Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 19 November 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 19 November 2019


::NATIONAL::

Govt. to crack down on those violating anti-pollution norms

  •  Environment Secretary CK Mishra today said that the government will intensify its crackdown on those violating anti-pollution norms.

  •  He was addressing a press conference after a high-level meeting with the Chief Secretaries of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh over the air pollution in the northern states.

  •  He said, in the next 15 days, the government will intensify the crackdown on violators and illegal constructions, and action will be taken to reduce emissions.

  •  Mr Mishra said the Environment Ministry and the Central Pollution Control Board are monitoring pollution separately and efforts are on to bring down the level of pollutants and particulate matters in the air.

  •  He said during the meeting, the instructions of the Supreme Court, the National Green Tribunal and the Ministry of Environment were reviewed.

  •  Meanwhile, air quality in the national capital improved, entering the poor category. According to CPCB, the Air Quality Index was recorded at 217 this evening.

Centre calls upon international players to eliminate terrorist safe havens

  •  Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today reiterated the government's commitment to achieve 26 billion dollar defence industry by 2025.Mr Singh was speaking at a business seminar ‘India Rising’, organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok, Thailand.

  •  He said, the defence sector has been given prominence under the Make in India initiative to reduce dependence on imports and make India a major defence manufacturing hub.

  •  Mr Singh said India’s defence exports have grown almost six-fold in the last two years. The Minister said a 10-billion dollar investment in aerospace and defence goods and services is expected by 2025, which could provide employment to 20 to 30 lakh people.

  •  Rajnath Singh also addressed the 6th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus). He called upon the international community to eliminate terrorist safe havens, disrupt their networks and financing and thwart their cross-border movement to ensure sustainable regional security.

  •  Describing terrorism as the most heinous of cross-border crimes, Mr Singh said some States use terror to pursue political goals making regional security vulnerable.

  •  Mr Singh said India’s Indo-Pacific vision is based on the idea of sustainable security as it focuses on a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific.

::ECONOMY::

Finance ministry showcases steps taken to increase GDP

  •  Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman informed the Lok Sabha on Monday that the Government has been taking steps to increase the country’s GDP growth rate.

  •  The corporate tax has been cut to 15 per cent for new domestic manufacturing companies which is amongst lowest in the world. This complements a cut in the repo rate by 135 basis points during 2019 by the Reserve Bank of India.

  •  Banks have been mandated to link their lending rates with external benchmarks for reducing the cost of capital for investors.

  •  The Minister said, as per the National Statistical Office, the country’s GDP growth was 7.5 per cent in 2014-19. This is the highest amongst the G-20 countries.

  •  In the last five years, the government has implemented major reforms to build up the investment climate in the country so as to become a five trillion US dollar economy.

  •  Introduction of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code in 2016 was a significant step to clean and strengthen the country’s financial system. Implementation of the Goods and Services Tax in 2017 stands out as the most important measure for improving the ease of doing business in India.

  •  The Finance Minister emphasized that the Make-in-India programme is a major initiative to increase the country’s indigenous capacity to produce world-class goods and services. Inflation has been kept low, fiscal spending disciplined and current account deficit kept under manageable limits to ensure macroeconomic stability, the Minister added.

Around 13000 health centres to be opened by March 2020

  •  Around 13 thousand more Health and Wellness Centres will become functional by the end of March next year. At present 27 thousand, such centres are already operational in different parts of the country.

  •  Speaking at the World Conference on 'Access to Medical Products: Achieving Sustainable Development Goals' in New Delhi Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said, that the government has decided to set up 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centres by 2022 under Ayushman Bharat Yojana. Dr Vardhan said, these Centres will strengthen the primary healthcare delivery system in the country.

  •  The Health Minister also informed that under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, over 60 lakh poor people have availed the benefit of the scheme.

  •  Speaking about the Conference, Dr Vardhan said, health experts from South East Asia Region will discuss about ensuring affordable medicines, vaccines and medical devices in achieving Universal Health Coverage.

  •  The objective of the three-day conference is to explore new approaches in the innovation landscape in medical products for achieving the Universal Health Coverage and SDGs Goals.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

U.S backs Israel’s right to build settlements in disputed land

  •  Abandoning its four-decade stand, the United States has backed Israel's right to build settlements on the occupied West Bank in the Palestinian territories.

  •  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday announced that the US no longer believes that Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories are illegal and inconsistent with international law.

  •  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the United States statement deeming Israeli settlement not to be illegal rights a historical wrong.But the Palestinian Authority decried the US policy shift as completely against international law.

  •  Meanwhile, the European Union has condemned Israel's policy of building settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, saying settlement activity is illegal under international law.

New Zealand tightens rules for foreign investments

  •  New Zealand has tightened the foreign investment rules in strategic assets. Foreign investors hoping to buy strategic assets will now have to convince the government that it is in the national interest.
  •  Associate Finance Minister David Parker said that the new rules will for the first time give the government the power to reject overseas investments in sensitive areas.
  •  He said the rules would apply to crucial infrastructure including ports and airports, telecommunications and electricity networks, as well as firms developing military technology or supplying intelligence agencies. He said the government could also veto foreign investments in media firms if they were a threat to democracy.
  •  Mr Parker further clarified the new powers were not aimed at investments from China, which is New Zealand's largest trading partner. He added that it would be applied to all overseas investors, irrespective of where they are from.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

ISRO plans to launch Cartosat-3 by month end

  •  India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C47 will launch Cartosat-3 and 13 commercial nanosatellites into Sun Synchronous orbit from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota.

  •  The launch is tentatively scheduled at 0928 Hrs IST on 25th November subject to weather conditions. PSLV-C47 is the 21st flight of PSLV in 'XL' configuration, that is with 6 solid strap-on motors.

  •  This will be the 74th launch vehicle mission from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota.Cartosat-3 satellite is a third-generation agile advanced satellite having high-resolution imaging capability.

  •  The satellite will be placed in an orbit of 509 km at an inclination of 97.5 degree.PSLV-C47 will also carry 13 commercial nanosatellites from the United States of America as part of commercial arrangement with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), Department of Space.

::SPORTS::

India-Pakistan tie match shifted to Kazakhstan

  •  India will travel to Nur-Sultan to take on Pakistan in the upcoming Davis Cup tie.The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has nominated the Kazakhstan capital to host the matches, ending days of uncertainty over the venue.

  •  The davis cup tie will take place on 29th and 30th November in Nur-Sultan, formerly Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.

  •  Speaking excluisvely to All India Radio,All India Tennis Association,AITA General Secretary Hironmoy Chatterjee said that the ITF has informed AITA that Pakistan’s appeal has been rejected.

  •  The Independent Tribunal of the ITF endorsed the decision taken by the Davis Cup Committee on 4th November that the tie should be shifted to a neutral venue, keeping in mind safety and security of players and officials.

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