Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 18 November 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 18 November 2019


::NATIONAL::

Parliament winter session to begin today, as PM hopes hopes for constructive debates

  •  The Winter Session of Parliament will begin today. The Session will have 20 sittings. It will end on the 13th of next month. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed hope that both Houses of Parliament will have constructive debates on ways to empower citizens and further India’s development.

  •  Briefing reporters after the meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said Mr Modi urged the political parties to make Winter Session of Parliament productive, like the last one. He said Prime Minister stated that constructive discussions in Parliament keep the bureaucracy .

  •  Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed hope that both the Houses of Parliament will have constructive debates on ways to empower citizens and further India’s development. In a tweet after attending the all-party meeting, Mr Modi said this time the Rajya Sabha will mark its 250th Session.

  •  Mr Modi said he had an extensive meeting with the BJP Parliamentary Party. He said the party will utilise the Session to further views on various developmental issues and contribute to transforming people’s lives.

  •  The Prime Minister said the NDA represents the country’s diversity and the aspirations of 130 crore Indians. He said no stone will be left unturned in ushering a qualitative change in the lives of farmers, youngsters, Nari Shakti and the poorest of the poor.

Defence minister claims North eastern region crucial for security

  •  Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said that the North Eastern Region is very crucial for the nation from a strategic point of view but it was ignored by the Centre for a long period.

  •  He said, the moment Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India, he decided that every Union Minister will tour north-east for at least four times a year and will review all the development activities under their respective ministries in the region.

  •  Speaking after inaugurating the Siseri River Bridge in East Siang District today, he said, Mr Modi believes that development of the nation is not possible without the development of the NE region.

  •  The Minister said, in the last five years, connectivity in the region has increased in a fast pace. He said connectivity in the region is not only important for development and also for from security point of view.

  •  Mr. Singh said the completion of the Siseri River bridge will not only decrease distances but also will ease in the movement and deployment of CAPFs in the area for security purpose.

  •  Mr Singh informed that the Defence Ministry has sanctioned 50 crore rupees for the survey of the strategically important Bhalukpung-Tenga-Tawang Railway line. He said the survey work is likely to be completed in one and half year.

  •  He also appreciated the NHAI and BRO for their hard work and dedication in constructing road in the difficult terrain of Arunachal Pradesh and connecting the unconnected.

::ECONOMY::

Government less likely to release consumer expenditure survey

  •  The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation today said that it will not release the Consumer Expenditure Survey results of 2017-2018 in view of the data quality issues.

  •  The Ministry said, it is separately examining the feasibility of conducting the next Consumer Expenditure Survey in 2020-2021 and 2021-22 after incorporating all data quality refinements in the survey process.

  •  The Ministry said, there is a rigorous procedure for vetting of data and reports which are produced through surveys. All such submissions which come to the Ministry are draft in nature and cannot be deemed to be the final report.

  •  The National Statistical Office of Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation carried out an all-India survey on household consumption expenditure in the 75th round during the period July 2017 to June 2018.

Govt. may soon ease FDI rules for joint ventures

  •  In a bid to ease the flow of foreign funds into legitimate business activities, the government may soon ease restrictions on foreign direct investment (FDI) by joint ventures (JVs) or wholly-owned subsidiaries (WOS) of an Indian company without categorising such investments as "suspect" involving 'round tripping' of funds.

  •  The existing legal framework under FEMA does not permit FDI by an overseas JV or WOS of an Indian party without the prior approval of RBI. Similarly, there are restriction on Indian entities to undertake overseas direct investment (ODI) in a foreign entity which already has existing FDI investment structures in India.

  •  The changes have become important in the backdrop on slowing of the Indian economy and resultant lack of investment by the corporate sector.

  •  The stringent view adopted by the RBI under the objective of preventing 'round tripping' of funds has impacted abilities of certain Indian companies which have made ODI outside India to attract FDI in India even for their group entities, even for legitimate and bona fide business purposes.

