Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 17 June 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 17 June 2019


::NATIONAL::

PM seeks opposition support for smooth functioning of parliament

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called on leaders of all political parties to work cohesively with the government in running Parliament smoothly and collectively address issues related to the welfare of people.

  • He said, government is always receptive to the issues raised by Political Parties and is ready to discuss issues of national importance in Parliament.

  • Mr Modi said this while addressing floor leaders of various parties in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha in New Delhi today, ahead of the Budget Session of Parliament beginning tomorrow. He welcomed newly elected MPs and expressed hope that fresh zeal and energy will be infused in the functioning of the Parliament. Mr Modi said, all parties must keep political differences aside and commit themselves to tirelessly work in the direction of Nation's progress.

  • Prime Minister urged all leaders to introspect whether members of Parliament are able tofulfill peoples’ aspirations as their representatives. He exhorted all leaders to cooperate with the Government and strive in the direction of making a New India by 2022 and achieve the true meaning of SabkaSaath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas.

  • He said, the MPs are for the people, they cannot win hearts by disrupting the functioning of Parliament. There was a consensus across party lines on ensuring smooth functioning of Parliament without disruptions.

  • Briefing media after the meeting, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi said, the Prime Minister will hold meeting with all party Presidents on the 19th of this month on the issue of One Nation, One Election. He said, Mr Modi will also meet all the MPs on 20th. Mr Joshi hoped this session of Parliament will be productive.

BPPI finds several for sale drugs of substandard quality

  • The Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI), which implements the Centre’s flagship affordable medicine scheme PMBJP, has found 25 batches of drugs of 18 pharmaceutical companies to be of substandard quality since January 2018, according to an official document.

  • While 17 out of the 18 companies are private, one is a public sector unit (PSU), the Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Limited (IDPL), according to the document.

  • Both the BPPI and the IDPL work under the Department of Pharmaceuticals of the Central government.

  • Once the affordable generic drugs are procured from the pharmaceutical companies by the BPPI, they are supplied to various JanaushadhiKendras that are managed under the Pradhan Mantri JanaushadhiPariyojana (PMBJP).

  • There are 4,677 JanaushadhiKendras functional in the country, as on December 31, 2018.

  • Sachin Singh, Chief Executive Officer, BPPI, said, “Stringent action has been taken against the suppliers whose products were declared ‘Not of Standard Quality’.” He gave a list of companies debarred or blacklisted for selling “not of standard quality” products.

  • Seven companies — Overseas Health Care, Hanuchem Laboratories, Legen Healthcare, AMR Pharma India Private Limited, Jackson Laboratories, Mascot Health Series and Terrace Pharmaceuticals — have been blacklisted for two years.

::ECONOMY::

GST council might extend tenure of national anti profiteering authority

  • The GST Council is likely to extend till November 30, 2020 the tenure of the National Anti-profiteering Authority (NAA), which deals with customer complaints regarding not receiving tax cut benefits, at its next meeting on June 21, an official said.

  • The Council at its 35th meeting, the first under new Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, is also likely to consider a proposal to set up one appellate tribunal for north-eastern states, and another one for all Union Territories.

  • Besides, the Council would discuss a proposal to levy Goods and Services Tax (GST) on extra-neutral alcohol (ENA), which is used for manufacturing alcoholic liquor for human consumption, the official added.

  • The Finance Ministry is of the view that NAA should be given an extension of one year till November 30, 2020 as the authority continues to receive complaints of profiteering by companies, the official told.

  • The GST Council had earlier sought the opinion of the Attorney General on legality of imposing GST on ENA. The AG had then opined that since ENA is not consumed directly by people, GST can be imposed on it.

  • Currently, potable alcohol is out of the ambit of GST and states are free to levy taxes on them.

  • Among other things, the GST Council will also consider issuance of e-invoice by entities with turnover of over Rs 50 crore for business-to-business (B2B) sales in a bid to curb GST evasion.

Union ministry denies bail out options for jet airways

  • India can’t be a nanny state offering bailouts to airlines and real estate companies, said Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, who is in charge of Civil Aviation as well as the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministries.

  • On the challenge of restoring capacity on international routes vacated by the troubled Jet Airways, he outlined a two-pronged strategy — giving domestic airlines their due share and engaging with international carriers.

