Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 19 FEBRUARY 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 19 FEBRUARY 2019


Home ministry to launch initiatives for safety of women

  •  Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi today launched a range of citizen safety initiatives in New Delhi.
  •  It includes the Emergency Response Support System, ERSS, for women safety in 16 states and Union territories.
  •  The ERCs are connected to District Command Centres and the Emergency Response Vehicles, and assistance to victims is facilitated through them. An amount of over 321 crore rupees has been provided for this initiative through the Nirbhaya fund.
  •  Mr Singh also launched DNA analysis facilities for States. The DNA analysis centres will have facilities like refrigeration of samples, automated DNA extractor and sequencer, centrifuges and genetic analysers, among others. A sum of 79 crore rupees has been sanctioned for this initiative.
  •  He said, a separate Women Safety Division has been established in the Home Ministry and many existing laws have been amended. The Minister said, a national database of sexual offenders has been released.
  •  Mr Singh said, projects launched today will be very effective for the protection of women. He expressed confidence that the police will be able to take strict and timely action against those who commit crimes against women.
  •  In her address, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said, Government has been pro-active towards critical issues of women safety and also adopted solution-driven approach.
  •  She said, in the last four and half years, Narendra Modi led Government has undertaken a slew of initiatives towards strengthening women empowerment.

Army confirms elimination of masterminds behind Pulwama attack

  •  The Army today said it has eliminated the top leadership of Jaish-e-Muhammad in less than 100 hours of the Pulwama terror attack on the CRPF convoy.
  •  Briefing media in Srinagar this morning on yesterday's encounter in Pinglena area of the district, the commander of the 15th Corps, Lt General K S Dhillon said the JeM leadership based in Pakistan and supported by ISI was behind the CRPF convoy attack.
  •  He said Kamran, the top commander of the JeM which carried out the attack on the CRFP convoy in Lethpora area of Pulwama on the 14th of this month has been eliminated.
  •  He said the role of those involved in the attack is being investigated. General Dhillon informed that the injured CRPF jawans are doing well. He appealed to parents in the Valley to ask their children involved in militancy to surrender.


RBI to transfer dividend to central government

  •  Ending the suspense, the Reserve Bank of India announced on Monday that it would transfer Rs. 28,000 crore to the Centre as interim surplus for the half-year ended December 2018.
  •  This will take the Centre’s total receipts from the RBI as surplus transfer in 2018-19 to Rs. 68,000 crore. The central bank had earlier paid Rs. 40,000 crore to the government as its final share of surplus for 2017-18. The RBI follows July-June accounting year.
  •  The interim surplus transferred by the RBI now is crucial to the Centre’s ability to meet the revised fiscal deficit target of 3.4% for this fiscal.
  •  “Based on a limited audit review and after applying the extant economic capital framework, the board decided to transfer an interim surplus of Rs. 280 billion to the Central government for the half-year ended December 31, 2018.
  •  This is the second successive year that the Reserve Bank will be transferring an interim surplus,” the RBI said in a statement.
  •  Sources indicate the system of audit of balance sheet twice a year would be continued for the coming years also in order to decide on the interim surplus. Last year, RBI had transferred Rs. 10,000 crore as interim surplus.
  •  The government had been putting pressure on the central bank to transfer more funds from the contingency reserves. A panel, headed by former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan, had been formed to review the economic capital framework of the bank.

IOC signs deal with U.S to buy crude oil

  •  In the first-ever deal by an Indian company, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) on Monday said it had signed an annual deal worth $1.5 billion to import 3 million tonnes of crude oil in the fiscal year beginning April 1.
  •  This is the first time any Indian refiner has signed an annual contract, since the country in 2017 began importing crude oil from the U.S. “IOC has finalised a term contract for import of up to 3 million tonnes of crude oil of U.S. origin grades as a part of its strategy to diversify term crude sources,” the company said in a statement.
  •  The contract was finalised on February 15. The term contract follows IOC signing up to buy crude oil from the U.S. through a term-tender deal in August last year.
  •  It had, at that time, bought about 6 million barrels of U.S. crude oil under a single tender for delivery between November 2018 and January 2019.
  •  “The approximate value of the contract works out to $1.5 billion,” the IOC statement said. “This is the first term contract finalised by any Indian PSU oil company for import of U.S. origin crude oil grades.”
  •  Prior to this, IOC and other state-owned oil firms bought crude oil from the U.S. on a spot or current tender basis which comprised one shipload of oil.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials


