Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 20 November 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 20 November 2019


::NATIONAL::

Central government appoints judges in Supreme court and high courts

  • The Minister of Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that the government has provided all kinds of infrastructure and other support to the Judiciary to expedite speedy disposal of long-pending cases.
  • Minister was replying to questions posed by various members during the question hour today in the LokSabha.
  • Mr. Prasad said that the government has appointed a record number of 478 Judges in the High Courts and 34 Judges in the Supreme Court. He also said that the Chief Justices of the High Courts have been requested to take proactive steps to dispose off cases that are more than 10 years old.
  • As far as the undertrials are concerned, Minister said that those who have completed more than half of the punishable period in detention should be released.

Parliament passes JallianwallaBagh memorial amendment bill 2019

  • Parliament has passed the JallianwalaBagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019. RajyaSabha approved the bill yesterday while LokSabha had passed it in the last session.
  • The Bill seeks to amend the JallianwalaBagh National Memorial Act, 1951. It has a provision to remove the President of the Congress party as a trustee and clarifies that when there is no Leader of the Opposition in the LokSabha, the leader of the single largest Opposition party will be the trustee.
  • The Bill also allows the Central government to terminate the term of a nominated trustee before the expiry of the period of his term, without assigning any reason.
  • Replying to the discussion on the Bill, Culture Minister Prahlad Patel said the government’s intention is to build a Memorial so that the sacrifice of martyrs is remembered by generations to come.

::ECONOMY::

Government assures that India will continue to become fastest growing economy :

  • India is not facing 5 per cent economic slowdown and continues to be the fastest growing economy in the world, Union Minister Anurag Thakur said in LokSabha on Monday.
  • During Question Hour, Thakur also said that a number of steps are being taken by the government to strengthen the economy that includes merger of banks and tax concessions to industries.
  • Highlighting series of steps taken by the government to strengthen the economy, Thakur said tax concessions have been given to industries, foreign direct investments and MSME sector.
  • The minister said the government has been taking several measures to address moderate levels of fixed investment rate in the economy, plateauing of private consumption rate and a modest export performance, with a view to increasing the GDP growth of the country.
  • Thakur said in the last five years, the government implemented major reforms to build the investment climate in the country for becoming a US 5 trillion-dollar economy.
  • Thakur said continuous liberalisation has resulted in record and unprecedented inflows of foreign direct investment into the country and all along the government has kept inflation low, fiscal spending disciplined and current account deficit manageable to ensure macroeconomic stability to sustain a healthy investment climate in the country.

AIIB plans to invest $2.5billion in Indian road and metro projects :

  • The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is planning to invest up to $2.5 billion in urban transport projects, such as Metro commuter-rail networks and radial roads, giving a boost to New Delhi’s Smart City initiative.
  • AIIB is in advanced talks with different nodal agencies, including Chennai Metro Rail and the Mumbai Metro Rail Corp, two people with direct knowledge of the matter told ET. The supranational lender is expected to sign financing agreements with these two railroad operators.
  • In Chennai, AIIB plans to invest another $400 million in a ring road project that is supposed to connect the main city with its Information Technology hub. 
  • The global lender, which has a disposable sum of $20 billion, wants to increase the share of lending in India, where banks often shy away from long-term project financing due to billions of dollars in bad loans.
  • AIIB now predominantly invests in projects owned by the government. Besides transport and railways, it loans funds to sectors such as energy (transmission) and water. It is now only into dollar-denominated lending but plans to develop a system where it can extend credit in rupee terms.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

India calls for zero tolerance to combat terror-crime nexus at UN-SCO

  • India has called for a zero-tolerance approach, without any double standards, to combat the existential global threat of the terror-crime nexus.
  • At the 3rd High-level Special Event of United Nations and Shanghai Cooperation Organization, UN-SCO, held yesterday night in New York, India said that UN-designated terrorist organisations such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed continue to destabilise regions through their cross-border financing and propaganda.
  • Speaking at the event, India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin said that the terror-crime nexus is an existential global threat, the contours of which are mutating every day.
  • In order to combat this menace, Akbaruddin said the international community will need to keep ahead of the new trends and technologies, something that can only be achieved if the global community work together, with a zero-tolerance approach, bereft of double standards.
  • Mr.Akbaruddin said India looks forward to organising an SCO event in India on combating illegal financial flows related to narcotics trafficking in 2020.
  • The Indian envoy emphasised that an added challenge in the nexus between terror and organised crime is the role of new and emerging technologies, including virtual currencies, encrypted communications and artificial intelligence.

India-Singapore to expand defence cooperation

  • India and Singapore have agreed to strengthen bilateral defence cooperation and taking it to greater heights. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh expressed satisfaction at the increasing engagement of the Armed Forces of both the countries in conducting joint exercises. 
  • Mr Singh said this while calling on Singapore Deputy Prime Minister HengSweeKeat in Singapore yesterday.
  • Mr. Singh stressed that the Indo-Pacific for India means an open, inclusive and stable region, connected through secure seas, integrated by trade and anchored by the unity and centrality of ASEAN.
  • The Defence Minister will co-chair the 4th India-Singapore Defence Ministers’ Dialogue today before concluding his two-day visit.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

NASA unveils its first electric plane

  • NASA, most prominent for its many Florida-launched exploits into space, showcased an early version of its first all-electric experimental aircraft, the X-57 "Maxwell," at its lesser-known aeronautics lab in the California desert.
  • Adapted from a Italian-made Tecnam P2006T twin-engine propeller plane, the X-57 has been under development since 2015 and remains at least a year away from its first test flight in the skies over Edward Air Force Base.
  • But after attaching the two largest of 14 electric motors that will ultimately propel the plane - powered by specially designed lithium ion batteries - NASA deemed the Maxwell ready for its first public preview.
  • NASA also showed off a newly built simulator that allows engineers, and pilots, to get the feel of what it will be like to maneuver the finished version of the X-57 in flight, even as the plane remains under development.
  • The Maxwell is the latest in a proud line of experimental aircraft the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has developed over many decades for many purposes, including the bullet-shaped Bell X-1 that first broke the sound barrier and the X-15 rocket plane flown by Neil Armstrong before he joined the Apollo moon team.
  • Due to current battery limitations, the Maxwell's design is envisioned for use in short-haul flights as an air-taxi or commuter plane for a small number of passengers.

::SPORTS::

Indian team knocked out of world cup 2022 qualifiers

  • The Indian football team was today virtually knocked out of the 2022 World Cup qualifying round after losing 0-1 to Oman in Muscat. Mohsin Al Ghassani scored the all-important goal in the 33rd minute at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex Stadium as Oman beat India for the second time in the campaign. 
  • Oman had defeated India 2-1 in the first leg in September in Guwahati. With just three points from five matches, India still remains at fourth spot in the Group E table, headed by Asian champions Qatar who have 13 points from five matches. Oman are at second spot with 12 points.
  • The Indian team is, however, still in the hunt for a third-round berth for the 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers.

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