  • The biggest challenge before Mr Puri in his capacity as the Minister of State for Civil Aviation is to see a resolution to the uncertainty staring Jet Airways. An SBI-led consortium of lenders is currently in talks with potential investors to revive the airline that owes more than ₹8,000 crore to these banks.

  • Regarding more flights on routes operated by Jet Airways, the Minister said, “We are addressing that issue. We are very confident we can solve that problem also, both in terms of domestic capacity and providing opportunities to domestic carriers and other actions we can take.”

  • While the Minister did not elaborate on the “other actions”, his statement is seen as an indication that he is likely to encourage international airlines to deploy planes on some of Jet Airways routes, which include destinations like Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok, London and Paris.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

Bhutan seeks Chinese status quo in Doklam issue

  • Calling for China to maintain status quo in the Doklam region, Bhutan’s Prime Minister Lotay Tshering said “no side” should do anything near the trijunction point between India, China and Bhutan “unilaterally”.

  • In an exclusive interview , and the first public comments by the Bhutanese leader on the Doklam issue which had seen a near conflict between the Indian and Chinese armies in 2017, he said that as long as status quo was maintained, “there will be peace and tranquillity in the region.”

  • Mr. Tshering was reacting to a question about the recent reports of an unprecedented build-up of military infrastructure on the Chinese side of the Doklam plateau that has been part of a boundary dispute between Bhutan and China.

  • He said the boundary talks between the two sides had made good progress, however, with 25 rounds completed. Asked whether the talks could lead to diplomatic ties being established, he reiterated Bhutan’s policy of not establishing ties with any permanent member of the UN Security Council.

  • Mr. Tshering also called on India and Pakistan to work together for the growth of South Asia and said it was “too early” to call the SAARC unviable. His comments follow calls by Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena and Nepal’s Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli to revive the SAARC, which hasn’t held a summit since 2014.

FATF claims Pakistan failed to curb terror funding

  • Pakistan has failed to complete 25 of the 27 action points given by the international terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to check funding to terrorist groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Jaish-e-Mohammad and frontal groups like the Jamat-ud-Dawah and the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation.

  • With this, multilateral lenders like the IMF, the World Bank and the EU may continue downgrading Pakistan, making its financial situation more precarious.

  • The Paris-headquartered FATF has asked Pakistan to explain whether it has launched any investigation into the $7 million allocated to maintain schools, madrasas, clinics and ambulances originally operated by the terror groups.

  • It is in deep trouble at the FATF meeting beginning Sunday in Florida in the U.S., people aware of the development said. “It has been unable to complete 25 action points. It has one last chance, till its 15-month deadline ends in October, when the FATF Plenary will be held,” one of them added.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

AYUSH ministry to develop wellness centres to provide traditional medicinal services

  • The Ayush Ministry is in the process of identifying 12,500 health and wellness centres across the country to deliver traditional medicinal services at grass-root level with a special focus on preventive health care, keeping in view the rising instances of chronic lifestyle diseases, official sources have said.

  • The Central government aims at strengthening its flagship health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat by integrating traditional medicine therapy with allopathy at the primary health centres to check rising non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and obesity.

  • It is stressing on seamless integration of two pillars of Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) – to achieve the “health for all” target.

  • According to official sources, the need for appointing AYUSH doctors has been increasingly felt at the Primary Health Centres level, particularly following the success of a pilot project launched in 2016 in three districts – Bhilwara (Rajasthan), Surendranagar (Gujarat) and Gaya (Bihar). Ayurvedic medicines, dietary regimen and yoga classes are being used to treat non-communicable diseases.

::SPORTS::

India beats South Africa in FIH series finals

  • In the FIH Men's Series Finals, India defeated South Africa by five goals to one in a summit clash at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar this evening.

  • The goals were scored in the 2nd, 11th, 25th, 36th and 50th minutes. Earlier today, a match was held between Japan and USA for the third and fourth positions. Japan defeated USA by a margin of 4-2 goals.

  • In FIH Women's Series Finals, India comfortably beat Uruguay 4-1 in its first Pool-A match at Hiroshima in Japan this evening.

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