Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 17 December 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 17 December 2019


::NATIONAL::

PM assures citizenship act not to affect Indian citizens

  • Prime Minister NarendraModi has unequivocally assured that Citizenship Amendment Act, CAA, does not affect any Indian citizen of any religion and no Indian has anything to worry about it.

  • Mr Modi said in a series of tweets that this Act is only for those who have faced years of persecution outside and have no other place to go to except India. The Prime Minister expressed distress at the violent protests on CAA. He said they are unfortunate and deeply distressing.

  • Mr Modi said, debate, discussion and dissent are essential parts of democracy but damage to public property and the disturbance of normal life has never been a part of the Indian ethos.

  • He said, the Act was passed by both Houses of Parliament with overwhelming support and it illustrates India’s centuries-old culture of acceptance, harmony, compassion and brotherhood. The Prime Minister said, vested interest groups cannot be allowed to divide people and create disturbance.

VP asks mining industries not to compromise of worker’s safety

  • Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has asked mining industries not to compromise with the safety and health of their employees. Expressing concern for the employees working in the mines sector, he said it is the \responsibility of the management to prioritize the health checkup and treatment of its workers.

  • Mr Naidu was addressing a gathering after distributing the National Award for Safety in the mines sector in New Delhi yesterday. The Vice President said employees of this sector face many challenges related to health and safety. In such a situation, negligence with the employees is not acceptable under any circumstances.

  • The Vice President asked the industry to make good use of technological tools and e-governance for continuous surveillance of workplace hazards, in addition to the present system of using the naked eye and experience.

  • He called for exploring options to achieve the goal of zero harm, by eliminating human and skill-based errors in the mining area. Mr. Naidu stressed on the need to strengthen emergency preparedness of all mines to reduce the damage due to disasters and other incidents.

  • Speaking at the event, Labour Minister SantoshGangwar said the government has been continuously working to improve labour laws since 2014. He assured that the government is committed to providing a safe environment for workers.

::ECONOMY::

Finance ministry assures payment of GST compensation to states

  • Union Finance minister NirmalaSitharaman has assured states that the Centre will not renege on the promise of GST compensations. Addressing the India Economic Conclave through video conferencing, Ms Sitharaman said, the delay in passing the money is due to slip in collections and the states have nothing to be embarrassed about.

  • She attributed the dip in collections to a slip in GST filing due to natural calamities and also due to a slowdown in consumption. The minister said, each state and the centre’s revenue department will have to take a lot of efforts to improve GST collection. She, however denied that the government is mulling a cut in the GST rates.

  • Commenting on the allegations of use of faulty data computation methodologies which may throw up convenient conclusions, the finance minister said, the government is focusing on improving data credibility. She said, the aspects being looked into are Gross Domestic Product (GDP), inflation and employment.

  • She said the National Statistical Commission and the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation are among the government agencies working on the issue.

  • Meanwhile, cautioning against jihadist, Maoist and separatist elements getting into student activism, Ms.Sitharaman hit out at Congress party for backing fringe groups at universities. Stating that there's no undermining of India's unity, the minister assured that measures are being taken to ensure that India and the economy go forward and benefit all.

Centre approve changes in MSME interest subvention guidelines

  • Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Minister NitinGadkari has approved the changes in the Interest Subvention Scheme guidelines for MSMEs. He said, the modifications are expected to boost their productivity through access to credit at reduced cost.

  • He also said, the government is committed to enhancing credit to MSME sector and the implementation of the scheme is being closely monitored to help MSMEs get incremental credit of upto one crore rupees with Interest Subvention of two per cent by government.

  • The Interest Subvention Scheme for MSMEs was launched by Prime Minister NarendraModi in November, last year.

  • The modifications to the scheme include settlement of claims based on internal or concurrent auditor certificate and submission of statutory auditor's certificate once by June, 2020. Requirement of UdyogAadhar Number, UAN is dispensed with for units eligible for GST.

  • Trading activities without UAN have been made eligible. The Ministry said, the improvements are set to provide momentum giving fillip to the MSME sector.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

India donates solar powered lamps to Palestine

  • India has donated solar powered study lamps to Palestinian elementary school children from a marginalised Bedouin community to spread the principles of self-sufficiency and raise awareness towards the adverse effects of climate change.

  • The lamps were donated as part of the 150th Gandhi Jayanti Students Solar Ambassador Workshop. The solar powered study lamps supplied by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay aims at making the student beneficiaries for the future propagators of renewable energy.

  • Representative of India (ROI) in the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), Sunil Kumar, visited the Governorate of Jericho and Jordan Valley yesterday where he was received by Governor Jehad Abu Al-Asal, Director of the Jericho Directorate of Education, and representatives of the local community.

  • As part of India's outreach and cooperation programme in the local Palestinian community, Kumar visited the Ka'abneh Bedouin School with Palestinian dignitaries where he presented portable solar-powered lamps to the elementary school children.

  • Addressing the students and the local community, he underlined India's time-tested support to Palestine, especially highlighting New Delhi's capacity building efforts with emphasis on the educational sector.

India’s UNMISS wins prestigious medal

  • About 850 Indian peacekeepers serving in South Sudan have been awarded the prestigious UN medal for their service and contribution to building peace in the conflict-affected nation and going above their duties to support local communities.

  • India is among the largest troop contributing countries to UN peacekeeping operations. Currently, 2,342 Indian troops and 25 police personnel are deployed with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

  • The UNMISS said that the 850 Indian troops serving with the UNMISS received the United Nations Medal for their dedication and sacrifice.

  • The Indian troops were particularly praised for their efforts to support peace talks between Government and Opposition forces in the Upper Nile region and establishing the first-ever UNMISS base on the west bank of the Nile at Kodok.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

ISRO’s PSLV helps increase forex by 90 crores this fiscal

  • Indian Space Research Organisation’s PSLV has turned into a money-spinner for the space agency as forex brought by the country’s mainstay rocket increased by Rs 90 crore from Rs 232.56 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 324 crore in 2018-19 fiscal year.

  • Isro has earned Rs 1,245 crore during the last five years by launching foreign satellites from 26 countries. Key contracts with 10 countries — the US, the UK, Germany, Canada, Singapore, The Netherlands, Japan, Malaysia, Algeria and France — were signed in the last five years under commercial arrangements.

  • The information was provided to the RajyaSabha in a written reply by Union minister for department of space Jitendra Singh in the just-concluded winter session.

  • Though Isro’s market share in the global satellite launch market is less than 2%, PSLV has carved a niche for itself in the small satellite launch market and bringing in big moolah for the country.

  • Since May 26, 1999, when the first foreign satellite was launched by India, PSLV has till now launched 319 foreign satellites. Of the 319 satellites, which did not weigh more than 445kg, around 279 were launched in the last five years.

::SPORTS::

ViratKohli retains Top spot in ICC ranking

  • Indian skipper ViratKohli retained his top spot among batsmen in the latest ICC Test rankings issued today. With 928 points, Kohli is 17 points clear of Australia's Steve Smith who scored 43 and 16 in the first Test against New Zealand which Australia won by 296 runs.

  • CheteshwarPujara with 791 and AjinkyaRahane 759 held on to their fourth and sixth spots respectively.Among the bowlers, Bumrah slipped to the sixth spot in the list headed by Australia's Pat Cummins.

  • India's RavindraJadeja, meanwhile, remained at number two, behind Jason Holder of the West Indies among Test all-rounders.

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