Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 19 May 2019
Election commissioner recuses himself from poll meetings
- Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa has purportedly recused himself
from meetings on issues concerning the model code of conduct, pending his
demand for including dissenting opinions in the final orders.
- In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, Mr. Lavasa
is learnt to have said that his various notes on the need for transparency
in the recording and disclosure of all decisions, including the minority
view, had gone unheeded, “forcing me to withdraw from participating in the
deliberations on the complaints”.
- In a statement, the CEC said: “There has been an unsavoury and
avoidable controversy reported in sections of the media today about the
internal functioning of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in respect of
handling the model code of conduct. This has come at a time when all the
chief electoral officers throughout the country and their teams are geared
up for seventh and last phase of polling.
- Mr. Arora said the eloquence of silence was always difficult but
far more desirable, for seeing the election process through instead of
creating ill-timed controversies. He indicated that the issues raised by Mr.
Lavasa would be examined by a group within the ECI.
- Former ECI legal adviser S.K. Mendiratta, who worked with the poll
body for about 53 years, told that in case of a difference of opinion on
matters regarding MCC, the dissent note was recorded in the files and only
the majority view was communicated to the parties concerned through an
- The dissenting ruling is made part of the order only in
quasi-judicial matters like the disputes related to the Representation of
the People Act and election symbols.
Health ministry confirms no shortage of polio vaccines in country
There is no shortage of polio vaccine for routine
immunisation, “with the Health Ministry ensuring that we keep a
shock-absorber buffer stock for three-four months,” said a senior health
official speaking to The Hindu on Saturday.
The statement comes after reports of anticipated shortage
following the detection of contamination, by the Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL)
in Kasauli, in 16 batches of polio vaccine manufactured by Bharat Immunological
and Biologicals Corporation Limited (Bibcol).
In April, 30,000 vials were found to be substandard after
they failed sterility tests. “The vaccine was to be used for the government’s
polio eradication programme and given to children under the age of five years,”
according to a health expert.
Dr. Pradeep Haldar, Deputy Commissioner, Immunisation,
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said: “Quality is of prime importance and
there is no question of releasing any contaminated vaccine.”
“However, there is also a buffer [stock] that we keep for
all vaccines, which allows us to negotiate with any form of shortage, whether
caused by late delivery or contamination, etc.”
“If this contamination has happened, it will not have any
adverse reaction on the routine immunisation supply chain,” he added.
RBI uses divergence in bad loan recognition against PSB’s
- At least three public sector banks that have reported earnings for
the January-March quarter have mentioned ‘divergence’ in bad loan
recognition and have made provisions for such loans.
- Divergence takes place when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) finds
that a lender has under-reported (or not reported at all) bad loans in a
particular year and hence asks the lender to make disclosures if
under-reporting is more than 10% of bad loans or the provisioning.
- Higher provisioning for divergence was one of the reasons for them
to report losses for the quarter. Interestingly, divergence was identified
not because these banks hadn’t classified the loan as non-performing assets
(NPA) but because they were late in classifying them.
- Since the date of classification as NPA had been pushed back, the
banks had to make higher provisioning due to the ageing factor. In the first
stage of NPA, which is the ‘sub-standard’ category, 15-20% provision is
required and for next category, which is ‘doubtful’, a 40% provision is
- Some bankers said the identification was pushed back by two years
in some cases. Since banks had to increase their provisioning, this resulted
in higher provision coverage ratios (PCR)
Experts suggests tariff war between U.S and China might be beneficial for India
- The rise in trade tension between the U.S. and China could lead
the latter to divert its exports to emerging markets (EMs), including India,
according to Indian Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra).
- In the past, China has shown such a tendency and dumped its
products at predatory rates in many markets, including India. This could
potentially disrupt the demand-supply dynamics in the Indian markets,
especially for products such as electronic goods, iron and steel and organic
- A fall in Chinese exports to the U.S. could potentially put
downward pressure on the Chinese yuan (RMB). A likely devaluation in the RMB
could stimulate a competitive depreciation in the Indian rupee, failing
which the competitiveness of Indian exports could be affected, Ind-Ra said
in a statement.
- Chinese exports accounted about 18% of total U.S. imports in 2018,
representing 2.34% of the U.S. GDP. Lower imports or a rise in the cost of
imported goods could stimulate inflationary pressures in the U.S.
Bahrain asks citizens to leave Iran,Iraq amid tensions
- The Kingdom of Bahrain on Saturday asked its citizens in Iraq and
Iran to return ‘immediately’ for their safety, State News Agency BNA said.
- Bahrain, a US ally also issued travel advisory against travelling
to Iraq and Iran amidst simmering tension with Iran.
- The Bahrain foreign ministry cited, “unstable regional
circumstances, dangerous developments and potential threats,” according to
BNA (Bahrain News Agency).
- On Wednesday, the US had ordered for its ‘non-emergency staff
members ’ of its Embassy and Consulate to leave Iraq due to the perceived
threats from neighbouring Iran.
- Meanwhile Saudi Arabia has called the leaders of the Gulf
Co-operation Council (GCC) member states as well as the heads of state of
Arab League to convene two emergency summits in Makkah on the 30th of this
- The Saudi Press Agency said, the emergency meetings called by
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to look into the recent acts of
sabotage against commercial vessels off the UAE waters and the terror
attacks on two Saudi pumping stations, and their consequences on the region.
Australian PM wins federal elections
- In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison's Liberal-National
Coalition won the federal elections.
- Prime Minister Morrison has declared victory after his coalition
defied opinion polls and secured a surprise win over the opposition Labor
- Opposition Labor Party leader Bill Shorten has announced that he
is resigning after accepting defeat.
- The final result of the elections is yet to be announced, however,
with more than 70 percent of votes counted the Coalition is ahead in 74
seats in its quest for a 76-seat majority, with Labor on just 66 seats.
- The polling held yesterday for all 151 seats in the House of
Representatives. Australia has mandatory voting for people aged 18 and over.
- While Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten has conceded
defeat after his Labour party suffered a shock defeat in national polls
today saying he would resign as party leader.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Scientists develop wearable super capacitor
- Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay
have fabricated a wearable supercapacitor that can store and deliver large
amount of electrical energy, exceeding other similar devices.
- The wearable energy storage device can be stitched on to any
fabric and can deliver power ranging from microwatt to milliwatt. The energy
stored in the device can power GPS location-based transmitters or a 1.8 volt
- The electrode of the supercapacitor was fabricated by uniformly
coating cotton yarn with carbon nanotubes (CNTs). The coating is done by
dipping the yarn into carbon nanotube ink, where the CNTs are dispersed in
water using a surfactant (detergent).
- The coating converts the electrical insulating yarn into a
metallic conductor thereby behaving like an electrode. “The yarns coated
with carbon nanotubes exhibited a finite electrical conductivity,” says
- The laminated supercapacitor demonstrated unchanged performance
even when subjected to extreme and harsh mechanical testing — striking
repeatedly with a hammer, complete flexing, bending and rolling, and washing
in a laundry machine in the presence of hot water, detergents and high
Djokovic to meet Nadal in Italian open finals
- In Tennis, world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia will take on
second-placed Spaniard Rafael Nadal in the title clash of the Italian Open
at Rome today.
- While defending champion Nadal reached his 50th Masters 1000 final
with a win over Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, Djokovic entered the summit
clash by beating Argentine Diego Schwartzman.
- Djokovic won the last of his four Italian Open titles in 2015,
while Nadal is bidding for a ninth trophy at Rome.
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