donald Trump.

  • Nineteen candidates are competing in the election, which is expected to yield no outright winner, forcing the top two contenders to face off in a second round on 11th August.

  • Former first lady Sandra Torres, of the center-left UNE party, has led the race to succeed President Jimmy Morales.

  • Torres is expected to win the first round, with polls suggesting she could pick up more than 22% of the vote. Center-right candidate Alejandro Giammattei is expected to trail behind with only 11%.

  • Rampant violence and widespread discontent over corruption and impunity in the country of 17 million have prompted more and more Guatemalans to flee for the United States.

India-Israel cooperation to get boosted

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu have used their “excellent” personal equation to deepen the bilateral ties which are moving in an “upward trajectory”, India’s Ambassador to Israel Pavan Kapoor has said.

  • Ties between India and Israel, into the 27th year now, strengthened with Mr. Modi’s historic visit to the country in July 2017 during first term, Mr. Kapoor told PTI.

  • Stating that the relationship is moving in an “upward trajectory”, the envoy said, “Modi and Netanyahu share an excellent equation and it is in their tenure that we have had Modi coming to Israel for the first time and Netanyahu visiting India”.

  • Speaking about the cultural similarities, the envoy said that just like Indians, Jewish people have close ties with families and sit down for dinners Friday evening.

  • Talking about the presence of Indians in Israel, Mr. Kapoor said, “About 12,000 to 13,000 Indian nationals stay in Israel and bulk of them are in caregiving industry and help the elderly folks in Israel. Then we have about 25 to 30 Gujarati diamond merchant families who have been here for many years and they are doing good business.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

Scientists find out protein conferring sensitivity in cancer cells

  • Researchers at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bengaluru, have unravelled the molecular mechanism by which autophagy pathway (a pathway recycles unnecessary or dysfunctional cell components) that gets enhanced leading to human cells becoming resistant to radiation.

  • The immediate medical implication of the finding will be in treatment of certain cancer patients. The JNCASR research team led by Tapas K. Kundu from the Molecular Biology and Genetics Unit discovered that absence or downregulation of a particular protein — positive co-activator 4 (PC4) — is responsible for enhanced autophagy.

  • To validate increased autophagy in cells that had depleted PC4, the researchers used inhibitors of autophagy pathway. “The inhibitors reduced autophagy and the cells that lacked PC4 protein started to die when exposed to gamma radiation,” says Prof. Kundu, who is currently the Director of CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow. The team also silenced the gene responsible for autophagy induction to revalidate the findings. Even in this case, the proliferation rate reduced drastically.

  • The final validation was by restoring (or rescuing) the protein expression in the PC4 knockdown cells. When the PC4 protein was restored to normal levels, autophagy reduced. The team thus confirmed that in cells with depleted PC4 protein the autophagy is enhanced making the cells not only to survive but to also proliferate at an increased rate and also become resistant to gamma radiation.

::SPORTS::

Indian men secure silver medal in archery worldcup

  • The Indian men's recurve team today bagged a silver medal in the Archery World Championships at Den Bosch in The Netherlands.

  • Indian trio of Tarundeep Rai, Atanu Das and Pravin lost to Chinese team of Ding Yiliang, Wei Shaoxuan and Feng Hao 6-2 in the summit clash. India thus ended their campaign with one silver and two bronze medals won in the women's compound team and individual events.

  • The men's recurve team was playing in the final of World Championships after a gap of 14 years. This was India's sixth silver at the World Championships where the country is yet to win a gold medal.

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