  •  Sources said that the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is also studying the report for finalising changes in the Press Note pertaining to FDI by JV of WOS of Indian party.

  •  Official sources said that though the changes would give free access to FDI by an Indian entity through its own JV or WOS, it would need to be established that such flow of funds is only for bonafide business interests and such funds are invested as FDI in India through proper banking channels.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

PM claims recently concluded BRICS summit as highly productive

  •  Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described the just-concluded BRICS Summit in Brazil's capital Brasilia as very productive.

  •  In a tweet, Mr Modi said, during the Summit, BRICS leaders had fruitful dialogues on cementing ties in trade, innovation, technology and culture.The Prime Minister said, the focus on futuristic subjects will lead to deeper cooperation that will benefit the people of our respective nations.

  •  The Prime Minister has since left for New Delhi. He reached Brasilia on Wednesday to take part in the BRICS Summit.BRICS comprises five countries namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

  •  Earlier in Brasilia, addressing the BRICS Business Council, the Prime Minister urged BRICS countries and New Development Bank (NDB) to join the global Coalition for Disaster-Resilient Infrastructure.

  •  Participating in the Dialogue with BRICS Business Council and NDB, Mr Modi offered India's full backing to the multilateral financial institutions in promoting global growth.

  •  He called for an early opening of the Regional branch of New Development Bank in India. He urged the BRICS Business Council to create a roadmap to achieve the 500 billion dollar intra-BRICS trade target by the next summit.

Anti-government protests continue in Czech republic

  •  In Czech Republic, lakhs of people took to the streets in the capital Prague as part of major anti-government protests.

  •  Demonstrators are demanding for Prime Minister Andrej Babis to resign over allegations of fraud. It is alleged Babis used European Union subsidies for his private business.

  •  According to media reports, police estimated that over two lakh people were on the streets, while organizers put the number at up to three lakhs.

  •  Yesterday's protest was organized by activist group Million Moments for Democracy, which has staged numerous protests against the government of Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, urging him to resign.

  •  The protest was held on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which ended communist rule in what was then Czechoslovakia.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

NASA renames the farthest cosmic body as Arrokoth

  •  The US Space Agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has recently renamed farthest cosmic body, earlier known as ‘Ultima Thule’ to ‘Arrokoth’ or Sky. NASA has renamed the distant space rock after it was criticized over the old name’s Nazi connections.

  •  The new name Arrokoth symbolizes ‘icy-object’ which was undisturbed since the solar system was formed about 4.5 billion years ago.

  •  The name also reflects the wondering about the stars and looking at the sky and was given because of its natural position.

  •  The name was proposed by members of New Horizons team, who led the mission to study the object. They presented the new name to International Astronomical Union (IAU) and Minor Planet Center (MPC) which officially names and categorises Kuiper Belt objects.

  •  The rock which was studied in the farthest flyby ever conducted by a spacecraft was previously named as Ultima Thule to mean something like “farthest place”, but immediately attracted controversy because the word ‘Thule’has been associated with Nazis in the past. Therefore, the object will now be known as Arrokoth, a Native American term meaning ‘Sky’.

::SPORTS::

Indian women win five golds at Asian youth championships

  •  Indian women have clinched five gold, while men bagged two silver at Asian Youth Boxing Championship in Mongolia on Sunday. All five women finalists, Naorem Chanu (51kg), Vinka (64kg) Sanamacha Chanu (75kg), Poonam (54kg) and Sushma (81kg) won Gold for the country in a phenomenal sweep.

  •  Among the men, Selay Soy (49kg) and Ankit Narwal (60kg) settled for the second place after going down in their respective summit clashes. India signed off with 12 medals in the event with bronze coming from Arundhati Choudhury (69kg), Komalpreet Kaur (81kg), Jaismine (57kg), Satender Singh (91kg) and Aman (91kg).

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