Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 18 October 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 18 October 2020


Government considers 30% allocation for neglected sections of northeast

  • Minister of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Dr Jitendra Singh has said that an exclusive 30 per cent  allocation has been decided for neglected sections of North East. Yesterday
  • Dr Singh was speaking to a Chakma delegation represented by ‘Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakma and Hajong’ of Arunachal Pradesh. He said that the North Eastern Council affiliated to the Ministry of DoNER had, on the advice of Home Minister Amit Shah, moved a proposal which was approved at the Cabinet Meeting. 
  • He said, accordingly, it has been decided that 30 percent of North Eastern Council's allocations for new projects under the existing schemes will be devoted for focus development of deprived areas and emerging sectors of the North Eastern States.
  • Dr Singh reiterated Prime Minister NarendraModi’s commitment to develop the North Eastern States and bring them at par with other more developed States of the country.

Indian global hunger rank index slips further

  • India has the highest prevalence of wasted children under five years in the world, which reflects acute undernutrition, according to the Global Hunger Index 2020. The situation has worsened in the 2015-19 period, when the prevalence of child wasting was 17.3%, in comparison to 2010-14, when it was 15.1%.
  • Overall, India ranks 94 out of 107 countries in the Index, lower than neighbours such as Bangladesh (75) and Pakistan (88). 2020 scores reflect data from 2015-19. The Index, which was released on Friday, is a peer-reviewed report released annually by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe.
  • It uses four parameters to determine its scores. India fares worst in child wasting (low weight for height, reflecting acute undernutrition) and child stunting (low height for age, reflecting chronic undernutrition), which together make up a third of the total score.
  • Although it is still in the poorest category, however, child stunting has actually improved significantly, from 54% in 2000 to less than 35% now. Child wasting, on the other hand, has not improved in the last two decades, and is rather worse than it was decade ago.



Finance ministry participates in World Bank Development Committee Plenary

  • Finance Minister NirmalaSitharaman participated in 102nd meeting of the World Bank Development Committee Plenary through video conference.
  • In her intervention at this session, Mrs.Sitharaman said that COVID -19 Pandemic continues to impact the developing and developed countries till date and the hard fought gains in reducing the level of poverty, achieved over a number of years, are at risk of being lost.
  • She said, the Government of India has taken several measures to contain the spread of pandemic, and also to mitigate its social and economic impact. Mrs Sitharaman shared that the Government has announced the first stimulus of 23 billion dollar to provide direct cash transfers and food security measures to the poor. 
  • She also mentioned that the Government has committed 2.03 Billion dollar for strengthening health infrastructure in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Finance Minister stated that collective action is the key for effective response to the pandemic and welcomed the strong performance in quarter - 4 of financial year 2020 wherein World Bank Group has committed 45 billion dollar for COVID-19 response.

Startups in country to get access to science & technology infrastructure 

  • Startups and industries will soon have access to equipment and science and technology infrastructure in different institutions, Universities, and Colleges spread all over the country to carry out experiments and tests they require for their Research and Development. 
  • The Science and Technology Ministry said, restructuring will help them carry out experiments and tests required for their Research and Development, technology and product development.
  • The Department of Science and Technology is restructuring its FIST (Fund for Improvement of Science and Technology Infrastructure in Universities and Higher Educational institutions) programme under which it supports scaling up of the network of infrastructural facilities for teaching and research in Universities and higher educational institutions.


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Study finds World experiencing rising rates of chronic disease, public health failures

  • The world is experiencing rising rates of chronic disease, persistent infectious diseases and public health failures that have fuelled deaths in the COVID-19 pandemic. This has been highlighted in a major global study on human health published in The Lancet Medical Journal today.
  • The Global Burden of Disease Study 2019 analysed the burden of 369 diseases and injuries on human health in 204 countries and territories, in the past 30 years.
  • Speaking on the occasion, WHO Chief Dr.TedrosGhebreyesus cited the report to highlight the increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases around the world and the toll it takes on human lives, especially during pandemics like COVID-19.
  • He called upon all nations to join hands to build robust healthcare infrastructure to fight with future pandemics.

Jacindaardern wins landslide victory in New Zealand general elections

  • Prime Minister JacindaArdern won in New Zealand’s general elections. With 87 per cent of the vote counted, Ardern’s Labour Party won a landslide victory with 49 per cent support, heading to its biggest share of the vote since the 1930s. The opposition National Party slumped to 27per cent.
  • With this, Ardern led centre-left Labour Party secures a second term after her success in tackling the Coronavirus situation in the country. JacindaArdern's victory is regarded as voters' reward for her decisive response to COVID-19.
  • Ardern has captured the hallowed center ground in New Zealand politics with a blend of empathetic leadership and skilled crisis management that has also won her fame abroad.
  • Ardern came out of her home in Auckland, waved and hugged gathered supporters. Opposition National Party leader Judith Collins called the result outstanding and said she congratulated Ardern over the call.


The BepiColombo Space Craft crosses past Venus

  • The BepiColombo Space Craft has crossed the Venus in its journey towards Mercury. The spacecraft was launched jointly by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and European Space Agency to explore planet Mercury.
  • BepiColombo was launched on the Ariane 5 rocket and will arrive Mercury in 2025. This Mission is a part of the Horizon 2000+ Programme by the European Space Agency. This was the last spacecraft of the programme. 
  • The BepiColombo spacecraft consists of two satellites launched namely,  Mercury Planetary Orbiter and Mercury MagnetosphericOrbiter. These two satellites were launched together. They will separate once they arrive Mercury.
  • This spacecraft mission has been launched to explore and study the mercury. The spacecraft would be studying the characterisation of magnetosphere and the external and surface magnetic field of the mercury. It will study the solid and liquid cores of mercury and perform magnetic and gravitational field mappings there. 



Umar Gul retires from international cricket

  • Pakistan bowler Umar Gul has called time on his 17-year cricket career. The T20 World Cup-winner bowed out to a guard of honour after Friday’s National T20 Cup match here. 
  • Gul finished with 163 Test, 179 ODI and 85 T20I wickets.


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