India- Morocco sign MoU's on trade and defence cooperations

  •  India and Morocco on Monday signed four MoUs following the delegation-level talks between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita in Rabat.
  •  Briefing media after the meeting, Mrs Swaraj said, the MoUs include setting up of Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism, Cooperation in Housing and Human Settlement, Reciprocal facilitation of procedures for issue of Business Visa and Cooperation in Youth Matters.
  •  In a series of tweets, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, both countries agreed to set up a Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism to develop a comprehensive approach to combat the menace, including cross- border terrorism, terrorist financing and recruitment of terrorists.
  •  He said, Mrs Swaraj and her Moroccan counterpart discussed ways to enhance bilateral cooperation in a number of areas, including defence and security, counter-terrorism and trade and investment.
  •  Mrs Swaraj reached Rabat on her maiden visit to Morocco from Bulgaria yesterday. She is on a four-day three-nation tour to Bulgaria, Morocco and Spain as part of India's efforts to strengthen ties with these countries and expand avenues of cooperation.

Saudi agrees to de escalate Indo-Pak tensions

  •  Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister vowed to “de-escalate” rising tensions between Pakistan and India as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman prepares to travel to New Delhi.
  •  Adel al-Jubeir spoke at a press conference in Islamabad as Pakistan recalled its envoy from New Delhi for “consultations” after last week’s terror attack in Pulwama. “Our objective is to try to de-escalate tensions between the two countries, neighbouring countries, and to see if there is a path forward to resolving those differences peacefully,” said Mr. Jubeir
  •  After his arrival late on Sunday,MBS signed $20 billion in investment deals with cash-strapped Islamabad and vowed to free thousands of Pakistani prisoners in Saudi custody.
  •  Islamabad is facing a serious balance of payments crisis and hopes the huge deals signed over the two-day visit seven separate agreements and memorandums of understanding will boost its struggling economy. Pakistan laid on a lavish welcome for the Prince, including a 21-gun salute, fighter jet escort and honour guard. He also received the country’s highest civilian award Monday, the Nishan-e-Pakistan (Order of Pakistan).
  •  Pakistan has also been accused by its western neighbour Iran of harbouring militants who carried out an attack that killed 27 Revolutionary Guards last week.
  •  The Guards’ commander has also vowed to make Pakistan pay. Mr. Jubeir also noted that Riyadh continues to participate in a months-long push by Washington for peace talks in Afghanistan, saying that if the war-torn country can be stabilised “it will be to benefit the region as a whole”.


Study reveals relationship between synthetic fibres and pollution

  •  Polyester and other synthetic fibres such as nylon are major contributors of microplastic pollution in the environment, say researchers and suggest switching to biosynthetic fibres may help prevent this.
  •  “These materials, during production, processing and after use, break down and release microfibres that can now be found in everything and everyone,” said Melik Demirel, professor at the Pennsylvania State University in the US.
  •  Synthetic fibres are petroleum-based products, unlike natural fibres such as wool, cotton and silk, which are recyclable and biodegradable.
  •  Mixed fibres that contain both natural and synthetic fibres are difficult or costly to recycle.In the oceans, pieces of microscopic plastic are consumed by plants and animals and enter the human food chain through harvested fish.
  •  In the study, Mr. Demirel suggested few things to prevent this: minimising the use of synthetic fibres and switching to natural fibres such as wool, cotton, silk and linen, even though synthetic fibres are less expensive.
  •  Substituting synthetic fibres with biosynthetic fibres, that are both recyclable and biodegradable; and blending synthetic fibres with natural fibres to lend them durability and make them recyclable.


Chris Gayle announces retirement from ODI's

  •  West Indian batsman Chris Gayle has announced that he will retire from One-day Internationals after the forthcoming World Cup.
  •  The 39-year old left-hander has scored 9,727 ODI runs, second only to the legendary Brian Lara among West Indians in 284 matches. He needs 677 more runs to surpass Lara as the West Indies' all-time record ODI runscorer, a feat he will be hoping to achieve at his fifth World Cup.

Click Here For Today's Current Affairs MCQ's

Click Here for Old Current Affairs Archive

This is a Part of Online Coaching Programme for UPSC Exam

Buy Printed Study Material for UPSC PRELIMS EXAM

Join Test Series for IAS (Pre.) Exam